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tatoc logo liquid

TATOC Gone: Kwikchex Set Up New Helpline

So that is the end of TATOC, The Association of Timeshare Owners Committees or the so called Timeshare Association, it is now official that as of 20 July 2017 they are now in official receivership. Harry Taylor and his little empire is no longer, they were unable or unwilling to pay off their debts, according  to TESS who brought the action, the court asked three very simple questions:

  1. “Have you paid your debts”?
  2. “Will you be able to pay your debts”?
  3. “Do you intend to pay your debts”?

As the answer was NO, the court had no other option than to place TATOC in the hands of the Official Receiver.

man_debts
Wonder who this is?

This will be a big blow to ARDA (American Resorts Development Association) who at the beginning of the year during the TATOC conference presented Harry Taylor with a cheque for $30,000 as a contribution for the TATOC helpline.

We have reported before that TATOC was not really on the side of the consumer, how could it be? It was funded by the very industry the consumer had problems with!

Just look at the relationship Harry Taylor and his TATOC team had with MacDonald Resorts, a company that even the RDO had not had any relationship with since 2005!

MacDonald Resorts pursued an aggressive policy of taking over fixed weeks, converting those owners to the points system, which even owners did not want. Harry Taylor ran a campaign stating that this was the best way forward, that it was in the best interests of the owners.

Harry Taylor
Bye Bye Harry and good riddance!

The question is how was it in the best interests of the owners? By changing to the points system from their fixed weeks, which gave them very strong rights, they effectively gave control of the resorts to MacDonald’s. Overnight they changed from being owners with the right to set maintenance fees, employ the management company and basically run their resort, to mere members with no rights whatsoever. Just the right to use subject to availability.

It now transpires that Kwikchex has set up a consumer helpline of their own, this has been announced by the RDO on 24 July. This seems to be part of the Timeshare Task Force, the question is how will this be independent advice considering that they are also funded by the RDO?

task force
The Timeshare Task Force!!!!!

According to the RDO announcement this new consumer helpline will be offering assistance and advice about any company that is not an RDO member. What about offering assistance and advice about their own members, after all most of the problems are with the resorts and developers themselves.

The fact that owners / members who are having problems with their own resorts are left on their own as the RDO will not intervene in any dispute, this leaves those owners with nowhere to turn. This in itself leads to those unscrupulous companies to feed off the vulnerability of owners who either want to sell or just want to get out of their timeshare. The industry itself has created the “scam” market because of it’s own inability to deal with the issues, disputes and resale markets that owners need. Their own greed has been their downfall!

For years, timeshare has been sold, especially in Spain, with total disregard for the laws set in place to protect consumers, this has resulted in hundreds of court cases,along with Supreme Court rulings enforcing the laws that they have themselves flouted. Only last week, a recent ex-member of the RDO, Resort Properties / Silverpoint had five rulings against them in one day.

The RDO themselves have backed up the resorts against these rulings, believing that the judges have interpreted the law incorrectly, (see link).

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

If the industry is to survive, it needs to change how it operates, it needs to listen to the concerns of the owners / members, the very consumers who pay for it, not just chase those companies bogus or legitimate who decline to join their little club. After all, why would law firms such as Canarian Legal Alliance or JCLA & AS pay for membership when it is those members they are taking to court?

We have said this on many occasions, timeshare could be a good product, many have had many happy years of ownership, especially with those resorts that valued their custom. One has to only look at recent events at Los Claveles, for years those owners had no complaint, until Wimpen sold out their management rights to the ONA Group, then it really turned nasty.

The time for change is now, the industry cannot police itself, it is self serving, the likes of Kwikchex running a consumer helpline in the interests of the industry is a farce. There are very few places consumers can turn for truly independent and valuable advice, it has become an even bigger minefield.

If you have any questions or concerns about any timeshare matter, contact Inside Timeshare, if we don’t know the answer we will find it for you. These pages are read worldwide, we are bringing owners together from the USA, Canada, Australia and the Philippines adding more as we go, through their articles and contributions you will find you are not as alone as you think.

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monday

Start the Week

Welcome to the start of another week at Inside Timeshare, last week we had the privilege of publishing our first article from Canada, sent in by the Club Intrawest Owners Group Hopefully this will be the first of many.

We also highlighted the latest news about the Anfi Tauro Beach Project, again the local people are being treated in the most dismal of ways. This project has been a fiasco right from the start, it has still a long way to go before it is resolved, we hope in the interests of the locals.

LIT

On the fake lawyers front we highlighted a very lucky escape for one of our new readers, it concerned Armando Gareca Abogados one of the new names in the Litigious Abogados family. At least this reader found out before he paid the initial fees to get a ficticious court case underway. This group has produced some very convincing documents and an even more convincing story, if you are contacted by them, think very carefully, if in doubt contact Inside Timeshare.

That intrepid law firm from Gran Canaria, Canarian Legal Alliance, also had a very good week, after publishing on Friday, our contacts informed us that they had received several Supreme Court rulings during the course of Friday afternoon. It brought the total of judgements by the highest court in Spain to 56, all brought by the lawyers at CLA. From what we at Inside Timeshare could gather those lawyers were absolutely ecstatic, as they received 5 rulings in one day!

From what we have been able to find out, no other law firm in Spain has ever achieved this amount of rulings, let alone had this number of cases sent to the Supreme Court. A truly remarkable achievement, with apparently many more still waiting to be heard.

nyt logo

To start the news this week, we look at a story from the New York Times, received by email for our morning briefing.

Europe Edition
Your Monday Briefing
By STEPHEN HILTNER
Good morning.
Here’s what you need to know:
The New York Times
• Turkey is facing mounting difficulties both at home and abroad.
The government has seized control of more than 950 companies since last July — from small baklava chains to large, publicly traded conglomerates — over accusations that they were linked to a coup attempt. The seizures, worth about $11 billion, have changed the way Turkey is perceived in the international business sphere. The Turkish lira is crumbling, and foreign investment has dropped by half compared with last year.

You may ask what has this got to do with timeshare?

Quite a bit if you have purchased a Club la Costa Fractional in Turkey!

As we know fractional is being sold as a real estate investment, with points attached in order to use it. The whole point is that it will increase in value and then be sold for, we hope, a profit in the future.

pigdress
Fractional, is it just a pig in a dress?

With the current situation in Turkey, it now makes this investment a rather dodgy deal. How long will it be before these seizures of businesses affect the resorts, after all who is building them, who owns them?

Also as foreign investment in Turkey is declining, will this make Club la Costa withdraw?

Will these properties actually get built?

What will happen if they don’t, will you get any of your money back?

Will CLC transfer you to a European Fractional?

These are all legitimate questions you should be asking yourself, where do you stand if it does go wrong?

Inside Timeshare is waiting for confirmation that the Supreme Court has made a ruling regarding fractional, once we receive this we will explain their judgement.

For the coming week, on Wednesday we will be publishing another article from Irene Parker, this one will be little different from our usual fare, it is a story of how timeshare should be, honest, above board and beyond reproach. But you will just have to wait till then.

Remember, it pays to do your due diligence and check things out before you go ahead and spend vast sums of money on anything to do with Timeshare. It is a minefield, so if you need any help or advice on how to check any company out contact Inside Timeshare and we will point you in the right direction.

If you have a story you would like to share with others contact us and we will work with you to publish it. Inside Timeshare is here to give you the facts, the truth and a place where you can share your own experiences with others.

thank-you-background-have-a-great-week_4lryptpix__F0000

 

letter from canada

Friday’s Letter From Canada

Welcome to the first Friday’s Letter From Canada, Inside Timeshare is pleased to give a warm welcome to Club Intrawest Owners Group who have contributed this week’s article. As Usual we start off by looking at the European timeshare scene.

