No matter what global or economic problems the world has, one constant is that people with timeshares and members of vacation clubs are unhappy with their timeshare purchases. Far from the carefree “vacation ownership” advertised at many sales presentations, timeshares are more often constant financial burdens. Maintenance fees alone can easily run over $1,000 per year.
Of course, you probably didn’t know all this before you signed the purchase agreement. Now, the question is how to get rid of your timeshare. You’re not the only one asking that question. You have a lot of options available to you, but not all of them are good. Among them are many scams, dead ends, wastes of money, and other traps for the unwary.
In this article, we will take a look at some different approaches you can take for getting rid of your timeshare. Specifically, we will look at contractual cancellations, deed-backs, and timeshare resales/rentals. Though we won’t specifically discuss donating timeshares here, you should know generally that most charities will not take them off your hands. (Nor would you want to inflict the annual fees and burdens of a timeshare on your favorite charity.)
We’ll also discuss getting an expert timeshare exit company like Centerstone Group to help you sift through the options and make the best possible choice.
Canceling or rescinding a timeshare contract is, in theory, the easiest way to get out a timeshare. It’s often not practically the easiest because timeshare companies make it difficult or impossible to do correctly.
Almost every state in the union has a law allowing you to back out of a timeshare contract within a limited amount of time after signing that contract. (Nevada’s law, for example, allows you to cancel a contract within five days of signing it.) Many other countries have similar rescission period laws as well.
These laws require that timeshare contracts and/or governing documents (sometimes called the Public Offering Statement) have an express cancellation provision that tells you exactly how to end the contract within the stated period. This will almost always require a cancellation letter to be sent to a specific place.
Again, in theory, this should be easy. Many developers, however, refuse to accept the letters. Unscrupulous representatives may assure owners that they can cancel with a phone call instead of a letter when this is not true. Sometimes, sales representatives won’t mention the existence of the cancellation period, or they’ll misstate how long owners have to take advantage of it.
In other words, timeshare companies often do all they can to prevent owners from taking advantage of timeshare cancellation laws. Therefore, even when a contract is clear on the matter, trying to handle a cancellation by yourself can be a tough job, and even the most determined owner may not succeed.
Timeshare companies will often tell skeptical buyers that they can just “give the timeshare back” to the resort at any time if they don’t want the unit anymore. This is a deceptive statement, though, as the process is rarely that easy.
As with cancellations, it is not in a timeshare company’s best interest to make it easy for you to deed back your unit. If it were easy, lots of people would do it, and then, the company would lose out on the revenue streams it generates from annual maintenance fees and other amounts it collects.
It’s much easier for a timeshare company to promise to “consider” a deed-back program deal and never actually follow through. Even if it doesn’t ghost you during the process, the company still has the final say as to whether it will even take the timeshare back. If it doesn’t, you’re still stuck paying the fees, and you have just wasted a lot of time.
A word of caution: Some companies will suggest that you simply stop paying all fees and mortgage payments, allowing the timeshare companies to start foreclosure proceedings. This is a tough option, and there are negative impacts that can stay with you for up to seven years. It can also cause legal problems, like a deficiency judgment.
If you have a piece of real estate that you don’t use, the most common things to do are sell it or rent it. Timeshares, however, are very different beasts. The timeshare resale market is so dismal that it may as well not even exist. It doesn’t matter whether your timeshare brand is Marriott, Wyndham, or Diamond — nobody is going to buy it from you.
(Some brands, like Disney, have more clout, and there is a market for them. But even if you do sell your Disney timeshare, you would still almost certainly do so at a loss.)
Outside of a few unique exceptions, you shouldn’t expect anyone to pay anything of value for your timeshare. Even assuming you did get something, it would likely be eaten up by closing costs and fees charged by the timeshare company to allow the transaction.
There are some realtors and companies that specialize in listing and selling these units, but any buyer you are likely to get will only pay pennies on the dollar. Some timeshare owners have taken to sites like eBay and Craigslist to sell units for $1, and even then, they still have trouble finding buyers. Timeshares are considered such a bad investment that it’s difficult to even give them away.
Another reason to stay away from resales is the large number of scammers posing as resale companies. These companies take a large upfront fee (usually in the thousands of dollars, often paid by credit card) based on the promise that they have a waiting buyer. They then disappear into the night, taking your money with them.
Renting your timeshare isn’t a good way to make money, either. Most resorts will have rules that disallow rentals that compete with the resort’s own rental program. After all, the number-one renters of timeshares are the timeshare companies themselves. For that reason, timeshare companies will usually charge fees or undercut the pricing to dissuade you from renting out your unit.
Also, given that there are likely a lot of units up for rent in desirable locations, you are probably not going to make that much money off of renting your timeshare.
If these choices sound daunting and difficult to make, that’s because timeshare companies have designed them to be that way. If you don’t work in the industry, these concepts may seem confusing or even against common sense. This is all by the timeshare developers’ design.
The solution is to find professionals in the timeshare industry. You need people who are familiar with how timeshare companies work and also know enough to guide you away from the many timeshare scams. They might fool someone who doesn’t know anything about the industry, but they can’t fool us.
That’s where Centerstone Group comes in. Collectively, we have decades of experience in the industry. Our job is to help timeshare owners who are trying to get out of their contracts and present them with legal, ethical ways of doing just that. Whether you need a transfer of timeshare ownership, legal help, or one of our proprietary pressure campaigns, we will work hard to find the approach that works for you.
Don’t take our word for it, though. Centerstone Group is an A-rated company accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) with dozens of reviews from our satisfied clients. Getting satisfactory timeshare exits is all we do, and there’s nothing you can throw at us that we haven’t seen before.
The financial drain of a timeshare will continue, year after year, until you do something to stop it. Don’t let the maintenance fees, special assessments, and other nickels and dimes pile up until the burden becomes unmanageable. Figuring out how to get rid of your timeshare can present a big challenge now, but ignoring the problem will only create a bigger one down the road.
Let us help you find a way out of your situation and stop the bleeding. Contact Centerstone Group today for a free consultation and case evaluation so we can get you headed in the right direction.