Browse Category

Consumer Stories

Friday’s Letter from America

Welcome to this week’s Letter from America, today we publish another “Nightmare on Timeshare Street”, this is the experience of the Cameron family and their dealing with Westgate. But as usual we bring you some news from Europe.

We start with the headlines in La Provincia published on 18 October 2018

Grupo Anfi denuncia a Santiago Santana Cazorla por “apropiarse” de un barco

La compañía acusa al empresario de sustraer la embarcación y llevársela a Marruecos

Translation:

Grupo Anfi denounces Santiago Santana Cazorla for “appropriating” a ship

The company accuses the businessman of stealing the boat and taking it to Morocco

Santiago Sanatna Cazorla at Court

It centers around Santiago Santana Cazorla “appropriating” a boat which the Anfi Group claims belongs to the company, of which Cazorla owns 50%, as the boat was included in the register of assets of the company until around 1 year ago, when Cazorla decided to transfer it to his name.

The Court of Instruction No1 of San Bartolomé de Tirajana, heard in testimony from Cazorla (17 October 2018), that he purchased the boat in 2012, he transferred the ownership of the vessel to Anfi Group “as part of the payment to forgive a debt”, however, he changed his mind and about the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017, began procedures to transfer the vessel back to his name.

In his testimony Cazorla assured the court that the vessel was his, something Anfi Group does not agree with, no agreement was reached.

One thing is for sure, we are never short of a story with Anfi!

Following on from Wednesdays article about the fake Tenerife law firm  ADN Alberto Dlendro Nabalez, Litigacionespaña SL, which is part of the Litigious Abogados family, mindtimeshare yesterday published details of another fake “Procurador”, which is more than likely to be one the fake lawyers will be using.

The name of this “Procurator” is Marco Gravinal with the address

Calle Las Calbas 36, Edificio Bala, Oficina 418, Santa Cruz, Tenerife

Which does not even show up on Google maps, so is obviously a fake address.

The website

http://marco-gravinal.com/

Was registered on 31 January 2018 and is due to expire on 31 January 2019, so a short term setup to get as much money from unsuspecting timeshare owners as possible.

The email address is [email protected] which is not linked to the website but is again a free email address provider.

Now for this weeks article.

Our Westgate Purchase was a Recipe for Disaster

Jackie Siegel, wife of Westgate owner David Siegel

By the Cameron family

Friday, October 19

Seeing other Westgate owners talk about their experiences has prompted me to do the same, in the hope that more people will come forward to put pressure on timeshare companies and regulators to take a closer look at timeshare sales practices we feel are unfair and deceptive.

Up in Smoke!

http://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-from-america-24/

The Dashiell’s article

http://insidetimeshare.com/the-tuesday-slot-7/

It is obvious that Westgate, and I believe timeshare in general, has a recipe for success, designed to keep their money rolling in and my money rolling out.

I think I have figured out the secret ingredients!

Step 1: Over promise features and benefits. Add copious amounts of salt with one or two grains of truth.

Step 2: Make them your BFF. Then tenderize customer by forcefully kneading them with one sales pitch after another until they are flattened and easy to manipulate.

Step 3: Quickly gloss over the contract with a nice coating of sugar. Make sure to cover up the actual details of what the customer is buying so that they remain in the dark until much too late for them to cancel their contract. They call this the rescission period and it is quite easy for timeshare sales agents to dodge.

Step 4: Serve on a dirty plate with a fork. I call this plate foreclosure when the buyer finds out you bought something you can’t sell. What product is out there you can’t get rid of?

Step 3: When the customer realizes they have been served a steaming pile of something or other, pretend to be very concerned and run back to the kitchen and hide for months and months. The customer can listen to commercials about why you are happy to have invested in their timeshare while they wait on hold.

Step 5: Finally, when the customer is starting to cause a scene, have the monosyllabic thugs, Greenspoon Marder, eject them from the premises.

The Tennessee AG will be sitting at the next table, pretending like nothing happened while he tucks into his gourmet meal, although I did research and found out the TN AG helped Festiva victims recover $3.5 million.

https://www.tn.gov/attorneygeneral/news/2016/2/24/pr16-04.html

I understand that the consumer needs to take charge here. If there are not enough complaints, as must be the case with Westgate, nothing will happen. I also learned the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau investigated Westgate for two years but dropped the investigation shortly after the presidential election.

https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/matthewzeitlin/financial-regulators-are-looking-into-americas-largest-times

That’s Westgate owner David Siegel, King of Versailles next to candidate Trump.

Here’s what happened to us

Salesmen, Jonathan Smith, and Mario Pineda (Manager) sold us a timeshare in July 2016 and convinced us that we were making a good, sound financial decision.

They said we were buying something that would:

  • Financially benefit us,
  • Allow us to make money renting our weeks and that they would help with this free of charge,
  • They said we would never have to pay the HOA fees because the rentals would pay for that,
  • They said we would hold a deed to the property and would own this property (Bldg 2041, Villa 302H and 302I).  They left out the part that if you want to sell it nobody wants it,
  • It would be a great tax write off,
  • The equity would keep increasing.

Given all these benefits we signed the contract in good faith, thinking that we would get everything Westgate told us we would get and we would see some return on our “investment” which turned out to be anything but an investment. The reality is that we have not made a penny on this investment. None of the reasons for which we bought this timeshare exist.

While they may define this as real estate, what kind of real estate is worth nothing, except in disaster stricken zones? It is certainly not a tax write-off, it does not gain in value and it would therefore be stupid to pass it on to our family. We would only be passing on a liability.  

On top of all this, our experiences at Westgate locations have been awful. We went to a Westgate property to enjoy time together as a family and wind down. Instead we were pressured to buy more and had our precious vacation time stolen.

The first time we went to Gatlinburg we booked a 3-day trip. We were invited to a presentation. They said it would last 90 minutes but we were held hostage for seven hours! This totally ruined our vacation, plus the loss of what little time we had was the cause of much stress.

All this stress came right back when we had our first full week stay and they tried to do and say anything to get us to upgrade to a more expensive unit and more weeks. They held us again for four hours. The stress of this again completely ruined my vacation.

It was after this last stay I started to have heart pain. When I went to the doctor he said it was stress related. This is when it really hit me that I can’t keep going through the stress of Westgate’s high pressure to buy more and more Westgate. My wife and I work very hard. We don’t get to take many vacations together, so do not enjoy spending our vacation in a bad mood after it feels like we underwent CIA manipulation techniques. Plus, we can’t afford to go through this again.

What Westgate is serving up is no good. We suggest you dine elsewhere.

The Queen of Versailles wants to be Florida’s Governor?

http://floridanationalnews.com/blog/jackie-siegel-for-florida-governor/

Jackie Siegel for Florida Governor?

December 6, 2016

  Well, if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry, I suppose

Thank you to the Camerons for sharing their timeshare story. It is our hope that timeshare companies will read some of these accounts and think about ways to improve customer relations. We encourage members to submit articles, good or bad experiences, but the satisfied customer is less likely to reach out. They are having too much fun vacationing with a product they bought explained properly, compared to the family who feels they were duped.

These self-help websites and Facebooks are resources and provide a way for members to reach out to help other members.

We 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/

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

https://tug2.com/Home.aspx

https://everythingabouttimeshares.com/consider-exchange-options/

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

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

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

 

  So that is another week over and the start of the weekend, join us again next week and remember to do your homework before engaging with any company. If you are not sure then use our contact page and we will point you in the right direction.

Have a great weekend.

 

The Tuesday Slot

Welcome to the Tuesday Slot, this article replaces the one originally scheduled as at the last minute the problem may have been resolved, news on this will be published when we have confirmation. So this week we publish the results of the election where our very own Irene Parker stood to be elected to the HOA Board of Diamond US Collections as a representative of all members.

As for news from Europe, the courts have not issued any new sentences, although many cases have been heard.

On the fake “lawyers” front Inside Timeshare has received many emails from anxious owners being contacted by those we have highlighted. All are telling the same story, their timeshare company has been taken to court and found guilty, they have awarded the owners so many thousands of pounds in compensation, but to release it they must first send 20% of the awarded amount to cover tax. For those of you who are familiar with our articles, you know what this is, a complete and utter scam.

Since our article about Silverpoint on 3 October, Inside Timeshare has been overwhelmed with emails from very concerned purchasers, this has resulted in the lack of article being published. It was felt that these enquiries were to be answered and addressed, so our apologies for the lack of articles.

