Timeshare victims fed up with futile schemes to avoid legal obligations
Timeshare companies -finally being held to account after decades of operating outside the law — are not giving up gracefully.
History of predatory behaviour
Timeshare companies in Spain have never enjoyed a savoury reputation. In the 80s and 90s they regularly made British media headlines over their high pressure sales, associations with organised crime and for flooding coastal beachwalks with touts called OPCs who would hound holidaymakers’ every step.
The business ranged from untrustworthy to pure criminality. Proceeds of crime were laundered through the operations and the sales people were encouraged to tell any lies necessary to close the sale.
The torment didn’t end when people signed up. Every year when they returned to their little slice of heaven, more sales people targeted them for never ending upgrades.
The situation in Spain got so bad that the country’s tourism revenue was threatened. Brits, traditionally the biggest source of income for Spain’s holiday hot spots, began seeking less stressful destinations. Something had to be done to protect the Spanish tourism sector.
Spain reacted with a string of consumer protection laws designed to curb timeshare behaviour. Among these were mandatory cooling off periods, and no money was allowed to be paid during this time.
Most resorts ignored some or all of the new laws for over a decade. They illegally made fortunes at the expense of their customers.
Initially, despite many British owners coming to realise they had illegal contracts, the creaking inefficiency of the Spanish legal system provided protection for the resorts. They knew that no private individual could navigate the bureaucracy, especially in a second language.
Then came the claims companies, and suddenly the victims had an avenue for redress. For a fee the companies would handle the claims process all the way to completion. All a potential claimant has to do was take a free assessment interview, then if they qualify, pay the fee, and ‘release the hounds.’
Once the claims company has a case, they follow it through, doggedly, to its conclusion. That conclusion is invariably in favour of the victim, who is awarded financial compensation.
Resorts’ desperate attempts to avoid paying
Spanish resorts are now out of options. Having tried every legal obstruction they can devise, they are faced with paying what they owe.
Some resorts, such as ANFI, have been accused of moving money around between strings of connected companies in futile endeavours to evade honouring the compensation awarded against them
“Consumers are sick of all the manoeuvring,” reports Daniel Keating, Information Officer for the Timeshare Consumer Association (TCA). “Timeshare companies essentially stole money from them. Justice has caught up with those companies and the courts have awarded compensation to the people who lost money as a result of the resorts’ behaviour.
“Now in a last ditch effort to keep the money they illegally took from consumers, the timeshare companies seem to be planning schemes involving carefully managed bankruptcies.
“Luckily for the consumers, the justice system was not born yesterday and neither are the administrators/insolvency practitioners involved.
“No intelligent person would believe that hugely successful operations like Anfi and Club La Costa have no money. They receive tens of millions of pounds a year in annual fees, many times more than it takes to maintain their buildings. They own portfolios of luxury real estate.
“The creditors’ representatives know what they are doing, and we believe it is a foregone conclusion that they will obtain the money owed by these companies.
If you are not sure what to believe, are confused about the contradictory messages around compensation claims and your resort, or just need unbiased advice on any timeshare related matter, contact us, at the Timeshare Consumer Association.
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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).
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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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First published on MyNewsDesk October 2021