Browse Author

Timeshare Insider

Toni Muldoon: Duping the Innocent.

Continuing on the theme of timeshare history, this particular article involves me personally. It began about 18 years ago when I first moved to Spain. Like many expats starting a new life on the Costa del Sol the first few weeks are treated like a holiday, getting to know your new surroundings and meeting new people. But, we can’t live on fresh air, a job is needed.

 

One piece of advice I was given was to look at the Sur in English, published on a Friday, at the time it carried a couple of pages of situations vacant. A great starting point to begin a job search. Most British owned bars carried the paper and it was available free from many shops and supermarkets. So began the search of the listings.

 

Armed with pen and pad numbers were taken along with the job description, then off to the locutoria for the cheap phone calls. One number I rang was for telesales staff in Torremolinos, the lady asked when I could be available for an interview. As I was in town I replied now.

call centre

She told me to meet her at the main entrance to the railway station, after introductions we made our way to the office, it was located in one of the side streets. She explained about the job and asked what telephone experience I had, when I explained I had been a BT telephonist with some experience in shop sales she offered me the job.

 

It did not carry a basic wage and was commission based, well a job is a job and I felt confident that I would start earning fairly quickly. Not only that the commission was very good with daily bonuses for closing a deal.

 

The company was Platinum Properties, it was a cold calling timeshare resale company. I had no knowledge of timeshare but this is what they actually preferred. I sat alongside one of the experienced staff and listened to the pitch, it all seemed very easy. I was told about the shop they had in Fuengirola which was just like an estate agents, I even went to Fuengirola that evening to see it for myself. Yes it did exist, in the windows and on boards inside were timeshares for sale along with the prices. Duly impressed I began work the next day.

Keep Reading

Update: Latest Massive Win for CLA Client.

Yesterday 25 May 2016 Canarian Legal Alliance announced another massive win for one of their Norwegian Clients.

 

The court in Maspalomas Gran Canaria, used the recent Supreme Court rulings that contracts in perpetuity are illegal along with the floating week system. This court also ordered the payment of double the deposit paid within the cooling off period.

 

This is another blow for Anfi resorts as the amount is a staggering 189,000€. It is also a blow for the RDO as Anfi is a member of this organisation, they have backed Anfi in suggesting that these rulings are incorrect and that the contracts are not illegal.

anfi logordo-logo

So far since the 4 April 2016,  Anfi have been ordered to reimburse CLA clients around 661,101.32€ in respect of illegal contracts. These contracts have also been declared null and void, thereby freeing the clients from their timeshares.

 

As stated in the article published on 24 May 2016, this is just against one company, how will they be able to sustain amounts such as this at the rate the courts are ruling against them? It would seem that the prediction of the million euro mark being reached before the halfway point of the year is right on track.

http://insidetimeshare.com/?s=breaking+news

Congratulations to the client and the legal team at CLA for this huge victory.

 

Inside Timeshare will continue to keep you updated as the news comes in. If you require any information about your rights or need to find out about a company you have or are possibly going to deal with, contact Inside Timeshare for free advice.

ANFI CONTRACT DECLARED NULL AND VOID COURT ORDERS REFUND OF 189.000€ TO OUR CLIENTS

Breaking News: Canarian Legal Alliance Strike Again.

Some interesting breaking news has just come our way, it appears that Canarian Legal  Alliance has done it again. It has been announced that they have secured their eighth Supreme Court Judgement, again this is against Anfi Sales SL and Anfi Resorts SL. (see link at end of article)

anfi ariel view

The court has confirmed again the illegality of the perpetuity contract, citing that the contract should be no longer than 50 years in accordance with the timeshare laws. The court has also ruled on another important point which will have a significant effect for other claimants.

 

As we know many people will have bought a timeshare with other resorts while already owning at another. These have usually been taken in part exchange or what is known as a trade-in. The court has now ruled that the trade-in value must now be taken into account as a payment on the day along with any deposit. The client in this instance was awarded double the deposit including double the value of the trade-in. So it looks like the trade-in value is being seen as a part payment within the 14 day cooling off period.

 

In this instance the CLA client has been awarded 51,000€ plus interest, including all legal fees. Again this is a substantial amount for any company to have to pay back for past transgressions, how long can any company last when the courts are ruling in this manner?

anfi logordo-logo

As stated before, the industry has only itself to blame, the RDO as the industry trade body also shares some of this blame. After all, the laws were put into place many years ago with the implementation of the EU Timeshare Directive. Resorts and their marketing departments failed to adhere to them and the RDO turned a blind eye to this. The industry is now paying for this dearly, we have seen only a fraction of the cases adjudicated on so far. Over the past month and a half, one company has been ordered to pay out nearly half a million euros. At this rate the million euro mark will be reached before the year is even half way through.

