Not your dream holiday? We can help you exit an unwanted timeshare?

20 September 2018

Have you recently bought a timeshare membership and regret it? You’re not alone. There are millions of timeshare owners all over the world – but not all of them are happy with their arrangement. 

It often starts when people are relaxed and on holidays – while you are relaxed and have let your guard down, you may be approached and be offered holidays of a lifetime.

Before you know it, you have agreed to join a holiday membership club – or timeshare arrangement- whereby you are given the right to use various properties for certain periods, depending on the level of your membership. You may have been told you will be able to use your membership anywhere in the world easily and it will be cost effective for you to do so.

However, in time, you realise that your membership is not what you hoped it would be. You may find that:

  1. there are increasing annual fees and levies;
  2. you have significant difficulty making bookings at any of the resorts; 
  3. it is cheaper to book directly through the hotel or resort vs with your membership; and
  4. you have effectively joined for life and that cancellation or transfer of the membership appears virtually impossible.

In fact, on reflection, you believe you were misled by the sales people who sold the time share membership to you. They also used high pressure sales tactics to convince you to buy the membership then and there without giving you a moment to think about it (or seek legal advice).

How can you cancel your membership?

Timeshare arrangements are usually established as managed investment schemes governed by ASIC, industry bodies and regulatory guidelines.  Each timeshare arrangement is unique and there is usually no easy way to cancel your membership (which you have probably already found out).

You may be able to sell your timeshare, although you can have issues with finding a buyer, and you will still need to pay costs of transferring the unit. In some cases it can even be difficult to give away a timeshare arrangement. 

The first key is acting quickly.  There is always a cooling off period in which you can cancel your membership without incurring fees, however this period is usually only between 7 – 14 days after you sign your application for membership.  If you change your mind during this period, you should follow the directions on the cooling-off statement.

To otherwise attempt to find a way to cancel your membership after the expiry of the cooling off period, you will need to look at the contents of the cooling-off statement, the product disclosure statement, the constitution of the club and any other financial advice you may have received before entering into the arrangement. 

If the matter cannot be resolved with the club directly, then you may be able to make a complaint to the financial ombudsman service.

The club may tell you the only way to get rid of your timeshare is to sell it, but that is not the only way. We can help you identify whether you have rights to cancel your membership to potentially obtain a full release from your membership obligations including payment of future fees and levies. In some circumstances, you may even be entitled to compensation. 

Our corporate services team and dispute resolution team have experience in dealing with complicated timeshare arrangements and have successfully obtained releases for our clients from their timeshare memberships.

If you have concerns about your timeshare membership, we may be able to assist. But remember the sooner you act the better, so please do not hesitate to contact:

Brad Clark, Partner
(07) 3307 4527
bclark@shandtaylor.com.au

Kimberley Forman, Senior Associate
(07) 3307 4523
kforman@shandtaylor.com.au

Melissa Jarvin, Lawyer
(07) 3307 4580
mjarvin@shandtaylor.com.au

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