A few weeks ago, we published an article regarding the state of timeshare sales presentations in Arizona. Since the early stages of timesharing, contract disclosure has been a problem in the industry. Although many lawmakers with stakes in fractional ownership wanted to fault buyers for making impulse decisions, the State of Arizona agreed that disclosure laws were necessary. They also determined that extending a buyer’s right of rescission (cancellation period) was needed as well.
Today, tens of thousands of timeshare owners claim they would have never made the purchase if they knew what it really entailed. Whether this is their fault or not, they now have added protections that force timeshare companies to provide more information on the front end and additional time to make the decision final. What many people don’t realize is that 3rd party agencies prey on timeshare owners.
The passing of this law is a big deal for consumer advocates who have been stating the obvious for quite some time now. Buyers now have a better chance to get out of something that can be perpetually difficult to deal with. Aside from post-purchase advantages, the law also applies to anyone planning on attending a timeshare presentation. Arizona residents are nationally protected. Sponsor and Republican, Shawnna Bolik believes the decision makes the state “a national leader in enacting consumer protections for timeshare buyers,” and that the bill helps “curb deceptive practices by some in the timeshare industry.”
Opposed Arizona Lawmakers Removed Quite a Bit From the Bill.
While consumers definitely won here, timeshare representatives were able to strip some of the original provisions by persuading lawmakers to combat the proposal. Senator Michelle Ugenti-Rita once again stood with the opposition. In the end, they were able to keep the law from including an ability for consumers to cancel in the first year without penalty or after 10 years or once the property was paid off. They also removed disclosing 30 year cost estimates and a proposed 24 hour cooling off period. They believed they dodged a bullet here.
During the discussion, the ARDA gave their two cents by reiterating that timeshare owners are responsible for thousands of jobs and play a big role in the Arizona economy. Even if it’s against the consumer’s will, the ARDA seems to believe their obligation is important. Either way, Peter Roth (ARDA’s spokesman) stated that the law is “a good balance between responsible consumer protections and a healthy business environment. The timeshare industry is committed to being a leader in the tourism industry.” Looks like they’ll continue to help the industry do whatever it takes to make the most money within the rules.
A Breakdown of the New Timeshare Sales Law in Arizona.
Moving forward, all timeshare companies are required to give buyers a copy of their contract and disclose the following in writing:
- Promises made by sales teams are not binding agreements.
- A timeshare purchase is deeded ownership and is not an investment property.
- A timeshare agreement can be voided if there are blank spaces in documents.
- Buyers now have 10 days (instead of 7) to cancel a timeshare contract without penalty.
- Timeshare contracts are perpetual (for life) unless an expiration date is stated.
- The fact that buyers may be billed for maintenance fees, assessments and taxes every year for the length of the contract.
- Details regarding average fees charged over the previous 3 years.
- An estimation of the total costs for the first year, including maintenance fees and taxes.
- If estimates aren’t available then the timeshare has to explain that fees are unknown and that there is no limit to what they can be additionally charged for.
- Buyers are able to file complaints with the Arizona Attorney General’s office.
Arizona Governor and Attorney General Finalize the Bill.
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich was in favor of the new timeshare sales law because of the rising number of accusations by consumers. A $25 million settlement with Diamond Resorts in 2016 inspired him to take action. “Buying a timeshare can obligate a consumer to a lifetime of annual fees that can increase without limit.” He believes “consumers deserve to know the truth when considering whether to purchase a timeshare and need time to think about whether buying a serious investment such as a timeshare is right for them.”
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed the new state law last week (5/19) and it is expected to be implemented by the end of 2019.