Timeshare, in a lot of cases, is misunderstood by the general public for a variety of reasons. However, timeshare is a description of a form of holiday ownership. Once acquired by a consumer, you own a right, (either directly or through a “club”) to use a week(s) (or longer) in an apartment, complex, boat, home, villa or holiday resort in accordance with the contractual period which may be many years or in perpetuity.
What’s in a name?
Timeshare, over the years, has become discredited in respect to its image and its brand. Consequently, timeshare sellers have migrated away from the use of the word “timeshare” so as to disassociate themselves from the discredited image and those timeshare companies have started to use other titles to describe what in essence is a timeshare. Such migrated phrases like “Holiday Club”, “Fractional Ownership”; “Destination Club”; “Vacation Ownership” etc. All of which are timeshare.
The timeshare industry asserts that there are over six million individuals/families who own timeshare worldwide – many of which are genuinely satisfied with their ownership.
Timeshare accommodation can be of a higher standard than hotels or rented accommodation. Most resorts have extensive leisure facilities (generally free to use).
All timeshare is self-catering.
Accommodation is dependent and particular to each resort and/or each building. Some range from modest studios, through to large apartments and villas with appointments to a very high standard. As previously stated, timeshare accommodation can also consist of boats, barges, etc and is described as including a variety of accommodations in recent authorities in the UK courts.
The timeshare industry competes within the holiday industry and in particular, the self-catering and package holiday divisions of the holiday trade. In the main, it competes with package holidays and villa rental. Timeshare, however, proffers to its customers on sale of a timeshare that it has an advantage over other types of holidays as it might offer better long-term value for money.
Timeshare comes in two basic forms:
Fixed week – Where you own rights to a contractually specified week(s), usually in a specific apartment/villa, which you can either return to every year or swap through the exchange system for something similar in another part of the world and in another time period.
Floating system – (which includes points clubs). Instead of owning a specified week, you own a week (or a time period which may be longer than a week) within a seasonal band of the time periods. Each year you have to book the specific week that you want, but this is “subject to availability”.
One of the major strengths of timeshare is the certainty it provides. The accommodation and associated facilities are held in trust and/or are registered in a public register for the lifetime of the right to use. This being so and provided the consumer continues to pay the contracted fees on time, including obligations of the holiday club membership, the consumer has the contractual certainty of the holiday each and every year.
If at some stage, the consumer tires of its timeshare ownership and has a desire to pass on the rights and obligations to another, it can generally do so.
Most timeshare owners use the exchange system which provides a large/diverse choice (nearly 6,000 resorts in all the popular destinations worldwide) to exchange to another resort, knowing that the other resort chosen is of a similar standard to that which the timeshare owner owns.
If and when, a person acquires timeshare, generally a one-off payment is made to the seller of the timeshare and each consecutive year of ownership, the consumer pays fees which discharge the day to day liabilities for the accommodation i.e. to be kept clean, in good order, local taxes paid etc.. These fees are payable whether or not the consumer makes use of its ownership rights.
Good resorts are administered by the owners through a club, consisting of a committee. This ensures the owners have the opportunity to maintain the resort in accordance with their collective wishes.
Regrettably, the activities of a number of traders have tarnished the industry following questionable practices. As a direct result of the worst members of the timeshare industry, the word “timeshare” has lost credibility with the general public, resulting in both the honest and the dishonest traders claiming their product is “not timeshare”. Because of this practice, legislation is in force so as to remove the veil for consumers so that they are informed. Therefore, the claims of some who pass off products under different names, all generally, under the law, are a timeshare. The Timeshare Consumer Association, has listed below, descriptive terms which all are compatible with the timeshare industry.
- Holiday club
- Holiday ownership
- Fractional ownership
The above confuses consumers, yet each company using this confusion claim membership of organisations such as ITRA, OTE, RDO, TATOC, RBA and the Timeshare Council. This practice is not helpful to consumers with respect to the safe purchasing of timeshare holidays.
This website upholds the good principles of Sandy Grey and commits and dedicates itself to helping consumers to get the best out of timeshare and to avoid the many pitfalls.
Consumers ought to be fully aware of the new Timeshare Regulations 2010 that came into force in most EU countries on 23 February 2011.
Being familiar with these regulations the consumer can establish their rights. We do not emphasise enough that the above regulations proffer to the consumer full protection from some of the scandalous practices of some timeshare companies. However, they do assist consumers. Our consumer association hopes to use these regulations as a springboard to bring into force other measures to regulate the industry to the benefit of not only consumers but the industry as a whole including, but not limited to, individuals and personnel working within the timeshare industry. This quest will be carried out in a pragmatic way so that each will receive enhancement and betterment for the product sold and enjoyed.
Last modified: 28th August 2020