Timeshare: Why The Heck Did We Sign For One?
You made an agreement with your husband not to purchase anything no matter what you were going to be told at the timeshare sales presentation. Then, why did you end up walking away with a nice briefcase full or paperwork and a $20,000.00 USD debt in credit cards?
When making large financial investments, it is very careful to read the fine print. In the past, a person’s word was taken at face value at could be relied upon as valid and truthful information. Sadly, in today’s times, what holds up in a court of law is the written contract, so it is essential when making a purchase of a timeshare to read the contract very carefully and ensure that you agree to and understand each and every clause. After all, these are typically 30 year contracts binding you to annual fees and numerous restrictions.
Any verbal promises that are not included in the contract, will probably not be upheld by the timeshare developer and its affiliated companies, so to protect yourself, you need to make sure that you have concrete evidence of all the factors that you agreed to during the sales presentation. Many clients contact us because the written contract they signed and received is very different from what they were promised verbally. In some cases, this can constitute fraud or misrepresentation and with some investigative work, we can assist the client in cancelling their contract based on the fraudulent promises they were told.
In order to prevent this type of fraud from occurring to you, we like to inform our clients of two common things that people don’t realize they are signing:
1) A credit card application
Many timeshare purchasers are issued a new credit card with the full balance of the amount owing, without even knowing that they have signed up for a new credit card. During the contract signing period, the timeshare salesmen may present the clients with a credit application for their in-house financing, or promissory note. The clients are promised that there is a no-interest period (ie. 3 to 6 months), which will allow the clients to return home and either pay it off in full, or arrange cheaper financing with their own bank. As soon as the clients return home, they receive a new credit card in the mail with a charge for the remaining balance of the timeshare.
The interest rate is exceptionally high, normally between 19 and 26%. Many clients pay off the credit card in full in order to avoid these high interest rates. This results in the resort having the full payment of the contract immediately, and the clients are left in financial hardship as they have had to pay the full amount upfront when they expected to have time to pay off the balance. Other clients struggle to pay or keep up with the monthly payments at the high interest rates and often double the cost of their timeshare with interest charges.
Some clients also try to dispute the charge with the bank by stating that they did not authorize the charge or the set up of this new card. The bank will refer to the paper that the clients signed for the in-house credit, which in fine print is actually a credit card application. If you do not fully understand the document you are asked to sign, or if there are vague clauses, do not sign it. It is not worth the risk of damaging your credit or financial health.
2) Trade In Equity
The timeshare sales pitch often includes promises of taking over a previous timeshare property as equity for the new purchase. The client is lead to believe that the trade in value will be taken off the net purchase price, and that they will also be free of the liability for the other timeshare. When the equity exchange papers arrive for signing, there are often clauses stating such things as “I will maintain full financial responsibility for the property” or “I understand that this property remains mine to use as I see fit” or “I am not depending on the resale of the property to pay for my XXX contract.”
These written statements contradict the promises that the salesmen make verbally, and consequently supersede what the client believed they were agreeing to with regards to the trade in equity. The clients are often told that they will receive an email or letter with instructions about where to send the deed for the trade in. When they return home, the clients receive a letter saying that either they no longer need to trade in their properties to get the benefit of the new purchase or that the resale company has too much inventory for their property that was being traded. This leaves the client with both timeshares, and a contract backing up that the trade in was not guaranteed.
At Mexican Timeshare Solutions, we strongly advise that you get a copy of the contract immediately, so that you can review it with the salesperson in person before leaving the office. Do not accept copies of the contract on CD, by mail, or only partial pages. It is important that you as a consumer have a copy of every page that you signed.
If you were made verbal promises, and your written contract does not align with your expectations, contact us and we can help you to resolve your situation.
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