The Timeshare Directive Gets a Makeover

The Timeshare Directive Gets a Makeover

A strong standard of timeshare control is about to get even tougher.

The European Commission has launched a public consultation regarding its Timeshare Directive, seeking to plug loopholes that have become evident since the Directive’s 1994 release. The original intent of the Timeshare Directive was to create a standardized cooling off or rescission period for timeshare buyers wishing to change their minds. Additionally the Directive sought to reduce pressure sales techniques, while ensuring that timeshare buyers receive adequate information about the properties they purchase. The Directive addresses timeshare contracts that are 36 months in duration or longer.

During the years that the Timeshare Directive has already been in place, timeshare sales practices in Europe have improved greatly. Yet some new timeshare-like products have been developed seeking to take advantage of gaps or loopholes in the Directive’s language. New products are being sold for 35-month memberships along with certain vacation clubs that also fall outside the guidelines established by the original Commission action. The 9-week consultation, which began earlier this month, seeks to plug these gaps, as well as prevent future problems from developing.

The Timeshare Directive is presently applicable to any contract made for timeshare purchase (36 months or longer) under the law of a European Union country or when the property is in the European Economic Area. The European Union countries include: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, all of which grant timeshare buyers a 10-day rescission period. The United Kingdom, (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales) has an additional specific ruling that typically gives buyers a full 14 days to change their minds.

Timeshare Isn’t Just For Tropical Destinations…

Timeshare Isn’t Just For Tropical Destinations…

Does it feel like everyone is planning a ski vacation, except you?

In the US, 6.8 million people go downhill skiing one or more times each year, (according to the 2006 Statistical Abstract of the US Census Bureau). This only leaves you and about 292 million Americans who won’t be making it to the slopes. 

But since skiing looks like such fun, good exercise, and a fantastic way to enjoy the wintry outdoors, why do you think you and those other 291,999,999 folks haven’t tried it yet?

Most people, when surveyed, site lack of time as their number one reason for never learning to ski, with lack of money as a close second. And of course, adversity to broken bones, desire not to make a fool of one’s self, and lack of opportunity all make the top of the list. Nevertheless, if you have not tried skiing—or haven’t been in years—aren’t you curious about what you are missing?

Those who love skiing sometimes speak about the feeling of being one with an Alpine mountain. They savor the smell of the snow and the taste of the crisp air as they glide silently over pristine powder in the Canadian Rockies. In the moment, they are connected to every skier who shares their devotion to the experience, and at the same time, they are entirely alone in their personal triumph. For a few short moments, Vail, Aspen, Snowmass, or Telluride takes them beyond the walking-running-jumping limitations of legs and gives them the ability to glide, slide, and sometimes even fly.

Even if you aren’t nearly this poetic, you’ve got to admit that the chance to get out in the fresh air, take on a sport like a kid again, and recharge your brain doing something totally different than your normal grind… sounds pretty enticing, doesn’t it? Add the backdrop of a vivid blue New Mexico sky or perfect white New England snow, and a luxurious timeshare ski resort ANYWHERE and you really have to question why you aren’t planning your own ski holiday right now.

The smart economics of timeshare ownership solve those issues of not enough time and not enough money. Ski vacations are so easy when you take advantage of timeshare accommodations.

Timeshare ski resorts offer a great place to stay, conveniently close to the slopes. Many resorts include discounts on lift tickets, on-property instruction, plus saunas, spas, and sometimes masseurs for after-ski relaxation.

Even if you find yourself intimidated by the thought of slippery slopes, don’t abandon the idea of a great ski holiday. Can you walk and chew gum at the same time?

Then consider cross-country skiing. It won’t take you long to master the rhythm of the skis, and once you do, there will be no holding you back.

Great timeshare vacations aren’t just a summertime thing!

Timeshare Points Systems Demystified

Timeshare Points Systems Demystified

Points-based timeshare ownership offers owners more flexibility, but there are some things about points systems that any timeshare owner should know.

The concept of points-based vacation ownership is one of the most significant innovations within the timeshare industry in recent years. The goal of this article is to illuminate some of the pros and cons frequently encountered by timeshare owners who buy into a points-based system of timeshare ownership.

First of all, timeshare owners who buy points often do not own them. Most resort chains/exchange companies hold these points in trust. This can pose advantages and disadvantages depending on the owner’s particular needs and preferences. There are some exceptions to this statement, but by and large this is the case.

Points can be redeemable for a number of things, including airfare, hotels, and car rentals. Whereas this is an obvious convenience, points owners can expect to pay fees each time they use their points. For example, using points for plane tickets, renting a car at the airport, and staying overnight at a hotel could cost about $100.00 in accumulated fees.

Possibly worst of all, inflation often occurs with timeshare points. For example, if you have 150,000 points, you might be able to exchange these for a particular resort this year, but what about next year, when the resort you want suddenly costs 200,000 points?

Also, there may be additional restrictions imposed on the transfer of points between owners. This might make things difficult on the resale market. It is best to ask the timeshare seller or the home resort about any restrictions regarding the sale of timeshare points.

Though some difficulties arise, a points-based timeshare allows very flexible vacationing. Herein lies the real beauty of this type of ownership. Stay for as little or as long as you want! Points allow much greater freedom in determining a vacation itinerary.

Again, timeshare points can also be redeemed for a number of important vacation necessities, like hotel rooms, auto rentals, and airfare. Some theme parks even accept points toward tickets to their attractions.

Like everything else in the world of timeshare, a shrewd timeshare owner will learn how to benefit from these opportunities.

New Timeshare Taxes on Hawaii’s Big Island

New Timeshare Taxes on Hawaii’s Big Island

Thanks to Honolulu city and county officials, timeshare owners on Hawaii could experience as much as a 50% increase in yearly costs.

Hawaii has long been considered the Holy Grail of vacation destinations. With everything that these islands offer, it’s no surprise. However, some recent changes to the Big Island’s tax laws are leaving a bad taste in the mouth of many timeshare owners.

Following last year’s decision by Maui to create a new category of taxable property called “timeshare”, the Big Island’s local government recently announced its decision to follow in Maui’s footsteps by unveiling a new tax on timeshare property. This new tax, known as the TAT, for Transient Accomodations Tax, is assessed based on the “fair market value” of a timeshare property. Strangely, “fair market value” is determined in this case NOT by the price a timeshare property could fairly command on the market, but rather by “an amount equal to one-half the gross daily maintenance fees that are paid by the owner.” However, if the timeshare is rented out on a nightly basis by the owner, the tax on the timeshare is assessed based on the value of the gross income of the rental unit. Timeshare units, categorized as such, are taxed differently than hotel property. But what happens to a hotel that offers some of its units on a time-sharing basis?

Reportedly, local lawmakers have earmarked a share of the revenue produced by this tax for the purpose of marketing Hawaii as a vacation destination. Granted, much of this tax goes toward the upkeep of public facilities used by timeshare owners, but one is forced to wonder why a timeshare owner ought to pay for marketing and promotions when he/she already owns at least one timeshare in Hawaii.

These new laws are raising some eyebrows in the timeshare-owning community. Many people feel that Honolulu city and county legislators ought to reconsider some of the ramifications of this new legislation.

If you own timeshare in Hawaii, you are strongly encouraged to contact your home resort or the appropriate local government agency for more information about these changes, and how they will affect you or your timeshare.

(More information on this subject and other news from Hawaii’s Big Island can be found at the Hawaii Reporter. Here is a link to their article.