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TATOC

A New Member to EGTBW (Re-published)

Yesterday we published an article which highlighted yet another Anfi defeat in the High Court, it then went on to ask the question, Why the RDO allows its members to continue to flout the law and yet does nothing to sanction them, despite the fact they are also ignoring the “Code of Conduct” of their membership to that organisation. Back in June 2016 we published the article “A New Member to EGTBW”, which has been republished several times. Although a “Spoof” article with the “Trade Body” being made up it certainly reinforces the question of what are the RDO there for? Today we re-publish the article with a couple of changes as it does go into a little more detail. But first, we begin with a very significant victory in the Spanish Courts.

The case involves a Spanish consumer who purchased a timeshare membership with Club la Costa at their Malaga resort, all well and good you might say, they are covered by the Spanish timeshare laws. Unfortunately this was not to be the case which then resulted in an epic legal battle, one which we have highlighted before, it covers Club la Costa’s insistence that the Spanish Courts do not have jurisdiction over their contracts.

CLC insist that all their contracts, which have the following clause, are subject to UK Law and the Jurisdiction of UK courts, this contention has been the subject of many cases which the High Court of Malaga has rejected. They have consistently ruled that as the purchase was made in Spain, the purchase was made in Spain and the fact the resort is actually located in Spain, gives Spanish Law jurisdiction.

They have also constantly expressed the view that companies operating in Spain cannot unilaterally decide or choose which jurisdiction they come under, thus denying consumers the full protection they deserve.

Now considering that it is also a Spanish Citizen who purchased in his home country, how can a company deny that citizen the full protection of the laws of their OWN COUNTRY?

Well, the Court of First Instance Number 3 of Fuengirola seems to agree, also following the rulings of the High Court of Malaga. They ruled that they did have jurisdiction and declared the contract null and void, ordering Club la Costa to repay 22,546€ including Legal Interest.

No doubt we will see Club la Costa launch yet another appeal, which we have all confidence in them losing yet again.

The case was brought on behalf of the Spanish client by Canarian Legal Alliance.

This is another reason why today’s article is being re-published, according to the RDO “Code of Conduct” which states:

“To comply with all laws, which apply to Member’s, business in the jurisdiction in which the Member operates.”

This to Inside Timeshare appears to be a very good example of timeshare operators doing what they like along with the protection and support of the “Trade Body” they pay to join. We hope it gives you a bit of a laugh, but most of all it will show you that all is not as it seems.

Inside Timeshare is proud to announce that it has been invited to become a member of the prestigious trade body EGTBW. This is the European Guild of Timeshare Blog Writers, it is affiliated to the IATBWG, the International Association of Timeshare Blog Writers Guilds.

Becoming a member means that Inside Timeshare must adhere to the Code of Conduct and Ethics of this Organisation.

  1. Members must not attack, make detrimental comments or otherwise demean any organisation that is a member or affiliated to EGTBW or IATBWG.
  2. Members must adhere to the laws of the EU, or the country of registration. Unless we can get away with it.
  3. The EGTBW and IATBWG will not mediate in any dispute between a member and non-members.
  4. If any organisation or entity has a complaint about a member of this organisation it must be taken directly to the member concerned.
  5. Any member may lie or spread false information about any non-member, citing freedom of speech and expression.
  6. If any action is taken against a member, both organisations will fully support that member, no matter what it has done wrong.
  7. Members may display both the EGTBW and IATBWG logos on all promotional material, correspondence and websites.

This Logo is a sign of quality and is a kitemark of excellence.

So there we have it Inside Timeshare has paid its £20,000 a year membership fee for the full protection and backup of these prestigious organisations. It now means we can do what the hell we like, so there!

If this was not a joke it would be farcical but unfortunately, this is all too real in timeshare. On a daily basis, we see owners and members being treated in the most disrespectful manner, we have also seen numerous court cases against the timeshare industry for breaking legislation.

