Browse Month

April 2016

consumer alert

Bogus Calls and Money Awarded.

We have mentioned this item before, albeit briefly. It concerns calls from so called law firms and claims companies, the pitch is usually that a court case has been heard and assets have been seized, usually from companies that have taken money from you in the past.

 

These will range from resale scams, bogus Section 75 claims companies to fake law firms. These new companies are probably the same ones that took the money from you in the first place. Hence they know all the details.

 

If you have ever paid a company and they have disappeared, or even been closed down by the authorities, you would probably have been informed at the time. Especially if you reported it to the authorities yourself. The courts do not contract out to others to trace you. That is the job of the Courts and Police.

police

The way the scam works is very simple, you are informed by telephone or email that the court has awarded you ex amount. Usually more than you actually paid, this is the enticer. Quite often a second call from an official sounding body confirms this. You may be given a number to verify the information given, when you do call, it will be confirmed that this is the case and you have indeed been awarded the money.

(see link below)

 

http://insidetimeshare.com/fraud-warning/

 

Then comes the crunch.

 

In order for you to receive the amount stated, taxes will have to be paid, in advance, you may even receive via email an official looking form from the tax office. (Easily downloaded from the internet see pdf below). Now in order to get the tax you will also need a Spanish NIE number. This is called Numero de Identificación de Extranjero, or Foreigner’s Identification Number. It is a Spanish tax identification number issued to all foreigners. Now this is a stroke of luck, the company calling can also arrange this for you, obviously for a fee.

Spanish Tax Form

Now, you do not need this number unless you come under the following:

 

  • Open a bank account
  • Buying, selling or insuring a property
  • Arranging a mortgage or credit
  • Pay taxes
  • Being employed
  • Registering with employment agencies
  • Registering to study
  • Applying to start a business
  • Registering with social services, receiving social security benefits
  • Applying for a driving licence
  • Inheriting assets

 

You would not need it to receive any money due in compensation paid by a court plus there would not be any tax to pay.

 

For more information on NIE Numbers check the link below:

 

https://www.angloinfo.com/spain/how-to/page/spain-moving-residency-nie-number

 

These types of fraud are becoming ever more sophisticated, we have seen a great rise in recent times of this pitch. This is mainly due to the publicity of genuine court cases being won in Spain, the people use the fact that these cases are being shown in the news, which then convinces you they are indeed genuine.

 

Remember, the courts do not operate in this way, there are procedures they follow. If you are not aware that you are part of a case, then you probably are not. If you have never reported any loss of money to any type of scam, then you probably are not part of any case. There is only one way to claim any compensation and that is by going through the courts yourself with a genuine law firm.
If you receive any calls like this contact Inside Timeshare and we will check it out for you. This is what we do, research and research, giving you the tools to find out the truth. We are here to help you save your hard earned money.

testimonials2

Testimonials: Fact or Fiction?

I was asked over the weekend if reading testimonials on timeshare resale websites was a good idea. Could they actually be believed? Well there is no simple answer to this question, it really does depend on the company.

 

I have been looking at one website which comes up on a regular basis, sellmytimeshare.tv

sellmytimeshare-logo

Some of the testimonials show photographs of the people writing them, the strange thing is they are at one of the companies offices. This reminded me of how ILG operated when selling the DWVC membership. On this website you don’t just read a copy of the comments, you can also click on a button and view the “Original”. This proved quite fun.

 

http://www.sellmytimeshare.tv/what-we-do/what-our-customers-say?limitstart=0

 

All were written on the same types of note paper, many on paper torn out of a spiral notepad, some on lined paper with a margin, just like you used at school for your essays. All appeared very hurriedly written, it certainly looked like the notes were from those who had just attended a presentation and purchased Monster Credits. “Please write something nice on this piece of paper for me, so my boss can see I´m doing a good job”.

testimonial1

It makes me wonder if those people writing them have seen the website showing their names with the testimonial. Do they still agree with what they have written, or would they retract?

 

So the answer to the question can they be believed, is really down to you and how you check them, personally I don´t believe them, having been in this industry and having seen what goes on has made me very suspicious. For me a testimonial would be from the person once they have returned home, if hand written, on proper paper, like the stuff we used to use “Basildon Bond” not torn from a note pad, then written neatly in the old fashioned way. (do we still do things like that)?

 

Beware the testimonial then, like everything to do with timeshare make your checks, research the company and if in doubt check again. If you require any information on how to do this contact Inside Timeshare, we are here to help and inform.

advice

Look Who Is Now Giving Timeshare Advice!!!!

