Andy Doran, a now 44 year-old scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, Calif.recalls taking a timeshare company up on its offer for a free Las Vegas vacation if he and his fiancée attended a presentation across the Bay from their Berkeley home in Burlingame, a San Francisco suburb.
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“Dress it up (as an investment) and promise them world that they can resell it, when the chances of selling it are slim to none.” Micallef, 40, now runs a company called American Consumer Credit in Ormond Beach, Fla.
which he started in 2004 to help people get out of their timeshare obligations.
Timeshare vacation plans have been around in the U. since 1969 — the first opened in Kauai, Hawaii — and they generated $8.6 billion in annual sales in 2015, up 9% from a year ago, according to the American Resort Development Association, or ARDA, which represents many timeshare developments.
For some people, timeshares are a good option, and about one out of every 12 Americans (7.9%) owned one in 2014, up from 7.2% in 2012, ARDA says.
Interval Leisure Group said in the announcement it had more than 280,000 timeshare owners and annual revenue of more than $670 million.
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But timeshares are also associated with high-pressure sales tactics that get mocked relentlessly in pop culture and they’re often sold at a loss when it comes time to unload one.
Plus, they come with annual maintenance fees that can easily top several thousand dollars and which often increase each year whether you use the timeshare or not.
“You were told to close the deal and tell them whatever you had to tell them,” said Dana Micallef, a former timeshare salesman who spent a week in 2000 in Orlando selling before quitting in what he said was disgust at the process.
Now that he’s on the other side of the table, he “was finally able to tell (timeshare owners) the truth,” he said.
Here are some things experts say to keep in mind before you buy a timeshare: Like most real-estate transactions (even hotel stays), the price is usually negotiable.