How to Cancel Timeshare Without Using Timeshare Cancellation Companies
Updated: Jun 30, 2022
Timeshare ownership has become decreasingly popular, giving birth to timeshare cancellation companies. Many of these companies promise to help owners of a timeshare cancel their contract for exorbitant upfront fees.
However, many are timeshare scams, and it is possible to cancel a timeshare without using one of these timeshare cancellation companies and paying exorbitant upfront fees.
Timeshare laws vary from state to state, so it's important to research the laws in your state before beginning the cancellation process. In some states, timeshare contracts are non-cancellable, which means you may be stuck with your timeshare even if you no longer want it. Other states have more lenient laws, and you may be able to cancel your timeshare without too much difficulty.
Need to learn how to cancel timeshare contracts without paying a timeshare cancellation company? Below is a step-by-step guide on how to do it yourself.
What is a Timeshare Cancellation Process?
A timeshare cancellation process is a legal way to cancel a timeshare contract. The timeshare company, the timeshare owner, or a timeshare attorney initiates the process.
If you are looking to cancel your timeshare contract, the first step is to send a cancellation letter to the timeshare company. This letter should state your intention to cancel the contract and include a reason for your cancellation. However, you must be within the rescission period.
Rescission Laws Vary State to State
In contract law, rescission is an equitable remedy that allows a contracting party to cancel timeshare agreements. You may cancel the contract if you are a victim of a vitiating factor such as misrepresentation, mistake, duress, or undue influence.
The rescission period is the time frame in which you are legally allowed to cancel your timeshare contract. This period is typically 5-10 days after you have signed the purchase agreement.
If you are outside the rescission period, you may still be able to cancel your purchase agreement, but it will be more difficult.
How To Cancel Timeshare Purchased "Within" the Cancellation Period
You must take action immediately if you are within your legal period to cancel your timeshare. Read your timeshare agreement and locate the cancellation clause. The clause will explain how many days you have to rescind a timeshare purchase, what address to mail your timeshare cancellation letter, and any specifics to legally cancel your timeshare.
Do Not Call the Timeshare Company; Write a Timeshare Cancellation Letter
Calling your timeshare resort is a waste of time. Most timeshare companies have departments to take phone calls from owners that want to cancel a timeshare. The companies train representatives to give you the run-around and try to sell your more points or weeks. Ultimately, they will try to convince you to keep your timeshare and ignore your request.
In many cases, representatives tell you a supervisor will call you in 24 hours, but it's only a delay tactic to allow the right to cancel surpass your rescission period.
For these reasons, we encourage you to write a timeshare cancellation letter using the following process:
What to include in your Timeshare Cancellation Letter
In your timeshare cancellation letter, make sure you include the following details:
The name of the timeshare(s) as listed on your contract
The name of the contract holder(s)
The certified Tracking number of the cancellation letter
The contract number(s)
The purchase date
Your membership ID(s)
Copy of specific page of the contract with the cancellation clause
Explain Why You Want to Cancel Your Timeshare
The explanation needs to be short and to the point. You can use this example and modify your version.
Send Timeshare Cancellation Letter by Certified Mail
Mail your cancellation letter and timeshare documents via U.S. certified mail. Certified Mail provides evidence of delivery through a receipt to the sender. The U.S. postal service will notify the owner when the letter was delivered or made via electronic USPS Tracking, which allows you to track its progress.
Mailing your timeshare documents and cancellation letter using this delivery method will protect you from timeshare management companies pretending they never received your letter.
Once they receive your cancellation letter within the time you are allowed to cancel, your timeshare cancellation request must be honored by law.
When to Expect a Response From Your Timeshare Resort?
Many timeshare companies will try to stall and avoid giving you a direct answer about your request to cancel. They may even lure you in for a "free lunch" or "exit interview." The main thing to remember is that they are trying to keep you as a customer, so they will do whatever they can to persuade you to stay.
For this reason, do not call to cancel your timeshare; write a letter.
The best thing you can do is be firm and patient. You should expect to receive a response from your timeshare resort within 30 days of them receiving your certified letter.
