The Key to Avoiding a Timeshare Nightmare: Slow down, get the facts, read the fine print

The Issue and What You Can Do About It

Beware of Timeshare Scams

A timeshare is a resort or vacation property where multiple owners have rights to use the property during specified times. Sounds great … pay just a modest amount to get your own slice of heaven, right?

Well, not so fast. A study by the University of Central Florida found that 85% of timeshare owners come to regret their purchase.

While many operators in the timeshare industry are reputable and fair, others resort to high-pressure tactics to get consumers to sign on the bottom line … RIGHT NOW!

Timeshare Salespeople Are Back

COVID-19 slowed timeshare sales, but it didn't stop them.

Now that more and more Americans are vaccinated and many are taking that long-delayed vacation, reports indicate that timeshare offices expect sales in the second half of 2021 to be stronger than they were in 2019 - before the pandemic hit.

Consumers should be ready.

"The manifestation of pent-up demand is so significant that timeshare companies will need to reduce rental activity to make availability for existing owners,"
- David Katz, an analyst at Jefferies, in a March 5 note. (Bloomberg, March 10, 2021)

Be on the Lookout for Scams

Shady timeshare salespeople are looking to use the travel and tourism rebound to lure unwitting consumers into possibly the worst deal of their lifetimes. Unsuspecting consumers end up with units that aren't as appealing as they look in the brochure … that aren't available when the purchaser would like to vacation … that carry unexpected high maintenance fees and other expenses.

Unfortunately, these irresponsible business practices give a bad name to the whole industry, including those who hold to appropriate standards to protect consumers. So it's critical that consumers know how to protect themselves.

The Sales Presentation: Have a Plan to Escape High-Pressure Tactics

Consumers, Know Your Escape Plan

Without additional regulations to protect consumers from high-pressure sales tactics, unwelcome practices will continue in too many timeshare transactions. When dealing with a pushy timeshare salesperson, you don't have to be polite. If you are being pressured to immediately sign papers, know that in Florida you have the right to halt the meeting ... walk out of the sales office ... and come back later - if you choose.

Don't Fall for Pie-in-the-Sky Resale Claims

A timeshare is not an investment, and many of the consumer protections enjoyed by homeowners aren't available to timeshare buyers. Consumers need to know up front about the inherent risks associated with timeshares, including difficulty selling your unit should you wish to move on from your purchase. Be ready to counter any salesperson's claim of a 'hot' resale market with a cold and skeptical eye. If they tell you a buyer is waiting in the wings, think of that as your signal to slow down on any decision.

Sleep On It

Resist any pressure or impulse to buy immediately. Timeshares involve lasting financial obligations, so you should be allowed to carefully study purchase documents and thoroughly research the property before deciding to purchase a timeshare.

How to Get Help

The Florida Vacation Plan and Timesharing Act provides requirements for full and fair disclosure to purchasers and prospective purchasers. To learn more about timeshares and consumer rights in Florida, visit the Attorney General's website on the issue.

Consumers who suspect they may have experienced a Timeshare Nightmare and need help are urged to contact:

  • The Florida Attorney General's Office at www.myfloridalegal.com or by phone toll-free at 1-866-9-NO-SCAM
  • The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Division of Florida Land Sales, Condominiums and Mobile Homes, Bureau of Timeshares, at www.myfloridalicense.com or by phone at (850) 488-1122
  • The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services at www.floridaconsumerhelp.com

Newsroom

Reforming Predatory Timeshare Deals

Florida is the top location for timeshare sales, and these timeshares “deals” often involve predatory tactics that pressure consumers to purchase timeshare resorts.

Travel Bans During COVID Crisis Fuel Call For Timeshare Reform

In the wake of COVID-19, a flood of timeshare owners have tried to cancel their reservations or even their contracts, citing travel bans and health fears that make them untenable.

Timeshare Developers Are Throwing Consumers to the Curb Amid COVID-19 Crisis, Timeshare Exit Team Warns

The need for consumers to exit their timeshares is more relevant now than ever…

A Cautionary Guide to the Worst Timeshare Companies You Should Avoid at All Costs

Nearly 10 million people in the US own part of a timeshare. That works out to roughly 3% of the country.

Hilton Grand Vacations to Acquire Apollo’s Diamond Resorts

Hilton Grand Vacations Inc. is acquiring Diamond Resorts International Inc. the time-share company owned by Apollo Global Management Inc….

Stuck with a timeshare during the pandemic? Here are some options

What do you do with a vacation timeshare property that you cannot use during the pandemic?

FACT BANK: About Timeshares

What is a timeshare?

A timeshare is a resort or vacation property where multiple owners have rights to use the property during specified times.

Who buys timeshares?

The vast majority (87%) of timeshare owners earn less than $100,000 per year.

How much is the timeshare industry worth?

With an estimated value of $10.5 billion in 2020, the timeshare industry is bigger than the revenue generated by either Major League Baseball or the music industry.

What's the problem with timeshares?

  • The only way to end ownership of a traditional timeshare is to sell it.
  • Timeshares can be difficult to sell or even give away.
  • Some timeshare owners have decided that their best option to get out of their long-term commitment is to give away their timeshare.
  • Some scammers offer to help dissatisfied timeshare owners 'get out of their timeshare contract' for a fee.

Timeshares: By the Numbers

$13.2 Billion-Florida Property Value

$10.5 Billion-Size of the Industry

  • 1,582 timeshare resorts in the U.S., with 206,380 units - 130 units per resort on average
  • Comparable to the $9 billion in revenue for Major League Baseball and the $8 billion music industry

9.9 Million-Number of U.S. Households That Own 1 or More Types of Timeshare Industry Product (timeshare weeks, points, fractional and/or Private Residence Club)

  • 61% are married or in a domestic partnership
  • Average age of an owner is 40
  • Only 13% of timeshare owners earn $100,000 or more

$22,942-Average Price of a Timeshare Interval

$97.4 Billion-Contribution to U.S. Economy

  • 612,225 full- and part-time jobs
  • More than $37.0 billion in income and wages
  • Approximately $12.7 billion in tax revenue

$11.29 Billion-Amount Spent by Timeshare Owners & Guests during Timeshare Stays

  • Approximately $2.96 billion spent on-site at resorts
  • $8.33 billion was spent off-site in the communities where the timeshare resorts are located

79.3%-Average Timeshare Occupancy

  • 43% of occupants were owners or owners' guests; 14% were exchange guests; 15% were renters; and 7% were marketing guests
  • Comparatively, hotel occupancy was 66.1% in 2019, according to Smith Travel Research

13.1 Million-Number of Nights Rented at Timeshare Resorts

  • 90% of timeshare resorts offer some type of rental program
  • Reflects $2.5 billion in revenue

Link: U.S. Timeshare Industry: By the Numbers
Platform: ARDA.org
Author: ARDA
Date: 2020 (month and day not given)

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