Most people like vacations, but we all look for ways to save money and still have a good time. Some accomplish this feat by listening to a timeshare presentation by a highly skilled company salesperson on joining a timeshare users group.
The pitch may include anything from a voucher for a discounted weekend getaway to the romantic promise of a lovely residence near a resort you can use. You would share the bottom line with others, vacationing once a year for a monthly fee, instead of spending thousands on a vacation club or hotel.
People fall for this trap daily and spend years wishing they could find the best way to get rid of timeshare commitments.
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Are Timeshares Good Vacation Options?
A timeshare is a wonderful idea on paper, but it comes with ever-increasing monthly maintenance fees, annual payments, and other costs that can leave you swimming in debt. Timeshare developers and resorts make money from your payments, and the contracts you sign to become a timeshare owner can be difficult to cancel.
Some unfavorable methods that people use to get out of timeshares are damaging to credit scores. It may not be the most effective way to free yourself of the ownership obligations. If you’re wondering how to get rid of a timeshare, here are some of the most beneficial exit options and common mistakes to avoid.
How to Get Rid of Timeshare Legally
Call Timeshare Developer
When you change your mind about investing in a vacation timeshare after signing the contract, that original sales pitch seems less attractive. You might consider contacting the timeshare developers to cancel the contract or make arrangements that are more appealing. It might include taking the timeshare back or forfeiting the annual fees, but this doesn’t always work.
Rescind the Contract
The rescission period is a brief opportunity to cancel a timeshare. It usually begins immediately after signing the contract and could last up to 15 days, but the details depend on state laws. The Federal Trade Commission does allow a minimum of three days for timeshare owners to change their minds.
For example, Colorado residents have up to five consecutive days after purchasing timeshares to cancel their contracts. Alaska residents may be able to use up to 15 days.
The contract must include a “right to cancel” clause, so read the document thoroughly. You will need to act quickly if you have a change of heart about your investment.
In most situations, timeshare companies will demand that owners submit cancellation requests in writing. Crafting the letter is incredibly important to ensure you have no further financial obligations to the property.
Crafting Timeshare Cancellation Letters
All timeshare cancellation letters must include:
- The current date and purchase date
- Your name as it’s written in the original contract
- Your contact information, such as address and phone number
- The name of the timeshare company
- The timeshare’s description as per the contract
- A declarative statement that you are canceling the contract
Some contracts allow for a verbal cancellation, but it is better to send a letter for documented proof of your request date. You don’t have to explain explicitly why you rescind the contract, but you must clearly state that the letter is a cancellation notice.
Sell Your Timeshare
Some people miss their rescission period because they needed time to weigh their options. Others chose to continue paying for the vacation property. Even still, there are ways to escape the timeshare nightmare if you purchased it years ago.
At the top of the list is selling the property, but not all timeshare owners have that option. If you are paying off a loan for the property, you must first complete all these repayments to move forward with a sale of your share in the residence.
To sell your timeshare, first find out how much your share is worth. Start by contacting a professional real estate agent who understands the area’s market value. You can also research timeshare resale websites or listings on Craigslist and eBay to view final sale prices.
Hire a Lawyer
One of the reasons timeshares become a money pit is because many owners accept upgrades for their properties. Each time you take an offer, you accept a new contract, even if it’s as simple as changing your preferred vacation week. Before you know it, you have multiple ironclad contracts that you can’t shake.
If in doubt, hire an attorney to help you navigate the legal landscape. Seek a law firm with experience in timeshare and exit contracts. These professionals are able to get you out of the contract under most circumstances and help you deal with debt collectors surrounding the timeshare’s monthly and annual maintenance fees and other associated costs.
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Use A Timeshare Exit Company
Another effective timeshare exit strategy is to seek third-party assistance, specifically a timeshare exit company. These timeshare exit companies use their industry experience to help you leave your unwanted timeshare contract, educating you on the best methods to use when dealing with challenging timeshares.
The unfortunate aspect of working with a timeshare exit team is that not all services represent legitimate assistance. Some prey on the vulnerable, sending mailers or cold-calling older vacationers who bought timeshares years ago and want to get rid of their timeshare for various reasons. It may be because they no longer use the home or afford to pay the maintenance fee.
These companies often use intense sales pitches to convince people to use their resources for escaping timeshare contracts. Ironically, the approach is similar to the one that timeshare companies use to sell the timeshare purchase in the first place.
There are legitimate timeshare exit companies that will take the time to help clients, but don’t be fooled. Anyone who promises to get rid of your timeshare for high upfront costs, even with a money-back guarantee, is pushing boundaries. If a timeshare exit team is fraudulent, you end up losing thousands of dollars and still have an obligation to the timeshare as an owner.
Instead, look for companies that don’t expect immediate payment before rendering services. Choose those who offer invaluable experience dealing with timeshares and know ways to get out of a timeshare contract legally.
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Mistakes Timeshare Owners Make When Getting Rid of a Timeshare
When it comes to getting rid of your timeshare, you may receive bad advice about handling the situation, or act impulsively out of desperation. Perhaps, you can no longer vacation because of illness, or you struggle to keep up with the annual or monthly maintenance fee for the timeshare.
Here are some common mistakes timeshare owners make when trying to get rid of their vacation property:
Stop Payments on Timeshare
One of the worst ways to walk away from a timeshare is to stop paying maintenance fees and associated costs, including loans you had to purchase your share of the vacation home.
When you stop paying your bill, it is sent to a collection agency. The company will then make many attempts to collect the debt, and you will take a severe hit on your credit report. The fallout is severe, affecting everything from purchasing a new residential property to acquiring credit cards for years to come.
Give Timeshare Away
If you desperately want to escape your obligations, you may consider giving your timeshare away to charity. The idea is that the donation will benefit a charitable organization that schedules annual retreats for their workers or clients. It is a noble gift, but it can still leave you with financial obligations.
Selling your timeshare or donating it requires the property to be of some value. Charities that will consider a timeshare donation and take over the contract often request that owners pay off the property to take care of any outstanding fees. The organization may even ask you to continue paying the maintenance fee for a predetermined time, so you will still have a financial obligation to a timeshare you no longer use.
You may want to give it away to a family member instead, but this doesn’t always work out well. The transfer is still a legally binding deal that requires lots of paperwork and details to iron out before the exchange can occur. You will have to ensure your payments are up to date and hire a third party to facilitate the complicated transfer, but you must also clearly communicate the timeshare’s financial obligations to your relative.
Rent Timeshare Out
Instead of donating your timeshare to charity or giving it to loved ones, you may want to rent it out. The option usually gives people the impression they can make money off their timeshare or break even with the fees they must pay, but this is rare. Renting isn’t an effective way to deal with your timeshare for several reasons.
Check out our top-rated Timeshare Cancellation Experts