At the moment, which is nothing unusual for this time of year as it is rather quiet, that will change after the summer holidays when the maintenance bills start to arrive. That is when we start to see a lot of new or resurrected bogus companies start to appear.

bogus clipart

On the legal front, the courts in Spain have been very busy, with an almost daily announcement of cases being resolved. At the moment there seem to be two companies in the firing line, Anfi in Gran Canaria and Resort Properties / Silverpoint in Tenerife.

Anfi, which was the dream project of the late Norwegian Bjorn Lyng, who wanted to build a resort which was pure luxury, has for some time been on the receiving end of many claims for breaches of the timeshare law.

Many of these, involve the taking of deposits within the statutory 14 day cooling off period, contracts with a duration of more than 50 years and the floating weeks and points systems.

This week the Court of First Instance in Maspalomas has ruled on two case to the value of 44,131€ and 35,485€ respectively. In both cases the contracts have been declared null & void.

Resort Properties / Silverpoint have also had several rulings against them this week.

The first was at the Court of First Instance in Arona Tenerife, the judge ordered the return of £22,736, this was followed by a Supreme Court ruling with the judge ordering the return of 37,400€.

Tenerife

We then had another Court of First Instance ruling of around 25.000€ and as we go to print our sources in Madrid have informed us of another 3 rulings by the Supreme Court. At the moment we have no idea of the amounts involved, but we do know that all contracts have been declared null & void.

On the fake law firm front, one gentleman has had lucky escape, he received correspondence from Armando Gareca Abogados, part of the Litigious Abogados family, who we highlighted sometime ago. He received notification to pay the initial procurador fees to get the case into court, but something made him suspicious. He did a search on the internet and found the articles posted on this website about them.

Needless to say he realised he was about to be the victim of an elaborate scam and has not gone ahead. He sent a message of thanks as this has saved him not only a substantial amount of money, but a lot of stress. This does go to show that you must do your homework before engaging with any company, especially if they have contacted you with a story that sounds too good to be true.

homework

Tauro Beach

The Anfi man made beach project.

It has been awhile since we had any news on this sorry subject, so here is the latest.

As we previously reported the beach has been fenced off denying access to the public, with security guards and police removing anyone who entered the beach. Although recently massive crowds have flocked to the area in defiance, a new strategy has now been implemented.

This new move has also had the impact of denying access to the homes of people who live there, all paths and access roads have now been blocked with rocks and other implements. Videos and photographs have been posted on facebook by one resident who has been campaigning against this project from the start and also published in laprovincia a Spanish newspaper.

This is another example of how a timeshare company behaves, not just to it’s own members but to the local community. It is also an example of how elected authorities view the people they are supposed to serve. Please show your support for the people and post your comments on the links.

Follow the links to view the posts from this local resident and the La Provincia newspaper.

http://www.laprovincia.es/gran-canaria/2017/07/20/grupo-anfi-cierra-acceso-playa/961620.html

https://www.facebook.com/naiana.rguezllavata/posts/1491927374183912

https://www.facebook.com/naiana.rguezllavata/posts/1492232357486747

Now on with our latest contributors.

Club Intrawest v. Canada

Club Intrawest (Embarc)Timeshare

Must Pay Millions in GST Back Taxes

Following Recent Federal Court of Appeal Decision

gavel

July 21, 2017

On July 11, 2017, In a decision that will likely affect all timeshares and owners of timeshares with properties located in Canada, the Federal Court of Appeal set aside the Tax Court of Canada’s decision in the case of Club Intrawest v. Canada. In doing so, the Court of Appeal substituted its own decision to refer GST assessments back to Canada Revenue Agency for reassessment of GST just for services supplied in Canada in relation to vacation homes situated in Canada.  Federal Appeal Court Judges Nadon, Gauthier and Dawson agreed with the Tax Court’s finding that a principal-agent relationship does not exist between the club and its 22,000 members. This decision also confirms that members of Club Intrawest (now re-branded Embarc by Diamond Resorts International (DRI)) do not hold beneficial ownership in the real estate and equipment in vacation home resorts and do not control the Club.  The Court found that members merely own a right of occupancy in exchange for their resort points. This contradicts sales presentations, financial and marketing materials by Intrawest Corporation (“Intrawest”) and now DRI, to the effect that members have beneficial ownership of vacation homes and control the Club through election of the Board of Directors, responsible for managing the Club’s operations.  The ruling will require the club to pay reassessed GST back-taxes for tax years 2002-2007. The GST/HST tax liability for tax years 2008-2016 is unknown at this time.  All timeshare owners with vacation homes in Canada may be impacted by this decision and may also see themselves assessed for back taxes on the supply of services in Canada related to vacation homes situated in Canada.

“Based on a detailed survey answered by more than 400 members, I expect that the majority of our members will be shocked and disappointed that the court found that members have no beneficial ownership in the vacation homes.  About 79% of them remember being told by Intrawest and DRI sales representatives they would own a real estate interest in the resort properties. About 91% of members also remember they were explicitly told that members controlled the Club and that resort properties were vested in a trust for the benefit of members. The Federal Court of Appeal now tells us that no evidence was produced that ownership of these homes has been vested in a trust for the benefit of members”, says Patrick Cormier, Volunteers Team Leader of the Club Intrawest Owners Group (Embarc), (CIOG) a grassroots movement of over 3400 members.  “However, it seems clear that the Intrawest/DRI-dominated Board of Directors anticipated the GST liability all along since it began accumulating a C$14 million reserve from members’ resort fees under a 2011 Board resolution without informing members until the CIOG raised the GST issue with the Board in 2016”.

Club Intrawest was established by Intrawest Corporation in 1993 as a stand-alone not-for-profit Delaware corporation, but with Intrawest in a controlling position. Intrawest ensured they had control of the Club in several ways, including by granting themselves (as “Declarant” member) a 15 times voting power advantage over individual members guaranteeing Intrawest and now DRI, ongoing and complete control over all aspects of the Club.  In addition, Intrawest and now DRI voted in their own employees on the Club’s Board of Directors to maintain a controlling majority on the Board, hired themselves as manager and pay themselves a guaranteed 10 to 15 per cent management fee on all financial transactions.  Club Intrawest (Embarc) members have no control of the club or effective means for recourse, even though members, other than DRI, own 95 per cent of the timeshare points.

About the Club Intrawest Owners Group (Embarc), (CIOG)

The CIOG is a grassroots movement of over 3400 members who are banding together seeking fairness and transparency in their Club’s operation for all 22,000 members.  The CIOG is disputing and challenging unfair actions of Intrawest Corporation, Diamond Resorts International and their domination of the Club’s Board of Directors and Management Company. The CIOG came together as a volunteer group in December 2015, following Intrawest’s announcement of the sale (without member input) of Club Intrawest’s management to DRI. Following the sale, DRI rebranded the club to Embarc and fully controls the not-for-profit timeshare.  For more about the group, visit

www.citheownersgroup.org.

Judgment of Federal Court of Appeal:  see link

http://decisions.fca-caf.gc.ca/fca-caf/decisions/en/item/232795/index.do

canadian flag

Clearly this is an evolving story. Inside Timeshare will continue to monitor and report ongoing developments.

