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Timeshares can become financial burdenTimeshares can become financial burden

Country Counsel: Often, it’s not as easy to get rid of a timeshare as it was to buy it.

Robert Moore

July 28, 2021

3 Min Read
sun loungers on terrace
TIMESHARES: Some people use all of their timeshare time and love owning them. Many people, on the other hand, end up not using the timeshares, and they become a financial burden.Charles Gullung/Getty Images

Who are the most effective group of salespeople that you know? Car salespeople would probably be high on many people’s list. Maybe real-estate agents and telemarketers would be on those lists as well. 

For those of us who have sat through timeshare sales presentations, timeshare salespeople will probably be No. 1. Based on their presentations, timeshares are the best investment you can make, and everyone should have at least two or three.

However, after owning a timeshare for a few years, many people realize they are not using it like they thought they would and would like to get rid of the timeshare. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy to get rid of a timeshare as it was to buy it.

Timeshares come in different shapes and sizes. There are generally four different types of timeshares:

Point-based or timeshare trust. With this type of timeshare, you own points in a timeshare trust. The more points you have, the nicer the property you can select, and the longer you can stay. With this system, you do not own an actual property, just the right to use properties.

Deeded timeshare. With this timeshare, you have a deed with your name on it. You can sell, gift or rent the timeshare how you would like. You usually can only use the timeshare that has your name on it.

Deeded timeshare and points-based. This combines the first two types of timeshares. You have your name on a timeshare deed, but you also receive points to use other properties.

Right to use (RTU). You only have ownership over your timeshare for a specific period of time, at the end of that time, the ownership goes back to the resort. These are most often a type of deeded timeshares.

A few people use all of their timeshare time and love owning timeshares. Many people, on the other hand, end up not using the timeshares, and they become a financial burden. 

For those owners wanting to get rid of a timeshare, the following are a few suggestions:

Read contracts. First and foremost, read the timeshare contract. Most contracts have a clause that refers to deed-backs, buybacks or surrenders. If your contract refers to any of these, you can call the company who owns your timeshare and ask to speak directly with the personnel who handles deed-backs, buybacks or surrenders (do not just speak to anyone). There are usually fees or charges for deeding back or surrendering your timeshare, and the company will usually not pay full price for the return or surrender of the property.  

Consider gifting your timeshare. If attempting to return your timeshare to the company fails, you have several other options. The first of these is to gift your timeshare. Most timeshares can be gifted. However, whoever receives the timeshare will be responsible for the same fees and costs that you are currently responsible for. Oftentimes, the owning company will charge you fees for gifting or transferring your timeshare.

Selling your timeshare. There are many online platforms available to sell timeshares. Some of these platforms charge fees, while others such as Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace are free. Most purchasers on these sites only intend to take on the timeshare at either a discounted price or for free. While you would likely lose money upfront, you would be ridding yourself of all of the fees and charges associated with owning your timeshare. The company can also charge you transfer fees.

Hire a timeshare exit company. Hiring an exit company costs several thousand dollars, and there is no guarantee that the company will be able to sell your timeshare. There has also been a substantial amount of fraud and malpractice among timeshare exit companies in recent years.

If you find yourself owning a timeshare you no longer want, you may find it’s not easy get rid of it. Try some of the above suggestions. However, in almost every case, you will sell at a discounted price or maybe even give the timeshare away for free. 

Like most things with great sales pitches, they rarely live up to the hype — timeshares are no exception.

Moore is an attorney with Wright & Moore Law Co. LPA. Contact him at 740-990-0751 or [email protected].

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