If relinquishing ownership of a timeshare were simple, the timeshare industry wouldn’t be a multi-billion dollar business. By signing a contract during the timeshare sales process, you are committing to paying exorbitant maintenance fees to the timeshare resort for a lifetime, a fact that many people fail to realize amid the allure of endless vacation options. Unfortunately, the reality is that a timeshare purchase can become a permanent financial burden. Whether you bought a timeshare with Wyndham, Marriott Vacation Club, Hilton Grand Vacations, or any other flashy timeshare brand, each one has its own set of challenges that may leave you regretting your decision. If you find yourself in this predicament, you may be wondering how to legally extricate yourself from a timeshare obligation. Here are three legitimate methods for escaping timeshare ownership.
1. Pursue the Timeshare Rescission Method
Timeshare salespeople are notorious for employing manipulative tactics to entice potential buyers into purchasing timeshares. These tactics include the “start high, go low” pricing strategy, showcasing the resort’s amenities through tours, and offering perks like complimentary breakfasts, gift cards, and free hotel stays. This high-pressure sales approach often leads to impulsive purchases that buyers may later regret. To protect consumers, timeshare developers are required to provide a rescission period, which is a cooling-off period during which buyers can cancel their contract and return the timeshare if they change their mind about the purchase. The length of the rescission period typically varies from 3-10 days, depending on state law.
If you have recently signed a timeshare contract and are reading this within the first few days, you may be able to take advantage of the rescission period as a legal means to get out of the timeshare. However, it is important to proceed with caution and follow specific guidelines. The first step is to write a cancellation letter to your timeshare developer, referencing the exact date of the purchase and the type of timeshare you bought. The language used in the cancellation letter should mirror the terms and conditions outlined in your timeshare agreement, including the developer’s cancellation protocols.
It’s worth noting that some developers may try to persuade you to consider an alternative timeshare or offer other deals in response to your cancellation letter. Therefore, it is crucial to be clear in your communication that cancellation is the only option you will accept, and that you expect a full refund of any fees paid. Additionally, be mindful of the delivery method for your cancellation letter, ensuring it is sent through a secure postal method or delivered in person within the rescission period. If the letter reaches the developer after the rescission period has expired, you may not be able to cancel the contract.
2. Put Your Timeshare on the Resale Market
Once the rescission period has expired, you may have limited options to exit your timeshare. If your timeshare developer does not offer a deed-back program, which is the case for many developers, you may consider entering the timeshare resale market. However, before doing so, it is crucial to check your contract and consult with your developer, as attempting to sell your timeshare without their permission could result in contract violations and costly fees.
If you decide to explore the resale market, start by researching similar listings in your resort and its vicinity to get an idea of the prices being offered. Online platforms like eBay or Craigslist can provide insights into the competitive pricing landscape. Unfortunately, due to the saturation of the timeshare resale market, prices can sometimes be as low as $0, as many owners are eager to part with their timeshares without seeking profit.
It’s important to understand that timeshare resales are highly competitive and often do not result in profitable sales. Even if you hire a real estate agent specializing in timeshare sales, success can be elusive. This is because many timeshare owners find themselves in the same situation as you: burdened by annual maintenance fees and regretting their timeshare purchases. The market for timeshare resales is oversaturated, making it challenging to differentiate your listing and find a buyer.
Furthermore, as a timeshare owner, you may have an outstanding loan payable to your timeshare company. Even if you are able to sell or give away your timeshare, which is likely to fetch little or no value, you may still be required to pay off the loan in order to complete the sale.
3. Seek Out an Exit Company
- Many developers do not permit timeshare owners to sell their properties, and often owners do not have the funds to pay off the loan in order to sell it. If you find yourself in this situation, your only option may be to seek assistance from a timeshare exit company. However, it’s important to be cautious as there are numerous scams in the industry that prey on desperate owners. Here are some red flags to watch out for when dealing with timeshare exit companies:
- Lack of transparency about their exit strategy: If an exit company claims that their process is too complex for customers to understand, it may be a cover-up for their lack of a legitimate exit strategy.
- Request for large upfront fees without clear explanation: While most exit companies require payment upfront, they should provide a breakdown of how the funds will be used. Vague explanations should raise suspicions, as it may indicate a scam.
- Delayed or evasive communication: Dishonest exit companies often avoid responding to customer inquiries and provide evasive answers when asked for updates on the progress of the exit process.
- Unexpected requests for additional payments: Reputable exit companies should provide a clear, upfront fee for their services. If they suddenly demand more money during the process, especially without prior disclosure, it’s likely a scam.
- Poor or nonexistent reviews: Established businesses should have customer reviews, so if an exit company has negative or nonexistent reviews on platforms like Better Business Bureau or Google, it’s a warning sign to avoid working with them.
- Unfortunately, many exit companies in the timeshare industry are scams that prey on desperate owners. They take advantage of your dire situation to extract money without providing legitimate solutions. Some may even consider foreclosure as a successful exit, but not Centerstone Group.
- Centerstone Group is a reputable, Better Business Bureau A+-rated, full-service advocacy group with over 33 years of experience in the timeshare industry. Our unique three-pronged strategy involves working with established law firms, when necessary, to resolve contract issues with your timeshare developer. We take the time to understand your contract and tailor a legal strategy to help you successfully exit your timeshare.
Choose the Best Route for How to Legally Get Out of a Timeshare
- Exiting a timeshare contract can be challenging once you have signed the agreement and made a significant financial investment, especially if you are past the rescission period. While you may attempt to sell your property or seek help from a timeshare exit company, no one can provide better assistance than Centerstone Group.
- Our excellent customer reviews and high rating of 4.78 out of 5 stars are proof of our expertise in achieving successful timeshare cancellations. Contact us today for a complimentary consultation to discuss your options.