Other member sponsored Diamond Advocacy groups include:

DRIP launched by over 1,000 British Diamond members

http://drip.enjin.com/

Diamond Resorts Owners Advocacy Group and because timeshare concerns are bigger than any one resort Timeshare 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/

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

Some of the points in this article regarding the judges decisions are very similar to those from the Supreme Court in Spain. Especially on the system of “points”. The Spanish Courts also agree that they are not owners but members with only a right to use, it makes us wonder if the Spanish rulings may have had an effect on this?

Anyway thank you to our Canadian cousins or should we say “Canucks”, we look forward to more contributions from you. Also a great big thanks to Irene who is helping to make this happen. It is through articles like this we make the world smaller and help timeshare owners no matter where they are. So welcome to the global timeshare family from, The Philippines, Australia, USA and Europe. We now need some from South Africa!

Have a good weekend and don’t forget to do your your homework!

weekend cat

letter from america

Friday’s Letter from America

Welcome to this week’s Friday’s Letter from America, we continue with Chapter Three of David Franks DRI Misadventures, but first more news from Europe.

We started the week with the article about members at Anfi complaining about the lack of availability, trying to book 12 months in advance and still fully booked. It is not just Anfi that we see this problem, it happens at every resort that runs the floating week or points systems, hence the Spanish law making these systems illegal.

Why is there no availability?

The answer is actually very simple, when resorts sold fixed weeks with an apartment number allocated to it, they could only sell 51 weeks in each apartment. Once these had been sold there was nothing left for the sales staff to peddle, the resorts no longer had another source of income other than the maintenance fees. So they came up with points and floating weeks, whereby you became members of a “vacation Club” rather than an owner.

fully booked

In this way they could continue selling, in essence quadrupling their membership base, this also had the effect of increasing the amount of maintenance they receive. The down side is obviously for the members, more members than accommodation or weeks available, do the maths. NO AVAILABILITY!

In our midweek post, Irene Parker explained CASA, Court Appointed Special Advocates and how it could work for timeshare. Irene has personal experience of this as she herself was a special advocate. It certainly is something worth looking at.

Once again, we highlighted another “fake law firm”, Amador Ganeca Abogados, another in the list that make up the Litigious Abogados family. As we stated the website was only registered on 16 June, so it is only a month old, yet according to them they have over 15 years presence on the internet!

The “lawyer’s” shown on the website have been used before, names have been changed and even slight differences in spelling, none of them are registered with the bar association and the photo’s can be easily downloaded from sites such as Google images. Just search for lawyers and you will probably find the same pictures!

justice2

It has also been a very busy week in the courts, with another Supreme Court judgement against Resort Properties / Silverpoint being announced, which brings the number against them to eleven.

According to our sources, the courts in Maspalomas have also had a very busy week, the first to be announced was against Puerto Calma Marketing SL & Vista Amadores SL. This was quickly followed by six judgements against Anfi Sales SL. As yet we have not received any copies of the sentences, or the amounts awarded, but all contracts have been declared null & void.

Now on with our Friday’s Letter from America.

Our DRI Misadventures – Chapter Three

Stand Back. These People are Professionals.

customer cartoon

By David Franks

Friday, July 14, 2017

You might wish to read the first two chapters:

Chapter 1: Vegas, Baby! — http://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-america-5/

Chapter 2: Missouri Loves Company — http://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-america-10/

(You might not. They’re pretty harrowing.)

Once we returned from our idyllic ordeal in Branson, and having—I thought—a better idea of our opportunities and obligations as new members starting in 2016, I set about booking the “Dream Vacation” we had selected: four nights in Miami and a seven-night western Caribbean cruise.

It took me relatively few phone calls—but more than I should have needed to make—to discover the following things:

  1. The prompts in the DRI phone routing system are not particularly helpful.
  1. Even people who work in DRI customer service find the phone system and internal organization confusing.
  1. DRI is not consistent about demanding adherence to “what the paper says”.  That is, they will use what the text of contracts, disclosures and descriptions say to limit the traveler, but they allow themselves a fair bit of latitude in holding up their end.  The best way to find out how weaselly their language is is to hear their interpretation of “what the paper says”.

After talking to a relatively small multitude of vacation professionals, I eventually got the “Dream Vacation” booked.  We would stay at the  on April 5,6,7,8 and cruise the week of April 9-16.  As the “Dream Vacation” leaflet features a photo of the front of the Penguin Hotel, which faces the ocean, I asked about upgrading the room from “standard” to “ocean-view”; I was told that I would have to arrange that with the hotel directly. (I understand that this is standard practice, but I started to wonder what all of those concierges we had accumulated in Branson were supposed to do for me.)

By November 16, I had found it necessary to escalate the room upgrade issue, as the Penguin Hotel had not received notice of our booking and I could not yet upgrade our reservation to an ocean-view room, which has limited availability.  I also found in my conversations with the hotel’s reservations desk that the supposed retail value of the “standard room” included in the package is not nearly what the leaflet claimed, even at peak season; indeed, an ocean-view room at peak season cost less than the claimed retail value of a standard room, which has no view at all.  Neither the people I talked to at DRI, nor the hotel staff (including two managers), could help me with this issue for some two weeks longer.  While there were some communications problems within the hotel’s reservation department, it appears that the problem was largely due to DRI’s delay in informing the hotel of our reservation, their unwillingness to deal directly with the hotel regarding the issue, and their convoluted organizational structure.

During my ongoing e-mail correspondence with DRI, one of the people I had corresponded with moved to a new position, and another person had continued the exchange without her own signature.  This caused a jarring change in tone.  At one point, I called M.W., my self-professed concierge in Branson, and he hung up on me.  After some two months—on January 13,2016—I was finally able to get the room upgraded, and I had both DRI and the hotel confirm that I had booked an ocean-view room.  Their trademarked slogan to the contrary, DRI apparently does not love to say “yes”, and despite my (and the hotel’s) problems with their service and procedures, DRI declined the opportunity to pay for the room upgrade.

Scheduling our flight and dealing with cruise details were relatively straightforward, probably because I was working directly with the airline and with Carnival.  The issues I had raised with DRI over the course of almost two months (!) of calls and e-mails were never fully acknowledged or addressed; my various contacts at DRI simply stopped returning my calls and e-mails, offering website links in lieu of transfers or introductions to the proper people.

Board

Important points so far:

  • The retail value of the hotel accommodation was touted as “up to $2,000”.  One of the reservations people (both available hotels used the same reservation desk) assured me that under no possible circumstances did either a “standard” room in either hotel or an ocean-view room at the Penguin ever go for $500 per night.
  • Dream Vacations” cannot be booked five days before or after Presidents’ Day, Easter, Independence Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. More often than not, the block around Presidents’ Day blocks Valentine’s Day. According to the reservations department, these blocked holidays are the periods when the retail values of the hotel accommodations are highest—though even then, they didn’t go for $500 per night.
  • The salesman who gave me his personal cell phone number and told me to think of him as my concierge hung up on me the first and only time I called him.
  • The “Diamond Bonus Points” trifold brochure (which is replete with legalese that I was apparently expected to memorize) features a quote, ostensibly from a delighted DRI member: “One of the reasons that we bought with Diamond was mostly for the flexibility … The flexibility is really limitless.” Word to the wise: it isn’t.
  • DRI has trademarked the slogan, “We Love to say Yes™”.  They haven’t said “Yes” to me since we signed the contract.  This is a tragic waste of a trademark.

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Inside Timeshare would like to thank David Franks for his article and all those who contributed to previous articles. We also thank those who have supplied information about new companies springing up and the insights into how members feel.

