A timeshare contract is a legal document. As such, there are a lot of timeshare companies out there who will tell you that your timeshare contract is not cancellable. But this is not necessarily the case. If you are looking for a way to cancel timeshare contract agreements, you should probably read this.
The truth is that there a number of legally viable reasons for being able to cancel your timeshare contract, in the case that the agreement was misrepresented to you through guarantees or strategies by the timeshare salesperson. These could include:
• Being told that the timeshare purchased would appreciate in value, with increase in resale value over time.
• Being told that the timeshare could be freely transferred, exchanged and sold.
• Being explicitly told that the timeshare was a financial investment.
• Being told that the timeshare purchased would ensure the purchaser priority booking over non-purchasing holidaymakers wishing to stay at any of the properties owned or maintained by the timeshare purchaser.
All of the above come under the banner of fraudulent and deceptive conduct, and, in a court of law, the contract could be terminated.
It may not go as far as Court though. You can write an explicit letter to the timeshare company telling them that you are cancelling due to misrepresentation, and outline your reasons. It’s worth noting that they may still try to threaten legal action against you, but just ignore this – and do not speak to them on the phone. The only time, in this case, that you should seek further legal advice would be if you receive a letter from their lawyers or from a debt collection company (must be letterheaded).
Even where misconduct cannot be proven, there are other avenues to explore that may help you cancel timeshare contracts.
Cooling Off Period
You may already be aware of the 14-day cooling off period. This law states that you have a fortnight after signing your timeshare contract to change your mind and have your deposit returned.
If you also signed a “linked loan” at the time you purchased the timeshare, you must also make sure you cancel that loan with the bank. This should be done in writing and sent by Recorded Delivery. It must also be put in the post absolutely no later than 14 days after signing the contract. When writing your letter, you don’t actually need to even state why you’re cancelling. Just say you’re cancelling agreement number xxx which was signed on xxx. That will do the trick.
In fact, you should have been giving a pro forma cancellation notice (that’s a draft letter to send in case you want to cancel) at the time you signed. If you haven’t been given this, then the cancellation period is extended to one year and fourteen days!
If you paid any money out during this period, you should demand that it be returned, as any money changing hands during the cancellation period is illegal.
Doorstep Selling Regulations
Doorstep selling regulations came into effect in October 2008. What this law means is that, if you were sold your timeshare anywhere other than the timeshare business’s premises, you are legally entitled to a seven-day cooling off period. If you signed your timeshare at a hotel, golf club, leisure centre or at home, this applies.
Where this is the case, you should legally have been given written notice, as well as that pro forma cancellation document we mentioned above. Without these, the contract is null and void.
This law also applies for anyone who is enticed off the street into a sales presentation or business premises in all Spanish countries.
If you were sold your timeshare over the phone before 13th June 2014, a seven-day cancellation period also applies. You can write, recorded delivery (as above) cancelling your contract and ask for your money back. There are other laws that apply after this date. You can read the legislation here.
Other Ways to Cancel Timeshare Contract Agreements
You can cancel your timeshare if you signed your contract before 23rd February 2011, or if you signed in an EU country that hadn’t implemented the new Timeshare Directive at the date at which you signed. You can also automatically cancel a contract on a timeshare outside the EU.
It’s also worth checking your timeshare contract. Some companies actually offer you some rights of cancellation. If you have any problem understanding this, or any other, part of the contract, you can ask them to clarify unambiguously. Alternatively, check with a solicitor or specialist timeshare lawyer.
The first thing to note about this, of course, is to beware of timeshare resale scams. We have a couple of guides to help you avoid falling prey to scam artists:
Whilst there are, unfortunately, scam artists operating in the timeshare resale market, if you do your research and know what to look out for, you’ll be okay. There are reputable timeshare resale brokers who will handle your timeshare sale, or can steer you in the right direction.
Whatever reason you have to cancel timeshare contract agreements you’ve taken out, we recommend speaking to an expert. They’ll be able to go into more depth with you about your options, making sure you get out of your timeshare contract with as little fuss and loss as possible.