How Do I Cancel a Timeshare Contract?

You might have a legal right to rescind a timeshare contract, but will need to follow the proper procedures.

By , Attorney · Northwestern University School of Law

When people enter into a timeshare contract, it's usually with dream of having affordable vacations well into the future. But then buyer's remorse sometimes sets in, perhaps as they realize that this was an impulse buy, and the odds of making use of the property in question at a time of year that works are slim. Fortunately, you might be able to cancel the timeshare contract if you act quickly. Because time is of the essence when rescinding a timeshare purchase, make sure you follow the correct cancellation procedures.

Below, we'll discuss:

  • reasons to cancel
  • methods for canceling before the contract's expiration period, and
  • methods for canceling later.

(To learn more about the general topic, see Buying or Selling Timeshares.)

Why Cancel Your Timeshare Contract?

When you purchase a timeshare, you are purchasing an interest in a piece of real estate, most often a resort condominium.

Timeshare sellers are notorious for putting the hard sell on potential buyers. It's not unheard of for a vacationer to attend a sales presentation solely to get a free bottle of wine or round of golf, and then walk out as a timeshare owner.

Others sign timeshare contracts with a bit more forethought, only to realize later that the deal is not as good as it originally seemed. For example, many timeshare buyers are unaware of their obligation to pay taxes, fees, and assessments on the property. When adding up the total financial cost, many people change their minds.

How to Cancel a Timeshare Contract

Because of the nature of timeshare selling, most states in the U.S. have enacted laws that allow timeshare buyers to cancel contracts if they act quickly. Some other countries (including Mexico) have also passed such laws.

This means that if you've entered into a timeshare contract and are having second thoughts, you have the legal right to cancel the contract.

Act Within the Timeshare Contract Cancellation Period

Your timeshare contract should clearly state the number of days you have in which to rescind (cancel) the contract. If it doesn't, or if you think the contract is wrong, check your state's law on timeshare contracts. (To learn how to find your state's law, visit Nolo's Legal Research Center or contact your state consumer protection office.)

Cancel the Timeshare Contract in Writing

Usually, you must cancel a timeshare contract in writing. Even if a written letter or document is not required, it's highly recommended. Include the following information in your cancellation letter:

  • your name as it appears on the contract
  • your address, phone number(s), and email address
  • the name of the timeshare company or association
  • a description of the timeshare
  • the date you purchased the timeshare, and
  • a statement that you are rescinding the contract (for example, "I am contacting you within the rescission period in order to cancel this timeshare contract).

In most cases, you don't have to list a reason for canceling the timeshare contract.

Delivery of the Cancellation Letter

Your contract should specify the manner in which you must deliver the cancellation letter. Sometimes you can hand-deliver the cancellation notice and other times you must deliver the letter by registered or certified mail.

Be sure to:

  • follow the instructions exactly, and
  • deliver the letter within the cancellation time period.

If you don't include the correct information or deliver the letter in the manner specified in the contract, your cancellation might not be valid.

How to Cancel After the Cancellation Period Has Expired

In certain states and in limited circumstances, you might be able to cancel your timeshare contract after the rescission period has passed. Usually, however, this will entail bringing a lawsuit against the timeshare company. Contact a real estate attorney for advice.

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