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Friday’s Letter from America

Welcome to another Friday’s Letter from America, this week Irene Parker looks at Whistleblowers of America and their report to the Veterans Affairs Committee. As we have reported in previous articles, we have received many complaints from veterans who have had very bad experiences with timeshare sales agents. These practices are unexceptable and need to be stopped, but that can only come from the top of the timeshare companies, if they have the will to do it!

Now for some news from the Spanish courts, more legal history has been made at the Supreme Court in Madrid, Silverpoint has had another 2 judgements made against them, bringing the total of rulings from Spain’s Highest Court to to 126!

The tally this week is:

2 Supreme Court against Silverpoint;

3 more Court of First Instance against Anfi del Mar;

3 Provisional executions of sentence against Anfi del Mar, (this has secured over 93,000€ for clients with Anfi depositing the funds at the court of San Bartelomé de Tirajana);

2 High Court victories against Diamond Resorts International.

In the Diamond sentences, the clients have been awarded their full purchase price plus double deposit for a total of 19,504€ and 30,000€ respectively. These and the contracts for the clients above have all been declared null and void.

In total the 7 sentences amount to over 370,000€ another expensive week for the timeshare industry in Spain. All these cases have been brought on behalf of clients from all over Europe by none other than those intrepid lawyers at Canarian Legal Alliance.

As we near the end of July, we only have one more week where the courts are working, August is the annual close down, so we will see no new cases being heard until September.

Now on with our Letter from America.

Whistleblower Retaliation against Government Workers, Employees, Timeshare Members and Timeshare Sales Agents

62 out of 500 timeshare complaints we have received are from veteran and active duty members of the military and law enforcement

A Whistleblower Summit in Washington D.C. July 30 – 31

http://whistleblowersummit.com/

By Irene Parker

July 20, 2018

There are several federal and state laws in place to protect government and corporate employee whistleblowers from retaliation, but whistleblowing is never easy and can take a personal toll. A whistleblower friend of mine suggested I attend the Whistleblower Summit linked above, because of threats and accusations our advocates, Charles and I have received over the past two years. I have heard the following false statements made about Inside Timeshare and our advocates through the timeshare grapevine:

  • That our articles are based on false information. Many articles are submitted by our readers, which I edit, or the content provided by our readers.
  • Our advocates are compensated financially for assisting members,
  • Our advocates are practicing law,
  • Our advocates are compensated for soliciting business for lawyers,
  • We’re targeting certain timeshare sales agents (we call repeat offenders)

Articles written by timeshare members describing their timeshare experiences are revealing and important. One of the Whistleblower Summit presentations I am looking forward to attending is titled,

Unleashing the Power of – YOUR – Story

Moderated by Gloria Minott, Public Affairs Director WPFW

“Story is what defines us and set us apart. It’s what allows us to connect with each other. Story is powerful. Story is grossly misunderstood. A good story has conflict, but ultimately resolved. A story is messy and full of confusion, but there is meaning and completeness to it. Stories have natural momentum to them, fueling our passion to find out more from the teller. Stories are laden with bait and intrigue, with suspense and tension. Stories are provocative.” Jeff Goins

Whistleblowers of America is a nonprofit organization assisting whistleblowers who have suffered retaliation after having identified harm to individuals or the public. Founder Jackie Garrick will moderate a panel discussion at the upcoming Whistleblower Summit that will address resilience after retaliation

“My numbers are going up with new reports every day,” says Jackie Garrick, founder of Whistleblowers of America (WoA). Garrick created WoA earlier this year after discovering firsthand how difficult the process of reporting wrongdoing can be, and the personal toll it can take on the people blowing the whistle. By offering up the help and insight of former government insiders and whistleblowers like herself, Garrick is hoping to not only encourage more people to come forward, but also to simply support them once they do so.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2018/04/10/va-whistleblowers-under-threat-seek-help-from-outside.html

So far the only information available on timeshare whistleblowers concerns a lawsuit in which a jury awarded former Wyndham timeshare sales agent Trish Williams $20 million.  

She is also a rarity: a whistle-blower who has succeeded in bringing to light abuses at a powerful corporation that wanted to keep them hidden.

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/25/business/my-soul-feels-taller-a-whistle-blowers-20-million-vindication.html

Despite several relatively recent Attorneys General investigations and settlements, lawsuits galore, and a flood of internet complaints, the timeshare industry continues to place blame on their customers and on advocacy groups. In other words, the industry believes Inside Timeshare either invented 500 timeshare complaints or that the 500 members would be happy timeshare members had they not read Inside Timeshare articles or joined one of several members sponsored advocacy Facebooks and websites. Almost all of the 500 members are highly educated, professional, high credit score citizens. At least they had a high credit score until they were sold or upsold into timeshare insolvency.

It doesn’t matter how many millions love their timeshare. What matters is that the majority of the 500 families have alleged they were fraudulently sold a timeshare product. All but a handful received an automatic “You signed a contract” dismissal from the timeshare company.

Whistleblower advice for corporations and agencies from Findlaw.com:

How (Corporations) can Avoid Whistleblower Claims

Here are a few steps that you (a corporation) can take to reduce the risk that your company will be subject to such a lawsuit. In parenthesis are my observations as they apply to timeshare:

  • Don’t retaliate — Try to remember not to treat employees (timeshare members) that have complained about your company any differently than those who have not.
  • Have a complaint policy in place and be sure to use it — It is a good idea to have a complaint policy in place, even if it is not required by law. Train and educate your employees in using the system. Once you have your complaint policy in place be sure to abide by it. (According to member reports, the timeshare complaint policy has been to provide the complaining member with their initials on fine print and dismiss them with, “You signed a contract” or “We’re not responsible for what our sales agents say.”)
  • Investigate all credible complaints — If you receive an internal complaint about alleged wrongdoing, be sure to investigate it, so long as it is credible. If you find that the complaint was truthful, take the steps needed to remedy the situation.(The timeshare member has often reported that they were told they were wrong and the timeshare sales agent judged truthful)
  • Be careful in disciplining whistleblowers for other misconduct — If you have a whistleblower in your company that needs to be disciplined for other conduct you must be very careful. Get evidence to support your claim that you are disciplining for reasons other than the whistleblowing and make sure the employee knows the reason he or she is being disciplined.

 

https://smallbusiness.findlaw.com/employment-law-and-human-resources/whistleblower-retaliation-could-land-you-in-trouble.html

Following the above advice would eliminate the need for timeshare advocacy groups and whistleblowers.

United in Speaking Truth to Power

www.whistleblowersofamerica.org @whistleP2P

601 Pennsylvania Ave, South Tower, Suite 900 Washington, DC 20004

Jackie presented testimony to the House and Senate Committees on Veterans Affairs March 14, 2018. She included Timeshare Advocacy Group’s veteran timeshare fraud report in her statement. Several of the 62 veteran timeshare members we have assisted struggle with disabilities and PTSD as described in the report. Jackie believes that retaliation can cause PTSD.     

