Some News on Day 5 of Lockdown

Welcome to day 5 of the Spanish lockdown or “house arrest” as we prefer to call it, with plenty of videos being posted on social media of the main tourist areas with not a soul about. At least now the tourists who were ignoring the lockdown have finally realised that the police are not messing about and are staying in their hotels. In one video a woman who defied the rules and used the hotel pool (which was cordoned off) was arrested by National Police, she even had the audacity to ignore their orders to vacate the pool. But enough of that, today we report on a couple of news items that have filtered down from the courts, more comments and complaints from Anfi members.

Even with the courts suspending trials there still is some news filtering through, the latest was against Anfi. The case involving British clients was held at the Court of First Instance of San Bartolomé de Tirajana, where their contract was declared null and void. They were also awarded over £8,000 further details to be released.

Moving on to the Court of First Instance of Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol, this court has just rejected a “declinatoria” by Diamond Resorts.

The Declinatoria is a legal writ in which the resort petitions the court to reject the case on the basis that the court does not have jurisdiction to try the case as the contract does not fall within the jurisdiction of Spanish law.

In this case, the court in Fuengirola ruled that the Diamond contracts did, in fact, fall under Spanish jurisdiction and therefore are subject to the terms of Spanish Timeshare Law 42/98.

This particular move by Diamond and many other resorts is a common one with the sole intention of avoiding litigation under Spanish law. This ruling sends the message that the courts are now taking this matter seriously.

Both of these cases were brought on behalf of the clients by Canarian Legal Alliance.

Yesterday we published a report regarding Anfi and the policy of charging extortionate amounts per night for those members whose holidays are over, yet are stranded in Gran Canaria due to the “State of Alarm” which is in place. The latest are regarding the cancellation of bookings.

Today we publish some more comments and complaints from members on this subject.

The first is not so much a full-blown complaint but shows the concern this situation is causing to members. This reader has seen information that Anfi is to close yet there is no information or help from them forthcoming.

They are that concerned as they do not know what this means for them, they do not know what to do, even to the point of asking if they will end up “on the street”!

The next two complaints are very similar in nature, they are regarding the cancellation of bookings during the current crisis.

One reader asks “why do they have to pay 80€ to cancel their booking”, considering the situation and the fact that they may not even be able to get a flight, Inside Timeshare has to agree with them.

The second is what one reader has been told by Anfi regarding the cancellation of their booking, they will have to pay a cancellation fee, which is not given, plus they would be able to deposit their week for future use. This must be done by email before September 2020.

They are told that there is no charge to deposit the week, but, there is always a but, they will have to pay a fee of 91€ to re-book that deposited week. Although it will be valid until the end of 2021.

So even with the current situation of lockdown and the termination of many flights, Anfi seems determined to screw their members for every cent they can, this is not what people who have spent thousands to purchase this “exclusive” club membership deserve. At least in the current situation, these charges should be wavered and the costs per night should be reduced dramatically or even no charge at all.

As for the views of Inside Timeshare, this is what we have come to expect from Anfi so it is no surprise to us, customer and members service and care is obviously non-existent at Anfi.

In the end, they have screwed the members with the selling of illegal contracts over the years, they go out of their way to avoid paying what the courts have ordered and done all they can to prolong the legal process. So the question Inside Timeshare asks is do you really want to be members of this club knowing that they have no respect or regard for their members?

For further information on your legal rights and options please use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get back to you.

Anfi Members Complain about Anfi Attitude

Welcome to Inside Timeshare and day four of the CoronaVirus lockdown or as I prefer to call it “house arrest” in Spain. So far boredom has not yet set in, but it is just like being a kid again and being grounded, keep looking for ways to escape and find reasons for going out for a walk, never been to the local shop as much. Putting that aside, Inside Timeshare has been keeping an eye on the many forums online and has also been receiving some rather disturbing emails from some very disgruntled Anfi owners.

One of the first complaints received involved Anfi members who at the end of their stay found that their flight home had been cancelled and they were stuck in Gran Canaria. On approaching Anfi about staying on they were told it would cost 100€ per night for a room.

Is this any way to treat members especially in this time of crises?

Another email was from a Norwegian member, they had been in touch with Anfi about their booking as Gran Canaria is in lockdown, They were actually shocked to be told that Anfi is not closed and open as usual.

Well, who would want to go on holiday when you are going to be confined to the resort with the pools closed, all the bars and restaurants closed and nowhere to go?

In a post from one of the forums, that was sent in by yet another reader, the author of the post appeared very angry at the Anfi attitude regarding people who have been stranded at the end of their holiday. They cited the long-running Anfi statement that they care about their members as though they were a family.

