If Club Med has turned into Club Dread, then you’re in good company. A whopping 85% of people who purchase a timeshare regret their decision.1 But getting out of a timeshare agreement isn’t easy. Smooth-talking salespeople are trained to keep you in your contract, or worse, upsell you or renegotiate your contract when you try to cancel.
Here’s the bad news: Canceling a timeshare is an Olympic-level endurance sport. It’s going to take time. But the good news is, it can be done. You can get out of a timeshare and kick all those nasty fees and rigid schedules to the curb. And once you’re free from your timeshare, you can go where you want, when you want.
But first things first. Start your timeshare cancellation process with a letter to your timeshare company. Let’s take a look at the do’s and don’ts for how to write a timeshare cancellation letter.
The Do’s: How to Write a Timeshare Cancellation Letter
If you’ve reached your boiling point when it comes to your timeshare, it’s time to take action. But before you send off a 10-page letter, stop. Take a deep breath, collect your thoughts and then when you’re feeling calm, draft your letter. Here’s how to do it.
1. Get your cancellation request in writing.
You cannot skip this step. (In fact, go ahead and buy yourself a folder where you can keep all your timeshare cancellation-related records. You’re going to need it.) Your cancellation request isn’t an email. It needs to be a typed letter, printed out and mailed to your timeshare provider. Keep a copy for your records.
2. Include a clear request to cancel your timeshare.
You must be very, very clear that you are writing to cancel your timeshare. You don’t have to be a jerk, but you do need to be firm. Your subject line (yes, printed letters can have subject lines too) should say something like, “Request to Cancel Timeshare,” or “Timeshare Cancellation Request.”
In the body of your letter, you need to state your request as early as possible. Do it in the first one or two sentences. Remember, this process is going to take some time, so do yourself as many favors as you can along the way. Get to the point and don’t beat around the bush. You can open by saying, “I am writing to request immediate cancellation of my timeshare contract,” or “This letter is a formal request to immediately terminate my timeshare contract.”
3. List all the important details.
The job of the person receiving your timeshare cancellation letter is to prevent you from canceling your timeshare. Plain and simple. Your job is to include all the details they need in order to keep your request moving. They’ll love nothing more than if you forget to include key information. That just buys them more time to ignore you or convince you to stay. Don’t give them that opportunity!
In your timeshare cancellation letter, make sure you include the following details:
- The name of the timeshare as listed on your contract
- The name of the contract holder
- The contract number
- The purchase date
- Your membership ID
Use bullets, bold the details, and don’t hide this really important info in the middle of a sentence or paragraph. Again, you want to be as clear as possible.
4. Set expectations.
Timeshare companies make their money by locking people into bad deals that depreciate faster than cars. When you want out, it’s their goal to keep you in.
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In your letter, state that you aren’t interested in a resale, beneficiary transfer or any other ownership opportunities. (They will try to persuade you with one of these tactics. Don’t fall for it!) And state that you expect a response, by certified mail, acknowledging receipt of your letter within 30 days.
5. Send all correspondence by certified mail.
Don’t let these timeshare companies tell you they didn’t receive your letter. Send everything through certified mail so you can know for certain they received your request. Do the same thing for any future correspondence required throughout the cancellation process.
The Don’ts: How Not to Write a Timeshare Cancellation Letter
Don’t get in the weeds when you sit down to write your timeshare cancellation letter. It’s easy to say too much of the wrong stuff (like how mad or disappointed you are) and too little of the right stuff (like those oh-so-important contract details). Follow these instructions to stay on track.
1. Don’t get emotional or long-winded.
Look, when we’re fired up or fed up, our communication skills usually take a hit. But this is exactly the time when you need to be as firm and focused as possible.
This letter is not the next great American novel. Ideally, it will only be a couple of paragraphs long—tops. If you find yourself recounting every misdeed and disappointment you’ve ever experienced as a result of your timeshare company’s actions, stop what you’re doing. Step away from the computer. Come back later and try again when you’ve cooled off.
All you need to do is simply state that you’re writing to request termination of your contract, then share the contract details they’ll need to review your account.
If you need to say that you’re ticked off about the rising fees, inflexible dates—whatever your particular grievance is—that’s fine. Just do it in two sentences or less. Your satisfaction is not their priority, so don’t waste precious space trying to convince them it should be.
2. Don’t use passive or hesitant language.
Which sounds more confident? I am writing to request immediate termination of my timeshare contract. Or I was wondering if it’s possible to review my contract and cancel my timeshare. It’s obvious, right?
You don’t need to be mean or aggressive, but you do need to be direct and confident. These people are pros. They can sniff out someone on the fence in a heartbeat. Avoid words like maybe, perhaps, hoping, wondering, if, possible. All of these point to someone who can be convinced to stay, and that’s not you!
3. Don’t hold your breath.
As much as we’d love to report that writing a timeshare cancellation letter means you’re good to go, we can’t. Unfortunately, it’s usually just the necessary first step to begin the process of untangling yourself from a timeshare company. Prepare yourself for a minimum of six months of back and forths, but we’ve seen people duke it out for as many as three years. Don’t give up though! Once you’re out, you’re free.
4. Don’t go it alone.
Writing a timeshare cancellation letter is a great start, but don’t count on it pushing you over the finish line. Instead, get connected to trusted experts who make it their business to take on slimy timeshare companies. They know all the tricks these companies will play and exactly how to shut them down. Just think how much better that sunset margarita will taste when you’re enjoying it on your terms!