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Litigious Abogados: Showing Some Charity!

Nothing surprises us here at Inside Timeshare, but sometimes we are a little taken aback. This time it is the very charitable offer from that wonderful group of “lawyers” in Tenerife, Emilio Leyes Castillianos or Litigious Abogados.

LIT

Readers of Inside Timeshare have shared with us the latest in this firm’s game plan, our readers informed this company that they could not afford to pay the “Tax” to the Procurator, Darston Jilmo Davida. They also asked for their original fees to the Procurator to be returned, conveniently the lawyer liaison Richard Lehmen did not receive the email.

Instead he had a meeting with the partners of Litigious Abogados and they very generously have offered to pay 80% of the “Tax”. As they state in their lovely letter “ We as a firm, occasionally carry out “Pro Bono” work, to assist those who are unable to pay for services, or, as in your case, pay the imposed tax fees”.

Ayuda redacted-page-001Ayuda redacted-page-002

Above the letter offering the “charity” payment.

They then go on to say “We feel that there is a lot of money at stake for the common good and therefore you were made eligible for this arrangement, however this decision was reached mainly because Mr Richard Lehman explained to us your particular circumstances”. I would guess the “common good” was their own pockets!

I don’t know about you, but this Mr Richard Lehman is a very lovely person and the lawyers are the most charitable I have come across. They are sending a BBVA cheque to the Procurador to the value of 5,384.40 Euros, which is 80%, leaving the client to pay 1,346.10 Euros. They will then invoice them for this amount and add it to the 20% commission upon payment of the compensation cheque.

Bbva_Cheque_on_behalf_-page-001
A previous readers “charity” cheque to the Procurator
Bbva_Cheque_redacted-page-001
Latest “charity” cheque to Procurator

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The letter ends with “We trust the above is clear and pledge to be as proficient and professional as you would expect of a company of our standing”. This is signed by Simone Maro Malivas, Abogado. This is a new name to add to the list of “lawyers”.

Also the Procurado seems to take on a new persona, this one is Darston Jilmo Davida, with a bank account at the BancaMarch, Then there is  D Harstun SL with a Banco Sabadell account Harstun Davido Jaime with his account at Bank Santander. Another name was Davido Harstun Jaime, just wondering if they are brothers, or just the same person?

Cuenta Procurador.-page-001 Modified Court Fees-page-001 procurator-page-001Three of the Procurator bank accounts.

The question is how have they managed to set up so many bank accounts, after all many of us who live in Spain had to show so much identification to open up our accounts?

Going back to another firm in this little family living in Tenerife, Legitimos Abogados, one of the named lawyers, Juan Luis Partalabo, one document gives his Colegio de Abogados (bar association) number as 4057. When checked against the bar association registry 10 names come up around Spain, none with this name or the colleges he is supposedly registered in: Madrid; Málaga and Santa Cruz de Tenerife. So this would confirm he is not a registered lawyer.

Legitimos redacted-page-002

So far we have not been able to locate any of the named lawyers in any colegio de Abogados, on mainland Spain the Balearics or the Canary Islands.

Court Document 01 Court_Doc-page-001 Court_Lodgment redacted-page-001Three fake court documents

As we have said before, this is a very well put together operation, we have seen very convincing court documents, copies of cheques with clients names on, wonderful letters offering to “pay the taxes” and to cap it all, the sending of cheques to clients. The only problem the letter was open and the cheques missing. This is then followed up with another letter from another firm, claiming that a gang of Romanians have stolen and cashed the cheques. They have been charged with getting your money back but in order to do this they have to be paid.

Compensation_Cheque-page-001
The Banesto compensation cheque issued by the “court”

Please remember, courts do not issue cheques, especially on Banesto cheques which were taken over by Santander in 2012 and they stopped using that name. There are no “Hacienda” taxes to be paid for compensation. These cases do not exist, even the best law firm in this field cannot get a case to court within the timescale these have done.

For all the articles on this group of law firms and consultants search Litigious Abogados in the search box.

This is a great example of doing your due diligence, it looks very genuine and to those of you who don’t know how the system works in a foreign country or what the official documents look like, will be taken in. If you have been contacted by any company or law firm that tells you that the court has money waiting for you or that you have a claim, contact Inside Timeshare and we will have them checked for you. There has been a huge proliferation in these types of fraud since the Supreme Court ruled in favour of clients of the Canarian law firm CLA, so do your homework.

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More Trouble for Silverpoint?

It would seem the woes that are befalling Resort Properties / Silverpoint are just getting bigger. It has now come to our attention that it is the turn of the Beverly Hills Heights Resort, the news is not good for those who own at this resort, a number of apartments are now going up for sale.

We have seen the same thing happen at the Beverly Hills Club in the past year or so, where the owners were moved to the Heights when the resort was sold. It is now effectively a hotel, with the apartments available to the general public. The same has also happened to part of the Palm Beach Club, another Resort Properties / Silverpoint resort.

beverly hills heights
Beverly Hills Heights

Owners who are affected have been told they will be moved to other apartments at the heights or to the Hollywood Mirage. This seems to be causing quite a stir among the owners at this resort, many are becoming very vociferous, taking to the discussion forums and venting their anger.

Could all this be a result of the years of misselling, which is now coming back to haunt the company?

Only in first three months of this year, the Supreme Court has made five rulings against Resort Properties / Silverpoint. This is also alongside numerous judgements at the courts of First Instance and High Courts in Tenerife.

On the 1 March the Supreme Court awarded over 90,000€ which included the original purchase price, double the deposits and maintenance fees. The court also ordered that the client receive back their original legal fees and legal interest, with the contract being declared “Null & Void”.

