Am I out of my timeshare? A question asked by many consumers who have paid a “timeshare exit or termination” company or lawyers for this service, yet are still receiving demands for their annual maintenance and any arrears. In some cases, the arrears are in the thousands, with the consumer now at their wit’s end, they stopped paying the maintenance, all because they were told to by those who they thought were lawyers and knew what they were doing.
So why are they still receiving maintenance demands from their supposedly “exited” timeshare?
It usually begins with a “cold call”, you have all had them and know the “pitch”, they can terminate your contract and claim back “compensation” for the “missold” timeshare. It so happens you do actually want out of your timeshare and you are now interested, getting out and getting something back, what could be better than that?
From the initial call, you are passed to a “legal consultant” who explains how they will get you out first and then make a claim for “compensation”. At this point you are actually dealing with a third party, not the law firm, this is the marketing company, lawyers are not allowed to solicit for clients. But you are swayed by his smooth talking and his “apparent” legal knowledge and agree to sign up, paying for the “exit”, the claim for compensation is on a “no win no fee” basis.
Following all their instructions you provide all your timeshare documents including any finance agreements and/or credit card statements for the purchase. All looks good and above board, our law firm Pocket, Dosh & Skedaddle, Contract Exit Lawyers, send you a letter which begins the work on your behalf, you are also told to ignore any maintenance demands (send them to us) and have NO CONTACT with your timeshare company.
Over the next few weeks and months, you receive the occasional “update” letter or a form that needs signing, sometimes you may call or email them for news, it will always be the same reply, “our lawyer is working on it”, or something similar. You have sent them any demands and are now beginning to get a bit concerned, but you believe what you are told, after all, they are “lawyers”.
Eventually, you receive a letter from our law firm, Pocket, Dosh & Skedaddle, Contract Exit Lawyers with very good news, or so you think.
The usual pleasantries start the letter and announce the “good news”, as they have had no response from your timeshare company to their requests for termination of the contract, “In their OPINION, the contract is terminated and you are free from your timeshare”.
Brilliant, except that five years down the line you are now receiving final demands for 6 or 7 years of maintenance arrears, these are probably laced with threats of a “Debt Recovery” firm being passed your case for collection. They may even mention taking you to the County Court where you may receive a CCJ, not good for your finances that’s for sure.
First port of call, you contact Pocket, Dosh & Skedaddle, they assure you that you are no longer “liable” for the maintenance fees, citing the “Confirmation of Termination” letter they sent you. Remember the one, “In their opinion”?
Sitting back and wanting to believe that it is all a mistake you don’t do anything, then yet another demand comes through the door, this time it is a “Final Demand”. Picking up the phone to call the “lawyer”, you decide to call the timeshare company instead, followed up with an email.
Low and behold, the news is not good, your timeshare resort has never had any communication with Pocket, Dosh & Skedaddle, Contract Exit Lawyers, regarding your exit, or if they had it was just an email to say you had “terminated” the contract. So as far as they are concerned you are still a member and liable for the arrears. They also explain they do not deal with third parties for exits, only direct with the member, they also explain their own “exit” procedure. This turns out to have been either free of any charge or a couple of years maintenance fees, far less than you paid the “exit” people, plus you would not be thousands in arrears.
So if our law firm, Pocket, Dosh & Skedaddle, Contract Exit Lawyers, is so confident that you are out of your contract and no longer liable, why are they not taking up your cause FREE OF CHARGE on the arrears with the timeshare company?
It is all down to what they term a “Unilateral Termination of Contract”, it does exist, and AIT is looking into this and how it works with timeshare and if it does. So far we don’t think it does apply, you have signed a contract with the timeshare company, it is legally binding and you have not followed their “exit procedure”. You have not actually asked for the “exit”, a “third party” has, so, as far as they are concerned the contract is still binding.
Is this a “Catch 22” situation?
“Coming from the novel of the same name, a Catch-22 is a situation where one is trapped by two contradictory conditions. It’s more generally used to refer to a paradox or dilemma.”
As the last word, there have been many companies in the past that have used this method, with many being closed down by the authorities and some being brought before the courts. There is an ongoing case against one of these people behind the “fake” law firms, yet the genuine lawyers seem to get away with it, we wonder why.
The following link is a good start on this subject, please be aware that when searching you may find references to the law in other jurisdictions.
Terminating contracts under English law