Browse Month

May 2017

debt 1

Timeshare Debt: A Growing Problem

Many people have found themselves in financial difficulty due to huge finance agreements sold to them by the timeshare sales staff and the ever increasing maintenance payments. Usually this is down to a change in circumstances, either from illness, loss of a job or a change in jobs resulting in a severe cut in wages.

Some who are in arrears in maintenance have to this stage because they have listened to bad advice, “Just don’t bother paying they won’t do anything, that’s what I did”. Others because they believed their timeshare had been transferred by a company they paid, only to find that either the timeshare resort does not recognise the transfer or it was never done.

Those who were taken in by Incentive Leisure Group and Designer Way Vacation Club are all too familiar with this scenario.

Timeshare companies will sell the debt to a collecting agency, they will hound you and threaten court action, which is why many end up paying it.

In this article from Irene Parker she explains the problems in the US, it may just sound very familiar to our readers in the UK.

Timeshare Debt Collection

Life after Foreclosure

foreclosure

By Irene Parker

May 30, 2017

The flood of Inside Timeshare reader responses concerning timeshares and what to do when your resort denies your release, request for refund, or loan cancellation has been eye-opening. We have heard from a surprising number of timeshare members in their 60s and 70s with high US credit scores around 800 considering foreclosure for the first time in their life.

Out of 58 formal complaints and request for relinquishments filed in the US and EU, 42 allege they were victims of deceit and bait and switch. The remaining 16 requested relinquishment. Voluntary surrenders or “take back” programs are evaluated case by case. Some of the 42 members were offered surrenders but could not tolerate the non-disclosure agreement, especially the clause that states the member cannot say anything negative about the company. They wanted refunds if they felt they were deceived or a victim of a bait and switch.

We should not harp on the elderly being targeted. At least a third of the approximately 80 timeshare members who have contacted Inside Timeshare are 40 years old or younger. The youngest was 19 and pregnant when she signed a timeshare contract after a six hour presentation.

Continuing on after the 3Rs or F of timeshare we previously reported on –

Resolution

Relinquishment

Refund

Foreclosure

http://insidetimeshare.com/3-rs-timeshare-part-1/

We move on to the cheerful calls from the debt collectors and what happens during the foreclosure period. The shortest timeshare debt collection period seems to be 60 to 90 days and the longest 180 days. If a timeshare company is worried about reporting a high default rate to the investment community, one way to lower that statistic is by lengthening the debt collection period.

It’s been surprising to learn how many of those in timeshare trouble are financing a vacation at a 12% to 19% interest rate. The emphasis in a sales presentation is on the low monthly payment. If someone does think to ask, “At what interest rate?” typically the answer is, as in the sales presentation I attended, “Don’t worry, when you get home you can get a home equity loan.”

An instant credit card is often used to finance the timeshare down payment. When you buy a house, there’s a reason why banks won’t let you borrow the down payment. That reason doesn’t go away when you buy a timeshare for $20,000 to sometimes over $100,000, but credit card companies and lending laws have helpfully aided and abetted timeshare lending.

I have come to the conclusion placing credit card applications in the hands of a thousand timeshare sales agents is like sending a thousand three years olds into Toys R Us unsupervised. Inside Timeshare has published several timeshare lending “Nightmare on Timeshare Street” articles. There have been so many it has turned into something of a series authored by our readers.

Once again, I turned to the Finn Law Group Learning Center to better understand timeshare debt collection.

Timeshare attorney Mike Finn agreed with my assessment concerning overzealous timeshare lending cramming third party loans into the deal. “An additional point to be made in this regard is that their efforts are contrary to Federal law (Truth in Lending Act (TILA), which requires the new debtor to receive in writing PRIOR to the loan being funded a written summary disclosure statement summarizing the deal points. This procedure is never ever followed by the timeshare industry and why the practice is permitted is beyond my grasp.”

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

“Timeshare buyers need to think beyond the down payment and loan payments. “Maintenance fee rates may far exceed the annualized cost of inflation,” Mike added.

“To make matters worse, resorts sometimes categorize timeshare loans as “mortgages”.” What this means is that if you stop making payments on your loan, it may be reported to the credit bureaus as a mortgage foreclosure. Many resorts try to pick the category that does the most damage to the consumer.

Finn Law Group helped timeshare owners settle a class action lawsuit against Bluegreen Corporation. Experian Information Solutions, Inc., and Equifax Information Services, LLC in Best and Snapp, et al. v. Bluegreen Corp., et al.

The plaintiffs alleged that when they were delinquent, Bluegreen sent a series of letters advising them that they were terminated from the Bluegreen Vacation Club and the status of their accounts may be reported as foreclosures to the credit agencies in violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act and Florida debt collection laws. While the companies did not admit liability, the more harmful “foreclosure” category was deleted from over 11,000 individuals’ credit reports, replaced with the less damaging “settled for less”.

First and foremost, avoid timeshare transfer agents offering a “guaranteed” release in exchange for an upfront fee which can easily run into the thousands. Our previous interview interviewing an HOA Collection agent tells why.

http://insidetimeshare.com/timeshare-hoa-collections-agent-shares-experience/

Consumers need to be wary of television celebrities like popular financial expert Dave Ramsey, paid to endorse timeshare transfer companies with lofty sounding names. Some of these transfer agents may be legitimate, but heed the warning of our HOA collection agent above. Lisa Ann Schreier, author of Timeshare for Dummies, also explains why:

http://thetimesharecrusader.blogspot.com/2016/11/an-open-letter-to-dave-ramsey-and-laura.html

According to Mike Finn, bankruptcy is a worst case solution.

http://www.finnlawgroup.com/learning-center/mortgage-after-bankruptcy-timeshare

“Timeshare consumers can face a steep financial burden which can lead to a ruined credit score, and, in some cases, the need to file for bankruptcy. For more on the complexities of what happens to your timeshare and timeshare debt in bankruptcy, we encourage you to read on over at NOLO or The Bankruptcy Site,” said Mike.

http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/can-timeshare-be-foreclosed-nonpayment-fees-assessments.html

“Failure to pay timeshare loans before bankruptcy can be reported to credit bureaus as delinquencies or even foreclosures, both of which can negatively impact your credit and make it extremely difficult to secure the 580 credit score that the FHA requires for its low down payment advantage.”

So if you are in this situation, what’s next? What can I do to save my credit score?

chains

Sun Trust Bank offers these words of hope and encouragement

http://www.bankrate.com/finance/real-estate/debt-collector-demands-huge-fees-on-past-due-time-share.aspx

“Now, if you were deceived or otherwise legally abused in the purchase, you can file a complaint against the seller. Each state has a different process so you’ll have to contact your state’s attorney general to determine the jurisdiction. Have a narrative of your complaint and a copy of your contract when filing. The agency will contact you if it finds a valid violation of real estate statutes (or sometimes banking statutes), especially if it involves deceptive sales practices. Collectors must legally back off in such under-dispute cases, though many don’t.”

“By the way, consumer complaints about abusive debt collectors have nearly tripled in less than a decade, according to the Federal Trade Commission. They’re exceeded only by identity-theft cases, says the FTC, which has sued about 200 collection companies since 2010. Many have been banned from doing business. “

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau offers this helpful advice concerning what a debt collector can and cannot do.

https://www.consumerfinance.gov/askcfpb/329/are-there-laws-that-limit-what-debt-collectors-can-say-or-do.html

consumer

Our Advocates are here for you if you are concerned about your timeshare. By accumulating a volume of timeshare accountings, we can better recognize patterns of deceptive and predatory lending practices. The following Facebook was launched by Diamond Resorts members working with the company to resolve member issues.

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

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

Inside Timeshare thanks Irene for this insight into the problems of debt and also Mike Finn if the Finn Law Group for his legal contribution.

As for the goings on at Los Claveles, there is at present no confirmed news about Carol Parkinson the Owners Committee President, when we get confirmation of what is happening we will publish here.

If you have any comments about any article published we would like to hear from you, your contributions are welcome. Also if you require any information about any company that you have had contact with, but are unsure how to check them, Inside Timeshare will point you in the right direction.

fooled

Anfi SGM: What Are They Up To?

Information has been passed to Inside Timeshare from 3 sources which we have agreed not to identify, that Anfi Sales SL has called for a Special General Meeting in Gran Canaria on 23 June 2017.

This will affect the following clubs which are affected by the Supreme Court rulings: Anfi Beach Club; Club Puerto Anfi and Club Monte Anfi.

At this meeting there will be three resolutions for members to vote on:

Resolution 1: To establish occupancy periods for a maximum of 50 years duration, with an option for further recurring occupancy periods of 50 years.

Resolution 2: To limit the duration of the Timeshare Scheme to a maximum of 50 years.

Resolution 3: Total change of the Timeshare Scheme to adapt to Spanish Act 4/2012.

As far as the law 42/98 is concerned it stated that no contract was to be for more than 50 years:

“all pre-existing schemes shall have a maximum duration of 50 years which shall be calculated from 15 December 1998, unless they have a shorter lifetime or their continuance has been expressly confirmed in a relevant public deed of adaptation to be for an indefinite or a specific period of time”.

Anfi claim that theirs is covered by the “Deed of Adaptation” which was granted to them in October 2000. But from our reading of this the word “Existing” is those sold before the enforcement of the 42/98 law. Any contract sold after that date should have been in accordance to the relevant law and be no more than 50 years.

This is exactly how the Supreme Court has seen it and ruled upon.

Now according to Resolution 1, the termination of the first period of 50 years is to be week 52/2048, as the timeshare law 42/98 was passed in December 1998.

So this now begs the question if you only purchased say in 2010, then surely your 50 years should be ending in 2060 not 2048?

So this brings us to Resolution 2.

The timeshare scheme shall have a maximum period of occupancy of 50 years, now the end date to this is week 52/2048. All the club members existing at that time will automatically stop holding rights of occupancy. The rights will revert back to the founding member.

Again, the question needs to be asked what if you purchased years after 1998, say in 2010, does that mean you will lose 12 years of what you paid for?

Also under resolution 2, the termination of the contract will not entitle any member from receiving any consideration or amount from the company (Anfi Sales SL), the management company, Anfi Resorts SL or the club.

Resolution 3, is a vote on the adaptation to law 4/2012, where schemes must be in the form of Rotational Enjoyment Rights, with a maximum 50 years duration. Under this scheme it reverts to the original fixed week fixed apartment system.

In this resolution every current member will receive a number of Rotational Rights equal to the number of membership certificates that they hold. Members will also cease to hold the right of use of apartments through the club and the trustee, they will hold directly a Rotational Enjoyment Right.

The majorities for the resolutions to be passed are:

  • Resolution 1, 75% of all votes cast.
  • Resolution 2; 80% of all membership certificates.
  • Resolution 3, 80% of all membership certificates.

There is also another question that is being posed by resolution 3, are there enough of these fixed weeks and fixed apartments to go around the number of members, due to the floating weeks and points systems?

This does all look very confusing, it makes you wonder how the members, which are made up of many nationalities will be able to decide on how to vote and which one to vote on. This also looks like a way that Anfi is trying to get around the current wave of litigation it is experiencing and losing in the courts

It must be remembered that Anfi have always denied any wrongdoing, that all their contracts were legal and all the claims made about litigation were bogus. By coming up with these resolutions it looks to me they are actually admitting they were wrong, as the old saying goes “closing the stable door after the horse has bolted”,

And the reader might ask why this and why now? All this also comes as a direct result of Supreme Court rulings against the timeshare company which were won by the law firm Canarian Legal Alliance, who are specialists in timeshare claims. These rulings set groundbreaking precedents to protect timeshare consumers, with many receiving back their purchase price and having the contracts declared null & void.

Another company Holiday Club also tried the same thing, changing contracts in order to avoid litigation. That didn’t work either, the courts are not stupid. One has to wonder how many how many others have done the same so you are then unable to get back what is rightfully yours?

Again, there is a very good question that must be asked, how can the majority vote decide on the individual terms of contracts?

Each of you signed the contracts without knowing the fact that your contracts were essentially illegal, why should the you vote and protect Anfi?

They are not protecting you the members, they are protecting themselves, they know what they have done and are coercing you into saving them from past wrongdoing, a fact which they have always denied.

Inside Timeshare has followed the Anfi story for a long time, publishing many articles on them and the history of conflict between the partners, the many court battles and most recently the debacle over the Anfi Tauro Beach Project. That story is not over yet.

In the end the only losers in this will be the members.

I would suggest that you do not reply to this convocatory, and definitely do not sign it accepting the changes. You should ask yourself if this benefits You or Anfi… You can guess on what I think….

DO NOT REPLY TO IT, DO NOT SIGN, DO NOT PROTECT ANFI.

Below is the letter sent out by Anfi to members

Resolutions 2017 SGM CPA (1) (1)

QAs SGM 2017 ALL (2) (1)

The Great ANFI Battle of the Partners.

Irregularities in Anfi Tauro Beach Project

 

important news

Horror Weekend at Los Claveles

los claveles logo

Over the past week Inside Timeshare has been running the story of the diabolical goings at Los Claveles in Tenerife, things have now escalated to a new level. Carol Parkinson aged 71, was at the resort speaking with another owner at the pool bar, 4 Police officers, one can only guess they were from Policia National, they proceeded to arrest her. This appears to have been orchestrated by the so-called management company Ona Group.

At 1:52pm on Saturday 27 May, Inside timeshare received the following from the Club Chairman Albert Fletcher:

Dear CHARLES

We have a situation.  Carol Parkinson the Club President has been arrested on the Resort by 4 police officers.  She is at the Adeje national Police Station.  She is waiting for an interpreter.  She is accused of Criminal damage but has no idea of what they are talking about.  On Thursday she was assaulted by an Onagrup employee and had a bruise on her arm.  She attended the hospital and made a complaint to the police.  We think that an accusation has been made to get there own back.

Our solicitor is not answering his phone being a week end.  They are threatening to keep Carol locked up until Monday,  why we do not know.

She is in desperate need of an English speaking solicitor at the Police Station.  Can you help with finding one at short notice?

Thanks

Albert

Sent from my iPad

This is a very disturbing turn of events, it is a very severe escalation of the battle going on for control of this resort which is governed by the Owners Committee on behalf of all the members and owners. This is in accordance with communidad rules and the constitution of the club.

The resort for around 25 years was managed by Ivan Pengelly’s company Wimpen, after a management buyout from Wimpy. Los Claveles was a very rare phenomenon in the timeshare industry, being one of the very few where the owners committee worked closely with the management company. In fact there are no known adverse comments or complaints about the resort, which boasted one of the friendliest family atmospheres of any resort in timeshare. As Mac puts it in his email to Inside Timeshare at 5:27pm on 27 May:

Charles,

Onagrup’s dirty business at Los Claveles goes on. The fact that 4 police officers arrived to arrest a 71 year old lady tells us all we need to know what’s going on inside the Spanish establishment on the island. There can be no doubt that it was deliberately done in this way to intimidate her and keep her off the resort.

Pengelly asked owners to trust him over the sale of his business to Onagrup and this is what it has come to. It’s shameful, and he is responsible. He is the President and everything that his Administrator does is in his name. It is a spectacular fall from grace for someone who once had a clean reputation in the timeshare industry.

Regards,

Mac

Sent from my iPad

As we can see from Mac’s message, Ivan Pengelly is still President of the company and the Administrator does everything in his name. We have to wonder how Pengelly must be feeling now, especially as he asked the owners and members to trust him when he sold to the Ona Group, promising that everything would be alright and nothing would change. How wrong could he have been,from one of the most respected reputations in the timeshare industry to one that is now amongst the worst. What a fall from grace!

Ivan Pengelly
Ivan Pengelly in his glory days!

At 16:02pm 27 May the news came in of why Carol had been arrested, it also informs us that on the previous day she was again assaulted by Ona Group staff, taken to hospital and then made a complaint to the police. We can only guess and to be perfectly honest we are probably right that the Ona Group used this and the weekend to counter attack, knowing that she would get no help. In Spain the police can hold a person for 72 hours.

Following is the message Albert sent out:

Begin forwarded message:

From: Albert Fletcher <albertejfletcher@msn.com>

Date: 27 May 2017 at 16:02:23 BST

To: (Various recipients removed by Inside Timeshare)

Subject: Carol

Dear Friends,

Carol was arrested by 4 police officers around lunch time today.  She was sitting at the pool bar talking to Graham Holland.  It appears the charge is Criminal damage or assault.

Carol was assaulted on Friday by a man in reception.  She had a bruise on her arm.  She had great difficulty in reporting the incident to the police who sent her to the hospital.  Problems arose and the hospital examination failed and therefore the complaint was never recorded.

This is obviously A false complaint to hide the attack on Carol.  The Police have not taken a statement and the solicitor who was with Carol at the police station advised her to say nothing.

After threatening to keep Carol locked up until Monday they released her on conditional bail, including reporting and keeping away from Los Claveles.  Carol has to attend Court on Monday at 10.00 am.  Carol has not been given details of the allegations other that she has damaged someone’s glasses costing €1,300.  Carol does not know anything about this.

Hiro and other solicitors all have their phones switched off for the week-end and offices are closed.  This was a well timed complaint to the police designed to cause distress and keep Carol off the Resort.  Carol has a witness to the attack on her who will be at Court. Alex is assisting as best he can.

Albert

At least some of the news was good, Carol would not have to spend the weekend in what we know are disgusting conditions of the holding cells.

Looking at Albert’s last email, it is clear this is a total fabrication by Ona Group in their campaign to destroy what was once a thriving club. Anyone in their right mind should be able to see through this, a 71 year old lady with an impeccable reputation being accused of “criminal damage or assault”, is ludicrous at the very least

Inside Timeshare urges anyone who knows an English speaking Lawyer in Tenerife and is in Tenerife to contact Albert, your help is needed. Inside Timeshare has tried, but the weekend is notorious for making contact.

We also ask that all readers share this post on facebook and other social media, and as Irene Parker, Inside Timeshares US partner says:

Will keep them in our prayers

Total thugs

Doesn’t anyone in law enforcement see through this?

Irene.

To Carol and all the committee and members at Los Claveles, you are not alone. Inside Timeshare will keep publishing your news and we all hope that someone within the National Police comes to their senses and puts a stop to the thuggery of the Ona Group. To Ivan Pengelly, we say shame on you, it would seem you were bought off, reputation is worth more, you have destroyed yours.

 

letter from america

Friday’s Letter From America

Welcome to this week’s Letter From America, and what a week it has been, Irene Parker has been kept busy with the Diamond Advocacy work, as well as being slave to writing for Inside Timeshare. Keep it coming Irene!

There have been some great results for some of those the advocacy team are working for, in one case thanks to the publishing of one article Diamond reached out to a family and resolved the problem. This was even before they had lodged a complaint, so it does show that they are watching what we publish and that your voices are being heard.

Irene also confirmed that another family have had a successful resolution, we are unable to publish the details as they are subject to a non disclosure agreement. But Inside Timeshare will give credit where credit is due and say well done to Diamond Resorts International, As we often say, take notice of your members and you will prosper as a company.

Back over this side of the great lake, we have been publishing a very disturbing story about Los Claveles. The news coming in is some of the worst that I have personally ever heard, elderly people being forcibly removed from their apartments, being forcibly prevented from lawfully entering their apartments and the resort.

los claveles logo

The President of the Owners Committee, who is I believe 70 herself, has been subject to verbal and physical abuse, ( the verbal being threats of sexual abuse). All this by staff and security of the Ona Group. Long standing staff and resort manager have been sacked and replaced by Ona Groups own personnel, even though their contract to manage the resort on behalf of the owners has ended. If this is not criminal behaviour, what is?

We will be keeping you upto date on any developments as they come in, Inside Timeshare has promised to keep this story in the public eye.

That group of groundbreaking lawyers are at it again, Canarian Legal Alliance has published the results of another two victories this week, there are more but until they publish them we cannot.

The first was on Monday 22 May, in this case it was Holiday Club in Gran Canaria. The Court of First Instance No1 in Maspalomas, ordered that the contracts be declared null & void due to various infringements of the timeshare law. They also ordered that as they also had taken deposits within the cooling off period, which is forbidden, they would have to pay back DOUBLE the amount received. The client in this instance will receive back over 36,000€.

In the second case, Silverpoint have been ordered to return to the German clients over 24,000€ plus legal interest. The contract was also declared null & void.

The judge of the Court of First Instance No3 in Arona, Tenerife, found various infringements in the contract, and found that the documents were indeed illegal. This is another blow for this particular company, who have been the subject of many years of legal battles, clients are now seeing justice thanks to the rulings of the Supreme Court.

Now to this Friday’s Letter From America, this article by Irene was first published in 2016, due to the problems of the Los Claveles owners, she thought it would be appropriate to re-publish it, in support of these beleaguered owners.

The Mafia Owns my Timeshare?