On 6 March, the same court ruled in favour of a German client, returning over 30,000€ plus legal fees and interests, again declaring the contract “Null & Void”.

tribunal supremo

It was also announced on 21 March that the Court of First Instance Number 1 in Arona, ruled in favour of another client, awarding 44,000€ plus interest and legal fees. Then on the following day the news was broken that the High Court Number 3 of Santa Cruz de Tenerife awarded 37,308.40€ along with the initial legal fees and interest and the contract declared “Null & Void”.

Then yesterday 27 March, it was announced that the Court of First Instance Number 5 in Arona found for a British client. The amount awarded was a staggering £111,134.00, plus the return of initial legal fees and interest. Again the contract was declared “Null & Void”.

This is certainly showing that the Supreme Court rulings are being used in the lower courts, the Supreme Court has ruled on the following points:

Taking of deposits is illegal;

  • Floating weeks and Points systems are illegal;
  • Contracts over 50 years (perpetuity) are illegal;
  • Clients are Consumers not Investors.

All of this is a result of the hard work of one group of dedicated lawyers based in Gran Canaria. Yes it is those lawyers and the team which is Canarian Legal Alliance, which since the very first Supreme Court ruling in March 2015, have gone from strength to strength.

These are not just against Resort Properties / Silverpoint but also there have been many rulings against Anfi, Palm Oasis (Tasolan) and many others. These cases are also being highlighted in the Spanish press, which is having what can only be described as a field day.

http://www.eldiario.es/canariasahora/tribunales/Varapalo-Supremo-timesharing-comercializado-Canarias_0_619088490.html

CLA Logo

All we can say at Inside Timeshare is well done to the lawyers and team at CLA, to the readers beware of the companies that purport to be the ones bringing these cases, especially when they have only been formed for a matter of months. There are many of them jumping on the bandwagon, misleading you the consumer into believing they have done the job. Can they actually prove they have won these cases?

We will be publishing articles on some of these over the coming weeks, some we have already highlighted, some are very sophisticated frauds. If you are in doubt, wanting to know more and who you can trust, Inside Timeshare can point you in right direction to find the answer. Remember, doing your homework and due diligence will save you not only money but a lot of stress and heartache.

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Breaking news: Tauro Beach Project.

News has just come in from El Diario Canarias Ahora that the prosecutor’s office have requested three and half years imprisonment for the former head of the Canarian Coastal Authority, José María Hernández de León.

eldiario

The prosecution allege that the former Head of Costas illegally authorised the construction of the artificial beach at Tauro without the promoter of the project (Anfi) having fulfilled the condition required by law.

These works were to build an artificial beach using 70,000 tonnes of imported sand from Western Sahara. It was the first works of its kind that the Coastal Authority, part of the Environment Ministry had authorised in 25 years.

The indictment presented to the Court of Instruction number 3 of San Bartolomé de Tirajana, denounces that the then head of the Costas José María Hernández de León, allowed these works to begin knowing that Anfi had not complied with the conditions demanded, then falsified the documents so that it appeared everything was legal and they had complied with the ministry.

Playa-Anfi-Tauro-Canarias-Ahora_EDIIMA20160716_0223_18

The Public Prosecutor demands that Hernández de Léon should be tried as a perpetrator for the crime of prevarication (being intentionally dishonest) with forgery of an official document. Along with the sentence of three and a half years in prison, they are also calling for ten years of disqualification for public employment and a fine of 18,750 euros.

It certainly looks like the Public Prosecutor is calling for a severe punishment, it now remains to be seen if the ex chief of the Costas puts forward any evidence which could implicate Anfi in any wrongdoing. With such a sentence hanging over him he may just want to mitigate this by plea bargaining and save himself.

prison

As usual only time will tell, Inside Timeshare will bring you the news as and when it comes in. This story is by no means over.

Link to the El Diario article.

http://m.eldiario.es/canariasahora/tribunales/Fiscalia-exjefe-Costas-Canarias-Tauro_0_625388159.html

Search for Anfi Tauro in the search box for all previous articles on this story.

Friday Review: News from Across the Ocean

Inside Timeshare once again publishes the Friday article from across the Great Lake (The Pond to our American Cousins). Today a new contributor, Laurie Sabbagh, with additional notes from our senior writer Irene Parker, who is doing a great job in rousing timeshare owners in the US to work together and improve the industry.

Firstly, we are getting more and more information on that outfit operating out of Tenerife, the Litigious Abogados family. The latest addition which we reported on 14 March Abel Garcia, was very interesting. As we said in the article, the website was registered on 5 January 2017, the name of the “law firm” was never heard of, yet the court document showing “Keith Baker” being sentenced, is dated 17 January 2017. Well we have never heard of a case going to court and being adjudicated with sentence being passed within 12 days. Wow, these lawyers are good!

We have also heard from another reader who had dealings with Stephen Fairclough and Meredith Pritchard Claims Consultancy Limited, another figure of just under £6000 has been paid, given the details of Jose Dorta of D&M Lawyers, yet no case or anything. This reader also suspects that the elusive Stephen Fairclough is back in Portugal.

So now on to our new contributor.

