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I have heard a lot of negative things about timeshares and holiday clubs. What exactly should I be looking out for?

Some timeshares and other holiday products work perfectly well. However, timeshares and especially holiday club memberships are sometimes marketed aggressively and in a misleading manner. Consumers have incurred huge financial losses from buying these kinds of products recklessly or under pressure.
Timeshares and holiday club memberships often cost thousands of euros. Once you sign the contract, you are obligated to make payments for years to come. In addition to these costs, you will also have to pay administrative charges and for your flights to and from the destination if your timeshare is abroad. This is why it is crucial that you find out as much as you can about the product, whether it is the right one for you and what you are committing yourself to before signing the contract.

You can avoid the most common pitfalls with the help of the European Consumer Centre’s checklist.

The travel section of our website also includes information about the statutory rights of timeshare buyers.

During our holiday in the Canary Islands we were approached on the street and invited to a sales presentation where we signed a contract for some kind of a holiday product or a timeshare. We are not sure what we actually bought. Can we still cancel?

If the contract you signed is for a timeshare and valid for a period of more than one year, you have a 14-day cooling-off period during which you can pull out of the contract. It is always a good idea to give notice of cancellation in writing and to keep a copy for yourself. Instead of a timeshare, your contract may be for another type of long-term holiday product. Examples include memberships and associated vouchers that entitle their holders to cruises and hotel accommodation, or computer software for making bookings. The statutory 14-day cooling-off period generally also applies in these cases if the contract period is more than one year.

More information about the subject is available on our website under Getting rid of a holiday product.

We have had a timeshare in Portugal for years. We would now like to get rid of it. What can we do?

Getting rid of a holiday product can be difficult or almost impossible. The resale market for holiday products is practically non-existent. Some timeshares and especially club memberships can be practically impossible to sell on. Many dishonest companies also exploit the difficult position of timeshare holders and offer to buy their timeshares for a heavily discounted price.

More information is available on our website under Getting rid of a holiday product.

Updated 26.1.2015 Print