They sing a popular song in the south that goes… In Birmingham, they love the governor…, timeshare owners looking to sell their unit should just substitute Tallahassee. Specifically they should love the Governor of Florida, Rick Scott. Earlier this month, Florida’s new Timeshare Resale Accountability Act went into effect. The law specifically regulates sales in Florida and while it doesn’t cover every possible scam, it’s a good start for sellers looking for protection. The law went into effect on July 1 and offers some important protection for timeshare resales by providing penalties for resellers that:
- Misrepresent that some buyer has an interest in buying a timeshare resale
- Collect payments from sellers before the seller signs a written agreement to the terms of the resale
- Does not honor a seller’s cancellation request made within seven days of a signed agreement or fail to provide a refund within 20 days of cancellation.
Consumer advocates, including this blog, have been warning about scams and giving advice to the pitfalls of choosing a resale broker. Florida now provides protection from the most common misrepresentations sellers face when looking to sell a timeshare.
The second two provisions are details that have governed the resort sales center for decades in most jurisdictions. But the first provision is the one that is most important to the resale market. Scam agencies know that creating urgency is the quickest way to get the seller to pay fees in advance of a written contract. Nothing says urgent more than we have a buyer waiting. The timeshare resale market is a thriving, and important part, of the resort timeshare sales industry. But note that Sellers still outnumber buyers in the market, which means quite simply, a good broker will be outlining a more realistic sales timeframe. Anyone saying they have a buyer waiting is likely lying, but at least those liars are now regulated in Florida.
The Act fails in my opinion to completely rein in scam agencies because it fails to eliminate upfront fees; it simply requires that the fee come after the signing of a contract. So while there is some protection that Florida is providing, it could have gone further in my opinion. This is why my advice in previous blog articles is still relevant.
- Don’t deal with a broker demanding an upfront fee from the seller.
- Do your homework, and
- Do your homework.
While this is a Florida law and applies to only Florida, it is a good start as we now have a major jurisdiction recognizing and being proactive to protect resale consumers. Hopefully we will see similar legislation make its way into other popular timeshare states, such as California, Hawaii, South Carolina, and Arizona. Some of the good and well respected resellers are solidly behind the new Florida law, such as Concierge Realty, FiveStar Timeshare Realty, and Timeshare Broker Sales as the new law puts into place practices they have been following for years.
The fact is if you want to sell your timeshare you must be pay attention to the process and choose to deal with respected brokers. The new Florida law allows you to proceed knowing the government is at least trying to cover your back.