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Timeshare Industry Denies the Truth

Today we follow up on our Tuesday Slot article European Resort Owners Coalition & Misinformation, with the timeshare industries denial of what their own members are doing, but concentrating on misleading “owners” in an attempt to stem the tide of increased litigation. Many comments received ask the same question, if Anfi is a member of the RDO, why are they not doing something about them? Inside Timeshare has asked this question many times as the evidence which we have seen published not just here but in all the major Spanish newspapers as well as on Spanish television news, points to some very disturbing tactics which go against the Code of Conduct of that organization.

To recap, the RDO Code of Conduct, Part I, Chapter 3, Paragraph 3.5 actually states:

“To comply with all laws, which apply to Member’s, business in the jurisdiction in which the Member operates.”

Yet it appears that Anfi is in flagrant breach of this particular section, as since the timeshare law came into force in January 1999, Anfi continued to sell contracts which breached those laws. It is only recently that they have attempted to issue new contracts which on the surface comply with the law.

But as we have seen, it is the underhand tactics which considering the current situation on travel and the inability to use their weeks, “members” are being “blackmailed” into signing the contracts.

Inside Timeshare has reported on this in previous articles, in short, any member who wishes to save their unused week and receive a “voucher” for use in the future, must sign the new contract first. You don’t sign, you lose the week even though you have paid the maintenance. You also lose your legal rights if you wish to take any legal action against the original contract.

Again, we hear nothing from the trade body, the RDO or the “representatives” for “owners”, EUROC on this matter!

This though is just a minor transgression compared to the tactics they have employed in order to avoid paying clients what the courts have ordered.

It has been published many times on these pages that Anfi continues to lodge appeals with the High Court in order to delay proceedings, they have also used the “excuse” that they do not have the money to pay out!

Yet they seem to have plenty of money to launch appeals at the High Court against the rulings of the Court of First Instance!

It has also been reported on all the mainstream media that Anfi is under investigation by the Provincial Prosecutors Office of Gran Canaria, an investigation which may ultimately lead to “criminal charges”.

The investigation not only focuses on “Punishable Insolvency”, which to briefly explain means that due to the movement of funds from the accounts of the “convicted” companies (Anfi Sales SL & Anfi Resorts SL) to other Anfi accounts, leaves them technically insolvent. Thereby they are unable to pay the amounts so ordered by the courts, an insolvent company cannot pay its debts!

After all, we are seeing many other timeshare companies placing their “sales” branches into liquidation to avoid further litigation, despite them giving other reasons. Surely this is a criminal act, yet we hear nothing from the trade body?

Could Anfi be contemplating liquidating the companies involved in these lawsuits to avoid further “convictions”, a move which could be seen as “criminal”?

Could this be in store for Anfi Directors?

The Anfi investigation is also looking at the use of funds paid by members by way of annual maintenance fees. It appears that these funds are also being moved around different accounts to avoid court-ordered embargoes.

One of the possible charges is “Frustration in the execution of sentences” ( another possible criminal charge), due to the Anfi tactic of “avoiding” payments which they are obliged to do so by order of the courts. Inside Timeshare would call this a blatant “contempt of court”!

Yet with all these court cases, the criminal investigation for the illegal movement of funds in order to appear “insolvent” we hear nothing from the industry trade body the RDO, EUROC, Timeshare Task Force or from Timeshare Business Check. These all claim to “protect the consumer”.

One of their own members is flagrantly breaching not only Spanish law but also the RDO “code of conduct” yet they focus on informing “consumers” it is the law firms bringing the cases that are in the wrong. Informing “consumers” of “legislation” which does not exist, such as “it is illegal to take upfront legal fees”. That the courts, including the Supreme Court, have wrongly interpreted the law, that the law firms bringing these cases are “misleading” clients into false litigation.

Our understanding of a “Trade Body” is to regulate members of a particular industry to ensure they all operate in an ethical manner, to represent these members as one voice and ensure that the “industry” is presented in a good light. They should also be ensuring that “consumers” are protected from any wrong those members may do, assisting in resolving any issue.

They should also be sanctioning any member which does not comply with any legislation or breaks any of the “codes of conduct or ethics” that may be in place.

Is the RDO or any other organisation within the timeshare industry doing this?

Inside Timeshare believes not, but we leave you the reader to decide for yourselves.

Previous articles on this topic along with links to news reports.

