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Timesharing Today--current issue has misleading and incomplete information

rickandcindy23

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I have a problem with their current issue. It contains an article about Timeshare Relief and a large ad. The article kinda recommends the stupid company in the end. I read that two nights ago with horror. If you really cannot afford the maintenance fees and do not use your week, advertise it free, you will get rid of it. That company charges several years of maintenance fees or $3,495 to take your timeshare off your hands.

The weeks are then sold by a company that oddly has the initials VIN, which is very close to VININC that many of the ebay resellers have as part of their email addresses: Ochoa brothers, Laman, Bonefissh and many others. I have always felt that these guys were one in the same. Where can you get some person, so sick of their timeshare, to give you money to take it off of their hands? I want to take these weeks myself. Look how many of these resellers have Hawaii weeks. Some people actually pay them $3,495 to take a Hawaii timeshare. I guess I am in the wrong business.

Even blue/green weeks have some value for last-minute trades. I look at RCI availability late at night with my blue week and see lots of great trades, some Hawaii, some in our own mountains, lots in Orlando. IF those of us who are timeshare savvy would be willing to take these blue weeks, we could advertise in Timesharing Today that we will be happy to take them off of their hands, FOR FREE! We could start a company, owned by all of the timeshare lovers here. What a rental pool we could have!

Speaking of rentals, this TST issue talked about rental/sale sites and included www.myresortnetwork.com in the article and a few others I have not even used or seen before. There was a noticeable lack of sites, no mention of redweek (though they paid for an ad in the magazine) or www.vacationtimesharerentals.com If you write an article, it is best to include ALL information out there. A simple Google search pulls up www.vacationtimesharerentals.com above all others, and listing on the site is free. I thought that article had some pretty lame advice.
 

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I haven't received my new issue, probably because I have been out of town for the past 10 days. Thus, I haven't read the article yet, but I knew it would be there. I disagreed with the publisher over what I anticipated would be the approach in the article, despite his assurance that I would find the article balanced. He told me that the article would make it clear that paying such fees is "not for everyone". How about not for anyone?

I'll wait to read the article before taking up the publisher's offer to write a rebuttal.
 

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They did say that it probably wasn't a "good":rolleyes: deal in most cases, But in some cases with high MF that it might be the best thing to do! I would think the MF would have to be into the thousand $ per year or more range, and most likely if that is the case, the timeshare should be worth something. Am I overthinking this? JMHO.

Steve
www.lsfhome.com
 

rickandcindy23

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Steve, you are not overthinking it at all. MF's in Orlando are a little high and most of those weeks are not worth much. Gold Crown and Five Star are more valuable, by far. Even though I think it is unwise to buy in Orlando, I think many people would find those weeks very appealing, so advertising an Orlando week for sale, even in Timesharing Today, for a CHEAP price would be better than this lousy advice. If they would have ended the article with ways to sell your week with little cost, that would have been more in keeping with Timesharing Today's usual take on such issues.

Our high maintenance fee weeks are all in Hawaii, thanks to the property taxes there. I cannot think of many resorts with high fees that are poor traders.

Our Colorado resorts will both take back weeks through a simple quit claim deed. Both will give them away to owners who want them. There are owners who see the value in off-season weeks. I wonder if Timeshare Relief, and all of the aliases that are the same company, is willing to take blue/green weeks? When they take them for that price, I wonder if they go back to the resorts and see if they can give the week back? That is quite a fee to charge, just to do what the owner could have done in the first place. :rolleyes:

Dave, I am anxious to see your take on both the renting and the Timeshare Relief articles. One thing you should notice, the gentleman that wrote the article was treated as a spy by Timeshare Relief. Then the company paid for an ad? What is that all about? It looks really dishonest to me.
 

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very close indeed!

rickandcindy23 said:
I have a problem with their current issue. It contains an article about Timeshare Relief and a large ad. The article kinda recommends the stupid company in the end. I read that two nights ago with horror. If you really cannot afford the maintenance fees and do not use your week, advertise it free, you will get rid of it. That company charges several years of maintenance fees or $3,495 to take your timeshare off your hands.

