Con­sumer Com­mis­sion re­leases time­share in­quiry re­port

The Star Early Edition - - BR - GE­ORGINA CROUTH

IT HAS been more than a year-anda-half since the Na­tional Con­sumer Com­mis­sion (NCC) first launched its in­quiry into the va­ca­tion own­er­ship or time­share in­dus­try, after a lengthy strug­gle to re­solve con­sumer dis­putes with this in­dus­try. The NCC had re­sorted to the in­quiry after ex­plor­ing other op­tions, as pro­vided by the Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion Act (CPA), but failed.

The NCC Com­mis­sioner, Ebrahim Mo­hamed, said yes­ter­day: “The NCC was faced with the task of find­ing the best pos­si­ble way of ad­dress­ing the plethora of multi-ju­ris­dic­tional is­sues raised by con­sumers over the years. This sit­u­a­tion was ex­ac­er­bated by the very na­ture of the time­share prod­uct of­fer­ing, with all its le­gal and struc­tural com­plex­i­ties.”

Mo­hamed stressed the re­port should be viewed as an in­quiry “meant to un­ravel and un­der­stand the com­plex­i­ties of the in­dus­try, as­sess the ex­tent of con­sumer chal­lenges and, after as­sess­ing all the facts and bal­anc­ing them with re­search, make rec­om­men­da­tions to im­prove con­sumer pro­tec­tion in the time­share in­dus­try”.

The com­mis­sion em­barked on an ex­ten­sive pub­lic and in­dus­try con­sul­ta­tion process ac­com­pa­nied by writ­ten sub­mis­sions. In­ter­est groups, in­clud­ing con­sumers, in­dus­try par­tic­i­pants and reg­u­la­tors, were in­vited to make their sub­mis­sions orally and in writ­ing.

Mo­hamed said the big­gest is­sues for con­sumers re­lated to the points sys­tem within the time­share in­dus­try, not with con­ven­tional time­share.

The re­port made rec­om­men­da­tions to the Min­is­ter of Trade and In­dus­try and called for leg­isla­tive changes.

The re­port es­sen­tially puts the onus on the NCC to en­force the CPA, en­gage with other role-play­ers and make rec­om­men­da­tions to the min­is­ter.

The NCC wants all time­share con­tracts to be de­fined as fixed-term con­tracts, run­ning for a fixed, shorter pe­riod, sub­ject to re­newal – by mu­tual agree­ment be­tween the club or de­vel­oper and the mem­ber.

It wants the rights af­forded by Sec­tion 14 of the CPA, which re­lates to the ex­piry and re­newal of fixed-term agree­ments, to ap­ply au­to­mat­i­cally if a con­sumer wishes to can­cel.

The com­mis­sion called for a re­vi­sion of the Prop­erty Time Shar­ing Con­trol Act, which in­cludes a sim­pli­fied dis­clo­sure regime.

NCC Com­mis­sioner Ebrahim Mo­hamed said the NCC had to ad­dress the many multi-ju­ris­dic­tional is­sues raised by con­sumers. | Sup­plied

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