In early December, a buddy from the Island had a post on her Facebook page: Hurray – I have my vacation lined up for the next ten years at a really great deal. My heart just stopped when I read that, because my buddy had purchased a timeshare.
I sent her a note that I hoped she was within the 48 hour cancellation period and that she should run, not walk, to a lawyer to try to get out of it. No such luck – she’s an owner, and that’s not a good thing.
If you own a timeshare, I really, really, hope you enjoy it and use it each year. Unfortunately, the resale market for timeshare is non-existent, and won’t be back in our lifetime. There used to be a saying in the business that there was one buyer for every 1,000 sellers. That now has to be one buyer for every 100,000 sellers. It’s also the reason why one of the worlds’ largest hotel chains took their timeshare division and cut it loose last year, and got it off their financial statement and stock.
If you want proof, go to Ebay.com and you’ll quickly get an idea of what I’m talking about. Here are some current timeshare listings for sale:
Grand Cayman for $77, Maui for $199, Foxrun in North Carolina for $50, and Colorado at Copper Mountain for $2. It gets better if you think that $200 or even $2 is too expensive. Here are a few random ones I wrote down, each for one dollar: Cabo in Mexico, Oceanfront at Cocoa Beach Florida, Orlando and even at Whistler, BC.
Even at a buck, people cannot give them away. Why? Because you will be charged the $600 to $1200 annual maintenance fee forever and ever, and often other charges. That’s not even counting the tens of thousands of people who still owe money on their timeshare and thus can’t even give them away without writing the cheque to pay off the balance. And that’s easier said than done when timeshares run $5,000 to $15,000 for a week. While getting it for a buck may seem like a good idea, look at hotel prices in these resorts, first, and you’ll find that you can get a four star hotel for less money than the timeshare.
Of course, what happens when tens of thousands of desperate people want to unload something at all cost? The scammsters show up – and there are dozens. Anyone promising to help you to sell your timeshare with money up front is scamming you and lying to you – period. Just google timeshare sales scams and you can read all about the various angles where they promise to guarantee your sale.
Hopefully, you really enjoy your timeshare, or give it friends and family to use. If so, carry on, because the only possible way to dispose of it is to go to the resort and chat up a bunch of your fellow time share members who are there the same week. Those are the only people who may be interested in buying a second week.