10 Reasons Timeshares Are A Bad Deal

For the vast majority of people, timeshare resort units are a huge waste of money. Here are 10 things that that the timeshare sales rep won’t tell you, but you really should know before you consider buying one:

1. Time Shares Are a Lousy Investment
2. You Can Get the Same Time Share for Half the Price
3. You Lose 50% or More When You Sell
4. It’s Cheaper to Rent a Time Share
5. Time Shares Come With Multiple Hidden Risks
6. Miss One Year and You’re Better Off Without a Time Share
7. Trading Isn’t Near as Easy as Claimed
8. If You Can’t Pay in Full, It’s a Terrible Deal
9. Travel Is Not Calculated When Comparisons Are Made
10. Hotel Prices Are Increasing (But So Are Time Share Fees)

You really need to be careful with these because they will suck your savings dry if you purchase on the image (what the timeshare sales reps sell) and not the financials of the deal. To this day, it’s still the issue I get the most emails about – people stuck with timeshares that they don’t want because the maintenance fees are killing their finances, but they aren’t even able to give the timeshare away (known as the Timeshare Trap – the timeshare resorts won’t take it back even for free because they want your yearly maintenance fees).

This entry was posted in Holidays, Personal Finance, Timeshares, Travel. Bookmark the permalink.

39 Responses to 10 Reasons Timeshares Are A Bad Deal

  1. Harrison says:

    Yes I also heard that timeshares travel packages are bad deal and many people get cheated in these traps. But I just curios, it there any good timeshares company that really provides some good and honest service to customer?

  2. Teri says:

    We went to a timeshare presentation in Vegas to get $50 free chips (well worth it since we turned it into cash pretty fast).

    BUT we had not intention to buy a timeshare. I fudged our income way down on the form, they had dollar signs in their eyes when we said we were from the Bay Area – LOL.

    Anyway, the price was around $15k and as we were walked out they were pretty much begging us to take the dang things for around $5k. We were staying at the Hilton for $30 that night and I Wasn’t very sold how this timeshare would save us money. But the quick drop in price made it pretty apparent what a bad deal it was. I imagine though Vegas is a particularly difficult place to sell a timesahre.

    My question is what happens when you inherit a timeshare? My well-meaning relative wants to give us her timeshare, we don’t want it. I am worried we will inherit it.

  3. pfadvice says:

    My question is what happens when you inherit a timeshare? My well-meaning relative wants to give us her timeshare, we don’t want it. I am worried we will inherit it.

    You want to use a Quit Claim Deed to refuse it and not have it transfered into your name.

  4. derrik says:

    And you can buy resale timeshares on ebay for 10 cents on the dollar. Its an industy that should really be looked at harder. And the salespeople are SOOOO high pressure.

  5. janice y dotson says:


  6. pfadvice says:

    I would stay away from timeshares all together…as mentioned in the article, not worth the risks. If you are asking basic questions like this, you need to do a lot more research before thinking about purchasing one.

  7. joe vlasek says:


    Never Ever Ever Ever Buy A Time Share….Pretty Strong Words You Think? Wait till you Try To Sell It…Try To Trade it…Try To Resolve Ownership Issues with the Management company. Having owned a time share Managed By Marriot Corporation and Vacation Resorts International (VRI) I Can Say Truthfully…………..DON’T DO IT! The Time Shares Hall Of Infamy or Worlds Greatest Quotes (Lies). “we really wan’t to make you part of the Marriot Family!. At VRI we pride our selves on excellant Customer Service. Your Getting a Great Deal…It’l Only Appreciate It! Fix your vacation costs now…The Unit’s Will Only Get More Expensive Over time. And…If You Ever Wan’t To Trade Your Unit…It’s So Easy! Forget The Huge Expenses Charged You When You Try!. What I Know For Certain….Ren’t some Dummys Unit You Bought One At 40cents on the Dollar….Run….Do,’t Hide From The Nex’t Presentation….If You Do Weaken And Buy One…(GOD HELP YOU) but Complain To Your Legislatures for Regulation and Rules To Control The management and Sales Companys Who Prey On You Like The Vultures You Are. You Can Always Ren’t For Less…NEVER EVER BUY THE DAY YOU GET THE PRESENTION! Take Your Thousand Dollar Deposit And Throw It a Slot macfhine…You Have A Better Chance Of Winning then Coming Out On Top With A Time Share. AND DID I MENTIO…TimeShares Suck!

  8. William says:

    If Quite Claim does not go through, you may be out of luck. Selling off timeshares are a bigger scam than the timeshare itself. I had my own timeshare, but after 5 years, I just got bored with it. Ultimately I found a company called timeshare relief that took it. Their service probably applies to inherited timeshares too.

