OFT secures enforcement orders against holiday club companies

Posted in: General- Sep 11, 2011 No Comments

Press Release from the OFT:

6 May 2011

The OFT has obtained enforcement orders in the High Court against two companies and seven individuals stopping them using sales and marketing practices the OFT considers to be misleading or otherwise unlawful when selling and marketing holiday club memberships and other holiday based products.

The OFT was concerned that holders of timeshare products attended presentations on the promise of being able to dispose of their timeshares, with their maintenance charges, when in fact they were subjected to lengthy and high pressure sales pitches to be sold expensive holiday club memberships costing large sums, in some cases up to £12,000. Sales staff told these holders they could get back up to 95 per cent of these sums under a ‘reclaim’ scheme but did not explain the restrictions that applied, and often played on their fears that their children would otherwise be liable for timeshare maintenance fees. Many consumers subsequently wished to cancel their holiday club memberships but were not allowed to.

Interim enforcement orders were obtained against Personal Travel Group Limited (PTG), Geo Demographic Market Research Limited (GDMR) and two individuals who are directors of PTG and were directors of Incentive Leisure Group Limited (ILG). Final enforcement orders were obtained against five individuals associated with PTG and GDMR, one of whom was also a former director of ILG.

Amongst other things the orders prohibit the companies and the individuals from engaging in misleading sales practices when dealing with people who want to dispose of their timeshares, and require consumers to be given cancellation rights in certain circumstances.

The orders follow the launch of High Court proceedings by the OFT in December 2010 against these companies and individuals for their involvement in activities which the OFT believes breach consumer protection law.

The interim enforcement orders against PTG, GDMR and the individuals concerned will last until there is a final hearing of the OFT’s court action. A date for the final hearing has not yet been set.

The final enforcement orders conclude the OFT’s action against the individuals concerned.

No interim enforcement order was sought against ILG as it is not trading and is in liquidation in Gibraltar. However, the OFT is monitoring the progress of the liquidation and intends to continue its action through the High Court against the company.

Jason Freeman, Director in the OFT’s Goods and Consumer Group, said:

‘The enforcement orders put a stop to activities that we consider to be unlawful, and which we believe were causing serious harm to consumers.

‘It is important that traders do not mislead consumers or exploit their fears in order to make a hard sell. In particular, these are contracts where we believe consumers should have been given cancellation rights and we are pleased that the traders have accepted that they have to give notice of such rights in accordance with the law.’

The content of the orders was agreed by the companies, the individuals and the OFT, and approved by the Court.

NOTES

  1. The interim and final enforcement orders were made under Part 8 of the Enterprise Act 2002 and sealed by the High Court on 19 April 2011.
  2. Under Part 8 of the Enterprise Act 2002 the court may make an enforcement order which requires the companies and individuals named to cease or discontinue any breaches of consumer protection laws that may have occurred.
  3. If a company or person breaches an interim or final enforcement order, they can be held in contempt of court which could lead to a fine, imprisonment or the seizure of their assets.
  4. Interim orders have been made against PTG, Keith Barker and Kimberley Bambroffe. Mr Barker was a director of ILG, and is a director of GDMR and PTG. Ms Bambroffe was a director of ILG and is a director of PTG.
  5. Final orders were made against Martin White, Jonathan Daniels, Mark Gales, Robert Knight and Lily Alderson. Martin White was a former director of ILG. Mr. Gales, Mr. Knight and Ms Anderson were involved in the management of and sales by one or more of the companies involved in this case.
  6. The registered office of PTG is Unit 21, 2nd Floor, Waterport Place, 2 Europort Avenue, Gibraltar.
  7. The registered office of GDMR is Haven Court, 5 Library Ramp, Gibraltar.
  8. The liquidators address for ILG is Haven Court, 5 Library Ramp, Gibraltar.
  9. For more information see the case summary in respect of this investigation. The interim and final enforcement orders are also available on this page.
  10. Trading Standards Services in Edinburgh, Milton Keynes, North Somerset and Durham assisted the OFT during this investigation. The OFT also received assistance from many other Trading Standards Services in respect of the investigation.
  11. The OFT does not provide advice or resolve individual complaints for consumers. Consumer information is available from www.direct.gov.uk/consumer For further assistance consumers should consider obtaining independent legal advice.

