Friday’s Letter from America

Welcome to another Letter from America by our very own Irene Parker, this week we revisit our series on the 3 Rs and 1F of Timeshare, but first a word of caution brought about by some very disturbing emails received by Inside Timeshare.

These emails are all concerning companies our readers have paid to “relinquish” their timeshares, all being told that the “exit notification letter” being sent on their behalf is all that needs to be done and they are now timeshare and maintenance free. They are told they should not engage with the timeshare company or need to pay any further maintenance fee.

Unfortunately this is not the case, several of our readers have paid a certain company who shall remain nameless at present, but they know who they are, to exit their membership with Diamond, around three years ago. These readers are still getting demands for maintenance fees along with a surcharge for interest. They are also being threatened with court action and a debt collection agency.

The company concerned with these exits tells the clients that they are free of their timeshare  and to “DO NOTHING, PAY THEM NOTHING”. “That Diamond would not take court action because they knew they could lose given the dubious selling practices and the fact that no court would allow a company to insist on payments for a product the owner cannot use”.

We know that Diamond does chase unpaid maintenance, the debt is usually passed to Daniels Silverman a Market Leading Debt Recovery Agency, based in Liverpool. So it is not Diamond who take the “debtors” to court, but Daniels Silverman on behalf of their client Diamond.

If you are told to stop paying your maintenance fees until you have official notification from your timeshare company that your contract and membership has been cancelled, then failure to pay puts you in breach of contract.

It is also known that Diamond will not deal with these “exit” companies, they have their own system in place and will deal direct with the member. Remember no matter what these companies tell you, they are not “lawyers”, they do not know timeshare, all they know is how to take your money.

Now for this weeks Letter.

The 3 Rs or F of Timeshare Revisited (prior revision February 16, 2018)

Resolution
Relinquishment
Refund
Foreclosure

By Irene Parker

November 16, 2018

Our Timeshare Advocacy Group™ advocates brace for when timeshare companies hit the “send” button as millions of maintenance fee invoices hit inboxes.

February 16, 2018, when this article was previously published, we had heard from 300 readers since we began counting January 2017. As of November 14, 2018, we have heard from exactly 600 readers.  Not one of our readers was aware of the limited to no secondary market for a timeshare. This often triggers a complaint.

There is rarely a need to pay anyone money to get you out of your timeshare. Special circumstances, or if a member requests an attorney, we refer to one of the law firms we know and trust, if the timeshare company refuses to help. Seeking legal counsel is the right of every citizen if they feel they have been harmed, as is filing regulatory complaints.    

If you have a complaint, our “How to File a Complaint” form explains a process that takes time, determination and effort, but when it works, it costs nothing. We say when, because no one wins them all.

Timeshare companies cry, “Don’t call an exit company! We have your best interest at heart!” What the timeshare company means is:
Don’t call an exit company because it interferes with our recycled inventory process! Let us foreclose! We make collection calls to you no more than twelve times a day. (Six to each spouse, as has been reported)
When exist companies boast, “We can guarantee you release!” beware that that guarantee may include foreclosure. You don’t need to pay anyone to foreclose.  
Our complaint form: http://insidetimeshare.com/the-tuesday-slot-11/

Our goal:  Convert an angry, desperate, overwhelmed and confused member into an empowered member. Timeshare Advocacy Group™ has 44 core advocates, including a team of reporting advocates to answer questions about regulatory and, if needed, law enforcement filings. All of our Advocates are unpaid.  

The First R: Relinquishment

Some timeshare companies offer voluntary surrender programs, but relinquishments are not guaranteed and there cannot be an outstanding loan or delinquent maintenance fees.

Before relinquishing, check with a member of the Licensed Timeshare Resale Broker Association to find out if your timeshare can be listed with one of their members. http://www.licensedtimeshareresalebrokers.org/

LTRBA members charge nothing up front, so they don’t waste your time or money by listing a timeshare that, in all likelihood, will never sell.

The Second R:
A refund is not easy to come by, but in cases of serious and obvious fraud; a refund may be achieved. The complaint process begins with a petition to the resort, followed by the filing of regulatory and law enforcement complaints.

The timeshare lobby ARDA has a Code of Ethics. Not one of the 600 members who have contacted us could tell us what the letters ARDA ROC stand for, yet collectively give about $5 million a year to ARDA ROC. ARDA stands for American Resort Development Association and ROC Resort Owners Coalition. The money comes through “voluntary” opt-in or opt-out donations. This $3 to $10 amount, which varies depending on the resort, appears on all maintenance fee invoices purchased in the U.S. if the developer is an ARDA member. Despite our advocates and members forwarding approximately 200 complaints to ARDA, questioning ARDA’s Code of Ethics, there has been no response.

ARDA’s Code of Ethics:

The intent is that all member activities subject to the Code are designed to be honest and fair, and are conducted with integrity, dignity and propriety.  http://www.arda.org/ethics/

Litigation can take years and often the amount of money at stake doesn’t justify the time and expense litigation requires. Some developers have a class action ban, forcing arbitration. There are many critics of arbitration, including Minnesota AG Lori Swanson:  
“The right to have your dispute resolved before a jury of your peers is as American as it gets; it’s a fundamental core American democratic principle,” says Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson. “To think that millions upon millions of consumers are forfeiting their fundamental right to have their day in court because of fine print in a contract….”
Chris Parker, a reporter for City Pages writes: “Should a dispute arise, arbitration forces consumers out of the court system and into arbitration where appeals aren’t allowed, corporations historically wield a huge advantage—and details of misconduct are kept private,”

http://www.citypages.com/news/the-plot-to-kill-consumer-protection/451334393

Timeshare buyers should check immediately after signing a contract to see if they can opt out of the arbitration clause. Probably only a lawyer would think to do so.
http://insidetimeshare.com/tuesday-slot-arbitration/

According to the FBI agents and attorneys we spoke with, it is not legal for a company to hide behind fine print, providing sales agents the means to say anything they can come up with to sell points. With little enforcement in some states, deception prevails. Families after family have no option but foreclosure, if they have a loan outstanding. Most members contacting us do.        

The Third R

It doesn’t happen very often, but there is the possibility the member just doesn’t know how to use the booking system. Blanket statements like “You can always book online cheaper than using timeshare points” are not accurate. My husband and I are Diamond owners. We have often booked two weeks in Sedona or Orlando for less than it would cost booking online using our points.

I ALWAYS tell members when they say, “After we signed we read all these negative complaints!” that there are just as many and more who use and enjoy their timeshare.  

    Foreclosure

This is the least pleasant outcome, but foreclosure is not the end of the world. We’re working on a document for those who experience foreclosure to provide to credit rating agencies or lenders, detailing the patterns of complaints listed with the Better Business Bureau, Attorneys General, and lawsuits.

If you foreclose, there will be a hit to your credit score, but if you feel you are a victim of unfair and deceptive sales practices provide the credit rating agencies or your lenders with the reason why you refused to pay off a timeshare loan. Lenders are human. Many will take this into consideration.     

I asked timeshare attorney Mike Finn of the Finn Law Group some common questions we are often asked about the foreclosure process:
Will the timeshare company try to ruin my credit for non- payment of maintenance fees, loans or both?


Mike Finn: Generally no credit reporting on maintenance fees, yes they do on “mortgage” payments. Most timeshare property owner associations, which are separate non-profit entities, do not report non-payment of maintenance fees largely because they don’t maintain subscriber contracts with the credit reporting agencies. However, once referred to collection, those agencies do maintain subscriber relationships and that’s where the issue becomes relevant.

Can members be taken to court for non-payment of maintenance fees or loans?

