We have asked this question more times than I can count. The answer ALWAYS came back a resounding “No”!
Until this year! 🙂
We bought our timeshare 11 years ago. We knew within 2 yrs that it was NOT a good decision; however, at that point, we owned it. We were paying the annual maintenance fees. If we didn’t use it, that money would go to waste. We had to just make the best of it.
Now, before this goes to the depth of negativity, I will say that we DID take some very nice vacations and stayed in luxurious accommodations. However, the planning of those vacations was often quite a challenge. More times than not, timeshare availability determined our destination rather than our family’s preference. We chose to be excited about any vacation destination, but we rarely chose them ourselves. When we couldn’t use the timeshare, our points expired. Money paid in maintenance fees went to waste. When we discovered that renting from VRBO, HomeAway or purchasing a Groupon was less than those maintenance fees, we REALLY regretted owning.
Every time we attended an “owner update” (another word for sales presentation) they would try to entice (another word for pressure) us to buy more points. We typically responded with “How do we get rid of this?” (a question they usually didn’t appreciate…haha) The answer always came as “That’s not possible.” Once in Las Vegas (company headquarters) the answer was “There’s NO WAY (expletive expletive) you can relinquish ownership”.
We gave up…we were strapped in this – as would be our children when we died as it was ‘deeded’ and would be part of their inheritance – a burden! ugh!!!
THEN….things changed this year. During our annual call to the company asking about relinquishment… they GAVE US AN OPTION! I was completely shocked – thrilled…but shocked!!! Perhaps they just got tired of us asking??? ha! At any rate, if we met their criteria, we could relinquish..
The Criteria: (Note: This may not translate to all companies; this was just our experience)
- Paperwork (for relinquishment) signed and notarized
- Payment of the current year’s maintenance fees WITHOUT using any of the point allotment. UGH!!!
- Payment of a processing fee equal to 25% of our annual maintenance fees.
It was irritating to pay maintenance fees and not be allowed to use the points…and even more irritating to pay the processing fee for someone to spend 5 min. clicking on a computer. But it got us what we’d wanted for a LONG time!! We immediately started jumping through their hoops!!!
After the paperwork was completed and payment submitted per the instructions, it took another 3 months for our online account to be deleted (I checked regularly to see if we were still in their system) However, almost immediately, they cashed our check – and that qualifies as acceptance of the ‘contract’/paperwork. Finally, THREE MONTHS after submitting that paperwork/money, we were NO LONGER OWNERS!!! IT WORKED!!!!
It would be wonderful if all Timeshare companies made this option available to their customers. I do not know if that’s the case.
A Word of Advice to Those Considering Purchasing:
- Do NOT buy a timeshare on a ‘Let’s try this out” basis. Yes, we were able to relinquish…but not before paying THOUSANDS of dollars in maintenance fees (and that irritating relinquishment fee). And realize, that just because we were able to relinquish doesn’t mean other companies will allow their owners to.
- Only purchase if you KNOW you’ll want it forever…and your kids will want it forever…and your grandkids will want…etc….. If you purchase a ‘deeded’ property, it and it’s (ever-increasing) maintenance fees will be passed down to your heirs and become their financial responsibility…or burden….
How can YOU relinquish?
- First, Go into this process prepared for an uphill climb. Don’t expect it to be easy. (We’ve been trying to relinquish for 8-9 years)
- Read over your original paperwork carefully. That’s where we found the loophole that got us out. It involved a buy out and the fact that we’d never ‘converted’…
- Ask about relinquishment over and over and over…..and over and over. Be firm and consistent without being rude or hateful (Rude or hateful rarely ever works!!!)
- Send lots of emails asking about relinquishment. (again, business-like and firm, but not rude)
- Go to the “Owner Updates” (i.e. sales presentations) every chance you get (our company allowed us to go every 6 mos.) and within the first 5 min. ask how you can get rid of it. Drive them crazy with your (polite but persistent) inquiries!!!
- NEVER under any circumstances sign anything or purchase MORE points or ‘time’. Never ‘convert’ if there’s a buy out of your company.
- There are companies that advertise that they will sell your timeshare….if you pay them…sometimes as much as $2000. I’ve always wondered if they were scams – They MAY be legitimate, but honestly, I can’t imagine that they could sell it. Think about it….have you ever heard of anyone buying from those places? If they were selling, someone would need to be buying, right?
- Some people hire lawyers to try to get out of these. We never did that as we saw that as another way to SPEND money on the timeshare. I can’t speak to how successful (or unsuccessful) that would be.
Bottom Line: Try to do this on your own without getting another party involved….certainly a party who will charge you MORE money. Look for loopholes. Then, just be repetitive. Drive them crazy with your inquiries.
Will that tactic work? I don’t know. It did for us. It’s certainly worth a try.
I wish you the best of luck in getting rid of your timeshare if that is your choice. Hopefully what worked for us will work for you too.
- TimeShares – The Good, The Bad and The (REALLY) Ugly
- How to Survive a Time Share Presentation with Your Wallet Intact
- Vacation By Groupon
- Vacation Destinations With Children
- Cruises Pt 1: Finding Bargains and Booking