The European Resort Owners' Coalition (EUROC) took on the responsibility of representing European timeshare owners last March. It acts as an advocate for, and the voice of, timeshare owners whose resort management companies and Home Owners' Committees have become members of this association.
There is strength in numbers, as they say, and EUROC is on a mission to unite the European timeshare owners' community. Its goal, as a central association, is to more effectively allocate funding and pool resources to better represent timeshare owners in the issues they face, from time to time. Whether those issues are around consumer protection, legislation or scams, there is little doubt that a centrally-funded organisation applying its network of associates, contacts, knowledge and expertise will find it far easier to find remedies and resolution to such issues than individuals working in isolation.
During a recent visit to RCI's European HQ in Northamptonshire in the UK, Jane Gilmartin, Member Relations Manager of EUROC, explained what she wants the association to achieve. "We want to stand side by side with timeshare owners, by inviting their resorts - through their management committees, owners' committees and home owners' associations - to take up EUROC membership. EUROC is designed to work for timeshare owners, providing them with protection against fraudulent and deceptive operators. We also offer guidance in legal issues, resort management issues, and to keep members up to date with news of events and other matters relevant to their experience as timeshare owners," she said.
"In order to deliver the services we want to, we need to raise funds through membership to pay for the resources and expert knowledge we need to buy in. The ultimate goal is for EUROC to be self funding - and I'm proud to say that, having only launched 11 months ago, we are now 60 per cent of the way to achieving that goal.
"EUROC membership is, I think, a little like taking out an insurance policy... You may not immediately see the value in it - or the need for it - but if and when the time arises that you do need it, you will be very glad that you have it in place to help you take on whatever issue or crisis you find yourself facing."
Wally Francis is a timeshare owner of many years, and is now Chairman of the resort committee at Lakeland Village Owners' Club where he owns. Wally is also a founding Director of EUROC and is on the Board. He feels very strongly that it is in the interests of everybody who owns timeshare to protect the holiday lifestyle they have bought into. He wants to appeal to all the owners reading this blog to make enquiries of their own resort committee members about bringing their resort into membership.
"For too long, timeshare owners have lacked any kind of collective voice," said Wally. "We are facing some common enemies and it is time we start to think about protecting our timeshares and the holiday experiences we enjoy, and want to continue to enjoy. If we allow the fraudsters to thrive, the negative perceptions of timeshare will impact our resorts in many ways, and could well lead to a downward spiral in terms of maintenance standards. That is why timeshare owners need EUROC. EUROC is very much run by owners, for the benefit of owners - and that is what makes it powerful and unique."
Wally is concerned that the rogues who are taking advantage of owners - and bringing timeshare into disrepute - are now identifying new opportunities to exploit the business, as he explains: "The rogues are turning turtle. Unscrupulous paralegal firms are now making false claims that they can get people out of timeshare ownership, when they are simply taking more money from owners on a false promise.
"A lot of the fraudulent operations are interlinked, which is why we need to unite to get rid of them. EUROC unites owners, but it is also working with the industry trade body, RDO. Some say this is a case of the poachers and the game keepers coming together, but it makes sense as we face a common enemy and are stronger working together."
Turn to EUROC for...
Bringing together a community of like-minded timeshare owners, EUROC is there to make sure their voice is heard and their interests protected. Here are just some of the ways in which EUROC is on hand to help.
On hand to help
The Timeshare Helpline, operated by the now defunct TATOC, was tremendously successful in the advice it gave owners about concerns arising with their ownership and resort operation. EUROC has now taken on the responsibility of overseeing the funding and operation of the Timeshare Helpline, which supports owners who are looking for help in matters such as refunds, relinquishments, law enforcement and other, more general, day-to-day timeshare-related issues.
Politics and the law
Politics plays a part in many areas of our lives, including timeshare. Timeshare purchasers and owners enjoy the most robust consumer protection legislation in the form of the EU Timeshare Directive, though legislation and regulations will continue to change over time. If you are a member of EUROC, then you will be among the first to hear about any such changes. It is also reassuring to know that EUROC, as the official voice and representation of timeshare owners, will be the first line of defence against any legislative and regulatory changes which may negatively impact owners, clubs and resort operations.
Getting the paperwork right
In negotiations with local councils, regional governments and other authoritative bodies, getting the paperwork right and the relevant documentation in place swiftly, is crucial. Professionally drafted documentation will be submitted in any disputes or negotiations on behalf of EUROC members. Among any such issues which might necessitate this kind of support is the potential implementation of the bed/tourist tax in the UK, and any legal rulings going through the Spanish Supreme Court at present, which may have long-term implications for owners across Europe and in the UK.
EUROC will be holding many seminars, conferences and forums for its resort and club committee member representatives. These events are an opportunity to find out what is going on in the world of timeshare that might affect your experience of holidaying. They also bring like-minded people together to share ideas, views, experiences, as well as to find solutions to issues. EUROC members will be invited to any such events.
The next event on the EUROC calendar is its 2020 Seminar and AGM, which is to be held on 9 June at Hogarths Hotel in Solihull, Birmingham, UK.
Visit the website: euroc.eu for more details.
Wally, for one, is looking forward to this event. He said: "Collaboration, sharing best practice and great ideas are all reasons EUROC members should attend this event. EUROC has made great strides in this past year, and our first conference in 2019 was excellent. However, this one will be even better, as we are building on all that we learned from the previous event."
Raising awareness of scams
EUROC, being the central point of reference for the timeshare consumer community, and through its working alliance with trade body, RDO, will be alerted to any developments among rogue operators and scams. It is important to act quickly in stopping scammers before they have the opportunity to thrive and defraud owners. EUROC members will benefit from all updates and alerts about illegal timeshare activities as soon as it is made aware of them by the Timeshare Task Force. It will then raise awareness of any risks by sharing the information it has with its members.
EUROC has come a long way in the 11 months since its launch. With the support of more timeshare owners' clubs and committees becoming members, it will go a lot further in becoming the go-to organisation for support with all your timeshare questions. As Wally Francis pointed out: "If Jane Gilmartin doesn't have an answer for you, she will certainly know someone who has, by using the network of expert associates she is building."
Jane herself told me that she was thrilled to see the latest message from the Chairman of EUROC. In an extract from his message he told members: "EUROC has got off to a good start since its launch in March 2019, with many clubs and resorts signing up as founder members. Looking to the future, there is still much to be done, however, EUROC is on course to fulfil its aim of being the organisation which is recognised by all major stakeholders as the definitive owners' representative organisation in Europe and, as such, its voice has already started to have a positive effect."
There are many testimonials from the founder members, and here is one from Allan Reich, Managing Director, Cameron House Owners’ Club & Loch Lomond Owners’ Club:
“We believe that it is important for timeshare owners to have a voice to represent them within the industry. The establishment of EUROC will undoubtedly be of great benefit and support, not only to the members and committees of the Cameron House Owners’ Club and the Loch Lomond Resort Owners’ Club, but also to the wider timeshare community within the UK and Europe. We look forward to seeing EUROC grow and develop.”
What does it cost to become a EUROC member?
Home owner associations, resort clubs and resort committees can all action becoming members. There is a minimal annual cost of £2 for each timeshare owner in the resort, and some choose to add that fee to the other resort fees to make its collection easier. It is up to each individual club or committee how they want to charge and collect the membership fee. The fee is the same across the board, irrespective of the kind of weeks owned and type of ownership.
If you are a member of a timeshare owners' committee and want to find out more about EUROC and how membership could bring benefits to your home owners' club and resort, contact the EUROC Member Relations Manager by email at: email@example.com
Click on the button below to visit the EUROC website.