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Timeshares are a vacation not an investment

(NC) As winter quickly approaches, many Canadians are already thinking about their next tropical vacation. For some, a few nights at a resort will do, while others may be thinking about purchasing a timeshare.

Before signing on the dotted line, it's important to know how timeshares work. Timeshares are not an investment, but rather a different way of taking a vacation. There are many things to consider, like annual fees, resell fees and possible legal fees. It can be difficult to navigate the world of timeshares.

Here are some tips from the Canadian Consumer Handbook, which can help you make an informed decision about timeshares:

Beware of sales pitches. Take your time when thinking over your purchase. Do not let a salesperson push you into a hasty decision.

Read the fine print. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Watch out for giveaways or prizes. These “free” gimmicks can sometimes come with conditions that that are easy and costly to miss.

Know the law. If you are looking at timeshares outside of Canada, there may be big differences in the laws covering timeshare purchases. It is a good idea to hire a lawyer who is knowledgeable about local laws, as well as laws back in Canada.

Bottom line: inform yourself. If you're unsure about terms such as fixed or floating timeshare, lockoff or lockout, or how point-based systems really work, you can find information on this and a variety of other consumer-based information at consumerhandbook.ca.

The Canadian Consumer Handbook was developed by the Consumer Measures Committee — a partnership of your federal, provincial and territorial governments.

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