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Timeshare means buying the right to spend a set period in a holiday property each year for at least three years. It means you own the 'time slot' and not the property itself. When buying into a timeshare yearly maintenance charges for the property are payable.

2011 has seen a change in legislation with the introduction of the EU Timeshare, long-term holiday product, resale and exchange contracts directive (2008/122/EC).
This provides consumers across the European Union with minimum rights when buying timeshare. This legislation has yet to be implemented into all of the EU countries' national legislation and so is currently only relevant in several of the member states. The previous timeshare directive (94/47) still offers minimum rights to the countries who have yet to implement the new law.

When buying timeshare in any of the countries who have implemented the new Timeshare Directive (2008/122/EC) such as the UK, you are entitled to the following information to be provided prior to entering into an agreement:

  • Any invitation to a sales presentation must disclose the nature and commercial intentions of the presentation
  • Timeshare must not be sold as an investment
  • Pre-contractual information and the agreement must be supplied in a language of your choice
  • You have the right to a 14 day cooling-off period
  • The trader is not allowed to take a payment during the 14 day cooling off period
  • Any linked finance (or loan) will be automatically terminated should the consumer cancel the agreement.

The previous legislation, Timeshare Directive (94/47), still applicable in the countries where the new law has yet to be implemented provide the following (this is not an exhaustive list):

  • When buying a timeshare you are entitled to a 10 day cooling off period in which you can cancel the contract.
  • Timeshare sellers cannot seek or take deposits before or during the cooling off period.
  • You have the right to receive a brochure and a written contract containing the basic information on the timeshare property. This should be in your own language.

Unlike the older directive, the new law now covers timeshare, holiday club and resale contracts. The previous law was only applicable to timeshare contracts.

If you are looking to enter into a timeshare, holiday club or resale agreement I would advise contacting us for more information and in particular which law is applicable to the relevant country until the time the new legislation is in place EU wide.

Under the Services Directive there are basic requirements for service providers. These enable consumers to have access to certain pre-contractual information and also concerns discrimination by traders against nationality or place of residence. For more information see 'What can consumers expect'.

More information regarding timeshares in specific countries can be found through the drop down menu below or feel free to contact us for more timeshare advice.


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The European Consumer Centre for Services is hosted by the Trading Standards Institute and funded by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills.