Timeshares and Holiday Clubs


A timeshare or holiday club membership can be a financial commitment for many months or years: you need to think about the taxes and bills as well as insurance and transport costs. European Consumer Centres offer advice on the new EU timeshare rules, including contract cancellation (cooling–off) rights.

What EU rights for timeshare buyers?

Under new EU rules, timeshare is where you buy the right to spend a set amount of time in a villa, apartment or similar in a given period (2 weeks a year, for instance) and where the contract lasts more than one year.

In the EU, timeshare buyers have a strong set of rights under the new EU Timeshare Directive.

These include:

1icon the right to full information before you sign the contract,

1icon the right to contract cancellation within 14 days for any reason without penalty (a cooling-off period),

1icon the trader has not provided the required information, the contract cancellation (cooling-off) period is extended to one year plus 14 days.

1icon specific rules on payment protecting consumers: e.g. you must not be asked for any deposit, advance payment etc. during the cooling-off period.

Is my holiday-club membership covered by EU rules? 

eccncg b Holiday clubs are similar to timeshares but many have been designed to circumvent the older EU consumer rules on timeshare, which only used to cover contracts of at least 3 years. Therefore, holiday-club agreements are often for less than 3 years.

eccncg b The new EU timeshare rules cover such 'timeshare-like' services, if the contract is for more than one year.

[!]EU countries should have made sure their national laws are in line with the new EU law by February 2011, but some countries are late with this. If in doubt about what legal protection you have, get advice from your European Consumer Centre.

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