If sales statistics are anything to go by, the $10,5 billion timeshare industry seems to have escaped the bad reputation it held for so long. Just because people are buying a timeshare, doesn’t mean they can all afford it, though.
Are you one of the millions of people who committed to ongoing expenses you can’t afford by buying a timeshare? Are you frustrated by never being able to get the bookings you want via your timeshare points club?
It is possible to cancel your timeshare when you no longer want or need it.
Keep reading for some good advice about canceling a timeshare.
1. Read Your Contract Carefully
Ideally, you should do this bit before you sign your contract. It’s vital to know exactly what you’re getting into when you sign a long-term contract and it will hold clues about timeshare termination.
Some timeshares expire on a particular date and some have exit policies. Unfortunately, the majority of timeshare agreements are for life.
Some even have a ‘perpetuity clause’. That means forever, not ‘for life’. So, when you pass away, you’ve got to hand your timeshare problem over to someone else.
Although your options for cancellation, if any, may vary from resort to resort, all timeshare contracts must have a rescission period. This could be a few days or a couple of weeks depending on the location of the timeshare.
Each state sets its own time frame for you to change your mind, but the FTC rule is three days at least.
By law, you can walk away from your contract within this cooling-off phase, without any consequences. Once again, make sure you know all the requirements, as stated in your contract, for canceling during this timeframe.
Always place your request to cancel in writing.
Your contract might also have a deed back clause, which means the developer must take it back subject to certain conditions.
2. Call the Resort Developer First
Your first port of call when selling a timeshare is to call the developer or resort and ask them to cancel your contract. If you own a high-demand week, they might take it back without too much upheaval.
If your developer offers a deed back program, they may even offer to buy your timeshare back – at a vastly reduced price, of course.
Eligibility requirements differ depending on the developer, but most of them insist you pay all your charges in full first. Some developers charge a fee for this service.
A deed back clause entitles you to return your weeks to the developer if you no longer want them, as long as your payments are up to date. They won’t pay you anything for the weeks.
If your contract doesn’t have a deed back clause, you can still try calling the developer to take your week back.
Make sure you speak to someone in the cancellations or deed back department. Otherwise, you could end up speaking to yet another salesperson who could talk you out of your decision to cancel your timeshare.
In most cases, you won’t succeed when you go this route – at least not the first time.
If you’re prepared to keep phoning and pleading with them, you might eventually convince them to take the timeshare back. It’s highly unlikely though.
3. Avoid Resale Market Scams
There is a high demand for some of the most popular timeshare options, like Disney Vacation Club and Hilton Grand Vacations. That said, there’s a big difference in price between resale weeks and ‘new’ weeks.
You stand to lose thousands if you try to sell your timeshare this way. That is if you manage to find a buyer.
Most timeshare resales remain on the market for a very long time. Some never find one.
You still have to pay your resort maintenance fees, the whole time your week is on the market.
On top of it all, you’ll find numerous resellers making all kinds of promises in return for a marketing fee or some other fee. Never pay money upfront to a timeshare resale broker.
These agents need a realtor’s license to resell your weeks and they should take their commission out of the sale of your week, like a real estate agent does.
4. Try Selling It Yourself
If you don’t want to hamper your sale with fixed prices, you can sell it privately, too. Again, if you own a sought-after week, you could get a little more for it than on the resale market.
Selling your timeshare this way takes time and money. You’ll need to pay for marketing and advertising costs and there’s a good chance you’ll come across a few scam artists when you sell your weeks this way, too.
If you decide to sell your week on the open market, don’t accept a deposit or any payment plans for it. Cash up front is the only way to go.
5. Don’t Donate Your Timeshare to Someone Else
If you don’t want your timeshare week anymore, there’s very little chance your family and friends want it.
Everyone knows you’re saddled with lifelong bills when you commit to a timeshare contract. Giving your timeshare to someone else is unfair and unethical unless they ask you for it.
Never donate your timeshare to a charity organization. That’s just cruel.
They won’t be able to afford the ongoing costs of a timeshare and there’s only a slim chance they’ll make any money from renting it out.
If you give your timeshare away, and the recipient stops paying for it, you could end up being responsible for the outstanding amounts.
6. Hiring a Lawyer Is Expensive
Lawyers are a great asset when you’re going head-to-head with a considerable adversary, like the timeshare industry. Yet, their skills don’t come cheap.
Most lawyers charge between $100 and $300 per hour.
If you’re already in over your head with debt thanks to owning a timeshare, it’s unlikely you want to add to your financial woes. The truth is, there’s not much a lawyer can do if you’ve signed a legally binding contract with the company that sold you your timeshare.
Unless you find a lawyer who’s experienced in this kind of procedure, you could end up paying them for hour upon hour of work, just to get out of your contract. You’ll also need to pay for court-related fees, whether you win or lose your case.
What about timeshare exit experts, there seem to be plenty of them around?
7. Beware of Fraudulent Exit Companies
You must proceed cautiously when you investigate timeshare cancellation companies to help you sell your timeshare. There are many unscrupulous agents out there preying on people who are desperate to get out of their timeshares.
These are some of the red flags to look out for:
- The exit company calls you out of the blue.
- They demand a large front payment
- They seem ‘too-good-to-be-true
If you end up working with one of these fraudulent companies, they’ll always need a little more time and a little more money to help you cancel your timeshare but they’ll never succeed.
Rather, take your time researching the best timeshare cancellation companies, check reviews, and call them up to enquire about how their processes work.
It’s worth the extra effort to ensure you don’t end up more out of pocket, and you’ll eventually manage to get rid of your timeshare when you work with a reputable company.
8. Don’t Stop Paying Your Maintenance Fees
This is the last resort when it comes to timeshare cancellation methods, and it’s rarely a good idea.
Indeed, timeshare developers don’t usually go to the time and expense of taking you to court for the outstanding balance. Yet, defaulting on your bills will still hurt your credit record.
Sometimes, the developer may simply give up on their collection efforts and cancel your contract due to unpaid fees, but they’re still going to let the credit bureau know about your non-payment.
It can take a very long time to repair your credit rating, and you can’t do it without settling your debt, so rather try to stay up to date with your payments for as long as you can.
Get Help Canceling a Timeshare
Most importantly, canceling a timeshare isn’t something you should try on your own. Rather get the help you need from our consumer advocates.
We offer fair pricing, with the option to finance our costs if the need arises, attentive service, and guaranteed results. Get in touch today and let us help you get rid of your timeshare once and for all.