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Can My Timeshare Company Take Action Against Me?

Can My Timeshare Company Take Action Against Me?

Timeshare contract legal reviewCan My Timeshare Company Take Action Against Me?

When a timeshare owner decides they no longer want to deal with their costly and complicated timeshare and tries to get out of their contract, the question arises: Can the resort developer or any related organizations take action against that owner?

The simple answer is yes. Resort developers have the power and often do take financial and legal steps against timeshare owners who try to leave their agreement. This can include demanding unpaid maintenance fees and special charges, as well as taking legal action to enforce the contract.

Timeshare owners should be aware of the potential repercussions of attempting to exit their timeshare. Developers might employ various strategies to safeguard their interests, such as notifying credit bureaus about unpaid debt, which could negatively impact an owner’s credit rating and financial health. In more severe instances, legal measures like foreclosure or breach of contract lawsuits could be initiated, further complicating the owner’s predicament.

Therefore, those considering exiting their timeshare are advised to seek legal counsel to grasp the complex landscape of timeshare collection laws and their specific rights and obligations under their contracts. Taking this prudent step can reduce the likelihood of adverse outcomes and facilitate a more informed and deliberate decision-making process.

Debt Collection On Timeshares

One of the most prevalent tactics used by resorts is to pursue the consumer for any debts that may be incurred when the consumer stops making their payments, which can occur for any number of reasons.

Many timeshare owners stop making their payments when they begin the process of attempting to sell or cancel timeshare with a third party; often, these owners are completely unaware based on money back, time based performance guarantees that there is any requirement for keeping up with the financial obligation of their timeshare interest. All of this is due to poor communication on the part of their “relief” or “exit” company.

Sad exhausted depressed tired woman reading document with debt on timeshare

In other cases, a consumer may have stopped payments out of a conscious attempt at a “strategic default,” a tactic that may encourage the resort developer to come to the negotiating table.

In both of these cases, debt collection can become a major issue for consumers – but retaining an attorney can help to stop it, even midway! You see, a licensed attorney is in the unique legal position of being able to insulate his or her clients from third party debt collection activities, thanks to a stipulation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA.

Under FDCPA, third party debt collectors are legally prohibited from directly contacting a debtor (such as a timeshare owner withholding a resort payment) if that debtor has retained an attorney. Instead, the debt collector must contact the debtor’s attorney; they may only continue to contact the consumer if granted permission, or if the “attorney fails to respond to the debt collector within a reasonable period of time,” as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) explains.

Because of these collection standards, it is only an attorney who is lawfully able to present “strategic default” as a tactic to the client; a consumer attempting this method of dispute on their own or with a non-attorney advocacy group will not be shielded against debt collection.

Debt collection on timeshare contractsLegal Debt Collection Actions

Attorneys play a crucial role in assisting consumers with timeshare contract cancellation due to their ability to delay debt collection, thereby creating leverage in negotiations. This strategic advantage is a key factor that distinguishes legal professionals from non-lawyer advocates. As Michael Finn, a respected attorney in the field, has stated, lawyers have the unique ability to:

“Review and dispute contract clauses, advance legal principles and theories, and enhance their clients’ capacity to engage with resort developers, utilizing persuasion and litigation effectively.”

Furthermore, having a dedicated legal team specializing in timeshare issues provides a layer of protection against potential actions taken by other parties, including litigation. This support is invaluable in navigating the complex legal landscape surrounding timeshare contracts.

When consumers use non-legal entities like timeshare exit companies to represent them, there’s been a noticeable rise in legal actions taken against these timeshare owners. For instance, property owner associations might pursue small claims lawsuits, while developers could initiate foreclosure actions against the owners. In some cases, efforts to recover deficiency balances raise additional worries for consumers. Foreclosure instances are especially concerning because they frequently result in adverse entries on the debtor’s credit report, potentially hindering their chances of obtaining a mortgage for many years.

Final Thoughts

Having a qualified timeshare attorney with knowledge and experience of the law on your side may not protect you from the machinations of your resort developer and their debt collection and legal apparatuses entirely, but it is certainly a first step toward attaining greater peace of mind in the short term, and a more lasting legal solution in the long.

Disclosure: This article is for information purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. Always seek professional legal assistance for individual questions.

Led by Attorney Michael D. Finn with 50 years of experience, the Finn Law Group is a consumer protection firm specializing in timeshare law. Our lawyers understand vacation ownership as well as the many pitfalls of the secondary market of timeshare resales. 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.

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