Buying a timeshare property in Alabama should not be taken lightly. Alabama law does provide some protections to timeshare purchasers -- such as certain timeshare contract disclosures and the right to cancel if you act quickly. But if you don't make your timeshare mortgage or assessments payments, you could lose your timeshare through foreclosure. Read on to learn more about the most important features of Alabama’s timeshare law.
Contents of the Alabama Timeshare Contract
An Alabama timeshare purchase contract must contain the following information (among other things):
- the actual date the contract is signed by all parties
- the name and address of the seller
- the total purchase price (plus any additional charges)
- a statement that "No purchaser should rely upon representations other than those included in the contract," and
- information about the right to cancel the contract (Ala. Code § 34-27-53, § 34-27-59).
Your Right to Cancel a Timeshare Purchase in Alabama
You can cancel a timeshare purchase in Alabama within five days. If the fifth day is a Sunday, the deadline is extended to Monday as the fifth day (Ala. Code § 34-27-53).
How to Cancel
To cancel the contract, you must send notice to the seller in writing by certified mail, return receipt requested (Ala. Code § 34-27-53). It is a violation of Alabama law for the seller to fail to honor a cancellation request (Ala. Code § 34-27-54).
If you cancel before receiving any benefits under the contract, the developer must give you a refund within 20 days after receiving the notice of cancellation. If you received any benefits pursuant to the contract, the developer must give you the refund within 30 days, less the amount of any benefits you actually received (Ala. Code § 34-27-55).
Public Offering Statement
A public offering statement contains very detailed information about the timeshare project and important matters you should consider when buying a timeshare interest. In Alabama, a copy of the public offering statement must be provided to each prospective timeshare purchaser (Ala. Code § 34-27-51).
Consumer Protections Regarding Promotions
Timeshare sellers are notorious for getting people to attend sales presentations by offering free gifts, prizes, or vacations. Alabama law prohibits the use of any promotional device (such as sweepstakes, lodging certificates, gift awards, premiums, or discounts) without fully disclosing:
- that the promotional devices are being used for the purpose of selling timeshares
- the fair market value of each award or prize offered, and
- the approximate odds of receiving each award or prize offered (Ala. Code § 34-27-60).
Misrepresentation and Fraud in Timeshare Sales Is Illegal
Alabama law prohibits timeshare sellers from doing the following (among other things):
- misrepresenting the amount of time (or period of time) the accommodations and facilities will be available to any purchaser
- misrepresenting or deceptively representing the location, size, nature, extent, qualities, characteristics, or services associated with the accommodations and facilities
- making any misleading or deceptive representations regarding the contents of the contract (or the buyer's rights, privileges, or benefits under the contract)
- failing to honor and comply with all provisions of the contract
- misrepresenting the conditions under which a customer may exchange his rights to an accommodation in one location for rights to an accommodation in another location
- misrepresenting the buyer’s right to cancel
- including language in the contract that purports to waive any right or benefit provided by law (such as the right to cancel), and
- doing any other act which constitutes fraud, misrepresentation, or failing to make a disclosure of a material fact (Ala. Code § 34-27-60, § 34-27-56).
Real Estate License Required
Timeshare brokers and salespersons must be licensed in Alabama (Ala. Code § 34-27-51).
Alabama Timeshare Foreclosures
If you take out a loan to purchase an interest in a deeded timeshare and fail to make your timeshare mortgage payments or keep up with the assessments, you will likely face foreclosure. (In addition to monthly mortgage payments, timeshare owners are ordinarily responsible for maintenance fees, special assessments, utilities, and taxes, collectively referred to as “assessments.” Find out more in Nolo’s article Can a Timeshare Be Foreclosed for Nonpayment of Fees or Assessments?)
How to Locate Alabama’s Timeshare Law
You can locate the Alabama Code by going the Alabama Legislative Information System Online website at http://alisondb.legislature.state.al.us/acas/ACASLoginMac.asp. Click on the “Code of Alabama” tab on the left-hand side of the screen to access the statutes. The relevant statutes are found in Title 34, Chapter 27.