The Industry (History)

 

 

History of Timeshare? Drinks and pop corn, not supplied

The timeshare industry has existed in Europe for over 50 years and during its history many will recall tales of horrendous and woeful situations concerning the mis-selling of products and other long-term holidays which came into existence during the period.

Some reports suggest, potential buyers were almost held under threats of violence, in boiler rooms until they bought a timeshare, other loved the idea, embraced it and have enjoyed it ever since.

Never has there been such an emotive subject as timeshare holidaying

So, has anything changed?

The simple answer is YES, timeshare selling and sales presentations have changed dramatically since the “wild west” days however. It’s been an epic roller-coaster ride.

 

Short History

The concept of timeshare was born in Europe (despite conceptual ownership claims by the US). Accordingly, the European timeshare industry has gone through the evolutionary milling, has been the experimental ground and is likely to exist in the future.

When timeshare was sold on mass (between the 70’s through to the 90’s) it attracted much attention. Some consumers, legislators and government authorities retained concerns regarding the number of complaints. Those in legal circles thought the product was complex, convoluted and should consumers ever confront the issues complained of, a tribal dispute with the industry might prove interesting litigation.

During the early years, the term timeshare was regarded and sold as ‘worthwhile’ and ‘an investment in the future’ and during the middle years, ‘timeshare’ became synonymous with ‘fraud’, ‘scam’, ‘harassment’, ‘con artists’ and ‘mis-selling’ as the voice of the few drowned out the praise of the many. In today's climate the mood has swung to 'compensation', ‘double damages’ and 'terminations'.

During the life of timeshare some sellers have operated honourably, whilst other not. Some ignored legislation, rebranded products, deluded lawmakers, locked consumers into unreasonable contracts, financed unconscionable agreements, whilst others did not.

Over time, timeshare holiday products became harder and harder to sell, due to reputation and with more and more rules and regulations, sales plummeted. This is not to say the original timeshare product or concepts were bad. The truth is, timeshare holidays are enjoyed by millions of consumers all over the world.

In contrast to the booming voices of being “ripped off” many timeshares are sold ethically but their voices are the silent majority. Many sellers did explain the benefits, the obligations, the expectations and cost benefits and the clubs delivered them year in and year out. Therefore, in the world of timeshare ownership, you have 3 camps - those who enjoy timeshare, those who are indifferent and those who claim to have been “ripped off”.

“A few bad eggs can and have spoiled the omelette”

During the life cycle of European timeshare sales, selling practices and related products have evolved in places and many in the industry have left and moved on. Therefore, in today’s world of timeshare and its selling environment it’s fair to say, sales are stagnant, blighted and the product has gained a bad reputation, a criminal history of mis-selling, upselling, high management fees and scamming. This in mind, one can understand why consumers are wary of dipping their toe in the timeshare waters.

To get to this position timeshare in Europe has moved through 5 distinct phases (explained below). I suggest for the lawmakers to deliver effective laws they should consider what has happened, why it happened and before delivering measures to ensure the product has a future, can be enjoyed in the environment of quite enjoyment of a continuance of the benefits the consumers paid for.

 

1)    The Conceptual Phase

This conceptual phase existed between the 1950s and early 1970s.

A need existed in some post war holiday camps to try and generate income during ‘out of season’ which incurred significant static costs. In those days, the holiday year consisted of 4 advertised sub-seasons “high season”, “off peak”, “low season” and “out of season” the latter attracting no income at all.

All the sub-seasons accounted for 12 months however the 3 income generating seasons only consisted of 8 months (closed 4 months, Nov-Feb). During ‘out of season’ the resorts generated no sales but did incur costs thus, resorts lost money in these periods and every year. When balancing these losses against the profits (in the income generating seasons), the overall profitability was impaired.

The out of season weeks were therefore named the ‘runt weeks” and a solution to the problem was worked on.

Taking Butlins as an example, they grappled with the concept of remaining open all year round, as this would increase revenue thus, increase profits.

In 1942 Sir William Beveridge publishes his "Social Insurance and Allied Services" reported on state welfare proposals and in 1946 National Insurance Act was introduced, therefore, contributory State Pensions were available for all.

