Don’t Let Your Dream Turn Into a Nightmare
Timeshares can seem like the perfect way to enjoy some regular sun and sea at a great price. But look long and hard before you sign on the line.
It’s fair to say that the concept of the timeshare conjures up some mixed reactions. In the late 20th century, having a timeshare was seen as a symbol of middle class success, a little like the Porsche on the driveway with the personalised number plates. The comparison is not an idle one. Like the archetypal dodgy car dealer, there came explosion of less than reputable timeshare businesses that were selling deals that were not quite as they seemed.
As a result, the whole timeshare sector turned into something of a lottery, and soon, buyers were as likely to be pursuing timeshare compensations claims as they were to be sunning themselves on the beach with cocktail in hand. There are some great timeshare deals to be had out there, just like there are some fantastic sports cars you can own. Keep the following points in mind to reduce the risk of buying a clunker.
Take your time
Timeshare sellers are renowned for their hard sell tactics. They will often wine and dine potential clients, but there will come a point when the mask drops and they will be insistent on you signing up then and there. From the safety of your own home as you read this article it is easy to say you’d never fall into that sort of trap, but these people do this for a living and use clever and effective psychological tools.
The simple advice is not to be hurried into signing anything immediately. Say you need time to review the contract and get some expert advice. Sure, even legitimate sellers will want to close the deal on the day, so they will be keen to get your commitment, but stand your ground.
Be clear what you are getting
In the 1972 film Carry On Abroad, the team travelled to Spain to stay in a hotel that was only partially built. Of course, hilarity ensued, but you might think the antics in a Carry On film from half a century ago have very little bearing on our lives today.
Think again. The number of people who commit to a timeshare that is still in the construction phase is quite astonishing. Avoid buying into anything that has yet to be built, or is incomplete. If it ended in disaster for Sid James and co, it will probably end in disaster for you, too.
Understand the true cost
If something looks too good to be true, it probably is – so examine it more closely. One of the most common banana skins when it comes to timeshare is those extra costs that are either hidden in the small print or are mentioned vaguely in the space of a couple of words and rapidly glossed over.
There will typically be a one-off fee at the start and then ongoing maintenance charges to be met. There might also be exchange rate fees. Ensure you are 100 percent clear on what these are and whether they are likely to change.
Check the jurisdiction
The timeshare agreement will be subject to specific law and jurisdiction. This can be particularly important if you should decide to change your mind, as UK and EU law provide a set “cooling off” period in which you can cancel the agreement and get a complete refund of anything you have paid.