How to Cancel a Vacation Timeshare Contract in Virginia

By Lori Lapierre
Timeshares along Virginia's coast remain popular for vacationers.

sandy beach scene on pensacola beach image by Edward Cooper from Fotolia.com

While many vacationers dream of having a second home in Virginia, making it a reality can be delayed by budget concerns. Timeshares, which originated in Europe in the 1960s, offer the option to own a portion of real estate and travel to exotic locations, without the problems of sole ownership. However, a customer may succumb to high-pressure sales tactics and later regret the decision. Virginia law allows consumers to cancel a contract on a timeshare for a limited time if they find themselves in this situation.

Read the rescission (cancellation) notice in the timeshare contract. Under Virginia Revised Code 55-376, anyone purchasing a timeshare has the right to cancel the purchase contract until "midnight of the seventh calendar day" after it is signed. This is extended to the next day if the seventh day is a Sunday or a legal holiday.

Write a notice of cancellation to the timeshare company. Keep it direct and succinct; you are not required to explain why you wish to cancel the timeshare. Let the company know you wish to exercise your right to rescind the timeshare contract, per the contractual agreement. Include your contact information and the date of the timeshare purchase in your letter. Request that any deposits be returned immediately.

Mail the rescission letter before Virginia's seven-day cancellation deadline by certified mail. Request a return receipt to prove that the letter was received. Save a copy of the rescission notice for your records along with the postal paperwork, verifying the mailing date.

Follow up with the timeshare company to make sure they have received and acted on the rescission request in accordance with Virginia law. Contact the company's corporate headquarters if you do not hear within a reasonable time period (15 to 30 days, for example) and explain that you are aware of your legal rights regarding Virginia's rescission policy. Explain that as you are in compliance, they must honor your request in a timely manner. Note the names of representatives that you speak with, along with the content of the conversation.

Consult with an attorney if the company doesn't cancel your contract. You may also wish to notify the Virginia Attorney General's office, the Better Business Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission of any problems you have in this regard.

About the Author

Lori Lapierre holds a Bachelor of Arts and Science in public relations/communications. For 17 years, she worked for a Fortune 500 company before purchasing a business and starting a family. She is a regular freelancer for "Living Light News," an award-winning national publication. Her past writing experience includes school news reporting, church drama, in-house business articles and a self-published mystery, "Duty Free Murder."

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