Before purchasing a timeshare in Alabama, it is important to know which protections are provided to you, the purchaser, as without understanding your rights, you may unwittingly forfeit key protections. At Cloud Willis & Ellis, our real estate attorneys help Alabama property owners better understand their rights so that they do not make crucial and costly mistakes. If you own a timeshare in Alabama, or if you are thinking about purchasing a timeshare, consult with our legal professionals about your legal protections and rights.
One of the first steps in purchasing a timeshare is drafting a timeshare contract. In Alabama, a timeshare contract should include the following:
- The date on which the contract was signed;
- The contact information of the seller, which should include first and last name and a physical address;
- Purchase price;
- A disclosure statement that informs purchasers that they are not to rely on any representations of the property given by anyone other those privy to the agreement; and
- Information that advises purchasers of their right to cancel the covenant.
Right to Cancel
Timeshare holders have the right to cancel a timeshare purchase so long as they do so within five days (unless the fifth day is a Sunday). If you wish to cancel your agreement, send a written notice to the seller via certified mail. It is unlawful for the seller to deny the request.
If you have not yet received any benefits of the purchase and decide to cancel, you are entitled to a refund. The seller is obligated to issue that refund within 20 days of receiving your notice of cancellation. If you have benefited from the timeshare, you are still entitled to cancel; however, your refund will be in the amount you paid less any benefits you have realized. In the latter case, the seller is obligated to issue your refund within 30 days of receiving your notice.
Public Offering Statement
Every prospective timeshare purchaser in Alabama must include a public offering statement. This statement should include a detailed description of your rights as a timeshare owner and other important considerations that should be made before investing in a timeshare.
It is common for timeshare sellers to use incentives such as prizes, free gifts, or vacations in order to entice individuals to attend sales. Alabama law states that sellers must fully disclose the following:
- The fact that the promotional items are being used to encourage sales;
- The actual worth of the prizes being awarded; and
- The chances of winning a prize or award.
Otherwise, the timeshare seller cannot use such promotional items.
Any timeshare sales that were made on basis of misrepresentations are considered fraudulent and therefore invalid in the state of Alabama. Just like with regular real estate in Alabama, timeshare sellers are required to be truthful and honest in their representations of properties. Common misrepresentations that may result in the invalidity of a contract include:
- Misrepresentations regarding the extent to which the accommodations will be available to the purchaser;
- Misrepresentations regarding the benefits, nature, size, location, characteristics, or services associated with the property;
- Falsifications regarding the contents of the agreement in general;
- Falsities regarding conditions under which a buyer may transfer rights to an accommodation in one location to an accommodation in another location; and
- Fraudulent information regarding cancellation rights.
In addition to not making any fraudulent statements regarding the property both during the sale process and in the contract, sellers are obligated to uphold all terms and conditions outlined in the contract. If the contract includes any language designed to dupe buyers, or if it includes provisions that waive the buyer’s rights provided to him or her by Alabama timeshare laws, the contract will be considered invalid, in which case, the buyer would be entitled to appropriate damages, including a full refund.
When you buy a timeshare, you are responsible for keeping up with mortgage payments as well as assessments, which include utilities, maintenance fees, special assessments, and taxes. If you fail to make these payments, you will likely face foreclosure.
Understand Your Rights Before Making a Purchase
At Cloud Willis & Ellis, we want Alabama property owners to make the most of their real estate investments. Part of maximizing one’s investment in real property involves knowing one’s rights and restrictions. Whether you already own a timeshare and Alabama or are thinking about purchasing one, reach out to the Alabama real estate attorneys at Cloud Willis & Ellis today to discuss your rights.