Public hearings are being held in Pretoria, Cape Town, and Durban to address issues relating to problematic timeshares in South Africa.
Consumers who feel displeased with their timeshares have the opportunity to share their stories to the ends of developing legislation to regulate the timeshare industry.
The principal complaint is that holiday clubs are refusing to cancel consumers’ timeshare contracts, making them what, in Europe, is known as ‘in perpetuity’. The Spanish Supreme Court recently ruled this kind of contract illegal. And, in fact, lifetime contracts have never been legal in South Africa, being classed as “prohibited conduct” under the Consumer Protection Act. People can legally cancel with 20 business days’ notice.
Other South African timeshare problems relate to the old story of people being unable to book their timeshare holidays as a result of oversold accommodation. Despite not being able to take their holidays, they are still expected to pay maintenance charges. There’s actually a 2014 SARS directive that forbids levies being charged to persons who do not have a title deed or ownership of a property.
Many of these people who hold holiday points in impossible-to-use systems were actually convinced to transfer their timeshares into these holiday points, putting them in a worse position than they were in before.
Along with giving timeshare holders a platform to voice their frustrations with their timeshare in South Africa, the National Consumer Commission is also encouraging insiders working within the timeshare industry to step forward and act as informants. They assure that any information provided will be in strict confidence, in the hope that fair and correct regulations can be put in place through evidence-based action.
Many cases of illegal or immoral timeshare activity have been widely documented in South Africa, which is starting to get very dissatisfied with the timeshare product (and associated products) altogether. One recent example was the news of timeshare owners losing their right to occupation in a resort in Mpumalanga as a result of ridiculous behaviour on the part of the shareblock company responsible for their units.
If you have a timeshare in South Africa and are concerned about your contract or rights in any way, then please do drop us a line. We are always happy to help talk you through the law and your options without any obligation.