Timeshare mediation is an effective way of resolving timeshare consumer disputes without the need to go to court. It involves an independent third party – a mediator – who helps both sides come to an agreement.
Mediation is a flexible process that can be used to settle disputes in a whole range of situations such as:
- Timeshare consumer disputes
- Timeshare contract disputes
The role of the mediator is to help parties reach a solution to their problem and to arrive at an outcome that both parties are happy to accept. Mediators avoid taking sides, making judgements or giving guidance. They are simply responsible for developing effective communications and building consensus between the parties. The focus of a mediation meeting is to reach a common sense settlement agreeable to both parties in a case.
Mediation is a voluntary process and will only take place if both parties agree. It is a confidential process where the terms of discussion are not disclosed to any party outside the mediation hearing.
If parties are unable to reach agreement, they can still go to court. Details about what went on at the mediation will not be disclosed or used at a court hearing.
Both parties share the cost of timeshare mediation, which will depend on the value and complexity of the claim.
Mediation can be quicker, less stressful and cheaper than going to court.
Once a settlement has been reached a mediation agreement can be drawn up. Parties tend to keep to the mediation agreement because they have prepared the terms themselves.
Mediations are completely confidential and the information discussed within them cannot be used in court or in any other legal action issued at a later date.
What if a party refuses to consider timeshare mediation?
In a recent UK Court of Appeal judgement that judgement demonstrates a clear endorsement of mediation between disputing parties. It makes it abundantly clear to a party who refuses to acknowledge or engage in an invitation to participate in mediation can face significant cost penalties.
In PGF II SA v OMFS Company 1 Limited , the court found that the Defendant had “unreasonably refused to mediate” and was consequently deprived of costs to which it would otherwise have been entitled. The Defendant had received two “serious and carefully formulated” invitations to mediate and failed to respond to them both. This silence amounted to a refusal to mediate, and the court found that the refusal was unreasonable.
This judgment endorses the advice given in the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Handbook.
The silence of one party to an invitation to participate in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is, as a general rule, unreasonable, regardless whether the party as actually refused. If however a party refuses to engage in the type of ADR requested, or to do so at the time requested, that might have been justified by the identification of reasonable grounds.
While it has long been established that an unreasonable refusal to mediate can be penalised in costs, PGF II SA v OMFS is the first judgment to confirm that a party’s silence, when invited to mediate, can equally be considered as unreasonable and have consequent costs sanctions. It has been some firms/companies who operate in the timeshare industry to ignore consumers and play games in silence.
Last modified: August 24, 2015