Have a good weekend and beware of any company that promises you anything, check them first, remember doing your homework is vital to save you from being scammed.

weekend02

bogus clipart

Another New Member of the Litigious Abogados Family Just Been Born!

In yesterday’s article it was mentioned that it was only time that a new name would surface for the fake law firm which is the Litigious Abogados family, well, after publishing it did surface!

amador-ganeca-logo

Amador Ganeca Abogados, the new firm and new website, created on 16 June 2017, which looks just like all the rest of them, all that is different are the names. Even the photo’s of the so-called lawyers are the same but with a change of name.

http://amadorganeca.com/

The pitch is the same, there is a trial about to take place against your timeshare resort and you can be part of this on a no win no fee basis. This trial is about to take place within the next few weeks, a date has even been set. It has been estimated that you are due ex-thousands of euros in compensation.

 

 

amador-ganeca-1
Amador Ganeca aka Armando Garcia

For the case to go ahead, the Procurador needs to be paid to handle the case, we do wonder who the new Procurador is, as there have been several in the past, all with very similar names. Once this is paid, the client will in the next month receive a letter and a “court document” to say that the director of the timeshare resort pleaded guilty, just wondering will it be Keith Baker again?

manuel-pralgo-namslom-wm

Manuel Pralgo Namslom aka Balthazar Fermid Nisberas

Now for the good news, you have been awarded 20,000€, they even send a photocopy of Banesto cheque in your name for that amount. Problem is Banesto has not existed as a bank since 2012. Plus courts do not issue cheques.

In order to receive this wonderful sum, you must now pay Spanish Tax! This amounts to around 21% of the awarded amount, once this is paid the court will release the cheque. Fantastic!

domingo-varlotes-biriendel-wm
Domingo Varlotes Biriendel new photo but  a slight change of name from the one below.

If like in the past, you will receive a brown jiffy bag posted from Tenerife with a letter from the court and the cheque. Only one problem, the envelope is open, the letter is there with a staple on the corner and a torn piece of paper where the cheque should be.

simone-maengas-arlovaz-wm

 

 

 

 

 

Simone Maengas Arlovaz aka Domingo Barlotes Miriendel

You will then receive a letter from another company that states that your cheque was cashed by a gang of Romanians, this company has been charged with the task of recovering your money from the bank. Great, but to do this they need a payment of at least 10% of the cheques value.

balthazar-hermid-nisbemas-wm

Balthazar Hermid Nisbemas aka Juan Firmid Mantadiz

It makes you wonder how many people have actually been taken in by this particular fraud?

The documents look very genuine, the letters written in English are actually very good, obviously a native, educated speaker. The whole operation is very well planned, the names of the law firms change virtually every couple of months, so they are keeping one step ahead of the authorities. No doubt, once your money is paid into the bank accounts of the Procurador, it is withdrawn and all trace is then lost. As we have said before this is a very sophisticated operation.

If you have been contacted by any of these “law firms”, or any other company that states your timeshare resort is about to be taken or has been taken to court, do your homework. Don’t be taken in by the huge sums of money they say you are due. If you have any doubts, contact Inside Timeshare and we will point you in the right direction.

Follow the links for the whole story.

http://insidetimeshare.com/a-narrow-escape/

http://insidetimeshare.com/go-abel-garcia-law-firm-always-wins/

http://insidetimeshare.com/litigipus-abogados-family-gets-bigger/

http://insidetimeshare.com/litigious-abogados-showing-charity/

http://insidetimeshare.com/abogados-abel-garcia-new-member-litigious-abogados-family/

http://insidetimeshare.com/litigious-abogados-plot-gets-thicker/

http://insidetimeshare.com/news-litigious-abogados/

http://insidetimeshare.com/litigious-abogados-new-update/

http://insidetimeshare.com/litigious-abogados-plot-thickens/

http://insidetimeshare.com/litigious-abogados-latest-information/

http://insidetimeshare.com/litigious-abogados-update/

http://insidetimeshare.com/1059-2/

homework1

help1

The Wednesday Post

This week has been a rather quiet week on the legal front, yesterday it was announced that the High Court in Santa Cruz de Tenerife ruled against Resort Properties / Silverpoint yet again. In this case the judge ruled against the points system which the contract contained. The contract was declared null & void with the award of over 44,700€ plus legal interest being made.

As this article was being prepared this latest news came in from the Supreme Court in Madrid, once again it was against the above company Silverpoint. This brings the total against them from this court to 11 rulings. Details at present are not available but the contract was once again declared to be null & void, with the return of over 20,000€ plus legal fees and legal interest.

These cases as usual were brought on behalf of clients by Canarian Legal Alliance, who have now got around 50 rulings from Spain’s highest court. Quite an achievement.

We have also this week received more enquiries about Abogados Amable & Garcia, one of the family of fake law firms which are part of the Litigious Abogados family. Luckily these readers found the article in time and have not parted with any money. It is only a matter of time before a new name appears, so if you have received any correspondence from a law firm in Tenerife which state you can be included in an upcoming trial against your timeshare resort, let us know.

Now on to Wednesday’s article from Irene.

Can the CASA Family Court System Work for Timeshare?

How members helping members can change the timeshare world

hands circle

By Irene Parker

July 12, 2017

Inside Timeshare is honored and proud to be part of a movement. Our Timeshare Advocates deserve a pat on the back as we hear from more and more members either resolving issues concerning their timeshare, so they can continue to use and enjoy their vacation plan, or at least be able to get out from underneath a dream vacation that turned into a financial disaster.

Aristotle Onassis, husband of Jacki O, once said he made the most money on ideas that were very simple – only no one had thought of them before.

Such a plan is logical, effective and offers a cost benefit in that it takes some burden off the courts, the families affected, and most importantly, the trauma and stress resulting when, as NBC Lester Holt described in his Dateline title, “The state steps in”, removing a child or children from their home for often over a year.

Timeshare is not as gut-wrenching as foster care. There is nothing as profound as telling a mom or her children parental rights have been terminated. Money can be replaced, but a child cannot. However, more than once I’ve been told of elderly widows considering suicide because of a vacation plan she could not get rid of and was not able to maintain due to the loss of a spouse. Frantic, desperate, angry, confused and overwhelmed are but a few adjectives that could describe many of the calls coming into Inside Timeshare.

CASA works even better for Timeshare members

Anyone who works for a nonprofit can attest to the challenges of keeping volunteers motivated for an extended period of time. Our Timeshare Advocacy Group™ volunteers are often victims themselves, so we have a built in motivation factor. There is also the empathy and understanding that exists when someone knows exactly what it feels like to be victimized.

casa

What is CASA or Court Appointed Special Advocates?

(CASA in some states is called Guardian ad litem)

CASA is a nationwide movement that started in 1977 when a Seattle juvenile court judge launched a program by recruiting court appointed volunteers to advocate on behalf of a child or children in state care. Examining an often convoluted family tree to decipher what went wrong and how to prove a child has been abused or neglected is a daunting task. A CASA volunteer is trained to be a detective of sorts, gathering information from all facets of the child’s life.

After gathering information, the volunteer prepares a court report letting the judge and interested parties know what outcome the child wants to see happen and what the CASA feels should happen. One judge told me she almost always takes the opinion of the CASA over the opposing counsels.

The CASA sticks with the child, interacting with the biological parents, foster parents, social services, schools, therapists and even medical doctors until permanency is  achieved by returning the child to his or her biological parents, or termination of parental rights and hopefully adoption.

