Recently decisions in a Spanish Court of Appeal established that some Anfi purchase agreements (made before 17 March 2012) were null and void due to numerous breaches of the Spanish timeshare law 42/98.
We have received notification from the RCI Action Group that all their members have been contacted with regards to the signing up of the CFA (Conditional Fee Agreement) and due to the influx of responses the RCI Action Group have had to extend the cut off date for the return of these until Wednesday 13th March.
▪ 04/03/2013: RCI Action Group update
At the meeting of the RCI Action Group on 20 November 2012, the Association was formally constituted and its committee elected.
Full minutes of the meeting have been prepared but because they include confidential advice cannot be circulated.
The arrangements for after the event insurance and funding are being finalised.
In the absence of settlement it is intended that legal action be commenced.
▪ 14/01/2013: Singapore sponsor update
Due to the ever increasing demand from Singaporean timeshare owners to provide a refund claim service with an even more efficient result we are pleased to inform you that we have contracted a new sponsor of office space.. Read more
▪ 11/01/2013: Latest success in resort refund actions against resorts and financiers for mis-selling
Edw in Coe is representing a group of claimants in legal proceedings arising from timeshare products sold by St Frances Marketing Ltd trading, on occasion, as Buena Viva and based in Exeter.. Read more
▪ 22/10/2012 Saddled with timeshare debt until the age of 111
W.C.writes: My wife and I have owned a timeshare apartment in Nerja, Spain, since 1985. In recent years we have asked the management company to rent it out, and until two years ago rents covered the annual maintenance fees.
▪ 09/10/12: RCIACTIONGROUP.COM now available in 5 European languages
The website www.rciactiongroup.com is now available in 5 European languages including Spanish, French, Dutch, German and Italian.
▪ 03/10/2012 Wyndham Resorts / Worldmark Class Action Lawsuit
The terms and conditions of the proposed Settlement are set forth in the parties’ Settlement Agreement and Release, which has been filed with the Court. On August 5, the court approved the settlement, which will lower credit values at certain resorts, cancel certain Vacation Credits held by Wyndham as unsold developer credits, remove underutilized units from the WorldMark system, and make other changes to the WorldMark time-share plan that may require consent of the WorldMark Board and approval from various regulatory authorities. Wyndham has notified regulatory authorities of the settlement, and will periodically report to Class Counsel regarding the status of efforts to obtain regulatory approval.
To read the full article please click here
▪ 09/08/2012: RCI ACTION GROUP NOW LIVE!
The RCI Action Group website is now live.
Visit and register your claim at www.rciactiongroup.com
If you are in contact with other past/ present owners whom you have met whilst on holiday, why not pass on this good news. They will surely thank you and it will help boost the numbers!
▪ 27/07/2012: PETCHEY LEISURE TAKEOVER BY THE MGM GROUP
Petchey Leisure have now been officially taken over by the Indian MGM Group. If you are a member of Petchey Leisure, this take over will have no effect on your right of use through fixed weeks or within the Club Infiniti. We will provide further information as we receive it.
▪ 15/05/2012: CASE REVIEW UPDATE
ITRA was formed in August, 2002 and during the past 5 years it has been at the forefront of funding and assessing potential claims from members of the public against players within the timeshare industry in respect of mis-selling, excessive maintenance fee charges, failed exchange promises and many other abuses.
In the United States, following a class Action settlement RCI Llc, the U.S. arm of the Worlds largest timeshare exchange company admitted that they had abused their trust and made compensation to its members, which we estimate totalled approximately $50 million (U.S . Dollars) click here to read more
▪ 17/04/2012: The Power of Action Groups
GREAT NEWS FOR ALL OF US
I have just received formal notification that the State Prosecutor in Tenerife has ordered a FULL BLOWN CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION against Resort Properties and 21 of their employees.
On the 11th April an official notification from court No. 3 in Tenerife was published stating that on the 22 December 2011 the State Prosecutor ordered the police to perform a full investigation.
As part of the investigation I was delighted to see that the list of indicted people included MARK CUSHWAY CEO of Resort Properties. So, MR ALBERTO GARCIA, head of enforcement of the RDO what do you have to say about this?
Click here to read the full article
▪ 20/03/2012: Timeshare What Went Wrong
INDEPENDENT COMMISSIONED REPORT… click here to download full report
▪ 27/02/2012: ITRA Action In Asia Pacific
We are pleased to announce that we are now in discussions with a leading law firm who's head office is in Bali Indonesia. This is with a view to appointing them to represent ITRA clients who own timeshares in Asia. We have an extensive list of owners who have already signed pre qualification forms to join our Asian action group. This follows very much along the lines of our European operations but will take in the local legal jurisdiction requirements. Any owners of timeshare at a resort in the relevant Asian territory would be eligible to claim regardless of their personal residence. For further information on claims against Asian resorts, management companies and RCI Asia Pacific Ltd and associated companies RCI PTT & PTY. Please email email@example.com
▪ 16/02/2012: RCI EUROPE - CLASS ACTION
ITRA now has many thousands of UK claimants who are joining our NO WIN – NO FEE action group to claim compensation from RCI for irregularities including skimming and renting high season weeks from their Spacebank to the detriment of their members. This case is currently being rigorously pursued and is at an advanced stage with our legal team. Full details and an online pre qualification form may be found within our website. www.itra.net
A dedicated website for registered claimants has been launched and is currently under final construction.
▪ 16/02/2012: RCI EUROPEAN CLAIMS
We are pleased to announce the opening of a dedicated office in Spain which is dealing with non UK European residents and Citizens. This is to support claims by all non English speaking members of RCI Europe which include French, Spanish, Italian, German, Dutch, Scandinavian, etc. who are all entitled to join our Class Action claim. This website is currently being translated into all European Languages for their convenience.
