Subject: Time Shares
Hi Ziners,

I recently returned from Hilton Head, which included listening to a presentation/pitch about buying a time share. Much of what was said was intriguing, but I'm too much of a neophyte in this area to have done more than listen. And, they provide no marketing materials to take home and peruse. You have to sign on with a deposit at the meeting, with 5 days to reconsider.

Perhaps some of you have time shares and would speak to the issue of time shares. What are some of the negatives and also positives of such an arrangement?

The company presenting was part of RCI, and there are many, many affiliates throughout the tourism sector that are a part of the operation.

For a little background on what we heard--and what I remembered anyway:

A 3 bedroom condo in HH cost 12,900. Annual maintenance is $473 on this property. You can choose a 2-bedroom condo for 8,900. There are some houses as well. Another option is to get an arrangement for a 1-week timeshare every other year. All additionals (below) are the same as if you had a one- week arrangement every year. If one were to choose to rent rather than to use the time share for one's week, the rental cost on the unit would be 2000. We'd get 1600 of that. Apparently among their vast worldwide timeshare properties, HH is the number 2 in rental likelihood. Hawaii is number 1. So, renting one's unit is not difficult in HH. They also throw in 26 free rounds of golf, and a round costs about 100-200. So, it is possible that within 8 years or so, the investment in the timeshare would be recouped.

If you rent your unit, you can stay anywhere you want in any of their properties for $50 per night for as many nights in the year you want. I assume this has to assume availability. I saw their catalog--about 3/4-inch thick--and there truly are tons of timeshare properties in their group in just about everywhere in the world. You can rent a 32-foot motorhome anywhere for 22/night. There are also deals on cruises, with good locations in outer cabins on upper decks, which didn't interest me enough to remember much.

They'll also make all your travel arrangements, promising to get you the lowest available fares. Believe they said they'd also provide transportation from airport to property--yet perhaps I imagined this.

One of the kickers they interjected frequently was that if we were to spend $12,900 on travel during the rest of our life, the unit would already have paid for itself. I didn't volunteer that we have already spent that on travel this year alone!

The property is yours for your lifetime and passes on to your children.

Would love to learn the murkier side of this, if there is one. Any experiences or opinions?

Thanks!! Joan Peterson