There are many time shares around the world. Some are in Florida. Others are along the Eastern Coast. Some are international, as those in the Caribbean and in other exotic places around the world. They are sold as an investment, as an opportunity for customers to take some time to have an apartment somewhere around the world for a cheap cost.
The origins of the time share can be traced back to post World War II Britain, where four families decided to go to a house over the summer in a lake location. While they were there, they decided to divide the property into four owners, each family represented. They also decided that each family would spend one season at the house.
Although it is unknown whether these four families kept their original deal, investors and realtors soon took note of the opportunity. However, instead of dividing ownership into fourths, the investors and realtors began dividing it into 52ths, meaning one family had one week out of the year.
This idea became the model for the boom in time shares in the late 1970s and into the mid-1980s, when time shares were becoming more well-known and popular. Entrepreneurs who were sensing a big business opportunity began to cash in as the popularity grew and more and more properties were being used for time shares.
This “gold rush” of time shares was initially unregulated, leading to a wild west of realty deals and people getting into debt by the terms of their initial time shares. Soon, the Caribbean, Mexico, and the Florida governments stepped in to regulate this new form of ownership and to regulate the industry as a whole.
Many, like those today, were duped by the time share. Terms were not explained to them initially or were not made clear when the contract was signed. People were explicitly told information that may not have been true and parts of the contract, including the annual maintenance fee, the inability to cancel, and the transfer of debt was overlooked.
Today, time shares have a negative reputation around America, as they are even the butt of jokes on television shows. They have been given that negative reputation in part because of the reputation of time share companies themselves.
Time share companies are known to engage in high pressure sales tactics to get people to buy in. Often, the time share company will give the interested family time to spend in a time share apartment with “gifts” for a free show, play money at the casino, or more. The sales presentation is incredibly pressurized.
For instance, in the sales presentation, the family will be given a tour of the premises, followed by an hour’s worth of information about time share itself. At that point, the person will speak directly to the person making the financial decision and ask this person a series of questions.
If the person who is making financial decisions refuses to sign, the salesperson will then direct his attention to the manager, who takes the floor and offers a number that is good “just for today.” This is a high pressure sales tactic typically used in auto sales, where the manager will act “generously” to close the deal.
This is often a two hour long process or more until the person signs the deal or refuses and leaves. Those that sign are often filled with buyer’s remorse and a great percentage of people who own time shares want to end the contract, as seen in numerous statistics:
- 85% of time share owners regret their purchase
- 66% of owners who wanted to end their contract said the maintenance fees were too high
- Half of that same survey said the maintenance fees were the number one reason for leaving
- 3% of U.S. households own a timeshare
Beware the timeshare track, if you’re a prospective buyer. The timeshare track is often used as a selling tool to show you how you’re “investment” will grow. The timeshare track shows you how your life will look in five or more years with the timeshare purchased. The timeshare track is a persuasive tool.
For more information, Google the following:
- How to get timeshares
- How to sell a timeshare legally
- How to get out of a timeshare contract
- How to cancel your timeshare contract
- How to get a deed in lieu of foreclosure