Ask Stacy: How Can I Dump a Timeshare?

Photo (cc) by Krystal Timeshares Mexico

This week’s question is one I’ve gotten before. It’s about timeshares:

Do you have any advice on getting rid of a timeshare that the company falsely advertised to someone? — Janine

This is really two questions: how to dump a timeshare, and what to do if you feel you’ve been ripped off.

Let’s start with a video we produced about timeshares last year. Check it out, then read on for more.

How NOT to sell a timeshare

The most important thing to know about selling a timeshare: Never pay an upfront fee. The Federal Trade Commission recently announced 191 actions to “stop fraudulent operations hawking timeshare property resale services.” What fraudulent resale services commonly do is say they already have a buyer for your unit. All you have to do is pay an upfront fee ranging from several hundred to several thousand dollars. Don’t bite. Odds are, that buyer doesn’t exist.

According to the Timeshare Users Group, here are some sites where you can sell or buy timeshares without a big upfront fee:

You should approach a sale with low expectations. Many timeshares don’t have much of an active aftermarket, which means there aren’t a lot of buyers. If you borrowed most of the money to buy your timeshare, you might have to pay off part or all of your loan to get out of it. While you might start your sale by talking to the developer you bought from, don’t be surprised if they tell you they won’t help you.

For additional information, read this story about selling timeshares from the Timeshare Users Group. It has a lot of great information, including how to market your timeshare, what to do if you owe more on your timeshare than it’s worth, and how to transfer the title when you find a buyer. Another place for information on selling timeshares is eBay’s guide to timeshare sales.

How NOT to buy a timeshare

I’ve done several stories on timeshares over the years and I’m not a fan. Timeshares are a product that’s too often foisted on the gullible with high-pressure sales tactics. And when it’s time to sell, there’s often no way to do it, especially if there’s a loan involved.

Like a new car, timeshares depreciate radically the moment they’re purchased. But at least a car dealer will buy back their car at some price. Buy a timeshare at retail from a dealer and odds are good you’ll be left twisting in the wind.

I’ll stop short of saying you should never buy a new timeshare because the world is a big place, people’s appetites vary widely and there are always exceptions to every rule. But if I ever buy a timeshare, I’ll make sure I never intend to sell it and I won’t expect much if I do. I certainly won’t finance it, and I will definitely buy it used from a website like those above for pennies on the dollar rather than paying top dollar to a developer.

What to do if you’ve been ripped off

Janine says her timeshare purchase was based on false advertising. If this is true, she has additional options:

If I could prove I’d been hoodwinked by a timeshare developer, or anyone else, I’d start by talking to a lawyer. Initial consultations are typically free. If the lawyer thought I had a good case, I’d go to the company that ripped me off, lay out my case and allow them to refund my money. I’d also mention that if they refuse, I’ll be complaining to the agencies above and seeing them in court.

Will any of this reunite Janine with her money? The odds aren’t good, and even if she’s able to win in court, the cost in time, money and aggravation will be high.

Got a money-related question you’d like answered?

You can ask a question simply by hitting “reply” to our email newsletter. If you’re not subscribed, fix that right now by clicking here.

The questions I’m likeliest to answer are those that will interest other readers. In other words, don’t ask for super-specific advice that applies only to you. And if I don’t get to your question, promise not to hate me. I do my best, but I get a lot more questions than I have time to answer.

Got any words of wisdom you can offer for this week’s question? Share your knowledge and experiences on our Facebook page.

Got more money questions? Browse lots more Ask Stacy answers here.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
7 Ways to Shop at Costco Without a Membership
7 Ways to Shop at Costco Without a Membership

You don’t necessarily need to join to get in on the warehouse store’s savings.

8 Things You Should Rent Instead of Buying
8 Things You Should Rent Instead of Buying

You may think you’re looking at a must-have purchase. But do the numbers and think twice.

14 Things We Buy and Then Almost Never Use
14 Things We Buy and Then Almost Never Use

Save your money. These items seem alluring but they often end up as coat racks and dust magnets.

6 Ways to Guarantee Yourself a Steady Retirement Income
6 Ways to Guarantee Yourself a Steady Retirement Income

Saving is just one part of the retirement equation. Do this now to guarantee income in your golden years.

Beware These 5 Common Work-From-Home Scams
Beware These 5 Common Work-From-Home Scams

You can spot scammers and con artists with a little know-how.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

Whether you resell it for a big profit or add it to your own wardrobe, this type of clothing is a hidden steal.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia
This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia

Nearly half of U.S. residents may face this threat.

Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds
Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds

Resolve to be clutter-free in 2021 with these secondhand purchases.

11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It
11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It

Seriously? Fibbing about the weather is a crime? This and other little-known legal traps await the unwary.

Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?
Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?

Researchers say too many doctors are overlooking this potential source of hypertension.

13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free
13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free

There are many ways to get cheap or free services and goods after reaching a certain age.

These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy
These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy

These vehicles boast reliability, safety and long-lasting value.

Taking a Multivitamin? Here’s Why You Should Reconsider
Taking a Multivitamin? Here’s Why You Should Reconsider

A new study has bad news for the millions of Americans who spend money on multivitamins.

Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?
Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?

Can an adult daughter tap into her late mother’s benefit?

21 Items to Cut From Your Budget That You Won’t Even Miss
21 Items to Cut From Your Budget That You Won’t Even Miss

Start off the new year by implementing these small-but-smart savings strategies. They’ll soon add up.

Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore
Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore

Starting this month, your ISP no longer can bill you for this fee.

15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021
15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021

Follow these tips to save, so you’ll have money for things that really matter.

9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry
9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry

Keep more of future paychecks by eliminating these budget-busting unnecessary expenses.

Prepare to Pay More for These 31 Drugs in 2021
Prepare to Pay More for These 31 Drugs in 2021

More than 700 prescription medications have seen price hikes so far this year. Here’s a look at the worst.

5 States Lowering Taxes This Year — and 2 Raising Them
5 States Lowering Taxes This Year — and 2 Raising Them

State personal income tax rates, brackets and deductions just changed in these places.

11 Huge Retirement Costs That Are Often Overlooked
11 Huge Retirement Costs That Are Often Overlooked

Does your retirement budget account for all of these costs?

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.