A high profile publicity and media campaign is shortly to be launched by our funders to attract potential claimants. We currently have a full page advert in the in-flight magazine of Monarch Airlines which has produced many new European claimants.
▪ 16/02/2012 RCI WORLDWIDE CLAIMS
Our current UK Class Action claim is only for members of RCI Europe. This is because of legal corporate jurisdiction. RCI have many different companies operating under their banner throughout the World. For example, in the USA RCI trade as RCI - LLC which is an American company. They have recently made a settlement for their wrongdoings to their USA week’s owners and a claim by point’s owners is still ongoing.
We have recently appointed ITRA licensed agents who have opened offices in Singapore, South Africa and Australia who are pursuing claims and action where appropriate against RCI, resorts and management companies locally in much the same way of our European current operations.
▪ 15/02/2012 WORLDWIDE RESORT & MANAGEMENT FEE CLAIMS
As you are aware the hiking of management fees and the improper behaviour of resorts throughout the World has been a big issue over the past few years. We have recently received the result of a fraud report by private investigators that we commissioned to investigate allegations against one of the largest resort groups in the World. The findings of this report, has opened a real can of worms, which also involves serious irregularities by major trustees. The papers have been passed on to a court which is likely to recommend imminent criminal and civil proceedings. Watch this space! Many more claims could be on the way.
▪ 15/02/2012 TIMESHARE EXIT STRATEGY
Finally to those of who still have unwanted ownership. We have been having huge success in disposing of same. In particular, by using our unique arrangement with Spanish notaries and lawyers, we are able to dispose of your liabilities. If this applies to you, please email us for a free information pack.
▪ 12/02/2012 RDO ACTIVITIES & SALICIOUS WEBSITES
Who are the RDO?
The RDO are the Resort Developers Organisation, www.rdo.org originally based in Brussels and who have recently moved to a small office London. Their main sponsor is RCI who use them as a controlled credibility vehicle to protect their members resorts .by alleging that everyone who is not one of their members is a crook Their “enforcement officer” is an ex Spanish policeman called Alberto Garcia has on their behalf launched a salacious site called www.mindtimeshare.me . If you look at their websites you will note that they are running an attack campaign against mainly ITRA in an attempt to discredit us to scare and dissuade potential claimants from dealing with us. This is inspiring because it shows how worried RCI are by our actions. We have launched a new website www.mindtimeshare.co.uk with only one page as a way of hitting back. Please read it and you see a challenge that we made to the RDO nearly two years ago to which we are still awaiting a reply. This will open your eyes and amuse you.
We do not run salacious non-productive quasi consumer websites and forums – We take commercial action! – So, wherever in the World you are, if you are not satisfied with any aspect of your ownership please contact us by email and remember, we do not charge any fees unless you receive a damages settlement. Advice is free. You will shortly find a new section on our website dedicated for this purpose headed FREE ADVICE.
▪ 17/01/2012 Consumer Complaints concerning RCI
Consumer Complaints & Reviews:RCI's Web site says the company has over 3,700 affiliated resorts located in 100 countries, with over three million subscribing members living in more than 200 countries. Its "RCI Community" is an exchange network of three million timeshare owners worldwide who participate in RCI's traditional week-for-week and points-based timeshare exchange networks.
Read some of these complaints here
▪ 10/01/2012 ITRA in Jan/Feb issue of the Monarch inflight magazine
Click the link to vew the ITRA full page feature in the January/ February issue of the Monarch inflight magazine: http://www.monarchexplorer.co.uk/issue9/page/112
▪ 09 /12/11 Published in a USA magazine - "Settling Points Class Action"
A class action lawsuit filed on behalf of RCI Points members is moving towards a possible settlement. A settlement agreement has been signed and a hearing is scheduled for December 20, 2011. At the hearing, the court will decide if it should give preliminary approval to the settlement agreement. If the settlement gets preliminary approval, notices will be sent out to all RCI Points members with the terms of the settlement and information about a “fairness hearing” at which Points members can express their support or opposition to the proposed settlement, or submit comments to the court in writing. Attorneys representing other Points members from California in a similar, more recently filed, lawsuit are trying to consolidate the two lawsuits and have the court disapprove the settlement agreement. Additional information about the terms of the settlement agreement will be in the Jan/Feb issue of TimeSharing Today.
▪ 28/11/2011 The timeshare industry is scared. At last they are taking ITRA seriously
Due to legal action being instigated against major players in the timeshare industry and the help that ITRA is giving to timeshare owners generally to terminate their timeshare liabilities, the timeshare industry is now fighting back. Salacious blogs/websites have been posted with malicious, false and defamatory allegations against ITRA.
How many timeshare owners paid many thousands of pounds for their timeshare interests only to find out many years later that their investment has become a liability, there being no resale market, no acceptance by resorts for relinquishment, only an ongoing liability.
For those members of the public who have registered their intention to claim with us, please bear in mind that these blogs/websites will not deter us whatsoever. Once again we reiterate that these blog/websites have been created by those who have spent years deceiving the public and will do everything to protect their interests. We take these defamatory and incorrect comments seriously and action will be taken against those who have breached the law, whether civil or criminal.
▪ 01/11/2011 Government e-peticion Launched for Timeshare Owners
A Government e-petition has been launched for timeshare owners: Rescinding Timeshare Contracts and Exhorbitant Maintenance Fees.
Click here to read more and sign the petition.
▪ 13/07/11 Timeshare fees: trapped in a holiday that lasts for life
Article published in The Telegraph 13th July:
Timeshare fees: trapped in a holiday that lasts for life Of the 600,000 Britons who still own timeshares, 250,000 want to dispose of their investment. A Telegraph investigation has found that many of those who bought timeshares in the Eighties and Nineties are struggling to sell or even give back these investments. Although they do not use the property, they are liable for "maintenance fees" and will be pursued for legal costs if they do not pay.
