Canadians and U.S. Timeshares

One of our users left the following comment on our Westgate Timeshare Orlando article in response to another person’s comment:

“We are seriously considering walking away from our TS with Westgate. We are not so concerned with our credit rating since we are Canadian and the banks and creditors here tend to look at your payment history as a whole and these types of “blemishes” don’t seem to bother us much if you can offer a valid argument. That being said, I have checked and Westgate is not listed as a creditor on our credit reports. My question is (and I don’t know if you can answer this), can we be denied entry into the U.S. for this?”

canadiansAn age-old question in the timeshare world is what will happen if you walk away and don’t pay. Unfortunately, there is no concrete answer to this question. Some people have walked away from their timeshares with no consequences, while others take a major hit to their credit score. But more often than not, if you walk away and stop paying the fees, your timeshare could go into default and eventually foreclose.

So now the question is if a timeshare foreclosure could bar a non-U.S. citizen (Canadian, in this case) from entering the U.S. The answer is probably not. You could possibly run into trouble if your mortgage lender decides to sue you for the money you owe–called a deficiency judgment–but only if it rises to the level of a criminal offense, which is unlikely. Even if they did file a criminal suit against you, that would not necessarily mean automatic denial into the U.S. So, you are probably safe to continue to travel into the U.S. following a foreclosure on your timeshare property, but it is wise to not let it reach this point. You might try some of these options before simply walking away.

RCI Sales Calls Experience

We recently received the following submission from one of our users:

“I am not a member yet but my girlfriend and I have discussed purchasing so we can vacation more as well as better. I have gotten several calls from several vacation timeshares and I regret that I cannot talk before 4:30 p.m. as I am very busy at work and would have to keep interrupting the person calling in the sales department, so my response to the caller is I need you to call after 4:30 p.m. Eastern time and most understand and reply they will try back later.

sales callsHowever the RCI salesperson that reached out to me today never responded to my comment, simply hung up and I guess moved on. I feel that this was inacceptable as well as disrespectful. I was courteous and genuine in answering the phone and without my job cannot afford to vacation and would think that the salesperson would understand this and if they truly care about my vacation needs (as they say) would understand that I was respecting their time and efforts to assist me. I would like the same respect and to not be hung up on and treated as a number that was computer generated for a call and then disregarded as the same as if I was an inconvenience.

I welcome a reply as I feel that this should be a general teaching of salespeople of what not to do since it may mess up a future sale, even if that salesperson doesn’t profit from the sale the company is ultimately going to suffer.”

How To Handle Timeshares in a Divorce

Unfortunately, divorce is a very real possibility for some married couples. Timeshares, like all other shared assets and liabilities, must be addressed in the event of a divorce. Because divorce is a complicated and often emotional process, it is a good idea to consider hiring a divorce lawyer to help you navigate the system. But whether you have a lawyer or not, your options for handling a timeshare in a divorce are the same as any other asset: sell, award, or share it.

  1. Sell: Timeshares can de difficult to sell, but if neither you nor your spouse wants it, selling is worth a try. You can try to sell the timeshare yourself by listing it on websites like Craigslist, eBay, or TUG. Or you could list the timeshare through the developer or through a resale broker, but be cautious of large upfront fees. Also be aware that you will likely lose money if you choose to sell because more often than not, timeshares are a depreciating asset. If you are able to sell your timeshare and also manage to make a profit, split the proceeds evenly between the two of you. timeshares in a divorce
  2. Award: This is the best option if one of you wants the timeshare more than the other. In this case, one spouse will need to “buy out” the other, meaning you will need to give the other another asset or cash that reflects half the value of the timeshare, or simply split any equity between you. You must then determine if the timeshare is an asset or a liability. One way to do this is by having it appraised. If one of you is willing to just walk away from it, however, you may not even need to place value on it. If there is still debt on the timeshare, make sure your separation agreement contains specific terms for how and when that debt will be paid.
  3. Share: If both you and your spouse have enjoyed using your timeshare over the years and neither of you are willing to part with it, you may opt to share it. This can be risky, though, and should generally only be an option for amicable spouses, as it will require you to maintain some level of communication with one another. Be sure to include very specific details of how this will work in your separation agreement. Address any and all questions you may have in this agreement so that you don’t face any unwanted surprises down the road.

The bottom line here is that you cannot simply ignore your timeshare in a divorce; you have to deal with it, and should do so as early on as possible. Timeshares involve many complicated elements that often require thorough investigation, so give it some serious thought before moving forward. And, again, if you and your spouse are having trouble agreeing on what to do with your timeshare, consider consulting a divorce lawyer to help.