TVE 1 News report on Anfi Investigation

Previous Inside Timeshare articles

https://insidetimeshare.com/breaking-news-prosecutors-office-denounces-anfi/

https://insidetimeshare.com/the-latest-news-in-brief-azure-services-limited-in-liquidation-and-anfi-funds-frozen/

https://insidetimeshare.com/years-end-not-a-good-one-for-anfi/

Previous articles published by El Diario.

Embargos

Original Spanish

https://www.eldiario.es/canariasahora/tribunales/Fiscalia-denuncia-Anfi-ocultar-embargos_0_924258398.html?fbclid=IwAR2RFYXoewmBTTWBITZLZcXgTe-nSnEmsBgkz04DVFTqzrXm9czh6dqsx5Y

English Translation.

https://translate.google.es/translate?hl=en&tab=wT1&authuser=0&sl=es&tl=en&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.eldiario.es%2Fcanariasahora%2Ftribunales%2FFiscalia-denuncia-Anfi-ocultar-embargos_0_924258398.html

Clients Filing against Anfi Debts

Original Spanish

https://www.eldiario.es/canariasahora/tribunales/Anfi-Timesharing-Condenas-Justicia-Deudas_0_922158442.html

English Translation

https://translate.google.es/translate?hl=en&tab=wT1&authuser=0&sl=es&tl=en&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.eldiario.es%2Fcanariasahora%2Ftribunales%2FAnfi-Timesharing-Condenas-Justicia-Deudas_0_922158442.html

Evading Debt

Original Spanish

https://www.eldiario.es/canariasahora/tribunales/exclientes-lider-europeo-timesharing-denuncian-nuevas-maniobras-empresa-eludir-pago-condenas_1_6623401.html?fbclid=IwAR0WC-uPDj_KNYccII5LEX4jus_6UYCRyMJUgtMKBX52tjLOpRNmgQ-ar4k

English

https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&u=https://www.eldiario.es/canariasahora/tribunales/exclientes-lider-europeo-timesharing-denuncian-nuevas-maniobras-empresa-eludir-pago-condenas_1_6623401.html?fbclid%3DIwAR0WC-uPDj_KNYccII5LEX4jus_6UYCRyMJUgtMKBX52tjLOpRNmgQ-ar4k

Danish

https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=&sl=auto&tl=da&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.eldiario.es%2Fcanariasahora%2Ftribunales%2Fexclientes-lider-europeo-timesharing-denuncian-nuevas-maniobras-empresa-eludir-pago-condenas_1_6623401.html%3Ffbclid%3DIwAR0WC-uPDj_KNYccII5LEX4jus_6UYCRyMJUgtMKBX52tjLOpRNmgQ-ar4k

German

https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=&sl=auto&tl=de&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.eldiario.es%2Fcanariasahora%2Ftribunales%2Fexclientes-lider-europeo-timesharing-denuncian-nuevas-maniobras-empresa-eludir-pago-condenas_1_6623401.html%3Ffbclid%3DIwAR0WC-uPDj_KNYccII5LEX4jus_6UYCRyMJUgtMKBX52tjLOpRNmgQ-ar4k

Finish

https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=&sl=auto&tl=fi&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.eldiario.es%2Fcanariasahora%2Ftribunales%2Fexclientes-lider-europeo-timesharing-denuncian-nuevas-maniobras-empresa-eludir-pago-condenas_1_6623401.html%3Ffbclid%3DIwAR0WC-uPDj_KNYccII5LEX4jus_6UYCRyMJUgtMKBX52tjLOpRNmgQ-ar4k

Norwegian

https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=&sl=auto&tl=no&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.eldiario.es%2Fcanariasahora%2Ftribunales%2Fexclientes-lider-europeo-timesharing-denuncian-nuevas-maniobras-empresa-eludir-pago-condenas_1_6623401.html%3Ffbclid%3DIwAR0WC-uPDj_KNYccII5LEX4jus_6UYCRyMJUgtMKBX52tjLOpRNmgQ-ar4k

Swedish

https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=&sl=auto&tl=sv&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.eldiario.es%2Fcanariasahora%2Ftribunales%2Fexclientes-lider-europeo-timesharing-denuncian-nuevas-maniobras-empresa-eludir-pago-condenas_1_6623401.html%3Ffbclid%3DIwAR0WC-uPDj_KNYccII5LEX4jus_6UYCRyMJUgtMKBX52tjLOpRNmgQ-ar4k

A New Member to EGTBW (Re-published)

Yesterday we published an article which highlighted yet another Anfi defeat in the High Court, it then went on to ask the question, Why the RDO allows its members to continue to flout the law and yet does nothing to sanction them, despite the fact they are also ignoring the “Code of Conduct” of their membership to that organisation. Back in June 2016 we published the article “A New Member to EGTBW”, which has been republished several times. Although a “Spoof” article with the “Trade Body” being made up it certainly reinforces the question of what are the RDO there for? Today we re-publish the article with a couple of changes as it does go into a little more detail. But first, we begin with a very significant victory in the Spanish Courts.

