Flaws in the 1994 Timeshare Directive
20. Most submissions also agreed that the degree of prescription
in the 1994 Directive had resulted in some negative consequences,
in particular that some operatorsdescribed as "inventive
entrepreneurs" (Q 72) but more often as "rogues"
or "rogue traders"had devised new products specifically
intended to evade its provisions.
21. The word "rogue" was used widely in submissions
and in oral evidence to the Committee to describe elements within
the timeshare and holiday club industries. Gareth Thomas MP,
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Trade and Consumer
Affairs, described these elements as "crooks and criminals"
(Q 103). The forms of rogue trading discussed in this Report
include misrepresentation, aggressive sales techniques and the
defrauding of people of substantial sums of money.
22. The 1994 Directive only applies to timeshares of 36 months
and over, leading to the development of so-called "trial
period" timeshares of 35 months or less, as explained by
Sandy Grey (Q 1). It also only covers immovable properties,
thus excluding caravans, canal boats and cruise ship timeshares.
The main unintended consequence of the 1994 Directive has been
the development of long-term holiday products, sometimes known
as holiday clubs. These are explored in the next Chapter.
23. Arlene McCarthy MEP, Chair of the Internal Market and
Consumer Protection Committee of the European Parliament, said
that her Committee "first raised the problems with existing
timeshare legislation in November 2001", leading to a hearing
in the European Parliament and the adoption of a Resolution in
June 2002 calling on the Commission to propose further legislation
(pp 92-94). The Minister told us that the UK was "probably
the lead nation pushing for a revised directive" (Q 97).