Browse Month

March 2016

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What is a Flybuy?

Have you had a call offering a cheap holiday at a quality resort?

Did it sound tempting?

Did you think it was too good to be true?

Was it one you found on the internet?
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The chances are it was a promotional holiday run by lead generating companies. These are what are known as “Flybuys”. The whole point is to provide another company such as a holiday club or timeshare with potential customers.

 

In order to qualify for this amazing offer you have to meet certain criteria, be between certain ages, have full time employment, have a certain income and also be either married at least 3 years or been a couple for this time.

 

The terms and conditions which if you actually read them are rather interesting. I have read three from different sites and they are worded almost the same, as if it is the same person writing them. As many of these companies are linked this may be true. Failure to comply with any of these terms and condition could result in the loss of the accommodation or incur severe charges.

 

Another condition is that you must attend a some kind of meeting. Obviously a “Sales Presentation”. Kate Palmer of the Telegraph did a piece about this in March 2015. (see link below).

 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/money-saving-tips/11496625/Return-of-the-timeshare-The-bargain-holiday-where-you-cant-leave-the-hotel.html

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These holiday offers are nothing new, Timelinx used this offer with calls to owners of timeshare, offering Bonus Weeks. Once the offer had been taken the unsuspecting owners were then pitched for the DWVC Club, with them taking the timeshare off their hands and issued with the Cashback Certificate. We all know what happened next. The cashback certificate was worthless, you then found out a few years later on receiving a maintenance bill that the timeshare was never transferred. those  great deals you were shown were never there as the small print said “Subject to availability”.

 

The other company using this idea was Club Class, they used the same tactics of Cashback  great discounts and being rid of your Timeshare.

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“TIMESHARE” A Dirty Word For Many.

Why does the word Timeshare have such a negative meaning among many people? After all the concept is actually a very sound one, especially in the early days. It gave people a guarantee of high standard resorts, the feeling that you were part of an exclusive club and for many it felt that it was the holiday home they always dreamed about.

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So what changed?

 

During the 1980´s and 90´s which was a boom time for the industry, it was not very well regulated. It was full of what can be described as dubious practices and people. Many of the companies involved especially in Tenerife and Southern Spain had what you might say criminal connections.

 

The industry was policed in the same way as the mafia families in the USA, controlled their various activities. Using some very nasty tactics against rivals. This is not speculation or made up, many times over the years have there been articles in the press and on the news of murders and beatings of rivals.

 

The industry controlled the sales people and the OPC´s (Scratch card touts) with the use of security commonly known as “Clumpers”. These “Security” staff would ensure no one would work on their patch, using various means like clumping, hence the name. Anyone breaking the rules would be on the receiving end of a baseball bat at the very least.

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FRAUD WARNING

I have spoken to a gentleman today who has received a strange call. He was informed that the Courts in Malaga had dealt with a case involving a resale company he dealt with around 15 years ago, which he lost a considerable amount of money and his timeshare.

In this call the person gave the name James Hodkins along with the telephone number  0034603152281 which is a Spanish Mobile. He told the gentleman that the court had a considerable payout waiting for him and that a tax had to be paid before the money could be released.

Shortly after he received yet another call from Anthony West, who claimed he was from Customs & Excise in London. The number given was 0845 9615544 the code is UK but the 961 belongs to the Valencia area. In this call it appeared to back up the previous call that money was in fact being held.

Thankfully the gentleman in question thought that something was amiss and contacted me for clarification. He has reported this to Action Fraud and has the crime number if they call again. He is also passing on the telephone number to the police to trace. In Spain to buy a mobile a passport or ID card has to be shown as all phones are registered. Hopefully they will be traced and put out of action.

Remember if you have been taken in the past, the chances are this could well happen to you. The courts do not operate in this way.

If you have any information similar please let us know so we can publish it to warn other. If you need any advice contact us through our comments section.

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Want to Sell Your Timeshare?

How do I sell my timeshare? The answer to this is with great difficulty, there are many companies out there who say they can sell it for you or have buyers waiting. Some are genuine some are not.

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If you think about it, timeshare is losing its appeal, resorts and developers are not making the sales like they did in the past. The number of sales staff and sales decks are dwindling, the guys on the streets with scratch cards are also disappearing, they are not as visible as they once were. Yes it is safer to walk the streets while on holiday without being trapped by them.

 

So if the big companies can´t sell them because no one wants it, how can these resale companies sell them? Go on to their web sites and see how many are up for sale, literally hundreds. Google timeshares for sale and see the number of companies listed, the best one to look at is ebay.co.uk

 

Just today the timeshares for mainland Spain is 34, all varying in price. Mostly what the owners perceive to be the value of their so called investment. After all the original sales pitch was “you are buying property and it goes up in value”. One is being offered for £2.99, another has a bid for only 25 pence. Yet another has 2 people watching, the others not a single bid or offer.

 

For Tenerife there are 23 listed with a Club la Costa  holiday voucher for only 10p. Another for 99p, and again only one with anybody watching. There is even one for a Marriot Timeshare in Florida for £1. The chances are the ones that are being watched are interesting those who already own at that particular resort and see them as a bargain. So why are these not selling or being given away? The answer is simple THE MAINTENANCE FEES.

