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Want a free vacation in Hawaii? Timeshare owners talk sales pitch vs. reality

Posted at 5:00 AM, Aug 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-17 10:09:40-04

PHOENIX — How does yearly vacations in Hawaii, Greece, or on an island in the Caribbean sound?

Some timeshare sellers are promising wonderful locations at a great price. But are they a good deal?

We talked with two Arizona couples who bought timeshares from two different sellers but have the same stories of broken promises that started with a high-pressure sales pitch.

"You won't be there more than one hour. Two-and-a-half hours later they still won't let us go," said Joan and Jim about their experience.

The couple says they bought their timeshare about 10 years ago for $10,000.

Another couple, Linda and Jeff, bought their timeshare around the same time for the same amount and say they got the same pressure to buy.

"They bring you in by promising you $100 or a free this or free something... They hammer you," Jeff said.

Timeshares are sold like property in the sense that you get a deed for a share or piece of what's typically a vacation resort.

It usually means one week of the year you're told you can trade for stays around the world, but Jeff and Linda say it didn't work out that way.

"There's never anything available where you want to go," they said.

But it's the yearly maintenance fee, a cost that usually goes up each year, that really soured both couples on their timeshares.

The couple says it's no longer a good deal. Taking their $10,000 sales price over 10 years, a $1,000 vacation stay worked. But, they say their maintenance fee doubled over the time they owned the property.

Now at $1,925 a year, the cost doesn't work for them.

Both couples want out but say they can't sell their timeshare or give it away.

Before buying a timeshare, or even attend a sales pitch, ask yourself if you want to vacation at the same place each year. Consider the yearly increasing maintenance fee when calculating costs. Check the resale market now in case you want to sell later.

And if you do want out, instead of trusting a termination business, check with your timeshare seller to see if they have a program.

In Arizona, you have 10 days to cancel timeshare purchases without penalty.

Learn more about protecting yourself before buying a timeshare.