  9. Steve says:

    Timeshare is a great product as long as you know what you are buying into. There are two kinds of people those that love it and those that hate it. Unfortunately because of scams and other high pressured techniques the larger companies that offer good products now get a rougher deal. In my opinion.

  10. Conston Taylor says:

    I could not agree with you more.

    I just wrote a blog on it before finding you page on digg.

    Check out my page when you get a sec.

    Nice Job!!!

  11. Tim says:

    I am one of the fools who purchased a timeshare. I also paid a company $625 to sell it. BIG mistake. Its been for sale since 2003 no offers. I dont have time to go to my timeshare. Maintenace fees cost more than a hotel would cost for the year that I can use my timeshare. DON’T buy a timeshare horrible idea. So far I am about $15k in the hole and I have never used it. Its a scam.

    My question…. Is there any magic way to make this go away and get it off my hands. I would consider a huge loss if I could just be free of this darn thing.

  12. joseph muffin says:

    Despite the bad reputation of the timeshare industry, you’ll wonder why there are still individuals who own a timeshare. I think it’s the timeshare sales presentation. Timeshare developers mostly present their resorts greatly without warning of the incoming liabilities that lie ahead.

  13. david says:

    Is there a legitimate company in the business? I have Marriott and theirs are different. I can resell mine for what i paid for it.

    Just because you bought a Yugo doesn’t mean one should give up driving. There are pretenders in every business. You made a knee jerk reaction to buy it without knowing the facts and you are making a knee jerk reaction to throw all of them under the bus.

  14. pfadvice says:


    I wrote this article because thousands of people have complained about their timeshare trap to me over the years, not because I had one bad experience (I actually have had none because I have never bought a timeshare)

    The problem with your analogy is that even a high end car loses 20% the minute it leaves the dealers parking lot, not just the Yugo and the same is true with timeshares (although it loses 50% – 90% the minute it’s purchased). Marriott is no different as I have received plenty of complaints about people stuck with Marriott timeshares as well.

  15. rs says:

    This article makes SO MUCH SENSE. Timeshare is never an investment. Let us do a basic math here.
    Scenario 1
    Average price of high end ( For example Marriott) Timeshare is $30,000 ( you have lost this money the moment you pay it)
    Maintenance fee per year is $1300
    Morons finance for their vacation. Therefore let us assume an interest of $ 3500 per year
    If you want to exchange weeks, then you may have to pay additional $100 to an exchange company OR to the timeshare development company.
    In this scenario, you have already lost your $30,000, you are paying interest on this money, you are paying maintenance fee and an exchange fee.
    Scenario 2
    I put my money in bond market at 3% interest and earn $1000 per year
    I add the maintenance fee of $1300 to it
    Now I have $2300 at my disposal AND I STILL HAVE MY $30,000 with me.
    I think with $2300, I can have a nice vacation for a week by renting a hotel or a timeshare .

    We have not yet learned our lesson even after this economic collapse. As Americans we need to start SAVING our money INSTEAD of spending the money and financing to take a VACATION when we are not sure if we will have a job tomorrow. Let us learn how to save and live within our means from Asians.

    Great Article.

  16. becca says:

    We bought a timeshare in Mexico and then added points to include our family. We have access to RCI and Hilton, but we have not been able to book either of these in 2 years. We seem to only be able to book Mexico. NOT VERY HAPPY. Plus, it is work and we are charged to look for bookings on RCI.

  17. Dennis Max says:

    We bought a timeshare from Coral Resorts at Hilton Head.I feel like an idiot, but the salesman was great,by the way, I was shilled by the tourist information guy at “The Crazy Crab”. I bit like the stupid fish I am, did not read the small print,was a day late to cancel.If these guys were not crooks they would have let me go when I asked,but of course, they are are truly evil reptiles. It will basically ruin me if I keep it ,you are not buying real estate, you are getting an obligation-forever!Now I am looking at the expense of hiring a firm to get me out of this jam.Timeshares are a criminal activity,a crime against humanity,whatever! If they refuse to release me, one of my strategies will be to do everything I can to disrupt their business legally[but as close to the edge as possible]. So,like it not ,I might spend my next vacation in Hilton Head dodging the law.