A Diamond Resort Member Does Her Timeshare Homework

Timeshare Members Instructing Other Members

Board

By Laurie Sabbagh  

Notes from Irene

March 17, 2017

Diamond Resorts member Laurie Sabbagh is also a member of our Diamond Resorts Advocacy Facebook Page. Our mission statement:

We seek to provide Diamond Resorts 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/

Today Laurie educates prospective and current owners. Not many timeshare buyers comparison shop. Timeshare sales presentations are almost always same day sales. A timeshare sales agent named in the Colorado Attorney General’s investigation of Highlands Resorts explains why:

“According to Highlands Resorts” sales manager Steve Abrahamson, named in the lawsuit, “In the eighteen months he worked for Highlands Resorts, not a single consumer returned after their sales presentation to make a purchase. In his fifteen years in the timeshare industry, Abrahamson never saw a consumer purchase a timeshare after leaving a sales presentation.”

http://insidetimeshare.com/another-us-attorney-general-exposes-deceptive-tactics/

From Laurie:

I recently started reading the invaluable Inside Timeshare articles and web postings of timeshare advocate Irene Parker after joining the member sponsored Diamond Resorts Advocacy Facebook Group. In February I posted that I would soon stay at Diamond’s Los Abrigados resort in Sedona. Irene asked me to attend the “members update” to find out if sales agents were adhering to the Arizona “Assurance of Discontinuance” rules.

https://www.azag.gov/press-release/attorney-general-brnovich-announces-800000-settlement-diamond-resorts

After more than ten years of dodging the member updates, (i.e., sales pitches), I reluctantly accepted the invitation from the concierge to attend a 55 minute presentation.First, a little background on my Diamond “The CLUB” membership:

My membership started in 2006, when I purchased 8500 points in the Hawaii Collection when it was part of Sunterra. This vacation ownership interest (VOI) gave me a right of use equal to one week at either the Point at Poipu in http://Kauaior the Ka’anapali Beach Resort in Maui that I could reserve 13 months out, plus have access to resorts in the US and California Collections. In 2011 I received notice of a special assessment (SA) for a water intrusion problem at the Point. I scoured the internet to find out what was happening and learned that Sunterra knew about this massive liability when I purchased my vacation ownership, but its salespeople most likely weren’t informing prospective buyers about the problem prior to DRI’s impending purchase.

http://www.tstoday.com/members/magazine/issue123/7-poipu%20point.pdf

I was able to absorb the cost of the SA and considered myself lucky compared to owners who were on the hook for around $6,000 per deeded week for the water intrusion project – as many as 500 owners defaulted on their units because they either couldn’t or refused to pay the assessment. By reading Redweek and TUG I learned that management companies can change the terms of the Vacation Ownership Interest VOI membership agreement at any time, for practically any reason. I also read posts about high-pressure and questionable sales tactics being used to get consumers to buy into the various Collections  – some Hawaii Collection members were being told to get out of that collection by buying more points to transfer into the US Collection to avoid future SA’s, and vice versa. Reading about other people’s’ experiences was a wake-up call that it was not in my best interest to buy any more points.

Note from Irene:

I have received several complaints from people who attended sales presentations (one at Daytona Regency) told they should not have bought Hawaii Collection Points because Hawaii maintenance fees were going to increase dramatically or were encouraged to transfer Hawaii Points into the US Collection because Hawaii real estate is valuable, Hawaii Collection owners only can rent Points and only Hawaii members’ heirs can refuse inherited Points. Each transfer requires the purchase of more Points.   

Now to Laurie’s member update:

Two people

The promised 55-minute update turned out to be about three hours. The first salesperson, with whom I spent most of the time, was courteous and not high-pressure, although she did advise me to buy more Points to bring me into the Silver loyalty level which is 15000 Points. But to upgrade to Silver they were going to charge me over $8.00 a point, which would have cost more than $50,000! She also said the Hawaii Collection maintenance fees were more expensive and that I should join the US Collection. However, the second sales person I spoke with said with my small number of points, it costs only about $100 more per year.

Note from Irene:

According to SIRF Southern Investigative Reporting Foundation, Diamond points historically have sold for an average of $3 to $4 a point through 2014, according to data obtained from lawsuits. In a prior article, we reported Apollo plans to raise the price per point to $10 and then $12 per point.

http://sirf-online.org/2016/03/07/27464/

Back to Laurie’s sales presentation:

The sale’s agent also said that Apollo Global Management, the owners of DRI, would freeze that price for me for 18 months, and that the price was likely to rise soon.

Note from Irene:

Apollo Global Management founder, banker Leon Black, also founded Drexel Burnham Lambert of junk bond fame. Junk bonds did have some value, but a Diamond contract becomes worthless the moment it is signed should an owner need to sell, unless a friend or family member is willing to buy the Points.

Laurie:

I was also told that DRI members can use Points like cash for items such as airline travel, hotels, luxury items, and guided tours and adventures.  For example, Diamond Luxury Shopping enables Platinum and Gold members to apply Points towards products that are 30% off the best market price. But at a redemption point of $.30 per Point, this seems exorbitant to me.

Note from Irene:

I tried to use Points for an airline ticket. The Points we bought for $4 were worth $.07 for travel awards (Platinum $.10) so for $2,300 in equivalent maintenance fees dollars I could buy one domestic US flight. Customer Service told me this benefit is for convenience, not value.

Back to Laurie

Another example is that members can use 1500 points to purchase America the Beautiful – the US National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Annual Pass.  My 8500 Points cost $1,973 this year, which includes maintenance fees, The CLUB fee, taxes, and mandatory membership in Interval International. That comes to about 23 cents a point.  For me, 1500 Points for the pass equates to $348, not including the $10 processing fee for my “Valued” level of The CLUB membership. I paid $80 for the same pass at a National Monument we just visited. Seniors over 62 pay $10.

