Popular culture is filled with jokes about lawyers — about how there are too many, they are too expensive, or they are ineffectual. But lawyers are not just easy punchlines. When you’ve been scammed or legally wronged by someone trying to take your hard-earned money, a lawyer is often among the first people you want to consult.
This is especially true for timeshare owners who feel that they have been duped. Many of them walked into timeshare presentations lured by the promise of free gifts and walked out with a crushing financial burden that will last even beyond their own lives. When you have been so thoroughly deceived by a timeshare company, it’s natural to want to ask a lawyer about options.
That said, not all timeshare problems are the same, and not all of them require you to get legal representation. You may have heard the maxim that if your only tool is a hammer, all your problems will look like nails. If your only timeshare cancellation strategy is a lawyer, you might be creating costly legal problems you would otherwise be able to avoid.
Civil lawsuits are a great way to solve legal problems, but they are not known for being especially fast or cheap. They can also be incredibly complicated. When designing your timeshare exit strategy, it’s important to have a full toolbox at your disposal. That way, you can minimize the cost and pain of your timeshare exit.
This article will look at how timeshare lawyers can help you with getting out of your timeshare unit. We’ll also look at the other side of the coin and see situations in which getting a lawyer may not be the wisest or most cost-efficient move. Finally, we’ll look at the importance of having a unified, balanced timeshare exit approach, which lawyers may be a part of.
At their core, many timeshare problems are legal problems. Timeshare ownership means that you acquired a real estate interest, which involves a written contract. That contract also obligates you to do certain things, like pay annual maintenance fees, special assessments, and other costs related to your timeshare property. Maybe you even got a mortgage to pay for it.
When you see the mountain of legal paperwork related to your timeshare purchase, it is completely understandable that your first reaction could be to find an attorney experienced in timeshare law. In some cases, getting good legal advice may be the wisest move. For example, the following situations may need legal expertise.
Let’s say that you went to a timeshare presentation while you were on vacation in Las Vegas. The salespeople were very friendly and responsive to all of your questions. And you asked all the right questions, including how much the annual fees would be. Incredibly, the salespeople insisted to you that your fees would only be $50 per year, for the rest of your life!
This representation seemed almost too good to be true, but the salespeople had charts, graphs, and other information to support their story. The contract language seemed technical and confusing, but they gave you pamphlets and documents with clear, unmistakable language quoting the $50 per year number to you again and again.
On the basis of their representation, you signed the contract. The first year, though, you are billed $500 in annual maintenance fees, and you receive a notice that the fees will go up in the next year.
Here, you have been tricked into signing the contract, a situation the law calls fraud in the inducement. You may be able to have the contract rescinded or set aside as a result of the fraud, but you will probably need a court to do that, and getting a lawyer may eventually be the best and most efficient way to handle that situation.
Timeshare lawyers can also help you outside of instances of fraud. Timeshare contracts can give you an actual interest in real property, but the nature of that interest can be difficult to understand. Let’s say when you signed your timeshare contract you understood that you were getting title to a particular unit in Maui for the last week of the year.
When you get your deed and other paperwork later, though, it turns out that your ownership interest actually is in the form of a vacation points system, and that your deed does not give you the interest that you or the salesperson genuinely believed you were getting. In this case, you might need a rescission, a deed reformation, or some other legal remedy.
Other legal problems can arise if you fail to pay fees or mortgage payments and a timeshare company begins foreclosure proceedings. Exactly how and when a timeshare company can take your property interest to pay for a debt you owe will change significantly based on the law of the state where your property is located.
Foreclosures are time-sensitive legal proceedings that can damage your credit and cost you a lot of money. In these situations, it would be smart to talk to one or more experienced timeshare lawyers to explore your options.
Timeshare lawyers are often very effective in getting the job done, but many times they can be overkill. Most timeshare contracts have a brief rescission period at the beginning. While these can be more complicated than you think, they usually do not need the services of a lawyer to get them accomplished. You can certainly pay a lawyer’s fees, but you will be paying too much.
In some cases, you may also be able to convince a resort to let you out of your timeshare contract. While this route can be difficult or impossible to do alone, the skill set needed is not necessarily more suited to a lawyer.
Rather, professionals who are familiar with timeshare companies and pressuring them to do the right thing may be a better option. They may also be a cheaper option, since you likely won’t be paying a lawyer’s hourly fees to mount a pressure campaign against the timeshare resort.
At Centerstone Group, we understand that timeshare exit strategies are not a one-size-fits-all kind of business. That is why our team separately evaluates every case that comes in the door to see what the most appropriate exit strategy is for each client.
Some clients absolutely need timeshare lawyers to help them with their exits. For those clients, we have existing relationships with law firms and solo practitioners who are proven to do the best job. Because of the number of our engagements with our trusted legal team, we can often negotiate better rates than individuals would be able to get for themselves.
But sometimes, legal solutions aren’t the answer. In that case, we work with different toolsets. Need a pressure campaign against your timeshare developer? We can help.
Maybe you just need a good consumer advocate to help you exercise your rights under the contracts, and you can’t find the right people to listen to you. We have decades of experience in the industry that we can use to solve your problem.
Maybe you need a receiver to take over the obligations of your timeshare ownership while we work on your solution. We can help you with that as well. Again, a lawyer may also be able to do this, but they’ll charge a premium, maybe even on an hourly basis. Why inflict more financial pain on yourself if you don’t have to?
Though the process is daunting, you may even want to meet with a Realtor experienced in timeshare resales to discuss your options on that front. Again, we can do that. Timeshare attorneys won’t necessarily have our connections or experience with these non-legal solutions.
When you need a timeshare exit, you can’t afford to waste time or resources. Coming to Centerstone Group will allow you access to a broad selection of tools that will maximize your chances of a successful exit. We have an excellent reputation and are accredited by the Better Business Bureau. Give us the chance to show you why.
When you’ve been targeted by scams or otherwise treated unfairly, lawyers are an invaluable resource for dealing with the timeshare industry. They are not always the best solution for any timeshare problem, though. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the most expensive solution is always going to be the best one.
If you have a timeshare problem and would like a free consultation and case evaluation by an experienced professional, please contact Centerstone Group today and let us see what we can do for you.