Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Timeshare 101: Prohibited Practices by Sellers of Timeshares in South Carolina

Pursuant to the South Carolina Code Section 27-32-110, Prohibited Practices, it may be a violation of the South Carolina Timeshare Act for a timeshare salesperson to do any of the following:

(1) use a promotional device including, but not limited to, sweepstakes, lodging certificates, gift awards, premiums, or discounts, without disclosing fully that the promotional device is used for the purpose of soliciting the sale of vacation time sharing plans;,

(2) use a promotional device as described in item (1) to obtain the names and addresses of prospective purchasers without fully and prominently disclosing that names and addresses are acquired for the purpose of soliciting the sale of the vacation time sharing plans;

(3) misrepresent the amount of time or period of time the accommodations and facilities are available to a purchaser;

(4) misrepresent or deceptively represent the location of the offered accommodations and facilities;

(5) misrepresent the size, nature, extent, qualities, or characteristics of the offered accommodations and facilities;

(6) misrepresent the nature or extent of services incident to the accommodations and facilities;

(7) make misleading or deceptive representations with respect to the contents of the contract or the purchaser's rights, privileges, or benefits under it;

(8) fail to honor and comply with all provisions of the contract with the purchaser;

(9) misrepresent the conditions under which a purchaser may exchange his rights to an accommodation in one location for rights to an accommodation in another location;

(10) include in a contract a provision purporting to waive a right or benefit provided for purchasers pursuant to this chapter, or seek or solicit such a waiver during the effective period of these rules; and

(11) do any other act of fraud, misrepresentation, or failure to make a disclosure of a material fact.

For example, it could be a violation for a salesperson to tell you that you are purchasing an annual timeshare but sell you a timeshare that can only be used once every three years, or a "tri-ennial" timeshare. Other common examples could include the timeshare sales person informing you that: (1) the timeshare company will sell or purchase another timeshare that you own; (2) your maintenance fees are less than they cost in actuality; your maintenance fees are waived for a certain period of time when they are immediately due; and your maintenance fees are due to be paid less frequently than they are due to be paid in actuality; (3) you are purchasing a three-bedroom unit when you are actually purchasing a two-bedroom unit; (4) that the timeshare company guarantees to purchase from you your timeshare weeks and/or developer weeks; and (5) your timeshare purchase is a money-making investment from which you will profit.

If you believe that you may be a victim of timeshare fraud in South Carolina, or that a timeshare salesperson in South Carolina has "scammed" you, please feel free to contact my office to make an appointment to speak with either me, Zach Naert, or Joe DuBois.