Just bought a timeshare?
If you have just bought a timeshare, you have 14 days to cancel it. If the timeshare is a long-term holiday contract, you can cancel immediately and without reason.
In Spain like other EU countries, they have adopted the Timeshare, Holiday Products, Resale and Exchange Contracts Regulations 2010
These regulations are interesting and an easy read, you can become acquainted with the rules governing what the resorts are obliged to give you. If they did not give you the documents contained in the lists, then your ‘cooling off’ period will automatically be extended until they have (subject to limitations).
Before 23 February 2011
You are entitled to cancel the purchase of a timeshare or holiday club within 14 days of signing it. If you are cancelling a purchase which included a “linked loan” then it is essential that you also separately cancel the loan with the bank. That cancellation MUST be in writing and a Recorded Delivery letter is strongly recommended (although an email will suffice). Do not attempt to hand deliver the cancellation letter and do put it in the post not later than day 14 after day 1. Day 1 is the day that you signed the contract.
You are not required to give a reason for the cancellation. Simply state “We are/I am cancelling agreement number xxxxx signed on xxx date” This is sufficient.
Alternatively, you can use the pro-forma cancellation notice (that the law required you be given) but this MUST be sent by Recorded Delivery and to the resort.
If you have not been given a pro-forma cancellation notice, then the cancellation period extends to one year and 14 days as explained.
If you paid any money (which is now illegal!) then you can and should demand that this is returned to you “forthwith” and in full.
If you have any doubts about what you have bought please contact TESS Law.
Please read and digest ALL of this page and before taking ANY action, as many situations can be quite complex.
Under UK Laws
In addition to any right that you enjoy, under the Timeshare Regulations 2010, you also have other rights under the many UK laws and established common law authorities.
If the sale of the product or timeshare took place away from the seller’s business premises (i.e. in a hotel, leisure centre, golf club, timeshare resort or your own home etc.) You are entitled to a ‘cooling off’ period granted by the ‘Doorstep Selling Regulations’ (amended 1 October 2008).
If so, you must be given a written cancellation notice explaining this right (i.e. pro-forma cancellation). If a trader fails to give a notice, it will render the agreement null and void and you will have no obligation under it. This right also applies to consumers who are enticed off the street by promoters with a view of delivering you to a sales presentation or business premises in all Spanish countries. It is very much arguable that if you are on holiday in the resort, the entire resort may be defined as your home.
Distance Selling Regulations
If the sale took place on the telephone, over the internet, via a third party or you have not met them in person, you are again entitled to a cancellation or cooling off period and under the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 for contracts entered into before 13th June 2014. If you paid any money, it should be returned to you in full and if you write (recorded delivery) to terminate/cancel the agreement, again no reason is required.
For contracts entered into after 13th June 2014, The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation, and Additional Charges) 2013 supersedes the above Regulations.
Trade Body Code of Ethics
A trade body exists in timeshare called The Resort Development Organisation (RDO). It requires all members (and agents of their members) to comply with particular codes of ethics which includes requirements to:
- Comply with all relevant laws.
- Disclose prominently on the purchase agreement that the purchaser has a minimum cooling off period (15 days).
- Conduct their business “with integrity and propriety and in a manner that will uphold the credibility, positive reputation and goodwill of the timeshare industry and the RDO“.
Many RDO members have failed to reveal their membership or have traded under a different name, which is not registered with RDO. This avoidance is often intolerable and hard to establish whether or not the trader is a member of RDO. That said, the 3 leading trustees are indeed members, as are RCI, so any purchase agreement involving a trustee and/or RCI would be covered by the RDO Code of Ethics. Our advice is to therefore, chronicle your gripe with the RDO in every case and any event.
Purchase in Non-EU Countries
Each non-EU country has different laws, but those seeking to join (or are in) the EU are obliged to adopt all the regulations delivered out of the EU.
Rights Under Contract
In addition to rights of cancellation, you have rights under statute law in the UK. It is often the case that you are also granted rights by the seller in the contract. This all stated you should be certain that these rights are expressed in writing and unambiguous. If doubt exists concerning the wording check with TESS Law.
