Timeshare Horror Stories

May 18, 2016


 Timeshares came into being during the early 1960s in England where people would share a holiday (vacation) home. The sharing typically would be between four families who would rotate their seasons each year so each family could enjoy the prime times.


In the 1970s, timeshares hit the U.S. A company set up shop in south Florida and sold timeshares in the U.S. Virgin Islands.  Timeshares evolved into sharing one piece of property, generally a condominium between 50 people, each for a week (2 weeks were set aside for maintenance and repair). The timeshare was for 25 years and fairly simple. If you switched your week, it would cost you $25. and there was a $15 a night per diem for that one week (later known as a ‘maintenance’ fee). These were the only extra fees. You could also rent to someone else during your week, or give your week away as a gift.


Entrepreneurs jumped on the popular timeshare concept. The fractional ownership became 1/52 - 52 people having one week in a year. There were so many extra fees the Florida Real Estate Commission stepped in and legislation to regulate timeshares was initiated across the U.S.


The downward popularity of timeshares has given way to marketing companies soliciting potential buyers with gifts, free vacations and other enticements. Once the ‘gift’ is accepted, the high-powered, well-trained salesmen step in to sell a timeshare.


The common story from potential buyers are being picked up at the airport in a limousine and instead of being whisked to their ‘free’ resort location - are taken to the site of the timeshare. The presentation is 4 hours, less if you sign a contract. The pressure is so great to buy, they hand over their credit card and sign a contract. The ones who don’t buy leave are made to feel very guilty. Not to worry - the marketing salesmen haven’t given up yet.


One Canadian couple was approached by a timeshare ‘promoter’ while vacationing in a seaside Mexican town. The couple only had to attend a presentation and get paid $300! They were given $100 the next morning as they rode in a cab to the timeshare. They sat through the hours-long presentation, declined ten times and never received the other $200. Grabbing a cab back to town, the ‘promoter’ demanded his $100 back and threatened the couple with death. They hid in their room the remainder of their vacation.


Today, there are so many hidden fees such as; taxes, insurance, cleaning, maintenance, trading for another location or letting someone else use your time. The interest rates tend to be very high and you find out you can’t sell the timeshare.  


You will most assuredly be pressured to sign the contract immediately.  Before you sign any contract - let your attorney review that contract. If you don’t have an attorney, find a real estate attorney and pay to have them review the contract. If you’ve already signed, or want to sell your timeshare - have an attorney look at that contract and let you know what your rights are.  


If you have already signed a contract with your timeshare and want to get out of your timeshare contract, our Denver real estate attorneys can help you break your contract with the least amount of liability. Sometimes, there may be a way out of your timeshare contract without any liability, if there is a term in your contract that is voidable. If you stop making your timeshare payments, the timeshare may elect to foreclosure on you. In this instance, our foreclosure attorneys would also be able to assist and settle or avoid a completed foreclosure. Our real estate attorney can also help you sell your timeshare, at an attorneys' hourly rate, rather than on a real estate brokers' commission- often saving our clients thousands of dollars. Lastly, both our Denver business attorneys and real estate attorneys can assist with the purchase or sale of a timeshare, or the election of breaking a timeshare contract, for LLCs or corporations. 


In addition to Real Estate Law, BUsiness Law and Foreclosure Defense, Gantenbein Law Firm also practices HOA Defense- assisting only homeowners in their disputes with their Homeowner Associations, Wills, Trusts, Estate Planning & Probate Law, and Credit Dispute. For more information on Gantenbein Law Firm's practice areas and lawyers, please visit www.gantenbeinlaw.com. You can also call 303-618-2122. Gantenbein Law Firm is located in Denver and serves clients throughout all of Colorado. 











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