TIMESHARE ACT 1992
The details below are taken from the website of Trading Standards - This is a useful site if you would like details of your local Trading Standards Department or other consumer law
Timeshare Act 1992
See also the amendments to the Act as introduced by the European Directive on Timeshare (below), kindly supplied by the Timeshare Consumers Association.
The Timeshare Act is a welcome piece of legislation to many hundreds of people who have been badly caught out in the timeshare boom of the 1980s. It is perhaps too late for them but provides important cover for people entering into agreements now (for example a cooling off period). The Act extends to the whole of the UK and covers timeshare in the UK, or abroad where the agreement is governed by UK law or one or more parties are in the UK when it is made.
Section 1 is crucial as it defines two key concepts:
Timeshare agreement is an agreement under which timeshare rights are conferred or purport to be conferred on any person.
Timeshare credit agreement is an agreement NOT being a timeshare agreement:
Under which a person provides ar agrees to provide credit for or in respect of a person who is the offeree under a timeshare agreement, and
When the credit agreement is entered into, the creditor knows or has reasonable cause to believe that the whole or part of the credit is to be used for the purpose of financing the offeree's entering into a timeshare agreement.
It is worth noting here that any agreements which are cancellable agreements by virtue of the Consumer Credit Act 1974, ie signed off trade premises, are excluded from the application of this Act. The reason is that a cooling off period for such agreements is already allowed for by section 68 of the 1974 Act.
Section 2 makes it an obligation for the offerer of a timeshare agreement to give the offeree notice of their right to cancel the agreement, ie a 14 day 'cooling off period'. Subsection 3 makes it an offence to contravene this obligation with the fine being the statutory maximum. No custodial sentence can be applied.
Section 3 has similar effect for a timeshare credit agreement but concentrates on the creditor rather than the offerer.
Section 4 provides supplementary provisions to sections 3 and 4, basically that their provisions only apply to offerees who are consumers, and for the form of cancellation notices.
Section 5 encompasses the consumers' right to cancel timeshare agreements.
Section 6 provides similar rights to cancel timeshare credit agreements however in this case the credit agreement continues and consumers are subject to section 7 for repayment of credit and interest. See also The Timeshare (Repayment of Credit on Cancellation) Order 1992.
Section 7 provides for repayment of credit and interest on cancellation under sections 5 or 6. Most notably consumers will be liable for no interest payment if they repay the whole of the credit within one month.
Section 8 provides for a single limbed due diligence defence, ie that he took all reasonable steps and exercised all due diligence to avoid the commission of the offence
Section 9 encompasses the liability of persons other than the principal offender and allows for proceedings to be taken against these 'other persons'.
Section 10 provides for enforcement as described in the Schedule to the Act, ie every local weights and measures authority in Great Britain and the Department of Economic Development in Northern Ireland. There are the usual powers of entry and inspection, seizure of documents, and offences for obstruction of officers.
Section 11 stipulates the prosecution time limits:
No proceedings shall commence after
the end of the period of three years beginning with the date of the commissioning of the offence; or
the end of the period of one year beginning with the date of the discovery of the offence by the prosecutor,
whichever is the earlier.
Section 12 contains some general provisions, for example for the purposes of postal service of a notice, notice of cancellation is deemed to be given at time of posting.
The Timeshare Act 1992 as amended by 'European Directive on Timeshare'
The TA92 regulates the conduct of a professional seller ("offeror") of timeshare in respect of the sale to a private purchaser ("offeree")
TA92 only applies to a sale conducted in the British Isles or of a
timeshare resort in the British Isles or to a purchase contract which
expressly states that TA92 applies. Most other European countries have
similar, but not identical, laws.
TA92 applies to the purchase of intermittent rights of occupancy of holiday accommodation - "timeshare" - for a period of three years or more [S1(1)]
TA92 only applies to fixed properties (and, in a few cases, to caravans).
TA92 only applies where the offeror is in business and the offeree is a private individual. It does not apply to sales between private individuals.
TA92 requires the offeror to:-
provide the offeree with a minimum of 14 days "cooling off" period during which the offeree can cancel the agreement without any loss or giving any reason. Day one is the date on which the agreement is signed by both parties.
provide similar rights to the automatic cancellation of a related credit agreement.
not require any payment by the offeree during the cooling off period
provide the offeree with:-
a notice stating the rights of cancellation including the address to which a cancellation notice should be sent [S2]
a blank cancellation notice [S4]
and, if a credit agreement is involved, similar notices for the credit agreement [S3 and S4]
specific detailed information about the timeshare purchase [S1A and Schedule 1] typically:-
description of the accommodation
the principles on which maintenance etc. of the complex is arranged
the services available and the conditions of their use
if the offeror fails to provide any of the information listed in Schedule 1 then the cooling-off period is extended to 3 months and 10 days
TA92 requires the purchase agreement and information to be in the language of the offeree provide that it is an EU language.
Enforcement of TA92 is the responsibility of the Trading Standards Officer local to the offeree. Breaches of some of the sections of the Act can result in criminal proceedings.