Understanding the Average Costs of Exiting a Timeshare Contract
The question is frequently asked. What is the average cost to get out of a timeshare? Depending on a variety of circumstances, the cost to get out of a timeshare might vary. Generally, options range between a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. While every situation is unique, working with a qualified and experienced attorney can assist you in determining the best way to exit your timeshare contract.
For many consumers – particularly those who feel that they were entrapped or pressured into their timeshare purchase by the demanding “hard sell” of a sales presentation – the costs to maintain a vacation membership can be unsustainable; many look for legal ways out of their timeshare obligation, only to find that many of the avenues available are incredibly costly in their own right. Here are several examples.
Selling a Timeshare Interest
There are a number of reasons why timeshare resales may not be the best choice for consumers. While it may only cost a few hundred dollars to advertise your timeshare, the process of actually selling your vacation property may take months – or even years. Furthermore, you will probably have to sell your timeshare for a fraction of the price you paid for it because the resale market is always saturated with timeshare properties. Some timeshares have no resale value whatsoever, making this an unsuitable alternative.
Timeshare resales can be difficult because of the many scams that exist. Owners should be aware of these scams and take steps to protect themselves if considering some form of advertising. There are many unlicensed timeshare resale companies that are not legitimate. These groups will try to take advantage of timeshare owners, often charging high upfront fees and unearned commissions, and they may not even deliver on their promises. In many cases, timeshare owners have lost their money completely.
Renting Timeshare To Offset Costs
Another way people get out of a timeshare is by renting their property to offset the costs of ownership for the year. While this may be a good option for some, it requires a great deal of work and may not always be successful. You will need to find renters, screen them, sign a rental agreement, and hope that they take good care of your timeshare unit while they are staying there. There is also no guarantee that you will be able to find renters for your week of the year or points, which means you may still have to pay some – or even all – of the maintenance fees with no offset.
Donating Timeshare To Charity
Timeshare donation is another way to get out of your timeshare, but it may not be the best solution for everyone. First, you will need to find a 501(c)(3) charity that is willing to accept your donation. That isn’t easy as timeshares have recurring fees that must be paid every year, which can be a problem for many charities if they themselves can not find a donor to cover those fees.
Even if you are able to find a charity that is willing to take on your timeshare, you will likely get very little – if any – tax deduction for your donation. The IRS only allows you to deduct the fair market value of your donation, and since most people paid significantly more than their timeshare is worth, the deduction is usually quite small.
Cancelling a Timeshare Contract
In some cases, it may be possible to get out of timeshare through a developer exit program like, ‘Pathways’, ‘Ovation’, ‘Legacy’, ‘Transitions’ or ‘Clarity’. These are programs designed to help people get out of their timeshare contracts, but they come with a number of catches.
For starters, you will usually have to pay an up-front fee to qualify for a release – often up to several thousand dollars. You may also be required to continue making maintenance fee payments for a period of time, even though you are no longer using the timeshare and of course, the loan must be paid in full as part of the terms of release. Some timeshare exit programs are not available for everyone and some resort developers do not participate in any cancellation programs.
Attorney Assisted Timeshare Termination
While some people are able to get out of their timeshare contracts on their own, many others find that they need the help of a timeshare attorney. In some cases, developers make it very difficult for consumers to cancel their contracts, and an attorney may be necessary to help navigate the process.
If you are going to hire an attorney, they should specialize in timeshare law and discus ways they can help you cancel your timeshare contract. Legal services come at a cost and attorney fees can vary depending on the complexity of your case. Having and experienced attorney to provide you legal guidance may be worth the expense if you are struggling to get out of your timeshare on your own.
Beware Of Timeshare Exit Scams
There are many companies that claim to be able to get you out of your timeshare contract, but most of them are scams. These companies usually require an upfront fee for their services, but they have no legal ability to cancel your contract. In many cases, these so called exit companies will simply take your money and do nothing to help you get out of your timeshare.
Before hiring any company to help you get out of your timeshare, make sure you do your research. Check for online reviews, ask for referrals from friends or family, and contact the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to see if the timeshare exit company is a member in good standing.
The BBB has revoked business ratings on a number of timeshare exit companies and many have gone out of business over the last two years.
Navigating the Challenges of Timeshare Cancellation
As you can see, there is no easy way to get out of a timeshare. If you are struggling to make the payments, or if you simply want to get rid of your timeshare for any reason, you will need to be prepared for a long and difficult process. There is no guarantee that you will be successful in getting out of your timeshare, but if you are willing to put in the time and effort, it is possible.
The average cost to get out of a timeshare can vary depending on the method you use to get out of your contract. In some cases, you may have to pay an upfront fee, while other methods may require you to continue making payments for a period of time. There is no easy or guaranteed way to get out of a timeshare, but if you are willing to put in the time and effort, it is possible to cancel your contract.
Final Thoughts On Timeshare Exit
With all this in mind, in many cases, contacting a timeshare law firm with a background in negotiating timeshare cancellation may be one of the most cost- and time-effective avenues for consumers who feel bound or trapped by the burden of their unwanted timeshare contract. Have any more questions or concerns? We’re here to help!
Led by Attorneys Michael D. Finn and J. Andrew Meyer with over 75 years of combined experience, the Finn Law Group is a consumer protection firm specializing in timeshare law. If you feel you have been victimized by a timeshare company, contact our offices for a free consultation. Know your rights as a consumer and don’t hesitate to drop us a line with any questions or concerns.
Disclosure: This article is for information purposes only and is not intended as legal advice.