How to Legally Exit Your Timeshare Contract

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You are bleeding money if you are keeping a timeshare contract and not using the property every year. If you are in this situation, you are probably looking for ways to get rid of your timeshare contract. Doing so will free up some cash and help you stop the financial bleeding from their numerous fees. In this article, we will go on a deep dive on how to legally exit your timeshare agreement.

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You are not alone if you feel like you want to get out of your timeshare. Many people have been talked into buying one. Most, even have lifetime contracts. The majority of them did not know what they were buying into when signing the contract. Some were even misled by aggressive sales practices and false promises. The timeshare market had been growing for almost a decade before the pandemic. Now, millions of timeshare owners are looking for ways to exit their agreement to get rid of the financial burden.

If you feel the same way, read on as we talk about the best route to take when getting rid of your timeshare:

Why Is It so Hard to Legally Exit a Timeshare Contract?

1. Timeshare exit mismanagement can be costly

Timeshare contracts are legally binding. Your timeshare’s collection company will keep reminding you of this fact if you miss your payments. Also, a mismanaged exit strategy can impact your credit score. Sometimes, it can lead to prolonged legal battles. If you have doubts about how to manage your timeshare contract cancellation, you may consider working with an expert. 

2. Timeshare Resorts have a lot to lose  

Timeshare resorts will do everything in their power to keep owners from exiting their contracts. The resorts and hotel industries are some of the hardest hit by the pandemic. Timeshare owners are a recurring source of income for them. If these owners can opt-out easily, they may lose the only income stream keeping their company standing.

3. Timeshare contracts have extremely short rescission periods 

FORZA Rescission Period Definition - A period after the purchase when a buyer may cancel the timeshare agreement without incurring penalties.
Timeshare companies are usually required to have a rescission period. In this period, you are free to act upon your buyer’s remorse and cancel your timeshare purchase without incurring a penalty. Don’t get your hopes up, though. Timeshare rescission periods are notorious for being extremely short. In most cases, you only have three days to change your mind.

Contracts that are beyond their cooling-off period are difficult to cancel. Both parties need to reach an agreement to end the contract. Unfortunately, some resort developers will want you to keep your commitments and prevent you from getting out of the contract.

4. Selling timeshares is not as easy as salespeople make it out to be 

“If you no longer want to own a timeshare, just sell it,” is probably one of the most common lies in the timeshare sales book. This line puts you at ease, and it makes you think that you can quickly exit this legal commitment when you feel like it. They will say anything to get you to sign. 

What Happens If You Stop Paying Timeshare Maintenance Fees?

Far too many people think they can just stop paying their timeshare fees to get out of their contract. There is a good chance that you will hurt your credit score if you take this option. If you stop paying, the timeshare resort has multiple options to take. One is to pester you with calls from a collections team. The resort also has the option to file for foreclosure. If they are successful, this will significantly impact your credit score for seven years or more.

If you want to get rid of your timeshare, make sure that you do it legally. Don’t just abandon your legal obligations. If the company sues you, they may go after your assets and ruin your financial life.

The best way to get out of your contract is to communicate with the resort. You can do this yourself, or you can hire someone to negotiate with them for you. We discuss these strategies more below.

Can You Sell Your Timeshare for a Profit?

One of the most common misconceptions in the timeshare industry is that this product appreciates in value. Timeshare sales presentations often say that you can quickly sell these contracts in the secondary market, but timeshares are not investment products. Many buyers were made to believe they were investing by owning property at a timeshare. 

 

In my many years in the industry, I’ve heard many stories from people who were trying to legally exit their timeshare agreement by selling it but couldn’t get anyone to purchase it.

If these options are not available, what's the best strategy to get out of my contract?

Doing Everything Yourself

If you have the time, you can research how to do it yourself.  After that, you can communicate with the timeshare resort representative for the options they recommend to get you out of the contract. For example, you could try selling it back to the resort. Another option is to write a letter to the resort detailing why you are no longer able to afford your timeshare.

Timeshare Exit Strategies that We Recommend:

Getting rid of your timeshare on your own can be a daunting task, but it is not impossible. Here in the Forza Consumer Group, we encourage you to try to end your contract yourself.

 

Here are a few strategies you can try:

Strategies for Exiting your Timeshare

1. Call the Resort Company

The first step to getting rid of your timeshare is to contact the resort company. Check your contract for the contact information of the team in charge of facilitating timeshare exits. 

Ask them for the solutions they can offer for you to legally exit your contract. Some of them have programs that will help you transfer your commitments to other people.  

Be warned, though, that there are reports stating that some of the offices in charge of communicating with exiting timeshare owners are trained to keep selling rather than to help you exit. They will either sell you more of their products or convince you that it is within your best interests to keep your timeshare contract: 

Forza Blog Quote Images from Forbes.com about timeshare exit offices

2. Send a Cancellation Letter to the Resort

In most cases, you will need to write a cancellation/exit letter to the company. In this letter, let the resort know about the new life circumstances that make you unable to afford to keep your timeshare. 

Send it as soon as possible and keep a copy of your letter. If the contract is new, there may be a chance that you are still within the rescission period, and you may be able to get out without any penalties. 

We wrote a guide on what to include in your cancellation letter here.

3. Resell Your Timeshare

You also have the option to list your property on the timeshare resell market. You may take this option if you are not satisfied with the solutions offered by the resort company for getting out of your timeshare agreement. A number of websites offer services related to reselling your timeshare. Many of them require payment, so research about them first before using their services.

 

For instance, you can try to get rid of your timeshare by listing it in a timeshare marketplace. These websites will allow you to list your property on their website and facilitate the sale when they find a buyer. 

 

You also have the option to hire a real estate agent to assist you with the sale. Make sure that they are licensed to sell timeshares in their state and that they have positive reviews online. 

 

Be careful when hiring others to sell your timeshare property. The FTC warns against scammers who take advantage of people trying to get rid of their timeshare using this method.

Hiring a Timeshare Attorney

Some lawyers specialize in timeshare exit cases. An attorney will make sure that your interests are represented when negotiating the terms of your contract. They have the knowledge and the experience to get you out of your legal commitment.

If you are not sure if you need a legal team in your quest to get out of your timeshare contract, schedule a no-pressure call with us to explore your options.

Hiring a Timeshare Exit Company

A timeshare exit company manages the exit process for their clients by communicating with the resort on the client’s behalf. If your case does not require legal representation, this might not be the option for you. They will negotiate your legal exit from the contract with the resort on your behalf.

 

Some timeshare exit teams partner with attorneys to offer a full range of options for their clients. Forza Consumer Group, for example, is partnered with Molfetta Law to make sure our clients are represented by a seasoned attorney if needed.

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