  • The veteran population has very complex needs due to unique exposures/injury during military complicated by having two plus significant medical problems in one patient.
  • Veterans experience Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Post Traumatic Brain Disorder (PTSD). According to the CDC, about 40,000 Americans die by suicide each year making it the 10th   leading cause of death. (Several of the veterans we have helped struggle with PTSD and TBI, one is a decorated Marine, and another a Marine who earned two Purple Hearts.)
  • Agent Orange exposure – For example, eye cancers are a continuous issue. (Two of our disabled veteran timeshare members are disabled from Agent Orange exposure)
  • Gulf War Illness – Illness haunts Gulf War veterans. (One of the timeshare members served in the Gulf War and is on 25 meds)
  • Camp LeJeune: Due to water contamination at the Marine Corps Base, Camp LeJeune, increased reports of cancer in veterans and their families have been documented over the last several decades related to the solvents in water.
  • Burn Pit Exposure: Those who served in Afghanistan and Iraq since 9/11 were exposed to a concoction of burning substances on military installations that has caused them to raise health concerns from cancers to respiratory and gastrointestinal disorders. (One of the members we assisted was diagnosed with blood cancer having lived next to a burn pit in Basra)

Statement of

Ms. Jacqueline Garrick, LCSW-C

Executive Director

Whistleblowers of America

Before the

Committees on Veterans’ Affairs

U.S. Senate

U.S. House of Representatives

March 14, 2018

Fraud and Scams Against Veterans:

Although WoA recognizes that it is not inherent within the VA mission to protect veterans from fraud and scams that could cost them their benefits, it suggests that it could be assistive in educating veterans against these unscrupulous tactics. For example, WoA has had multiple complaints from veterans related to timeshare deceit and bait and switch tactics, which are defined by the FBI as fraud for profit.  Often elderly veterans are mentioned as being targeted by the Timeshare Advocacy Group, TM which fights for active duty and retired military who fear losing their security clearance, career, homes or other assets.  Foreclosures and financial distress because of these misrepresented investments are happening every day to elderly disabled veterans and their families. In the past, VA has cooperated with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) over mortgage and other loan scams that caused financial hardships for veterans.  Home loans and timeshare loans are identical as both are reported as foreclosures. WoA asks that Congress consider a role for the VBA Employment and Economic Initiative (EEI) could play in cooperation with CFPB to educate and protect veterans from unscrupulous financial predators and fraudulent practices.

Jacqueline Garrick is a former Army social work officer who has worked in the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense as well as for the House Veterans Affairs Committee.  She is a subject matter expert in mental health and program evaluation. She is an advocate for disabled veterans and the use of peer support to improve resilience in traumatized populations.  She founded Whistleblowers of America in 2017 based on her experience reporting attempted fraud with DoD Suicide prevention funds.

We thank Jackie and Whistleblowers for their support. It is our hope that through public awareness and knowledge, the consumer will be better able to make an informed decision as to whether a timeshare, especially one financed at 17%, is a good idea for the family.

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

That’s it for this week, Friday is upon us and the weekend beckons, on Monday we will be publishing the court cases against Diamond and how Spanish law is protecting consumers, we will be comparing this with what is happening across the Great Lake with our US cousins.

Inside Timeshare would like to thank all contributors to these articles and also to those who supply the evidence and information on the “fake” companies that are trying to rip you off. It is your valuable information which goes to help and save others from these unscrupulous charlatans.

Remember to check, check and check again, doing your homework will save you your hard earned cash. If you are unsure how to check, then use our contact page, we will be happy to point you in the right direction.

Have a great weekend and join us again next week at Inside Timeshare.

Litigious Abogados: Another New Name to the Family.

Our regular readers will be aware that we have been following the many changes in name for almost 3 years, well here is another new name for you, Legalidad Abogados SA, with the website:

http://legalidad-abogados.com

Registered on 20 May 2018

The websites is as usual exactly the same as all the others except for the new names and photographs of the lawyers, which no doubt are photographs of genuine lawyers taken from the internet. We will be trying to identify the genuine people as we have done in the past.

 

The company apparently was was founded by Manuel Midan Embalori (photo below), on Monday 20th July 1990, which was in fact a Friday! They have the CIF Number (National ID Number), is A30458629, which is again not genuine.

 

The lawyers are named as:

Armando Calenam Salderol

Daniel Lominiar Golteras

Carlos Demanar Voltarisa

There address is one that week have seen before, although genuine, they are not there:

Legalidad Abogados S.A.

6-4, Calle de S. Francisco, Santa Cruz, 38002, Tenerife

Freephone: 0800 802 1938

Tenerife Tel: 0034 822 684 515

[email protected]

[email protected]

So what are Legalidad Abogados doing?

Obviously it will be the same ploy they have used in the past, your timeshare company and the director is being taken to court, for a payment to the Procurador you can be included in the case. The Procurador is named as Jesia Elisabeta Eliaz and the money is to be paid into her Bankia account.

Now the case our lucky reader was to be involved in was to be heard at the end of July, this involved his timeshare at Island Village and the director is named as one Mark Rowe, who for those regulars to our pages will know is not a director of Island Village but owns companies such as Hollywood Marketing, The Monster Group of companies, ABC Lawyers to name just a few.

No doubt within days our reader would have received the wonderful news that Mark Rowe pleaded guilty, which somehow no one will ever believe, Mark Rowe pleading guilty!

We also wonder which gang will steal the cheque and cash it, we have had Romanians and Ukrainians, we have heard that the new gang are Croatians!

Whoever they are, there is no legal law firm called Legalidad Abogados, there are genuine lawyers with those names, there is no case case at court and there will definitely not be a cheque sent from the court!

It will be the same old “Fraud” we have seen in the past, don’t fall for their story, the documentation looks real, but it is all fake.

If you have been contacted by this or any other firm with a similar story, then beware, unless you have personally instructed a Spanish law firm to act on your behalf then you do not have a case in court.

The courts do not instruct any company to contact timeshare owners, or to act on the courts behalf. They do not send out cheques and will definitely not instruct another company to investigate a stolen and cashed cheque.

Remember doing your homework, just like our reader, will save you a lot of money. If you are not sure about any company that contacts you or even one you have found on the internet, then use our contact page and we will point you in the right direction.

The Tuesday Slot with Irene

This week’s Tuesday Slot we publish a revised article on How to File a Complaint, but first a quick word on the article yesterday and the post on Timeshare Talk by Mr William Dobbs. We have had several emails from readers venting there disgust at the use of Ian Smart’s name considering he passed away.

Mr Dobbs you should think very carefully at what you write and who about, to use the name of a deceased person who cannot speak or defend himself is the lowest of the low. I have had emails from his personal friends and family, all demand the removal of his name and for you Mr Dobbs to publish an apology.

It is also clear that you have no idea what you are saying or writing, yes I do know many of the people on that list, after all it is my job to know, but much of it is so out of date it is laughable. One person who you mention as sales at Palm Oasis, has not even been in the industry for at least 15 years and as we stated yesterday, in any industry people will be acquainted with each other. So Mr Dobbs will his family and friends get the apology?

Now on with today’s article.

How to File a Timeshare Complaint (July 17, 2018 revision)

  

Start with the Attorneys General

If necessary, continue to the FBI at IC3.gov

Finish with the Federal Trade Commission, if Section 5 is violated

FTC Unfair Practices

An act or practice is unfair where it

  • causes or is likely to cause substantial injury to consumers;
  • cannot be reasonably avoided by consumers; and
  • is not outweighed by countervailing benefits to consumers or to competition.

FTC Deceptive Practices

An act or practice is deceptive where

  • a representation, omission, or practice misleads or is likely to mislead the consumer;
  • a consumer’s interpretation of the representation, omission, or practice is considered reasonable under the circumstances; and
  • the misleading representation, omission, or practice is material.

https://www.federalreserve.gov/boarddocs/supmanual/cch/ftca.pdf

“I was told that in order to be released from a timeshare I had owned for years, which was a deeded timeshare week, I had to turn the deed into points. Believing the sales agent, on June 19th I bought $12,000 worth of points for no reason. A few weeks after purchase I learned through Social Media the company has a voluntary surrender program.” (Example of an actual complaint)

Inside Timeshare has received 499 U.S. timeshare complaints as of July 16, 2018. All but a handful of complainants allege they had been sold a timeshare by deception. In all but a few cases, the member was dismissed with “You signed a contract” or “It doesn’t matter what the sales agent said.” If timeshare companies would acknowledge that some timeshare sales agents do intentionally mislead the consumer, there would be no need to file complaints and no reason for the existence of member supported advocacy groups.