The weeks are then sold by a company that oddly has the initials VIN, which is very close to VININC that many of the ebay resellers have as part of their email addresses: Ochoa brothers, Laman, Bonefissh and many others. I have always felt that these guys were one in the same. Where can you get some person, so sick of their timeshare, to give you money to take it off of their hands? I want to take these weeks myself. Look how many of these resellers have Hawaii weeks. Some people actually pay them $3,495 to take a Hawaii timeshare. I guess I am in the wrong business.

Even blue/green weeks have some value for last-minute trades. I look at RCI availability late at night with my blue week and see lots of great trades, some Hawaii, some in our own mountains, lots in Orlando. IF those of us who are timeshare savvy would be willing to take these blue weeks, we could advertise in Timesharing Today that we will be happy to take them off of their hands, FOR FREE! We could start a company, owned by all of the timeshare lovers here. What a rental pool we could have!

Speaking of rentals, this TST issue talked about rental/sale sites and included www.myresortnetwork.com in the article and a few others I have not even used or seen before. There was a noticeable lack of sites, no mention of redweek (though they paid for an ad in the magazine) or www.vacationtimesharerentals.com If you write an article, it is best to include ALL information out there. A simple Google search pulls up www.vacationtimesharerentals.com above all others, and listing on the site is free. I thought that article had some pretty lame advice.
VIN VININC = VIN Inc. = VI Network Inc. I have purchased through them and had a Good experience. Cannot speak to their methods of aquiring the timeshares??? Timesharing seems to lend Credibility to the old saying " A fool and his/her money are soon parted!" Very Glad I found TUG before I got to where I was thinking of purchasing! Roadtriper
 

cancun dish

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misinformation

Not sure why misinformation from this company is a surprise..

i have been involved in timesahre 15 years and have been a timeshare today subscriber for almost ten....

i gain more insigt from one day on tug then a full year of timeshare today...

just my opinion...

it used to be a good read but, now it is just old news...
 

pedro47

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Just count the number of ads from business that sell t/s in the magazine and that may explain his position.
 

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Not typical for what is generally a great publication

Timesharing Today has been a great publication, but I agree that the two articles in question were disappointments. I would not run down the entire publication for that. We all have our missteps from time to time.

As to the ''pay us thousands to take your timeshare'' scam, I would have expected TST to be a lot more critical. For one thing, such owners could advertise the weeks in TST itself for sale for $1 to get rid of them if they wanted, and that would be whole lot cheaper. Or put them on ebay or bidshares for that price. Indeed many HOA's will take deedbacks for the cost of deed prep and recording, because that is a whole lot cheaper than the cost of foreclosing. There are also charities that will accept donations of timeshares. Good advice would be to explore all of those options before resorting to someone who wants a big wad of money to take your timeshare.
 

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If I was willing to pay several years m/fs upfront ....

I would prefer to give a timeshare I didn't need anymore to someone (or a charity) I actually liked.

Or what a great 'hook' to sell a timeshare on ebay (not only will I sell it to you for cheap, I'll give you extra money to pay next year's maintenance fee).

Ye gads. I read it too and I thought 'this can't be 'Timesharing Today'. Talk about an upfront fee!
 

rickandcindy23

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I definitely still enjoy the magazine, most of the articles are very informative, providing good information to those who do not have internet access or have not found TUG yet.

It is very disappointing to see skewed information in the magazine that is the opposite of what we say here on TUG. It seems that TST is not as "in the know" as I thought. If they do not see Timeshare Relief as a scam company, it just does not make sense. They have warned about other scams, such as upfront fee sellers, yet they think this one is okey, dokey? :(
 

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Timeshare Relief

I haven't seen the article in Timesharing Today yet, but I got a postcard from Timeshare Relief, and they followed up with a phone call. I didn't respond to either, although I have a couple of timeshares I would sell for a very reasonable price. Maybe I'll try renting first, beofre I give up on them.
 

rickandcindy23

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Hawaiibarb: You pay that company to take your timeshare off your hands. They don't give you anything for your timeshare. If your timeshare is rentable, it is more valuable than many of my weeks and I would never give my weeks away, not a single one of them.
 

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TST has always taken articles for submission from practically anybody (me, for example :wave: ). They may make a comment in the same issue, but they will publish lots of letters that disagree in the next issues. After two or three issues, readers will end up with the proper perspective, I expect.

