Timeshare owners find their voice
The creation of EUROC (which we reported on here last month) follows the closure of TATOC in 2017, which left owners in the UK and mainland Europe without any form of representation and with little protection against the activities of fraudulent or deceptive operators. EUROC, which is run by owners, for owners, is to develop relationships with Europewide government departments, consumer organisations, enforcement bodies and the media, ensuring that the voice of the timeshare ownership community is heard and owners’ interests are formally represented and acted upon.
It's time to strike back
We spoke to EUROC Board Member and Chairman of the Lakeland Village Owners Committee, Wally Francis, about why he feels it necessary for owners to have their own independent association.
“For too long us timeshare owners have lacked any kind of collective voice, and it’s time to strike back.”
We asked what he meant?
“I see perfectly happy owners on our resort being targeted by unscrupulous companies and fraudsters who lure them into giving away money on the basis that they will be able to get them out of their timeshare contracts for more than they paid for them. This simply isn’t true. They hand over money for so-called admin and lawyers fees and are then told they are released from their contract. But if the owner came to us direct we’d do that for them anyway – for free! Once engaged with these rogue companies they are told not to talk to us direct. One of our owners sadly passed away recently and the daughter went straight to one of these companies to release her from the contract. Once again she had been told not to speak to us but we eventually were able to contact her and she was extremely surprised when we explained we had managed to sell the week for several thousand pounds as it was at a highly sought after time. We suggested she may prefer us to send the money direct to the company she’d been using! Of course she preferred that we didn’t!”
The Lakeland Village Club, picturesquely settled on the banks of the River Leven in Cumbria’s Lake District
People think its all bad news
Wally went on to say, “People think it’s all bad news – yet from what we see on our own resort people are delighted with their timeshares. The majority of our owners visit three or four times a year and some of them a lot more. We have one owner who has 14 weeks which he shares with his family and employees. On the flip side we have a dozen or so owners who have never visited and simply use their week for exchange points – we are listed with both DAE and Interval – and this works perfectly well for them.
What happens is when one of these rogue companies gets in touch it seems to put greed into peoples heads. We had one chap who rescinded his contract, even though he was perfectly happy with Lakeland, as he’d been convinced by the spiel from some exit company. He called us up the following year wanting to come and still rent a week at his members rate and was most perturbed when we told him he had to pay non-member rates from now on.
“You see we are facing the same common enemy and its time we protected our own. Top marks go to the RDO for giving us the tools to set up this association but owners need to realise that EUROC is very much run by owners, for owners. This is what makes it unique and powerful. The more owners we have signed up, the bigger fighting fund we will have to help continue the good work RDO has been doing in bringing the criminals operating within timeshare to justice. We want to send a message out – we’ve had enough and are fighting back.”
Hitting the ground running
EUROC have now appointed Jane Gilmartin as Member Relations Manager. Jane has already hit the road as she is tasked with meeting as many of the Owners Committee and Home Owners Association (HOA) representatives as she can in order to work with them in understanding how EUROC can help them and their owners. We spoke with Jane about the challenges that lie ahead.
“One of my main priorities is to be proactive in promoting the importance of having a collective voice throughout the timeshare ownership community. For example one of the first things on our agenda is lobbying against the new bed or tourism tax that is being pushed for in some parts of the UK. This would see timeshare owners being taxed twice, both as owners and tourists. It is only by standing together on issues such as this that our voice will be heard, not just in the UK but across Europe.”
If you are a timeshare owner and would like to find out more about EUROC membership and the benefits of you and your resort joining the coalition please get in touch with Jane by email.
Enquiries about EUROC membership should be directed to Jane Gilmartin, Member Relations Manager at email@example.com.
Our thanks to Wally Francis and Lakeland Village