Can an attorney get you out of a timeshare? If so, what is the process?
Hiring a law firm is a significant decision under any circumstances. Hiring one to assist in your efforts to rid yourselves of an unwanted and/or unneeded timeshare purchase contract with no built-in termination clause, is certainly no less significant!
Knowing our processes and procedures will help provide you the needed comfort you are seeking in confirming that you are making the right hiring choice, as well as provide you another way, in addition to our periodic client updates, to monitor our progress along the path to final resolution.
Since no two cases are exactly the same, the individual processes we initiate on a file by file basis will vary based upon the specific factual basis each individual client matter presents.
For example, based upon the completeness of the materials provided to us by the client, we endeavor to review all materials submitted, most importantly perhaps, the sales contract, as well as the other resort supplied materials that were provided by the resort to our client, particularly during the closing process, along with all other relevant resort supplied materials regardless of when provided, such as advertising brochures, etc. This document review will often determine our next step, as documentation can speak more loudly than claims of oral misrepresentation. Oral misrepresentation, particularly to the extent it approaches fraud, is unlawful to be sure, and it is the most common legal issue we encounter in the realm of timeshare sales processes, but documentary based fraud often provides us, when it does occur, with a accelerated path to resolution, as it is much more difficult to controvert. We endeavor to do this total document review with all of our new files, but of course are aware that, particularly after a lengthy passage of time, some of our clients may have lost track of some of their resort furnished paperwork. Fortunately, in most situations, our client files are fairly complete for the first four to five years of resort ownership, and from a potential litigation perspective, that time period is the most relevant, as after that time frame, litigation becomes much less feasible as the courts impose a statute of limitations, typically around 4 years, limiting the time period one has to file affirmative litigation for fraud and/or misrepresentation.
Although the possibility of commencing litigation is one of the first things a lawyer will consider, because the cost factor of initiating and maintaining long term litigation can be economically prohibitive, and additionally combining this with the absence of certainty of a completely favorable outcome, particularly given the contractual advantages built into the purchase agreement by the respective developer ,initial litigation isn’t something we can often proscribe, particularly to a prospective client whose major concern may more realistically involve only a desire to ‘stop the bleeding’ and terminate the ongoing, often lifelong, timeshare purchase contract going forward, along with the ability to immediately cease further resort payments, while their law firm engages in termination negotiations with the resort.
With most of our timeshare purchase contract files, our clients favor the fixed fee service that we offer, which includes our best efforts to negotiate a termination of the ongoing timeshare contractual obligation, as opposed to the uncertainties, costs and projected time frames of initiating litigation.
Electing the negotiation-based service, while more cost effective, and with a somewhat shorter resolution time in most cases, does, of course require that the resort developer come to the negotiation table with us. Whereas ultimately the resort must participate in the interest take back, the timeframe for resolution is therefore not entirely within our power to control. Additionally, during the negotiation period, and continuing until a mutual resolution is reached, the developer is free to continue to report the nonpayment status of the account to any credit reporting agency it subscribes with, which will for the period of time until resolution, negatively impact the client’s credit report and credit score. Of course, the same holds true even if litigation ensues, until there is a court determination, which will most likely be years down the road, the developer’s contractual ability to report the ongoing nonpayment to the credit reporting agency remains in place. The offsetting better news, however, is that over time that specific derogatory entry diminishes in terms of the overall impact on the client’s credit score.
Perhaps the best aspect of our fixed fee negotiation services is that it eliminates the uncertainty relating to overall ultimate legal costs, and further, contractually reflects our commitment to our client to keep their file open and active until a resolution acceptable to the client is reached, no matter the length of time involved.
Additionally, as we remain mindful of any possible detriment to our client a derogatory credit report item can cause, we pay special attention to our clients’ credit reports, auditing them periodically as they are provided to us by our client, to insure their accuracy and completeness.
Our fixed fee service includes that periodic credit report review, along with our filing of credit report disputes on our client’s behalf when the credit reporting is materially inaccurate. We will also file litigation when necessary, when the credit reporting inaccuracy is not promptly corrected after filing the dispute, and in fact, do so regularly as part and parcel of our legal services. Moreover, we initiate this litigation against the creditor resort, often along with the credit reporting agency involved without requiring the client to advance any attorney fees or costs, with any and all fees and costs taken only from a portion of the judgement or settlement.
Hopefully this writing will be helpful to you if you are contemplating legal assistance to assist you with your legal concerns of wanting to be rid of a timeshare purchase contract that you entered into perhaps without a complete understanding of your legal rights, duties and obligations.
Michael D. Finn Esq.