One of the most successful business models in the history of American real estate is also the most notorious for its sleazy and often, illegal practices. The timeshare developers have long engaged in deceptive and high-pressure sales tactics and the classic “bait and switch.” Millions of consumers worldwide have bought time share units over the years and many have regretted that decision.
Consumers want out of their time share obligations for several reasons. The biggest money-maker for the developers is seller-financing. They’ll finance your purchase at outrageous interest rates pushing up against the edge of the legal limit.
Another burden that owners face is yearly maintenance dues. Buyers also come to realize that the complex point system or availability of use calendar isn’t what the sales person promised. As a result, the owner can’t enjoy the use of their time share at the time or place they expected.
When unhappy owners want to get out of their timeshare obligations, they often try to sell. At that point, they may realize there’s no demand for their unit in the resale market. Many owners struggle to literally give away the unit to someone who’ll step in and pay the dues. Of course, if there’s a mortgage, that debt needs to be paid off before title can transfer.
To make matters worse, the owner may discover that there’s another layer of shady and crooked practices surrounding timeshares. There is a timeshare resale industry long known for ripping off consumers with promises of unloading the unit in exchange for an advance fee. At CPC Law, we’ve represented defrauded consumers seeking their money back from the people who stole their money while promising to help them undo the results of being conned in the first place.
Reputable resale agents work for a commission from a completed sale of the property . Do your homework and look up the agent or broker and their company for any legal actions or consumer complaints filed against them.
Another option for getting rid of your timeshare would be to try to convince the developer to take back title. The chances of succeeding with this strategy depend greatly on your property and developer. Also, whether your developer holds a mortgage is important. It may be difficult to make the lender let you walk away from that debt and lose the income they’re receiving.
Some developers are more likely to cooperate with you than others. There will always be some transfer fees and closing costs to pay. If there is no market of buyers who’ll pay for the unit, it may be worthwhile to pay some fees to get out.
In the worst-case scenario, the developer will avoid your calls and ignore your letters. They may pass you along to different departments and keep you on hold. In many cases, they won’t want to deal with you when your goal is to give away the timeshare unit. This treatment is quite different than when they’re trying to sell.
It’s important to note that terms can be negotiated in giving back your timeshare. The consumer should be aware that the fees and penalties surrounding the give-back are always negotiable. When compared to the years of mortgage and/or annual dues payments, cutting your losses and paying less to get out may be the best move.
If you want out, CPC Law can help you. We’ll also tell you that you may not need an attorney. Our firm’s policy, as it should be, is to put our client’s interests above our own. This means advising you on potential exit strategies that don’t require hiring a lawyer. If you do need a lawyer, we’ll offer you reasonable fee arrangements, including a payment plan, if needed.
The potential exit strategies include selling the timeshare on the resale market. We know who the reputable, honest and effective resale brokers are and help you find the right fit. If there is no buyer market for your unit, we’ll look at other options.
One such option may be giving the unit away to an investor in the vacation rental business. In “giving” away the unit, you’ll actually pay some costs of the transaction. The reason why this may be a reasonable strategy is the reality of the market and your personal economy. If, because of the surplus of timeshare orphans on the market looking for a buyer is so large, there may be no better choice than to give it away and absorb some minor fees in the process. Keep in mind that the alternative is continuing to pay dues for a property you no longer want.
If you want help in fighting the developer and there is no other available path to selling or otherwise getting out of your timeshare, you can hire a law firm to help you. Getting professional help from an attorney will most likely be necessary to get out of the timeshare when there is a mortgage on the property.
All unhappy timeshare owners feel violated. They’ve come to realize how crooked the timeshare industry is, from the developers using slick and high-pressure sales practices, to the resale agents who try to take your money without solving the problem.
When you hire an attorney, you’re working with a licensed professional regulated by the state Bar Association. CPC Law won’t close shop and leave town. Attorneys are under the spotlight and would have a great deal to lose from committing similar practices as the ones the in which the timeshare people engage.
At CPC Law, we will get the developer’s attention. Attorneys are less likely to receive the run-around than unrepresented consumers. The timeshare industry knows they engage in practices ranging from the shady to the outright illegal and fraudulent. We can call them out on this and make them consider consequences for their actions. Our firm is aggressive and persistent and we give the developers headaches.
When dealing with an attorney representing the owner, the developer may still resist taking back the unit, but they’re operating under a cloud of potential litigation and the stakes are higher. Many timeshare buyers actually do file lawsuits. Through their deceptive sales and marketing practices, developers violate various state and federal consumer protection laws. It’s because of the questionable and illegal practices they commit that developers are so often sued.
Whether or not a threatened lawsuit eventually succeeds, it will cost money to defend. In some cases, a lawsuit may go on for years. A rational developer will often decide it will cost less to walk away from the fight and take back the unit if pushed hard enough. Quite often, a credible litigation “nuclear option” may be what’s needed to achieve the desired result.
There are other law firms offering to help clients with their timeshare cancellations. We are different. We exceed expectations in effective cancellation representation. CPC Law looks beyond the current issue to advise the client on all other legal issues relating to the timeshare.
One example involves collection practices. Federal and state laws restrict the way creditors and third-party collectors can communicate with consumers. If you’ve stopped paying your timeshare dues and/or mortgage payments, the developer will contact you or hire a collection agency to try to get their money.
In the course of trying to collect, they may violate your legal rights. This could lead to a lawsuit for which you may be entitled to money damages plus your attorneys’ fees. Another example of a legal violation is for the creditor to contact a debtor when they knew or should have known the debtor has legal representation. Many violations are also committed with respect to how debts are reported to the credit bureaus, which again, may lead to money damages and attorneys’ fees for the victim.
You may not even be aware of your rights or how they’re being violated. At CPC Law, we effectively use consumer law violations against the timeshare industry not only to seek damages for our clients but for leverage in negotiating exit terms from the timeshare. If your credit rating is damaged, we can help you restore it as well.