They called for Anfi to step up to the mark and put their words about “caring for their family” into practice and actually help these people in this time of crisis and utilise the apartments that will remain empty. Instead, they appear to be doing nothing other than cashing in on these peoples misery.

In another post sent in by a very concerned reader, it involves a message for help from a lady who is staying at Anfi and has an apartment which receives no direct sunlight at all. It appears this lady has a serious medical condition and needs to get as much sunlight as possible. Obviously with the lockdown and the grounds being out of bounds she is confined to her apartment.

Anfi has refused to move her, even though they do have empty apartments which would do her very well. Again is this any way to treat members who are regarded as “family”.

The most shocking revelation is the newsletter sent to members (“family”), The entire letter is published below. It does not make for very good reading.

This unexpected situation is causing lots of last minute cancellation which we are trying to handle in the best possible manner.

We can see that the reservation you had was for  xx-MAR-2020. Unfortunately it is too late to cancel the reservations with the Anfi Vacation Club, however we can see an option to solve this sudden situation by providing you one accommodation vouchers of 1bedroom unit type of to be used up to 01.11.2021. This voucher will be released if and when your agreement number ……….. is updated as per the adaptation of the Timeshare Law.

As per the adaptation of the Timeshare Law, we have included a new change in the agreement therefore the adjustments you will see on the updated contract will be the following:

Following the new legislation, the physical apartment and week behind every floating week will appear on the updated contracts, which means that you will see which apartment/week was provided to the Trustee on the day you signed. There is also a new system in place (please keep in mind that there is no commitment to take up on this option whatsoever), which allows the floating member to have their week turned into the fixed week they have been allocated ´behind the scenes´ if they so wished, after five years. Obviously there is no obligation to do this and if no notification is made, the week automatically continues to be deposited in the floating system as it has done up and until now.

You can also take this opportunity to update your membership by adding family members into the agreement at no cost.

This is an easy process that we send an updated contract to your home address so you can read, sign and return to us.

Please let me know if I can be of any other assistance and looking forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards and please stay all safe at home.

María Hidalgo

Grupo Anfi

Manager

Customer Services

Tel: (+34) 928 152 970 / Ext. 5675

Fax: (+34) 928 736 422

Mobile: (+34) 696 932 636

As you can see from the first paragraph Anfi will not cancel any reservations as it is too late, (hang on, is there not a serious medical crisis going on?), but they will issue a voucher which can be used up to 1 November 2021.

That does not sound too bad until you see the next line:

This voucher will be released if and when your agreement number ……….. is updated as per the adaptation of the Timeshare Law.”

Is this “blackmail”, unless they agree to have their original contract changed to comply with the current timeshare laws which as we know is the basis of all legal claims against Anfi contracts. Remember that the reason for the “new” contracts is an attempt to deflect any further litigation through the courts.

But there is a problem here, according to Anfi the “the physical apartment and week behind every floating week will appear on the updated contracts”.

If “floating week” owners have a physical apartment and week appears on their contracts is it now a fixed week or still floating? If it is a fixed week how do they appoint an apartment and a week to all “floating week” members, after all, there are more members than weeks and apartments, surely they will be allocating the same apartment and week to several members.

We know that over the past couple of years Anfi has been trying to get members to “switch” to the new contracts without much success, this is now an attempt to force them to do so. Once again Anfi is treating their “family” with contempt.

Anfi members are not required to accept the change in contracts from their original purchase to the new one, Anfi cannot do it without your signature.

The Court of First Instance San Bartolomé de Tirajana, where many cases against Anfi are being won.

If you have had problems with Anfi or are just disgusted at how they operate and would like to know where you stand legally and what options are open to you, please use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get back to you.

That is all for today, stay safe and don’t get too bored if you are in lockdown!

A new Member to EGTBW (Re-published)

Due to the lockdown in Spain there is no news from the courts at present so we have re-published a previous article to add a little bit of humour to the current situation. Back in June 2016 Inside Timeshare published the following article, it started with a “Spoof” Trade Body which Inside Timeshare had just become a member of. Due to some of the articles we have published recently it was decided to republish this article as a warning that even “Trade Bodies” cannot be relied upon to give consumers the best advice or even tell the truth. (The article has also been amended from the original).

Although the article starts with some humour the message is very real, we hope that you enjoy reading it.

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

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.

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 research 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 believe the court has got it wrong, the RDO it seems agrees with them!

For many, timeshare has become a burden, the membership base is aging, 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.

What of TATOC in all this?

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 has 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.