We have also received an email from one reader who has contacted a law firm in the UK and they want £850 to conduct a viability report to see if there is a claim on a no win no fee basis! For a more intense report they want £1,200 This law firm Seth Lovis is charging money from a timeshare owner to see if they can take on her case!

This is totally unethical, Inside Timeshare will do this for free, then we will pass you on to a lawyer who has the experience in this field.

Now for our Tuesday Slot.

Diamond Resorts Election Results – U.S Collection HOA Board

5,387,000 Votes! A Landslide Psychological Victory

By Irene Parker, Candidate finishing #8

October 16, 2018

Diamond Resorts announced election results for their U.S. Collection which was held  October 10, 2018. I finished #8 with 5,387,000 votes.

I have been researching this industry for over three years now. I keep hearing the same complaints over and over from those who bought timeshares from several developers. It’s a broken record coming from 614 families, as of October 14, all but a handful alleging unfair and deceptive sales practices.

My husband and I owned three timeshares for 30 years, our life revolving around the next vacation. I didn’t even know how to use Facebook until I attended a pathetically aggressive timeshare presentation in 2015. I wrote a couple articles and started to hear from timeshare buyers complaining of unfair and deceptive sales practices. I saw that there were a number of Attorneys General investigations and settlements launched against several developers.

I resent being called an “industry hater” by one developer, as I loved this industry for 30 years. It is preposterous for timeshare lobbyists and developers to insist there is no problem with the front end of the timeshare sale – only with exit companies “targeting” timeshare members who would otherwise be happy timeshare owners. Families report being financially devastated and don’t know where to turn.

I have always said half a problem goes away when confronted. Either the industry will confront the deceit on the front end of the sale, or Timeshare Wars continue.

All but a handful of the 621 families have reported:    

  1. They said it was an investment,
  2. They said it was easy to sell,
  3. They said to fill out an application to see if we were eligible, but they opened a credit card and charged it for the purchase (or down payment),
  4. They said we could pay our maintenance fees with this new program, but the program didn’t exit,
  5. They said we could sell our timeshare if we bought more points, but the program didn’t exist,
  6. They said we could pay our maintenance fees by using a credit card, but we would have to charge $200,000 in a year to pay a $2,000 maintenance fee,  
  7. They said airfare would be included when we booked a stay,
  8. The sales agent said the last agent did not sell us enough points,
  9. They showed us a book of resorts, but there is never any availability when we try to book,
  10. They said we could rent our timeshare, but the resort does not allow this,
  11. They said if we did not give up our deed and buy points, our children’s’ credit would be destroyed if something happened to us,
  12. Hours long tag-team, high pressure, aggressive sales presentations,
  13. They said if we didn’t change to another program our maintenance fees will go through the roof,
  14. I should not have bought a timeshare in Hawaii because they have hurricanes,
  15. I should not have bought a timeshare in Florida because they have hurricanes,
  16. The sales agent said he would be my personal representative, but he never returned my calls or text messages.    

Timeshare Advocacy Group™ mission statement:

We seek to provide timeshare 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.

Our Diamond Resorts member-sponsored advocacy Facebook launched by an economics professor broke 2,000 members today:

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

My campaign bio:

Irene Parker has experience and knowledge in the fields of finance, sales and marketing. Irene holds an MBA from St. Louis University, and holds a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certificate. Irene retired from Edward Jones Hawaii. She served as a founding member of the Salvation Army Board of Directors, Waimea, a member of the Condo Board at One Archer Lane, Honolulu, a member of The Ombudsman Advisory Board in Kentucky, and was a Kentucky CASA supervisor.

You did!

Thank you,

Irene

Timeshare Advocacy Group™

Facilitator

Well, all we can say is well done to Irene, you certainly gave them a run for their money, your hard work and tenacity has proven that the little people can make a difference. Also a very big thank you to all those who voted for Irene, your voices have been heard.

If you have a timeshare problem that you would like real information on, then use our contact page and get in touch, we have a wealth of knowledge from so many sources that we will find a solution for you. When you contact us, please let us know from what part of the world you are from and where you own or are a member, it will help us put you in touch with the right people.

The Tuesday Slot

Welcome to The Tuesday Slot, this week we publish another “Nightmare on Timeshare Street” from a new contributor James McConnell, a Veterans Administration Chaplain. But first we look at another “Nightmare on Timeshare Street” which Inside Timeshare has been highlighting for around 3 years. Many of our older readers will remember the story of Mrs B and her sister, the last update was in January 2018, well the story has just resurfaced.

To recap, Mrs B, purchased a timeshare at the Dona Lola Club on the Costa del Sol, Spain in 2000, at the time they were 72 and 65 respectively. Their purchase at what can only be described as a high pressure lengthy presentation, was for 2 weeks in a 3 bed apartment, the cost at that time was £7000. (This has since been transferred to their points club).

At the time of the purchase, new legislation had been in force for about 1 year, this made the taking of any payments within the 14 day cooling off period illegal along with the length of the contract being over 50 years in duration, what is known as perpetuity. Mr B and her sister were not made aware of this fact at the time.

For years they paid the annual maintenance fees, even though they had not used the timeshare due to illness. In 2014 they decided to get rid of the Dona Lola timeshare along with another that they owned at Oasis Lanz Club in Lanzarote. They paid a company £5,695 to dispose of both timeshares.

In 2015 the paperwork arrived showing that both timeshare had been sold to a gentleman in the UK, this is where the problems began.

The timeshare at Oasis Lanz was successfully transfered to the gentleman, (Inside Timeshare has his name, address and passport details), the problem is with the Dona Lola Club operated by none other than probably the worst timeshare company in Europe, MacDonald Resorts.

MacDonald Resorts refuse to recognise the transfer of ownership, they say that they do not recognise the company that carried it out, but at no time warned Mrs B and her sister that they would not accept the transfer of ownership.

MacDonald Resorts then employed Network Credit Services Limited of Hamilton, Lanarkshire, a debt collecting agency who have over the past 3 years constantly threatened legal action if the debt of now over £3,500 is not paid. Network Credit Services have been told repeatedly that this debt is in dispute and therefore they should return it to MacDonald Resorts. They are still harassing her.

The latest in this sorry saga are new threats, these include copies of court orders they claim to have won against debtors of MacDonald Resorts, if that isn’t a blatant use of threats and scare tactics we don’t know what is.

Inside Timeshare has told Mrs B to fill in one of the forms stating that the debt is in dispute and send it back, Inside Timeshare will also travel to the UK and help her when the case comes to the County Court, along with legal help and all the documents that show the timeshare has been transferred.

We will keep you posted on this story as it unfolds over the next few months, now for this weeks article.

We Lost $24,695 to Allied Solutions Group plus $3,200 to Help4TSO

Trying to get rid of our Bluegreen and Silverleaf Timeshares

Research Travel Clubs before Buying

https://www.patientcare.va.gov/chaplain/index.asp

Our Story

By James McConnell, a Veterans Administration Chaplain

October 9, 2018

My wife Donna and I are 76 and 80 years old. I am a Baptist Chaplain at the VA Medical Center in Las Vegas. I spent 20 years in the Army. I was eight years an enlisted soldier and twelve years a chaplain. As an enlisted man, I was stationed in Korea for a year in 1969, stationed three years in Germany and the rest in the states. I served as Chaplain at Fort Dix, NJ from 1983 until retirement in 1994. I also served at Field Station Kunia and the 4th of the 87th Infantry Battalion as their Chaplain in Hawaii. I was stationed in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait during Desert Shield/Desert Storm and assigned to the 1st of the 17th Field Artillery Battalion as their Chaplain during the war.   

We are aware that many seniors are going through what we are going through, stuck with timeshares we can’t get rid of, and then losing even more money to companies promising you that they can get you out of your timeshare but don’t.  Allied Solutions Group told us they could get rid of our timeshares if we pay them more money for a travel club.

We attended the Allied Solutions Group presentation over a year ago at a Joe’s Crab Shack for the purpose of getting out of our two timeshares. We paid Midwest Transfer $27,895 May 17, 2017 for a Travel Club package. The purchase price included a credit of $3,200 ($1,600 each for the Bluegreen and Silverleaf timeshares), but now we are stuck with a travel club we don’t need or want and the two timeshares. It’s a nightmare. They didn’t even give us information about the travel club.  