It’s not hard to imagine how this process could be applied towards the timeshare member victimized by deceit, concealment, violation of trust and bait and switch. Some timeshare members have multiple contracts that have been purchased over a period of years. It has been helpful to have a volunteer walk that timeshare member back to the beginning to determine, when and where, in the life of the member, did their vacation plan go so wrong.

The most successful outcome is returning a previously happy customer back to the state of mind they were in before they were deceived so that the timeshare company keeps the customer and the customer can again use and enjoy their timeshare as they did before.

Bluegreen members support other members on this Facebook

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

Diamond members support other members on this Facebook

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

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.

A sharing of information from all Facebooks and from non-timeshare owning Advocates, like attorneys who tend to not buy timeshare, is posted on the Timeshare Advocacy Group™ Facebook, administered by Irene Allen.

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

It is hoped there will come a day when timeshare developers recognize that a product only sold through deception and a same day sale might be a product nearing the end of a maturing life cycle. Companies like Disney work hard to protect their brand and Hilton is known for a somewhat consumer friendly secondary market, although several Advocates will take exception to this statement arguing that no timeshare has an adequate secondary market.

Probably the most common comment we at Inside Timeshare hear is, “At least I know I am not alone.” Proactive action, working with a volunteer towards timeshare resolution, relinquishment, refund or even foreclosure, takes the problem from the unknown to the known. Consultants and behind-the-scenes Advocates add an additional layer of advice and protection. One very important consideration is that many of those we have helped were on their way to the upfront “guaranteed” deed-back firms that often prey on those already victimized. From this standpoint, the developer, the timeshare lobby, and the members are on the same side.      

Once again thank you to all our Contributors. Contact Inside Timeshare if you, or someone you know, needs assistance or would like to share their timeshare story for the benefit of others.

not alone

Inside Timeshare cannot stress enough that doing your homework and due diligence before engaging with any company is paramount. If you need help or advice on how to do this just contact us and we will either find out for you (if we don’t have them on file already), or point you in the right direction.

homework

Since posting it has just been brought to our attention that the Litigious Abogados Family do in fact have a new member, Amador Gameca Abogados, which is a very similar name to a previous article published on 1st June, Armando Gareca Abogados. The website is the same layout as all the others, it even show the same logo a Armando Gareca Abogados. The photos of the lawyers are the same one we have seen on previous incarnations, these you will probably find can be downloaded from the web.

This is their website.

http://amadorganeca.com

So it just goes to show that the above picture is spot on. More on this is it comes in.

anfi ariel view

Anfi Members Complain.

Over the weekend Inside Timeshare has been receiving some comments from from various sources on availability at Anfi. Some have included links to many of the forums where owners are venting their frustration at not being able to book weeks they want, even though they are 12 months ahead.

The recurring theme is according to Anfi Vacation Club, they are fully booked, yet the member states that they could not start booking at that moment as they are not accepting the bookings until the following week. So the question is, if the member cannot book yet, how are they fully booked?

availability

It is not for the lack of trying it would seem, with many members complaining they are not even getting replies to their emails, they are feeling ignored, even their questions of why is there no availability are not being answered. Some have even stated that when they are told no availability, just a few days later they have managed to book, yet when they arrive there are many apartments empty. So what is going on, are Anfi keeping those weeks for rentals?

According to one member that is the case, as they had commented previously that Anfi have block sales through agents and various website, apparently they did this when this member first bought 14 years ago. That was when TUI were involved, it would seem that the same is happening again.

Other comments are they are only being offered Emerald, with one commentator offering an explanation, maybe they are trying to sell you that!

The problem is a mixture of over selling floating weeks, which is one reason why the Supreme Court has made them illegal, and the ability to book through different websites is denying members the holidays they were promised when they were sold.

Moving away from availability, we have also seen many complaints on the standard of the place, with it looking dirty and badly maintained. One comment on a link we were sent explained the cleanliness of the pools at Emerald, with apparently the glass around the pool being absolutely filthy. According to this poster, it was not touched while they were there.

In a reply to that comment, which did make us laugh, it was blamed on the calima, that yes it did need more cleaning but not easy with only limited staff. It does make you wonder where your maintenance fees are going?

Is the once “5 star” status on the way out?

5 star

Going by the comments of these members, it certainly is. Yet the maintenance fees they pay are still for a “5 star” resort. This is not made up, it is from the members themselves, some very disgruntled members, who have paid thousands for membership and even more in maintenance fees over the years.

Click on the following links, they will certainly make you wonder why anyone would want to be a member.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/2366863977/permalink/10155058225118978/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/2366863977/permalink/10155053301048978/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/2366863977/permalink/10155047437218978/

This article is based on the views of members, not our own, Inside Timeshare is just reporting what you should know. These are public forums, members posting for all to see, in some respects hoping that Anfi will take notice and actually address the situation, not gloss over it with PR.

Floating weeks do not guarantee you anything, as we can seen from the above, availability is just not there for whatever reason. Could the move by Anfi to assign week numbers to owners be the way forward, unfortunately we don’t think so, there are probably more members than weeks available. Which would actually mean the same week number could be assigned to at least two members, still creating availability problems.

We leave it for you to decide, have you got a good deal or have you just got a millstone around your neck?

decision

letter from america

Friday’s Letter from America

Welcome back to Friday’s Letter from America, last week we did change it to Australia to welcome our Aussie contributor Justin Morgan with his first article, which happened to coincide with Irene Parker’s first anniversary. Today we hear from our first Bluegreen owner, who also happens to be a detective in law enforcement, so this proves that all are vulnerable to the smooth talking sales staff.

Irene reported just as we were about to publishing today’s article, that four Diamond Members have been able to resolve their vacation issues this past week. Members tell us they appreciate having a human instead of a department to talk to. Previously members complained of continually having to start over with seemingly endless departments.

We hope other timeshare developers follow suit as timeshare complaints are widespread.

Now we have a look at what is happening in the European world of timeshare.

The National Police in Spain have busted a major scam being run from the Costa del Sol, they raided several premises and homes in the Velez Malaga – Torre del Mar area. Around 40 were detained, they included a husband and wife, son and daughter-in-law, along with it is reported two lawyers. The detained are mainly British, who have run several businesses in the area over a number of years, these targeted mainly British timeshare owners.

Police raid

The scams involved timeshare resales, holiday packages and discount clubs, this has over the years netted millions of pounds, with the police recovering around 100,000€ in cash, expensive watches, jewels and several high end cars.

It is believed the companies, which are well known by Inside Timeshare and other similar sites, are, Halfmoon Holdings, Excalibur Sales & Marketing, Blue Chip and Rosedale Marketing. The only problem is, when one of these raids takes place and they are put out of business, there are many others ready and waiting to fill the gap. No doubt, we will see a series of companies offering to help victims get their money back, for an upfront fee obviously. So readers beware!

Follow the links to read the stories in the UK tabloids.

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/3952419/dozens-arrested-over-timeshare-scam-that-saw-500-brits-conned-out-of-life-savings-in-multi-million-pound-costa-del-sol-racket/?utm_source=TWITTER&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=SprnklrSUNOrganic&UTMX=Editorial%3ATheSun%3ATwImageandlink%3AStatement%3ANews

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/costa-del-sol-cops-uncover-10745713

On the legal front, it looks like those lawyers from Canarian Legal Alliance have been busy this week, with several announcements of cases won.

We started the week with a judgement from Tenerife against Resort Properties / Silverpoint followed on Tuesday with news that the Court of First Instance in Maspalomas GC, awarding a client who purchased at Anfi, over 59,000€ with their contract being declared null & void. Once again the court ruled that the contract was longer than the stipulated period of 50 years.

