A message from our CEO, Andrew Cooper;2020 has been an historic year. It has tested all of us in every aspect of our lives and we have learned new ways to cope, empathise and work together even though physically we have often been forced to be apart.
Finally the powers that be have reached a Brexit deal after years of standoffs, wrangling and gamesmanship. All involved must be exhausted, and hopefully the result will be beneficial to everyone.
At ECC we too have had a demanding 12 months as COVID shone an unforgiving light on the flaws of the timeshare industry.
Andrew Cooper, CEO of ECC
At a time when airlines, hotels and other holiday and travel sectors have striven to act fairly by refunding customers who booked or bought services they could no longer use, the timeshare resorts almost without exception took advantage of the opportunity to maximise profits. This led to accusations of profiteering and a mass exodus from what is becoming an increasingly outmoded holiday system. Owners appalled at being charged full annual fees despite not being able to take their holidays have been seeking safe ways to relinquish memberships or seek compensation in greater numbers than ever.
Under pandemic restrictions ECC have had to innovate in order to cope.
Through use of video calls, distance working and by adding additional team members we have met the extra demand; we have continued to work closely with our legal partners M1 Legal, who during the year 2020 achieved 377 positive court judgements and £6.6 million in compensation awards, as well as over 600 relinquishments. Our success rate is close to 100% in both timeshare relinquishments and compensation claims.
We expect this demand to increase in 2021 and our team is ready and prepared to handle the workload.
The giants of the industry are closing their doors one by one. Club La Costa (UK) PLC is in administration and 4 of it’s Spanish companies have filed for liquidation. Azure and Silverpoint are in a similar position. Diamond have reduced their sales activities in Europe by a significant amount and there are rumours that other huge names are about to announce closures.
In that regard we have issued an alert to all timeshare owners, whether they are considering relinquishment/compensation claims or not, to get their paperwork in order. Many owners joined a long time ago and have long since mislaid their ownership documents. No club is safe at the moment and if they close without warning it could be difficult or impossible to obtain copies of your documents.
A simple call or email right now to request those copies from your club will give you peace of mind.
Will we be able to travel this year? Nobody knows if COVID will get worse or better, or what effect it will have on timeshare usage.
It is possible that airlines will demand proof of COVID vaccinations and as yet there are no official timelines for mass availability. If the resorts repeat the 2020 response of promising another extra week in 2022, that would stretch their credibility beyond most people’s breaking point as they clearly won’t be able to accommodate the demand.
If 2020 is any indication, we can expect the resorts to charge full maintenance fees again; further driving home to people the inflexibility of the timeshare model. Paying the same amount that non-members pay for a week of holiday, but being committed to the expense whether they can holiday or not is not a situation that even diehard timeshare advocates can justify for long.
Whatever your new year has in store for you, we at ECC wish you and your family prosperity, safety and good health.
We are here for any timeshare related challenges. For everything else I’ll leave you with this quote from Max Ehrmann’s Desiderata
“whatever your labours and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy”
Andrew Charles Cooper.