Janice Brook, a retired curtain maker from Maidstone in Kent, paid Club La Costa (CLC) around £3000 for a 'trial holiday pack' back in 2003.
It was a decision that would haunt the rest of her life.
"The minute you get there (your first holiday) they upgrade you to full membership," explains Janice. "Of course they arrange all the finance for you. You get drawn into what they create as a dream.. which turns into a nightmare."
The full membership Janice was upgraded to so swiftly and easily cost an eye watering £27,000. But this was only the beginning of the friendly great grandmother's timeshare travails.
"What they don't point out, and what makes you feel stupid in hindsight, is the massive rises in the maintenance fees," she explains.
Janice was paying upwards of £3000 a year by the end of her membership.
Janice was relentlessly targeted every time she holidayed at a CLC property. A divorce left the 76 year old needing to divest herself of what she had been assured - by CLC sales personnel - was a valuable asset, and free herself from the crippling financial burden of the maintenance charges.
However, every time she approached CLC about realising cash from her 'asset' the sales staff had a new reason why she needed to spend even more money in order to be able to sell and get her money back.
"They told me, I needed to upgrade to their fractional product because it would then be a saleable asset.... (this was) a complete lie.
"The last time I went to try and find a way to get rid of my membership, my daughter in law had to drag me out of the room. All we got was 'BUY; BUY; BUY'. We can get you more finance!' I was 70 back then. I can't do more finance.
Fraudulent claims firms
Janice has been called 'morning, noon and night' by firms offering to sue CLC on her behalf. The one time she trusted a company in Tenerife to do the job, they took £10,000 from her and went out of business a few weeks later.
"That was the last of my money. Gone."
"I generally don't even answer the phone anymore if it is a number I don't know," says Janice. "I just don't trust anyone.
Light at the end of the tunnel
Why did Janice go ahead with European Consumer Claims (ECC) after all of her negative experiences?
"Your man Greg was very lucky I answered the phone on a whim that day. I normally don't. But I'm so pleased I did.
"Honestly he was just genuine. He was the first one that didn't patronise me, and that is a huge deal.
"The biggest thing in his favour was that he didn't sound like a timeshare salesman. Most of the people doing his job sound exactly like timeshare salesmen, but not Greg. He listened to my story and showed a genuine interest. He found a solution that fitted my circumstances, and I was comfortable to go ahead. I'll keep everyone updated with the progress. made by ECC and their associated firm of lawyers, M1 Legal."
And your advice to other potential claimants?
"If they have had the same experiences as me they are all probably very disillusioned. But what Greg has given me is hope.
"So I would like to share that hope with other people that are so desperate to get out of this terrible situation."
Get in touch
If you are in the same situation as Janice, and have been high pressure sold timeshare in Spain (sometimes elsewhere too), contact our team. You may be due compensation. If not, we will look at helping you escape the burden of your maintenance fees.
Mark Jobling ECC +44 800 610 1512 email us here
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