For most people buying a timeshare was not actually on their mind, the usual scenario was they were on holiday and they were stopped on the street by a happy, smiling young lad or girl, the OPC. They would be offered a free scratch card and would win some kind of prize, then low and behold one of the cards was the “Star Prize”.
The lad or girl would then turn cartwheels of joy that you had “won” this, they have never had a winner before, you are so lucky, there are only ever one or two a week. In truth everyone who is given the cards has a “Star Prize. The touts know which ones are which. We´ll let you into a secret here, on the front is a picture, it may be of a palm beach with seagulls in the air, one card has three of them the other has four. You guessed it, the four seagulls contains the star prize.
After this you are invited into a taxi and taken to the resort to collect your prize, you will also hear about this wonderful resort while you wait for your prizes. This will only take a maximum of 90 minutes.
That is how the majority of “owners” got into timeshare, very few went out of their way to buy one.
So is it worth buying one?
It may be for some and not for others, it really depends on what you want from your holidays. The original concept of timeshare, being the fixed week fixed apartment was in fairness a good one. It did give you quality accommodation, the feeling of exclusivity as only other members would stay at the resort.
Also the fact that before the internet, you were reliant on the high street travel agent and we all know that many of the hotels were not as advertised. Some even had allocation on arrival.
For many families it worked well, especially for those with a couple of kids, as booking through a travel agent you were charged per person for the accommodation. With the timeshare you paid the original fee and then a yearly maintenance charge, so whether you went alone of with a family of four the price was the same. when you added the cost of flights and airport transfers, the cost was usually cheaper than a travel agent for the same quality of accommodation.
Obviously buying a timeshare from the resort developer themselves is a very costly way of doing it, costing in most cases upwards of £10,000. Buying from a resale agent or even from ebay may be the best option, with prices as low as £500 for a week. But you must also remember that the yearly maintenance fees have to be paid, so you do need to know how much they are beforehand. Also this fee will go up, how much does depend on the resort.
Then there is the length of the contract, in Spain no contract can be for more than 50 years, other places are still issuing perpetuity contracts, in other words lifetime never ending. Another problem is the fact that you will then be at the mercy of the in-house sales reps, who will continually try to upgrade you and sell you more. As long as you can resist this it could actually work for you.
As with anything in life, do your homework before you decide, is timeshare right for you, does it fit your way of taking holidays, what are the benefits against cost. These are all questions you need to answer.
Mike Finn of Finn Law Group in Florida is a leading timeshare lawyer with around 45 years of experience, he recently posted an article on timeshare and the retired on his website. It carries some very good information, though it is aimed at those in the US, it is still relevant to those in Europe. Follow the link for his article
If you require any information about this or any article published, contact Inside Timeshare and will find the answer for you. If you have been contacted by any company or are contemplating dealing with them and want to know more we will help you with the research.