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.
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.”
“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,”
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.
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?
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