In 1947 The Finance Act limited the maximum amount of tax relief on pensions and allowed some pensions to be taken as a lump sum. Then in 1959 The National Insurance Act - introduced a top-up state pensions scheme, based on earnings and known as the graduated pension. In 1975 Social Security Pensions Act was introduced and referred to as the State Earnings Related Pension Scheme (Serps). Then 1978, the scheme replaced graduated pensions. Accordingly fixed income streams became available to the women over (60) and men over (65).

The grey (£) pound came into existence.

Before 1950 many at pensionable age could not afford to holiday, however that all changed because of the introduction of the pension.

As the pension payments were quite low, many pensioners could not afford to go on holidays in the 3 seasons, therefore they were never targeted by advertising campaigns.

Butlin's saw a market and did target the 'grey pound'. Their idea was to keep the resort open and invite the pensioner to holiday ‘out of season’ and deliver activities more akin to what this age group wanted like knitting classes, ballroom dancing, flower arranging and domino competitions etc. The resort could put on shows and age compatible entertainment every night - wet and dry sales in the bar would be generated.

The issue was the cost of the holiday! They approached the issue differently. Butlin's required to make a big investment, needed the pensioners to return each year, therefore sold the weeks as ‘a right to occupy’ the apartment for the rest of their life, in exchange for them paying a proportion of the upkeep. Rest of life contract which morphed into perpetuity.

As the apartment was located within the curtilage of the resort, the maintenance tasks would be performed by the resorts themselves, which would generate an income and correspondingly lessen the present cost burden. As the owners would go into the club house, enjoy the facilities, buy drinks and attend dances, other revenue stream could be generated, a loss eradicated and a profit gained.

A good “win win” idea and timeshare was born.

Of course, there are many other stories of how timeshare began, however the concept above appears to be the one repeated and embraced by most of the legendary personalities who witnessed the growth of timeshare.

Timeshare was the “buzz word” of the grey haired, the retired and those with more time on their hands. It was popular and became a highly desirable product, which could be acquired, sold, rented, swapped and for greater and greater amounts. The selling and reselling of the new product “timeshare” thrived, and many other holiday resorts came on stream and copied the formula and participated in selling timeshare.

The concept was exported to Norway and other Nordic countries, ski resorts in France and also exploded in Spain and the Canaries.

In the 50’s -70’s the promotion was “you could have a great time in retirement” and with medical advances, increasing longevity of life, you needed to save, invest and put aside for a happy and enjoyable retirement.

So, saving became the past time, state pensions were paid and new private top up pensions were invested and the era of the grey pound was of interest to all merchants, peddlers and sellers.

 

 

2)    The Wild West Phase

The Wild West phase commenced in early 1970s and lasted until the late 80s.

When a business model is proved to work, there is always a rush to market and timeshare is no different, there was a madness to get into the lucrative business model.

Timeshare sales remained quite conservative in the UK. In France they exploited sales of timeshare in ‘out of season’ ski resorts, island retreats in Norway, and in some circles timeshare was classed as the “best kept holiday secret”. The many retirees regaled to their families the benefits of buying timeshares, voiced the pride in the purchase and explained they would leave it in their will.

Therefore, in the early days timeshare was promoted by the buyers who had acquired it. When you consider Butlin's timeshare, today it is still highly regarded, sought after, much loved by the owners and very re-sellable. Mis-selling was rarely reported.

During this period, holidaymakers enjoyed 'staycations' and 'wakes week' holidaying at the local holiday towns like Bridlington, St Ives, Barry Island, Blackpool, Clovelly, Bournemouth etc.

Few ventured abroad and if they did, they went on package holidays provided by the likes of Clarkson, Silver Wing, Exclusive Holidays, Enterprise, Free Wheeler and Sovereign (to name a few). The package holidays came a long way since its emergence in the late fifties, however was only a getaway for the few.

Then package holidays mushroomed into playgrounds for the many with destinations like Costa Blanca, Canary Islands, Benidorm and Cyprus. Holidays for £78.00 in Spain opened up and exploded.

Due the golden sun, clean sands and the continental adventure, holidaying in Spain in the mid 70’s detonated. Competing with the package holiday companies were self-catering holidays, which involved simply renting an apartment and booking your own flights with the likes of Courtline, Dan-Air, QAE, BOAC and British Airways etc. You did not have to upsell a holiday in Spain they “were bought and no-discount given”. In fact, prices escalated as there were more buyers than sellers.