I contacted Irene Parker at Inside Timeshare. Irene contacted Help4TSO and spoke with a representative. Irene said the representative was very nice. She said he looked up our records and said they refunded us $3,200 because they did not get us out of our timeshare. We never received a check for $3,200.

Irene also contacted Allied Solutions Group for us. They would not talk to her. Irene asked if they could tell her what services Allied Solutions Group provided. The representative Irene spoke with said she would not describe their services. Irene thought this odd a company would not explain the services their company provided.    

We understood that what Allied Solution Group proposed was a travel club. It was supposed to be a replacement for what we had hoped to lose. Getting out of timeshare was the only reason we attended. We had no interest in spending money for another vacation since we were trying to get rid of what we owned. Allied Solution Group told us the program we signed up with would replace our timeshares. The Allied Solutions Group wrote three dispute letters which we were to correct and send to the timeshare people. We did that but didn’t hear anything of consequence back.  

We have a $37,000 loan. We owned two Silverleaf weeks and are still paying. If you own a house, you can sell your house if you have a loan. We did not know that timeshares are worthless. This is devastating for seniors who have always paid their bills on time. What can you do if you bought something that can’t be sold?

Allied Solution Group/Midwest Transfer described their services as a Mortgage Relief Advocacy Process. They said an advocacy firm is retained by Help4TSO,

Helping Timeshare Owners, LLC, Orlando, Florida.

According to the Help4TSO website:

Orlando Ventures, LLC dba Helping Timeshare Owners will fight to recover any and all monies paid to the developer. If not successful, Orlando Ventures, LLC will refund 100% of your monies back. Orlando Ventures will receive a 10% commission on monies recovered not to exceed $500.

We signed the agreement May 18, 2017

$1,600 charged to be released from Silverleaf

$1,600 charged to be released from Bluegreen

Also known as The Midwest Transfer, a mortgage relief and travel plan

May 25, 2017 agreements were signed by Bill Howell.

$6,300

$9,595.

$8,800.

$24,695 + $3,200 = $27,895

Why are regulators not interested? There seems to be no one to talk to and no one seems to care. It is shameful and we don’t understand why there is so little regulation. It seems the only way to protect consumers is to write about what is happening to warn others. DON’T BUY A TIMESHARE YOU CANNOT GET RID OF and don’t pay anyone you don’t know money to get out of a timeshare.

One of Allied Group Solution’s BBB complaints and the company response followed by what happened to us

Allied Solution Group

https://www.bbb.org/us/mo/springfield/profile/timeshare-transfer/allied-solution-group-0734-43288/complaints

On June 6, 2017 we signed a contract to remove our name from 3 timeshares and purchased a replacement vacation company. We paid a total of $15,142. Of this, 3 charges of $1,569 were for the timeshare transfers. They have completed one transfer, but refuse to either complete the other 2 or refund the $1,569 each for those 2. They were notified in August that one of the timeshare companies would not work with them and they should have made a refund at that time. The other timeshare was carried on their books as 3 contracts. They then asked for us to sign and pay for 3 more transfers at $1,569 each. We would not and they sent a letter the file was on “freeze”. Letters requesting the refunds of $1,569 for each of the 2 incomplete transfers were sent 11-15 & 12-27-2017 no response from either.

Allied Solution Group Response

03/16/2018

Mr. and Mrs. **** entered into a contract with Allied Solution Group (ASG) on June 6, 2017 requesting us to get them out of three ownership’s. ***** ******** ****, ****** *****, and *** ***** ****** at Tahoe. On June 13, 2017 we spoke with the client and verified the full contract and also discussed that we were doing three transfers and getting them enrolled in to ******* ********* ***** ****. At that time, there were no concerns from the client and we charged the client outside of their rescission period. On June 27, 2017 we called the client again to discuss to the need of some signed documentation in order to proceed. We followed up on July 10, 13, 25, 26, 31st and within those times we either spoke to the client or left a message stating their ******* ******** ****** **** was on hold until we received that paperwork. On August 4, 2017 we received the requested documentation, but the needed signatures were still not on the documents. We spoke with the client on August 7, 2017 and discussed the need for signatures again, and mailed an additional copy to client. On August 14, 2017 the client called with tracking information for the signed documents.  Upon the receipt of these documents we still needed the deeds and documents for the ownership with Shell, ****** *****, and *** *****. We sent a second notice to the client for needed deeds on August 29, 2017. On September 18, 2017 the client called and said the deed for ***** could take up to 60 days to get back due to flooding in Florida. On September 19, 2017 the enrollment into ******* ******** ****** **** was completed. On October 12, 2017 we sent a third and final notice for deeds on their ownership’s for transfer. On October 17, 2017 we received the deeds for ownership, and it was brought to our attention that there were six ownership instead of the three that were discussed at the point of sale. At the point of sale and on our Welcome Call we reconfirmed that there were three ownership’s. As with any service that is provided if there is more work than what was originally presented, there will be an additional cost. We sent additional documentation on October 20, 2016 if the client chose to have us do all six transfers versus the original three, but told them it was their choice. October 27, 2017 we put the ***** transfer on hold until we heard back from the client and sent them documentation to show the freeze as well, to which, we have not heard back. We have completed the the ****** ***** transfer and *** ***** ****** is processing. *** ***** ****** transfer did not begin until August of 2017 when we received the needed deed in office. Within the contract it states we have 12 to 18 months to transfer this ownership. We currently are well within that window. We have done exactly as the client requested, and cannot help that the facts presented to us at point of sale were not accurate. We are happy to finish our contracted work, but will not work on the ***** property until the client communicates their wishes with us. There are no grounds for a cancellation. We will discuss this further with the client if needed.

Thank you James for your contribution, this article along with today’s lead, really does show that timeshare is truly a nightmare.

If you have a story which you would like to share and make others aware of, then use our contact page and get in touch, we would love to hear from you. Inside Timeshare is also asking for any lawyer who has experience of UK debt legislation and County Courts to get in touch to offer advice in the case of Mrs B. In advance thank you.

Friday’s Letter from America

Welcome to this week’s Letter from America, we publish another “Nightmare on Timeshare Street” article this week which focuses on Westgate, we welcome our new contributor who wishes to remain anonymous for obvious reasons. But first a quick look at the timeshare news from Europe.

Another Judge at the Courts of First Instance Number 2 in Maspalomas has joined other Judges in deciding on a case at the pre-trial stage rather than sending it for a full trial, that now makes Courts numbers 1, 2, 3 and four all following the same route.

Usually the pre-trial stage is used to allow a last minute out of court settlement and deciding if the case warrants a full trial. These courts have now decided that it is a waste of valuable court time to set dates and hold the full trial, the reasoning is that it is a matter of the contracts, they violate the timeshare laws and are cut and dried cases. This will be good news for many clients who are waiting to go to court as it will now speed up the process considerably.

We have heard from another reader who informed us of a company called Litigation Services SL with the company registration number B93268936, they give the address C/ CORONEL RIPOLLET, EDF SANTOS REIN S/N FUENGIROLA (this is a rather seedy street).

The director is listed as CALLE GUDEN DANIEL ERNESTO Appointment: 15/10/2014, but another very old familiar name is also listed although he was dismissed on the above date, SHARIFI DADVAR MAHMOUD REZA.

According to the caller, the courts have seized sizable amounts of money from Timelinx and DWVC (Designer Way Vacation Club) which we know are no longer in existence, Litigation Services SL will help you to claim the money you paid. Obviously they need a fee to process this. The thing is there are no funds waiting at court to be claimed, we also know that in the past this company has had links with the likes of Greenges, Fuengirola Servicios 2000 and our old friends Ramirez and Ramirez.

It would also seem that not only those who had dealings with DWVC are being targeted, but Club Class Concierge clients are being contacted. The story is that there is a court case against them in the Spanish Courts, The company is called Key Legal Claims and they will represent you in court and obtain the money you paid Club Class.

The caller is Emily Carter with the phone number 01212852941. Emily will require a release fee to get the money from the courts, as we have seen in the past this is not the case, there is no money being held by the courts for either of these “Clubs”.

Now on with our Letter from America

My Westgate Timeshare is Up in Smoke!

