Timeshare Message Boards and Chat Rooms
For those who already own a timeshare or are considering purchasing timeshare property, timeshare message boards and online chat rooms can be excellent resources for information and advice. However, as with any online forum, it is important to exercise caution and good judgment when participating in these discussions.
Easily searchable online, these digital forums run the gamut, from boards reserved for specific timeshare resorts to those that cover vacation and recreation tips to some discussions devoted to specific vacation destinations.
In addition to owner conversations, these boards have created a virtual space for consumers to buy and sell timeshares, find renters, and set up exchanges. Navigating these timeshare message boards and chat rooms can be tricky – but with a few tips, you can make the most of them without putting yourself or your personal information at risk.
Timeshare Owners Using Digital Forums for Resales
For those interested in timeshare resales, there are a few different timeshare message boards and chat rooms out there. These particular forums tend to be populated by timeshare owners who are looking to offload their ownership responsibility – and they’re a great place to find good deals on timeshares, some for as little as $1 or even free. Timeshare Users Group (TUG) and RedWeek are two of the leading owner-to-owner resale marketplaces, and both offer timeshare message boards where buyers and sellers can meet as well as share thoughts and information.
These specific timeshare message boards work a little differently from other online marketplaces like Craigslist or eBay in that they require members to register before they can post anything for sale – but registration is free, and only requires an email address. Once you’re registered, you can research the prices of timeshares sold as well as post your timeshare resale listing.
Several timeshare chat rooms are dedicated to a specific resort, which can be an excellent method for owners to connect with potential renters for their timeshares. Some of these groups – such as those run on Facebook – have relatively strict policies about timeshare marketing, so it’s important to read the group rules before posting anything for sale or rent.
Most timeshare developers also have official pages and groups on social media platforms where your questions might be answered by company representatives in addition to other owners. One example is Wyndham’s timeshare group on Facebook. The WorldMark by Wyndham Facebook group has over 23,000 members.
When Chat Rooms Go Dark
While timeshare message boards can be a great way to connect with other timeshare owners and learn about the industry, they’re not always a positive experience. In some cases, timeshare message boards can be breeding grounds for scammers who are looking to take advantage of unsuspecting timeshare owners.
If you’re considering selling your timeshare on an online marketplace such as a timeshare message board, it’s important to be aware of the tactics that scammers use. One common scam is for someone to reach out to you about buying your timeshare, but then ask you to pay fees upfront – for things like “closing costs” or “transfer fees” – before they’ll send you the money for your timeshare. Of course, these fees are just a way for the scammer to take your money without actually buying your timeshare.
Another tactic that scammers use is called “bait and switch.” This happens when someone contacts you about buying your timeshare, but then tries to get you to buy a different timeshare – usually, one that’s worth much less than what you were originally offered. The threads are filled with owners complaining about these problems.
Owner Safety Online
If you’re operating anonymously, shielded by an alias or username, so are others on the message board. One question we hear often is; How can you be sure that the person posting information about that resort or company knows what they’re talking about? How can you be sure that the description of that timeshare being exchanged is totally honest and truthful?
While many offers to exchange, buy, or sell timeshares may be legitimate, when operating anonymously online, there’s no way to really know who you’re dealing with. And by the time you find out, it may be too late.
Before taking up an offer to rent out, sell off, or exchange a timeshare, look into any involved parties – including individuals, resort developers, and any resale companies offering to help get you out of your timeshare obligation – with the help of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and consumer protection agencies in your state.
When it comes to timeshare message boards and chat rooms, tread carefully. Yahoo does a good job of explaining why in its “Message Board Safety Guide,” explaining:
“Any personal information posted online could be used by strangers to identify and contact you, potentially exposing you to unpleasant, suggestive, or abusive language.”
Remember online forums are not always safe. Just because a timeshare message board or chat room is moderated doesn’t mean that all the postings are legitimate – so it’s important to do your research before you join an online group and begin to interact with others.
Some moderated owner groups can quickly detect the presence of scammers and will block them, so you can feel somewhat better knowing that you’re surrounded by people who are just as committed to an honest and fair transaction as you are. To combat scammers, smaller informal owner groups establish private communities that aren’t open to the public. These groups are more social, with owners getting to know one another better and giving advice and support that’s tailored to specific timeshare companies or locations. If you’re searching for an online timeshare community where you can interact with other owners, the best choice is Timeshare Users Group.
Remember by staying alert, you can avoid timeshare scams and have a positive timeshare experience. If you see or read something that looks suspicious, you should contact the chat room moderator. Of course, if you have been taken advantage of by someone online, report the crime to IC3.gov and your local police.
This article is for informational purposes and does not represent legal advice. Please consult an attorney for specific advice on timeshare-related issues.
Led by attorneys Michael D. Finn and J. Andrew Meyer with over 75 years of experience. The Finn Law Group is a consumer protection firm that specializes in timeshare law. Our timeshare lawyers represent owners from across the nation. For more information feel free to contact us or follow us on Twitter.