FOREWORDwhat this Report is about
Timeshare is especially popular amongst British consumers,
and is a sector of the holiday market that has often come in for
Through its 1994 Directive on timeshare, the European
Community stamped out many of the worst excesses of the timeshare
market by introducing a right of withdrawal, a cooling-off period
and a ban on advance payments during the cooling-off period. The
subsequent reduction in the level of complain?ts against timeshare
illustrates clearly the success of the Directive in giving consumers
some protection from aggressive and misleading sales practices,
and thus making the timeshare market less attractive to rogue
The 1994 Directive has not, however, been a complete
success. It was open to some legislative loopholes that have been
exploited by less scrupulous sections of the industry. New products
have been developed to evade its provisions and the resulting
cost to the UK consumer alone of such bad practice has been estimated
at over £1 billion. There has also been a growth in fraud
linked to the bogus resale of timeshare properties.
It is these issues, and others linked to scope and
implementation, which the Commission is now seeking to address
through its proposal for a broader directive, and in this report
we consider that directive's strengths and weaknesses.
Our general view is that national legislation cannot
deal adequately with the problems associated with the timeshare
market and that EU-level legislation is therefore appropriate.
While we make a number of recommendations relating to its detail,
our conclusion is that the Commission has set out a good case
for a new broader timeshare directive.