Timeshare companies and the RDO do not want their customers seeking independent advice…
Timeshare companies and the RDO would rather their clients didn’t seek help and advice from consumer organisations. Is this realistic? We examine the motives of all 3 players to find out.
The timeshare industry and peripheral businesses enjoy a less than savoury reputation. During the 80s and 90s the media was awash with reports of timeshare con artists, tax dodging and high profile British criminals laundering the proceeds of crime on an industrial scale through Spanish resorts.
Timeshare touts were the scourge of tourists trying to battle their way from their hotel to the beach. The unlucky ones who got talked into a taxi often made unwise financial choices, under immense pressure from commission only sales people.
More recently, with timeshare sales methods reined in by protective laws, the resorts have been getting adverse media attention for refusing to allow their customers to leave. Elderly couples report their resorts demanding maintenance fees annually for a membership that the couple is desperate to relinquish and no longer has any use for.
Resort Development Organisation (RDO)
The RDO is the mouthpiece of the timeshare industry. This self-described “trade organisation” is signed up to and funded by a small amount of European resort developers. The majority of RDO members are lawyers, trust companies and other businesses on the periphery of timeshare, rather than actual developers.
While the organisation claims that it offers a “free complaint handling service” to timeshare customers, the fact that RDO receives all its funding from timeshare businesses, and is run entirely by high profile figures from the timeshare world, makes experts question whether they could be considered neutral.
Indeed, when the cause of angry Seasons Holidays Slaley Hall customers was championed by Radio 4’s You & Yours consumer program the RDO’s Chief Executive, Paul Gardner Bougaard was right there to fight Seasons Holiday’s corner.
Timeshare Consumer Association (TCA)
The Timeshare Consumer Association was founded in 1997 by Sandy Grey, a timeshare owner himself, who was fed up with the underhand practises of the timeshare industry. Many others joined Sandy and volunteered their time and resources to help. 24 years later the TCA is respected by the public and mainstream media alike as a leading authority on malpractice by timeshare companies as well as firms on the periphery of the business.
TCA exists solely to share knowledge, and provide help to timeshare consumers who need independent advice, who have been cheated, or have nowhere else to turn, and our main work is to defend timeshare owners from unscrupulous firms and special interest groups.
Timeshare companies/RDO would rather you only dealt with them directly
It may not come as a surprise that timeshare related companies don’t like their consumers seeking outside help.
Daniel Keating, Information Officer for the Timeshare Consumer Association explains: “We deal a lot with dissatisfied timeshare clients.
“For example, recently we had a couple of Seasons Holidays members we are assisting show us an email from Seasons desperate to convince the clients to cut ties with the Timeshare Consumer Association.
“They were told: ‘TCA are not recognised by the timeshare industry’ ‘we won’t deal with the TCA’ ‘we question the motives of the TCA.’ It went on in this vein for several paragraphs.
“It is correct that we are not a timeshare industry body,” affirms Keating. “We are on the side of consumers. Seasons didn’t want experienced, knowledgeable experts advising these clients in a negotiation. In fact they told the couple that they would only deal with the RDO.
“That would be amusing if it wasn’t so dangerous. Imagine a court case where the opponent told you they didn’t like your lawyer and offered to have their own lawyer mediate between you?
“You wouldn’t accept that situation because you know the opponent’s motivations do not align with your own. It’s the same here. The RDO exists to protect and promote the timeshare companies who fund them, not the consumers who don’t.
“Luckily the clients understood that the timeshare company doesn’t get to choose their opponent’s representation. They also understand that RDO, being the mouthpiece of the timeshare industry, might feel disposed to prioritise the interests of the people who pay them over those of the clients.
“The bottom line here is what most ‘aware’ people already realise. When someone is giving you advice you always need to consider their motivations. Who pays them? Where does their loyalty lie?
“For free, independent, unbiased help and advice on all timeshare related matters, the TCA help team is available, during business hours on the contact details below.
“We will always fight the consumer’s corner”
- Investigation of the RDO
- What is timeshare?
- Radio 4’s You & Yours consumer program takes up the cause of embattled Seasons Holidays clients
- Seasons Holidays pushing out elderly timeshare members to cash in on demand for UK holidays?
- Timeshare Consumer Association background
- Can you escape an unwanted timeshare?
- Timeshare sales tactics explained
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Timeshare Consumer Association. Contact us on: T: +44 2036704588 or +44 2035193808 (ask for Daniel), E: email@example.com (Address to Daniel).
WhatsApp (message only) +447586871055
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.
We are staffed by former and current timeshare owners, as well as former timeshare industry staff. We know our way around the timeshare business
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Timeshare Consumer Association website here
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