 

So, congratulations to this particular client and congratulations to the legal team at Canarian Legal Alliance. It does seem that their tenacity and hard work is now paying off, I for one will be keeping an eye on them for more judgements.

champagne

If you have any problem with your timeshare or have dealt with any company that has not delivered on their promise be it resale or claims, Inside Timeshare would like to hear from you. If you require any information as to what you can do about it, Inside Timeshare will be pleased to advise you.

THE SUPREME COURT RULES AGAIN

Supplement to Maintenance for Tax Bill.

Just recently looking through some of the timeshare forums I came across a thread about Diversified Resorts. The person posting was asking a question if Diversified Resorts could force them as members to pay towards a tax bill they apparently failed to pay between 2009-2013.

 

http://www.timesharetalk.co.uk/index.php?topic=19369.msg61107

 

The poster had been told that if he did not pay within 30 days his points would be blocked. Another poster had also received this bill, it stated that it was a one-time Spanish tax assessment. Apparently the amount was for 7million€ reduced to 2.9million. This is not the first time that resorts have billed members for unpaid taxes, it has happened on numerous occasions over the years. Most people have paid fearing they may lose their holidays. (see link below for examples of this).

 

http://www.timeshareconsumerassociation.org.uk/2014/08/29/aa/

diversified resorts

Is this another way of securing extra money from owners?

 

Since finding this thread, Inside Timeshare has heard from another owner. They purchased their points with Diversified Resorts in 2010, they too have received this bill, which amounted to £278. This is on top of their annual maintenance. So what happened to the tax paid on their purchase and maintenance?

 

In the same thread a Lawyer J Correa, questioned what this one-time assessment was. Even he seemed to be confused by this.

 

Surely if a resort or company has failed to pay the correct taxes, then is it not up to them to pay? After all, when you pay your maintenance do you not also pay VAT or the equivalent?

 

As a member of say a country club or golf club, if they fail to pay taxes, Shouldn’t they be liable and not the members? I would have thought that this should be paid from company profits, it is not the member’s fault that taxes have not been paid due to mismanagement or accounting.

 

Again it appears that this industry cannot be trusted to manage itself, relying on you the members to bail them out. How much more can you the members take of this blatant abuse? Is it not about time they got their house in order and start respecting their members?

tax cartoon

If anything similar has happened to you, Inside Timeshare would like to hear from you, we will publish the information to inform others.

High Court Action and RCI: Update.

The RCI High Court Action is underway, the Financial Times published a story by Jane Croft outlining the history over the case. (see link below).

 

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/319c5804-1b7d-11e6-a7bc-ee846770ec15.html#axzz49Swb0kAw

edwincoe

As we previously stated this action is being conducted on behalf of Four RCI members by Edwin Coe LLP, another 483 members are also part of this case. They alledge that RCI has skimmed off weeks from the exchange inventory, thus depriving members the exchanges they had been promised when signing up to the RCI exchange system.

 

RCI which is part of the American Wyndham Worldwide hospitality company, has since it was founded in 1974 been the major timeshare exchange system. It allows timeshare owners to bank and exchange their resorts for others worldwide, thus increasing the number of locations owners can choose from.

 

We stated in a previous article http://insidetimeshare.com/rci-action-update/ this case follows one taken in the U.S. The members stated that they were unable to get the exchanges they requested or were promised when they joined the exchange group, they alledge that RCI had been renting out the weeks in the inventory to non members for profit. Members pay a fee to join and a yearly membership fee, they also pay for the exchanges, there is also a system of bonus weeks.

rcilogo

Bonus weeks are offered to members in order fill unused weeks in the inventory, these weeks are those that have not been booked, so are available to be used. Typically they will be offered as last minute deals, not unlike those offered by high street travel agents in order to clear remaining inventory. This in itself is good as it does allow the resorts to have a flow of guests as well as giving owners extra holidays.

 

The QC representing RCI Charles Graham, stated in his opening that the allegations of skimming were unfounded, because of the advantages of the “open exchange system”. RCI in a written statement stated that they were entitled to use members timeshares as they saw fit. Apparently this is due to a clause in the contract referred to as “ Permitted use”. Well I am not sure what this all means, so we will have to wait for the legal eagles to conclude their arguments.