How to take back your holiday or vacation

al capone

By Irene Parker

May 26, 2017

Inside Timeshare first published this true story in 2016. Given the shocking timeshare battle between the original owners of Los Claveles and the Ona Group taking place in Spain, we thought this would be a good time to publish it again in a show of support for our timeshare brothers and sisters. Here in America we are no strangers to fights over HOA (Home Ownership Associations, Club Committees, (IT comment))  timeshare board control.

Retired Officer Douglas Goldie’s letter brought back memories of our story, especially in reference to divided loyalties between timeshare owners and timeshare developers, except our owner and knight was a state representative.

It all started when I started to pitch the invitation to the annual meeting of Holiday Shores in the trash bin when I happened to read something to this effect:

You are invited to attend the annual meeting for Holiday Shores. Please consider attending or your week will be auctioned off on the steps of the Sheriff’s office on Tuesday at 3:30 PM.

It was the first and last timeshare annual meeting we ever attended.

Here’s what happened

One day, in 1984, my fiancée told me he bought a timeshare called Holiday Shores.  Little did he know it was owned by the Mafia.  Holiday Shores is located in the Missouri Ozarks and was a popular vacation spot for the Mafia.

Needless to say, we attended. There was not enough room for all of us at the scheduled location, so we all moved to the church where we managed to get a seat in the rafters. The resort’s timeshare attorney started the meeting by dramatically rolling out a scroll that flew out about 20 feet as he explained the Bennett family of New York was putting a lien on the property as the construction company had not been paid by the resort owners. Somehow the resort discovered the owners of the resort and the owners of the construction company were cousins.    

Fortunately for us, Jim Marshall of Marshall Missouri was an owner and a state representative. The story has a happy ending because, thanks to Mr. Marshall, and the efforts of the timeshare owners sticking together, our timeshare was taken back and the resort lived happily ever after. It’s still there.

The moral of the story is that owners can make a difference.

Richard Rohr in his book, Immortal Diamond, talks about Swiss psychiatrist C. G. Jung and how he feared the manipulation, violation, and “annulment” of the human personality. Although Jung was often critical of Christianity, his comment parallels Pope John Paul the II when he described “rigid capitalism” as when capitalism becomes destructive, denying many of the essentials of humanness.

Battles like the one taking place at Los Claveles and at various resorts in America and Canada are really about greed. Ever an optimist, Inside Timeshare reaches out not only to timeshare owners, but to timeshare sales agents and developers to come to the table to work out differences. Listen, don’t dictate.

A 90 year old young new friend of mine named Ed said in a Centering Prayer meeting after reading Mr. Rohr’s passage above, “Unity is about Flow. When we are divided we are not “In Synch”. Whether the division is over timeshare control or the political divide at its worst in America, let’s hope both sides of the industry and our country take a deep breath, clean out our ears, and listen.

As I wrote this story, the phone rang with a second positive outcome this week from a timeshare member angry with Diamond Resorts. She happily reported that the issue she and her husband had with Diamond Resorts had been resolved and she knew it would not have happened without the availability and efforts of our Timeshare Advocacy Group.

It’s easy to focus on the negatives, but we must give credit where credit is due. The wheels turn slowly, but they won’t turn at all if no one is listening and no one will listen if timeshare members don’t organize, energize and act to let the people who control our vacation know when the motivation for greed has overpowered human compassion and understanding.

Sometimes timeshare reform feels like this but together progress happens.

hammer

We seek to provide Diamond Resort 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/groups/DiamondResortsOwnersAdvocacy/

Inside Timeshare (Charles & Irene) thank all those who have contributed in this week’s articles, we also thank you all for the comments and support on the Advocacy and Inside Timeshare Facebook pages.

These are your stories and experiences, by sharing them you help others to see they are not alone. Keep contributing and let’s work together to bring some justice to owners and members.

Have a good weekend.

weekend cat

heavy handed

Los Claveles: The Battle Goes On!

We continue the sad tale of the struggle Los Claveles owners are having with Ona Group over their refusal to allow them access to their own apartments, along with forceful removal of owners from the resort, many of whom are elderly. We also reported in the last article about the abuse that Carol Parkinson, who is also elderly, has suffered, both verbally and physically at the hands of Ona Group staff and security.

Carol is the club President and is in Tenerife trying to help owners arriving and unable to lawfully access their apartments, which many have owned for 30 years. She is working tirelessly under difficult conditions to ensure that they have somewhere to stay.

Inside Timeshare has promised the members of the committee and especially the Chairman Albert, that we will publish their letters and inform the world of timeshare. This is also a warning to other owners whose resort management has been taken over by this company. This is what you can expect.

We start with an open letter from Douglas Goldie a long standing owner and a retired Police officer, it is an open letter to all owners.

los claveles logo

CLUB LOS CLAVELES

Open letter from owner Douglas Goldie

24th May 2017

Dear Owner Friends

I just want to reiterate that Avril and I fully support the committee in what they are attempting to do for us.  Like many we sometimes feel frustrated at the speed of progress and the lack of detailed information but we fully appreciate the reasons information is withheld and realise that we are in this for the long game.

We urge you to keep your faith in the committee and continue your support. We have made donations, loans and paid our 2018 fees to the club in advance.  We are not rich by any means but we have no regrets over our actions so far.  We just wish we were in a better position to do more.

As a retired Police officer having completed 30 years’ service upholding the criminal law I think I am qualified to recognise criminal activity in whatever country it originates and if our meagre contributions help bring some justice to this situation then it has been worth it.

I spent a considerable part of my life assisting and supporting victims of crime and that is exactly what we are right now. Please don’t give in to the people trying to take what is ours.  A lost or spoiled holiday would be devastating to us but would be well worth it to see justice done and we truly believe justice will prevail if we stick together and support our committee and helpers.

Please do not pay your fees to people who wish us all harm. To do so would condone and support their criminal activity against all of us including yourselves.  It is obvious they are trying to divide our loyalty. Let’s not let them. Let’s stick together.

Yours sincerely,

Douglas

In this letter Douglas clearly has a valid point, to pay your annual fees to these people gives them credibility, it will also allow them to claim they are right!

In a response to his letter the Chairman of the Owners Committee, Albert Fletcher has issued this statement.

los claveles logo

CLUB LOS CLAVELES

Club Chairman’s Statement, 25th May 2017

on Douglas Goldie’s Open Letter

 

The Committee would like to take this opportunity to thank Douglas Goldie for his letter and for the support he is giving to the Club, plus all the other members who have contacted me and commented expressing their support.  Members should continue to pay their maintenance fees to the Club, not WimPen, and are encouraged to make payment as early as possible.  

Owners have asked who they should believe when they keep getting two different messages about who is in the right. I say once again, WimPen’s management contract ended on the 2nd May, regardless of the outcome of Arbitration.  We are still awaiting the final decisions of Arbitration despite requests for an early resolution in view of the escalation of events for Club owners at Los Claveles.

Onagrup/WimPen never gives you the whole story but sadly has all the ‘aces’ as it holds our assets and is trying to starve us of the funds to fight for what is ours.  You have to make your own minds up about who you believe to be right in this dispute, considering all of the considerable information made available to you from both sides, but bear in mind your committee members are the only ones who have nothing more to gain than other owners, but much more to lose with all we have invested personally.  

If Members are in any doubt about who to pay their maintenance fees to, please do not contact WimPen sales or administration as they are giving out the opposite advice to the Club, despite WimPen having no contractual agreement to invoice Club Members and collect maintenance payments from them.  Club President Carol Parkinson is available to give any further reassurance. Her phone number is  07931 778886 and her email is carol.parkinson@ntlworld.com

albert sign

Albert Fletcher

Chairman, Club Los Claveles

In his letter Albert confirms that Wimpen/OnaGrup no longer has the right of management, their contract ended on 2nd May 2017. He also states that it is the owners / members of the club who have the most to lose. The initial outlay for your weeks and apartments, the years of paying the maintenance fees for them and the prospect of losing the one thing of importance, the sense of community and family that you have all built up over the years.

Wimpen and Ona Group are not the only ones at fault here, the trust company FNTC is also culpable. In January 2016, the following letter was sent to FNTC, it formally raises a complaint, on their refusal to hand over to Hutchinson Trust Company, who the committee employed to replace FNTC. It also highlights their refusal to allow access to the club members database, this is essential if the committee is to inform all members of the situation.

 

CLUB LOS CLAVELES

21 January 2016

Mr Mike Lightfoot

Managing Director

First National Trustee Company Limited

International House

Douglas

Isle of Man

IM2 4RB

Dear Mr Lightfoot,

Official Complaints Procedure

This complaint is directed against Mr Declan Kenny,  Mr Philip Broomhead and the Company (Trustees)

  1. During the many years of employing the Company there has never been an employee attend any General Meeting of the Club or Committee.
  2. There was a very important meeting of the Club, an AGM held in June 2015 that involved the ratification of the Termination of the Management Contract between the Club and Wimpen/Onagrup.  Mr Kenny was expressly asked to send a representative to this meeting and failed to do so.
  3. The Management Contract was terminated at the Committee Meeting held on 31 March 2015.  This was recorded in the minutes and confirmed by letter from me as Chairman on the same day.  Copies of the minutes and letter are with yourselves.  I spoke to Mr Broomhead,  informed him that I had been elected as Chairman and that we had terminated the Management Contract.  In answer to my question Mr Broomhead informed me that as Chairman I would take responsibility for the common Parts.  This is known as “The Development Owners Association” and sometimes referred to as “Comunidad”.  To date, I as Chairman have not been handed the necessary authority to control the Common Parts by FNTC.
  4. During a meeting with Mr Broomhead, in front of the solicitor acting for the Committee, Mr John Hughes, Consultant, Shakespeare Martineau in Birmingham, Mr Broomhead accused myself and Carol Parkinson (a Committee Member) of lying and actively came to the defence of Onagrup/Wimpen.  There was no justification given other than Wimpen/Onagrup had told him a different story.
  1. Mr Kenny met with the Committee on 13 October 2015.  He promised to open an Escrow account and instruct Onagrup/Wimpen to place all monies belonging to the Club into this account.  This he has failed to do.
  2. At the meeting on 13 October Mr Kenny agreed that the contract with Wimpen/Onagrup had been terminated and he would help the Club in any way he could.  Specifically he agreed that if Wimpen/Onagrup continued to prevent proper access for the Committee to the Club Database (Member Register) then he would allow the Committee to use the FNTC Database.  This he did on one occasion but subsequently refused further access.  This will be detailed later.
  3. At the meeting on 13 October Mr Kenny agreed to ensure that the Club took control of the Common Areas (The Development Owners Association) by giving the votes held by FNTC in respect of Escrituras to the Club Chairman.  This was to be used to replace Mr Pengelly (Onagrup employee) as the President.  For information:  The DOA controlled the Club by holding the bank account and employing all Resort staff.  This position also controlled the appointment of an Administrator, a requirement in Spain.  Mr Kenny has subsequently refused to do this.
  4. Rather than support the Club in removing Onagrup/Wimpen as per the Constitution and democratic decisions reached at an AGM Mr Kenny has openly stated that the best thing for the Club is for Wimpen/Onagrup to continue running things.
  5. A meeting was held in Barcelona between myself, representatives from Onagrup and Mr Broomhead.  The meeting was to see if there was a way forward that could be negotiated to bring this situation to a mutually agreed conclusion.  During this meeting I quickly gained the impression that Mr Broomhead was acting more of a Solicitor on behalf of Onagrup than assisting me in any way.  Mr Broomhead interrupted me on several occasions saying that I had no right to discuss issues (an example of this was around the DOA)
  6. On the one occasion that Mr Kenny sent out a mailing for the Committee there were substantial amounts of mail that was returned.  This included:

Gone away 6 years ago

Undelivered not known at this address

We sold our weeks 10 years ago

We have not owned at Los Claveles for many years

 This will of course mean that many legitimate members were not contacted at all.

 It is the duty of FNTC to keep accurate Member Records.  This is a falling of FNTC

  1.   Mr Kenny and Mr Broomhead have threatened to call a meeting of the Club without

       the consent of the Committee.  They have threatened to actively support the sending

       out of information on behalf of Wimpen/Onagrup although their services had been

       terminated in order to encourage re-instatment and to undermine the Committee.  

       FNTC have no authority to do this

  1.   Mr Kenny has refused to supply the Club (through me Chairman) address labels                Members so that the Chairman and Committee can communicate directly.
  2. Mr Kenny has refused to supply me, as Chairman and the Committee a list of Members and weeks owned.
  3. Mr Kenny has refused to supply a list of all Cancelled weeks that are the responsibility of the Club Committee.
  4. Mr Kenny has refused to supply documentation to prove the validity of Founder Members.  This should have transferred when FNTC took over the Trusteeship.
  5. FNTC is in breach of the Deed of Trust 1.3 stating that they must accept the decisions conveyed to FNTC by the Chairman without right of challenge.  This has been ignored.  (I as Chairman have been ignored).
  6. As Chairman I called a Special General Meeting of the Club (This took place on 16 January 2016 Minutes will follow shortly).  I sent the papers for the meeting to Onagrup, as they had control of our Member Register and instructed them to be sent out without any delay.  It was some time later than Mr Broomhead emailed me and said that Onagrup will not be sending out the papers as the SGM was illegal.  

Mr Broomhead supported this stance without any authority.  Another example of Mr Broomhead appearing to be working for Onagrup.

  1. Onagrup/Wimpen have refused to pay legitimate Club legal expenses and also Committee Member expenses.  This stance has been supported by Mr Kenny and Mr Broomhead who have said that Onagrup will pay these when I, as Chairman, sign a new contract with Onagrup.  Blackmail on behalf of Onagrup by FNTC obviously working closely together against the interests of the Club, Committee and Committee Members.
  2. On 23 May 2012 an agreement was signed By Mr Pengelly (an Onagroup employee) on behalf of the Club Committee with Hutchinson.  This agreement transferred the Trusteeship from FNTC to Hutchinson.  This contract was a result of an earlier AGM decision and substantial notice being given to FNTC.  The delay in transferring all documentation by FNTC is unacceptable.  As recently as last week I am informed by Hutchinson that Mr Kenny is refusing to accept their calls and enquiries regarding this matter.  It is my belief that this delay is deliberate by FNTC in order for them to continue supporting the activities of Onagrup against the wishes of the Club.  This transfer must take place immediately.

Mr Lightfoot,  unfortunately these points only highlight the main issues.  There are other examples but I believe you have enough to be going on with.  I am enclosing minutes of Committee Meetings held on 31 March, 27 July, 1 September 2015 and 5 January 2016.  You will of course have access to all the emails received by Mr Kenny and Mr Broomhead from myself and Carol Parkinson and their replies.  May I also ask that you look at the emails between  FNTC and Onagrup/Wimpen.  I hope that you will agree to safeguard all the emails in the event they are required by a regulator or Arbiter should this matter require progression.

Thank you for considering this matter

Yours sincerely,

Albert E.J. Fletcher

Chairman

Club Los Claveles

So there we have it, what I believe to be the truth in this sorry tale, it is certainly one of David Versus Goliath.

Inside Timeshare urges all owners or club members not just from Los Claveles, but all timeshare resorts to stand behind them and give whatever support you can. It may be you next!

If any readers know anything about crowd funding, which could help the beleaguered committee to raise the funds to fight this, either contact Inside Timeshare and we will pass it on, or contact the committee members direct.

crowd funding

YOUR SUPPORT IS ESSENTIAL!

 

Los Claveles: Is This a Return to the Bad Days of Timeshare in Tenerife?

Trustees: Independent or Part of the Problem?

mass media

Diamond in the News Again.

Yesterday 23 May 2017, Canarian Legal Alliance announced another sentence passed from the Courts in Tenerife. The company in this instance is Diamond Resorts Tenerife SL, which was the sales company selling Diamond products in Tenerife.

In this judgement two contracts have been declared null & void, the first was a purchase in 2008 which came under the Spanish Timeshare Law 42/98. In this case it breached the law regarding the points system, which like floating weeks has no actual object to the contract.

The second contract was signed in 1998, so the timeshare law could not be applied, although the lawyers from CLA asked for the nullity by the civil code for the lack of object of the contract (points system).

There were also other infringements of the law which were:

  • The contract was in perpetuity;
  • There was a lack of information in the contract;
  • The withdrawal period was missing along with various other points.

In this case the client has been awarded over 28,000€ plus legal interest.

PDF of Court Sentence. (click to open)

20170523103054910

Another case they announced on 22 May, was that Holiday Club Finland (based in Gran Canaria) have been ordered to pay back the client over 36,000€ and the contract declared null & void.

Once again the Court of First Instance at Maspalomas, Gran Canaria, followed the Supreme Court rulings that deposits taken with the cooling off period illegal. In this instance the client had paid almost the whole amount within the 14 day period, the court ordered that to compensate the client the company had to pay back double the amount received.

As this article was being prepared, CLA announced another case from the Tenerife Courts, this was against that old adversary Silverpoint.

The judge in this instance found many infringements in the contract contrary to the timeshare law. Again the contract was declared null & void with the return of over 24,000€ plus legal interest.

It would seem that the lower courts are following what the Supreme Court has laid down to the letter and according to our information there are many cases still waiting to be heard.

Inside Timeshare also issues this warning, there are many firms being set up purporting to be lawyers, using these cases as a basis for duping the unsuspecting. Not every owner has a claim, with many of these dubious companies stating that they do, then all you end up doing is paying a fortune only to find the company then disappears.

If you want to know if you do have a legitimate claim contact Inside Timeshare we can check this for you. If you have been contacted by any company saying that you have a claim or that your timeshare company has been taken to court, found guilty and there is money waiting for you, then let us know before paying any money.

Be informed and stay safe, in the end you will save yourself thousands, as we always say:

homework
Now for another article from across the great lake, once again Diamond are in the frame!

Another Polo Towers Diamond Misadventure!

Not Las Vegas Again!

Result

By Neina Orrillo May 26, 2017  

It’s hard to believe a fun trip to Las Vegas can turn into a financial disaster – all over a vacation plan! After reading David Franks article about his plunge into the abyss of an eternal timeshare sales presentation, I decided to tell my story too, hoping to warn others to beware of the bait! When Diamond Resorts says “STAY VACATIONED!” they mean it in a way not expected.

I ended up at Polo Towers in Las Vegas at the presentation because I was using a “Sampler” package I had previously purchased. My niece had a dance competition so we decided to use the timeshare to stay in Vegas with our family. Since the Sampler is a trial presentation I was told I had to attend a sales presentation.

We listened to a vacation plan that was out of this world. It sounded as if it was too good to be true. It was. I fell for it, but I know I am not alone thanks to our member sponsored Diamond Advocacy Group.

We seek to provide Diamond Resort 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/groups/DiamondResortsOwnersAdvocacy/

We signed up and we are living to regret it. Here is what Diamond sales agent, Janine Viraga, told us:

The timeshare would be tax deductible like mortgage interest, and the deal is so great if she wasn’t already an owner she would take the deal she was offering me.

We would receive a “free” trip but it turned out I had to pay $1000 before I could even book the trip!

I should and could easily get a personal loan like a home equity loan to refinance it to reduce the 14% Diamond interest rate.

The interest rate on what Diamond financed would be no higher than 13.99% when it turned out to be 15.99%.

When I said I wanted to take the offer back to my room and think about it, she told me that if I left before buying then she could not offer me the deal I was getting.

Here is what timeshare buyers should know that I didn’t know:

Know your cancellation period. I was never told of the 5 day cancellation policy.

I didn’t have the money for a down payment so she “talked to her manager” who decided they could put the down payment on the Diamond Barclaycard credit card and finance the rest so double interest charges.

Go to complaint sites and Advocacy sites like our Diamond member sponsored Advocacy Facebook before you buy to see how many complaints there are relative to other timeshare companies. Most car shoppers and home buyers don’t buy the first car or house they see. They comparison shop.   

Learn about availability issues. I have a hard time using the timeshare because everything is always booked. I am a nurse anesthetist, so I am not retired and cannot travel as spontaneously as someone who is retired.

We ended up buying 7,500 points for $29,305 and the balance on our loan is financed at 15.99%. Through our Advocacy Group I learned Diamond is the only major timeshare company that can’t be listed with a member of the Licensed Timeshare Resale Broker Association because the 64 members feel the restrictions Diamond places on the use of points purchased on the secondary market is more restrictive than any of Diamond’s major competitors.

When I contacted Diamond’s Advocacy Department after filing a formal complaint I was told, “Well, you signed the contract.”

I realize now I have joined a growing list of timeshare consumers who know we were sold by deceit, concealment, violation of trust and “bait and switch”.

It’s time timeshare members organize to stop predatory and aggressive timeshare sales and lending.

My Advice:

Consumers need to do their homework and don’t sign anything on the same day!

Stay Strong!

Bullying

Thank you Neina for your contribution, your voice has been added to all the others.

stop press2

As we were about to publish this last piece of news just arrived.