At the end of the presentation a third person asked me some questions, including if I was treated courteously. I said yes, but also said I was not interested in buying any more Points with DRI. I declined the $100 Visa gift card, since that was not my reason for attending the update.

All said my elderly parents and I had a wonderful week at Los Abrigados. I was able to secure the historic Stone House, an 1800 square foot property with four separate entrances for only 6500 points. I almost always book weeks for 50 to 75 percent off, within the 59 day discount period, and have experienced good value for my points.  Every year I’ve been forced to vacation or lose my points, and I’ve taken about 18 weeks of vacation at DRI resorts since I bought my membership. If I had not purchased this VOI, I never would have gone to all the places that The CLUB membership has enabled me to visit. However, I advise other members to only use points for timeshare use, not the auxiliary products or non-resort vacation experiences DRI offers.

Thank you to Laurie for sharing her knowledge and experience. Email us at Inside Timeshare if you have a timeshare story you would like to share.

share

Thank you Laurie and Irene, once again Inside Timeshare would like to thank all those who contribute, either through writing articles or supplying information on possibly rogue companies. It is through your efforts that we can inform the timeshare world on what is going on.

On another note Canarian Legal Alliance has been nominated for the Canary Awards which recognises individuals and businesses that make a difference on the Canary Islands.

Canarian Legal Alliance has been nominated in the Real Gran Canaria category for their outstanding services to timeshare consumers and their efforts in the changing of consumer law.

In the Business Person of the Year category is Csilla Nazali, the operational manager of CLA for her outstanding work with all the clients.

Follow the link and vote for them, I’m sure they will appreciate it.

http://thecanaryawards.com/vote/voting-categories-page-1-of-2/

 

Abogados Abel Garcia: A New Member to the Litigious Abogados Family.

abel-garcia-logo-1

Over the past couple of days Inside Timeshare has received more questions from concerned readers regarding the so called law firms in Tenerife: Litigious Abogados, Litigar Abogados, Abogacia Española, Fernando Holaci and the Procurado Davido Harstun Jaime.

There is a new website on the block with another new law firm and lawyer, Abogados Abel Garcia, with Abel Garcia being pictured on the website.

http://abogadosabelgarcia.com/

abel-garcia-abogados

This website was created on 5 January 2017, so is just 3 months old yet they are claiming victory over Resort Properties, where the “Director Kevin Baker” pleaded guilty. Strange that? The same name was the director of Club la Costa from Litigious Abogados and other resorts in previous letters, who also pleaded guilty.

This website is exactly the same as the previous ones except for the logo and minor changes. All photos are the same including the lawyers with two new names: Manuel Torres Privlo and Ramon Quena Cinol. Even using the same photographs as on the other sites.

simone-manuel-olivaz-111
Manuel Torres Privlo

 

 

 

 

 

 

ramon-quilnar-canal
Ramon Quena Cinol

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Again the letters state that the client has been awarded a substantial amount in compensation, including a very good copy of the court’s sentence. This again bears stamps, which to those not familiar with Spanish court documents would believe are genuine.

As in the previous articles the modus operandi is the same, to receive this wonderful payout all the client has to do is pay the procurator Davido the tax and the money will be released. Once again the client receives a colour photocopy of the cheque. This is issued on a Banesto cheque, which as we know was taken over completely in 2012 and merged with Santander. They stopped using Banesto cheques, cards and logo very soon after.

The address given is: Calle de Valentín Sanz, 16, 14, Piso 38, 002 Santa Cruz De Tenerife.

Which does exist, but number 16 looks like a fashion shop, but next door at number 14 there are plaques on the wall for a notary and abogado, but not the ones named on the website.

street view

The telephone number is: Freephone: 0800 802 1 778

with the email: [email protected]

This is indeed a very sophisticated operation, documents, letters, cheques and bank drafts do look very convincing. The standard of English on the letters is also very good, which again suggests an educated native English speaker is involved

redacted Court_Lodgment-page-001

Inside Timeshare cannot stress enough that on no account should you part with any money or even take any notice of the so called windfall that you have been told is waiting for you. Courts do not issue cheques.

If you have had any correspondence from any of the companies listed in previous articles or this new one, contact Inside Timeshare and we will point you in the right direction.

Links to previous articles or search Litigious Abogados, these have full lists of all names used:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Remember it pays to do your homework.

homework1

End of the Week Review.

We started this week with Irene’s article on Consumer Protection Week in the US, we end with another.

While in Europe and especially Spain, we have seen more news coming from the Supreme Court. At the start of the week it was announced that Silverpoint formerly Resort Properties, have been ordered to pay back 169,000€. This was announced in the Spanish newspaper El Diario (see link), the Spanish press have been very fast to publicise these rulings, which have gone virtually unnoticed in the UK press.

http://www.eldiario.es/canariasahora/tribunales/Varapalo-Supremo-timesharing-comercializado-Canarias_0_619088490.html

In another case, the Supreme Court ruled against the same company for infringements of the timeshare laws for a German client. In this particular case the court again stated that the client was a consumer not an investor as Silverpoint had claimed. The client’s contract was declared null and void and awarded over 30,000€.

These cases have been brought by the Canarian law firm Canarian Legal Alliance, who so far since the first Supreme Court ruling 2 years ago, have secured over 3 million euros for their clients, with over 1.2 million euros already in the accounts of the clients.

CLA Logo

To celebrate the 2nd birthday of the first ruling, the Norwegian lady who made legal history visited the lawyers who fought her case. Mrs Tove Grimsbo, had an epic battle which lasted several years, her case was highlighted extensively in the Scandinavian press, but through the perseverance of her lawyers she eventually won through.

