Regardless of the notable benefits timeshare offers its owners, there are some downfalls which may leave some people wondering how to get rid of timeshare in South Africa.
In some cases, people who have signed up to timeshare instantly feel that they have entered into a commitment they might not be ready for.
Escalating annual fees and long-term loan payments may leave other timeshare owners with the desire to give up on their contract.
It’s pretty safe to say that the only person who truly benefits from timeshare is the avid traveller. However, circumstances may have changed and travelling is no longer a large part of their lives.
What does a timeshare owner do in such cases? How do you sell your timeshare? Is it possible or even a good idea?
This article outlines the nitty gritty involved with selling your timeshare. We also highlight what you need to look out for to avoid being scammed.
Timeshare buyers are allowed to cancel their purchase within the defined recession period. The South African Consumer Protection Act (CPA) allows a period of 5 business days within which you may cancel your purchase.
The Ombudsman of Consumer Goods and Services says that a notice of cancellation must be issued in the form of an email, and to avoid later problems, a registered letter should also be sent to the timeshare supplier’s address.
If you have waited until after the recession period before you try cancel your timeshare, you may find it increasingly challenging to get rid of it.
According to the chief correspondent for RedWeek, the industry has failed to provide a dignified exit method for timeshare owners, thereby making space for scammers to take advantage of the desperate seller.
The owner of Timeshare Users Group warns of scammers who promise to sell an owner’s timeshares for an attractive price in exchange for an upfront fee.
Furthermore, fraudsters often promise the owner to find a charity that will accept the timeshare when, in fact, few charities are interested in taking timeshares.
In reality, less people are wanting to buy timeshare than wanting to sell them. Timeshares at high-end properties such as those owned by Marriott or Hilton, may sell for up to 15% of their original price.
Older or lower-end resorts may find no buyers at all. Additionally, sellers might be required to pay annual maintenance fees for a year or two while they search for another buyer.
These fees can average at approximately R12 000,00 per year but can reach higher than R40 000,00 for the higher-end resorts.
As a special warning: if you chose to loan money from the timeshare developer, the loan must be paid off in full before you can sell or even give away your timeshare.
Many un-experienced buyers are convinced to take a 10-year loan with 15% or more interest rates. These interest rates can easily inflate a purchase of R266 360,00 into a R533 000,00 debt.
Diamond Resorts and Wyndham Resorts are among the very few timeshare developers who have official programs for owners who wish to give up their shares. However, whether or not they take back the timeshares is still at the discretion of the resorts.
Although most developers generally refuse to take back timeshares, it is always a good idea to ask. When developers accept returns, it is usually provisional, meaning that the owner will be required to pay annual fees while the resort finds another buyer.
Generally, when someone contacts you with an offer to purchase your timeshare, it’s a scam. It’s a better idea to find a broker through the Vacation Ownership Association of Southern Africa for assistance with selling your timeshares.
These brokers never ask for an upfront fee but rather take a commission from any sale that is made.
Before deciding to purchase timeshare, potential buyers should research the list of accredited members so that they may be adequately informed.
Often, timeshare owners rent their timeshares for enough or almost enough to cover their annual fees.
By simply ignoring your loan repayments or annual fees, you will run the risk of a poor credit record. You may also face debt collection procedures or even law suites, depending on the collection agency's policies.
By filing bankruptcy, your timeshare debt may be erased. However, this is not the best solution to the problem and before opting to go this route, an attorney should be consulted.
Contact our attorneys for professional legal advice regarding timeshare, including how to get rid of timeshare in South Africa.
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