Click here to read full article
▪ 04/07/11 Successful Claim
The law company Edwin Coe LLP have succeeded in their first claim acting on the behalf of consumers against the banks who provided end user finance for the mis-selling of their timeshare through St Francis Marketing in Exeter.
More updates soon...
▪ 17/05/11 UK Consultancy Centres
Itra is pleased to announce that due to the continuing high level response for completion of compensation claims it is now operating, for convenience, mobile consultancy centres in various locations across the U.K.
For further details please email firstname.lastname@example.org
▪ 11/04/2011: More Harrassment From Diamond Resorts
There are two words that members of the Diamond Resorts holiday club detest even more than "Diamond" and "Resorts". They're "Daniels Silverman", the debt collectors brought in to try to force poor members into coughing up ever-escalating annual management fees. Not that we can see Daniels Silverman having much luck, judging by the number of very angry Diamond Resorts members who say they're refusing to pay-up.
Click here to read the full article from the Mirror
▪ 31/01/2011 ITRA goes Worldwide!
Following its huge success in developing a unified platform for many thousands of unhappy British timeshare owners to join forces in claiming compensation for their losses, ITRA is now expanding its operations to many other countries throughout the World.
Details of appointed agents, licensed territories, locations and contact information will be featured on our website when contracts are ratified which we expect to be in the next few weeks.
▪ 07/01/2011 Summary of Counsel’s opinion
ITRA has historically exclusively organised funding, sponsorship and the administration on behalf of potential claimants and will for now continue to maintain it’s position in this respect as overall Class Action managers.
Specialist Counsel appointed by ITRA have spent nearly four years in investigating and preparing the first claim against the exchange organisation RCI Europe, and have now issued and served a final protocol letter before action.
To ensure that adequate funding is at hand to pursue this case to it’s full conclusion by providing advice for litigation funders and insurers a further and up to date Counsel’s legal opinion was produced on the 7th January 2011.
This opinion is extremely positive and as a result we have been approached by many sponsors and litigation funders to ensure that we can now expand our operations worldwide without asking for any donations from timeshare owners past or present.
The latest opinion runs to many pages, is wide bearing and parts of it are confidential to the claimants. We have however produced for general release a summary of the opinion at the end of this notification.
The facts and details of how timeshare owners qualify to participate in this NO WIN – NO FEE action, and of other issues that are being pursued are fully disclosed on our website.
Click here to view the Summary of Counsel’s opinion
▪ December 2010: Merry Christmas!
ITRA would like to wish all its sponsors, members and visitors a very merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year!
▪ December 2010: How Low Can You Go!!!
Pueblo Evita have been taking loyal clients through the county courts to try and extort unreasonable maintenance fee charges.
▪ 13 November: Reply to the RDO letter Timeshare Owners A Call To Action
An open message from ITRA to the RDO (The Resort Developers Organisation)
YOU ARE A DISGRACE!!
Your business was originally constructed to protect the interests of the timeshare resorts, developers and management companies in an attempt to fool the consumer into believing that you were the official public multi - ownership industry Watchdog.
Click here to read full message
▪ 6th November: Timeshare Owners, A Call to Action
Reproduced from RDO Website 6th November 2010 (www.rdo.org)
Last week the RDO Chairman sent the attached letter out to all Developer members of our organisation and I have set it out below in full, as I believe it is something that should be made available to all those involved in our industry:
TIMESHARE OWNERS, A CALL TO ACTION - click here to read full article
▪ November 2010: EasyJet Advertising Campaign
TIMESHARE: END OF AN ERA?
A tale of how timeshare owners have suffered at the hands of a greedy industry and how the tables could now be turning.... click here to view the full article featured in this months Easyjet in flight magazine.
▪ November 2010: New offices supporting ITRA now open
New offices supporting ITRA are now open in the following destinations:
.... with many more locations planned for 2011. Remember our strength is in numbers!!
▪ October 2010 - Update on RCI Group Litigation Proceedings
Our team have now collated the information that our current claimants have given within the prequalification application for them to be included in the proposed claim for compensation against RCI Europe and others.
As you are aware, everyone will be represented on a “no win-no fee” basis backed by insurance which means that they will not be personally liable for any of the costs in pursuing this group litigation. The costs that have been invested by our funders to date are in excess of £1,000,000.
Because these proceedings are being funded on a “No Win – No Fee” basis charges are made only on success and reward. The payment share has been re negotiated with the funders in the event of a success. In view of the huge past and ongoing costs, the funders now require that 40% of any award or settlement will be retained by them to compensate their risk and disbursements. The remaining 60% will be forwarded to you by court appointed administrators. This could be subject to review dependent upon ongoing legal costs or settlement agreements.
If you are uncertain with regard to any aspect of this matter please contact us directly or visit the forum
Click here to download full Update
▪ September 2010 - Timeshare…What Went Wrong?
INDEPENDENT COMMISSIONED REPORT… click here to download full report
▪ 13/08/10 Malta is to introduce a tough new laws to control timeshare touts
Instant fines will be levied with the intention of stamping out anti-consumer practices which are damaging the image of Malta as a friendly holiday destination.
Too many incidents of tourists being confronted in the street while on holiday in Malta has led to the Maltese authorities taking action against the timeshare companies who employ aggressive sales staff to seek out possible buyers. Read More:
Complaints From Malta Holidaymakers
Complaints have risen, in recent years, from holiday makers who have had their time on the island spoiled by being approached on a daily basis to attend presentations, that can last up to four hours; in the hope that some tourists will buy into holiday property ownership and timeshares on Malta.
But the Malta tourist authorities have seen the damage it is doing to the island's economy and have decided to act.
Timeshare touts, who get paid a commission for every potential buyer they persuade to visit a presentation, can sometimes approach the same tourists two or three times a day; in a desperate attempt to earn a living in the sun.
