The European Consumer Centres regularly hear from unhappy consumers who feel they have been trapped by hard-sell techniques into a long-term contract for holiday accommodations that they do not really need. These are often described as timeshares or holiday clubs, but they may have other names, too.
The European Consumer Centres Network advice on how to consider and manage your contract for a timeshare or holiday club is available below.
1. Beware aggressive sales techniques. Companies selling timeshares often invite people to presentations using different luring techniques. Consumers are typically approached at holiday resorts and offered a scratch card which invariably reveals a prize. To avail of the prize consumers are told they have to attend a nearby office to listen to a “short” presentation. These presentations often turn into lengthy sales pitches and consumers can be put under pressure to sign a contract without proper consideration of its terms and conditions.
2. Consider the financial consequences. A timeshare could turn out to be a burden on your finances in the long run, particularly if it incurs additional expenses or there are difficulties reselling it. Consumers should consider the financial implications very carefully before signing up.
3. Beware suspicious resale companies. These companies may claim to have potential purchasers wishing to buy at lucrative prices but quite often, the resale does not take place. Consumers may also be persuaded to buy a better product on the understanding that the resale company will sell their current product. This may lead to consumers ending up with two timeshares/holiday club memberships if no resale takes place!
4. Independent legal advice. Consumers are strongly advised to seek independent legal advice before signing a timeshare/holiday club agreement or resale agreement.
5. Be extremely cautious of companies employing aggressive sales techniques. A reputable company will allow you to take a copy of the contract home and give you time to consider your options.
6. Review the terms and Conditions carefully. If you have already signed up to a timeshare or holiday club and wish to cancel it, check the terms and conditions of your contract carefully. Put your request to cancel in writing to the company immediately. You may also wish to consider contacting your credit card company to see if it can offer any assistance.
Read the ECC-Net report on how to read timeshare contracts and arrangements:
Read the European Commission consumer advice on timeshares and holiday clubs here:
For advice on how to handle a consumer complaint involving timeshares, please contact ECC Ireland.