There is an organisation that is supposed to be the trade body of this industry The RDO, (In the US it is ARDA), but it is its own members that are breaking the rules. What do they do about it? Not a sausage.

rdo-logo
The Old Boys Club

This organization’s own code of conduct states that members should adhere to any legislation and laws regarding the sale of timeshare. Yet we see illegal contracts still being sold, deposits being taken on the day, all in breach of EU Directives which are supposed to be in each member state’s laws.

The industry funds this organisation and it does its bidding, it will not even investigate its members when a complaint is made by an owner or member. They say that you must deal with your own resort/company.

They also believe that the press does not research the stories they publish, creating even more of a slur on the industry. Following is a direct quote from their own website under why join the RDO:

“Vacation ownership has been the victim of poorly researched press attention. These articles and broadcasts can cause serious and lasting damage to the reputation of the industry. RDO works on behalf of vacation ownership companies to clear up any misinformation, accusations of sharp business practices and to actively encourage the education of journalists and travel bloggers.”

“We believe that this work directly benefits all businesses in the industry by maintaining buyer confidence in holiday ownership. Additionally, RDO members have the added marketing advantage of being able to display the RDO logo on their marketing material. The RDO logo is a Kite Mark of quality for the holiday ownership industry and enables RDO Members to offer additional peace of mind to their customers.”

So a prestigious journalist such as Tony Hetherington has poorly researched his articles. (It must be pointed out that MacDonald Resorts have not been RDO members since 2005, but these articles highlight a problem that is rampant throughout the industry).

tony hetherington
thisismoney

http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/experts/article-2346500/TONY-HETHERINGTON-I-escape-nightmare-sun.html

http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/experts/article-2698355/TONY-HETHERGINGTON-Even-death-not-rid-timeshare.html

http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/experts/article-2527546/TONY-HETHERINGTON-Timeshare-boss-relents-spite-fighting-talk.html

http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/article-1323162/TONY-HETHERINGTON-Death-doesnt-bring-end-timeshare-fee.html

So these are poorly researched are they?

On another point, there have been numerous rulings made by the Spanish Supreme Court regarding the timeshare laws, Anfi (an RDO member) have been on the receiving end of these rulings, having contracts declared null and void and huge amounts having to be repaid to consumers. Anfi believes the court has got it wrong, the RDO, it seems agrees with them!

For many, timeshare has become a burden, the membership base is ageing, new younger members are not being attracted to the concept, hence many sales offices are closing and staff being laid off. Yet those that want to get out of their membership are being held to “ransom”, they can’t sell (no resale market) and can’t get out without paying huge amounts for the privilege.

What does the RDO do about this problem of getting out of the timeshare?

It enhances its “Code of Conduct” for so-called “legacy” cases or those sold in perpetuity. The rules are not really very helpful and are as follows:

  • In the event of the death of a joint owner, the surviving owner can surrender their timeshare if they wish and additionally, the beneficiaries of a will are not obliged to take on the timeshare if they do not wish to do so.
  • A timeshare owner who has been declared bankrupt may hand back the timeshare without charge.
  • If a sole owner or either of the joint owners is suffering from a long-term illness that prevents them from travelling to their resort for the foreseeable future, the timeshare interest may be surrendered.
  • In all other cases, an owner may surrender their timeshare interest at any time, subject to the agreement of the RDO member. In such cases, any surrender fee shall not exceed a sum equivalent to 3 years current maintenance fees.

(Notice it states “Subject to the agreement”)

As the industry trade body, should not the RDO back up these owners and make sure their members act in an ethical manner.

In the original article we also asked the question:

What of TATOC in all this?

Although since the first publication TATOC, (The Association of Timeshare Owners Committees)) is no longer, having gone into liquidation due to several legal altercations, it’s purpose was supposed to be representing the owners and their elected committees. As we know Harry Taylor who was the CEO, was in fact a full supporter of the industry and TATOC funds were paid by the industry members the same as the RDO.

tatoc logo

No surprise here, they back the RDO plans to the hilt, after all they are funded by RDO members who pay them to be members of TATOC, all so they can display this organisation’s logo. Oh sorry, it is another sign of prestige, you can trust us we are members of The RDO and TATOC; just look at our logos!

