1. Which directive covers timeshares bought in any European Union member state?
Timeshare agreements are covered by Directive 2008/122/EC on the protection of consumers in respect of certain aspects of timeshare, long-term holiday product, resale and exchange contracts, as transposed into the national laws of the member states.
2. How long is the cancellation period for a change of mind after agreeing to buy a timeshare?
The consumer has a right to cancel the contract within 14 days.
3. How much deposit can a business take within that cooling off period?
The business cannot take any deposit within the cooling off period.
4. A holiday club membership is not a timeshare agreement but may still be regulated. How does a holiday club normally work?
A holiday club usually allows members to make various holiday-related bookings (accommodation, flights, etc) with discounts. The members pay a considerable joining fee. Disputes might stem from the discounts not being as high as expected or the customer not being able to make bookings for peak periods.
5. Do holiday club agreements need to give a right to cancel?
Some of the holiday club contracts should give a right to cancel. If the duration of the agreement exceeds one year, it would normally be covered by the Directive and need to have cancellation rights of at least 14 days.
6. Why should you be particularly careful if a contract refers to 'fractional ownership'?
A fractional ownership agreement is effectively a purchase of an actual part (a 'fraction') of a particular holiday resort rather than just a right to use an apartment within a particular period. The agreements are not regulated by the Directive. Some companies selling fractional ownership do offer cancellation rights to their customers, but there is no legal requirement to do so.
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