By a Westgate buyer

October 5, 2018

The peasant of Venice and the Queen of Versailles revisited,

Comments from Irene

The Siegel’s “Queen of Versailles” Florida home

Their lavish pad is nine times larger than other houses in the area (90,000 square feet) and has a $20 million mortgage, which is 100 times the size of the average mortgage in Central Florida, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2310067/Construction-FINALLY-restarts-vast-Queen-Versailles-mansion-recession-hit-owners-raise-30m-needed-complete-it.html     

By a Westgate owner who wishes to remain anonymous. Contact Inside Timeshare if you would like to contact the author.  

Wealth Achieved at What Price?

Up in Smoke

I own a Westgate timeshare. I purchased the timeshare in Gatlinburg, Tennessee a while ago. In November 2016 the resort caught fire and my unit was burned to the ground. They are rebuilding, but the new units are totally different from the units being replaced.  I am being asked to pay for a unit that has not been built, and given less options for the same money. I don’t see how this can be fair, but given the way in which we have been treated, I don’t think ‘fair’ is anything Westgate cares about.

The manner in which I was induced to sign the original contract attests to this:

The timeshare would be a great investment because it is real estate,

  • I could sell it,
  • I could rent it to make my money back,
  • I could get a tax break, the same as a homeowner,
  • I could get a loan to pay off my loan because it was an investment.

Westgate sales agent Zak told us it was best to buy low because in years to come the value of the property would increase.  He provided an example of one of the original owners that purchased paying only $3000, and then showed me what the property is worth today. I now know timeshares are a liability, almost impossible to sell for even pennies on the dollar. The salesman misrepresented pretty much everything to make the sale.

Timeshares are not the same as real estate, and with little to no secondary market, not an investment. Many timeshares, including Westgate, can be bought online for $1. The market is flooded with timeshares and it is almost impossible to rent them out. Tax deductions are not allowed.

I relied on what the sales agent said. Now I am left with payments for something that is not what was described. Based on my experience, the poorly regulated timeshare product benefits only the sales agent, in the form of commissions, and the timeshare company, who apparently has amassed a fortune at our expense.  

Our timeshare sale began with deception. A mandatory update, which is not mandatory, stated it would last 30 minutes, but it was a sales presentation that lasted 4 hours. They didn’t care about my sightseeing tour plans ruined. There has never been a time when staying at a Westgate vacation resort that I have not been pressured by employees trying to sell or upgrade me to a pricier unit. Despite making loan payments every month plus maintenance fees, before you can even use the week, you have to undergo the pressure imposed by a Westgate employee, taking up one of your vacation days, trying to sell you something that you don’t want or need.

When I think about my Westgate experience these last five years, listening to sales agents making promises unfulfilled, having spent thousands of dollars, what I have is worth nothing. This has been a nightmare.

I have tried to contact Westgate to talk about my concerns. They strung me along for months and months saying they’d get back to me. Eventually, their paralegal wrote a generic cut and paste letter stating that I had signed a contract so that was that. This is the level of care Westgate shows its owners?

Their home is 90,000 Square feet?

Thank you to this Westgate owner, who wishes to remain anonymous, but has provided their contact information should others wish to contact them through Inside Timeshare. These are member accounts hoping to warn others to know that what they bought is probably worth nothing. The timeshare developer is always welcome to present their side of the argument.  

My question to timeshare developers is, how much is enough? Inside Timeshare has heard from 609 timeshare members and owners, many families financially devastated, alleging unfair and deceptive sales practices. Most signed off on high interest loans.

We thank timeshare members for submitting their experiences in the hope of warning those thinking about buying a timeshare, to be aware the purchase they are about to make can have devastating financial consequences.

What house, condo, boat or car would you buy that could not be resold? What would happen to the residential home market if buyers learned after their purchase, the “asset” they bought had no secondary market? It is not uncommon for Inside Timeshare to hear from timeshare buyers who paid $100,000 or more for a timeshare, easily the cost of a condo or home. Timeshares are hard enough to sell, but almost impossible with a loan attached. You can sell a house or a car with a loan, but not a timeshare.

You can rent the documentary “The Queen of Versailles” from Netflix, about the 90,000 square foot home being built in Orlando by Westgate owners David and Jackie Siegel. The documentary took Best Director at Sundance some years ago.

https://www.justwatch.com/us/movie/the-queen-of-versailles#

As a former stockbroker, I have no objection to great wealth, but given the Dashiell’s articles submitted last week and today’s article by a Westgate owner, I ask, “Wealth at what price?”

http://insidetimeshare.com/the-tuesday-slot-7/

I have heard from Carolyn Willis, a third Westgate buyer, whose timeshare went “Up in Smoke” also, angry beyond words.

 The Siegel’s 90,000 square foot house led to my timeshare advocacy efforts. I attended a pathetically aggressive timeshare sales presentation July 2015. When I returned to our unit, I turned on the television and happened to tune into Las Vegas attorney Bob Massi’s FOX show Property Man, featuring the Siegel house.  Disgusted with what I had just experienced, I wrote to Mr. Massi. About a month later the FOX producer called me and said they had received a flood of timeshare complaints. The producer said the segment was not even about timeshare, but about the Siegel’s palatial home. She said Mr. Massi is a friend of the Siegels. I was the only respondent invited to be interviewed by Mr. Massi. She said I was selected because I was the only respondent who said I wanted to talk about the positives of timeshare and not just the negatives.

 My house in Venice 1,770 square feet

Sometimes it takes a peasant revolt.

I described my timeshare presentation experience in fairytale format. My husband and I were in between homes, moving from Bowling Green, Kentucky to Venice, Florida. The comparison was irresistible, so I christened myself the peasant of Venice, as my LinkedIn profile describes.

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

Contact Inside Timeshare if you have a timeshare experience to share. We know there are many who use and enjoy their timeshare. They may not be aware that timeshares often have virtually no secondary market. Many reaching out to us only learned this when life circumstances prompted them to look into selling their timeshare.  Timeshare companies list the lack of a secondary market as a risk to shareholders in their annual reports. There is little empathy for the timeshare buyer who has spent thousands of dollars only to learn their timeshare is, by design, worth nothing. Greenhaven Capital Management touted the lack of a secondary market as a benefit for private equity investors. In a moment of anger, I wrote this mock interview after reading about Greenhaven, touting the timeshare stock BECAUSE of no secondary market. I find this shameful.  

My apologies to British comedians Bird and Fortune

http://insidetimeshare.com/new-across-atlantic/

Do not pay anyone money upfront to get out of a timeshare without checking with Inside Timeshare or one of these self-help groups. You will find straight answers at no cost on these sites.

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/

That’s it for this week, remember if you have been contacted by any company with a story that your timeshare company or club has been taken to court and there is money waiting for you, it will be a scam. If you need any help in checking the validity of any company that contacts you or one that you have found on the internet or advert, then use our contact page and we will point you in the right direction.

Have a great weekend and join us again next week.

The Tuesday Slot

Welcome to The Tuesday Slot, this week we welcome another new contributor Wilma Miller with her “Nightmare on Timeshare Street” and her Buyer Beware article. First we have a quick round up of European news.

October is now with us and in the next few months the annual maintenance bills will be arriving, this will also bring in many calls from “companies” offering cancellation of contracts and claims against timeshare resorts. The warning is beware the fantastic offers these will come out with, from the guaranteed cancellation and the promise of no win no fee claims.

As usual it is important to do your due diligence before engaging with any company, that means check and check again. There are many questions you should be asking yourself:

  1. How long has this company been operating, can they actually have done what they state in the time they have been working?
  2. If they are offering “no win no fee” claims, how are they going to claim?
  3. In order to do the claim do they want money upfront to cancel the contract first?
  4. Are they going to sell you another product?
  5. What lawyers are they going to use if taking the case to a Spanish Court?
  6. Can these lawyers be verified as genuine and registered with their relevant bar associations?

If you need help in answering any of these questions, then use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will point you in the right direction.

The Courts of First Instance in Maspalomas began the month with another ruling against Anfi, in his ruling the Judge of Court No 4 declared the contract null and void, this was on the basis that the contract was longer than the stipulated maximum of 50 years as required by Law 42/98. The judge also awarded double the deposit paid within the cooling off period as this is also in breach of the law, in this case the German client has been award over 66,000€ plus legal interest.

Right click on image and select open in new tab to enlarge

Last month ended with a bang for Canarian Legal Alliance with a total of 18 sentences being issued in various courts ranging from First Instance to High Courts, there were also 6 provisional executions of sentences whereby Anfi has been ordered to deposit  over 184,000€ with the court. These provisional executions of sentences will speed up and ensure prompt payouts for the clients.

