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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 November, 2003, 15:54 GMT
More timeshare legislation wanted

The Citizens Advice Bureaux is warning consumers again about the perils of rogue holiday clubs which manage to avoid the strict timeshare laws.

The timeshare laws were introduced in 1992 to put a stop to this kind of rogue trading, but "holiday clubs" are able to side-step the rules.

A timeshare is held in trust, and that trust owns the property - you just have a licence to use it.

With holiday clubs it's different - you rely on a promise from a company to give you a holiday.


The main problem with holiday clubs is similar to that of timeshares.

They can be very hard sell and you often have to put up with hours of presentations.

But the key difference, which means consumers must be extra cautious, is that they come with no protection at all.

With a timeshare, there is legislation in place:

  • It is illegal to take deposits upfront
  • There is a cooling off period
  • You must receive written information


    Despite this lack of protection, holiday clubs remain very popular.

    Consumers are tempted by generous offers of "a wide range of discounted special offers to cover most needs whether its for their primary vacation, a second vacation or just taking off for a special mini-break."

    Another website offers "a world where high standards and value for money are found hand-in-hand, and your dream holidays could at last become a reality.

    "Membership opens up an exciting new way of realising your holiday ambitions."

    Poor deal

    They often show prospective holidaymakers very glossy brochures and in theory, are even able to offer availability at peak times.

    They just point out that there is no guarantee of this.

    Which is not exactly the peace of mind you want when shelling out between 3,000 and 8,000 - the amount it costs to join the clubs.

    Sandy Grey, from the Timeshare Consumers Association, says "It's very poor value indeed - in nearly every single case, the prices on high street and the internet were cheaper than the holiday clubs.

    "So in terms of the investment amount, it's a very poor deal indeed."


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