Timeshares in Wisconsin: What You Need to Know


Author: Attorney Eric S. Johnson


Wisconsin is a popular destination for vacationers who enjoy natural beauty, outdoor activities, and cultural attractions. Many people choose to buy a timeshare to have a comfortable and convenient place to stay while exploring the area. However, timeshare ownership also comes with some legal issues that you should be aware of before signing any contracts.

A timeshare is a form of shared ownership of a property, usually a resort unit, that allows you to use it for a certain period of time each year. You pay an initial purchase price and then annual maintenance fees to cover the costs of upkeep, taxes, and utilities. You may also have the option to exchange your timeshare for another one in a different location or sell it to someone else.

However, timeshare contracts are often complex, long-term, and difficult to cancel. You may face various challenges such as:

  • Misrepresentation or fraud by the salesperson or developer
  • High-pressure sales tactics or false promises
  • Rising fees or assessments that are not disclosed upfront
  • Difficulty in reselling or renting your timeshare
  • Restrictions or limitations on your usage rights or exchange options
  • Foreclosure or default if you fail to pay your fees or mortgage

If you encounter any of these problems with your timeshare in Wisconsin, you may have some legal remedies available to you. Wisconsin has specific laws that regulate the timeshare industry and protect consumers from unfair or deceptive practices. Some of these laws include:

  • The Wisconsin Timeshare Ownership Act (Wis. Stat. Ch. 707), which sets forth the requirements for timeshare disclosures, contracts, cancellations, escrow accounts, resale brokers, and foreclosure procedures.
  • The Wisconsin Consumer Act (Wis. Stat. Ch. 421-429), which applies to credit transactions and debt collection involving timeshares and provides remedies for violations such as damages, injunctions, or attorney fees.
  • The Wisconsin Deceptive Trade Practices Act (Wis. Stat. § 100.18), which prohibits false, misleading, or deceptive representations or advertising in the sale of timeshares and allows consumers to sue for damages or injunctions.

Unfortunately, many of the remedies are available to purchasers for only a few days after a timeshare contract is signed. Once a timeshare is purchased and the legal remedies expire, it is extremely difficult (if not impossible) to escape the obligation to pay the initial purchase price or the annual maintenance fees. Worse, the obligation to pay annual fees often survives the purchaser’s death and can consume the assets of their estate. Many companies claiming to help purchasers exit timeshare contracts are scams that cost thousands of dollars and do not resolve the problem. The best course of action is to avoid the timeshare form of ownership.

If you need legal advice or representation regarding your timeshare in Wisconsin, you should consult with an experienced attorney who specializes in this area of law. A timeshare lawyer can help you understand your rights and obligations under your contract and the applicable laws, negotiate with the other party to resolve any disputes, or litigate your case in court if necessary.