If you are considering buying a timeshare or timeshare related product, above all else, think of whether the specific product under consideration is right for you.
If it is a ‘traditional’ timeshare – buying the right to spend time in high-quality holiday resorts for an agreed and long-term period, you should understand and be satisfied with all the crucial elements, such as the term of the contract, what your purchase entitles you to, the annual fees that are payable, the quality of the product and your consumer rights. In the EU, these are explained in advice on the following link https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/travel/holidays/timeshare/index_en.htm
You should understand that a timeshare is a ‘holiday ownership’ product and not a property investment, so is unlikely to rise or hold its purchase value. If a salesperson tells you a timeshare agreement is a financial investment, they are committing a criminal offence. Ask about your cancellation and withdrawal rights. For timeshares within the EU, you have a legal right to a 14 day cooling off period and it is an offence for a timeshare company to take any monies from you during this period. The laws in other countries vary, so do ensure you get all the facts prior to committing to buy. If you take out a loan to purchase, remember that, provided the sale of the timeshare was legally compliant, this is likely to be a separate commercial agreement, so it will still be in force even if you later dispose of the timeshare.
Do have a good look around the resort and ask as many questions as you want. If in any doubt about the answers, ask if they can be put in writing. Take your time. And remember that if you do wish to leave the sales presentation at any time, then you can do so. If anyone tries to make you stay at a presentation, they would be committing a criminal offence.
The EU laws also apply to other related products such as timeshare resale, exchange contracts and other types of long-term holiday products.
Note – some businesses have sought to place their products outside of the EU timeshare regulations. These are often described as ‘Leisure Credits’ and sometimes ‘lifestyle / concierge’ services and sometimes ‘holiday discount ‘clubs or software. If you are being offered these, be particularly wary and ask, for example
- Do you have a cooling off / withdrawal period?
- Would you be able to book similar holidays / buy featured products at a similar or even lower price without having to join the scheme / pay upfront and possibly annual fees?
For such products, we recommend that you do not purchase without these questions being answered satisfactorily and ask to have any such promises put in writing. If they do not agree, we strongly recommend that you do not proceed.