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Timeshare bill passes out of House committee

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State lawmakers are weighing whether it shouldn’t have to be necessary for someone to die to get out of a timeshare contract.

But it won’t do any good for those already stuck in such deals.

Legislation approved Monday by the House Committee on Regulatory Affairs would give people who sign these deals 14 days to have second thoughts. That’s twice as long as now required.

But HB 2639 also would allow buyers to opt out within 14 days of actually using their timeshare and be entitled to a 90 percent refund.

Potentially most significant, those who would buy a timeshare in the future and have had it for at least a decade could simply walk away without being on the legal hook for annual maintenance fees that could continue for the rest of their lives and beyond.

Despite the 7-0 vote Monday by the House Committee on Regulatory Affairs it remains unclear if the provisions will ever become law. Rep. Travis Grantham, R-Gilbert, who chairs the panel, said he will seek to strip out many of the provisions when it now goes to the full House, instead reducing it to additional requirements for what information needs to be given to buyers.

The star witness for the proposal by Rep. Shawnna Bolick, R-Phoenix, was Gloria Johnson who told lawmakers about her experience buying a timeshare in 1980.

Now, she said, the option of having a week at a resort makes little sense. Yet she is stuck making annual maintenance payments of more than $1,000.

Johnson said she was told she can leave the timeshare to her children.

“My children don’t want them, my children can’t afford to pay the maintenance fee,” she said.

“There is no way out of this,” Johnson said. “You own this for life and you own it beyond your life.”

Johnson said she realizes that nothing the Legislature adopts now can alter the contract she signed nearly four decades ago. But she told lawmakers they should protect others going forward.

Amanda Rusing who lobbies for the Attorney General’s Office said her agency crafted the measure to deal with specific complaints by timeshare buyers and owners. She said it starts with providing more than just seven days for buyers to consider what they’ve done.

“People aren’t even home from their vacations and sobered up by the time they’re completely locked in to these contracts,” Rusing said. “What we wanted to do is give people a more meaningful opportunity to think about that contract that they signed.”

She also said it’s important for people to be able to get out of a contract once they’ve actually had the opportunity to use the unit that they’ve bought for one week a year.

“By the time they use it, they’re stuck in that contract,” Rusing said.

“They thought they were buying the opportunity to use a beach-front villa,” she explained. “And what they end up with is a condo where, if you hang your head out the window on a sunny day, you can kind of see the ocean.”

And as far as getting out, Rusing said good luck.

She said people are so desperate that they advertise their time share for as little as a penny, only to find no one who wants to assume the future liability. And that, in turn, has created what she said, are some scam artists who claim to be able to free people from their timeshares, often for an up-front fee.

Monday’s vote came over the objections of Don Isaacson who lobbies for the American Resort Development Association.

“This bill goes too far,” he said, saying no state allows someone to simply give back a unit after 10 years and walk away. Isaacson said there’s a good reason for that, as when someone stops paying an assessment, then the financial burden falls on everyone else.

But the bottom line, said Isaacson, is that the state should not step in to protect people who didn’t bother to understand the nature of the deal.

“You are buying real estate, you are buying it as an adult,” he said.

“You read the documents,” said Isaacson. “And unless there is fraud, you are bound to that particular purchase.”

Grantham agreed.

“It’s very difficult to legislate good decision making,” he said, whether buying a car or a timeshare.

Rep. Amish Shah, D-Phoenix, said he was concerned that the only option for someone to get out appears to be bankruptcy or death. He told Isaacson there needs to be some kind of option for an exit strategy for those no longer interested.

Isaacson said some new timeshares run by resorts do have such options in their contracts.

“But I think it would be a mistake to mandate that,” he said.

Anyway, Isaacson argued that too much is being made of the issue. He said the 250 complaints a year to the Attorney General’s Office pale in comparison to the 600,000 timeshare units owned in Arizona.

