Timeshare contracts are designed to keep people tied to their timeshare agreement for as long as possible. However, like with many other types of contracts, there are a handful of timeshare contract loopholes that can be used to get you out of your agreement.
Millions of Americans own timeshares. With the current pandemic causing things like travel restriction and financial stress, an increasing number of timeshare owners are seeking a way out of their contracts.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, very few timeshare resorts have offered any sort of exit program for their owners. This results in timeshare owners having to take matters into their own hands, finding a creative way to get out of their lifelong timeshare contracts.
If you are one of the timeshare owners who is seeking a way out of their contract, this article could be vital for you.
In the past, timeshare owners were able to donate their timeshares, which was a major loophole for timeshare owners. It was a free way to get rid of your timeshare permanently, by simply handing it off to a willing donation company.
Timeshare donation was the most simple consumer relief strategy. It was a very quick and legal way to dispose of your timeshare without the hassle of selling or negotiation.
Donation For A Cause was the biggest timeshare donation company. The biggest use for donated timeshares was offering them as an incentive to gain revenue. For example, timeshares that were donated to charity would be used as incentive to other donors. The charity would offer a week at the timeshare to their biggest donor, or something along those lines.
Other charities would accept timeshares and resell them for profit. In this case, the timeshare’s previous owner would be entitled to a tax deduction.
However, timeshares are not considered an asset due to their consistently increasing maintenance fees. Due to this fact, the Department of Justice (DOJ) prohibited the donation of timeshares.
Timeshare donation is, unfortunately, no longer a legitimate way to get rid of a timeshare.
Timeshare Exit Companies
Many timeshare exit companies claim they can get you out of your timeshare agreement by finding loopholes in the contract.
This used to be the case. Many resorts have come under fire in the past years for alleged false advertising and misinformation, in both their pitches and contracts.
A timeshare pitch will look something like the following.
The Timeshare Pitch and Contract
- A salesman will lure you to a sales pitch. Typically marketed as a short presentation or resort tour, often with incentives such as a complimentary dinner or other gifts. If you are married, your spouse will also need to attend this sales pitch.
- Upon your arrival, you will be greeted by another salesman who will collect your personal information. There are certain criteria you have to meet in order to purchase a timeshare.
These include things such as:
- An updated ID for you and your spouse, if you have one. Most resorts do not sell timeshares to people under 28 years of age.
- Proof of employment. The resort developer wants to make sure that you will be able to pay your mortgage. Depending on the resort, they will require you and your spouse to make a combined $50,000 to $100,000 annually.
- Proof of marriage, if applicable. Plenty of resorts sell timeshares to qualifying singles. However, timeshare resorts are known to prefer married couples.
- Most timeshare resorts will only sell to those who are already homeowners with a good credit score. Proof of home ownership and a credit check may also be required.
- You will then be assigned a tour guide or, if there is no tour, a salesman who will sit with you and give a presentation. They will go over the resort, lodging, and amenities. Typically, price does not come up until the end of the presentation.
- If you decide to follow through, the sale will be finalized. If not, they will try to persuade you further with payment plans and discounts.
The timeshare industry is absolutely riddled with falsifications.
Where The Lies Begin in Timeshare Contracts
The “90-minute presentation” typically lasts about 4-6 hours.
Some people have even reported that their timeshare sales pitches lasted 8 hours, with no breaks. Oftentimes, those in attendance are tired and hungry, looking for a polite way to exit the presentation.
Many report that after they denied the timeshare, they were left stranded at the presentation venue.
Once an attendee agrees to purchase a timeshare, signs on the dotted line, and makes a down payment on their timeshare, a resort-provided car will arrive to take them home.
Many consumers fail to read the contract, just purchasing a timeshare so they will be able to leave.
Timeshare salespeople will often verbalize what is in the timeshare contract, so the potential client does not feel the need to read the fine print. However, most timeshare contracts state that nothing said verbally is relied on prior to the purchase of the timeshare.
This means the salesperson can say whatever lies they want during the presentation.
If you attend a timeshare sales pitch, be cautious of the tactics the salespeople use. If you do make the decision to purchase a timeshare, you should purchase based off of the contract and the merits of the resort. Those who purchase a timeshare based on the sales presentation are typically the ones who regret it.
Additionally, if you do believe a timeshare is right for you, you should consider buying one through the resale market. Timeshares typically average around $25,000. However, if you buy one resale, you will find valid listings where timeshare owners are selling their timeshare for as low as $1. Not to mention, you will be helping out someone who is looking to get rid of their timeshare, as opposed to spending thousands of dollars purchasing directly from a resort.
Misinformation in Timeshare Contracts
If you have succumbed to the high-pressure sales tactics of a timeshare pitch, you may have legal remedy.
If you purchased a timeshare sheerly based on the timeshare sales pitch, you may be able to get out of it. Empty promises and emotional duress could be probable cause for timeshare exit.
Contacting a timeshare exit company that employs attorneys, or even directly contacting an attorney’s office may be beneficial to you. Working with attorneys is not cheap, but it is certainly cheaper than a lifetime of paying for an unwanted timeshare.
A qualified attorney, especially one that has experience in timeshare exit, can assess the details of your case. From then, they will be able to work out a timeshare exit strategy specialized for you.
Most of the time, this exit strategy involves a thorough read of the timeshare contract. Any discrepancies, such as false advertising, can assist in your timeshare exit.
A reputable timeshare exit company or a consumer rights attorney would be a good choice for your timeshare exit case. Attorneys typically offer free consultations to prospective clients, and a good timeshare exit company should do the same.
An attorney can determine what option is right for you – either litigation or divestment. Based on the specific situation, an attorney will be able to determine what the best course of action will be.
Other Timeshare Contract Loopholes
As timeshare owners have found loopholes to get rid of their timeshare, the timeshare industry has made those loopholes less plausible.
As we mentioned, the resale market for timeshares is on a steady decline. A huge misrepresentation is that you will be able to make money selling your timeshare. However, you may be able to sell your timeshare for a very low price.
Some resorts may also allow you to sell your timeshare back to them.
A more temporary solution would be renting your timeshare. Many timeshare owners choose to cover their maintenance fees and any other payments by selling their points or weeks.
Timeshare maintenance fees are one of the biggest issues people have with timeshare ownership. If the salesperson claimed that your maintenance fees would never increase, which many do, this might be an area for misrepresentation.
The issue is, most resorts have a rule that no claims made verbally should influence the purchase of a timeshare. This gives salespeople the ability to tell blatant lies.
Most contracts do state that maintenance fees are subject to increase annually. Additionally, the contract will likely state that owners are liable for any property damage – even if it occurs when they are not staying in the timeshare.
Timeshare Contracts In Conclusion
Many timeshare owners are looking to get rid of their timeshares. Especially in the current pandemic, many of us are unable to cover large expenses. Not to mention, travel restrictions have kept thousands from actually being able to use their timeshares.
Luckily, there is a way out.
Timeshare loopholes, such as selling your timeshare, renting your timeshare out, and timeshare exit, are valid ways of ridding yourself of the increasing fees.
The quickest, and likely most permanent, way of getting rid of your timeshare is timeshare exit. A consumer rights attorney or reputable timeshare exit team will be able to help you get out of your unwanted timeshare.
You can read more about reputable timeshare exit companies here.