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- Real Name: David Eastburn
- Location: Nr Falmouth, Cornwall
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I suppose that the bad image (held almost in its entirety by non timeshare owners!) stems from the timeshare touts who even 10 years ago were accosting us at every turn on the Costa del Sol and in the Canaries. European and UK legislation have now got the industry pretty well ring-fenced and the crooks and gangs have now largely moved into other areas of the rapidly expanding holiday business such as holiday bonds and the like which do not have the same protection as traditional timeshare.
OTE is the European association of timeshare operatives. They operate to a strict code of practice and are very anxious indeed to improve the image of timeshare as well as expand its flexibility and extend its operation to include aircraft and superyachts for the mega rich. Together with TATOC (the association of timeshare owners' committees) OTE have set up VOICE (Chairman Bishop Alan Chesters, former Bishop of Blackburn), with a head office in Brussels, to handle all consumer complaints.
TATOC speaks for the ordinary timeshare consumer - you and me - and its purpose is to protect the interest of owners for which it is the recognised voice in the UK. (It is hoped to set up other European chapters shortly)
For some nine years, I have been the unpaid and honorary chairman of Lakeview Country Club in Cornwall, an RCI affiliated Gold Crown resort with some 1000 members. Two years ago, I was elected a Director of TATOC (honorary and unpaid!) and this last weekend, at its National Conference, I was elected Chairman of TATOC (still honorary and unpaid!).
I would be more than happy to advise any forum member who is interested in learning more about timeshare or who wants specific information. For the moment, I offer two pearls which could save someone out there a whole mint of money!
1. If you are planning to sell your week, NEVER respond to cold callers. In fact, unless you are sure you are dealing with an OTE approved company, you must never, ever, ever agree to put money up front or give your credit card details to any company offering to sell your week. It is almost certainly a scam. If you are uncertain, check out with VOICE first - their contact details are below.
2. At the height of the timeshare boom some ten years ago, we were promised when purchasing that we were making a sound investment. We were not - well at least not in financial terms, although most of us have been pretty pleased with the great value of the accomodation we have used over the years. The sad fact is, however, that the resale value of what we then purchased is now only a fraction of what we originally paid. This does, however, give us a tremendous opportunity of "second hand" purchase. The stupid thing is that what you get is not really second hand at all - it is in fact exactly the same product as is being offered to you at four times the price when you attend a timeshare presentation. By all means go to a presentation (and collect your gift) but do not buy there. If you like the resort you will do much better to buy through a reputable re-sale company or contact the resort directly (not its sales company!! - the two are not the same thing at all)
The following sites and contact numbers may be useful to you. My own number (01326 374237) is declared on this forum, and by all means ring up for a chat or PM me if you wish. I can certainly point you in the direction of some real bargains at Lakeview where I have half a dozen owners who from age, divorce or other unfortunate circumstance are now anxious to sell their weeks.
http://www.tatoc.co.uk/ (tel 0845 2 30 24 30 )
http://www.voice.eu.com/avoicetobeheard.html (tel 0870 240 8993)
DTI timeshare factsheet