Looking to escape the cold? Time may not be on your side when choosing a time-share

January 14, 2014

January 14, 2014 – CALGARY, ALBERTA – Trading in your parka for a swimsuit, your shovel for a fruity drink and your snowed-in car for a sunny spot on a beach is a tempting idea for consumers battling a winter wonderland. With multiple blasts of snow over the past few weeks, people are following the geese down south for the winter. Vacation time-shares may seem like a convenient idea to escape the cold wrath of Mother Nature, but BBB warns that hidden costs and conditions can have you stressing about your fun in the sun.

President and CEO of BBB Serving Southern Alberta and East Kootenay, Sandra Crozier-McKee, says it’s important to know what kind of a deal you’re getting into before signing on the dotted line.  “There are different kinds of time-share packages, with different timelines and costs,” she says. “You may be offered a free gift or vacation certificate as an incentive, but there may be hidden agreements behind them. Understand that a time-share isn’t a one time deal, but a long-term investment. Make sure you understand the terms, conditions and timeframe of ownership and the related responsibilities.”

BBB offers these tips when booking a vacation time-share property:

  • Start your search with trust. Consult the help of your BBB with access to business reviews and educational consumer tips to ensure you are dealing with trustworthy businesses.
  • Visit the site. If you can’t make a trip out to see first-hand the location and condition of the property, seek out reliable sources that are familiar with the area. Understand that investing in a time-share means vacationing at the same place each year and that it is a place you are interested in regularly visiting.
  • Beware of free vacation offers. “Free” often isn’t actually free. Incentives may be a way to entice you to visit the time-share resort, but actually have hidden fees and conditions that could leave you paying for your “free” trip.
  • Understand the terminology. “Free simple” and “right-to-use” are common types of timeshares. Free simple is where the buyer has the title to a fraction of the unit or property. Right-to-use is where the buyer is entitled to use the property for a specific period of time but does not have ownership. Be sure to understand the type of time-share you are purchasing.
  • Maintenance costs. Understand that if you are the time-share owner, you will be responsible for maintenance fees and up-keep costs.
  • Never wire money to a stranger. If you are asked to wire your share of the money, don’t. Unless you are purchasing a time-share from a family member, friend or someone you know and trust, don’t wire your money. This could be a red flag of a scam.
  • Consider the alternatives. Make sure you determine and understand all of the cost of a time-share versus taking a traditional vacation every year. Be sure to establish a long-term budget so you won’t be left swimming in a pool of debt.

For more information on travel-tips visit bbb.org.



Media Contact:

Leah Brownridge
Marketing Communications Coordinator
Email: leah@calgary.bbb.org
Phone: (403) 531-8793

About BBB:

For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2015, people turned to BBB more than 172 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 5.3 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. There are local,independent BBBs across the United States, Canada and Mexico, including BBB Serving Southern Alberta and East Kootenay, which was founded in 1954 and garners more than one million instances of service annually. 

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