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Another Warning to Timeshare Owners

It has just come to the attention of Inside Timeshare of yet another bogus company. This has come from Citizens Advice Bureau Spain

and can be found at the following link.

http://citizensadvice.org.es/yet-another-timeshare-scam/

It concerns a company cold calling timeshare owners going by the name of Malaga International Services, claiming to be translators for the Malaga Courts. The call comes from a Grace Stead, who claims that a substantial amount has been awarded by the courts to timeshare owners. They claim this follows a case in which their timeshare company has been prosecuted for fraud and found guilty. In order to claim this money, the person needs to deposit 10% of the awarded amount into a bank account, in order to pay the courts, then the money will be released.

Beware this is not how the courts or the system operates, if you have not instigated any legal proceedings yourself, or if you have not been informed by any official channels then there is no money being awarded.

Luckily the lady who received this call was advised by her husband to contact Citizens Advice Bureau Spain, before she went to the bank.

Further information will be forthcoming about this, I am waiting for information from this organisation who do have the telephone numbers and bank account details. Watch this space.

If you have had any calls such as this by this company or any other Inside Timeshare would like to hear from you. We will look into it for you and publish our findings to warn others.

A New Member to EGTBW

Inside Timeshare is proud to announce that it has been invited to become a member of the prestigious trade body EGTBW. This is the European Guild of Timeshare Blog Writers, it is affiliated to the IATBWG, the International Association of Timeshare Blog Writers Guilds.

 

Becoming a member means that Inside Timeshare must adhere to the Code of Conduct and Ethics of this Organisation.

 

  1. Members must not attack, make detrimental comments or otherwise demean any organisation that is a member or affiliated to EGTBW or IATBWG.
  2. Members must adhere to the laws of the EU, or the country of registration. Unless they can get away with it.
  3. The EGTBW and IATBWG will not mediate in any dispute between a member and non-members.
  4. If any organisation or entity has a complaint about a member of this organisation it must be taken directly to the member concerned.
  5. Any member may lie or spread false information about any non-member, citing freedom of speech and expression.
  6. If any action is taken against a member, both organisations will fully support that member, no matter what it has done wrong.
  7. Members may display both the EGTBW and IATBWG logos on all promotional material, correspondence and websites.

This Logo is a sign of quality and is a kite mark of excellence.

 

So there we have it Inside Timeshare has paid its £20,000 a year membership fee for the full protection and backup of these prestigious organisations. It now means we can do what the hell we like, so there!

 

If this was not a joke it would be farcical but unfortunately this is all too real in timeshare. On a daily basis we see owners and members being treated in the most disrespectful manner, we have also seen numerous court cases against the timeshare industry for breaking legislation.

 

There is an organisation that is supposed to be the trade body of this industry The RDO, but it is its own members that are breaking the rules. What do they do about it? Not a sausage.

rdo-logo

This organisations own code of conduct states that members should adhere to any legislation and laws regarding the sale of timeshare. Yet we see illegal contracts still being sold, deposits being taken on the day, all in breach of EU Directives which are supposed to be in each member state’s laws.

Keep Reading

Holiday Packs: What Are They?

A question that has been asked is what is a Holiday Pack and is it subject to timeshare laws? There is no simple answer to this, it appears that these are not subject to the regulations set down for timeshare and discount holiday clubs. It would seem that this depends on which company you are dealing with.

 

Many timeshare companies have used packs as a last resort, usually when the client does not want to purchase a timeshare or cannot afford it at that time. These were known as exit packs, many sales staff called them the try before you buy option.

holiday packs

Basically the pack consists of around 5 weeks of holidays which must be used in 36 months. Usually the first two weeks are taken at the resort of purchase, it gives the purchaser a taste of the standards in timeshare resorts. The other weeks can be taken from the inventory available.

The charge for these holiday packs are around the £4000 mark, but again this varies from company to company. This is paid for either on the day, or a deposit is taken and the balance paid on the customer’s return home. As we know, for timeshare or holiday clubs a deposit within the 14 day cooling off period is illegal, so how do these companies get away with it?

Most of the ones I have come across have the duration below 36 months usually 35, this it would seem circumvents the timeshare laws. Also these are holidays paid for in advance and can be booked at anytime within the period specified. So in effect, the company can claim they are acting as a travel agent thereby they do not come within the scope of the timeshare directives.

 

It must also be noted that in many instances these holidays come with the provision of attending a sales presentation. In other words the opportunity to sell you another product.