Mike: Can yes, will, maybe not so much

Do they place liens for non-payment of loans?

Mike: Yes in the sense that they do pursue foreclosures, yes for maintenance fees as well.

Does the lien apply just to the timeshare, or does the lien apply to a member’s primary residence as well?  

Mike: The word ‘lien’ can be utilized in more than one way. In the timeshare world it typically means the security interest filed against the timeshare itself by virtue of nonpayment of maintenance fees. Only the timeshare interest itself is impacted by that kind of lien, not the owner’s property beyond the timeshare. A mortgage lien on the timeshare caused by non-payment of the initial purchase price can, under certain circumstances, become a judgment which could be satisfied by going after the defaulting party’s personal assets. This very rarely happens, but it has happened, so we can never, say never. A foreclosure on your credit report is quite damning, it will make refinancing or new residential purchases an issue for about five years. Rarely will they sue for deficiency balance.

http://www.finnlawgroup.com/learning-center/can-a-timeshare-hurt-my-credit-score

http://www.finnlawgroup.com/english/learning-center/page-12

Our Advocates, bringing experience and expertise from all walks of life, are here to help you put your timeshare in the rear view mirror, if that is your goal.

Our mission

We seek to provide timeshare members a way to proactively address membership concerns; to advocate for timeshare reform; to obtain greater disclosure from the company; to advocate for a viable secondary market; and to educate prospective buyers.
https://www.facebook.com/timeshareadvocategroup/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/DiamondResortsOwnersAdvocacy/

https://tug2.com/Home.aspx

https://everythingabouttimeshares.com/consider-exchange-options/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/180578055325962/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/465692163568779/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1639958046252175/

Thank you Irene, useful as always, in the Tuesday Slot next week, we will have another “Secret Shopper” report, edited by Pete Gibbes the Secret Shopper Coordinator, so join us for another insight into the murky world of a timeshare presentation.

Don’t forget the book by Wayne C Robinson, Everything About Timeshares, Before, During and After the Sale, with the forward by Irene Parker, you can obtain your copy from the link below.

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/everything-about-timeshares-wayne-c-robinson/1129749757?ean=2940161600962

News from the Courts

Inside Timeshare has received the following information from Canarian Legal Alliance, going by this news they are certainly having a very busy time.

By the end of last week, 9 November they had 31 pre-trials or full trial in the Spanish Courts, these were on mainland Spain and the Canary Islands. They also filed 44 new cases with the courts, so the judges are going to be busy for a long time yet.

They also last week received sentences in for the following:

  • 4 against Anfi Del Mar at the Courts of First Instance
  • 1 at the High Court, again against Anfi Del Mar
  • 1 against Silverpoint in Tenerife

In total they recouped over 206,000€ for their clients plus all the contracts were declared null and void, leaving the clients timeshare free.

Court of First Instance, Maspalomas

It is also becoming more common for the judges at the courts in Gran Canaria of not sending the the cases to a full trial, but issuing their sentences after the pre-trial. It was also announced that one judge in Tenerife has also followed suit and will not be sending the case for a full trial, but will issue his judgement in due course. This is obviously speeding up the process and is good news for the clients.

This week has also started on a good note with judgements issued on the following dates:

12 November

In the Court of First Instance in Maspalomas there were two against Anfi, again no trial but issued after the preliminary hearings, the first was issued 1 month after and the second was issued in just 7 days. The clients are to receive over 112,000€ and 31,000€ respectively.

In the High Court in Tenerife, Silverpoint were on the receiving end with the order to return over 15,000€ to the client and the contract being declared null and void.

On 13 November, again after a pre-trial the judge ordered the return of over 23,000€ and a German client will receive back over 103,000€, both Anfi contracts have also been declared null and void.

Anfi once again have been on the receiving end of 2 more judgements at the Courts of First Instance in Maspalomas, the infringements of the timeshare laws were perpetuity and floating weeks. The first client has been awarded 0ver 53,000€ plus legal interest. In the second this client has been awarded over 45,000€ which includes double the deposit paid, plus legal fees and interest.

Another timeshare company was also ordered to repay over 36,000€ plus legal interest for a perpetuity contract. This contract with Puerto Calma was also declared null and void.

So there are some very happy ex-timeshare owners, who will be celebrating this week.

Canarian Legal Alliance also announced this week they have broken another record, they have received their 300th sentence against various timeshare companies so far this year, with still just under two months left to go. This is double the number they achieved last year and equates to more than 1 a day. The total amount awarded in these sentences is a staggering 10.8 Million Euros.

This is just for timeshares sold in Spain that have infringed the now strict timeshare laws, for clients of timeshares purchased elsewhere in the world there is another branch to CLA, this company is called CLA International FZE and their head office is located at:

The Fairmont Dubai, Office 508, Sheik Zayed Road, Dubai, U.A.E.

+9714 311-6657

FAX:+971 4332 8810

[email protected]

https://clainternational.ae/

With branches spread around the world and a network of International Lawyers who specialise in timeshare litigation, they are opening the doors to many more timeshare owners who are in need of specialist help. Obviously with the success of the Spanish lawyers it will not be long before we start to see this spread to success in other parts of the world.

News just in on another new setup from Centaurus Mediations and Silverpoint.

We have just heard from another reader that Centaurus Mediations (Silverpoint) have set up another new company, this is apparently called Luxury Links Travel and is apparently based in Las Chafiras, Tenerife. It would appear that their aim is to get owners over to Tenerife or Palma de Mallorca in order to get them out of their timeshare. According to our reader the staff actually believe they are just selling cheap holidays to owners as platinum weeks.

So far we have not located any website for them, but there is another company called Luxury Link Travel Group with the website http://www.luxurylink.com/ which is based in Florida and has been in existence since 1997. We just wonder if by choosing this name they are trying to confuse owners with a genuine company? More on this when new information comes to light.

The Tuesday Slot

In this weeks Tuesday Slot, Irene Parker writes about the Veterans who have reached out for help with their “Nightmare on Timeshare Street”. It is also to remember all those who served, Sunday in the US was Veterans day, in the UK it was Remembrance Sunday, there were also services and gatherings all over Europe to remember the 100th anniversary of the end to the Great War. One thing was common, to remember those who gave their lives in the service of their country.

Veterans Day 2018 – A Tribute to Those Who Served and

To those veterans we have gotten to know through timeshare

By Irene Parker

November 13, 2018

My father was a Navy veteran, but I did not grow up hearing about war stories. It wasn’t until Inside Timeshare started hearing from veterans and active duty military service members and law enforcement reaching out to us, that I heard war stories of heroism that left me in awe.

That’s not my father pictured above. It is the actor Glen Ford. My dad served in the Navy with Glen Ford. Dad always said he had the best job in the Navy. He was a cook for the nurses until his medical discharge for ulcers. He enlisted at age 36, called to the cause. Many Thanksgiving dinners were ruined because of too much salt in the dressing and when he cooked chili or shrimp, it was always enough for a barracks. He once told me he was in the monkey cage at the San Diego Zoo. “You mean at the monkey cage,” I asked? “No, I was IN the monkey cage. They turned the monkey cage into an infirmary.”  

I started hearing about accounts of heroism when veterans who purchased timeshares started asking for help. Army veteran Leo Gomez contacted me. He was worried about an outstanding timeshare loan. After listening to Mr. Gomez, I said I did not hear any deception so he would in all likelihood be responsible for the loan. That night something bothered me. I called Leo the next morning and asked WHY he changed from one program to another. His reply was more than enough assurance to convince me that he had been lied to, especially since he did not KNOW he had been lied to. I asked if the sales agent knew he had pancreatic cancer, likely a result of Agent Orange exposure. He said yes because he was tired from the aftereffects of treatment. The company did resolve his issue, but with hours left to live, Leo’s wife called distraught, saying the credit card company was calling demanding to talk to him, demanding the $4,000 down payment. Leo passed away November 2, 2018.

