When the timeshare salesperson pitched you on your vacation of a lifetime, it was hard not to buy into the hype. After all, you were getting the chance to enjoy an annual getaway for less than the cost of a week in a hotel or a plane ticket. But now that your family has grown and financial circumstances have changed, your timeshare may feel like a burden. It’s not uncommon for owners to seek help recouping their investment, or even get out of the contract altogether.
In response to demand, companies that claim to offer timeshare relief are springing up all over the country. While some are legitimate, others are not. To be sure, you should avoid any company that asks for exorbitant upfront fees or offers a money-back guarantee. In addition, beware of companies that hold timeshare-relief presentations and subcontract the actual work to law firms and other entities. This makes it more difficult to keep tabs on the company that’s actually performing the work.
A reputable timeshare relief company can offer legal guidance and a variety of options to break free from a timeshare. Some of the most common methods include a deed-back, where the company gives the property back to the resort; transferring the ownership to someone else, including homeless people and deceased individuals; or to a dummy corporation created for this purpose. A more controversial method involves rescinding the property contract, but this can damage your credit and could leave you with a lawsuit to defend yourself against.
Another option is to simply stop paying the maintenance fees, which many experts say is a risky strategy because timeshare companies can report you to a credit bureau. You can also try to sell your timeshare, but that’s often a losing proposition. In any case, you should always get a lawyer’s opinion before trying to walk away from your timeshare.
Some companies that offer to get you out of a timeshare are known as “timeshare exit companies.” They typically charge a fee and promise to help you break the contract by sending your name and contract number to the resort, which then reports it as canceled. Other companies that offer to release you from your timeshare by writing a resignation letter to the resort. It’s important to mail it using a service like certified mail, so you can prove the resort received your letter. Otherwise they may pretend it never arrived and continue to collect your fees.