As well as the feeling of not being able to go out without being accosted by these people, some timeshare touts verbally abused Malta tourists who declined to go to a presentation, or simply followed them down the street after being rebuked.
Malta Tourism Economy
With the tourism market vital to the Malta economy, the Malta Tourist Authority recognised that some visitors would be so put off the island by high pressure sales people that they wouldn't return; potentially losing Malta millions in lost revenue from repeat visitors.
In today's world, Malta has to compete with new destinations in Europe as well as Spain and her islands. Cheap Malta flights aren't in themselves enough to sustain tourism at reasonable levels anymore. The trick of sustained tourism is to have repeat business and timeshare touts bothering visitors to the island are enough, in some cases, to make sure that repeat visits don't happen.
The legislation the tourist authorities needed, to be able to protect the tourists, has recently been passed and the Malta Tourist Authority is planning to outsource security patrols; to police the timeshare touts.
In a clever move, designed to enforce the legislation effectively, the Malta Tourist Authority are being paid around 3,000 Euros for each rep the timeshare companies employ; as a bond that allows them to work in a regulated way.
Instead of waiting to take each incident through the courts, the MTA will be fining the companies found breaking the rules and taking the money out of the deposited bond money; with the timeshare companies having to make it up to the required amount immediately.
British tourists are often targeted by male and female timeshare reps working together.
While some timeshare touts base themselves outside Malta hotels, others drive around in cars; stopping tourists as though they were going to ask for directions and pointing to a map of Malta, before delivering their sales pitch. With some timeshare touts more persistent than others.
The Timeshare Representative
The timeshare reps are mostly from the United Kingdom and target British tourists who visit Malta for its sunny climate.
On occasions, the British tourists have had to resort to threaten violence to be left in peace; with the timeshare reps retorting that they were only trying to make a living.
In truth, while the timeshare reps are trying to make commission, for every penny they earn they could be losing the Malta economy far more with every approach they make as the tourists soon get fed up with the persistent efforts to sell them something they don't want.
Those tourists are sometimes having their whole holiday spoiled and are less likely to return.
The last thing the island needs is for tourists to step off their Air Malta flight to be accosted, before they even reach their hotel, with a sales pitch that reminds them of double glazing salesmen back home.
Malta Tourists to Enjoy The Sun Again
The pro-active stance taken by the Malta Tourist Authority, to protect the British visitor and to ensure that they can enjoy their holiday in the sun, will hopefully be the first of many to Malta.
The Malta Tourist Authority is to be commended for not only recognising the problem, but taking action to ensure the Maltese economy doesn't lose millions in lost revenue; from unhappy Brits who might otherwise take their spending money elsewhere, in the future.
Time alone will tell if Malta can screen her visitors from more than sunburn
▪ 13/08/10 Timeshare Industry in Spain Set To Collapse!
A new court ruling in Spain on the 27 of May 2010 is set to see an avalanche of timeshare compensation claims against developers, the ruling can now be used by European timeshare owners to seek compensation from illegal contracts signed after 1996 In Spain and its territories.
It is now thought that up to 400,000 contracts were made illegally after 1996, industry experts believe that timeshare compensation claims could reach 2,000,000,000 (Billion) Euro.
Magistrate D. Juan Carlos Socorro Marrero has ruled that a timeshare developer in Gran Canaria must pay back double the amount of the timeshare deposit taken within the cooling off period. In a case brought against Anfi Sales SL, part of the Anfi Del Mar Group in Gran Canaria the Magistrate commented? The case of paying an advance instalment is in opposition to what is dictated in the law 42/1998, article 11, the second section of this mentioned rule permits the acquirer ?at any time? to get back double the stated amount.?
Anfi Del Mar reportedly one of the most largest and luxurious timeshare developments in Europe is now set for up to 10,000 new claims for timeshare miss-selling under the 1994 European timeshare directive. Anfi Del Mar, built by the Ling Group in Gran Canaria in 1989 and once owned by the largest travel agent in the world ?TUI? is said to be in a state of panic at this ruling. ?TUI? who own and operate several of the best known UK high street tour operators including Thomson were also responsible for taking illegal timeshare deposits at Anfi from 2001 to 2004.
At present there are over 200 live claims for timeshare miss-selling against Anfi Del Mar in the Spanish court system and with fresh claims coming in at a rate of 10 a week before this ruling, it is not known what affect this will have on the stability of Anfi Del Mar.
Under Spanish law, even if a property is sold on all debts and encumbrance are passed to the new owners, so even if a timeshare property has changed its ownership, the new owners will still be liable for new compensation claims. Read More:
However in Tenerife in the last two years a number of timeshare developments have already been repossessed by the unscrupulous developers by way of inflating yearly maintenance fees, once seized they split the apartments up and sell on as real estate, this then circumvents this ruling, it is widely thought within the industry up to 200 developers operating out of Spain, Canaries and the Balearic's are already moving to sell off timeshare resorts that have or will have actions brought against them.
Five out of the top 10 timeshare developers in Europe including Brand name companies have taken illegal deposits during the cooling off period and some as late as 2009 were still selling illegal contracts. In contracts shown to Claims Directive this year, one developer based in Mallorca, Spain is still taking illegal deposits even after this was outlawed in a 1994 European timeshare directive, that Spain adopted in 1996. The European timeshare industry does have a regulatory body, however 4 of its paid members are developers that have broken these laws previously, and until the regulatory body in place condemns these actions committed by their own members, there will not be a fair regulatory body representing timeshare owners in Europe.
Claims Directive and its sponsor believe that this new ruling gives power back to the timeshare owner, and because this ruling can be back dated on claims to 1996, it will give timeshare compensation to owners who never before had a chance of taking on large corporate brand developers.
If you have paid a timeshare deposit on or during the cooling off period after 1996, in Spain or its islands, you are now entitled to reclaim double your deposit, even if the company you purchased from is no longer trading, as long as the timeshare development still exists.
