September 26, 2016

Timeshare Rip-off Protection Laws

Did you buy a timeshare then find out it was a rip-off? If you bought it within the past five days Nevada state allows you to request a full refund. Timeshare laws they hope you don’t discover.

-By Mindy Nielson

It was going to be a great Las Vegas vacation – my husband and I were off to the Planet Hollywood for the first trip without our son. As we walked through the casino we were literally accosted by some used car salesman (gum and all) trying to “give” us our free vacation goodies. I knew what the deal was, timeshare. I thought we were strong enough to get through the presentation, so we opted to go for the free $200 of gambling chips. WRONG CHOICE.

We got suckered in. It was the demo room that did it. I am telling you, if you can manage not going into the example suite, you might be able to make it through and get your free prizes. We got through that, loved the suite {what was it about the suite that got you?} and then was escalated to the manager, who made us this “great” deal. Then we got whisked into our closing agent who was there as an “unbiased” third-party to help us navigate this large purchase. We trusted our closing agent and handed over our credit card and $1480 for a down payment. WRONG CHOICE. {why was this the wrong choice?}

We went through piles of documents and signed and signed. When we asked about what happens if we get home and want to cancel, he said very vaguely that we wouldn’t want to do that. That it would be very costly and basically impossible. At the end of everything, he gave us two free tickets to breakfast, a huge brief case with all our exciting docs and handed us this “Public Offering Statement” that was required by law. He told us how boring it was and that we would never want to open it. He even flipped to a page and sarcastically read from some lame legal jargon. He gave us his personal cell phone and congratulated us on our investment. (The investment they say would go up in value 10-30%).

Of course we stewed about it for a full day and then it hit us. WHAT THE $(@*# were we thinking??? We got off our flight and ran to the internet to do some research. We realized quickly that we made a bad decision…there were hundreds of people that were stuck in these $15k – $100k timeshare purchases. We called our loan agents cell and asked how we could cancel, he said he had no idea, that there has never been anyone that has wanted to cancel.

BEST DECISION: I decided to open up the “lame” Public Offering Statement. Right on the first page in BRIGHT CAP RED LETTER: Consumer Should Read This Report Before Signing Any Paper. In on page 17 was our salvation: The Revocation Form. There is a Nevada law that protects people like us — people who make made decisions on our trip to vegas. Nevada Statute 199A states: “person may cancel this agreement without any cancellation fee or other penalty by hand delivering or sending by certified mail written notice of cancellation to your location…by midnight of the fifth calendar day following the day on which the agreement was signed.”. By law they have to refund your monies (minus any free stuff they gave you (breakfast, shows, brief case) by the 15th day. It works, we got our refund! Here is what we did:

1. Made purchase Sat

2. Mailed via overnight and certified mail, a letter written and signed by both of us stating our desire to cancel. We also coped page 17 out of public statement and signed and dated that as well. I followed mail and got email confirmation of them signing for it. They sent the refund to my credit card on day 10 minus $80. $30 for two breakfasts and $50 for that stupid briefcase. THey tell you to mail back briefcase for the refund of $50.

Now — we wanted to cover our behind during all of this and we decided to scour the Public Offering Statement to find falsehoods in our purchase. So that if we had to go to court we were prepared (the document states that if you have to go to court and you are found in favor of, Westgate pays you back what they owe you PLUS legal expenses. Here is what we found they misrepresented to us:

the Fine Print of a Westgate Contract- (that they don’t want you to read)

Page 17: Statute 119A: that Nevada law allows us to cancel (they didn’t want us to know about 5 days and tried to confuse us and spin around the facts until after 5th day)

Page 9.3d (after table of contents): Accural and carryover of timeshare weeks. You CANNOT carryover your timeshare weeks. We were told that if we didn’t use one week, we could move it over to the next year up to three years. THIS WAS A LIE

Page 10.8. It again states there is no carryover from one year to another. Like many timeshare victims, buyers often don’t use their week or days year-after-year, resulting in paying maintenance fees even without any usage.

Page 11 10.f: We bought a 2 bedroom suite every other year, which could be broken up into two separate weeks. One week in the one bedroom suite and one in the studio. We ONLY bought this because they said we could break it up and use the studio in one year and the one bedroom in the other year. This states that you MUST use both studio and one bedroom in that year. You can’t split in your off year.

Page 11 10i: We were told we could book up to a year in advance for our every other year timeshare. This says only book up to 120 days in advance.

Page 16 6: We were told that if the place was rented out and it became damaged by the renters we would not be responsible. That there would be HOAs (Home Ownership Association fees) to cover. This states that we would be solely liable for any damage incurred. Therefore their promise of the ease of switching weeks with someone in Miami for ours in Las Vegas was also a lie)

Page 2 of Exhibit 8: We were not told that the I.I program (the travel exchange) was voluntary. They told us it was part of the westgate program and that all dues were required each year.

Hopefully this helps you guys. We learned our lesson and will NEVER go to another timeshare presentation again. We only lost most of our vacation (worrying and sitting through this stupid stuff) and about $100 in postage and fees. But, we found through research that many timeshare purchasers are losing $20k plus. This can be prevented as long as you come to your sense within five days of your purchase.Take it from me, you can stay at the Westgate Planet Hollywood for much cheaper buy purchasing nights on the resale market.

This is the fith installment on out timeshare rip-off series. Our past stories have been read by thousands of readers, and with your help (by providing your own stories along with name and e-mail) we are working to coordinate a class-action lawsuite against Westgate Resorts for their predatory sales practices, which often include blatent lying. Share your comments using the form below or by clicking on the submit story button above.