Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

The National Consumer Commission (NCC) is hoping its public hearings into the timeshare industry will give rise to a single law to "effectively and comprehensively" regulate the industry, and give consumers the right to participate in the affairs of holiday club schemes.

In a statement, NCC commissioner Ebrahim Mohamed has appealed to consumers to participate in the public inquiry process, which moves to Cape Town this week. Oral submissions are preferred, with written submissions only being considered in exceptional circumstances.

Mohamed highlighted some of the problems cited during the Pretoria public hearings last week. These included the refusal by holiday clubs to cancel timeshare contracts; overselling of limited accommodation, which leads to the unavailability of accommodation when consumers attempt to make bookings; and charging of exorbitant levies for the upkeep and maintenance of facilities owned by holiday clubs in spite of a 2014 directive by the South African Revenue Service, which states that levies cannot be charged to persons who do not have a title deed and who do not own a property.

Mohamed bemoaned the fact that the timeshare industry is currently not effectively regulated because different aspects of it are regulated by several different laws and organisations of the state.

"There are currently several pieces of legislation that regulate the vacation ownership industry, which include the Consumer Protection Act and the National Credit Act, which are probably the most recent laws among the lot, as they were promulgated in 2005 and 2008, respectively.

"Some of the fundamental regulating legislation such as the Property Time-sharing Control Act (Act 75 of 1983), the Share Block Schemes Control Act (Act 59 of 1980), and the Sectional titles Act (Act 95 of 1986) are clearly very old legislation, and probably outdated, given the many changes that have taken place in the industry and society over the many years since their promulgation," said Mohamed.

The law should respond to changes in society to remain relevant and effective The public hearings will take place at the Cape Town Lodge situated at 101 Buitengracht Street, from Tuesday to Thursday between 10am and 5pm daily.

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