Did you just buy a timeshare… and now you’re wondering “can I cancel?” That’s the situation we’ll cover here. As a timeshare cancellation company with 10 years of experience and more than 15,650 satisfied customers, these are our expert tips on how to cancel a timeshare you JUST bought.
First, it’s important to know that you are not alone. A study by Dr. Amy Gregory, Associate Professor at the University of Central Florida, showed that 85% of timeshare purchasers regret buying a timeshare. In addition, 41% of timeshare purchases end up regretting buying a timeshare despite never thinking that they would. That’s a lot of timeshare owners regretting their purchase. We also hear similar feelings firsthand from a lot of our customers on a daily basis.
There are many reasons you might be feeling regret immediately after buying a timeshare. In fact, Dr. Gregory’s research also shows that 95% of timeshare purchasers follow up with their resort and/or sales team for more information about the sale, typically within one to three days after the purchase. Here are some of the types of stories we’ve heard from timeshare owners about regretting their purchase. Do any of these feel familiar?
• They felt like they were misled into buying a timeshare
• They felt like they made a mistake and felt stressed by high-pressure sales pitches
• They felt like they got swept away while on vacation and had a change of heart after returning home
• They felt unsure after getting a chance to do research in their hotel room after the pitch
If this sounds like you, try not to worry. It is possible to get out of your timeshare. Keep on reading to see what you can do about it. But first, let’s cover some background information on timeshare ownership and contracts that can be important to know and understand.
Before we get into how you can cancel a timeshare you just bought, it can be helpful to understand what a timeshare purchase is – and what it is not.
A Timeshare Purchase Is a Contract
A timeshare purchase is not like a traditional purchase, such as buying a shirt in a store that can most likely be returned or exchanged with a receipt. Instead, a timeshare purchase is a financial obligation that is made by signing a contract. Oftentimes it is made by taking out a loan. It is a legal agreement between you and the timeshare resort. Therefore, if you want to cancel a timeshare, you need to cancel a contract. You are seeking to cancel a legal agreement.
Timeshare Contracts Are Usually Written ‘In Perpetuity’
It is very common for timeshare contracts to be written ‘in perpetuity.’ What does that mean? According to Merriam-Webster, ‘in perpetuity is a legal way of saying “forever.” This means that you are most likely financially responsible and contractually obligated to the terms of the timeshare contract for the rest of your life. In addition, so are your children or other beneficiaries when they inherit your timeshare.
While your timeshare loan is repaid within the finite term length of your loan, a timeshare contract typically requires a timeshare purchaser to pay ongoing maintenance and/or special assessment fees. These fees continue as long as you own the timeshare and typically increase 6-10% every year. This means that you are responsible for paying these fees for the rest of your life and that the amount will most likely increase year after year. Your children and/or beneficiaries will then be responsible for these fees after they inherit your timeshare.
Let’s give an example of what these fees may start to look like over time. Let’s say your maintenance fees are $1000 per year when you first purchase your timeshare. That may seem relatively affordable at first to someone. However, let’s say the maintenance fee increases by 10% next year. That means the amount owed will be $1110. If it keeps increasing by 10% every year, you could owe $1210 the following year. The year after it could be $1331. If it keeps increasing by 10% every year, in 10 years you could be responsible for $2357.95. In 20 years, that number could turn into $6115.91 per year. By the time a timeshare gets inherited by beneficiaries, the amount they owe could be even higher.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t take into account special assessment fees. Special assessment fees are different from maintenance fees and are often included in a timeshare purchase contract as another financial obligation. Special assessment fees are for unforeseen expenses, such as a new roof, weather events, etc., and can usually be charged at any time. Therefore, they can be hard to predict and estimate. Like maintenance fees, the responsibility of paying special assessment fees can also be passed down to your children and/or other beneficiaries.
Timeshares Can Be Very Hard to Sell or Rent
If you just bought a timeshare and are thinking about selling it or renting it as a way to get out of your contract, it’s important to know that while not impossible, it can be difficult to do so. In addition, it can be important to know that timeshare resale scams exist, so you can be careful to avoid them. You can learn more about timeshare resale scams through the Federal Trade Commission and Consumer Reports.
Timeshare Can Be Hard to Donate
Timeshares can also be hard to donate or give away. It may sound surprising since timeshares can be expensive, but it can be challenging to find an organization that will accept a timeshare as a donation. The reason is often because of the in perpetuity fees that tend to increase year after year. The expenses tend to be something that a lot of organizations don’t want to assume.