People had an urgent need to book early and in some cases, years in advance. In Spain they simply could not build the holiday resorts fast enough. So, the question posed was “how about a holiday in the Canaries (or Spain) every year EVERY YEAR”, “GUARANTEED” and FOREVER.

In the back drop of the seventies buying timeshare was a NO BRAINER and many thousands bought to fulfil their family's holiday needs.

Timeshare was reasonably priced, located in good resorts, affordable, had a recurring holiday permanency, forever and in the sun. All you had to do after you bought the product was to pay your share of the upkeep. As the product had a good name in the UK, why wouldn’t you buy timeshare?

The Spanish holiday market was developing fast to service the many visitors who needed accommodation. Some referred to holidaying in “partly built” apartments, in unfinished resorts and could only observe a “sea of builder’s cranes” when they arrived.

The explosion of the holiday islands, towns and resorts generated a huge problem “cash flow”. Many buildings where built, huge up-front staffing costs incurred, and expensive advertising campaigns paid for. The return on capital investment was long, accordingly investors had to wait year to get their return.

When building a self-catering apartment block, the developers suffered the same cash flow problems.  Welcome to Timeshare!

When setting up a timeshare resort you build it and deliver an apartment inventory of 52 holiday weeks. Everyone knows that if they buy in bulk and sell retail they get huge mark ups and timeshare was no different, so profits could be vast. The beauty of timeshare was that when built, the resorts has in-built income streams (in the form of) maintenance fees as well as the income on shops, bars, entrainment, slot machines and food courts. It was an investment dream come true, all you had to do was sell all your holiday inventory and watch a pipeline of profit role in.

On the other side of the coin the consumers acquired their own place in the sun, the holiday was guaranteed, were valuable, resellable and all consumers had to do was pay 1/52 of the maintain costs.

The timeshare concept conveyed legal rights and obligations. Consumers were unfamiliar with the jurisdictional issues, the laws, the contractual wording which required ‘after care’, which involved collective decision-making, maintenance and trust arrangements fees and they had not read and understood the documents properly, thus a problem was brewing. Let’s face it, if you have ever tried to understand the matrix of a timeshare contract one must accept it is complex and bespoke legal advice was non-existent at this time.

The conceptual schematics of the timeshare arrangement involved multi-parties and the developer came in four types - the existing self-catering developer, the small, medium and large resort developers.

The holiday self-catering business, it was simple, modernise the existing building, change its use then sell timeshare rights.

If you intended to build a small resort, the time taken to build it would be short, however if you wanted to build a medium and very large resort, the build would take far longer. Therefore (for example), all the timeshare resorts came on stream at different times and during the explosion of timeshare in Spain. When a project completed, the sales teams needed to be pre-educated and trained in how to sell immediately.

As a “sea of builder cranes” existed and more and more timeshare resorts were being completed, the ex self-catering and small resorts were out of the starting blocks selling their timeshare inventory. As the tourist industry in Spain had been slowly progressing before the explosion, there were limited numbers of tourists that timeshare resorts could sell to, however many were willingly bought. As the years past, small medium and large developer came on line with massive inventory to sell. As many had either bought timeshare, whilst others had refused, some of the big resorts were in sales survival mode. To make a sale, the large developers could not sit back and wait for someone to stroll up, they needed “bums on seats”, sales people to explain and sell their complex product and sales. As many already owned timeshare, some refused to buy it, others not interested in buying any more, the touts patrolling the street bars, clubs, cafes, sunbeds and hotels were highly motivated and they were everywhere.

The sales system from start to finish consisted of the touts, who drove consumers into the sales rooms, and the sales teams, maxim was "sell, sell, sell and sell quickly". Sales marketing techniques exploded, as touts, salesmen and resort developers pitched against each other in a sales frenzy.

During this phase the holidaymakers were treated to a sky full of cranes, footways full of bricks, air full of dust and entertainment venues full of touts, hell bent on selling you timeshare.

Spanish tourists were harangued, harassed, tormented and hassled to go to timeshare presentations. Gifts were given, free tickets offered, alcohol applied and free cartons of cigarettes promised. When in the sales rooms, many were sold at, signed up and ejected, so the next tourist could be wheeled in.

It wasn’t good, and timeshare presentations were fast developing into something everyone should avoid.

On the other side of the coin, some apartment blocks were full and had been snapped up and initial bad press was drowned out by the good reports.

With a 700-unit resort with 52 holiday weeks in each apartment, over 35,000 sales had to take place therefore hordes of sales teams and touts were employed.

