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Greater Safeguards in South Carolina for Timeshare Owners

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Timeshares Only and Fidelity Real Estate have proudly teamed up with ARDA (American Resort Development Association) to successfully get a house bill signed by Gov. Henry McMaster of South Carolina. The bill will create greater safeguards for timeshare owners. The law defines vacation timesharing plans and includes consumer protection provisions. Effective immediately, this law will address deceitful business practices in the timeshare secondary market.

Sam Pontius, President of Timeshares Only and Fidelity Real Estate, praises the amendment saying:
“It creates a safer and more secure marketplace for owners to transact without the fear of being scammed. In order to have a thriving, healthy secondary market, it is paramount that we rid the industry of fraudulent companies and bad actors. This law will deter illegitimate activities that prey on unsuspecting owners who are desperate to get out of their timeshare for one reason or another. It will allow owners to freely transact knowing there will be a credible buyer at the end of the road.”

Fraudulence in the timeshare market damages timeshare owners and owners’ associations. These scams and misleading practices take validity away from the booming timeshare industry. The Federal Trade Commission states a common timeshare scam run by fraudulent companies. These companies falsely alert timeshare owners they have a buyer or renter ready and willing to take over their property. They make promises that they will be able to sell the timeshare quickly. This too-good-to-be-true front story comes at a price to consumers. Fraudalent companies charge owners thousands of dollars upfront but fail to deliver on their promises. Consumers’ requests for refunds are typically denied or ignored. Other red flags of resale scams include promises to modify or cancel timeshare contractual obligations, or mailed offers to transfer paid-off ownership to another party. When it comes time to buy or sell a timeshare, safeguards are now in place for the resale market.

South Carolina’s Lucrative Timeshare Marketplace

With the help of Timeshares Only, Fidelity Real Estate, SPM Resorts, Defender Resorts, and ARDA),
the South Carolina amendment legitimizes the industry. It clearly defines what a resale service provider must abide by. Consumers’ rights, in reference to everything from contracts to cancelation, are being laid out in a clear and concise way. Selling or buying a timeshare will now be a less risky activity for consumers in the marketplace throughout South Carolina.

South Carolina’s timeshare industry is an important economic cornerstone. Duplicitous practices in the resale market adversely affect that industry. The AIF Economic Impact of the Timeshare Industry on the U.S. Economy states that spending by timeshare owners and guests during timeshare stays was estimated at $9.98 billion in 2015. In South Carolina alone the timeshare industry produced 19,157 jobs, 2.4 billion of economic output, $818 million in labor income and $130 million in state and local tax revenue.

The state’s new resale legislation creates a clear standard of business conduct for resale companies in the state. Increased contract requirements, escrow protections, and enforcement provisions for offenders are also in place. The new law will keep the economic output generated by the industry in the rightful hands of timeshare owners and legitimate companies.

“For the companies that are doing things the right way, there is no operational impact,” assured Pontius. The amendment, enforced by South Carolina’s Department of Consumer Affairs, will provide a stable foundation for safer timeshare resales. It very clearly prevents participation in schemes or plans to transfer timeshare ownership to those who cannot pay proper assessments and taxes.

New Standards in Resale Marketplace

According to Ken McKelvey, ARDA-ROC Chairman, “This legislation will provide consumers with greater protections when looking to sell their timeshare, and provide regulatory authorities with additional tools to pursue and put out of business these fraudulent companies.” ARDA-ROC is a non-profit entity as well as a coalition of owners, developers and managers who are devoted to advocating for local, state, and federal policies that enable the vacation ownership industry to thrive. The chairman calls the legislation a tremendous win for timeshare owners in South Carolina.

Similar legislation has been introduced or passed in Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, Puerto Rico, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia, as Justin Vermuth, Director of State Affairs & Legal Counsel for ARDA told us.

ARDA (American Resort Development Association), a DC-based trade association which promotes the growth and development of the timeshare industry, was paramount in the efforts to get the bill signed.  “I was honored to represent ARDA in support of this bill as it is a step in the right direction for the timeshare industry and our personal efforts in legitimizing the secondary market,” said Pontius. Their involvement, coupled with Timeshares Only and Fidelity Real Estate made this endeavor to help deter scam activities a huge success.

Ryan Pittman is the Vice President of Marketing at Timeshares Only, Fidelity Real Estate, and Clearshare with responsibility for marketing programs, brand management, and corporate sponsorships. Prior to his current role, he worked in SEO, Network Engineering, Omnichannel Marketing, and Sales at several companies, and served as Cyberspace Information Technology and Information Systems Management positions for the United States Navy. Ryan’s greatest strengths are his intelligence, creativity, drive and leadership. In 2010 Ryan was recognized with the Letter of Appreciation by Commander A. G. Myers, Naval Air Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet for outstanding achievement, extraordinary dedication and professionalism. He lives in Orlando, Florida and loves to travel the world. Some of his favorite destinations are: The Caribbean, Israel, San Diego, Chicago, Austin and New York. In his free time, he likes to work on projects around the house, entertain guests, and you can generally find him on the water.

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