Timeshares... the good, the bad, the exit?

Dave Ramsey has brought attention to Timeshares.
There are many Youtube videos on the marketing techniques of timeshares. Some are happy with the TS. However most deal with the high pressure sales and no resale value… but eternal Maintenance fees whether you use it or not.

Over many years we have been to many timeshare presentations and various recreational land sales. We were given a lot of junk…most of which I have forgotten.
We had decided in advance we were not going to buy!

Today, I consider it a learning experience.

Are there any Timeshare Holders here.
Any good war stories?

Probably one of the single worst investment in the history of mankind. Its baffling to me how people are still buying things with a resale value of ZERO. In many cases, you can’t even pay people to take them off your hands…

Aside from the obvious fact that timeshares are almost always a bad investment, I always looked at them as poor choice as a vacation destination. They build timeshares in popular vacation destinations and one of the last things I want to do on vacation is spend all my valuable vacation time with people and cultures that that I experience in my everyday life back home.

I find sitting around the pool listening to people talk about their jobs, cars and hobbies pretty boring stuff when compared the opportunity to visit places with cultures, scenery and experiences different than my home turf.

And to be stuck with multiple repeat performances of that scenario would be doubly depressing.

When I moved to Hawaii, I applied for and got a job with a timeshare company as front office staff. Let me make it very clear, they were not licensed nor allowed to sell timeshares in the state or I would have never worked there. So my job was to check people into their unit, help with the ‘orientation’ on Monday morning where we explained and hawked excursions and generally performed troubleshooting of issues.

Our building was mostly owner-occupied condos with timeshare units interspersed. Some condo owners rented out their own units. The site was on the ocean and a short walk to stores and restaurants. Other than that, we had a salt water pool and a small jacuzzi and a small area to relax. There was a soda machine and some underground parking. These were 1 bedroom units with the bedroom on the street side and an overhead fan because the walkway to rooms was just outside the bedroom. The kitchen/ livingroom had an airconditioner on the ocean side where you had a small balacony. Some units had full ocean view, some partial ocean view, some beach view and one with a view of a wall. The Managers apartment was on the top floor with beach view. There was a washer/drier stack combo in a closet. For all this luxury (snide remark) you used twice the points you would have for a vegas resort!

On Saturday, we may have 20 units to fill. The later checkins might get a worse room. We also had the issue every week where a checkin would be given a room assignment and almost instantly come back to the office with the compaint that they were supposed to have an ocean view. We woudl shuffle as best as we could but the availability we had never matched the persons expectation. I remember a guy who came with his family (probably 14 to 20 hours with layover), got to his room and came down to the office. He offered that it was not our fault but his expectation was different. He asked for the telephone number of a real resort up the road (one that charges $800 to $1,000 a night and up).

Because we needed good ratings from visitors, certain timeshare customers who had booked through a certain booking agency were given preferential (VIP) treatment where they got the ocean front rooms, we even put flowers in those rooms and I went to COstco for fresh pineapples and fruit. They didn’t deserve the VIP treatment except that we hoped their reviews would help.

One of the units we put people in, we had no documentation that we actually owned it. You see, the company that owned and managed the units (right then it was us) had changed so many times that much of the paperwork was lost. One elderly woman came often but never had an ocean front room which she was supposed to have. She had 2 timeshare with our comapny. I was shopping and she aproached me and we chatted. She asked if getting a THIRD timeshare whould help her get a better room next time. I told her off the record, “Why not stop doing timeshares and just book a real hotel room at a real resort?”.

In the two years I worked there I went through three managers. I still have the comment card a guest left saying of all the timeshare places he has ever stayed at, world wide, I was the best and most caring employee he ever saw. I don’t know if that reflects on me or timeshares on the whole.

I enjoyed doing the orientations and telling people about the volcano, the boat rides, fishing and tours. I did not like the rest of the job. I especially enjoyed serving my own Kona coffee to guests, many of whom hated coffee because of its bitter taste. I had some guests who became customers of mine for over 10 years.

So for orientation I would be tasked to go to Costco for fruit, pasteries every week. Some times I was asked to go buy an airconditioner or washer/drier for a unit. I bought them on my persoanl credit card and get paid back by the company. What a great way to get extra cash or miles and to get a higher credit limit!

Being that I have read your posts here for a good number of years now… I’m betting it is you.

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As a RE broker I would agree with one exception. We purchased a Disney Vacation Club timeshare (eventually 3 separate resorts contracts) and have never in 23 years had a bad room location. The WDW is our go to vaca with grand kids (now 13 of them) and friends when we go with kids its all about the parks. When we go with friends its all about relaxing and excursions away from Disney. We have sold one unit at Beach Club with a profit of over $10k due to Disney’s continued artificial support of prices due to their per pt. increases. This is the only TS that I have found to do this.
We are blessed to have the resources to travel extensively, mostly US by preference so this may not be reasonable to others but works for us.

As a side note, we have made MILLIONS in memories with each and every grand child and that is priceless to us!

what are the yearly dues?

as much as I dislike the aforementioned, it’s a baloney suit. Imagine if anyone could sue a broadcasting personality over some company they dislike. The entire industry would go bankrupt.
Dead class action walking.

As I recall, Dr Ben Carson and a few others of similar status also endorsed Timeshare Exit team. It built considerable credibility. It sounded good even to a cynic like me. Of course none of those had the Financial Reputation of Dave Ramsey.

Today, it seems every celebrity is endorsing Gold Purchase. This seems to be in a similar neighborhood as Timeshare Exit.

I think Celebrities should do more research on the Services and Products they endorse. Their Endorsement carries far more weight than an unknown Speaker. They should do more than get a check.

Why would anyone take investment advice from a celebrity? If you do, you are likely a victim of something called the “halo effect.”

Just because a person is famous for acting, sports, public public service, etc. doesn’t make them an expert on investments. It’s just as likely it makes them less of an expert than the average person.

And why would any Advertiser pay the big fees for a Celebrity Endorsement?


Sadly, you are correct, “it works!”

The reason it works is because of the halo effect. And that is also why people should try and approach important decisions with care and caution.

Same with political endorsements. Why would the average person relate to the voting recommendations of mega millionaire celebs?

Insert PT Barnum quote here…

I’ve spent the last week as a guest of a longtime friend at a timeshare. Her extended family have been coming here for nearly forty years. In addition to the first purchase (two fixed weeks every year), they have over the years purchased a number of additional units…not sure if any are more than one week. They are happy, and wouldn’t have it any other way. Think it’s 5 Star. My rating is 4Star; I’ve stayed in much more luxurious places. Heck, some of the temporary housing I’ve been in during reserve tours was the equal. And it is way more expensive than I would choose. But, They have made lifelong friends, so there is that.

I’d rather travel to multiple destinations, not be locjed into one…but everyone is different.

We have some Friends with a Time Share at Park City UT.
They like to ski and are happy with it. I get the idea that they are the minority.

Thinking back, I like what we did… alternating years between Ocean Vacations and driving Vacations where we traveled the country from Arcadia NP to Yellowstone plus Hawaii and CA by air.

I doubt we would have done that if we had prepaid a timeshare with annual maintenance fees.

I agree… seeing different places and meeting people not like me is why I travel for pleasure.

Most timeshare locations are chosen because lots of people want to go there, I hate places jammed with tourists looking to “get away from it all!”