Common Types of Timeshare Fraud and Misrepresentation


The allure of a dream vacation home, shared ownership in exotic locations, and the promise of luxurious getaways have made timeshares an appealing option for many travelers. However, beneath the glossy brochures and enticing sales pitches lies a darker reality: the timeshare industry is rife with misrepresentation and fraud. From false statements about available inventory to misleading information about costs and benefits, unsuspecting buyers often find themselves trapped in a costly and frustrating situation

Lies About Inventory and Availability

One of the most pervasive deceptions in the timeshare industry revolves around lies about inventory and availability. Sales representatives often assure prospective buyers that they will have easy access to prime vacation spots during peak seasons, emphasizing the flexibility and abundance of available properties. In reality, many buyers find that the promised inventory is either severely limited or non-existent when they attempt to book their desired times. These false assurances create a sense of urgency and entice buyers to sign contracts under the illusion that they are securing exclusive opportunities. Consequently, owners are left frustrated and disillusioned, discovering that their expensive investment does not grant them the vacation freedom they were led to believe.

Some lies center on building up the expectations of potential timeshare owners regarding the inventory they can access. In a 2020 lawsuit against Westgate Resorts, part of the claim was that class members were given deceptive tours. Salespeople showed them luxury suites during the presentation, but the rooms they could book were quite different. 

Misrepresenting the Investment Value of a Timeshare

Misrepresenting the investment value of a timeshare is a common tactic used to entice buyers with the promise of long-term financial gain. Sales representatives often pitch timeshares as valuable investments that will appreciate over time, comparing them to real estate properties. However, this portrayal is far from the truth. Unlike traditional real estate, timeshares rarely increase in value; in fact, they almost always depreciate immediately after the purchase. 

Sales representatives never mention that the secondary market for timeshares is saturated, making resale difficult and often resulting in significant financial loss for the owner. Buyers are misled to believe that their purchase is a sound financial decision, only to later realize that the long-term value is negligible and, in many cases, a financial burden due to ongoing maintenance fees and other associated costs. 

The Rental Income Deception

The promise of renting out a timeshare is often used as a persuasive selling point, with salespeople highlighting it as a way to offset costs and even turn a profit. Buyers are led to believe that renting their timeshare will be easy and lucrative, providing a steady stream of income during times when they are not using the property. However, the reality is frequently far more challenging. 

The market for timeshare rentals is highly competitive, and finding reliable renters can be difficult. Moreover, many resorts impose restrictions and fees on rentals, further complicating the process and reducing profitability. Owners may also face fluctuating demand, particularly in less popular locations or during off-peak seasons, making it hard to secure consistent rental income. These challenges often leave timeshare owners struggling to recoup their costs, contrary to the optimistic scenarios painted by sales pitches.

Lies About Fee Increases

One of the hidden pitfalls of timeshare ownership is the frequent and often unexpected increases in fees. While buyers are initially informed about annual maintenance fees, what they are not always told is that these fees can rise significantly over time. Resorts may justify these increases by citing inflation, rising operational costs, or the need for property improvements and repairs. In some cases, special assessments are levied for major renovations or unforeseen expenses, adding a substantial financial burden on top of the regular fees. These escalating costs can far exceed initial projections, leaving owners financially strained and feeling trapped in their investment. The lack of control over these fee hikes and the inability to predict future costs contribute to the frustration and dissatisfaction experienced by many timeshare owners.

Stretching the Truth About Exiting Your Contract

Sales representatives often gloss over or completely omit the difficulties involved in terminating a timeshare agreement. Buyers are led to believe that selling their timeshare or transferring ownership will be a straightforward process, facilitated by the company or through a robust secondary market. 

Unfortunately, the resale market for timeshares is notoriously weak, with few buyers interested in taking on the associated financial burdens. Additionally, timeshare contracts are often laden with complex legal language and stringent exit clauses, making it challenging to extricate oneself without incurring significant costs or legal battles. This deceptive practice leaves many owners feeling trapped in perpetual financial commitments, with no clear or easy way out.

Whether you feel misled or are simply stuck in an unwanted timeshare contract, we understand the challenges you’re facing. Navigating the complexities of timeshare ownership requires careful consideration and, often, professional assistance. Vacation Ownership Consultants specialize in helping eligible clients exit their timeshares legally and permanently. Remember, honesty and transparency are essential when entering or exiting a timeshare contract. Seeking expert guidance can ensure you make informed decisions and find a path to financial freedom.


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Written by the top Real Estate Litigators in the Timeshare Industry.