What Happens if My Timeshare Resort Refuses to Cancel my Contract?
If you do not hear back from them, or if they give you the run-around, you can write a second letter called the "demand letter."
Suppose your timeshare's management company refuses to cancel your contract; you may have legal options. An experienced timeshare cancellation attorney can review your case and tell you the best course of action.
There are also cases where a law firm files class-action lawsuits against timeshare companies for unfair business practices. You may be able to join one of these lawsuits using a law firm if your case meets the criteria.
Get Cancellation of Timeshare in Writing
When canceling your timeshare, the most important thing to remember is to get it in writing. The management company for the timeshare resort would mail you a letter acknowledging receipt of your request to cancel and the next step to take.
In many cases, the management company conveys your cancellation in writing and how to expect your monies to be refunded.
You may get a certified check or monies refunded to your credit card for the down payment or total purchase price.
Make sure you have a physical or electronic copy of the letter you sent and the USPS Tracking information. Keep this in a safe place so that you can refer back to it if needed.
If you have any questions about how to cancel your timeshare, or if you need help writing your cancellation letter, contact an experienced timeshare cancellation attorney.
How To Cancel Timeshare Purchased "Outside" the Cancellation Period
If you have a timeshare that you purchased "outside" of the recission period, options are still available. You may be able to cancel a timeshare contract if the resort is not in compliance with the terms of the agreement.
Additionally, if you can prove that you were misled or defrauded when purchasing the timeshare, you may be able to cancel the purchase agreement.
That claim is challenging. Being misled is impossible to prove unless you recorded the sales presentation. If deceptive sales practices took place, it is best to have a law firm with timeshare attorneys that can help you make that argument.
Do Not Write a Letter; Call the Timeshare Resort
In this case, it is best to call the developer instead of writing a letter. Any cancellation letters or claims of misrepresentation received outside the recission period will be ignored and disposed of.
In 2018, a study by the University of Central Florida found that 85% of people who purchase a timeshare regretted their purchase. 67% of these owners decided to cancel after their recission period leaving many owners stuck with their unwanted timeshare.
Whether you have one or more timeshare contracts, having a reason to justify releasing you from your contract is difficult but not impossible.
Many owners make the call and do not know what to say. Many make a mistake by saying or using the wrong reason to cancel.
Here's what we recommend not to say:
What Not Say
I would like to sell my timeshare back to you (The resort owns the timeshare)
I would like you to buy back my timeshare (The resort cannot buy back what they own)
You can sell it and make money (The resort does this with or without your timeshare)
I cannot afford it (Having a loan balance would require a settlement. The resort may ask for financial statements to prove you cannot afford your obligations)
I have health problems (Unless you have a terminal illness, the resort will not consider)
You lied/misled me, and I want my money back.
Using these reasons will allow the resort to resist and tell you, "they don't buy back timeshares." Alleging deceptive sales practices will force the representative on the phone to lawyer up.
It is best to use a peaceful approach by willing to "surrender" your ownership rights and allow the timeshare resort to keep all monies paid.
Accept Accountability for Not Reading The Contract
Unfortunately, research shows that 98% of timeshare owners do not read their contract before signing it.
For this reason, alleging deceptive sales practices will fall on deaf ears. Timeshare companies know the majority of people will not read the purchase agreement, which is why they discredit any person that claims fraud took place since you signed the timeshare agreement.
Letting the resort know that you made a mistake and you're willing to accept responsibility will allow the resort to understand 2 points:
You are not making legal claims
You don't want the money back
Accept Monies Paid to Timeshare Resort as a Loss
Timeshare companies receive hundreds of calls a day from unhappy timeshare owners. Many calls accuse the resort of fraud, complaints due to locations always booked, and inability to sell or rent their timeshare.
Very few calls are amicable. Your offering to "surrender" your ownership rights to use the resort and taking a loss on the monies paid will allow the resort to understand you want "out" of your timeshare.
What Will be the Timeshare Company's Objection
However, the resort will object that as generous as you are by surrendering your timeshare and taking a loss on monies paid, you are asking them to take a loss on the annual maintenance fees.