  18. Gee says:

    First of all, if you’re buying a timeshare in an attempt to resell or “make a buck” you’re buying it for the wrong reason. Many people get into it because aside from upgrading accommodations and financial savings, it forces you to take vacations and hang out with your family. If you don’t think that’s important or you don’t care, then it’s not for you. The other thing to remember is where you purchase. Purchasing a timeshare in Las Vegas is as good as buying a pet rock in the desert.It’s all about location and that determines your trade value. Ask somebody who owns in a poor location how difficult it is to trade and they will always have something to complain about. Ask the people who own in Hawaii or in San Diego and you’ll see how easy it is for them to go anywhere they want. BTW, you want to know why Las Vegas is a crappy place?? because you can stay at a hotel for 20 bucks a night and NOBODY ever stays for more than two or three days. Supply and demand at its most basic. Bottom line, if your idea of vacation is camping and you’re okay with staying at cheap motels or disease infested hostels and sharing a room with a bunch of hippie strangers, then a timeshare is definitely not for you. A lot of people get great use out of their timeshares and it helps create family time and lets them see the world for a hell of a lot less.

  19. Sasha Collins says:

    One of the biggest timeshare complaints is that the units are usually overpriced. People basically pay thousands of dollars for a contract and the right to use one or more units of the resort for a specific number of weeks, during a certain period –which goes from 5 to 50 years–. The purchase of a timeshare is like making reservations for your next vacations for the next years, which doesn’t seem to be that wise, does it?

  20. Jessica Bratz says:

    Not all time shares are bad, actually, a time share can be a good purchase for someone who does enjoy revisiting the same destination each year. However, vacation properties are not for most people, being that they only seem to work for people with very specific vacation desires. Time shares are not for people who like to enjoy trying a new vacation spot each year, nor for people who like to travel spontaneously, or families who do not use to stay at expensive resorts.

  21. Mary Thomas says:

    Timeshare fraud has been around since the timeshare idea was created, but they increase during poor economy. When times are difficult, timeshare owners are stuck with properties they can´t travel to or even afford. Desperate to recoup some money to pay for bills, they can easily become victims to scams artists pretending to be their timeshare salvation who will take upfront fees -as much as five number figures in some cases- but fail to fulfill their promise.

  22. S. Friday says:

    My husband and I were stupid enough to buy from Wyndham. They double and triple teamed us trying to sell us. After many hours (we arrived at lunch time for a 90 minute presentation) and left as the sun was going down. We were definitely scammed and would never recommend anyone buy from Wyndham. The ‘points’ we bought are so minimal (84K) that we were later told it wouldn’t be enough to go to the place we discussed during the sale. That was the whole reason we bought in – so we could go home (another state) for about 20-30 days each year. We were assured that we would easily be able to do this. We have now owned for 1 1/2 yrs, and have not been able to stay ANYWHERE using our points. I have tried numerous times over the past year and a half and all I got were excuses for why we couldn’t do what we were told we could do – use the points to go home for visits. In December I had to move the points to RCI or lose them. Just so you know there are additional costs involved in the process of then using the points – if that ever becomes possible. These people lied, lied, lied. My husband and I are on a fixed income and thought the purchase would save us in the long run. We are retired and my husband is 74 years old. The monthly costs are be charged to us but we can’t get anything for the money spent. We even went to a second ‘meeting’ where we were told someone would help us so we can use what we bought. A supervisor came over (our sales rep. was obviously new) to help us and said ‘of course we can use the points just like we were originally told. He said he would help us get a reservation at ‘home.’ Hours later the newbie sales rep said the supervisor said we don’t have enough points to stay where we wanted and the other location was not available for over 2 years. The supervisor would not come back and face us. I recorded the entire conversation.
    Run – don’t walk away from anyone or anything having to do with this company. There are many other conversations I had with Wyndham employees and all I got was the run around and opposing information. RUN!

  23. Kriz Carcamo says:

    Timeshares are complicated products; therefore, they cannot be entered into lightly. Unfortunately, the timeshare industry does not have the best reputation. That is because timeshares are generally sold during high-pressure sales presentations, and most of the promises told by the timeshare salespeople are just illusory.

  24. Kaya Romney says:

    Timeshare industry is well known for being very vulnerable to scams; consequently, vacationers and timeshare owners should be aware of timeshare investments, phony offers to rent or resell timeshares or practically anything that sounds too good to be true.

  25. Beth Green says:

    Timeshare industry is known for being very susceptible to scams; however, timeshare properties are still a successful business for most resorts. In these times of rough economy, it is important to take care of our money, and timeshares are not in the way to achieve the financial security that we are all looking for.

  26. Sophia Johnson says:

    Timeshare sales are very common these days. Resort companies and worried owners are doing all that is possible to sell their timeshare properties, but the problem is that the supply exceeds the demand by far. If you go on vacation to a well known touristic spot, it is very probable that you will be approached by a timeshare salesman. No matter where you are: at the airport, on the streets, on a restaurant, timeshare salespeople are everywhere! And if that’s not enough, the internet is also infested by thousands of timeshare sales deals.

