From Maintenance Arrears to Brexit: Don’t be Fooled

“Timeshare, never a dull moment” is a quote from an old colleague, and judging from the questions that are asked they are not wrong. Obviously, most are regarding cold calls, whether the caller is genuine or a scam, others may be about booking problems and upgrades, one which caught our attention was maintenance fees.

Annual maintenance or management fees are part and parcel of timeshare, whether you are a fixed week owner or using the floating weeks or points systems, it is in your contract to pay. We also know that every year we see the same complaints, the increase in the cost, along with that gripe, comes the second most popular, what are we paying it for?

A very good question considering the next complaint.

Over the years many timeshare owners have been hit with “additional payments” to cover costs for refurbishments, or to cover the cost of unexpected repairs. Many developers and resorts have used this in the past, it caused a lot of dissent, but eventually, most paid or lost their usage rights.

This was very evident after the massive storms hit the US and Caribbean, many owners were sent bills for extra charges, these are “Special Assessments”.

This is where a natural disaster or other event has caused major damage, it is a specified one-off bill for a “specific” amount which also includes what the repair entails.

One set of owners have just received notification of an additional 3% to be added to their next maintenance bills to cover refurbishment costs. Now the strange thing here is the timeshare club, does not own the resort, which is owned by a hotel group. The club only leases a section of the hotel, the rest is open to the usual tourist trade.

So, the question is why do they have to pay these additional costs next year?

Well, I’m sorry but I don’t actually have an answer to that, but I do have a further question, if the timeshare club owners, which is separate from the hotel have to pay for it, are the “tourists” who book through tour operators expected to pay it as well?

Answers on a postcard, please.

Staying with maintenance fees, these are also being used in “scare” tactics by many cold callers, by far the most common at present is the “liability” for any arrears pitch.

This is targeted at previous owners of timeshare who have exited their contracts legally with the resort or developer, in may cases more than 10 years ago. Even though the “owner” has in their possession a letter confirming their “exit” and has never received any demands, they are told the exact opposite by the cold caller.

Using the word “suspended” they try and implant the doubt that you are actually out, they couple this with the greatest threat of all, “the resort waits until it has at least £6000 before they chase it”. On average this is 5 years’ worth of arrears, anything less and it is not worth the cost of debt collectors, plus add on to that the interests and the collector’s fees, and you will begin to take notice.

But it is all a scam, what they want is for you to pay them money for it to go away, it is “extortion”, pure and simple.

Moving on to yet another “Fake” law firm, this one has all the hallmarks of our old friends “Litigious Abogados”. This time they appear to be using the name of a genuine law firm based in Barcelona, claiming to be the “Tenerife” office.

What makes this different from the previous incarnation, apart from using a genuine law firm, they don’t appear to have an associated website. What does make it look like the same people are responsible are the documents they have sent to the “potential victim”,

The fake court document is identical to their previous ones, lacking certain crucial information, but the cover letter is the giveaway. The way it starts, and all the detail is word for word to the originals, although this time they do go on more about a “Brexit Tax” or payment that is required by law.

If this isn’t an indication that they are the same people, I’m not sure what is, unless other “scammers” have stolen their pitch!

The name to look out for is Sagarra i Montalvo, They are using this logo on their letterhead.

This is the Genuine Logo and a link to the genuine law firm’s website.

For the full story including copies of the documents you can follow this link to our friends at the TCA

Another series of emails and calls to Diamond members in the US has begun, yes you have guessed it, it all revolves around “upgrading” to the “Hilton” package. It would appear the “Sales Agents” have become even more inventive with their pitches. From most of the comments we have seen, their “pleas” seem to be falling on deaf ears, the most common phrase being used is “just another scam”.

Well, I suppose the big developers who had European markets need to fill the gap left by the massive slump in European sales.

That’s it for today, but remember if it is a cold call, email, or text, it is most likely to be a scam. Tomorrow is the end of another week, and our Friday article is Florida House Bill 869 – A Confusing 2023 Timeshare Legislative Update.


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