The Timeshare Trap: How I Got Out of It

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I speak from experience...

... because I got trapped into a timeshare. The poison that I chose was WorldMark by Wyndham and their floating timeshare plan. I was young, I was optimistic and I was stupid. I let the sales man flatter me into thinking I DESERVED a vacation property (or in this case, the credits for it so I could use them where they had resorts). When I was hesitant, the agent said I had 3 months to make up my mind, and got me signing on the dotted line. Turns out that when I changed my mind 2 weeks later that that was a lie. I was stuck with a dead weight. Then I lost my job because the economy crashed. I was stuck with a payment that was killing me. Fortunately my car was paid off. I managed to find another job in customer service that paid much less. I tried selling my timeshare. I got scammed out of $1500 trying to sell with companies that lied about saying they would sell it. What I am sharing now is a summary of how I personally got out of the trap. I do not guarantee that this will work for you, but I do know it worked for me. I also know that if you are thinking about buying a timeshare that I have one piece of advice. NEVER EVER EVER BUY A TIMESHARE! Even if you have millions of dollars, don't waste your money! Since I got rid of this I have been on vocations which were far more flexible & fun, and far cheaper. If you do think you can afford it, I would suggest thoroughly investigating and talking to a large number of owners to see what experience you get, because when I did use it the one time the service was awful, the resort was filthy, they made me pay for internet access, and there were cockroaches in our room. It was a fantastic honeymoon! [Note that this is sarcasm]

Selling Advice:

I tried selling the timeshare, but I owed more on it that it was worth. IF you do not owe more that it is worth, try selling at Timeshare Angels. They sell based off of the fair market and are honest. They never ask for money up front. If any business offers to list your timeshare for a price, it is a scam. It doesn't matter if they are listed with the Better Business Bureau. List only with companies that are paid AFTER the sale is complete.

Getting Out of It:

I spent 3 years scraping together money to pay off the debt one payment at a time. For the first time EVER I had collection calls and I was late on payments. I was ashamed. I hid it from family. I worked overtime trying to get enough money to pay a little extra. THAT WAS MY BIGGEST MISTAKE!

With the advice of some experts on timeshares, I realized that I needed to let the payment go past 90 days over due. I followed that advice. I then called WorldMark and said, :"My credit is shot already. This timeshare is worthless. If you send this to the credit bureaus as defaulted it will do nothing more to me than I can't handle and that has already been done by having this piece of trash timeshare. Here is the deal. I am willing to settle for a portion of the amount owed." I was told some of the following, "You will have to talk to a supervisor," or "You may have to deal with a collection agency." The last comment was true. I did deal with the collection agency. In fact if it hasn't been sent to a collection agency and they won't play ball then wait until it is sent to one. Once they have agreed to do this GET A SIGNED LETTER sent to you that verifies that once you have paid off the settlement amount that the debt is paid in full! DO NOT MAKE ANY PAYMENTS UNTIL YOU HAVE THAT LETTER! I got a letter with a typo and I insisted that that was corrected before I would make any payments. Once you have this confirmed, get a credit report about 2 months after the debt is paid off (most credit unions offer this for free if you are a member). If the debt is still showing as not being settled then you MUST contact the collection agency AND the timeshare company to have it corrected. If you follow this you will be able to get rid of that dead weight that is killing you and your family. Remember, this is a disaster! DO NOT TRY TO SAVE THE TIME SHARE! It is not worth the pain, the heart ache, and debt to have a vacation spot. You have to make the decision yourself of its worth. This advice is based off of my experiences. I am not a financial adviser so if you have one, please consult them before doing anything as they may have other ideas. But I can tell you that I became free from these chains by doing the above.

Author's Note

Recently someone posted a comment that was rather rude on here. I deleted it, but its implications were interesting so I wanted to post a comment for those who may think like that particular individual. Essentially the person implied that I and people like me were fools for falling into the trap to begin with. That isn't what was said. It actually was very rude. But I have to say in some ways I agree. Falling for a con like timeshares is rather stupid. Of course, falling for any con is like that. If you are luck enough not to fall for such a trap or you are reading this and decide not to because of my and other individual's experiences, I am happy for you. But snap judgments on other mistakes is ignorant at the least and hypocritical at the most. As such, any such comments that are a criticism on mistakes made will not be tolerated. Normally I don't do this, but this article is not a judgment. It is simple providing help and hope for those who have been conned. Feel free to ask questions, offer advice, or share successes & failure, but anything else that implies judgment, abusive, or that is rude will be deleted. Walk a mile in another shoes before you make judgments.

Some Final Notes:

First, you need to understand that this way that I mention is not a way to regain the money you lost. This is cutting off the dead weight. If you are holding out to get some money back, good luck. That is what nearly killed me. There is an economic term called sunk cost. The idea is that it is already invested and you can't get it back. Realize that the money you have already spent is a sunk cost and then cut loose the debt that is killing you.