On Wednesday, the Court of First Instance in Arona Tenerife, again found against Resort Properties / Silverpoint, in this case the judge ruled the contract was missing information which is required by law, the period again was longer than the 50 years allowed, plus deposits were taken within the 14 day cooling off period.

The British client will now receive over £14,000 plus legal interest and has had their contract declared null and void.

On Thursday there were two announcements the first from Tenerife, the Chayofa Golf & Tennis Academy, was ruled against by the Court of First Instance, the contracts signed under the company United Sales 1997 Ltd were declared null & void. Again the infringements were the perpetuity contract and the illegal taking of deposits, the client will now receive over £9,000 plus legal interest.

Malaga Court

The second was from the High Court in Malaga, Club la Costa was found guilty with the contract being declared null & void. One of the main aspects of this case is the company is a UK registered Limited one, Club La Costa Leisure Ltd, which was probably an attempt to bypass Spanish law. As we have seen in the past, some companies have used this along with the clause that “this agreement and contract is subject to UK law and the jurisdiction of UK courts”, but it is evident now that this does not wash, if the timeshare was sold and the contract was signed on Spanish territory, then clearly Spanish law will apply.

Now on with our US Article.

A Bluegreen Member Responds to Timeshare Advocacy Group™

A detective shares her Bluegreen Timeshare experience

Complaint queue

By Irene Parker

Friday July 7, 2017

Typically our Inside Timeshare readers don’t contact us to report positive timeshare experiences so our email inbox often looks like the cartoon above. Today we hear from a Bluegreen member who found promises made did not meet what was purchased. Not as familiar with Bluegreen we checked internet sites and determined Bluegreen is a company that could use a customer satisfaction evaluation.  

Bluegreen members can join a member sponsored discussion Facebook consisting of 770 Bluegreen members. More and more timeshare members are launching sites where members can advise other members.

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

Timeshare Advocacy Group™ is an umbrella organization consisting of volunteers stretching from the EU to the US and beyond including contributors from the Philippines and Australia. A few complaints have little or no effect, but a volume of complaints, especially directed against individual sales agents, can paint a pattern of deception.

A complaint process has evolved over the past year. Working through resort representatives, volunteer Advocates assist other members as we work through the “3 Rs or F of Timeshare” – Resolution, Relinquishment, Refund or Foreclosure.

Here is our advice for those not knowing where to turn:   

  • Prepare a written complaint and request for resolution. Submit to the resort.
  • If the resort denies the request, file first with the Attorneys General of the state where you signed a contract, where you live, and where the timeshare is domiciled. Some Attorneys General are influenced by lobby dollars, so don’t be discouraged if your complaint is denied. There is still merit filing “for the record” because the Attorney General’s lack of concern can be quantified and reported. Some states refer you to a different department.
  • File a complaint with the state real estate division against the agent (ID #) if you feel the sales agent is at fault.
  • File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission because every state has incorporated some part of the FTC Consumer Fraud Act into their respective state consumer protection act.
  • Report your grievance to ARDA http://www.arda.org/ethics/ – this organization is the American Resort Development Association – Resort Owners Coalition. ARDA ROC does not resolve individual member disputes, but they do have a code of ethics that should be enforced. When the needs of the member and the developer diverge, lobby dollars go to the side of the developer, so think twice about the “voluntary” opt in or opt out donation to an organization that may not always serve your best interest. I have not been able to get the $7 donation removed from my account.   
  • The FBI definition of White Collar Crime – Financial Institution Fraud – is “deceit, concealment, violation of trust and bait and switch”. File a complaint with IC3.gov if this is the case. IC stands for Internet Crime, but your complaint does not have to involve the internet. That’s just the FBI portal for complaints. https://www.fbi.gov/investigate/white-collar-crime
  • File a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, although this agency has been vastly diminished due to the rollback of the Dodd Frank Act. According to a banker I spoke with recently, they are still the regulators. Given the CFPB’s diminished capacity, file with this agency only if a credit card played a part or there is a loan outstanding.
  • Reach out to local and national media. This is by far the most important and effective tool. Typically, timeshare buyers don’t buy a timeshare in their state of residence, so state lawmakers have expressed little interest and can also be influenced by lobby efforts. http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/taking-names-scott-maxwell/os-gov-rick-scott-signs-bad-timeshare-law-20150617
  • Become an Advocate for change by assisting other members with the process outlined above. Encourage others to stop venting and act. This is one example of a military family that was able to resolve their dispute through Timeshare Advocacy Group™ http://insidetimeshare.com/consumer-protection-week-usa/ and a hat’s off this 4th of July week to all those who serve in the military.
  • Last on the list is the Better Business Bureau. The BBB does not resolve complaints. They merely report how efficiently a company responds to complaints so ratings can be misleading.

None of the above agencies will act on behalf of a specific individual, but a volume of complaints can prompt an investigation. Tennessee, Colorado, New York and Arizona are four states where Attorneys General have opened timeshare investigations       

law enforcement

Our Bluegreen member complainant works in law enforcement. Lela Renea is a detective appalled that, even though she works in law enforcement, alleges she became the prey.   

Lela purchased 6000 Bluegreen points in Las Vegas March 2015 for $8,200. Lela alleges she was a victim of deceit and bait and switch for the following reasons:

  1. Lela was told if she purchased more points her maintenance fees would stay the same. The maintenance fees have increased from $560 a year in 2015 to about $700 a year for 2017.
  2. Lela was told she would receive a free cruise, but after all the fees and charges it cost as much as if she had booked it herself.
  3. Lela was told the Barclaycard had a low interest rate of 5% when in actuality it was 25%.
  4. Lela was not told she was entitled to 4000 bonus points. The points expired before she was aware of them.
  5. Lela was promised availability she says does not exist.
  6. Lela was showed a Presidential Suite that was said to be comparable to all Bluegreen accommodations.
  7. Lela was not aware she had purchased so few points it was almost impossible to find adequate availability.

Lela has sent Bluegreen a demand letter requesting a refund. She will be filing complaints with regulatory and law enforcement agencies if her demands are not met. Lela will become an Advocate.

Lela’s friend and co-buyer contacted Pinnacle Vacation to do a transfer but Lela is worried Pinnacle may be a scam.

https://www.complaintsboard.com/complaints/bluegreen-vacation-club-c4809.html

lawsuit

The following lawsuit was filed against Bluegreen but was dismissed October 2016. It voices many of Lela’s complaints. Again, the problem is the oral representation clause that timeshare attorney Mike Finn of the Finn Law Group has frequently described as “a license to lie”.

The BlueGreen Vacations Timeshare Sales Tactics Class Action Lawsuit is Kyle Miles, et al. v. BlueGreen Vacations Unlimited Inc., Case No. 1:16-cv-00937, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California.

The plaintiffs are represented by Todd M. Friedman and Adrian R. Bacon of Law Offices of Todd M. Friedman PC.

BlueGreen Vacations Unlimited Inc. has been hit with a class action lawsuit that accuses the timeshare company of using “hard sell” tactics and misinformation to convince consumers to enter into timeshare contracts.

During the timeshare presentation, the plaintiffs were reportedly informed that, if they were not satisfied with the timeshare contracts BlueGreen was selling, BlueGreen would buy back the contracts.

According to the timeshare class action lawsuit, BlueGreen also misled the presentation attendees by representing that the timeshare contract’s maintenance fees would not increase, when in reality, the maintenance fees increase on an annual basis.