The case involves a Spanish consumer who purchased a timeshare membership with Club la Costa at their Malaga resort, all well and good you might say, they are covered by the Spanish timeshare laws. Unfortunately this was not to be the case which then resulted in an epic legal battle, one which we have highlighted before, it covers Club la Costa’s insistence that the Spanish Courts do not have jurisdiction over their contracts.

CLC insist that all their contracts, which have the following clause, are subject to UK Law and the Jurisdiction of UK courts, this contention has been the subject of many cases which the High Court of Malaga has rejected. They have consistently ruled that as the purchase was made in Spain, the purchase was made in Spain and the fact the resort is actually located in Spain, gives Spanish Law jurisdiction.

They have also constantly expressed the view that companies operating in Spain cannot unilaterally decide or choose which jurisdiction they come under, thus denying consumers the full protection they deserve.

Now considering that it is also a Spanish Citizen who purchased in his home country, how can a company deny that citizen the full protection of the laws of their OWN COUNTRY?

Well, the Court of First Instance Number 3 of Fuengirola seems to agree, also following the rulings of the High Court of Malaga. They ruled that they did have jurisdiction and declared the contract null and void, ordering Club la Costa to repay 22,546€ including Legal Interest.

No doubt we will see Club la Costa launch yet another appeal, which we have all confidence in them losing yet again.

The case was brought on behalf of the Spanish client by Canarian Legal Alliance.

This is another reason why today’s article is being re-published, according to the RDO “Code of Conduct” which states:

“To comply with all laws, which apply to Member’s, business in the jurisdiction in which the Member operates.”

This to Inside Timeshare appears to be a very good example of timeshare operators doing what they like along with the protection and support of the “Trade Body” they pay to join. We hope it gives you a bit of a laugh, but most of all it will show you that all is not as it seems.

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 we 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 kitemark 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, (In the US it is ARDA), but it is its own members that are breaking the rules. What do they do about it? Not a sausage.

rdo-logo
The Old Boys Club

This organization’s 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.

The industry funds this organisation and it does its bidding, it will not even investigate its members when a complaint is made by an owner or member. They say that you must deal with your own resort/company.

They also believe that the press does not research the stories they publish, creating even more of a slur on the industry. Following is a direct quote from their own website under why join the RDO:

“Vacation ownership has been the victim of poorly researched press attention. These articles and broadcasts can cause serious and lasting damage to the reputation of the industry. RDO works on behalf of vacation ownership companies to clear up any misinformation, accusations of sharp business practices and to actively encourage the education of journalists and travel bloggers.”

“We believe that this work directly benefits all businesses in the industry by maintaining buyer confidence in holiday ownership. Additionally, RDO members have the added marketing advantage of being able to display the RDO logo on their marketing material. The RDO logo is a Kite Mark of quality for the holiday ownership industry and enables RDO Members to offer additional peace of mind to their customers.”

So a prestigious journalist such as Tony Hetherington has poorly researched his articles. (It must be pointed out that MacDonald Resorts have not been RDO members since 2005, but these articles highlight a problem that is rampant throughout the industry).

tony hetherington
thisismoney

http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/experts/article-2346500/TONY-HETHERINGTON-I-escape-nightmare-sun.html

http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/experts/article-2698355/TONY-HETHERGINGTON-Even-death-not-rid-timeshare.html

http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/experts/article-2527546/TONY-HETHERINGTON-Timeshare-boss-relents-spite-fighting-talk.html

http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/article-1323162/TONY-HETHERINGTON-Death-doesnt-bring-end-timeshare-fee.html

So these are poorly researched are they?

On another point, there have been numerous rulings made by the Spanish Supreme Court regarding the timeshare laws, Anfi (an RDO member) have been on the receiving end of these rulings, having contracts declared null and void and huge amounts having to be repaid to consumers. Anfi believes the court has got it wrong, the RDO, it seems agrees with them!

