While attending a meeting on the Costa del Sol, Inside Timeshare took the time to drop in on the new office in Benalmadena Costa of Canarian Legal Alliance. The office manager and senior consultant Sean Thacker was very kind in spending some time explaining what they do and answering a few questions.
The office itself is situated in the center of Benalmadena Costa, a stones throw from the wonderful Parque de la Paloma and the Aquarium Selwo Marina.
It is a modern and spacious office with facilities for conference calls, with a relaxed atmosphere, which will certainly put potential clients at ease.
Here is what Sean had to say.
As we know Canarian Legal Alliance has had a presence in Gran Canaria for many years, the Benalmadena office is a fairly new branch, when did you open and why was this location chosen?
Sean: This office opened in April of 2017, the main point was we understood there were many clients who took vacations on the Costa del Sol, especially as this area is full of resorts associated with timeshare. It was felt that many of these owners would be interested to learn more about their rights and how the judicial system can protect those rights.
In the light of the publicity surrounding the timeshare industry, we believed they would be more comfortable in visiting our office and discuss their concerns in person. The other advantage is we are also able to offer the many mainland European clients who
IT: Have you had many clients just walk in seeking advice about their timeshares and what has been the main concern of these clients?
Sean: Yes, we were very surprised at the number of clients who passed and came in for some general advice. We offer this advice free of any charge, explaining the law in Spain and what their rights are under the Spanish Timeshare Laws.
One of the main concerns was the mounting rise in maintenance fees, along with no availability, especially for the points and floating week owners, yet they were increasingly seeing that they could book online in the high season considerably cheaper than what they pay in fees. Another concern was where clients purchased on a rental basis yet they received no rental income.
IT: Are most of your enquiries made by telephone or do you receive more via email?
Sean: Our clients, apart from walkins, are mainly via enquires from the internet or social media and we now find we have a major source from our current client referrals to other owners or even friends and family.
IT: What has been the main nationality of the clients or have they been from all over Europe?
Sean: We deal with clients from all of the major countries, UK, Germany, France, Spain, Belgium/Holland, Scandinavia and we have now found over the last 3 months a big increase in Finnish clients who are interested to understand their rights in Spain.
IT: As you said, many of your clients are now from Finland, which timeshare company has figured the most with these clients and what type of products have they purchased?
Sean:I notice that most of our Finnish clients predominantly purchased with Silverpoint / Excel, The Company Participation Schemes seem to play a major role in most of the purchases.
Sean:Yes, there seems to be a switch from the old investment packs to Company Participation which suggests that companies are trying to look for alternative sales tools to offer to clients while always trying to circumnavigate the Spanish legal system.
IT: How do the “Company Participations” differ from the original “investment packs” and would you say that the average amount spent by purchasers is much higher than before?
Sean:The biggest difference is that customers thought they were buying an apartment as freehold. But they bought between 8 to 52 timeshare weeks, these “apartments” are “registered” as SL or limited companies, this is another ploy to remove them from the strict timeshare laws. On this point, in a recent case held in Tenerife, Silverpoint admitted in court that The Company Participations are
IT: Would you say that most clients are nervous about taking legal action and how do you overcome this?
Sean: Everyone is always nervous in the first place to take any legal action, especially in a foreign country, the most important aspect of our work is to make sure we offer full support and transparency in how the process works, then guide the clients step by step through the whole process. It is important at all times we never apply any pressure techniques. This process is totally in the client’s hands, we are a support vehicle for them.
IT: We know there is always going to be bad press on the internet, much of it made by the industry, which will make prospective clients sceptical, so how do you overcome this problem?
Sean:Bad press is something we deal with daily, it proves to me that we do our job correctly for our clients. If you take the record of CLA and the number of case victories including over 129 Supreme Court wins, this shows to our clients that bad press is the only option certain industry members have. I personally will always go through with clients all good and bad press so they feel comfortable, as I mentioned earlier, transparency is the
IT: Roughly, how many cases do you think you have taken on since opening this office and would you say that those which have been to court have lived up to the expectations of your clients?
Sean: Since opening, we have delivered over 500 cases from the mainland office alone, all our client’s expectations have been surpassed using the correct Spanish Laws. Our clients who have had their cases heard have received back the full purchase price, including double the deposit paid within the 14 days cooling off period, in some cases, this has been extended to 90 days, which then doubles any amount paid within that period.
Thank you Sean, you have explained what you do and how you work with your clients, I’m sure that anyone coming into this office is going to be put at ease and be given the facts.
The Benalmadena office is certainly following the success of their parents in Gran Canaria, no doubt we shall hear more of them in the future.
Sean also pointed out that Diamond has several resorts in the area one is their flagship Sahara Sunset. Diamond has also had rulings against them from the Supreme Court, Inside Timeshare published this in December 2018. Below is a PDF of that ruling.
In another court case, this time held at the Court of First Instance in Barcelona, Restotel SA, MedHotel Group SL and ONA Group (Club Dorada SL), were found to be in breach of the timeshare laws. The contract was declared null and void with the client being awarded 112,724€ including double the deposit paid within the cooling off period. Below is a PDF of that ruling.
Inside Timeshare has highlighted the great results achieved by Canarian Legal Alliance in Gran Canaria for several years now, including all the Supreme Court rulings. Even though the facts speak for themselves, the industry is still in denial, they will not admit they are losing. There are still false statements about Canarian Legal Alliance being posted on the internet, much of it we know is from the industry itself, but the facts are these cases are in the public domain and cannot be denied.
Below are two links to previous articles published by Inside Timeshare on Silverpoint, to find more use the search box on the website.
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