Since this article was first published TATOC has now been totally discredited and forced into bankruptcy. (Search TATOC in the search bar for previous articles). For years this organisation run by the infamous “Harry or is it Henry” Taylor, duped timeshare owners into believing that it was a credible organisation out to protect timeshare owners. It has now been proven that this was not in fact the case, in fact TATOC’s backing of MacDonald Resorts move to transfer their fixed week owners to the infamous points system and become members of a vacation club rather than owners, is a prime example.

We started this article with a spoof, the only thing is this spoof is real when it comes to timeshare. The industry is in decline, its reputation has been sullied, it only has itself to blame, the past greed and belief that they could get away with anything have finally caught up with it. Consumers no longer believe the “sales pitch”, they can see it is not value for money, members see their resorts being rented out to non-members on the internet, usually for less than their maintenance fees. Yet the industry and the Trade Bodies cannot see the writing on the wall because they still believe they are right!

Inside Timeshare will continue to highlight any bad practice and report any news within the world of timeshare. If you have any questions regarding your ownership/membership or need to know which company to deal with, contact Inside Timeshare and we will get back to you.

Start the Week: News From The Courts & MacDonald Resorts Are Still At It!

Welcome to the start of another week with Inside Timeshare, today we begin with the news of the latest two cases to come from the courts, the first is against Marriott and the second is a guaranteed bank payment from Anfi. Going back to an old story of Mrs B and her battle with MacDonald Resorts, a story we covered for many years and published the final chapter on 5 November, well, it would seem that MacDonalds is using the same tactics against others. According to several enquiries received recently, the County Courts are going to be busy with cases being brought against members by MacDonalds “bloodhounds” the law firm Shepherd and Wedderburn. This is one of the most despicable timeshare operators anywhere in the world as you, our readers, already know from the long-running saga of Mrs B. But first on with the court news.

On Thursday last week, Canarian Legal Alliance released the result for a case at the Court of First Instance Number 4 of Marbella.

The case was brought on behalf of a German client against Marriott Vacation Club, once again the client’s contract was declared null and void with the court ordering the return of 13,392€ plus a further 21,600€ in respect of the taking of deposits illegally within the statutory cooling-off period. The courts are consistently awarding double the amount for these illegal payments as laid down by the rulings of the Supreme Court.

The total amount the client will now receive is 34,991€ plus legal interest.

In this particular trial, the presiding Judge made specific reference to the very first and groundbreaking ruling in 2015, by Canarian Legal Alliance. It was this ruling in the case of Tove Grimsbo versus Anfi, that confirmed the Timeshare Law 42/98.

In this ruling, it was confirmed that “floating weeks” (which includes points systems) are illegal, that contracts “in perpetuity” (over the maximum 50 years allowed) and the taking of any payment within the statutory cooling-off period are illegal. (See link below for the original news item).

It is clear that the Judge in this case against Marriott was following the law and the Supreme Court rulings to the letter.

The case was prepared by the Lawyers Christine Ihmann and Miguel Angel Melian Santana, with Claims Consultant Evi Richter assisting the client.

The following day yet another bank guarantee for 20,911€ was paid to the court, this is the amount awarded to the Swedish client of CLA in their case against Anfi.

The Court of First Instance Number 3 of San Bartelomé de Tirajana also declared the contract null and void following the many ruling made by the Supreme Court that contracts over the maximum 50 years duration, floating weeks and points systems are illegal along with the taking of any payments at the point of sale.

Although this bank guarantee secures the funds for the client, it is expected that Anfi will launch yet another frivolous appeal to the High Court. So until the original sentence is confirmed by the High Court, the funds will remain in the court’s account, but at least they are secured.

If they do launch another appeal, Inside Timeshare will be keeping an eye open for the result and will have another good laugh when they lose yet again!

This case was prepared and presented by the Lawyer Eva Gutierrez with Claims Consultant Michael Gadman assisting the client.

