Regulations on Timeshares

People seem to either love or hate timeshares—and although some say their timeshares have paid for themselves many times over, others find the costly maintenance fees or unfulfilled promises of amenities burdensome.  A large number of Virginians have tried to unload their properties but found that they could not.

At first, Delegate John Cosgrove thought of legislation to allow owners to divest themselves of their timeshares, but the state constitution forbids it. So now he’s trying a new approach to help those with problems. “Basically, there are some really unscrupulous groups out there saying, ‘We’ll sell your timeshares, send us 500-bucks,’ and you never hear from them again. Luckily, I haven’t fallen victim to that scam, but a lot of people have.”

His proposed bill does not solve all problems entirely.  “But what it does do–it looks forward so that when people sell timeshares they must disclose on a separate piece of paper in larger print that you can’t buy a timeshare as an investment—that resale is very difficult. That once you buy it, it’s for your personal use and, you’re pretty much stuck with it,” says Cosgrove.

It also requires companies that resell timeshare weeks to comply with stronger regulations to do business in Virginia, including describing their costs and consumer benefits.  But those who feel cheated will still have to take a timeshare developer to court, and Cosgrove says there have been many such lawsuits in Virginia.

–Tommie McNeil

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