In all the 12 other sentences were against:

All contracts were declared null and void and the total awarded was over 286,000€

It would also appear that Abogados Lopez another fake law firm has become active again, with calls to existing CLA clients telling them that they have taken over their case from CLA. Beverley Pritchard is another new new name along with Ricardo Sanchez.

http://insidetimeshare.com/news-on-wednesday-more-warnings/

The telephone numbers being used are the same as before:

0034 951 242 867 which is a Malaga code

0034 602 654 670 which is a Spanish mobile

0044 1291 440 500 which is a Chepstow code, although when trying to call this number back a recording states the number does not exist.

If you are an existing client of Canarian Legal Alliance and receive a call from any of the names or numbers above including the original name of Hope Brugge, do not pay them or give them any information, they may sound credible, but are a complete scam.

Now for our Tuesday Slot.

A Buyer Beware Timeshare Experience

Diamond Resorts

By Wilma Miller

October 2, 2018

We first encountered Diamond Resorts while on vacation June 2017. Their people knocked us off our feet with free tickets to a show, and switched us from the Stratosphere to Diamond’s Polo Towers Suites. They even picked us up in a limousine! All we had to do was attend a 90 minute presentation. It’s easy to catch people off guard while on vacation.

Looking back, I believe the presentation room was designed to be noisy and crowded. The 90 minutes turned into hours. I am 78 and my husband James, a Vietnam Army veteran, is 75. As the hours wore on we became more tired and more confused. The presentation began about 11 a.m. and lasted all day.

James has health issues. He was not feeling well after several hours had passed, but the sales agents just kept on. It did not even register when we mentioned his health issues. Sales agents Ninmar N and Diana C were vague on how the program worked. They were vague on the cancellation procedure, and the payment procedure. We felt pressured into signing and we were not allowed enough time to read the documents. They showed us the documents as they explained what was in them, but did not give us a chance to actually hold or read them before we signed. They hurried us through the signing process by placing papers in front of us, telling us what it said, asking us to sign. We later received a copy.

They had said we were eligible for a senior package. We’ve learned there is no such thing called a senior package. We did not know the maintenance fees would be so high. We did not even know we had purchased a timeshare. Jim kept asking if this was a timeshare. They never admitted it was.

We bought 3000 points. They charged $14,000 to two Diamond’s Barclaycard. We were not aware we had opened the cards, much less that the cards had been charged. We repeatedly told the sales agents we were not interested, but they kept insisting we sign the contract.

After the signing process, they placed the Diamond Resorts U.S. Collection Public Offering Statement in our packet. We were not given an opportunity to even see what it was, much less read it. They said no one ever reads it. When we looked at it later it said right on the front – THE PROSPECTIVE PURCHASER SHOULD READ THIS REPORT BEFORE SIGNING ANY PAPERS!

In our opinion, the biggest deception of all was when they told us the payment would be $80 per month with no interest and Diamond Resorts would invoice us for the payment. This is in complete contrast to what has since transpired. Instead of one payment of $80, there are two payments, making it double the price they told us.

We received two Diamond Barclays Bank Credit Cards in the mail. As I mentioned, we were not even aware the cards had been opened. One Barclaycard was in my name and the other in James’ name. Neither agent mentioned credit cards during the presentation. They said we had to fill out an application to see if we would qualify. We never received a copy of the application.

To add insult to injury, the credit cards had no interest charges until now. Now the two payments are too much for us to afford.

After we received the high maintenance fee bill and credit cards, we went back for our orientation August 2017. We told them several times that we wanted to cancel or sell the timeshare. We said we wanted out.  When we told one person, they would get another person to talk to us. They tried to sell us an upgrade even when we said we could not afford what we bought! We talked to several sales people, but they ignored our concerns. It was obvious to us they did not care.  We never saw our original sales agents. Despite being told it was an orientation, we received no training or explanations.

We complained to Diamond Resorts directly. They dismissed our claims out of hand. They expect us to pay for something based on being told:

  • This was a great financial investment that would increase in value,
  • There were tax benefits as owners,
  • We could easily sell it,
  • Diamond had a buy-back program but recommended we never use it because we would lose all our points,
  • We would have a personal representative or coordinator assigned to us. They said this several times.  We never heard from anyone, much less a personal representative or coordinator.

They did not tell us:

  • How much vacation time we would get. We kept asking the sales agents but never received an answer. They bypassed every question.
  • We received 3000 points, but when we asked how we could use them, they gave us a confusing run around.
  • When we asked about maintenance fees and other fees, they avoided answering our questions by changing the subject.

We have sent a letter saying we cannot and will not make payments. We received a lot of collection calls. We sent a letter asking that the calls be stopped. They did stop. We had a high credit score before this. We stopped making payments around March. We received a form saying they would settle for a lower amount. They were talking about the Barclaycard.  

James has been diagnosed with cancer. It’s hard enough growing older without having to go through this. How many seniors will be harmed and harassed before lawmakers and Nevada regulators do something to stop this?  We fear it will never stop, so the best we can do is write about our experience, hoping it will help others.

When I submitted this article to Inside Timeshare, I was told about this member sponsored Diamond Resorts Members’ Facebook page. I wish I knew about this Facebook before we got ourselves into this. It’s been a disaster.

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

This article was written and submitted by Wilma Miller. We invite Diamond Resorts and Barclays to respond. We publish member accounts, good and bad, in an effort to warn the general public to know what they are signing and what they are buying.

That’s it for today, remember to do your homework before engaging with any company that has contacted you or one that you have found on the internet. It must also be pointed out that just because a company advertises in a prestigious publication, the radio or the TV, this does not mean they are genuine, these are sold advertising spaces, the marketing companies that sell them do not check on the authenticity of the company advertising. They will also publish a disclaimer, that they are not responsible for the content or authenticity of the advertiser.

If in doubt, use our contact page and we will be pleased to help you with your checks.

Friday’s Letter from America

Welcome to this week’s Letter from America, it is not the article that was actually scheduled for today, but is a last minute replacement. The original will be published at a later date.

Tahoe Beach and Ski Resort HOA Election Results

Jake Bercu and Al Fong Declared the Winners!

By Irene Parker

September 28, 2018

Tahoe Beach and Ski Resort held their annual meeting and election for two board positions September 22, 2018. The two board members running for another three-year term were Alfred Fong and Jacob Bercu. Three other candidates were on the ballot.  

The results:

Jacob Bercu            2124
Javier Cervantes(withdrew) 39
Alfred Fong 2154
Timothy Dobbs 39
Pat Hanna 1929.5
Laurence McGill 1887

Typically, voting is private, but the math indicates that Diamond Resorts voted for Pat Hanna and Laurence McGill. One owner reported that Hanna and McGill both stated they were in contact with Jason Toste, vice president at Diamond and one of the three board members named in the Point at Poipu lawsuit. They said they wanted to work with Diamond Resorts. According to the owner reporting, this made owners suspicious, as the association has made numerous attempts to work with Diamond Resorts to resolve affiliation and operations issues, to no avail.

https://advantagevacation.com/the-point-at-poipu-angry-owners-file-lawsuit-against-diamond-resorts/

Diamond Resorts controls 23% of the inventory at Tahoe Beach and Ski Resort and, in the opinion of the member reporting, who wishes to remain anonymous, Diamond has had a difficult time following the rules of the association.

Another twist to all this is the revelation that a member of the board at Tahoe Beach and Ski is now running for the board at Lake Tahoe Vacation Resort, a Diamond property. This was not disclosed to the owners. When questioned about his motives for running for the Lake Tahoe Vacation Resort, he stated that he was interested in gaining useful information about Diamond Resorts.

The letter below is from an owner at Tahoe Beach and Ski Resort. The candidates supported by Diamond campaigned on the fact that Diamond is a new company with new management and that Diamond has changed their ways and we need to work with them. There have been many complaints about Diamond posted on various complaint sites and the Attorney General of Arizona has issued an Assurance of Discontinuance after receiving hundreds of complaints from Diamond members accusing the company of unfair and deceptive sales practices. Diamond did not admit wrongdoing. Based on the letter below and the daily posts on our member sponsored Diamond Advocacy group, we feel improvement in customer relations is warranted.