Ways You Can Try to Cancel a Timeshare You Just Bought
Now that we covered some general background information on what a timeshare is, what is not, and what the obligation typically entails, let’s dive into two ways you can try to cancel a timeshare you just bought.
#1. Timeshare Rescission
Timeshare Rescission Overview
According to Merriam-Webster, rescission is “the act of rescinding.” It is a legal term for canceling a contract, and contracts commonly have what is called a rescission clause. In timeshare contracts, a rescission clause – also known as a “cooling-off period” – is typically a short window of time that a timeshare owner has to cancel a timeshare contract after they have signed. This is a narrow time period – typically a matter of days to a couple of weeks – and the time period varies substantially depending on where the contract was signed.
For example, if you are looking to cancel a timeshare in South Carolina, you have a five-day rescission window (at the time of writing this). Please note: laws are always changing and you need to research what the rescission laws in your state, country, or territory are that apply to you. Every location is different.
Another important thing to note is that you are subject to the laws of the area where you signed, not the area where you live. In the example above, if you bought a timeshare in South Carolina, then South Carolina timeshare cancellation laws apply to you. This is the case even if you don’t live in South Carolina. What matters is where the timeshare was purchased, even if it was abroad. Again though, laws are constantly changing and can vary greatly by region, so please keep this in mind when reading. Please also keep in mind that while our expertise is in timeshare cancellation, we are not timeshare lawyers.
Let’s look at another example. Let’s say you live in Florida, but bought a timeshare in Nevada. The Nevada timeshare rescission period (at the time of writing this) also happens to be a five-day rescission window. However, if you purchased in Florida and live in Nevada, you have a ten-day rescission window. That’s on the longer end of the spectrum. Some windows are on the shorter end. For example, let’s look at Massachusetts. If you purchase a timeshare in Massachusetts, you have a three-day rescission window. Again, please note that these timeframes can change, so it’s very important to do research on what the legal rescission period is within the state, country, or territory that you purchased your timeshare.
There are a few other important pieces of information to know about rescission. It’s important to research and understand when the clock in your rescission period starts ticking. Is it after you’ve signed, after you’ve received the public offering statement, etc.? In addition, different states, countries, and territories have very different laws surrounding how to go about rescission. It is important to research all of this and it can be very important that you follow the law and any instructions in your contract exactly.
If you’re looking for a chart summarizing the various rescission periods in all 50 states within the U.S., here is a reference document. It is also important to read the fine print of your individual timeshare contract so that you are aware of all the details surrounding the rescission of your particular contract. As mentioned several times, please note that laws are continually changing and this is meant to be a rough guide, not definitive legal advice. We are not lawyers.
Lastly, it might also be helpful to know that the average timeshare rescission rate is 15%. 15% is also the average rate of people who buy a timeshare after getting a sales presentation. So you are not alone.
How to Cancel a Timeshare Within a Rescission Period
So now that you have a general understanding of timeshare rescission, how do you cancel a timeshare within a rescission period? That’s what we’ll cover next.
Let’s go back to our Nevada timeshare rescission example. Unfortunately, rescission in Nevada (or any area that we’re aware of for that matter), isn’t as simple as filling out a Nevada timeshare cancellation form. The actual process is a little more complicated and can vary by region. Here is a brief overview of some general best practices and tips:
• Research: Research the timeshare rescission period for the geographical area you purchased your timeshare in. Also, read your contract fully to make sure you are within the rescission period of your contract.
• Pay Attention to Detail: Read your timeshare contract with a fine-tooth comb and pay attention to all the details. Your timeshare contract will most likely include important details about canceling your timeshare within your rescission period. You will most likely need to follow these instructions exactly, as there is a possibility that if you don’t follow all steps and stipulations as they are written, you may not be able to cancel your contract within your rescission period.
• Write a Cancellation Letter: Most rescission cancellation procedures require you to deliver a cancellation notification in writing. In general, delivering rescission notification in writing is prudent, as there may not be proper phone or in-person conversation records. Even if your contract or local laws allow for oral cancellations, it’s typically a good idea to also deliver your cancellation in writing. Here are a few types of things that are typically important to include in your cancellation letter, although requirements for different geographical areas and contracts can vary:
• A direct and clear written statement that you are within your rescission period and that the purpose of the written statement is to rescind and cancel your timeshare contract within the rescission window.