 

http://insidetimeshare.com/meredith-pritchard-new-exit-claims-company/

So on to Irene Parker’s End of Consumer Protection Week article.
End of Consumer Protection Week March 5 – 11

By Irene Parker

satisfied

Consumer Protection Week ends today. Here are some tips on purchasing and owning a timeshare. Timeshare is a good product for some but it does not work for everyone.

“Buyer Beware!”  The psychological methods used by some timeshare companies and agents are designed to wear the consumer down – difficult to overcome even by the strongest individual. “My personal opinion, working as a sales agent for Diamond Resorts and Hyatt, convinced me that greed and making the sale at any cost is the corporate culture. I saw manipulation, threats, deceit and fraud used to make sales. When you have a good product, these methods are not necessary to make the sale,” reported one former timeshare sales agent.

Do your homework. Few will buy a house or car without some comparison shopping. Contact a member of the Licensed Timeshare Resale Broker Association to compare developer versus secondary market prices and benefit or lack of benefits when buying a “used” timeshare.

http://www.licensedtimeshareresalebrokers.org/

Ask yourself if the “FREE GIFT” is really worth signing a perpetual contract, accompanied by perpetual maintenance fees, in a same day sale, with little or no secondary market.  Most timeshare companies do not offer buy-back programs and voluntary surrenders are not guaranteed.

If you are a timeshare owner who feels you were lied to or deceived in your timeshare purchase, and if resolution is not achieved after contacting your resort:

File a complaint with the Attorneys General of the state where you signed your contract, where you live, and where the resort is domiciled.

http://www.naag.org/naag/attorneys-general/whos-my-ag.php

File a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under the mortgage option (even if no mortgage).

https://www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint/

In some states the standard of fraud is as simple as dealing honestly and fairly. In such states, if you were lied to, the contract is fraudulent.

We should begin now planning for Consumer Protection Week 2018. Consumer Protection Week should provide a benchmark as we set goals today that can be measured next year. Goals that can determine where and how timeshare business practices have improved.

As Irene said, do your homework, anything to do with timeshare is a minefield, from first purchase, to resale companies and then to all the so-called legal and claims companies that are now proliferating, especially in Europe following the rulings made by the Spanish Supreme Court.

There are so many companies jumping on that particular band wagon, some are very sophisticated operations, such as Litigious Abogados (see link for the last article, or search Litigious Abogados in the search box for all articles).

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

Another facebook group has also got off to a flying start (see link below), it is a closed group but welcomes new members. It is a forum for dialogue and debate, taking a different approach to many of these groups that use social media, by encouraging opposing views. They have even welcomed a Diamond sales agent, who has even agreed with some of the owners views on sales practices. This is what is needed if timeshare is to change.

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

So there we have it, thank you to Irene and all the contributors in the US, also to the readers who have supplied information on some of the companies we have researched. It is your information that is helping others to negotiate this murky world of timeshare. Have a good weekend.

friday-again

Latest News on Tauro Beach

The debacle that is the Tauro Beach project has taken another turn over the weekend, the high winds, tides and waves have once again taken their toll.

The Anfi project to create an artificial man made beach, has over the past months seen the head of the Coastal Authority sacked and charged with wrongdoing in public office and forgery of official documents. The Mayor of Mogan being investigated for similar offences, along with the Canarian Government instituting legal proceedings to strip Anfi of the franchise to run the beach for the next 50 years.

Back in August 2016, the local residents had their homes flooded, as the high tide flowed over the beach, where once the natural defenses of the pebble beach would have stopped it. We also saw the local people filling sandbags to create a defense against it happening again, alas to no avail.

So what is the problem?

Quite simple, the project was not planned correctly, no account was taken for the fact the natural defence of the high pebble beach stopped the sea encroaching the land, that a lower flat beach would end in flooding. There was no building of a breakwater, like the one seen at Amadores beach, this protects the artificial beach from high waves, especially during the winter storms.

Only a few weeks ago the sea washed away a sizable chunk of the beach, then this past weekend we saw even more washed away, the cost, over 6 million euros, what a waste. Who paid for it? Anfi, with the money you owners paid for your timeshares.

Tauro beach gone
The beach after the weekend weather.
original beach
The original beach

Is it any wonder that the Guardia Civil are conducting a huge investigation into this project, with rumours of corruption abounding, prosecutions pending and untold damage to the environment and protected area, only 300 meters off shore.

Just seeing the damage, it is clear that no real thought had gone into the project. Even local people had warned that the beach would be washed away at the first high tides during a storm. Did anyone take any notice of their concerns? The answer is sadly no. But it is they who will suffer when the really big tides and fierce storms arrive.

Posted by an unkown English woman on The Canary New Facebook page.

This story is not over yet, but Inside Timeshare will bring you the latest as and when it happens.

Follow the links for some of main stories in past articles.

http://insidetimeshare.com/anfi-tauro-beach-project-people-flooded/

http://insidetimeshare.com/tauro-beach-project-latest-news/

http://insidetimeshare.com/nightmare-for-anfi/

http://insidetimeshare.com/first-prosecution-tauro-beach-project-filed/

http://insidetimeshare.com/mayor-mogan-investigation-anfi-tauro-beach-project/

http://insidetimeshare.com/tauro-beach-project-canarian-government-revoke-anfi-concession/

Since publishing La Provincia posted this on their website:

http://www.laprovincia.es/gran-canaria/2017/02/14/fuerte-oleaje-pone-nuevo-jaque/908733.html

 

 

 

Latest News from Europe and the US.

