Is your timeshare holiday being affected by the coronavirus restrictions?

Everyone has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, if not struck by the virus itself then many have been affected due to job losses, having to change the way they work and look after our families, even learn how to teach their children.

However, we have learnt to adapt in these turbulent times and just as we are seeing and ease in lockdown restrictions, we may be able to look to the future and start planning a break to relax and spend time with our loved ones. As many of us know by now, if we do want to get away abroad then we only have a small selection of countries we can visit as per government guidelines. The government has introduced a traffic light system for travel and produced a list of 12 countries we can travel too where travellers will not have to quarantine on their return to the UK. Unfortunately, as the UK allows travel to some countries it is not the same on the other side and currently only Portugal and Iceland are allowing UK nationals to travel without having to quarantine when they get there.

Whilst many of us have been unable to travel and any bookings we made that were later cancelled due to the pandemic, should have been refunded in full. Timeshare owners are not in the same position where they can expect refunds for not being able to visit their timeshares. Coronavirus has left timeshare owners in an unenviable position, trying to figure out the best way to change or cancel their previously planned holidays, whilst still getting value from their annual maintenance fees that they are contractually obligated to pay. It seems outrageous that loyal customers were not compensated, and the same rules do not apply to timeshares and they still must continue to pay despite being able to use their timeshare or not. Not even a global pandemic is enough of an excuse for a timeshare company.

So, what can you do if you find yourself with a timeshare you do not want or can no longer afford? Well, the simple answer is approaching the resort first and see if they have a hardship program. Some resorts do offer this, but you will have to meet certain requirements stipulated by the resort. For example, they may ask you to prove a job loss or financial hardship, however there are no guarantees with timeshare, and they are not lawfully obliged to help you just because your circumstances have changed. Alternatively, you could try to sell your timeshare yourself through a re-sale company. There are a few reputable ones online but beware before engaging the services of anyone and check online for reviews from other timeshare owners. You could also list it on eBay but there are many to compete with and resale timeshares go for a fraction of the purchase price.

Because of the pandemic there has been an influx of scammers targeting timeshare owners that are desperate to get rid of them so if you are looking to engage the services of a third party to help you get out of your timeshare permanently, then do some simple research first. Timeshare scams are incredibly common and rely upon the desperation and good nature of owners, but scams can often end up costing victims thousands of pounds and be financially devastating. Check with you local trading standards to see if the company you are thinking of working with is registered with them for good practices or negative reviews or complaints and finally the Financial Conduct Authority provides a comprehensive list of companies it has vetted and ones that are one a negative practices list or have been found to be acting fraudulently.

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