European Parliament action

Started by Murphy, June 10, 2007, 13:36:07

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Murphy

I've just watched the Politics Show which is a NW tv magazine on Sundays.

An MEP called Arlene McCarthy said that she is involved in investigating and taking action against Timeshare companies who are ripping off consumers.

I think she would probably be a good person to send evidence of malpractice to, which many on here seem to have experienced.

Her email is arlene.mccarthy@easynet.co.uk

Interestingly she was on the show because she has been one of the MEP's responsible for the forthcoming big cut in mobile phone charges whilst making or receiving calls abroad so obviously has the consumer at heart.


Murphy

sensor

Much as I applaud the idea of any MP or MEP telling us they intend to tackle this vital issue, forgive me if I am sceptical and not holding my breath. May I draw your attention to my previous posting on this site 7th May 06 and the previous posting on this link, referring to a very similar instance where a British MP decided this was a good soapbox to leap on. I was one of the persons who replied, and like many others, got no response whatsoever from this clown.
I have heard MANY so called MP's and goverenment bodies ( English, Euro and Spanish), who all sound off on this subject, but over the years it has ended up as hot air. True, we do have an element of legislation, but, as you can tell from the vast amount of complaints by the public, it is either not effective, not enforced, or both. Yes, there is some more legislation in the pipeline, but once again, it will need to be ENFORCED. When one looks at the sheer apathy by the various law enforcments in Europe as regards this situation and also how restricted the local authorities are, then you
may well understand how huge a task this is, and just one well meaning MEP has almost no chance of making an impresssion.
The other problem of course is that no MEP or MP has ever worked in the Timeshare industry so no of them really understand the extent of all the rip offs or how they are set up. All we will probably see is some committee or commission set up to investigate, and it will be composed of "Heads of the Industry" (people in the Timeshare Industry, e.g.RCI )who will want to protect their turf and sweep everything under the carpet. Look no futher that OTE if you think I am joking !!!
With no experience in how the industry (really)works and the scams involved, what chance does an MEP have of actually getting a handle on it, however well meaning they may be? They will just get confused and befuddled by all the various schemes and hidden offshore set ups which are set up with the sole intention of hiding everything.
Sadly, any MP/Mep will always be on the outside looking in, and until they are prepared,as a EURO BODY (and get real info from the INSIDE of the industry), to legislate and enforce on similar lines to say, Florida, in the USA, the Euro Timeshare industry will remain a haven for the con men.
This argument about cleaning up the industry has been going on for the last 25 year, and here we are, still talking about one MEP who want to tackle it.
HMMMM, forgive me if I don't hold my breath !

Murphy

quote:
Sadly, any MP/Mep will always be on the outside looking in, and until they are prepared,as a EURO BODY (and get real info from the INSIDE of the industry), to legislate and enforce on similar lines to say, Florida, in the USA, the Euro Timeshare industry will remain a haven for the con men.



Quite, which is why I have already been in touch and offered my services as an insider.

sensor


Murphy

ok guys, this time it looks like its for real:


There will be a Public Hearing on Timeshare, scheduled for 28 June in the European Parliament in Brussels.

The Hearing will be divided in two sessions, the first one on 'New developments in Timeshare' (including Holiday Discount Clubs, Resale and Exchange), and the second one on 'Facilitating consumer access to information'.
Eight different experts, from Belgium, UK, Spain and Germany will be invited to give their view and then discuss with the MEPs about Timeshare.
The European Commissioner for Consumer Protection, Ms. Kuneva, will also address the Hearing a short presentation of the latest developments on Timeshare.

Lobby your MEP's now, make sure they attend and if anybody from here can go then please post a report.

Sadly I can't as my main work means I have to be in India from this Friday until end July.

Bad Hair Day

quote:
Originally posted by Murphy

I've just watched the Politics Show which is a NW tv magazine on Sundays.

An MEP called Arlene McCarthy said that she is involved in investigating and taking action against Timeshare companies who are ripping off consumers.

I think she would probably be a good person to send evidence of malpractice to, which many on here seem to have experienced.

Her email is arlene.mccarthy@easynet.co.uk

Interestingly she was on the show because she has been one of the MEP's responsible for the forthcoming big cut in mobile phone charges whilst making or receiving calls abroad so obviously has the consumer at heart.


Murphy



Thanks for that Murphy, I got a reply from Arlene McCarthy and my details have been sent to both MEP'S for Scotland, I have urged others to do the same.

sensor

I will not be able to attend.
It will be interesting though to see how may MEPs actually do feel it important enough to attend.
What worries me though, is WHO exactly are the "EXPERTS" that have been selected, WHO selected them, and what qualifies them to be "EXPERTS" ?

