Browse Month

June 2016

breaking news

Diamond Resorts Bought by Apollo Global Management

News came in to Inside Timeshare yesterday afternoon 29 June 2016 that a Private Equity Firm, Apollo Global Management had bought Diamond Resorts International.

 

The deal is reported to be worth $2.2 Billion, the stock for Diamond had risen from $25 to $29 a share within hours of the announcement. One analyst in the States, Chris Demuth has already suggested that the Wyndham Group may even purchase the company. He believes that Wyndham may even pay around $36 to $39 a share.

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Apollo Global Management was founded in 1990 by Leon Black, he was a former banker with Drexel Burnham Lambert. Drexel had closed earlier that year after a securities scandal which resulted in the bank having to pay $650 million in fines. Being unable to repay a $100 million debt it collapsed.

 

According to the online financial journal The Street, Bloomberg had called Drexel Burnham Lambert “Renegades of Junk”, due to its involvement in the junk bond market. Irene Parker a writer for The Street and a Diamond timeshare owner herself, believes that this title is more fitting for Apollo Global Management after its acquisition of Diamond Resorts. (follow link below).

 

http://www.thestreet.com/story/13624491/1/is-apollo-returning-to-its-junk-roots-with-its-acquisition-of-diamond-resorts.html

 

In her article for The Street, she explains her anger at the way Diamond has treated owners of its timeshares. She is in the process of writing a series of articles highlighting this, Inside Timeshare will be keeping you informed as they appear.

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On the subject of the share prices, Inside Timeshare published an article in April, based on a report by Gretchen Morgansen of The New York Times. It highlighted the plunge in share prices following a series of reports about Diamonds treatment of owners, especially the elderly. It followed the story of a 77 year old lady called Mary Ann Gutierrez, she was subjected to an intense presentation by Diamond reps and basically held captive for around 5 hours, It was an attempt to upgrade her for a steep upfront fee, even though she had firmly told them no she was not interested.

 

The article also highlighted how Diamond hike up the maintenance fees after it buys a bankrupt resort. European owners are well aware of this themselves, after all they did see huge rises when Diamond took over from Sunterra around ten years ago. We are also well aware of how they make it virtually impossible to get out of the contracts. For those who purchased in Spain there is at least hope that these contracts can be declared “Null & Void”, also resulting in all the original payments being given back. All this has been made possible due to the strengthening of the laws in Spain, and the rulings of the Supreme Court, these can be found on the Canarian Legal Alliance website. (see following links).

 

http://insidetimeshare.com/diamond-resorts-international-share-price-falling/

 

http://www.canarianlegalalliance.com/diamond-resorts-court-case-victory-2/

 

If you have any questions as to how this may affect you, contact Inside Timeshare and we will try to find the answers for you. If you would like to know where you stand as far as making a claim or how to get out of your contract Inside Timeshare will be happy to give you the best advice and information possible.

 

thoughts

My Thoughts Today End of June

So here we are the end of another month and half way through the year, and what a month it´s been. More rulings from the Supreme Court, more clients awarded substantial amounts and even more cases in the pipeline.

 

The article published 13 June 2016, regarding maintenance arrears and debt collectors has had a great response. Lots of support for the plight of Mrs B, including some personal messages from some legal eagles on how to help her, for that Inside Timeshare is grateful.

 

So far there has been no contact from Network Credit Services, even though they gave her a final notice to pay up within 7 days. Since then she has had her phone connected to BT Call Guardian, so she can block any unwanted calls. Having spoken with her today she is in good spirits especially after giving her the news of support coming in from many different quarters.

debt collectors

On the point of timeshare companies actually going to court for maintenance arrears, Inside Timeshare has been advised from a reliable source that one company has indeed done so. The owner actually had court officials knocking on his door to enforce the order to pay Anfi the arrears. We are waiting for written confirmation of this. Again are these companies by-passing the Spanish legal system to enforce payments, due to the fact that under Spanish law those contracts are illegal and unenforceable? Is it a case that the courts in the UK need to get a grip and realise what is going on?

 

There is still no news from the courts regarding the RCI Action, being brought by Edwin Coe LLP. As stated before the wheels of the law do move at a rather slow pace, but when we find out we will let you know.

 

On 14 June 2016, the spoof article on the new member to the blog writers trade association was published, it was fun to write and certainly made people laugh. But underlying the article was a very important point, this has been borne out by some of the comments received. It was very surprising to find how many people actually agreed with it. Yes it was scathing, but that was point. A trade body set up to regulate an industry should do just that, not allow its members to do as they wish and ignore the laws that are in place to protect the consumer.

