Following last week’s article Official: Amendments Proposed to Spanish Timeshare Law, several regular readers pointed out two items which linked very well with our article, these covered the employment aspect and the question of “what is timeshare?” The first is an article in the SUR in English, a Friday edition of a major Spanish Paper on the Costa del Sol, the second is from a trial in the US, where there seems to be some confusion as to what timeshare is.
The Sur in English which has a huge coverage on the Costa del Sol regularly publishes news of major events in the region, the latest was a Recruitment Fair at the Palacio de Ferias y Congresos in Malaga. There have been a series of these fairs in all the major tourist areas along the Costa del Sol, with Malaga probably being the largest.
According to the Sur in English, one hundred companies involved in “hospitality” the name used for tourist-related work, are seeking 1,500 new employees. These range from hotels, beach establishments, camping, travel agencies and not to forget the golf courses, which are all looking to fill vacancies for the major upcoming holiday season, and this is just for Malaga.
The Sur says that business leaders explained: “that for the high season, they are going to need 15,000 new professionals in the province as a whole.”
The fair is also addressing the issue of the perception of jobs in the tourism sector, these are major issues which have been a problem for many years, they are the seasonal nature of most of the jobs, the low pay and long hours with the main perception being these jobs are worthless and demeaning. This last sentiment is actually very true, most of these jobs are not skilled, they are an expendable workforce, hired and fired according to season, and this is a major factor in low recruitment.
Timeshare on the Costa del Sol is not the major employer of local staff they try to make out they are, the same goes for the Canary Islands which is where the proposal seems to have originated. The situation on those islands is the same, the hospitality industry is seasonal.
Yes, the Canaries have all-year-round sunshine, but that does not mean to say that tourism is not seasonal, speak to anyone who has a “hospitality” business there. The winter is quiet, most visitors tend to be retired and are here for long stays during the winter. The family groups which are what the tourist trade relies on tend to be governed by school holidays. So, it is seasonal.
The big recruitment drive has already begun on the islands, with more adverts from tour operators for the new “seasonal employees”, bars and restaurants start later when the main season gets underway. So, we do have that question again, how does the change in the law going to increase local employment when the situation is not enough recruits as it is?
Moving now to the question of what is timeshare?
One of our friends at the TCA sent a link to LAW360 and an article on a lawsuit involving Wyndham, where a Delaware Federal Judge “narrowed claims” from plaintiffs.
The article by Nate Beck gives a very good account of the proceedings but the most telling part is this:
“U.S. District Judge Richard G. Andrews waived claims based on the Nevada Deceptive Trade Practices Act, finding that timeshares don’t count as goods or services under the law. He found, however, that it was not too late for a plaintiff to bring claims of fraudulent inducement by omission and violations of the Tennessee Timeshare Act in the case.”
So “timeshares do not count as goods or services under the law” if they are not goods or services what are they, prey tell oh learned judge.
We can agree they are not what we would describe as “goods”, you can’t physically take them away, but they are providing a service, albeit a very expensive one.
This has been the problem with timeshares right from the beginning, it is not property or real estate like your home, yet it is sold with that inference. The true concept we believe was the sharing of the time available in an apartment, you paid your money to purchase that time and agreed to pay a yearly cost towards the “upkeep”. You didn’t own anything apart from the right to use that apartment on that week, so we see that as providing a service. The same as a hotel without having to pay an initial joining fee.
Well, that is us being simple, which the law is most definitely not, and this is unfortunately why timeshare developers get away with what they do, it is all about the definition of how a law is worded. It comes down to our old friend, semantics, and how one judge interprets what he reads, with the developers having far greater resources than consumers do to put their argument across.
This leaves us with the same question as before, what is timeshare, if anyone does have an answer, please let the judges know.
As for the proposed changes in the Spanish Timeshare Laws, well, it certainly does look as though it is an attempt by an ailing and discredited industry having a last fling at being important.
The following links are to the Sur in English article and Law 360
Law 360, this needs registration with a trial period to view.
We hope you all had a good weekend, for us the calima cleared with Baby Dog being able to go out and about, so one happy pooch.