Cancellation of Spanish Contracts Outside the Statutory Cooling Off Period
Expressly stated in some timeshare contracts are terms which suggest that you don’t have any rights to cancel a simeshare agreement after the cooling off period has expired. These representations are falsehoods and should be treated with the contempt they deserve. The law and the supporting regulation trump any timeshare contract.
The seller may suggest that they will take you to court, however they are required to issue a pre-action letter explaining the issues they have with you. Upon receipt, you are fully entitled to respond setting out your reasons why you are entitled to cancel.
The main defences to any resort action are:
- The contract is invalid in law. TESS Law can assist with this.
- You were given information which was false and which, if you had known the truth, you would not have signed the agreement i.e. ‘misrepresentation’.
- The terms of the contract are unfair.
- An imbalance exists
- The contract cannot be understood in the time allotted to read it
- The clauses are convoluted and difficult to follow.
- Some contract clauses are unlawful and contrary to Law 42/98.
- An unfair relationship exists between the seller and the lender.
- I have been sold a burden
The list is not complete, however do show some examples of the issues you might have with the contractual arrangement.
If you do decide to cancel and hold a considered belief that you were told lies to get you to sign the timeshare contract. Call TESS Law if you believe you want to make a claim.
It is all too common for a seller to threaten legal action, it’s a form of bullying which makes some nervous. Most of the time these are idle threats and worth ignoring.
You have to consider when these threats are issued, that if you lose a case, they obtain a yearly contribution from you, however, if they lose the case all their contracts can be deemed unlawful. The risk to them is far greater than the risk to you.
As of 27th of February 2016, TESS Law does not know any major legal actions taken by non-UK based companies. In fact, very few actions are ever taken by UK based companies against timeshare consumers, who cancel outside the ‘cooling-off’ period.
If you have a desire to terminate your timeshare contract and the resort is not acting reasonably, we advise that you ignore all correspondence and do not talk to the resorts on the telephone. If worried consult TESS Ltd.
It is also a good idea to make notes of everything that you were told whilst in the presentation, as you may need accurate recollections and as to the misrepresentation.
Getting Your Money Back Under the Card Company’s Voluntary Chargeback Code
Irrespective of your statutory rights of cancellation, card companies operating VISA or MasterCard will chargeback ALL your deposit in the following circumstances:
If you signed an agreement to buy a timeshare, holiday or travel club membership in any country including Spain (if you paid by a personal Mastercard or VISA), it can provide evidence of sending a written cancellation within 14 days of signing the agreement. Also if you make your claim within 60 days (120 days for VISA) of signing the timeshare agreement.
When you write to your card issuer, briefly explain the facts and enclose:
- A copy (not original) of the purchase agreement
- A copy of the cancellation letter
- A copy of the proof of posting of the cancellation letter
- A letter asking them to chargeback the money paid.
Some card companies/banks are more helpful than others. If your card company denies responsibility, ask TESS Law for assistance.
You can of course, explain they have an obligation to on account of claw-back
If they refuse, write to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) asking them to resolve the dispute. Their service is free.
Persistence is sometimes needed. Generally speaking, those who refuse to take no for an answer are often more successful.
This all said, recovering your money does not affect the issues with the resort.
If you paid by bank transfer; cheque; PayPal, Ukash; Western Union; Money Gram; cash etc. there is little chance of obtaining a refund.
Under the Consumer Credit Act
If you paid the full amount on the agreement and that payment was by way of a personal credit card and that card is issued in the UK or with a “linked” loan, then you may have rights under Section 75 the Consumer Credit Act 1974. Equally, if an unfair relationship exists you can explore/seek compensation from section 140 of the Consumer Credit Act.
From the Seller
Your chances of obtaining any money back from the seller are more difficult and you may require the assistance of TESS Law who will assist you to determine if the resort broke a statute law.
Last modified: 15th April 2020