Feel free to write an article that sets things straight. They will extend your subscription for the trouble! I haven't paid for renewals in years.
 

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A great view, but at a steep price

I'm not a TST subscriber, so I cannot read the TST article. But take a look at this related (and perhaps more informative) recent Timeshare Beat article, viewable on the internet. Click on this link: "I'll Take That Unwanted Timeshare Off Your Hands--For a Price"

This article describes (and names) several companies in which "under one company name [the owner]...tells potential clients how terrible timeshare is, while under another company name ... praises timeshare and resells it...DIRT CHEAP on eBay-- which contributes to the erosion of the resale value of timeshare."

Think about it: a single company could first charge thousands to acquire a timeshare week, then maybe rent it out while placing the week for sale for further profit. With three ways to profit, and with a constant inflow of more properties, why not "dump" them on Ebay to make room for more inventory.

Several of the reselling companies named in this Timeshare Beat article have functioning websites, including Timeshare Solutions, Resort Travel Network, and Vacation Solutions. How many such companies are there, anyway, and what proportion of sales on Ebay and other sites are traceable to these types of companies? Pity the person who fell for the developer sales pitch, only to get "relief" from these companies. Bamboozled on one end and then scammed on the other.

In caes you wonder about the profitability of these companies, take a look at the Vacation Solutions website (www.vacationsolutions.com) and you'll see a featured link to a Denver Post article about Vacation Solutions' 53-year-old "entrepreneur" owner Michael Dunahay (named both on the company website and in the Timeshare Beat article). Dunahay recently purchased the Colorado house made famous in the old Woody Allen film "Sleeper."

Thank goodness Mr. Dunahay isn't forced to live in the unsaleable timeshares that his company is so kind to take off unhappy owners' hands for a high price. After all, some of those timeshare units probably don't even feature a decent view. Dunahay says, "My mom always said [the "Sleeper" house] had the best view in Colorado. View has always been important."
 

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I have now read the article.

I'll start by stating that I posted the following message regarding Timeshare Relief almost a month ago on the Timesharing Today ("TST") message board, responding to someone's question:
skeim - You undoubtedly received a postcard or phone call from Timeshare Relief, inviting you to attend a seminar or meeting at a local motel or second tier hotel. They will offer to buy your timeshare from you for (as an example) $4,000. However, to complete the deal, you must purchase membership in a travel club for about $8,000. The magical cost to you is $3,995 or thereabouts.

Thus, you'll no longer have your timeshare, which you could have sold if priced properly, and you'll have membership in a travel club that provides benefits that you could have purchased on eBay and at various readily available travel outlets for only a few hundred bucks. The general approach is a scam that has been around for about eight years. Don't get suckered in. If you really want to sell your week, see my posts of 6/27 (above) and avoid getting scammed.
Those comments have been my consistent approach on this scheme ever since I wrote this article on the subject for the TUG Advice section over five years ago!

Still....

Surprisingly, I think the TST article is reasonably balanced. Perhaps not perfect, but not terrible either.

The author, Ray Jacobs, is the editor and driving force at TST. He reports of his undercover experience, clearly stating that they misrepresented some things and made some statements that he knew to be inaccurate. It's clear from his report that they made other inaccurate statements (e.g., related to promised tax benefits) that he didn't catch.

He also clearly discloses that they bought advertising in TST, presumably after he attended the presentation. Accepting such advertising is no different than TUG accepting, which it does, advertising from some outfits that charge upfront fees to list a timeshare for sale. Accepting advertising doesn't mean approval of the vendor. Many major newspapers and magazines encourage readers to do their due diligence before doing business with advertisers.

Even Ray's conclusion is close to the mark, even if off a bit. He suggests that there are some situations where owners might want to do a deal with these sharks. Maybe so.

There are some timeshares that are so lousy (time of year, rundown resort, high MFs or special assessment, etc.) that they cannot be donated or sold. We have had discussions of such timeshares on these forums with some of our experts telling an OP that there is likely no market for the timeshare in question. A recent posting on the BSR forum brought a comment from one of our experts that a listing on eBay with a $0 reserve would likely bring no bids!

So it's not out of the question that a reasonably informed person might be so disheartened that doing such a crazy deal might seem like the only way out.