▪ 13/08/10 Lanzarote Court Awards Compensation For Beach Club Fraud
A Lanzarote court has awarded 12 French Nationals over 200,000.00 euros compensation in regard to the Lanzarote Beach Club Fraud.
It is being paid by Sands Beach Villas as the firms are connected.
A group of British and French consumers launched the compensation claim in the Lanzarote courts in March 2010 in respect of their loss of membership of Lanzarote Beach Club and/or International Vacation Club.
The Lanzarote Beach Club was opened in 1985 as a top quality timeshare resort in Lanzarote, Canary Islands. At its peak it is believed there were over 18,000 owners. It was for many years the most exchanged into resort in Europe. Read More:
In 1989 owners saw a 389 % increase in maintenance in one year alone! Since then owners have seen many alarming activities at LBC, many of which have been unconstitutional. At the same time many consumers were persuaded to buy into LBC2, a plot of land next door due to be built to even higher standards than the already 5 star LBC, but to this day LBC2 has never been built! In fact the rumour is that the land was never owned by LBC.
Also many owners at LBC and LBC2 were persuaded to join IVC, which has been the cause of many complaints about poor quality accommodation at exorbitant prices.
But in 2000 the management started a campaign to remove all the owners, firstly by increasing annual fees then, in 2003, by demanding massive extra levies with no explanation and refusal to provide copies of accounts - with the result that many owners refused to pay and walked away.
Then, on 5th February 2004, the LBC was wound up and all owners lost the rights of use.
As a result some 18,000 people have lost approx. ?150M. It is rumoured that there are 25 separate allegations including fraud, money laundering and tax evasion and that the Spanish tax authorities are supporting the claim.
▪ 03/08/10 ITRA NOW SPEARHEADS THRUST INTO EUROPE
TIMESHARE / POINTS OWNERS - v -RCI EUROPE
ITRA has, over the past three years, devoted itself entirely at its own expense to evaluating the possibility of group action on behalf of timeshare and points owners who have reason to believe that they have been cheated. In particular ITRA has been investigating the possibility of Group action against RCI and has fully funded this. To date ITRA has collated data from UK based owners only.
As you may be aware, the exchange group RCI Europe has now received notice of the claim to be brought against it in the English Courts. Full details may be found within this website.
ITRA has been advised that RCI members based throughout Europe may qualify, provided they contracted with RCI Europe. ITRA is now extending its efforts throughout all European countries contacting members of RCI Europe who may qualify.
In this respect, a massive multi-lingual advertising awarenesscampaign is currently being produced and will shortly be released in all relevant countries and will be supported by TV advertising, airport displays and other media.
As in the UK, any claims will be pursued on a NO WIN - NO FEE basis. Therefore there will be no up front legal fees payable. The claim funders will receive a percentage of any payout to compensate them for their investment.
This is the first of many proposed actions being pursued against various entities within the timeshare industry on behalf of many thousands of disgruntled owners. Details of other actionable matters may be found on this website.
To see if you qualify to join this claim please click here.
Click here to view and comment on this article in the ITRA forum
▪ 01/08/10 In August 2010 ITRA has scheduled 48 commercials on Sky News and Travel & Leisure
▪ 16/07/10 Diamond Resort Problems in Hawaii
A letter- to- the- Editor
Nightmare in paradise
"Concerned owners of the Point at Poipu timeshare in Kauai, Hawaii continue to have difficulty with their management contractor Diamond Resorts International (DRI). They refuse to accept the fact that they were hired to work in behalf of the owners not us working for their management salaries.
The main problems are make-up of the Boards of Directors in favor of DRI with no input from the owners, and unwillingness to provide the owners with a means of communicating with each other.
Currently they control the vast majority of votes by getting the proxies and vote for themselves and put relatives and puppets on the boards, thus maintaining control of the resort. Not enough owners bother to vote and DRI gets their votes by proxy.
In the past few years the 5 member boards were composed of 3 DRI employees and 2 owner puppets who went along with whatever DRI wanted. The Boards now have 2 DRI employees and 3 owner puppets one of whom is the mother of a DRI vice-president. The owners are not represented. This group decides on dues increases, what funds are to be spent on improvements and their own compensation salaries.
We have repeatedly requested the owner's list in order to communicate with each other. We believe most owners would agree with our grievances therefore DRI seems dedicated to preventing release of the list. We recognize there could be a privacy issue here, however there have been several recent judgments in favor of releasing the owner's list at other timeshare resorts.
This is the perfect example of corporate take-over. Our dues are so out of control that we could rent a comparable unit for less money. We are already owners and paid "big bucks" to buy a "week in paradise" that turned out to be a nightmare. Owners cannot sell their weeks to get out from under these exorbitant fees, they get almost nothing for their investment and often pay to sell or go into foreclosure and risk damaging their credit. Welcome to the wonderful world of timeshare ownership.
The state of Hawaii could lose their attraction for tourists and there goes their main source of income."
Click here to view and comment on this article in the ITRA forum
▪ 16/07/10 USA Points Class Action News
RCI Points Class Action
An amended complaint was filed on May 12, 2010 based on the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act and a Breach of the Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing. The thrust of the complaint is that RCI's rental of vacation weeks deprives the RCI points members of vacation opportunities that should only be available to RCI members.
Pretrial discovery will now begin, focused on class certification; a motion to certify the case as a class action must be filed by November 1, 2010 with motion pleadings to be completed by February 25, 2011. After that, the court will schedule oral argument and rule on whether the matter should be certified as a class action..