Before we go on with today’s article from Irene, there has been some breaking news over the past week. The Supreme Court in Madrid has issued three rulings against Silverpoint, on behalf of three clients of Canarian Legal Alliance, all three came within days of each other.

In the first was the British Client who purchase at Club Paradiso, the court ruled that this was indeed timeshare and not a club affiliation as Silverpoint claimed. This case has taken around five years to get to this stage, with appeal following appeal.

The second case was that of a CLA client from Belgium, the court declared once again the illegality of contracts over 50 years.

Another British client of CLA who purchased the Hollywood Mirage and Beverly Hills Club Vacation Package. Again this ruling was around the “club affiliation” scheme, the court once again ruled that this did indeed fall under the scope of Spanish timeshare law, (Ley 42/98) as in the first ruling.

So far since March 2015 CLA have achieved remarkable results, with around 42 rulings from the Supreme Court, involving numerous timeshare companies, with Anfi being the most prominent. (Follow the link to The Northern Echo article on the first case).

http://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/15045851.Woman_wins_a_landmark_legal_ruling_on_timeshares/?ref=rl&lp=2

In the article by Irene today, she looks at the Diamond Resorts Clarity (™) programme, it would seem that Diamond are trying to change the way they operate amid growing protests from owners, especially the elderly.

This programme at present will not be rolled out in Europe, Although Diamond Resorts in Europe have already begun to make considerable changes in their approach to owners / members. They have set in place a programme where members can surrender their timeshare under what Diamond call “exceptional circumstances”, with this there is no charge.

One reader has Steve has taken advantage of this, with Diamond accepting his surrender, but there is a twist in this story. Diamond are investigating how he was sold and how he also ended up with a finance package, they obviously believe that there is something wrong. Once this is completed, Inside Timeshare will bring you the results.

Contained within the article is an interview Irene had with Maya Pogoda the Diamond Public Relations Officer. She has welcomed the chance to speak with Inside Timeshare and has supplied numerous comments and answers to our questions. So on with Irene´s article.

Diamond Resorts Clarity (™) – The Good, the Bad and the Critical

Diamond Owners are Hopeful but Skeptical

By Irene Parker January 29, 2017

Skeptical Method

DIAMOND CLARITY(™) is the offspring of Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s issuance of an “Assurance of Discontinuance” resulting from allegations that Diamond Resorts International violated the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act.

http://insidetimeshare.com/opcs-europe-usa/#more-1518

Maya Pogoda, Diamond Public Relations spokesperson, talked to me about the new national program consisting of a series of operational procedures and enhancements, new training and compliance procedures and protocols, and other customer-friendly changes to the sales process.

Press Release excerpts:

Missing from press release: “We recognize the need for Diamond Resorts and all timeshare companies to change or improve timeshare business practices that have led to predatory lending and deceptive sales techniques, resulting in harm to timeshare owners,” suggests Irene.

I took issue with several statements made in the press release:

“At Diamond Resorts, we already excel in customer satisfaction, but we are constantly looking for ways to do even better,” said Executive Vice President, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer Michael Flaskey.

I spoke with a few timeshare attorneys. One paralegal who works for a timeshare attorney asked not to be identified. Their firm has released 10,000 owners from timeshare contracts and said Diamond is their biggest “customer”.  Timeshare attorney Mike Finn of the Finn Law Group carries approximately 500 timeshare cases with 20% to 25% against Diamond Resorts. Mr. Finn said he’s never had a Disney timeshare client.

There are also several angry Diamond owner groups:

DRIP Diamond Resort International Protestors launched by over 1000 angry British owners trying to be released from contracts.

Intrawest Embarc Diamond Facebook page has over 2500 Intrawest members. An administrator of this group recently suggested I post our last Inside Timeshare article on their Facebook page after being banned by a Diamond Influenced Member Supported 7000 member Facebook group.

I had sent the article to an Intrawest administrators individually. She receives a link to all my articles. Unfortunately, one of the administrators from the 7000 member group voiced a warning to one of the other Intrawest administrators urging a word of caution concerning the dangerous piano teacher, Irene Parker.

https://www.facebook.com/Club-Intrawest-Owners-Group-921012087982547/

The 7200 member Facebook group consists of about 50% happy/angry owners. Members who are 100% negative on Diamond Resorts are privately and quietly urged to join DRIP, according to one member who asked not to be identified. Ironically, the same administrator was banned from the DRIP website accused of being too positive.

Charles Thomas was banished within days of joining the 7000 member Facebook accused of supporting the Canarian Legal Alliance. Charles can better explain the success CLA has had fighting timeshare abuse.

Owner infighting is strongly encouraged by Diamond Resorts because United we Stand and Divided we Fall. There is a lot of that going on in the world today.

Inside Timeshare allows political commentary to enter into our articles. In fact, given the fact the Trump family is launching a timeshare in Scotland, it is even encouraged. One of President Trump’s closest friends of 20 years is David Siegel of Westgate. Westgate has been under Consumer Financial Protection Bureau investigation for the last few years.

Continuing the litany of unhappy Diamond owners:

Monarch Website of angry owners owning fixed weeks could not gain access after converting to points, resulting in a class action lawsuit.

http://www.monarchowner.com/p/our-story.html

Poipu Angry Owner website:  Assessments resulting in a class action lawsuit.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Point-of-Poipu-Angry-Owners/148027451960608

Thousands of complaints have been voiced on Redweek, BBB and other internet complaint sites. Just yesterday a Redweek member reached out to me. I sadly informed her she made my list of top two percent timeshare horror stories. The subject of Diamond timeshare sales agent Rick Casper of Polo Towers Las Vegas will be the subject of my next article

Of course, people can always contact me directly.

