As I indicated in the last issue, under Hawaii Revised Statute §514E-9, timeshare companies are required to give clients all information regarding the unit for purchase, including all the fees attributed to that unit that are due immediately and the “hidden” fees that require seemingly endless future payments — the monthly mortgage, property tax, maintenance fees and interest.
Because timeshare agents usually don’t verbally deliver the “caveats” of the transaction to the clients, it is with utmost importance that prospective timeshare buyers read through those contracts thoroughly. If the salesman tries to subtly pressure you into just signing the paperwork and indicates you can change your mind later, stand up and walk away.
There have been local stories of people feeling trapped in the sales pitches, having their intelligence questioned, having their emotions played upon and being made to feel guilty for “wasting” the salesman’s time.
How to Exit From Ownership
If you have actually bought into a timeshare and you can no longer afford it, options include renting or selling, going into foreclosure, or hoping that the hotel/resort can take back the deed of the unit if the mortgage agreement will allow it.
These options in exiting a timeshare, however, are fraught with pitfalls. It’s important to verify the legitimacy of the companies that approach for the purpose of resale. There are also signs to be wary of, including huge initial fees, overseas bank account addresses for wire transfers and asking for personal or financial information. Reputable companies will use written contracts specifically outlining the services to be provided. These contracts should include the services the resellers will perform, outlined fees with deadlines, the length or term of the contract to sell the timeshare, and it should note the person responsible or documenting and closing the sale.
A timeshare is not a bad thing in itself. It is the lack of understanding of the industry and contracts that lead people to become victims of the system. So, read and understand the details of everything you sign — or prepare for unforeseen and unpleasant consequences.
If you suspect elder abuse, call these numbers:
– Police: 911
– Adult Protective Services: 808-832-5115
– Elder Abuse Unit: 808-768-7536
If you have questions about elder abuse, call or email:
808-768-7536 | ElderAbuse@honolulu.gov