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Dave Says - Dave Ramsey

DAVE SAYS: Don’t play the timeshare game

Dear Dave,

How do you feel about timeshares, and the free trips and dinners they offer as part of their sales pitches? Is it possible to win with these things?

– Dan

Dear Dan,

In my opinion, timeshares are a complete waste of time and money. Lots of folks go into this kind of thing believing they’ll play the game and win. They think they’ll get a vacation weekend and other free stuff, then just say “no” when the time comes. The problem is, most people aren’t as tough a sell as they think. Besides, do you really want to waste a weekend of your life letting some pushy salesperson twist your arm? That’s not my idea of fun.

As a whole, timeshares have an incredibly high dissatisfaction rate. It’s almost impossible to find anyone who’s happy they bought into one, and there are good reasons for this. Why would you pay thousands of your hard-earned dollars for a tiny place you may or may not get a chance to visit once a year? Add to this the fact that you have no equity in the place, and you’re stuck paying ongoing maintenance fees.

My advice? Don’t take a chance playing the game, Dan. There are much better uses for your time and money!

– Dave

Paid in full – but to whom?

Dear Dave,

I’ve been late on a credit card bill several times, and it was turned over to a collection agency. They have offered a couple of different payment options. If I agree to one of these, does that mean the original creditor gets paid, too?

– Carter

Dear Carter,

A collection agency either owns the debt outright, or they’re directly representing the credit card company in these kinds of situations. It’s not unusual for things to be handled this way when someone has defaulted on a loan.

Unless you have the cash to make good on the debt outright, I’d go ahead and accept whichever deal makes the most sense for you and your current financial situation. You’ve already got a mark against you on your credit report for having this turned over to collections, so an indication of settlement on a credit card you defaulted on is really no big deal.

But here’s my best piece of advice – stop using credit cards!

 Dave

Follow Dave on Twitter (@DaveRamsey), or go to daveramsey.com.

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