We now move to the continuing story of the practices of one of the vilest timeshare companies to be in existence, MacDonald Resorts. Our regular readers will be familiar with the long-running battle that Mrs B has had with MacDonalds over maintenance arrears on a timeshare that was “legally” transferred.

The story follows the threats from MacDonalds through various “debt collection” agencies such as Credit Network Services and to the “threats” by their “legal bloodhounds” Shepherd and Wedderburn. (See link below to the last article).

The problem as we have seen with these threats is that MacDonalds with Shepherd and Wedderburn representing them are totally intent on taking “members” to court. Inside Timeshare has been receiving enquiries from many “members” who are also facing a similar problem.

One reader has explained that they originally took over the timeshare at Lochanhully from a friend and neighbour who could no longer use or afford the timeshare membership. This was for a fixed week with an attached apartment, in other words, “real timeshare”.

When they transferred the membership into their name, they never received any notification that it had been completed, they never received any “New Member” agreement or any membership certificates. They were not even informed of any existing “exit mechanism”, not that the one allowed by MacDonalds is anything but fair!

As far as our reader was concerned they never received any paperwork to confirm their ownership, then when they received a letter telling them that MacDonalds had now moved over to the “points” system. This was a system which was wholeheartedly endorsed by Harry Taylor the then CEO of TATOC and recipient of funds from MacDonalds.

Our reader responded that they were not interested in changing to the points system and demanded that his “ownership/membership” be relinquished.

Since then they do not recall ever receiving any demands for the annual maintenance bill and have never paid anything since. Unfortunately, they mistook the lack of communication from MacDonalds as a sign that they had indeed relinquished their timeshare. They are now locked into a timeshare they cannot get out of and are now being taken to court for the arrears.

In our second case of MacDonald Resorts, this new reader is now being taken to court for arrears and their story is very similar.

They purchased a fixed week with an attached apartment at Elmers Court, which was used and enjoyed as they were guaranteed their week each and every year. Unfortunately, they suffered the same fate as every other owner, they were forced to accept the “new points” system introduced by MacDonald’s and as we have said endorsed by Harry Taylor.

Once again our readers told MacDonalds that they did not want the points and would hand back their timeshare. Once again nothing was heard from MacDonalds until recently, the same tactics are being employed by MacDonalds, intimidation and threats by their“legal Bloodhounds Shepherd and Wedderburn”.

When will the authorities begin to clamp down on the likes of MacDonald Resorts, using every means of intimidation to ensure that they do not lose members but keep cashing in their extortionate maintenance fees for timeshare people don’t want and are unable to use.

We also suspect that the vast majority of “members” of MacDonald’s are all in their latter years of life, their circumstances have changed, they are probably on pensions and do not have the funds they once had. They are more than likely unable to travel and their own children and in some cases grandchildren don’t want the timeshare. Yet they are locked in with no real way of exiting.

We also know that MacDonalds is not in a very good financial situation, it is believed that they are selling off some of their hotels and we suspect that the latest increase in the number of “members” being threatened with court, is in our opinion just a way to ensure they have an income.

In other words, it is pure greed on the part of MacDonalds Resorts, “to hell with the members they only supply us with the money!”

https://insidetimeshare.com/mrs-b-v-macdonald-resorts-the-battle-is-won-but-the-war-continues/

If you are also being threatened by MacDonald Resorts, Inside Timeshare would like to hear from you, please use our contact page and we will get back to you.

Are you wanting to be rid of your timeshare, if so and you want to find out what your legal rights and options are then please get in touch by using our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get back to you?

Mrs B v MacDonald Resorts: The Battle Is Won But The War Continues

For those readers who have been following the story of Mrs B and her battle with MacDonald Resorts for the past 4 to 5 years will be pleased to know that her fight is now over. Yesterday 4 November, the BBC Radio 4 Program You and Yours highlighted her case. As usual, the team at You and Yours did their own research and also made contact with MacDonalds and also the European Consumer Centre, which is a Government-funded body. At the last minute, a spokesperson for MacDonald Resorts contacted You and Yours with the following statement.

