The idea of a timeshare is understandably quite a tempting one. Your very own home away from home in some paradise on the other side of the world which you can visit every year.
The deal can seem even sweeter when you’re being offered any number of free offers from salespeople, but the fact is that many who sign up for timeshares find themselves getting burnt.
Of course, this isn’t to say that all timeshares are scams, and we must be careful to tar the whole industry with the same brush, but the stats are out there to suggest that scams are a problem.
After all, there’s no smoke without fire right? And while you probably think you’d have to be stupid to fall for a scam, you’d be surprised!
Check out these five tips to make sure you don’t fall foul of any timeshare scams.
Don’t see timeshares as an investment
One of the biggest lies that a timeshare salesperson can spin you is that buying a timeshare will be a wise investment further down the line.
While it may well be just that in terms of the great times that you and your family will have at the property in years to come, it certainly is not an investment in a financial sense.
Timeshares very rarely (if ever) go up in value, and there are far more sellers than buyers in the market, which is why you so many store where the media report that some timeshare owners are so desperate to get out of their agreements that they’re selling for as little as $1!
Read the small print
And there’s a lot of it. Timeshare salespeople will say anything under the sun at a sales presentation to try and get you to sign on the dotted line, but it’s all about what’s in the actual contract.
Make sure you get a physical contract and read it and re-read it until you are satisfied with the terms.
Take your time
Timeshare salespeople are under a lot of pressure to secure a sale then and there, and as such they’ll offer you all kinds of gifts and ‘one-day-only’ deals.
But purchasing a timeshare is a big decision, and you should never buy one on an impulse decision.
Always give yourself at least 24 hours to come to a decision, and try and do some digging on the timeshare company you’re buying off to make sure that they’re legit.
If there are any issues whatsoever with the company, you can be sure that somebody has been spouting off about it online.
Go with a trusted name
If you find that all of the sales talk actually is working and that a timeshare is the right option for you (and for many, it is!), don’t necessarily go with the first company that approaches you.
Shop around to try and find a better deal, and if in doubt, many of the big hotel and resort chains such as Hilton, Marriott and Disney all have reputable timeshare schemes which you can be sure won’t rip you off.
Don’t get lulled into a false sense of security
Many timeshare companies will target you while you’re already on holiday. After all, if you’re having a great time, why not come back year after year?
The issue here is that while you’re on holiday you naturally let your guard down, but who wouldn’t?
This can make you more susceptible to a timeshare scam, so do exercise some caution, and if you do attend a timeshare meeting, try to go easy on the complimentary cocktails!
Making a multi-thousand-pound purchase after a couple of mojitos is a big no-no!
Despite these tips, it can easy to fall into a timeshare scam even if you’re vigilant. If you do find yourself in this situation, bear in mind that there are firms such as Timeshare Exit & Support Services (TESS) who can assist you in navigating an exit from your timeshare contract.