By: Adam Burns – TKO Timeshare Solutions
You only need one method to use when trying to exit your timeshare. And that is…the method that works. With that being said, let’s talk about the different options for getting rid of your timeshare. Before you attempt to exit your timeshare yourself, make sure that you have a complete file of any and all paperwork, contracts, deeds, and anything else during the purchase and subsequent transactions with your timeshare company. Make sure you also have a complete file of any fee increases, a full copy of your statements, and any other documents showing the transfer of money to your timeshare. If you don’t have this information, start by searching your emails for anything from the timeshare. If you don’t have any emails or can’t find the documents you need, you can request a complete copy of everything you signed from the timeshare. Don’t let them ask you why or worse, try to schedule an “update presentation” to sell you an upgrade. Just try and get as complete a file as you can and then start evaluating your situation.
Buy Back Programs – Eliminate Your Timeshare
Some timeshare companies have recently promoted and advertised internal buyback programs. However, they come with multiple restrictions and qualifications. According to various comments on timeshare forums, many people who have inquired about these programs have been pressured into staying in their timeshare or even been talked to about an upgrade.
Even if it is indeed a legitimate buyback program, it is not immediate, and you must be current, agree not to use it, and certainly not have a mortgage. Also, you cannot be working with any exit company. The process for qualifying for this type of relief is slow. Sometimes over a year or more, all the while, you are paying your fees to stay current. See Diamonds Transitions Program.
This is most likely so the timeshare company can determine whether they have any interest from other buyers who may want to purchase your unit, all for a profit at no expense for them. Remember, they received this unit in their inventory for free. If they sell it they make money on the purchase price all over again with a new buyer.
If you want to try and use this type of program, the first step would be to get on the internet and research the criteria to apply. You can also call your timeshare company directly but beware of the upsell and certainly do not buy anything considering you are in the process of trying to get out of your original timeshare in the first place.
Sell It – Eliminate Your Timeshare
The second option is to try to sell it. There are reputable brokers and agents that will agree to list your property for a commission. They need to be licensed to transact business in the state your property is located. Do not fall for any scams that tell you they have a buyer for an upfront fee.
You could also try to list it yourself. However, keep in mind that listing your property will draw the attention of unscrupulous scam artists who will try to convince you that they have a buyer already for an upfront fee. Never pay an upfront fee to any reseller. No reputable reseller or broker will expect any upfront fees. Listing options include eBay, Craigslist, and even Zillow. You should definitely also look at Redweek, which has a fairly specific audience and list timeshare rentals.
It is important to look for any clauses in your paperwork that may curtail some of your timeshare benefits when you sell it to someone else. This could affect your property’s resale value. For example, some restrictions reduce or eliminate the ability to go to different locations if your timeshare is sold to someone else.
Give It Away – Eliminate Your Timeshare
You could always try and give it away. However, it’s human nature to hook the price of something to its value, so if you are giving it away, it will not seem very valuable whatsoever. However, the vast majority of listings on eBay, the world’s biggest reseller, are just one penny.
In addition, chances are if you’re going to give it away, you’re going to start with friends and family to see if they take it. This is the equivalent of giving away the car you drove in college. It will cost a lot more money to keep it because of the upkeep (maintenance fees for timeshares) than it’s worth.
Just be sure to fully disclose all of the responsibilities of taking over the timeshare. Also, it may be good to keep a copy of all of the transfer paperwork, including any reduction in benefits that may happen with the transfer. As always, document everything in writing.
Abandon It – Eliminate Your Timeshare
Most people would prefer to do just that, throw the keys at their timeshare company. This is certainly an option. People have been walking away from their useless property since the dawn of time.
The problem is there is a 100% guarantee that you will be sent to collections. This does not mean you will be sued. But, if you still have an open mortgage, this will result in a foreclosure case for the timeshare company to obtain the title.
Many people have gone down this road. Exit companies have used this method for years and have been sued more than once for the practice. If a third party advises someone to break their contract, they can be sued for tortious interference with contract.
Many exit companies consider a foreclosure a legitimate exit from your timeshare under the terms of their agreement. While a foreclosure will get you out, you don’t need to pay thousands of dollars for advice to stop paying your bills.
Become a Public Relations Nightmare – Eliminate Your Timeshare
The quote “there is no such thing as bad press” does not apply to timeshares. They have gotten so much bad press over the years that they are currently on par with politicians.
Getting the word out about your timeshare’s shady business practices is easier now than it ever was. The internet has opened up a new world for letting a large group of people (billions on Facebook) know about how you were lied to. A quick search on Google will turn up thousands if not tens of thousands of disgruntled timeshare owners. Forums such as TUG BBS Forums have many disgusted owners posting their grief.
A post on Facebook or a blog always has a chance to go viral. Obviously, to the detriment of the timeshare company. Consider sending a copy of your posts to your timeshare’s executives with the comments. It may get their attention to act on your file.
Even something as archaic as walking back and forth with a big sign draped around you to spread the word about your timeshare problems in front of their sales office will get their attention. There are also numerous consumer review websites like The Ripoff Report and Yelp.
Any type of report, no matter how brief, on any local TV or radio channel about your situation could go a long way in getting the timeshare company’s attention. This also applies to print material. This could be used after the fact by sending a copy to the timeshare companies executives and CEO. Make sure you carbon copy the Attorney General’s office.
Timeshare Giveaway Websites
There are websites that offer timeshare giveaways. Timeshare Nation is one example and probably the most popular. They graphically target their ads to owners of existing timeshares that may want to purchase another one at zero or little cost. Review their website and see if this may fit your situation.
It would be nice if there was a definitive way to exit your timeshare. Timeshare exit companies make it seem like they have the inside track, but they do not. There is a reason the process is kept secret. That’s because no process works 100% of the time. It’s essential to educate yourself about all of the options. Do your homework and due diligence before spending your hard-earned money.