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RCI

Anfi: Another Appeal Dismissed and Latest on New Contracts

Appeals by Anfi against the judgements of the Court of First Instance have become a common feature on Inside Timeshare, not a day seems to go by without yet another appeal being dismissed and today is no exception. Although Anfi has the legal right to lodge an appeal, it beggars belief that they continue to do so even when every single appeal is being rejected and the original sentence is being upheld. We also have a look at the latest information being given to members of Anfi regarding the signing of the “New Contracts”, which in theory conform to current timeshare legislation.

We begin with the latest case to be dismissed by the High Court Number 5 of Las Palmas, Gran Canaria.

High Court of Las Palmas Gran Canaria

The case involving a Norwegian client whose original case in the Court of First Instance Number 4 of San Bartelomé de Tirajana, was prepared and presented by Canarian Legal Alliance.

In the original sentence, this court declared the contract null and void, they also ordered that Anfi repay the client 31,770€ plus interest. A sentence that follows all those which have been past previously. After all, the courts are applying the law as laid down in 131 Supreme Court Rulings.

The three basic principles being:

  • The contract is for a duration of more than 50 years, known as perpetuity;
  • The inclusion of floating weeks and points systems;
  • The taking of payments even by a third party within the statutory cooling-off period.

In this case, the Court of First Instance followed these principles.

Yet as expected Anfi filed their appeal with the High Court, the reason, well that is pure speculation, but we do believe that it is an attempt to cause as much delay in paying as possible, plus, to cause as much stress and anxiety to the client as possible.

We already know that the Provincial Prosecutors Office is investigating Anfi, part of this investigation is centred on the movement of funds to empty bank accounts. This then prevents any embargo from being enforced as there will be no money in the accounts. This investigation could lead to criminal charges being filed.

As we have come to expect from the High Court, they dismissed the appeal and fully endorsed the sentence of the lower court.

The case has now been returned to that court for execution of sentence, so we expect this client will soon receive the payment into their own bank account.

The case was prepared and present by the CLA Lawyer Eva Gutierrez with Claims Consultant Lotta Nielson assisting the client during the long process.

Moving now to the “New Contracts” Anfi is trying so desperately to make members sign.

We have been publishing on this subject since May 2017, at this meeting, Anfi put forward three proposals for changing the new contracts. Full details on the result and the proposals can be found in the links below.

Since that time, Anfi has been trying to get members to sign the new contracts with varying excuses, these have ranged from “bringing the contracts” in line with current legislation and “updating” the member’s database. This has included adding others such as family to the contract.

The last method which they have employed recently has resulted from the closure of resorts due to the pandemic restrictions being enforced around the world.

Because of this, the vast majority of members were unable to use their weeks in 2020 and it looks very unlikely they will have any better luck this year.

What Anfi have done is nothing short of “Blackmail”, unless the member signs the new contract, the week they were unable to use last year, which they have already paid their annual maintenance fees on, will be lost.

Sign the “New Contract” and Anfi will give you an accommodation voucher to save your week for use in the coming year. We suspect this will be the same for those who are unable to use their weeks this year!

Recently, Anfi has begun yet another campaign to “force in” these new contracts, according to the independent timeshare lawyer Javier Correa, this is what Anfi are saying:

“According to the legal changes, each member now has a fixed week in the contract, so that a value is specified with the number of square meters and cadastral registration data. The inventory that is taken internally from the system can also be viewed by the member. So that you don’t have to come to the specified week, we have an extra document for you which is marked with “Registration in the flexible system”.

In this document, you relinquish the right to the week that is in the contract to us so that you can freely choose the week, the apartment and the day of arrival as usual. Nothing will change for you when using the weeks and you will remain flexible.

By enrolling in our flexible exchange system, we guarantee you will continue to be flexible, you will continue to book in the future as before”.

The underlying concern for this lawyer and on reading the above Inside Timeshare agrees this “New Contract” is being portrayed as “MANDATORY”.

Javier Correa

Considering Anfi’s attitude toward those with unused weeks, this conclusion is very valid.

So what if you sign the new contract?

