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Stuck with a timeshare during the pandemic? Here are some options

What do you do with a vacation timeshare property that you cannot use during the pandemic?

SEATTLE — Spending extra money on something can be hard to justify, especially for vacations you can’t take during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is the case for a lot of timeshare owners.

KING 5 viewer Connie wrote, "I listen to your money segments and appreciate your wealth of information you share with us viewers. Due to COVID and travel, I am considering selling my timeshare. I am looking into a trustworthy company to sell my timeshare to, however, I am leery about whom to trust."

The past year has been tough for travel, and most timeshare owners have been stuck with a service they can not use.

A study from the University of Central Florida found that 85% of timeshare owners regret their purchase. Timeshare companies disagree with those findings, but it is not like timeshare owners can walk away from a contract. There is a mortgage, a yearly maintenance fee, and your credit score will take a hit if you do not pay. Owners can sell their timeshare or give it back, but that can sometimes be tricky.

Consumer advocates said owners looking to get out of their timeshare should look at ResponsibleExit.com, or try to use the Timeshare Users Group website to try and sell.

Owners can also try contacting their timeshare company, as they might be able to buy the timeshare back in exchange for a termination fee. While it’s not usually necessary, owners could also consider hiring an attorney as a last option.

But whatever happens, timeshare owners should avoid paying upfront. The Federal Trade Commission has warned for years that some resellers are scams and often target seniors.

While there are different thoughts on this, some experts say to avoid exit companies altogether.

Coronavirus: Your Money, Your Future

Do you have a question or concern about money during the coronavirus pandemic? Email us at money@king5.com.