Since the last article on the Tauro Beach Project, the high tides that were expected did not cause any problems for the residents. This is probably due to the building of sandbag defences and the fact the weather has been very calm. But it is getting to the time of year when storms out at sea begin to become commonplace, it is these storms that will be the real test for the local community and any defences put into place.
Inside Timeshare has been looking around the internet at the story of this project, it has been reported widely for some time in the English language by Gran Canaria info. Another local paper in English The Canary News have also followed the story over the past year or so. Not to forget all the Spanish newspapers who have brought much information into the public arena.
For those who are interested we have provided some links into this story, mainly from Gran Canaria Info. There is also a link to a video made by Anfi, this includes an interview with the Anfi Ambassador David Silva.
David is a famous son of the area, hailing from nearby Arguineguin and has become a world renowned football star. His support for his local community is exemplary, having made significant investments in the area which has benefited his local community. In the video he states that he believes the project to be a worthy one, with benefits for the area in tourism and the subsequent jobs this will bring.
Although, we do have to agree with him in this respect, the problem is not with the idea, but how it has been implemented, this is not his fault, all he wants is the best for his local community. For this he gets our total respect. The apparent lack of environmental research into the impact of changing the beach from a rock and pebble beach to one of sand, is at its heart. The current investigations into the licences and permissions granted, all being conducted by the Guardia Civil, raises other disturbing questions. This is a problem of big business and politics overriding what is right. (see previous articles)
This is a story which is going to run for some time, not just because of the investigations, but for the local community when the winter storms do start out at sea.
If you have any questions about any company you are not sure about, contact Inside Timeshare and we will find the answers for you. Inside Timeshare is here to give you the news on what is going on in the world of timeshare, keeping you informed and where to look for yourself.
One of the main complaints we hear about at Inside Timeshare and on various forums, is the lack of availability that floating weeks and points members encounter. So why is this?
Originally, timeshare was sold on a fixed week basis, with the owner being given a week number and apartment. This entitled the owner to return to their resort the same week each year and use the same apartment. It was this method of use which attracted many people to buy, it guaranteed the standard of accommodation and the holiday. For many this system was great, they returned the same time each year, getting to know other owners. For many who had young children this was an added bonus, they got to know other kids and over the years some very good friendships developed.
Over the years and speaking to these owners, they even arranged holidays at other resorts as a group. Using the RCI or Interval International exchange system, they would bank their weeks and book at other locations. They became in effect an extended family.
When the floating weeks and points systems were introduced, they were marketed as being more flexible. At first this was the case, although many remained as fixed week owners. The points system does not actually entitle you to anything other than right to use, you are no longer an owner at a resort but a member of the club which sells the points.
For example, Sunterra took over the management of a small resort in Mallorca called Cala de Mar. It is not a large resort, around 45 apartments, it had a large membership of fixed week owners who returned year after year. They got to know the staff and the staff remembered them when they returned. Sunterra tried to convert these owners into points members, but most resisted. For them, they purchased at this resort for one simple reason, they loved the size and friendliness of the place. They actually felt that they owned something.
After Sunterra collapsed andDiamond took over, the resort was ditched. It was taken over by the ONA Group, many of the old fixed week owners are still there and return year after year.
Another aspect to the complaints of availability is the rental weeks that are also on offer. These are available over the internet through booking companies such as booking.com, tripadvisor, medresorts,net, Trivagoand many more. Resorts also have their own websites and offer rentals, many for considerably less than the maintenance fees that members are charged, some even advertising 25 to 60% discounts.
These resorts are also booking out to the major tour operators such as TUI and Thomas Cook, again many at less than maintenance charges. Why is this happening?
Remember that most resorts are not owned by the companies that manage them, they own your membership of points, they collect your maintenance fees but you are their members not the resorts. They may only have so much inventory at this or that resort, the resorts themselves only get a fraction of the maintenance fees. In order to keep the resort afloat, they rent out the inventory not being used by the points club. So when you the points member tries to book, there is no availability at the resort, hence the booking window in many cases is a minimum of 12 months in advance. Anything after that, you may just be lucky. It is also the case that the points club has more members than it has inventory, so you can see where the the problems is, more people than accommodation available.
So why are you the member paying thousands for a membership which guarantees you nothing, costs you the earth every year in management fees, then you are unable to get rid of it. Locked into a contract which is no good to you?
Only you can answer this question.
