Holiday Packs: What Are They?

A question that has been asked is what is a Holiday Pack and is it subject to timeshare laws? There is no simple answer to this, it appears that these are not subject to the regulations set down for timeshare and discount holiday clubs. It would seem that this depends on which company you are dealing with.

 

Many timeshare companies have used packs as a last resort, usually when the client does not want to purchase a timeshare or cannot afford it at that time. These were known as exit packs, many sales staff called them the try before you buy option.

holiday packs

Basically the pack consists of around 5 weeks of holidays which must be used in 36 months. Usually the first two weeks are taken at the resort of purchase, it gives the purchaser a taste of the standards in timeshare resorts. The other weeks can be taken from the inventory available.

The charge for these holiday packs are around the £4000 mark, but again this varies from company to company. This is paid for either on the day, or a deposit is taken and the balance paid on the customer’s return home. As we know, for timeshare or holiday clubs a deposit within the 14 day cooling off period is illegal, so how do these companies get away with it?

Most of the ones I have come across have the duration below 36 months usually 35, this it would seem circumvents the timeshare laws. Also these are holidays paid for in advance and can be booked at anytime within the period specified. So in effect, the company can claim they are acting as a travel agent thereby they do not come within the scope of the timeshare directives.

 

It must also be noted that in many instances these holidays come with the provision of attending a sales presentation. In other words the opportunity to sell you another product.

 

As far as cost is concerned, you must also take into account that the price is for accommodation only, you still have to add the cost of flights and then what it will cost in meals and drinks. So they may not actually be cost effective for everyone. Granted, most timeshare resorts are of a higher standard than many offered by high street travel agents. But today with the internet, you may find the same resorts offered by online booking companies at a cheaper price, some tour operators such as Thomson/Tui also have deals with many of these resorts.

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So it pays to do your homework, unfortunately this may not be possible while on holiday. Many of these offers of holiday packs follow the old timeshare system of only available on the day. The only advice is if you don´t feel right don’t buy.

 

If you have purchased one of these holiday packs Inside Timeshare would like to share your experiences with other readers, whether it be good or bad. In This way others will get the information they need to make decisions to buy or not to buy.

 

Breaking News: Its A Strike!

Well, well, well, they just seem to keep on coming, it was announced yesterday, 7 June 2016 by CLA of yet another judgement by the Spanish Supreme Court.

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This now brings the number made to an incredible TEN, with apparently many more waiting to be heard. The latest ruling is again against Anfi, this time the client is English. In this ruling the court once again reaffirmed that Floating Weeks are illegal, also reaffirming their previous rulings that contracts in Perpetuity are also illegal.

 

The court has awarded them over 20,000€ plus all legal expenses.

 

Yet another blow to the timeshare industry, and they still believe that these ruling are wrong. How many more will it take for them to realise that the game is up, that they should now put their house in order and start playing by the rules. It is only a matter of time before other States in the EU implement the same rulings. Once this happens we will see cases being brought for timeshares not sold in Spain.

 

Once again congratulations to this particular client and well done the Legal team at CLA.

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If you require any information, or have any comments Inside Timeshare would like to hear from you, if we don’t know the answer we will find it.

 

The Villacana Story: A Repeat of Past Deeds.

The world of timeshare is full of controversy, from perpetuity contracts to owners being forced to continue paying maintenance fees even when unable to do so due to age etc. One of these is the ongoing argument between MacDonald Resorts and various owners groups, the most recent being Villacana.

villacana

There is an ongoing argument between these two parties that has been running for several years, this has resulted in the MacDonalds Resorts Legal Action Group, MRLAG. This has been set up to fight the proposals by MacDonald Resorts to transfer all fixed week fixed apartment owners to floating weeks. Now this does seem surprising as floating weeks have been declared illegal in Spain.

 

So why are the owners against this, apart from floating being illegal?

 

It would seem it is about control. They have seen this from other resorts where this was pushed through. As fixed week fixed apartment owners they have a say in the running of the resort, after all they are technically the owners. When a company like MacDonalds changes to floating weeks they basically become the owners of the fixed weeks and apartments, which then gives them control.