According to FBI agents and lawyers our advocates have consulted, it is not legal to hide behind fine print, but it takes volumes of complaints to raise a regulator’s eyebrow. The Federal Trade Commission released its 2017 complaint report, listing travel, vacation, and timeshare as one of the most costly frauds at $1,710. Our reader complaints dollar amounts range from $4,000 to $400,000 or more. We wish members were only losing $1,710. Inside Timeshare has received complaints from 61 veterans and active duty military and law enforcement.   

Travel, vacation, and timeshare frauds were the most costly with people losing a median amount of $1,710. The FTC also broke out fraud losses for members of the military and found their median fraud loss to be 44 percent higher than the general population.

https://www.jacksonsun.com/story/opinion/columnists/2018/04/06/ftc-releases-2017-complaint-statistics/493425002/

Timeshare Members need to be especially vigilant about “Get you out of your timeshare” firms because many are scams. Some are not. Timeshare Advocacy Group™ (TAG) has a scam research team formed by members who have themselves been scammed. This 15 page US Department of Justice timeshare scam report illustrates the seriousness and extent of the problem, caused by the lack of a viable secondary market. Timeshare company annual and quarterly reports have mentioned a viable secondary market as a risk to investors.    

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

Advocates for reform feel the problems that exist in the industry today are caused by an overreliance on the oral representation clause, iron clad developer based contracts, the lack of an adequate secondary market, and limited enforcement. We don’t dispute there are many who use and enjoy their timeshare and many sales agents who sell the product properly, but here are the most common timeshare complaints reported by our readers:

  • The agent said I could easily sell my points,
  • The agent overstated the value of travel awards to pay for airline tickets, or the use of a travel credit card to pay maintenance fees,
  • The agent said I had to give up my deeded timeshare and buy points,
  • The agent said I have to give up my deed and buy points (or buy enough points to get to the next loyalty level) or my heirs will be burdened,
  • The rescission clause was dodged because the agent said the (bogus) program would not be available until after the first of the year, or we were  not allowed access to the booking site until after the rescission period.

To begin your complaint, raise your right hand.

Do you promise to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God? Present your information factually and without opinion or inflammatory language.

Information Needed to File a Timeshare Complaint

Name (s) and age of member

Phone Number

State of Residence

Member Number

For each contract in dispute:

Where Purchased and Date of Purchase

Number of Points Purchased

Sales Agent and Sales Agent ID# (if available)

Purchase Price

Down Payment

Amount Financed and Interest Rate

Loan Number

Current Loan Balance

Name of Credit Card if one was used to pay the down payment

What do you want? Do you seek Refund or Relinquishment?

Why? Is it due to Deception, Health, Age or Financial Burden?

Complaints expressing dissatisfaction with general availability will go unheeded as will a request based on not being able to afford the timeshare. If you feel you were deceived, list the reasons why. If there was no deceit, ask for relinquishment. Maintenance fees must be current and there can be no loan outstanding. Just like your personal residence, you can’t go to your home mortgage lender and say you can’t afford it. The difference is you can sell your home if there is an outstanding loan.  

MOST IMPORTANT – Purchase Timeline

It is better to state your narrative as a narrative referring back to the contracts and figures at the top of your complaint. Begin with when you first became involved with the company and proceed chronologically. Keep your history brief up to the point when things began to go wrong.

After you complete your complaint, email it to the appropriate resort department. Expect to be denied. Typically your resort reviewer will restate your concerns, produce your initials and signatures, point out the oral representation clause and inform you, “If something was important to you, you should have asked for it to be put in the contract.” File a rebuttal if you disagree with the company response.

Mark your email to the resort urgent if you are in financial distress. It is best to file a complaint before the debt collectors are hounding. If one of our advocates is assisting the member, the member will report back to us if the issue is resolved. Due to the required non-disclosure, terms and conditions will not be discussed.

Attorneys General

If the resort has dismissed your complaint, the next step is to file a complaint with the Attorney General of the state where you signed your contract. It can take sometimes a month to hear back from an AG but once your complaint has been accepted, debt collectors are not allowed to call. You can find any Attorney General by searching the state name and Attorney General. Some states will direct you to the real estate or consumer division. You should file a complaint with the state Real Estate Division against the agent if the agent was deceptive. Not all states require timeshare sales agents be real estate licensed.     

We have determined, based on reports from our readers, some Attorneys General walk lockstep with the developer, responding to complaints with, “You should not have relied on verbal representations.” Thus, in those states, the consumer is out in the cold and at the mercy of the developer’s decision. In other states, Attorneys General have opened investigations and reached settlements based on a volume of complaints and a pattern of consistent reports of deceptive behavior.

The FBI

Any complaint reported to the FBI should be of a more egregious nature. “They promised me a free cruise but it wasn’t free” is an example of a complaint that is not serious enough for the FBI. Our opening example, describing a buyer told they had to give up their timeshare deed when that was not necessary, would merit an IC3.gov report. To determine if your complaint is serious enough to file an FBI complaint, review the FBI definitions of criminal acts:  

White-collar crimes are characterized by deceit, concealment, or violation of trust and are not dependent on the application or threat of physical force or violence. The motivation behind these crimes is financial—to obtain or avoid losing money, property, or services or to secure a personal or business advantage. These are not victimless crimes. A single scam can destroy a company, devastate families by wiping out their life savings, or cost investors billions of dollars (or even all three).

Mortgage fraud is a subcategory of financial institution fraud known as “fraud for profit”:

Fraud for profit: Those who commit this type of mortgage fraud are often industry insiders using their specialized knowledge or authority to commit or facilitate the fraud. Current investigations and widespread reporting indicate a high percentage of mortgage fraud involves collusion by industry insiders, such as bank officers, appraisers, mortgage brokers, attorneys, loan originators, and other professionals engaged in the industry. Fraud for profit aims not to secure housing, but rather to misuse the mortgage lending process to steal cash and equity from lenders or homeowners. The FBI prioritizes fraud for profit cases.

https://www.fbi.gov/investigate/white-collar-crime

The FBI has advised our members, if the allegation involves credit card fraud, the member should also file a complaint with the Secret Service.

https://ask.metafilter.com/81136/Should-I-call-the-Secret-Service-over-credit-card-fraud

Most important, consider reaching out to local or national media. Reporters look for content and are surprisingly easy to reach. Write an article about your experience. The more people who come forward, the more the public is made aware of timeshare black holes before engaging in a timeshare sales presentation.

Summary of Regulatory and Law Enforcement Agencies

  • The Attorney General’s office where you signed your contract. Most AG complaints can be filed online.
  • The Real Estate Division of the state where the agent is licensed if your complaint is against the agent.
  • The FBI at IC3.gov portal if you feel you were deceived. For allegations of a serious nature you may also contact an FBI field office to file a tip orally. Have your facts and figures ready. The FBI complaint website is called IC3.gov which stands for Internet Crime. This is a bit confusing. IC is the name of the portal. That doesn’t mean it has to be an internet crime. Click IC3 as your choice when filing. Sometimes your local field office will pay closer attention than say Las Vegas, where losing money is a tourist attraction. You can find your nearest field office from this website. https://www.fbi.gov/contact-us/field-offices https://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx
  • The Federal Trade Commission is one of the most important agencies to file with, because it is federal. Most states have incorporated a portion of the FTC’s “Unfair and Deceptive Trade Act” in their state law.   
  • The media – the court of public opinion is often the only court available. Inside Timeshare, published in Spain, welcomes member submissions, positive or negative.
  • The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for credit card or lending complaints, under the mortgage option (even if no mortgage), selecting the bank involved. Timeshare has dodged this regulatory bullet because most members don’t know the identity of the lender as the timeshare company often services the loan (Timeshare companies are not an option from the CFPB’s drop-down menu). CFPB is the organization that helped Wells Fargo victims. The CFPB lost influence after the roll back of the Dodd Frank act March 2018. The Dodd Frank act was enacted after the abuses caused by subprime lending. The CFPB is still considered a regulator. https://www.consumerfinance.gov/
  • File a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. The company’s BBB rating can be misleading in that the BBB only rates how efficiently a company responds to complaints. Sometimes the BBB allows you to log in and file a rebuttal. If you file a complaint, a review is not allowed. We have received complaints from members reporting that a company representative called, saying the message is time sensitive, but does not answer the phone when the member repeatedly tries to call back. We suspect this boosts the company BBB rating because the company can report, “We reached out.”
  • Lawmakers – The problem is the timeshare buyer typically does not buy in their state of residence which is why lawmakers don’t seem to take timeshare seriously. Still, any effort to contact lawmakers is encouraged.

