Timeshare owners lose out again, paying for more holidays they can’t have

UK government travel ban leaves timeshare owners once more paying for holidays they can’t take

Q: What costs more than annual maintenance fees?

A: a £5,000 fine for trying to use your foreign timeshare this summer.

This week the UK Government announced strict penalties for anybody travelling abroad except for authorised reasons like work, education or medical needs .

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said restrictions on foreign travel were necessary to guard against the importation of large numbers of cases and new variants which might put the vaccine rollout at risk.

Declaration to travel

This is the latest in a series of blows for timeshare owners as anyone travelling abroad has to fill in a “Declaration to Travel” form, stating a valid reason for leaving the country

Using your timeshare will certainly not be on the list and unlike regular holidaymakers, timeshare owners have to pay for their holidays whether they use them or not

May 17th was provisionally set by the Government as the “earliest possible date” that travel to other countries would recommence. In the latest announcement no further clarification has been offered. Many people believe that it may be the end of summer before travel returns to anything resembling normal.

Timeshare owners’ misery

Most timeshare members have experienced a full year of not being able to use their allocation

This latest announcement may well herald another another year of paying for a service they can’t use, meaning two years (so far) of maintenance fees paid for no holidays.

Unless the pandemic abates it won’t be long before the 2022 fees are invoiced, more money due for potentially nothing,

The information coming into the Timeshare Consumer Association (TCA) helpline indicates that most resorts are unwilling to offer fee refunds, instead preferring to give additional allocation of time or points in the coming years.

Even if this were practical for the member with home commitments and holiday allowances, it doesn’t seem possible that most resorts would have the spare inventory to honour these promises

We recently spoke to an owner whose resort had credited him with his 2020 allocation (three weeks) and added it to his 2021 allocation. As he pointed out, even if he could travel he couldn’t possibly use six weeks.

If the travel ban this year means his allocation is pushed forward again to 2022, he would have an even more impossible nine weeks to use.

Desperate to escape

“The pandemic has exposed major flaws in the timeshare model,” says Daniel Keating, TCA media officer. “With any normal product or service, if you can’t use it you don’t pay for it. Timeshare is different. Owners are committed to paying in full, every year and usually the fees are as much as a regular holidaymaker would pay through booking sites.

“Pre-COVID it was easier for timeshare owners to ignore this burden, provided they took a holiday every year. Now that they can’t it is hitting them hard. Paying money for something they don’t get is not sustainable for people in these uncertain economic times.

Keating warns that escaping unwanted timeshare commitments is not easy. “A Google search of ‘get out of my timeshare’ throws up thousands of results. Unfortunately most of them are fraudsters, keen to take your money but who will then disappear without helping you.

“There are a small number of firms that can be trusted and we keep a white-list here at the TCA. If you want advice on this, or any other timeshare related issue, get in touch with us on the contact details below, for free, expert advice.”

Timeshare Consumer Association. Contact us on: T: +44 2036704588 or +44 2035193808 (ask for Daniel), E: enquiries@timeshareadvice.org (Address to Daniel).

WhatsApp (message only) +447586871055

TCA provides a central resource of consumer information on timeshare matters for the media and other organisations — We work towards encouraging responsible, honest, timeshare operators. We also publicly expose negative consumer practices and organisations which operate in a manner detrimental to timeshare buyers and owners.

An important part of our mission is to lobby UK and European Governments and regulatory bodies for improved consumer protection in the timeshare environment and collect information on frauds and mis-selling, for action by enforcement authorities.

We are staffed by former and current timeshare owners, as well as former timeshare industry staff. We know our way around the timeshare business

We are a proud member of the UK Small Charities Coalition

First published on MyNewsDesk March 2021

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Timeshare Consumer Association

Timeshare Consumer Association

Friendly, impartial advice from timeshare experts: owners, ex timeshare owners, even ex timeshare industry insiders