Leo earned two Purple Hearts.

      

https://www.opednews.com/articles/A-Fourth-Agent-Orange-Vete-by-Irene-Parker-Fraud-180917-513.html

From Marine veteran Raymond Mori

Mr. Mori’s daughter Teresa also contacted me distraught. Despite being timeshare members for years, they were sold a trial program. As the bills mounted, Teresa delved into their contracts.  She called the timeshare company and asked that the trial program be cancelled. Teresa said the timeshare customer service agent said they would have to talk to her dad. She said they “fixed” it by selling them 17,000 additional points for $49,492.

Mrs. Mori called me one day. What she described as Mr. Mori’s symptoms sounded like the symptoms experienced from a type of blast syndrome that causes brain changes that contribute to flashbacks and symptoms associated with PTSD. Mrs. Mori had explained that for years Mr. Mori woke up with horrific memories. He had spent over five months in a diabetic coma.

Teresa decided to attend a sales presentation at their resort to see what would happen. She said the sales agent attempted to sell her mom and dad $234,000 in additional timeshare points at age 83, while Mr. Mori was dozing off in his wheelchair, possibly a side effect from prescribed drugs.

Mr. Mori earned two Purple Hearts

60 Minutes aired a segment on how explosions can affect the brain. Veteran Mancini later committed suicide.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/brian-mancini-brain-how-ieds-may-be-physically-causing-ptsd/

Raymond Mori in uniform Raymond and Lillian Mori

  

George Yamada, disabled from Agent Orange, paid US Consumer Attorneys $6,000 to get out of his timeshare contract. We helped him for free. George works as a pension administrator. He bought points he said were sold as an investment. After I suggested George file a complaint with the Securities and Exchange Commission, his loan was terminated.

https://www.opednews.com/articles/Let-s-Honor-our-Veterans–by-Irene-Parker-Fraud-180908-59.html

These are only three of our veteran complaints. Of the 81 military and law enforcement timeshare members that have reached out to us, 55 are veterans. Of the 55 veteran complaints, 22 resolved their dispute, but not without losing money.

Several of our veterans were scammed by a timeshare exit company. We helped one 100% disabled Agent Orange exposed Army veteran, who was up-sold by a sales agent we have 17 complaints against, resolve his IRS issue. He was issued a $170,000 1099 tax liability form, but we were able to provide him with the information he needed to get this reversed. The timeshare exit company in Branson was of no help.    

I listen to members and type the member’s account as we talk, as they explain what went wrong with their timeshare. We have a list of contacts their complaints can be sent to.

Some states will investigate based on a volume of complaints, but other states seem to walk lock step with the timeshare developer and reply to all complaints filed with, “You have no proof.” In those states, timeshare sales agents can say anything, based on responses from 514 timeshare members.

Of course, there are honest timeshare sales agents. They too are harmed by the actions of predators.

When someone is helped by our efforts we suggest a donation to Whistleblowers of America. They included our report on unfair and deceptive timeshare sales practices in their report to the Joint Committee on Veterans Affairs presented March 14, 2018. Whistleblowers of America seeks justice for the military and government workers.

https://whistleblowersofamerica.org/

Veteran stories are humbling. Several developers have worked WITH us instead of against us, but they are companies that will listen to the merit of a complaint rather than auto-dismiss with “You signed a contract” or “We are not responsible for what our sales agents say.”    

Veterans Day was Sunday, but there is never a day we should not remember our veterans.

NEVER FORGET

Related articles: The St. Louis Better Business Bureau Timeshare Report

https://www.bbb.org/en/us/article/news-releases/18149-dont-fall-for-deception-pressure-and-traps-disguised-as-vacations-a-better-business-bureau-study-of-the-missouri-timeshare-vacation-club-industry?bbbid=0734

Thank you Irene for this account, it is horrific that people who have given their all should be treated in this way, just to satisfy the greed of some sales agents with the complicity of their employers.

The timeshare industry needs to change, it is they and they alone who are destroying what should be an industry that promotes happiness, fun and family memories, especially for those who have served.

If you have any comments on this or any other article published, Inside Timeshare would love to hear from you, just use our contact page and get in touch.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning we shall remember them.

Start the Week: More Information On Fake Law Firms

Welcome to our first article of the week, once again it is a warning about the “fake” law firms that are operating out of Tenerife, ADN Alberto Dlendro Nabalez, Litigacionesespaña SL and Litigaciones SL, all part of the Litigious Abogados family.

http://litigacionespanasl.com

http://litigaciones.com

This information has been supplied by one of our readers who has been contacted by them, but there is now a new aspect to how they are operating. As we have explained before, the initial contact is to inform the owner of a pending court case against their timeshare resort / company, now to be part of this action, a “procurator” fee is required to be paid by bank transfer. The case was to be against Marriott Marbella Beach Resort and Marriott Son Antem SL, with the director being named as Marcos Row, ( we wonder if this is a play on Mark Rowe). The case was lodged on 9 October 2018 and a hearing set for 30 October at 12.20pm in Court No 5 Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Very quick indeed. It must also be pointed out that Marriott did not sell in Tenerife, only Marbella and Mallorca, so any cases would need to be brought at those respective courts, not in Tenerife.

Now our reader refused to pay this fee, and told them they were not interested, then on 31 October they received an email from Litigaciones SL, another “fake” firm informing them that the court case had been heard and they had been awarded over £34,000 by the court. All this even though they did not pay the initial “procurator” fee!

This award is to be paid by bank transfer or personal cheque, once they receive confirmation from the court that the funds can be released. No doubt there is going to be an “tax” which needs to be paid first, going by the previous accounts we have received this is going to be around 20% of the awarded amount.

The “Procurator” is named as Miguel Cioban Alinas with the address

Calle Las Guarras No. 2, Edificio, Tijeras, 269, Santa Cruz, Tenerife

Which does not come up on any searches, so is more than likely a fake address.

He also has the following website

http://procuradores-alinas.com/

Registered on 1 October 2018 and is due to expire on 1 October 2019, once again only registered a few weeks ago and running for only 1 year, the registrant is again hidden by a privacy company.

They also give the email address as

[email protected] yet another free email provider. The website provides no telephone number and gives very little information.

The account where the fees should be transferred is in the name of Miquel Cioban Alinas, it is a branch of BBVA, with the bank address of Parque Santiago, 2, 38660, Santa Cruz De Tenerife, there is a bank at this address although it should be Parque Santiago,2 38660, Arona, Tenerife.

The IBAN number is ES96 0182 5928 1002 0158 0390

Bic Number is BBVAESMMXXX

We do know that at least 25 other owners have been contacted with this same case, Inside Timeshare does have the names, but as yet we are unable to trace them.

Below are PDF files of all the documents received by our reader, they are all “FAKE” including the court document. If you have had a call or received any similar documents via email, please note they are a very sophisticated fraud, they are also very similar to the documents all the other incarnations this group has been using over the past 3 years. Each incarnation runs for only around 3 to 4 months before a new name appears.