If this sounds like work, it is, but you can file with some, all, or none of the agencies. If you pick two, pick the Attorney General and the FTC. We have a team of advocates who can answer questions and help guide you through the process. We feel “Action and Advocacy” is the best way to change questionable timeshare business practices.  

Depending on the seriousness of your complaint, you may forward your complaint to the firm’s public relations office or firm and to ARDA, the timeshare industry’s PAC, for violating ARDA’s Code of Ethics. ARDA’s Code of Ethics can be found on ARDA’s website. ARDA ROC does not mediate disputes, but ARDA does have a Code of Ethics. Due to lack of response to about 200 of the more serious complaints we sent to ARDA, we do not recommend owners make the voluntary “opt in” or “opt out” ARDA ROC donation on your maintenance fee invoice. Not one of the members we questioned knew what ARDA ROC stands for, yet collectively gives ARDA ROC about $5 million a year. It is the opinion of our advocates, that although ARDA lobbies for the industry and for timeshare members, when the issue at stake is one that is at odds with members, members lose because they have no voice.

You may also forward your complaint to the Association of Vacation Owners. AVO has been tracking our complaints for research purposes. http://insidetimeshare.com/the-tuesday-slot-with-irene-3/

If you are granted a positive outcome, you may not say or write anything disparaging about the resort, but there is no harm in staying involved by referring timeshare members who need help to Inside Timeshare or to one of the self-help groups listed below we know are not industry influenced.  

Who We Are and Why We Do This

Our advocates are not attorneys and we do not provide legal advice. We have researched regulatory agencies and are here to direct consumers to the appropriate regulatory and law enforcement agencies. The right to file a regulatory complaint is the right of every citizen who feels they have been wronged.  

It’s a good idea to contact a member of the Licensed Timeshare Resale Broker Association to find out whether your timeshare has a secondary market. http://www.licensedtimeshareresalebrokers.org/

Venting on complaint sites has no effect whatsoever but an organized campaign to track complaints and report alleged fraud has already born fruit in the form of Attorneys General investigations and greater public awareness.

If all else fails, we will refer to an attorney if the member can afford one. If you are forced into foreclosure, but have an otherwise unblemished credit report, you can write to the credit reporting agencies in an effort to explain why you were deceived and why you were not able to resolve your dispute.

Contact Inside Timeshare or email Irene Parker at

[email protected] or call 270-303-7572 EST if you are interested in becoming a volunteer. Feel free to call any day of the week from 1:00 to 5:00 PM EST. It’s best to schedule a call. All calls and emails are returned within 24/48 hours.  If your email is not returned, please resend and send a text message.

Self-help groups seek to provide members a way to proactively address membership concerns; to advocate for timeshare reform; to obtain greater disclosure from the company; to advocate for a viable secondary market; and to educate prospective buyers.

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

http://tug2.net/

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

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

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

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

July 7, 2018 Irene Parker Timeshare Advocacy Group™     

Related article: FTC Section 5

http://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-from-america-12/

That’s it for today, you now have all the information to be able to file a complaint, if you need any help with this or want to know about any company that has contacted you or you have found on the internet, then use our contact page and we will point you in the right direction.

The Timeshare Association: Another New Website from David Cox

Here we go again, another new website has come online, https://www.timeshareassociation.co.uk

Registered on 13 June 2018, The Timeshare Association with the company registration number: 09041038 and a familiar address of: Coniston House, 3 Beach Rd, St Anne’s-on-Sea, Lancashire, England, UK, FY8 2NR, which for many of our readers is the address associated with our old friend Mr David Cox.

The company registration number is actually for the company known as The Long Term Holiday Product Association Ltd, formerly known by two previous names, The Timeshare Consumer Association Ltd and Timeshare Mediation Ltd. Which according to company house records Mr David Cox resigned from on 25 May 2018.

Although this website is fronted by two new names Mrs. Sofia Foley & Mr D Burnes, with the address according to the website of 25 Dyer Street, Kirkham, Lancashire. PR4 2JA.

Obviously it is another David Cox adventure as the “About us” section states: “We are a community company “not for profit” and the company is under guarantee, that financial guarantee provided by Mr David Cox”. (Well not for profit! If Cox is involved there will be profit coming his way).

Again just like TESS was borne out of the Timeshare Consumer Association when Cox was director and owner, that website funnelled unsuspecting consumers into the hand of David Cox and TESS!

The news section is again probably written by him, although it does look like he may just have someone to “edit” his very poor command of the written English language, mind you saying that, it is still full of grammatical and spelling errors.

But that is besides the point, it is again attacking other companies without any fact or foundation. Praetorian Legal and Mercantile Claims are once again under attack along with a very defamatory article about Mr Eugen Kaiser and Canarian Legal Alliance. (I pity the front people when the lawsuits begin, Mr Cox is well out of the frame!)

The website bolsters the news section with news going back to 1997, well I suppose that they did need to make the website look as though it is older than it actually is. Another point is the logo, it looks very familiar, just like the old logo for TATOC, which was also known as The Timeshare Association. (Is this to again confuse people into thinking it is the same organisation?)

So is this another wonderful ploy by Mr Cox, the failed director of many companies to confuse and snare the poor timeshare owners into the clutches of his businesses and his partners?

On the website there are many sections, all with little drop down category menus, one from the “About Us” section is “Highly Regarded Companies” and starts with the following:

“The Companies contained on this list have proven to be highly regarded by any of: the Government, authorities, industry professionals, professional bodies. They are known to have maintained their service and appear not to have faltered in delivery of the good and professional services.”

“Those Timeshares we have considered as highly regarded are from investigations we have conducted, including taking advice from others. It has been explained that those on the list that they have excelled in considering and delivering benefit to the consumer and are highly regarded and respected by others.”

Yet there is no list, does this mean that you as a timeshare owner must contact them to get it?

If so which companies are “Highly Regarded”?

One could surmise that it will be one of his companies or that of his associates, could one of these also be a Mark Rowe company, after all he did pull all the negative comments about Mark Rowe from his TESS website!

Click on the following link and nothing comes up any more!

http://tesslimited.co.uk/2016/09/13/the-monster-in-monster-credits/

One thing Mr Cox is very good at and that is pulling the wool over people’s eyes, so all we can say is timeshare owners beware the false stories peddled by any website or companies that DAVID ANDREW COX  has anything to do with.

As for the new front people at The Timeshare Association website, you really need to take stock of your situation, while Mr Cox is behind the trenches just like the old world war one generals, you are now in the firing line!

 

For more information on the inebriate that is David Andrew Cox click on the following:

 

http://timeshareexitsupportservices.com/

http://www.tess-timeshare.com

https://tesstimesharefacts.com/

https://tesstimesharefacts.com/news/david-cox-bernadette-cox-disolve-companies-faster-alker-seltza-glass-water/

http://insidetimeshare.com/david-cox-tess-attacking-sundry/

http://insidetimeshare.com/tess-allegations-facts/

Now for another warning about a fake law firm that we have previously mentioned Abogados Lopez, this “firm” are contacting clients of Canarian Legal Alliance and claiming that they have taken over their cases.

http://insidetimeshare.com/what-a-pitch-readers-share-their-information/

This is “FAKE LAW FIRM” they are not working for or on behalf of Canarian Legal Alliance, they have not secured funds for your timeshare with the courts, they are only out to steal your money.