  27. Courtney Hubbard says:

    Timeshare sales are very common these days. Resort companies and worried owners are doing all that is possible to sell their timeshare properties, but the problem is that the supply exceeds the demand by far. If you go on vacation to a well known touristic spot, it is very probable that you will be approached by a timeshare salesman. No matter where you are: at the airport, on the streets, on a restaurant, timeshare salespeople are everywhere! And if that’s not enough, the internet is also infested by thousands of timeshare sales deals.

  28. Timeshares can be a terrific purchase for some families, as they also can be a giant rip off for others. 50 years ago, also known as Holiday Home Sharing or timeshare travel timeshares were created with the idea of offering fully furnished accommodations for a lower price than a full-time ownership.

  29. Sasha Collins says:

    Buying a timeshare under the impresion you will save money on the long run on travel expenses such as airfare or cruises equals to being a victim of timeshare fraud. Timeshares will barely provide you a small discount on accomodations and that´s it. Timeshares will not provide you, in most cases, any discounts on your vacation expenses.

  30. Laura Blevins says:

    The company I work for, won a lawsuit against Wyndham.

    These timeshare companies violate people’s consumer rights, under the Consumer Bill of Rights, that President Kennedy implemented back in 1962.

  31. Grace Evans says:

    Timeshares need to be looked up as a purchase and not an investment. Regardless of how timeshares are presented, they don´t perform as well as a house or stock investment. If you look around the resale market for timeshares on websites like EBay, Redweek, or TUGBBS will find that you can buy a timeshare for far less money than what the first owner purchased it for.

  32. Marc says:

    Timeshares are a great idea… for renting from owners. I just made a reservation direct with RCI (I think) to pay $300 to rent a 1-week stay at a timeshare – the owner’s annual maintenance fees for the week are almost $900, and they probably paid $15,000 up front to buy the thing in the first place!

  33. Andrea White says:

    The timeshare industry has been into the lion’s mouth for the last couple of years, and it has generated lots of controversy and discussions in many forums and blogs on the web. However, since we’re living an economic downturn, anyone would expect that the timeshare sales collapse, but instead of that the sales seem to be increasing… but this comes with a trap: timeshare scams are increasing too. That leads us to the question: then, why keep people investing on timeshares?

  34. Grace Evans says:

    Timeshares have always been a bad buy. But for those who really feel they need one I make one recommendation: Never buy from the developer. Always wait for timeshares to appear on the secondary market, usually at half-price. People like you get excited at the new developments and jump right in, only to become disillusioned later and dump the property onto the secondary market, at a loss, for a patient, informed buyer to take advantage of.

  35. Susan Zeleznik says:

    I recently received a letter my from my timeshare called Westgate in Florida telling me I owed them maintenance fees. I told them it was no longer mine and that my exhusband
    got it as part of the divorce decree. I was told it was still partly my responsibility and they reported me to the credit bureau. When I went to buy a new car it came up in the report almost preventing me from getting the car. I asked a lawyer friend of mine to place a call to see what can be done. The lawyer got them to agree to take over the property. Now I have this second time share where the maintenance fees keep going up and the timeshare is in Mexico. Communication is difficult. Any suggestions???

  36. John says:

    Honestly Susan, you should’ve learned the first time you had an issue with the timeshare. You got stuck with the bills even though your ex husband legally owned the timeshare. You’re most likely stuck

  37. Dorcas says:

    I bought a timeshare from a developer and made a downpayment of 52% with the balance spread over a 30-month period. The sales rep gave the impression that I would get great discounts on all reservations as well as free accommodation in any of 5 countries, most of which are unsafe to travel to right now ( e.g Egypt and Turkey). I also didn’t read the small prints. Also, the rep told me the timeshare was offered at a huge discount at that time.
    Having read most of the comments and experience of others, I am beginning to think about abandoning the “investment” altogether by defaulting on the payments of the remaining instalments.
    My reasoning is that, it is better to lose the downpayment plus 3 month instalments which I already paid than get trapped in a bad deal which will cost me much more in maintenance fees and other hidden fees with little or no benefit ( going by comments here). I need some advice. Is there really anything good about timeshare ownership? Should I just default in the payments of the rest of the instalments and walk away? Your advice will be appreciated.

  38. Sandos says:

    This is a really old thread and over the years timeshare has changed. It is true that there are good and bad investments in timeshare or anything. There are good and bad setup and depending on what your terms were… These days it’s smarter to just buy points and let the resort deal with maintenance or what ever they want to call it.

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