What happens if I stop paying for my Timeshare?
The answer to this question, much like every other question in the Timeshare Industry, is: It Depends!
Factors include What resort or system you own, your current standing with the resort (ie are you already behind in payments), what country you live in , do you still owe on the original loan/mortgate etc.
Ok, what usually happens if I stop paying?
As a practical certainty, the resort will of course send you a 2nd/3rd/4th/whatever letter mentioning that they have not received your most recent maintenance fee payment and that you are now behind/in default of your agreed upon payments.
At this point, you will also be unable to actually utilize the week you own at the resort. You would be denied check in at the resort due to lack of payment of your fees.
You also could not rent this unit out, as any renter that showed up to check in to your unit, would also be denied access due to you not being current on your annual maintenance fees.
Depositng your week for Exchange is no longer an option either as without being current in your Maintenance Fees, you would not be able (in most cases) to deposit your interval with an exchange company.
I don't care if I cant use it anymore, is that all that happens?
Sadly no. In most cases your delinquent payment will eventually be reported to the major credit agencies, and depending on the resort in question, your information could be turned over to a collection agency in an attempt to recover the fees due to the resort.
Note that many resorts will also tack on late fees and penalties thus adding to the amount owed.
This instance can be compounded twofold if you still owe a separate payment for the actual purchase price for the timeshare (ie if you took out a loan to pay for the timeshare in the first place). These loans are in most cases with a 3rd party lender and have nothing to do with the resort, or the maintenance fees owed to it. Defaulting on either or both payments risk the above credit damage as well as the collection agency from both entities you owe money to.
Finally, keep in mind that your fees are shared by all other owners at the resort, when you stop paying, next year the cost of your (and all other delinquent owners) will be paid by the remaining owners left at the resort, thus increasing their annual fees owed next year.
I don't care about all that either, is that it?
Depending on where you own, it also may come time for the resort to actually pursue action to foreclose on your agreement, and depending on which state you live in, the cost for this can be impressive (attorneys fees, court costs, document filing costs) etc, will all of course be added to the amount you owe if it gets this far.
You can easily see how this can balloon into some extraordinary amount owed, and at this point with the courts involved, it can become very ugly.
So what are my alternatives?
You have a variety of options to pursue before you become delinquent, these include:
Finding a willing owner to take it from you!
Our How to Sell Guide gives the process of selling your timeshare, however in this case if you just want to be rid of it, you would list it for a single dollar (and perhaps even offer to pay closing costs) thus making it completely free for a new owner to take over the interval from you.
This TUGBBS forum post also describes in detail options to How to give away your Timeshare for little or no cost to you!
Contact the Resort and see if they will take it back!
In certain situations the Resort will take your unit back (many times for a fee), however you have to be proactive and ask them, they certainly are not going to advertise this to all owners! This article was written recently that explains how to try to give your Timeshare back to the resort: Give back your Timeshare
Rent out your unit!
If you are not using the timeshare, you can always attempt to rent it out to another party to cover all or part of your annual dues! You can even do this while you are trying one of the options above! We have a specific advice article that explains how you can rent your Timeshare out: How to Rent your Timeshare
Someone told me they can "get me out of my contract"?
Yes sadly this industry is full of folks who will tell you exactly what you want to hear in an attempt to get you to pay them money! Believe me folks, if there were a way to legally terminate your Timeshare Contract, id write that article instead!
Many of these companies claim to be Law Firms or Attorneys to sound more legitimate in selling you that they can legally get you out of your contract. I am sure however that you recall the large and comprehensive contract you signed when you purchased the Timeshare, and those individuals who drafted that contract were actually lawyers too!
If however you choose to do business with such an entity making similar promises, always remember that if they truly could "guarantee" to get you out, they would charge you only upon the successful completion of that task, not upfront.
TUG will always warn you against doing business with individuals who charge significant upfront fees after making wild promises that are exactly what you want to hear to fix your problem. The scams in this industry are extremely prolific because no matter how much we warn people against them, people falling on hard times are easily convinced these strategies work! Sadly it just makes them hundreds if not thousands of dollars further in debt.
One can read a much more detailed description of the most common scams that target timeshare owners desperate to be out of their timeshares here: Timeshare Scams that Target owners
The Final Word!
Simply ceasing to pay for your financial obligtation (be it your maintenance fees, or your mortgage) does come with risks especially to your credit. However it is a sure fire way to end your Timeshare ownership! We urge any owners considering this course of action to at least attempt the free options listed in the links above to do their due dilligence to locate a willing owner to take over for you even if you simply give it away or back to the resort it is better for both parties than simply deciding you wont pay anymore!
For more information or suggestions on options for you and your Timeshare ownership, visit us here on the free TUGBBS online forums where tens of thousands of other owners just like you can answer questions 24 hours a day! Timeshare owner discussion forums