Over in the U.S. a judge has ruled in favour of a couple who legally gave away their timeshare after the resort refused to take it back and they failed to sell it on. Proving timeshares are almost impossible to get away from once you own, Mr and Mrs Riley were then sued by the resort who dragged them to court even though the Riley’s were able to prove they were no longer the legal owners of the timeshare.
Unfortunately for the couple, they both had been hit hard by the Pandemic and had been furloughed by their employers, so needless to say paying for a timeshare was not a priority for them at this time. They tried to work with the timeshare resort, but they refused to help the couple who were struggling financially. After legally giving their timeshare to a third party, the resort decided this was not acceptable, even though it was legal, and decided to take them to court.
Timeshare ownership in the U.S works pretty much the same as everywhere else apart from a few subtle differences. Generally, in Europe, timeshares provide for a stay in a fixed week, in a fixed room and at a fixed time of the year. The same is true in the U.S, except that timeshare are usually subject to a deed, meaning that the timeshare itself is registered. The laws differ from state to state; however, they usually operate in the same way. The main difference from Europe is that contracts in perpetuity were deemed unlawful a few years back and timeshare resorts are no longer allowed to sell timeshares with everlasting contracts. U.S timeshare contracts are also harder to extricate the consumer from, as they are deeded which is not a simple contract, it means an owner owns an actual physical interest in a timeshare property.
Because of this timeshare owners in the U.S often find themselves subject to tricky real estate laws which is something the timeshare companies use to their advantage to try to keep people locked in lengthy contracts. However, the Riley’s lawfully gave their timeshare away, meaning they deeded the property to someone else who then took over responsibility for the timeshare. Incredibly, even after providing evidence to the timeshare company that they had legally given away their timeshare, the resort decided this simply was not good enough for them and continued to take the Riley’s to court. However, the judge ruled in their favour and was sympathetic to the position they had been put in by the resort and the current Pandemic and employment status they both found themselves in. The judge ruled against the timeshare company and in his ruling stated no one should have to pay for something they cannot use or no longer want.
The case is just another illustration of how far some timeshare companies are willing to go to keep hold of their long-suffering owners and those precious maintenance fees they collect every year.