The callers are Hope Brugge or Megan Heywood, the numbers being used are:

0034 951 242 867 which is a Malaga code

0034 602 654 670 which is a Spanish mobile

Another number that has been used is

0044 1291 440 500 which is a Chepstow code.

DO NOT FALL FOR THEIR VERY CONVINCING PITCH!

 

Midweek Roundup and Another Dodgy Looking Setup

Important Update: Another reader has identified Lance Steer as one Lance Oakley, an ex-Diamond Sales Rep and also of ex-EZE Group.

Another name has come to the attention of Inside Time share from a worried reader:

Positive Outcome – Contractual Specialists

With the address:

Rural Innovation Center, 10 Street Avenue, Stoneleigh Park, Kenilworth, CV8 2RG

Which is a serviced office rental center where meeting and conference rooms can be hired by the hour.

They use the telephone number:  02476 960 735 which is a coventry code, when this number was called Inside Timeshare was told we had the wrong number. We have susquently found that the telephone number belongs to Coventry Creative, Advertising and Graphic Design , Rover Road, Coventry, CV1 3HT which is Coventry market, a completely different area.

The contacts are: LANCE STEER & JOANNE JOHNSON with the email address:

[email protected]

So far no company with this name has come up on any internet search, using the email address does not link to any website and no information about Lance Steer or Joanne Johnson appear on any search.

So what has concerned our reader?

Very simple, they have paid by bank transfer for a relinquishment of their Diamond membership, yet are still getting demands for maintenance arrears. So it looks like yet again money is paid and the relinquishment is not done.

According to the emails our reader has received, Lance says he has been helping timeshare owners for over 5 years, funny how we have not heard of him before. The other strange fact is that in his emails he goes on to say why he has not been in touch with his clients, listing his illnesses, bereavements and severely disabled Father. Even getting an assistant Joanne, to email clients and explain all his personal problems. (see PDF at the end). Not the sort of information one would normally give. (Looking for sympathy comes to mind).

His emails also go on at length about Spanish Supreme Court rulings, how he has studied many case files and come to the conclusion that all these contracts are illegal. (Which is not surprising considering he sold many of them).

In order to give credibility he mentions Canarian Legal Alliance and places links to their website, even including screenshots attached to his emails. All the details he puts in these emails look as though they have come directly from the CLA website, even using the same phrases.

Another part of his emails go on to tell the clients that Diamond and other timeshare companies have no right to chase for maintenance arrears, or that Daniels Silverman the debt recovery company has no right to chase the debt.

Unfortunately, all this information has convinced our reader to pay for a service which Lance cannot provide, after all we have stated on many occasions in these pages that Diamond, Club la Costa and many other timeshare companies and resorts will not deal with third parties for cancellation of contracts. They will only work with the members directly.

So just from the lack of information on the internet and the lengthy explanations on his illness and private life, plus the fact that Canarian Legal Alliance have never heard of Lance, does get the alarms bells ringing.

Sticking with Canarian Legal Alliance, this week they have announced the following:

Their lawyers have secured another 242,391.46€ on behalf of 6 clients, on the receiving end of this is Anfi Del Mar. These funds have been paid directly to the court of San Bartelomé de Tirajana in Maspalomas. The clients are: 2 from the United Kingdom, 2 from Norway and 2 from Germany.

This comes from the procedure put into place by CLA with a team of their senior lawyers Eva Guitierrez and Judith Diaz Pascual and Cristina Batista, enforcing provisional execution of sentence within 40 days of the judgement being issued. This means that once the judgement is issued the timeshare company must lodge the awarded amount with the court voluntarily or it will be enforced.

There is also another form of securing the funds which has just been enforced by the Court of First Instance No 4 in Maspalomas, which has placed an “Embargo” on Anfi accounts in respect of funds which are due to a German client. These embargoes allow the court to directly take the funds from those accounts and place them in the courts account ready to be paid out to the client.

These moves by CLA have been placed to ensure that funds due to clients are secured, even if the offending timeshare company is appealing. It also stops the timeshare companies from delaying the payouts, which has been the case in the past, now the clients know that their money is secure.

That’s it for today, if you have had any dealings with any company or individual such as Lance Steer, use our contact page and get in touch, we would love to hear from you. You can also contact Inside Timeshare if you require any information relating to your timeshare or any company that has contacted you.

Click below to read the two emails.

Lance Emails

Start the Week

It’s Monday and the start of another week, today we highlight some more new names that have been cropping up over the weekend, we start first with Davies and Howell Associates a new cold calling claims company.

The company was registered on 30 August 2017, with the company registration number 10939012, with the registered address  20-22 Wenlock Road, London, England, N1 7GU. Telephone: 0203 857 9497 and the email: [email protected]

The director is registered as David Alan Taylor, with the correspondence address as above, according to company records this is his first appointment. Chances are he is not the owner but just a front name.

They have a website http://www.daviesandhowell.co.uk/  which was registered on 22 October 2017, a relatively new website and company. So what are they offering?

According to their website they have a wealth of experience and knowledge spanning over 40 years in the holiday ownership and financial services markets. They claim they are able to extricate you from your timeshare contract and claim compensation. Reading between the lines with their mention of finance agreements and credit cards, this claim looks very much like a Section 75 of the Credit Consumer Act 1974.

As we have said before, if you have used your timeshare then a refund under Section 75 is unlikely, the timeshare company will rightly say that you have used it therefore you have received the goods or services paid for. If your timeshare company has gone into liquidation, then you may have a chance. Section 75 is unlikely to cover breaches of the Spanish Timeshare Laws, for this you would need to employ the services of a Spanish lawyer with extensive knowledge and experience of the timeshare laws in Spain. Also you must still be a member, once a contract has been cancelled you cannot take any case to court.

The website itself is very basic, having only one page and very little information, it looks like the classic information collection site. These are designed to collect as much information about you and your timeshare as possible, the chances are this is then used to pass on to other companies. So the moral of this story is beware.

We now move on to another new company that was found during our usual search on the internet, this company was highlighted by Mindtimeshare on 6 June. This is called Ashton Group, with the following address and telephone number:

H5 Hash Tree Court, Nottingham Business Park, NG86PY Nottingham, UK

Tel. 0044 203 519 23 38

At customer services is  Paul Menard

Email: [email protected]

So far we have not even found a website, even using the ashtonagency.co.uk from the email address draws a blank.

What actually caught our eye was the name of the legal representative, Sir Drummond McFadzean, so we began our search for this Knight of the Realm, well couldn’t find him. We did however find a Mr Drummond McFadzean, a director of  Ashton (Estate Agency) Ltd of Romford with an entry on Linkedin. Checking with Company House records we did find a company called Ashtons (Estate Agents) Ltd with a registered address in St Albans Herts. The director of this company since 1993 is MR KARL GEOFFREY JUDD, Drummond does not show on the directors list.

We did a search on the name of the company Ashton Group but found nothing relating to timeshare, there are however plenty of other companies with very similar names, including one in the USA which is a financial services company.

So there we have it what looks like another resale scam on the way, remember not all is as it seems, do your homework, check, check and check again, then double check. If you are unsure on any company that contacts you, or even  one that you have found while searching for a way out of your timeshare, then contact Inside Timeshare, we will point you in the right direction.

