Over the past few weeks, we have shown how timeshare has been sold in various forms such as “investments”, the problems with finance agreements associated with these purchases and the “Bodies” supposedly tasked with consumer protection. Our last article focused on using the legal system for purchases in Spain, which for many is the only course of action.
Today we begin our first look at the main “Body” that we believe is at the heart of all the problems timeshare owners face, the RDO, (Resorts Development Organisation). They portray themselves as the “Voice of the Timeshare Industry”, they have a “Mission, Vision and Values” statement as well as a “Code of Conduct”. On the surface, it all looks good, until you the consumer have a problem with your timeshare company which just happens to be a member of the RDO.
Let’s begin with the Mission, Vision and Values statement, the link to this page will be at the end of the article.
According to the opening paragraph, their (RDO) mission is to be “the recognised voice”, not for the consumer I might add, but for the industry.
The first mention of the “consumer” is in the second paragraph, where they “boast” about their aim of becoming a “kitemark for quality and trust for consumers”. They also “demand industry best practice” whatever that means, from their members. Going by the misdeeds of their own members which we are seeing in the courts, this has not been very successful.
The next section “Vision”, starts with another reference to the “kitemark of trust and assurance for consumers”. How they intend to achieve this is highlighted in four bullet points:
- Demand adherence to ethical practices from our members.
- Build confidence with consumers by providing practical, transparent and effective assistance when called upon.
- Highlight and promote the excellence of service and products provided by our members.
- Work with enforcement agencies across Europe to maximise protection for consumers.
Again fine words, but do they actually mean anything?
Let us have a look at “adherence to ethical practices”, this point is also covered in their “Code of Conduct” which will reveal even more. What are ethical practices? There appears to be no mention of any “ethical standards”, so all we can conclude is that it is down to the “conscience” of the member as to what is ethical or not.
For example, it is unethical to lie or mislead a consumer into a purchase in our opinion, but ask any consumer who has ended up with a timeshare, it is the false promises and misleading information which become so prominent. These promises may be the “investment pitch”, “it’s property and will go up in value”, you have heard them all. Aren’t these UNETHICAL?
As it is only their (RDO) values, it would be safe to say that it is nothing but words and the salespeople who use these practices are free to get on with it. The RDO is not responsible for it even though their member is the seller. We seem to have heard that before, Diamond in the US, is not responsible for what “their” sales agents say.
The second point is rather laughable, build confidence with consumers, apparently by providing much needed “practical, transparent and effective assistance”. Try making a complaint about your timeshare resort, the answer will always be you need to take the matter up with them, the reason, the RDO will not mediate between a member and a consumer. So we have to ask what assistance are they on about?
The next bullet point might explain the previous, they “highlight and promote” the absolutely wonderful and excellent service and products of their members. I very much doubt if Silverpoint or Azure clients would agree with that.
The last bullet point is about working with enforcement agencies across Europe, OK we do give a little credit here, not a lot but some, the problem is that they have only targeted those that are not members of their organisation and pose a threat to it. More on this in another instalment.
We now move to the last section, Values, again this is just a four bullet point paragraph:
- Enforcing strong business ethics.
- Promoting transparent company practices.
- Fostering rigorous adherence to legislation.
- Respecting members, affiliates and consumers.
A regurgitation of what they have already said, so there is no need to comment.
This is just the beginning, our next article in this series will look at their Code of Conduct and explore if they as an organisation abide by it themselves. Somehow we think you already know the answer.
Links to Mission, Vision and Values, RDO Code of Conduct.
Friday’s intended article on timeshare and the military has been delayed due to the breaking news of the Exploria v Aaronson case mentioned on Monday, which now replaces it. Irene who has been following this case very closely has now completed her look and explanation of the case. This is one that is not to be missed.
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