Whether you have attended a timeshare presentation or read all about timeshares, what they will not disclose to you is the true cost of owning a timeshare. These additional costs are hidden from you, and why would they tell you all about the negative aspects to ownership. They want you to buy, there and then. They want you to go away and tell everyone you know; how wonderful it is to own a timeshare. The problem is, timeshares are a liability, and for the millions of people all over the world that own one, these hidden costs only emerge after they have signed on the dotted line.
We speak to people on a daily basis who have paid anything from £20,000 to £50,000 on timeshares, they come to us after realising they were mis-sold their timeshare or simply realised it was not worth the money, not fit for purpose, not as promised and they were lied to by the salesperson. Understandably after forking out thousands of pounds they are more than unhappy. To make matters worse, they often come to us after pleading with the resort to release them from their contracts. Most resorts, even though they say they have policies in place to allow owners to exit their timeshares, make it almost impossible for owners to leave.
- The Hidden Cost: When you sign up to a timeshare agreement, they will tell you there are maintenance fees to pay, annually. What they will not tell you is that these fees are likely to go up above the rate of inflation, every single year and this is despite you using the timeshare or not. Even if the property goes into disrepair (this is a common complaint we hear) you will still have to pay maintenance fees.
- Being tied down: When you purchase a timeshare you generally sign up for an extensive period of time, years in fact. Some contracts are even for life, meaning you signed up until the day you die. And once you have signed up, it is almost impossible to leave, timeshare resorts don’t want to lose your business or your maintenance fees, so they make it very difficult for owners to exit. This seems unreasonable to most people, but incredibly, we deal with owners who are experiencing financial hardship, lost their jobs and even people who have serious health problems and their resorts still will not let them out of their contractual obligations.
- Freedom of choice: Whether you own a timeshare at a fixed resort each year or you have paid for a holiday points membership, most owners say they find them restrictive. Despite what you are promised in a sales pitch, resorts often oversubscribe their memberships, especially in peak holidays months, meaning they have sold more than they have to offer. This is a common complaint amongst owners, who when they go to book find that there is little to no availability or they must pay additional fees if they want to use their memberships where and when they want to. And if you own a timeshare at a fixed location every year, the resort will continually try to upsell you to another points-based program, which will cost even more money.