Over the last 10-15 years there has been a growing stigma around the idea of owning a timeshare, but why? On the surface, they seem like a fantastic investment, particularly for those of us who are retired. They give you a consistently lovely place to spend our holidays and a potential money maker when rented at other points during the year.
However, the stigma has grown for a reason. Over recent times an increasing number of terrible tales have emerged with people tied into deals they didn’t properly understand and being ripped off substantially because of it. Here are three of the most prominent reasons why you should think twice before investing in a timeshare.
Most timeshare deals will require you to pay a substantial sum of money upfront when the deal is signed. This can range anywhere from £2000 up into double figures and what it buys you is on average a timeshare to spend one or two weeks a year in. Providing the length of time you are involved in the timeshare is substantial, this might well work out to be a good deal when compared with paying for a different holiday at different prices once a year.
Unfortunately this isn’t the only payment you will have to contend with. Most if not all timeshare properties require at least £200 maintenance per year for its upkeep. All of a sudden that deal is looking rather worse. Steve Rhode argues his point very well in this piece from the Huffington Post how it can be much cheaper to just go on a different holiday every year.
The Sales People
One of the stereotypical depictions of people who work in timeshares is that of the evil sales person. While it is wrong to generalise in the way that stereotyping does, stereotypes do exist for a reason. There are endless documented examples of people who have been convinced into signing deals which they neither understand nor can afford.
Clever manipulative sales tactics mean that innocent people (often elderly) are tricked into deals they simply cannot afford, something which doesn’t happen in many other sectors to this degree. A particularly shocking example of this appeared on This Is Money where despite a woman’s intentions to try and leave her deal, the sales team of her timeshare actually convinced her to sign a new deal instead.
The Small Print
Probably the most contentious thing about recent timeshare deals is the small print in the deal or the added extras. Partly down to clever sales tactics to not properly explain, and also down to clever legal drafting of deals, many deals leave people having to pay more than they realised or find it very difficult to get out of the deal.
Speaking to timeshare advisors The Timeshare Consumer Association, they told us more about the personal tragedy this can cause. “We have had a long list of people come to us for advice whilst struggling to get out of their current deals, simply because they hadn’t noticed or didn’t understand a number of clauses which were part of the original deal or added later.”
“One of the trickiest clauses means that if the timeshare owner dies, the payments and rights are passed on to their next of kin, something which they don’t have to agree to, very similar to when debt is moved on from bank accounts. This can come as a shock to a lot of people who might not even know one of their family members was involved in a timeshare.”
Timeshares can be safe and sound investments but as evidence proves there have been a continuum of crooks and morally suspect people behind some of them in recent times. If you are considering investing in one in the future, and least consider these three reasons first before making any hasty decisions, it might just save you a good amount of money and stress.