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Is a Welk timeshare cancellation possible?

Created originally by Laurence Welk, Welk Resorts was a timeshare company that has now merged with Marriott. If you still have a timeshare it’s now part of Hyatt Residence Club. So what if you’re not happy and you want to cancel the Welk timeshare you bought?

Some people have reported problems with Hyatt on the Better Business Bureau website, including difficulty booking a vacation with their points at good locations or within any kind of reasonable time. Others have complained about the sales presentations.

When Welk Resorts was a separate company (which is when you probably bought your Welk timeshare), there were several lawsuits filed against them in cases where people wanted to cancel their timeshares, but couldn’t.

For example, one purchaser alleged the following in a lawsuit in San Diego:

“Welk is the owner and operator of a vacation timeshare program for properties in California, Missouri, and Mexico. In exchange for free tickets to local attractions, Plaintiffs agreed to attend a presentation during which Welk attempted to sell them interests in its timeshare program. According to Plaintiffs, Welk engaged in “high pressure” and “misleading sales tactics” during this presentation, including “misrepresenting” the duration of the presentation, dissuading Plaintiffs from reviewing the terms of the sale offer, and presenting the sale offer on a “take it or leave it” basis.”

Lopez v. Welk Resort Grp., Inc., No. D073675, 2019 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 2102 (Mar. 27, 2019).

Another alleged:

“In exchange for free tickets to a local attraction, Plaintiffs agreed to attend a presentation during which Welk attempted to sell them interests in its timeshare program. According to Plaintiffs, Welk engaged in a “choreographed, high pressure and relentless sale[s] pitch” that lasted “several exhausting hours” and culminated with a take-it-or-leave-it offer that expired that day.”

Lewin v. Welk Resort Grp., Inc., No. D073774, 2019 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 2129 (Mar. 27, 2019).

In both cases, the purchasers tried to cancel their timeshares and Welk Resorts refused. But when they sued and Welk tried to make them arbitrate, the court held that that part of the contract wasn’t enforceable and they could keep their lawsuit in court.

What are my timeshare cancellation options with a Welk resorts timeshare?

First things first: the company is under new management. So one option is to call Hyatt Residence Club and see if you can do a resale. It’s always a good idea to talk to the timeshare company first to see if you can get out of it without a fight. While we’re lawyers and of course we’re willing to represent people, it never makes sense to pay a lawyer without at least trying to cancel with the company first. If they say you can either cancel your timeshare, give it back, or resell it on terms you’re happy with, then we’d rather you get out without having to pay more money to do it. But be very careful about what you sign, and be careful about waiting too long—if you have a basis to sue them, the statute of limitations is running.

But historically Welk was pretty aggressive about trying to fight this. They’ve sued at least one “timeshare exit” company, although that company was telling people they could just stop paying Welk and then nothing would happen to them. Welk made very clear in its lawsuit that it foreclosed on people and that their credit would be damaged. So if you just stop paying, you may end up paying more than your maintenance fees from the credit damage. Your credit card rates, your car insurance, and everything you borrow for could get a lot more expensive.

There is also the “cooling off” period—for some period in your contract, usually 5-10 days after you buy, you have a right to send a letter cancelling the contract. But if you bought from Welk, you probably didn’t buy recently because of the new ownership. If you did happen to buy recently, there’s more details on the Welk timeshare rescission period here.

What can a lawyer do for you to cancel a Welk timeshare?

If you have a valid legal claim, you can either sue Welk Resorts or arbitrate against them. Arbitration is generally cheaper, which is why they include a clause in their contract requiring you to do it. You might have a legal claim if there were misrepresentations made to you during the sales process or other abusive or illegal sales practices. Your contract might be invalid for legal reasons, such as being so one-sided that it’s unconscionable. Or the new owners of Welk might not be living up to the promises Welk originally made to you when they sold you the timeshare.

Often an arbitration is cheaper than your fees would be long run. There’s no guarantee you win, whether in an arbitration or a lawsuit. But if you do, you might not only be able to cancel your timeshare, but recover money for damages you suffered.

If you’re looking for an attorney to help try to get you out of a Welk Resorts timeshare, call us at 657-845-3100 or e-mail us at contact@kneuppercovey.com. We may be able to help.

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