Yes, these resorts are of a high standard, but would you not be better booking as a non member, paying for your holiday without the ever increasing maintenance. Then as we have seen recently at Garden Lago, the management company who you own the points with, sells their interest and you end up losing any of the member benefits when returning to the resort on the exchange system.
Try searching the internet for the resorts by name which are in the RCI & II catalogue, you will be amazed at what is available. You will also be surprised at the cost, yes at certain times of year the prices may be high, but is this not also the case when using the high street travel agent? One thing to remember, even if the price for a week is more than your maintenance fees, the person booking as a non member has not paid around £10,000 for membership. I leave you to decide what is better value.
It must also be mentioned, this is the reason the Spanish Supreme Court has ruled that floating weeks and points have been declared illegal.
If you have any questions about this or any other timeshare matter, Inside Timeshare will try to answer. If we do not know, we will find out. Also if you want any information as to how you can get out of your membership, contact Inside Timeshare, there is a solution for you.
This resulted in the dismissal of the head of the Coastal Authority, it appears the investigation which is ongoing may result in more dismissals and may even end in charges being brought. Inside Timeshare has been following the case as more information came to light, on 1 August Ben Magec of Ecologists in Action called for “the immediate shutdown and sealing” of the project, pointing out that it was having a detrimental effect on the nearby Special Area of Conservation.
Then on 5 August, Inside Timeshare published the story about the floods that occurred the day before, posting a video made by one of the local residents. At the time the flooding occurred it was a high tide, this would not have been a problem when the beach was in its original state. The rocks and pebble beach which was much higher than the sand beach, created a natural defence, with the rocks breaking up the waves. Without this natural defence the sea just rolled over the beach, flooding several homes.
August 8th, we published further videos of the flooding and photographs of some of the damage caused to homes of the local residents. The Bomberos (fire brigade) spent considerable time helping to pump out the water from these homes, but damage to many appliances such as fridges and washing machines was considerable. The local population then made denuncias (official complaints) to the Guardia Civil, who are now investigating. One comment from a resident was who was going to pay for the damage, they also felt they were being ignored that they were “desperate, nobody pays attention to us”.
On 9 August it was announced that Canarian Legal Alliance had just won their 18th Supreme Court Victory, this took the rulings by the Supreme Court against Anfi to an incredible 17. In this particular case the court awarded over 45,000€ plus interest and legal fees to the client. Again the court stated that contracts over 50 years, floating weeks and taking deposits within the 14 day cooling off period illegal. So another happy client of Canarian Legal Alliance.
Then on 15 August another win for a client of CLA, this time at the High Court in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria. A staggering 66,907€ plus interest and legal fees were awarded to the client, also their contract was declared null & void. The High Court cited the Supreme Court rulings in making this judgement, showing that the judgements from Madrid are having a profound effect on how the lower courts rule.
The following day we published an article on the argument that is raging between TESS (Timeshare Exits & Support Services) and the Monster Travel Group. It highlighted two articles published on the TESS website on the same day, in this Tess pulled no punches in the accusations laid against Monster Travel. It also made a scathing attack on the sales staff, particularly what TESS called the “Taylor Twins”, again TESS pulled no punches.
Then it was published in the Spanish press that the boss at Anfi (one of the part owners) Santana Cazorla was moving to Morocco for “retirement”. El Diario headlined it as “Santana Cazorla se refugia en Marruecos” or Santana Cazorla takes refuge in Morocco. Inside Timeshare published this story on 17 August, in the article the questions asked are what had prompted this news. One only has to see the problems of Anfi with the court cases being brought by their members, then to cap it all the accusations and investigation into the Tauro Beach Project.
Just to move away from Anfi for once, Diamond Resorts announced that they had sold off their interests at the Garden Lago resort in Mallorca. The ONA Group now run Garden Lago, they also have interests at the Cala de Mar and Cala Pi resorts, also in Mallorca. It also highlighted one member who bought because they loved it there, now Diamond have no interests there, the only way for them to use the points they own is to use them on exchange, or book direct with the resort. With this last option they would have to pay the going rate as their points would not be used.
19 August, CLA announced another victory at the High Court in Las Palmas, the British couple Mr & Mrs Hammond had their contract declared null & void. They were also awarded a full refund including interest and legal fees, it was not stated how much this was.
So in all, August has turned into quite an eventful month, it remains to be seen what September will bring.
If you have any questions relating to any of these articles please contact Inside Timeshare and we will do our best to answer them. It only remains for me to say have a great bank holiday weekend and I hope the weather is just as good for you to get the BBQ´s out.