Consumer representative body Choice has sent a ‘super complaint’ to ASIC targeting dodgy practices by timeshare operators, who the group allege trap people for decades in poor quality products and is involved in multiple breaches of the law.

“The timeshare industry is causing deep harm to people through high-pressure sales tactics,
poor financial advice and terrible value products that trap people for multiple decades,” says
CHOICE’s Patrick Veyret.

“Many people are stuck in unfair and expensive contracts running for decades and being told by
the timeshare provider that they need to pass this burden on to their children.”

ASIC released an updated regulatory guide on timeshare arrangements in December 2020 after admitting it had been “long concerned” about the industry in its December 2019 report, Timeshare; Consumers’ experience.

Providers were given up to September this year to implement a range of regulatory amendments, including longer cooling-off periods, a new ‘subject to finance’ obligation, hardship withdrawal arrangements as well as tougher compliance and disclosure standards.

This isn’t enough to curb the predatory practices of timeshare operators according to CHOICE, who has sent four complaints to ASIC about possibly illegal activity by timeshare operators since 2016.

“ASIC has the power to act against unfair and predatory practices in the industry, they need to
use it,” Veyret says.

In a study of 350 timeshare owners conducted by the consumer group, 30 per cent said they wanted to exit their timeshare but couldn’t, while 70 per cent said they expected their timeshare “schemes, ongoing cost and debt” would be passed onto their children.

“Many people are stuck in unfair and expensive contracts running for decades and being told by
the timeshare provider that they need to pass this burden on to their children,” Veyret adds.

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