“Failed to protect consumers”: CHOICE on ASIC’s timeshare regulations

Beach huts on the sand

Consumer advocate CHOICE has released a statement in response to ASIC’s updated regulatory guide on time-sharing schemes, stating that ASIC has failed to clean up the harmful timeshare industry.

The following is a CHOICE media release.

“ASIC’s new rules for timeshare schemes have failed to protect consumers. ASIC has taken years to assess the regulations for timeshare schemes but failed to make meaningful changes to protect consumers.” says CHOICE’s Director of Campaigns Erin Turner.

“The timeshare industry is one of the most predatory industries in financial services. Given the poor track record of financial services in recent years, that’s no mean feat.”

“CHOICE regularly hears from people caught in long timeshare contracts, sold through high-pressure sales tactics, and forced to stay in expensive contracts with no means of exit.” says Ms Turner.

“ASIC’s response is a band-aid solution that relies on simply disclosing conflicts in the industry, rather than addressing the root causes of consumer harm. The report runs counter to ASIC’s own behavioural research that shows the limitations of disclosure in achieving good outcomes for people. Australian consumers will continue to suffer as a result of these weak rules” says Ms Turner.

CHOICE is issuing a warning to consumers about timeshare products.

“When CHOICE last reviewed timeshare schemes, we couldn’t recommend a single one. You’re better off booking your holiday directly than buying into a timeshare scheme. They are complex financial products that are designed to trap people into contracts that can run for over 90 years and cost as much as $450,000. Our research found that some timeshare providers are 938% more expensive than booking similar accommodation online. As domestic travel increases during COVID-19, timeshare operators will be looking to capture new customers so people need to be careful.”

View ASIC’s media release for a summary of its updated regulatory guide on time-sharing schemes.

Media contact: 0430 172 669, media@choice.com.au