Ten million Americans own timeshares and reports are that most are not happy. The number that want to get rid of their one week vacation condo is as high as 85 percent! There are so many people that want out, that there are dozens of firms offering timeshare cancellation services. So-called 'timeshare exit firms’ seem successful at what they do, but pricey (as much as $4,000 for their help).
What Is The Problem With Timeshares?
I know people that treasure and use their timeshare, so why are so many people unhappy? The biggest issue is the annual maintenance fee, which can be well over $1,000. So, even if you own the timeshare without a mortgage, you must come up with the annual fee. When you consider that each vacation condo has 52 weeks of ownership over the course of a year, fees this high are outrageous. I do not understand how the management can justify $52,000 or more in costs to ‘maintain’ a single condo unit and its share of resort amenities. The ‘free vacation’ they promised you turns out to not to be free at all.
Some people are thrilled with their Timeshare ownership because they prefer deluxe accommodations when they vacation. These condos are much more than a hotel room. In fact, the cost to rent a two or three-bedroom unit (common in resorts like this) is hundreds of dollars per night. So, if you make an apple to apple comparison, there still is a lot of value. Because these units are so large they can accommodate two families, which is another way to defray the cost (invite another family to go along with you on vacation and ask them to contribute toward the annual costs).
How To Cancel Your Timeshare
Before shelling out thousands of dollars to a timeshare exit firm, examine your other less costly options -
Contact The Resort And Ask Them To Take Your Unit Back
Some resorts have programs in place to allow you to cancel your contract and deed back your unit.
Sell Your Vacation Condo
If you have already paid off the mortgage and want out from under the maintenance fees, consider selling. There are plenty of sites online that will list your condo for sale, including eBay. Be careful not to get scammed by paying a hefty listing fee of hundreds of dollars just to list your timeshare for sale. Legit listing firms will not ask for large upfront sums just to list your unit.
Use An Attorney
Rather than using an expensive timeshare exit firm, consider getting help from a local attorney. A smart way to do this is through a low-cost legal plan like LegalShield. (Full disclosure: I have been a member for twenty years and am an affiliate as well). Timeshare exit firms typically assert a claim that the buyer was pressured to make the purchase, that there was inadequate disclosure of the ongoing costs, and the inducement that it was a wonderful investment was fraudulent. You don’t need to pay $4,000 to for an attorney to write a letter demanding cancellation of the contract. LegalShield is only $25 per month for unlimited access to attorneys by phone, a great option for a lot of things, including help in a situation like this.
I am not opposed to hiring a timeshare exit firm, but the cost seems excessive to me. If you want to avoid the annual fees, consider renting out your timeshare and recovering the costs that way (many resorts even have on-site rental programs). There are countless other options for advertising your rental such as Airbnb and RedWeek. As a last option, consider taking a fresh look at what you have and using it. I have relatives that love their timeshares and trade out to new resorts each year. They have had years of wonderful vacation memories and make full use it. Maybe it was not one of your smartest decisions, but what's done is done. Making the best of things might be the wisest option you have.
Helping you make the most of God’s money!