According to the American Resort Development Association, the average maintenance fee for timeshares in 2018 was $1,000. Timeshare maintenance fees have an annual increase of 7% to 10% yearly.
The timeshare's management company will claim that in the next 20 years, you or someone in your family will be alive to use the timeshare.
Maintenance Fees Go Up Every Year
Suppose your annual maintenance fees are $1,000 yearly with a 7% increase. In 20 years your maintenance fees would average $1,500 to $2,000 a year generating $30,000 to $40,000 in revenue.
Their objection will be, "why should we give up $30,000 to $40,000 in revenue by allowing you to surrender your ownership rights when other timeshare owners are selling or giving away their timeshare?" Their objection will bring the conversation to a standstill.
Be prepared to rebuttal their objection. Unless you are comfortable handling this on your own, you may want to consider a cancellation firm.
Are Timeshare Cancellation Companies Safe?
There are several companies that offer timeshare cancellation services. But are they safe?
A timeshare cancellation company can claim to help you cancel your contract and get your money back. However, there are also many timeshare scams out there. So, it's essential to do your research before you choose a cancellation company.
5 Things to Look for in a Cancellation Company?
A reputable cancellation company will have a good reputation and online testimonials confirming the success rate.
However, there are 5 things to look for before pulling the trigger:
Verified by the Better Business Bureau.
No complaints where people are not getting their money back.
False claims of 100% success rate or 100% money-back guarantee.
They will not charge an upfront fee.
Must have a timeshare cancellation attorney representing you.
Are Timeshare Cancellation Companies Allowed to Charge Upfront Fees?
The state of North Carolina has become the first in the nation to enact legislation limiting timeshare cancellation firms. The North Carolina Real Estate Commission (NCREC) recognized the need to regulate companies that claim to "exit" customers from their timeshare agreements.
The NCREC, along with the American Resort Development Association (ARDA), pushed for amending the state's timeshare statute to include rules that govern timeshare transfer ("exit") activity. The reason is that most exit firms charge exorbitant up-front service charges but do not deliver as advertised safe or legal exits and merely advise owners of legal and financial consequences imposed by the timeshare companies.
Notably, NCREC also discovered that timeshare owners rarely receive a full refund to the advertised "money-back guarantee."
Following are some of the key elements of the bill:
Cancellation companies may not advise or suggest timeshare owners stop making payments on their timeshare obligations;
The cancellation company contracts must provide timeshare owners with a right of rescission;
Cancellation companies cannot charge timeshare owners for a transfer or exit service that amounts to foreclosure or repossession;
Cancellation companies are not entitled to a fee for a transfer or exit service if the timeshare owner resolved their transfer or exit;
Must provide written evidence of the transfer or exit completed and include the method of transfer or termination, along with legal documents; and
Cancellation companies must escrow the fee charged to timeshare owners.
Should You Consider Timeshare Cancellation Attorneys?
If you are interested in canceling your contract with your timeshare, you should first contact the resort. The resort may consider working with you to cancel the contract if you explain your situation. You should expect an early termination fee as a penalty for breaking the timeshare agreement.
If the resort is unwilling to cancel your timeshare after using the steps provided above, you may need to hire a timeshare cancellation attorney to help you with the process.
How to Find The Right Timeshare Cancellation Attorney
While it isn't easy to get rid of a timeshare, Advocate Financial Services is an award-winning Timeshare Cancellation Firm in Palm Beach, Florida. They work with Timeshare cancellation attorneys that can review your timeshare contract, help you understand your rights and obligations, and assist you with the next steps.
Advocate Financial Services works with licensed timeshare attorneys who understand consumer protection and timeshare law and have a proven track record of canceling timeshare contracts.
Request a Free Consultation
If you would like to hire a timeshare cancellation attorney to help you terminate your vacation ownership agreement, contact Advocate Financial Services for a free consultation.
During your free consultation, their Timeshare Cancellation Consultants will review your unique situation and help you determine if you need to have a legal representative, understand potential legal fees, and how to locate a timeshare attorney near you.