 

If you decide to go down the resale company route beware, it is illegal to ask for any upfront fees. Some companies will get round this by quoting it as a marketing cost to put your timeshare on a higher profile on their web site. Others say it is a guarantee in case you pull out or do not complete the paperwork transaction. Unfortunately it may even be with them for a year and never sell.

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Quite often what happens next is the corporate buyer pitch, this is usually where you end up going to a meeting and being pitched for another product. The point of you selling is to be free, not becoming involved with another type of club which may or may not work, or even be genuine. So you are stuck between a rock and a hard place.

 

Whatever you decide keep your expectations low regarding the price, remember timeshares or not worth the value that most people think they are. Think about other options such as relinquishing, there is always a charge for this service, the matter is how much. Many resorts will do this but they may be very expensive charging several years maintenance.  Do your homework and due diligence before committing to a company, the information is out there.
If you require any information about a company you intend doing business with and want help in finding this information, contact us and we will help you free of charge.

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Is it a Timeshare Resort or a Hotel?

Having spent sometime reading various forums, it occurred to me that many timeshare owners are not happy with a very disturbing situation. The fact that non-owners are able to book into their resorts.

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After listing several resorts around the Canary Islands, Mainland Spain and Mallorca, placing these into google I was amazed at the results. All came up with various booking sites.

Booking.com; ebookers.com; trivago.com; villas.com; medresorts.net and tripadvisor.com.

Many had websites direct to the resorts offering quite substantial discounts.

 

Was not timeshare originally sold as an exclusive membership, with people being told that only other owners could use them and the facilities. Entering dates for availability and price came as a bit of a shock, in many cases it seemed that the prices were less per week than many owners are paying in maintenance fees. I know if I was an owner I would not be too happy about this. Especially having paid out thousands to buy it in the first place.

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The question is now is this legal let alone ethical?

 

According to one Spanish Lawyer that commented, it appears this may not be legal. He stated that the double business, hotel & timeshare resort/club was not allowed unless they were fixed weeks and apartments. Well I´m not a lawyer so I don´t really understand this, but I do think that it is not ethical.

 

Has this come about because of the dwindling number of people wanting to own timeshare, or is it the resorts just getting greedy? Many people who own points or floating weeks have told me that getting the availability to the resorts they want is difficult and in some cases impossible. Is it because of these rentals? So on one hand the resorts get your maintenance fees and on the other extra income from renting out. Not a bad business to be in is it!

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Thanks to the age of the internet timeshare has become a rather expensive holiday option. Gone are the days when the sales staff could say at least you are guaranteed a certain standard, or use the old financial logic pitch. Yes in those days being tied to the high street travel agent was expensive for decent accommodation, as for the package deals, well, did you know where you would stay until arrival and what condition was the resort/hotel? Yes we all remember those horror stories.

 

Are you happy that your resort now accepts non-owners, let us know your feelings through our comments section. Have a good Easter.

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Kwikchex Update

It would now appear that the company Kwikchex have themselves been subject to a ruling by the Advertising Standards Authority. The TCA published a piece today 23/3/16 that the ASA ruled that the term “World Leading” was not factually correct. They were ordered to revise it.

 

They now use the term “World Renowned”. I don´t know about you, but does it not sound very similar? As I stated in the post dated 17th March, how can a company no one had heard of, running for only 6 years claim to have such a Global reputation?

 

Surely they are trying it on with the ASA, and still trying to claim this crusading status. Maybe another complaint to the ASA is in order, I leave it to you the reader to decide.

Thanks to the TCA for bringing this to our attention.

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La Pinta

Is It Resale?

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On 9th March 2016 the TCA posted a piece by Harriet Cooke of The Sun newspaper, her article from February 2016 was about Sell My Timeshare, a resale website. In the article it stated that 2,250 timeshares had been sold or cancelled by them in 2015.

 

This to me seems very odd, as many people I have spoken to in the past have informed me that they had contacted this company when trying to rid themselves of their timeshares. What then has happened is a meeting has been set up with Glenmore Consultants at one of their offices; Bournemouth, York or Stratford upon Avon.

 

At this meeting the client is then pitched to purchase Monster Credits in order to be rid of their timeshare. These credits can then be used for future holidays, with no time limit, some have even been told they are able to sell the unused credits for a small profit.

 

So in order to be rid of the timeshare the client pays Monster Travel a hefty sum of money in return for credits. This is not a timeshare resale. It reminds me of the ILG DWVC and Club Class meetings.

 

Monster Travel is a registered business, it is part of Hollywood Marketing SLU based in Tenerife. Although according to their web site, from the 3rd March 2016 they have been renamed Monster Group (Travel) SLU.
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RDO Trying to Scare ANFI Timeshare Owners.

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Since publishing the article on the history behind the Supreme Court Ruling, it has come to our attention that the RDO published on 18th March 2016 a piece in support of ANFI. This in itself is not surprising as ANFI is a fully paid up member to this old boys network.

 

The  RDO stated that, ANFI sought clarification about the length of the contracts from the Property Register and Notary Head Office. According to the RDO these two offices believed that the “pre-existing ANFI schemes were correctly adapted”.