Will they be the normal panel ( HEADS OF INDUSTRY ) of a couple of OTE clowns accompanied by a (bent) lawyer or two and chinless wonder from RCI ?
All there in the 'interests' of the consumer ?
I hope I am wrong, but history dictates otherwise !

Murphy

In answer to Sensor's query it appears that the experts will be a mixture of industry apologists and true external bodies representatives.  Here's a copy of the program, please note that you can't just turn up, you have to apply beforehand for a badge.


Chair: Arlene McCARTHY


PROGRAMME

Public Hearing
of the
Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection

Timeshare:
The EU proposal for a new Directive

Thursday, 28 June 2007 from 9.00 to 12.30
European Parliament, Brussels
Salle: ASP 1G3






9.00 - 9.30 Opening session

•   Opening by the Chair, Arlene McCARTHY
•   Presentation and discussion on the new proposal by the Commissioner in charge of Consumer Protection, Mrs. KUNEVA


9.30 - 10.55 SESSION 1

New developments in Timeshare and the EU proposal for a new Directive

9.30 - 09.40   Mr. Peter van der Mark
   Secretary General, Organisation for Timeshare in Europe (OTE)
   Overview of new developments in Timeshare - New practices developed by OTE

9.40 - 9.50   Mr. Sandy Grey
   Chairman, Alliance of Timeshare Consumers in Europe (ATCE)
   Overview of new developments in Timeshare - Main problems faced by consumers




09.50 - 10.00   Mr. Carlos Vogeler (tbc)
   President of the National Association of the Timesharing Industry (ANETC)
   Holiday Discount Clubs and Package Travel: A need for regulation in a single instrument?

10.00 - 10.10   Mr. Jonathan Mindell (tbc)
   Managing Director, RCI Europe and Middle East
   Resale and exchange systems


Questions & Answers by Members (45 minutes)


* * *


10.55 - 12.20 SESSION 2

Facilitating consumer access to information and redress

10.55 - 11.05   Ms. Martine Mérigeau (tbc)
   Director of Legal department, European Consumer Centre of Kehl, Germany
   Main problems faced by consumers with regard to access to information and redress

11.05 - 11.15   Mr. Michael Hayley (tbc)
   Head of European Enforcement Team, Office of Fair Trading, UK
   Enforcement

11.15 - 11.25   Mr. Hans De Coninck
   Tourism expert - 'Test-Achats', Belgium member of BEUC, the European Consumers' Organisation
   Main problems faced by consumers with regard to access to information, language requirements, right of withdrawal, advance payments, and redress

11.25 - 11.35   Mr. Alex Radford (tbc)
   Lawyer at De Cotta McKenna
   Overview of arbitration, redress, and criminal sanctions


Questions & Answers by Members (45 minutes)


* * *


12.20 - 12.30 Summary and closing statement

•   Arlene McCARTHY, Chair


* * *



Important notice for persons who wish to attend the hearing:

This hearing is open to the public. However, for SECURITY REASONS, access can only be granted in response to a prior request for an access badge.

In case
you are not in possession of an entrance badge to the European Parliament
please contact the Secretariat of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection
(providing the following details: full name, date of birth and address)
no later than 21.06.2007 at 12:00

e-mail:  ip-imco@europarl.eu.int

You may obtain your one-day access badge to the EP from 08.30 on the day of the hearing at the main entrance of the ASP building
[European Parliament, Rue Wiertz, Altiero Spinelli building, Brussels]



sensor

Well, Praise be to the Lord, I have just discovered that I am clairvoyant!

In my prev posting I stated;
" All we will probably see is some committee or commission set up to investigate, and it will be composed of "Heads of the Industry" (people in the Timeshare Industry, e.g.RCI )who will want to protect their turf and sweep everything under the carpet. Look no futher that OTE if you think I am joking !!!"

Then the very next posting submitted states that some of the participants are to be;

MR. Peter Van Der Mark. . . from OTE !  
Mr. Carlos Vogeler !           Ex RCI !
Mr. Jonathan Mindell !         RCI !


Talk about employing the fox to guard the chicken coop !

The rest of the panel I don't know, but I see a possible bent Lawyer in there also.. .
I am afraid that the very fact they have got OTE involved, along with
Teflon Peter, indicates that anything that arises out of this seminar is pretty much dedicated to even further filling the pockets of his paymasters.

