You may have purchased a timeshare so you could escape once a year, but if you’re reading this, chances are now you want to escape from your timeshare. Maybe you’ve already tried but haven’t succeeded. You may even be asking yourself “why are timeshares so hard to get rid of?” That’s what we’ll cover in this blog.
Before we dig in though, it’s can be important to know that you are not alone. According to a study by Dr. Amy Gregory, Associate Professor at the Rosen College of Hospitality Management at the University of Central Florida, 85% of buyers end up regretting their timeshare. Dr. Gregory also found that 41% of timeshare owners never thought they would end up regretting buying a timeshare, but did in the end. In addition, 30% considered themselves feeling neutral before buying their timeshare, but they also ended up regretting it in the end. The reasons vary, whether it be for financial concerns, fear, feeling like they don’t trust their timeshare company, and many more, but the end result is the same – the heaviness of a regretful purchase.
At Timeshare Freedom Group, the leading timeshare cancellation company in the industry, we have heard a lot of stories from regretful timeshare owners who want out. Over the last 10+ years, we have worked with more than 15,650 satisfied timeshare cancellation customers. Here are some of the reasons it can feel so hard to get out of your timeshare contract, as well as a way to get out of your timeshare the easy way.
1. Timeshare Purchases Are Legal Contracts
Buying a timeshare isn’t the same as buying a shirt, couch, or even airline tickets. Timeshares are not your typical consumer products that can usually be returned or exchanged with proof of purchase. They are legal contracts. So when trying to cancel your timeshare, you are looking to get out of a legally binding contract.
Timeshare contracts are also typically written ‘in perpetuity.’ In layman’s terms, this means that you are most likely financially responsible for your timeshare for the rest of your life. It also means that after your passing, this life-long responsibility most likely gets passed down to your children or other beneficiaries.
Since the time period and terms of a typical timeshare contract are forever, and since they don’t usually include exit clauses outside a rescission period (more on that later), it can feel very hard to get out of your timeshare.
2. Rescission Periods Are Typically a Matter of Days
While a timeshare contract’s terms are usually ‘in perpetuity,’ a timeshare contract does also usually include a mandated timeshare cancellation policy in the form of a rescission period. You may have heard of it referred to as a “cooling-off period” before. In legal terms, it is often referred to as a rescission clause. A rescission period is a very short window of time – sometimes it can be a matter of days – where you can legally change your mind and cancel your timeshare.
A rescission period varies by state. For example, at the time of writing this, the rescission period for Vermont is three days after the contract is signed while the rescission period for the District of Columbia is 15 days after the contract is signed or the public offering statement is received. The number of days you have to cancel within your legally mandated rescission period is different for each state, territory, and country, and is usually based on where you purchased the timeshare and signed the contract versus where you live. In addition, there can be many other details surrounding when the clock starts counting down that can vary by region as well. Therefore, it can be important to research the specific laws of the region that apply to you.
A timeshare contract also typically lays out very specific instructions for cancellation within your rescission period. It’s can be very important to follow these instructions exactly, otherwise, you could risk the ability to cancel your timeshare within your rescission period. If you are within your rescission period and are looking to cancel a timeshare you just bought, check out some of our tips here.
How common is timeshare rescission? The average timeshare rescission rate is 15%. The average rate of people who buy a timeshare after a sales presentation is also 15%. Therefore, while it’s not incredibly common to cancel a timeshare in this way, the chance of you buying a timeshare is as high as the chance of you canceling within the rescission period. However, please remember that the rescission period is typically very short, which can possibly contribute to this lower number. For example, studies also show that 95% of timeshare owners request more information from their timeshare company or sales team after their purchase, likely within one to three days. That is a lot of people looking for more information or having questions after their purchase.
Please note that while we are timeshare cancellation experts, we are not timeshare lawyers. In addition, laws are always changing, so it is very important to research. If you need legal advice surrounding your rescission clause, it is best to consult a timeshare lawyer.
