Recent surveys show that all but a very few timeshare owners are very happy with their timeshares, but sometimes the time comes when you just can’t, or don’t want to use it any longer. Perhaps the children have grown up and emigrated, or illness or advancing years are now making it difficult for one or both partners to travel by air.
Whatever the reason, if you’re about to put your timeshare up for sale, here’s how to go about it and take the necessary steps to ensure a safe, legal transaction:
1. First, try the developer of your timeshare resort as the first port of call. Ask if your resort developers run their own in-house resale service and if they do, this would be a good option to look at.
2. Alternatively, you could try to sell your timeshare privately. If you decide to go this route, the Resort Development Organization http://www.rdo.org/ advises selling your points or weeks via one of its approved resale specialists.
3. Use a resale agent that is an RDO member – can check the list on the website.
4. Remember, RDO resale members must follow the RDO Code of Conduct that protects you throughout the timeshare selling process, which is added peace of mind.
5. Do not be persuaded to pay an upfront fee as any sort of fee upfront goes against RDO’s Code of Conduct. Resale agents approved by RDO are not permitted to ask for or take an up front registration fee or mandatory “advertising fee” and they cannot “cold call” consumers. Also, the resale agent must including a cooling-off period of 14 days in the contract for buyers, in case they want to change their minds – if they DO want to cancel, they can do so without financial penalty.
6. Once you have decided on which resale agent to use, the agen’ts staff will usually explain the timeshare selling process and give you an idea of the price you can expect to receive, the length of time – approximately – it should take to sell, and any costs involved.
7. How quickly a timeshare sells often depends on what type of timeshare you own – whether or not it’s at a sought-after resort, which season/weekly period, how big the apartment is, and so on.
8. Do not sign anything you do not wholly understand. If wording is unclear or you have any doubts, you may want to consult someone with legal expertise who can clarify any points you are unsure about.
9. Make sure everything that should be in writing, is on paper and not a verbal agreement or promise.
10. If English is not your first language, you’ll want to check the RDO resale list to find an agent with staff who speak French, Spanish or possibly a few Scandinavian languages. Legal documents in English are hard to understand if you are not a native English speaker, you need to be signing something you understand 100%.
Legal Protection For Consumers Selling Their Timeshares
In February 2011, a new Timeshare Law was introduced around Europe and part of the new law was extra protection for consumers who wish to sell their timeshares. Under the changed rules it is now illegal for resellers to take any form of upfront payment and furthermore, a 14 day cooling off period must be provided.
What if you’re “cold-called”?
NEVER respond or be taken in by cold calls from companies offering to help you dispose of your timeshare as these are likely to be bogus or fraudulent outfits. The fraudsters may call saying they have good news – yes, someone wants to buy your timeshare and they require a deposit to make the sale happen. You can check the updated Cold Caller Lists at http://www.mindtimeshare.com/.
If the cold-caller is persistent, be very firm – do not sign up for anything and under no circumstances give any of your financial or credit card information to him or her – hang up and walk away.
a) Think you may have been defrauded by a bogus agent and have already parted with funds
b) Are about to sign a contract with a timeshare resale agent which is not on RDO’s list and you are not sure whether or not to proceeed, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or RDO’s enforcement team at email@example.com who will be able to advise on the next steps.
TATOC www.tatoc.co.uk (the UK’s timeshare consumer association run by timeshare owners)
RDO www.rdo.org (the Resort Development Organisation is the official timeshare organisation for Europe)
Mindtimeshare www.mindtimeshare.com (cold-caller lists, updates on fradulent companies and scams, and you can contact Mindtimeshare if you think you may be the victim of timeshare fraud).