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

In addition to Jason Toste, Kathy Wheeler was a board member named in the Point at Poipu lawsuit. They are the authorized owner-representatives for Diamond Resorts at Tahoe Beach and Ski. Owners said they have had reports from other TBSC owners that Diamond sales agents and employees at Lake Tahoe Vacation Resort, Kaanapali Beach Resort and Historic Powhatan have been claiming for the last six years that:

  1. Diamond owns Tahoe Beach and Ski Resort,
  2. Diamond manages Tahoe Beach and Ski Resort,
  3. Diamond guests have full access to the private beach at Tahoe Beach and Ski Resort.

Owners also reported that Diamond Resorts also occasionally claims that when they take over Tahoe Beach and Ski Resort, owners will have to pay a large special assessment to renovate the resort, just as they are now doing at Tahoe Seasons Resort.

The owner’s letter:

Hello, Tahoe Beach and Ski Owners.

I do not believe Diamond is our friend, and I know many of you feel the same.

Gini and I were pricing a Safari Rose Sunset Cruise rather late the other evening.  A lady approached us and offered assistance. As we were setting up the cruise details, she asked if we would like a discounted price… sure! The key to the discount was to attend a Diamond Timeshare presentation. She asked if we were current timeshare owners and when we said Tahoe Beach and Ski, she looked us in the eye and said, “We want your beach. Diamond wants your beach!

This made us even more curious about what they had up their sleeves, so we agreed to attend their presentation. The next afternoon, we met with their salesperson Alejandro. When we affirmed our Tahoe Beach and Ski ownership & our lack of interest in Diamond membership, he made statements to the effect that:

  1. Diamond owns Tahoe Beach and Ski,
  2. Diamond manages the daily operations at Tahoe Beach and Ski Resort,
  3. It’s only a matter of time before DR takes over and totally renovates the resort.

He then asked what would I accept for my Tahoe Beach and Ski timeshare… $1,000, $5,000, or $10,000?  He then offered $10,000 credit on any Diamond program purchase in exchange for my current deeded timeshare.

Please help Al and Jake keep Diamond out of our resort.  I want my family to continue to enjoy this closely knit, small-town ownership community that we all love.

Comments from Irene Parker:

Congratulations to Jake and Al and to the efforts of many hoping to regain control of our vacations. It was suggested I throw my hat in the ring for Diamond’s US Collection election. I did this with the understanding that it is impossible to win, so agreed for the purpose of letting our voice be heard. We’re grateful to learn, at least at Tahoe Beach and Ski, a real owner really representing other owners can happen.

To me it would be simpler to have meaningful discussion as to our concerns about questionable sales and marketing practices, rather than engage in this nonsensical battle I call Timeshare Wars. Through our Diamond Advocacy Facebook, Inside Timeshare, and members who found us on the internet, we have heard from 531 Diamond members in the U.S., all but a handful reporting that they experienced unfair and deceptive sales practices. It is my belief Diamond has a product, but over promising and making false claims should not be a part of the selling equation. I feel “The customer is always wrong” because of the automatic; “You signed a contract” will be the downfall of this industry, as Diamond is not alone in the onslaught of member and owner complaints. Why can’t we just talk? I have always said that half a problem goes away when confronted.

If you have any views or comments on this or any other article published, then use our contact page and let us know, we welcome your views and insights.

That’s the end of another week, join us again next week for more insights into the world of timeshare, have a great weekend.

 

The Whistleblowers of European Timeshare

Most timeshare owners have over the years received cold calls, be they for resales, claims and the cheap holidays commonly known as flybuys. In many cases the caller has been met with verbal abuse, well not surprising considering the number of calls owners have had to put up with.

But have you ever thought that the person calling is not actually aware that they may be working for a “scam” outfit. Many of these call centers are based in Spain and the workers tend to be expats especially women just out to earn a living for their family. That is not to say that all callers are unaware of what they are doing, many are well aware that they are calling to “scam” people of their hard earned cash.

Inside Timeshare has recently received several emails from workers, not only from call centers but also from the sales people based in the resorts.

As for the sales representatives that have contacted Inside Timeshare, they also tell a very similar story, taking on the job to be able to live a life in the sun. One sales rep who emailed us explained how he applied for the job from the UK, he was unemployed and thought this would be just the right new start in life he wanted.

He travelled to Tenerife with the promise of three months free accomodation, then began training. At first he believed in the product he was selling, it was pitched very much like it is to the potential purchasers, a dream.

At first he was having trouble selling, he was then taken to one side by a very experienced rep and told how to make the sales and earn his commission, that was the only source of income as there was no basic pay. You don’t sell you don’t eat.

He took on board what he was told and began to embellish his pitch with the usual lies, “you are buying property, it will go up in value”, “it’s an investment”, well you know the rest. Eventually this rep was making lots of money and certainly living the dream.

So what changed his mind?

As he explained, he had an elderly couple on tour, using all his charm and the usual lies, he eventually sold them a pack of several weeks in a one bed apartments, all with the promise that they would receive a rental income for the weeks they didn’t use and a resale with a substantial profit after two years. All this was financed with a loan from Barclays Partner Finance, totaling around £50,000.

The following year he met the couple again while they were on holiday, the story they told him made him feel guilty. This couple had great difficulty in repaying the loan, they ended up having to remortgage their home in order to pay it off. This had brought them great financial difficulty and they asked for the timeshares to be sold.

He had the unenviable task of telling them that there was no call for what they had purchased, that the only way was to upgrade, which they could not afford to do. Again the Barclays Partner Finance loan was offered. The couple were in tears, they could not afford to take on another, they were now lumbered with timeshares they did not want and were also in a considerable amount of debt.

There was absolutely nothing he could do for them, guilt took hold as they reminded him of his own grandparents. He realised he had been used by the timeshare company to make them unlimited amounts of money. Subsequently he handed in his notice, luckily he had not fallen into the usual trap of spending his money on drink and drugs so had a fairly large amount saved up. He eventually found a job managing a bar and continues to do so although not in Tenerife.

The company he worked for was none other than Silverpoint.

Inside Timeshare has heard many stories such as this, it does go to show that there are some people who have worked in the timeshare industry who do have a conscience and some morals.

Have you had an experience such as these, if so contact Inside Timeshare and let us tell your story.

The Tuesday Slot

Welcome to the Tuesday Slot, this week we have another consumers “Nightmare on Timeshare Street”, this time involving the timeshare company Westgate.

Over the past few days Inside Timeshare has been receiving many emails from Silverpoint clients seeking advice, we have also received an email from an ex-telemarketer of Signallia Marketing, which sheds a lot of light on what they are up to. We will be publishing an article on this subject tomorrow, but now on with this weeks Tuesday Slot.

A Westgate buyer’s experience

By the Dashiell’s

Westgate owners Jackie and David Siegle’s 90,000 square foot home

The plans for the American Versailles, a 90,000-square-foot behemoth near Orlando, FL, seemed to have one overarching goal: to make the French original look shabby by comparison. Did Marie Antoinette have 10 kitchens, an ice skating rink, and a 5,000-square-foot closet?

https://www.realtor.com/news/trends/queen-of-versailles-q-and-a/

The Dashiell’s Westgate Experience

September 25, 2018

When I purchased a Westgate Lakes timeshare two years ago, the salesman told us about great financial benefits. We don’t have money to throw away, but it sounded like a good investment. The sales rep kept telling us over and over how the timeshare would “pay for itself” by generating rental income while also paying for maintenance fees and loan payments. He mentioned that we could write it off on our taxes and also said I could refinance the timeshare at my personal bank to get a lower interest rate. We thought we had security and low risk, especially since he said the timeshare could easily be resold.

After the presentation, our sales rep didn’t give us time to read the long contract. It would have taken all day if he had. He told us what was in the contract and pointed out where to sign and initial. He mailed us our document package with our contract and everything in it, AFTER the contract rescission period had passed! After receiving the contract, we learned that everything told to us during the sales presentation contradicted what was in the contract! We have tried to make the best of it, but it’s been two years now without making a dime on our “investment” and we could not refinance or get tax breaks.

We tried calling Westgate to give it back but they said I would have to find a buyer myself. There is no rental program. There is no resale program. The program is hard to use and we are done with it.

Another reason I bought was to be able to travel with my family at an affordable price. Our rep told me that I would be able to exchange property locations at any time and go anywhere if I had Interval International and all the travel extras for free or very cheap. In reality, properties were ALWAYS booked. I was told I should book 11 months out to reserve my stay. In this day and age of Airbnb and Expedia, that is just not realistic or flexible.

