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Many timeshare owners who have been locked in unfair timeshare arrangements that have become a financial burden may soon find that new laws coming into force will allow them to escape from unfair agreements, according to recent reports. In some cases, timeshare owners may even be able to claim a refund if they have been financially duped out of cash.

It is thought that at least 100,000 timeshare owners, who may have bought brand new property or through the timeshare resales market, may be affected and could benefit from the new laws, which may see their existing contracts deemed null and void.

Many of those timeshare owners affected have been conned into parting with more cash than they expected to, including being charged excessive annual fees, which would require being paid even after a person has died. Often the financial burden in such unfair agreements would then be passed down to children or heirs of the timeshare owners. Many owners have struggled to keep up with these hefty, rip-off payments and have had to resort to trying to sell up on the timeshare resales market, in order to relieve themselves from the financial stress.

The new rules set to be implemented across Europe stem from a court ruling against perpetual timeshares. A groundbreaking case that went to the Supreme Court in Spain saw one timeshare owner being awarded with £28,000 in March this year. It was ruled that the timeshare provider acted unlawfully and that ‘in perpetuity’ clauses broke Spanish law which states that no timeshare agreement signed after 15 January 1999 can extend for over 50 years. This case is paving the way for European-wide agreements on timeshare legislation, which are likely to be enforced at some point towards the end of this year. With reports suggesting that up to 60% of agreements are enforced against an owner’s wishes, the new rules could give much-needed reassurance to owners that excessive or unfair agreements and charges will no longer be legally enforceable.

In the majority of cases, owners who buy timeshare property brand new or on the timeshare resales market are entering into arrangements that are fair and above board, but timeshare can also be used to cover a range of vague benefits and arrangements associated with a resort or number of resorts, where owners may be at risk of entering agreements based on unfair terms that they are unable to get out of. Reports have surfaced of owners and families of deceased owners being pestered for money when they were not in a situation to be able to use the timeshare any longer. Hopefully, once the new laws come into place, this should no longer be the case.