Timeshares Only Blog

Greater Safeguards in South Carolina for Timeshare Owners

Posted by Kate Mclean on Jun 14,2017

Timeshares Only and Fidelity Real Estate have proudly teamed up with ARDA (American Resort Development Association) to successfully get a house bill signed by Gov. Henry McMaster of South Carolina to create greater safeguards for timeshare owners. The law defines vacation time sharing plans and, more importantly, includes consumer protection provisions. Effective immediately this law will address business practices of deceitful companies in the timeshare secondary market.

Sam Pontius, President of Timeshares Only and Fidelity Real Estate, praises the amendment saying "It creates a safer and more secure marketplace for owners to transact without the fear of being scammed. In order to have a thriving, healthy secondary market, it is paramount that we rid the industry of fraudulent companies and bad actors. This law will deter illegitimate activities that prey on unsuspecting owners who are desperate to get out of their timeshare for one reason or another. It will allow owners to freely transact knowing there will be a credible buyer at the end of the road."

 Timeshare Resale Company Teamed Up With ARDA

Fraudulence in the timeshare market damages timeshare owners and owners’ associations, as well as takes validity away from the booming industry. The Federal Trade Commission states a common timeshare scam run by fraudulent companies falsely tells timeshare owners they have a buyer or renter ready and willing to take over their properties, or they promise that they will be able to sell the timeshare quickly. The too-good-to-be-true front story comes at a price to consumers. Companies like this charge owners thousands of dollars upfront but fail to deliver on their promises. Consumers’ requests for refunds are typically denied or ignored. Other red flags of resale scams include promises to modify or cancel your timeshare contractual obligations, or mailing offerings to transfer your paid-off ownership to another party. When it comes time to buy or sell a timeshare, safeguards are in place for the resale market.

The South Carolina amendment (pushed through with the help of Timeshares Only, Fidelity Real Estate, SPM Resorts, Defender Resorts, and ARDA) clearly defines what a resale service provider must provide consumers, as well as the rights held by the consumer in reference to everything from contracts to cancelation in a clear and concise way, making the bill a vehicle designed for consumer protection. Selling your timeshare and finding timeshares for sale will now be a less risky activity for consumers in the marketplace throughout South Carolina. 

South Carolina's timeshare industry is an important economic cornerstone and duplicitous practices in the resale market adversely effect that industry. The AIF Economic Impact of the Timeshare Industry on the U.S. Economy states that spending by timeshare owners and guests during timeshare stays was estimated at $9.98 billion in 2015. In South Carolina alone the timeshare industry produced 19,157 jobs, 2.4 billion of economic output, $818 million in labor income and $130 million in state and local tax revenue.

The state's new resale legislation creates a clear standard of business conduct for resale companies in the state, as well as increased contract requirements, escrow protections, and enforcement provisions for offenders. The law, effective immediately, will help to keep the economic output generated by the industry in the rightful hands of timeshare owners and companies doing things the correct way.

"For the companies that are doing things the right way, there is no operational impact," assured Pontius. The amendment, which is to be enforced by South Carolina's Department of Consumer Affairs, provides a stable foundation for a safer timeshare resale marketplace by very clearly preventing participation in schemes or plans to transfer timeshare ownership to those who cannot pay proper assessments and taxes.

According to Ken McKelvey, ARDA-ROC Chairman, "This legislation will provide consumers with greater protections when looking to sell their timeshare, and provide regulatory authorities with additional tools to pursue and put out of business these fraudulent companies." ARDA-ROC is a non-profit entity as well as a coalition of owners, developers, and managers who are devoted to advocating for local, state, and federal policies that enable the vacation ownership industry to thrive. The chairmen calls the legislation a tremendous win for timeshare owners in South Carolina.

Similar legislation has been introduced or passed in Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, Puerto Rico, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia, as Justin Vermuth, Director of State Affairs & Legal Counsel for ARDA told us.

The ARDA (American Resort Development Association), a Washington, DC - based trade association which promotes the growth and development of the timeshare industry, was paramount in the efforts to get the bill signed.  "I was honored to represent ARDA in support of this bill as it is a step in the right direction for the timeshare industry and our personal efforts in legitimizing the secondary market," said Pontius. Their involvement, coupled with Timeshares Only and Fidelity Real Estate made this endeavor to help deter scam activities a huge success.

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Topics: Timeshare Insider