Trying to get out of timeshare ownership isn't easy. While that's not always the case, it sure is the case much of the time. But why? Purchasing your timeshare was so easy. Sure, you had to sit through an agonizing sales pitch for an unbearable amount of time, but at the end of the day, all you had to do was sign the dotted line on a stack of papers the timeshare sellers probably didn't even allow you to read. So getting out of your timeshare shouldn't be much more complicated than that, right? Wrong! Thousands of individuals and families struggle every year to get out of their timeshare purchases, often to no avail.
So first things first, we have to understand exactly why so many people are interested in terminating their timeshare agreements. Well, it's no secret that many timeshare owners are left displeased with their purchase. Poor customer reviews and complaints are more common than ever for timeshare providers and are incredibly detrimental to their reputation. But why is this happening so frequently within the timeshare industry? Let’s find out. Here are the seven things everyone should know about terminating a timeshare agreement.
It might just be that most timeshare owners were never interested in owning a timeshare whatsoever before meeting with the salespeople of these resort companies. Nobody ever wakes up one day and decides they want to purchase a timeshare and do so. Instead, it is a much more gruesome experience that many have had to endure.
Practically all timeshares purchases happen during these infamous sales presentations, of which they have to lure prospective clients through discounts and other forms of bribery. I'm sure you have had the experience of being on the receiving end of a cold-call offering you a free trip or a discounted vacation. Most people ignore these calls or hang up quickly, and truthfully, this is probably the best plan to have. Once they rope you into a sales presentation, you will soon enough be sitting through a terrifying, nightmarish experience of a sales pitch. Thousands of people get sold on the dream of traveling the world and saving a fortune. Unfortunately, it'll more likely equate to rare opportunities for vacations and a mountain's worth of debt, or worse, timeshare foreclosures.
If you are lucky, you changed your mind very early on or were just quick enough to realize your terrible mistake in purchasing a timeshare. If you catch your mistake early enough, you might have a chance of an easy exit from the whole situation. Before we get deep into this subject, I want to go ahead and preface this by saying all states are different, so this particular timeshare law can vary throughout them all. If you are in a situation where you are trying to get out from under your timeshare agreement, then it is vital that you adequately research your state laws before moving forward.
Like many other high-priced purchases, a timeshare agreement comes with a rescission period that allows you to back out of the deal within a specific time frame following the initial purchase. The time frame you have to work with can vary from state to state, but it will typically not last anywhere between 3 and 15 business days. And that's if you're lucky. As many families purchase timeshares on vacation, it is pretty standard for this 'cooling-off' period to have expired by the time they return home from their trip. If you find yourself still within the rescission period, consider yourself lucky because now all you have to do is write and deliver a timeshare cancellation letter to the resort company. Typically, it is still required to cancel in writing for most timeshares. Once again, each state will vary with specific instructions for this. So, be sure to research your state laws beforehand.
When your right of rescission period is over, getting out of your deal becomes trickier than simply writing a timeshare cancellation letter. But that is no reason to lose hope as there are other alternatives. Once the cooling-off period has ended, the process becomes more expensive and time-consuming for the timeshare owner(s). Of course, this is all at the discretion of the timeshare company. Just as hard as they worked and fought to get you into a timeshare purchase, they will do the same to get you to stay.
Try to talk with a timeshare representative about canceling a timeshare, and there's a good chance you leave that conversation in even more debt. Yes, you read that correctly. Just as the salespeople prey on those in weak moments to purchase a timeshare, they will again take advantage of you and attempt to sell you on something else, like an upgrade to your timeshare unit. They will tell you how it will fix all the issues you've been having with the timeshare, and you will be able to soon travel all over the globe. Sound familiar? That's because it's the same condition of service they sold you on the first time, which they failed to deliver. So if you are adamant about terminating your timeshare agreement, do not fall for any nonsensical upgrades, which will only cripple you more. If the resort is open and willing to repurchase the timeshare from you, then go for it, but that would be rare.
So after not receiving any help from the timeshare company, you have decided to take things into your own hands to get out of the situation. When people try to do this alone, they usually come up with two options. One, sell their unit, or two, rent it out to other users. While these ideas may seem to make sense initially, they would only be more bad decisions from a financial standpoint. However, neither route is profitable, and neither will fully clear your name from the timeshare agreement.
Look at the secondary market right now, and you can find timeshares sold for as little as one dollar. Timeshare properties are often not worth a penny and have no resale value. Many companies will offer the service of selling your timeshare, but be wary of working with them because, as we mentioned, they are nearly impossible to resell. Typically, they charge a monthly fee for listing your timeshare. That is how they make their money. Plus, your name may still be listed on the agreement even after selling. If the new timeshare owner stops paying their fees one day, it all falls back on your shoulders. Renting is another story because the timeshare companies themselves encourage owners to do so, but at the same time, they make it very difficult to rent your timeshare. Remember how you got hooked into all this mess? It was likely when you had a free or discounted stay at the timeshare resort. They get their new customers through these discounts, so how can you ever expect to compete with that. The bottom line is that renting is not profitable, and attempting to resell can lead to more financial ruin. It is best to avoid both, and fortunately, there is another way.
While a relatively new industry, timeshare cancellation companies started due to the public outcry and dissatisfaction many people had with their timeshare companies. As timeshare resorts began to decline in profits, they decided to make their agreements much more difficult to get out of for future owners. Many families needed help as timeshare debt for many was climbing to unbelievable heights, while the resorts just stood by and watched. Luckily, others saw the problem at hand and acted on it. A perfect example of this would be Wesley Financial Group, LLC ("WFG"), founded by a leader of this new industry, Chuck McDowell.
Unfortunately, there are potential scams in this new industry, so we want to stress how careful you should be when moving through it. These scam artists see a new industry trying to build up its reputation and help others, but all they think about is how they can make money off of it. They will mask themselves as a cancellation company operating under timeshare law and cold call potential clients, such as those they find who have posted a resell listing for their timeshare. They will ask for an up-front payment, and if they receive one, they will disappear and create a new name, new number, and a new scam.
It is better to avoid working with any company that cold-calls you selling their services, especially if they are asking for money right out of the gate. You need to take the proper time to research who you are working with and get an idea if they are credible or not. If your gut tells you something, it is probably best to listen. There are also a few signs to look for in a credible company. Positive customer reviews are a solid start. A group of industry professionals working within is a plus. And last but not least, make sure they offer a...
We hate to see people fall victim to scams, especially when those people are trying to get out of another scam. The best way to avoid potential fraud when working with companies like this is always to make sure they offer a 100% money-back guarantee. After going through the timeshare industry and trying to get out, you shouldn't have to pay for something unless it absolutely works.
While a guarantee of timeshare cancellation is excellent to hear, having a 100% money-back guarantee just in case something goes wrong will help you sleep better at night. Remember, your time and money are getting invested, so don't let it all go to waste.
*Wesley Financial Group, LLC, and its affiliates, successors, or assigns are not lawyers or a law firm and do not engage in the practice of law or provide legal advice or legal representation. All information, software, services, and comments provided on this site are for informational and self-help purposes only and not intended to substitute for professional advice, legal or otherwise.