Little Miss Moneybags has a great post on things to consider when or if you are considering buying a timeshare, and I wanted to add two additional points that come from my own personal experiences.
1) Timeshare Salesmen Are People Too - If you've been to a timeshare presentation, you probably have made a note to yourself to never go to another timeshare presentation again. Why is this? Timeshare salesmen have a reputation for being pushy (and I suspect many of you have much a much less diplomatic word than "pushy" when it comes to describing timeshare salesmen). While I deplore how many salesmen conduct themselves (see below), I do my best to see it from their perspective. They are trying to make a living by selling something that almost nobody wants to people who are probably just there to jerk them around by seeming just interested enough for long enough that they can collect their "free" prizes. I'd be pretty pushy too.
2) Timeshare Salesmen Need to Learn to Back It Up, or the Guy from Pinch That Penny Is Going to Cut a Fool - Having said the above, I've never felt more lied to, or misled, in my life than I have when I've talked with timeshare salesmen and/or reps from timeshare companies. For instance, on a Vegas trip a couple of years ago*, my wife and I were talked into going to a supposedly hour presentation under the guise of free show tickets for our time (for what it's worth, I believe it was to some timeshare that was being built by Planet Hollywood in Vegas; I'd put out a call to boycott Planet Hollywood in response, but I mean, let's be real -- Bruce Willis needs money for toupees). By the time we finally sat down with a salesperson, that salesperson refused to even go through the presentation with us because we told her that we had been told that the presentation would only take an hour. She insisted that she needed at least an hour and a half to two hours.
So, all we got out of it was close to two hours lost from our vacation. They didn't apologize for jerking us around, and they didn't give us our show tickets.
Having said all that, I'm not entirely averse to the idea of timeshares. My in-laws bought a timeshare many years ago, and they are vigilant about using their weeks of vacation (the live in North Dakota, so, particularly in the winter, it's nice to have a week at a resort somewhere that's sunny). I think if you buy a timeshare, the key thing to consider is whether you'll end up using your weeks of vacation that you've purchased. If that's not realistically a very easy "yes," then you probably shouldn't buy one.
How about you all? Do you have any experience with timeshares? Let me know in the comments.
*I know it seems like I go to Vegas a lot, but it's a decent vacation destination when you live in Southern California like I do.
Photo by marbla123.