Due to the fact that this is such a big 'Euro problem', it is somewhat comforting to see they have managed to devote a full 3 hours and 20 minutes to finding a solution ! (sic)

Like I said before, "don't hold your breath "  [:D]


bluesox

Having posted a thread just 24 hours earlier regarding the 'failure' of my credit card company to accept a version of events that emphatically and unequivocally points to fraudulent misrepresentation by a Tenerife-based marketer -Holiday Warehouse- back in 2005 and which led to the purchase of a holiday club scheme linked with the Reclaim cash-back scheme, I was nonchalantly browsing through some of the on-line Tenerife newspapers and, hey presto, look what made this week's edition in THE PAPER:

Timeshare law to be strengthened to close holiday club loophole

 Plans to stamp out holiday clubs, a burgeoning variation on timeshare scams which has left hundreds of thousands of British holidaymakers out of pocket, were unveiled by the European Commission recently.

As regular readers of The Paper will be aware, people here in the Canaries and popular mainland resorts are enticed to spend up to £15,000 joining the clubs by offers of the right to buy a property and promises of cheap accommodation and travel.

Buyers soon discover they have no guarantee on dates or quality of accommodation, and are committed to an annual subscription fee even if they do not take a holiday. The old adage, 'If it's too good to be true' springs to mind.

Increasingly evident here are the tactics, where investors are targeted through telemarketing or approached while on holiday. 'Free' holidays and winning scratch-cards are also used to lure them to sales presentations, where they are quickly pressed to sign up.

Recent studies have shown that UK residents account for over half of all owners of timeshare units in Europe and the Office of Fair Trading estimates that as many as 400,000 have lost an average £3,000 each to holiday club scams.

Holiday clubs manage to get around timeshare laws because membership is not linked to any particular property, leaving consumers unprotected. The new EU proposals will extend existing protection to cover holiday clubs as well as timeshare accommodation in cruise boats, timeshare resale and exchange schemes, which also generate a high volume of consumer complaints.
The safety net was welcomed by the Department of Trade and Industry, which has been pressing for the existing 13-year-old EU timeshare directive to be updated.

However, the DTI warned that the rules would not come into force until 2010. The department said, "Until then, our advice is for consumers to be very wary of holiday clubs. Don't sign up during a presentation, don't part with any money or credit card details until you have had time to think things over. If you are told this is a once in a lifetime offer, don't believe it."

The proposals include a ban on holiday clubs taking money up front, a 14-day cooling-off period, information setting out what club membership involves, and whom their contract is with. This must all be included in their contract.

The Consumer Minister, Ian McCartney, said the problem had required Europe-wide action and hoped the proposals would be adopted by all member states. "Scammers have found a way to get round the rules by selling a different product - holiday clubs," he said. "People are being conned into shelling out thousands of pounds on empty promises.

"Unscrupulous holiday club operators promise a lifetime of cheap holidays in exotic locations, but deliver nothing."

Susan Marks, a consumer policy officer for Citizens Advice, said, "These proposals will close many of the loopholes in the law, which have allowed rogue practices to flourish.

"We are particularly pleased about plans to ban up-front payments, and to widen the scope of timeshare legislation to include boats, holiday clubs and resales."

Ms Marks echoed the DTI's advice, telling consumers: "People need to be very much on their guard in the three years before the new rules come into effect."

The proposals met with a cooler reception from Arlene McCarthy MEP, Labour's chair of the internal market and consumer protection committee.

"My post-bag is full of complaints from consumers who are being ripped off by timeshares or holiday clubs," she said. "It has taken the commission over five years to come forward with a draft law which could take up to 2010 to come into force. We need to make sure it is not too little too late."

Some of the scams that were highlighted by the studies include the case of a couple who were persuaded to pay £3,500 to join a holiday club while in Tenerife. The next day they changed their mind but were told they had no right to cancel. They had paid by credit card but their credit card issuer was unwilling to help.

Another couple who wanted to sell their timeshare property was contacted by a firm who offered to arrange a sale at a very favourable price, but £995 was required for legal fees. They said this would be refundable and persuaded the couple to authorise a credit card payment. The sale was a sham and the couple was unable to get their money back.

DOESN'T THIS FINAL PARA HAVE AN ALTOGETHER FAMILIAR RING ABOUT IT?

They say a week is a long time in politics
Seems that the next 3 years will seem like an eternity to finally put paid to these mis-begotten rogues who prey on the nice good people who visit Tenerife and the other Med destinations infested by these scam operators.