I’ve read other owners’ testimonies. They all seem to share our story. We feel the way the product was sold to us was unfair and deceptive. It’s bad enough that people can’t get rid of a timeshare, it’s yours for life, but promising rental income and tax breaks that do not exist seems criminal.

After we wrote Westgate a letter of complaint, Westgate spent months informing us by email that they were looking into our contract. They did not reply until we filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. Westgate said that they had replied to us by letter (which they hadn’t), explaining that ‘timeshare real estate sales are highly regulated,’ pointing to the AOR document with my initials.

Westgate said that it ‘absolutely holds its employees responsible for the things they do and say, however, supporting documentation is required.’ What documentation would there be – a letter from the rep with his signature confessing his misrepresentations? Needless to say the BBB closed our case swiftly and we are now hoping that the Attorney General will help us. If the Attorney General won’t help, that means the sales reps can say anything to make a sale and get away with it. I feel this is criminal.

I have no hope or faith that Westgate will respond to us. I do wonder what the point of the Better Business Bureau is, if they regularly side with Westgate when there is so much precedent on their own forum with so many Westgate buyers describing deception and misrepresentations.

Thank you to the Dashiell’s for sharing their experience. Contact Inside Timeshare if you have a timeshare experience to share. When sold honestly, a timeshare can be of great benefit to a family. Families, who feel they bought a timeshare based on inaccurate information, letting their voice be heard, may save another family from making a timeshare decision they will live to regret. 

      

If you have a similar story and want to share it it others, contact Inside Timeshare using our contact page and we will get back to you.

Have you had a call from a company promising you the earth, want to know if they and what they say is genuine?

Have you found a company on the internet that claims they can get you out of your timeshare and get your money back?

Not sure how to check if they are genuine and will actually deliver what they say, then contact us and we will point you in the right direction.

Friday’s Letter from America

Welcome to this week’s Letter from America, it is yet another “Nightmare on Timeshare Street” by Irene Parker involving yet another Veteran, this story is on that will make your blood boil! But first for some news from the Spanish Courts and more disasters for the timeshare industry.

Anfi were yet again on the receiving end on the 18 September, They had to deposit into the court the sums of 48,735.82€ and 16,222.68€ in respect of sentences issued in the favour of clients. In two days that brings the sum Anfi have had to payout to a massive 184,650.14€.

On the same day, the Courts of First Instance in Masàlomas issued another sentence against Anfi, at the same time in Tenerife, Silverpoint had two sentences issued against them. In all the total awarded is a massive 215,000€. All contracts were declared null and void and all clients received back double the deposit paid which was in breach of the law forbidding the taking of payments within the cooling off period. One of the sentences against Silverpoint was issued by the High Court in Tenerife.

In another case which was held last week, the Judge at the Court of First Instance number 5 in Arona, decided that the case would not be sent for a full trial, he decided that as the case was in flagrant breach of the timeshare laws, he would issued the sentence in due course. On 19 September that sentence was issued, the contract with Silverpoint was declared null and void, with the client being awarded more than 23,000€.

Good news also came from the Courts of First Instance in Maspalomas, The judge presiding over Court Number 3 had several pre-trials this month, he then decided that these cases need not go to a full trial and he would issue sentences in due course. That now make Courts numbers 1, 3 and 4 no longer sending cases for a full trial, this is obviously good news for the clients bringing the cases as it now speeds up the judicial process.

All these cases were brought on behalf of clients from none other than those determined lawyers at Canarian Legal Alliance, so congratulations the lawyers and their clients.

One of our readers contacted Inside Timeshare to inform us that an ex sales Rep from Silverpoint had cold called them regarding getting them out of their Silverpoint contract with a view to gaining compensation. How did our reader know he was an ex-sales rep, simple, he was one of those that sold them the Silverpoint in the first place! The Caller stated he was from Harlow Consultants SL, so another new company has appeared.

Now for our Letter from America.

A Fourth Vietnam Veteran, Agent Orange Disabled, Fights a Timeshare Battle

By Irene Parker

First Draft September 16, 2018 for Friday September 21

Inside Timeshare has heard from 587 U.S. timeshare members, all but a handful alleging unfair and deceptive trade practices. Of the 587, 78 are veterans, active duty military and law enforcement. Many of the vets are disabled. Four, like Mr. Gomez, are disabled from Agent Orange. The volume of timeshare complaints submitted by readers has established the following facts and opinions:

  • Fact – Many of the 584 families are financially devastated by their decision to buy a timeshare. I have listened to many tears.
  • Fact – All but a few complaints have been dismissed with, “You signed a contract” or “Verbal representations are hard to prove.”
  • Fact – All the complaints sent to the Nevada Real Estate Division and the Florida Timeshare Division, DBPR, have been met with the above defenses.  Other states have taken complaints seriously, based on the volume of complaints and the similar nature of the complaints.
  • Fact – There are several repeat offending sales agents, with three to six identical or similar complaints.     
  • Fact – Not one of the 584 families knew their timeshare had virtually no secondary market.
  • Fact – A significant number have been ripped off by a timeshare exit company.
  • Opinion – Lawyers with no timeshare experience have no business taking a timeshare case.
  • Fact – The dollar amounts of many complaints lost to timeshare exit scams pales in comparison to the dollar amounts lost believing timeshare sales agents, according to member reports.

One resort has accused me of creating complaints. In other words, if the member had not talked to me, they would not have had a complaint. In the case of Mr. and Mrs. Gomez, this is true. I’ll explain. We will not name the timeshare company, hoping they will help the family, but the Gomez family said they would like their story told. Mr. Gomez is 71, Mrs. Gomez 63. They are Arizona residents.

Like George Yamada, from last week’s article, Mr. Gomez is a Vietnam Veteran, disabled from the effects of Agent Orange.

https://www.opednews.com/articles/Let-s-Honor-our-Veterans–by-Irene-Parker-Fraud-180908-59.html

Mr. Gomez is 100% disabled. Mr. Gomez earned two Purple Hearts. He has been informed his pancreatic cancer is terminal.   

   Vietnam soldiers

Mr. Gomez called a week ago and said he was struggling with a $28,000 timeshare mortgage. After listening to his comments, I concluded there had been no deception. A timeshare mortgage is just like a home mortgage in that you can’t go to your home mortgage lender and say, “I can’t afford this.” Mr. Gomez said he had switched some old points into a newer category of points. At the end of our conversation Mr. Gomez mentioned his Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. I advised him to request a release based on medical hardship.

That night I woke up with one of those lightning bolt 2 A.M. moments. I called Mr. Gomez first thing the next morning and asked WHY had he switched from the old points to the new? He said it was because his resort had gone bankrupt.

I know for a fact that it is not mandatory to switch from his old points to the new. Mr. Gomez went on to tell me the sales agent in Las Vegas knew he had pancreatic cancer because he had explained to the agent why the four hour presentation was so tiring. He was suffering the aftereffects of his treatment. “They said our maintenance fees were $2,200 for 2018 and would go up to $3,000 January 1, 2019 if I did not convert, but if I upgraded to the next loyalty level I could turn in 10,000 points to pay $2,000 of the $2,500 maintenance fee,” he added. This is nonsense of course.  Mr. Gomez’s maintenance fees will go up more than $2,500 because of the additional points he purchased. Maintenance fee invoices have not been sent, but I seriously doubt the increase in his prior points will increase this dramatically. I own the same points.

So yes, you could say I created this complaint. Without my informing Mr. Gomez it was not necessary to switch from one set of points to the new, he would not have been aware of the deception. Only at the highest loyalty level can maintenance fees be paid with points (at pennies on the dollar).    

Whether this complaint is resolved or not resolved, it doesn’t change the turmoil this timeshare has caused the Gomez family by believing they had to transfer from one program to another. Mr. Gomez has been accepted for Hospice.

Mrs. Gomez called me. I had already surmised Mr. Gomez is an easy going person. His reaction seemed more disappointment than anger when I told him he could have kept his prior timeshare with the $6,000 loan balance, as opposed to the $33,000 purchase with $28,000 financed and $4,500 charged to a credit card. Mrs. Gomez reaffirmed my suspicion of Mr. Gomez’s easygoing nature saying,

Leo is a very easygoing person. But I’m a teacher!” A common complaint we hear, “I don’t like being made a fool of.

We encourage member accounts of their timeshare experiences, good or bad. We hope consumers and the industry will listen to the voices of those who wish to be heard.

