If you buy a timeshare and regret it, most states have "cooling-off" laws. These laws let you get out of a timeshare contract if you act quickly, usually within three to ten days. In Connecticut, the cooling-off period is five calendar days after you sign and receive a copy of the purchase contract or receive the required timeshare disclosure statement, whichever is later.
Also, Connecticut law provides protections to people in timeshare transactions. For instance, state law prohibits timeshare sellers from making false or materially misleading statements about a timeshare sale. In addition, Connecticut law requires certain disclosures if a timeshare seller uses a prize or promotion to try to sell you a timeshare.
Even though Connecticut law provides several protections for timeshare purchasers, you still need to be cautious when buying a timeshare. And you should understand that if you take out a mortgage loan to buy a deeded timeshare and stop making the payments, the lender, usually the resort developer, will probably foreclose.
Also, timeshare owners typically must pay annual maintenance fees and special assessments. If, as an owner, you don't pay the fees and assessments, you might face a lawsuit for a money judgment or a foreclosure of your timeshare. (With a right-to-use timeshare, people generally sign a contract and agree to make monthly payments. While a developer may foreclose a deeded timeshare, a right-to-use timeshare is typically repossessed, which is a different legal process than a foreclosure.)
How Long Do I Get to Cancel a Connecticut Timeshare?
Again, in Connecticut, you may cancel a timeshare purchase contract before midnight of the fifth calendar day after the later of the date:
you sign and receive a copy of the purchase contract or
receive the required timeshare disclosure statement. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 42-103pp(a).)
A developer may offer a cancellation period that's longer than five calendar days if required in the jurisdiction where the timeshare property is located. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 42-103pp(a).)
How to Cancel a Timeshare Transaction in Connecticut
You can cancel a Connecticut timeshare contract by:
hand-delivering notice of cancellation to the developer
mailing notice by prepaid United States mail
faxing notice to the developer or to the developer's agent for service of process, or
sending the notice via overnight common carrier delivery service to the developer or the developer's agent for service of process. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 42-103pp(c).)
Can I Waive the Right to Cancel a Timeshare Deal in Connecticut?
A timeshare purchaser can't waive the right to cancel. If the developer puts a waiver in the contract, you may void the contract. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 42-103pp (b).)
Getting a Timeshare Contract Refund in Connecticut
If you cancel the deal, the timeshare developer must refund all payments you made by the later of:
20 business days after the date on which the developer receives your notice of cancellation, or
on or before the fifth day after the date the developer receives good funds. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 42-103pp(d).)
The developer can't charge you a penalty for canceling. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 42-103pp(d).)
Other Protections for Timeshare Purchasers in Connecticut
Timeshare salespeople are known for using hard-sell tactics and misrepresentations to get you to make a snap decision about buying a timeshare. Connecticut law provides protections to shield consumers from deceptive practices in timeshare transactions.
Timeshare Sellers Can't Use Misrepresentations to Sell You a Timeshare
Connecticut law prohibits timeshare sellers from engaging in unfair practices, including:
making false or materially misleading statements concerning the characteristics of accommodations or amenities available
making false or materially misleading statements concerning the duration that accommodations or amenities will be available
making false or materially misleading statements concerning the conditions under which a purchaser of a timeshare interest may exchange the right to occupy a unit for the right to occupy a unit in the same or another timeshare property
representing that a prize, gift, or another benefit will be awarded in connection with a promotion with the intent not to award that prize, gift, or benefit in the manner represented, and
failing to provide a copy of the purchase contract to the purchaser at the time the contract is signed by the purchaser. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 42-103tt.)
This list of unfair practices isn't exclusive. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 42-103tt.) If you want to learn more about whether a timeshare seller used illegal tactics in your dealings, talk to a lawyer.
Timeshare Sellers Can't Use Misleading Advertisements
Timeshare sellers also can't use advertisements that misrepresent the characteristics of the timeshare, such as:
the size, nature, extent, qualities, or characteristics of the accommodations or amenities
the amount or period of time during which the accommodations or amenities will be available to any purchaser
the nature or extent of any services incident to the timeshare plan, or
the conditions under which a purchaser may exchange the right to use accommodations or amenities in one location for the right to use accommodations or amenities in another location. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 42-103ll(a).)
Requirements When Advertising Prizes and Promotions in Connecticut Timeshare Sales
Timeshare sellers are notorious for getting people to attend sales presentations by offering free gifts or awards. Under Connecticut law, an advertisement that contains a promotion in connection with the offering of a timeshare interest must include:
a statement to the effect that the promotion is intended to sell timeshares
the full name of the developer of the timeshare property, and
the full name and address of any marketing company involved in the promotion of the timeshare property, if applicable. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 42-103ll(c).)
Promotion rules must be disclosed.If a promotion uses free offers, gift enterprises, drawings, sweepstakes, or discounts, the rules of the promotion must be disclosed and must include:
the day and the year by which all prizes listed or offered will be awarded, and
the method by which all prizes are to be awarded. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 42-103ll(d).)
At least one of each prize featured in a promotion must be awarded by the day and year specified in the promotion. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 42-103ll(e).)
A written disclosure about prizes is also required.Any promotion offering prizes must disclose in conspicuous type:
the value of each prize
the odds of winning each prize, and
any conditions or restrictions that apply to the receipt of the prize or void the receipt of the prize. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 42-103ll(f).)
The disclosure must be provided to the potential purchaser in writing or electronically:
at least once before a scheduled sales presentation, and
in a reasonable period before the scheduled sales presentation to ensure that the recipient receives the disclosures before leaving to attend the sales presentation. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 42-103ll(g).)
But the developer doesn't have to provide the disclosures in every advertisement or communication before a scheduled sales presentation. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 42-103ll(h).)
Timeshare Foreclosures in Connecticut
If you take out a loan to purchase an interest in a deeded timeshare and fail to make your mortgage payments, the lender (again, typically, the developer) might foreclose. In addition to monthly mortgage payments, timeshare owners are ordinarily responsible for maintenance fees, special assessments, utilities, and taxes, collectively referred to as "assessments." You might also face a foreclosure (or a lawsuit for a money judgment) if you fall behind in the timeshare assessments. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 42-103yy.)
donating the timeshare to a charity (not all charities will take a timeshare, but some might, and you'll have to get current on payments first)
arranging a repayment plan, or
working out a deal to give the timeshare back to the resort (called a "deed in lieu of foreclosure" or "deedback").
Talk to a Lawyer
If you want more information about timeshare laws in your state or need assistance canceling a timeshare, consider talking to a real estate attorney. Contact a foreclosure attorney if you're facing a timeshare foreclosure and have questions about the process or your options.