New year, new EU timeshare directive
This month sees the much anticipated implementation of the new EU-wide timeshare directive, which aims to provide protection for consumers in respect of certain aspects of timeshare, long-term holiday products, resale and exchange.
RDO welcomes the new regulations, particularly as they establish tighter conditions for holiday clubs, such as the division of payments into equal annual instalments or the buyer’s right to cancel each year, which may deter them. Holiday clubs and rogue resale companies are currently unregulated and the reason for most complaints and bad press the timeshare industry receives.
Another key feature in the new directive is the introduction of a 14 calendar day cooling off period with the right of withdrawal without cost to the consumer, which applies from the day of conclusion of the contract or the day when the consumer receives the contract.
All advance payments are prohibited, including acknowledgement of debts. For resale, the prohibition of advance payment applies until the actual sale takes place or the resale contract is finalised.
Consumers have the right to be provided with comprehensive pre contractual information in any EU language of their choice, so that they can make an informed choice. This includes the conditions for terminating the contract or whether the supplier has signed a code of conduct.
The new directive extends the scope of timeshare to include canal boats, caravan, cruise ships, etc, as well as short term holiday products, which were excluded in the previous directive
The Directive 2008/122/EC was approved by the European Parliament in October 2008 and comes into force on 23 February. Each EU country will be obliged to comply.