Part I: Florida House Bill 575, when it becomes law, will eliminate the need for developers to provide a hard copy of the Public Offering Statement and other contract documents at point of sale, under certain circumstances.
The Bill and the 2/4/2022 Staff Analysis can be found in this link under “Text for PCS HB 575”
Part II February 25: A Camouflaged CD ROM Public Offering Statement
Part III March 4: HB 575 “Advertising Materials” pertains to written advertising promotions requiring disclosure that the offer is a solicitation, but the existing timeshare member is routinely told orally at check-in, “It’s not a sales presentation!” It should be disclosed prior to these meetings that the meeting includes a sales presentation.
The Public Offering Statement (POS), sometimes called a Disclosure Statement, should be reviewed prior to signing a timeshare contract. Florida House Bill 575 reads that the POS should be reviewed during the 10 day cancellation period. The fourth sentence on the cover of Florida’s 3/18/2018 POS reads, in all caps:
THE PROSPECTIVE PURCHASER SHOULD NOT RELY UPON ORAL REPRESENTATIONS AS BEING CORRECT AND SHOULD REFER TO THIS DOCUMENT AND ACCOMPANYING EXHIBITS FOR CORRECT REPRESENTATIONS.
So, after sitting through a three to eleven-hour sales session (11 hours the record), you’re presented with a document that basically says that you should not have believed a word your sales agent said. One would question the logic of attending the presentation.
The prospective buyer should be made aware of the oral representation disclosure before attending a timeshare presentation, especially if the POS is not to be provided prior to signing a contract. Too often the Public Offering Statement is buried in a stack of documents when in some states the cover states, “READ CAREFULLY BEFORE SIGNING.” HB 575 will make the POS easier to bury.
House Bill 575 reads:
The purchaser manner of delivery form must disclose the system requirements necessary to view the approved public offering statement electronically and advise the purchaser to not select an alternative method of receiving the approved public offering statement unless he or she is able to review the approved public offering statement before the expiration of the 10-day cancellation period under s. 721.10.106
One reason for our opposition to providing the Public Offering Statement electronically: Cheap tablets often don’t work.
The Florida Alliance for Consumers and Taxpayers (FACT) has proposed a 24-hour “cooling-off” period BEFORE signing a timeshare contract. This would allow the timeshare buyer time to research the timeshare product before agreeing to buy or finance a timeshare at 12% to 19.99% – a product with little to no secondary market. If life takes an adverse turn, the member is faced with little choice but to default. An active duty service member can find their security clearances in jeopardy over a timeshare default. Please voice your support for a 24-hour cooling-off period by posting a comment on this article published by The Capitolist.
Items of importance contained within the Public Offering Statement include the buyer’s right to cancel within the state’s mandated contract rescission period, as well as pertinent information concerning the terms of the product offering, financial matters, owners association, and the managing entity.
When asked, most timeshare buyers are not even aware of the POS until they dig through their paperwork. Unfortunately, with initials stored and tap, tap, tapped when signing, the buyer unwittingly acknowledges that they read and understood the POS. The POS should be presented to the buyer by the closing agent. Most closings are recorded. This would provide proof that the buyer is aware of the POS and did indeed receive it. When I first delved into the intricacies of the POS, a former timeshare sales agent informed me that the closing agent used to provide the POS until the closing began to be recorded, at which time the developer changed the policy to allow the sales agent to provide the document.
The voice of the consumer should be heard, but there is no input from timeshare consumers, that we are aware of, when important laws are amended or a new law is proposed. Timeshare and Resort Developer Accountability, Inc. is a 501c4 nonprofit founded by current and former timeshare members who support the timeshare industry, but feel real consumers should have input into matters that concern timeshare sales and marketing practices and procedures. Given the volume of Better Business Bureau complaints, Attorney General Investigations and settlements, there clearly is a need for improvement.
Contact After Inside Timeshare or TARDA for more information, or to volunteer your time to help our efforts.
Thank you and welcome to our new contributor Irene Roberts, I’m sure we will be hearing more from Irene in the future and look forward to another article on the problems consumers face in the US. This article clearly shows the problem we have highlighted before, there is no time to read all documents before signing the purchase agreement, the developers also know the chances of a consumer reading everything within the “cooling-off” period and understanding it is virtually nill!
If you have any questions please use our contact page, if you have any comments please use the comments section at the end of the article.
That is all for this week, Baby Dog looks ready to start the weekend so I think I will be busy. Have a great weekend and join us again next week.