EU timeshare action
The European Commission, the EU’s executive body, has made a number of rulings and proposed a directive, which the European Parliament and Council have put into place, on timeshares. These are meant to protect consumers.
The Commission’s Directive 2008/122/EC legislates that a contract must be “in writing, on paper or on another durable medium, and drawn up in the language or one of the languages of the Member State in which the consumer is resident or a national” and that a “period of 14 calendar days to withdraw from the timeshare, long-term holiday product, resale or exchange contract, without giving any reason” must be given.
It also states that during this 14-day cooling off period, “any advance payment, provision of guarantees, reservation of money on accounts, explicit acknowledgement of debt” is prohibited. So no deposit is legally allowed to be taken by timeshare companies or third parties during this time.
This cooling off period officially begins on either the day the contract is concluded or the day the contract is received by the consumer.
So the EU has established rules to protect you, the timeshare consumer, by giving you time to change your mind. Perhaps in that fortnight, you’ll realise that you actually can’t afford the annual maintenance contract or you read the fine print and find something in there that you don’t like. You are legally allowed to cancel your contract within the first 14 days with no repercussions and at no expense.
However, Timeshare Help has heard from a high number of people who have said they were never given a cooling off period. This is grounds for a mis-selling case. If you weren’t told of a cooling off period, get in touch with us.
The EU also explains that when the consumer makes the decision to withdraw from the timeshare contract, “any exchange contract ancillary to it or any other ancillary contract is automatically terminated, at no cost to the consumer”. Contracts are also required to explain the arrangements for contract termination as well as the results of doing so.
If the timeshare properties are located in any EU member state territory, the EU makes clear that “consumers may not waive the rights conferred on them by this Directive”.
According to the EU’s Directive, all costs are required to be set out in the timeshare contract. This includes all costs to be paid for any maintenance contract and how and when these may increase. However, as we have previously explained, timeshare companies and their sales reps are not fond of informing owners about maintenance contract stipulations and whether these will increase.
There is protection for timeshare consumers available but it stills seems that timeshare companies are willing to face the penalties imposed on them for breaking those rules. Added to that is the fact that UK banks frequently don’t abide by EU rules. Trying to get them to co-operate can often be a nightmare.
Timeshare Help is often your only way of confronting these companies and getting your money back. We would love to hear from you to find out whether we could terminate your maintenance contract and get you money back from mis-sold timeshares. Our experience in timeshare mis-selling will quickly reassure you that you made the right choice in contacting us.