Timeshare Claim

Timeshare_Claim redacted

Prevous articles

http://insidetimeshare.com/consumer-warning-a-new-fake-law-firm-in-tenerife-part-of-the-litigious-abogados-family/

http://insidetimeshare.com/start-the-week-litigaciones-sl-a-new-name-in-the-litigious-abogados-family/

http://insidetimeshare.com/consumer-warning-a-new-fake-law-firm-in-tenerife-part-of-the-litigious-abogados-family/

http://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-from-america-29/

If you have received any calls, emails with documents which resemble these, then use our contact page and get in touch, do not pay anything, you will never see any of the money again.

Remember, doing your homework first will save your hard earned cash.

Friday’s Letter from America

Today Timeshare Advocacy Group Secret Shopper Coordinator Pete Gibbes describes a remarkable Diamond sales presentation. Inside Timeshare is always ready to publish a good report. Pete has not yet heard back from the sales agents and managers who said they would look into the complaint that prompted Pete to become more involved with advocacy efforts. Inside Timeshare will follow along and report in as soon as Pete hears back.

On 17 October Inside Timeshare published an article warning about another new “fake” law firm in Tenerife called,  ADN Alberto Dlendro Nabalez, Litigacionespaña SL, we have now had another reader send us information on the contact they have had with them. It seems that the Director of their timeshare resort The Harbour Club at Los Gigantes, Tenerife, has been charged with fraud. ADN have told our reader that many owners are getting together to cancel their membership, ADN would do this for them for 20% when the claim goes through.

Our reader then received another call informing them that a date has been set for a hearing on 20 November at 12.20pm. All they need to do is pay the “fake procurator” as soon as possible and they would be part of the case. This is very speedy indeed, but as we have said before this is all a FRAUD, there is no case, the director has not been charged with fraud and no trial date has been set. If you have had a similar call to this regardless of who you own with, then contact Inside Timeshare, your information is invaluable in helping others steer clear of this outfit.

http://insidetimeshare.com/consumer-warning-a-new-fake-law-firm-in-tenerife-part-of-the-litigious-abogados-family/

It has been a very busy week for the courts all over Spain, on Wednesday 7 November there were 15 cases being heard in various courts against a variety of timeshare companies and resorts.

In Tenerife another High Court has affirmed a First Court sentence and declared a Silverpoint contract null and void, with the return of their initial payments and double the deposit paid.

Continuing with Anfi, after yesterday’s article, it was announce that a further two sentences have been received from the Court of First Instance No 1 in Maspalomas, both contracts have been declared null and void with the return to both the clients of over 43,933€ and 47,582€ respectively.

Court Sentences PDF’s

Anfi Sentence a

Anfi Sentence b

Now for this weeks Letter from America.

Our Diamond Resorts Experience

A Not So Secret Shopper Reports

By Pete Gibbes, Timeshare Advocacy Group™ Secret Shopper Coordinator

November 9, 2018

We stayed at Diamond’s Los Abrigados Resort in Sedona Arizona October of this year. I was treated like royalty during a member update and sales presentation, neither of which would have lasted 15 minutes unless I had more concerns. Our sales promotion presenter, who said he had been with Diamond Resorts for 27 years, said that if we would like to buy more points we could talk about it. If not, was there anything else we wanted to ask? I asked if I was in an alternate universe.

They maintained that the company no longer employs hard sell because they found it to be counterproductive.

The internet is flooded with complaints that begin with, “The sales agent said….” only to be dismissed with, “You signed a contract” or, as we were told in 2016, “We are not responsible for what our sales agents say.” In my opinion, any company which does not take responsibility for their salesperson’s words and actions is implicitly incentivizing them to misrepresent the product in order to elicit a sale. When the sales agent is allowed to keep his or her commission, time after time, undisciplined or not terminated, that company is rewarding unfair and deceptive business practices.

To avoid being fleeced, I advise – don’t believe a word a timeshare sales agent says. “You signed a contract” is a fair response for simple buyer’s remorse.  If companies refuse to reverse transactions when allegations of misrepresentations are detailed and credible, sales will ultimately be affected.

I hope our experience at Los Abrigados is representative of future updates to come.   We received “Priority Check-in”, i.e., whisked to their VIP accelerated check-in which, according to the Diamond Resort’s website, is reserved for ‘Gold‘ and ‘Platinum’ loyalty owners, but I’m just a ‘lil old Silver member’.

During the update I was asked to document my previous purchase elicited, I believe, by deception. They actually wanted me to put it all down in writing because they wanted to directly bring my case to Diamond. They said to specifically use the word ‘misrepresentation’, because that has been the term which phony sales presentations have been scrutinized over. They also said to be sure to put that I was pursuing legal remedies, because Diamond took that seriously.

Two or three higher level people at the update were shocked and dismayed about how we had been treated in 2016. A senior manager appeared and commiserated with us. He sweetened the vouchers. They maintained that several years ago the abusive sales practices were addressed and things changed for the better. They were glad that I had let them know how I had been so shabbily treated before. They wanted to go to bat for me. (My account of what happened in 2016 follows this Secret Shopper report.)

At the sales presentation we were told that we could use our Diamond points to pay for nights at ANY 3 star rated hotel. I’d be reimbursed for 300 (or 400?) points per night. Now that’s not a bad deal, at least for many Diamond stays. At 400 points per night for 7 nights you’d be paying 2800 points for a very nice lodging, and it would be wherever you wanted to go, whether there was a Diamond resort available or not. I had not heard of such a benefit. This time around I will confirm if this is true. I have this sales agent’s contact information. He said to call him anytime about anything.

Also, there are supposed to be now 39 different ways for you to spend points, although he said points for flight miles wasn’t a very good use of points at $.07 to $.10 per point. It would take about $2,000 in maintenance dollars to book one domestic airline ticket. Typically, the best of use of points for any timeshare member is to use the points to stay at the resort’s properties. There are 39 different ways to use points? That may be a whopper.

I would like for someone familiar with alternative uses of points to refer me to where all these uses are detailed so we can calculate the actual value. I don’t see them listed on the Diamond website. Members need to do their timeshare math, as using the Barclaycard to pay maintenance fees is only at 1% per purchase, so it would take $200,000 charged in a year to pay a $2,000 maintenance fee bill. When members are told, “You can pay maintenance fees by charging purchases to a Barclaycard”, do the math to determine the actual value of this strategy.  

We were given all kinds of extra vouchers and discounts to attractions because I had had such a poor experience with the company. The concierge seemed amazed at the generosity of our discount/voucher amounts. He said he had never seen anything like it. Thought somebody must have made a mistake. This may have been a bit of luck, but our unit had what surely must have been the best view of the red rocks as anyone there.

The entire experience was far friendlier than I have ever experienced at a Diamond Resorts property. It was bizarre. Could they have been apprised that I am TAG’s Secret Shopper Coordinator? Or does Los Abrigados just happen to be a resort where members are treated particularly well? If my dispute over our 2016 purchase gets resolved, I will credit the sales team at Los Abrigados. I certainly would praise this particular resort, if my experience is typical, which I don’t know. I thought you would find my experience of interest. Maybe someone can even explain it to me.

All in all, I felt like Donald Trump must feel like when he stays at one of his properties. I do have to say that if the people I dealt with were ‘acting‘, they should be up for some awards, because even my highly tuned BS detector never flashed any warnings. Unfortunately it never did two years ago either. Proof is in the pudding, as they say.

It may be advisable to make all the people on our advocacy site Co-coordinator Secret Shoppers.

Here’s what happened to us at a Hyatt presentation in Charlottesville 11/18/2016.

My goal here goes well beyond getting this transaction reversed. I am hoping all those who feel that they experienced unfair and deceptive sales practices will come forward and file regulatory complaints and warn prospective buyers to be EXTREMELY skeptical of anything a timeshare sales agent says. This is not fair to those selling the product honestly, but the liars are so good, it is impossible to tell the difference.

