Have you bought a timeshare for a resort condominium? Do you regret the decision and wish you could get out of it?
You’re not alone. More than 85% of the people who purchase a timeshare property end up regretting it.
It’s not easy to cancel timeshare contracts. Those smooth-talking salespeople who convinced you it was such a wonderful deal are also well trained in keeping you there.
But it is possible to rescind your contract! You need to act quickly and follow a specific set of steps. Take a minute to learn the process so you can walk through it yourself – or with help – and get out of that timeshare contract!
How to Cancel Timeshare Contracts
Most states have laws to allow for a “cooling off” period after a big purchase. Whether you just got caught up in the adrenaline of shopping or realized that the deal wasn’t as good as you originally thought, this could be an option for you.
That period is usually between five and ten days depending on your state. Acting within this state-sanctioned cancellation period or “recession” period will be the easiest way to cancel your timeshare.
Every contract should explicitly state the number of days you have to cancel your contract. If it’s not clear in the paperwork, then contact your state consumer protection office. They will be happy to help you find the information.
Most people recommend doing this cancellation in writing. This letter should be printed out and mailed. Be sure to keep a copy for yourself. Even if it’s not required, it’s always better to keep a paper trail of your communication to make things easier down the road if the timeshare company or resort condominium pushes back.
What to Include in Your Cancellation Letter
Be direct and unemotional in your letter. Keep to the facts. In the first or second sentence, state your request to cancel your contract. You do not need to give a reason for canceling if you are within the recession period.
Include all of the relevant information so that they can properly identify who you are and which contract you have. Make sure your name and contact information (address, email, phone number) match what’s on the contract.
Identify the name of the timeshare company or association. Reference any contract number or Member ID and the date you purchased the contract. Also, identify the type of contract you have (for instance, “Silver Level Contract” or “Blue Eagle Program”).
Be sure to state that you are not interested in a resale or beneficiary transfer. You want to rescind or cancel your contract.
Finally, write that you expect a response acknowledging receipt of your letter within 30 days. Request that they send this to you by certified mail. Again, it’s important for you to keep a paper trail every step of the way.
Their job is to keep you in the timeshare so they will use any reason they can to keep you there. Don’t give them that chance. Include all of the information they need to process the request.
Use registered or certified mail so that you can get proof of delivery. Use this for any and every correspondence required in this process and keep records of it all. Consistently follow up with the shipping service to make sure it was delivered, don’t let them use the excuse they didn’t receive your letters.
Strategies to Cancel After the Recession Period Ended
Even if the recession or cancellation period has passed, you can still legally cancel a timeshare contract. It’s a more difficult process. But with a little bit of patience and time, you can still get out of your unwanted timeshare.
Although timeshare contracts are binding legal documents, they are not absolute and can be canceled. The salespeople will try very hard to dissuade you. Most timeshare companies continue to state there is no way to cancel them but that is not true.
Some contracts include a “perpetual clause”. This is a statement that you are forever bound to the contract. It even will state that your heirs or successors are legally bound to the contract and all of the fees and payments.
But there is always a way to terminate any contract. First, you should find a qualified lawyer. Look for an attorney that has experience with timeshare cancellations. They can advise you on the best strategy to get out of the contract, even if it means bringing a lawsuit against the company.
It may take a little time to find the right attorney. Less than one percent of the attorneys in the United States are experienced in timeshare law. Reach out to a local financial services or consumer advocacy company. They often have a network and the resources to help you find a reputable timeshare lawyer in your area.
Remember that consumer protection laws exist to protect you from deceptive and unfair business and sales practices. Don’t be intimidated into keeping something you don’t want and cannot afford.
Fraudulent Behavior By the Timeshare Company
Consumer protection laws protect you from unfair or deceptive sales practices. If the salesperson or timeshare company acted inappropriately, you may be able to get out of the contract based on fraudulent behavior.
Companies use misleading sales tactics to make timeshares seem like great investments with huge returns. In reality, this is rarely the case.
For instance, if they lied about fees or interest rates or didn’t disclose the recession period this may be a viable option. Another possibility is if they used fear or aggressive tactics to get you to sign the contract.
This is a little more difficult to prove, unfortunately. But if there was undue use of intimidation and you have a witness or others to corroborate your story, you may have an option here. An experienced attorney can help you navigate this process.
Sell Your Timeshare Property
Most contracts do allow you to sell the property and transfer the contract to someone else. You will likely lose money on the deal, as the market is often overrun with other people trying to sell their timeshares. But, it’s certainly worth a shot!
Many of our clients have tried selling their timeshare with no success, so the financial burden continues for them. Or, if they do have a buyer it is usually for pennies on the dollar and it just doesn’t make sense for them to sell it. The resolution is still canceling their timeshare. We provide a guaranteed timeshare cancellation service with thousands of reviews and successful stories.
If you choose to sell your timeshare contract, make sure to disclose everything. Make sure the buyer is aware of all the terms and schedules associated with the contract. In addition, be clear on any maintenance fees, property taxes, utilities, repairs and even special assessments.
Surrender Your Timeshare
Another possibility that would require less hassle is that your company may have a deed-back or surrender option. In this scenario, you can pay a fee to them and surrender your timeshare. The fee is usually quite costly, but the loss might be worth it in the long run.
In order to use this option, you need to be in good standing with your contract. You cannot have any outstanding mortgage payments or unpaid fees. Make sure you are up to date with maintenance fees, special assessments, and taxes.
Many timeshare companies do not advertise this option. You will need to reach out to them and ask about it.
There are many legitimate reasons why an owner would want to surrender their timeshare. A drastic change in income or health conditions, the death of a spouse, even aging are all reasons you are no longer able to maintain your contract.
Be prepared for their first response to be no. They are not going to want to offer this option. But explain your situation and the reason why you want to surrender your timeshare.
It’s Never Too Late
Time is of the essence when you want to cancel timeshare contracts. The easiest and most effective way to cancel is during the contract’s cancellation period. But even if you are passed that, you can still legally get out of the agreement with an experienced timeshare attorney.
You are never stuck with a contract you don’t want. With the proper help, you can get out of your timeshare and all of the fees and schedules included in your contract.
If you have a timeshare you’d like to get out of, contact us for a free consultation!