BUT WELL DONE TO THIS PAPER FOR FINALLY HIGHLIGHTING THIS STORY. HOPEFULLY THE OTHERS WILL FOLLOW!

blondchaser

Sensor, excellent choice of words " employing fox to guard the chicken coupe". What the do gooders(those who enjoy excellent remuneration packages from the public purse)don't seem to understand is that those parasites who run holiday club scams are not members of an English Gentlemans Club, but the scrapings from the bottom of the human barrel,and must be handled as such.
Here we have yet another politician(Ms. McCarthy)medling in the holiday club scam disgrace. Can anyone tell me just how many organisations it takes to solve a relatively simple problem?
The DCA has been fannying about since 2005 to bring three separate schemes in to help people refund their money, but this legislation will not take effect untill 2008/9. Maybe later.
According to OECD rules to curb these crooks was passed on 9/12/1999
The OFT along with Spanish counter parts are collecting complaints, but what does it take to make them take physical action against the scammers. I think the rules are there but no one wants to take the responsibility of activating them.
The other thing the "Authorities" require to seriously address is the complete annonimity of owners/directors of offending firms. I have spent hours trying to find the true owners of HHSL. My enquiries have taken me to BVI, Nevis in the West Indies and I.O.M. The first two are so tight lipped or give the run around whilst the third knows there is wrong doing going on but wont act until someone makes a formal complaint!!I contend that all companies taking money from the public should be completely transparent in their ownership and physical operating address.   It's ACTION we need, not dozens of civil servants "Looking into the problem" In Majorca, their some Authorities have known about the holiday club scam since 2003 but choose to do nothingabout it. Since those who have the power to solve the problem won't use it, should we all be going out to buy shares in these scam companies??? sounds like a safe investment to me!!!

dragon

i understand what u r saying and also would suggest that credit card companies were more helpful as they to could suspend taking payments for these companies until a complaint against fraud was proved or otherwise, in my own experience i found the card company to be very unhelpful and uninterested.

Mavo

The major problems I have with the proposals are that they are just that, proposals only, and are likely to be considerably watered down before they become law. Also they are likely to take a considerable length of time to become law as individuals and  countries representatives use their veto, having been bought by those companies with a vested interest in leaving the current loopholes in place.

The best summary of the proposals can be found at http://www.timeshare.org.uk/lthp.html

Don`t hold your breath on this being the finished article or that it will be in place even this time next year.
Meanwhile if companies are working outside the perameters of the proposals then we would probably be wise to steer clear of them as they are likely to be scam companies.

boiler

Mavo you got it right why not take this situation, jump on the band wagon, expell a lot of hot air (like so many in the past have done) and get paid for it with free travel and holidays thrown in. The result is always the same***** NOTHING POSITIVE HAPPENS***

sensor

Just browsing the site and found this link from 2007, and some of my postings. So here we are, well into 2009 and really nothing has changed much, folks are still getting scammed out of huge amounts of money, the Euro parliament is still discussing the situation, very little enforcement, credit card companies still playing hard to get.

BUT WAIT ...... OTE has changed it's name ! Ha - progress indeed
[8D]

Keitht

You old cynic sensor. [:D]  The changes have been agreed in the European Parliament already.  All that's required now is the various national parliaments to ratify AND for the new laws actually to be enforced.  Not much to ask - is it??

sensor

Rumour has it that the end of the world is due in December 2012, so I hope they have got it all sorted by then, because we could be waiting for another eternity if they have to go right back and start again !!  [:D][8D][;)]

Calpe

quote:
Originally posted by Murphy

I've just watched the Politics Show which is a NW tv magazine on Sundays.

An MEP called Arlene McCarthy said that she is involved in investigating and taking action against Timeshare companies who are ripping off consumers.

I think she would probably be a good person to send evidence of malpractice to, which many on here seem to have experienced.

Her email is arlene.mccarthy@easynet.co.uk

Interestingly she was on the show because she has been one of the MEP's responsible for the forthcoming big cut in mobile phone charges whilst making or receiving calls abroad so obviously has the consumer at heart.


Murphy



Arlene McCarthy chaired the committee that set up the Cross Border Fraud Investigation Organisation which all 27 members of the EU signed up to some three years ago and which includes Timeshare Fraud.  Scambusters supplied that organisation and the Select Committee in the House of Lords, set up to look into cross border timeshare fraud, significant evidence of Timeshare Fraud and that report is available on the House of Lords Website, or can be viewed on the scambusters website at www.scambusters.gb.com They have wide ranging powers to enter, seize, arrest and close down any company proved to be acting fraudulently.  They will not do it on one or two complaints, but if enough people get together and make a significant collective complaint, something might be done to help the more than 400,000 people the OFT say have been defrauded in the UK alone by these timeshare fraudsters. Scambusters has assisted thousands of defrauded timeshare owners recover more than £1m  in the last few years. Keep up the fight.

rik14

i didnt check the date of the meeting oops wonder if the telegraph will pay for story lol

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