There are hundreds of thousands of timeshare owners who are desperate to get out of their timeshare contracts. Most fear it is too complex and costly.
Wendy Baker purchased in 2005 along with her partner Anne Blanchard “We thought it would be a suitable place for my disabled grandson to visit because it was a bungalow that could sleep up to six,” describing the countryside holiday home in which she holds a timeshare.
Purchasing a timeshare usually consists of a one-off payment. In addition, consumers must pay annual maintenance fees, in return for being able to use the property for an agreed number of weeks each year, every year for life.
Wendy and Anne have enjoyed many holidays at the lodge with their family. However, that is not the case any longer. The timeshare has since become a financial burden.
“I tried to sell it, tried to give it away, but nobody wanted it. It’s like a disease hanging over me.” The couple’s maintenance fees have since increased to £900 per year. “It was just constant,” she says, “wanting money, wanting money. “I was like, ‘I can’t afford it, we are pensioners.”
Back in the 1980’s and 90’s consumers were led to believe that timeshares would in increase in market value and it would never be a problem to sell on should you wish. Unfortunately, this was never to be the case.
Unfortunately, the couple has since separated. Anne had health issues and Wendy has since retired, therefore not being able to use the home despite paying the annual charges.
There are timeshare companies that do allow owners to exit contracts on request. Unfortunately, there are others less considerate and will only allow this is the person is declared bankrupt, ill or elderly. Anne was told she was not sick enough. In October 2017, she sadly passed away.
Wendy said the worry over the timeshare “certainly didn’t help” Anne’s health.
Another case retired Andrew McNaught purchased in the 1990’S a timeshare in Gran Canaria paying around £8,000. Again due to ill health within his family they seldom use the weeks, however, they still have to pay the annual fees of £370.
Mr. McNaught stated “We looked at ways of getting out of the contract. “We spoke to a sales representative the last time we were there, and he said there was a waiting list of over 600 people wanting to do the exact same thing”.
“However, I then read an advert in a daily newspaper and it said, ‘We can get you compensation for your timeshare’. I told my wife, ‘we have nothing to lose‘.”
After contacting the company Andrew arranged a meeting with them, the company in return promised to assist him in dissolving his current timeshare contract.
However, there was a catch……and after a rigorous selling technique known as “hot room,” the company managed to persuade him to invest in a second.
At the meeting they were offered the chance to purchase a new product, after declining, they were then approached by a more senior sales representative,” explains Mr. McNaught. During which they were given alcohol.
“After a grueling six hours, the sale representative is hoping you are mentally exhausted and happily sign away.”
We at TCA would like to remind you that aggressive sales practices are illegal.
The Resort Development Organisation, the European trade association for timeshares, said all its members were “required to sign up to a code of conduct and independent mediation and arbitration scheme, providing timeshare buyers with levels of protection over and above those required by law”.
“RDO has invested significant amounts of money to investigate unethical companies that target timeshare owners,”
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said it was “aware of issues around some timeshare contracts, which is why we tightened the law to ensure sellers provide detailed information to consumers upfront about the terms of their contract“.
Wendy a retired prison officer admits she was “foolish” for not looking “deep enough into” the contract at the time. She commented it makes her understand “how prisoners must feel“. “It’s like every door is shutting on me like I can’t get free. “It affects my health, it’s never going to go away.”
Posted on: February 9, 2018
For more information regarding this article or assistance in any other timeshare related issues please contact the TCA on 0203 519 3808 or email: info@TimeshareConsumerAssociation.org.uk