These are just a few of the comments many people have expressed when trying to sort out their timeshare problems. The answer I tend to give is no you´re not stupid or daft, I even know of barristers and senior police officers who have been taken in.
There are several things you have to remember, you were most likely on holiday in a foreign country, it was hot, you were relaxed and probably had a drink. The next stage, the fast talking lad or lovely young lady with the scratch card that stopped you on the street (OPC). The excitement they showed when you win the “Star Prize”, that’s infectious. If you have young children with you the scratch card may have been given to them, not to forget the free water park tickets, so you feel obliged to go so as not to upset the kids!
Next you get into a taxi with this perfect stranger and whisked away to an unknown destination, what was that we tell our kids? Don’t talk with or go with strangers! Then we go ahead and do it. All the time the non stop chatter from the OPC, how you are his first ever winner. Forget the fact everyone’s a star prize winner.
Well it depends on where you are and what scheme you have entered into. In the United States Fractional is regulated by Real Estate laws.
Generally a property is divided up into say Four, with owners each having 3 months use. These properties may be Freehold or Leasehold with either 50 or 99 year leases. In the US the value of these properties tend to follow the values of the property market. It gives the owners a quality holiday home without laying out for a second home. These properties also tend to be on managed resorts or condominiums, so maintenance fees are usually applicable. The positive side to this is when it is time to give it up, it can be sold and if the market value has increased then thank you I make a profit.
The problem now comes with Europe, Fractional Ownership is governed by Timeshare law. It is the resorts that are marketing it, Club la Costa and Diamond being the biggest. So if it is subject to Timeshare laws, then obviously deposits paid within the 14 day cooling off period applies, as does the selling of it as an investment.
During my research I have spoken to many people who have purchased Fractional, all have told me the same thing. They purchased to be rid of their timeshare, and the only way was to take on a fractional, owning several weeks for periods starting at 5 years up to around 20 years. At the end of this period the property would be sold and they would reap the rewards, then being free from their timeshares. Well to me this smacks of what a friend described as “A Pig In A Dress”.
The property is going to be sold, but all fractional owners must agree. Did they all buy at the same time and for the same period?
If not how can any agreement be reached, also who has the controlling shares?
Somehow I cannot see the resorts selling off all the available Fractions, thus losing control.
So what happens at the end of this period, does the consumer revert back to their original timeshare?
This scheme is still in its infancy in Europe, it looks and sounds great with the slick, smooth, fast talking sales rep. But it does look as though it is not property you are buying but the Right of Use. In other words it seems that it is just another way of selling Timeshare. We have already seen another term take over from that dreaded word, Holiday Ownership.
Is this just another scheme like points or floating weeks to fleece you of your hard earned money?
Only you the consumer can answer that, unfortunately by the time you actually find out you may be the loser of thousands.
If you have been to a fractional presentation or have purchased, Inside Timeshare would like to hear your story and your views. Even if you are happy with your purchase I am willing to publish your comments, unlike many other blogs Inside Timeshare looks for balance.
Further to the posts published on Inside Timeshare (16th March 2016) with regards to Alberto Garcia leaving Mindtimeshare and the RDO, it appears that the assumptions as to the reason may have been correct. In the end Alberto Garcia is indirectly to blame for the growth in the claims sector against timeshare. His posts attacking legitimate companies backfired, with many people realising he was defending the undefendable.
We know the industry has only itself to blame for its woes, but they employed him to act as “Spin Doctor”, now they are reaping the whirlwind. As we have seen with politics employing spin to hide the truth, it will always get you in the end.
Further to this it appears that he has a new post with Holiday Club Finland. It is believed this new job involves ensuring OPC´s and sales staff dissociate themselves with sending clients to the claims companies. Maybe even getting them to deny anything is going on, or that everything that is being sold is legal and above board.
We know that Calvin Lucock the CEO, sent out a letter to members stating that their contracts were legal and valid. It also stated that very few cases have been won and any litigation could cost the member heavily in fees to cover the cost of these companies defending themselves. More scare tactics!
Is this another damage limitation exercise, designed to stop consumers from pursuing any action? After all if the RDO and these companies had taken notice of the regulations in the first place, consumers would not have the need to claim for misselling or misrepresentation. The EU Directives were put into place to protect both parties. Now we know that the RDO lobbied the EU heavily when these regulations were being discussed, but that was for the industries benefit not you the consumer.
Could it be Alberto Garcia is himself trying to repair the damage caused by his actions?
Again time will tell, as we find out more it will be published here, informing you the owners of events as they happen. The truth will come out in the end, it always does!