Despite this now being the festive season, jolliness and good cheer, many consumers expect a blitz of holiday offers in the new year, which might tempt them to engage with holiday companies who assert they have many discounted holidays on offers for the coming year.
In respect to existing Timeshare Consumers, it’s also the time when they receive the Timeshare Maintenance Fees, which Timeshare Resorts assert need to be paid to secure the Timeshare holiday entitlement. These bills land on the “doormat” and are welcomed by many consumers, whilst others stare at the unopened letter deliberating “How much are they asking for now”?
When some Timeshares were bought/sold, many consumers sat through arduous sales presentations whereby representations were delivered to them and in respect to benefits the sellers claimed would flow and should the consumer buy the offering the sellers made to them? The simple fact is, many consumers relied upon what was said, acted relying upon the representations and having regard to what was promised, which they are entitled to do.
When consumers did rely upon what was said, many expected and indeed are entitled to receive the benefits expressed. The sellers must ensure these benefits are delivered and in each year. Should the represented benefits become frustrated or fail to materialise, then, of course, an issue begins to form in the mind of the consumer, which requires them to consider if they have been mis-sold the product or whether or not they should continue to pay the fees asked for.
All Timeshares, Long Term Holiday Products and Vacation Clubs [hereon in called Timeshares] are not bad. They should never be sold as a “financial investment” as to do so is a fraud. If they were, and the word “investment” or any other collections of words inferring the product was an “investment” it is a negligent or fraudulent misrepresentation in itself. The timeshare can be classed as a money-saving instrument which might save money in the future, should that timeshare Resort, and the club [you become a member of] be maintained correctly and the yearly management fees are reasonably levied.
The Timeshare concept is pretty straightforward, in that a consumer pays an upfront capital payment, then they join a select club which provides lifelong low-cost holidays. After a time the natural expectation is that the consumer will obtain cheaper and more discounted holidays in the future. To evaluate if the promise of discount holidays has not been delivered, requires a consumer to show that it doesn’t, which TESS can help you with.
As that quest was bought into by you and after listening to representations, you would expect that the contracts, which underpin the concept, reflect the representations made. Equally, you would expect that the contracts were constructed to deliver the promised concept and other related products. Should they do just that, and should the club deliver on the promises, Timeshare could be hailed as “the good and the great”. That said, many Timeshare Resorts have always attracted descent, some consumers blasting it’s as “scam” and a “rip off”, so something is wrong? In fact, over many years these allegations have been levelled by lots of consumers, each essentially saying the same thing and with added venom. The concept has become somewhat blighted despite the fact that many timeshare resorts are hailed to be “brilliant” and do return to the consumer the concept which was promised to them.
So, the natural and ordinary conclusion is that something exists in some timeshares products, which means some products are “good” whilst others are “bad”.
Over many years, the main consumer complaint is “Management fees” and the rise in those fees each year, This, in turn, causes some Timeshare holidays to become more expensive than those on offer at travel agents. Locked in and required to pay these fees indefinitely, causes problems and is a corresponding blight which plagues the industry. The fees charged by “the good” Timeshare resorts are generally reasonable and those resorts enjoy happy and un-dissenting clients, however, “the bad” resorts levy high maintenance fees which cause their clientele to become angry which results in a quest to get out. Then you have fraudsters, who purposefully charge high fees and them levy high maintenance fees, so they can charge another fee to let those consumers out, whereby they confiscate the initial money paid and then extort lots more money from new members who they then treat the same way. In these cases, the consumer becomes very angry, pursue those resorts for compensations and on many occasions win. That said, the truth is many simply “walk away” burned, hurt, impecunious which causes them to vent their spleen. So is quite correct to term timeshare as “the good”, “the bad” and “the downright nasty”.
What do maintenance fees cover?
When evaluating if your fees are high, you can do a relatively simple calculation, if your timeshare is a week or the points equate to a week, you know there are only 52 weeks in a year, so whatever you pay, in fees, membership or points, you can multiply that sum by 52 and you arrive at a yearly maintenance cost and for the flat in a particular resort. Should you be paying £750.00 per year for a single week, the annual cost is 52 x £750.00, which equals £39,000.00. Do you believe to maintain a 2-bedroom flat costs £39,000 each year?
