Timeshares have been around since the 1960s where they began their life in France. This gave the day-to-day family the chance to holiday somewhere more unusual, or in locations they could not have otherwise afforded. Their popularity soon took off and spread quickly across the U.S and Europe.
Today, with over half a million timeshare customers owning holiday time in the UK, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Malta and further afield, it is of no surprise that there are a growing number of individuals who are not entirely satisfied with the service they receive – or the contract they have bought into. If you find yourself in a timeshare dispute, it’s time to seek legal advice!
For anyone who has purchased a timeshare contract you will be aware there are several important factors which should not be overlooked – for e.g. annual maintenance fees or the inclusion of in-perpetuity clauses. However, the reality is these factors are sometimes underestimated at the time of sale. This then leaves people wanting to relinquish their timeshare contract further down the line, when issues arise.
This is a common situation, affecting many owners, with the reasons being all too familiar. The rising cost of annual maintenance fees can render contracts impossible to manage financially. Poor health can also leave you paying for a timeshare which you can no longer use, and in-perpetuity clauses can leave owners concerned that the financial burden of the timeshare will be unfairly passed onto their beneficiaries after their death. Any of these situations can create a great deal of stress and uncertainty for individuals, who may then begin to look for ways to dispose of their timeshare contract.
An initial action would be to speak directly with your timeshare company. However, it should be noted that cancelling a contract is often at the timeshare company’s discretion, as there is no contractual right for you to exit your contract early.
Re-selling your timeshare can seem a good solution and maybe a quick fix. However, you must be aware of the hidden costs, upfront fees and small print conditions as any of these can render you out of pocket and still in possession of your contract.
Unfortunately, many timeshare owners are told by their company that this is the only viable way to exit a timeshare contract. They are also told this service will easily facilitate the transfer of the membership and provide the advantage of receiving the proceeds of sale. Unfortunately, this is often not the case.
It is therefore advisable to check if the resale company is reputable, what, if any negative feedback it has received and what percentage success rate it achieves for re-sales. If it seems too good to be true, then it probably is.
Yes, there is of course the option to sell your timeshare privately. However, dealing with the complexities of timeshare contracts, which range from Certificate of Ownerships to Escritura is something which should really be dealt with by a legal professional, to ensure it is correctly administered. Therefore, you will need to seek legal advice and be prepared for any costs involved.
Of course, if you feel your timeshare was sold under misleading circumstances then you may be able to legally exit the contract. Mis-selling of a timeshare can include the provision of incorrect written, visual and verbal information – for example the images and description of the property do not match the reality. Omissions of information, usually by the salesperson, regarding maintenance fees or length of contracts can also be classed as a mis-sold timeshare.