I finally point out that these consumers were not being silly, booking holidays in Spain was difficult, there were simply not enough flights or hotels to accommodate the fast-growing need to holiday in Spain.  To ensure your family had a holiday every year, timeshare was the welcomed answer.

 

3)    The Criminal Phase

This criminal phase began in the early 1990s and in part continues today (but mainly petered in the middle 2000s).

With the inflation of sales, garrisons of builder’s cranes, touts prowling the streets and chatter about being locked in “sale boiler rooms” public dissent grew rapidly to such an extent that many began to avoid Spain, preferring to holiday elsewhere. The growing inventory was thus met with fewer willing buyers. Even more aggressive sales practices were employed and many robust sharks moved in, operating awful and barbaric sales techniques.

In one confirmed case, when in that sales room, many were sold and screamed at, harangued for hours, (the longest sales presentation taking 3 days).

In contrast the smaller boutique resorts were sold out and the concept being played out was well regarded and the timeshare owners were blissfully unaware of any issues with timeshare.

That said, every timeshare resort in sunny climes had problems with shortage of flights and “the runt weeks”.

The flights issue became a fundamental problem on the sales decks, as most of the Canary Islands, or Costas were not serviced by scheduled flights (they were manly sold via charter, to package holiday companies). Equally, as runt weeks were out of season and the bars, clubs, entertainment venues, attractions, and parks had also closed. The problem was only 65% of the timeshare inventory was saleable (35% being “runt weeks”).

As the developer retained most of the unsold “runt weeks”, they were responsible for paying 35% share of management fees accordingly, they needed to be sold. That did not resolve the problem as when sold, no flights or few flights existed to take the consumer to the resort they had paid for and little or no amenity existed when the consumer arrived.

That descent elevated and when the resort developer could not sell the runt weeks, some simply passed on their proportion of the management fees costs to those who could not get out of the contracts.

Therefore, in this era you had highly charged selling, hard to sell products and runt weeks. It’s in this back-drop the complaints exploded.

Note: Before continuing I am quite sure that these problems were not envisaged at the time the concept lifted off, nor were some resorts purposely scamming consumers. Many were simply reacting to a problem and trying to fix it. In come cases good resorts were under constant attack by others who wanted their clientele and this poaching had to be addressed. The whole industry was in meltdown, in survival mode and at the same time many were working the problem and find a way through the quagmire created by the success of the product.

It's quite easy to apportion blame, however in every explosion of products you’ll find recalls and events that were not expected.

Parts of the timeshare industry then attempted to solve the problems with the introduction of a new timeshare model called “Floating Timeshare Weeks" (the existing timeshare model was that consumers bought a right to occupy a particular apartment at a set period in the calendar year and in the resort, they chose - fixed timeshare).

When fixed timeshares were sold in floating models, the new concept was the timeshare would be placed into a ‘pool’ of other timeshares. When buying in the floating timeshare arrangement, a member could elect when they wanted to take their holiday and pick any week from the pool inventory.

The consumer could, with the introduction of flexible timeshare, holiday in any one of the 52 weeks available and should there be more apartment blocks in alternate resorts, in say alternate countries, one might easily see that this would be a great improvement and solution to an ever-growing problem.

This new model was claimed to be “the be all and end all” of timeshare, was an enhanced quality product, worth far more money than the fixed timeshare, an investment and capable of delivering the flexible holiday dream.

With hindsight - Issue 1.

In some cases, existing timeshare owners were reinvited to the sales rooms, introduced to the “floating product” and sold the opportunity of adapting however, were required to pay more money. The timeshare model may have been intended to resolve a problem, but fast turn into a divisive nightmare and a re-elevation of dissenting voices who claimed to have been ripped off, “again”.

Issue 2.

Simply explained, resorts now had two clubs, the “fixed” and “floating”, so apportionment and cost accountability was nearly impossible especially when the clubs were domiciled in alternative legal jurisdictions. The records were held by a matrix of off-shore companies and controlled by other companies.

The clubs became controlled by the resorts, not the consumer, the management was delivered by the resort and the maintenance fees were hiked by some.

