Timeshares may sometimes provide cheaper holidays but be aware that it can be easy to fall into a financial trap.
The UK ECC has seen complaints cropping up this year from people who have been unable to use their timeshares or who are worried about having to pay maintenance fees when they’ve not used the timeshare.
UK ECC consumer adviser Laura Johnston was interviewed about the subject on You & Yours You & Yours on BBC Radio 4 at the end of October this year (2020).
She said: “People can’t go to use their timeshare but they have still paid for the right to go. There is also the issue of maintenance fees, which is a slightly separate issue to the right to stay.
“When people pay for a timeshare they pay a lump sum for a regular stay for a period of time until the contract lapses, so theoretically that initial payment should be divided between all of the years and each year should be worth X amount of money.
“If you are not able to go and stay for one of those years then it is not unreasonable to expect to get a refund for that because there is no foreseeable situation in consumer law where a business can keep your money and not provide a service.”
She also addressed the issue of maintenance fees, saying: “We need to look at the maintenance fees, what they are dependent on and what they are used for. There could be an argument to question that if the resorts are closed, then there has not been the same amount of traffic through them so will they require the same amount of maintaining through 2020 as they would have done in 2019 or they may do in another year? So if the level of maintenance required is lower, then there may be an option to reclaim at least a portion of that maintenance fee but it may be difficult right now to foresee what is required.”
A timeshare is the annual right to use accommodation during one or more weeks in a holiday property or several properties.
Read more about <a href="https://www.ukecc.net/consumer-topics/travel/timeshare-and-holiday-clubs">timeshare legislation.</a>