 

The TCA also published an article about Silverpoint Vacations (an RDO member), losing at the courts in Tenerife. The full translation of the document shows the case was another to do with the perpetuity contract being illegal. In their article the TCA do state which company brought the case on behalf of the client. But it does show the courts are finding on behalf of the consumer.

 

Also this month we have highlighted a company which is stating they can claim against the timeshare companies. From the many enquiries received and the information given by those who have attended meetings, our first impressions have been found correct. Again this goes to show that in-depth research is required in order to safeguard yourself.

on holiday 2

The summer holiday season is also now upon us, for those travelling to Europe, the only advice is beware the ticket touts. Remember if you do decide to purchase anything such as timeshare or one of the numerous holiday clubs, it is illegal to take any payments within the 14 DAY COOLING OFF PERIOD. Do your due diligence, if it sounds too good to be true, alarm bells should ring. If you are unsure, then don’t sign. Happy holidays.

victory2

Victory Number 11

here we go again

Last week 17 June 2016 Canarian Legal Alliance announced that it had just achieved another ruling at the Supreme Court. This now brings the total in just over a year to Eleven, with from what I have been told many more in the pipeline.

 

In this particular case, the court ruled as before on the precedent it previously set, that any contract sold in Spain which is longer than 50 years, is illegal according to the law 42/1998. In this case the English client will receive 11,000€, and their contract with Anfi cancelled. As usual the legal fees will probably have been awarded as well, although this was not mentioned. (But in all previous rulings this was the case).

 

This can only bode well for other firms who are now taking up the challenge of representing timeshare owners, as before this it was very hit and miss. Many firms would not risk the task, as the odds tended to be in the favour of the timeshare companies. It may have been due to the complexity of the timeshare laws and the fact very few had the knowledge or experience to represent the owners.

 

It would seem then that the tide has really turned in the favour of the consumers, rather than the companies, who in the past believed they were above the law. When these case are brought by other firms, Inside Timeshare will publish the results. So watch this space.

 

So again congratulations to this particular client and the legal team who must have worked hard to achieve this result.

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If you have any questions about this or any of the articles published contact Inside Timeshare for free and impartial information.

scam keyboard

Another Warning to Timeshare Owners

It has just come to the attention of Inside Timeshare of yet another bogus company. This has come from Citizens Advice Bureau Spain

and can be found at the following link.

http://citizensadvice.org.es/yet-another-timeshare-scam/

It concerns a company cold calling timeshare owners going by the name of Malaga International Services, claiming to be translators for the Malaga Courts. The call comes from a Grace Stead, who claims that a substantial amount has been awarded by the courts to timeshare owners. They claim this follows a case in which their timeshare company has been prosecuted for fraud and found guilty. In order to claim this money, the person needs to deposit 10% of the awarded amount into a bank account, in order to pay the courts, then the money will be released.

Beware this is not how the courts or the system operates, if you have not instigated any legal proceedings yourself, or if you have not been informed by any official channels then there is no money being awarded.

Luckily the lady who received this call was advised by her husband to contact Citizens Advice Bureau Spain, before she went to the bank.

Further information will be forthcoming about this, I am waiting for information from this organisation who do have the telephone numbers and bank account details. Watch this space.

If you have had any calls such as this by this company or any other Inside Timeshare would like to hear from you. We will look into it for you and publish our findings to warn others.

advice1

Going to a Meeting? Best Advice.

Over the past week Inside Timeshare has had enquiries from many people about various companies they have been to see. The one theme that has been the same is the fact these meetings have been very intense, all have commented it felt like when they first bought timeshare. Must have a decision on the day, it has to be today or it will be too late.

 

They have also handed over their original documents, then once home they start to have doubts about what has happened, This is when they start to look on the web, and the realisation hits them that they may just have been conned again.

sales meeting

In one case the client even tried to stop the credit card transaction the following day, but the credit card company told them they should give this particular firm a year to see if they would deliver what was promised. This in itself is totally wrong, surely if you have doubts and report it to your bank, especially the following day, they should be on your side. After all it is preventing a possible fraud. The banks do say if you think any transaction may be fraudulent contact us to stop the payment.

 

Also in all the cases the client has handed over all the original documents, this now presents a problem. How do you get them back if you have found information that makes you change your mind about the company you have just met?