 

12 comments

  1. Look one can’t Legislate morality either but the fact of the matter first hand experience is that not all the facts,figures,inner workings,procedure , policy are being explained. Only the the Rainbows are explained vs transparency of all the inner workingd. Once again, lack of availability, negative or no equity , cant sell it, expensive, rising reoccuting costs, oh and did I mention they are worthless lol

  2. I agree with Steve. I was told I’d be given incredible rates and availability. I had a 7 day revision period but wasn’t able to access my account for 2 weeks while it was being activated. Once I signed on to search every place was 10-250x more than what I agreed too. Nothing close to the rate I was shown. I don’t know what to do now. I simply don’t have the money to pay for so little of what I thought I’d be getting. I just signed up and have gone through hoops and transferred calls over weeks to get a hold of anyone to help and they all act like they’ve never heard of anyone being dissatisfied. DO NOT TRUST HILTON GRAND VACTAIONS CLUB or any of them I’m sure.

  3. He said there isn’t any fraud. I say there is a very delicate line between fraud and lawful in the highly aggressive way they sell timeshares. It’s almost like being forced to buy by an illusionist in a Vegas show, minutes before having to leave the country.

  4. Steve I completely agree with you. Can’t sell it, nobody wants it, oh yeah, did mention it’s worthless…lol
    I hope this bill passes, I want out now…rainbows are all their selling…bait and trap

  5. The high handed pressure and the rush to locked in to the contract is too much for some unsuspecting tourist. They also don’t divulge the fact that you can recind the contract. It is written in fine line that youll miss it if you dont read through the contract because you are in shock after your vacation you didnt know what hit you. You are so embarassed and upset you dont want to deal with it until the roll of bills starts coming in you have to take a second job to pay off maintenance fees so youcan stay a float to go on that 1 week vacation once a year. The contract is lengthy and oh so confusing. The sales people talk too much making everything sound so good at the time of the so called 60 min meeting that at times turns into 4 hours of interogation that you have no choice but to just give in so you can end the torture. Yeah been there done that. BTW this so called update meeting for owners are “optional” not! Yeah. We need laws to control this madness. Thank you.

  6. The sales people (sharks) tell you all kinds of benefits of ownership.They hand you a stack of papers of legal mumbo jumbo as you go in an office as thick as the book ” War and peace” and expect you to read and understand it.All the while you are on video as if you are the liar and the Secretary is waiting for you to sign while she is handing you another paper to sign.The sales people(magicians) all during their sales presentation are telling you it’s a good investment.You can rent to pay maintenance fees plus a profit.The the salepeopleople ? prompt you to tell the signing Secretary you want the timeshare for vacation only and have you sign off of their promises.They even give you their personal cell# when you need them to help you rent.Of course the liars message box is always full.They should give you the contract to read back at your room and meet the next day.So many of the programs can end without notice.They have no.conscience!!!

  7. They change the rules and policies as nothing is in the contract other than what you (Timeshare owners ) are responsible for. Anything that was promised in any document or flyer should be binding and has to be considered a legal document and should be there for the life of the contract same as an owner is responsible for the fees.

  8. Ironically everything my husband and I discussed as why we should not buy when our agent stepped away from the table, she addressed directly on her return. We did buy. He died. I’m stuck with something I cannot use. Stuck with no hope of an exist opportunity.

  9. If they did undercover investigations, most salesmen would be convicted of fraud. A lot of stuff they tell you isn’t covered in the contract, like ease of making reservations, ease of sale, maintenance fees seldom go up, if you don’t go you can rent it out and pay off your maintenance fees, etc. There’s a reason they tell you that your account will take at least 2 weeks to get in the computer! So you don’t cancel before recission runs out!

  10. “You read the documents,” said Isaacson. “And unless there is fraud, you are bound to that particular purchase.”” Really? Diamond Resorts won’t rescind even if fraud, which their salespeople specialize in because DRI takes no responsibility for their actions, is what elicits the sale.

  11. Too many promises of being able to.make profit if we purchased this property. High handed pressure. Exploiting the elderly. Too long hours.and then not being able to think clearly. Assessing fees besides maintenance. Unable to schedule weeks despite promises of there being no difficulty. We need to have protection from these companies

  12. If this product is so damn great, why do they have to give you a bribe so you will sit down and listen. There should be lines around the block to buy such a great product. There are not. Also, why is there such a push to “buy today?” Because, when someone has the chance to do some research, they discover that the product sucks. And why is the product a perpetual contract? No other contract (even marriage) is structured to last forever. Lastly, why don’t sales agents give out any printed sales material during the presentation. All they do is scribble upside down on a piece of paper – then confiscate the paper when the sales interview is done. Thanks, but no thanks.

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