Q: My partner and I have booked our summer holiday to southern Spain where we have been before. On our arrival we are always encouraged to attend the first night ‘Welcome Meeting’ which then finishes with a sales pitch for ‘Timeshares’ and ‘Holiday Clubs’. We have never taken up this offer but would like to know our rights should we enter into an agreement and then change our minds?
A: Be extremely careful. These sales pitches form part of many package holidays and the staff who present them are trained persuaders well-versed in ‘hard-sell’ routines designed to get holiday makers to sign up to a contract. Many holidaymakers however, once they see the cold light of day, change their minds!
To protect consumers the Government looked to tighten up the laws surrounding the sale of Timeshares through the The Timeshare Contracts Regulations 2010. Timeshare and Holiday Club contracts are covered by the regulations. The new Directive applies to contracts where a consumer pays for a service concluded in an EU state, relating to accommodation in an EU state or where the selling party conducts business in an EU State.
Under this Directive the trader must provide the consumer with a right to withdraw from the contract within a minimum of 14 days from the start of the contract, this period is known as the cooling off period. More often than not there will be a Notice of Cancellation form included as part of your contract for you to return. It is important to act quickly should you wish to cancel a Timeshare agreement and redeem any funds you have already paid.
If there is no stated Notice of Cancellation you can still assert your statutory rights by preparing and serving one within the 14 day period. For further advice, you should speak to a solicitor about cancelling your contract.