CHOICE's super-complaint to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) about the timeshare industry alleges at least eight industry-wide breaches of financial services laws.
We surveyed over 350 members on their experience with timeshares, and at every stage of the timeshare journey, consumers reported unfair or oppressive practices that are either in breach of the law or fall well below community standards and expectations.
The survey found:
- almost 30% of respondents report they'd like to exit their timeshare schemes but can't, and another 12.5% say they're thinking about exiting
- 18% of respondents report being subjected to high-pressure sales tactics or being misled by salespeople about their timeshare membership
- 8% of respondents said they were not provided with any documents stating they cannot exit their membership
- timeshare providers are forcing people to pay exorbitant fees to exit title-based schemes. One survey respondent reported they would be allowed to leave a legacy scheme only if they paid $29,000 in fees to switch to a new fixed points timeshare product
- 70% of people say they expect schemes and ongoing costs or debts to pass onto their children, who will be burdened with annual fees. A further 15% said they were unsure if that was the case. The legal status of this claim is disputed.
CHOICE is calling on ASIC to take action and prosecute timeshare providers who break the law, but a wholesale review of the industry is also needed. There needs to be a federal government inquiry into the timeshare industry to address issues with legacy schemes and ongoing sales.
Download complaint (PDF)
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