JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — It's a story we hear often. You sit through a timeshare presentation to get a free vacation or some type of gift, but after hours of listening to a sales pitch, you end up signing a contract and paying thousands of dollars for a timeshare you didn't plan to purchase.
Elaine Kremin emailed the "Ask Anthony" team for help after signing a contract and paying $20,000 for a timeshare in Orlando in May. Elaine and her 83-year-old husband feel like they were pressured to make the purchase and now they want their money back. But, they've had no luck getting a refund.
"The one thing they didn't tell us during the whole presentation and the signing of the paperwork was we only had 10 days to cancel," Elaine Kremin said.
Here's some advice if you find yourself in this situation:
First, let's start with your ability to cancel the contract. This is often called the cooling-off period. State laws, or the contract itself, may include how long you have to cancel. If you do cancel, send a letter to the seller by certified mail and ask for a return receipt.
Also, find out the true cost. There's typically an initial payment and even a yearly fee and travel costs. Determine if all those costs are worth it.
"I paid $20,000 for points that they led me to believe I could use for much discounted hotels and other travel, rental cars, this and that. Their prices are almost double what I can get myself," Kremin added.
If representatives say "today" is the only day for the deal. That's a red flag. The Federal Trade Commission warns the timeshare company sets the rates, so why aren't they available later as well?
"The more we said no, the more they kept trying to add on extra added benefits for free. We were just exhausted and ready to get out of there."
Don't be afraid to say no. If you can't afford it or don't want to make the commitment, you can walk away without making any final decisions. Take all the documents with you and review them away from the pressures of the presentation.
If you feel you've been scammed by a timeshare company, you can report it to the Federal Trade Commission, your State Attorney General's office, and the Better Business Bureau.