3. Timeshares Can Be Hard to Sell or Donate
It’s also fairly common for timeshare owners to think they can easily sell their timeshare. Unfortunately, while it’s not impossible, it can be very hard to sell a timeshare. There are multiple reasons for that.
First, it can be a common misconception that owning a timeshare is like owning a traditional real estate property. However, in most cases, owning a timeshare contract is not like buying a house. Instead, it’s more like owning a vacation. You are purchasing a right to use a timeshare for a specific period of time.
While the real estate market is always in flux, and some time periods are better to sell than others, a general rule of thumb is that real estate is a good investment over time. Traditional real estate tends to appreciate over time and in the long run. However, timeshares don’t tend to appreciate in the same way. In fact, it can be hard to even give a timeshare away, let alone sell it.
One of the reasons it can be so hard to sell a timeshare is because timeshare loans tend to have a higher interest rate than traditional home loans. For example, timeshare loans can have an interest rate from around 6% to 17%. In comparison, at the time of writing this, home loans are in the 2% range according to NerdWallet.
In addition to higher interest rates, timeshares can also be hard to sell because most timeshare contracts financially obligate the timeshare purchaser to pay lifetime maintenance and special assessment fees. Maintenance fees tend to cover various operating costs and are similar to a condo’s HOA fees in that regard. However, maintenance fees tend to increase about 6-10% every year. They may initially feel reasonable or manageable, but you may not feel that way the longer you own your timeshare. For example, if your maintenance fee is $1000 the first year, it could be $1110 the next year if it increases by 10%. If it increases by 10% every year, that would mean the following year it would be $1210 and the year after that it would be $1331. In ten years, that could $2357.95 and in twenty years, that could be $6115.91 a year.
A timeshare contract also tends to financially obligate a timeshare owner to pay special assessment fees. Special assessment fees are on top of maintenance fees. These fees are for unforeseen expenses, and can therefore often be a surprise to timeshare owners. Examples could be for a new roof, a weather event, etc.
Between both of these fees being a lifetime commitment, maintenance fees typically increasing, and special assessment fees being a surprise, it can be hard to sell – or even donate – your timeshare. A lot of people and organizations understandably don’t want to assume responsibility for unforeseen expenses or maintenance fees that could go up as much as 10% every year.
Lastly, it can be hard to sell a timeshare because of timeshare services that claim to resell your timeshare but are unfortunately scams. It is common enough that both the Federal Trade Commission and Consumer Reports have issued warnings about the existence of some timeshare resell scams.
How to Get Out of a Timeshare
Despite all of the reasons it can be hard to cancel your timeshare, the good news is that is possible to get out of your timeshare contract. How do you get out of a timeshare? The easy way to get out of a timeshare is to work with a reputable timeshare exit company.
A timeshare exit company – also called a timeshare cancellation company – is a specialized group of professionals who are experts in the timeshare industry and in timeshare cancellation. A timeshare cancellation company negotiates with your timeshare resort to get them to cancel your contract – legally and permanently. The timeshare industry can be a confusing landscape with a lot of nuances, for example, best practices can differ between resorts. It can be hard and time-consuming for a consumer to learn the details that can take a timeshare cancellation expert years to master. A timeshare cancellation company also has relationships with the various timeshare resorts that can take years to build.
