You say you’ve purchased a timeshare, and now you’re having second thoughts? You never expected to be hit with such high maintenance bills, for one thing. For another, you just haven’t used the place as much as you’d expected. In fact, now that you come to think of it, the arm-twisting that you endured before signing the contract was like nothing you’d ever encountered before. That salesperson did seem overly eager to get you on board. His pushiness was bad enough, but with all the fabulous things he said, was he possibly being deceptive?
The answer is yes: It is possible that he was. The timeshare sell is one of the hardest in the world, and with reason. If timeshares were as lovely as they’d like you to think, they might not have to push so hard.
As you sit through the high-pressure timeshare presentation, the speed of the pitch might send one or two salient facts flying right past your radar. Specifically, it’s time to sit up and take notice if the salesperson:
- Waxes ecstatic about the timeshare’s prospects of appreciating in value through the years, particularly if he has no hard data to support his claim.
- Misrepresents the timeshare’s accommodations, condition and amenities. The unit that he is so proud to show you may not even closely resemble the one he intends to sell you.
- Falsely claims that if you don’t like your resort or residential suite, you can always switch to another in the future.
- Promises additional vacation weeks, discounts, bonuses or the freedom to exchange weeks when these perks do not exist.
- Implies that your timeshare will be easy to unload with no restrictions or administrative fees.
If the timeshare’s salespeople should encourage you along any of these lines, don’t just take their word for it. Ask to see hard proof.
Before you ever see a contract, the salesman must by law present a disclosure statement. This statement must tell you:
- Whether the offered timeshare is deeded or leased.
- The start and end dates of the plan.
- A description of the timeshare.
- The weeks of entitlement.
- The procedure to follow when booking, using and scheduling vacations at the timeshare.
- The number of guests or family members you can bring along.
- The annual costs associated with the resort’s maintenance, upkeep, operation and fees.
- The proportion of the resort’s operating expenses for which you, the purchaser, will be responsible.
The seller will want you to sign an acknowledgement that you have received this disclosure statement. If he did not provide the statement or you never acknowledged its receipt in writing, your contract may well be null and void.
The Timeshare Contract
By the time the seller gets around to pulling out the contract, you are almost certain to be exhausted. What you are getting ready to sign is most likely a FORVER contract so be sure to pay attention. The document that he so proudly presents is sure to be lengthy, detailed, and full of nearly invisible print. Now, legally, a timeshare contract does have to disclose everything involved in the potential purchase. That includes the responsibilities that will fall upon the buyer’s shoulders after making the purchase. The trouble is that after sitting through a lengthy presentation and listening to an overly enthusiastic sales pitch, a detailed contract is probably the last thing you want to wade through. The timeshare salesman knows this, and at this point he is counting on one thing only: that you’ll be too drained to read it.
If you do, however, you may be shocked to find exactly what your signature promises. Don’t trust the salesperson’s explanations, and don’t wait until after you are legally bound to adhere to the contract’s stipulations. Read the fine print first and then decide.
After you provide your John Hancock, the timeshare salesperson will do his or her best to convince you that in signing the contract, you have locked yourself in for the duration of the timeshare term. However, this is not necessarily true. If the salesperson sold you the timeshare fraudulently or under false pretenses, you might have the chance to get out of the contract.
Many who come to regret having purchased a timeshare soon find that unloading the thing is somewhat harder than they’d been led to believe. The timeshare developer may not approve a transfer should you find someone that is willing to take it from you. Selling some timeshares is near impossible. If you are lucky enough to own with a company that potential purchasers want the typical resale price is on a fraction of what you paid for it. Most resale companies will take your money with promises to sell knowing that it is not possible. Do not be lured in by the low price they charge to liquidate it as basically you are just donating money to them. Reputable resellers will take their fees (commission) when they sell it and that is how you will know if it is possible to sell.
Timeshare “Exit” companies are popping up across the country but they are simply owned by and staffed with former timeshare salespeople. They are not licensed or regulated in most states and therefor can take your money and not perform because they do not have an entity that regulates them. They are basically the people who sold you the timeshare and are now using their skills to get more money out of you. You remember how that went correct?
By hiring someone to negotiate a settlement instead, you’ll save yourself a few headaches and a lot of money. Hire a reputable law firm that has a track record of settling cases with timeshare developers. Timeshare companies have a business to run and they are not just going to cave if the scenario is not legitimate or if they just receive a form letter from an attorney. If you call the law firm and before you even tell them what company you own with they immediately say “yes we can help you” then find another law firm. Getting out of a timeshare is tedious work and they should be asking you questions about your experience at the point of sale and who you own with. Some consumers do not have any issues with their timeshare and just want out. This could create a problem in the settlement process because that is not what the person who represents the timeshare developer wants to hear. If the law firm does not ask specific questions about your experience they will have no recourse if the developer denies your request to get out of the contract.
If you suspect that the company that sold you your timeshare engaged in fraudulent practices, O’Grady Law can assist you in finding a way out. Call today and let us investigate your situation. The chance to walk away from that timeshare could, in the end, be priceless.