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If you are one among the millions who have invested in timeshares because you attended a dinner as a reward and ended up buying the spiel of how wonderful your life is going to be vacationing in exotic locations around the world then the time has come to take stock and evaluate why the investment is or was the dumbest you have ever made. Fear not for you are in the august company of many more millions and now you have the opportunity to set it right.
The basics of timeshare
You invested $20000 for a single unit in a prestigious resort that owned properties or were developing properties in exotic location like the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, Canada, Miami, Florida, Seattle, Hawaii, Seychelles, Thailand and other places that you always wanted to visit and enjoy your hard earned vacation. You were asked to pay just $1000 (at $88 per month) to keep the timeshare reserved exclusively for your use at a predetermined time of your choosing. In the event that you did not want to use the timeshare you could lend, sell or exchange your slot with others. You were also informed that the investment is sure to double in 8 to 10 years. Ok you went for it (cannot blame you for who in their right minds would refuse growth of investment and enjoy the investment; it was a win-win idea at that point of time).
Let us check out other investment avenues
You invest $20000 in mutual funds. So far the track record of a properly researched mutual fund that is managed conservatively has yielded an average of 10% return year-on-year. In 20 years this investment will be worth $134000 and change. This is the power of compounding (described by Einstein as the eighth wonder of the world). If you add the $1000 of maintenance costs every month into mutual funds the return in 20 years will offset inflation costs and the eventual capital gains tax.
Let us go back to Resort club membership
The resort group in which you invested has asked you to fork out more money every year towards maintenance. Whenever you asked for a change in location you got the stock reply of "Sorry it is full" and a few days later "we can accommodate you, just pay us another $1000 more and enjoy your vacation". You got fed up and want to unload by cancelling timeshare and you are in for a surprise. The legal jargon and hidden clauses within the agreements that you signed (very fine print which you did not bother to read as you were too eager to go and enjoy your first vacation in a resort) suddenly bring you back to earth and realization that resort cancellation is not going to be a piece of cake. You then decide to unload the memberships via third party sale and find out that there are no buyers.
So what do you do?
There are two things that you can do to cancel timeshare.
Write to the promoters of the timeshares about your desire to cancel. Write to consumer guidance establishments in the jurisdiction asking for help. Retain legal counsel for help in resolution. Their fees could deter you from taking the ultimate step of taking the resort to court.
You could also hire the services of attorneys who specialize in getting people out of timeshare contracts. They know the law being attorneys. Legal jargon does not faze them. They have the experience and know when a runaround by the resort is in progress. Timeshares are still an ongoing business and most timeshares are willing to settle. This methodology works but make sure that the attorneys whom you approach have the proper track record and their charges are reasonable.