You wouldn’t know it from the media stories, but most owners are happy with their timeshares. According to ARDA reports, of the six million or so timeshare owners, nearly five million of them are satisfied. On the other hand, by deduction, that means that more than a million of them aren’t satisfied.
So who are all the frustrated and sometimes furious timeshare owners that you see in the news? Of the million or so unsatisfied owners, it is unlikely that many of them actually became unhappy with their timeshares until they tried to sell them. Until then, these owners, like the five million currently happy ones, probably enjoyed their timeshares immensely. After all, timeshares often offer much nicer accommodations than the average vacation experience. (Think: kitchens with cookware, cupboards stocked with plates and utensils, extra bedrooms for the kids and other homey features that set them apart).
That’s what happened to Megan and Kyle, a couple from Arizona. They bought a small timeshare in the Poconos as a romantic ski getaway. However, things changed and they became a growing family (perhaps, thanks to all those romantic getaways) and needed more space.
At first they were willing to sell their smaller timeshare in order to buy a larger one. Since they had originally purchased their timeshare for more than $20,000 they thought they could sell it for about the same. However, that’s when they got a rude awakening. They discovered their timeshare was worth only pennies on the dollar. Worse, they were scammed numerous times trying to unsuccessfully sell their timeshare—paying hundreds of dollars to bogus listing companies that promised big results but delivered nothing. To top it all off, they didn’t use their timeshare for the entire three years they tried to sell it—yet they still had to pay their annual maintenance fees.
“Ironically, we contacted the charity towards the beginning of the process,” says Sally. “It when we first started realizing how hard it was to sell. We were ready to consider donating, but after hearing that we had to cover the costs of the transfers in order to make our donation, we decided to try harder to get rid of it ourselves. That was a mistake. We could have saved ourselves at least two year’s worth of bills, scams and headaches. ”
Donate for a Cause actually provides owners with a special calculator to help them determine the real cost of trying to sell a timeshare yourself. If you’re an owner looking to get rid of your timeshare, click here and see if donation isn’t the best option for you. Link to calculator.