Refuse your timeshare in a timely manner

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Iíve written about the woes of timeshares in the past and pointed out that timeshares are not really assets, they are liabilities. Once you purchase a timeshare it has a zero value because there arenít any buyers.

This isnít to say that all timeshares are bad because I know people who use their timeshares and love them, but for most, they are an expensive headache that isnít worth the trouble.

So what do you do if you are ďgiftedĒ a timeshare property through an inheritance? A local Hayden reader recently inherited a timeshare and he wanted no part of it and wondered what he could do.

If you arenít interested in owning a timeshare and donít think you will use it or are unable to afford it, you will need to disinherit or reject it.

Here are the steps you will need to take in order to disclaim a timeshare youíve inherited. The legal term for this is generally called ďrenunciation of property.Ē

1. Act quickly ó in Idaho you have nine months from the time you inherit a property to refuse it. It is very important that you do not use the timeshare or receive any sort of benefit from it during these nine months or you will not be able to refuse the property.

2. Prepare a document renouncing the timeshare ó The document should include a description of the property, a statement declaring your renunciation of the timeshare forever, and your name and signature.

3. Send copies of your renunciation by certified mail to interested parties ó Keep a copy for yourself and forward a copy to the executor of the estate and to the timeshare company itself.

4. File a copy of the renunciation in probate court where the estate that has willed you the timeshare is being handled ó Donít skip this step because it serves as an official record of your renunciation in the event it is ever questioned.

Just remember to act within the appropriate time period and donít rely on misstatements about how to get rid of a timeshare. I have often heard the solution is to give it away to charity.

Newsflash! The charity doesnít want the timeshare either because it is a cost headache to the organization, not a benefit.

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Ford knew the Focus and Fiesta had issues

Recently I wrote about Fordís recall issues with its popular truck and a couple of its cars. As consumers we would like to believe that when problems occur there are some measures in place to protect us.

What is shocking is Ford knowingly launched its two low-priced, fuel-efficient cars, the Fiesta and Focus, with defective transmissions according to findings in an investigation by Detroit Free Press. Then Ford continued to sell the defective vehicles despite mounting complaints and a ton of repairs.

Some of the cars in question randomly have lost power on freeways and have unexpectedly bolted into intersections. Even after knowing this, the cars were put on sale in 2010-11 and at least 1.5 million remain on the road today.

The automaker says that itís not a safety problem if your car slips into neutral on the highway. Its reasoning? If the power steering, turn signals, airbags and other power worked in the car then the situation couldnít be considered dangerous because you can put on your blinker and just pull over.

I think if Iím driving 70 mph down the highway and my car slipped into neutral and I started decelerating at a rapid rate compared to surrounding traffic Iíd be scared.

Whatís more, rather than make an expensive change in the transmission technology which was warranted based on findings, the company kept trying to find a fix for the faulty transmission for several years and told Ford dealers to tell customers that the cars operated normally when they did not.

To add insult to consumers and despite the deluge of complaints, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration declined to open an investigation or order a recall.

It is estimated that the problems related to these faulty transmissions could reach $3 billion in litigation and repair costs not to mention loss of customer loyalty. Now Ford is saying it worked to resolve the quality issues but the solutions were more complex and took longer than expected. It regrets any inconvenience and frustration that it caused to some consumers. It also stands by the story that the vehicles remain safe.

It is disheartening to learn that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration turned its back on consumer safety and that a trusted brand like Ford would put profits before safety and then continue to deceive consumers about the true nature of the problem.

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Calls from Wells Fargo

A local Coeur díAlene reader warned us about a phone call he received supposedly from Wells Fargo. The caller indicated that he had received a financial reward of $1 million.

The catch? He needed to provide his personal information in order for the reward to be processed. The reader didnít let the caller tell him how much the upfront fee would be before he hung up on him.

If you receive one of these calls, be wary because Wells Fargo isnít giving away a financial reward.

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Remember: Iím on your side.

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If you have encountered a consumer issue that you have questions about or think our readers should know about, please send me an email at terridickersonadvocate@gmail.com or call me at 208-274-4458. As The CDA Press Consumer Gal, Iím here to help. Please include your name and a phone number or email. Iím a full-time copywriter working on marketing strategy with businesses, a columnist and a consumer advocate living in Coeur díAlene.

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