We are receiving a growing number of calls from individual or groups of holidaymakers who have been affected by the aftermath of purchasing a timeshare or holiday club. Timeshare is not just related to buildings but can also include boats, yachts and any other leisure items! For many Consumers, they are faced with an uphill battle to understand the sales process and their rights and many are reporting substantial financial losses. It is clear that of all the holiday complaints we receive, this is one of the areas where a long-lasting and sometimes catastrophic financial impact is experienced by the holidaymaker.
For many holidaymakers who have been induced into parting with their money, they find themselves at a loss as to what their rights are; this brief guide will hopefully provide key information so that you can prepare yourself for any dispute you may be having at this time!
The principle rights available to holidaymakers who have bought a timeshare or holiday club can be found in the European Union Directive on Timeshare, Holiday Products, Resale and Exchange of Contracts – EU Directive 2008/122/EC.
This Directive was imported into UK Law on 23 February 2011, through the Timeshare, Holiday Products, Resale and Exchange of Contracts Regulations 2010.
This new Regulation replaced the previous EU Directive 94/47/EC, the Timeshare Act 1992 and the Timeshare Regulations 1997. When the Acts are removed, the additional Timeshare (Repayment of Credit on cancellation) Order 1992 will also be repealed.
The new Directive and Regulations will apply to the sales and marketing of different types of contract used in the Timeshare and Holiday Club environment.
Under the Regulations, a ‘Holiday Accommodation Contract’ is defined as:
- Timeshare Contract – This is a contract where you pay for the use of a property for more than one year, allowing you to use the property for one or more nights, in more than one period;
- Long Term Holiday Product Contract – This is a contract for more than one year where you gain the right to have discounts or other benefits from accommodation and to also receive other travel benefits;
- Resale Contract – This is a contract where a trader will help you buy or sell a timeshare or a long term holiday product;
- Exchange Contract – This is a contract where you join an exchange system where you gain the benefit of overnight accommodation or other services and in exchange you allow others to gain access to your benefits under your timeshare contract.
When you are considering a timeshare or holiday club arrangement, you must be:
- Made aware of key information – that information must be in writing, it must be clear and it has to be given to you without charge.
- Any information given to you must be given in your own language;
- If the contract is in another language of the EEA, then the trader has to give you a certified copy of the translation;
- The contract must be in a standardised form;
- If you are entering into a regulated contract, you have the right to withdraw and you do not have to give a reason for that withdrawal;
- If you withdraw from a regulated contract, the date you sent it on is the date that your cancellation is deemed to have been given (it is important to make sure you have sent your cancellation notice by recorded delivery!);
- The withdrawal period for a regulated contract is generally 14 days from the start date of the contract, after which time you cannot rely on this withdrawal period;
- If you withdraw within the time period for a regulated contract, you will not be liable for any charges or costs for that contract or any connected or ancillary contract;
- If you withdraw within the time period, any credit agreement also expires without further cost to you;
- If you have bought a ‘Long Term Holiday Product’, you can cancel within 14 days of receiving a request for your instalment;
- No payment should be given until the end of the withdrawal period;
- The EU Directive has to be adopted by all members of the EU and has equal applicability and enforcement.
Please note that these points are only designed to be a summary of your rights.
Another area of law that you can rely on is the Unfair Trading Regulations – we have a separate section for these Regulations and they should be considered along with the information in this page.
If you have been affected by a timeshare or holiday club problem, then use this information to argue your position or alternatively, contact us directly for further assistance.