“Under our management contract with the Resort Owners’ Club at Dona Lola, we are responsible for collecting outstanding fees due to the club.

“In 2014, the club introduced a simple system which enables owners to exit their contracts by paying a sum equivalent to four times their management fee, which in this case would have been £4,107 for the two weeks owned.

“Unfortunately, many owners have fallen victim to unscrupulous ‘exit scammers’ such as ITRA, paying them exorbitant sums on the false promise of being able to terminate their legal contracts. It appears that these two ladies paid £5,000 to ITRA on that basis, when they could have permanently resolved the situation several years ago for a far lower sum.

“In these exceptional circumstances, given their age and the fact that they were duped into paying thousands of pounds to ITRA, the Resort Owners’ Club has agreed to waive the sum which is legally due and which will now have to be met by the other club members. We hope this episode is a salutary lesson to other owners who are approached by exit scammers.”

Although they have promised to “waive” the “contested” sum and no longer chase Mrs B or her Sister for the arrears, they have not actually acknowledged the fact that they are also responsible for the situation.

They maintain that the amount owed is “legally” due to them and claim that now this sum has to be met by “other club members”. This certainly shows that they have no remorse, let’s just fleece the remaining members, sorry, but there must be something wrong with their timeshare model if they need existing members to cover the costs of “returned points”.

They also do not acknowledge that they are also responsible for their members getting scammed by “resale and exit” companies, the sentence:

We hope this episode is a salutary lesson to other owners who are approached by exit scammers”.

This sentence says it all, in fact in the notes they state:

Notes –

“The system introduced in 2014 has enabled many owners to exit their contracts quickly and simply”.

“The Resort Owners’ Club writes regularly to owners warning them of the dangers of exit scammers, several of whom have been the subject of legal action”.

“The contracts in question are bound by Scots Law, which recognises “in perpetuity” contracts”.

If this is the case, why were Mrs B and her Sister not warned that MacDonald Resorts did not recognise ITRA, surely that is their responsibility to inform “members” of their policy when it comes to exits!

As for the system they introduced in 2014, apply for an exit, pay 4 years maintenance and then wait to see if your application is accepted. This system is a first come first served basis, numbers allowed to exit are limited and it is only rolled out every two years. This information has been supplied in the past by members who follow Inside Timeshare.

The last part of the “notes” is also very telling, they maintain that the contracts are “bound by Scots law” which “recognises in perpetuity” contracts. This may be the case for those sold in Scotland, but the contracts that are sold in Spain with the resorts in Spain, the taking of payments has been done in Spain and the client signed the contract in Spain, squarely puts the contract under Spanish timeshare law.

The courts in Malaga have already ruled against MacDonalds on this point in 2015/2016, where they clearly stated that Spanish law has jurisdiction. In many more cases just recently against Club la Costa and Diamond Resorts, the High Courts have also ruled that these companies cannot “choose the jurisdiction” of their contracts, consumers have the right to the protection of the laws in the country they are purchasing in.

On this point, this also makes the conversion to the points system illegal under Spanish law, we also know that other members including Mrs B were basically forced into converting their fixed week fixed apartment timeshare for the point system. They own nothing, they are members of a vacation club.

Remember who was behind this conversion, Harry Taylor of TATOC, both now discredited, he and his organisation which was supposedly there to help and protect timeshare owners, wholeheartedly backed this move by MacDonalds. It is also a fact that MacDonald Resorts were also one of the biggest contributors to TATOC and that was the only organisation they belonged to in the timeshare industry after all their membership to the RDO was essentially revoked.

So as we said at the start, the Battle for Mrs B is over, but the war against this type of practice goes on. Inside Timeshare has been happy to help Mrs B over the years and hope that our support has been of great comfort to her and her Sister. We would also like to thank Julia Paul the Assistant producer at You and Yours for taking an interest in this case and helping to get a resolution.

Are you a MacDonald’s member, have you gone through something similar or just want to get out, Inside Timeshare would like to hear your stories so please use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get back to you.