Firstly thank you to the TCA for giving me a good laugh over the past couple of days, with their articles on Silverpoint. Well well well, things never cease to amaze me in the industry of timeshare. The company with the biggest track record of destroying an otherwise good product is now in the business of giving “ADVICE”.

 

http://www.timeshareconsumerassociation.org.uk/2016/04/19/silverpoint-bait-and-switch/

 

http://www.timeshareconsumerassociation.org.uk/2016/04/20/silverpoint-consumer-advice/

Silverpoint_Consumer_advice_Logo_308U

Siverpoint Consumer Advice website, the latest tool in their attempt to deceive the poor old public. The track record of this company is a long and painful one. As many people have found out to their financial cost.

 

Let’s start with their wonderful “Investment Scheme”, selling blocks of weeks with the promise of a return within 2 years of around 15%, with the sale of these weeks. This has cost you around £20,000 to £30,000. Then comes the top up, sorry these weeks that you have are not selling well, because people want something better. Tell you what, why don’t you buy 6 weeks in this resort which is much better, it has a higher sale value and is sought after. What we can do is take the 6 weeks you own already and trade them in for the new one.

 

So they give you a price of say £50,000 with a trade in of £15,000, but you can’t afford this. You also do not want to lose your “investment”, so what do they do? Arrange a finance agreement for you on the day. Barclays Partner Finance is well known for working with Silverpoint and has been the subject of several court cases.

 

Now you have a new “investment deal”. Again the promise is they will sell them for you in 2 years, in the meantime they will rent them for you to help pay the maintenance. Guess what happens next? They can’t sell and want you to trade in for another better resort or even the Sunseeker yachts they used to peddle.

buyerbeware

All this is in the public domain, this company has been and still is the subject of legal action. Below are three videos taken from youtube. The first two show a sales rep called Leanne and then the Sales Director Dave Taylor, basically fobbing off a client who has been duped of around £90,000. The third video shows a courtroom where Dave Taylor, who looks remarkably nervous, trying to say that Silverpoint are not Resort Properties , well this didn’t go down well with the judge. After all the CEO of RP is Mark Cushway, the CEO of Silverpoint is Mark Cushway, the owner of both companies is Bob Trotta. Del Boy would not be proud of the scams that this lot have pulled, at least he had some scruples.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qkrdK0shvn4

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_oNdi4NT4O8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ksff6yofqJs

 

As you can see from these videos, this company cannot be trusted, so how can they give any advice?

 

They also say on their website only trust RDO and TATOC members, these organisations as Inside Timeshare has previously shown are there only for the benefit of the industry. Not to forget that Mark Cushway is also a board member of the RDO, with Silverpoint being a major contributor to these organisations funding.

rdo-logotatoc logo

I have also looked at the website for Canarian Legal Alliance as they have had great success in court against this company, In the news section under the tag of Silverpoint are the archives of cases won. They show cases going back to 2013, so everything is in the public domain and this company along with the RDO and TATOC are trying to make out that none of this is true. Only their advice is worth anything, well I for one do not believe a word of it, the truth is out there, it is up to you to find it and your choice on who to believe.

 

Inside Timeshare is not affiliated to any timeshare company, the information provided is taken from research and written to provide you with independent views on what should be a great product.

inthenews

CLA Making the News Again.

It looks like the lawyers at Canarian Legal Alliance are becoming quite the celebrities around Europe. Over the past month their legal battles with the timeshare industry have been attracting a lot of media attention.

 

The renowned Norwegian Business Magazine, Kapital, ran a lengthy article on the law firm, highlighting the Grimsbo v Anfi case. This has resulted in CLA gaining a much higher profile among Norwegian timeshare owners.

 

The following link will take you to the articles in Norwegian and an English translation.

CLA IN NORWAYS LEADING BUSINESS MAGAZINE

 

Recently El Diario, a Spanish national newspaper also ran an article on the Anfi cases and the Supreme Court judgements. These rulings appear to have caused quite a stir in Spain, probably because it has made legal history, as well as putting Spain at the forefront of protecting customers from the timeshare industry.

The following link shows the El Diario article.

eldiario

 

http://www.eldiario.es/canariasahora/economia/Anfi-timesharing-reclamaciones-clientes-anticipos-ventas-turismo_0_504650586.html

 

Another newspaper MaspalomasAhora (Maspalomas Today) also ran an article explaining the Supreme Court rulings. They also highlighted the number of cases that are ongoing and those in the process of being submitted. The amounts of money involved so far are quite staggering, with this being set to increase substantially.

