Timeshares, holiday clubs, leisure credits, bonus weeks and vouchers are just some of the offers you might have seen when planning your holidays or at nice and sunny resorts. The ins and outs of these long term holiday engagements can be hard to understand and lead you to take decisions that will be difficult to change. A new report and tips for consumers from the European Consumer Centres Network (ECC-Net) can help you find your way through the timeshare maze.
Existing EU rules protect you when you buy timeshare or long-term holiday products but it is better to be well informed to make sure the people selling them obey the law. In the last few years a whole new range of products and sales techniques have emerged that have rendered choice of formulas even more complex.
This is why the ECC-Net can be of help and assistance. It performed a study to understand the major traps so as to raise awareness among consumers, authorities and other stakeholders of problems related to timeshare-like products. This led to a report and a list of tips, which you can see on the website of each ECC in your national language.
Four tips to keep you out of trouble:
Don’t sign anything unless you are sure you want to buy. You don't need to sign contracts immediately and the seller must give you all necessary information in good time before you sign.
If you have second thoughts, you have 14 days from signing a contract in which to cancel it free of charge.
If something looks too good to be true, it probably is. A typical case involves an offer of a scratch card at a resort which shows that you've won a prize. To get it, you have to go to a nearby office to hear a short presentation. This turns into a lengthy sales pitch during which you're pressured to sign a contract without having chance to think about the terms and conditions.
Read first, pay later. You cannot be asked to pay a deposit upfront. Take contracts home to go through them properly before signing.
In addition to the ECC-Net Report on Timeshare, the European Commission reviewed the functioning of the existing legislation (Directive 2008/122/EC (Timeshare Directive)