• Date you are writing/delivering the letter (make sure you are within your rescission window)
• Date you purchased your timeshare
• Full names of all timeshare purchasers that are included in the contract, as they are listed in the contract
• Contact details for all timeshare purchasers, including address, phone, and email address
• Name of your timeshare company (typically how it is listed in the contract)
• Timeshare description (exactly as it is written in the contract/paperwork)
• Anything else that your timeshare contract stipulates must be included in your notification of rescission
One thing that you shouldn’t need to include? There shouldn’t be a need to give a reason for the cancellation if you are within your rescission period. It is enough simply to state that you want to cancel, unless your timeshare contract stipulates otherwise.
• Keep Records of Everything: You also want to make sure that you keep copies of your letter and all others documents you send to your timeshare resort. It is also best to keep a record of all correspondence with your timeshare company, as this is the cancellation of a legal contract.
• Get Proof of Delivery: When you deliver your cancellation letter, it is generally a good idea to get proof of delivery in writing. The same goes for any oral cancellations if that is the legal path you have chosen. There may even be instructions on exactly how to deliver your rescission cancellation notice within your timeshare contract. It is usually very important to follow the instructions included in your timeshare contract.
• Legal Assistance if Necessary: The general guidelines here are some typical best practices, but we are not timeshare lawyers. If you have any specific, legal questions about timeshare rescission or you want the help of a timeshare lawyer to rescind your contract, we advise you to seek the legal assistance you need.
Please note that we are not timeshare attorneys. For specific legal advice on your situation, you should consult a timeshare lawyer.
What if You Have Trouble Canceling Your Timeshare Contract via Timeshare Rescission?
What do you do if you encounter trouble enacting your timeshare contract’s rescission clause? We’ve heard stories from customers that they have been unable to rescind their contract for a wide variety of reasons. If this is you, don’t worry. There is a second way to cancel your timeshare contract – working with a timeshare cancellation company. More on that below.
What if You Are Past Your Timeshare Rescission Window?
If you are past your timeshare rescission window, don’t worry. It is still possible to cancel your timeshare by working with a timeshare cancellation company. This leads us to the second way you can cancel a timeshare you just bought.
#2. Timeshare Cancellation Companies
If you are past your timeshare rescission window, working with a timeshare cancellation company is the easy way to cancel your timeshare.
What Is a Timeshare Cancellation Company?
A timeshare cancellation service is a company that will negotiate with your timeshare resort to get you out of your timeshare contract – legally and permanently. The timeshare industry is a niche market. A timeshare cancellation company is a skilled group of timeshare cancellation experts who are very familiar with the ins and outs of the timeshare industry. A timeshare cancellation company is there to help you navigate through the often-complicated terrain of canceling a timeshare, and some of the very best ones will take all of the work off of your plate.
To understand what a timeshare cancellation service does is also to understand what it does not do. A timeshare cancellation service is not a law firm and its experts are not attorneys. However, when and if your situation requires it, a timeshare cancellation service can bring in and work with a timeshare attorney. In that regard, they can be a best-of-both-worlds approach to timeshare cancellation. In addition, timeshare cancellation services don’t sell or rent your timeshare.
One other important piece of information is that timeshare cancellation companies typically take 6-24 months to cancel your timeshare, so it’s important to be patient while your timeshare cancellation service works to get you out of your timeshare contract.
If you want to read more about why timeshare cancellation is the easy way to get rid of your timeshare, you can read our blog here. If you want to learn more about how to choose the best timeshare cancellation company, we’ve written more about that here.
In conclusion, yes, you can cancel a timeshare you just bought. If you just bought a timeshare and you are within your timeshare’s rescission window, it should be within your legal rights to cancel your timeshare contract. However, this rescission window varies depending on where you purchased your timeshare – not the geographical area you live in – and is typically just a matter of days. If you are outside of your rescission window, you can still cancel your timeshare by working with a timeshare cancellation company.
If you have any questions, Timeshare Freedom Group is the leading timeshare cancellation company in the industry. Over the last 10+ years, we’ve worked with more than 15,650 satisfied customers. Our timeshare cancellation experts are here to help answer any questions you may have and can help you cancel a timeshare you just bought if you are outside your rescission window. You can schedule a free consultation with us here or call us at (866) 668-6872.
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