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Screwing the Timeshare Scammers: How we stayed in Maui for pennies.

November 16th, 2008 · 3 Comments · timeshare

Timeshares are known worldwide as a purchase so poor, they must pay you $100 or more just to hear the pitch. Horror stories abound of being held virtual prisoner by aggressive salespeople, or even worse the overpaid prices of anyone dumb enough to buy a retail timeshare.

We were dumb enough to attend a timeshare pitch in return for a discounted vacation a few years back. It was a very unpleasant two hours, made even more uncomfortable by the complete a**hole of a salesperson. But it did make me think – is there any way to truly take advantage of this blood-leech industry? And Virginia… it’s not simple… but there is.


These posts will tell the story of just how we turned a hideous two hour sales pitch into a view two bedroom, two full bath, and two kitchen condo on the Maui shore in a top hotel brand. We’ll explain each step in the odossey as we progress through the steps to screwing the timeshare scammers.

Rule #1: Never Buy a New “Car”:
So, most people agonize over new versus used cars. It has always been a dilemma for us whether to save the money on a used car versus the repair risk. Guess what the timeshare salesperson doesn’t want you to know? There is a very active market for “used timeshares”. But the timeshare salespeople definitely know about this market — because they have devised their own protection. There are certain “priveleges” that transfer only for new, versus resale timeshares. These are typically “premium trading” and “points systems” with major hotels. Now the timeshare salesperson needs to speak out of both sides of their mouth: You have “great resale” for your “timeshare investment”, but don’t buy someone else’s resale as you’ll get “much less”. Hmmmm….

Now you might wonder the ratio of a used timeshare, versus a new timeshare. It is STUNNING. For the timeshare we viewed, the approximate retail cost was over $15,000. We easily bought the same timeshare on the resale market for $3,000, and have now –in the difficult economy — seen it for under $1,000. Now why are people paying $15,000 right now today – for something they can’t sell the next day for $0.25 on the dollar? That’s a great question. I believe there are two reasons:

1.) Resale timeshare information is not always easy to find, and many timeshare buyers are not sophisticated computer users.

2.) The timeshare salesperson will make it very easy to buy from them (financing, etc.) – plus the “aura” of your tour and vacation. The resale market is depersonalized, and business-like.

3.) They haven’t found (no this is NOT a promo) – it is a sincere recommendation. Redweek is a virtual Wall Street Journal for the “market” price of resale timeshare deeds; buying just one week rental for one year; and even trading your timeshare for a minimal fee.

Our next posts will discuss the type of timeshare you want to buy, and AVOID — and your next steps to trading to paradise for pennies. Here’s a hint – the San Francisco timeshares are not the best location.

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3 Comments so far ↓

  • tysz

    I heard this joke/analogy once and I think it pertains to this author. It goes like this:

    A grandfather and his granddaughter were sitting on their porch when a car pulled up and and the driver asked them a question. “What type of neighborhood is this, we are thinking of purchasing here”? The grandfather asked the driver what type of neighborhood he came from. “Well it was horrible, loud people, horrible neighbors, nasty kids”. The grandfather replied that this was the same type of neighborhood. The driver thanked him and said he would look elsewhere. Moments later another driver pulled up and asked the same question. Grandpa asked the same return question and the driver replied “we live in an amazing place, love the neighborhood and the neighbors, we really hate to leave it but we have to for work reasons”. Grandpa answered that this was the same type of neighborhood hope to see you around. After the driver left the grandchild asked why he answered the drivers so differently. He replied people usually see the world based on how they act, if your a rotten person then everyone else is too. Looking at your post and the way you see the world I would tell you to go to a different neighborhood too, you might actually be the @sshole and you get a just response.

  • admin

    Hi Tysz – Glad to hear you found this post provacative. The truth is that however your joke plays out – the value of a timeshare as you walk out of the resort is less than half of what you paid. There is a very real secondary market for timeshare purchases and a gap of 50% is on the low side to the retail sales price.

    Curious – this post seems to have really interested you…. Do you work in the timeshare industry? It’s hard for us to find another reason why you would care.

    We’re hoping the post helps people to get good value on the timeshares they have purchased (most go unused), and avoid paying too much for a timeshare if they do decide to buy.

    Thanks – sfTravel Editors

  • Jomar

    Knowledge is the best way to prevent a scam. Knowing that scammers are out there and how to identify them is key to stopping timeshare scams.Most owners don’t know that the first scam was done to them when they purchased the timeshare as the resort staff mis-led and lied to them.

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