However, I don't think Ray's warnings to the consumer were strong enough and, as I stated above, there were a number of inaccuracies in the presentation as reported in the article that Ray didn't catch. Thus, if I get time, I'll write a clarifying article - not a rebuttal - within the next two weeks or so for possible publication in the next issue. Ray has been good in the past about publishing some articles I have written that have bashed some of his advertisers. I expect that again. Not many publications would be willing to do that.

The article won't do much to extend my subscription as Lee suggests. I already have free renewals through 2012 and I have annual commitments (such as compiling the annual index of articles published in each January-February issue) that will likely take my subscription well past my lifetime.
 

rickandcindy23

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Blue and green weeks are still marketable. I realize that many weeks on ebay don't even get $1 bids. I have come to the conclusion that TUG members are the biggest purchasers of ebay weeks and we all know what is valuable and what isn't. Ebay buyers are very discriminating. On the other hand, I have found that resale websites have buyers that are willing to pay $500 for blue/green weeks because I had offers from several people when I advertised my blue week on those sites.

At our resorts in Colorado, the blue/green weeks have zero value on ebay. But take those same weeks and offer them for exchange on II and RCI and voila, you get to go to Orlando at pretty much any time of the year you want, at the nice resorts in the off season for a total cost of about $589. What Orlando resort has lower fees than that?

If you want to travel last minute, you have more choices with your week. I pulled St. James Place a few days ago with my blue week. I would love to stay there sometime..... Most nights, I can also pull 20 or so resorts in Hawaii up to three weeks out. Airfare is cheap from Denver right now.

No, you do not get bonus weeks or AC's with your blue/green deposits, which TUG members tend to expect, ;) but for an entry-level purchase, a $1 timeshare is not such a bad deal. I would think most any timeshare will get Orlando, Willilamsburg, Branson most any time, and anything at the last minute. There is value. Paying someone to take a timeshare off of your hands seems crazy to me. I guarantee that if you list a blue or green week on Redweek for $500, you will sell it. I had four people email me within a few days to purchase my blue week for that price--a very low season, Silver Crown week. Some people do not know about ebay but want to try timesharing on for size. It is a great experiment. I let a guy play around with trade power on my account. He could not believe what he could get at the last minute and in Orlando all year. He also was amazed at the price. He really felt he bought a bargain. Hawaii for $569, with RCI fee included, is not bad. He still emails me with his sightings. He originally was interested in Colorado in the off-season for fishing, but now he is going to buy another off-season at the same resort. Timeshares are mostly built in resort areas, with loads of amenities nearby.

TUGgers have a distorted view of timeshare. We expect the best resorts, the best traders and discriminate against the lesser ones. Most people are not like that. Even our kids that have stayed in timeshare their whole lives think a blue week is worth a lot. When I gave our last blue week to our foster son, our kids were upset that we had not given the week to any of them. The kids are all on the timeshare deeds for four PAHIO weeks, including a Shearwater and a three-bedroom Bali Hai, Mansfield for RCI points, Foxrun week 26, and four other red weeks in Colorado. Yet this week was one of their favorites, our second purchase when they were all under 8, an off season week in a unit with a giant hot tub on the deck. To them, this was accessible to home, within an hour's drive of Denver in Summit County, and that made it valuable.

When Kimeul tells his co-workers that he has a timeshare, they are pea-green :D with envy. Several of them have asked how to get a cheap timeshare in the mountains. I have advised Kimeul about ebay because, guess what? There aren't any cheap ones listed on redweek.com and myresortnetwork.com, most of the time. What if you listed them for $100 and the market was young people, under 30, that have no problems with the season or the low trading power. What about quit claim as an inexpensive way to transfer the weeks or checking with the resort for an in-house deed transfer?

I guess I am trying to say there are lots of alternatives to paying someone to take your timeshare.
 
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For Just $3995, I'll Take That Useless Subscription Off Your Hands

The information available here at TUG is wonderful and valuable, as is the TUG commitment to fair business practices. Selling or renting to people who know what they're getting--at whatever they are willing to pay--is one thing. There's nothing wrong with renting out a good ski week for a high price.

But this double-edged scam, with duplicity (or should I just say, outright lying) on both ends of the deal (as when Timeshare Relief profitably resells many of the "unsellable" timeshares it was paid to "buy") is mind-boggling.

