How to get a timeshare refund

If you’re trapped in a timeshare contract, and have tried everything possible to get out of it but have failed, you might be able to get your money back by canceling the contract.  The first step is contacting the peoples advocate.

The first thing to do is understand what a timeshare company is and how they work. Timeshare companies sell “points” to their properties. After paying an initial fee and annual dues, members are allowed to use the points they purchased at any time within the year. The idea is that you will use your vacation time throughout the year instead of saving it all for one particular trip.

Timeshare contracts can be lengthy and complicated, so read through yours very carefully before becoming a member. Know how many points you need for which weeks, and how much you will pay each year for maintenance fees. Some contracts include a cancellation clause that allows you to back out within three days if you decide you don’t want the timeshare anymore. If your contract does not include this clause or you missed the three-day window, you can cancel by sending a cancellation letter.”

Timeshare salespeople are trained to present timeshares as a great investment opportunity. They show you pictures of exotic places, expensive-looking resorts and smiling families frolicking on the beach. They might tell you that if you buy a timeshare, you’ll get access to special events and pretty much live like a celebrity.

They might also tell you that you’ll have to make a big up-front purchase in order to get this “deal.” Many people who buy into these sales pitches find themselves saddled with more costs than they bargained for, even after the free vacation is over. Here’s what you need to know about getting your money back after a timeshare purchase:

Payment options. Most timeshares require an upfront payment of 20 percent or more of the selling price. Some companies accept credit cards for these payments; others require cashier’s checks or bank wires. Either way, it’s important to make sure that you’re actually signing up for something and not just writing a big check to an unknown company. There are plenty of companies that promise “free vacations” or other incentives in exchange for an upfront payment — but once they have your money, they drop all contact and never deliver on their promises.

If you’re struggling to sell a timeshare, you may decide that the best way to get out of it is to just stop paying. After all, who would notice if you suddenly stopped sending monthly payments?

You might be surprised. Timeshare companies are very good at keeping track of who’s paying and who isn’t, says Robert H. Broyles Jr., senior attorney for the National Consumer Law Center in Boston. “The timeshares companies know their customers and follow them through thick and thin.”

If you’re behind on your payments, your company will take action. The first step: sending a letter demanding payment. If that doesn’t work, the company will probably turn the account over to a collection agency.”