We originally purchased 11,500 points in 2007 at Lake Tahoe Vacation Resort. We were not unhappy with Diamond until the 2016 Virginia purchase.

We learned about six months after our purchase that a Diamond “buy-back” program described in great detail by our sales agent does not exist. The buy-back program was the only reason we purchased the additional 4000 points for $15,500.

We attended the member update only because we wanted to get out from under the Diamond points we had already purchased. It was then DRI sales agent Mark W offered us a “great new deal” whereby DRI members who bought enough points to become Silver loyalty members could sell back ALL Diamond points.

After multiple “no” responses to other reasons to buy additional points, Mark W brought up the non-existent program that was of great interest to us. He said that if we became Silver members, after three years, we would have the option to sell all our points back to Diamond for $108,000. He said Gold loyalty members would be able to sell points back in two years. He put this in writing (which I have), by writing down $108,000. He also wrote 2Y=G and 3Y=S.

I was extremely skeptical because I had never heard of a timeshare buying back points. However, after he repeated this ‘new deal’ about five times, we finally decided he must be telling the truth. We signed.

When we ultimately learned there was no buy-back program we repeatedly asked Diamond to cancel the contract. Diamond’s response inevitably was, “It doesn’t matter what the salesman said,” or even wrote down apparently. They said that we had signed the contract.

My oral and written requests to get our contract cancelled began around June 2017. When you buy additional points, obviously you are not thinking about selling. It is only until you inquire about selling you learn you were duped.

I am encouraged by the Sedona Diamond representatives and their willingness to look into our complaint. There is a lot more detail to our complaint, but no sense rehashing it here since the entire experience is well documented. I look forward to hearing what my new friends at Los Abrigados find out.   

Advocacy Facebook offer support groups for those who have had bad timeshare experiences like ours. Our Facebook has over 2,000 members.

https://www.facebook.com/timeshareadvocategroup/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/DiamondResortsOwnersAdvocacy/

https://tug2.com/Home.aspx

https://everythingabouttimeshares.com/consider-exchange-options/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/180578055325962/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/465692163568779/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1639958046252175/


Contact us at Inside Timeshare or one of our Advocacy Groups if you or someone you know needs timeshare help.

Don’t forget the book by Wayne C Robinson, Everything About Timeshares, Before, During and After the Sale, with the forward by Irene Parker, you can obtain your copy from the link below.

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/everything-about-timeshares-wayne-c-robinson/1129749757?ean=2940161600962

So that is all for this week, join us again next week for more news and views on the world of timeshare, have a great weekend.

La Provincia: Anfi Director Declares Lawsuit Between Cazorla Brothers

Over the past couple of days Inside Timeshare has been reporting on the report by La Provincia (6 November) on the case being heard at the Court No. 1 San Bartolomé de Tirajana, between Santiago Santana Cazorla and his brother Miguel Santana Cazorla, for unfair administration of funds and another of imposition of abusive agreements.

It is alleged that Miguel authorised an unjustified payment of indemnity of 718,000€ to Arturo Ramirez for the position of “Institutional General Director”, a position that Santiago Cazorla claims Ramirez did not hold. It is claimed that it was a post created to justify the bonus in a pact instigated by the partners and Miguel Cazorla.

In his lawsuit Santiago Cazorla not only implicates his own brother but also includes some of his most trusted and closest partners such as Arturo Ramirez and including Manuel Fernández and Martin Suárez, who are also administrators of several other companies.

In testimony to the Judge, José Luis Trujillo, who was at the time these event took place the Director at Anfi, spent almost an hour in the presence of his lawyer and legal representatives explaining why this money was paid to Ramirez and what has happened to it.

José Luis Trujillo leaving the Court of San Bartelomé de Tirajana

Another aspect of the Lawsuit alleges that the “Institutional Director” had also provided professional service to Anfi Sales and Anfi Resorts during the periods of 29 March 2012 until 10 April 2018. It is alleged that he did not hold this position for which he was paid and also no contract.

Santiago Cazorla also states in his complaint that the defendants took advantage of their positions as directors of the companies, using their positions “of control of administration to effect this compensation”.

In a document presented to the judge it states that Miguel Santana Cazorla and Manuel Fernández ordered Banco Sabadell to make the transfer from Anfi Sales Accounts. Therefore the Judge has requested from Anfi Sales and Anfi Resorts minutes of the meeting when the Board of Directors agreed the compensation to Arturo Ramirez. The court has also requested the bank to provide all documentation regarding this transfer.

In the next few weeks all four defendants will be summoned before the judge, with Miguel Santana Cazorla appearing on 26 November.

Inside Timeshare will keep you updated on events as they unfold.

One thing about Anfi is they do always keep us riveted with all their (dodgy) dealings, so it doesn’t surprise us one iota that the brothers are now also at loggerheads!

We just wonder how all the members at Anfi feel about what has been going on, after all it is supposed to be their club and it is their money that is being misused. We also ask the question of those who are on the committees and have constantly supported Anfi under the Cazorla’s what they think now and will they continue to be stool pigeons for them?

PDF of the La Provincia article

La Provicia Translation

PDF of the translation

La Provincia Article Translation to English

Mid Week Round Up

It is with great sadness that Inside Timeshare announces the passing of Leo Gomez last Friday. Leo was a Vietnam Veteran with two Purple Hearts and was suffering from pancreatic cancer, he was 100% disabled from exposure to Agent Orange, he was also battling against Diamond and Barclays. His story was published here in our Friday’s Letter from America on 21 September, you can read his story at the links below.

Inside Timeshare and all the Advocates of our Diamond Resorts Owners Advocacy page offer our sincerest condolences to his family.

R.I.P Leo

http://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-from-america-22/

https://www.opednews.com/articles/A-Fourth-Agent-Orange-Vete-by-Irene-Parker-Fraud-180917-513.html?fbclid=IwAR2P3xMxMwZt3_L5j2j6O5ZkjDFhrk0QYCn-Ai58wrOA2iw-L1-TI7yymbk

Yesterday we broke the news published in La Provincia, that the Cazorla brothers Santiago Santana Cazorla and Manuel Cazorla, are battling each other in court, it revolves around a dispute for the payment of an indemnification of 718,000€ to Arturo Ramirez, a partner of Manuel Cazorla, for the position of general director at Anfi. It appears that this title has never existed and he has never worked in such a position. It also appears that this position was invented to justify payment from Anfi funds.

https://www.laprovincia.es/gran-canaria/2018/11/06/director-anfi-declara-pleito-hermanos/1114520.html?fbclid=IwAR3ToH-WH_qkGKX4JCi9JB9sFFXZMLs0WCgMPoX5UyIe76wNuB33eYSR_UY

We wonder how the Anfi members now feel about this along with all the other scandals that have been taking place. One thing is for sure there is never a dull moment when it comes to Anfi. (See link to previous articles)

http://insidetimeshare.com/great-anfi-battle-partners/

http://insidetimeshare.com/the-great-anfi-battle-of-the-partners-round-2/

Another of our readers has sent in some new information on another company calling owners regarding claims, Canongate Marketing with the website

http://canongatemarketing.com/

This is not a brand new company, their website was originally registered on 1 April 2015 and is due to expire on 1 April 2019, the registrant is hidden once again by privacy protect. They originally came to light several years ago with the usual resale scam of the guaranteed buyer.

The address they give is:

Calle Leopoldo Alas Clarín 4,  29002 Malaga

With the telephone number:

+34 952 062 030 (Malaga)

The address is just a stones throw from the Port of Malaga and is in a residential area, although there is a shop which supplies mailbox services.

