A lot of people in the United States own timeshares. This is why the industry is worth about $70 billion. The problem is a lot of people who buy them may love them at first but, over time, they find they need to get out of their timeshare agreement. Some people are not sure where to turn. Others hire timeshare cancellation attorneys to help.
One couple went to help from WJLA’s “7 On Your Side” team for help. Orlando and Deborah Brooks, from Washington, DC, bought four timeshares in Virginia Beach but as they got older, they found them more and more difficult to take advantage of it. Now that they have both reached their 80s, they find travel has lost a lot of its appeal.
The Brooks’ efforts to get out of their timeshare agreements were unsuccessful and frustrating. Moreover, they got themselves further in trouble when a salesman talked them into a deal that they even admit was “too good to be true.” After being wined and dined by a timeshare salesman, they agreed to pay $25,000 at the time and $21,000 at a later date to get rid of the timeshares they had in Virginia Beach and get a different one in Costa Rica.
The Brooks did not talk to a timeshare cancellation attorney but they did sign the legal paperwork to transfer ownership of the Virginia Beach properties. The problem is that four months after this was done, they still owned the properties in Virginia Beach and were never given the rights to the Costa Rica timeshare.
Today, millions of people in the United States are looking to get out of their timeshare agreements. There are timeshare cancellation attorneys who can help but there has also been a new industry created. There are a lot of illegitimate brokers who claim they can help people get out of their timeshare agreements, for a fee. Now the Federal Trade Commission has issued warnings to consumers about this illegal practice. These are all scams.
The American Resort Development Association CEO Howard Nusbaum told WJLA that he gets messages on a daily basis with the subject, “want to unload your timeshare?” All of these are messages from scam artists.
Here is some advice from timeshare cancellation attorneys:
- If you sell, set the price right. Some owners of timeshares are so desperate to get out of their contracts that they will list their timeshare property for a ridiculously low amount such as one dollar. The problem is that there is a lot of psychology that goes into setting prices. People think that something that costs a dollar is worthless. You need to set your price reasonably to actually be successful selling it.
- Just leave it. If you care about your credit rating, this is not something you should even consider. Many people who are in their late 80s or older are not as concerned about that. If the mortgage has been paid off completely, walking away from the property may be a viable option.
- Push back against the developers who built the property. They really should be more proactive in giving people a way to get out of the agreement when they no longer want the timeshare.
- Remember, your heirs will not inherit your debt. Some people are worried that if they cannot get out of their timeshare because they think their debt will be passed to their kids. People can reject inheriting these properties if they choose.
- Give it away. If you have a charity you like, see if they will take your property as a donation they can use to raise money for their cause. You can take any donation you make off of your taxes so this may be one of your best options for canceling a timeshare that you no longer use or want.
Some timeshare cancellation attorney says people who are in this position should not give up. Natalie Koss, a DC area timeshare cancellation attorney, says, “Where there is a will there is a way.” She argues that persistence can really off in the wrong run but admits this is a time consuming and stressful process.
The Brooks are still waiting for a resolution to their situation.