It was 1994 before people were really protected as far as timeshare was concerned. Timeshare companies had been known to be so ruthless, there were even reports of people in care homes that were forced to pay for timeshares that they could no longer use. It got to the stage where relatives of deceased owners were constantly be harassed and hounded for the money.
Groundbreaking changes within timeshare law were put into place to protect the public and potential buyers of timeshare from unscrupulous, immoral tactics used by many timeshare companies. Some timeshare companies were sneaking various clauses into their contracts and agreements that affected some owners for the rest of their lives, even going on to affect their families long after they were gone.
One of the biggest and possibly the most substantial changes to timeshare law was with regards to perpetuity clauses. A contract that contains a perpetuity clause is sold on the basis that it doesn’t end. This meaning, it will be passed on to the next of kin or even family members once the owner is deceased.
Some people may have signed their contracts in-spite of this clause, as they may have been led to believe that it could be financially beneficial to their families later on or it was a great investment, many people now feel that having an ‘in perpetuity’ contract is nothing but a burden.
Spanish courts ruled that such a clause was deemed unreasonable and unlawful, so from 1999 onward no timeshare contract or agreement could be for longer than 50 years. Despite this law, there have been cases of timeshare companies that continued to include the perpetuity clause.
Floating weeks or flex-time clauses were another clause that the timeshare law changes had a huge impact on. This clause was sold to customers with the promise of more flexibility when owners wanted to book their holidays. Unfortunately, many timeshare owners realised that their usual fixed weeks were more beneficial, as when it came to booking their chosen week through flex-time there was very limited availability. It now meant there was no guarantee that you could even book a spot for that year at all.
The Spanish Supreme Court found in favour of many plaintiffs with contracts containing floating weeks or flex-time clauses. The courts found this clause to be immoral and inefficient.
Another reason for timeshare law changes was the cooling off period, which starts as soon as a timeshare contract is signed. The cooling off period must be at least 14 days, although, can be longer if previously agreed.
During the cooling off period you have the chance to think over your initial decision and if desired, back out of the contract without any consequences. It has been ruled unlawful for any monies to be paid over to the timeshare companies during this time. If someone is pressured or forced into making any payment during the cooling off period, the contract may be declared null and void, with the timeshare company having to repay the customer.
Above are only 3 of the most common things protected by timeshare laws, with timeshare law and the contracts being extremely confusing and complex other unlawful clauses may not be so easy to spot.
Here at Timeshare Advice, we strongly urge you to seek professional help from someone experienced with timeshare law. They will examine your case and advise you on what step to take next.
If you feel that you timeshare contract or agreement may be in unlawful, don’t hesitate, call us on 0800 0724683.
See our recent post regarding the basics of timeshare law.