A timeshare bill that was making its way through the U.S government for approval, gets the go ahead. However, after intense lobbying from the timeshare industry it has had some of the key features, designed to protect future timeshare owners striped from it.
The original version of the bill was put together in an attempt to provide timeshare owners with greater protections when signing up to contractual agreements, that potentially last a lifetime. In making their decision, house committee members, listened to the evidence of timeshare owners who had experienced financial hardship due to their ongoing membership’s and contractual obligations. Gloria Johnson, told how she had purchased her timeshare in 1980 and said the option of having a week at a resort, and being stuck paying annual maintenance fees, makes no sense. “My children don’t want them, my children can’t afford to pay the maintenance fees. There is no way out of this. You own this for life and you own it beyond your life.”
The Attorney General’s Office blamed the lawmakers’ decision to strip back key consumer protections from the bill on heavy pressure from the timeshare industry. Lawmakers have also removed the consumer protection language requiring buyers to have a copy of the contract 24 hours before they’re required to sign it. One provision, however, is still intact, timeshare companies will not be allowed to force buyers into lifetime contracts in the future.
At the heart of the issue is the practice of some timeshare companies of offering free or reduced-price vacations to prospective buyers if they’re willing to listen to a sales presentation. That has led to complaints about high-pressure sales tactics. Under existing law, buyers have just seven days after signing a contract to back out. The new bill will extend this to ten days.
They have also removed another provision for cancellation after 10 years, even with a requirement for the timeshare to have been paid off and there are no overdue maintenance fees or penalties. Lawmakers also agreed that contractual obligations extend through the duration of ownership and not every timeshare should last a lifetime. The new amended bill has yet to be fully agreed by lawmakers, and some provisions may still be included as it makes its way through the approval process.
People who enter into Timeshare agreements often find it difficult to keep up with the mounting maintenance fees and simply cannot afford it any longer. They may also find that the Timeshare no longer suits their needs and simply want to end the contract. There are too many individuals who are willing to take advantage of Timeshare owners and offer fake products, along with Timeshare exit schemes. Before agreeing to any Timeshare termination or exit procedure with an individual or company, seek independent advice and fully research any company you are thinking of working with.
It is also important to remember that purchasing a Timeshare should NEVER be viewed as a financial investment. Timeshare is an investment in lifestyle, in future holidays and family time together. There is almost no resale value to a Timeshare.
The mis-selling of holiday products is, unfortunately, common practice within the holiday industry and these type of crimes often go unreported by the most vulnerable in our society and criminal convictions are few and far between.
If you have purchased a Lifestyle / Concierge Service, a Timeshare or a ‘Holiday Points’ based product from a resort or company and feel unhappy with the service, or feel you have been mis-sold this product, please get in touch with us to discuss how we may be able to help you with a possible Money Back Claim.