For the recent years, the timeshare industry is well-known as a haven of scammers and mis-selling practices. Although most of the victims are owners who want to get out of their timeshares, potential owners are also vulnerable to these fraudulent activities. To battle these problems, new regulations have been passed to the local governments in some countries. For example, in Malta, there’s a new and tough legislation that aims to regulate the timeshare industry which was tabled in the House of Representatives by Parliamentary Secretary for Tourism and MEPA Mario Demarco. The “Timeshare and Timeshare-like Products Promotion – Licensing of OPC Representatives – Regulations of 2010” will see to it that timeshare touts will be fined up to a maximum of €2,300 for each infringement.
As revealed by sister paper Illum, each timeshare company will be required to deposit a guarantee to ensure that timeshare staff behave correctly with tourists, although the bond per timeshare representative has now gone down to €2,500 in the actual regulations from the €3,000. With the new regulation, the Malta Tourism Authority or MTA, which regulates the tourism sector in Malta, will be fining directly the companies found breaking the rules and taking the money out of the deposited bond money.
According to an international timeshare website, the legislation the tourist authorities needed to be able to protect the tourists had been recently passed. Moreover, the MTA was planning to outsource security patrols to police the timeshare touts. The decision to establish a pre-paid deposit by the MTA was described by the website as a clever move designed to enforce the legislation effectively. On the other hand, the timeshare reps were predominantly from the United Kingdom and targeting UK tourists who are on vacation and visit the island for the good weather in Malta as the UK was a main market for Malta.