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When you book your holiday online or at the travel agent your heart is generally filled with glee and pleasure at the prospect of your upcoming well-deserved break. You may have booked a holiday to Florida, the Mexican Rivera, Las Vegas or many other destinations all over the world. What you might not be expecting when you arrive is some savvy sales person offering you a free dinner or trip if you can ‘spare 90 minutes’ to visit our holiday presentation!

What you won’t be expecting is that 90 minute presentation could in fact take a whole afternoon or evening and will involve some high pressure selling from some relentless, heartless sales people. What you won’t be expecting is walking away with your free lunch and a financial burden that will last a lifetime, a timeshare contract.

Timeshare is a property, typically in a large resort development, where buyers acquire the right to use a unit (apartment) or a similar accommodation for a specific period of time, typically a week or two once a year. So, each apartment will have many owners, each acquiring a deed for their fractional interest (the time they ‘own’ it during the year) With other properties, a buyer has a right to use the property, but does not actually own a share of it. Finally, some timeshare companies just sell points that may be used at properties all over the world.

Reportedly over 20 million people own timeshares all over the world. Now there are often very real reasons people own timeshare (for example making sure you take holidays (already paid for!) and ensuring that there is holiday time for the family together) for a lot of customers they often regret their visit to that presentation and their entry into their timeshare contract.

The reason for the deep regret, timeshare can be a constant drain on your finances, which can be virtually impossible to get out of.

Often customers are told that purchasing timeshare is an investment and could make them money in the future, this is simply not true, it is not an investment and you won’t make any extra money. It has no re-sale value whatsoever! You will pay out in maintenance fees every year, and the fees will increase!

There have even been stories of consumers who are willing to give their timeshare away completely simply to avoid having to pay what can be extortionate yearly fees. The problem is that people sign themselves into their contracts without considering what the future may hold for them. Jobs changes, children grow up, people become unable to travel, however, none of these things matter to the company you have purchased your timeshare from, whether you go or not, you still must pay your fees. These fees can run into thousands of pounds/euros/dollars per year.

Can you become a victim of the timeshare sellers?

It is not just the impaired, elderly or nice people who can’t say no to a timeshare sales person! Anyone can get talked into a timeshare contract. Is there an ideal victim of a timeshare sales presentation? Nope! Anyone can be a victim and these companies have no integrity when it comes to who you are, what your financial situation is or what your future goals might be, they simply want one thing and that is your money, money, money!

What do you really need to think about as a potential consumer…? If you’re offered the opportunity to attend a sales presentation, and have been tempted by the freebies or other rewards, you must realise before you go in that you are about to enter a pool full of sharks who truly know how to sell to people. These are sales people who learnt their patter as they were learning to talk. These are people who will see your emotional strings and will play them beautifully. They will appeal to your heart and soul and will pile on the pressure to buy today. They will know that you’ve fallen in a love with your holiday, they will know that all you dream of is your next holiday and they will play on your feelings. They do not want you to consult with your financial adviser or lawyer and will shower you with fairy dust, freebies, extra’s and a lifetime of holidays, to get your signature on their contract.

Go in with your head and not your heart. Know what you can afford and think about your future!  Stay strong, resolute and don’t let the sales people blind you with an unrealistic dream! You don’t want to be another horror story on line.