Irene Card

RedWeek continues to allow me to post.  I was asked to provide a link to the article that caused me to be banned. Controversy generated by an article is a writer’s best friend.

My Facebook page has no quota on happy/angry comments. I deny I am 100% negative on Diamond. We still enjoy Diamond Resorts and find good value at times. I am encouraged by the meaningful conversations I have had with diplomat and PR spokesperson Maya Pogoda.

I find relatively few complaints on the internet about Hyatt, Hilton or Disney.

Back to the Clarity Press Release:

“It will increase transparency”

Keep Reading

And So It Begins!!

Following on from Friday’s article Attorneys General and Timeshare under Trump, it would appear to have upset a few people on a facebook page that Irene is or rather was a member of, Diamond Resorts International Members page.

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

Apparently some think it is political, well what isn’t political nowadays?

Gandhi free press

It asks the question what will happen to timeshare under the Trump presidency, a fair question considering his business background. He is a developer himself, having built a golf resort in Scotland, which includes plans to double the number of timeshare apartments.

He is all for business, fair enough, but is that going to be at the expense of beleaguered timeshare owners in the USA?

We have already seen in previous articles the predatory nature in the sale of timeshare including the continual upgrading and “lending” in order to fund this. It has been highlighted time and again that there is a lack of a “secondary market”, which ends up with owners being at the mercy of unscrupulous resale and termination companies.

Just from the actions in barring Irene from the group by a few, freedom of speech and expression is being eroded by a few, who think they know better. Are these people just stooges for the industry? Do they speak for the majority?

Voltaire free speech

Inside Timeshare thinks not, we will publish stories about both sides, whether they are “the good, the bad or just downright ugly”. Freedom of speech is the fundamental aspect of democracy, when we lose that we have dictatorship, Irene has lost one avenue for that freedom and it is to the detriment of those other members who wish to know the Truth.

Timeshare and Politics

Freedom of the Press and Freedom of Speech Works

By Irene Parker January 23, 2017

hand and pen

Whether we are talking politics or timeshare, media spin is usually the first line of defence. I have been banned from one of the Diamond Resorts Members Facebook page for posting the article Inside Timeshare published Friday, January 20 about US Attorneys General working for timeshare owners and Attorneys General who seem to be on the side of the timeshare developer. I was banned because the article was deemed political. I did not know President Trump was going into the timeshare business until I read the article after it was published.

Attorneys General and Timeshare under Trump

Timeshare is all about politics. The problem is, timeshare is a one sided political game with all the muscle on the side of the timeshare developers.

Several of the members of the Diamond Facebook contacted me with their reasoning as to why I was banned. I’m told the quota of unhappy owners has exceeded its limits. Happy campers are encouraged to apply.
I worked with over two dozen of the Facebook members, several having been financially devastated by their vacation plan. I felt like I had been making real progress interacting with PR spokesperson Maya Pogoda, the newly formed Diamond Consumer Advocacy Department, and Diamond’s In-house Counsel – responding when legitimate examples of deceptive and fraudulent business practices are brought forth, similar to the Monarch example below.

Owners released from a timeshare contract cannot share their story because they are required to sign a confidential non-disclosure agreement or CNDA, agreeing not to say anything negative about Diamond Resorts. How can this Monarch owner go through life not saying anything negative about Diamond Resorts? I use Diamond as an example, but a few of the big players are just as guilty.
I am at the Cancun resort in Las Vegas and went to a breakfast where they said they would simply update me about the changeover to Diamond. I was told that I should have been invited to a dinner where I would have been given options, decided by a judge in a legal ruling against Monarch due to their bankruptcy. They proceeded to show me a print out that said when my current term expires in August. I would have to pay $573 per quarter to Monarch. They said that due to the bankruptcy, I would have no equity. That was option one. Pay more, have nothing. The other option they said was to transfer into Diamond at a cost of $12,000 plus and pay a yearly maintenance fee of $1,700. Less than the $2,292 I would soon be giving Monarch. They also told me that I would then have equity of $41,000 that I could sell. I was in tears. I do not have any extra money. In fact I have been looking for ways to get out of Monarch for over a year now. They said that was not an option and that as an owner, I was now proportionally responsible for their debt. I felt trapped and signed all the papers to transfer, with no idea how I can pay. After reading the comments above I am even more scared. I am trying to start my own business and am already in severe debt. They claimed when they ran my credit though that it looked better than most and assured me I qualified for financing. I would have to pay off, basically transfer to credit cards, which I can barely make my payments on now before I could look to sell. One of the reps assured me that she would put me in touch with someone who could help me sell my points. She even gave me her cell phone number to call after the sale/transfer is finalized. I am really scared though. Please help! We have to do something. It seems as though they have no qualms about lying to and robbing people for their own benefit.

bill of rights

Attempts are being made to suppress the America media. CNN has been aggressively targeted. Suppressing the media is the first step in a dictatorship. It pains me to see Anderson Cooper rattled by the absurdity of debating crowd size.

Propaganda and distraction are the means to control the message. In timeshare this is accomplished by requiring relinquishing owners sign a non-disclosure agreement. This is common in any industry, but seems harsh when an elderly or vulnerable family has turned over sometimes their life savings because they believed they were buying the equivalent of a second home. The family will receive nothing when they relinquish. The developer takes back the contracts and resells for full value. Amounts from $50,000 to $100,000 are not uncommon. I dare not show them past levels of executive compensation which I believe are wildly inflated. Is it fair to silence?