Important Consumer Information

Posted in: General- May 25, 2011 No Comments

The TATOC website publishes a list of companies who cold call timeshare owners. Unfortunately, there are unscrupulous companies who operate in this manner or even advertise in the press offering to resell or take your holiday ownership off you, often in exchange for another product, however we advise you to be wary and NOT part with any money or your ownership/membership certificate. Elite Club Resorts recommends that members do not deal with companies that make unsolicited contact and contact us for advice regarding recommended resale companies and procedures. And remember, Elite Club Resorts is at hand to offer advice on how to make the most of your holiday ownership whether it be in Fuerteventura, Tenerife or on an exchange.

Consumer Alert

Posted in: General- Dec 09, 2010 No Comments

Elite Club Resorts members are advised to be extremely wary when dealing with other companies who promise to take their timeshare off their hands when purchasing membership of another resort or holiday club. It would appear that many companies have no intention of transferring into their name or attempting to sell weeks that they have “taken responsability for”, rather they will contact us to communicate cancellation, a cancellation which is not possible, or they will simply do nothing at all.

The only manner to discontinue membership is for the week(s) in ownership to be transferred to a new owner via our recognised procedures. Until such time as ownership is transferred in this manner, members continue to be the recognised legal owners and therefore subject to all the obligations involved with ownership, especially those regarding payment of annual maintenance fees.

A handful of owners at Elite Fuerteventura Club and The Harbour Club have purchased products from various companies which operate in this manner, and as part of their purchase have signed documents which they believe to be valid transfer documents and/or handed over their ownership/membership certificate(s).

In reality, the documents that are signed are not valid transfer documents at all and simply state that the company take responsibility for the timeshare or will deal with the transfer of it. The owner in question continues to be the legal owner of the timeshare.

We can provide information on such companies and recommend that prior to entering into any agreement we be contacted for further information.

Members are advised not to part with their ownership certificates without ensuring that the reverse of the certificate is correctly filled in by all parties involved and returned to our head office for processing. If you wish to resell your timeshare, then we advise you to deal only with companies that are members of the Resort Development Organisation. Members are also advised to be wary of companies offering a resale service which involves a visit to their offices; there is absolutely no need for this and any such visit will probably involve a presentation for a product the company sells.

Goodies from home

Posted in: Tracy's Blog- Oct 09, 2011 No Comments

It is now July and the temperatures are increasing as are the number of clients on the resort!

One of the delights about working here is that we have many clients who ask us if we would like anything bringing from home. Bea likes stilton cheese, Dawn likes marmite, and then there is me!

I love beautiful lingerie that fits me properly. (sorry gentlemen, you can stop reading now!) I have been out and about a lot on this beautiful Island and I see women of all shapes and sizes. Not the situation if you wish to buy underwear! Bras come in A cup and simply increase in number. By the time I find a bra that will cover the girls sufficiently the base of the bra will go round me twice.

I have, however come across two shops so far that have proper cup sizes, unfortunately with a proper price tag! I do not feel justified in paying 90€ just for a bra that does not even do the ironing! It is the same for hosiery. I do not wish to pay 10€ for a pair of tights or stocking when you buy 3 pairs for the same price at M&S.

Returning to the subject of my last column, I decided to accessorise my bedroom and not paint it. I decided that I would buy satin sheets because they look gorgeous! It does not matter that you slide from one side of the bed and fall out of the other, they look gorgeous! It does not matter that they are freezing in the winter and stick to you like a wet shower curtain in the summer, they look gorgeous! It does not matter that I live alone..you get the idea.

So, my mission is set! Like buying pretty bras, this is not possible on this Island! I look high and low, no satin sheets! Obviously my Canarian counterparts have much more common sense than I have and for all of the above reasons decide they are not worth the trouble, so you cannot buy them anywhere!

Now I have added beautiful bedding to my list of asks from some of my most delightful female clients and friends who visit HC. This leaves me to give huge grateful thanks to some beautiful women, Anne Smart, Val Cousins, Jean Clayton and Judith Blease who help me with my female dilemmas.

While I wait for my extra special deliveries, I shall enjoy my bubbles, on my terrace, while handsome young men jog past……what a fantastic life!!!

