Europe’s biggest timeshare operation “criminally avoiding” paying compensation
Europe’s largest and most successful timeshare operation is being accused of “asset diversion” to avoid paying financial compensation to its victims
The Anfi Group in Gran Canaria is one of many timeshare resorts ordered by courts to pay compensation to former members. The world leading timeshare sales operation which boasts 33,000 member families is one of many major companies which ignored a string of directives brought in from 1999 onwards to protect consumers from the industry’s infamous high pressure sales.
One insider who worked at Anfi in the early 2000s believes that the decision was made to ignore the new rules (such as not being allowed to take any payment on the day) because the business would become unworkable. “It was an emotional sale,” says Barry L, a former sales manager at Anfi Del Mar. “I believe our bosses felt that If the company didn’t take a deposit on the day, potential buyers would change their minds later and cancel the sale. A monetary deposit would commit customers to the process.
“The new rules were designed deliberately to protect buyers from making a rash decision, and by ignoring those rules Anfi left themselves vulnerable to being sued. Now they are paying the penalty for doing so.”
Specialist claims companies are helping former timeshare victims to sue resorts like Anfi for the compensation money they are entitled to.”
Anfi have so far been ordered to pay over €45 million in compensation just to the clients of one company called Canarian Legal Alliance (CLA). Other claims companies have successfully had compensation awarded to victims too, meaning that Anfi now owes a staggering amount of money.
“In the current economic climate it is difficult to see how Anfi can absorb this kind of financial blow and survive,” says Daniel Keating of the Timeshare Consumer Association (TCA). “Many other companies are in the same boat and in fact the future is looking pretty bleak for the whole industry.”
Anfi have now been accused of criminal activity in order to avoid paying the millions owed to their victims. According to an El Diario report, Anfi have changed the company through which the annual maintenance fees are invoiced, to another company outside of the civil proceedings. This is considered by experts to be clear attempt to avoid paying the awards.
If this is true, as Eva Gutierrez (a lawyer for some of Anfi’s former clients) claims, then the company have acted criminally. “There is no cause or justification for it” says Gutierrez. “For the next year the annual fees (around €26.5 million a year) are being sent systematically to accounts outside of….. the execution process.”
“Anfi needs to step up and meet their legal obligations,” says Robert Salmon, a contracts expert with European Consumer Claims. “Those victims have suffered enough, the courts have ordered Anfi to compensate them. If Anfi continue trying to frustrate the process they will face punishment under the law.”
Anyone who bought a timeshare after 1999 may be entitled to compensation as contract irregularities were particularly widespread at that time, but TCA’s Daniel Keating adds a note of caution: “Most of the firms offering to help you with claiming compensation from timeshare companies are fraudsters. There are genuine firms but it is not easy to distinguish them from the criminals.
“For free, expert advice on claiming compensation from timeshare companies, or any other timeshare related issue please get in contact with us on the details below.”
- Timeshare sales tactics revealed El Diario reports on Anfi criminal investigation (Spanish) European Consumer Claims Timeshare Consumer Association TCA newsdesk Man duped by 24 fake timeshare companies in a row Fake timeshare claims firm lists President of Mexico as staff member Does the timeshare industry have a future?
Timeshare Consumer Association. Contact us on: T: +44 2036704588 or +44 2035193808 (ask for Daniel), E: firstname.lastname@example.org (Address to Daniel)
TCA provides a central resource of consumer information on timeshare matters for the media and other organisations — We work towards encouraging responsible, honest, timeshare operators. We also publicly expose negative consumer practices and organisations which operate in a manner detrimental to timeshare buyers and owners.
An important part of our mission is to lobby UK and European Governments and regulatory bodies for improved consumer protection in the timeshare environment and collect information on frauds and mis-selling, for action by enforcement authorities.
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First published on MyNewsDesk January 2021