However, the plaintiffs allege that the terms that were actually contained in the timeshare contract are different than the terms promised during the timeshare presentation.

They also claim that they were pressured to open two BlueGreen credit cards and to put the entire $5,000 down payment on the cards.

advo

Our local Florida news station today reported vacation rentals, as opposed to hotel bookings, have increased from 50% in 2014 to 70% in 2016. Our readers continually express disappointment and dismay over what they describe as an escalation in deception and overly aggressive timeshare selling. These are mostly members who were happy with their timeshare until deception set in. We want timeshare to be a healthy and robust industry. If the developers and lobby organizations don’t heed the damage being done by sales agents “pitching heat”, one wonders how the industry can survive in the millennial’s world.

Inside Timeshare thanks Lela for coming forward. We look forward to a new collaborator as a lot of what we do requires the skills of a detective. It did not take long to explain the basis of an IC3.gov complaint to Lela.

So there we have it, another week over in the timeshare world, with some good news for many and the start of a judicial nightmare for others. Inside Timeshare thanks all those who sent in the information which helps to form our articles, again thanks to Irene for editing the US contributions, together we are making a difference.

weekend

 

letter from australia

Friday’s Letter from Australia (No, you have read that correctly)

Welcome to Friday’s Letter from (America) now Australia, this is just to confuse our American cousins, the reason is that we welcome our first Antipodean cousin to our pages. Justin Morgan, makes his debut with his first contribution to Inside Timeshare. It is ironic that it happens to be on the first anniversary of Irene Parker’s very first article, which was about the acquisition by Apollo of Diamond.

Since her first article, Irene has been a major contributor and very much a driving force in bringing the problems of owners in the US to the fore. She has also become a very valued friend not just to myself but to all those she met while visiting Gran Canaria.

But enough of that, how about some news of timeshare in Europe?

Diamond Resorts has had a battering in the courts in Tenerife, Canarian Legal Alliance has secured a victory for one of their clients with the High Court declaring their contract null & void, with the return of over 29,000€ plus legal interest. In this case the court stated that the contract did not contain specified information required by law, with the product being the points system which the Supreme Court has deemed illegal due to their lack of tangibility.

This is the fourth verdict delivered against Diamond by the Tenerife courts this year, which our sources indicate is just the tip of the iceberg!

justice2

Anfi, based in Gran Canaria is on the defensive, it would seem they are already sending out new contracts after the vote last Friday 23 June, which coincided with another defeat at the High Court in Las Palmas. In that case the court declared the contract null & void as it was for more than 50 years.

As this is being written, the news has just arrived from our contact at the Court of First Instance in Maspalomas, that another contract has been declared null & void, with the client being awarded over 35,000€ plus legal interest.

At the same court yesterday Palm Oasis / Tasolan, were ordered to repay over 31,000€ and declaring the contract null & void. In this case the court ruled against the points system, which it deemed as selling nothing but promises.

On the Tauro Beach project, which has been the subject of many articles, it seems that the beach is still closed to the public, although many people are ignoring the fences and entering the area. There still seems to be no indication when this area will be fully open to the public, it may not be for sometime yet as there are several court cases pending.

So now on to this weeks article.

Who is Apollo? What is Apollo?

Two Diamond Member Consumer Advocates offer their opinion

Up Down

By Michael Nuwer and Justin Morgan

Introduction by Irene Parker

June 30, 2017

In honor of my one year anniversary writing for Inside Timeshare, it is only fitting to revisit Apollo Global Management’s acquisition of Diamond Resorts as Apollo’s Diamond acquisition was the subject of my inaugural article June 30, 2016.

http://insidetimeshare.com/700-2/

I had been shouting my timeshare concerns from the rooftops since my husband I attended a pathetically aggressive sales presentation July 2015 at Diamond’s Grand Beach Resort, which ultimately led to our appearance on the FOX News show Property Man, interviewed by Las Vegas attorney Bob Massi.

http://insidetimeshare.com/peasant-venice-queen-versailles/

The first I heard from Diamond was a year later in reaction to my Apollo article written for Jim Cramer of CNBC’s Mad Money’s investment news service, TheStreet. Diamond contacted TheStreet demanding a rebuttal. Diamond members are still waiting for Transitions, a relinquishment program that must still be in development.

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

Diamond boasted 11 quarters of robust earnings growth until shortly after the Apollo acquisition announcement. A delayed 2016 second quarter earnings report was attributed to accounting irregularities.

http://www.thestreet.com/story/13702895/1/diamond-resorts-international-s-second-quarter-earnings-reversal-is-worrisome.html

According to a May 2017 KROLL Bond Report, Diamond’s default rates remain elevated.

The collateral pool of DROT 2014 – 1 has experienced elevated levels of defaults, which similar to certain other vacation ownership companies in the industry, Diamond Resorts attributes to an increase in the number of borrowers who have been solicited by lawyers to get out of their timeshare and/or have sent Diamond Resorts “cease and desist” letters.  

https://www.krollbondratings.com/announcements/3705

A National Mortgage News article appeared indicating the interest rate on the Apollo acquisition was raised due in part to the earnings restatement. Earnings had to be restated back to 2014 resulting in an earnings decline from the prior earnings report. Since the merger was announced as an all cash $2.2 billion deal, I did not understand the comment about the raised interest rate.

advocate 1

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/

Timeshare Advocate Michael Nuwer explains. I now understand what it meant when Diamond owners were informed Diamond is owned “by an affiliate of an affiliate of funds.” It’s pretty high finance.

Apollo Global’s acquisition of Diamond Resorts was organized as a “leveraged buyout”.  Here’s how the deal worked:

Apollo created a shell company called Dakota Parent. Four of Apollo’s investment funds own this company. Dakota Parent created a wholly owned subsidiary called Dakota Sub. Dakota Sub borrowed $2.2 billion dollars (a big chunk of it, $1.1 billion, from the four Apollo funds) and bought 100% of the DRI shares — 72.7 million shares at $30.25 each. Then DRI merged into Dakota Sub, changed the company name to Diamond Resorts International, and thereby took on all Dakota Sub’s debt. This is the way leveraged buyouts typically work. Former Diamond CEO Cloobeck used the same structure when he bought Sunterra in 2007.

Now that all is said and done, DRI is a wholly owned subsidiary of Dakota Parent. The equity in Dakota Parent is owned by the four Apollo funds. Diamond has $2.2 billion debt on which it must make interest payments. The primary lenders are the four Apollo funds. They are in for $1.1 billion, $500,000,000 at 7.75% and $600,000,000 at 10.75%. The secondary lenders are in for $800 million, and another $200 million is secured by some DRI assets (I think they are consumer loans).

There are two ways Apollo makes money on this deal assuming all goes well. First, the four Apollo investment funds receive interest income out of DRI’s cash flow. They are guaranteed $103,250,000 per year. High profits or low profits, it doesn’t matter, Apollo gets paid. Further, the Apollo investment funds own a claim to all the equity growth of the company (that is all value over $2.2 billion). Thus, if they can sell the 72.7 million shares for $45 each, not an unreasonable number if all goes well, Apollo’s capital gain will be about $1 billion.

Aussie Flag

From Justin Morgan Australia

As a tax accountant, finance planner, part time private equity guy, I completely agree that the Apollo deal will only end in debt being laid upon Diamond members, for the benefit of those who arranged the details of a LBO merger that, when combined with the liabilities of the timeshare structure that utilized Association Board powers and targets them, it becomes a lethal mix that allows financial dealers to write their own checks bigger each year. It seems there is no end to how high they could simply raise their own salaries, pay-outs and ‘returns’ towards simply legally expecting members to pay their share of these increased contributions.