And it's particluarly distressing to think that people like us could be pawns in the game, as when we learn that we just bought a timeshare that may have been "purchased" by scamming the last owner. Truly reputable sellers aren't afraid to say where their supply comes from. Is it too much to ask the big Ebay sellers to tell us how they get so many timeshares to sell?

Meanwhile, for anyone like DaveM who is facing years of unending subscription renewals to various publications, I have an easy solution. Otherwise his heirs might be burdened by needing to figure out what to do with so many subscriptions.

It's called "Subcription Relief." For a mere $3995, I'll take that useless subscription off your hands. After all, your heirs won't want to read, will they? And if you really want to read something, you can rent an issue from me for a week. Meanwhile, don't tell anyone, but I need to go now to tend to my Ebay auction that's closing soon. Several bidders have surpassed my low reserve price of only $2500 for that worthless subscription that I helped you get rid of. Just remember, I provide great customer service when people buy those "resale" subscriptions. That's why my Ebay feedback is 100% positive!
 
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rickandcindy23

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How true that is!

Great sarcasm. I loved it. :clap:

TUGgers are a strange bunch because we really do not want to know where our bargains are coming from, but we abhor the thought of an old person being taken advantage of by swindling companies like Timeshare Relief.

I have found with my last two purchases that I can get the same great deals by offering my top-dollar price to owners who are trying to get rid of their weeks on various websites. I still want a bargain, but I want to buy from a person that needs to sell their week, not provide an outlet for Timeshare Relief LLC, Vacation Solutions LLC, Resort Acquisitions LLC and all of their other companies to sell weeks they have stolen from old people.

The article in TST was particularly distressing to me because I have purchased two weeks from these guys. What I have found is that they lie. I asked tsrecycler directly, on the phone, if he was associated with the postcard company. He assured me he was not a part of that company, but the deed said, "Vacation Solutions," as the owner. He closed the week through Timeshare Transfer. I knew that VININC mostly closes through Timeshare Closing Services in Orlando, as the article stated. If VININC is the same as the company mentioned in the magazine, which is VERY likely, then many of us have purchased from this company. Not only that, but these guys have denied our accusations on TUG. The evidence is overwhelming. Email addresses and association with a company called VININC and the closing company is the same. What more do you need?

I guess if TUGgers really do not care who owned their bargain weeks before and what lies were told to make those weeks available, then we are not better than the bad guys. We are fencing stolen goods. :(
 

rickandcindy23

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What can we do to keep these guys from scamming others?

In caes you wonder about the profitability of these companies, take a look at the Vacation Solutions website (www.vacationsolutions.com) and you'll see a featured link to a Denver Post article about Vacation Solutions' 53-year-old "entrepreneur" owner Michael Dunahay (named both on the company website and in the Timeshare Beat article). Dunahay recently purchased the Colorado house made famous in the old Woody Allen film "Sleeper."

I know that house well. My dad upholstered the walls in the elevator, halls and bedroom back in the '60's. 7,500 square feet and sitting above Genesee, it is known as the spaceship house by all of us who have lived here for many years. I never got the connection before. I guess there is real money in scamming people.

I wish all that read that article in TST could access TUG information on buying and selling. What can we do to encourage those readers to get on the "net" and do research before calling this scam company?
 

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Thought Timeshare Relief might work for me

I've been following this discuss over the last few days. I agree with you all that TUG is an amazing resource. I don't think I've ever come across such a tight-knit, well-informed, and supportive enviroment in my life. Almost makes me wish I wanted a timeshare.
I own one but don't want it. A recent owner (as I explained in another post.) I don't know much about them and after spending some time on this site, I feel I don't have enough time left to get up to speed. I feel like I'm way over my head and the more I read the more I tend toward the easiest solution. And what could be easier than Timeshare Relief. I pay them to take my timeshare and right about now I'd feel like I'd spent my money wisely. I don't want to deal with this, so if Timeshare Relief would take it off my hands, no questions asked then all the better for me.
After seeing the daunting task in front of me and my complete disinterest in maintaining or renting out (etc.) a timeshare, I thought I might be one of the those cases the magazine article mentioned--where Timeshare Relief makes sense.
While I respect everyone's opinions on this issue, I have to say, everything said either bad or good has continued to spark my interest in going this route. I get the feeling that those who are against this path are against it because it doesn't fit their situation.
 

