Reader’s Letter: Timeshare woes

POSTED: 01/8/14 5:06 AM

My partner and I purchased a timeshare at Divi Little Bay Beach Resort, Philipsburg, Sint Maarten, on December, 23rd. However, we had doubts and looked into the contract and sought advice during the following days. Finally, we decided to exercise our legal right to cancel the contract on December, 27th. We thus sent an e-mail, as well as registered letters to the Divi Little Bay Beach Resort and their reservations agent in the USA and asked for a confirmation of our legal rescission in writing. We also requested a full refund of our deposit and forbade any additional charges to our credit card.

However, to date, we still didn’t receive any confirmation letter of our legal rescission and refund.

I read that the 2005 national ordinance provides for consumer protection patterned after Dutch law, and by extension the rules and regulations established by the European Timeshare directive. This ordinance is meant to provide for consumer protection against unfair and deceptive practices, recruitment of potential buyers, misleading information, undue pressure and harassment. However, this is exactly what happened to us: we supposedly won a price in the street and were asked to go to a fancy resort to get our price. Once there, we had to listen to a commercial speech on timeshare products before we could get our price. The offer seemed interesting. However, we were not allowed to take some time to think about it and come back later. We had to make a decision on the spot.

We also had to sign a written contract in English though we requested to fill the French version and only got a copy of the contract, not a second original. Finally we had to pay US$1,150 in advance (10% of the purchase price plus US$250 for administrative costs). We asked about the rescission period. The manager told us about the 5-day rescission period. However, he didn’t mention that we would have to pay 3% of the purchase price in case of rescission.

The means used by the sellers being in total conflict with the 2005 national ordinance, do you know if we have any legal recourse against these people? Can we denounce them and get our contract cancelled?

Moreover, from what I understood, Sint Maarten is part of the Kingdom of Netherlands and the Kingdom of Netherlands approved the 2008 European Timeshare directive. This directive states that:

– any invitation to a sales presentation must disclose the true nature of the invitation and its commercial purpose,

– written contracts must be in an EU language of the consumer’s choice,

– Purchasers must be given a 14-day cooling-off period, with no cancellation costs incurred,

– Any payment by the consumer is prohibited during the cooling-off period

Do you know if this directive applies to Sint Maarten or if it has been taken into account in the national law?

Editor’s note:

We received this letter from a French couple that purchased timeshare at Divi Little Bay. We protect the name of the couple at this junction and are looking for legal advice on the issues brought up in the letter

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Comments (1)

 

  1. mrs Smith says:

    This is a true story same thing happened to my spouse and I .The fees are extremely high just to upkeep once a year ,this was not properly explained to us we too feel deceived by the time share people. We tried to get them buy it back since we have not even use it yet and they wanted to buy it for $4000 us dollars lol We paid over $12,000 us dollars into this time share and Still owe the bank .This was the worse decision we made it was under intense pressure no time to think it true and lots of deception. We Regret it.Want to sell it back to Divi Resorts .Beware it’s not worth it.