Once you’ve signed on the dotted line for a timeshare, it can be easy to feel like you’re trapped in the agreement for life.
Everyone has heard the timeshare horror stories of being stuck in a contract ‘in perpetuity’ (for life), but while the timeshare companies would have you believe that you can’t leave your timeshare contract, this is a myth.
While timeshare contracts are a binding legal document, there are legal ways to exit one, and we’re going to examine five.
There are a couple of instances where you would have legal justification to cancel or terminate your timeshare contract.
Cooling off period
The most straightforward is that every agreement should have a 14 day cooling off period.
During this period, you can cancel your contract and receive a full refund on any fees that you may have paid.
Once you’re past this period, things become a little more difficult, but not impossible.
If you were at all mis-sold your timeshare, then you are entitled to cancel the contract. This means if the property is not what you promised in the contract or at a sales meeting, or is the sales company have conveniently left out crucial information, such as that the property is right on the local airport’s flight path.
Alternatively, if you can prove that you can no longer afford to keep up with the payments on your timeshare, then you could be able to cancel.
For more information on the legal ins and outs of cancellation, we would recommend speaking to the Timeshare Exit & Support Services (TESS).
Selling through a broker
The traditional method of exiting your timeshare is to sell it on. Most people choose to try and do this through a resale broker, as they have expertise in the market.
Unfortunately though, in the timeshare resale market, those wishing to sell vastly outnumber those who are looking to buy.
The other risk with resale brokers is falling to prey to the scammers who use them as a front.
Scammers have been known to pose as a resale broker and promise owners that they have found them a buyer for their property, but that they need a fee to authorise the transaction.
You can read more about resale scams in this article, but remember that if you do try to sell through a broker, make sure that you never pay any fees up front.
This removes the middle man, and you never know, you could have more luck trying to sell your property locally.
If you simply wish to rid yourself of the timeshare and its associated costs and fees, then you might wish to simply donate it for free.
You can simply transfer the property to a friend or family member (or anyone else), after which point they will be responsible for all the payments, or you could also donate it to a number of charitable organisations.
These charities often take on timeshares because they use them as charity auction prizes to help raise funds.