To better understand what a timeshare cancellation service does is to also understand what a timeshare cancellation company does not do. For example, a timeshare cancellation service does not sell or rent your timeshare. In addition, timeshare cancellation companies are not law firms and timeshare cancellation experts are not timeshare attorneys. However, a timeshare cancellation service will work with a timeshare lawyer when necessary as there are two types of timeshare cancellation processes – an attorney-backed process and a non-attorney-backed process:
Attorney-Backed Process: This process is for a timeshare owner who has not paid off their timeshare loan yet and/or is past due on any payments, whether they be loan payments, maintenance fees, or special assessment fees. With an attorney-backed process, a timeshare cancellation company will bring in a reputable timeshare attorney to negotiate on your behalf and to cancel your timeshare contract legally and permanently. There isn’t a need for you to find a timeshare attorney. A reputable timeshare cancellation company works with and has relationships with some of the best timeshare attorneys, and can bring in a recommended attorney for your situation. In addition, the cost of the attorney should be included in your fees to the timeshare cancellation company. Think of it as having a team working for you to get you out. To make things easier though and to keep communication clear, you will have one point of contact at the timeshare cancellation company. This point of contact will project manage the situation for you internally and keep you updated. An attorney-backed timeshare cancellation can take anywhere from 6 – 24 months, so it’s important to be patient, as these are complex negotiations. However, a timeshare cancellation company should be checking in at least every month to update you on the progress, even if it’s to say they are still in process. An attorney-backed process is the more common timeshare cancellation process.
Non-Attorney-Backed Process: This process is for a timeshare owner who has already paid off their timeshare and is not past due on any payments, whether they be maintenance fees, special assessments fees, etc. However, if you meet these requirements, you don’t have to choose the non-attorney-backed process. You have the option of choosing the attorney-backed process as well. With a non-attorney-backed process, your timeshare cancellation company will negotiate with your timeshare resort directly to get you out of your timeshare, without the need for a timeshare attorney. This process is also referred to as a real estate title transfer, as you are transferring the title of your timeshare back to the resort. The benefit of going with a non-attorney-backed process is that it usually takes less time than an attorney-backed process. The real estate title transfer typically takes 6-9 months, whereas the attorney-backed process takes 6-24 months. However, a real estate title transfer does usually include paying a transfer fee to your timeshare resort, which is not typically required with an attorney-backed process.
If you have any questions about which process you qualify for or are looking for some insight into which process may be better for you, we offer free consultations with our timeshare cancellation experts. Timeshare Freedom Group is the leading timeshare cancellation company in the industry, has been in business for more than 10 years, and has more than 15,650 satisfied customers. You can reach out to us online here to schedule a free consultation or call us directly at (866) 668-6872.
If you are looking for more information on timeshare cancellation, check out some of our past articles:
If you’d like to learn more about timeshare cancellation, we have an overview with 11 powerful tips for getting out of a timeshare here.
If you’d like to understand more about how much timeshare cancellation costs and the need to get a custom quote, we have a blog here that you might find helpful.
Timeshare Exit Companies
If you are looking for more information on how to find a reputable timeshare cancellation company, we have more information here.
If you want to learn more about how timeshares can become a family burden and how to prevent it from becoming one, we have a blog here that you might find helpful.
A lot of our customers initially get a timeshare because they want to spend more time with their families. If you are looking for ideas on how to spend more time with your family outside of a timeshare, we’ve put together 10 thought-starters here.
Why are timeshares so hard to get rid of? If you feel like your timeshare is hard to get rid of, there are a few factors that are important to understand. First, timeshares are legal contracts typically written ‘in perpetuity,’ which means for the rest of your life and the lives of your beneficiaries. If you want to get out of a timeshare, you are most likely looking to get out of a lifetime contract. Rescission windows – a period of time you are contractually and legally given to change your mind – do exist, but they are short windows that are usually around 3 – 15 days. Timeshares tend to be hard to sell or donate because of this lifetime commitment and because timeshare contracts often require the owners to pay lifetime maintenance and special assessment fees. Maintenances fees typically increase 6-10% every year and special assessment fees are by nature a surprise since they are for unforeseen expenses.
However, it is possible to get out through a reputable timeshare cancellation company like Timeshare Freedom Group. Timeshare Freedom Group has helped more than 15,650 satisfied customers over the past 10+ years. Schedule a free consultation with one of our timeshare cancellation experts here or call us direct at (866) 668-6872.