|An Owner’s Research into Onagrup’s History|
My name is Edward Crisp. I have been an owner at Los Claveles since purchasing my first week in 1993 and later, a second week in 2006.
Upon receiving news from Onagrup of their acquisition of Wimpen and what it meant for the owners at Los Claveles I was initially pleased and supportive. However, as experience has taught me to be cautious, I like to research what I’m being recommended or told and my initial findings gave me cause for concern. So much that I embarked on even more searching of the internet for the background of this company that Sr. Castro of Onagrup reassured me was respectable. My findings are documented below and caused me to seriously worry about the future of Los Claveles under Onagrup’s management. Rather than support Onagrup and “hope for the best”, with the possibility that control of Los Claveles could be taken from our hands, I would rather ‘take the risk’ and support our Committee where the future, good or bad, was in our control.
Clubotel La Dorada S.L. (formed in 1996 by Carlos Barrau) is the parent company of Ona Corporation who trade as Gruphotel, Onagrup, Onahotels, Onagrup Vacations, OnaProject and OnaCondotel (these are the ones I know of). Onahotels are the hotel management aspect and Onagrup vacations are the Timeshare aspect of the company. Los Claveles comes under Onahotels (Hotel Management). (1)
1996 the 20 apartment Club Novelty in Salou, Tarragona followed by Club La Dorada el Tarter in Canillo, Andorra. (2)
1998 Club Aldea Del Mar in Torrevieja, Alicante and Club Marina Arpón in La Manga del Mar Menor, Mucia
were added. (2)
2000 Jardines Paraisol in Salou, Tarragona acquired. (2)
2003 Cala Pi Club in LLucmajor, Mallorca (2)
2006 Ogisaka gardens in Dénia, Alicante (2)
2010 Aucanada Club in Puerto de Alcudia, Mallorca (2)
2011 Alanda Club Marbella in Marbella, Mälaga (2) bought off Irish house building group McInerney (3) for €5.3 million (4) and for whom Germán Castro was the secretary (5), and in the same year he was to become Managing Director of Onagrup (1)
2012 Campanario de Calahandra in Mijas Costa, Mälaga (2)
2014 Cala de Mar in Santanyi, Mallorca (2) bought off British Lion Resorts who had acquired it off US Diamond Resorts in 2011 (6)
2015 Wimpen Leisure Management which all the online media sites reported as Onagrup acquiring Wimpen who OWN and manage 7 resorts (including Los Claveles) and which, in an emailed reply, Germán Castro denied, blaming it on media interpretation. But it was later to be found in a literal press release to read exactly the same (7). Even Onagrup’s own Facebook page links to the same worded release.
In the following reports, Onagrup, Clubotel La Dorada or Gruphotel are mentioned, or one of Onagrup’s resorts is involved. Some are legal cases bought before a Court of Law others are from Consumer Association or Timeshare Association sites or online magazines or newspapers. A post on TripAdvisor in 2015 that Onagrup had said that they have no need for a Trustee.
Post No. 784 from a member at Cala Pi in 2015 stated that they had received an email from Onagrup stating that – “Onagrup has almost 15 resorts along the whole of Spain and has no need to have a trustee, our other members can testify on that.” (31)
Another post (No. 793) confirms that a letter had been received from the Trustee RFS stating that they were no longer trustees and that everything had been passed over to Onagrup. (32)
Report dated 08.06.2010 in Hosteltur (a magazine for the tourist trade) Clubotel La Dorada fined €36184 in Barcelona court for violation of trademark law in respect of using Gruphotel name which is similar to an established company Grupotel, who claimed that, after investigations, Gruphotels bad reputation could harm their business. (8)
Apasog Web page dated after 05.03.2009 detailing judicial attempt by owners group APASOG to take over administration of Resort Ona Ogisaka from Ogisaka Costa Blanca S L (part of Onagrup) (30) because of serious irregularities in voting and accounts by Management Company. (9)
These Associations all are suspicious of Onagrup or its aliases and report varying issues:
ASCOETC in Spain. La Asociatión de Consumidores Europeos de Tiempo Compatido (The European Timeshare Consumer Association)
ACAMA in Spain. La Asociación de Consumidores Afectados Mundo Magico. A Timeshare Consumer Association
FEDERCONTRIBUENTI in Italy. The National Association that represents an initiative to safeguard State taxpayers and local governments and to all entities that have tax capacity in matters of taxes, levies and local taxes.
ADCSTP in France. L’ Association de Défense des Consommateurs de Semaines en Temps Partagé. (The Association of Defence of Consumers timeshare weeks)
Schutzvereinigung für Time-Sharing und Urlaubssysteme in Europa e.V in Germany. Protection association for time-sharing and apartment right holders in Europe.
