Tackling the problems:  National Consumer Commission head Ebrahim Mohamed has appealed to consumers to participate in the inquiry. Picture: SUPPLIED
Tackling the problems: National Consumer Commission head Ebrahim Mohamed has appealed to consumers to participate in the inquiry. Picture: SUPPLIED

The National Consumer Commission is hoping that 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.

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.

In a statement, 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 and overselling of limited accommodation, which leads to the unavailability of accommodation when consumers attempt to make bookings.

Other preliminary findings included the 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 stating 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 was not effectively regulated as 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 amongst others the Consumer Protection Act and the National Credit Act, which are probably the most recent laws among the lot, as they were promulgated respectively in 2005 and 2008.

"Some of the fundamental regulating legislation such as the Property Timesharing Control Act, the Share Block Schemes Control Act and the Sectional Titles Act are clearly very old legislation and probably outdated, given the many changes that have taken place in the industry and society over the many years since their promulgation."

The law should respond to changes in society to remain relevant and effective, he said.

Among those who came forward to make submissions last week was Ebrahim Mayet, who said he was told upon signing his timeshare contract that he could cancel it at any time but that the company he bought timeshare from later reneged on this part of the agreement.

The public hearings will take place at the Cape Town Lodge situated at 101 Buitengracht Street from July 11–13.

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