Timeshare Termination

How easy is it to get out of a timeshare contract?

As the timeshare industry has matured, those unfortunate enough to be trapped in a timeshare contract increasingly find more reasons to want to exit. The inflation busting annual maintenance fee hikes, with subsequent drop in resort standards and an increase in sales pressure – as fewer owners are hunted by commission hungry resorts – have all added to the desire of timeshare owners to evade their contractual commitments.

But timeshare companies make their money from maintenance and upselling to existing members, and subsequently, make it very hard for existing owners to leave. Worse still, many contract's have an ‘in perpetuity’ clause, meaning that the contract passes on to loved ones as a very dubious part of the original owners' estate.

To put it bluntly, timeshare contracts are hard to leave because the timeshare resorts have purposely made it so.


So how do you get rid of an unwanted Timeshare?

The obvious thought that comes to many owners minds is to sell their timeshare. It was, after all, described at the point of sale as an appreciating asset, worth many thousands of pounds. What could be simpler than putting it up for sale and happily waving the timeshare goodbye? Any timeshare owner who has tried reselling will tell you this; there is almost no resale market for the vast majority of timeshares. Worse still many resale companies are fronts for timeshare resorts hoping to lure in timeshare owners for further loading with holiday products.

Simply giving it back is not an option

What about giving it back or giving it away? Timeshare companies won’t allow you to give back a timeshare. Think about that for a moment. The asset is worth so little in the eyes of the timeshare company that they are unwilling to take it back for free. The timeshare week is not the asset the owner is – they are in effect the source of the timeshare companies ongoing profit. The timeshare week is worthless, that is a sobering thought to any owner who has paid thousands of pounds for a so called exclusive membership.

Resale companies or private sales?

True resale companies are a very rare thing. It is sad to say, but the vast majority of resale companies are in fact nothing more than a front for timeshare companies hoping to lure timeshare owners towards yet another sales presentation and yet more expensive, valueless holiday ownership products. Steer clear of these companies.

How about selling it for a loss on places such as eBay? Not an option either, as timeshare companies make the transfer of ownership a very difficult process and often fail to accept transference of ownership – especially via private sale.

So how can I leave my timeshare contract?

Some timeshare companies, under the weight of legal attacks and general, disdain of the authorities, have bowed to pressure and allow some members to hand their weeks back, but only if certain criteria are met. These criteria are hard to meet and often centred around age and ill health. And often two years maintenance fees must be paid and all rights to legal claims waived – this is a very important point to note.

While some owners can access these programmes for the vast majority of owners the only way to leave their timeshare is via the services of a specialist relinquishment legal firm.

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