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Timeshare and long-term holiday products

European legislation governs the laws and obligations resulting from contracts for the purchase of timeshare and similar products. This harmonisation aims at further protecting European consumers, including in the case of some contracts with an international scope.

ACT

Directive 2008/122/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 January 2009 on the protection of consumers in respect of certain aspects of timeshare, long-term holiday product, resale and exchange contracts (Text with EEA relevance).

SUMMARY

The market for timeshare * and similar products is developing. This Directive harmonises certain aspects of the marketing, sales and resale * of these types of products.

These provisions allow the protection already provided by Community regulations for consumers of timeshare holidays, long-term * holidays, exchange * and resale contracts to be extended. They apply to contracts entered into with traders.

Rights concerning information

Before concluding a contract, consumers shall receive information concerning the property that they are about to purchase, the rights that they can exercise and all costs associated with the contract. They shall be informed whether they have a right of withdrawal, its duration and the conditions under which it may be exercised. This information is an integral part of the contract and may not be modified.

The information is to be provided free of charge, on a durable medium and using a standard form adapted to each type of contract (Annexes I to IV). The information must be clear, comprehensible and accurate. Consumers may choose the language in which this information is supplied, that of their country of residence or of nationality, provided it is an official language of the European Union (EU).

Member States must ensure that consumers are given notice of the obligation concerning pre-contractual information where advertising material is to be received or with regard to participation in a commercial event.

Conclusion of the contract

The contract shall be supplied in writing, on paper or another durable medium. Consumers may choose the language in which the contract is written, whether the language of their country of residence or of nationality, provided it is an official language of the EU, and that it complies with the requirements of the Member State of residence. The consumer shall receive at least one copy of the contract at the time of its conclusion.

Right of withdrawal

The Directive extends the right of withdrawal by the consumer, the exercise of which terminates the obligations of the parties as well as ancillary contracts. This right may be exercised without a reason being given for a period of fourteen calendar days. The period shall be calculated as from signature or receipt of the contract or of any binding document.

This opportunity offered to the consumer is to be described in the standard pre-contractual information form. If this obligation is not complied with, the withdrawal period will be extended to one year and fourteen days. Furthermore, if the trader does not provide pre-contractual information, the right of withdrawal may be exercised for three months and fourteen days.

Advances and payment

Advance payment, provision of guarantees, reservation of money or acknowledgement of debt as well as any type of consideration paid by the consumer to the trader or a third party cannot take place before the end of the withdrawal period.

Concerning resale contracts, advance payments are prohibited before the sale has taken effect or the sale has been terminated by other means.

Payments due under long-term holiday contracts shall be made in instalments and are to be divided into yearly amounts of equal value. From the second yearly instalment onwards, the consumer may terminate the contract without incurring any penalty by acting within fourteen calendar days of receiving the request for payment.

Termination of ancillary contracts

If consumers exercise their right of withdrawal, any ancillary contract linked to the main contract shall automatically be terminated. Consumers shall not bear any costs for termination. Member States shall determine the conditions for the termination of these contracts.

International contracts

The rights laid down in this Directive may apply to contracts which are subject to the law of a third State in the European Union if:

  • one of the immovable properties which are covered by the agreement is located on Community territory;
  • in the absence of an immovable property, the trader exercises their commercial activity in a Member State.

Redress

Member States shall ensure that the consumer is informed of the possibilities for redress determined by the national legislation. They shall encourage the development of out-of-court redress procedures.

Context

This Directive repeals Directive 94/47/EC to take account of developments in the holiday product market.

Definitions
  • Timeshare holidays: concerns a contract of a duration of more than one year under which a consumer, for consideration, acquires the right to use one or more overnight accommodation units for more than one period of occupation.
  • Long-term holidays: concerns a contract of a duration of more than one year under which a consumer, for consideration, acquires primarily the right to obtain discounts or other benefits in respect of accommodation.
  • Exchange: a contract under which a consumer, for consideration, joins an exchange system which allows that consumer access to overnight accommodation or other services. In exchange, the consumer will grant other persons temporary access to the benefits of the rights deriving from their contract.
  • Resale contract: under which a trader, for consideration, assists a consumer to sell or buy a timeshare or other product.

REFERENCES

ActEntry into forceTransposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal

Directive 2008/122/EC

2.2.2009

23.2.2011

OJ L 33 of 3.2.2009

Last updated: 05.06.2009
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