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With many of the other resorts where this has happened, the main argument was that the owners did not want to go ahead with the proposal. But the votes have not gone their way, many owners complaining that MacDonalds received the necessary vote because they controlled any vote not cast by a member, either in person or by proxy. Not to forget that the resort developers control any votes for weeks not sold. (see previous article)

Manipulation of votes by resorts and resort owners

The other point in this argument is that the floating weeks do not guarantee a holiday as they are subject to availability. Also MacDonalds as the controlling owners have the right to sell or rent these weeks as they see fit, even to non members, and at the member’s expense, plus while still enjoying your maintenance fees.

 

Then we have the problem of getting out of your timeshare, we all know that there is no resale market. But MacDonalds offer what can be described as a derisory solution. Every two years offering a limited number to hand back their timeshare, but at the cost of 4 years maintenance.

 

The TCA have been highlighting this for some time with regular updates.

 

So what of TATOC in all of this?tatoc logo

 

Well as we know TATOC is supposed to represent the timeshare owners committees, in other words you. But as we have seen they are throwing their full weight behind the MacDonalds Proposal. For those of you who are not in the know, TATOC receive the bulk of their funding from the timeshare industry, such as MacDonalds Resorts who pay annual fees to be “ACREDITED” by TATOC.

 

Somehow I don’t think this is actually in the interests of you the owners / members. I agree that the owners committees should have good relations with the resort developer, but this should be on an equal partnership. After all it is your money that is paying for it and keeping the resorts open and maintained.

 

It certainly seems that it is time for new organisations and associations to be set up to serve your interests, as well as a new and non industry related body to oversee the developers and resorts. So get rid of TATOC and The RDO, then you may at last have some say as well as justice.

 

If you have any questions or thoughts on this subject Inside Timeshare would be pleased to hear from you. If you want any information regarding any timeshare matter we will try to answer it, if we don´t know we will find it out.

 

Here We Go Again! Another Supreme Court Ruling for CLA against Anfi.

Canarian Legal Alliance once again announces another Supreme Court victory against Anfi, this was published on their website on 31 May 2016.

 

The Supreme Court again has awarded one of their clients double the deposit back, due to the fact of taking payments within the 14 day cooling off period. The court has also reinforced the fact that floating weeks and contracts in perpetuity are illegal. This client will be receiving over 30,000€ and have their contract canceled.

 

This now brings the number of rulings by the Supreme Court on behalf of CLA clients to nine. This will obviously have a profound effect on all timeshares sold within Spanish jurisdiction, the floodgates have been opened and there is now no turning back.

 

Consumers now have the full protection of the law despite what the timeshare companies and the trade body the RDO may say. In the end it is only themselves to blame for their present predicament.

 

It has also come to the attention of Inside Timeshare that another case brought in Tenerife against Silverpoint has resulted in a victory. The only information so far is the case was conducted on behalf of a British Silverpoint client, the case was heard by Judge José Pablo Carrera Fernadez. At present we do not know which firm started these proceedings. It would seem that the court in Tenerife has also used the Supreme Court rulings in its judgement. More will be published on this when the information becomes available.

 

Once again congratulations to the respective clients and both the legal teams that fought your cases.

slicksaleman

THE SUPREME COURT STRIKES AGAIN

Inside Timeshare is here to bring you the latest news and information about the world of timeshare. If you need any advise or information about your own timeshare or any company that you may be thinking of dealing with, contact Inside Timeshare for free and impartial advice.

Supreme Court Rulings: Simply Explained.

We have seen many articles about the recent Supreme Court Rulings on timeshare, but what are they?

 

Firstly the taking of deposits within the 14 day cooling off period has been declared illegal, it has also been clarified that this includes those taken by a third party. Many companies used this method to get round the EU Directives which stated that no deposit was to be taken, many had the deposit paid to a trust company, thereby being able to state that they did not take deposits.

 

Why were deposits taken within this period outlawed?

 

Many of us are familiar with paying deposits, there are many instances where this is done. For instance, when booking a table in a restaurant for a large party a deposit is usually required. This tends to be non-refundable if you don´t turn up or cancel with reasonable notice. Most of us would accept this as we have initiated the contract with the restaurant.

 

Another example is booking a holiday with the local high street travel agent, we pay them a deposit as a sign that we will fulfil our commitment to complete the booking. If we cancel then the deposit is again non-refundable.

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So why is the taking of a deposit for timeshare or related products illegal?

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Fast and Furious: Result Within 24 Hours!

On 27 May Canarian Legal Alliance posted another victory against Anfi Resorts, this case was heard on 25 May 2016.

