Worldwide Timeshare HypermarketThe team at Worldwide Travel Hypermarket took a look at the value of timeshare maintenance fees and how they compare with booking holiday accommodation online. This is what they found:

While timeshares, holiday ownership products or vacation club memberships should never be thought of as a financial investment, the money-saving principle is pretty straightforward.

After the initial outlay to purchase into a resort or club, your holiday accommodation costs should decrease with the annual savings accumulating to good savings over time.

How much a product can save you depends on the quality of accommodation, the time of year and of course, the annual maintenance fee you'll pay as an owner.

What do maintenance fees cover?

In the main, staff wages make up the lion’s share of the costs of running a resort.

From a team of receptionists, cleaners, gardeners, and security to the back office staff and management responsible for the smooth running of a resort, staff salaries often make up 40 per cent of a resort’s expenditure.

Then there's the bills which include electricity, water, heating, air conditioning, TV, broadband, laundry, taxes and insurance.

That’s all before any general upkeep and refurbishment of accommodation.

But are they good value for money?

To gauge the value of any particular product, it's worth comparing the annual fee with the cost of holidaying in similar accommodation at the same time of year.

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John Hughes In My ViewThe timeshare industry has changed considerably over the 25 years in which I have been directly involved.  

My first experience of timeshare was as an in-house solicitor of the bank which was heavily involved in lending on commercial property in the U.K. but had also ventured into timeshare developments within Europe, mainly Spain and Portugal.  

In the late 1980s and early 1990s timeshare developers were still building apartments for timeshare and the bank lent not only for the building of apartments but also commercial areas and leisure facilities.  

Part of the security taken by the bank (quite apart from mortgages for commercial areas) was a charge over the unsold timeshare weeks.  

It soon became clear that the initial sales of a new timeshare would be encouraging as timeshare salesmen were disposing of the key weeks during the school holidays.  

Once the flow of income from sales started to dry up, the payments to the bank also started to dry up and the bank was then left with security over the unpopular weeks.  It soon became apparent that there was also an inherent weakness in the security arrangement.

The disposal of weeks outside the peak holiday periods is a continuing issue and has taxed the mind of not only many developers but also the committees of member-controlled clubs.  

Various incentives have been offered over the years including reduced management fees and use of additional weeks at no or little cost.  

Some clubs have considered simply closing the clubs down in the winter months but because of the employment protection legislation in Spain and Portugal this can create problems, as full time staff cannot easily be laid off.

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Aunty Betty talks about one up-manshipOver the last few years I have been able to share the ups and downs of life and introduce you to some of my friends and neighbours.

This time I am going to introduce you to a corker – Winifred Annabelle Linford-Inkpen (do not forget the hyphen). A lady who has an opinion on everything and who cannot let a statement go by without comment.

From politics and scandal to general knowledge and the weather, she knows it all. She organises with a rod of iron the Woman’s Institute and the local Brownies and rules the committees of the choral society, church council and even her poor husband.

So imagine my glee when I managed to get one up on her.

It all came about when we were discussing the lack of help and advice available to small associations and committees. Winifred was going on and on about the local Citizens Advice Bureau and how wonderful they were. She worked part-time for them and could answer everything that was asked.

“Well, what about timeshare,” asked Beryl, looking up from her knitting? A deadly hush descended.

”Timeshare,” Winifred replied with her aristocratic nose quivering as if there was a rather nasty smell, “why would they want to deal with timeshare? It is full of fraudsters and who in their right mind would even buy timeshare?”

”Well, actually it is quite easy to understand and I am sure you must have heard of TATOC?“ I asked Winifred.

“Taytoc?” she replied, looking around for support.

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Timeshare Taskforce set up by timeshare industryLeading businesses and organisations in the European timeshare sector have launched an initiative to tackle issues that potentially affect hundreds of thousands of timeshare owners and consumers.

Set up and funded by the Resort Development Organisation (RDO), the Timeshare Task Force brings together the RDO’s own enforcement operation, resorts, timeshare owners, consumer organisations such as TATOC and law enforcement agencies to achieve common goals.

Top of the priority list is tackling the rogues that have been defrauding timeshare owners and consumers to the tune of millions of Euros.

The new initiatives include identifying the perpetrators - many of which are serial offenders - and preparing prosecutions.

In the most serious cases, information is being passed to law enforcement agencies such as the U.K. National Fraud Intelligence Bureau.

The plan is through a co-ordinated effort to make life very difficult for those who have targeted the timeshare sector - every website, every advertisement run on Google, every cold call is likely to result in an investigation, sophisticated tracing and criminal charges.

Every time a fraudster contacts a timeshare owner or consumer, he or she will be running the risk of talking not to a potential victim - but a private investigator or law enforcement officer

In addition to the major cases involving the police, the Task Force will also use private criminal prosecutions to ease the burden on the authorities and speed the process of apprehending the perpetrators.

Every day practical measures are also being offered, including new on-line advice resources, such as the Timeshare Business Check which will provide information on businesses selling within the timeshare and related sectors.

Much progress has been made in terms of dealing with issues such as those needing to exit the industry, for example deserving timeshare owner exit cases involving bankruptcy and death.

Read more ...

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