 

In most cases they are gone for good, then when you do find a genuine firm you no longer have the paperwork and they can’t then do anything for you.

 

The only advice that Inside Timeshare can give is never take the originals with you, never pay anything until you are certain you are dealing with a genuine company. Also beware the “No Win No Fee” offers, they are the enticers and usually end up with a demand for some kind of payment. Any payment you do make should also be made on a Credit Card, not a bank transfer, cheque or even debit card. Using a credit card you are then protected by the Credit Consumer Act 1974 Section 75.

 

Any genuine and trustworthy company will accept your decision to go away and think about it, make a payment later and then send the documents. Also, always keep copies yourself. Just remember how you were sold timeshare in the first place, today, today, today, pressure, pressure and more pressure.

tspresent

 

Think, research and be sure before you go, then once there, think, check and be sure before committing.

 

If you need any help in researching any company that has either contacted you or you have found, Inside Timeshare is here to help. Contact using the comments section with the company details and we will be in touch by email with any information we find. Have a good weekend

Mark of excellence

A New Member to EGTBW

Inside Timeshare is proud to announce that it has been invited to become a member of the prestigious trade body EGTBW. This is the European Guild of Timeshare Blog Writers, it is affiliated to the IATBWG, the International Association of Timeshare Blog Writers Guilds.

 

Becoming a member means that Inside Timeshare must adhere to the Code of Conduct and Ethics of this Organisation.

 

  1. Members must not attack, make detrimental comments or otherwise demean any organisation that is a member or affiliated to EGTBW or IATBWG.
  2. Members must adhere to the laws of the EU, or the country of registration. Unless they can get away with it.
  3. The EGTBW and IATBWG will not mediate in any dispute between a member and non-members.
  4. If any organisation or entity has a complaint about a member of this organisation it must be taken directly to the member concerned.
  5. Any member may lie or spread false information about any non-member, citing freedom of speech and expression.
  6. If any action is taken against a member, both organisations will fully support that member, no matter what it has done wrong.
  7. Members may display both the EGTBW and IATBWG logos on all promotional material, correspondence and websites.

This Logo is a sign of quality and is a kite mark of excellence.

 

So there we have it Inside Timeshare has paid its £20,000 a year membership fee for the full protection and backup of these prestigious organisations. It now means we can do what the hell we like, so there!

 

If this was not a joke it would be farcical but unfortunately this is all too real in timeshare. On a daily basis we see owners and members being treated in the most disrespectful manner, we have also seen numerous court cases against the timeshare industry for breaking legislation.

 

There is an organisation that is supposed to be the trade body of this industry The RDO, but it is its own members that are breaking the rules. What do they do about it? Not a sausage.

rdo-logo

This organisations own code of conduct states that members should adhere to any legislation and laws regarding the sale of timeshare. Yet we see illegal contracts still being sold, deposits being taken on the day, all in breach of EU Directives which are supposed to be in each member state’s laws.

Keep Reading

debt

Maintenance Arrears and Debt Collectors.

Further to Fridays Article 10 June 2016, Inside Timeshare has been doing a little digging. The TCA published a list in August 2015 of timeshare companies that have threatened legal action to force payment of the maintenance fees. The first part of the list are those that have threatened legal action using either debt collectors or solicitors, in some cases even bogus lawyers.

tca logo

The above companies have made the threats, but as far as can be ascertained have never actually taken any case to court.

The following companies have taken legal action but what the success rate has been is at present unknown.

So where do you the owners actually stand?

Keep Reading

invest

TCA Highlight Silverpoint Preying on the Vulnerable.

The TCA yesterday 8 June 2016, published an article regarding how Silverpoint (Resort Properties) may be taking advantage of existing members who they know are in a vulnerable position.

tca logo

The TCA have received a letter from a couple who outlined their dealings with Silverpoint. The couple are retired and care for a daughter who is severely disabled, what follows is in my mind just disgusting.

 

The sales rep on finding this out called in his manager, he offered them a “FAVOUR”. They were offered an Investment, which is illegal in the selling of timeshare. This favour was to spend another sum around £10,000 on a one week unit of timeshare, this unit would then be rented out in 2015 by Silverpoint on their behalf in 2015 for £800.

silverpointlogo

 

 

 

After this Silverpoint promised to refund the £10,000 as they would then sell it on. When they returned in 2014 they were told this was not then possible and were convinced to trade it in for another resort The Club Paradiso They have now “invested” around £30,000 for timeshare units they can not afford.

