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Timeshare Transfer Scare Tactics 

Transfer companies may use various “scare tactics” to convince you to pay them large sums of money to transfer ownership of your timeshare. Some of their tactics are exaggerations—and some are total lies.  Determine what is fact and what is fiction before paying any money for transfer services. Here are some of the frequently reported misrepresentations and high-pressure sales tactics that we have heard from consumers and directly from representatives of transfer companies.


Tactic:  Maintenance fees will increase 10-15% every year you own and will become unaffordable in the near future. 

Don’t believe what a transfer company tells you about future maintenance fees, taxes, or special assessments. Talk to your resort manager or owners’ association to get the facts first. Maintenance fees and special assessments keep your resort operating. Maintenance fees are used for repairs, cleaning, staffing, and generally managing the day-to-day operations of your resort and even include real estate taxes in some states. As costs rise for those services or taxes increase, so do maintenance fees. At some resorts, transfer companies may actually contribute to increasing maintenance fees!

Annual maintenance fees are typically set by the board of directors—comprised of owners like you—of your resort owners’ association. They determine the costs to maintain the resort each year and divide it among all owners based usually on the type of the unit owned. A few states regulate the percentage of annual increase that can be assessed without a vote of all owners. Special assessments are required when there is no budgeted revenue (or a reserve fund) to cover unexpected repairs or improvements.


Tactic:  Your timeshare is now worthless and you will not be able to sell it on the secondary market. 

Timeshares are a use product and should never be bought as an investment. The value is in its use and enjoyment – much like a car. They should always be used for vacation experiences.

Timeshare is often sold as a real estate product. Given that fact, the price of real estate is down across the board. In addition, the poor economy has driven more owners to offer to sell their timeshares at very low prices which increases supply and reduces demand. Plus, some transfer companies list the timeshares they acquire on websites for sale for as little as $1.00. That hardly helps pricing for anyone.


Tactic:  It is impossible to exchange your timeshare and the exchange companies are merely in business to take your membership fee and provide no service. 

Timeshare owners have successfully exchanged their timeshares for more than four decades.  As a matter of fact, timeshare owners often report that exchange is one of, if not the top reason, they purchased their timeshare in the first place. The ability for you to exchange your timeshare depends on many factors, including the type, size, and location of the timeshare you own. Also, where you want to exchange (such as Hawaii in the height of tourist season) can affect your ability to exchange. If you are experiencing frustration in your attempts to exchange, you should contact your resort and exchange company to learn to how to maximize your exchange power. Most owners have experienced an unfulfilled exchange request, especially for the most desired locations and times of the year. This does happen so be prepared for an alternative exchange location request. And, don’t forget all those successful exchanges you have had. You can always try to exchange earlier, be more flexible on time and location, or try working with a different exchange company.


Tactic:  The timeshare industry is now in collapse. 

The timeshare industry is not in collapse. In our slowed economy, changes have been made in the industry to reduce the effects of the recession on most timeshare developers.

Some smaller developers have been bought, some developers have cut back on building new units or new resorts, and sales are down from historic highs, but the industry has reorganized to deal with the economic challenges facing everyone. This is normal in any industry.

Timeshare owners continue to enjoy the use of their timeshare, and industry studies show more than an 80% satisfaction rate among owners.


Tactic:  You can’t use, sell, or deed back your timeshare. 

Timeshares sell every day. Legitimate resale companies and licensed real estate brokers continue to sell the product and have active results.

Most timeshare resorts continue to operate with over 80% occupancy (and more than 80% satisfaction rate). Even when hotel occupancies are down, timeshare occupancy remains high. Owners continue to use their timeshares even when economic times are bad.

Plus, the resale market is being hindered by timeshare transfer companies that have no resale motivation. They want the upfront fee from owners and then often post the timeshares on websites for $1, destroying price integrity.

Deed back programs do exist. In fact, with changes in the economy, more resort HOAs are creating and implementing programs to help their most desperate owners by offering them a take-back program. Does more need to be done? Yes, but there are many more resorts working on solutions. Ask your resort before paying thousands to a transfer company.


Tactic:  Timeshare ownership will become a burden to your heirs.  

Your children and other heirs are usually not required to accept anything and everything you leave to them, and this includes your timeshare.

Transfer companies are not experts on state inheritance laws, probate issues, or your will—or even the specifics of your particular timeshare ownership. Talk with your own advisors before accepting or acting on any of these representations.

Transfer Company Scare Tactics