Member Speeches/Articles /Achievements

Timeshare trap

The telephone is the preferred weapon of entrapment.
Many of you have been called stating that you have entered a competition and won a prize.
Often the main prize is a car!
The catch is that you have to go to a presentation to get the prize.
You will agree to the place, day, date and time.
You have to bring your spouse. This is for the emotional blackmail.
When you enter the venue you will see a very impressive video. You will fill out a form that will give the agent all the buttons he needs to press.
After the video you will be assigned an agent.
The agent will help you to relax.
The agent will confirm that go on holidays. The agent will agree with you that the holidays are expensive. You will be shown that his company is offering a very affordable holiday for life.
The figures look good, maybe only R200 a month on credit card budget.
This is a special offer that is only available now. You don’t have time to think about it. Emotional blackmail will be applied when you are told that you are letting your family down if you don’t take this great offer. That is why your spouse is there.
The contract is very detailed. You will be told it is a standard contract. You want a cheap holiday, you want a holiday for life, you do not want to let your family down, you sign.
When you are driving home you will convince yourselves that you have made a good purchase but there is a niggling doubt.
Two weeks later you will take phone out of pocket and dial
You state your membership number. You are told you have not paid the levy. This is in the standard contract. Then you have to pay a yearly fee to belong to the club. This is in the standard contract. You have to pay a booking fee. This is in the standard contract. You don’t have enough points. You buy more because you want the holiday. Now the space available for the time you want to take a holiday or the size of unit that you want or the place you want to be
So you go on the holiday but it is not really what you wanted.
Next year you receive an invoice, take the phone out of your pocket and dial
You are surprised that the charges are going up more than inflation and the points are getting less holiday each year. You want to sell them back. You can’t and you must keep paying, even without service. If you bring the payments up to date you will let them go for nothing.

There are 3 forms of Vacation ownership. I have just described the points system.
The other 2 forms are Timeshare and Share block
Timeshare and Share block are similar in that you purchase a week in a unit that is the same every year.
The technical difference between Timeshare and Share Block is that with Share Block you also become a shareholder in the company that owns the property
The points system gives a flexibility of units and time each year. Seems a perfect system.
I have Holiday ownership in the form of Share Block at Chaka’s Rock Chalets in Ballitto
The previous Chairman took 20% of levies paid as commission without a resolution and used staff employed by Chaka’s Rock to do the collections. The pension fund was raided. Weeks were taken after invoices were not sent out and the director claimed them for himself.
Previously, owners were approached and a letter was produced saying that there was a special levy of R4000 per week for upgrades. The offer was to transfer the week to Flexi Club, buy extra points for R7000 and work through Flexi Club. It was a scam. Land was sold off at a very cheap price without the required 75% of shareholders.
The levies have gone up 13% this year. The system has changed where the management has been allocated to First Resorts, (Club Leisure Group, Flexi Club) for R430,000 per year.
The legislation for Share Block, Time Share and the points system is very weak and needs to be similar to the Sectional title Act. The Consumers Act should help protect buyers
The tactics that have been employed are detrimental to the holiday ownership business. There are organisations that are run well and give great holidays. Southern Sun and the Vacation Club provide a good service. Be very careful when entering into a Holiday ownership

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