The Troubled Timeshare Owner
By: Adam Burns – TKO Timeshare Solutions
When you boil it down, trying to get rid of your timeshare is a bizarre concept. Here you have someone, who a while ago or maybe not so long ago, sat through a high-pressure sales presentation and decided it was a good idea to buy a timeshare. Now they are searching the internet to pay someone to take it off their hands.
Questions come up like, is it real estate or some membership? Is it paid off, and what does that mean? Will the kids be stuck with it? Under normal circumstances, with any big purchase, there is a market to unload it, i.e., real estate or a vehicle, but here you are with this; you can’t even give it away. Now you are looking to pay someone to help you get rid of it. What keeps you from abandoning the property and throwing the keys back to the timeshare company? We asked all of our previous clients, and we would always get the same three answers.
Heirs – Troubled Timeshare Owners
Most are concerned that their heirs will be stuck with the payments. Under most state laws, the deeded property would be included in an estate. It would also belong to anyone else on the deed. However, this is an area of law that can get complicated. It should be addressed before it’s too late. If someone has a will or trust, the time is now to talk with their lawyer about the best way to prevent the timeshare from being a problem holding open the estate.
However, an heir is not automatically responsible for your debts. This is something that the timeshare industry and the exit industry both continue to spread, even though it is not true. It’s fundamental contract law that a person cannot be responsible for someone else’s debts unless they agree to accept that responsibility in writing. Basic contract principles provide a promise made by a third person to a creditor that the third person will be responsible for the debt that the debtor owes the creditor must be in writing.
It is the same concept as co-signing for a car loan for someone else. The only way the timeshare company can hold any heirs directly responsible for your payments is if they agree in writing to accept ownership. Even if you Will the property to your children, they do not have to accept it. But there is the possibility it could tie up the estate. You cannot saddle someone with your debt through the probate process.
Getting Sued by the Timeshare Company – Troubled Timeshare Owners
Many threaten lawsuits if their account is not current. Can a timeshare company sue their customers?… Yes, (anyone can sue anybody for anything), but it is not likely. Why not, you might ask?. Because they are not in the business of suing their customers for a few reasons. One big one is it makes for BAD PRESS, which translates into significantly fewer sales! It is also costly to sue all customers who default on their payments.
The obligations go on, arguably forever, so it is hard to put a dollar amount on what you owe. Still, more importantly, the timeshares treat defaults as a cost of doing business. Every timeshare company knows what their acceptable default dollar threshold is. They accept that a certain percentage of their properties will have to be absorbed back into their inventory and resold. It is a part of their business model.
Credit Rating – Troubled Timeshare Owners
Many of our clients have been threatened by their timeshare company that if they don’t make their payments, the timeshare companies will send their files to collections and ruin their credit. It is a lot cheaper to turn someone over to collections versus suing them, and it scares people into continuing to make their payments.
It is cheap because it’s either an internal collection department within the timeshare company itself or an outside collection agency that’s paid a percentage of what they collect. There is no fee the timeshare company has to pay upfront, unlike filing a suit.
Conclusion – Troubled Timeshare Owners
Timeshares cause a lot of stress and anguish for owners who want out. The three main concerns talked about above are just the most common. Issues like continuing to make payments when they can’t afford them or problems with a divorce are also common. Getting out of your timeshare requires someone to take it off your hands. That could be another buyer or the timeshare itself. Getting to that final resolution will take time. Educating yourself or calling a company like TKO Timeshare Solutions about the resources available is paramount in discovering the value of your property and the best way forward!