Following Yesterday’s article on “Clarity”,   one families story that was highlighted by Irene Parker,  has had a successful outcome.

 

Your voices are being heard, some of these companies are taking notice. One voice is never heard, but coming together they get louder and stronger.

To those owners at Los Claveles, take heart from this, your voices will be heard above the lies, deceit and bullying of the Ona Group. You have many supporters, all it takes is them coming together.

together 1

us-eu-coop

Clarity: The Quality of Being Coherent and Intelligible.

Yesterday Inside Timeshare highlighted the plight of owners at Los Claveles resort in Tenerife, our US readers have a similar problem with developers attempting to take over resorts. Their problem is the transfer of deeded weeks to points, rather than the heavy handed actions of the Ona Group. We have also seen this in Europe, where the likes of MacDonald Resorts with the tacit approval of the owners committees association TATOC, are attempting to change all fixed week owners to their ridiculous points system. A system which only allows a stay under one condition “SUBJECT TO AVAILABILITY”.

Over the past few months Irene Parker Inside Timeshares partner from across The Great Lake, has been highlighting the problems that Diamond owners are having. One of the main themes has been the downright lies sales agents have been using to sell more and more points to people who obviously cannot afford it. The use of the Diamond BarclayCard is one tactic they have used, with promises that it reduces maintenance fees. Irene has in previous articles shown how this has devastated people’s lives.

Diamond sometime ago rolled out “Clarity”, supposedly to make everything transparent, today’s article from Irene poses the following question:

Is the Diamond Resorts Clarity Program Real?

facts

By Irene Parker

May 23, 2017

My husband and I stayed over two weeks at Diamond Resorts Scottsdale Links and Los Abrigados this past month. Anxious to hear more about Diamond’s Clarity Program, I asked if I could speak with a sales agent to learn more. Unfortunately, my requests at the concierge desk and emails went unheeded. Disappointed, I approached several existing members asking them for their feedback. I had hoped to hear positive stories.

Two of the families I spoke with did not want to go on record, but Faye and Mike Hanrahan from New Jersey shared their experience with me. I probably picked the wrong couple because they are former Monarch owners. Diamond has pursued former Monarch owners to give up their deeded timeshare week in exchange for non-deeded “right-to-use” points. In addition to Monarch, ILX, Intrawest and now Gold Key face the same battle in an attempt to hold onto their deeds.

Here’s what happened at Los Abrigados in Sedona according to Faye and Mike:

We had our sit down. We were told we have no way out of Monarch unless we spend approximately $10,000 for the equivalent of 6,000 Diamond vacation points with either a $1,400 maintenance fee or, if we signed a contract that same day, an $871maintenance fee. After we refused the first sales agent, we were introduced to an agent who said he was an original Monarch owner, but now worked for Apollo, although he had on a Diamond name tag. It was because he was with Apollo he could offer a half price on maintenance fee offer if we signed before leaving the room. Already familiar with timeshare, we knew there is no such opportunity for one owner to have half off the company’s maintenance fee. They offered to help by opening a Diamond Barclaycard for $3,995 put up by Barclays. The deal was to pay $39.95 month for 23 months to buy a “Club Combination for Life” program. After 23 months we were told we could use the $4,000 to buy into Diamond or Barclays will “zero out the debt” having paid a total of $918.85 at the end of 23 months. We of course could continue to use the credit card. Do you have any suggestions for getting rid of this timeshare?

Pressure to give up a deed is a frequent complaint. Once you give up your deed, the Diamond owner is no longer allowed to rent using a third party rental agency or website.

But back to Clarity, which is about accountability, transparency and respect for the customer. In the spirit of fair and balanced reporting, here are some excerpts about Clarity provided by Maya Pogoda, PR spokesperson for Diamond resorts.

Before we begin, I should mention that Inside Timeshare has been hearing from Diamond members on almost a daily basis. The majority of complaints received have been about upsells to existing members, even Platinum members, as per the individuals who reported to us, for the following reasons:

The only way to sell Diamond points is to buy more points because only Platinum members can sell their points.

The only way your heirs don’t have to keep up with maintenance fees is to upgrade to the next loyalty level. One family bought more points for this reason only to be told by the next agent at a subsequent presentation this benefit is already available, as she pointed out in a guidebook.

You should not have bought US Collection points because you won’t be able to book Hawaii (if in Hawaii) or you should not have bought Hawaii points because Hawaii maintenance fees are going to increase dramatically (if on the US mainland).

The only way to be eligible for a $.30 maintenance fee reduction is to upgrade to the next loyalty level. Only Platinum members can use points to pay maintenance fees at $.04 per point.

You need to buy more points because you can’t do anything with the small number of points you purchased.

Member stories are listed in our Barclaycard article

Timeshare and Barlcaycard in the US

Here is Diamond’s perspective on Clarity from PR spokesperson, Maya Pogoda. Her comments are from discussions we had in January and were previously reported.

“We have been piloting the various elements of the Diamond Clarity program for some time,” Pogoda explained. “Now that we gained the confidence that each of these pieces were effective, we were able to roll out this cohesive, national program that seeks to enhance the overall customer experience when purchasing and holding a vacation membership. Diamond Clarity will rewrite industry best practices by increasing transparency for the consumer and accountability for our team members.”

Pogoda noted that 70% of its sales are to existing members, however, Diamond Clarity “will improve the overall customer experience by increasing transparency for the consumer and accountability for our team members. At Diamond Resorts, we are always working to provide our members with the best possible vacation experiences. This focus on hospitality and creating lasting experiences has made Diamond Resorts an industry leader. We have always believed that customer satisfaction creates loyalty. So while the definition of customer loyalty has not changed, our commitment to finding new ways to drive customer satisfaction to create loyalty evolves constantly. Diamond Clarity is evidence of that.”

Creating a Consumer Advocacy Channel within the company’s corporate headquarters, to quickly address any issues or concerns members may have. This new platform will allow Diamond Resorts to maintain the highest standards of service in the industry.

https://www.loyalty360.org/content-gallery/daily-news/diamond-resorts-international-raises-the-bar-on-cu

No one doubts there are are Diamond members who are sold honestly and fairly, but over 250 Diamond member families have bonded together through our advocacy Facebook to support one another as we fight off endless up-sell attempts that have driven families further and further into debt.

To date our Advocacy group has received and assisted the following complaints.

Our Advocacy Efforts Statistics Update

75 Inquiries for assistance

55 Formal interventions complaints filed or assisted with

Reasons for 75 complaints as provided by the complainants

34 Sold by deception and bait and switch

09 Barclaycard upsell/predatory lending

02 30 cents to convert to MF relief (non-existent program)

06 Switch back from HI to US Collection or vice versa

06 Maintenance fees increases

02 Survivor benefit program (non-existent as already available)  

08 Bought more points told it was the only way to exit the timeshare

08 Lack of Availability

We seek to provide Diamond Resort 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/groups/DiamondResortsOwnersAdvocacy/

According to Maya,

Diamond Clarity is not limited to just one state, it’s a national program that includes four new operational initiatives. One of these initiatives is recording quality assurance sessions subject to consent from purchasers, to review compliance with all policies and procedures, and to augment and enhance the company’s sales and quality assurance training.  The company has invested in technology to ensure that these recordings can be archived and searchable. Recording sales presentations would not meet these objective and thus are not currently part of the Diamond Clarity Program.”

The recording of the QA session is the biggest sore point Diamond members have with Clarity. Many of our complaints include the sales agent advising the buyer not to say anything about an exciting new program because “The program is not public yet so I could lose my job if you tell anyone.” Arizona allows the recording of the sales session but few buyers will go to the trouble.

Marjorie Menacker’s experience is an example of this. To date, Diamond has denied her release.

http://insidetimeshare.com/another-nightmare-timeshare-street-client-experience-diamond

We end with some member advocate comments as to why these upsold members are wary.

inspired advocates

Irene Allen

Jan 28 (5 days ago)   

 http://insidetimeshare.com/timeshare-news-across-atlantic/

This new program by DRI is a very predictable step after the Arizona Attorney General’s action. If Clarity is about transparency, why does Maya not once reveal the only reason the company issued the program is because Diamond is essentially under state supervision in Arizona after the issuance of an “Assurance of Discontinuance” after over 400 complaints received claiming Diamond violated Arizona’s Consumer Fraud Act.

 DRI is obligated to demonstrate cooperation and compliance to new disclosure requirements by the AZ AG, but the company will do nothing for existing owners because they purchased contracts during the “Murky Stage”

“Clarity” does not have any provision of fixing the existing and growing problems which are flooding the courtrooms all over the world where DRI operates ….

  1. Regarding recording the QA sessions by DRI, this should be only offered if attendees, who are, according to “Clarity“, 70% existing owners, be allowed to do the same in order to establish a level playing field. Otherwise it is a trap participating owners will end up in, because it will give DRI additional defense tool in the courtroom.
  1. Regarding creating a Consumer Advocacy Channel. This Channel should have consumer rights attorneys and secret observers not employed by DRI in order to eliminate conflict of  interest.
  1. Regarding increase training to frontline personal. The frontline personnel had superb national training during the “Murky Stage”. How else can you explain the fact so many owners all over the world had exactly the same upsell by deceit and “bait and switch” during sales presentations? Many of our 250 Facebook member families claim sales representatives all over the world presented exactly the same falsified and misleading comments in order to entice owners to buy additional points. The name of the national sales training program should be: “101 ways how to deceive owners during sales presentation process and increase the volume of sales.”

Second member comment

I realize we are all skeptical about “promises” made by DRI, but this program has the potential of making a positive impact on our relationship with DRI.

Third member, a Diamond member and an attorney

  • Is the idea that none of these rules were previously in place?  It appears to me these are designed as Diamond CYA’s going forward, “we have a recording” or “there as an observer” or “contact the consumer advocacy channel within __ days”.  For Diamond to say the allegations we all experience did not happen.  

What does this accomplish for the victims of the bad business practices from the past?

  • Recording Quality Assurance sessions, subject to consent from purchasers, to review compliance with all policies and procedures, and to augment and enhance the company’s sales and quality assurance training.
  • Creating a Consumer Advocacy Channel within the company’s corporate headquarters, to quickly address any issues or concerns members may have.  This new platform will allow Diamond Resorts to maintain the highest standards of service in the industry.
  • Increased training of frontline personnel.  All sales and marketing personnel will take part in quarterly training exercises to reinforce their awareness, understanding, and compliance with all sales and marketing rules, principles, and practices.
  • Regularly placing “Consumer Engagement Observers” at sales presentations to continuously provide the sales organization with feedback necessary to achieve constant improvement.  
  • I would suggest these are great improvements to the training and consumer friendly positions Diamond should have had all along.  It does nothing to help people who have already suffered with no recourse from Diamond.
  • If their product was so great, Clarity would be evident within the first 6-12 months of an owner’s experience with the company.  It would be clear that this is “everything they said and represented” or it is “nothing that I was promised” and the consumer would still have options to exit, sell or rescind on some compromised plan. The longer you wait the less you retain.

