It’s the end of another week and apart from the big news about the “partnership” between Wyndham and Club La Costa, it has been rather quiet on the news front. Our old friends The Litigious Abogados Family have once again graced our pages with their latest “SCAM” or should we say “FRAUD”, with the use of yet another genuine name to enhance their nefarious purposes. We began the week with a short piece on cold calls. I should point out that “Mavis” is a fictitious character made up to highlight a problem, unfortunately, I did receive comments that they felt “Mavis” should give up her job. That is easy to say if you are comfortable. We end this week with our typical news from the courts.
It was therefore declared null & void as laid out by law and the precedents set by the Supreme Court.
The court also ordered Marriott to repay the client 51,200€ plus legal interest; we now wait to see if Marriott continues to do the right thing and place the money with the court without the need for enforcement procedures.
Moving back to Gran Canaria, at the Court of First Instance Number 2 of SBT, another new case against Anfi was heard and a sentence issued.
The judge ordered the repayment of 47,235€ plus legal interest and costs, with the contract obviously being declared null & void. This amount also includes a double payment for the illegal taking of deposits during the statutory cooling-off period.
The case will now be filed with the Mercantile Court due to the liquidation procedures against Anfi Resorts and Anfi Sales. It is still not clear if Anfi can appeal the sentence, like they always do, with the High Court because of this, once we have a definitive answer we will let you know.
So far this week there have been three Anfi appeals once again dismissed by the High Court of Las Palmas.
The three cases involve one Norwegian client and two English clients, all won their cases at the Court of First Instance with their contracts being declared null & void and a total repayment ordered to all three of over 91,000€ plus legal interest and legal costs.
The judges also ordered that all three clients be repaid double the amount in respect of the illegally taken deposits at the point of sale. The statutory cooling-off period has actually been in force before the enactment of Law 42/98, this law increased it to 14 days, so really the timeshare companies again only have themselves to blame.
All three clients’ cases will now be filed with the Mercantile Court by their lawyers at Canarian Legal Alliance to ensure they are registered as creditors.
That is all from the courts at the moment, there has been nothing in from Tenerife and the Silverpoint cases, which as we know are also subject to administration by the Mercantile Court. When anything of importance is announced Inside Timeshare will publish it here.
If you would like further information on any articles published or just want to know if your contract is illegal and what options are available to you, then please use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get back to you?
Have a Great Halloween Weekend and join us again next week for more news and information on the world of timeshare.
Now it is announced Wyndham is rebranding 12 Club La Costa properties in Spain, Turkey, Scotland, England and the Austrian Alps. The full list below is from the CLC World website, link to their full announcement below.
Wyndham Trenython Manor Cornwall is set in a mansion house with 24 acres of stunning countryside overlooking St Austell Bay on England’s Cornish Riviera. This Manor house hotel features upscale one and two bedroom lodges in its grounds and is located close to some of the UK’s most renowned attractions like the Eden Project and Lost Gardens of Heligan. The elegant manor house is rich in English heritage with grounds offering croquet, archery, a woodland play area and wildlife watching hides. The property will offer 27 guest rooms, 32 lodges, a bar, terrace and restaurant with spectacular views of Cornwall’s coastline. It will also feature a spa with aromatherapy treatments, a leisure centre with fitness suites, as well as 12m heated indoor swimming pool, sauna and steam room.
Wyndham Duchally Country Estate will be located in an 1838 estate amongst 27 acres in beautiful Perthshire near to Gleneagles. The boutique hotel and its 55 two and three bedroom lodges is close to the famous Ochil Hills and offers beautiful mountain bike tours, making it an ideal base for a holiday in Scotland. Recognised by VisitScotland for the quality of its exquisite cuisine, the resort’s Monteaths Restaurant specialises in local produce and features a whisky bar and its own craft gin distillery. The hotel will also boast a wellness centre with a heated indoor swimming pool, jacuzzi, steam room, sauna and a kids swimming pool.
Marbella old town is close in proximity with cobbled streets and stunning plazas packed with shops and art galleries. Malaga International Airport can also be reached in a 20-minute drive.
Wyndham Grand Residences Costa del Sol Mijas will offer guests 93 beautifully designed one, two and three bedroom apartments with stylish interiors and open-plan living areas to create a haven of comfort and relaxation, some of the apartments feature plunge pools or hot tubs on their terraces.
Wyndham Residences Costa del Sol Mijas will feature 135 upscale studio, one, two and three bedroom apartments nestled on a hillside with sea views, a large sundeck and private gardens, some of the apartments feature hot tubs on their terraces.
For mid-scale accommodation options, Ramada Residences by Wyndham Costa del Sol Fuengirola will offer 242 studio, one, two and three bedroom apartments and villas with sea views, outdoor swimming pools, as well as a tennis court, kids club and playground. Ramada Hotels & Suites by Wyndham Costa del Sol Fuengirola will offer 126 studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom suites with sea views and a host of amenities.
The resorts offer rooms with a modern design and unparalleled views of the Atlantic Ocean and the popular seaside town of Playa de Las Americas. The resorts offer on-site dining with local recipes and more cuisines, along with two swimming pools both for adult and children to enjoy. Tenerife offers superb local night life including a casino, as well as a beach packed with a variety of water sports and local attraction, Siam Park is just a short stroll away.
