It’s finally official – this week, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed Florida’s Timeshare Resale Accountability Act into law.
The main goal of the Timeshare Resale Accountability Act is to protect timeshare sellers from deceptive or unethical business practices and timeshare scams. Unfortunately, the economic climate of recent years has contributed to timeshare resale scams being Florida’s No. 1 fraud complaint.
These scams generally involve thousands of dollars in upfront fees; and until now were made possible by lax governmental regulation. The new timeshare law outlines a number of provisions, most based on transparency, to protect timeshare sellers. Among the most important:
- Timeshare resale advertisers must provide sellers with the purchaser’s name and address before they can claim there is an interested buyer.
- Timeshare resale advertisers must provide a written contract for agreement of services. This contract must be signed by the timeshare seller before the resale agent may collect any fees or engage in any resale advertising activities.
- Timeshare sellers have seven days to cancel any signed contract with a timeshare resale advertiser. Once cancelled, timeshare resale advertisers have 20 days to provide a full refund to the seller.
- Penalties will be enacted on any timeshare resale advertiser which violates the law’s provisions. Penalties may not exceed $15,000 per violation under the Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
These are great first steps in helping to prevent fraud and scams in the timeshare resale industry. As licensed timeshare brokers, we stand in full support of the provisions listed above, and applaud lawmakers for taking the time to pass this important act into law.
That said, there are a few issues that the law still doesn’t address. Agencies can still charge a big upfront fee (often several hundred dollars) to “advertise” your timeshare. The act also fails to address the question of unlicensed timeshare resellers, who are typically the most active in misrepresenting what they can accomplish.
Nonetheless, at Timeshare Broker Sales, we’re pleased to see this important step in protecting vacation ownership consumers all over the country.