Hanna Barry
2 minute read
25 Nov 2015
8:00 am

Holiday clubs under fire

Hanna Barry

National Consumer Council is withdrawing legal case against Univison due to administrative holes.

The National Consumer Commission (NCC) says it will fight the holiday club matter “until the end”, after it withdrew its case against the Univision Group earlier this month on the basis of “administrative holes”.

According to spokesperson Trevor Hattingh, the NCC’s legal counsel identified technical defects with the NCC’s application. For example, because the NCC wanted the order to have bearing on all holiday clubs selling timeshare points in South Africa – and not only Univision and Club Leisure – the Tribunal insisted its application must list every industry participant.

Another problem was that some of the timeshare contracts included in the application were entered into before the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) was promulgated and the Act is material to the NCC’s submission. Holiday club membership, through the ownership of points, has largely replaced traditional timeshare ownership in SA as it gives members access to a range of accommodation.

Hattingh said the NCC’s application against Club Leisure Group, which it earlier this year declared a “fraudulent scheme”, would also be withdrawn for resubmission. Univision spokesperson John Meyer labelled the NCC’s application “ill-founded, devoid of substance”.

NCC head Ebrahim Mohamed has voiced concern over the “misleading and crafty media and consumer responses” from Univision. “The clubs are also considering their damages and other options as a result of the action of the commission and the negative publicity flowing from ill-founded and reckless comments and statements by members of the commission,” Meyer said.

The NCC is compiling a new application to submit either to the high court or Tribunal, says Hattingh. He said while the Tribunal has jurisdiction over the CPA and National Credit Act (NCA), it does not have jurisdiction over the Property Timesharing Control Act or the Share Blocks Control Act, which also have bearing on the matter.

“In terms of the allegations that have been made, there have been contraventions of all the acts,” he said. The majority of complaints, says Hattingh, relate to the points system. “People are not happy with the points system. They are paying levies towards accommodation that they don’t have title deeds for.”

He says that neither the Share Blocks Control Act, nor the Property Timesharing Control Act, specify that you have to pay levies for something you don’t own.