I am not impressed.

Fourth comment anonymous due to Litigation

Enforcement of DRI “PROMISE” is difficult, unlikely, and merely a smoke screen to generate a false sense of security regarding oversight. It is another set of unenforced regulatory promises which incidentally spawned the crisis currently engulfing Diamond owners. The paltry AG financial agreement and appurtenant agreements simply demonstrate that the AZ AG is taking steps to protect itself from accusations of inaction.

Their behavior is reminiscent of the legal machinations demonstrated by ADRE and California Department of Real Estate. Complainants with ADRE regarding fraudulent practices at Diamond are told that such a complaint is an employee/employer dispute.

When filing complaints with RE regulatory agencies, it must be understood that determinations that deflect the fraud accusations are made to avoid costly investigations. This embraces the policy of waiting for some catastrophic event to prompt unavoidable enforcement action. It does not eliminate the need to continue to create a public record of these complaints, and legitimate demands to be made whole from recovery funds. Misleading determinations by these agencies should be challenged in order to demonstrate the lack of responsible enforcement pertaining to regulatory obligations.

Fifth anonymous member

If we only hear one side of the story or information how are we truly being informed? That is what happened with the hard sales only hearing their side. Our Advocacy members and Diamond need to hear and listen to both sides instead of the constant media spin.

You can share.

Sixth anonymous member

I’m afraid I don’t have much hope that this “Diamond Promise” will change much. I purchased a Sampler package in Sedona in 2012 and annual points the next year in Las Vegas. As best as I can recall, the procedures enumerated in the “new” Diamond Promise existed then, and still I was misled on some important issues.

The Diamond Clarity program has no mechanism which commits the vacation counselors, sales managers, and quality assurance officers to the Promise. In other words, there is no effective enforcement mechanism. Such a mechanism must impose a cost on the seller when the promise is violated.

The economic analysis of warranties has shown that a product sold with a warranty creates an incentive for companies to improve product quality. Reductions in the level of quality – like the misleading sales information in the case of timeshares – leads to higher warranty costs and thereby penalizes such behavior. We have good reasons to believe that in the absence of warranties high quality products get driven out of the market, while low quality products are driven out when warranties are used.

This new program depends on the trust in and good will from Diamond managers. But this is the same group that is incentivized to increase sales and revenue for the organization.

Seventh anonymous member

Promises are only as good as the party providing the assurances. I too see no real means of enforcement, and if anything this could provide an excuse for relaxed oversight by regulators.

I have been pressing the AZ Dept. of RE for 3 years to take enforcement action against DRI’s brokers.  It has been clearly demonstrated that they are negligent in discharging their responsibilities pursuant to RE statute.

I would recommend that owners look at filing a claim with ADRE as complaints are mounting regarding DRI behaviors.

Eighth anonymous member due to litigation

Clarity is definitely a meaningless program – except to bolster Diamond’s position in court.  I can hear it now – our QA monitored sessions prove no widespread fraudulent practices.  

Agents will know when they are being monitored or recorded so they will be on their best behavior.

Shacking hands

Will there ever be a day when we can all get along by communicating and responding to voices of the concerned?

Once again thanks to Irene and all who contribute from the other side of The Great Lake, one thing is for certain, owners on both sides are starting to see that by joining together they can make a difference.

To those owners at Los Claveles, you do have support, we only need to bring it together.

getting together

If you have any comments on any article published or would like to contribute, Inside Timeshare welcomes you.

 

heavy handed

Los Claveles: Is This a Return to the Bad Days of Timeshare in Tenerife?

Inside Timeshare has received this very disturbing email from two owners of Los Claveles in Tenerife:

From: XXXXXXXXX  XXXXXXXXXXXXX

Subject: Pensioners physically abused at Los Claveles Tenerife

Message Body:

Please see the press release http://tesslimited.co.uk/2017/05/12/war-break-out-at-club-los-claveles/

What was feared in this release has come true and much worse.

Armed thugs have physically and verbally abused at least two people trying to peacefully and lawfully obtain access to their timeshare apartments last Friday. More are arriving today and getting similar treatment.

This e-mail was sent from a contact form on Inside Timeshare (http://insidetimeshare.com)

Los Claveles, is a resort which was originally built by Wimpey Leisure some 30 years ago, most of the owners have been there since that time and are now either pensioners or soon to be so. When it was first sold, the timeshare was split as follows:

The first 15% were sold as Escritura with the remaining 85% as standard timeshare club system, all are fixed week owners with an allocated week and apartment number. This means they have certain rights, which in effect makes them the owners of the resort with the right to employ or dismiss the management company. The right to vote for any increase in maintenance and the right to say how that would be used.

In 2000, with the new timeshare laws coming into effect, the club which is run by the owners committee had the deed of adaptation signed  to comply with the new laws.

June 1998, saw the management buyout from Wimpey Home Holdings, led by Ivan Pengelly. Over the years it grew from strength to strength and was one of the very few which had no issues or complaints, with all owners and members having nothing but good to say about them. Indeed it is one of the few whose membership base has stayed constant.

It would appear that it is what timeshare was all about, having a share in a holiday home with great facilities and a wonderful resort staff. Many of which have been at the resort for many years, creating a very family atmosphere.

Unfortunately that has all change since January 2015, when Wimpen sold the management right to the Ona Group, a Barcelona based timeshare marketing company. This resulted in confrontation with the long standing owners, many being owners for the past 30 years, due to the heavy handedness of Ona Group. They totally ignored the wishes of owners.

The owners through the committee served notice on the ONA Group, as is their right, to terminate the management contract in July 2015. This was taken to arbitration. Ona Group failed to accept it.

The contract to manage the resort on behalf of the owners came to a natural end in May 2017, Ona Group refuses to hand back the clubs assets. It is also known that FNTC (First National Trust Company) were removed by the owners with Hutchinson & Trust Co Ltd, employed in their place. FNTC according to the Chairman of the committee have failed to transfer all title deeds to the new company.

The committee are also being denied access to the members database, so are unable to contact a large number of members to inform them what is going on.

Now we have a very disturbing escalation to the conflict, as shown in the opening paragraph, owners are being removed from apartments and the resort which they have a right to occupy. This is being done in a very heavy handed manner, with Ona’s own security company who are wielding batons forcibly removing owners and denying them access. Many of these are elderly.

The President of the committee has been verbally abused and has also been told she will be sexually assaulted. This has been reported to the police, yet they have done nothing. Apparently Ona Group have made accusations to the police about the Chairman and the President.

Following is a personal message from the President Carol Parkinson, who calls for continued support of the owners and explains who maintenance fees should be paid to:

A Personal Message from Carol Parkinson

I implore all owners to believe in, and support, the committee at this critical point in our fight to ensure the resort stays ours.  On a personal level I cannot bear the thought that all we have fought for, day in day out for two and a half years, could be lost because we lacked the courage to withstand the intimidation from Onagrup and hang on in there for a little longer whilst the strong committee and team of lawyers work in the background to bring this matter to a successful conclusion.

Despite having had four pretty upsetting days dealing with horrendous individuals, who frankly can only be described as the lowest of the low, I am still here in Tenerife and feeling strong (after a good sleep!) and positive.  Please do not let me, the team or the resort down and ‘hang in there’.  After four hours of questioning by a senior police officer on Monday on ‘trumped up’ charges of extortion and fraud the police are now listening and making investigations.  Our legal team here are working hard and we are gaining ground.  But we cannot do it if you do not assist with your financial support.  Please be brave and pay your maintenance to the Club as this is the only legal and rational way forward.  For those of you going to the resort in the next couple of weeks we will ring each of you to speak to you confidentially.  It has to be this way because unfortunately we have those amongst us who continually try to derail our plans by reporting back to WimPen and Onagrup.  If you pay your fees in advance to Onagrup you will have lost your money when that company is removed.  Pay to the Club that is being led by your elected committee members and supporters who are all owners you can trust as they love Los Claveles as much as you and have no interest other than justice.

There are owners who have continued to support WimPen, and who may have betrayed fellow owners with reports back to Mr Pengelly, and are responsible for the spreading of misinformation.   They have refused to see that a hostile takeover of this nature could ever happen – the evidence is now before you and surely even they cannot condone the aggressive and intimidating behaviour owners have experienced this week!

This has happened on other resorts where Onagrup took over and, as our lawyers have told us, the committees concerned with those resorts quickly rolled over giving Onagrup control.  We told you that we believed that Mr Pengelly had ‘sold’ your resort to Onagrup – a resort he did not own.  I have been told repeatedly in the last few days ‘We own this resort – you will do as we say’, ‘You are nothing’,  ‘You are no-one’,  ‘We will set the rules’, ‘You abide by our rules now’.

Onagrup is not solely responsible for what is happening at the resort.  All the appalling actions, verbal abuse assaults etc, over the past few days took place in full view of a senior member of Mr Pengelly’s management team. He stood and smirked as he saw Mr Weller and I assaulted. When asked how he could sleep at night when he saw this happening to owners who had provided him with a good living for years he replied that he had no trouble sleeping because we were in ‘his’ country and we were criminals.  

Even worse Mr Pengelly and other WimPen staff held the meeting that decided to remove Salvador from his livelihood and his home – leaving him homeless.  They also made the decision to remove Sue and Annie from reception. On Saturday Jarra (another member of reception) was sacked at a minute’s notice for ‘apparently’ handing out a key to an owner. They have sacked our maintenance team. There is only one left ‘because we are overstaffed’ and in their words ‘These are our rules now!’  All our loyal staff, who have served us well and with such good grace now are without an income and unable to support their families.

All of the above actions that I have described are shameful and appalling. It is not just our holidays that are being affected, but the people who have helped to make those holidays so enjoyable. Your Los Claveles may look the same, for the moment, but is not the place it was.  It can be again if we can regain control but we need the support of owners like yourselves.

More thoughts to contemplate:

If Onagrup was only taking what belonged to it why didn’t it do it via the law? The reason is it has no legal case!

Why did Onagrup remove all of our lovely staff?  Because they are trying to break us and to take the heart out of our lovely resort!  

