When timeshares go wrong – and what you can do about it

Common problems with timeshare contracts

Owning a timeshare can seem like a dream but the industry is plagued by a number of issues that can turn that dream into a nightmare.

Buying a timeshare can sound like a dream come true. You get your own little piece of paradise and a guaranteed holiday every year – what could possibly go wrong?

Well, quite a lot as it happens.

The industry is plagued by a number of issues and, after succumbing to the industry’s infamous hard-sell tactics, timeshare owners all too often find themselves trapped in costly and restrictive contracts that fail to live up to their expectations.

Unfair contracts

After the excitement of purchasing a timeshare, many owners find that they are tied in to lengthy and unfair contracts. A large number of timeshares comes with ‘in perpetuity’ contracts which tie owners to their timeshare for 50 years or more, and even for life in some instances. And given that timeshares can be difficult to sell-on, in years to come you could find yourself saddled with a property that you no longer want or use.

Hidden charges

As a timeshare owner, you expect to pay out for routine maintenance costs, tax and utilities, but what you may not realise is that timeshare contracts often contain other hidden charges. These include costs such as ‘special assessment fees’ which are used to cover property upgrades, repairs, and anything else the resort management decides is necessary. And even those routine costs we mentioned are subject to significant increases, potentially rising by as much as 12% each year!

Restricted bookings

When it comes to actually using their property, many timeshare owners experience booking difficulties. A ‘fixed week’ contract allocates you a set time period at the property each year, and if that time period is not suitable, you will either have to rent it out or consider it a loss for that year. A ‘floating week’ contract, which enable owners to choose a week within a set timeframe, appear to offer more flexibility but, in reality, the more popular dates get booked up incredibly quickly, leaving many timeshare owners disappointed. The upshot is that many owners pay a lot of money for a property that they’re unable to get full use out of.

Timeshare compensation

Buying a timeshare is a big investment and it can be hugely upsetting and frustrating when things don’t go according to plan. However, there is something you can do to remedy it.

If you’ve experienced any of the scenarios we’ve mentioned above, you could be eligible for timeshare compensation, and a growing number of dissatisfied timeshare owners are using this as a route to escape their timeshare contract and recoup lost money. Pursuing a timeshare compensation claim can be a costly and complex process, so it’s important to have all your paperwork in order before you start the ball rolling. There are also a lot of unscrupulous scammers out there who are only too happy to prey on unhappy timeshare owners, so be extra wary of any cold callers offering assistance.

If you’re considering a compensation claim, we would always recommend speaking to specialist timeshare lawyers. A legal professional with expertise in this area will be able to assess the validity of your claim, provide impartial advice, and guide you through the claims process to help you get a positive outcome.