The website of ASCOETC the Asociatión de Consumidores Europeos de Tiempo Compatido (The European Timeshare Consumer Association) is very damning of Onagrup, Clubotel La Dorada and Gruphotel. The forum is full of claims against Onagrup and Gruphotel. Sr. Mondragon (who is its President) is very blunt in his criticism of Onagrup. Understandable when last year the manager at Ogisaka Gardens tried to evict him from occupying an apartment a friend of his owns and he had used before, as it was claimed the management fees had not been paid. Having received confirmation of his rental, he arrived and settled in, the manager of the resort then called the police to evict him. He explained who he was, said he could not be evicted without a court order and demanded to speak to Sr. Barrau, the CEO of Onagrup, which he did. Eventually he was allowed to stay.
In relation to the resort Fundovel Tierra Mar Golf which was facing closure (though it was not one of Onagrup’s resorts, they may have been the management company), this can be found – “WE RECOMMEND DO NOT SWAP TO OTHER COMPLEX AND LESS WITH THE COMPANY ONAGRUP the reality of Onagrup is clearly welcome all partners who wish to make a trade is a big mistake, the member who made such a change will not have the opportunity to have the same date using your week, in addition to paying fees much higher maintenance and enter a floating system whichthousands of members of the company complain, (for that you have to be better than the other) you are cheating Onagrup is a death trap for the partner, every day more partners unlinked to the company, it is famous for its partners impose pour millions addition to prosecute the partner who fails to pay two years of quotas not caring if you can eat or not,” (10) There are many more claims on the site, just search (Buscar) for any of Onagrup’s trading names.
Consumer Association ACAMA blog Web page dated 05.12.2008 stating that owners at Club Triana, managed by Gruphotel have received a letter from RCI informing them that it has been removed from their exchange list because of problems with the quality of it. This is in spite of owners continuing to pay fees to Gruphotel and that the fees keep increasing. (11)
ACAMA blog Web page dated 05.11.2009 claiming multiple owners of the same weeks at Gruphotel Lineas Accion Marketel (12)
ACAMA Report dated 12.06.2006 Sentencia 201 detailing Judgement against Clubotel La Dorada/Club Estela Dorada/BBVA of mis-selling (13)
FEDERCONTRIBUENTI Report dated 19.09.2011 Marco Paccagnella, president of Federcontribuenti talks of Cala Pi resort and Onagrup/Gruphotel and questions their legitimacy and method of operation, saying in the case of non-payment, they do not hesitate to sow terror, claiming to go home of insolvent to seize everything! (14)
FEDERCONTRIBUENTI Report dated 24.06.2015 of legal case in Padua, Italy in which it concluded was an illegal sale of timeshare at Cala Pi and again Marco Paccagnella questions the legitimacy of Onagrup/Gruphotel. (15)
PAPERBLOG in Italy. A website designed to bring all the blogs and news onto one site. Report 24.06.2015 on the same story as immediately above. (16)
ADCSTP in France. A website that links Onagrup/Clubotel La Dorada with Restotel, Medhotel, Eurotelgroup, Altres Vacances SA, Horizons, Vacances Hivernals, Total Mundi SL, CBM Group and Club Estela Dorada SL and says the aforementioned companies are very questionable. (36) It has also carried out a very thorough research into cases concerning resorts Cala Pi and Jardines Paraisol. Clubotel La Dorada and Gruphotel are also involved. Onagrup can also be found on this site in relation to maintenance fee hikes and threats to defaulters It has also thrown up another questionable company in RESTOTEL which I will discuss later. (17)
Considered questionable is Altres Vacances SA based in Andorra and which a 2014 court case in Mallorca also linked with Gruphotel (Onagrups former name). (33)
In 2015, in reply to my questioning the truthfulness of the ‘Certified letters of support’ from RCI and Interval International that Ivan Pengelly had sent out to all owners and members, Ovidio Zapico of RCI replied that their relationship with Carlos Barrau began with Total Mundi SL, a company he owned from 1992 to 1996 which is confirmed here (37)
Schutzvereinigung für Time-Sharing und Urlaubssysteme in Europa e.V in Germany. Reports October 2010 of yet another concern at Cala Pi for which they note that the maintainance payment estimate has so many names it seems to question who is the payment going to. It also starts „with CALA PI CLUB, Mallorca: swamp or fog, that is the question”. (18)
SENTENCIA N.º 337/12 Barcelona Court ruling dated 18.07.2012 Thomson Reuters. Report on successful appeal against Clubotel La Dorada S.L.; Aonia S.L. and Banco Españole De Crédito S.A in respect of selling timeshare in breach of Law 42/98 EDL 1998/46128. (19)
SENTENCIA CIVIL No. 110/2016, Audiencia Provincial de Madrid A successful appeal against Banco Santander and Blue Mil.Lenium SA for mis-selling in which Club Estela Dorada SL, Clubotel La Dorada SL and Onagrup are involved. (34) The Sole Administrator of Blue Mil.Lenium SL at the time of the mis-sold weeks was the late Esther Farran Codina, (could be just a coincidence or was she a relative of Clubotel La Dorada’s shareholder? (35) There are many sites that highlight what has and could happen to a timeshare resort with the apathy shown by most owners to their resort. Indeed, at Los Claveles AGM’s in the past, only around 17% of the available votes are cast, which made it vulnerable to anyone who could muster enough votes to achieve what they liked.