Our reader had a call from Canongate Marketing regarding his Diamond ownership, they explained that he had a claim which they would make on his behalf through the Spanish Courts. The amount of the claim is between £13,000 and £18,000. He explained that he no longer had any of the relevant paperwork, but that did not matter they could proceed without them, but he would have to fly to Spain to meet with them. They also act on a “no win no fee” basis and will take 60% of the returned amount.

Now we all know that lawyers fees will need to be paid before a case could go to court, also if there are no documents how could a case be prepared and taken to court?

So this leaves us with the million dollar question, what is the “bait and switch” for the client to have to travel, what are they going to “sell” to make their money?

We have no doubt there is going to be an elaborate scam involved, it is only a matter of time before we find the answer.

Well that’s it for today, if you have been contacted by any company or have found one on the internet and want to know if they are genuine, then use our contact page, we will be pleased to help.

The Tuesday Slot

Welcome to The Tuesday Slot, today we publish “How to File a Complaint Form” with the Federal Trade Commision, by Irene Parker.

Before we go to the article, Inside Timeshare has been receiving many emails regarding Silverpoint, from some very concerned owners. Many have been contacted by Centaurus Mediations and Fullbrook Associates, both offering to cancel their contracts with Silverpoint and getting them “compensation”, all on a no win no fee basis, but this is after they pay for the cancellation.

The worrying aspect is that they are also being told that they will get them back all the maintenance they have paid, some going back over 20 years!

As we have explained on numerous occasions, the whole point of the exercise is to get the contract cancelled, to negate the possibility of a claim going through the Spanish courts, as once a contract is cancelled then no court will accept any claim. We cannot see them obtaining any repayments for the purchase or the maintenance, they are after all working with Silverpoint who will never pay out unless ordered to do so by a court.

If you have been contacted by these companies beware, you will be throwing good money after bad. If you need any help or advice on where you stand on making a claim through the courts then use our contact page and we will gladly provide it.

Now for this weeks article.

The Federal Trade Commission’s How to File a Complaint Form

ANSWER: BUY MORE POINTS! TO QUESTIONS:

The availability is not as promised?

Buy more points! “I can’t believe that sales agent sold you so few!!!”

How can I get help paying maintenance fees?

Buy more points!

How can I sell my timeshare points?

Buy more points!

I don’t have enough points for a family of five?

Buy more points! “I can’t believe that sales agent sold you so few!!!”

By Irene Parker

Election Day in America, Tuesday, November 6

The first family to contact me was a Hispanic family in 2016.

Families already struggling with maintenance fees are often advised to buy more points to achieve the next loyalty level that will allow them to pay maintenance fees or be able to sell points. Unfortunately, the programs as described do not exist. A similar program does exist, so when the complaint is made, the company representative responds with the actual program that has nothing to do with paying maintenance fees or tells the member, “We don’t assist in selling points.”

Sylvia contacted me the summer of 2016.  Here it is 2018 and not a week goes by without more complaints, just like Sylvia’s 2016 complaint:   

Sylvia and her husband were persuaded to give up a deeded week that did have a limited secondary market, in exchange for timeshare points with virtually no secondary market. During a series of five sales presentations over a five-year period, the family accumulated enough points to elevate them to the next loyalty level in 2013. But maintenance fees increased to the point where they could no longer afford to own their points. The family soon found that they had to charge maintenance fees to their credit card in order to pay them.

Sylvia had already taken out a $33,000 home equity loan from their credit union to reduce the high timeshare loan interest rate, typically 14% to 18%. Never transfer a timeshare loan balance to a third party lender.

At their last resort stay in August 2015, Sylvia said that a sales agent tried to convince them to purchase more points in order to achieve the highest loyalty level.  The sales agent explained that this would allow the couple to pay their maintenance fees with their points, as only the highest loyalty members are allowed to use their points to pay maintenance fees. However, even at the highest loyalty level, turning in all points would only contribute $2,000 towards an $8,000 maintenance fee.

Sylvia relinquished $60,000 worth of points. She is probably still paying off her home equity loan and has no vacation points. One child graduated high school that year and was starting college.

Fortunately, Sylvia did not fall for the falsehood that would have driven her deeper into debt. We have received 63 almost identical complaints from highest loyalty members. They are infuriated.

Today is November 6, Election Day in America. Lobbyists are hard at work, making sure pro-industry candidates get elected. Lawmakers have a, “They signed a contract” answer to families alleging unfair and deceptive timeshare sales practices. We have heard from 571 families, many financially devastated because they believed a timeshare sales agent. As always, our disclaimer is that we know there are honest timeshare sales agents harmed as well by the actions of dishonest sales agents.

Timeshare buyers who feel they experienced unfair and deceptive trade practices should file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission if the timeshare company dismisses them with “You signed a contract.” Members should also file with the Attorney General of the state where they signed a contract. Most, if not all states have incorporated a portion of the FTC Section 5 Code that describes unfair and deceptive business practices.

Unfortunately, the FTC doesn’t make it easy to file a timeshare complaint. The timeshare tab is buried. It took me a year to find it after a timeshare member explained how he found it. It’s almost like they don’t want you to find it. This is the link to file an FTC complaint and my step-by-step instructions directing you to the timeshare tab. We probably need about 10,000 members to file before the FTC raises an eyebrow.

 https://www.ftc.gov/faq/consumer-protection/submit-consumer-complaint-ftc

Step 1 Go to the link above: Submit a Consumer Complaint

Step 2 Bottom of the form, click FTC Complaint Assistant

Step 3 Click “Other”

Step 4 Click “For more options”

Step 5 Click “Travel Vacation or Timeshare”

Step 6 Click Other

Step 7 Click Timeshare

It was announced at an industry conference that $50 million has been set aside to put timeshare exit companies out of business, as well as honest lawyers and lawyers with questionable business practices. Timeshare exit is a problem the industry created by not allowing a secondary market. They admit this in annual reports to shareholders, listing a viable secondary market as a risk to their shareholders. Meanwhile, we are inundated with timeshare buyers contacting us describing how they have experienced unfair and deceptive sales practices.  

A jury awarded former Wyndham sales agent and whistle blower Trish Williams $20 million. Ms. Williams said Wyndham had TAFT days on slow sales days. (Tell them any #$%* thing). A former timeshare sales agent told me TAFT is a real person.

As private equity takes over timeshare, seeking venture capital returns, I believe this is only going to get worse. Timeshare is not the next Microsoft, disrupting a typewriter industry, prompting explosive growth. Upselling existing members into insolvency in an effort to generate 30% or better returns for investors is not the answer. The complaints never stop.   

We want more honesty. It’s a lot to ask, but we will keep asking.

Our complaint form: http://insidetimeshare.com/the-tuesday-slot-11/

Contact Inside Timeshare if you have a timeshare concern or a story to share. These are self-help groups we feel are not industry influenced.

https://www.facebook.com/timeshareadvocategroup/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/DiamondResortsOwnersAdvocacy/

https://tug2.com/Home.aspx

https://everythingabouttimeshares.com/consider-exchange-options/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/180578055325962/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/465692163568779/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1639958046252175/

Thank you Irene, as usual you have explained it all for our readers, if you have any questions, comments or need help with this or any other matter relating to timeshare, use our contact page and get in touch, please explain where you are located, (US or Europe), so we can pass you to the relevant team.

Breaking News:

La Provincia has just published an article with the following head lines:

El director de Anfi declara en un pleito entre los hermanos Santana Cazorla

La familia se enfrenta por un delito de administración desleal de fondos de la sociedad

Translation:

The director of Anfi declares in a lawsuit between the Santana Cazorla brothers

The family faces for a crime of unfair administration of funds of the society

Inside Timeshare will bring you more on this tomorrow.

