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Slaley Hall Lodges: UK Timeshare Owners Up in Arms

Welcome to the Wednesday edition of Inside Timeshare, today we bring you news from the UK and a shocking move by Seasons Holidays Plc. In this article which has been written in partnership with our friends from the TCA, we have a quick look at what is happening and how it is going to affect owners. This move by Seasons has been on the cards for quite some time, beginning with a scheme for owners to “relinquish” their membership, but all is not as it seems.

Around a year ago the TCA and Inside Timeshare became aware of a scheme hatched by Seasons for lodge owners to relinquish their ownership in exchange for a sum ranging from £7,000 to £10,000, on the surface, it looks like it could be a good offer, but, there is always a but, Seasons were not offering to pay this sum to the owners, quite the reverse, lodge owners had to pay this sum! In exchange, all future maintenance fees were waived and “free” holidays over a limited period.

Well, I’m not sure about you but why should the “owners” pay, just to relinquish, get all future maintenance waived and “FREE” holidays for a “LIMITED” period?

Sounds like a bit of a rip-off to me.

Slaley Hall Lodges

Apparently from the information that has been received since that “offer” was made, Seasons have reduced this sum to £1000, this shows how desperate they are to “get rid” of the timeshare owners. Why not just offer to “buy back” the weeks from the owners, after all, they are the ones who paid thousands in the first place and years of maintenance fees to keep the resort running.

So what is all this about I hear you ask?

Pure and simple, the directors of Seasons Holidays Plc, Barry and Shirley Hurley, are proposing to wind up the club, this means all those owners who paid thousands for the “right” to holiday at Slaley Hall lose everything. Their contracts for their timeshare are cancelled at the drop of a hat. Now that is strange, try handing back any timeshare and they don’t want it, you can’t get out!

As with most timeshares, the club has a committee and a constitution, this was created to “protect” lodge owners, Helen Knight who is on the committee as an independent member explains:

“There are seven voting members on the committee,” clarifies Helen 62, a retired teacher from Lancashire. “Deliberately an odd number to protect owners. The constitution allows Seasons to control three of the seven committee positions with four for independent owners. This balance is designed to safeguard owners’ interests from nefarious tactics by management companies or other entities.”

“However, Barry and Sharon Hurley, directors of Seasons Holidays PLC, appear to have got around this by their son, Jack Hurley, becoming a lodge owner. Seasons then used the timeshare weeks it owns to block vote Jack onto the committee as one of the 4 ‘independent’ owners.  After that, they installed him as chairman of the committee. And now Seasons has announced that it is motioning to dissolve the owners club and its constitution. It has also advised that if this is carried, then all lodge assets will be liquidated.”

Helen continues,

“basically, if Jack Hurley votes the way we assume he will (in his parents’ interest), then the club will be terminated and everyone who paid tens of thousands of pounds for a lifetime of holidays will be left with nothing.”

“Seasons has not organised the club AGM (Annual General Meeting) as is required in the constitution. Instead they have requisitioned an SGM (Special General Meeting) instead”.

“The last AGM in November 2020, which Seasons organised by itself, was by Zoom with all lodge owners muted, including the committee members, so nobody could speak out.”

“My father bought the lease of our lodge just before he died, for myself and my siblings, so that we could have somewhere to meet up once a year and remember both my parents and past happy times. Reminiscence is good for the soul,”

Aerial view of Slaley Hall Lodges, with the beautiful backdrop of Northumberland

It is a fact of “timeshare ownership” that although owners have rights of voting in the running of the club, it is unusual for owners to actually have any control, everything, as we have seen from the example above, it is all stacked in favour of the “management”. Inside Timeshare did run an article back in March 2016, which highlighted this very important problem.

Manipulation of votes by resorts and resort owners

This is not the first time this has happened and we doubt if it will be the last, timeshare in Europe is changing. It is no longer the “very lucrative” trade it once was. Sales have been declining for years, hence the closing of many sales decks over the past 3 to 4 years. The number of owners/members is declining, most are now elderly and there appears to be no “new blood” to take up the decline in income from these fees.

Yet we still see the timeshare companies and management treating those who have kept them in business for many years, being treated as if they are nothing more than a bank account to be milked! (Timeshare owners are known as “cash cows”).

This story is still developing, below is a PDF of the letter sent by The Trustees of the lodges, followed by a link to the TCA article published on My News Desk.

Would you like to know where you stand with your timeshare, did you purchase in Spain after January 1999, is your Spanish contract legal or illegal?

If you would like further information, please use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get back to you.

Start the Week

Welcome to the start of another week with Inside Timeshare, we ended last week with a warning of yet another fake law firm rearing its ugly head, Servicios Legales Barcelona. As we explained, this name has been used to completely confuse any consumer who attempts an internet search, as in Spain it is a general term for “legal services”. One piece of information was the bank account details, a Royal Bank of Scotland account in the name of a private individual. What could be better proof of a scam?

We begin with some news which we came across over the weekend from the US, as we know it is the season for the annual maintenance fee bills, which many owners/members dread each year. The same question is always asked, how much have they increased?

Well, at the moment most don’t know, but one increase in the timeshare owners/members costs has been announced. RCI (Resorts Condominiums International), is increasing their “exchange” fee for next year.

Obviously, this news is from our friends in the US, so at present, we don’t know if this will also apply to European owners/members, we suspect it will.

There are also other fees involved with RCI membership and usage, so it will be interesting to see if any of these change as well.

These links below explain how RCI works and in the second link they also show the other charges that you may encounter.

There also appears to be a lot of discussion on some US forums regarding the Hilton acquisition of Diamond, once again the focus is on the sales agents and what they are telling members in order to “upgrade” them.

