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Timeshares in Missouri have been in the news lately. And not in a good way. Missouri is home to Branson, a family vacation destination in the Ozark Mountains of southwestern Missouri. So every year, 8 million visitors flock to Branson to enjoy the attractions the city has to offer. These attractions include music shows, amusement parks like Silver Dollar City, and much much more. Plus you can enjoy the outdoor beauty of the mountains or Table Rock Lake. So it’s no surprise tourists come back year after year. (Source: Branson Convention and Visitors Bureau).
All of this makes Branson the perfect market for the timeshare industry. The area’s 30 timeshare resorts clearly show how popular timeshares are in Missouri. But there’s more to the story. The Missouri Attorney General received over 3500 timeshare complaints since 2015. Clearly, there’s trouble in paradise. For example:
“Complaints range from disappointment with a prize and high-pressure sales tactics to outright deception and fraud. Typical complaints include:
The Better Business Bureau’s report on the Missouri timeshare industry had many negative things to say. And it reports widespread fraud and other issues: “Consumers reported to BBB losses of thousands of dollars, saying they felt… pressured by aggressive salespeople. In addition to believing they were duped by deceptive sales practices, consumers tell BBB that businesses failed to release them from contracts and issue refunds, were difficult to communicate with and that overall customer service is poor.” (Source: Better Business Bureau).
Other complaints about timeshares in Missouri include difficulty in making reservations. For example, take the Naseers of Kansas City who purchased a $10,865 timeshare at Wyndham’s Branson Woods Resort in 2012. In all the time they’ve owned their timeshare, they haven’t been able to make a reservation. So they’ve never used the timeshare they’ve paid so much for. (Source: Fox4KC).
Luckily Missouri law has some consumer protections in place. Missouri Merchandising Practices Act governs timeshares in the state. So, under this act, “Use of any deception, fraud, false pretense, false promise, misrepresentation, unfair practice or concealment of fact by a person in connection with the sale of timeshares is subject to civil and criminal penalties that may be brought by the Attorney General.”
But, in addition to laws of the Merchandising Practices Act, Missouri Law gives you these rights:
Missouri allows a 5-day right of rescission. During this “cooling off” period, you can cancel your timeshare for any reason for up to 5 days from the time you signed the contract. But you must send notice of the cancelation in writing.
Sellers must state the retail value of all promotional prizes in their literature along with a deadline by which the prize will be awarded. And if they don’t award the prize by the deadline, they must pay consumers the cash equivalent of the stated retail value. And if they still don’t award the prize or the equivalent cash, the consumer can sue the company.
If your timeshare allows you to use your points or exchange your week for other locations, sellers must clearly list any limitations or restrictions. So this protects consumers from issues like the ones the Naseers encountered.
If you do own a timeshare in Missouri, be sure to make all payments on time. If you don’t, the resort can foreclose on your timeshare. This can be bad for your credit. And the foreclosure process in Missouri can move quickly. Also, you’ll find yourself on the hook for any unpaid fees, assessments, or other charges. (Source: Lawyers.com)
So, if you own a timeshare in Missouri and are unable to make your payments but want to avoid foreclosure, what should you do? We recommend you consider exiting your timeshare. If you need help, Primo Management Group specializes in helping people like you exit timeshares ethically and forever. So, contact us for a free consultation to learn what we can do for you.