Timeshare is a good investment for hotels

Other law - “Timeshare” holidays: endless numbers?

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A couple is invited to a "hotel tour" with aperitif on the beach. In a relaxed atmosphere, the couple signs a contract and pays 9,000 francs. At home it becomes clear: the money is lost.

Author: Gabriela Baumgartner

“I had no idea what we were getting into,” says Christine Iten (name changed). Usually she is rather skeptical. But when she and her husband were invited to a hotel tour on the beach, she thought of no harm.

The tour through the magnificent complex was followed by an extensive aperitif, relaxed conversations about vacation dreams and finally the offer of membership, which opens the doors to the best 5-star hotels around the world.

"The seller expressly assured us that we could withdraw from the contract at any time." Only when the daughter takes a close look at the contract at home does it become clear that there is no right of termination.

And: Itens would have to pay another 6000 francs. "After this experience, my husband never wants to go on vacation to the Dominican Republic again," says Christine Iten. "He is utterly disappointed."

Timeshare vacations are expensive

Itens signed a so-called timeshare contract during their vacation. Members purchase the right to use certain holiday complexes, limited to a few weeks per year. According to the provider, this is a “good opportunity” to spend a vacation.

But according to the German Stiftung Warentest, such a membership does not pay off. For a timeshare right of residence you usually pay between 10,000 and 35,000 francs, the contracts are extremely long - up to 99 years.

In addition to the price for the right of residence, there are also annual maintenance costs and service fees, depending on the system, a few hundred francs a year.

How high the ancillary costs will be is neither predictable nor controllable. In addition, the acquirers of such residential rights do not have any say in decisions about the maintenance of a facility.

In addition to the price of the right of residence and the ancillary costs, there are also costs for travel, food and leisure. Items that are usually included in a package tour arrangement.

In the same hotel for decades?

Another catch with timeshare contracts: They are concluded for extremely long terms. Over 30, 50 up to 99 years. During this time, the customer is bound. There are no exit options. Not even if someone can no longer travel due to illness, if financial circumstances change or because the destination is spoiled for you.

“No problem!” Argue at this point eloquent timeshare sellers. You can sell your residential units at any time, maybe even for a profit. But protection associations and travel experts warn: There is no functioning market for residential shares. Shares would have to be sold well below their price if a buyer could be found at all. Most of the time this is not the case.

Providers describe their timeshare contracts as a “worthwhile investment”. That is totally wrong. The customer does not become a co-owner of a system and the invested capital therefore does not earn any interest. In reality, customers only pay the rent for a hotel room or holiday apartment twenty or thirty years in advance.

Not all travel agents warn

Timeshare companies are currently mainly active in the Balearic Islands, Spain, Austria and the Dominican Republic. Although hotels frequently partner with the timeshare sellers in these areas, few tour operators warn their customers about leaving.

Good to know: In EU countries, consumers have a 14-day right of withdrawal after concluding a timeshare contract. There is no such right of withdrawal outside the EU. This also applies to contracts concluded in Switzerland.

Facts about "timeshare":

  • In a timeshare contract, you do not acquire property, but only a temporary right of residence in a holiday complex.
  • In EU countries, timeshare contracts can be revoked without compensation within 14 days of being signed. During this period, the seller may not ask for a deposit.
  • Timeshare is expensive: the right of residence alone costs tens of thousands of francs, plus annual ancillary costs, mostly of unknown amounts. Not included: costs for travel to the resort, meals and free time.
  • The contracts are concluded for 30 to 50 years, sometimes even longer. There is no possibility of termination.
  • Shares can be resold. Theoretically. In practice, however, it is difficult to find a buyer.
  • Be careful if the provider wants to buy the shares from you. Usually the next financial loss threatens, because first of all, high “fees” are due.
  • Timeshare contracts are not subject to the package travel law, which is cheap for consumers. In the event of defects in the system, there is no entitlement to a reduction under this law.

Wanted: Big tourist trap

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The editors of “Kassensturz” and “Espresso” are looking for the biggest tourist traps. Rip off at the resort or outrageous price for a gelato. Let us know about your experiences.

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  • Commentary by K. Räschter, Switzerland
    These timeshare companies and traps have been warned about for years. But apparently many still don't get it. I think that the consumption law to protect the "naive and gullible" should be extended to include timeshare contracts. Where is the SKS in this case to make an advance?
    Agree agree to the comment
  • Commentary by P. Müler, Diepoldsau
    Sorry - but against stupidity there still seems to be "no herb"! PM-CH
    Agree agree to the comment
  • Commentary by Gino Keller, Bacong
    Shouldn't the brain finally be switched on when the blue sky is promised? Think that would be better all laws of this earth. There are just no bargains, everything ultimately leads to a hack. Why does everyone think Pestalozzi is standing before him. I find myself guilty. If a responsible citizen cannot understand this, then he should be patronized. All the beggars and rip-offs I met had to leave the field without anything. Think before you act!
    Agree agree to the comment

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