Rescission - that's a word you need to know if you're considering buying a timeshare. The definition of Rescission is "The cancellation or annulment of a transaction or contract by mutual consent or by law."
Why is this word important to you? If you're experiencing "buyer's remorse" this morning after waking up and realizing that yesterday you were at a developer's timeshare presentation and, with vacation stars dancing in your head, bought a timeshare that, now seen by the light of day, you clearly cannot afford - never fear - Rescission is here.
The purchase contract you signed with the developer should have a "Rescind Policy," and thankfully you can exit that expensive contract. If you don't find a rescind policy in the contract, every state also has a Rescission law which protects you. The rescission period will generally be between 3 and 10 days, depending on the jurisdiction where you bought the timeshare.
If you've done your research and have learned that purchasing a timeshare by resale is really the best way to go - you deal directly with the current owner, the cost is minimal compared to buying from a developer, and the entire transaction can be a much simpler process - are you still protected by a rescind policy?
In a word, yes. And it goes back to that state law. Since so many timeshares, and thus resales, are in Florida, we'll use that state's rescind clause as our example. The portion of the clause that we're interested in here relates to resale contracts and individuals who have purchased a timeshare for their own use who are now reselling (and not classified as a developer in any way).
It states that every resale contract must have conspicuous wording that notes that anyone signing it can cancel within 10 days after signing (Florida Statutes – timing could be different in other states).
The clause in the Florida state law says, in part, "You may cancel this contract without any penalty or obligation within 10 days after the date you sign this contract. Any attempt to waive your cancellation right is void and of no effect."
In other words - if you sign a contract with a reseller to purchase their timeshare, the reseller must give you 10 days (in Florida) to change your mind. If you change your mind but don't notify the seller in writing and send that to the address outlined in the contract within that time period, the seller has the right to go after you for the money to which you agreed in the contract.
The rescission period also protects the seller. If you have not proceeded with the transaction by the time the rescission period is up (10 days in our Florida example), the owner can put the timeshare back on the market.