Avoid Filing Bankruptcy Because of Your Timeshare

Bankruptcy should always be your last option.  We know that buying a timeshare is faster and easier than purchasing a house, and entering into a mortgage.  The legalities and paperwork, inspections and other aspects of purchasing a home are complicated, and during that process, the consumer benefits from being informed about their mortgage.  The terms, fixed payments and legal consequences of buying a house are thoroughly explained, thanks in part to the federal and state laws that govern the sale of deeded properties and can allow us to help you avoid filing bankruptcy over a timeshare property.

This is a good thing for consumers; it is hard to buy a house and not know exactly what you are getting into.  And the fact that buying a house can take anywhere from a few weeks to over a month or more with document filing, there is more time in the process of real estate purchasing for consumers to ask questions like:

  1. “How long are my payment terms?”
  2. “What happens if I can’t pay my mortgage?”
  3. “What are my rights of sale or rental of my property?”
  4. “Will my mortgage costs increase over time?”
  5. “What are the fees and penalties I will face if I pay late?”

In the real estate purchasing procedure, you also have an experienced advocate; your real estate agent.  It is their job to guide and inform you of your best options, including the opportunities and consequences of your real estate purchase.  You have help making the right decision, and someone to decipher the legal terms in the twenty-five to thirty-year contract you are about to sign.

Does that sound anything like buying a timeshare?  With few exceptions, the timeshare sale is based on opportunity, pressure and some misinformation that is meant to procure a sale.    Timeshare buyers are lured into a highly practiced sales presentation with the promise of an incentive.

Vacationers are not home buyers.  Typically, they do not go on vacation with the intention of shopping for a timeshare; they are simple there to relax and have fun.  And if it has been a long time between vacations, consumers can be in a state of suggestiveness, because they do not want their vacation to end.  The deep routed psychology that drives high-pressure timeshare sales tactics is almost insidious. They are not targeting every consumer; they are targeting the ones who they feel are most likely to succumb to high pressure tactics.

There is nothing wrong with entertaining the idea of owning a timeshare, or getting the facts.  The problem is that many unscrupulous timeshare sales teams care about one thing; getting your signature on the line.  And given the commission rates that timeshare sales ‘professionals’ earn, they are prepared to give you the minimum amount of information possible, to have you sign a long-term lease, with few to no options, at an expense (fees) that can be variable over time.   How many timeshare owners do you know that are dismayed and shocked when their maintenance or membership fees increase?   Something in the fine print that wasn’t explained well (or in some cases, at all) by a timeshare sales person.   If they had highlighted the risks and real expense of owning a timeshare, chances are you would not have purchased it.

And that process explains why there are thousands of consumer timeshare complaints registered worldwide.  It’s not a problem until you realize how few protections you have, and how binding the timeshare agreement is.  For all intents and purposes, the timeshare contract that you signed holds all the weight and legal ramifications of a mortgage, without the support and steps involved in the contract process (like an advocate) to inform you about the terms of the contract, including the benefits and financial liabilities that you are agreeing to.

Consequences for Non-Payment

If you have built a solid personal credit rating, you’ll do just about anything to protect it.  A positive credit history is valuable and hard to build.   After trying unsuccessfully to negotiate a cancelation of the timeshare contract, or a “buy-back” from the resort, consumers consider non-payment an option if they can no longer afford the fees, or if they are so dissatisfied, they are unwilling to continue monthly payment.

At the very moment you consider non-payment, it is best to consult with a legal professional.   If your timeshare is not deeded to you, it may feel like you are a ‘renter’ and able to cancel the agreement simply by not paying.  But the fine print of your contract has a clause specific for default payments, one that costs you more in non-payment or arrears fees, and could cost you the positive credit rating you’ve worked so hard to establish.

In our history of helping consumers, we’ve met families who owned multiple timeshares, that found themselves in this unfortunate circumstance.  After years of fighting for options and against large developers or resorts (who have excellent legal teams that defend the terms of each timeshare contract) sometimes it feels as though the only option is to declare personal bankruptcy, in order to terminate the contracts.   The penalties for non-payment increase exponentially, even when you are communicating with the timeshare company.  Interest is applied to these penalties, and the result is a landslide of fees and charges that both intimidate and dismay consumers, particularly if financial hardship was the precursor or reason to requesting a timeshare cancellation.

Our advice to our clients is to always protect their credit at any cost.  Remember that bankruptcy eliminates your credit rating for seven years.  During that period of time, purchasing other large items including a house, cars or even getting a new mobile phone contract will be virtually impossible.   The only thing worse than low or “no” credit is a bankruptcy, in the eye of any lender or institution.  After seven years of penalty, restoring your credit can be a painfully slow process that you should never have to go through, if you dispense of your timeshare contract with legal assistance.

The process can take up to twelve months, and it is not a quick fix, but it is a permanent one.   With the help of our experienced team at American Consumer Credit, you can cancel your timeshare contract(s) without impacting your credit.   We do not lease or sell timeshares.   We are America’s original timeshare resolution team, helping hundreds of families preserve their financial well-being and credit rating.

If you have been thinking about canceling your timeshare, or if you have tried other unsuccessful methods including rental, or resale of your timeshare, start with a free consultation with American Consumer Credit.  We’ll tell you how the process works, what to expect, and how we will advocate on your behalf to help you cancel your timeshare for good.