What is Timeshare?
It is a product which seems to defy any clear definition, all we really have is the original idea, sharing time in a property for the use of vacations on a predefined basis, this being the weeks and apartment allocated on purchase.
When timeshare first developed it was seen as exclusive, the first resorts we believe were situated around popular ski areas, so the timeshare concept was aimed at a wealthy minority. We also have to remember that most foreign holidays were a luxury for the majority at that time, mass tourism still hadn’t taken off as we know it.
Towards the end of the 1970s & the start of the 80s, going “abroad” for a holiday became more affordable and numbers increased, for the Brits the primary destination tended to be Spain. This became the central hub for the mass sale of timeshare opening it up to a wider audience. It was the start of many years of deceptive selling and fraud.
The overriding deception during this period was the link with “property or real estate”, timeshare was being marketed with the inference of being an “investment” in property and will go up in value. It would be the stepping stone to your “dream home” in the sun, your share in a property you could not otherwise afford. This would be taken to even greater heights with the likes of Silverpoint and their “investment” schemes, but that would be in the future.
Yes, it was envisaged that the timeshare would have a value, that value would be the use and then when no longer needed it could be sold back, not for the amount originally paid, but you would get something. There are many independent resorts which have employed this and even Hapimag has a buy-back scheme for their timeshare owners.
Whether they have these schemes or not, it is still timeshare and is sold as timeshare, it is not “officially” sold as an investment. The timeshare industry is not regulated for “investments”, it is not regulated as “real estate”, it is a holiday usage product, nothing more and nothing less.
So, when is Timeshare, not Timeshare?
Considering the product, we are about to reveal was formed 40 years ago in 1983, it is surprising that we have only just come across it, The Holiday Property Bond.
It looks like timeshare, it works like timeshare, and it has the benefits of timeshare, but it is not sold as timeshare, it is sold as an investment in a holiday property, fully regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority for the sale of investment products.
Let’s begin with their own words from the About HPB section of their website:
“HPB is a unique British idea, the brainchild of a small group of investors which rapidly became a proven success. As the number of investors (Bondholders) has grown, so has the number of holiday properties we have been able to buy or build. In fact we are proud to say that our growth and success have been driven by our Bondholders, who now have access to over 1400 holiday properties.”
The page then goes on to chart their progress over the years with the acquisition of their first property in 1983, the RAF Disabled Trust becoming investors in 1984, Bond Holders voting in 1990 for a third French location and much more. Their timeline is well laid out for all to see.
One thing which did stand out when entering the website was the prominent banner below the menu line:
“HPB provides holidays for life. As it is an investment product, however, it is subject to charges, your capital is at risk and you may not be able to cash in during the first two years. Please read “How HPB works” for a summary of the principal risks and benefits.”
It cannot be any clearer, it is sold as an investment, and it discloses that it is “subject” to charges and that your “capital” is at risk. It also clearly states that you may not be able to “cash in” your investment in the first two years, this is a clause we see with other investments.
Your Investment, begins with the heading, What’s so special about HPB? It then goes on to answer 10 of the most common questions:
- Why should I think about becoming a Holiday Property Bondholder?
- How often can I go on holiday?
- Can family, friends and pets join me on holiday?
- What facilities and standards can I look forward to?
- How does HPB deliver good value holidays?
- How long will my family and I be able to holiday with HPB?
- How are my holidays protected against inflation?
- Who are HPB and how long have you been going?
- That’s all fine, but can I afford it?
- What is your Money Back Promise?
All the answers are short but very clear, it gives a very good introduction to the “benefits” the investment product has to offer.
This brings us to the heading Our Holidays, which contains 8 sub-menus,
From this list, you will find out all you need to know, with destinations having a menu of its own, it looks like the most popular locations in Europe are there.
From the answers to the questions and the short descriptions of the product, it certainly looks like a timeshare model, but one with a profound difference.
What is the difference?
Firstly, it is regulated, secondly, it is clear that it is primarily an investment product, the heading How HPB Works gives you the basic information of what you are purchasing, and more importantly, the costs involved. That is a big difference from how timeshare is sold.
When this came to our attention a few weeks ago, we have to admit there was a certain amount of scepticism, not surprising considering what we write about, but there was something which aroused our curiosity.
Was this the model that was originally intended for timeshare, and if so, how did it all go so horribly wrong?
This is a question we have asked so many times before and will probably continue to ask.
Please note, this article is not ENDORSING this product, it is being published as a comparison of how timeshare has developed for the worst and what it could have been.
We have also carried out extensive research into verifying the company and its registrations, and we have also found no adverse references or comments about this product. This has got to be a first.
We hope you all had a great weekend, Baby Dog has gone into sulk mode by the door, he has been out all morning with “Daddy”, and “Titi” won’t take him out yet.