Right to Cancel

By M. Beddingfield

Sometimes we do things on a whim and only after the moment has passed do we discover that our impulsive purchase was a very bad idea. That’s human nature. Unfortunately, timeshare sales people are well aware of this flaw and tend to take advantage. Fortunately, there is something you can do, if you come to your senses in time.

Timeshare mortgages are very similar to regular mortgages. In every contract there should be something called a rescission notice. This is the paperwork you must send to the company that sold you the timeshare. A rescission notice details your right to rescind, revoke or cancel the contract.

If a copy of a rescission notice is not included with the contract, you still have the right to cancel. Read your contract carefully. It will include strict guidelines on the proper procedure and the number of days you have to cancel. These guidelines must be followed carefully in order to make your rescission legal and binding.

The most important aspect of a rescission notice is the time deadline. It’s also the most confusing. In the United States, there is something called the Truth in Lending Act (also called the Consumer Credit Protection Act) which gives you a minimum of three (3) business days to change your mind. Most states have enacted special laws to cover timeshare contracts. It’s important to be aware that different states have different time lines. A partial listing of states with time periods is included at the end of this article.

There are many contingencies to be aware of when considering the time deadline for your rescission. In general, Sundays and public holidays are excluded, but Saturday may count as a business day. Pay careful attention to the wording on your contract. Some time restrictions are according to calendar days and some are business days. In some states, the day you signed the contract is counted as a day and while in others it is not. If you have any doubts about the time period you have to rescind your contract, err to the side of sooner, rather than later.

The method used to send your rescission notice is also important. Again, read your contract carefully. You cannot email or phone in your cancellation. Some places allow you to hand deliver it, but this probably isn’t a good idea as they may try to talk you out of canceling. Most rescission notices are sent by certified letter. It’s a good idea to send it Certified Mail with a Return Signature and Receipt. This will leave a paper trail that will back you up if there are any problems in the future. It’s also a good idea to make copies of any and all paperwork and keep them in a safe place.

Alaska – 15 days
Arizona – 7 days
Arkansas – 5 days
California – 7 days
Colorado – 5 days
Connecticut – 3 days
Florida – 10 days
Georgia – 7 days
Hawaii – 7 days
Illinois – 5 days
Indiana – 3 days
Iowa – 5 days
Kentucky – 5 days
Louisiana – 7 days
Maine – 10 days
Maryland – 10 days
Massachusetts – 3 days
Michigan – 5 days
Minnesota – 5 days
Missouri – 5 days
New Hampshire – 5 days
New Jersey – 7 days
New Mexico – 7 days
Nevada – 5 days
New York – 7 days
Ohio – 3 days
Oregon – 5 days
Pennsylvania – 5 days
Rhode Island – 5 days
South Carolina – 5 days
South Dakota – 7 days
Tennessee – 10 days
Texas – 5 days
Utah – 5 days
Virginia – 7 days
Washington – 7 days
West Virginia – 10 days
Wisconsin – 5 days
British Columbia – 7 days
Mexico – 5 days