A retired couple who could not afford to pay the maintenance fees for their timeshare week in Gran Canaria decided to walk away and are now facing a new nightmare.
Palm Oasis have enlisted the services of a British debt collecting company Debtsave, who are harassing Alan and Diana Turner for two years worth of maintenance fees, which is currently £1598 but rises with every demand.
The Turners could not use their apartment anymore due to ill health and only are living on a state pension, so they cannot afford the fees. The only option to escape the fees is to sell the apartment , but the buyers are next to impossible to find. The couple has spent hundreds of pound on resale companies promising to find them a buyer, but nothing has materialised.
The Turners purchased the timeshare in Maspalomas for £15,000 in 1997, for which Mr Turner needed to have his credit limit extended. They were led to believe it would be a good investment and despite not being happy with the hard sell, decided to make the purchase. They received a document which included a signed statement by them saying they were not subjected to pressure and later on received the deeds which are in Spanish.
The maintenance fees were £100 at first, but have now increased over 800% over the past 12 years. This is a known strategy for struggling timeshare developers, who rely on the fees to make a profit.
This is a recurring issue in the timeshare industry and as the clientele is ageing, many people are facing the same dilemma as the Turners.
Legally, only a court order can affect a person’s credit rating as debt collectors have no such power. Always check the summonses and make sure they are genuine, as reports of bogus letters have emerged.
If you have been taken to court, make sure you check the hearing is still on before you turn up as many companies have not paid the court fees and cases have been thrown out at the last minute.