Click here to view and comment on this article in the ITRA forum
▪ 01/07/10 In July 2010 ITRA has scheduled 67 commercials on Sky News and Travel & Leisure
▪ 07/06/10 Letter Before Action Sent to RCI Europe
ITRA is pleased to announce that after many months of hard work it has now gathered sufficient evidence from unhappy timeshare members for a claim to be formulated against RCI Europe in the Commercial Court in London. In accordance with the required Court protocol, a Letter Before Action was sent by the Law Firm Edwin Coe LLP, acting on behalf of the Claimants on 4th June 2010.
This letter puts RCI on notice of the claim, requests voluntary disclosure by RCI of key documentation and invites them to engage in dialogue if appropriate.
The evidence collated from RCI members (the Claimants) supports ITRA´s belief that RCI has denied its members the opportunity to receive fair exchanges under the Exchange system. It is proposed that proceedings be brought against RCI on these grounds, seeking compensation and redress under various headings.
As ITRA continues to receive complaints from unhappy RCI members, these complaints are passed over to the legal team for consideration and inclusion in the claim where appropriate. Any owner who has not met with an ITRA consultant, who considers they may qualify on these grounds, should contact ITRA immediately by emailing: email@example.com
As the claim against RCI is prepared, ITRA remains committed to seeking redress on behalf of other disaffected timeshare owners. As the ITRA consultants continue to meet owners, patterns of abuse emerge in a number of areas - rising maintenance fees and extortionate interest rates in finance agreements are particular areas of concern. ITRA continues to consider these areas and will keep you updated with regards any further action.
▪ 01/06/10 In June 2010 ITRA has scheduled 34 commercials on Sky News and Travel & Leisure
▪ 13/05/10 ITRA TV advertising campaign May 2010
In May 2010, ITRA has scheduled 339 commercials on Sky News and Travel & Leisure.
▪ 05/04/10 ITRA TV advertising campaign April 2010
In April 2010, ITRA has scheduled 263 commercials on Sky News and Travel & Leisure.
▪ 26/03/10 ITRA puts Seasons Holidays on notice
▪ 19/03/10 ITRA Puts The RDO And It’s Associated Websites On Notice
▪ 17/03/09 ITRA TV advertising campaign March 2010
In March 2010, ITRA has scheduled 275 commercials on Sky News and Travel & Leisure.
▪ 03/02/10 ITRA's Television Awareness Campaign 2010
In order to maximise public awareness of the various legal actions being pursued on behalf of disgruntled and unhappy timeshare owners in the UK. ITRA has reinitiated its television advertising campaign.
In January 2010, ITRA contracted 55 commercials across Channel FIVE, FIVER and FIVEUSA.
In February 2010, ITRA has scheduled 242 commercials on Sky News and Travel & Leisure.
Funding permitting ITRA hopes to continue advertising through this media throughout 2010.
▪ 06/01/10 Should You Buy a Timeshare Now? "$1 May be Not be a Good Deal!"
By Chuck Green at Bankrate.com
• Timeshare sales declined 8 percent from 2007 to 2008.
• Timeshares should be considered a vacation alternative, not an investment.
• Financing a timeshare is difficult these days so you'll need cash.
Like all real estate, vacation timeshares have taken a beating in this recession. For the first time since sales have been tracked, the timeshare industry experienced a decline in annual sales volume in 2008, according to the American Resort Development Association, or ARDA, an industry group. It reported that sales were down 8 percent from 2007.
So it looks like it's a great time to buy a timeshare. Before you purchase one, though, there are a number of questions you need to answer. Are you going to use the timeshare or is it an investment? What other costs are associated with it? Will you be able to trade it? Can you get financing?
"A timeshare should only be thought of as an investment in your future vacations," says Lisa Ann Schreier, founder of Timeshare Insights in Clermont, Fla. "Timeshare isn't a business for consumers; it's a vacation alternative."
A timeshare has a value proposition that comes from using it, says Howard Nusbaum, president and CEO of ARDA. Buy where you love to go, he says, because in years that you don't want to exchange, you always have your home resort.
Brian Rogers, owner of TUG2.net, a timeshare-owners users group based in Orange Park, Fla., also advises against purchasing a timeshare as an investment. "The overwhelming majority of owners encounter the staggering depreciation of a product unlike any other I can think of," he says.
"Only those who want to use the timeshare should get into the market," says Judi Kozlowski, a broker with Re/Max Properties SW in Orlando, Fla. "Timeshare is an investment in your time and family, not a financial investment." Kozlowksi says that if an investor can find an exceptionally good deal in a high-demand timeshare, it should be considered. Overall, however, it's not for the investor, she says.
Potential buyers should base their offering price on breaking even after 10 years, and consider all costs associated with owning versus renting, including the availability of "renting what you want," says Mario Collura, president of TRI West, a timeshare resale broker in Los Angeles.
The costs associated with any timeshare include interval cost, closing costs, annual maintenance fees, real estate taxes, the exchange or usage fee and special assessments, says Schreier. Ask about the history of the annual maintenance fees, special assessments and how much they can go up, she says. "Make certain that after all is said and done, you're spending what you would have spent anyway on vacation accommodations," Schreier says.
Additionally, research the prices of similar properties before you make a purchase, says Rogers. "You'll eventually encounter what all other timeshare sellers do: the extremely difficult resale market." A timeshare is not something you can "flip" easily, he says, should the need arise.
If you still think a timeshare is right for you, now may be a good time to buy. "Prices have never been lower," says Rogers. Kozlowski says she's seen more buyers than usual because of price reductions. Consequently, it's currently a buyer's market. "Sellers are seeing reality."
The best buys are in the resale market, and many can be found on eBay, Timeshare Users Group, or TUG, and Redweek.com, says Rogers. There are hundreds of resale sites, he says, filled with listings from people who want to get rid of their timeshares at bargain prices. "I've never seen prices on the resale market where they are now," he says, noting that timeshares currently are listed at 75 percent to 99 percent off what the owner paid for the timeshare new from the developer. "It's almost not possible to go any lower."
