Cancelling A Timeshare Purchase
Here we will help you to understand how to cancel your timeshare or holiday club ownership and get your money back at the same time. The Timeshare Regulations 2010 covers all timeshare owners and equivalents in other EU countries will cover them under the same rights.
Anyone who bought a timeshare or holiday club membership is entitled to cancel within 14 days of signing the agreement, known as a cooling off period. If your purchase included a “linked” loan then it is crucial that you also separately cancel the loan with the bank too.
Terms For Cancellation
The cancellation must be given in writing and a recorded delivery is highly recommended although an email will be enough but you must not attempt to deliver the cancellation by hand. No particular reasoning needs to be given for the cancellation, just simply state the “agreement number” and the “date” it was signed on.
You may also be able to use a pro-forma cancellation notice, required to be given to you by law, but this must be sent by recorded delivery. Without receiving a pro-forma cancellation notice your cancellation period will be extended to one year and 14 days. Any money that you have paid should be returned to you immediately.
Any doubts or issues you may have continue reading to find out more information on what your situation should be and what you can do about it.
There are numerous rules and regulations out there as well as the EU Timeshare Regulations 2010 to protect you from being misled or charged when fees do not apply, here we will outline what your rights are and how to protect them.
Fortunately, for many timeshare owners as well as the Timeshare Regulations 2010 there are also other rights under UK Law which can protect them in the case of cancelling a timeshare agreement.
The Doorstep Regulations permits you a 7 day cooling off period if the sale took place away from business premises, such as a hotel, golf club, leisure centre etc... If this is the case then you must be given written notice of this and also a pro-forma cancellation, any failure to do this will result in the agreement becoming void and null.
This right must also be adhered to in all Spanish countries and will cover consumers who have been enticed off the street into any business premises to a sales presentation.
Trade Body “Code of Ethics”
The Resort Development Organisation “RDO” have a strict code of ethics that all their members and agents need to comply with which states:
- Compliance with all relevant laws
- On the purchase agreement the purchaser has a 15 day cooling off period as minimum
- Business must be conducted in a manner of “integrity and prosperity that will uphold the credibility, positive reputation and goodwill of the timeshare industry and RDO”
For a full list of RDO members visit www.rdo.org/our-members
Purchase In Non-EU Countries
Those countries who are seeking to join the EU generally adhere to the same laws that apply for purchases in EU countries but every non-EU country will have different laws regarding time-share cancellation and therefore it is important to gain as much information as possible about the laws involved before making any decision.
Cancellation Outside The Cooling Off Period
Unfortunately, by law you may not have the right to cancel a purchase agreement outside of the cooling off period, if one existed, and the seller can take you to court if they have a valid argument to ensure that you fulfil the contract agreement.
There is action to take if the issue goes to court:
- Invalid Contract – Show the contract to a solicitor so they can confirm if the agreement is valid or not.
- Misrepresentation – If you were given false information and had you known it was false at the time of signing would have stopped proceedings there and then.
- Misrepresentation also occurs if you believe you have been lied to in order to get you to sign the agreement.
Sellers will often threaten to go to court and take legal action, however, this rarely happens and only a small number of actions have been taken by UK based companies and we have no knowledge of action being taken by non-UK based companies.
The advice from the TCA is to completely ignore any correspondence with the seller and only look to legal advice when you receive communications from a lawyer, solicitor or debt collector.
Get Your Money Back
If you have been charged or have paid monies to the seller but now want to cancel your agreement here we will offer advice on how to recoup your money.
Under The Card Companies Voluntary “Charge Back” Code, card companies who operate VISA or Master Card will charge back your deposit, regardless of your statutory rights for cancellation, if the following conditions are met:
- If, in any country, you signed a purchase agreement to buy holiday/travel club or timeshare +
- Paid for the product using a personal card (Master Card or VISA) +
- Sent a written cancellation within 14 days of signing the agreement and can prove it +
- Make your claim within 60 days of signing the agreement or 120 days for VISA.
However, you are advised to ask the seller for a full refund before you contact your card provider.
When corresponding with your card provider you should include copies of the following, along with an explanation of the facts and ask them for a “charge back” of the money paid:
- The Purchase Agreement
- The Cancellation Letter
- Proof of posting of the Cancellation Letter
Your experience when dealing with card companies will vary as some will help more than others, with particular companies being very unhelpful. The card company has an obligation to retrieve monies and failing this you should write to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), a free service, who will be able to help resolve the issue.
Local Citizens Advice Bureau are also on hand to help with any claim letters that need writing. However, once your money has been recovered that is not the end as the seller may still have the right to take you to court.
Unfortunately, any monies transferred using Cheque, PayPal, Western Union or Cash are irretrievable
Under The Consumer Credit Act 1974
Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 gives rights to anyone who paid the full amount on the agreement by a personal credit card that was issued in the UK or with a “linked loan”.
From The Seller
You may be able to get some money back direct from the seller, although this is highly unlikely. However, they may be inclined to pay up if you can show they broke statute law. i.e. by taking a deposit. Allowing them to avoid legal fees further down the line, which would be better for both parties involved.
Government Enforcement Authorities will be able to help you if you believe you have been misled into a purchase or have been misled in any other way regarding timeshare.
The Trading Standards officers monitor traders in the the UK and ensure that they comply with numerous consumer laws and are also able to deal with complaints about purchasing in the EU and will consult with the Office of Fair Trading on these matters.
Trading Standards will be your nearest authoritative body who can help you deal with timesharing issues and they will contact their external counterpart in the area where the issue presides to help find a solution for you. Explain the problem to them and where you think a law may have been broken and they will take it from there. They may also want to involve the police if they believe that this is necessary and will help you to carry out a fraud report anywhere in Europe by using your local Fraud Squad.