The answer is very simple indeed, you lose all your legal rights to sue Anfi for the illegal selling of your contract, you waive your rights to legal redress and having your contract declared null and void, with the repayment of the full purchase price plus double any payment taken illegally within the statutory cooling-off period.

In other words, they know that with every case that is found against them by the lower courts and subsequently on appeal, more cases will follow.

Now, on reading the above which was issued by Anfi, it is clear this is another attempt to circumvent the law.

Although they claim that each member will be given a specified week and apartment number, which is the fixed week system which is allowed by law, but the telling thing is the “separate” contract or as they put it “document”. They call this the “Registration in the flexible system”.

On signing this “addendum”, the member waives their right to the numbered week and apartment and being placed in this “flexible system”. Hang on, does this not look like retaining the “Floating Weeks”?

We know not everyone is able to or wants to vacation the same week every year, most people do, but sometimes due to personal circumstances that may not be possible. Is this not what the old “internal exchange system” covered, after all, it was just like banking and exchanging with RCI or Interval International?

Only when it suits us!

So once again, we see Anfi trying to pull the proverbial wool over the eyes of their “valued members”, no doubt there will be some lawyer who will find that this “New Contract” is just as illegal as the original. This is something which we will watch with great interest and we expect that it will be contested in the courts at some point in the future.

If you would like further information on your legal rights regarding illegal contracts whether it is Anfi or any other resort, please use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get back to you.

Past articles on Anfi Special Meeting

https://insidetimeshare.com/anfi-sgm-what-are-they-up-to/

https://insidetimeshare.com/anfi-special-general-meeting-vote/

Anfi and the new contract to save weeks.

https://insidetimeshare.com/start-the-week-anfi-continues-to-upset-members/

Anfi in the press

https://insidetimeshare.com/anfi-hits-spanish-television-news/

https://insidetimeshare.com/news-update-jsd-group-anfi-back-in-the-news/

Translations

Danish

https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=en&tl=da&u=https://insidetimeshare.com/anfi-another-appeal-dismissed-and-latest-on-new-contracts/

Dutch

https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=en&tl=nl&u=https://insidetimeshare.com/anfi-another-appeal-dismissed-and-latest-on-new-contracts/

Finnish

https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=en&tl=fi&u=https://insidetimeshare.com/anfi-another-appeal-dismissed-and-latest-on-new-contracts/

German

https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=en&tl=de&u=https://insidetimeshare.com/anfi-another-appeal-dismissed-and-latest-on-new-contracts/

Norwegian

https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=en&tl=no&u=https://insidetimeshare.com/anfi-another-appeal-dismissed-and-latest-on-new-contracts/

Swedish

https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=en&tl=sv&u=https://insidetimeshare.com/anfi-another-appeal-dismissed-and-latest-on-new-contracts/

Marriott: Timeshare versus Independent Booking Part 2

Towards the end of last year Inside Timeshare published a series of articles on “Timeshare versus Independent Booking”. These were prompted by many comments from members of the various timeshare resorts due to the maintenance payments issue. As you are well aware, members have still had to pay their maintenance fees even though they have been unable to use their weeks. This is still the case because of all the travel restrictions. Today, we once again highlight Marriott.

As we have already published in our past articles, most timeshare resorts can be booked by non-members online using various booking platforms. Prices do vary from platform to platform, but in most cases, they tend to be cheaper than the annual maintenance fees.

Once again after doing some research online we have found that booking.com tends to feature Marriott on a regular basis and also tends to be the cheapest. As you can see from the screenshot of a general search for one week in April this year they vary from 84€ to 225€ per night based on a 1 bedroom sleeping 2 adults.

Booking.com price has increased by 22€ since our last article in September 2020

Booking.com, at 84€ per night, works out at 588€ for the 7 nights, much cheaper than the average annual maintenance fee of 1,500€ per year for a one week stay in the same apartment.

Even at the highest price of 225€ per night which comes to 1,575€ for 1 week in the same apartment, this is reasonable for the “quality” of the resorts. 

Taking this higher price we will show you that it is still better value to book as a non-member, there is a very good reason for this. The average cost of a Marriott Vacation Club membership is around the 20,000€ mark, depending on which membership package you purchase.