In some cases, though, purchasing a timeshare for even $1 might not be a good deal, he says. "Remember, you're buying something for life."
Buying a property on the Internet will take some work. Collura cautions that while there are many seemingly "good deals" on the Internet, buyers should make sure they understand exactly what they're getting and be able to "match apples to apples." A good timeshare real estate broker can guide you in making the proper comparisons, he adds.
Schreier also recommends that individuals work with an independent consultant in the same way they work with an agent when purchasing a house.
However, if you choose to go it alone, she says, do "lots of comparison shopping." Also, think about how you'll use it, she says: "Do you plan on using this timeshare more as the home resort or more to exchange?" For example, if you purchase a timeshare in Alabama, it will have far less trading power than one in, say, Las Vegas, or Christmas week in Vail, Colo., she explains. Location is the key to trading power.
When it comes to financing a timeshare, loans are available, says Collura, but most are personal loans and a buyer needs a good credit rating.
Almost every timeshare developer will offer "convenient" financing for a period of seven to 10 years, says Schreier. That convenience comes at a price, normally 15 percent to 19 percent interest, she says. Years ago, consumers could get a home equity loan to cover the timeshare, she says. "Those days are over."
Ultimately, she says, if consumers can't afford timeshares, they shouldn't be buying them.
Atlanta-based freelance writer Chuck Green has written for the Chicago Tribune, Wall Street Journal and many other publications.
▪ 06/01/10 BREAKING NEWS - Objection Filed to USA Class Action Week's Settlement
On December 30, 2009, Attorney Jim Hicks, one of the first objectors to the RCI class action lawsuit settlement, filed an appeal from the court's approval of that settlement. Hicks argued that the settlement is unfair because it does not protect RCI members' right to exchange weeks, and instead favors RCI's attempts to rent desirable weeks. RCI obtains this major concession for practically worthless limited-use $30.00 coupons which are worth far less than the exchange rights.
Hicks also oppose the amount of fees awarded to class action counsel as unfair. Hicks therefore ask that the settlement be rejected, so that class members can retain their exchange rights. In addition, although the Plaintiffs Attorneys and RCI's attorneys argued that any consumer protection issues fell outside the scope of the class action lawsuit and that those issues should be dealt with through federal and other agencies, Hicks responded that the settlement unfairly takes away RCI members' exchange rights, and the entire scope of the settlement is reviewable in the appeal.
▪ RCI Loses Multi-Million Dollar Class Action Court Case in USA
Judge concludes RCI Class Action - Approves Settlement Agreement
30 Nov 2009
The November 30th Fairness Hearing in Trenton, NJ lasted approximately 2 1/2 hours. The Attorney for RCI, David Sager, spoke first and explained recent changes it had offered in the Settlement Agreement and reiterated why it was a good arrangement for the Class Members. The Attorney for the Plaintiff, Janelle Welling, supported Mr. Sager. Several objectors spoke and voiced their concerns about the settlement. It seemed that the Judge may have already made up his mind because he allowed only 5 minutes for each Attorney and 2 minutes for the non-attorneys to present their arguments. He then deliberated for 15 minutes before announcing his decision to approve. He also approved fees for the Plaintiffs Attorneys in the amount of $1.7 million plus $75,000 in expenses.
The final settlement will improve the management of inventory and the timing of rentals, but it does serve to ratify RCI's right to rent owner deposited weeks. The original Objectors, Susan Collins, Caroline Lindholm and Shep Altshuler had done some heavy lifting over the past four months and had succeeded in overturning the original Notice sent out by RCI as well as putting pressure on the Attorneys that resulted in some improvement in the settlement terms. The Settlement Agreement will be in force for three years and although many objectors felt that any programmatic changes should be permanent, the judge said that three years was sufficient time to give the Class Members a fair opportunity to see how the new terms worked. He said that if there were legitimate complaints, the Members could reopen their Complaint.
Unresolved issues: The Attorneys for both sides had filed papers arguing that Consumer Protection violations that were mentioned in the Complaint originally filed by the Plaintiffs Attorneys should be addressed by other Federal and state agencies and not by the Court. The judge was not concerned with misrepresentations by RCI Vacation Guides, the lack of disclosure about RCI's aggressive low cost rental programs during sales presentations or the fact that the Second Notice was flawed as to quality and format and failed to mention the existence of the Points Class Action.
In addition to the Weeks and Points Class Action, there is another Class Action against RCI that is pending in the same court before the same judge. You are probably now first learning about that lawsuit. The Complaint states, "1. Resort Condominiums International, LLC ("RCI" or "the Defendant"), through its affiliate Lifestyle Holiday Vacation Club ("LHVC"), promises an easy-to-access resort experience to its members through its enormous network of hotels and condominiums located throughout the world. 2. In reality, LHVC, which is overseen and controlled by the Defendant, has lured thousands of individuals into purchasing timeshares by lying outright about the quality and, more, the nature of services provided. In so doing, the Defendant has defrauded Crete (the Plaintiff) and others ("the Class" or "Class Members"), fraudulently causing them each to spend often tens of thousands of dollars on timeshares worth little more than the paper their contracts are printed on. RCI, through its affiliate LHVC, provides services that are not only grossly deficient and substandard in almost every aspect, but are simply not what it promises. Plaintiff is forced to sue RCI to stop its theft and obtain some restitution for herself and Class Members."
If there is, in fact, a pattern of misconduct by RCI as claimed in these lawsuits, we should not feel confident that this Court will resolve them.
▪ New Itra Tv advert
"We are happy to announce that ITRA´s TV advertisement has now been launched and the campaign has started"
▪ 1/9/09 US RCI Class Action Update - Fairness hearing set for November 30th
On August 12th, a hearing was held in U.S. District Court, Trenton NJ. The Attorneys for the Plaintiffs (Weeks Members) and the Defendant (RCI) argued that a 4 X 6 postcard, sent to 2.7 million current and former Weeks Members, would be sufficient as a new notice dealing with the proposed settlement agreement in the three year old RCI Class Action lawsuit. While sending another notice was significant, the objectors disagreed; they argued that more than that was needed, an email blast to members was suggested, and the judge then ordered that an email notice to 500,000 RCI members was to be added.
