Africa Vacation Club Ethiopia (AVCE), one of the well known time share provider in Ethiopia, which was established in 2004, will appear before court on April 10, 2013, to defend the charges brought on it by 72 members, Yemisrach Hailu, an organizer of the disenfranchised members, told EBR. The charge is regarding the club’s mistreatment of its members, according to the source.
To date the club has sold around 2000 membership rights of gold, silver, and bronze status, for seven thousand, five thousand and three thousand dollars respectively. As is the case internationally, the members of a time share club have usage rights to the facility. And in this case a member is entitled to a cost free vacation of one week, every year in the club’s facility located at the shores of Lake Langano.
“Though this is the case, they always say they don’t have a place to accommodate members who request to use the facility. Yet, they say otherwise when a paying customer asks for the service,” Yemisrach said, the facility also serves customers who are not time sharing members. The imbalance between the number of accommodations and time share members is cited by the members as one of the reasons for this situation. “Even if the schedule works perfectly, the club’s facility can accommodate not more than 1600 members in a year, while there are more than 2000 share holders at this time, not to mention paying customers,” contends Yemisrach. These members also have serious concerns about the year on year augmenting running cost fees and the wellbeing of the facility.
As they believe they are not provided with their rights, 72 members, forming a committee, filed their case at the Kirkos Subcity police station.
Sonia Pascua the founder of the club does not agree with the complaints filed by the 72 members “We have never refused to any request of accommodations. The problem is that members haven’t been complying with the commitments they accepted while buying the memberships rights,” she told EBR. “700 members in 2010 and other 1000 members in the following year, who have fulfilled their have used their membership rights appropriately,” contends Sonia, whose family is engaged in other businesses including provision of aluminum profiles.
“The agreement is, Yemisrach said, of no use as it was written in English and only few members understood it upon signing”. “She cannot keep doing things her own way; perhapse she thought members will not fight for their rights or maybe she though she can easily manipulate the justice system in Ethiopia,” Yemisrach concluded.
In a similar situation AVCE has appeared before the high court on February 6, 2013 to respond to another charge by its members allegedly regarding similar issues. AVCE is a member of the Vacation Ownership Association of South Africa and an affiliate of Resorts Condominiums International, according to its official website.