Category Archives: consumer-awareness

Marty Kandel

Understanding your right to cancel. Timing is everything!

By Marty Kandel for TimeSharing Today

Rescission or cancellation of a timeshare contract is a statutory right in almost every state, but the state where you purchase your timeshare interest is generally the law that applies. The amount of time you must cancel or rescind your contract varies from 3 to 15 days, and averages 7 days for purposes of this brief article.

The right to cancel is, in some ways, a legislative way of protecting timeshare buyers from themselves, (as well as the developer).  The provision is a tacit acknowledgment that consumers have endured a moderate to high pressure, one on one sales presentation, for a significant period.  The statutory cancellation right also recognizes that there is a great deal of information to absorb during a sales presentation, that the verbal assurances of the salesperson does not always”match” the language in the purchase agreement and public offering statement (POS), and that the consumer does not have an opportunity to review any agreement in a meaningful way until after the agreement is signed, the deposit money is paid over, and the new purchasers have left the sales office.

Often, timeshares are purchased while on vacation, when potential purchasers are relaxed, carefree, and in some cases, unprepared for the 90-minute presentation in exchange for show tickets or a tasty meal. If the timeshare is purchased at the front end of a vacation, the rescission clock is running and may run out by the time the new owner gets home.  At that point, you can no longer cancel!

Remember, a new purchaser has a legal right to cancel their contract within the statutory time. This right cannot be waived and a consumer need only follow the directions as to how to cancel found in the purchase agreement. Consumers are usually entitled to 100% of any money paid, but you may have to return the POS and owner’s kit or risk paying a fee for them. Generally, a cancellation should be short, to the point, and need not state a specific reason for wanting to cancel. Buyer’s remorse is not uncommon.

If being mailed, it is wise to send your letter and sales kit by certified or registered mail and be postmarked prior to the last day of the rescission period.  If a purchaser is hand-delivering the cancellation notice back and materials back in the sales center, get a signed receipt and try to steer away from long discussions with your salesperson, whose job it is to talk you back into the deal.  Generally, if your instinct is to cancel, follow through.  You can always go back at any other time and in most cases, get at least as good a deal as you received in the first place.

Finally, it is common that solicitors from one timeshare company will prey upon new owners of another. The second company will help you cancel your timeshare if only you purchase the better product from the second company.  Well, let the games begin!

Marty Kandel is a Principal and General Counsel of Timeshare Advisory and Resolutions Services, LLC. He can be contacted at:

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Consumer Awareness Does Work, Dealing with Solicitors

* Always check first with your resort’s owners’ services department. Ask if they are aware of other owners who might have in interest in your unit. Ask if they have initiated a program for turning back timeshares. Ask if they have a program for onsite timeshare resales.
* The vast majority of industry experts and consumer-protection agencies agree: Telemarketing, direct-mail and email offers targeting timeshare owners usually turn out to be scams. Ignore such offers. Solicitors must have your express written consent to call you. Report violators to your state and Federal Do-Not-Call registries.
* Talk only to verifiable legitimate sources. Otherwise you risk having one timeshare scammer market your personal information to other timeshare scammers, and to identity thieves.
* Don’t give out personal or credit-card information, send funds via money order or wire transfer, or fill out online forms, unless you absolutely know with whom you are dealing.  Like consumers, legitimate companies have also been victims of corporate identity theft. Bogus web sites and offers may look like the real thing, but with subtle differences in the contact information.
* Don’t pay upfront fees. Paying a solicitor an advance fee to get out of your timeshare obligations may result in a transfer to a buyer who has no intention of using the timeshare or paying the maintenance fees. You could end up losing the money you paid, and still be obligated to pay the maintenance fees.
* If you can’t resist the temptation to talk to solicitors, just tell them your attorney will contact them to handle all aspects of any transaction on your behalf. Then let your attorney protect you from yourself. If you don’t have an attorney, then don’t have the conversation.
* Remember what your mother told you: “Don’t talk to strangers.”
Dealing with timeshare sales presentations
*Do not rely on verbal representations. They can come back to haunt you.

*You will not be able to take the contract or the offering plan unless you sign
and pay.

*Before you sign anything, get your rescission (cancellation) rights defined
in writing.

*Do not sign or pay any money, if you do not have sufficient time during the
recision  period to:

-Discuss your contractual obligations with an attorney.

-Fully investigate how the ownership program works,
so that you will know how to use it.

-Evaluate maintenance fee/special assessment history.

-Investigate financial and litigation history of the organization.

-Talk to owners who have owned for a while.

-Assess your financial ability to carry long term obligations.

-Understand what happens if you need to get out of the ownership
or program.

Consider renting or exchanging before making a commitment. Allow ample time to do your homework. Then, attend a presentation so you can have your questions answered in writing.

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