Wyndham Residences Tenerife Golf del Sur is an ideal getaway for families with its palm-lined pool, tropical gardens and array of restaurants and activities. With 106 upscale studio, one, two and three bedroom apartments and villas in the green oasis of the Golf del Sur, guests at this family-friendly resort in Tenerife can choose to relax around the pool, soak up the sunshine or take a dip in the ocean waters. Also, the resort is strategically positioned close to the airport, making it convenient and easily accessible for travellers.
Ramada Residences by Wyndham Saalfelden is an ideal base for a traditional winter skiing holiday, with cosy interiors and a picturesque location. The 37 studio, one and two bedroom property is situated near many world-renowned ski resorts, perfect for travellers looking to explore the Austrian Alps. For those looking to visit in summer, the resort will offer a range of exciting outdoor activities such as biking, hiking, fishing and canoeing.
Wyndham Residences Kusadasi Golf & Spa is set in a beautiful parkland location by the Aegean Sea. The resort offers 410 one, two and three bedroom modern apartments and villas including many leisure facilities, such as a championship 18-hole golf course with club house, a plethora of dining options, spa and pools.
Perched on a hillside, the range of accommodation provides guests with views of its beautiful surroundings and easy access to the resort’s activities. Nearby Kusadasi town boasts charming shops and restaurants where travellers can explore, dine and enjoy a lively atmosphere.
Ramada Residences by Wyndham Milas Bozbük is a beachfront spa resort that overlooks the turquoise waters of the Aegean Sea. Its backdrop is set amongst olive groves and pine-clad mountains. Its 67 two-bedroom apartments are the perfect set up for relaxation, each complete with a balcony and views over Bozbuk Bay.
The resort is family-friendly, with a supervised kids club. Fresh local food is served at the resort’s on-site restaurants and a vibrant dining scene can also be experienced in the nearby harbour town of Akbuk.
A rather impressive array of destinations and resorts for the US traveller, who we assume this is primarily aimed at. No doubt it also increases the “sales agents” portfolio at the Wyndham “updates” members have to attend. But what about CLC World members?
According to the letter sent to CLC World members nothing is changing in regards to their “membership, usage and conditions”, but they will however see “significant investment in the coming years”. It continues with the maintaining of the “prestigious standards” of this “global brand”, I take it they mean Wyndham?
The spin goes on with the “rollout of cutting-edge technology with new functionality being brought in”, whatever that means, all this to “enhance your holiday experience”.
There is also to be “significant expansion”, with, they hope, an announcement of a new acquisition which they claim will bring UK members more “staycation” options that complement their partnership with DeVere.
There are other announcements in the letter but from our reading of it, well, let us just say it is another example of “timeshare smoke and mirrors”.
It is trying to sell something which is not stated, the actual reasons behind this “partnership” are not apparent, nothing in timeshare is as it appears, it is very adept at marketing and this is what is going on. The question is at whose expense?
We know in Europe the sales of timeshare have all but collapsed, the major operators have all closed their sales decks, and this is not just because of the pandemic, it was happening well before. Club La Costa themselves have closed all their sales operations and have placed the sales companies into liquidation.
Could this “REBRANDING” of CLC to the Wyndham brand be the start of a new sales effort in Europe, not just marketing the European resorts to our US cousins, but attempting to attract the European consumer as well?
Will CLC members be obliged to attend “presentations” by Wyndham sales reps in order to convert them to a “new club”?
This may be just speculation but after looking over the reports and the CLC letter, it is being portrayed as the “best thing since sliced bread”, and with timeshare there is always an ulterior motive.
Inside Timeshare would like to know what you think of this latest development, please leave a comment.
Welcome to the start of this week with Inside Timeshare, last week we had a look at “Finance Agreements” for timeshare purchases, all brokered by the very staff with a vested interest in securing the sale. An interest that can only be described as an “Unfair Relationship detrimental to the consumer”, a very valid point that was clearly shown in the article. (Links at the end). Today we begin to look at how timeshare has changed over the years, from a system that at the start proved to be quite popular, to one that has created many disgruntled owners/members. We also ask what is the future of timeshare considering how it has developed into the discredited system we have today?
The history of timeshare is rather vague with many claims as to where and who developed the first “timeshare resort”. Inside Timeshare first looked at this back in 2016, in A Short History of Timeshare, this was updated at the end of 2020, in A Brief History of Timeshare. The links to both articles are at the end along with the story of Anfi, as it does show very well how timeshare has changed.
When timeshare was first being developed in Europe during the 1980s, it was promoted as being very exclusive, you were buying a “share” in an apartment on a stunning resort. This share was for a number of weeks, from just one week to several, these were specific weeks with week numbers assigned. There was a choice of apartments from studios sleeping 2 to penthouse apartments.
These weeks were divided into “seasons” High, Medium and Low, some companies used colours such as “Red Week” for high season. Obviously, the most popular times would be the high season, these tend to follow the major holidays such as Easter, Summer, Christmas and The New Year. These were also major school holidays, so they were very much in demand by families.