I sent our controversial article to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau with this note:

I know Senators Warren and Sanders are kind of busy right now, but I really think they should know our President is going into the timeshare business and one of his best friends for the last 20 years is the owner of Westgate who you have been investigating for a couple years.

What can be done about it?

help key

There seems to be a real disdain for confronting a problem with the preference being to deny the problem exits. In the media, I have seen masterful examples of answering a question by not answering the question. I have always said half a problem goes away when confronted. How CAN the timeshare problem be confronted?

Finally, a timeshare company listened!

Diamond Resorts has created a Consumer Advocacy Department that allows owners who have been victimised by rogue timeshare sale agents to contact their Consumer Advocacy Department at:

mailto: [email protected]

Often issues are related to miscommunication. Meaningful dialogue can work wonders. The entire industry benefits although timeshare lawyers may notice a decrease in their earnings.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich and his staff are working with Diamond Resorts to improve their business practices. Diamond is certainly not the only timeshare company that needs to improve.

OPC´s in Europe and the USA.

One of my favourite posts on my former Diamond Facebook was when an owner said Diamond needs to take the Blinkers off. Blinkers off? It’s a worldwide Facebook page so an American said the word we use is Blinders.

Timeshare needs to take its blinkers or blinders off and realize there is a problem with the timeshare industry and the continual conflict between timeshare developer lobbyists like ARDA, RDO and TATOC and timeshare owners and advocates. CRDA is not on this list because CRDA does have an advocacy arm. It’s called the National Timeshare Owner’s Association and it has been helping owners for over twenty years. Owners have available an “ASK CRDA” helpline that has operated without any interference from developers. But that’s Canada for you.

Too many senior citizens we used to call baby-boomers are being harmed by predatory marathon sales presentations repeatedly asking us to sign perpetual contracts with little or no secondary market.

Let’s wake up Timeshare!

The Arizona Attorney General has taken the first step by throwing out the oral representation clause in Arizona, or “license to lie” as timeshare attorney Mike Finn of the Finn Law Group likes to describe it. For years deception and fraud has gone on unchecked because of the oral representation clause. The oral representation clause is the start of a vicious circle that ends with the widely reported timeshare resale scam industry.

Is honesty really that hard?

 

reform

Inside Timeshare will continue to publish stories such as these, without them timeshare owners around the world will be kept in the dark. If you have any comments on this or any other article Inside Timeshare welcomes them. If you have a personal story on your experiences which you would like to share, contact us and we will get back to you. You Have a voice, use it!

 

   

  

 

More News on Litigious Abogados

Once again Inside Timeshare has received another email from a concerned reader about Litigious Abogados, he also received an email that he had a case against Diamond and can be included in the forthcoming case.

To get this underway an initial payment of around 1000€ needed to be made, this was payable to the “Court ProcuratorDavido Harstun Jaime. The client did pay this and eventually he received the great news that Diamond Resorts pleaded guilty on 13 December 2016. The strange thing is, if Diamond were going to plead guilty, surely they would have made an out of court settlement, rather than go to trial?

He was informed the court had awarded him around 20,000€, but before this could be released he would need to pay “TAX”, again to the “Court Procurator”. There is also a new twist to this tale, he was informed that this “TAX” would be refunded to him by the UK’s  HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs). This would be in June 2017 after the lawyers had made representations in his behalf.

Now, why would HMRC refund any “TAX” paid to a court in Spain or to the Spanish Government?

The plot is certainly getting thicker in order to lend credibility to this operation. Inside Timeshare wonders what the next twist will be.

LIT

This is a full list of the company names and websites with all names that appear on documents and emails:

Websites:

www.litigiousabogados.com/

http://emiliocatillianos.com/

www.litigarabogados.com/

http://manuelamasconde.com/

http://abogaciaespanola.com/

http://fernandoholaci.com/

http://www.davidoharstunjaime.com/

Lawyers:

Manuel Amas Conde for Litigar Abogados;

Emilio Leyes Catillianos for Litigious Abogados;

Fernando Roleba Holaci for Abogacía Española.

Ramon Quilnar Canal for Litigious Abogados;

Ramon Quenan Cansal for Litigar Abogados;

Ramon Quilon Climol for Abogacia Española.

Procurator:

Davido Harstun Jaime.

Addresses:

Litigar Abogados and Litigious Abogados

Calle Duque de la Torre 29, 114, Santa Cruz, Tenerife, this address was not quite correct and should have read: Calle Duque de la Torre, 29 Arona Casco 38640 Arona Tenerife,

Abogacia Española

Calle de Valentín Sanz, 16, Santa Cruz De Tenerife, España.

Staff named on Emails:

Luisa Ernas Fernandez Departamento Legal;

Layla Lavame Fernandez Departamento Legal;

Layla Lavame Carita Departamento Legal;

Maria Sanchez Gotera Departamento Legal;

Madelena Huele Aflores Departamento Legal;

All emails carry the following number: Freephone: 0800 862 0102 and carry this copyright: © 2013 Ilustre Colegio de Abogados de Tenerife. Todos los derechos reservados. European Union Data Protection Directive 95/46/E

court_doc-page-001
Court Document
Compensation_Cheque-page-001
Compensation Cheque issued by the Procurator

 

Luckily for this reader he found the previous articles on Inside Timeshare and this has saved him several thousand euros. Once again this proves you need to do your due diligence before engaging any company, doing your homework will save you money and heartache.

If you have been contacted by any of the companies in this and previous articles, Inside Timeshare would like to hear from you. It is through your information that others can be warned.