The National Consumer Commission has launched a massive inquiry into South Africa’s time-share industry, with Commissioner Ebrahim Mohamed calling current industry practices “disgusting”.
“Since its inception in 2011, the National Consumer Commission has consistently received complaints from consumers alleging serious misconduct from role players in the vacation ownership industry,” the Commission said in a statement.
“After exploring various potential options Mohamed has resolved to institute a public inquiry, which he says is a tried and tested approach that will deliver long lasting solutions to the challenges faced by consumers.”
Speaking at the launch of the inquiry on Thusday, Mohamed highlighted thousands of reports over nearly two decades were customers had been tricked into signing lifetime contracts, excessive increases and numerous cases of double and over-booking.
“The most disturbing aspect is that the vacation ownership industry has done little or nothing to correct itself when issues are raised with conduct, products or services,” said Mahomed.
South Africa’s time-share industry is regulated by a private, member-based organisation, called the Vacation Ownership of Southern Africa.
According to the Association’s website , South Africa boasts a mature R3.5 billion per annum shared vacation ownership industry, consisting of over 500,000 shared vacation owners with an 85% occupancy rate of 500,000 shared vacation ownership weeks.