Friday’s Letter from America

Sell My Timeshare Now Exploits Inside Timeshare’s Name

INSIDE TIMESHARE IS NOT IN BUSINESS WITH

SELL MY TIMESHARE NOW and does not endorse SMTN

Sell My Timeshare Now has plagiarized Inside Timeshare’s name by using the keyword search words INSIDE TIMESHARE RESALES AND RENTAL on this link.

http://ww2.sellmytimesharenow.com/timeshare/Inside/vacation/

29 June. UPDATE TO TODAY’S ARTICLE: Today’s article was published because SMTN ignored, until today, our request  to remove Insides Timeshare from their headline and internet search words, “Inside Timeshares Resales and Rentals” 
Just today we notice Inside Timeshares has been removed, but we keep this article posted to remind timeshare members to check  with a licensed timeshare resale broker before paying anyone upfront money to list your timeshare. They can get you an accurate assessment as to whether your timeshare has any secondary market value. They charge nothing upfront to list a timeshare.   

We had previously pulled two timeshare members’ articles after Sell My Timeshare Now (SMTN) refunded the members their money. Both members owned a timeshare widely reported as having no secondary market. There are few, if any, licensed timeshare resale brokers that will even accept a listing for the timeshare these members owned.  SMTN charged the families $1500 to $1700 to list their timeshare points, only to see the listing stagnate over the next year.

Reviewing a report from a few months ago, submitted by a timeshare member who had been solicited by SMTN, I noticed a quote the member provided from SMTN agent Richard Salzenstein. The member said Mr. Salzenstein agreed that her timeshare had no secondary market, but declined to answer why SMTN continues to accept listings for this company.         

Timeshare members solicited by SMTN threatened to file regulatory complaints accusing SMTN of offering real estate advice without being a licensed real estate agent, because both members said SMTN assured them they had listed at a good price. After checking with a timeshare insider, I was advised that this could be considered acting as a real estate agent without being licensed. SMTN agents are not licensed real estate agents. When the timeshare members threatened to file complaints, SMTN refunded their money.

As a courtesy, when a timeshare member approaches us about an article, we send a draft of the article to the company, hoping the company can resolve the dispute. Inside Timeshare would always rather see a member helped than publish an article. If the key words are not taken down, Inside Timeshare will direct readers to the New Hampshire and Florida Attorney General’s Office where SMTN is domiciled or operates as well as state real estate licensing commissions.    

Sell My Timeshare Now is not a scam, because there are timeshares with resale value. The company can make plenty of money listing timeshares points of companies like Hilton, Marriott, Disney, Starwood and Hyatt that do have some secondary market value.

SMTN is not Ebay or Craig’s List. SMTN advertises that they are knowledgeable of the timeshare industry and are a resource for timeshare members. By accepting listings for timeshares known to have virtually no secondary market, SMTN is harming beleaguered timeshare members already financially stressed.

June 29, 2018

By Irene Parker

If any timeshare members wishes to sell a timeshare they should check with a member of the Licensed Timeshare Resale Broker Association. They charge nothing upfront. We have often referred timeshare members to LTRBA.

http://www.licensedtimeshareresalebrokers.org/

This is the member’s report from the article we previously pulled:

I responded to a Sell My Timeshare Now (SMTN) solicitation. I had been trying to get rid of my timeshare points for years. I wasting $1600 by listing with SMTN, I was relieved to find a member sponsored Facebook page where I learned the company had launched a voluntary surrender program. We applied for the program and were accepted. We were able to avoid the painful collection calls that come after the member stops paying maintenance fees. 

Nikki Salvador of We Buy and Sell Timeshares recommended SMTN.

My SMTN listing agent explained that the upfront money charged is not a commission. In addition to the listing fee of $1,600, Maria quoted $800 to $1200 estimated for attorney fees should the points sell. I listed the points for around $14,000. Any knowledgeable member of this company knows this is a ridiculous listing price for my points, given the number of members on Facebooks and websites seeking to give away this company’s points.

Maria assured me demand for my points is high. I started inquiring about inactivity since we had not heard anything. Maria said, “People are looking at it. The price is good.” By advising a price, and advising me our price is good, I learned Maria was acting as a real estate agent without being licensed. I dropped the price to $12,500. Nothing happened. The timeshare points are worthless.   

SMTN still retains their Better Business Bureau rating of D.

https://www.bbb.org/concord/business-reviews/timeshare-resale-and-rental-marketing/sell-my-timeshare-now-in-portsmouth-nh-92008632

SMTN has been sold twice since 2010. Scott Roberts is the owner of Vacation Innovations and SMTN is a wholly owned subsidiary of V.I.

Accepting upfront money to sell a timeshare is illegal in some states like Florida, but it seems companies can work around the law by calling it an ad or subscription fee, or a market analysis.

After receiving our first SMTN complaint, I called SMTN and talked to Mike. The first question I asked Mike is, “Can I rent my points through SMTN?” Mike said renting my points is no problem. When I informed him this company does not allow the renting of points through a third party site like SMTN, Mike said he would have someone from legal call me. I did not hear back. I offered to email Mike the rule from the member handbook.

According to Better Business Bureau files,

Sell My Timeshare Now, LLC

This company has a pattern of complaints that centers around the company’s advertising claims. Complainants allege they are guaranteed a time frame in which their timeshare will sell. Many consumers allege the company makes a promise that their timeshare will sell quickly. The company responds to the complaints and reiterates the company policy which reads the company does not guarantee when a timeshare will sell.

On March 23, 2016 BBB reviewed the complaints on file and determined the pattern described above has not been eliminated. BBB sent a letter to the company requesting cooperation in responding to and eliminating the pattern of complaints.

On December 5, 2017 representatives of SMTN met with the BBB to update us on improvements they are making to their organization. They have taken steps toward improving customer service by hiring a new Customer Service Manager. They have put in place an “audit group” that will contact consumers on the day they sign the contract with SMTN and then again 90 days out as a way to ensure customer satisfaction. It is anticipated that by proactively working with their customers, the number of complaints will be reduced substantially. BBB will work closely with SMTN to follow their progress and to continue to address any complaints that may come in.

Consumers are, once again, requested to contact SMTN prior to filing a complaint with BBB at 1-877-815-4227. This Business Is Not BBB Accredited

Customer Review Rating:

35%

62%

[12] Positive Reviews

[1] Neutral Reviews

[21] Negative Reviews

[34] Total Customer Reviews

[107] Total Customer Complaints

Composite Score:

Sell My Timeshare Now, LLC has received 1.93 out of 5 stars based on 34 Customer Reviews and a BBB Rating of D.

This content is provided by the business and may contain advertising. BBB does not review or endorse this content.

https://www.bbb.org/concord/business-reviews/timeshare-resale-and-rental-marketing/sell-my-timeshare-now-in-portsmouth-nh-92008632/Alerts-and-Actions

According to a post found on RedWeek, published on the internet, SMTN does seem to charge a considerable upfront fee. A member had asked whether they should buy timeshare points through SMTN.  

Good question. Here is the straight scoop:

Sometimes you will find a timeshare of interest on the SMTN site which may be available at a price acceptable to you. HOWEVER, you will have NO say or ANY choice regarding the “closing” entity. Closing costs through SMTN are quite excessive — multiple times the cost of customary and usual closing costs. You have no option to conduct a SMTN transaction “in person”, but that is the case in most any resale timeshare transaction, so SMTN is not unique in that regard. It would frankly be both highly unusual and entirely unnecessary to conduct a resale timeshare transaction “in person”. Objective, third party “closers” who have no association with either buyer or seller (not an available option via SMTN, unfortunately) look out for the interests of BOTH buyer and seller, holding all funds in escrow until closing if necessary. This obviously eliminates any need for any travel or physical presence by either the buyer or the seller just to “close” on a resale transaction.