 

If the members succeed in this case it may just open up the flood gate to more litigation, again this is another example of an industry being brought into disrepute. We have said it before, they only have themselves to blame, rather than look after the owners/members they seek only profit. We are not saying that making a profit is wrong, but at the expense of their own clients it does seem to be a tad unethical.

flood gate

Inside Timeshare will keep you up to date as the news comes in, so watch this space.

 

If you have any news or information about any company, or have had a problem and would like to share this with others, Inside Timeshare would like to hear from you. Contact us through the comments section and we will get back to you for further information. Inside Timeshare exists to keep you the owner’s informed and up to date. You will not get this information from your own timeshare companies, they want you to stay in the dark.

A Short History of Timeshare

The story of timeshare is rather vague, although it is generally credited to a French developer Paul Doumier. His company The Société des Grands Travaux de Marseille developed ski resorts in the French alps. He coined the phrase “It is cheaper to own the hotel than rent the room”, this became the company slogan and it attracted many buyers. Doumier began marketing his concept between 1964 and 68, primarily with the resort in the alps.

 

Over the border in Switzerland another company developed their own timeshare business, this was Hapimag, short for Hotel und Appartementhaus Immobilien Anlage AG, and was created in 1963. The owners Alexander Nette and Guido Fenngli began buying their first resorts, these primarily were in Italy, Spain and Switzerland. Hapimag marketed their timeshare on a right to use basis rather than on deeded ownership.

hapimag

Hapimag is still going strong today with around 60 resorts, spanning Europe, North Africa, Turkey and Florida. They are considered to be of a high standard with Hapimags own shops and fitness areas. They also have a very good reputation for their child care and activities. Strangely enough they have never affiliated with the major exchange companies and are considered one of the largest independent timeshare companies.

 

In 1969 the first timeshare resort in America was opened in Hawaii at Kauai Kailani on Kauai. The founders of the company Vacation International, Bob Burns and Bob Ringenburg, sold their weeks in 40 year increments and also developed the first points system.

disney

Florida was next and was one of the first states in continental America to develop timeshare in the early 1970´s. The Californian company Innisfree was next, they were the first to sell deeded timeshare. Around 1973 they in partnership with Hyatt had their first development at Lake Tahoe in California. It was here that the term timeshare was first used to describe vacation time purchased from a resort. When Innisfree used the word timeshare on an application to the Californian Department of Real Estate, the popularity of the term increased, it was then used on all promotional materials.

hilton

Around 1974 RCI was founded, the husband and wife team saw a need for owners to be able to exchange with owners from other resorts, which increased the popularity of the concept. No longer were you tied to the resort you purchased. RCI has since become the largest of the exchange companies and has offices on every continent. They are also part of the Wyndham group.

 

From the late 1970´s and into the 80´s timeshare development increased, with massive building programs worldwide. Spain and Portugal were probably the main areas for these developments.

marriott

Since the start many companies have become involved in timeshare, some good some bad. Major companies such as Disney, Marriott, Hilton and Hyatt have helped improve the image of the product. They offer some of the best resort around the world and also have the benefit of being among the largest hotel chains.

In 2007 or thereabouts the famous holiday camp company Butlins developed a timeshare product at their Minehead resort in Somerset. They offered a points system called Blueskies, which had a lifespan of 30 years as opposed to the perpetuity contract most companies were selling. Members were not limited to Minehead, they could also use the points at other Butlins resorts or even use the exchange system with RCI. Butlins has certainly come along way from it´s Hi De Hi image.

butlins

With companies such as the ones mentioned here timeshare can be a good product, it is just a shame that some companies involved in the industry have given it a bad reputation. Again it is a question of oversight and regulation. If the right model is used there would not be the problems associated with the industry.

 

I hope that this article has given a small insight into the history of timeshare, it has been quite fun looking for the information and answered many of the questions I had. There have over the years been many stories as to how it started, Most of the sources I located all agreed to this version.

 

If you have any questions about timeshare you can contact Inside Timeshare via the comments section.

The privileged Club Winding Down.

It has been announced that The Privileged Club Limited, Company Registration Number 08451066, has commenced winding up procedures. This began on 14 April 2016.

 

The company has gone into voluntary liquidation and the matter is being dealt with by:

 

Andrew Fender

Sanderlings, Sanderlings House, Springbrook lane, Earlswood Solihull. B94 5SG.

 

It is believed the reason for this winding up is the ill health of the Director and Secretary Mr Gary Woodward.

 

If you are a member and have not received any notification of these events please contact Andrew Fender on the above address.

 

At present it is not known what will happen to the club and its members, as more information comes in it will be published here.