For many, timeshare has become a burden, the membership base is ageing, new younger members are not being attracted to the concept, hence many sales offices are closing and staff being laid off. Yet those that want to get out of their membership are being held to “ransom”, they can’t sell (no resale market) and can’t get out without paying huge amounts for the privilege.

What does the RDO do about this problem of getting out of the timeshare?

It enhances its “Code of Conduct” for so-called “legacy” cases or those sold in perpetuity. The rules are not really very helpful and are as follows:

  • In the event of the death of a joint owner, the surviving owner can surrender their timeshare if they wish and additionally, the beneficiaries of a will are not obliged to take on the timeshare if they do not wish to do so.
  • A timeshare owner who has been declared bankrupt may hand back the timeshare without charge.
  • If a sole owner or either of the joint owners is suffering from a long-term illness that prevents them from travelling to their resort for the foreseeable future, the timeshare interest may be surrendered.
  • In all other cases, an owner may surrender their timeshare interest at any time, subject to the agreement of the RDO member. In such cases, any surrender fee shall not exceed a sum equivalent to 3 years current maintenance fees.

(Notice it states “Subject to the agreement”)

As the industry trade body, should not the RDO back up these owners and make sure their members act in an ethical manner.

In the original article we also asked the question:

What of TATOC in all this?

Although since the first publication TATOC, (The Association of Timeshare Owners Committees)) is no longer, having gone into liquidation due to several legal altercations, it’s purpose was supposed to be representing the owners and their elected committees. As we know Harry Taylor who was the CEO, was in fact a full supporter of the industry and TATOC funds were paid by the industry members the same as the RDO.

tatoc logo

No surprise here, they back the RDO plans to the hilt, after all they are funded by RDO members who pay them to be members of TATOC, all so they can display this organisation’s logo. Oh sorry, it is another sign of prestige, you can trust us we are members of The RDO and TATOC; just look at our logos!

Since this article was first published TATOC has now been totally discredited and forced into bankruptcy. (Search TATOC in the search bar for previous articles). For years this organisation run by the infamous “Harry or is it Henry” Taylor, duped timeshare owners into believing that it was a credible organisation out to protect timeshare owners. It has now been proven that this was not in fact the case, in fact TATOC’s backing of MacDonald Resorts move to transfer their fixed week owners to the infamous points system and become members of a vacation club rather than owners, is a prime example.

We started this article with a spoof, the only thing is this spoof is real when it comes to timeshare. The industry is in decline, its reputation has been sullied, it only has itself to blame, the past greed and belief that they could get away with anything have finally caught up with it. Consumers no longer believe the “sales pitch”, they can see it is not value for money, members see their resorts being rented out to non-members on the internet, usually for less than their maintenance fees. Yet the industry and the Trade Bodies cannot see the writing on the wall because they still believe they are right!

Inside Timeshare will continue to highlight any bad practice and report any news within the world of timeshare. If you have any questions regarding your ownership/membership or need to know which company to deal with, contact Inside Timeshare and we will get back to you.

Start the Week: Another Defeat for Anfi & A Question for the RDO

Welcome to the start of another week with Inside Timeshare, although it will be a short week and looking forward to a welcome break over the Christmas and New Year Period. We begin this week with news which came in late on Friday with another defeat for Anfi at the High Court. We also ask the question of why is the RDO (Resorts Development Organisation) not even acknowledging that their own members are losing in the courts for not abiding by the law let alone the organisation’s code of conduct and ethics?

High Court of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

As we have been seeing time and time again, Anfi is doing their utmost to delay proceedings with their constant appeals to the High Court, causing not just stress for the clients but also creating a huge backlog of cases to be heard by this particular court.

The Court of First Instance of San Bartelomé de Tirajana Number 3, declared the Anfi contract null and void in accordance with all cases they have tried, this is also in accordance with the rulings, of which there are now 131, by the Supreme Court in Madrid. This is Spain’s Highest Court and once they have ruled there is no going back as this is the last port of call for any appeal.


Court of First Instance of San Bartelomé de Tirajana

The original sentence issued by the Court of First Instance as well as declaring the contract null and void also ordered Anfi to repay 61,166€ plus Legal Interest. The award was also calculated to include the repayment of double the amounts the client paid within the statutory cooling-off period.

