Timeshare Consumers Association
Timeshare is a form of holiday ownership. You own the right (either directly or through a "club") to use a week (or longer) in an apartment or villa on a holiday resort for a great many years or in perpetuity.
What's in a name ?
With the discredited image of "timeshare" in consumer minds many other phrases are now in use such as "Holiday Club"; "Fractional Ownership"; "Destination Club"; "Vacation Ownership" etc. etc. - all of which are "timeshare" in disguise.
The industry claims that over six million families own timeshare worldwide - some well satisfied with their ownership.
Timeshare accommodation can be of a higher standard than hotel or rented accommodation. And most resorts have extensive leisure facilities (generally free to use). All timeshare is self catering.
Accommodation ranges from a modest studio (a single bedroom) to apartments and villas with three bedroom, three bathrooms, lounge, dining etc. with appointments to a very high standard.
Timeshare competes with package holidays (where timeshare offers higher standards of accommodation) and villa rental (where timeshare might offer better long term value-for-money).
Timeshare comes in two basic forms:
A major strength of timeshare is the certainty that it provides. Accommodation (and often leisure facilities) being held in trust (or registered in a public register) for the lifetime of the right to use. So, provided that you continue to pay the annual fees on time, you are reasonably certain of getting your holidays every year.
- Fixed week. Where you own rights to a specific week, usually in a specific apartment/villa which you can either return to every year or swop through the exchange system for something similar in another part of the world and in another time period.
- Floating system (which includes points clubs ). Instead of owning a specified week, you own a week (or a time period which may be longer than a week) within a seasonal band of time. Each year you have to book the specific week that you want - but this is "subject to availability".
And when you tire of timeshare you can, in theory, sell your rights on to someone else. But see here
Most timeshare owners use the exchange system which provides a large choice (nearly 6,000 resorts in all the popular destinations worldwide) to swop to - knowing that the place you are going to is of a similar standard to that which you own.
When you buy timeshare you pay a once off payment for the right to use and, each year, a fee which pays for the accommodation etc. to be kept clean, in good order, local taxes paid etc.. This fee is payable whether or not you make use of your ownership rights.
The best resorts are run by the owners through a club (and a committee). This ensures that owners get what they are promised and annual fees are kept to a reasonable minimum.
Unfortunately, because of the activities of a number of dishonest traders in the industry, the word "timeshare" has lost credibility with the general public resulting in both the honest and the dishonest traders claiming that their product is "not timeshare" and claiming that it is one of the following:
Which confuses consumers.
- Vacation Club
- Holiday Club (which are really BAD news - read here )
- Multi ownership
- Holiday ownership
- Fractional Ownership. See here
- Etc. etc.
And claiming membership of organisations such as ITRA, OTE, RDO, TATOC, RBA and the Timeshare Council is no help to safe purchasing.
This website is dedicated to helping consumers get the best out of timeshare and to avoid the pitfalls - please read How to Buy Safely
The new Timeshare Regulations 2010 came into force in most EU countries on 23 February 2011.