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Ontario Timeshare Owners - New Law lets you terminate a contract after 25 years

MikeGio

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In December 2023 Ontario amended the "CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT, 2023".

The goals of the changes as originally proposed were apparently...

.. update to the consumer protection law in Ontario to include a new provision for timeshare contracts. The legislation would allow owners to exit a timeshare contract after 25 years if they wish.
This right to exit does not currently exist. The proposed legislation would apply to both new and existing timeshare contracts.

In addition to the timeshare exit provision, the proposed legislation also includes several other consumer protections. These include making it easier to get out of a gym membership, prohibiting businesses from making false claims about prize offers, setting new rules for long-term leases for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning appliances, and setting limits on termination costs if a consumer wants to end the contract early1.

The legislation also proposes to double the maximum fines for a person or business convicted under the Consumer Protect Act from $50,000 and $250,000 to $100,000 and $500,000, respectively. The bill was introduced by Public and Business Service Delivery Minister Todd McCarthy.


That said, here is the final approved wording:

1711332007160.png


The full link to this Act is https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/S23023#sched1s110

I am not a lawyer and offer no legal advice, but I have a Geopremier Timeshare acquired 36 years ago in 1988.
They were taken over by Sapphire and things have really gone downhill.
We once had direct access to 9+ resorts, in St Martin, Dominican Republic, USA, Quebec and Mexico. Now we effectively only have only two and getting a suitable week is near impossible.
So I notified them I am terminating the agreement which by the original terms should be 49 years. The new legislation as I understand it lets me do this, so that's what I'm doing.
I'll keep you all posted. Wish me luck.
 

LannyPC

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I don't live in or own any TS properties in ON so I have no dog in this fight but this law that's been discussed and debated in another thread still does not answer the all-important question. If a TS owner "terminates [his] timeshare contract", who now becomes the owner?
 

dioxide45

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I don't live in or own any TS properties in ON so I have no dog in this fight but this law that's been discussed and debated in another thread still does not answer the all-important question. If a TS owner "terminates [his] timeshare contract", who now becomes the owner?
Yeah, a timeshare deed is not a contract. This law was written by people who don't have a clue about how timeshares work.
 

MikeGio

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I don't live in or own any TS properties in ON so I have no dog in this fight but this law that's been discussed and debated in another thread still does not answer the all-important question. If a TS owner "terminates [his] timeshare contract", who now becomes the owner?
Interesting question
Our TS agreement is for 49 years, so the firm already needs to have a plan to deal with each expiring agreement. I assume in that case the new owner is the TS manager.
They need to do the inverse when a new TS is built. It goes up before every week in every unit is sold. These companies need to have a float of inventory and keep managing it.

So I do not have a authoritative answer, but I suspect that Saphire has way more owners than units.
We once had 9+ resorts and over the years that kept coming dropping and getting weeks at any remaining location was a challenge. At one point a customer service agent suggested one of our resorts hotels getting lost in a hurricane. So there we have a location gone with how many units, and 50+ weeks per unit all wiped out and yet the number of owners was not equally diminished. The TS operator is not disclosing what is happening. All I know is I'm have been paying fees for years and can't get any suitable vacation time anymore.
BUT I hear you. Built into my fees is a healthy amount called 'BAD DEBT". By terminating my agreement, am I adding to that line and adding a burden to other TS owners?
I'd rather not, but I also do not want to be the last man standing, and shouldering the costs of everyone else's departure.
 

MikeGio

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Yeah, a timeshare deed is not a contract. This law was written by people who don't have a clue about how timeshares work.
are you saying this law can't be enforced?
 

dioxide45

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are you saying this law can't be enforced?
I don't know for sure. I suspect it is up to a judge to determine that and someone in government to provide a regulatory framework around how the law works. As it is written, it is kind of useless. Where do you own? Is the resort in Canada? If not, were you in Ontario when you purchased it? I understand that if the timeshare is in another country and you buy it when you traveled there, the law doesn't apply. Ontario can't enforce a law for a property in a different nexis.
 

LannyPC

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Interesting question
Our TS agreement is for 49 years, so the firm already needs to have a plan to deal with each expiring agreement. I assume in that case the new owner is the TS manager.
It's important to note the different parties involved with TSs. There are the developer, the TS company (Wyndham, Hilton, etc.), the management company, the Homeowners' Association (HOA), and the Board of Directors.

In cases of default, a TS ownership usually goes to the HOA even though most of the owners bought from the developer. So this raises a huge question that's been discussed ad nauseum here on TUG. If a person who bought from the developer (not the HOA) wants to, according to the rights he now legally has, "terminate his contract", should the developer be forced to assume ownership or one of the other aforementioned parties?
 

vacationtime1

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It's important to note the different parties involved with TSs. There are the developer, the TS company (Wyndham, Hilton, etc.), the management company, the Homeowners' Association (HOA), and the Board of Directors.

In cases of default, a TS ownership usually goes to the HOA even though most of the owners bought from the developer. So this raises a huge question that's been discussed ad nauseum here on TUG. If a person who bought from the developer (not the HOA) wants to, according to the rights he now legally has, "terminate his contract", should the developer be forced to assume ownership or one of the other aforementioned parties?
The Ontario statute defines the developer, not the HOA, as the "supplier" -- the entity which would have to take back the timeshare upon an owner's request after 25 years. So what is the owners' remedy if there is no longer a developer?

Remember that many timeshares are developed by joint ventures between the future management company (Marriott, etc.) and a contractor. They form an entity (typically a corporation or LLC) which does the build-out, sells the units, and then turns over management to the HOA (seeded with a board of directors controlled by the management-company-to-be). The joint venture is dissolved when sales are complete. I doubt that many of these joint ventures exist after 25 years.

I did not read through the entire excruciatingly boring statute, but the definition of "consumer" and "consumer transaction" in the definitions section would apply only to developer purchases. The rescission right would not pass to a resale buyer.

I agree with what @dioxide45 wrote above -- "This law was written by people who don't have a clue about how timeshares work."
 
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LannyPC

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I agree with what @dioxide45 wrote above -- "This law was written by people who don't have a clue about how timeshares work."
I'll add to that. It was probably written by politicians who hear voters and TS owners who are screaming "Do something to help owners get out of onerous contracts that we can't get out of!" but also have no clue how TSs work (other than they have to pay MFs each year).
 
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