31 July 2013

Thousands of Brits desperate to sell timeshares

We’ve all been approached by sales reps trying to sell us timeshare apartments while on holiday. Thousands of Britons have bought into the schemes, which give them access to the holiday home or apartment for a set period – usually a week or two each year – for the rest of their lives.

But now many are lumbered with a contract they can’t get out of and recurring payments they can’t afford, regardless of whether they use their apartment. Many timeshare owners are desperate to get out. The trouble is that there are a lot more sellers than buyers. It’s estimated that for every timeshare buyer, there are 400 people trying to sell.

In desperation, lots of timeshare owners are trying to flog their apartments on eBay for as little as a penny. They just want out of the contracts, which can cost them up to £1,500 a year in maintenance fees. But the reason they’re trying to sell is often the same thing that keeps buyers away, even when the apartments are being practically given away.

To add insult to injury, some timeshare owners trying to get out of their contracts are being harassed and harangued into taking out new deals by pushy timeshare reps. Others shell out more money to agencies to help them sell their shares, only for these companies to run off with their money.

Advice for prospective buyers 

Not all timeshares are a scam or a rip off. Some provide genuinely good deals for people who like to have the security of a holiday home booked each year.

The trouble these people appear to have gotten themselves in is either due to unfair selling on the part of the sales reps, or they failed to check the details of the contract.

If you’re thinking of buying a timeshare, either from a rep or from someone looking to get out of their contract, it’s best to have a lawyer look over the contract first. This may cost you a couple of hundred pounds, but it could be worth thousands -- or even hundreds of thousands -- in the long run.

If you don’t take it to a solicitor, make sure you’re aware of not just the headline figure, but all other charges such as maintenance fees and transfer costs. These are often more expensive than the rental costs.

Finally, don't make the mistake a lot of people made, which is not being able to get out of the contract. Nobody can tell what they'll be doing in five, 10 or 20 years. Make sure there's a break clause in the contract so you don't end up lumbered with a holiday home you can't afford or no longer use.

1 comment:

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