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Posted: 6:00 a.m. Friday, May 17, 2013

Timeshare resales now illegal?

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There's a new wrinkle in the timeshare business that just highlights what a bad deal timeshares can be.

I read in The Orlando Sentinel about what are called "Viking ships." Here's how this works: You have a timeshare and you want out. So you pay $2,000 or more to a company that promises to take it off your hands. That entity turns around and sells it to a shell company (aka a Viking ship) for $1 and then the shell company defaults out on it and the timeshare ends up back in the hands of the developer.

The newspaper reports this is costing the industry $8 million annually because of people dumping timeshares through shell corporations. So now the state of Florida has made it a crime to sell a timeshare to an organization that will just transfer ownership and then default.

The industry is desperate to keep owners on the hook for the money. That right there tells you timeshares are a defective product.

When you have a situation where for every 100 sellers, there's not even a single buyer, it is a defective product. Of course, some people own timeshares and love them and trade up to see the world a week at a time. But that's a sliver of individuals and if their circumstances ever change, they won't be able to get rid of their timeshare and the maintenance obligations that go along with it.

So the next time you hear a timeshare pitch, run away, don't walk away. Unless you can go in with two broken arms and know you won't sign any documents.

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