So there we have it, another “Nightmare on Timeshare Street”, this is probably one of the worst that we have yet come across, it makes you wonder if these sales agents and company directors have any moral bone in their bodies.

Stop press

Inside Timeshare received the following email from Wayne C Robinson, Author of Everything About Timeshares, Before, During and After the Sale. We asked him if we could publish and he was more than happy for us to do so, please share this on you facebook pages and other social media.

Timeshare Author Challenges Diamond Resorts CEO Flaskey to “Do The Right Thing.”

I am not sure how to react when Mike Flaskey, CEO of Diamond Resorts International, views my profile on LinkedIn.

But, whatever his reason, I would like to share a few words with him, now that I have his executive attention.

My purpose in writing the book is not to attack companies such as Diamond to gain something in my own corner. I am merely pointing out areas that I feel require your attention to improve on customer relations.

These areas have certainly been highlighted with the multi billion dollar lawsuits against Diamond Resorts, and the level of customer dissatisfaction from the people who befriended and trusted your OPCs, sales reps, and VLOs. Remember, your members are the people who provided you the privilege of representing a company that has so much potential.

Rather than spend millions of dollars hiring fancy lawyers to help improve on customer service, you hire them in an attempt to destroy a woman in her 70s who is spending the remainder of her life helping families get their lives back on track for the damage your company has allegedly caused.

Were you aware of 83 year old retired Marine Raymond Mori, a two time Purple Heart recipient who has been battling with Diamond Resorts with a serious heart condition?

Were you aware of Roy and Angele Simmons, a U.S. Navy veteran whose mortgage to your company is $2,700 monthly with Maintenance fees of $4,780, and their social security check goes to pay Diamond? Just in case you didn’t see it, here is their story. https://youtu.be/j_nca6lMA4U

Shame on you, Flaskey for focusing on how to keep afloat your ship while the likes of Marriott and Disney and other reputable resort chains are watching you.

I am asking you to “man up,” and be the leader that your company and the general public can respect and appreciate by “doing the right thing.”

Spend your money and time trying to improve your customer relations and presenting your company as something Americans can be proud of, or find somebody else who can do the job.

As far as viewing my profile, I appreciate your interest in me and my book project. I also viewed yours. Congratulations on getting the position. Now that the world is watching, what are you going to do with it?

Well that’s it for this week, remember if you have any questions or comments about any article, company or just need some sound advice, then use our contact page and we will get back to you.

Have a great weekend.

The Tuesday Slot

Welcome to The Tuesday Slot, we once again publish another “Nightmare on Timeshare Street” with the Rodriguez family. As Inside Timeshare is still on vacation there is not much to report from Europe, but this news was sent to us by Canarian Legal Alliance.

They began this week with 5 more sentences being issued at the Courts of First Instance in Maspalomas, with over 235,000€ being awarded and the contracts being declared null and void.

Four of the sentences involved our old friends in Gran Canaria, Anfi and there was one against Airtours, all were also sanctioned by the courts for illegal deposit taking within the cooling off period, which means the clients will receive double what they originally paid.

In another release from CLA, it looks like the team of lawyers who are responsible for enforcing payments are having great success. In three cases filed at court to enforce Anfi to payout they have secured the following amounts for their clients, this money is now with the courts ready to be transferred to the clients accounts:

46.130,66 €

28.391,60 €

14.186,18 €

So we have some very happy ex-timeshare owners and it is only the start of the week, now for our Tuesday Slot.

The Rodriguez Family Share their Marriott Timeshare Experience

September 18, 2018

There are many who use and enjoy their timeshare. When sold honestly, the consumer knows what they bought. Timeshares sell on the secondary market for a fraction of their purchase price, so when buyers are told the timeshare would be easy to sell – a rude awakening ensues when they learn the truth.

For those who purchase a timeshare that has a limited secondary market value, knowing what that value might be in advance of a purchase is a disclosure that would be beneficial for the consumer, but a disaster for the industry.

Magical Realty in Orlando specializes in Marriott Vacations Worldwide resales. I have advised the family to call Magical Realty to find out an estimate of how long it would take, and what it would cost, to sell a timeshare that was clearly not right for this family. Magical Realty charges nothing upfront to list a timeshare. We recommend avoiding companies that charge any money upfront to list or sell a timeshare. https://magicalrealty.com/

By the Rodriguez family

We bought two Marriott Vacations Worldwide timeshares in 2014, one in the Virgin Islands, and a second in 2015 in Addison, TX. Our intention was to spend quality family time together. Our actual experience has been one of anger and frustration over limited availability and false promises.

Our first 2014 St. Thomas timeshare presentation was stressful.  It dragged on for hours. I felt the sales reps played my wife against me. I said “no” the entire time, but eventually told my wife, “Fine, I know I have horrible credit, so let them run a credit check, I will be declined, and we will walk away.” I was recovering from a bad business deal at the time so my credit score was in the low 500s. My boat had been repossessed and my house was in foreclosure.  I was sure we would be turned down. Well, they said I passed with flying colors! With my wife there, I felt I had to go through with it. Bad mistake! I told Marriott we would sign up, but told them I will have to get the loan refinanced. They assured me that I would be able refinance, but I would need to wait until a year of payments had passed. When I talked to my bank, they told me I could NEVER refinance.

I complained to our rep. He suggested I attend a question and answer session in Addison, Texas. It wasn’t a question and answer session. It was another sales presentation. I could kill myself, but we signed up for a second purchase because of representative’s Benjamin J’s promises:

“We will make it right. You can have my direct phone number and I will make sure you are taken care of. I don’t make anything off of this sale. I am just here, dedicated to you so that you are happy with this experience.”

Benjamin was no help. We feel that man lied to us. He showed us charts that illustrated how the timeshare would appreciate in value. That’s not true. This presentation was also long and stressful. Benjamin said we would get extra points but we never did. He told us he would be our personal representative, promising to make reservations if we needed help, but he never returned calls.

Marriott locations have never been available – we tried to book Hawaii, Aruba, Florida, Orlando, San Diego, and New York. The properties are always booked, even if we tried booking a year in advance. We don’t even have good vacations to show for this miserable experience. Vail, Colorado for two summers in a row was about it, when we really wanted to go skiing in winter. Branson, Missouri we booked out of desperation, ending up vacationing at the senior citizens capital of America. St Kitts was absolutely the worst vacation we have ever taken – all rocks and no beach access. Our room was downgraded four times before we checked in. They never told us we could be “bumped” out of our reservation to a lesser room. We reserved an ocean front room, were downgraded to ocean view, then to pool view and by the time we checked in we were downgraded to a garden view.

The statements made by the Marriott representatives that led to this:  

  1.     They said it was a great investment,
  2.     The value would increase,
  3.     It had built in equity,
  4.     It would be a tax write off.
  5.     We could rent it out to cover annual fees.
  6.      Our maintenance fees would not increase every year,
  7.     We would have no trouble booking locations.

When we asked more about the rental income and the amount of appreciation, the reps said it would be easy to sell because of the income potential and appreciation, or Marriott would buy it back. So why don’t they buy it back?

They are correct we could pass the timeshare onto our children, but in no way would we want to burden our kids with this useless thing. When we contacted MVC about them buying it back, they told us we would be put on a waiting list, but that it’s unlikely it would be bought back.

I complained to the Better Business Bureau. Marriott’s response was not to address the behavior of their sales staff, but to refer me to our signatures and initials on the contract. I was told 90% of their customers are happy with their vacation choices and availability. Needless to say, my BBB complaint was administratively closed before any real dialog could take place. It’s funny that BBB assigns the company one star out of five, based on customer reviews.

https://www.bbb.org/us/fl/orlando/profile/vacation-timeshare/marriott-vacations-worldwide-0733-202116

This has literally been one of the worst experiences we have ever had in terms of deception and aggressive sales tactics that seem geared to wear you down while playing spouses against each other.

Have you had an experience like this, would you like to share with it with others, if so contact Inside Timeshare and we will help you to publish your own “Nightmare on Timeshare Street”.

Inside Timeshare will be running back to normal from Monday 1 October when we will be in full swing bringing you more information and revealing the latest bogus companies that come to our attention. In the meantime, if you have any contact with a company and you are unsure if they are genuine, please do use our contact sheet and let us know. We will research them for you and point you in the right direction. We will also publish the results to warn others, it is through your help that we can identify these people and save other from losing thousands.