Commenting on the ten year milestone of the Consumer Goods and Services Ombud (CGSO), the outgoing Ombudsman, Magauta Mphahlele, paid tribute to the timeshare industry for bringing to life the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act. She said this was achieved by ensuring there are systems, processes and policies in place to provide a functional internal complaints handling-process.
Going beyond the CPA
“We refer complaints to other ombudsman and associations, and VOASA is one of these associations that has its own internal complaints mechanism that we are grateful for. The advantage of having industry associations with their own Code of Conduct, some of which go beyond the CPA, is that they are able to offer consumers redress that the CSGO would otherwise not have been able to do. That is why we appreciate the relationship that we have with VOASA,” she said.
Timeshare complaints no longer an issue for the CGSO
She added that because of the work that has been done in the industry, complaints about the cancellation of timeshare agreements were no longer an issue for the CGSO. “We have not needed to focus on timeshare as it is an industry that has resolved itself. In 2020, the number of timeshare complaints amounted to 3% and over the past two years it has gone down to 1% of the complaints we receive,” she concluded.
The Independent Timeshare Complaint Service
In 2019, VOASA established the Independent Timeshare Complaint Service (ITCS) to facilitate consumer complaints and as part of the undertaking given to the National Consumer Commission. The ITC does not interfere or concern itself unduly with the business and commercial processes of its member companies, but rather to seek fair complaint resolution in line with the Code of Conduct. Any complaints that cannot be resolved are referred to the relevant industry ombud. Consumers can lodge complaints, free of charge, via the online ITCS service on the VOASA website.