 

From the initial hearing to the judgement being delivered was within a staggering 24 hours, now this is amazing for any court no matter what country. This particular family must be very happy indeed, their contract has been cancelled and the court has ordered that they be repaid 20,000€.

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It would seem that the Supreme Court rulings are having a profound effect on the way the lower courts are now dealing with these cases. In the past it was taking so long for cases to be heard and could even take longer to be resolved, mainly due to the lengthy appeals process. This can be seen with the now famous Grimsbo v Anfi case, six years in the making, but resulting in historical Supreme Court rulings.

 

Again this contract was declared null and void due to the taking of deposits within the cooling off period, along with the illegality of floating / points systems. We now wait to see how quickly other cases similar to this will be heard and adjudicated.

 

So it is congratulations to this particular family and well done the legal team at CLA.

 

Inside Timeshare is here to give you the latest news and information on what is happening around the timeshare world. Much of it will be kept from you the members, could it be they are afraid of a mass exodus or even more litigation. Truthful information is what you the members require, yes, you may be happy with what you have, Kim & Andy are proof of that. But even they are interested in what is going on, after all it may just affect you in the future.

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My Thoughts Today (End of May)

We are now at the end of May, it has proven to be quite an interesting month. It began with the start of the RCI class action brought by Edwin Coe LLP, as yet no news from the case is available. It went into a second week, and as we all know the legal system takes time, so we do not expect any judgement from the High Court anytime soon. But we will keep you informed as and when the news comes in.

 

It has also been a very expensive month for some of the resorts with huge awards being issued by the courts in Spain. One firm has secured a massive payout in the past week for one of its clients, with many other cases in the pipeline. This has shown that the authorities in Spain are taking the matter of companies selling against the rules very seriously indeed.

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The case of Mrs B now seems to be at an end, as stated in a previous article, the paperwork she has, does state her timeshare has been sold. This was on a document signed and sealed by a Public Notary. It now only leaves the matter of the resort to accept this fact, but due to her age and health somehow I don’t think they will bother to cause any more problems. After all it isn’t really in their best interest to pursue this and end up with a very bad public image.

 

Earlier in the month we ran an article on happy owners, once again thanks to Kim and Andy for taking the time to talk about and write down some of their experiences. This piece did show that for some timeshare does work well. It also showed that like anything else you have to learn how to use it. Timeshare is a good concept, it is just a shame that in the past it has been sold with flaws. The current situation with the law being clarified in Spain bears this out.

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We have also issued warnings about bogus law firms, these have been claiming that courts have awarded payments to owners who have lost money to resale companies. These have been followed by calls from bodies claiming to be either inland revenue or other officials. Then comes the crunch, you have to send them by bank transfer a tax payment. It was also highlighted that many of these entities are using names or very similar names to genuine companies.

 

It was also announce this month that The Privileged Club had filed for liquidation, apparently this is because the owner is seriously ill and cannot continue to run the club. Unfortunately we don’t yet know what will happen to the members, hopefully another club will take them on. We hope that Gary Woodward does indeed get well.

 

Articles on the history of timeshare were also published, showing how it has developed over the years. We ended with an article about one of the most infamous resale crooks on the Costa del Sol, whose business was the model for all subsequent scam companies. The question on this last piece is will he be making a return when released from prison? Lets hope not.

It now only leaves Inside Timeshare to say have great bank holiday weekend, we hope that the weather is fine for you to begin the BBQ´s. Remember do your research before entering into and contract, check and check again. If in doubt or don’t know where to look contact us and we will give you the advise.

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Toni Muldoon: Duping the Innocent.

Continuing on the theme of timeshare history, this particular article involves me personally. It began about 18 years ago when I first moved to Spain. Like many expats starting a new life on the Costa del Sol the first few weeks are treated like a holiday, getting to know your new surroundings and meeting new people. But, we can’t live on fresh air, a job is needed.

 

One piece of advice I was given was to look at the Sur in English, published on a Friday, at the time it carried a couple of pages of situations vacant. A great starting point to begin a job search. Most British owned bars carried the paper and it was available free from many shops and supermarkets. So began the search of the listings.

 

Armed with pen and pad numbers were taken along with the job description, then off to the locutoria for the cheap phone calls. One number I rang was for telesales staff in Torremolinos, the lady asked when I could be available for an interview. As I was in town I replied now.