As expected, Anfi once again appealed the ruling to the High Court of Las Palmas. The Judges once again in accordance with past practice and the Supreme Court rulings rejected and dismissed the appeal. They confirmed the original sentence and returned it to the original court for execution of sentence.

No doubt the Lawyers at Canarian Legal Alliance had already placed a “provisional execution of sentence order”, even before the announcement of the appeal. We have come to expect this in every single case.

In this case, the Norwegian client’s case was prepared and presented by Eva Gutierrez with Claims Consultant Michael Gadman assisting the client throughout the procedure.

We now have to ask the question, “Why does the RDO not sanction Anfi and other timeshare operators who are their members, such as Diamond Resorts and Club la Costa?”

Well, the simple answer is the RDO policy of not getting involved in any dispute between their members and timeshare owners. Yet they will pull out all the stops if a non-RDO member does anything remotely wrong.

Is this practice fair for consumers, Inside Timeshare and others think not!

In fact, all the cases we are seeing and also highlighting on these pages are members of the RDO, they also have one thing in common, they are all in breach of one of the main points of the RDO “Code of Conduct and Ethics”.

Part I, Chapter 3, Paragraph 3.5 actually states:

“To comply with all laws, which apply to Member’s, business in the jurisdiction in which the Member operates.”

Now, considering that the Laws of Spain have been ignored by virtually all timeshare resorts and companies since the Law 42/98 came into force on 5 January 1999, surely this is a blatant breach of their rules?

This is not the only breach of the RDO “Code”, Part II of the code, which covers “Principles”, is also being blatantly breached. This covers the way in which timeshare should be sold and relates to the information consumers must receive. It also covers the point that consumers should be given the facts in order that they are able to make “informed purchase decisions when contracting with an RDO Member”.

In Part II of the Code, it is also clearly stated:

2. Sales and Marketing Principles 

2.1 RDO Members will in no case mislead a consumer into believing that a product or service has other features and/or benefits than those laid down in the contract.

2.2 RDO Members will in particular ensure:

2.2.1 Appropriate marketing techniques that make it clear what the object of the approach to the consumer is;

2.2.2 Appropriate selling methods that treat the consumer with respect and allow the consumer choice between purchasing and reflection; and

2.2.3. The provision of any necessary assistance to consumers to enable them to make an informed decision.

As we have seen over the years, these principles have been ignored by all the major timeshare resorts and operators. The very worst was by one of the RDO’s former largest contributors, Silverpoint, whose CEO Mark Cushway was also a Director of the RDO!

Silverpoint withdrew from the RDO with Cushway resigning as a Director a few years ago, since then have filed for liquidation following major defeats in the courts regarding the sale of their product “Investment Packs”.

Mark Cushway former CEO of Silverpoint and Director of the RDO

These were groups of weeks and apartments sold with the promise of a rental income and a profit when the weeks were to be put up for resale after 2 years. As we know none of these ever materialised with Silverpoint losing in all cases along with around 50 rulings against them in the Supreme Court.

This particular scheme has been dubbed as one of the biggest frauds in timeshare history, yet what did the RDO say or do about it?

Well, you guessed it, absolutely nothing, even when these consumers made complaints to the RDO their response was what we have come to expect, the RDO does not mediate in any dispute between a member and a consumer. The consumer must take up any complaint directly with the timeshare operator. Hence the proliferation in litigation which the timeshare industry is losing.

Below is a PDF copy of the RDO Code of Conduct, once you begin to read it you will see many other infractions of this code by RDO members. Just remember what the sales reps told you when you first attended a presentation or even the constant attempts to “upgrade” you by the in-house reps. This will certainly open your eyes to what this industry and the so-called “Trade Body” are actually all about, we call it “protecting the old boy’s network”.

So, who can you go to when you have a dispute, the Kwikchex “helpline”, which is just another company funded by the RDO designed to protect their own members. The choice is very limited, timeshare owners are basically left on their own and at the mercy of some very dubious “exit & claims” companies. For those whose purchases were made in Spain, at least they are able to use the laws in place and use the legal system to gain redress, as we have constantly shown on our pages.

To end today’s article, if you purchased in Spain after 5 January 1999, with a contract with either no end date (perpetuity) or over the permitted 50 years duration, you have floating weeks or points systems, which also include fractional, paid any amount within the statutory cooling-off period. Then you may have a case under the Spanish legal system against your timeshare company for breaches of Timeshare Laws 42/98 & 4/12.

If you would like more information on this subject please use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get back to you.