NCC told of tricky time­share tac­tics

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - GOITSEMANG TLHABYE goitsemang.tlhabye@inl.co.za

HOL­I­DAY clubs al­legedly tricked hol­i­day­mak­ers into life­time con­tracts in the time­share in­dus­try by mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion and un­fair de­lay­ing tac­tics to avoid al­low­ing them to ben­e­fit from the seven-day cool­ing-off pe­riod.

This was among the prob­lems pre­sented to the Na­tional Con­sumer Com­mis­sion (NCC) of South Africa dur­ing the Gaut­eng leg of the public hear­ings as it is in­ves­ti­gat­ing com­plaints of poor treat­ment re­ceived from club mem­bers who en­tered into hol­i­day own­er­ship deals in the “time­share” in­dus­try.

Con­sumers have told the NCC panel, seated at the Sierra Burg­ers Park Ho­tel in Pre­to­ria, that hol­i­day clubs have pre­vented them from ex­er­cis­ing the le­gal right to can­cel their time­share con­tracts within the grace pe­riod by stalling pro­ce­dures.

They said the clubs would de­lib­er­ately ig­nore tele­phone calls and e-mails af­ter sign­ing the con­tracts.

Trevor Hat­tingh, NCC spokesper­son, said: “Peo­ple have said the hol­i­day clubs only pro­vide them with a copy of a con­tract which they signed af­ter the seven-day cool­ing-off pe­riod ex­pired.

“They then re­alise af­ter care­fully read­ing their con­tracts that they are ef­fec­tively locked in life-time con­tracts with detri­men­tal terms and con­di­tions, for­ever,” he said.

The spokesper­son said the clubs were also ac­cused of us­ing false and mis­lead­ing mar­ket­ing tac­tics, which promised cus­tomers one thing, only for them to re­ceive some­thing to­tally dif­fer­ent.

The hol­i­day clubs re­port­edly re­fused to can­cel con­tracts and charged ex­or­bi­tant levies for the up­keep and main­te­nance of fa­cil­i­ties owned by them.

Hat­tingh said the charg­ing of levies by the clubs had con­tin­ued de­spite a di­rec­tive from Sars in 2014 stat­ing that levies could not be charged to peo­ple who did not have a ti­tle deed or own­er­ship of the prop­erty.

Other com­plaints which com­plainants said had fallen on deaf ears were of the over­selling of limited ac­com­mo­da­tion. The over­book­ing re­sulted in the com­mon com­plaint of un­avail­abil­ity of ac­com­mo­da­tion when con­sumers at­tempted to make book­ings.

“In ef­fect, con­sumers are charged for the up­keep and main­te­nance of fa­cil­i­ties which they never get ac­cess to be­cause they are al­ways fully booked.”

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