Mr Pengelly tried to assure us that he was only doing what was best for our owners and there was nothing to worry about because nothing would change. We did not believe him and how right we were!  

Please owners think longer term and have faith in a committee that has got further than any other committee opposing Onagrup.  The resort is ours – stay with us, pay your maintenance to the Club ahead and do not pay Onagrup or you will lose your money.

This is a very heartfelt plea, Carol is in Tenerife to give help and support to those who are arriving and being refused their right to their apartments. She is ensuring that they do have other resorts to go to.

Following are two statements from owners showing their experiences, it is disturbing reading, their names have been removed in order to protect them..

Statement from Club Member G H, 14th May 2017

This is going to be hard to put into words and I cannot over stress what a disgusting and lying set of people we now have trying to take over our resort .
This is the first week after close down and because the committee expected some kind of confrontation Carol went out to help all owners in any way she could. Over the last few days she has worked tirelessly making sure owners that have been turned away have had some accommodation at other resorts, even going in the taxi with them.
Back at the resort she has been treated with contempt by the new manager who said that Carol was ‘nothing’ and he would be there for the next 25 years telling her to go away (using the F word). She has been continually hounded by the security and sworn at with extremely vile language on many occasions, also outside the resort jabbed in the side by a man in a suit, saying she was low life and pointing to her mouth, threatening to put his manhood somewhere that it should not go this was followed by some other vile threats.
Having reported this to the Police, Carol, at the police station was confronted by a senior policeman asking why she should be believed when she had been reported for crimes in his country. It transpires that the resort management, ONA had sent a many paged document to the police reporting that Carol along with Albert had been stealing money from the resort. (This must be the maintenance which goes into OUR bank account ‘Club Los Claveles Ltd’). Carol is back with the police and lawyers tomorrow (Monday). There is far more but this will do for now.
I must say that Carol is out there, on her own, trying to do a fantastic job for the rest of us owners and I have never heard her on the phone sound so frightened and intimidated by the bullies, tired by the continuous battle and near breaking point maybe by not eating and having a break. This is one lady that really deserves our support in the same way as she is supporting us. There is no financial gain or bathing in glory, just the love of our resort and keeping it under our control for the years to come.

Statement from Club Member R O  

Friday 19th May 2017

I left Los Claveles last night, after a very disturbing week, so I feel I need to be brutally honest with everyone.

Yes I paid my fees for week 20 to Ona because it was before the option to pay the Club was set up.

Yes. I was a ‘fence sitter’.  I didn’t want to get involved with the politics of it all.  I just wanted my holiday.

No I had never been to an AGM or even an owners’ meeting.  (For your information I own 7 weeks spread through the year).

THAT IS ALL GOING TO CHANGE AFTER THE BLATENT INTIMIDATION AND DISGUSTING BEHAVIOUR I WITNESSED FROM ONAGRUP ON THE RESORT LAST WEEK.

I could write pages, and will do so if it will help.  And yes it was me that stood and asked the leading questions at this week’s owners’ meeting.

The outcome of all of this is that I have just paid my maintenance fees for weeks 29 and 30 to the Club.

If I am refused admission to the resort then so be it, I will be camping outside.

This Ona Bulldozer has to be stopped before it is too late. I have pledged my support to Carol in person.

And any committee members reading this, I will do anything I can to help you out.

R O

Here we publish two press releases from the Club Committee at Los Claveles:

los claveles logoCLUB LOS CLAVELES

PRESS RELEASE 10 MAY 2017

For Publication

Elderly British holiday makers threatened with being refused access to their own timeshare apartments in Tenerife

Long term, loyal timeshare owners, many of whom are now elderly pensioners, who are due to arrive on Friday for the start of their annual holiday at Club Los Claveles in the Tenerife resort of Los Cristianos, are being threatened with being refused access to their holiday apartments by Spanish company Onagrup despite having paid for their accommodation. The company took over the management contract for Los Claveles  without any consultation with the owners or their representatives when it bought over WimPen Leisure Management SA in January 2015. It quickly came into conflict with owners due to its heavy-handed, controlling approach, ignoring the wishes of the owners, most of whom have been members of Club Los Claveles for nearly 30 years.  The owners served notice on Onagrup to terminate the management contract in July 2015, subsequently taking the case to arbitration when Onagrup failed to accept this. Controversially, Onagrup has defied interim orders from arbitration and refuses to accept that it no longer has a management role for Club Los Claveles. It continues to use bullying tactics against the owners, and their Club committee members, who have been paying their own legal expenses over the past 2 years to fight to regain control over what is legally theirs.

Onagrup refuses to acknowledge that WimPen’s contract to manage Club Los Claveles came to a natural end at the beginning of May 2017 no matter what the outcome of arbitration , and refuses to hand back the Club’s assets. Unless there is an eleventh hour change of course by Onagrup, the police will be called by the Club President to protect owners from this obstructive intimidation and criminal activity on Friday morning when the first owners arrive to take occupancy of their apartments.

Background Information

The Los Claveles timeshare resort was one of several constructed in the Canary Islands and managed by well-known British company Wimpey Leisure. After a management buy-out in the nineties, the running of these resorts was taken over by WimPen Leisure Management, with former Wimpey Director Ivan Pengelly at the helm.

All seemed to be well for the next 25 years until WimPen was sold to Barcelona-based timeshare marketing company Onagrup in January 2015, and then the trouble began. A major dispute over Onagrup’s handling of the changeover resulted in the owners taking their case for the early termination of WimPen’s contract to arbitration in March 2016. In the meantime, WimPen’s contract expired at the beginning of May 2017, but it has continued to control what goes on at the resort. Snr German Castro, Onagrup’s General Manager has been writing to British owners who are due to arrive on Friday for the start of their annual holiday at Los Claveles to tell them that they will be refused access to their villas unless they pay their maintenance fee to WimPen. Elderly owners are alarmed at the prospect of a private security firm reportedly being hired to escort them from the resort without anywhere to stay despite them having paid their maintenance fees to their new, legally appointed Club Administrator. WimPen is also legally obliged to pay maintenance to Club Los Claveles under its new Administrator but it has refused. So, a major confrontation is set to take place on Friday morning when the Club’s President and long term owner at Los Claveles, Mrs Carol Parkinson, will be defending the owners’ right of access to their timeshare property, supported by the Administrator’s legal representative.

This Press Release has been issued by the Club Los Claveles Owners Committee. For further information please contact:

In the UK: Club Committee Member Roger Lindsay  rogerlindsay123@btinternet.com                                     tel +44 1874 731124 / +44 7399 280302

In Tenerife: Club President Carol Parkinson  carol.parkinson@ntlworld.com                                                                   tel +44 7931 778886

los claveles logoCLUB LOS CLAVELES

PRESS RELEASE 12 MAY 2017

For Publication

Shock Dismissal of Much Admired and Popular Manager and Reception Staff from Los Claveles Timeshare Resort, Tenerife

In an alarming escalation of events at the Los Claveles timeshare resort in Tenerife, long standing Resort Manger Salvador Garcia , and his reception staff Sue and Ann, have been summarily dismissed  from their positions by Onagrup. This follows earlier threats by Onagrup to refuse access to timeshare owners who are due to arrive today for the start of their annual holiday at Club Los Claveles, despite having paid for their accommodation.  The group claims that it no longer has confidence in these long term members of staff, in stark contrast to owners who for years have consistently rated them very highly indeed.  It is reported that Onagrup has replaced them with its own staff, and sent in their own lawyers and a private security firm to manage the resort,  in defiance of Club Los Claveles’ appointment of a new Administrator following the expiry of Onagrup’s management contract at the beginning of this month.

The President of the Club and its legal team are in attendance to make representation to Onagrup and protect owners’ right of access to their property.  

This Press Release has been issued by the Club Los Claveles Owners Committee. For further information please contact:

In the UK: Club Committee Member Roger Lindsay  rogerlindsay123@btinternet.com                                     tel +44 1874 731124 / +44 7399 280302

In Tenerife: Club President Carol Parkinson  carol.parkinson@ntlworld.com                                                                   tel +44 7931 778886

Los Claveles Community of Owners, Asomada de Los Ceres, 38650

Los Cristianos, Tenerife.

 

This is one of the most disgusting stories that we have ever heard in the world of timeshare, it really does look like a return to the bad old days when timeshare in Tenerife was ruled by the likes of John “Goldfinger” Palmer. Everyone thought that those days were over, it would seem not.

Ona Group, who are still using Pengelly to sign everything are no better than those in the past. Not just manhandling owners off the resort but also sacking long serving and loyal staff such as the manager and the reception staff. The manager who also had a home on the resort as part of his job was only given 2 hours to clear out!

Owners are also being told not to even bother trying to contact the Club Chairman Albert Fletcher, as he is in jail for embezzling funds. Inside Timeshare spoke with him today and this UK Magistrate is free and ready to fight this injustice.

Inside Timeshare will publish any information it receives on this subject, including testimonies from those who have suffered the ordeal of this heavy handed  removal or denial of access.

This is a cause which all timeshare owners need to get behind, if any of you know how to start a crowd funding campaign to help fund the legal battle ahead, please contact Inside Timeshare or one of the committee members.

Your support is paramount in this before it escalates and involves other clubs, or even other management companies see it as a license to do what they like.
support

letter from america

Friday’s Letter From America

Welcome to our “Friday’s Letter From America”

Following our theme of readers experiences, today David Franks shares his and his wife’s holiday turned into nightmare by a sales presentation. What was supposed to be 90 minutes turned into 5 hours of hell.

As usual we start with a few items from Europe, yesterday we published a rather tongue in cheek article about the court ruling against TATOC, as we said in the article all comments have now been removed from the TATOC Facebook page. This includes the comment about someone meeting Harry Taylor and found him to be a gentleman. It certainly looks like they are on the defensive.

Last week ended with the news after publication of another defeat in the Tenerife courts for Silverpoint.

In this case Court No 3 in Arona found for the British clients of CLA and ruled that the contract did not fulfill the terms of Spanish timeshare law, the court awarded them over 13,000€ and declared the contracts null & void.

The Supreme Court rulings are certainly having an effect on timeshares sold in Spain.

Tauro beach gone

In Gran Canaria, the beach at Tauro, which was the artificial beach being developed by Anfi remains closed to the public, that is not surprising really as much of the sand has been washed away. There was some worry last week as we were expecting some severe storms, these thankfully never came. There have however been reports, though unconfirmed of sightings of scorpions on the remaining sand. One does wonder if it could be true as the sand came from Western Sahara and was untreated.

