Missouri law protects potential timeshare purchasers when it comes to the use of promotional devices (such as prizes and gifts) in timeshare sales, as well as provides purchasers with the ability to cancel a timeshare contract if they want to back out of the deal after a purchase. If you are considering attending a timeshare sales presentation or have already purchased a timeshare in Missouri, it’s important to learn the answers to the following questions:
- What are Missouri’s consumer protection laws that regulate timeshare promotions?
- How do I cancel a timeshare contract in Missouri?
- If I stop making payments on my timeshare, what is the foreclosure procedure in Missouri?
Keep reading to find out some of the most significant features of Missouri timeshare law.
(Be sure to check out Nolo’s Buying or Selling a Timeshare and Timeshare Foreclosures topic areas where you can find information about selling or donating your timeshare, timeshare foreclosures, options to avoid a timeshare foreclosure, and consequences of a timeshare foreclosure.)
Consumer Protections Regarding Promotional Devices
Timeshare sellers are notorious for getting people to attend sales presentations by offering free gifts or awards. Missouri has strict requirements and content restrictions on the use of promotional devices and programs (including any sweepstakes, gift awards, drawings or display booths, or any other such award or prize inducement items) to advertise or sell a timeshare.
Under Missouri law, each promotional device, program, and notice must include the following information:
- a statement that the promotional device or promotional program is being used for the purpose of soliciting sales of a timeshare period, timeshare plan, or timeshare property
- the date by which all such awards or other prize inducement items will be awarded
- the method by which all such items will be awarded
- the odds of being awarded such items
- the manufacturer's suggested retail price of such items, and
- the names and addresses of each timeshare plan or business entity participating in the promotional device or promotional program (Mo. Rev. Stat. § 407.610(1)).
This information must be provided to the prospective purchaser in writing or electronically at least once within a reasonable time period before a scheduled sales presentation. However, the required information does not need to be included in every advertisement or other written, oral, or electronic communication provided or made to a prospective purchaser before a scheduled sales presentation (Mo. Rev. Stat. § 407.610(2)).
Deceptive Practices are Prohibited
Additionally, a salesperson may not use deception, fraud, false promises, misrepresentation, unfair practices, or the concealment, suppression, or omission of any material fact in connection with a timeshare promotional device, advertisement, or sale (Mo. Rev. Stat. § 407.020 and § 407.610 (4)).
Timeshare Sellers Must Provide Promised Gifts and Prizes
Sometimes, timeshare sellers fail to provide promised gifts or prizes to potential buyers after the presentation. Missouri law bans this practice.
In Missouri, if a prospective purchaser or purchaser does not receive the gift or prize (or a cash equivalent), he or she may bring a civil action to recover damages and, if he or she prevails, receive at least five times the cash retail value of the most expensive gift offered (not to exceed $1,000) in addition to such other actual damages as may be determined by the evidence (Mo. Rev. Stat. § 407.610(6)).
Right to Cancel a Missouri Timeshare Purchase
In Missouri, a timeshare purchaser has five days after the day of purchase to cancel the purchase. To cancel the contract, you can hand deliver or mail written notice to the developer or the timeshare salesperson. If you cancel by mail, cancellation is accomplished as of the date of the postmark (Mo. Rev. Stat. § 407.620). (Get more tips on how to cancel a timeshare contract.)
The right to cancel cannot be waived. (Mo. Rev. Stat. § 407.620).
Timeshare Foreclosure Procedure
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?) Missouri foreclosures can be judicial or nonjudicial.
How to Locate Missouri’s Timeshare Laws
You can access the Missouri Revised Statutes by going to www.moga.mo.gov and clicking on “MO Statutes” and “View All Statutes.” The statutes that govern timeshare transactions are located in Title XXVI (Trade and Commerce), Chapter 407 (Merchandising Practices).