 

Inside Timeshare wishes Mr Woodward all the best and hope he makes a full recovery. If you are a member and have any information which you would like to share with others about the situation, contact Inside Timeshare, so we can publish it and keep others informed.

Using a Genuine Companies Name.

As we have warned before there are many companies out there purporting to be legal entities. Some of these will also use names the same or similar to reputable firms in the UK, one such law firm that this has happened to is Access Legal. This is the trading name of Shoosmiths LLP, a genuine law firm that appears to specialise in medical cases.

 

Around three years ago Inside Timeshare contacted this company to verify if they were the same as the Access Legal Services contacting timeshare owners. The answer at the time was they were not. Again Inside Timeshare has been in contact with them and again verified they do not work on timeshare or timeshare related products.

 

It would appear that either the original Access Legal Services supposedly registered in Gibralter but with offices on the Costa del Sol have reappeared or another group is using the name. At present no information about them has been found, although looking at the old research they were linked to several entities which have been the subject of various enquiries and newspaper articles and are still in existence. Until the information is proven these other companies will not be named, when this becomes clear we will publish the results.

bogus law

There is a good reason for companies using the name of someone else, when you the consumer checks on the internet, most likely the first name to come on the search will be the genuine company. Most people will see this as proof they are talking to a genuine company, most will not make any other checks. It is all designed to fool the general public. As we have stated before checking a company’s validity further is more than just checking their website.

 

If you have had any contact recently from a company such as this and want any help in checking them Inside Timeshare is here to help and guide you through this minefield.

weekend

Debit Cards and Chargeback.

Following on from the previous article on Section 75, there is another tool that can be useful, this is called Chargeback.

 

It is used mainly for transactions made by debit card, although it can be used for credit cards where the amount is less than the £100 needed for Section 75. Unlike the system for credit cards this scheme is not law, it is a voluntary scheme set up by the banks themselves. It also has a 120 day time limit, so if you buy today and the goods are faulty the 120 days starts then.

 

If you book a flight and the airline subsequently goes out of business the 120 days will start from the point your flight should have left, unless you were informed by the airline that they would not be able fulfil their obligation. In this instance the time would start from when you were informed.

 

Most claims using chargeback tend to be for faulty goods, goods not being delivered, services not being provided or the company has gone bust.

debitcards

If your bank refuses the chargeback claim you have six months to appeal to the Ombudsman. The rules that govern chargeback may vary from bank to bank, so you will need to check with your card provider on how they operate the system.

 

Although it can be useful to have this facility using a credit card is the much safer option, at least it is covered in law and not a voluntary scheme. Follow the links below for more detailed information on this scheme. As usual the two sites are ones we have highlighted before.

 

http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/shopping/visa-mastercard-chargeback

 

http://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/advice/how-do-i-use-chargeback

 

If you require any information or want to know how to find it Inside Timeshare is here to help. Contact us through the comments section.

Claiming Money Back From Your Credit Card.

There is a little tool that many people can use to get money back from companies they have paid, then never received the goods or services paid for. It is called Section 75 of The Credit Consumer Act 1974.

 

The law was put into place as protection for the consumer, it is not a case that your credit provider is doing you a favour, they are equally liable for the money if anything goes wrong. There are certain rules that govern this, provided you have paid using your credit card any sum over £100 you are covered for the full amount up to £30,000, even if you paid the balance by cheque or transfer.

 

Where I have seen this has been mainly in the holiday ownership area, mostly with resale companies. How many of you have paid a company to sell your timeshare only to find that in a year’s time they have disappeared?

closed

 

If this is the case you can claim this back from your credit card company, as they are  “jointly and severally liable”. The criteria for this claim is you have never received the goods or services promised, i.e. the sale of your timeshare. The company is no longer around or has gone into liquidation and or it was a fraudulent transaction under timeshare directives. This last point is using the EU Timeshare Directives about resale companies taking upfront fees, this is not allowed, the same as taking deposits within the cooling off period.

 

Many companies get around this by saying it is a marketing fee, in order to put your timeshare on a higher profile. Even RDO & TATOC members use this. To me it is still taking upfront fees to sell your timeshare. But this is obviously a point for those with legal brains to argue. At the end of the day there is no resale market, just look on ebay, people cannot even give them away.

 

Another area that section 75 has been successful, is with the various holiday clubs that have been around. Several years ago Incentive leisure Group / DWVC and Club Class were taken out of business by the authorities in the UK. Many people had paid thousands to join these so called clubs with the view of being free from their timeshare and maintenance.

Keep Reading