It’s not uncommon to see advertisements promoting timeshares, as well as promotions for timeshare cancellation programs. The contradictory nature of these ads begs certain questions:

What is a timeshare?

Timeshares grant percentage ownership of a vacation unit for periods of time during the year. The ownership is shared with other clients who use the unit. Another way to stake an interest in a timeshare property is through the “lease” option, where the developer holds the title to the deed and the owner holds a leased interest in the property.

How does it work?

The way that a timeshare is sold in promotional campaigns makes it seem like a great investment. They have nice kiosks at Ala Moana Center and various exhibition halls. There are promises of cheaper vacations along with graphs seemingly showing a cost analysis of how it pays for itself and will only appreciate in value. Realize, however, that all the caveats, fees and associated, ongoing, allowable fee increase percentages will be in the middle of the dense, ironclad contract. By not mentioning these added costs with the same enthusiasm as they do the great views, the message to any prospective consumer is that this investment is doable and affordable.

Why is there a market for timeshare cancellation programs?

It is important to remember that there is no federal body of law or agency regulating the timeshare industry. The rule of law with regard to timeshares varies upon the location where a particular timeshare is purchased. Therefore, it cannot be stressed enough that those interested in purchasing a timeshare need to study and completely understand the sales contract before it is signed. The contract should state the withdrawal period of the purchase.

In Hawai’i, this period is seven days. Getting out of a timeshare after the rescission period has passed can be extremely difficult and payment will still be required. However, if it is suggested that you stop making payments for the timeshare, it is important to know this will limit potential timeshare exit options.

In the next issue, we will explore options for exiting your timeshare.

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