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denisebirch said:
I get the feeling that those who are against this path are against it because it doesn't fit their situation.
I understand your pain. Having an "asset" that you believe you can't use and that sucks maintenance fees from you every year must be very disheartening.

However, we are not against the Timeshare Relief path because it doesn't fit our situation. We are against it because it doesn't make sense to pay someone $3,995 or thereabouts when there are some simple alternatives that you can try before going that route.

Perhaps the easiest is to put up an auction on eBay with a $1 starting price and no reserve, perhaps offering to pay the closing costs (usually $250-$350), if you believe it necessary to do so. If you have never used eBay and are afraid of it, start a thread to that effect on this forum and you will almost certainly get some help; perhaps even a volunteer to help you with the entire process.

Another is to list the week on Redweek and MyResortNetwork at a nominal price to see what happens. It's easy to copy another’s ad for your resort or a similar resort and you are on your way.

For a short primer on some of the basics (avoiding scams, where to advertise, how to determine an asking price, letting a low-cost closing company handle all of the closing process for you, etc.), see the "how to sell" article at this link.

Those of us at TUG have many different situations when it comes to timeshares. However, most of us don't advise anyone to follow in our footsteps, because we made many mistakes along the way. We try to advise others, such as you, how to best handle their situations given all of the various circumstances.

One caveat: You probably can't get rid of your timeshare - even to Timeshare Relief - if you owe any money on a loan connected with it.
 
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e.bram

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I would like to suggest that the TUG classified ads create a new heading titled "TS for $1.00 or less". This would allow those people who don't have a specific area in mind quickly search for a low priced or free TS easily, and help people who despsretely want to get rid of a TS, who now fal prey to these preditors mentionedin the abopve posts.
 

denisebirch

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Do you know how long it usually takes to complete such a transaction? My father tried to sell his time through multiple avenues for a couple of years. With no luck. I don't want to repeat his failure. Thanks for alerting me though. I'll check it out.
 

Dave M

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I'll bet money that your father - like most timeshare owners - overpriced his timeshare and that's why it didn't sell. Take a careful look at the "how to sell" article linked in my above post and you'll learn most of what you need to know. Then you can start a separate thread with questions.

How long does it take to sell? If it's priced as a bargain, it might sell within a day or two if advertised properly. Even if priced merely at the low end of other similar timeshares, it may well sell within a month or so. If it's priced too high, it will never sell.

Since you want to sell your timeshare, you can't tell us here which one you own. It would be considered advertising, which is not permitted on these forums. However, if you click on my user name to the left of this post, you can send me an e-mail or private message with as much info as you can about the timeshare, especially name of resort, number of bedrooms in the timeshare and what week of the year - or what floating season - you own.

If you don’t have some of that info, which is critical to determining value, I can help you get it. I'll tell you what I think about your timeshare and, perhaps, give you some specific suggestions.

I'm headed to a ball game this evening (I'm late), so it might be tomorrow before I respond.
 

taffy19

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We went to one of these presentations too and they would take your timeshare off your back if you paid them about $3,500. I can't remember the exact amount now but I know that I have posted my story once before in this forum with the right amount.

They offered you the club for free. Yes, they used all the scare tactics you can imagine. I asked a few questions that afternoon that he had to answer to his chagrin and I told him too that it was not true what he said about Mexico. He said that nobody ever got their money back when they were defrauded in Mexico so I mentioned Profeco. He also said that when the 25 years of right of use were up, their heirs would still be responsible for making maintenance fee payments. Neither statement is true.

That day nobody gave up their timeshare and he was most annoyed about it because that had never happened to him before. I hate to see old people being taken advantage of. They want to do what is best for their children so may give their timeshares away and end up with a club they cannot use either. It probably would cost them money too.

We got multiple invitations and lately we got another one again. I thought that these scam outfits were closed down by now but they must have changed their pitch, from what I read here.

I know that the Timeshare Beat mentioned this scam a long time ago. I just googled for the link and found it. Good for Dave to challenge Timesharing Today and Cindy for posting the story so we can read it.
 
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