Is there a 5-day right to cancellation for a time-share contract?

UPDATED: Mar 30, 2011

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Is there a 5-day right to cancellation for a time-share contract?

We sat in a timeshare presentation yesterday in WI and signed an agreement to purchase a property deed.  They said we had 5 days to cancel, true?

Asked on March 30, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Iowa


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Yes, it is true.  Each state passes its own laws regarding the amount of time you have after buying a timeshare to return it for a full refund.  The process of returning an unwanted timeshare shortly after purchasing is known as "rescission".  Under IA law, a purchaser as 5 days to rescind. 

Each set of documents/purchase papers accompanying a timeshare sale will include form explaining how to rescind (typically it's titled something similar to, "Notice of Mutual Right of Cancellation of Time Share Purchase").  Be sure to follow all steps for rescission exactly as outlined in your contract.  Some time restrictions are according to calendar days; some are according to business days.  In some states, the day you signed the contract is counted as a day; in others it is not.  Typically Sundays and public holidays are not counted, but Saturday may be.  If you have any doubts about the time period in which you have to rescind your contract, always calculate sooner rather than later.  Finally, the method used to send the rescission notice is important.  Again, read your contract. Typically, you cannot e-mail or phone in a cancellation.  Whether or not required, it is a good idea to sent your notice by Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested.  This will give you a paper trail should you need it in the future.  Also, it's a good idea to make copies of all paperwork.

If you still have questions, you should contact an attorney directly for help with this.  The clock is running.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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