One of the many terms associated with timeshares is a cooling off period. It is important to understand what a cooling off period is all about if you are interested in buying a timeshare, especially if you change your mind shortly after the purchase.

What is a cooling off period?

Under timeshare regulations, you are legally entitled to change your mind about buying a timeshare within 14 days of signing an agreement. This is known as a cooling off period.

This cooling off period was introduced to enable buyers to have the right to cancel their agreement, which can help to protect those who may have been pressurised into signing a contract or may not have been provided with all the information they needed about timeshares.

In some cases, this cooling off period can be extended. Circumstances such as not being given certain information about the agreement or timeshare or not being given a copy of the agreement all warrant an extension of the cooling off period. Crucially, if you were not told about your right to cancel when signing a contract or given a cancellation form, this also entitles you to an extended cooling off period. Other information not being disclosed at the time of signing the agreement, such as the length of the timeshare, how much you will have to pay, the facilities available at the resort, or whether you are entitled to join an exchange scheme may all enable you to get an extended cooling off period.

If you are entitled to an extended cooling off period, this can last up to three months and 14 days.

Some timeshares are not covered by the timeshare regulations, so a cooling off period may not always be applicable. Make sure you understand what your timeshare covers before signing an agreement.

Cancelling your timeshare

When you sign a timeshare agreement you will be given a form that you can use if you decide to cancel. The timeshare company will explain to you about the cooling off period and get you to sign to say that you understand you are entitled to this right to cancel within 14 days of signing the agreement.

If you change your mind about the timeshare, you need to inform the owners within 14 days, if the cooling off period is not extended. You will need to do this in writing, either by post, email or fax, or using the official withdrawal form the timeshare company gave you. Make sure that you get proof of postage or a delivery receipt, as this proves the cancellation date. It is this date that your timeshare agreement ends, not when or if the timeshare company receives the letter, email or form.

You do not need to give a reason why you have decided to cancel your timeshare agreement, and you should not be asked to make any payments during this period.