Before we go much further, it is essential to ask “how does timeshare work?”
What is a timeshare and how does it work?
A timeshare is a way of owning your holidays for years to come. It is relatively simple on the face of it – you pay a company a lump sum, and you can use their property for a set length of time each year, with an annual maintenance fee.
There are two main types of timeshare. Some timeshare contracts are for a single property, but others use a ‘point system.’
A point system means you buy points, which you use each year, and different length stays in different places are worth a number of points. For instance, a summer week in a luxury beach facing hotel room might be worth as many points as all of November in an older apartment in a less ideal location. The timeshare company should explain to you the points needed for different properties available when you sign the contract.
Different timeshare companies operate in different ways. Whether or not you use points or a particular property will vary with the company, as will your overall experience and the value for money you get.
There are many different companies which provide timeshares. Sometimes, they won’t refer to the contract as a timeshare but will use phrases such as holiday club, vacation ownership or vacation scheme. This can be confusing to some, but the product is mostly the same. Some of the most well-known timeshare companies are:
- Disney Vacation Club
- Marriott Vacation Club
- Wyndham Vacation Ownership
- Hilton Grand Vacations Club
- Hyatt Residence Club
- Diamond Resorts International
- Royal Holiday
There are many more different timeshare companies. These are just a few of the most familiar with the public.
Common Problems with Timeshares
Timeshares can be problematic when the company is dishonest, uses pushy sales tactics or there is a lack of flexibility or ease in using them.
Each of these might be problems experienced by timeshare owners. Lack of honesty can include many different things, such as:
- Being told something when you signed the contract which wasn’t true or was misleading
- Finding hidden fees which you didn’t know you’d have to pay
- Being misled about what the points you have could get you
- Harassment or forceful sales tactics
As well as dishonesty, there are also other difficulties people report when using their timeshare. These can include:
- Lack of choice and flexibility – the suitable options for the timeshare owner, are always taken
- Difficulty in swapping your timeshare for a more suitable one
- Difficulties in contacting the timeshare company to book your holiday or vacation
What’s more, many people want to get out of their timeshare legally and find it difficult to do so. However, there are different ways of selling timeshares and cancelling contracts.
Relinquishing timeshare ownership: Resale and Contract Cancellation
If you have found that the timeshare you bought isn’t what you wanted it to be, you might be struggling to find a way out of it. Thankfully, there are two ways to break free: timeshare resale or timeshare contract cancellation.
Timeshare reselling can be difficult as people looking at pre-owned timeshares are usually well-aware of the risks involved with excessive maintenance fees. The other option is timeshare cancellation – which is the legal way of ending your timeshare contract and being free of the fees associated.
There are different legal tools which can help you with cancelling your timeshare contract. If your timeshare contract is British, one of the most important of these is the Consumer Contracts Regulations (CCR).
The CCR says that if you are still within 14 days of signing a contract over the phone, online, or on the doorstep, you have the right to cancel it. If you cancel in this period, you are also entitled to a fair amount of your money back. This is called the cooling-off period, and it starts the day after you sign the contract.
Usually, during the cooling-off periods, the company will be able to help you quickly and deal with your complaint or cancellation as appropriate.
However, sometimes timeshare companies might refuse to cancel the contract or try to keep the full deposit or first payment.
There are other ways to cancel a timeshare contract, too. These can include if it was mis-sold to you.
Mis-Sold Timeshare Claims
In 2015, a huge legal battle was fought against a timeshare company in Spain. In the court case, the Spanish Supreme Court declared new guidelines on mis-selling of timeshares and ruled in favour of the consumer.
The court issued a 40,000 Euro compensation to a consumer of a major timeshare company due to the mis-selling. This means that to avoid the legal fees of going to court, many timeshare companies operating in Spain and other countries will offer quick, out of court settlements to consumers.
Those with a timeshare in Tenerife, the Canary Islands, the Costa del Sol or other Spanish resorts should speak to one of our specialists for advice and see if they qualify for compensation.
Contact us today to see if your Spanish timeshare was similarly mis-sold to you. It is estimated that the majority of timeshares in Spain bought since 1999 could be owed compensation.
Mis-selling also happens in other countries, not just in Spain. UK timeshares, as well as timeshares abroad, are often mis-sold to customers who had faith that the company respected their interests. There are also cases where salespeople and management of these companies pushed customers into contracts that they didn’t want or weren’t what they expected.
One of the main causes of mis-selling hidden fees. When consumers sign the contract, they can often be misled about how much they are going to be paying. What might seem like a small increase in fees at first, can often end up being much higher than the sales representative lead consumers to believe they would be paying. In these cases, if it is clear from the offset that the consumer wouldn’t be able to afford the payments then sometimes there is a chance for a mis-sold timeshare claim.
Timeshares can also be mis-sold if they are of lower quality than advertised. There have also been cases when there have not been enough properties available, and consumers miss out on holidays.
But, the biggest issue is forceful sales tactics. These can sometimes include offering prizes in return for attending a sales talk, and then keeping potential customers in rooms until they agree to sign a contract.
There are also cases where people are told they are signing a temporary or trial contract, and it turns out that it’s the real thing. People who sign these can find it hard to relinquish their timeshare and owe a large amount of money to the company each year. Any sales tactic like this is dangerous and can be grounds for mis-selling.
If you think you might be owed money for any reason, speak to us today to discuss your options and look into making a timeshare compensation claim.