If you own a timeshare and are thinking about timeshare cancellation for whatever reason, we’ve compiled this handy guide that will help you to understand and see you through the process.
Cancelling a timeshare contract
What is the cooling off period?
In most U.S. states you’ll be able to cancel your timeshare after a fixed period. This is known as the “cooling off period” in your contract, and it tends to differ depending on where you are. In Washington State, buyers are able to cancel their contract within seven days of signing the contract or seven days after they’ve been handed the legally required disclosures. However, this depends on where your timeshare is, and if you take North Carolina as another example, the law allows the buyer only five days to cancel if you sign the contract in that state. It’s worth bearing in mind that the law in your state might refer to cancellation as “rescission” or “revocation.” You should always put your desire to cancel in writing, collect proof that this was done before the cooling off period and send the letter to the relevant company by certified mail. This way, you’re almost guaranteed a return on your deposit or monies paid.
Some timeshare companies will allow you to freely hand back your timeshare, but these are incredibly rare as there are very few resorts that have their own in-house resale service. There is no resale market for timeshares so you won’t be able to cancel your contract until it sells on as the company won’t want to risk losing money. It’s still worth checking out, though!
What to do when the cooling off period has expired
After the designated cooling off period, it’ll be incredibly rare for you to simply hand your timeshare back. In the worst case, the seller may be well within their rights to take you to court to force the completion of the contract. However, either party involved will be able to terminate the contract if they believe that it has been breached. For example, if you received false information that prompted you to sign the agreement this is known in a court of law as ‘misrepresentation’.
As the owner, failing to pay your management fees might prompt the organization to cancel your contract rather than going through the hassle that litigation would ultimately cause. Similarly, as the owner, you may decide that the organization has breached the contract by not fulfilling certain duties. If this is the route, you wish to take it’s advised that you compile some evidence. Simply walking away from your timeshare might damage your credit, however, which can stand as a huge problem for any future mortgages. You might also be subjected to creditor harassment, threatening letters and foreclosure procedures that might end up with you being out of pocket even more.
Selling your timeshare
As an alternative to cancelling you can sell time share either through the organization, an external agent or by advertising it yourself. If the timeshare organization is selling on your behalf, it’s likely that they will expect a few years of management fees upfront to cover their costs. The same goes for agents.
To sell the timeshare yourself, make sure you gather up all of the necessary documents such as the deed and maintenance fee information. Then, find out how much other similar timeshares are selling for and decide on a price. The organization that your timeshare is part of may charge a commission for the sale, so it’s worth taking this into account before you commit to a listing price.
Good places to list your timeshare include eBay, Craigslist, timeshare magazines and timeshare websites both in the region that you live and the region in which your timeshare is located. You won’t need to approach a real estate agent to complete this transaction; a title agency can handle the legal sale and transfer of the property, and they’ll have a contract for the parties involved to sign.
Contact an attorney
There are plenty of lawyers who specialize in helping owners become free from their timeshare contracts, and one that is legitimate will let you know whether or not you have any legal claims to cancel the contract you have signed. A lawyer will be able to contact the relevant people and handle any negotiations on your behalf so that a simple settlement can be reached without much hassle.