Being Economical / Having a Life

To Timeshare or Not To Timeshare

We just got home yesterday from a week long vacation – thus my lack of posting – in Phoenix. What is there to do in Phoenix you ask? Well that’s a good question. I was a little concerned we’d all be bored given that there’s no beach, no lake, no major amusement parks, etc. But we actually had a great time. We went to an Arizona Diamondbacks game which was in the nicest baseball stadium I’d ever been in, complete with a children’s play area! We loved the Legacy Golf  Resort rimeshare we stayed at, a few of us golfed at the Legacy course, which was gorgeous. We hung out at the pool and went to the Phoenix zoo! I love being a local zoo member because you get free or 1/2 price admission to a bunch of other zoos. And the zoon in Phoenix was huge.

The vacation was fun but being at the timeshare brought back all the old feelings of controversy regarding timesharing. After we’d been married just a few months, my husband and I took a weekend trip to Disneyland. We were approached about going to a timeshare presentation and told we’d get $100 disney dollars out of it. Or was it $200? Either way it was enough. So we went to it in their posh limo, all the while thinking “no way” and came out timeshare owners. How do they do it? They are very, very, persuasive.

I went through buyer’s remorse for about a year after we bought our timeshare. Mostly because we’d paid full retail on it, whereas now we know you can buy timeshares on the resale market for 1/4 of the price. Ouch. But it was also staggeringly painful how badly we got duped in general. Nearly everything they said that convinced us that this was a good idea was a lie.

Lie #: You can use your points toward all the RCI locations. Unfortunately this had NEVER worked for us. Every time we call to make a reservation in a timeshare out of the Shell network, they have no availability. Not even in boring places. Not anywhere. One of the lures of this timeshare was all the European locations we could go to and use our points. But the reality is that these condos only have a limited amount of space allocated to timeshare rentals. And if the people who bought into RCI don’t pay their annual maintenance fees, those weeks go black and are unavailable to good maintenance fee payers like me.

Lie #2: If you want to get out of it at any time, we’ll help you sell it. I still can’t believe how fat this lie was. The guy was so nice and said it right to my face. When I took him up on it and tried to call them back to sell it, I waited on hold for 35 minutes and when I finally got a live person, they nearly laughed. I then tried to sell it on my own for a fraction of the price and was never able to get any interest on it.

Lie #3: Your maintenance fees will stay the same. So not true. In just the past 2 years they’ve gone up exponentially every year. This really freaks me out. I’m going to be paying out the nose for this timeshare for the rest of my life? This is really scary for me. And makes me want to join the club and stop paying too.

So why buy a timeshare? Most of the places are amazing. And roomy. You get a full kitchen you can cook in, thus saving on eating out every day, a nice family area, TV’s galore, and great views.

And part of me wants to believe that even if I saved up money every month on my own for a vacation, we wouldn’t actually use it for that. We would miss out on all these annual vacation memories, even if they are in normal places like Phoenix….what do you think?

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3 thoughts on “To Timeshare or Not To Timeshare

  1. I just read an article about timeshares somewhere . . . can’t remember the site . . . but it said people were giving away free weeks at their timeshares in exchange for the monthly maintenance fee. They have sure gone down in value. Sorry you guys got duped. But with all the represenations they made, I can sure see why.

  2. Thanks for the insider’s view. We were on a timeshare company’s calling list for YEARS (don’t ever enter to win the free motorcycle at the mall). We very nearly went to listen to their free speal just to get the free swag, but I’m glad we never did. It’s nice to hear from how it really works from someone you actually know.

  3. It’s not right to have your vacations ruined by regret. I know my Dad did manage exchanges all over the place like Spain, England and Mexico for over 25 years. His talent was at planning at least a year in advance. Have you tried renting your timeshare to offset the maintenance fees? Some people just rent theirs and go on to rent someone else’s where they want to be. They just skip the exchange process. It’s a tuff time now to do anything besides actually using your timeshare. Some creative ideas I’ve heard involved donating your week’s stay to a charity for fundraising or using it in your business to reward a customer or employee. Like everything else in this economy, I’m thinking that next year will show signs of improvement. I did rent a timeshare myself thru http://www.TimeshareAdventures and found that to be easy and very worth it. You might check out their services.

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