Issue 3

By way of example, I should explain an apartment consisting of 52 weeks of timeshare inventory thus, only 52 weeks can ever be sold. In one reported fraud, over 200 weeks were sold in a single apartment, therefore holiday inventory in oversubscribed floating pools were rarely available. As everyone in the pool wanted the seasonal weeks (not the runt weeks) therefore the available inventory was still only 60% as the best weeks would fly off the shelves first to preferred clients of the resorts (potential incoming buyers), many were left with weeks they could not take and no one knew if all the timeshare owners ever got a holiday.

If consumers tried to book holidays which were not available, they complained and were told to try again next year.  However, they were required to pay ongoing maintenance fees or face debt collectors.

Issue 4

With sales and tout teams swimming in bonus payments (for selling off the runt weeks and floating timeshares), poaching and re-poaching of the best touts and sellers commenced, which fuelled testosterone cash spending sprees which brought bravado, boozy nights, cocaine days and bragging about what was happening.

With the frauds, scams and habitual caning of consumers, the salespeople themselves were blabbing and the scams were being discussed openly. These being of great concern to some resorts, off-site conversations had to be controlled, so off-grid security was paid for, to control the bragging, the poaching, the watering down of the descent, the eradication of complaints and bribes.

Therefore, mis-selling was at epidemic levels, perverse concepts were in existence, consumers harangued, small developers were fed “shut up juice”, dissenters were threatened, and whistleblowers dealt with, the massive frauds covered up, and perverse “rip offs” were smoothed over by a gangland culture.

The lawmakers in Spain had to act fast to save its own holiday industry. In this back-drop, hordes of scammers moved in claiming to be knights in shining armour. They targeted those who simply wanted out of the developing timeshare nightmare, delivering promises of guaranteed re-sales, cash back and resort compensation and took money up front delivering nothing, other than further despair.

 

4)    Morphing and Legislation

This phase commenced the early the 1990s. The UK delivered the Timeshare Act 1992 and amended it in 1997.  However it had little effect, as the majority of timeshare owned was located abroad and the models were not fully understood by government. That said, consumers were given a “cooling off”.

With the introduction of UK timeshare law and the requirement to transpose into law the EU Directive 94/47/EC some claim the Spanish were provided the long-awaited impetus to act, which they did in the delivery into Spanish legal system of Law 42/98 which was implemented in January 1999.

The granting of these and other protections by way of The Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999 and the United Nations Guidelines for Consumer Protection, replaced the consumers' wooden shields with armour.

In 1999, the Spanish delivered legislation which at the time many believed was so weighted in favour of consumers, the law might be classed as bad law, which contravened the Spanish legal system.

Therefore in some quarters, timeshare resorts simply ignored the law, hailing it as bad law (it contained retrospective over and undertones) whilst others embraced and adopted it.

It was during this phase, other new laws and rights were being considered, as the problems in timeshare hit the tabloid press. Timeshare and the problems it created were being discussed in Parliament, the European Union and by other regulators. Some past roguish enterprises made efforts to clear up the industry, others were in meltdown, some were jailed, some closed and many complied.

This said, maintenance fees continued to escalate, more and more contracts were terminated, escalated numbers of summonses were delivered, and debt collector's letters rained down like confetti.

With the emergence of the internet, the scale of the historic mis-selling spilt over the world wide web and the full extent of the consumers' voices became known. Many hit the chat rooms, discussed the issues which provided a focal point for news stories.

Most registered accounts with Paul Anderson's “Timesharetalk.co.uk” and the 4 “crimeshares websites”. With the introduction of  MySpace, Facebook and the expansion of Trip Advisor the “cat was out of the bag”.

In this phase, timeshare inventory was continually being sold and in an effort of avoid compensation claims, again some owners were re-invited back to the sales room and presented with what was claimed to be a new investment the inglorious “Timeshare Points System”.

The introduction of this new product was to charge more money for a product whist taking back and extinguishing the liability of the previously mis-sold inventory, avoiding possible court actions.

Some believed EU regulation was inevitable, so implement new “models” to keep one step ahead, accordingly Holiday Clubs, Points Systems and other models were created.

To complete the picture, some timeshare developers did not change the models, maintained good, quiet and reasonable resorts. They adapted the existing timeshare contracts, continued to provide good services, delivered good quality holidays, however their voices were drowned out by the hoard of ever increasing dissenters.

 

5)    The Exodus Phase

The Exodus phase commenced in or about 2000s and continues to today. Assisting on the issue was Paul Anderson at TimeshareTalk.co.uk and Mr Alexander (Sandy) Grey who developed the Timeshare Association and the Crime-share Websites.

