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Old 30.12.2012, 07:45
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Timeshare (points) contracts - cancellation

We have timeshare points. This is where you have a certain number of points that you can use each year for holidays in your home resorts, or, via an exchange program like RCI, in resorts around the world. The difference from classic timeshare is that there's no ownership of weeks in a specific property.

Each year there is a maintenance fee.

What is missing from our contract is a mechanism for cancellation. I.e. what do we do if we can no longer pay the yearly maintenance fee (or don't want to). On the face of it the contract is an eternal contract, obliging the payment of maintenance fees, the level of which we have no control over, for ever and ever. This is not, though, explicitly stated.

In the EU there have been cases in a few countries where an owner has ceased paying maintenance fees, wanting to forfeit their holding (there is NO resale value, since purchase of second hand points is purchase of an annual debt). The scheme owners claim that the fees are due, and the debt will keep accruing. The judges have ruled that eternal contracts are unreasonable and not legal.

The question is - does anyone know whether such contracts are valid in Swiss law? Auto-renew certainly is, but I seem to recall that five years is the maximum.

I will be asking a lawyer for an opinion in the new year, but thought I'd ask here as well. (Also as a warning to anyone thinking about taking on such contract - though I believe current leglislation enforces a period on new contracts with the right to withdraw every year). At the moment, we're quite happy with what we've bought, but circumstances can change, and we want to prepare for that.
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Old 30.12.2012, 08:57
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Re: Timeshare (points) contracts - cancellation

If you don't own a week in a specific property, how do they calculate what the maintenance fees are?

It sounds like an interesting "product", but I am not sure I understood it correctly. You signed a contract that gives you so many points a year that you can use at various timeshare properties without actually owning a share of a specific property? Do the points accrue, or is it use it or lose it? Are the points transferable?
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Old 30.12.2012, 10:42
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Re: Timeshare (points) contracts - cancellation

Fees are calculated according to the number of points you have. My club has a number of resorts, so the cost is apportioned across all owners. As ever with these things the actual mechanism is as clear as mud. You can borrow points from the year ahead, and use unused points from the previous years. After that, if you don't use, you lose them.
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Old 30.12.2012, 10:48
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Re: Timeshare (points) contracts - cancellation

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Fees are calculated according to the number of points you have. My club has a number of resorts, so the cost is apportioned across all owners. As ever with these things the actual mechanism is as clear as mud. You can borrow points from the year ahead, and use unused points from the previous years. After that, if you don't use, you lose them.
I see what you mean abut being as clear as mud...sounds like most timeshare stuff.

Does your contract say which law applies to the contract? Because although you live in Switzerland, it could be that the contract specifically states that it is governed by the law of another country (e.g. the country in which the company running this scheme is based).
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Old 31.12.2012, 05:48
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Re: Timeshare (points) contracts - cancellation

The contract states that it is governed by the laws of the UK. However, if the company decides we have a debt, they'll have to pursue it through Swiss courts, and that's when Swiss law has some bearing. Of course, I think both parties will try to avoid legal action, but timeshare companies are notorious for not being reasonable when it comes to negotiation, and attempting to put legal frighteners on people.
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Old 31.12.2012, 06:54
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Re: Timeshare (points) contracts - cancellation

If you are in the scheme I think you are then it is extremely difficult to cancel.

There was a programme about it a while back (I think Watchdog) and all these people had complained that they were not allowed to cancel. The company then agreed that the people who were to feature on the report could have their contracts cancelled as long as they did not appear on the report. If you do a google search there are a number of websites where people are trying to cancel. The few successful ones seem to have involved a lawyer and at that point the company backs down.

My parents are also in the scheme and my dad assures me it is easy to cancel but as far as I can see the only way to cancel is for you to reach 75 years old. My concern is that one of the selling points was that you passed the points on to your children when you passed away - I certainly do not want them!
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Old 31.12.2012, 07:16
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Re: Timeshare (points) contracts - cancellation

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.. The few successful ones seem to have involved a lawyer and at that point the company backs down...
That's because the companies are on dodgy legal ground. Where it has gone to court, they've lost.

My goal is to get my soldiers all set up before I want or need to cancel.
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Old 31.12.2012, 07:26
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Re: Timeshare (points) contracts - cancellation

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That's because the companies are on dodgy legal ground. Where it has gone to court, they've lost.
Totally agree. From what I understand each time the company has changed hands (which has happened a lot over the years) they have changed the exit clauses. People like my parents who have had their points for years signed a very different contract to the current one and therefore (I believe) the court would certainly find in their favour.

Even if you try and cancel without a lawyer the company will send you demands for the maintenance which these forums tell you to ignore if you have given the correct notice, registered letter etc. Whether you have the nerve to stand your ground though is a personal matter, I think I'd quickly end up paying for a lawyer.
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Old 03.01.2013, 10:25
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Re: Timeshare (points) contracts - cancellation

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The contract states that it is governed by the laws of the UK.
In which country did you sign the contract?
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Old 03.01.2013, 16:56
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Re: Timeshare (points) contracts - cancellation

The best people to check with is TATOC, the timeshare owner's association in the UK. I'd be very interested to know what their advice is, thanks.
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Old 03.01.2013, 17:31
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Re: Timeshare (points) contracts - cancellation

You could also join the Timeshare User Group forum. Someone there may be able to give you some advice:

http://tug2.net/
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Old 25.01.2013, 13:02
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Re: Timeshare (points) contracts - cancellation

Hi - did you get in touch with either tug or Tatoc? Would love to hear how you got on.

Just come back from Tenerife, on a timeshare exchange (for our unit at Barnsdale at Rutland Water)- and it was incredible to see the timeshare touts completely ignoring the Brits, and selling full-on to Russians who were there in droves, and buying fast. Apparently they sell units for more than twice to Russians, as they are knew to the concept!
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Old 07.10.2013, 18:59
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Re: Timeshare (points) contracts - cancellation

Update... decided to go down the legal route. I'll update again once it is over.
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Old 07.10.2013, 19:47
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Re: Timeshare (points) contracts - cancellation

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Update... decided to go down the legal route. I'll update again once it is over.
I know someone who gave it back to the management company. I also know some own else that has 3 Villas for 5 weeks from December 1st & beginning of January in the Caribbean, says its the cheapest way of owning property you don't use very often ! He has been taking extended the family for 20 years & is very happy.
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Old 07.10.2013, 20:26
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Re: Timeshare (points) contracts - cancellation

I've no doubt for some people it works well. It has for us, mostly. The problem is the lack of a sensible route of ending the contract. Some management companies won't accept it being given back without a bit of a legal tussle. The management company I'm dealing with is known for not settling amicably.
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