Timeshare regulations were introduced some years ago to offer protection to owners or those thinking of becoming owners. If you decide to buy or sell timeshare, it is crucial to ensure that the company or agent you work with is following the existing legislation.

How do you know if they are or are not? Become acquainted with the timeshare laws yourself so you are in control of knowing whether a company is being compliant or not. If you have made the decision to buy or sell timeshare, only deal with those companies that follow timeshare laws and regulations.

Timeshare Laws

Legal information can be hard for the lay person to digest and understand, which can make it more difficult to know what is legally acceptable or not. Here is a breakdown of the laws in an easy-to-understand format.

Essentially, laws were introduced in 1997 throughout Europe to provide protection for those thinking of becoming timeshare owners. In 2011, these laws were refined and added to with a new Directive, designed to further increase protection levels for anyone in the timeshare industry whilst also making the rules clearer and easier to understand.

The Directive extended the protection to cover timeshare resales and timeshare exchange, as well as long-term holiday products such as holiday clubs and contracts covering a short time – typically over a year. The Directive also increased the scope of the definition of timeshare to include related products, such as cruise ships, caravans and boats.

Key Features

Timeshare law dictates that when you buy in the European Union, you are legally entitled to a 14-day cooling-off period. This means that you are allowed to change your mind about the agreement after up to 14 days without incurring any charges or giving any reason. Any contracts or agreements that are set up during the cooling-off period will be automatically cancelled if someone decides to change their mind during the 14 days.

When problems occur with disreputable timeshare companies, it is often due to consumers being charged fees upfront. Under timeshare rules and regulations, whether you sell or buy timeshare you should never be asked to pay for any fees upfront, and deposits can not be taken during the cooling-off period.

Payment for a resale contract cannot take place until the timeshare sale is completed, or if the contract was terminated for various reasons.

A contract should be provided in all cases, and it should be in the preferred choice of language of the buyer or seller – assuming this is an official language of the European Union. The contract and any supporting documentation must be clear, accurate and honest.

The Directive also states that you cannot sell timeshare or long-term holiday products as an investment.