 

Follow this link to view the article.masahora

 

http://www.canarianlegalalliance.com/maspalomas-ahora-highlights-cla-cases-anfi-group/

rdo-logotatoc logoholiday clubanfi logo

So it would look like all the information the RDO, TATOC, Holiday Club and ANFI have been putting out is false. These and other timeshare companies have been denying anything is wrong, that there are no court cases against them. The press around Europe seems to disagree with them. They have highlighted over the past year, many of the cases that this particular law firm has won, including all the Supreme Court Rulings. The industry is certainly feeling the pinch, but they only have themselves to blame, their past and ongoing greed is catching up with them.

 

Inside Timeshare will bring you the latest information as it is received. If you have any question regarding anything to do with timeshare, holiday clubs, resale, relinquishment or how to claim Inside Timeshare will give you the best advice possible. If we don´t know the answer we will find out.

mcdresort

MacDonald Resorts: No Stranger to Bad Press.

mcdonald logo

MacDonald Resorts and Hotels are no strangers to the press, over the years there have been articles in many newspapers about how they treat their members. Mrs B from the previous article is just one in a long line.

 

Tony Hetherington from the Mail on Sunday has highlighted this on many occasions, in one article dated 25th April 2014, he even mentions that MacDonalds will even make the executors of a will liable for maintenance fees.

mailonsunday

http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/experts/article-2698355/TONY-HETHERGINGTON-Even-death-not-rid-timeshare.html

 

This article also highlighted the problem owners face on trying to end their contracts, MacDonalds makes it virtually impossible to end them. Although they did say they were making efforts to provide an exit solution.

 

Well we know what that usually means, and even Tony Hetherington showed this in the article. Yes we will let you out, but you must pay up to 4 years maintenance fees first. Inside Timeshare has been in contact with many owners who have had to pay considerable sums, just to be free of the burden of maintenance. I have also seen comments on different forums from uninformed people, just don´t pay the fees, they won´t come after you. Well unfortunately we know only too well MacDonald Resorts will send in the debt collector.

 

Due to the age of many owners that are in the position of wanting out, not paying is not an option. These people have been brought up in a different culture, one that a debt is a debt and should be paid. To them being threatened with court action is a no no. MacDonalds know this so pursue with vigour.

 

What of The RDO in all this?rdo-logo

 

As we have stated many times before this organisation is there for the resort owners and developers. If they were a genuine trade body regulating the industry, these unfair practises would not exist. Go to the RDO with any complaint about your resort, the answer will be the same every time. They do not investigate complaints against their own members.

 

What of TATOC?tatoc logo

 

Exactly the same, they do not investigate or mediate against any RDO member, yet they are supposed to represent you the owners. Harry Taylor is well known in the industry, he has sided with the RDO for years, even making a career out of his leadership of TATOC.

 

Again it is up to you the owners to fight these injustices, demand Independent oversight of this industry to protect yourselves. Demand a new Owners Association that is not funded by the industry. The RDO and TATOC will not do it for you.

If you require any information or impartial advice on how to deal with any timeshare problem, Inside Timeshare is here to help. If we do not know the answer we will find out.

inside final small

fakelaw

The Resurrected!

One thing that never surprises me is the number of companies that disappear for a while and then suddenly reappear. One company that seems to have been resurrected are our old friends from Fuengirola, Ramirez & Ramirez Abogados SL.

ramirez1

Around six years ago this company was targeting clients who had dealings with Incentive Leisure Group, purchasing the Designer Way Vacation Club membership. Their pitch at the time was reclaiming the purchase price and promoting a class action against ILG and the cashback scheme. They passed themselves off as a law firm, with a website called specialist-lawyers.com.

 

This company was headed up by one Fabian Marcelo Ramirez, who was also the administrator of several sister companies in the same area peddling the same product. These were Fuengirola Servicios 2002 SL, Key Properties Town Advisory and Greenges SL. Many people had dealings with these smooth talking outfits, all losing very substantial amounts of money.

scacert

Ramirez & Ramirez began to have a field day when the ILG & DWVC operations were closed down by the Office of Fair Trading (UK) in September 2012. Clients were bombarded with calls claiming that a class action was being pursued by Ramirez & Ramirez, or that there were substantial amounts of money being held by the Courts in Malaga which were waiting to be paid out to them.