The objectives were

  • Timesharetalk gave consumers a voice.
  • Representations were delivered to governments.
  • A European-wide network would be formed to network with other self-styled consumer associations.
  • “Crime share” website exposed, re-exposed, vocalised and delivered information, opinions and speculations into the public domain including the identification of the core consumer complaints and then deliver group litigations to the courts.

With the aid of the internet, Mr Grey had a resounding success. A consumer champion was born, and the legislators had an independent “go to” consultant who could provide them with information and advice from the grass roots.

Assisted by some in the legal profession Mr Grey delivered effective arguments and the fruits of his unpaid work benefited and touched every timeshare owner. In true Sandy Grey style, his “crime share” websites which went viral, exposed and upset many developers.

When Mr Grey delivered the “don’t pay your maintenance fee” campaign, the overcharging timeshare developers were delivered a large monumental financial blow. Coupled with the challenge “if you think your fees are lawful, take your chance in court” the stage was set for all-out war.

This had a devastating effect on many developers as more and more dissenting timeshare owners joined the campaign, did not pay the claimed fees, resulting is more and cash strapped resorts. More and more left timeshare, whilst the independent consumer voices grew stronger and fuller

The industry bluff was called. During this period sales continued regarding the new system “Points System”.

This new system of selling timeshare was even more convoluted and the contracts could be read in different ways. Some suggested that its convoluted nature was developed in such a way as to leave open avenues to later claim it’s not a timeshare, or a holiday club or the sale of a currency. In fact, they were sold as holiday clubs, then timeshares and then investments.

During this period thousands left timeshares and explored other holiday concepts and the resorts had lost the hearts and minds war so took upon the opportunity in lobbying and assisting governments and authority’s departments.

The timeshare industry banded together to deliver its collective view on the many consumer issues. Some bad boys on the 4 Crime-Share websites took actions against Mr Gey exposed him as being the man at the back of the campaign, which in part discredited him in the eye of the authorities.

 

6)    The Litigation Phase

The Litigation phase started early 2012 – and continues today. As the consumer had access to website forums, could freely converse with each other, groups gelled together to discuss matters and some became intent on protracting litigation.

With Crime Share in full swing, the campaign not to pay maintenance fees, press coverage and vocalise defences of the developers were in some quarters trashed.

This has two effects.

As an upsurge in litigation was occurring with those wanting to pursue resorts for compensation so the cold callers arrived to make a nuisance of themselves. Many calls were made and to convince timeshare owners to either sell the timeshare with them or let them litigate the matter. With the added claims that compensation was around the corner and asserting that the case was a ‘slam dunk’, many paid substantial sums to obtain whay they thought were the best legal minds, yet received nothing. No legal action, resale, no compensation and no termination of the contract.

The voices of the legitimate legal profession became drowned out in favour of fake solicitors and legal companies run by ex-timeshare salespeople and touts. The 3 camps: mis-sellers, ethical sellers and the legal profession, became 4 with the addition of the legal scammers. That quickly became 5 as the leisure credit industry rolled out an equally more perverse product.

Confusion was everywhere, trust evaporated and every consumer grilled everyone to find out if they were talking to a scammer. The scam bleated they were not a scammer and the profession treated the quest of the enquiring consumers as an assault on their senses and simply walked away, appalled.

This resulted in an abundance of timeshare salespeople jumping ship to pile onto the fake litigation gravy train and a trashing of the legitimate ones commenced. This has brought a whole new era of mis-selling in legal services, timeshare reselling and leisure credits.

Timeshare sales and the mis-selling of them has received very few complaints in the last 2 years and the majority of concerns of the days of the wild west (pre-2010) have quietened. In comparison to days gone by very little new business has taken place, so naturally the complaints will fall away despite the mission of the industry to say it has - however, many report a continuance of upselling.

The main issue facing the industry today is the number of scammers playing on the dwindling client base.

Due to the contraction in timeshare sales in Europe, many salesmen have left and reengineered themselves as lawyers suggesting that:

  • all resorts have sold unlawful timeshare
  • all consumers are entitled to compensation; and
  • all developers are corrupt.

This position is untruthful and the consumers who buy into the salesmen’s allegations will lose a lot more money and risk incurring adverse costs.

The new scam is the selling of fake legal indemnity certificates.