See you next time!

We are back!

Posted in: The Harbour Club News- Oct 09, 2011 No Comments

Yippee! We are back on line! After some technical difficulties all is now well! I shall continue where I left off and catch up over the next few weeks to bring you all up to date.

Thank you to all clients who have informed that they read this column and have found the information really helpful, eg on line shopping at Mercadona.

The AGM went well with most points being addressed favorably. Thank you to the stars of HC who were here at that time.

The cost of the safe rental has been reduced to 10€ per week.

IMPORTANT NOTICE

Travellers Cheques

It is important to know that all banks on Tenerife will now NOT accept TC’s so please bring cash, credit cards or prepaid euro cards. I have no idea if banks and post offices in the UK are aware of this situation, but thanks to Mr and Mrs Smith, I have recently been informed of the new changes here.

There are no staff changes.

WINE BAR:

Excellent food and service continue with many compliments coming into reception. The entertainment continues with Jamie Rourke, Suzi Q, Nik Page, Mama Mia, Shakira, plus the old favorites like Mr Beep Beep.

CLIENT NEWS:

Condolences go to Pat Kershaw for the loss of her sister.

Congratulations go to Barbara Hagan, Barry Windsor and Jean Nutsey who celebrated their birthdays while here on holiday.

Further refurbishments underway!

Posted in: Elite Fuerteventura Club News, General- Sep 30, 2011 No Comments

Resort Manager, Jorge Ortega, is pleased to announce that a new phase of apartment refurbishments has now started in Elite Fuerteventura Club.

Despite some trying times since the onset of the world financial crisis in 2008, use of the sinking fund was approved by owners at the end of 2009. Unfortunately, the crisis has hit the Canary Islands hardest of all the Spanish Autonomous Communities and has seen many construction related companies close (and unemployment reach 30%!), something that has unavoidably caused delays in our refurbishment programme as new suppliers and contractors have to be found and the quote process started all over again!

Notwithstanding, we have not been idle and many improvements have been made over the course of 2010 and 2011 and now we have been able to restart the stalled apartment refurbishment programme. We assure owners and guests alike that we aim to keep noise and disruption to a minimum, although some is unavoidable and we ask for your understanding as we make these improvements to our installations.

Apartments will be closed off and refurbished two at a time, the first group of apartments to be refurbished will be in the 90′s range. For further information on the progress of the refurbishment programme, please do not hesitate to contact us or come back for regular updates!

The Harbour Club receives RCI Hospitality Award

Posted in: The Harbour Club News- Sep 12, 2011 No Comments

For the 6th consecutive year, The Harbour Club in Tenerife has received the RCI Hospitality Award. This award, which recognises the highest standards in customer services  at RCI resorts, is based on RCI exchange guests comment card evaluations and is therefore a great testament to the magnificent team who do their utmost, day in day out, to offer a great service and attention so that guest’s stay at the resort is a week or two of endless enjoyment.

RCI Introduces RCI Weeks Platinum to Europe

Posted in: Sin categoría- Aug 23, 2011 No Comments

RCI has announced the introduction of RCI Weeks PlatinumSM to Europe following the programme’s successful debut in the U.S.

The new premium tier of membership gives timeshare owners access to exclusive exchange privileges and year-round lifestyle benefits. These opportunities include room upgrades, exclusive “first look” access to specially acquired vacation inventory and rebates for various RCI transactions. Taking the member experience even further, RCI Weeks Platinum membership will offer restaurant discounts and preferred pricing, advance purchase and front-of-the-line privileges for select theatre and city destination attractions.

“We’re always looking at ways to enhance the timeshare experience and provide value-added benefits for our members,” said Sean Lowe, managing director, RCI Europe. “Through the RCI Weeks Platinum membership tier we can offer new opportunities for priority access, special member discounts and great lifestyle benefits. The overwhelming feedback on RCI Weeks Platinum from our U.S. members and affiliated resorts has been extremely positive and we expect a similar response from our members in Europe.”

Pool closure in Elite – update!

Posted in: Elite Fuerteventura Club News- Jun 10, 2011 No Comments

Resort Manager, Jorge Ortega, has informed us that during the second half of May the swimming pool adjacent to the bar will be closed for maintenance.