Don’t forget the book by Wayne C Robinson, Everything About Timeshares, Before, During and After the Sale, with the forward by Irene Parker, you can obtain your copy from the link below.

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/everything-about-timeshares-wayne-c-robinson/1129749757?ean=2940161600962

 

 

Start the Week

Welcome to the start of another week with Inside Timeshare, we start this week with a press release from Canarian Legal Alliance and their ongoing court cases against the timeshare industry on behalf of their clients, along with news released late on Friday.

The Spanish Courts around the country are going to be very busy this week, in total CLA have 31 cases appearing before the courts, these are a mixture of pre-trial and full trial cases, that is an average of 6 trials per day. It now remains to be seen how many of these pre-trial judges will follow other courts and decide to issue judgements rather than send them for the full trial. If so this will certainly speed up the legal process.

On Friday, the news came in from the courts that Anfi had lost another 4 cases, 3 at the Courts of First Instance and 1 at the High Court. All contracts have been declared null and void. In total Anfi have been ordered to pay out over 100,000€.

In Tenerife, Silverpoint have also been on the receiving end of a High Court judgement, in this case, High Court Number 3 has reaffirmed the sentence of the Court of First Instance, after Silverpoint appealed. The judgement is that Silverpoint must pay out over 24,000€ plus legal interest along with the contract being declared null and void.

It was also announced that in the long running and ground breaking case at the Supreme Court, of Mrs Shirley Wilson versus Silverpoint, she finally has received her award into her bank account. You will remember from previous articles, her case was the first at Spain’s Highest Court against Silverpoint, it took many years of appeals and counter appeals to get this case heard. 

Making up the News?

Eventually the Supreme Court declared her contract with Silverpoint null and void on the basis she was a consumer and her contract did not meet the requirement of Spanish Timeshare Law 42/98. This long running case was due to Silverpoint insisting that she had not purchased timeshare, but had “invested” in apartments and weeks for resale. This is the basis for many of the cases against Silverpoint, many hundreds of clients were duped into purchasing several weeks and apartments, which would then be placed on the “resale program”.

As we know these “resales” never happened, the clients were told that what they had purchased was not selling, but to secure and save their “investment” they would need to upgrade to better quality apartments and weeks. This scheme went on for years, with many losing tens of thousands of pounds each. The vast majority of these clients were also given Barclay Partner Finance loans to pay for the purchases, all arranged by Silverpoint in conjunction with BPF, no doubt receiving huge commissions for the loan agreements.

Today we are seeing a similar scheme which is trying to circumvent the law, they call it Company Participations, in essence the purchaser buys “participations in a “company” which is actually an apartment registered as such. Again there is the promise of profits to be made. But having seen the contracts, they are stacked against the purchaser and in favour of Silverpoint.

Silverpoint: The Story Moves On

If you require any information on this ar any other timeshare matter, or just need to know if any company is genuine, then contact Inside Timeshare using our contact page.

Tomorrow in the Tuesday Slot, we will be publishing the article entitled “The Federal Trade Commission’s How to File a Complaint Form”, by our very own Irene Parker.

Friday’s Letter from America

Welcome to this week’s Letter from America from Irene Parker, with her own 13 “Secrets the timeshare industry does not want you to know”. These are her own thoughts and follow on from Wayne C Robinson’s book recently published. But first some legal news from Europe.

At the start of the week Canarian Legal Alliance announced they had 23 pretrials or full trials scheduled to be heard this week alone in courts throughout Spain, so it looks like it will be a very expensive week for the timeshare industry. In all there were 44 new cases being prepared and presented to the various courts during October.

They also announced that the Courts in San Bartelomé de Tirajana have once again decided not to send six cases for a full trial at the pre-trial stage, instead the judges will issue sentences themselves. This is very good news for the clients as it will no doubt speed up the process.

It was also announced that another bank guarantee was received by Anfi for over 40,000€ as part of a provisional enforcement of sentence at the court in San Bartelomé. In Tenerife a court has also embargoed over 50,000€ for a German client from Silverpoint. This particular case was won in the Supreme Court. This will obviously ensure swifter payout for clients.

Now for those 13 shocking secrets.

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/everything-about-timeshares-wayne-c-robinson/1129749757?ean=2940161600962

By Irene Parker

November 2, 2018

After St. Paul switched sides, initially he was not accepted by either side. The Christians were wary and he was scorned by his former peers. This is the no-mans-land a timeshare sales agent may face when he or she realizes the company and industry they work for endorses and rewards sales agents who employ questionable business practices.

The over abused oral representation clause eliminates any complaint that begins with “The sales agent says.” The company representative emails the member their initials on the fine print with a “You signed a contract” dismissal. This dismissal is seconded by some state regulators demanding proof of false claims. Other states have acted after receiving a volume of complaints that illustrate a pattern of unfair and deceptive sales practices. Signing a perpetual contract, with little to no secondary market, accompanied by rising maintenance fees, has spelled financial disaster for family after family contacting Inside Timeshare. Thanks to advocates like Wayne, and our advocate team on six continents across the globe, we have kept up with our spike in contact volume.  

Wayne Robinson, author of Everything About Timeshares, Before, During and After the Sale has been removed from Facebooks he had been a member of for years, inhabited by timeshare sales agents. Our Inside Timeshare publisher Charles Thomas carries the same wounds, at times attacked because he used to sell timeshares. I once worked for a crooked life insurance company. After three weeks in the field, I was sent out for training with a top producer. I witnessed him put a pen back in the hand of an obviously dementia diagnosed senior, asking him to sign off on a fifth life insurance policy. I quit that day. Does that make me a villain because I worked for a crooked insurance company?

Wayne’s YouTube, linked in this article, follows the path that led him to become a timeshare consumer advocate.

https://everythingabouttimeshares.com/wayne-c-robinson-author/   

13 More “Secrets The Timeshare INdustry Does Not Want You To Know

“Like any industry, there are shocking secrets with the timeshare industry that consumers are not supposed to know about to protect the integrity of the companies…the industry, and the legal ramifications by knowing what really goes on”

The first 13 Secrets the Timeshare Industry Does Not Want You to Know was a great success. The first report is no longer available, but Irene Parker came up with her 13 Secrets after reading Everything About Timeshares. Irene wrote the forward to EVERYTHING ABOUT TIMESHARES.

We believe the industry can still be a viable source of happiness for families worldwide if widely reported deceptive sales practices are eliminated or at least reduced.

Irene’s 13 More Shocking Secrets

We’d like to hear from you if you have discovered secrets we have not uncovered.  

1: The “TODAY ONLY” price is always good the next day, next month and probably next year.

That’s right. The resorts will do all that they can to get you to buy the same day because once you are gone, the opportunity is gone also – so they think. This is why the timeshare resorts always tell their guests that the today price is only good for today.  This is untrue, for many reasons.

2: The FREE gifts aren’t free. They are built into the timeshare purchase price and closing costs.

When they throw in more gifts to induce you to purchase, what guests do not know is that the gifts are not free.  Those items are already factored into the purchase price and the closing costs. They are only free to those who attend and don’t buy.

3: It’s easy for sale agents and timeshare companies to dodge the contract rescission period.

“… Should you cancel within the rescission period, you are responsible for paying for all the gifts at rack rates and the highest advertised prices.”