With SMTN, you essentially have to determine ALL of the collective costs as a buyer and then ask yourself if that bottom line figure is acceptable to YOU to acquire that particular timeshare listing, despite the exorbitant closing costs. Far more often than not, the answer will be NO, but there are (relatively rare) exceptions. In all fairness, in the performance of your due diligence you really have to look at the big picture and ask yourself if the TOTAL expenditure involved justifies acquisition of that particular timeshare for YOU. You obviously first need to accurately determine the bottom line total figure before you can possibly make that fully informed evaluation and personal decision.

SMTN of course has nothing whatsoever to do with maintenance fees, regardless of the resort involved. Maintenance fees are determined only by individual resorts — and they are engraved in stone. That said, I would certainly want to verify the accuracy of any figures SMTN indicates as maintenance fees. This is very easily done by contacting the resort directly for confirmation of any figures claimed by SMTN in their listings.

Last edit by ken1193 on Nov 28, 2017 05:27 AM.

https://www.redweek.com/forums/messages?thread_id=14010;page=last

ken1193

1 month ago

Timeshare members seeking to sell their timeshare need to do their homework.

This is a Department of Justice report about timeshare transfer violations:

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

Contact Inside Timeshare or one of these member sponsored U.S. timeshare groups if you need help with a timeshare. It can save you money.

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

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

https://tug2.com/Home.aspx

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

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

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

If you have had any experience of this or any similar company and want to share it, then use our contact page and get in touch, Inside Timeshare welcomes your stories.

On the subject of the warning issued about some of the fake law firms and claims companies, Inside Timeshare has been informed by Canarian Legal Alliance that the fake law firm Abogados Lopez have had a denuncia made against them with the Guardia Civil and at the Courts.

This means that the callers Hope Brugge, Megan Heywood and Paul Tyler if those are their true names are now under investigation. Readers who have informed Inside Timeshare of being contacted have also made reports to the UK authorities using the Action Fraud website.

That’s it for this week, Friday is here and it is the start of another weekend, have fun and join us next week for more news and views on the murky world of timeshare.

Victoria Services Legal SL

Back in April Inside Timeshare reported on a new cold calling company called Ross & Harper SL, CIF B9391915 with the address C/ Centro Comercial Los Jarales – Local 1, Suite  29651 – (Mijas) – Málaga. They were calling timeshare owners and claiming the court had awarded them substantial sums of money.

At that time we also identified another company at that address, with the question could this be the next cold calling claims company?

Victoria Services Legal SL

CIF  B93597839

Email: [email protected]

This is a free email address service.

Telephone: UK  +44 203 582 7586; and Malaga +34 951 221 253

C.C. Los Jarales

Well it certainly turns out we were right, Inside Timeshare received an email from one very grateful person who decided to do a little research on this company after he received a call from a Mr Nigel Watkins, who claimed he was an employee of the Bank of Spain. Mr Watkins has a great deal of knowledge about all the dealings our reader has had in the past 6 to 10 years with various holiday club memberships. Again as we have asked before, where did they get this kind of information?

The story goes like this, the Bank of Spain had done a sweep to prosecute all the scam companies and holiday clubs, during this investigation the Bank of Spain had uncovered not only records of money due but also substantial amounts deposited in accounts owed to those cheated. Wonderful news, especially for our reader, there was over £25,000 just sitting at the Bank of Spain waiting to be claimed by him!

He was then passed to Ann Sharke (rather an appropriate name don’t you think), who explained the various methods he could claim this lovely loot, which he would receive precisely on 24 July! (Wow). These followed exactly those published in the original article, (see link at the bottom).

The first three methods were difficult, time consuming and expensive, but not to worry, luckily Ms. Sharke could find a Spanish lawyer who worked for the Bank of Spain, who could do all the work for around 8,000€ with an immediate payment of around 2,500€.

How very convenient, Ms. Sharke just happened to find Sr. Jose Manuel Rodriguez of Victoria Services Legal SL, (hang on, I thought she said he worked for the Bank of Spain). According to the agreement, apparently sent by the Bank of Spaincomunicacionbancodeesp[email protected] (not an official email address for Bank of Spain, it should be XXXX@bde.es)it contained all that had been explained to our reader. Although the last two paragraphs left a lot to be desired, these paragraphs did actually allow for Sr. Rodriguez to cancel the contract with impunity after payment.

The bank details which the client would need to transfer the money are:

Santander Bank.  IBAN ES86-0049-5792-1725-1606-3191.  Swift/Bic BSCHESMM. Central Commercial, Valdepinos, 29649 Calahonde, Mijas, Malaga

Well thanks to this reader deciding to do some research and having found the original article which described everything he had been told, they didn’t get his money. This really does go to highlight the point that we are always making:

IF IT SOUNDS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE IT PROBABLY ISN’T.

Never believe what you are told on the phone, never pay any money on the promise of the Courts, Bank of Spain, Tax Authorities or any other body is holding a huge amounts of money just waiting for you to claim it. There is always a catch, you either need to pay a lawyer to do the work for you, there is Tax to pay, a Procurator to pay or even bank fees to make the transfer.

THERE IS NO MONEY WAITING FOR YOU

THEY ONLY WANT TO GET HOLD OF YOURS

So the moral of this little tale is do your due diligence, do your homework and do your research. If you are in any doubt and need help in getting the information then use our contact page and ask Inside Timeshare, that is what we are here for.

http://insidetimeshare.com/start-the-week-another-warning/

Midweek Report

Yesterday it was brought to the attention of Inside Timeshare that a company based in the US called Sell My Timeshare Now is using the Inside Timeshare name in keywords for internet search. The wording is Inside Timeshare Resales and Rentals, this we believe is to give the impression that Inside Timeshare is associated or endorsing this company.

They have been informed that we are not happy by this use of our name and have been asked to remove it, so far they have not responded. Along with any legal action that may be required Inside Timeshare will publish articles about this company to keep this in the news and to warn all our readers that Inside Timeshare is not associated with or endorses Sell My Timeshare Now.

We have also been in contact with an elderly lady from the UK, she wanted to tell her story of how she has been the victim of many scams regarding her timeshare and about the latest attempt to illicit money from her.

It all began years ago when she and her late husband purchased a timeshare with Club la Costa, over the years they upgraded and eventually succumbed to the sales pitch to “invest” in two weeks fractional ownership. This cost around £90,000 which she was not actually aware of as her late husband dealt with all the finances and the timeshares.

Over the years they had paid out to “scam” resale companies to try and offload the burden of the maintenance fees, they were also taken in by “fake” claims companies.

It was not until her husband’s passing that she actually became aware of how much they had spent. She then had to take control of all the affairs and settle the fractional ownership issue. In order to organise her husband’s estate and list all assets, she contacted Club la Costa for a valuation of the two weeks of fractional. What shock she was about to receive.

She was under the belief that each week of fractional was worth around £45,000 each, CLC sent her a valuation worth only £11,000 for both weeks.

Eventually she had to hand them back for no return, so all that had been “invested” was now gone.

Then the latest “scam” appeared.

She received a phone call supposedly from the Malaga Courts telling her she had won a case against Club la Costa, she had been awarded a huge amount of money well over £100,000.

Obviously she was not taken in by this call, but the disturbing fact is the caller had very precise knowledge of all transactions and purchases over the years with Club la Costa. This was even right down to the dates of purchase.

So one has to ask, where the hell did that kind of information come from?

We are all very well aware that client information is often stolen by employees, especially when they know that they are going to lose their jobs. This data is worth a great deal to the “scam” companies that are always being setup and obviously to the person selling it. Quite often these companies are also being opened by those  very same ex-employees.

This ladies story really does go to show how vulnerable people are, especially the elderly who more often than not are the main victims, after all the timeshare owning community is mainly this age group.

If you are contacted by any company and have been told they are either from the courts or have been appointed by the courts, do not believe them. Do not pay out any money, especially by bank transfer, use our contact page and let us know. It is your information that will help others.

