The Timeshare Industry is a highly regulated industry in the United States. An overview of the multiple regulations facing the industry can be found in James J. Scavo’s article “Marketing Resort Timeshares: The Rules of the Game,” St. John’s Law Review: Vol. 73: Iss. 1, Article 10. Mr. James gives an overview of regulations, including the concerns facing marketing by mail, telephone and on site. As each state has different regulations a review of that state’s requirements must be made to ensure compliance. A matrix with links to regulations and the governing agencies for each state can be found at Timeshare Links. While some links may not be current (e.g. Florida’s agency link) it does provide a quick list of the regulatory agencies and statutes for each state.
The regulatory agency in Florida is the Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes of the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation. On their website http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/lsc/timeshare.html there is some general information along with a Frequently Asked Questions section. The site also has links to Chapter 721 of the Florida Statutes and Chapters 61B-37 through 41 of the Florida Administrative Code.
The statutes and regulations require that certain disclosures be made to purchasers and provide the purchasers with certain rights. One right enacted to protect consumers is a grace period after the signing of the purchase agreement that allows purchasers in Florida to void the contract. Purchasers of timeshares are provided with ten (10) calendar days to send a notice canceling the purchase agreement, pursuant to 721.06 (1) (g)3 and 721 .065(2)(c) of the Florida Statutes. In addition to the ten (10) day grace period there numerous other regulations that protect consumers and require additional steps for compliance.
Finally, current owners should be wary of companies that contact you and request an upfront fee to sell your timeshare. Florida’s Attorney General recommends that you do not pay an upfront fee for the sale of the your timeshare (See How to Protect Yourself: Timeshare Sales & Resales).
This is a highly regulated industry that varies from state to state. If you have an issue please contact an attorney that practices in your state for advice.