These are snippets from TCA (Timeshare Consumers Association) news items Report dated 26.09.2014 “However in Tenerife in the last two years a number of timeshare developments have already been repossessed by the unscrupulous developers by way of inflating yearly maintenance fees, once seized they split the apartments up and sell on as real estate” (20)
Report dated 08.01.2015 “With regards to two resorts manager at Palm Beach Resorts and MacDonald’s Resorts, they changed the constitutions of the clubs which maintain their timeshare resorts. In these two situations and after the consumers and investors have held their timeshare for many years and at significant cost, both resort managers proposed (and had passed by the clubs) new constitutional rules whereby the investments/timeshares have been taken off the investor/consumers and for no enrichment. In short they have lost everything. In truth and in opposition to the changes in the constitution the resorts actually charged the investors for having their investments/timeshare removed and against their will.” (21) (28)
On 21.05.2015 in Tenerife, a seminar was held by the RDO (Resort Developers Organisation) entitled ‘TIMESHARE, A KEY TO THE FUTUREOF THE HOTEL BUSINESS’ in which it stated that Hotels could improve profitability at little cost by using timeshare resorts. It was discovered, under questioning of Ivan Pengelly by an owner at Los Claveles, that Mr. Pengelly attended the seminar which was confirmed by Ian Crane at a morning meeting at Los Claveles. In my opinion, what this seminar advocates is: let Timeshare owners buy the weeks, pay to maintain the resort, and then, as the Management Company, build your Hotel Business by renting out these weeks that you are in fact paid to upkeep by the owners. (22)
The ADCSTP Restotel connection: One strange thing I’ve found out is that, though Onagrup say they have acquired all the resorts listed above(excluding the Wimpen ones) I have now found another group who say that they have acquired the very same resorts. This group is called Eurotelgroup (23) and their official selling agent is Restotel (24) who are the official distributor for Medhotelgroup though it would appear Medhotelgroup are now part of Restotel.
Could they be linked to Onagrup as both companies claim to own the same resorts?
Eurotelgroup website has no address and no hard contact details apart from email addresses in the UK and France but have a Facebook page which states their address as 08070, Barcelona, which does not exist. I cannot find them on any Spanish company registration site. Restotel have a registered address in Andorra which is considered a Tax Haven. Both companies appear to target the French market. If there is a connection to Onagrup then all this seems to back up claims by Marco Paccagnella, president of Federcontribuenti in Italy.
On the internet there are many forums in countries such as Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Russia that make claims of Clubotel La Dorada, Onagrup or Gruphotel hiking maintenance fees, imposing special levies, cancelling contracts, switching to floating weeks (which are illegal) mis-selling and other breaches of Timeshare Law. Also, where you find these claims, you will probably find one post in praise of Onagrup, which is, word for word, the same each time, but under a different name.
Menslegis –a firm of lawyers who specialise in taking these claims to court. Their website states “If you are affected by timeshare companies (such as ATLANTIC CLUB, MUNDYPROYECT, MAR ESTELA, MAGICAL WORLD TOURS, MEDITERRANEAN CONSULTING, TIME EUROPEAN CONSULTING CLUB ESTELA GOLDEN, ONAGROUP, OGISAKA GARDEN, ROYAL VACATIONS & RESORTS, BLUE MILENIUM and many others) you know that your case is not lost, far from it, quite the contrary, since the law and the courts PROTECT YOU. LAWYERS MENSLEGIS has already assumed the defense of numerous affected and there have been various demands in different parts of the country, which are currently pending.” (25)
On the Lukor.com a Spanish magazine website, where, on the forum, there are many comments about Onagrup / Gruphotel / Clubotel la Dorada. (26)
Such as at Ogisaka Gardens, where it is alleged Gruphotel wanted to change owners fixed weeks to floating weeks. This has happened at other Resorts and has left the owners with nothing since the Deed is passed to the Maintenance Company who then tell the owner the floating week exchanges are fully booked (because they have been rented out to outsiders). The Maintenance Company finally achieves complete ownership of the Resort, as is being suggested of MacDonald’s in Scotland.(21)
APAF-VTP.com a French forum. Onagrup, Gruphotel and Eurotel are mentioned in this post (27) along with others to be found on the site when using the search (rechercher) function.
9 March 2018
Should you chose to follow any of the links at the end of this report, the best thing to do is (in Internet Explorer) select Edit from the top bar, then select ‘Find on This Page’ from which you can enter any word and if it is on the page it will be highlighted. Then, using the mouse, position the cursor, hold the left click button and move it across any text you want to copy, right click, chose copy and then paste it in a translator such as Bing or Google.
1 http://www.onacorporation.com/en/about-us/history/ – Onagrup’s official History
2 http://issuu.com/calapi/docs/onagrup – Onagrup’s Spanish Brochure