 

As far as cost is concerned, you must also take into account that the price is for accommodation only, you still have to add the cost of flights and then what it will cost in meals and drinks. So they may not actually be cost effective for everyone. Granted, most timeshare resorts are of a higher standard than many offered by high street travel agents. But today with the internet, you may find the same resorts offered by online booking companies at a cheaper price, some tour operators such as Thomson/Tui also have deals with many of these resorts.

travel-agency-clipart

So it pays to do your homework, unfortunately this may not be possible while on holiday. Many of these offers of holiday packs follow the old timeshare system of only available on the day. The only advice is if you don´t feel right don’t buy.

 

If you have purchased one of these holiday packs Inside Timeshare would like to share your experiences with other readers, whether it be good or bad. In This way others will get the information they need to make decisions to buy or not to buy.

 

The Villacana Story: A Repeat of Past Deeds.

The world of timeshare is full of controversy, from perpetuity contracts to owners being forced to continue paying maintenance fees even when unable to do so due to age etc. One of these is the ongoing argument between MacDonald Resorts and various owners groups, the most recent being Villacana.

villacana

There is an ongoing argument between these two parties that has been running for several years, this has resulted in the MacDonalds Resorts Legal Action Group, MRLAG. This has been set up to fight the proposals by MacDonald Resorts to transfer all fixed week fixed apartment owners to floating weeks. Now this does seem surprising as floating weeks have been declared illegal in Spain.

 

So why are the owners against this, apart from floating being illegal?

 

It would seem it is about control. They have seen this from other resorts where this was pushed through. As fixed week fixed apartment owners they have a say in the running of the resort, after all they are technically the owners. When a company like MacDonalds changes to floating weeks they basically become the owners of the fixed weeks and apartments, which then gives them control.

mcdonaldsresortlogo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With many of the other resorts where this has happened, the main argument was that the owners did not want to go ahead with the proposal. But the votes have not gone their way, many owners complaining that MacDonalds received the necessary vote because they controlled any vote not cast by a member, either in person or by proxy. Not to forget that the resort developers control any votes for weeks not sold. (see previous article)

Manipulation of votes by resorts and resort owners

The other point in this argument is that the floating weeks do not guarantee a holiday as they are subject to availability. Also MacDonalds as the controlling owners have the right to sell or rent these weeks as they see fit, even to non members, and at the member’s expense, plus while still enjoying your maintenance fees.

 

Then we have the problem of getting out of your timeshare, we all know that there is no resale market. But MacDonalds offer what can be described as a derisory solution. Every two years offering a limited number to hand back their timeshare, but at the cost of 4 years maintenance.

 

The TCA have been highlighting this for some time with regular updates.

 

So what of TATOC in all of this?tatoc logo

 

Well as we know TATOC is supposed to represent the timeshare owners committees, in other words you. But as we have seen they are throwing their full weight behind the MacDonalds Proposal. For those of you who are not in the know, TATOC receive the bulk of their funding from the timeshare industry, such as MacDonalds Resorts who pay annual fees to be “ACREDITED” by TATOC.

 

Somehow I don’t think this is actually in the interests of you the owners / members. I agree that the owners committees should have good relations with the resort developer, but this should be on an equal partnership. After all it is your money that is paying for it and keeping the resorts open and maintained.

 

It certainly seems that it is time for new organisations and associations to be set up to serve your interests, as well as a new and non industry related body to oversee the developers and resorts. So get rid of TATOC and The RDO, then you may at last have some say as well as justice.

 

If you have any questions or thoughts on this subject Inside Timeshare would be pleased to hear from you. If you want any information regarding any timeshare matter we will try to answer it, if we don´t know we will find it out.

 

Supreme Court Rulings: Simply Explained.

We have seen many articles about the recent Supreme Court Rulings on timeshare, but what are they?

 

Firstly the taking of deposits within the 14 day cooling off period has been declared illegal, it has also been clarified that this includes those taken by a third party. Many companies used this method to get round the EU Directives which stated that no deposit was to be taken, many had the deposit paid to a trust company, thereby being able to state that they did not take deposits.

 

Why were deposits taken within this period outlawed?

 

Many of us are familiar with paying deposits, there are many instances where this is done. For instance, when booking a table in a restaurant for a large party a deposit is usually required. This tends to be non-refundable if you don´t turn up or cancel with reasonable notice. Most of us would accept this as we have initiated the contract with the restaurant.

 

Another example is booking a holiday with the local high street travel agent, we pay them a deposit as a sign that we will fulfil our commitment to complete the booking. If we cancel then the deposit is again non-refundable.

travel

So why is the taking of a deposit for timeshare or related products illegal?

Keep Reading

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

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.

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