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 Oregon, the cooling-off period is usually five calendar days from the date you sign the first written offer or contract to purchase the timeshare. Also, Oregon law provides protections to people in timeshare transactions. For instance, state law prohibits timeshare sellers from making false statements when trying to sell you a timeshare.
Even though Oregon law provides quite a few 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 have to 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.)
Again, in Oregon, you may usually cancel the contract within five calendar days from the date you sign the first written offer or contract to purchase. (Or. Rev. Stat. § 94.836(1).)
But if the developer doesn't provide an address to you for cancellation purposes, the cancellation period doesn't begin until the developer gives you the address. (Or. Rev. Stat. § 94.836(2).)
To cancel, you must give written notice to the developer at the developer's address. (Or. Rev. Stat. § 94.836(2).) The notice of cancellation doesn't need to be in a particular format. The notice is sufficient if it indicates your intention to cancel the contract. (Or. Rev. Stat. § 94.836(3).)
If you give you notice of cancellation by mail, you must send it by certified mail, return receipt requested. The cancellation is effective on the date that the notice is deposited with the United States Postal Service, properly addressed and postage prepaid. (Or. Rev. Stat. § 94.836(4).)
A timeshare purchaser can't waive the right to cancel. (Or. Rev. Stat. § 94.836(6).)
Upon receipt of a timely notice of cancellation, the timeshare developer must immediately return your payment. But if you made the payment by check, the developer isn't required to return the payment until the check is paid. (Or. Rev. Stat. § 94.836(5).)
Timeshare salespeople are known for using hard-sell tactics and misrepresentations to get you to make a snap decision about buying a timeshare. Oregon law provides protections to shield consumers from deceptive practices in timeshare transactions.
Oregon law makes it unlawful for a timeshare developer or salesperson to do any of the following when selling timeshares:
A timeshare developer must put any money you pay in connection with a timeshare purchase into an escrow account with an escrow agent. (Or. Rev. Stat. § 94.873(1).) It will release the funds:
The purpose of the escrow account is to protect your right to a refund.
In Oregon, the Real Estate Commissioner may examine a timeshare plan to be offered for sale and make a public report of the findings. The timeshare developer must give a copy of the public report to the prospective purchaser before signing the contract. (Or. Rev. Stat. § 94.829.)
If you're thinking about buying a timeshare, be sure to carefully examine the public report before the five-day cancellation period ends.
Oregon law prohibits a timeshare developer, or its agent or an employee, from putting false or misleading statements, pictures, or sketches in advertisements, radio broadcasts, or telecasts. (Or. Rev. Stat. § 94.945.)
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. (Or. Rev. Stat. § 94.856.)
A few of the various options to avoid a timeshare foreclosure include:
If you want more information about timeshare laws in your state or need assistance canceling a timeshare, consider talking to a real estate attorney. If you're facing a timeshare foreclosure and have questions about the process or your options, contact a foreclosure attorney.