Buyer’s remorse is as old as commerce itself. Even when we buy something we want and need, a big purchase can make us anxious. We second-guess ourselves and consider whether we should reverse the sale. Maybe it’s an expensive coat that we want to take back to the store or a car we aren’t sure we can afford.
Timeshares have a higher rate of buyer’s remorse than many other kinds of purchases people make. Forbes published an article showing that a stunning 85% of owners regret their timeshare purchases.
It’s not hard to figure out why. Timeshares are famously expensive, with maintenance fees and other costs rising every year. And then, of course, the sales presentations are often high-pressure affairs that leave a buyer with little time to stop and think. After these horrible experiences, it’s no wonder that many buyers quickly decide they want out.
This article will discuss what those new buyers can do to end their timeshare agreements and get their money back: sending timeshare cancellation letters, also known as timeshare rescission letters. We’ll explain what those letters need to say and when they need to be sent under the laws of the various states.
While you may be able to complete the process yourself using these tips, keep in mind that timeshare companies won’t make the cancellation process easy for you. If you need help doing that, we’ll explain how a timeshare exit company like Centerstone Group can help guide you through with minimum stress, expense, and waste of time.
Let’s say that you are on vacation in Las Vegas when you are approached by someone who promises you free show tickets and dinner. The only catch, they say, is that you will need to sit down for a two-hour “vacation ownership” presentation at the nearest timeshare resort property. Sit down, listen to the presentation, pick up your coupons, and you will be on your way.
Except, of course, a two-hour presentation becomes a five-hour nightmare that takes up your afternoon. Every time you think you are done, a new salesperson comes in to try and convince you to purchase something else. Eventually, you relent and buy the cheapest point package you can. You even take out a mortgage to pay for it.
As soon as you leave, you have the creeping feeling that you have made a mistake. Luckily, you read your contract and see that you have a right to cancel it under Nevada Revised Statutes section 119A.410. Note, however, that the law requires “written notice” of the cancellation. That means you must write a letter that clearly states you are canceling the contract.
These letters are often simple and to the point: You signed the contract on X date of purchase, and you now want to cancel that contract. (Make sure you include the contract number or other identifier if you have it!) You should also say that you expect re-payment of all funds that you have given the timeshare company.
Nevada’s statute allows you to send that written notice and completely cancel your timeshare within five days of you signing the contract. (This time is often referred to as a “cooling off” period.) The state law says that you can send the letter in one of the following ways:
All payments you’ve made to the timeshare company (like deposits, fees, or any other money you have put forward) then must be refunded within 20 days.
Nevada isn’t the only state with laws like this. Florida gives you a longer time period to cancel: within ten days of executing the contract or getting all required documents from the developer, whichever happens later. Hawaii’s law is similar to Florida’s but gives buyers a seven-day rescission period.
Of course, timeshares can be purchased anywhere, so it is important to know the law that applies to your contract. Because the cancellation of a private contract is a matter handled by state law, each of the 50 states has their own specific statutes on the subject.
It’s also possible that the law of a foreign country could apply to your contract. (For example, many American vacationers in Mexico find themselves talked into buying timeshares there, then discover that the laws are different.) In that case, you should immediately consult with an expert on the law of the country you have questions about.
So now that you know the law that applies to your timeshare cancellation, let’s talk about some concrete steps you can take to make your timeshare cancellation successful.
You might think this seems obvious, but buyers regularly complain that they are lied to by timeshare representatives. You may call them at their “cancellation” phone number, and they may assure you that there is no need to send a letter. This is not true. No matter what they tell you, always send a letter in writing.
Most of the time, the laws require that you send a written cancellation. And even if it didn’t, you would have a hard time proving an oral cancellation, as it would be your word against the timeshare company’s word. A written termination letter is the gold standard; don’t accept anything less.
While this will be in large part determined by the applicable law, make sure that you first look at the contract itself. In most cases, the contract must tell you specifically about the right to cancel and how to send timeshare cancellation letters. (If they don’t, many laws like Nevada’s will allow you to void the contract.)
Make sure you include everything in the letter that the contract requires. This might include specific contact information for a recipient of the letter. The contract may also ask you to do something like fax or email a copy of the letter. The cancellation letter may still be good even if you don’t take all these steps, but it can be a headache for you to argue with the timeshare company about this, so it’s best to follow the language of the contract.
Nevada’s statute is a good one to look at when you are thinking about how to send timeshare cancellation letters. Certified mail (return receipt requested) is a good way to show when you mailed the letter, who it went to, and when it was received. A service like FedEx or UPS can also give you this information and help you prove when your letter was sent.
Hand delivery is also an option, though we strongly recommend against doing it yourself because of the proof of delivery problems that can create. Should you want to deliver the letter by hand, hire a courier who signs an affidavit showing when, where, and to whom they handed the letter. (Many process servers will offer a service like this.)
Also, keep in mind that you don’t just have to deliver the letter one way. Using two (or all) of these methods gives you increased options for proving that you sent your letter when you say you did.
We’ve taken the time to lay down some good information about drafting and mailing timeshare cancellation letters. Sometimes, though, timeshare companies can be tricky, difficult to get a hold of, or otherwise fail to follow the rules. In cases like this, it can be good to have an expert on your side.
Centerstone Group’s dedicated professionals have decades of experience in the timeshare industry. They use that experience every day to help unhappy timeshare owners get out of their contracts. And just because you’ve sent a letter doesn’t mean you won’t have to take further steps to finish the job. We can help you with that.
In cases of timeshare cancellation, that often means using our knowledge to exert pressure on these companies to do the right thing, honor their commitments, and issue a full refund of your money. And when they don’t, we will take them to task with a variety of pressure points, like administrative campaigns. And if you need legal help, we work with capable timeshare law firms that can assist you.
But don’t just take our word for it. We are an A-rated business with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and have many positive reviews from our satisfied customers. If you are thinking of talking to us, please read what they have to say and give us a call.
Signing a timeshare contract is a mistake, but it doesn’t have to follow you for years. In most cases, you should be able to timely and decisively cancel your timeshare contract before the problem spirals out of control.
If you have recently signed a timeshare contract, the clock is ticking. It is urgent that you act as quickly as possible to preserve your rights and not let the timeshare become a financial drain on you and your family. Contact Centerstone Group today for a free consultation, and let us see what we can do for you.