September 11, 2018

How to Get Rid of a Timeshare Legally

Despite what you may have heard or believe, a timeshare doesn’t have to be a burdensome money pit if (or when) you decide it’s no longer wanted. Although a host of factors, including your timeshare’s condition, its location, the amount of time you’ve owned it and even the time of year you decide to get rid of it, all affect the level of difficulty you might encounter offloading it, there are several options for you to consider that enable you to part ways with your property and stop timeshare fees while keeping your sanity, as well as your finances, intact. If you have recently purchased your timeshare (within the past few weeks), there is a good chance that your contract has a clause that explicitly guarantees you the right to cancel the contract terms (“right of rescission”) with little to no penalties within a certain number of days following the timeshare sale. There are also multiple consumer protection laws that shield buyers from unscrupulous, forceful sellers and/or your own regret. Typically, these laws offer a longer “cooling off” period than most contract terms (when present) and can be a viable way for you to get out of timeshare obligations and receive your money back. Check with your state’s Attorney General Office or Consumer Protection Office to better understand the laws protecting you, as they vary by state. If canceling your contract is no longer an option for you, you can always try to sell your timeshare. This is most successful when you have paid off your mortgage and own your timeshare “free and clear.” It also helps if you do not overestimate your timeshare’s value or expect to make money on a sales deal. Indeed, your timeshare’s value resides not in the amount of money that it has cost you […]
August 30, 2018

How to Deal With an Inherited Timeshare

The ramifications of owning a timeshare extend long beyond a buyer’s decision to sign on the dotted line with implications affecting their estate and loved ones even after his or her death. For many, this comes as a surprise. They believe contract obligations for timeshare ownership must expire upon a buyer’s death with the management company simply reabsorbing the property into its inventory and reselling it to the next person in line. Unfortunately, timeshares don’t work like this in reality. Timeshares are sold via contracts, most with terms lasting up to 99 years. These “timeshare contracts in perpetuity” legally require a buyer (or his or her estate upon death) to continue paying homeowner’s and maintenance fees for the length of the contract terms. And unless a buyer is in really good health, it’s unlikely he or she will ever live long enough to enjoy the timeshare for the actual amount of time he or she is obligated to pay for it. So what happens when a timeshare owner dies? Here’s a brief look at the issues surrounding inherited timeshare: Death Isn’t the End Dying does not release a buyer from any of the fees associated with a timeshare. The timeshare management company will still expect to be paid its monthly dues and can demand payment from the owner’s estate within a few months of the original owner’s death. If an outstanding balance persists, the management company can file legal proceedings against the owner’s estate to recover not only the amount it’s owed, but also the amount it should be paid to cover the fees for the remaining years under the contract terms. What This Means for Beneficiaries If an owner has designated his or her children (or anyone else) as beneficiaries of a timeshare, it can be a headache for […]
August 14, 2018

How to Cancel a Timeshare After Grace Period

We’ve all done something we regret. You know, like the timeshare you purchased on a whim during a summer vacation to Maui in 2016 that now seems like an albatross around your neck. And if you realize your mistake even one day too late, the regret can seem like an insurmountable obstacle, doomed to hold you captive and force you to face the consequences for the rest of your life. Maybe it sounds dramatic, but a timeshare contract can seem like a formidable impediment to your happiness when all you want is out. After all, you own something you don’t want, something that cost thousands of dollars and will continue to cost even more down the road. But while canceling a timeshare contract after the grace period has ended is harder to do than when it hasn’t, it’s still possible. Take a look at some facts: What is a Timeshare Grace Period? In 1972, the Federal Trade Commission effectuated a “cooling off” period to protect U.S. consumers from buying things they might regret. For up to three days after the date of purchase, consumers who buy certain items from sellers within their own homes or at a seller’s temporary place of business (like a hotel room or convention center) can request and receive full refunds for their return. Many U.S. states have their own consumer protection laws that offer additional security against hasty, pressured and/or ill-informed purchases. Often, state laws extend the federal grace period, sometimes up to two weeks, granting consumers more time to realize their mistakes. What Are Your Options When It Has Ended? If you sign a timeshare contract and decide that owning this type of vacation plan is not for you after the grace period has ended (either by federal or state standards, whichever is greater), […]
August 13, 2018

Timeshare Contract Cancellation

There are few things in life that are truly inescapable. A contract, contrary to what you might believe, is not one of them. Despite even the savviest attorney’s attention to detail, contracts can be amended, challenged and overturned, thus proving themselves not always the binding certainties that Ben Franklin so aptly claimed death and taxes to be. And while it’s not recommended that you sign a contract thinking that its turns can be easily changed or negated, it’s also not advisable to automatically assume you’re stuck with something just because you’ve signed your name on a dotted line. If you’re one of the 85% of timeshare owners who regrets the decision to buy timeshare, take a look at the following ways to cancel your timeshare contract and regain your peace of mind: Act Within the Right of Rescission Period The Federal Trade Commission maintains a “cooling off” rule that protects all U.S. consumers from the effects of making hasty or ill-informed purchases at their home or a seller’s temporary location, such as a hotel room or convention center. Under this federal guideline, consumers have up to three days to cancel a contract for the purchase of timeshare property within the United States. Some contracts will have their own cancellation terms stated explicitly within them, but this FTC statute provides further protection for consumers should they need it. In addition, most U.S. states have their own unique consumer protection laws that safeguard consumer rights when making a timeshare purchase. If a consumer is aware of their mistake in the first few days (and potentially up to a week or two depending on the state where the contract was signed), they are free to send written notice of their wish to cancel the timeshare contract and receive a full refund in return. […]
July 12, 2018

Timeshare Contract Loopholes

Written contracts are legally binding documents that unequivocally tie two parties together. With a timeshare contract, a buyer is bound to a resort company with the expectation that each will uphold all the terms and conditions expressed within it. But what happens if a buyer wants out? Depending on the circumstances, and the language of the contract, there are options. Look for these contract “loopholes” when the luster of your timeshare starts to fade: Check for the Contract’s “Right of Rescission” An option to rescind the contract’s terms can often be found near the end of a timeshare contract and labeled as a “cancellation,” “severability” or “termination” clause. While not technically a “loophole” since it is frequently explicitly expressed, this right of rescission provides for contract cancellation with no penalties and the return of all payments. The clause is usually restricted by a certain number of days following signing. Verify State Law Even if you’re past the rescission period or your contract doesn’t mention one, most U.S. states have consumer protection laws that permit contract cancellations within a few days or weeks of signing. You can check the attorney general’s office in the state where your timeshare is located or with its Consumer Protection Office. Either will be able to tell you how many days you have to legally terminate a contract. Most range from three to 15 days after signing. When using this “cooling off period,” as indicated in the contract itself or by state law, you will need to make sure that you send notice of your intention to rescind in writing, including the timeshare’s legal description and details like your name and address, the date of purchase and your request that all payments be returned and financing (if any) terminated. You will need to verify the specifics […]