If we take a 10 year period, the cost in maintenance is 15,000€, which does not include the rise in fees each year, for the same period booking independently comes in at 15,750€. OK, that is 750€ more, but, don’t forget to figure in the initial purchase price plus the annual subscriptions to the exchange companies such as RCI and Interval International.

RCI charges 145€ per year for a subscription, they also add on 71€ to exchange your weeks with your own resort system and 144€ for exchanges to other resorts. Again this price may be more, depending on your membership package. 

So what does this mean financially?

  • Purchase price 20,000
  • Maintenance fees over a 10 year period* 15,000
  • RCI Subscription x 10 years     720
  • Total cost over 10 years 35,720


*Maintenance has not included any annual rise.

Now let us say that you only use RCI exchanges 5 times over that 10 year period, 

  • Exchange fee for 5 years of exchanges* 720
  • Plus total cost for 10 years       35,720
  • Total cost including exchanges       36,440€

*This is the basic price it goes up depending on what type of membership you have.

So now we divide that by the 10 years and we have an annual cost for 1 week in a 1 bedroom apartment for 2 adults at 3,644€.

That is certainly a lot more expensive than the 1,575€ at the highest price we have found, which is a saving of 2,069€ by booking independently.

Now, what did your timeshare salesperson say at your sales presentation, could it have been along the lines of “membership to our club makes financial sense”?

Well, it certainly does to the timeshare industry.

During your presentation, your “sales rep” will have done what the industry calls the “financial logic pitch”, but this did not take into account the original purchase price. They also did not include the cost of flights or airport transfers but used what you paid when booking your full package of hotel, flights and transfers, against the annual maintenance fees for the timeshare.

This price does not include the cost of food and drink.

If you used finance brokered by the sales reps, then you can virtually double that cost due to the interest on those finance agreements, which as we know are rather steep.

It is also a fact that you must pay your annual maintenance fee even if you do not use it, booking independently, you only pay as and when required. So with timeshare, you are obliged to pay for a vacation regardless of whether you use it or not! 

Just on this alone it certainly looks like timeshare is a very expensive way to take a vacation, had you been aware of this at the time, we have to ask, would you still have purchased?

Not only have they misrepresented the cost from the start, but they have also in most cases sold you an illegal contract.

Since 5 January 1999 and the implementation of Law 42/98, it has been illegal in Spain to sell timeshare under the following basic rules:

Contracts more than 50 years in duration;

Floating Weeks or Points systems, this also includes Fractional;

Taking any payment even by a third party within the statutory cooling-off period.

If you purchased any timeshare in Spain or upgraded since 5 January 1999 and have a contract which includes any of the above, you may just have a case to have your contract declared null and void plus the return of the full purchase price including double any money taken within the cooling-off period. This period may also be extended by the courts to 90 days if the court deems it necessary, this means that any amount paid within the 90 days must be paid back in double.

Although this article is about Marriott, this formula can be used for other timeshares such as Anfi, Diamond and Club la Costa. If you would like further information on your legal rights and whether you have a valid and viable claim, please use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get back to you.

Past articles on this subject

https://insidetimeshare.com/marriott-timeshare-versus-independent-booking/

https://insidetimeshare.com/diamond-resorts-timeshare-versus-independent-booking/

https://insidetimeshare.com/start-the-week-anfi-advertise-on-apartments4you/

https://insidetimeshare.com/club-la-costa-timeshare-versus-independent-booking/

Translations

Danish

https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=en&tl=da&u=https://insidetimeshare.com/marriott-timeshare-versus-independent-booking-part-2/

Dutch

https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=en&tl=nl&u=https://insidetimeshare.com/marriott-timeshare-versus-independent-booking-part-2/

Finnish

https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=en&tl=fi&u=https://insidetimeshare.com/marriott-timeshare-versus-independent-booking-part-2/

German

https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=en&tl=de&u=https://insidetimeshare.com/marriott-timeshare-versus-independent-booking-part-2/

Norwegian

https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=en&tl=no&u=https://insidetimeshare.com/marriott-timeshare-versus-independent-booking-part-2/

Swedish

https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=en&tl=sv&u=https://insidetimeshare.com/marriott-timeshare-versus-independent-booking-part-2/

A Brief History of Timeshare

There are many stories about the history and development of timeshare, it is actually rather vague with several claims as to who and where it was first developed. The story we publish today is one version and may not be entirely accurate although the concept and development of timeshare is what we have all come to know.