It now seems the discussion is gaining ground with Hilton members, unsure of how all this is going to affect them, with reports surrounding sales agents’ tactics beginning to mirror those of Diamond.

Apparently, Hilton may be launching a non-deeded trust-based product, whereas at present they are deeded. This also appears to mimic Diamond products and according to our information will be using “Event of a Lifetime” to up-sell existing members.

As Inside Timeshare receives further information we will be publishing an article on this subject, it may just give our European readers some insight as to what they may expect.

After publishing Friday’s article, late news arrived about another Marriott case, this time it was from the Court of First Instance Number 8 of Palma de Mallorca.

The presiding judge declared two contracts illegal and therefore null & void, ordering MVCI Management and MVCI Holidays to repay the German client a total of 68,262€.

In his sentence, the judge ordered the repayment of 44,870€ for the purchase and also ordered a further 23,262€ in respect of the illegally taken deposits. As we know all the courts are following the Supreme Court ruling on the repayment in double the amount of any illegally taken deposit. The court also awarded the client Legal Interest on the full amount.

The case was prepared and presented on behalf of the client by Canarian Legal Alliance, it now remains to be seen if Marriott deposits this amount with the court without the need for any enforcement proceedings.

Inside Timeshare welcomes your comments & questions regarding any of the articles published, if you also want to know about the validity of any company that has contacted you or you have found, or just want to find out if your contract may be illegal then please use our contact page.

End the Week: Another Fake Law Firm and Court News

Welcome to the end of another week with Inside Timeshare, even though we are not publishing as often as we would like due to personal reasons, the timeshare world continues to move on. Once again another “FAKE” law firm has appeared, this time they claim to be based in Barcelona. We also bring you the latest news from the courts with more defeats for Anfi in the High Court with awards totalling over 200,000€.

We begin with a warning of the latest “FAKE” law firm to materialise, Servicios Legales Barcelona. Not a name that can be checked easily on the internet, the reason is that many law firms in Spain use the term “Servicios Legales” in their advertising and websites.

The Home Page of their website, only a link to send an email.

When making a search the list is almost endless with the first main entries being “Ver Empresas Servicios Legales en Barcelona” and “Empresas de Servicios Legales en Barcelona”, which both translate as: “See Legal Services Companies in Barcelona” and “Legal Services Companies in Barcelona”. These are lists of Bona Fide law firms, in none of these lists do we find a law firm called  “Servicios Legales Barcelona” That fact alone gives cause for concern.

This particular “fake law firm” is using a similar method to convince you the potential victim to pay up.

Grupo Logra, which we highlighted at the end of October, is using a non-existent Official Brexit Form to convince you to pay, (link below). This lot is using what they call The Value Proceed Document, another “official” form that does not exist.

Along with this “official form” is sent an invoice, supposedly from the court, but when you actually see it you can tell it is just a fake and probably a word template. See PDF below courtesy of the TCA.

The amount is £2,450, the invoice does not actually state what this payment is for, which must be paid in “Sterling”, but we suspect it is for “The Value Proceed Document”. The biggest problem is where and who the money has to be transferred.

Now considering that the “invoice” is from a Spanish Court, why is the bank account one with the Royal Bank of Scotland, with the account holder being one Patrick Gaughan?

A Spanish Court with a Scottish bank account in the name of a private individual who does not even have a Spanish name, come on, if that alone does not set your alarm bells ringing, what will?

Once again, this highlights how very careful and meticulous you must be before engaging with any company, especially in timeshare, that cold calls you with news of winning a court case of which you had no knowledge, or, that a court has awarded you as a “victim of fraud” a significant amount of money.

If you receive a call out of the blue with any news such as this then please do your homework first. If you require any help in determining the authenticity of the call, then please use our contact page and let us know.

Moving on to the High Court of Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, another three appeals by Anfi have been once again dismissed and rejected by the High Court Judges.

All three cases were originally heard at the Courts of First Instance of San Bartolomé de Tirajana, where the courts ruled the contracts null and void plus the return of the full purchase price.

The first case was also appealed by the client’s lawyers as the initial ruling did not take into account the payment of double any payments made illegally during the statutory cooling-off period. In this case, the appeal judges ruled a further payment of 15,861€ in respect of illegally paid deposits. This brought the clients total payment to 40,016€ plus legal interest and costs.

The second appeal which was dismissed and the original sentence endorsed, the clients were awarded 72,000€ plus a further 40,155€ for illegally taken deposits. This brings the total award to 112,115€ plus legal interest and costs.

In the third case, the original sentence ordered Anfi to repay the client 65,963€ plus legal interest and costs. This amount included double the amount taken as an illegal deposit, which came to 28,000€.

The three clients who hail from England, Norway and Germany respectively, will now have their cases filed with the Mercantile Court to be added to the growing list of creditors. These cases were prepared and executed by Lawyers of Canarian Legal Alliance, the proverbial pain in Anfi’s backside.

The Anfi Resort, the dream of Bjorn Lyng

It should also be pointed out, the one thing we have noticed is the amounts paid by our Norwegian friends for their “membership” to Anfi, they do seem to have paid and purchased more than others. We suspect this is due to the “loyalty and trust” given to Anfi by the Norwegians because of Bjorn Lyng. A trust that has been well and truly destroyed by the controlling group of Sanatana Cazorla.

If you purchased a timeshare membership in Spain since January 1999, you may have an illegal contract, if you would like confirmation if this is so and what your legal rights are, please use our contact page and inside Timeshare will get back to you.

That is all for this week, have a great weekend and remember beware the cold callers and do your “HOMEWORK” first.