Second, let me give you some information about me. I settled the debt in January 2011. In March 2011 I did the credit report and found the credit agencies were not updated on the debt's status. I called and had them correct it. As of the writing of this article (End of August 2011) I am free. Because of sound financial advice my credit score has recovered and was in the low 700's last I checked (which was July). I am not saying that this will happen to you, but I am saying that this is a possible solution to you timeshare demons.

Feel free to leave feedback and best of luck become free from the slavery of debt.

 
 
 
Sites on Timeshare Scams
How to Sell or Cancel Your Timeshare
 
http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/directory/worldmark-by-wyndham
http://www.timeshareangels.com/
 
http://www.timesharemarketplace.com/complaints
http://homeguides.sfgate.com/end-contract-timeshare-7835.html
 
The above sites are just some of the plethora of information you can find on scams related to time shares and how to get rid of yours if you were scammed.

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Comments 10 comments

point2make profile image

point2make 5 years ago

Thanks for the information. A lot of people have been scammed this way and your experience will be very helpful to them. Good hub!


ibbarkingmad profile image

ibbarkingmad 5 years ago from Utah Author

Please share this with anyone you know who may be in this sort of bind. The freedom I feel from getting rid of this is wonderful and I want others to know the same freedom!


Cloverleaf profile image

Cloverleaf 5 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada

A scary story, and good advice for anyone considering buying a timeshare.


thedude 4 years ago

I'm going through the exact same experience. Currently waiting for collections so i can settle. That was the plan i'm just glad you had this article to affirm that it is possible.


Shakyra 4 years ago

You know what you're champion REALLY. I bet that your story save a lot of people. For us me and my boyfriend found your story late but fortunately we didn't signed. Because they were forcing us to buy this share at same moment and refusing to give us time to go home and think about. we decided not to go along with it, although they were very convincing and everything they said seemed amusing. My boyfriend thinking there's something wrong about it because we did not know where is they profit if everything for us. and also my boyfriend tried to aske about the financial part, the salesperson kept saying i will tell you later. When we refused 3 people tried to convinced that this the only chance we have. One of them they said is their Bose, tried to give us lower point credit he said that he's helping us, because is today deal only and we won't aspect that they will call us again. But we insisted that we don't want, they were upset. When we came home my boyfriend went straight to research about share company and that why we came across your story and other people in your situation or worse than you. One thing people have to know that we didn't got away because we were smart NO. Those people don't show bad sided of the deal only the positive side for you. For us is just because of tow reasons my boyfriend had a bad experience with something similar but smaller. he sign for gym he discovered he didn't have time to go, he tried to cancelled contract but they said he had to pay all the fees. Anyway the point is he decided he won't signed anything unless he plan it first. Second we are planning for our wedding and we can't afford any screw up right know( sorry for the S word, but that's the right word in this situation)


ibbarkingmad profile image

ibbarkingmad 4 years ago from Utah Author

I am glad this was helpful!


forrestbrooke 3 years ago

Thanks so much for your post! It HAS given me hope. We signed a contract for something much the same as a timeshare - it is now called a resort membership. It was grossly misrepresented, and we now find ourselves facing a collection agency. I was disappointed to read that you had received an unfriendly post regarding your situation. There are many of us out there, who are conned or coerced into spending money where we shouldn't. I'll try out what you've suggested, and I'll get back to this post with the results. Thanks again!


ibbarkingmad profile image

ibbarkingmad 3 years ago from Utah Author

Best of luck and our prayers are with you. Just remember, sometimes you have to stumble and fall before you can know how to climb a mountain. Failure is not measured in mistakes, but rather when you give up after making a mistake.


Joe 3 years ago

Your advice is exactly what I needed for confirmation of my approach with my daughter. She and her boyfriend of the time got mixed up in Wydham when she was just 18 and he 20. After they broke up she tried to keep it together because both were on the account. It has distroyed her life financially. she has so much debt and bad credit she sees no alternative but to file banckruptcy at 23. Other debtors are now offering $.50 on the dollar to settle with them. I am interested in helping her do that. Can you tell me what percentange you negotiated for settling the debt? What is the lowest possible rate do you think? She has already paid them thousands, but still owes nearly 11k. HELP, and great thanks! I don't want to see her file bankruptcy at this point. Good to know her credit can recover in a few years...


ibbarkingmad profile image

ibbarkingmad 3 years ago from Utah Author

In my case I managed to pay about $0.35 on the dollar. That being said, times have gotten tougher so perhaps she can do better as a result. I do suggest consulting with a financial adviser before you take any such steps. In my case I wanted to share my story to give hope to any who are stuck and present a possible path to freedom. I can only assume what the time share includes, but when the average timeshare is only selling for 10 or 15 cents on the dollar for what they originally were purchased for there seems to be plenty of cause for Worldmark to settle. If you need professional advice call Timeshare Angels. They were the ones who gave me the advice that got me started on being free from the scam that WorldMark runs.

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