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EU strengthens protection of timeshare investors

October 22, 2008 3:54 PM

The European Parliament today approved a revised Directive on timeshare holiday rights. The new legislation will cover established timesharing holiday properties as well as newer forms of holiday clubs centred around boats, caravans and cruise ships. It aims to better protect consumers by clarifying their rights, including provisions such as a 14-day cooling-off period to buyers after signing the contract and easing access to court in the event of a dispute.

The UK, along with Germany, is home to the majority of time share agencies as well as having the most time share users in Europe. Statistics have also shown that 75% of complaints are from UK customers.

Liberal Democrat MEP for London Sarah Ludford commented:

"This updated legislation is most welcome. While the EU first undertook harmonisation of timeshare rules 14 years ago, those rules have proved to insufficiently robust in the light of ever more intricate scams. I hope that it will bring an end to the pain and anguish that many people have suffered at the hands of unscrupulous operators."

"Customers will now have 2 weeks to withdraw after signing any agreement, and companies will not be able to take deposits during that period. With a compulsory fax back form to be included now with all contracts, it will be very easy for customers to get out of any agreement should they change their minds. Whilst people will still need to display due care and attention, investing in a timeshare need not now be the perilous venture it has been in the past."