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How You Can Avoid Fraud When Exiting Your Timeshare

These tips will help keep you (and your money) safe when you’re ready to exit your timeshare contract


spinner image man and woman standing at the kitchen counter using a laptop
Photo credit: Getty Images


Your timeshare brought you many happy vacations and helped make some wonderful memories. But at this stage in your life, you’ve found yourself using your timeshare less frequently and might be considering exiting your timeshare contract. As you plan your exit strategy, be aware. Scammers lie in wait for just this moment.

Unfortunately, when timeshare owners try to sell or end their timeshare contracts, it’s all too common for them to lose money to fraudulent businesses and individuals pretending to offer help. Scammers have a variety of tricks up their sleeves, and their victims have found themselves out thousands of dollars.

Arm yourself with a little knowledge, though, and you can beat the fraudsters at their own game. Here are the things you should do when you’re ready to sell, and the things to avoid:

What To Do:

1. Reach out to your resort developer yourself. Often, developers will take back a timeshare and have programs specifically designed to do just that. ARDA’s Responsible Exit program is an excellent resource. At responsibleexit.com, you’ll find accurate information and guidance on how to end timeshare ownership safely and responsibly, including exit programs offered by the major timeshare resort companies.

2. Use the resources available to you. If your developer doesn’t have a program to help, visit the Resort Owners’ Coalition online resource center to find step-by-step advice about how best to approach exiting your timeshare. Or contact the Coalition at responsibleexit.com/contact. From there, you should determine if exiting your timeshare is something you want to do yourself or if you still need the help of a third party.

3. If you choose to work with a third party, do your homework. If you choose to engage a third party to help sell your timeshare, first look to enlist the help of a licensed real estate broker who works on commission. If that isn’t an option and you decide to pay a third party in advance for help, make sure to know exactly what you are paying for and ask yourself, “Is this something I could do on my own?”

What Not to Do:

1. NEVER wire or transfer money or use gift cards to pay in advance for closing services or to put money in escrow to pay upfront fees. Remember that a trustworthy business will not ask you for payment in any of these forms.

2. NEVER accept an offer that sounds too good to be true. Unfortunately, if an offer sounds too good to be true, it likely is. Scammers often attempt to entice owners by saying their buyer is offering a purchase amount equal to or more than you paid. Be wary of these over-promises.

3. NEVER stop payments on your mortgage and maintenance fees without considering the effect on your credit score. Many third-party exit companies will advise you to stop paying your mortgage or maintenance fees. Doing so can lead to long collection efforts and negative marks on your credit report.

When the moment comes to move on from your timeshare, your first step should be engaging with ARDA’s Coalition for Responsible Exit. That way, you’ll have the tips and strategies to keep your investment safe.

Click here to learn more and get valuable resources from the Coalition for Responsible Exit before you take action on exiting your timeshare.

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