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Timeshare Sales Being Careful

In recent years there has been a steady increase in timeshare sales, particularly since large developers, such as RCI and Fairfield, entered the industry. The market has also slowly begun gaining the confidence of vacationers in the US as incidents of fraud have reportedly been decreasing. Despite this, there are still companies committing fraudulent sales and the only way for buyers and sellers to avoid being scammed is by knowing what to look out for. Having an insight into how timeshares work is the best defence you can have against scams as it will enable you to pick up on the telltale signs of deceptive sales tactics.


When buying a timeshare, the first signs that you are dealing with potentially dishonest sales representatives are the promises they make concerning the resale and rental values of timeshares. Some salespeople may lead you to believe that that you could easily resell or rent the timeshare, perhaps even for a profit, if you eventually decide it's not for you. This is an attempt to reassure you that you would be taking absolutely no risk in purchasing their product.

The fact is that timeshare resales normally sell for about half of their original price or less. Resales are certainly a good deal for the buyer but they are no way to make a profit. It's a similar situation with timeshare rentals. They are typically priced at just over or slightly below the annual maintenance fees and so may help to cover those costs but like resales, they are no gold mine either. The bottom line: timeshares are an investment in future vacations, not a financial investment.

If you find yourself in a position where the salesperson is making such claims get it in writing. Get it is signed by yourself and the sales representative and make sure you get a copy. This is essential. If they refuse to comply with this then leave. It is likely that you will be able to find timeshare resales for half the price anyway.

Another common deceit is the rescission waiver. The rescission period is a "cooling off" period in which the buyer has the chance to cancel the contract and receive a full refund. Some companies may ask you to sign a waiver saying that you are giving up your right to cancel. This is illegal and the waiver would be completely invalid. It is simply a ploy to make the buyer believe that they no longer have the right to cancel the contract. Click here to read more on your rights regarding timeshare sales.

Always remember that you are under no obligation to sign or purchase anything. If you feel you are being pressured into buying something you're not sure you want then simply walk away. Never sign anything until you have carefully read the contract and all other documents involved.


The promises brokers make to sellers are very similar to those made to the buyer. The broker may assure you that your timeshare will sell for a price equal to or more than what you paid for it and that the broker can sell it for you. They will claim to have buyers lined up to buy your timeshare and all you have to do is pay an upfront fee for their services. Not all brokers asking for an upfront fee are fraudulent but it is something to be wary of in relation to unrealistic promises of profits.

When money back guarantees and government bonds are thrown in then you have reason to be extra cautious. Many timeshare owners have reported never receiving any money back and those who received bonds found them to be worth no more than $70. After paying up to $700 for a service they never received, this is hardly compensation. If you are asked for an advanced appraisal fee then it is advisable to either get a second opinion (appraisals are not normally necessary in timeshare sales) or choose a different broker.

When choosing a broker to sell your timeshare make sure the company is licensed. By contacting the Better Business Bureau you can also find out about any complaints made against a particular broker or company.

Another way to avoid being scammed is simply to sell the timeshare yourself by placing ads in newspapers, on the Internet and with resorts. This does not necessarily mean taking responsibility for the entire sales process as escrow companies can be hired to deal with title transfers and ownership recording. Click here to learn more about selling your timeshare.