On the subject of “fake” law firms, we have again been asked to warn readers about the activities of Hope Brugge, Megan Heywood and Paul Tyler or Taylor, supposedly calling from Abogados Lopez (Gran Canaria & Marbella).

The story is they have taken over the clients case which is about to be heard in the courts, they need to clarify some details before attending the hearing. Then very soon after another call is received and the client has been awarded a huge amount, this is backed up by an email with forged court documents and a forged notary letter.

The address given on the letter is:

Calle Teniente C Castillo Olivares 12, 35011, Palmas de Gran Canaria.

Checking this address it is an apartment block.

Telephone numbers being used are:

0034 951 242 867 (Malaga code)

0034 602 654 670 (Mobile)

0034 604 261 988‬ (Mobile)

0044 1291 440 500 (UK Chepstow code)

Email: [email protected]

The website www.javierlopezabogados.com

Was registered on 22 March 2018, it is privacy protected so the owner is hidden. The website itself has nothing on it, just the one page with the words Javier Lopez Abogados / Lawyers and a lot of swirling lines.

Again this is a scam, do not be taken in by them, if you do have a case pending and you receive a call from them, contact your own lawyers for confirmation and inform them of any details you have been able to get.

These articles just go to show how doing your homework is so important, don’t believe what you are told even if it does sound plausible, check, check and double check.

The Tuesday Slot with Irene

Today’s Tuesday Slot is from Chantal Desjardins with the introduction and editing by Irene Parker, looks at the recent elections at Embarc (Club Intrawest) HOA board of directors. As you will see from this article it does not appear to be very fair. This is something we have seen in various elections at timeshare resorts in Europe over the years, so it is nothing new. In fact back in 2016 Inside Timeshare published the following article “Manipulation of votes by resorts and resort owners”. (see link below)

http://insidetimeshare.com/manipulation-votes-resorts-resort-owners/

Now for Chantals article.

Embarc (Intrawest) Diamond Resorts 2018 Election of Directors

Five times more members voting for me than closest rival –

Gives me a third place finish!

James Orr (incumbent) 421

Robert Reyes                    361

Chantal Desjardines       2293

And the winner is…..!     James Orr and Robert Reyes?

By Chantal Desjardins

June 26, 2018

Introduction by Irene Parker

Diamond Embarc members (formerly Intrawest) had the deck stacked against them in the recent Embarc HOA board elections, due to weighted votes in favor of the developer.  Diamond didn’t set it up that way though – Intrawest did in 1994 when they set up Club Intrawest incorporated in Delaware. Weighted voting provides a stranglehold on the club’s management & governance despite retaining less than 4% of the points.

If you check master declaration and bylaws for timeshares, often the cards are stacked in favor of the corporations retaining control of their boards through weighted voting on declarant points, all while pretending the individual members can influence an election by casting their “vote” in board elections.

When Intrawest researched timeshare governance and operating structure dating back to the early 90s, their governance structure was modeled after Disney Vacation Club, including the weighted votes for the declarant. Many points-based timeshares, especially large corporate ones, operate with very similar rules. Many members don’t realize this. Many pay no attention or don’t care. The member sponsored Club Intrawest Facebook has over 4,000 members. Voter turnout and support for Chantal was extraordinary as the numbers show, but she finished third.

This is legal – yes, but fair, ethical and moral – no, in the opinion of many timeshare members.

Chantal Desjardins’ comments about the election

www.citheownersgroup.org/2018results

Five times more members voting for me than closest rival gives me a third place finish!

How is that fair, you may ask? Well, it isn’t! This election was once again only “window-dressing” on the part of Diamond Resorts to make it appear that members have a say in the running of their clubs.

Nonetheless, Club Intrawest Owners Group members – THANK YOU!

Although I did not get a position on the Embarc Board in this election, the result, given the unfairness of the “weighted” votes, is excellent! Thank you for voting as a block, for not splitting your votes! Because of this, it is readily evident to anyone looking at the results that the candidate who obtained by far and away the most member votes, came in third.

Over 5 times more members voted for me than for the closest “incumbent”, James Orr. Over 6 times more members voted for me than for the second “incumbent” Robert Reyes. Over 3 times more members voted for me than for both incumbents together. In fact, 25% more members voted for me than all 7 other candidates added together.

And yet – James Orr and Robert Reyes are once again Embarc board members for another 3 years!

Although it is said nowhere in the run-up to the election, the declarant, the entity that “holds” DRI points as a member, has 15 times the voting power per point than that of individual members. They are very careful not to state this fact in the emails sent concerning the election – both before AND after. They are very careful to make it appear that members, who have the vast majority of the points, will have a chance to get their candidate onto the board. This is one of the most misunderstood aspects of Embarc membership. Even as they vote, are engaged, most members don’t understand that when the Declarant (DRI) votes, our member votes are made virtually worthless.

When one breaks down the numbers given in the pre-election emails as well as the results, the chart of the “count/weight” looks like this:     ​

Once we all understand how this all “works”, it becomes evident and imperative that members must join forces to oblige DRI to give us what is our due – the number of board members that correspond to our points owned.

We need to increase our voting power so that it is at least half that of the Declarant (DRI).

Why do we only need half + 1?

Because when the board has elections for incumbent positions, we can cast all our votes (2 positions = double the votes) for 1 person, while they must put half of their total entitlement on each.

How do we do this?

  • By each of us doing our part by recruiting members into our group each time we go to a club
  • By pushing back against the unfair governance of our clubs by email, FB posts and raising awareness of the issues
  • By voting as a block each time we are called upon to vote
  • By demanding that elections information be posted on the Embarc member site, on the Embarc member Facebook pages, at the Clubs! DRI suppresses votes by only sending the information by email or nondescript postcard. It is a proven fact that emails from organisations have an “open rate” of less than 30% on average. Using only emails (and the undistinguished postal card) to announce elections, effectively allows DRI to suppress the vote while claiming to have done their duty.
  • By joining the new not-for-profit Embarc Owners Association when it is launched and consolidating our power.
  • By growing our numbers in the coming years, we can beat DRI at the election polls – and once we’ve done it the first time, we can do it again the following year – meaning that we CAN have 3 members on the Embarc board representing member interests. ​

What is the cost involved? Almost nothing! With a tangible result that doesn’t involve court costs and years of litigation!

That’s why I’m not disappointed in this year’s election results

I’m thrilled with our member engagement.

We WILL overcome – time and determination will allow us to achieve our goals.

Thank you all!

Chantal

Embarc election results are posted at the end of the article.

An update on Diamond’s Flamingo Beach Resort elections in St. Maarten

Diamond owns 72% of all the weeks at the Flamingo Resort and only one seat from the outside (that is not a Diamond employee) is elected each year. So the incumbent endorsed by the board won easily. There was discussion about adding a second seat and the board took this under consideration for future discussion.

Deeded owner Greg Guisti ran for the Flamingo Beach Resort board election held April 19, 2018 in St. Maarten. To paraphrase Greg’s explanation as to why a board should consist of member representations, “Timeshare members and owners have an expectation of what a good timeshare should be. Members are entitled to good communication and feedback, and that communication should include the voice of an actual owner or member.”

With the internet flooded with complaints directed against some timeshare companies, more than ever timeshare members need a more member friendly board to serve as a pipeline for communication.

Embarc 2018 Election Results

Thank you Chantal and Irene, it does make you wonder how the voting works, to get that number of votes and only come in third!

Had that been an election for government there would have been a very loud cry of “FIX” from the press and media. So the question is what happened?

I guess we can only read into it what we want because somehow I don’t think we are going to get any straight answers from the industry.

If you have any comments or questions on this subject or have had a similar experience either in the US or Europe, then use our contact page and let us know. Inside Timeshare is committed to informing all timeshare owners and vacation club members of what is actually going on, it may not please the developers or the industry, but who actually cares if they get upset!