The investigation into corruption over the project is ongoing along with the investigations of licences and other documents being forged. The former head of the coastal authority is still awaiting trial, we will report on that as we get the news in.

Inside Timeshare has been receiving many emails from US owners, these are passed on to Irene Parker, who is better place to deal with them, however we have also been receiving many questions from owners in the UK. These mainly concern calls they have received that say they have a claim, on a “no win no fee” basis. Many of the names are not new to us, and are what can only be described as “dubious”.

In many cases the consumer does not have a valid claim as they did not purchase in Spain. It then turns out that the “claim” is going to be on a section 75 of the credit consumer act, with then a substantial amount to be paid to relinquish / surrender the timeshare. Unfortunately, section 75 is not going to work, the credit card company / provider will rightly state that you purchased ex number of years ago and have used it. Therefore you have received the goods and services paid for, the act does not cover illegal timeshare contracts. So the so-called “no win no fee” claim is just a ploy to get thousands from the owners to just be rid of it.

On this particular theme, Inside Timeshare has saved this week alone several readers from paying anything to the “fake” law firm in Tenerife, the family known as Litigious Abogados and company. At least the news is spreading.

wensley clarkson

A new book is due to be published on 1 June and will be available from Amazon. The book is the story of John “Goldfinger” Palmer, who was implicated in the Brinks Mat bullion robbery but was found not guilty by a jury for smelting it down. It charts his Tenerife Timeshare business in which many people lost thousands of pounds. The author Wensley Clarkson contacted Inside Timeshare after reading a previous article “TIMESHARE” A Dirty Word For Many.” He thought it might be of interest. I will certainly be placing my order.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/Books/Killing-Goldfinger-Inside-Story-Britains-Richest-Gangster/1786484862

Now onto our Friday’s Letter from America.

Our Diamond Resorts Misadventures

Aces

Chapter One: Vegas, Baby!

“Those who are incapable of committing great crimes do not readily suspect them in others.” François VI, Duc de La Rochefoucauld, Prince de Marcillac

By David Franks

May 19, 2017

My lovely wife and I enjoy Las Vegas. Our last visit, in July 2015, found us at The Golden Nugget. Unfortunately, Diamond Resorts was also there, at the entrance fronting the parking garage. We had seen the two episodes of Undercover Boss featuring Stephen Cloobeck, who had striven to be impressive. We were offered gift cards that seemed ample compensation for the supposed ninety minutes they would commit us to, and we’d get to see what passes for a resort near Las Vegas.

The next day, they shuttled us to Diamond’s Cancun Resort, barely within sight of town. In we went, and into a conference room where we filled out a survey about our travel interests. Then the earnest pitchman told us about the benefits of buying in. He focused on cost control, talking about the exchange value of Diamond points and their supposedly stable cost over time, compared to an inflation rate he pulled out of some warm part of his digestive tract. He said quite a bit about the exchange value of Diamond points, mentioning 30 cents several times. He might have mentioned a 20-cent valuation a couple of times; but apparently he wasn’t interested in promoting the more plebeian levels of membership.

There were a couple of people in the group who claimed to be happy owners of timeshares. As I recall, they were not Diamond members, but I have no evidence that they were shills.

That took about eighty of the ninety minutes.

The targets were then ushered out to a large room with bad lighting and loud music, where we would discuss our most intimate aspirations and financial details at tables separated only by a few feet and loud music – a disoriented slice of vulnerable humanity.

Well, we tried to not be interested. We told the helpful salesperson that our only conceivable interest in Diamond was as a small outlay whose yearly expense would goad us into getting out of the house once a year. We enjoy traveling, but we also enjoy being at home, and we are frugal wherever we are. Economy would be the key.

We explained that we like cruises and train travel, road trips, old motels and roadside attractions, and dining at local restaurants. After a while, the attentive salesperson stopped talking about resorts and started talking instead about how points can be used for all kinds of travel for their exchange value (20- or 30-cent). He talked about how being a member of Diamond Resorts and Interval International made it possible to book any kind of travel, get discounted pricing and pay for it with points. We asked about European river cruises, explaining that we would be interested in a Viking river cruise on the Rhine or the Danube. He said that should not be a problem. We explained that we didn’t want to spend any additional money. He said that should be possible, though we might need to save points so as to use two years’ worth at one time.

A couple of hours later, the solicitous salesperson suggested a tour of the resort. We tried to tell him (again) that it would not be necessary because we have no interest in resorts, but he would have none of it. He was proud of the irresistible pile of faux-Mayan faux stucco, and off we went to the example unit. I explained (again) that I cook at home, and see no need to go on vacation to cook. Back we went to the interrogation room.

Certain that he could pretend to meet our stated expectations, the intrepid salesperson showed us several options for joining, to no avail. After another hour or so, he excused himself for an awkward spell, and then returned with a grizzled veteran of the timeshare wars. He had with him the  data sheet for a 2500-point membership. He said they don’t usually offer them, but – as he was unable to let us go without buying something, however inappropriate – here we were. It was pointed out to us that this would not get us a full week in a resort, which was irrelevant to us. It would give us an opportunity to experience the advantages of Diamond membership, they said. It was not pointed out to us that this minimum membership had few of the benefits that had been sold to us.

We bit.  About an hour later, as we flailed around in the flurry of papers they thrust at us, one of the three people who had ganged up on us by that point mentioned, in reply to our question, that Diamond does not buy back memberships, but members can certainly resell them themselves – not that anybody ever wants to, of course.

We were there for a bit over five hours. By that time, the shuttle bus had become an antique and was placed in a museum, so the helpful salesperson called a cab and paid the driver to take our gullible selves back to our hotel. We enjoyed chatting with the cab driver.

Man board

Important points so far:

  • The music was playing at about 75 decibels – almost as loud as a vacuum cleaner. Conversation was difficult.
  • The 20 or 30 cent exchange value of points was the only exchange value mentioned.
  • Convenient, discounted travel was emphasized.
  • The availability and advantage of comprehensive service through Interval International was emphasized. (This despite the fact that Interval International had stopped providing comprehensive service for Diamond at the end of 2014).
  • There is a distinct and important difference between “Diamond Resorts does not buy back memberships, but members can certainly resell them themselves” and “Diamond Resorts actively obstructs individual resale of membership and the resale industry won’t deal with them.”

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

Inside Timeshare would like to thank David for his article and sharing his experience at the hands of Diamond sales agents in Vegas. It is the first time we have heard of loud music during the presentation process, it does make you wonder if these agents had been trained by someone well versed in the techniques of interrogation!

Also once again thanks to Irene Parker for her invaluable help in bringing people together to share those experiences and editing the articles, it has saved a lot of time at this end.

If you have any stories and experiences such as this you would like to share, you can contact Inside Timeshare or our Advocacy Facebook page.

Have a great weekend and don’t forget to do your homework, it will save you money in the end.

friday dog

 

 

 

 

 

homework1

Angel & Devil

TATOC: The Fallen Angel of Timeshare.

TESS has published the court judgement in the case they brought against TATOC and Harry Taylor, this follows the publication by TATOC remarks made about TESS.

tess

Judgement against TATOC

TATOC accused TESS of running a cold call campaign and calling them a “scam” company, this verdict is very damaging for Harry Taylor and TATOC, which we know has now gone into administration.

tatoc logo

The trial took place at the Liverpool Civil and Family Court on 15 May 2017, the defendant Harry Taylor did not attend.

The court were satisfied that liability was established and that s1 Defamation Act 2013 test had been met. The court ordered the following:

  1. Judgement be entered for the Claimant.
  2. The Claimant is awarded:
  1. £75,000 by way of general damages to be payable forthwith;
  2. £100,000 by way of special damages to be payable forthwith;

The Defendant shall pay the claimant’s costs of and occasioned by the claim summarily assessed in the sum of £100,000 forthwith.

The court also stated that if the defendant disobeys the order they would be held in contempt of court and may be fined or have their assets seized.

So a very expensive day for TATOC. Well they did ask for it.

On Tuesday 16 May TATOC posted on FacebookTimeshare Association (Timeshare Owners and Committees) (“TATOC”) and its Chief Executive, Harry Taylor, have been subjected to many unfounded allegations in the social media and elsewhere to which neither TATOC nor Harry Taylor have responded, concentrating on the core business of TATOC which is to represent and protect the interests of timeshares and committees”.

Harry Taylor
HARRY TAYLOR

https://www.facebook.com/TheTimeshareAssociationTATOC/?hc_ref=PAGES_TIMELINE&fref=nf

This author posted several comments, which began a string of other comments, for some reason it is no longer on there, the only comment is from someone who say they met Harry and found him a gentleman, with Harry thanking him for his kind words!

This author stated that Harry Taylor was a former Director at Diamond Resorts European Collection Limited, his reply was he was never a director. Well according to company house records there was a Henry Taylor, along with the same birthday as Harry, could it be a twin brother? I think not, after all Prince Henry Windsor, is known as Prince Harry!

Henry Taylor
His Twin Brother HENRY TAYLOR

Then when we look at the director records of company house it lists Harry Taylor’s directorships, lo and behold Diamond Resorts European Collection Limited is listed along with his others including TATOC.

So apart from duping The House of Lords, Parliament, the EU, Citizens Advice and others into believing that he and TATOC are or rather were, the VOX POPULI of timeshare owners he denies the recorded fact he is listed as a Diamond director.

https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/officers/MRMXHV_gMruFstqlmrHwElEOnj0/appointments

https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/02930567/officers

So who do you believe?

The author also asked if Harry Taylor was such a champion of timeshare owners, why did he back MacDonald Resorts to the hilt when they “forced” fixed week owners into their points system, saying that it was the best thing they good do and it would be better for them?

Well we all know about MacDonald’s, this company has not been a member of the RDO since 2005, yet were a staunch supporter of Harry Taylor and TATOC. I leave it to you to decide why?

MacDonalds are one of the downright ugly as the late Sandy Grey would say in his piece “The good, the bad and the ugly of timeshare”.

Ugly is not really a word I would use, despicable is more like it with a few profanities thrown in. After all Inside Timeshare has been highlighting a case of an 87 year old lady who is house bound and being chased for maintenance she does not owe. This has been passed to debt collecting agency, Network Credit Services in Scotland and they are threatening to take her to court.

So that is that, if they don’t pay what the court has ordered, which given their present financial difficulties, could we see Harry and the other directors losing their personal assets?

siezed

Inside Timeshare looks forward to the next episode of TATOC: The Fallen Angel of Timeshare.

We welcome your views and comments, so do get in touch and share with the rest of the timeshare community who have been misled over the years.

 

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