TATOC Consumer Helpline

Email: info@tatocconsumerhelpline.eu

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FAQ 3: Is timeshare safe?

A new timeshare directive – Directive 2008/122/EC – for the “protection of consumers in respect of certain aspects of timeshare, long-term holiday products, re-sale and exchange” was passed by the European Parliament in Strasbourg on 22nd October 2008.

The new Directive received widespread support from industry bodies, consumer representatives and government agencies. It gives consumers better protection and confidence when investing in timeshare, other long-term holiday products and related services.

The Directive is dated 14/01/2009, came into effect on 23/02/2009 and was transposed into national laws by member states.

TATOC contributed to this legislation since its conception as a consultation document by the European Commission in 2006. During that time TATOC commented on proposals at every stage, lobbied MEP’s in Brussels and in the UK, visited the European Commission and European Parliament and provided evidence to the House of Lords.

From the very beginning TATOC’s position has been that the major problems facing the timeshare industry and its consumers did not lie with the reputable timeshare product itself, or with reputable timeshare companies, but were:

  • The activities of bogus ‘resale companies’ who preyed on timeshare owners persuading them they could sell their timeshare for a grossly inflated price and taking a considerable up-front fee – often £1,000, but then failing to deliver a purchaser.
  • Long Term Holiday Products (LTHP) and Discount Travel Membership Clubs (DTMC) carefully designed to sit outside of the definition of timeshare contained in the previous 1994 European Directive (Directive 94/47/EC), and therefore denying consumers the protection afforded to timeshare owners.
  • The activities of bogus solicitors or other people contacting consumers promising to take action to recover money they have lost to bogus companies, other holiday products such as holiday packs & Discount Travel Membership Clubs, Cash-back schemes, reclaim certificates, etc. often claiming to be acting in conjunction with local or national government agencies to recover lost money.

The buying of timeshare in now heavily protected by the legislation described above.  However, timeshare should be purchased only on the basis that it is a long-term acquisition of a high-quality, flexible, holiday accommodation and experience.  It should not be considered as a financial investment and the resale value of timeshare, as with the purchase of a car, is likely to be less than the original purchase price paid.

Because timeshare is a long-term acquisition it is important that consumers purchase a product that will meet their evolving requirements over a period of time and not just to meet a short-term requirement.

It is important that consumers look carefully at the details of the product which will be described in documents often called the “constitution”, “articles” or “scheme regulations”.  They should purchase a product they will be happy to use over the lifespan of the product and purchase it from a reputable developer or resale company.

Under the new timeshare directive (Directive 2008/122/EC) consumers purchasing timeshare from a developer have a mandatory cooling-off period of 14 days during which no money may be taken by the developer.

TATOC has a number of affiliated companies who will be able to assist you with your purchase including developers, resale companies and management companies. All these companies have signed the TATOC code of conduct so you can work with these companies in confidence. You can find out more here.

About author

tatoc consumer help

TATOC, the Timeshare Association, is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2014. The TATOC Consumer Helpline is TATOC's flagship service providing advice, support and information to timeshare owners and the general public. If you have a question about timeshare, don't hesitate to contact the Helpline team.

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