 

One Genuine Law Firm in Malaga had many dealing with Ramirez & Ramirez, LawBird whose website belegal.com highlighted them for several years, even to the extent that Antonio Flores was taken to court for liable. Ramirez lost the case with the judge actually saying in open court that it was not wrong to call Ramirez a “crook and swindler”

 

http://belegal.com/blog-by-antonio-flores/tag/ramirez-and-ramirez-abogados/

 

Then all of a sudden around June 2013, they disappeared, phone lines no longer working and the website closed down. After a few months, around October 2013, clients began receiving calls and emails from another company offering to help. These emails were signed by one Marcelo Ramirez.

 

Was it the same person, or one of the ex employees with the client list. Personally I think it was Marcelo himself. This didn’t last long as once again it all stopped. But the story is not over.

 

Just recently in the past month Ramirez & Ramirez seems to have come back from the dead. The address given is the same as before, Calle Cordoba no 35 Edif Villa Blanca 1C, 29640, Fuengirola, Malaga. This time all cases they had running have been won and the money is waiting for you. Only a matter of fees to be paid and you can have it back. Oh well, I suppose old Ramirez must be a little short of cash after his holiday!

backdead1

Remember the courts do not operate in this way, and if there are any fees to be paid, why not take them from the awarded amounts and send the remainder to the client. That seems to make more sense. So don’t fall for this smooth talking pitch, Ramirez did not have any cases going to court, they are not abogados / lawyers, they just have a very long track record of duping people out of their money.

 

If you have had any contact with this company recently Inside Timeshare would like to hear from you. Give us your story and we can warn others of any change in this companies pitch.

luxury

How did I ever get into Timeshare?

How did I ever get taken in by the timeshare sales rep?

 

I have got to be stupid to have fallen for it!

 

Am I that stupid I fell for the smooth patter?

 

These are just a few of the comments many people have expressed when trying to sort out their timeshare problems. The answer I tend to give is no you´re not stupid or daft, I even know of barristers and senior police officers who have been taken in.

 

There are several things you have to remember, you were most likely on holiday in a foreign country, it was hot, you were relaxed and probably had a drink. The next stage, the fast talking lad or lovely young lady with the scratch card that stopped you on the street (OPC). The excitement they showed when you win the “Star Prize”, that’s infectious. If you have young children with you the scratch card may have been given to them, not to forget the free water park tickets, so you feel obliged to go so as not to upset the kids!

 

Next you get into a taxi with this perfect stranger and whisked away to an unknown destination, what was that we tell our kids? Don’t talk with or go with strangers! Then we go ahead and do it. All the time the non stop chatter from the OPC, how you are his first ever winner. Forget the fact everyone’s a star prize winner.

starprize
Keep Reading

Fractional 1

Fractional. What is it?

Fractional Ownership, is it just another word for Timeshare?

 

Well it depends on where you are and what scheme you have entered into. In the United States Fractional is regulated by Real Estate laws.

 

Generally a property is divided up into say  Four, with owners each having 3 months use. These properties may be Freehold or Leasehold with either 50 or 99 year leases. In the US the value of these properties tend to follow the values of the property market. It gives the owners a quality holiday home without laying out for a second home. These properties also tend to be on managed resorts or condominiums, so maintenance fees are usually applicable. The positive side to this is when it is time to give it up, it can be sold and if the market value has increased then thank you I make a profit.

 

The problem now comes with Europe, Fractional Ownership is governed by Timeshare law. It is the resorts that are marketing it, Club la Costa and Diamond being the biggest. So if it is subject to Timeshare laws, then obviously deposits paid within the 14 day cooling  off period applies, as does the selling of it as an investment.

CLCdri logo

During my research I have spoken to many people who have purchased Fractional, all have told me the same thing. They purchased to be rid of their timeshare, and the only way was to take on a fractional, owning several weeks for periods starting at 5 years up to around 20 years. At the end of this period the property would be sold and they would reap the rewards, then being free from their timeshares. Well to me this smacks of what a friend described as “A Pig In A Dress”.

pigdress

The property is going to be sold, but all fractional owners must agree. Did they all buy at the same time and for the same period?

 

If not how can any agreement be reached, also who has the controlling shares?

 

Somehow I cannot see the resorts selling off all the available Fractions, thus losing control.

 

So what happens at the end of this period, does the consumer revert back to their original timeshare?

