"Timeshare is a criminal Industry" Deputy Speaker, European Parliament
Timeshare began in 1963, in Europe, as THE top quality holiday product.
Future success seemed assured
In the early 1980’s building and selling – mainly in Spain - were in full swing. Sales numbers were close to 100,000 a year. But the complaints had started.
By 1990 the level of complaints had become unacceptable to the UK Government resulting in a new law, introduced in 1994, to provide protection for purchasers.
Then, in 1998, the European Parliament, fed up with the large volume of complaints, applied a similar law. Consumers now had a cooling off period and a ban on the taking of a deposit – rights which they began to exercise in ever increasing numbers
The industry peaked out in 2000. Sales started to decline. The rate of exodus from ownership began to exceed replacements made through sales. Owner numbers began to dwindle.
The industry response was to harden up their fraud and intimidation which, whilst providing them with temporary relief, created an even more difficult environment for selling. Consumers now came to regard the whole idea of timeshare as a scam.
By 2009 sales were down to only a fraction of the earlier peak figures. True ownership numbers had nearly halved
A relentless decline that was fanned by the recession.
2012 actual, as opposed to “claimed”, owner numbers in Europe are down to half a million. The USA has five times as many with a population much smaller than Europe. A figure that could have been achieved in Europe had traders made a real effort to develop an honest, long term, industry.
The future looks bleak. An industry which launched nearly 50 years ago with high expectations is now a shadow of what it was or could have been. What will remain will be very different from the past. A smaller industry; higher quality; sensibly priced accommodation but with a limited life obligation. And far fewer rogues.
The report identifies why the industry failed to achieve its full potential and
points a finger at those responsible for this failure.
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