31 January 2014

Timeshare, stupid timeshare

Back in 2004 or 2005 Daniel found a timeshare online for a dollar! It was for a week in April annually in Florida. Closing costs were only a couple hundred dollars, so we thought it was a steal. The maintenance fees were only $400 a year. Again, a steal. You can't rent a hotel room for a week for that. 

We didn't ever travel to Florida during our week. We always traded it. I don't remember if we used it that first year at all.  Over the last 8-9 years we've used our week a few times and gifted it twice. 

You would think we would be happy with it. But, over the years the maintenance fees doubled! Doubled people. Last year we paid $800 we didn't have so we wouldn't be sued by the timeshare company. What we found over time was it is nearly impossible to get rid of a timeshare on the secondary market. There are loads of scammers out there who will tell you they can find a buyer for your timeshare, for a fee. This fee can range from several hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. 

I know some people for whom a timeshare is useful. I'm going to guess they have money, though or they have a vacation spot they love and will legitimately go to every year. In my opinion, timeshares are another trick of the devil. They cannot be gotten rid of easily and if you own one and die, they stay in your estate and are passed down to your children who are then socked with high maintenance fees. You can't get rid of timeshares through bankruptcy. 

Where did all of this leave us? Pulling our hair out. I can't tell you how much it has cost us over the years.  If I had to put a number on it, I would say somewhere between $5000-$9000. Sometime last fall I was looking at what our maintenance fees were and at my wits end. I started searching for answers with fervor. Finally I found a forum online with timeshare owners sharing their stories. What I found was there might be an opportunity to simply give our timeshare back to the timeshare company. 

When I called about it, I encountered friendly help and answers. We could probably just give it back. After sending a letter requesting this as an option, we got notice this month we were able to deed if back to the timeshare company. It will take 4-6 weeks from the time they get our paperwork. Words cannot express how happy we are about this. We have learned our lesson and then some. 

I don't think this would be a great option if you still owe money on your timeshare. I think timeshares generally sell for about $10,000 new. If you owe money on your timeshare I don't think they'll accept a deed back. I'm not sure about that, though. 

Everyone I meet, if the opportunity arises, I tell them what to do if approached by a timeshare company. RUN! Just run away. I mean, the grunts doing the selling are just trying to make a living. But I guarantee they know just how impossible the product they're selling is to get out of.  

Here's my lesson of the day. 

Timeshare = From the Devil/NearlyNever ending  Headache/Waste of Money/Hell on Earth.

So glad to be on our way out. 


Gracie said...

Thanks a bunch for the heads up!!!

betsyann said...

I'M SO EXCITED FOR YOU!!! I'm so so so so happy about this.