In contrast, I have a friend who loves timeshare, has 10 weeks in a resort in Spain which is run by a consumer-led committee and he pays £90 per year, per week which equals £4,680.00 per year.
Are you in sufferance to an extortionate bargain, one might ask?
To add balance to the argument and to avoid confusion, some Resorts are better than others, some are more prestigious, incurring higher costs, however, after taking all this into account, there is a very stark difference between £4,680 and £39,000. That explained, some resorts charge even greater fees, which I find obtuse.
Some resorts costs are fair, others are fanciful and some extortionate or downright fraudulent. The “good” resorts have “consumer hands on the tiller”, the “bad” and “downright nasty” Resorts are controlled by the Resorts themselves.
The management and associated fees are agreed by the Club Committees, as it is they who run the Club you are a member of, and should the Club be run by the very consumers who pay the fees, they, in turn, have an interest in driving down costs, however, should the Resort be maintained by the Resort themselves, they will naturally want to drive up those fees, so they make bigger and bigger profits. Thus here lies the problem, and should your Club constitution reserve more committee members for the founder members than the consumer [founder member 3, committee members 2] a misbalance is in place, thus, the consumer is charged what the Resort dictates. Is that fair? Are the members [you] required to pay whatever they want to charge you?
The question which should be asked is when the Founder members are levying the management fees who interest are they representing. Are committee members are they representing their own interests or that of the Club they owe a duty to. Have those founder members breached their “fiduciary duty” to the membership of the Club? If so, an unfair relationship exists which could be the basis of an actionable claim and/or termination.
Some Resorts do like to run the Clubs and construct arrangements whereby their appointments give them “godly rights” over the Clubs and the connected contracts. On occasion, they don’t even prove by way of an account, the actual costs the Club has incurred. Some merely assert and claim the “budget costs” despite the actual costs of running the club, being a lot lower.
Should you refuse to pay the claimed fees and demand “an account”, some Founder Members take back the very timeshare they sold to you, and insist you still pay the loan which was also sold to you, leaving you with a debt. So how fair are these arrangements?
What some Timeshare Resorts don’t seem to do is, point you in the direction of independent legal advisers. Of late many Resorts referred your complaint to TATOC [led by Harry Taylor] who was a representative of Diamond Resorts and the Industry and he dispensed industry advice which benefited the industry, not the consumers? As a parting gift, it seems strange that your “data” is sold off to a hoard of “cold callers” who assert they are legal helpers. They charge massive fees to get you out of the timeshare, yet are not lawyers “per say” but ex-timeshare salesmen selling you more fanciful dreams, which cannot be fulfilled, as they are ignorant of the law.
At what you believe is the end of your journey, you might visit a Solicitor who may not be conversant with the timeshare models and they sometimes advise you that there is nothing you can do, thus, you are told you must pay the alleged “exit fee” the Resorts ask for.
The simple truth is, you have agreed to be a member of a Club who must preserve and deliver your rights and the rights represented when you bought the product. Should those contractual rights not be delivered or the Club breaches the contract, you can elect to discontinue payments, however when doing so its best practice to tell them the reasons why you have elected to take this action. By doing so, they are required to answer that letter, or else they run the risk of being barred from making a claim against you.
When you commission TESS, we will consider the documents you have provided, refer to our library of other documents, construct a letter of complaint, deliver you advice and challenge the contract and the obligations which run parallel to it. TESS will deliver you well-prepared advice and should you assent to proceed with the TESS service, we will send the letter to the resort with your permission and when consent has been obtained. When that task is complete, TESS will investigate further and determine a) if you have a compensation claim b) which court should hear your case c) Provide advice on the meritorious nature of the claim d) a risk assessment and e) the availability of Litigation Funding on a “no win no fee” basis, or a “Damaged Based Agreement”DBA.
Your overring desire is to be treated fairly, and should you not be, your objective might be to seek damages and to be financially placed into a position you were in before you bought the Timeshare.
In all matters of Timeshare, management fees and compensation claims, you can rely upon TESS to assist you.
Posted on: 15th December 2017