 

This scheme is still in its infancy in Europe, it looks and sounds great with the slick, smooth, fast talking sales rep. But it does look as though it is not property you are buying but the Right of Use. In other words it seems that it is just another way of selling Timeshare. We have already seen another term take over from that dreaded word, Holiday Ownership.

slicksaleman

On the Club La Costa Members Blog dated 10th July 2012, it states that First National Trust Company who are the trustees of the Fractional Property Owners Club, said that “this model should never be advertised as an investment”. I wonder if the sales staff have been told this in training, or have they been told to ignore it? We have seen this with other aspects of timeshare sales in the past and look where that has led, litigation for misrepresentation and mis selling.

 

http://clcmembers.blogspot.com.es/

 

Is this just another scheme like points or floating weeks to fleece you of your hard earned money?

 

Only you the consumer can answer that, unfortunately by the time you actually find out you may be the loser of thousands.

 

If you have been to a fractional presentation or have purchased, Inside Timeshare would like to hear your story and your views. Even if you are happy with your purchase I am willing to publish your comments, unlike many other blogs Inside Timeshare looks for balance.

balance

spindoctor1

A New Position For The Ex Enforcer of the RDO?

Further to the posts published on Inside Timeshare (16th March 2016) with regards to Alberto Garcia leaving Mindtimeshare and the RDO, it appears that the assumptions as to the reason may have been correct. In the end Alberto Garcia is indirectly to blame for the growth in the claims sector against timeshare. His posts attacking legitimate companies backfired, with many people realising he was defending the undefendable.

 

http://insidetimeshare.com/alberto-garcia-steps-down-as-director-of-mindtimeshare/

 

We know the industry has only itself to blame for its woes, but they employed him to act as “Spin Doctor”, now they are reaping the whirlwind. As we have seen with politics employing spin to hide the truth, it will always get you in the end.

spindoctor2

Further to this it appears that he has a new post with Holiday Club Finland. It is believed this new job involves ensuring OPC´s and sales staff  dissociate themselves with sending clients to the claims companies. Maybe even getting them to deny anything is going on, or that everything that is being sold is legal and above board.

 

We know that Calvin Lucock the CEO, sent out a letter to members stating that their contracts were legal and valid. It also stated that very few cases have been won and any litigation could cost the member heavily in fees to cover the cost of these companies defending themselves. More scare tactics!

 

http://insidetimeshare.com/holiday-club/

 

Is this another damage limitation exercise, designed to stop consumers from pursuing any action? After all if the RDO and these companies had taken notice of the regulations in the first place, consumers would not have the need to claim for misselling or misrepresentation. The EU Directives were put into place to protect both parties. Now we know that the RDO lobbied the EU heavily when these regulations were being discussed, but that was for the industries benefit not you the consumer.

 

Could it be Alberto Garcia is himself trying to repair the damage caused by his actions?

spindoctor3

 

Again time will tell, as we find out more it will be published here, informing you the owners of events as they happen. The truth will come out in the end, it always does!

tribunal supremo

Supreme Court Strikes Again: Another Ruling against ANFI Contracts.

The latest news to be published in the court battle between ANFI and timeshare owners confirms earlier Supreme Court Judgements.

 

On 6th April 2016 Canarian Legal Alliance posted their latest victory in this ongoing case. They received yet another favourable judgement from the Supreme Court. In this announcement the court has declared that its previous decisions to find Floating Weeks Illegal is upheld. In its rulings the court has declared that selling weeks without a room number or week number specified is illegal. (see link at end of the page).

With this ruling it puts into doubt ANFI´s and the RDO´s assertions that the previous rulings were wrong. We now wait for another statement from these two organisations as to this latest ruling.

anfi logo CLA Logo

http://insidetimeshare.com/rdo-trying-scare-anfi-timeshare-owners/

 

http://insidetimeshare.com/my-thoughts-today/

 

So what does this mean for other resorts that have also sold Floating Weeks?

 

Obviously it will affect them in the same way, the court has again stated these contracts are illegal in Spain. Any resort or company that has sold them is now open to litigation and the contract declared NULL & VOID. The consumer in Spain at least is now getting the protection that the original EU Timeshare Directives sought to give. It is now up to other countries within the EU to do the same. After all, there are many owners who have been sold the same product, but have no redress due to the country they purchased in.

SUPREME COURT CONFIRMS : ANFI FLOATING WEEKS ARE AS ILLEGAL AS ALL THE OTHERS


Inside Timeshare will keep you updated on the latest developments as we find them. If you have any questions or concerns get in touch and we will do our best to find you the answers.

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