 

This particular practice has been going on for many years and there have been many cases upheld in the courts. This particular practice was highlighted in a blog called mindtimeshare the truth by a Mrs Wilson, who had also been taken in by the sales pitch.

 

Please be aware that timeshare does not increase in value and any promise that you will either get your “investment” back or even make a profit is false, it is also against the EU Timeshare Directives. The courts in Spain are very aware of this practice and are now ruling very much in the client’s favour.

 

It is also disappointing that as Silverpoint are also TATOC and RDO members that this has not been stopped. Is it because this company is one of the main contributors of funds to these organisations. After all TATOC should be looking after the interests of the owners and the RDO should be ensuring that its members play according to the rules and the law.

 

tatoc logordo-logo

For the full story follow the link to the TCA and also Mrs Wilson’s blog.

 

http://www.timeshareconsumerassociation.org.uk/2016/06/08/is-silverpoint-preying-on-the-vulnerable/

 

http://www.mindtimesharetruth.com/

 

If you have had any dealings such as this Inside Timeshare would like to hear from you, if you require any information as to how you stand legally we will point you in the right direction.

holidays

Holiday Packs: What Are They?

A question that has been asked is what is a Holiday Pack and is it subject to timeshare laws? There is no simple answer to this, it appears that these are not subject to the regulations set down for timeshare and discount holiday clubs. It would seem that this depends on which company you are dealing with.

 

Many timeshare companies have used packs as a last resort, usually when the client does not want to purchase a timeshare or cannot afford it at that time. These were known as exit packs, many sales staff called them the try before you buy option.

holiday packs

Basically the pack consists of around 5 weeks of holidays which must be used in 36 months. Usually the first two weeks are taken at the resort of purchase, it gives the purchaser a taste of the standards in timeshare resorts. The other weeks can be taken from the inventory available.

The charge for these holiday packs are around the £4000 mark, but again this varies from company to company. This is paid for either on the day, or a deposit is taken and the balance paid on the customer’s return home. As we know, for timeshare or holiday clubs a deposit within the 14 day cooling off period is illegal, so how do these companies get away with it?

Most of the ones I have come across have the duration below 36 months usually 35, this it would seem circumvents the timeshare laws. Also these are holidays paid for in advance and can be booked at anytime within the period specified. So in effect, the company can claim they are acting as a travel agent thereby they do not come within the scope of the timeshare directives.

 

It must also be noted that in many instances these holidays come with the provision of attending a sales presentation. In other words the opportunity to sell you another product.

 

As far as cost is concerned, you must also take into account that the price is for accommodation only, you still have to add the cost of flights and then what it will cost in meals and drinks. So they may not actually be cost effective for everyone. Granted, most timeshare resorts are of a higher standard than many offered by high street travel agents. But today with the internet, you may find the same resorts offered by online booking companies at a cheaper price, some tour operators such as Thomson/Tui also have deals with many of these resorts.

travel-agency-clipart

So it pays to do your homework, unfortunately this may not be possible while on holiday. Many of these offers of holiday packs follow the old timeshare system of only available on the day. The only advice is if you don´t feel right don’t buy.

 

If you have purchased one of these holiday packs Inside Timeshare would like to share your experiences with other readers, whether it be good or bad. In This way others will get the information they need to make decisions to buy or not to buy.

 

strike2

Breaking News: Its A Strike!

Well, well, well, they just seem to keep on coming, it was announced yesterday, 7 June 2016 by CLA of yet another judgement by the Spanish Supreme Court.

victory2

This now brings the number made to an incredible TEN, with apparently many more waiting to be heard. The latest ruling is again against Anfi, this time the client is English. In this ruling the court once again reaffirmed that Floating Weeks are illegal, also reaffirming their previous rulings that contracts in Perpetuity are also illegal.

 

The court has awarded them over 20,000€ plus all legal expenses.

 

Yet another blow to the timeshare industry, and they still believe that these ruling are wrong. How many more will it take for them to realise that the game is up, that they should now put their house in order and start playing by the rules. It is only a matter of time before other States in the EU implement the same rulings. Once this happens we will see cases being brought for timeshares not sold in Spain.

 

Once again congratulations to this particular client and well done the Legal team at CLA.

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If you require any information, or have any comments Inside Timeshare would like to hear from you, if we don’t know the answer we will find it.

 

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