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Australia’s timeshare industry accused of involving people in long-term contracts | Tourism (Australia)

Consumer group Choice has accused the timeshare holiday industry of predatory sales tactics and has involved people in unfair long-term contracts with a wide range of complaints filed with corporate regulators.

In a complaint sent to the Australian Securities and Investment Commission last Thursday, Choice said, “Respondents report fear, shame, embarrassment, defeat and guilt about timeshare products. “.

“At all stages of a timeshare journey, consumers report unfair or oppressive practices that they believe Choice violates the law or far falls short of community standards and expectations. I will. “

At a timeshare seminar, Asic prosecuted a timeshare operator who violated the law and violated the anti-hawking law with the aim of preventing misleading fraud by sales reps and unilateral sales of financial products. We asked the industry to investigate the allegations.

Choice also wants a parliamentary investigation into the industry to consider issues such as “what legislative and regulatory changes are needed to protect people from harmful timeshare schemes and improve industry practices?” I’m out.

The Asic crackdown puts regulators, already under strong political pressure from the Morrison government on issues, including responsible lending law, on a clash course with Queensland Senator and Attorney General Amanda Stoker. Let’s go.

Stalker has already entered the industry at a parliamentary hearing, including a proposal to extend the cooling-off period from 7 days to 14 days after agreeing to acquire a timeshare scheme until the deal becomes binding. He complains about the actions he took.

At a hearing in October, she questioned whether Asic’s move “represents a proportional response or something like revenge on the industry.”

Choice Campaign Advisor Patrick Veyret said this is the fifth complaint a consumer group has made to regulators about the timeshare industry since 2016: “Asic’s limitation while people are suffering from timeshare products. I am disappointed and dissatisfied with the enforcement measures. “

“Asic has the power to act against unfair and predatory practices in the industry. They need to use it,” Baylet said.

According to both Choice and Asic surveys, many are concerned that as people grow older and less access to holiday accommodation, they may be stuck in timeshare contracts that last up to 99 years.

Choice said 70% of respondents to the survey believe that the burden of continuing to pay timeshare fees will be passed on to their children after they die.

But Jeannie Paterson, a law professor at the University of Melbourne, one of Australia’s leading consumer law experts, said this was not true.

“Children do not take over their parents’ debt automatically or directly,” she said in the complaint appendix.

A title-based scheme in which members pay for access to a particular villa is no longer offered in Australia, but Choice said he heard that he could not escape from members of the existing scheme.

The new scheme is based on members buying points and redeeming them on holidays.

However, according to Choice, these can also be very costly, with some contracts lasting more than 60 years and costing hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Classic Holidays also tried to charge customers “exorbitant amounts” to switch from a title-based scheme to a point-based scheme, Choice said.

Classic Holidays said the obligation to pay for title-based schemes continued after the death of the members.

“For holders of timeshare products that are likely to continue after the death of a member, the ongoing financial obligations associated with that timeshare are a real and potentially significant concern for those holders. It’s a problem that holders are generally aware of, “said in response to the Choice the organization provided to Guardian Australia.

“As long as Choice hints that Classic Clubs will use situations such as’fear’tactics when communicating with legacy scheme members who contact us regarding exit options, we strongly refute such hints. I will. “

He said he was unaware of the requirement to provide relief to members of the title-based scheme because of difficulties.

The Australian Timeshare and Holiday Ownership Council, an industry group, found that 65% of timeshare owners were happy or very happy with their purchases, according to a survey.

“However, some early legacy scheme members are subject to state-based ownership laws that allow older owners of those schemes to terminate ownership without transferring ownership to another party. Or there was a problem with the disposal of profits because they did not allow them to leave, “said the spokeswoman.

“ATHOC recognizes that many of today’s consumer complaints are related to the inability of some members to get out of the legacy scheme. ATHOC provides relief or solutions for these members. In recent years, we have been in regular discussions with regulators to explore. “

We asked Asic for comment.

Australia’s timeshare industry accused of involving people in long-term contracts | Tourism (Australia)

Source link Australia’s timeshare industry accused of involving people in long-term contracts | Tourism (Australia)

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