The height of the timeshare boom saw supplies of available accommodation begin to outstrip demand. The solution offered by timeshare resorts? The creation of the timeshare points system and floating weeks.
The concepts behind both are similar:
Rather than buying a share in a particular apartment or villa, the customer purchases an annual allocation of points from a resort. The customer uses these to book their accommodation at the resort, with more desirable apartments and dates costing more points. So, for example, a week during the school summer holidays in a two bedroom apartment might cost 30000 points, where as a studio in January might be picked up for 500 points.
Many resorts also offered the option to opt into international exchange programs, where they could exchange points for weeks in other timeshare resorts around the world.
The customer purchases a week at the resort. However, this week is not at any fixed date, but rather to be used within a set band of time each year. These bands are divided according the popularity of the resort at different times of the year, usually high-season, mid-season and low season. Weeks at peak times will cost more, but allow customers to use their week whenever they wish throughout the year. Weeks purchased during low season will limit a customer to less desirable times of the year, but still offer more flexibility than the standard timeshare model.
Unfortunately, whilst these options both look good on paper and doubtless even better when explained by a smooth-talking salesperson, expectation quickly failed to meet reality for many customers.
Allocations of both products were frequently sold above resort capacity, leaving many owners unable to book their holiday with their home resort.
Turning instead to the option of international exchange, many owners soon found that the value of their timeshare points wouldn’t get them nearly as far as their rep had implied during the flashy sales presentation. Dreams of swapping a week on the Costa del Sol in March for a stay in the Caribbean were replaced with the prospect of January in Bognor Regis. If there was availability.
The solution offered by the resorts? More points, or an upgrade to a better week. At the customer’s own expense, obviously. And then when the same thing happens next year, the saga continues, with many customers remaining caught up in the cycle of never having enough points to book what they want.
Where do I stand if I have purchased timeshare points or floating weeks?
A number of rulings by the Spanish Supreme Court have determined that timeshare contracts signed after the 4th of January 1999 containing floating weeks or a non-specific time-period are not legal. In addition, many of these products were sold in perpetuity, which has also been deemed illegal.
Customers who have purchased a timeshare product under these conditions are therefore eligible to receive compensation.
How can I make a claim?
If you have timeshare points or floating weeks, it is recommended to consult with a Spanish-based legal expert, who will be able to check the wording of your contract and advise you if you are eligible to claim.
To find out how much you may be entitled to, you can also use our free compensation calculator.