Timeshare Advice would like to keep you up to date with all useful information regarding timeshare contracts around the world.
Conventional/traditional timeshares and the various long-term holiday schemes that have emerged over the years can involve a substantial long-term or permanent financial commitment. They also involve extra recurring costs, maintenance fees, insurance and taxes (usually yearly (increasing) costs).
A Traditional timeshare means that you have the right to spend more than one period in the course of more than one year in a given property or properties. Long-term holiday schemes, such as a discount holiday club, gives the right to discounts on accommodation or related benefits, sometimes in combination with travel or other services, for more than one year.
The most recent EU rules give you safety against crooked traders when signing contracts for timeshares or long-term holiday schemes and these rules apply to contracts concluded as of 23 February 2011 (or later in some EU countries). The rules are also there to protect you when you are signing various other contracts associated with timeshare and long-term holiday schemes such as:
* exchange contracts (you pay to join a scheme allowing you to use the accommodation or other services, while also allowing others to make temporary use of your own timeshare).
* re-sale contracts (you pay a professional to help you sell or buy a timeshare or holiday club membership)
Your rights extend to different types of timeshare property which includes, caravans, cruise and canal boats.
There is always much to consider before purchasing any kind of timeshare of long-term holiday scheme and you should always know your rights, some of which are below:
* A cooling-off period of 14 calendar days during which you can decide to withdraw from the contract without giving a reason. If you do not receive the standard withdrawal form required by the EU rules, your cooling-off period is extended to 1 year and 14 calendar days.
* Being informed in full of the terms of the agreement before you sign. You must be given the details in writing in your own language (if it is an official EU language).
* An extension of the cooling-off period to 3 months and 14 calendar days if you do not receive full information about the product you are buying.
* When buying holiday club membership, payment must be made in equal instalments at yearly intervals.
* The seller can never ask you to make an advance payment or a deposit during the cooling-off period.
* You also have the right to terminate the holiday club contract, without incurring any penalty, from the second instalment onwards. Once you receive the request for the next payment, you have 14 calendar days to give notice of termination to the trader.
* If you have also signed a linked exchange contract, this is also automatically terminated – at no cost to you – if you withdraw from the timeshare contract.
* If under a resale contract, you have employed a professional to help you sell your timeshare or holiday club membership, this professional cannot take any payment from you until your timeshare has been sold or the resale contract is otherwise terminated.
If your contract is a timeshare or long-term holiday scheme contract, you are covered by these rules even if the seller claims that they are not applicable. Don’t be bamboozled by corrupt, convincing sellers.
There are many other things you should be aware of when considering your purchase of timeshare or a long-term holiday scheme, such as:
* Suspicious timeshare resale offers, especially where you are persuaded to buy another property with the promise of selling the existing one: in these cases, you could end up with 2 timeshare properties that you neither want nor need! And these people are very convincing in their conviction of what they can do for you.
* Unlawful misleading sales techniques such as the “winning scratch card” ploy, this is rife across the industry and you will be told you have won an unbelievable prize and be taken to collect it to a timeshare sales event where you are pressurised into signing a contract, that you probably haven’t researched or looked into enough to make that kind of decision.
* Suspicious offers from people pretending to be able to “reclaim”, for a fee, your payments to the timeshare seller.
* Your timeshare seller (resort) may not unduly limit your right to privately sell, rent out or exchange your timeshare rights; or restrict your access to services; or raise maintenance payments without justification. If he does so (based on the standard terms of your contract), these terms may be breaking the Unfair Contract Terms rules and therefore may not be binding on you.
* And of course, you must consider the long-term, or even everlasting, the effect of committing to a timeshare. You must be sure that you will still want/be able to use your timeshare some 10 or 20 years. Will your children or grandchildren, who may inherit your timeshare and be obliged to keep up the maintenance payments, want to use it? These are very serious issues that you should take time to think about before making your purchase, you are not just obligating yourself, but the future generations of your family.