After the end of the Second World War, three entrepreneurs, Fred Pontin, Billy Butlin and the Warner Brothers began to expand their holiday camps using in many cases decommissioned military accommodation. These became the holiday camps we now associate with Hi De Hi, the fictional holiday camp Maplins a great British comedy, these were the first of what we now call the “package holiday”.

These holiday camps became a bit of an institution, but as time moved on and air travel for the masses became more affordable and accessible, people started to go abroad for their holidays. Spain and Portugal became the favourite destination for Brits. The decline of the holiday camp was on.

As for timeshare, there are two versions as to who was the first, Paul Doumier or Hapimag, both began to develop ski resorts, both around the same time so this is where the confusion begins.

The French developer Paul Doumier is generally credited as the “father” of timeshare, his company the Société des Grands Travaux de Marseille, began to develop ski resorts in the Alps. His famous slogan was “It is cheaper to own the hotel than to rent the room”, it was a slogan that attracted many buyers to his concept of purchasing time at the ski resort with the time being owned by the purchaser. This concept was being marketed between 1964 and 1968.

Hapimag Burnside Park Resort UK

Meanwhile across the border in Switzerland, Hapimag or to give them their full name, Hotel und Appartementhaus Immobilien Anlage AG began to develop their own timeshare business. The owners of the company Alexander Nette and Guido Fenngli began to purchase their first resorts.

Primarily these resorts were located in Italy, Spain and Switzerland, with Hapimag marketing their timeshare concept on a “right to use” basis rather than deeded ownership. This is the model that we all know today, which for Hapimag has been a very successful model. Today Hapimag is as strong as ever with around 60 resorts worldwide spanning Europe, North Africa, Turkey and Florida.

Even though Hapimag has never affiliated with the major exchange companies they are considered as one of the largest and best timeshare operations in the world. It is also very telling that Inside Timeshare has not found one complaint made public about them, they also have a very attractive buyback scheme for members who wish to end their membership.

Moving now to the other side of the world, it was 1969 that the first timeshare resort was opened in Hawaii at Kauai Kailani. The company was called Vacation International and was founded by Bob Burns and Bob Ringenburg. Their company sold their weeks in 40-year increments and they are also credited with developing the points system.

The next place where timeshare began to be developed was Florida and this was one of the first States in Continental America to develop timeshare in the early 1970s. The Californian company called Innisfree was next and they began to sell deeded weeks, then around 1973 they went into partnership with Hyatt to develop their first resort at Lake Tahoe. As legend has it, it was here that the term timeshare was first used to describe the purchase of vacation time from a resort.

Apparently, this story comes from the time when Innisfree used the word timeshare on an application to the California Department of Real Estate, the term became popular and it was then used on all promotional material. It is a term we are now all familiar with and unfortunately, it also conjures up some very negative connotations, hence the move to other names such as Holiday or Vacation Ownership.

RCI now part of Wyndham

Obviously, the way the time was originally sold with the fixed week and apartment, there was seen to be a need for “owners” to be able to exchange these weeks and resorts to give them more choice and flexibility. So it was in 1974 that RCI or Resorts Condominiums International was founded by a husband and wife team, with this development you were no longer tied to one resort and week, an idea that really took off.

During the late 1970s and into the 80s, timeshare development increased substantially with massive building programs worldwide. Spain and Portugal were at the forefront of this building and subsequent sales of the timeshares. Unfortunately, this is where the “rot” began to set in and timeshare in Europe began to develop a very nasty reputation.

It was the 80s and 90s in Europe that was the downfall of timeshares reputation, during the 80s, many timeshares were being sold “off-plan”, in other words, it was a hole in the ground and would not be completed for quite some time. Unfortunately, for many purchasers, this was their first introduction to timeshare and many lost their money as the developer crashed and the resorts were not built.

