In Europe, a new timeshare Directive is to be implemented into national law by all European Union Member States no later than 23 February 2011. Whilst the Directive currently in place relates to timeshare alone, the new Regulations will include resales, exchange and long-term holiday products – also known as discount travel membership clubs or long-term holiday clubs. This extension has been brought about to address shortfalls in consumer protection and is also a direct response to a significant increase in the number of complaints made about long-term holiday clubs and resale companies, neither of which are subject to any specific regulation at present.
This is a maximum harmonisation Directive, which means that Member States are obliged to implement its provisions in national law in a way that does not exceed or fall below its requirements. These requirements include a 14 calendar day cooling off period and an absolute ban on any payments made during the cooling off period. In addition, disclosure and language requirements have been updated.
As part of the implementation process in the UK, the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) issued a consultation paper in July.