Cooling Off Period

So what is the cooling off period for timeshare?

Well, this term refers to the time when you are able to change your mind about your timeshare contract. After this time you will not be able to cancel your timeshare unless you can prove that the contract was not legal or that you have been involved in a timeshare scam or fraud.

The cooling off period is a legal requirement in most countries to protect consumers from scams, although it is rarely applied as most people do not agree to buy a timeshare and spend a large sum of money unless they are convinced. In any case, this times span is given as days of grace in the same way that stores allow you to return unwanted items.

The length of the cooling off period depends on the country where you purchased the timeshare and can be anything from 7 to 14 days. If in doubt, ask the timeshare developer where you bought your timeshare.


Canceling Your Timeshare Contract

Whether or not you are able to cancel your timeshare contract will depend on various factors: the country where the contract was signed, the length of time since you signed the contract and whether there are any lawful reasons for you to forfeit the contract.

The first thing to consider if you are a timeshare owner is whether you really want to cancel your contract. Many people get cold feet when they get home after making their first timeshare purchase but are glad they did not cancel once they begin to enjoy the benefits of their home away from home.

If you have thought about it carefully and have decided that vacation ownership is definitely not for you, and you are within the official cooling off period (which depends on the country and can be as little as 5 business days and usually no longer than two weeks), then you may be able to null and void your contract. You will need to contact the timeshare developer or agent from whom you bought your property and to request what they require to cancel the contract. In all cases you will be expected to send written notification with proof of delivery.

Unfortunately, if you have gone beyond the cushion of the cooling off period then it is very unlikely that you will be able to cancel your timeshare, that is, unless you have been grossly miss-sold or you have evidence of a deliberate scam or fraud, as in the case of non-existence resorts or unfinished properties. You will need to contact a timeshare lawyer or attorney in order to begin proceedings. For this, beware of companies that approach you claiming to cancel your timeshare, always work through a legitimate lawyer.

Another common misconception is that instead of canceling your timeshare you can simply stop paying the maintenance fees. However, this will bring about legal proceedings against you for the cost of unpaid fees and legal costs, and will cause more problems in any case calling for your contract to be cancelled.

If you are sure you no longer want your timeshare, other solutions rather than cancellation are to donate your timeshare, sell it, lend or rent it to friends and family or transfer the rights of the timeshare permanently to someone you know.

The main thing to remember when seeking to cancel your timeshare contract is that like any legally binding agreement, you need to have grounds for canceling and evidence to support any intentional mis-selling. Always act as quickly as possible and don’t trust companies that say it is easy to cancel your contract, they are probably scams of some kind.


Timeshare Maintenance Fees

Maintenance fees get a lot of bad press and so it is worth clarifying what they actually cover and their purpose.

Firstly, maintenance fees make it easier for the owner. If you had opted for full ownership you would have to organize your own maintenance. By buying a timeshare, you divide the costs of maintaining your property and avoid the hassle of contracting personnel, which can be very tricky in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language.

Maintenance fees also protect your investment by repairing any damages incurred by yourself of other owners, preventing wear and tear and the general decline of your property. Within your particular timeshare unit, a percentage of the fees will cover the replacement of utensils, appliances and furniture to guarantee that when you arrive, your apartment is a wonderful as the day you bought it. In addition, your maintenance fees cover the costs of the upkeep of common areas such as the pool, spa, club house etc.

A common complaint is that maintenance fees increase; however, with a little logic one can see that such increases are inevitable in accordance with inflation, cost of manpower and the kinds of repairs that will need to be made as a property gets older. Reputable companies will maintain the increases at a reasonable level, but many new companies have been criticized for high increases.

Finally, never stop paying your maintenance fees. As they are a legal requirement implemented to protect all owners, you may face prosecution if you were to simply stop paying your maintenance fees. Similarly, you would not be able to access your property and would lose out on your original investment. If you can no longer visit your timeshare, you would be better off renting or lending your timeshare to people you know than breaching your contract.