CHOICE response to the Federal Court's finding against timeshare provider Ultiqa for multiple breaches of financial services laws
Quotes attributable to CHOICE Chief Executive Officer Alan Kirkland:
"CHOICE welcomes the Federal Court's decision against Ultiqa for multiple breaches of financial services laws, including breaching the best interests duty. Today's decision shows Ultiqa's harmful sales practices were based on pressuring people into buying complex, expensive and lengthy financial products."
This action followed a CHOICE complaint to ASIC about Ultiqa in 2017, which included evidence of a couple pressured into purchasing a timeshare contract with finance that could last until 2081, despite telling the operator they were 'financially stretched'."
"Timeshare salespeople are subject to financial advice laws. This means that advisers selling timeshare need to give advice that's in the best interest of their customers. It's pretty hard to reconcile that legal duty with the high-pressure sales practices described in the Federal Court's decision."
"These sorts of practices are rife across the timeshare industry, so this decision sends a huge warning to other timeshare salespeople and operators."
"The timeshare industry is now on notice. Its sales practices and contract terms need to change - otherwise operators should expect more court action."
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In May 2021, CHOICE sent a super-complaint to ASIC, alleging at least eight industry-wide breaches of financial services laws. This super-complaint was based on a survey of over 350 members on their experience with timeshare contracts.
Since 2016, CHOICE has written five complaints to ASIC about potentially illegal conduct within the timeshare industry.
In 2017, CHOICE wrote a complaint to ASIC about the quality of financial advice with the sale of Ultiqa timeshare products.