“Be wary if you receive an unsolicited phone call from resale company offering to terminate or sell your timeshare on your behalf in exchange for upfront fees” – this is the message from the Vacation Ownership Association of Southern Africa (VOASA).
“Even if they appear to have all your information, you can rest assured that no VOASA registered resort, holiday club or management company will hand over their database to any outside company. Complaints have been received that these ‘fringe operators’ take consumer’s money with the promise to sell their timeshare, but the sale rarely happens,” explains Alex Bosch, VOASA’s Chief Operating Officer.
The Australian Timeshare and Holiday Ownership Council (ATHOC) concurs that they have received the same complaints from their owners about these companies, indicating that this is a global operation targeting timeshare owners all over the world.
VOASA is a self-regulatory trade association that acts as the watchdog of the shared vacation ownership industry to protect consumers and timeshare owners from questionable companies operating on the fringe of the industry. The Association is also a member of the Global Alliance for Timeshare Excellence (GATE) and benefits from information sharing with leaders of timeshare associations in the USA, Canada, Australia, Latin America, Europe and the Middle East.
Bosch said that these timeshare resale companies usually operate under the guise of being a legitimate timeshare company or travel club. As a result, the industry’s standing has been tarnished and VOASA members who operate legitimate businesses are impacted negatively. He further stated that VOASA’s Code of Conduct makes the regulatory requirements for its industry players much more stringent than for those operating on the side-lines.
VOASA has offered consumers the following advice if faced with this situation: –
- If a timeshare re-seller is boastful about their sales, ask how much of it is from rentals versus actual timeshare sales as they usually combine their sales and rentals.
- If they are promising you results, see how likely they are to deliver by researching the other units available in your resort or at the destination. Be sure to compare a product that is comparable to yours – same resort, unit size, time of year and exchange parameters. These factors combined with the age of the product are some aspects that may determine price.
- No matter what reasons they give you, do not part with your money without doing a thorough background check to make sure they are reputable and licensed, or better yet VOASA registered
- Alternatively, instead of selling or cancelling – why not consider renting your timeshare to recoup costs? For more information on the rental options available to you, contact your Homeowners Association at your timeshare resort or your Holiday Club.
- Above all, always make sure that you deal with a registered member of VOASA. If you are unsure if the company you are dealing with is a member of VOASA, you can check the member database at www.voasa.co.za or email the VOASA office at firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
About VOASA (Vacation Ownership Association of Southern Africa)
Previously known as the Timeshare Institute of Southern Africa, VOASA was established in 1990 and operates as a Trade Association for the shared vacation ownership industry of South Africa. Members of the Association subscribe to a Code of Conduct, which is mandatory for membership but was voluntarily put forward by the Association.
The Association seeks to create and maintain an environment through which the long-term viability and growth of shared vacation ownership and the protection of the rights of consumers and the industry can be optimally ensured.
Find out more at www.voasa.co.za