A Life Sentence: Dispute Your Long-Term Timeshare
Few people would take out a long-term timeshare contract if it was made clear to them from the start. In fact, few people would take out a timeshare contract full-stop if they knew what they were in for. By their very nature, most of these contracts are long-term timeshare – not many allow you to exit after a year or two!
As we have explained before, timeshare contracts with no end-date set, or that exceed the legal 50-year maximum term, are illegal. But a resort can legally bind you into a long-term timeshare contract that comes close to that term. Depending on your age when you sign the contract, this could exceed your lifetime, and thus be passed on to your children who will become responsible for the payments. As we say, you would never have taken out a timeshare contract if you knew that this was the case.
Mis-selling and Misrepresentation
That being said, a long-term timeshare does not have to be a life sentence. If you were mis-sold the timeshare without being made aware of the length of the term, then this counts as misrepresentation. If you were told you could cancel your timeshare at any time, only to find out later that this was not the case, then this is also misrepresentation.
Misrepresentation can be grounds for nullification of your timeshare contract in the eyes of the law. However, it can be extremely difficult to prove. Unless you taped the conversation with the salesperson who sold you the timeshare, or had a few people around who could act as witnesses, then it’s very much a your-word-against-theirs situation. The evidence you need inherently lies within the contract itself.
You may have been sold a long-term timeshare contract in which you are promised high-quality holiday accommodation year after year. This is partly true, as you will (in legitimate cases) have holiday accommodation as part of your timeshare. But the quality you are sold could differ from what you had expected, and may not be maintained well enough to keep it good quality as the years pass.
You can dispute a timeshare contract where you didn’t receive the product or service you were sold. Taking photographs and videos, and submitting the resort brochures for comparison can support your case. If the accommodation started off okay, but deteriorated in quality as the years passed, then you may have a case against the resort/timeshare company. You needn’t be locked into a life sentence with holiday accommodation that does not meet your needs or standards.
Part of your long-term timeshare contract may state that you are able to exchange your resort for any other in the world. Many times, however, people have found this to be far from the case, as availability is so limited it’s pretty much impossible to book the desired resort.
There have been cases where claimants have disputed their exchange programme on the basis of this lack of availability, and sometimes they have won. However, it is – again – difficult to prove that this is the result of wrongdoing on behalf of the resort.
If they have sold you a timeshare that claims to offer you ‘exclusive’ access to a variety of resorts globally, but you find that non-members can also book a normal holiday at the resort without being a timeshare holder, this is grounds for a court case.
There are lots of intricacies to timeshare law and timeshare contracts. There is increasing opportunity to dispute a long-term timeshare and win, as more and more successful cases are coming through the courts all the time. It is always vital to have an expert timeshare lawyer behind you if you are considering raising a case against a resort or timeshare company.
The moment they know you’re planning legal action, most go on the defensive to try and intimidate you out of your decision. With legal guidance behind you, you needn’t feel pressured, and know that someone is on your side to help you break free of your long-term timeshare.