Mis-selling: How to Exit a Long-Term Timeshare
If you’ve taken out a timeshare contract, long-term or not, it’s most likely because you didn’t fully understand the full terms and conditions. You probably thought you could exit your contract a few years down the line and that the price you were quoted will remain the same for years. But you were wrong. Long-term contracts can leave you trapped with your timeshare like a life-sentence for up to 50 years! Those with no end-date or that exceed the 50-year maximum term are illegal, and you can often exit them with the help of a lawyer, but, if your contract is legal and binding, this can be much harder to do.
If you signed the contract when you were 50 or 60 years old, the contract length could even exceed your lifetime, meaning it will be passed on to your children who become responsible for the payments. Perhaps when signing the contract, you weren’t aware of this clause or how it could eventually impact on your loved ones. No surprise, as this isn’t something timeshare agencies often want potential clients to know as it can deter them from singing on.
What is Misrepresentation
If you were mis-sold a timeshare, unaware of the length of the term, then this counts as misrepresentation. Misrepresentation means you were sold into something where key facts and figures were hidden from you, or you were even told lies, to sign on to the timeshare. If the agent said to you that you could cancel from your timeshare at any time, but you then find out your contract signs you on for decades, then this is also misrepresentation.
If you were mis-sold your timeshare, it could be grounds for nullification of your contract. However, this can often be difficult to prove unless you taped the conversation with the salesperson or you have witnesses. If you don’t have these, then it is merely a your-word-against-theirs situation that can leave you stuck with your contract and fees.
A further misrepresentation is when you are sold a timeshare contract which promises high-quality holiday accommodation year after year, but the site doesn’t live up to these standards. If the quality of your holiday home differs from what you expected, or it isn’t maintained well enough from year to year, then this could be grounds to exit your contract early.
In court you can dispute that you didn’t receive the product you were sold in your timeshare contract, using videos and photographs as evidence of the state of the villa/resort. Comparing these to the brochures or photos you were shown upon signing the contract can help your case and prove the agency to be in the wrong. You shouldn’t be locked into a timeshare that doesn’t live up to the quality you expected, so make sure you collect as much evidence as possible to help your case so your contract can be nullified.
Using the Exchange Programme
Maybe your contract states that you can exchange resorts for any other in the world as long as you pay your fees. This probably enticed you more to the idea of a timeshare, as each year you could travel to a different location in the world. However, many people have found that the availability of this is so limited that its nearly impossible to book your desired resort at your favoured time.
Some claimants have argued that they should be able to exit their contract because of the exchange programme and have won. Although, this can be difficult as you would need to prove that the impossibility of exchanging resorts is due to the agency and not the high level of demand for various resorts by other timeshare owners.
One almost guarantee for winning your case is if you find that you were sold ‘exclusive’ access to various resorts and villas only to discover that it is open for booking to non-members. If you find evidence of this, or it comes out during your court case, then you can be very confident that the judge will rule in your favour.
Face the Intimidation
With so many timeshare agencies mis-selling to get as many people signed on for life, there is no surprise that more and more people are disputing their contracts. More successful cases are being seen than ever, and people are becoming increasingly aware of what makes a contract illegal and who they should contact for help fighting their case. Make sure you use a legal and professional lawyer who has experience in this field and ignore the cold callers who try and tempt you to spend thousands of pounds on enlisting their ‘help’ before disappearing.
As more people have been winning cases, timeshare companies can become more nervous and worried their illegal activities will be caught out. If they see you trying to form a case against them, most companies will go on the defensive and try to intimidate you out of your decision. But, there is no need to feel scared or pressured. With the right legal defence behind you, you know someone is on your side to help get you out of this life sentence and make your money yours again, no longer trapped into fees and expenses for decades to come.