There are several tricks that timeshare sales agents will use to prevent new owners from cancelling during the rescission period. “This new (non –existent) program is not available until after the first of the year” is one way. Often the buyer is not allowed onto the booking site until after the contract rescission period has passed. “Don’t say anything to the contract reviewer since this is a new program. I could get fired.” “Wait until you have made three months of loan payments before refinancing.” “Wait a year before selling.”

“You can offset all your maintenance fees” – which the member learns is not true when maintenance fee season rolls around.   

4: The timeshare you just bought may have no secondary market.

“It became even more expensive when owners were conned into converting their deeded weeks into points and had to pay an additional $4,000 to $12,000 for their own timeshare.”

The market is flooded with owners who will do anything to get out of their timeshares.

Some resorts have hundreds or thousands of timeshares for sale as many members are fed up with unethical behaviors, poor customer service, broken promises, and lack of availability.  

5: With a points program, it is often cheaper to book with an online travel site.

Irene had a firsthand experience when her family converted from a deeded week to a points system. Her daughter lives in   New York City. She bought points for this specific location, but learned it would cost her over $8,000 for a New York City hotel using timeshare points.  However, when she searched online for the same room at the same hotel for the same period, it would have cost only $950 using an online booking service. When she questioned the company, the reply was, “That’s for people who bought so many points they don’t know what to do with them all.”

As a former timeshare sales rep at the Holiday Inn Club Vacations in Las Vegas at the Desert Inn Resort, Wayne felt that their points program was very expensive compared to booking online.  After he added up the original purchase price, the annual maintenance fees, the exchange company membership, and the fee to use the points, it was very expensive.

6: It is not advisable to use third party lending.

“…I felt that the points programs were very expensive compared to booking online at the same resort during the same time period.”

“Not everybody pays the same price.  It all depends on the negotiation skills between the guests and the sales reps.”

When you transfer your high interest rate timeshare loan to a third party lender, like a home equity loan, or a credit card, you are in effect asking for a refund as opposed to a loan cancellation, a much greater challenge. Don’t finance a luxury item at 12 to 20%.

7: Master timeshare closers can earn up to $1 million annually.

One of the primary reasons why Wayne entered the timeshare industry was the amount of money that friends were making – over $250,000 per year, and this was in the year 2000.

Now, master timeshare closers are generating up to one million dollars a year or more in commissions selling timeshares.

8: Many licensed timeshare resale brokers do not charge upfront fees

If you’re going to buy or sell your timeshare on the resale or secondary market, always use a licensed timeshare resale agent. Many timeshare resellers are not licensed to sell timeshare online as they are not real estate licensed by the states, so buyers and sellers do not have protection should anything go wrong.  

We recommend going through the Licensed Timeshare Resale Brokers Association whether you want to buy or sell a timeshare for several reasons:

  • Each real estate agency has agreed to conduct business in an ethical manner.
  • They do not charge upfront fees.
  • They can legally answer any questions about selling or buying a timeshare and know the pros and cons of buying directly from the timeshare company versus through the secondary market.

9: The equity that timeshare resorts say they are giving you for trading in your old timeshare is “non-existent.”

This is one of the biggest scams in the timeshare industry that most timeshare owns are not aware of.

When a current timeshare owner attends a timeshare sales presentation with a different company, the sales reps will always offer to trade in their timeshare for the new one.  They will inform the guest that they will give them equity for their old timeshare, and can apply it to the new timeshare.  This is untrue. NO TIMESHARE COMPANY WILL EVER GIVE YOU EQUITY FOR YOUR OLD TIMESHARE – PERIOD.

It is a sales tactic that has been used for years, and consumers are still going for it.

10: A timeshare trial or sample program may have no contract rescission period.

Once the 4-6 hour sales presentation is over, and the sales person is convinced that they cannot make a sale, they will escort the guest to the “developer representative.”  Actually, there is no developer representative, just another sales person with a cheaper program. This program is called an exit or trial program – a way of sampling the program at a cheaper price ($2,000 $5,000) without long-term commitments.

The objective of this program is to provide the timeshare company with future opportunities to sell the full program to the members.

Trial programs are not defined as a timeshare in some states. Some local governments do not protect it the same way they would a timeshare. If you have purchased this product feeling like you experienced unfair or deceptive trade practices, you may be able to cancel despite no rescission period.

11: Using a timeshare cancellation company may present more headaches than dealing with the timeshare company.

Sadly, many consumers have been scammed by companies that promise to get you out of your timeshare offering a money back guarantee. Not all exit companies are scams, but review this 14 page FTC report listing timeshare exit scams.  Getting your money back from a money back guarantee can be as much or more of challenge than cancelling your timeshare. Timeshare members who used these outfits listed in this FTC report ended up stuck with the timeshare and never got their money back guaranteed money back.

https://search.justice.gov/search?query=timeshare+scam+report&op=Search&affiliate=justice    

12: Travel clubs that say they can get you out of your old timeshare may not do so.

There are many “travel clubs” throughout the U.S. roaming local communities.  Their marketing departments have a list of timeshare owners around the U.S. Wayne believes that the exchange companies are selling these lists compiled of RCI and Interval International members. Former timeshare sales agents and executives are often involved.They will call and inform the member that there is an important update on their timeshare from RCI or Interval International, and they must attend. The lure is a free dinner at a local restaurant.  When the guests show up at the local establishment, the sales reps attempt to sell them another timeshare at a lower price, showing them a lower maintenance fee. They will always offer to trade in the guest’s timeshares as long as it is fully paid. The buyer can find themselves stuck with the travel club and the timeshare they thought they were getting rid of.

13: There are many items that cannot be documented in the timeshare contract.

During the presentation, the sales agent shows you a directory of resorts, noting the points required. However, in most cases, you are not shown the actual availability based on supply and demand.  Of course you can find good value, less expensive than an online booking, but the internet is flooded with complaints from members who feel the sales agent overstated and over promised availability.

Know Before You Go on a Timeshare Presentation

Before purchasing a timeshare, attending a timeshare presentation, or trying to get rid of your unwanted timeshare, research the resort, the reviews, and the resale costs to learn all you can about the resort and the company. We still want consumers to buy timeshares, but are asking for more honesty and more concern for the member who feels they experienced unfair and deceptive timeshare sales practices. If you are aware of our 13 Secrets,   did your homework, and still want to jump into a timeshare lifestyle, enjoy your vacations! Three times Irene and her husband exchanged their timeshare, fell in love with the location, bought a home and moved to the exchange destination. Timeshares changed their lives for the better. One daughter now asks when told they go on vacation, “Uh, are you coming home?”

About the Author

Wayne C. Robinson has worked in the timeshare industry for more than 15 years and currently holds a timeshare license in Nevada and has held licenses in Pennsylvania and New Mexico. He has sold millions of dollars of timeshares and has hundreds of owners. Additionally, Wayne has worked for developers reviewing contracts and in sales and marketing.

Wayne has worked for many timeshare resorts in the U. S., Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean Islands, including Holiday Inn Club Vacations, Wyndham, Royal Resorts, The Manhattan Club, Pueblo Bonito Sunset and many more. He is thoroughly familiar with the contracts and the local timeshare laws on all types of timeshares.

The culmination of his career was being promoted to Director of Sales and Marketing for the timeshare at the luxurious Azul Sensatori Resort in Jamaica.

Wayne knows almost everything there is to know about the timeshare industry and wants to share industry secrets to those who want to get out of a timeshare-without paying anyone.

Thank you Irene, I’m sure that we could all come up with a few secrets that the industry doesn’t want us to know, I’m sure there will be many of our readers who will have an their own answers to that question, so if you have any comments on this or any article published, use our contact page and send them, we love to hear from you.

Have a great weekend and join us again next week.