 

Well this flies in the face of the Supreme Court Judgements. I know who I believe.

 

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It goes on to say that ANFI will respect the rulings but will now charge those ex members for their stays at ANFI. What is the RDO playing at? Have not these holidays already been paid for with respect to the maintenance fees that have been paid over the years?

 

Are RDO and ANFI misinterpreting the Spanish Civil Code about the returning to both parties “the things that constituted the subject matter of the judgement” (direct quote from RDO article). They go on to say the cost that the ex-owner will have to pay will be calculated by the rate it would cost to stay in similar five-star hotels. Apparently this has been calculated  from data provided by the University of Las Plamas.

 

Also how does ANFI believe they can suddenly go from being a Timeshare resort to a Hotel, surely the licences that govern these establishments prevents this from happening. This is something that I will need to verify.

 

The RDO goes on to state that from this data it proves that timeshare represents good value for money as the cost would be more than that paid for the timeshare. How this can be true beggars belief, did the University not take into account the years of maintenance paid? It makes me wonder who commissioned this study and what parameters were given.

 

The last paragraph of the piece goes on to warn anyone that they will be liable for this cost if they take any action against ANFI. Another scaremongering tactic from the industry trade body the RDO, in order to protect an industry that for too long has had its own way.

 

According to the Norwegian financial periodical Kapitalen published this month (Kapitalen 4/16) there are more than 400 timeshare owners with ongoing claims against ANFI worth around 11,600,000€. With around 257 active cases in the courts awaiting a decision, these claims are worth approximately 6.8 million€. These are not figures that can be ignored, no wonder the RDO and ANFI are putting the boot into the owners.

**ARCHIV**Banknoten in 50er, 100er, 200er und 500er-Scheinen liegen auf einem undatierten Foto, das von der Bundesbank in Frankfurt am Montag, 3. Dez. 2007, zur Verfuegung gestellt wurde, auf einem Haufen. Der Euro hat in Deutschland nach einer Umfrage fuer die Dresdner Bank an Popularitaet verloren. Knapp sechs Jahre nach Einfuehrung der Gemeinschaftswaehrung erklaerten nur noch 36,3 Prozent, sie faenden den Euro gut. 2004 lag die Zahl noch bei 42,6 Prozent, wie die Bank am Sonntag, 16. Dez. 2007 aus der Umfrage der Forschungsgruppe Wahlen berichtete. (AP Photo/Bundesbank) --- Undated photo provided by the German Federal Reserve Bank in Frankfurt on Monday, Dec. 3, 2007, shows Euro bank notes in 50, 100, 200 and 500 Euro bills. (AP Photo/German Federal Reserve Bank)

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The Story of Legal History in Timeshare

How did the Supreme Court Ruling come into place?

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The story of  Mrs Tove Grimsbo the Norwegian lady who´s case made legal history is a long and drawn out one.

 

It all began in 2001 when she and her late husband attended a presentation with ANFI Sales SL, they were persuaded to purchase and signed a contract for a timeshare at ANFI. They paid a deposit of 700€ by credit card on the day. Their contract was also in perpetuity which means it was never ending and would be extremely difficult for them to extricate themselves from it.

 

After her husband died Mrs Grimsbo was lumbered with the ever increasing maintenance fees, with no foreseeable way out of the contract. She went to the Lawyer Miguel Rodriguez Cabello, a native of Arguineguin who practices there. Sr Cabello along with other members of Canarian Legal Alliance researched the law and found that Mrs Grimsbo did have a case.

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Miguel Rodriguez Cabello

The lawyers duly began litigation and won the case at the Court of First Instance in Maspalomas. Anfi took this to appeal, they lost the case at the High Court in Las Palmas. Once again Anfi contested the decision, taking it to the Supreme Court in Madrid. After much legal argument the Supreme Court unanimously found for Mrs Grimsbo.

 

The news of the ruling broke on 1st April 2015. Legal history had been made.

BREAKING NEWS…SUPREME COURT VICTORY….BREAKING NEWS

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The Great ANFI Battle of the Partners.

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What is actually happening at the ANFI Group

 

Apart from newspaper articles in the Spanish Press very little is being said, it appears the members are being kept in the dark. Well I suppose this is nothing unusual in the timeshare industry.

 

ANFI is owned by two factions on an equal 50/50 basis, on one side are the Spanish owners:

 

Santiago Santana Cazorla who is also the president, his Brother Manuel and Anfi Group CEO Arturo Ramirez.

Santiago Santana Cazorla Santiago Santana Cazorla

Then there is the Norwegian part of the company represented by the heir to the late Björn Lyng, his eldest son Ragnar Lyng.

 

It appears to have originally started around 2010 When the Norwegian family demanded Sr Cazorla´s resignation. All seemed to be well and no real arguments ensued. Then sometime between 2012 and 2013 it appears that around 8 million euros “disappeared”.

 

Apparently the Lyng´s noticed the diversion of these funds while a lawsuit was pending between Santana Cazorla and Lopesan at The Court of the First Instance No1 of Las Palmas.

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