In the economy, we have certain protections such as Trade Practices Acts, Fair Trading Laws, financial regulation, monopoly laws…All this is designed to prevent abuse of market power. In my opinion, I would characterize this Diamond set-up as worse, because there is NO market that is anything other than what DRI, and the timeshare industry in general, allows. It is engaging in practices specifically designed to restrict the market to only it and its approved associates.

I feel this exploits consumers at near will, and I wonder where Apollo will set their ceiling …Looking at how the deal was structured, they see huge opportunity to lend to a membership base locked up in dubious legalities and unfair contracts. All this would not be legal in Australia. I’m amazed at how it turns out to be in the US. And I write this from Mexico, where it is well known what happens when dangerous cartels form and throw their money around here.

Circumstantial evidence is that the proof is in the pudding, but proving it in the US, where the banks and private equity already got away with much…well, I can only hope that the powers that be realize that it won’t get better if they keep allowing the average consumer and householder to be abused by what is, in my opinion, predatory sales and lending.

If the new DRI were to strip assets, it’d be left holding the large liabilities, but that is usually the reason why they then go back to legacy members warning of bankruptcy if they do not buy more points. It looks like the new DRI is just financially ‘creating’ this balance sheet to look exactly how it should look to siphon off more money from members. They already have their interest windfall. Next would be the stripping, and finally, the call for more contributions to boost management revenue…all this whilst the members are forced into more debt.

This is a strategic type play from the banking world, but DRI and private equity were some of the quickest learners out of the Great Financial Crisis. Many learnt how the banks do it. Private equity rushing into timeshare is the new rush to create financial instruments that creates only ‘liability’ for the timeshare owner. The financial guys profit from the creation of liability, which is their ‘debt-holding’. In a near zero interest rate environment, Apollo is looking to create the debt, then shift it across to the membership…effectively, they’ve already done it. Now they must get their $1.1bn back, and the result is just pure profit for the financial players. This could turn out to be a textbook case of why this must be stopped immediately. It will possibly play out over years.  Bravo Irene for taking a stand. I will support your efforts however I can. You’ve struck here what I believe is the actual core of the New Timeshare. The Old Timeshare was less sophisticated, but for those of us who know that private equity in this industry is licking its lips over several recent acquisitions, the old caveat of “buyers beware” may even be too late.

Teacher

Thank you to Michael and Justin for their reader responses which are possibly the most sophisticated reader responses in the history of Inside Timeshare. More and more timeshare Advocates are coming forward bringing their expertise and experience to the timeshare table.

Contact Inside Timeshare or one of our Timeshare Advocacy Group™ Facebooks or websites if you need timeshare assistance or can become an Advocate.   

So there we have it, another week over in the murky world of timeshare, Inside Timeshare thanks Irene for her efforts in bringing so many people together to share their views and experiences.

To our latest addition to the Inside Timeshare family, a very hearty welcome and we hope to hear more from those in the “Land Down Under”, who we do tend to forget share the same experiences as us in Europe and the US.

It’s Friday, the weekend is here, so break out the BBQ’s and let’s PARTY!!!!!!!!

barbie

anfi ariel view

Anfi Special General Meeting, The Vote is In.

As we reported in Friday’s Letter From America, Anfi held a Special General Meeting at the H10 Hotel in Meloneras, Gran Canaria, the subject was the change in contracts to bring them into line with the law.

There were three resolutions on offer,

Voting on Resolution 1

To establish occupancy periods for a maximum of 50 years duration, with an option to extend for further recurring occupancy periods of 50 years.

This will bring the contracts in line with the 50 year rule established in Spanish timeshare law, but it allows you to extend voluntarily to another 50 years.

Voting on Resolution 2

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

The same as resolution 1 without the option to extend to another 50 years.

Voting on Resolution 3

Total change of Timeshare Scheme to adapt to Spanish Act 4/2012.

This adapts the contract to  “Rotational Enjoyment Rights” Anfi explains it thus:

“Every current holder of a membership certificate shall be allocated a number of rotational enjoyment rights, equal to the number of membership certificates they currently hold and which will entitle them to enjoy the same week of use as they currently hold”.

The preliminary results are as follows, (these are not confirmed):

Anfi Beach Club

Resolution 1

  • In the favour: 4342 votes
  • Against: 140 votes
  • Abstention: 34 votes

Result: Approved

Resolution 2

  • In the favour: 2750 votes
  • Against: 1696 votes
  • Abstention: 119 votes

Result: NOT Approved

Resolution 3

  • In the favour: 2750 votes
  • Against: 1657 votes
  • Abstention: 115 votes

Result: NOT Approved

Club Monte Anfi

Resolution 1

  • In the favour: 2604 votes
  • Against: 245 votes
  • Abstention: 38 votes

Result: Approved

Resolution 2

  • In the favour: 1106 votes
  • Against: 1629 votes
  • Abstention: 161 votes

Result: NOT Approved

Resolution 3

  • In the favour: 1105 votes
  • Against: 1635 votes
  • Abstention: 156 votes

Result: NOT Approved

Club Puerto Anfi

Resolution 1

  • In the favour: 2358 votes
  • Against: 131 votes
  • Abstention: 29 votes

Result: Approved

Resolution 2

  • In the favour: 1287 votes
  • Against: 1142 votes
  • Abstention: 88 votes

Result: NOT Approved

Resolution 3

  • In the favour: 1304 votes
  • Against: 1126 votes
  • Abstention: 86 votes

Result: NOT Approved

Resolution 1 has been accepted for all three resorts, which is:

“To establish occupancy periods for a maximum of 50 years duration, with an option to extend for further recurring occupancy periods of 50 years”.

So how does this affect you?

Quite simply it doesn’t, it will only affect new contracts, the owners club does not have the right to change a bilateral agreement that was signed between you and Anfi. It will only affect you if you agree to and sign the new contract. If you do not accept the new contract your existing one remains in force, which means your contract is still a perpetuity one, which is still illegal under Spanish timeshare law.

This obviously means that you may claim back the purchase price and have the contract declared null & void. For those who do have claims underway in court, this is crucial they do not sign, as it would then make the claim invalid.

It is obvious that Anfi want you to change, it will save them a lot of problems in the courts, but it is your decision, not theirs!

As more information comes in we will publish so you have the facts.

update bricks

Since publishing we have received the following facts from Canarian Legal Alliance, they have contacted us with these figures and the latest judgment:

On Friday 23 June the HIGH COURT in Las Palmas announced the latest sentence against ANFI, with the contract being declared null & void with over 10,000€ being awarded back to the client. This was for a contract in perpetuity.

These are real figures direct from the Canarian courts along with real payouts. They are real sentences which are all ready to be executed (naturally all these amounts and sentences can easily be verified as they are public record), with many of these sentences published as news on this website as they happened. (search Supreme Court, High Court and First Instance).

So far overall court achievements from CLA against ANFI

• pay-outs to our clients from ANFI cases so far 1.133.560,06 €
• won cases ( all closed and ready for executions ) in the Supreme Court , High Court , and First Instance Courts with orders against ANFI for payments are 3.269.547,02 €
• On top of this CLA has 323 live cases in court and 279 soon to be presented.

So contrary to the spin Anfi try to put on all this, the courts are finding for clients, with Anfi having to lodge the money with the courts. The truth is out there for all to see, not just against Anfi but other resorts as well.