The world of timeshare is full of very specific terms that might be confusing to anyone not within the industry. In our constant quest to keep things clear and simple, we’ve put together this, rather exhaustive, two part blog on the A to Z of timeshare jargon you might come across. Let us know if you think we’ve missed anything that we should add in!
Abogado: Spanish word meaning ‘lawyer’
Accrued Time: A term used by timeshare exchange companies to mean weeks that have been accumulated from previous years that can be used in the current year.
Affiliated: Affiliate resorts are those with whom your exchange company has an agreement so that you may stay with those resorts as part of your exchange contract.
Amber week: An Amber Week is the name given to weeks at a certain time of the year. There are different ‘week’ names across the year to denote the value or profitability depending on the popularity of those weeks. For more info, see Season.
Appartado (de Correos): Spanish phrase meaning ‘P O Box’
Banking: Exchange companies have what they call a ‘bank’, into which a week of timeshare can be deposited. It can also be known as ‘Space Banking’. You may also hear the term ‘Block Banking’ or ‘Bulk Banking’ which means that the resort management (usually) deposit a large number of weeks into the exchange company ‘bank’ at the earliest possible time. The aim of this is to give members the maximum bargaining power for their timeshare exchange.
Biennial: Biennial means ‘every other year’ and, in timeshare, refers to the use of a fixed week on alternate years. Members of this type might be classified as ‘Odd’ or ‘Even’ year members.
Blue week: Like ‘Amber Weeks’ (see above), a Blue Week is the name given to weeks at certain times of year. For more info, see Season.
Bonus time or Bonus week: These are terms meaning an additional week of use which can sometimes be given to a member as a goodwill gesture or as a ‘thank you’ for signing up. It is sometimes also offered in cases where additional weeks are temporarily available. Sometimes a small charge is payable.
‘Buy/Sell’: This is a form of (usually) fraudulent timeshare scam in which a buyer is promised that their existing timeshare will be sold against the cost of a new purchase.
Club/Trust System: Members belong to a club and the accommodation unit and any associated facilities at the resort are held by Trustees. These Trustees licence a ‘Right to Use’ for members.
Class Action: In a class action lawsuit, a group of individuals band together to make a claim. However, this is only applicable in the United States and not allowed in European Courts.
Code of Conduct: The Code of Conduct is a set of regulations drawn up by a Consumer Body that affect the standards of trading that must be adhered to by both the seller and the consumer. These Codes of Conduct exist to protect consumers, as well as sellers, from wrongdoing and thus improve consumer confidence in the product or service they are purchasing.
Cold Line: This is a colloquial term often used within the timeshare industry to refer to the sales team who make sales to consumers from outside the resort. These ‘cold lines’ are less used these days, but can refer to those scammers on the street that approach you with scratch cards or the offer of free gifts while you’re out and about.
Constitution: The Constitution is, effectively, the rules by which the timeshare resort is run. It is the set of legal documents which establish the relationship between the different parties in the timeshare resort, and includes the owner, developer, trustee, and management company.
Cooling Off Period: This is a legally required period in which the consumer has time to consider their purchase and to change their mind if they wish. No payment can be taken during this time, and if the consumer wishes to cancel within the cooling-off period, there will be no obligation to pay any sums at all. This period is usually 14 days.
Deeded: The Deeded system refers to the outright ownership of a timeshare week, secured by ‘Deed of Title’ and often registered at the central Land Registry. However, deeded timeshares are not legal in the UK (therefore the Club/Trust system prevails here). In Spain, the Escritura system is a Deeded system.
Destination Club: Similar to a holiday club, a destination club promises access to timeshare accommodation. However, there is no certainty over rights of access to that accommodation.
Developer: The developer is the company that owns the freehold to the timeshare resort. It is they who construct the accommodation and facilities. They earn their profits from the initial sale of the units to timeshare members.
Developer’s Price: This is a sum estimated by resale companies to illustrate the savings to be made by buying with them. It refers to the full timeshare unit retail price of the developer.
End-user Finance: This is a loan granted to a consumer in order to purchase a timeshare. This is an unsecured loan arranged by the selling agent and usually in collaboration with an outside finance company.
Escritura: This is a Spanish term referring to the Deeding and Registration of a ‘Deed of Title’ (see Deeding above).
Escrow account: This is an account wherein money and assets, such as the Ownership Certificate, are held by a third party until the terms of a purchase agreement are satisfied. The third party is usually an accountant or solicitor. Once all is in agreement, both parties then agree to release the money to the seller and issue the Seller’s Certificate to the buyer.
Exchange Company: The Exchange Company arranges for you to exchange your timeshare with a unit in an Affiliated resort. There is an Exchange fee for this and usually also a Membership fee.
Exit Program: Sometimes offered by timeshare companies, an Exit Program exists to allow timeshare members to buy their way out of their contract. This is usually an expensive option, but one of the few that is readily available.
Factoring Fee (‘Factorial’): This is a term used in Scotland and refers to the profit markup of the Management Company and included in the Management Agreement.
Fixed Time: A fixed time (or fixed week) contract means that your membership is for a specific week in a specific unit at the timeshare resorts. It is the same every year.
Floating Time: Floating weeks are now coming under legal scrutiny and are actually already illegal in some countries. These contracts allow the member an unspecified week in an unspecified unit and often in an unspecified resort. The member needs to book way in advance to secure the exact dates desired, which they do in competition with all the other members. If they cannot or do not book their chosen week, they must wait for a week to be allocated to them each year.
Fly-Buy: These are holiday packages in which the resort pays some or all of the cost of a holiday on the promise that the holidaymaker will attend a sales presentation and/or tour of the resort. Though this can be a place where you come under some pressure and may have to endure a long and arduous presentation, if you can resist the lure then it’s a good deal. Of course, you are under absolutely no obligation to buy anything whatsoever, and if you do find yourself persuaded to sign up, there is always the 14-day cooling-off period in which you can cancel.
Fractional Ownership: A small group of members, usually around a dozen, decide amongst themselves how the timeshare weeks are shared between them. It is halfway between a timeshare and full ownership of the unit.
Group Ownership: Just another term for ‘timeshare’
Guest Certificate: A guest certificate is issued by the Exchange Company and authorises a nominated guest (your friend or family member) to use the timeshare exchange instead of you.
Hacienda: This is the name of the Spanish Tax Office.
Holiday Club: A Holiday Club promises you a week or weeks’ holiday in what is usually timeshare accommodation.
Internal Personal Contacts: These are sales staff whose job is to sell additional timeshare products or units to existing members.
IVA: This is the abbreviation for the Spanish version of VAT.