Why does the word Timeshare have such a negative meaning among many people? After all the concept is actually a very sound one, especially in the early days. It gave people a guarantee of high standard resorts, the feeling that you were part of an exclusive club and for many it felt that it was the holiday home they always dreamed about.
So what changed?
During the 1980´s and 90´s which was a boom time for the industry, it was not very well regulated. It was full of what can be described as dubious practices and people. Many of the companies involved especially in Tenerife and Southern Spain had what you might say criminal connections.
The industry was policed in the same way as the mafia families in the USA, controlled their various activities. Using some very nasty tactics against rivals. This is not speculation or made up, many times over the years have there been articles in the press and on the news of murders and beatings of rivals.
The industry controlled the sales people and the OPC´s (Scratch card touts) with the use of security commonly known as “Clumpers”. These “Security” staff would ensure no one would work on their patch, using various means like clumping, hence the name. Anyone breaking the rules would be on the receiving end of a baseball bat at the very least.
One of the most infamous characters in Tenerife was the late John “Goldfinger” Palmer. His outfit allegedly swindled Millions of pounds from thousands of unsuspecting holiday makers. The Independent newspaper ran an article about this on Sunday 28 February 1993. (see following link)
In this article it stated that even the holidaymakers were subjected to bullying tactics by these so called security. Bullied into buying and then into paying maintenance fees before being allowed into the resort, even when they had already been paid.
I have known many of the people who worked as sales staff or OPC´s during this period, and it has now become part of the folklore of the industry. I have no doubt that these things happened, and that in some areas it still persists to this day.
The problem was there was no control, the authorities had very little idea what was going on, and somewhere along the line “presents” were given.
Then some in the industry formed the Organisation for Timeshare in Europe or OTE. This was supposed to be a regulatory body, but it only served the members not the consumer who was the one paying the price. Basically this body became what one might call in the Godfather films the Capo of Capo´s. Or the boss of bosses, ensuring harmony between the warring factions for your precious money. Eventually this reformed into the RDO that we know today.
So what about the consumers? Well many got together and formed owners committees, some had great success in getting the resorts run properly. Then another organisation emerged, The Association of Timeshare Owners Committees, TATOC. Great until they became aligned with the RDO and funded by them. So what should have been an independent group for the consumers became to all intents and purposes part of the problem.
The story goes that this company duped many unsuspecting people into investment packs. These are packs of timeshare weeks put together with the promise that they will be sold with around 15% profit in 2 years. To our knowledge no one has ever received the promised sale.
This story was highlighted in another blog site called mindtimeshare truth, by a lady named as Mrs Wilson who went through this. She states that she approached Alberto Garcia of mindtimeshare, and nothing was done. She then found out that mindtimeshare was funded by the RDO, and that the CEO of Resort Properties was also a director of the RDO. (see following link).
On her website she produced Court documents endicting the CEO and 21 members of management and staff to be investigated for fraud.
Now we know that cases have gone to court and many owners have got their money back, but still these organisations will not acknowledge any wrongdoing.
All this after these videos have been shown and court documents produced.
They do make interesting viewing.
Mrs Wilson did win her case with the help of Canarian Legal Alliance.
So is it any wonder timeshare has such a bad name and scares many people at its mention?
So what can be done?
These are questions that only the law makers can answer. But there is one point that I do believe is a way forward, that is to have a totally independent body to monitor and control the industry. It seems they do not have the ability to control themselves, they lobby the lawmakers for rules in their favour, under the pretense of working for you the consumer. They continue to condone bad practises and this cost the consumer not just in financial terms but in rights.
If you have had a similar experience of any of these practises, please let us know through our comments page. I will do my best to answer any questions or point you in the direction where you may find the answers. The information is out there, you just need to know how to look for it.