At the time the cost was considered high, with price dependent on season and apartment size. but it was marketed as a cheap alternative to owning your own apartment outright. Among those who could afford it, the idea was proving to be popular. Most “couples” started with a studio, upgrading as the family grew.
The medium and low weeks tended to be favoured by the more elderly, either the retired or those whose families had now grown and now with their own kids. Ideal, child-free resorts, time to relax and wind down, couldn’t be more perfect.
The cost of the annual maintenance fees depended on the number of weeks and seasons owned along with the type of apartment. But it must be said, most people agreed that they were fair and relatively low, but that was all to change.
For many years these “owners” enjoyed year after year at their home resorts, sometimes using the exchange systems for a visit elsewhere. Great friendships were created, there was a sense of community, you met the same people year after year, you also got to know the staff very well. It should be mentioned that the staff you all have come to know so well, have nothing to do with your membership. They are purely employed to look after your needs and run the resort on a day to day basis.
All appeared hunky-dory until the sales of weeks slowed down or ground to a halt, the main reason, they had run out of inventory they could sell, after all, they could only sell 51 weeks of each apartment. The sales of timeshare were too lucrative, there was a lot of money to be made, more sales would also increase the amount of revenue from the annual maintenance fees, (more members).
Enter one of the first and most profound changes to timeshare that has created the problems we see today.
Somewhere along the line, some bright spark came up with “points”, instead of selling a fixed week in a fixed apartment, transfer all owners to the points system, (at a cost I might add), making them “members” of a vacation club and not “owners”.
At first, this system was marketed very positively, removing the problem of being “tied” to a specific week or resort and the problem of “exchanging” if you were unable to travel on your specific weeks.
Sounds great, flexibility and an increase in the number of resorts and types of apartments available. The more points you “owned”, the more choice you have, well, so they said.
The one downside which was not envisaged at the time by those “owners” transferring to the points system, was the problem of “availability”. The more members that join the club, the more of a problem getting what you want. It’s a simple problem, more members than weeks available, and you still have to pay the maintenance fees!
There were more schemes all of a similar nature, floating weeks and then fractional, the latter being a points-based product under the illusion that you “part-owned” an apartment. But, you had no rights of use to the “purchased” apartment.
This was one of the main “investment” pitches of timeshare sales, the illusion of “investing in property”. Resort Properties, later known as Silverpoint took this to a whole new level.
All of these schemes and their associated contracts have been deemed illegal by the law and ratified by rulings from the Supreme Court.
With the problems of availability, there was also another problem faced by many owners/members, that is getting out of it.
There comes a point when it is no longer viable to have the timeshare and the associated annual costs, but as we have seen handing back your membership was not as simple as you were told when you purchased. The most common was “we will buy it back for what you paid” as if that would really happen!
All this has come to a head over the past 10 years or so, especially in Spain where most timeshares were sold, the enactment of the timeshare laws in 1999, which the developers ignored, gave consumers a way out and many have used it to great effect.
But this isn’t the only nail in the coffin of timeshare as we know it.
With all the bad publicity, along with the changing ways in which we now book our vacations, timeshare sales began to slump drastically. The number of sales reps was reduced, in some cases the “cold lines” (“punters or UPs” brought in from the street by OPCs which was traditionally the largest source of new members) were closed, leaving only “in-house” reps. The OPCs were struggling to get new people to the presentations, those that did go, tended to be what the reps called “gift hunters” or just plain “time wasters”, (well, for the rep, no sale, no pay!”).
Even before the restrictions caused by Covid, we watched as “sales decks” were closed and the reps laid off, one of the largest was Diamond Resorts Europe, making all but a handful of sales reps redundant. Club la Costa also ended their sales, making redundant many workers and closing down the sales companies. Silverpoint has folded, albeit for more serious problems than just the sale of illegal contracts, and now the news of two Anfi companies involved with sales being placed under “Administration”.
So where is timeshare going in Europe?
That is a question only the developers can answer, we can only hazard a guess. Timeshare, as we know it today, is gone or on the way out, the schemes we have today are no longer viable, and in Spain are mostly illegal. We may see a return to the old system of fixed weeks, fixed apartments, restricted by numbers and not the free-for-all that we have today. Timeshare may just become once again the mark of vacation luxury, attracting a smaller clientele who want a certain standard of vacation, rather than the mass market of package holidays.
There are some small independent resorts that have remained true to the original idea, with a very good and loyal client base. In many cases the children of the original owners who now have their own families have taken over the “ownership”, keeping it in the family so to speak.
The idea of timeshare is a good one, the biggest problem with it has been the greed of the mainly, large developers, turning it from an exclusive more luxurious way to holiday into a massive money-making conveyor belt.
It is going to be very interesting over the next few years to see where timeshare in Europe and especially Spain ends up, we doubt that it will end completely but a massive revamp is definitely required. This is not just in the running of it, but, more importantly how it is sold. What do you the readers think, answers on a postcard, please!
If you would like further information on the legal rights of timeshare owners who purchased in Spain and if your contract is illegal, please use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get back to you.