My overseas dilemma
T/A Timeshare Compensation
Q Eight years ago, I bought a timeshare in Tenerife for £7,000, which I have hardly used. I understand many timeshare contracts are now being declared illegal, with buyers entitled to large refunds. How do I find out if I am eligible?
K Jessop, Co Durham
A Hundreds of thousands of Brits own timeshares in Europe, largely in Spain. A timeshare is an arrangement that involves various parties sharing the use of accommodation without actually owning a share of that property, whether it is a villa, apartment or boat.
Many — not all — of these timeshares were sold aggressively, and often without the buyers taking legal advice. The Spanish Supreme Court is now encouraging owners to come forward to claim compensation for any mis-selling.
Nine of its rulings in a row have gone against leading timeshare companies over the past few months, and €4.5m has been paid out — a sum that could grow exponentially as more claimants come forward, with some fractional ownership and various membership deals also in the spotlight.
Eligibility for compensation centres on the way the timeshare was sold. Contracts are illegal if they last longer than 50 years, are for floating weeks only (no set weeks stipulated) and involved taking money during the cooling-off period.
If it turns out your contract was mis-sold, it is possible you could get back up to twice the amount paid, plus interest and legal expenses.
As seen in The Times.
Author – Mark Rowe