What is a timeshare?
In Europe, “timeshare” is a generic name for time-sharing arrangements and long-term holiday products. Timeshare contracts are typically for a period of more than one year.
A timeshare usually entitles its holder to use a property, a unit in a holiday resort or another form of accommodation such as a boat for a period of one or two weeks per year. This can involve being a member in a club or being entitled to points that can be used against similar kinds of accommodation in another holiday resort. More and more often timeshares are promoted by means such as cruise vouchers or DVD presentations.
Finnish consumers mostly encounter timeshare promoters in the tourist resorts of Spain and especially the Canary Islands, as well as in Portugal, Madeira and Greece. The promoters are usually Finnish, and they approach tourists with a prize draw or a promotional gift, which then leads to a sales pitch promoting the product.
European Timeshare Directive
The purpose of timeshare legislation is to lay down pan-European rules for timeshares of more than one year, long-term holiday products and reselling and transferring these kinds of contracts. The aim is to provide a minimum level of protection across Europe. Timeshare laws stipulate, among other things, that consumers always have a right to cancel and that promoters cannot ask for a down payment.
Advice from the European Consumer Centre
It is a good idea to always contact the European Consumer Centre before you buy a holiday product of this kind. The European Consumer Centre can give you information about what to look out for in timeshare contracts. We can also help you with other problems.
Watch a video on holiday clubs