Our voice has once again been heard. It means that this time there is the opportunity for over 2 million additional members to learn the details of the settlement, the required filing dates and the complexities of what is involved in opting-out, filing a claim or objecting to the settlement terms.
The judge also ordered another Fairness Hearing, similar to the one on June 16th, to be held in Trenton on November 30th. At this time, we do not know the exact date the actual notices will be sent, but the judge provided 45 days for each member of the class to evaluate the settlement and to determine how he or she will respond. Responses to calls to RCI.
▪ 1/8/09 ITRA TV advert goes live
For the month of August ITRA agreed a 274 spot television campaign with Channel 5 to broadcast the ITRA awareness campaign advert inviting timeshare owners to join the proposed action.
▪ 25/7/09 Solicitors and Counsel meet with second group of claimants
On the 25th of July 2009, a second group of claimants met with the solicitors and counsel at 11 Stone Buildings, their experiences echoed those of the first group giving once again further justification for a potential GLO.
▪ 9/7/09 Solicitors and Counsel meet with first group of claimants
On the 9th of July 2009, the first claimants met with the solicitors and counsel at 11 Stone Buildings to discuss their experiences first hand with the legal team. Following the meeting the legal team were further convinced that given the experiences of these clients there was merit in bring a GLO forward.
▪ 23/4/09 – Response from RCI
On the 23rd April 2009, our lawyers received a formal response from RCI Europe’s Solicitors in response to their letter of 3rd April 2009, the contents of which of course remain confidential, suffice to say that all and any allegations were refuted.
▪ 3/4/09 – Protocol letter sent to RCI
Protocol letter sent to RCI informing them of the proposed action.
▪ March 09 –Progress meeting with lawyers
Discussions with the legal team continued in March 2009, and various new issues were covered including the area of claims management, third party case funding and an update about the status of the US Class Action. On 19th March 2009, ITRA wrote directly to RCI’s Lawyers in the U.S.A asking for confirmation of certain points including whether European claimants could also join into the US case settlement.
▪ 23/12/08 Settlement offer made in RCI Class Action Lawsuit in the USA
A settlement has been reached in the class action lawsuit which was filed against RCI in New Jersey, USA in 2006 on behalf of all members of RCI’s Weeks Program.
The lawsuit alleges that RCI improperly skims a large percentage of the timeshares from the RCI exchange bank system, including many prime timeshares, and rents those timeshares out to the general public for profit and also uses them for promotional purposes and as fringe benefits for its employees. The lawsuit further alleges that as a result of these practices, the actual experience of many RCI Weeks Program members is that they simply cannot find any comparable exchanges.
▪ June 08 – Dec 08 – Continued Investigation
For the remainder of 2008 ITRA invested a considerable amount of time working with its members to collate a core batch of potential claimants.
▪ 21/5/08 – Conference with Timeshare Trade Association
On 21st May 2008, a conference was held with a timeshare trade association to discuss their thoughts on the legal actions. It was concluded that they too had received reoccurring complaints regarding inability of consumers to achieve satisfactory services as promised at point of sale of clients timeshare and supported ITRA’s actions.
▪ May 2008 – Progress meeting with lawyers
At the beginning of May 2008, further meetings and discussions again took place between the lawyers and representatives of ITRA to discuss the mechanics and structure for qualification of potential claimants and the marketing strategy, including TV and Press awareness campaigns, internet based registration and pre-qualification forms.
▪ 13/3/08 – Counsel’s opinion delivered
Counsel delivered his ‘OPINION’ letter entitled ‘In the matter of the proposed Timeshare Owner’s Representative Actions- Advice on Relevant Rules and Regulations Relating to the Multiparty Actions’. Whilst this opinion is for the time being kept confidential, it is needless to say that its contents revealed extensive grounds to continue with the investigations on all fronts.
▪ February 2008 – Progress meeting with lawyers
In early February 2008, a meeting was held between the Lawyers and representatives of ITRA to outline the proposed action and the steps necessary to go forward with the project. Topics of discussion included – Counsel’s advice and opinions, relevant marketing strategy necessary for communication to potential claimants and the procedures for Counsel to meet with future claimants.
▪ 11/10/07 – First potential claimant interviewed
In order to hear first hand the experiences of a timeshare owner, ITRA arranged a meeting between the legal team and one of the owners who had particular grievances.
▪ Sept 07 – ITRA contacts potential claimants
On instruction from the legal team ITRA started to investigate further the experiences of timeshare owners so see whether there was a shared pattern of abuse and during the month of September some 1200 timeshare owners were contacted.
▪ 17/7/07 – ITRA meet with counsel in London
ITRA arranged a meeting with Counsel to discuss the merits of forming a class action suit (Joint litigation action) against the parties who have deemed to mislead and cause distress to timeshare owners. Having studied the findings of our preliminary investigations Counsels opinion was that the case had merit and that further enquiries should be pursued.
▪ Sept 06 – Feb 07 - ITRA conducts research
Extensive groundwork, research and meetings were held between the Lawyers and ITRA establishing a firm groundwork for future work. It was also decided at this time to appoint ‘legal counsel’ formally, and an eminent and very well known Lincoln’s Inn Barrister, specialising in this area of litigation.
▪ 11/9/06 – ITRA discuss merits of European legal action against timeshare companies
ITRA approached a well known leading firm of specialist lawyers to discuss in detail the US Class Action case against RCI and whether there were merits to instigate a similar action against RCI Europe as well as other timeshare organisations who may be liable for misleading their clients.