The swimming pool will be closed for approximately two weeks during which time the pool will be emptied, the joints thoroughly cleaned, the mosaic tiling repaired where needed and the whole pool re-grouted.

Once sufficient time has been allowed the pool will be refilled and reopened to guests. Owners and guests are reminded that both the swimming pool adjacent to the waterfall and that in Club Montecastillo are available to use.

Update: The pool adjacent to the Elite bar is now open and available for use. The swimming pool adjacent to the Suites/Waterfall is now closed for minor repairs and will re-open hopefully on Sunday 19th June.

Update: All our swimming pools in Fuerteventura are now open.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS NEWS ARTICLE RELATES TO OUR RESORTS IN FUERTEVENTURA AND NOT THE HARBOUR CLUB IN TENERIFE!

The Art of Decorating

Posted in: Tracy's Blog- Jun 09, 2011 No Comments

Well now, here we are half way through the year. The weather is still comfortable and the resort is quiet, as always at this time of year, giving us time to play catch up on all the little jobs that are waiting.

I had a little time off in May and used it to redecorate and catch up with friends for wonderful dinners and lunches.

Time to redecorate my lounge! First of all I have to choose the paint. Off I go to the hardware store and being a hopeless romantic my colour choice is based on what sounds sensuous, can you blame me? Romantic beige sounds so much better than puddleduck brown!

I still prefer to use a brush, even though I know that you who know what you are doing (eg Michael Bennet, Philip Cole) would say to use a roller. The problem I have with a roller is that I need to buy three times as much paint as I decorate everything I don’t need to, including the cat next door! It goes everywhere!

So, now I am ready, in my jimjams (always when I am at home!), hair up, room emptied, floor covered. The paint is watered down, as we have to here. A lesson I learned the first year after sweating off 3 stone and building arm muscles like Arnie, just to paint an area the size of a hanky!

Calm music is playing, as a co-worker suggested it would be better than listening to Cream or Queen, and I am happily painting away. The first color takes just two hours to complete and I reward myself with a swim while it dries and I can recoat.

The first day is perfect! It can’t last though – this is me we are talking about!

Day 2)

In my lounge I have a wall that has a sticky out bit (technical term), so, I have seen the makeover shows and I decide that I would like to accent the sticky out bit. I would have been better to have left the idea in my pea sized brain! There is not much just 30 feet long by 4 inches wide. I choose a strong contrasting color and begin to paint…

Normal people would have a step ladder, not me, I use a stool, but this is not a good idea. I am too short to paint standing on the floor and the stool is too high. I am on my knees, trying to paint upside down!!!!!! A tiny area and I wearing more paint than when I painted the big walls! My hands are shaking from trying to paint in a straight line and I am dripping from the effort. It takes me forever and when I am finished I feel like the hunchback of Notre Dame!

(Please do not write in and tell me the easy way to do this. I will cry!)

I was thinking of redecorating my bedroom but I have now decided that I will buy some stunning satin bedding and new prints for the walls.

Where are my bubbles? I have really earned them! LOL

See you next time!

Harbour Club News June 2011

Posted in: The Harbour Club News- Jun 09, 2011 No Comments

HARBOUR CLUB NEWS:

Refurbishments continue.

There are no staff changes to report.

SHOPPING NEWS:

It is now possible to pre-order your grocery shopping from Mercadona before you arrive. You will need your passport and the postcode for HC (38436), you then have to register (very easy) and then place your order and it will be delivered on your specified date and approximate time.

There are no pictures but the descriptions are very good. There are lots of help sites and if you need to speak to someone, they are very helpful and their English is perfect.

You can print your order but there is one supplied with your groceries.

The fantastic Nicola Dunn organised this before her arrival and the shopping was delivered on time and all taken into the kitchen for her. Just to make your lives even easier while you enjoy your time here at HC!

This is especially useful if you are arriving late as you can have your shopping ready for your arrival.

WINE BAR:

No news to report.

CLIENT NEWS:

Get Well wishes go to Graham Childs who has undergone major surgery. Also to Norman Lanston, who has undergone more surgery.

Congratulations go to Stan and Jill Jones who celebrated their wedding anniversary 07/06.