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:
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.)
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:
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)).
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)).
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)).
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).
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.
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).