An official response from RDO to the press release of June 15 ‘Timeshare industry in Spain is set to
Brussels 15th June 2010 – Contrary to the statement made by Claims Directive, a company located in Arguineguín Gran Canaria that claims to represent timeshare owners’ interests, the timeshare industry both in Spain, the rest of Europe and USA as well as other international territories is extremely robust.
Some of the world’s biggest hotel brands operate within the timeshare industry, such as Hilton, Marriott, Wyndham, Disney and Four Seasons. Timeshare owners recently reported high levels of satisfaction with their timeshare – 87% overall were “satisfied or extremely satisfied” according to a report by The Christel DeHaan Tourism and Travel Research Institute at the Nottingham University Business School.
The survey also reveals that there are 1.5 million owners in Europe, 48% of whom own in Spain, where there are 345 resorts. Furthermore, €3.2 billion was generated by the industry in 2007 alone, €957 million of which came from timeshare sales.
The assertions of fact with regards to the number of claims in the market made by Claims Directive are incorrect and misleading. There are categorically not ‘200 live claims for timeshare miss-selling against Anfi Del Mar’. In fact, only 3 court rulings have been made, one of which was in favour of ANFI Group and in the other 2 cases, it has not been proved that Anfi took deposits directly in connection to the timeshare sales. The company is required to return a small amount as the documentation presented by Anfi was considered not enough in court due to formal interpretations. In this way, both rulings are being appealed by Anfi at the moment. Claims Directive does not clarify that Spanish law only prohibits taking of deposits for timeshare sales when deposits are received between the purchaser and the seller.
We understand that Claims Directive was set up by a former manager at ANFI Group who no longer works with the company. Furthermore, Claims Directive is linked to a number of companies based in Gran Canaria acting as Class Actions and is also linked to a holiday club called Voyager. RDO considers holiday clubs to be one of the biggest threats to the reputation of the timeshare industry as a whole. Many timeshare owners report that they have been enticed to presentations under false pretences, perhaps having been told they can join a class action scheme, but are then persuaded to sign up for a holiday club membership they did not want in the first place.
Consumers should be aware that the Spanish European Consumer Centre in Madrid reported that between 2005 – 2007 over seven hundred formal complaints were lodged about holiday clubs operating in the Canaries, causing loses to European Consumers of at least four million Euros at the time, and accounting for 60 % of all complaints made about this type of bogus scheme during the same period.
One of RDO’s main responsibilities as a watchdog organisation in the timeshare industry is to crack down on fraud. RDO has been working with the authorities in Spain and the Canary Islands to have bogus holiday operators shut down – in fact 51 holiday clubs were forced to close in the last 18 months alone.