Adding to all this we then moved into the 1990s and the entry into the industry of some very dubious characters, people such as John “Goldfinger” Palmer who developed a huge timeshare organisation in Tenerife. He began overselling and basically ripped off consumers, many losing thousands of pounds in the process.

Many companies with very good reputation cottoned on to the concept of timeshare, some of these were good and some were bad. Major companies such as Marriott and Hyatt developed a timeshare model and began to market this all over the world.

Disney became involved in timeshare with their Vacation Club, this model is being held up as a very good example of how the “product” should be marketed and how members are treated. So far, Inside Timeshare has not found one complaint anywhere which has not been resolved satisfactorily, this has got to be a first in the timeshare industry.

Moving back to Europe, around 2007, the UK holiday company Butlins developed their own timeshare product Blueskies at their Maidenhead Resort. This was based on the points system and was sold with a maximum duration of 30 years. It was also reported that during the presentation no pressure (which we come to associate with timeshare presentations) was being used. The sales staff did not use the “today and today only” pitch and the club became quite popular.

Again there were very few registered complaints on various forums and the system seemed to be working well, that is until 2017 when Butlins ended Blueskies and the members lost everything. Another nail in the coffin of timeshare.

They just don’t learn!

Moving now to the present, the timeshare industry probably has the worst reputation around the world than any other industry, with many complaints of “pressure selling”, “unavailability” (due to overselling the points and floating weeks systems) along with many other “mis-selling” complaints which in Spain has resulted in many court cases.

In Europe, timeshare seems to have had its day, the major developers have either completely closed their sales offices or have reduced the number of “sales reps” they have. Even before the closedowns of this year we also noticed the number of OPCs (the “scratchcard touts”) on the streets of Spain diminished considerably.

People in Europe no longer see timeshare as a better alternative to the more traditional forms of vacationing. We have increasingly seen the resorts advertising availability on websites such as booking.com and in most cases cheaper than the annual maintenance fees of members along with the huge initial outlay for membership. This has of course infuriated members who are unable to get the weeks they want due to lack of availability.

Is this familiar?

In the US, timeshare still seems to be selling well, but it must be said that the number of complaints about the lies of sales reps has been increasing dramatically, yesterday’s article is just one of many published by Inside Timeshare from our US readers and timeshare owners.

In the end, the industry only has itself to blame, it has failed to keep pace with the changing world, it has developed so many variations of the product it has become one of the most confusing purchases ever. The industry also has not really developed any sense of “customer care or service”, members are treated with contempt by these companies, all they are is a means to make money. This is seen with the ever-increasing rise in maintenance fees along with the continuous “upgrading”, yet, the members do not seem to be benefiting from it.

In Europe and especially Spain which has by far the most timeshare resorts introduced regulations for the sale of timeshare, these were the EU Directives on Timeshare. These were to be placed in each Member State’s own laws, Spain (Ley 42/98), enacted theirs on 5 January 1999, but it was not until around 2010 that the first cases using these laws went to court. Since then virtually every case which has gone to court has been found against the timeshare companies.

Again, this is having a very serious effect on the industry, but once again we have to say it, they only have themselves to blame, after all, they did not change their ways and did not comply with the law. They believed that the law was wrong and continued to sell a product that was declared illegal under Spanish law, they actually thought they were “untouchable”. Sorry to say, they certainly made a big mistake on that one.

In the end, the original concept was a good one, it did guarantee quality, it removed the uncertainty of booking in the more traditional products such as the package holiday, but it has not kept pace with the times. The new generation has been brought up with the internet, they see timeshare as antiquated compared to the freedom of putting together your own package from the many choices available. They also see the initial outlay for the purchase and the subsequent annual maintenance fees as throwing money away.

The world has changed but the timeshare industry has not, they are still working on the same old model of sales, sales and more sales without the slightest consideration for their members. Timeshare I’m afraid may just have had its day. The question is what product will they come up with now?

Inside Timeshare would like to remind you that this is one version of the history of timeshare, but it is one that seems to be the most accepted with most sources agreeing to this version. We hope that you have enjoyed this little journey into history seeing how things have changed and to be honest not really for the better.