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She told me to meet her at the main entrance to the railway station, after introductions we made our way to the office, it was located in one of the side streets. She explained about the job and asked what telephone experience I had, when I explained I had been a BT telephonist with some experience in shop sales she offered me the job.

 

It did not carry a basic wage and was commission based, well a job is a job and I felt confident that I would start earning fairly quickly. Not only that the commission was very good with daily bonuses for closing a deal.

 

The company was Platinum Properties, it was a cold calling timeshare resale company. I had no knowledge of timeshare but this is what they actually preferred. I sat alongside one of the experienced staff and listened to the pitch, it all seemed very easy. I was told about the shop they had in Fuengirola which was just like an estate agents, I even went to Fuengirola that evening to see it for myself. Yes it did exist, in the windows and on boards inside were timeshares for sale along with the prices. Duly impressed I began work the next day.

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Update: Latest Massive Win for CLA Client.

Yesterday 25 May 2016 Canarian Legal Alliance announced another massive win for one of their Norwegian Clients.

 

The court in Maspalomas Gran Canaria, used the recent Supreme Court rulings that contracts in perpetuity are illegal along with the floating week system. This court also ordered the payment of double the deposit paid within the cooling off period.

 

This is another blow for Anfi resorts as the amount is a staggering 189,000€. It is also a blow for the RDO as Anfi is a member of this organisation, they have backed Anfi in suggesting that these rulings are incorrect and that the contracts are not illegal.

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So far since the 4 April 2016,  Anfi have been ordered to reimburse CLA clients around 661,101.32€ in respect of illegal contracts. These contracts have also been declared null and void, thereby freeing the clients from their timeshares.

 

As stated in the article published on 24 May 2016, this is just against one company, how will they be able to sustain amounts such as this at the rate the courts are ruling against them? It would seem that the prediction of the million euro mark being reached before the halfway point of the year is right on track.

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Congratulations to the client and the legal team at CLA for this huge victory.

 

Inside Timeshare will continue to keep you updated as the news comes in. If you require any information about your rights or need to find out about a company you have or are possibly going to deal with, contact Inside Timeshare for free advice.

ANFI CONTRACT DECLARED NULL AND VOID COURT ORDERS REFUND OF 189.000€ TO OUR CLIENTS

Breaking News: Canarian Legal Alliance Strike Again.

Some interesting breaking news has just come our way, it appears that Canarian Legal  Alliance has done it again. It has been announced that they have secured their eighth Supreme Court Judgement, again this is against Anfi Sales SL and Anfi Resorts SL. (see link at end of article)

anfi ariel view

The court has confirmed again the illegality of the perpetuity contract, citing that the contract should be no longer than 50 years in accordance with the timeshare laws. The court has also ruled on another important point which will have a significant effect for other claimants.

 

As we know many people will have bought a timeshare with other resorts while already owning at another. These have usually been taken in part exchange or what is known as a trade-in. The court has now ruled that the trade-in value must now be taken into account as a payment on the day along with any deposit. The client in this instance was awarded double the deposit including double the value of the trade-in. So it looks like the trade-in value is being seen as a part payment within the 14 day cooling off period.

 

In this instance the CLA client has been awarded 51,000€ plus interest, including all legal fees. Again this is a substantial amount for any company to have to pay back for past transgressions, how long can any company last when the courts are ruling in this manner?

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As stated before, the industry has only itself to blame, the RDO as the industry trade body also shares some of this blame. After all, the laws were put into place many years ago with the implementation of the EU Timeshare Directive. Resorts and their marketing departments failed to adhere to them and the RDO turned a blind eye to this. The industry is now paying for this dearly, we have seen only a fraction of the cases adjudicated on so far. Over the past month and a half, one company has been ordered to pay out nearly half a million euros. At this rate the million euro mark will be reached before the year is even half way through.

 

So, congratulations to this particular client and congratulations to the legal team at Canarian Legal Alliance. It does seem that their tenacity and hard work is now paying off, I for one will be keeping an eye on them for more judgements.

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If you have any problem with your timeshare or have dealt with any company that has not delivered on their promise be it resale or claims, Inside Timeshare would like to hear from you. If you require any information as to what you can do about it, Inside Timeshare will be pleased to advise you.

THE SUPREME COURT RULES AGAIN