There is no true consumer voice at the legislative level. While we understand that there are millions who use and enjoy their timeshare with no complaint, there are many who feel the industry needs fairer practices and greater disclosure.
The evolution from an estimated 1,590 Legacy, or single-site timeshare developments, morphed into a points-based timeshare system. This paved the way for ambiguity and confusion as to what a buyer actually purchases.
Timeshare and Resort Developer Accountability, Inc. (TARDA), seeks a legislative position through lobbying efforts spearheaded by current and former timeshare members. It is our belief there needs to be improvement on both ends of the timeshare sale – the purchase and exit.
The Deficiency of State Regulation
Timeshare is regulated at the state level. The National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) offered this warning about the lack of adequate protection for the timeshare consumer:
Unfortunately, the current landscape of the timeshare industry has exposed significant inadequacies in protection for those seeking to purchase, lease, or exit their timeshare contracts.
In Arizona, the Attorney General’s Office supported a 2019 bill with a number of protections for timeshare purchasers. The original bill (HB2639) unanimously passed the Arizona House,18 but timeshare lobbyists were able to weaken the bill drastically in an Arizona Senate committee.19
The Need for Greater Disclosure
There is an over-reliance on the oral representation clause buried in the fine print of a voluminous contract. The timeshare consumer should be warned at or before attending a presentation that they should not rely on verbal statements made by timeshare sales agents.
Most solicitations require that it be disclosed if what the consumer attends is a solicitation. Existing member are often told they will be attending an educational meeting. There is no timeshare meeting that does not include the opportunity for a sales agent to sell more points.
In 2017, developers starting recording the closing session. The purchaser is not allowed to record the sales session. In the event of a dispute, the recording is used against the buyer. The buyer can only listen to the recording by subpoena. A common complaint is that the agent instructed the buyer what to say or not say on the recording. Hence, the complaint is dismissed because the buyer didn’t say anything on the recording. Thus, the recording serves as an entrapment.
The resort may not allow the sales session to be recorded, but the buyer can still do so in one party states where it is legal to record without the other person aware.
How We Became Involved
In 2016 a group of timeshare members questioned the fairness of the perpetual timeshare contract, given the lack of a viable secondary market. Original timeshare buyers, faced with age-related or lifestyle changes, can find themselves held timeshare hostage with no way to responsibly exit their timeshare. Some resorts offer a responsible exit, others do not.
Those who choose to finance their purchase through their developer, do so at an interest rate ranging from 12% to 19%. If life takes an adverse turn, the member quickly learns that they may have no choice but to default if their dispute cannot be resolved. There is little chance of selling a timeshare with a loan outstanding.
TARDA volunteers across the country encourage timeshare owners and members to work directly with their resort to resolve a dispute. If their complaint is dismissed, the member can file regulatory complaints with the appropriate state and federal. If there is one thing we have learned, it is that members need support and guidance navigating the filing process. Volunteers stand by to answer questions about the regulatory filing process.
How Do I Become Involved?
Contact us through our “Contact Us” tab to share your experience or let us know if you would be willing to volunteer or become a TARDA Supporter by simply clicking the Donate button to make a minimum donation of $10 or more. We’ll enroll you as a Supporter. All proceeds go towards legislative efforts, because we have learned only in the legislative arena can change happen.
We thank all who have contributed their time or treasure. We also thank timeshare company representatives who have made efforts to address issues and resolve disputes. Together we can make the timeshare world a better and lasting experience for all.
Donations are not deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes, however, your generous donation will help fund our mission.