We have received enquiries regarding another Law Firm that claims the client has a substantial amount of money due to be paid to them, unfortunately from our research the CIF numbers, do not match the law firms name or the companies name, neither does the address match that of a genuine law firm.
With registration details hidden when checking whois,
The other website is cardenasabogados.es but unfortunately it will not link to this page.
No registration details can be found for this website either.
Both websites show no company details or registration numbers, no lawyers details or bar association numbers. Although on Google Street View there is an office which can be seen with the name of the firm and the website being visible on the window. The office is located on the first floor on the corner of Calle Alonso de Bazán and Calle Virgen del Pilar Marbella.
This may very well be a genuine law firm but the lack of details on the website does make it look suspicious.
The letter names a “lawyer” Marijo Dujmovic (not very Spanish is it?) and is also signed by him, according to this letter our reader is set to receive over £26,000 on or before 20 March. The lawyer is to charge the client over £6,000 with an advance fee of over £2,000, with the balance due 5 working days after the services have ceased.
This letter was sent via email from the following email address:
As you can see it is a standard free gmail service which anyone can sign up for and not linked to any website.
The following section also does not seem to make sense considering that there is a fee already quoted:
6. Lawyer will charge for all activities undertaken in providing legal services to Client under thisAgreement, including but not limited to, the following: conferences, court sessions, and depositions. Preparation and participation; correspondence and legal documents review and preparation; legal Research; and telephone conversations. When two or more of Lawyers personnel are engaged in Working on the matter at the same time, such as in conferences between them, the time of each will Be charged at his or her hourly rate.
Now the letter itself is not on any official looking headed paper, it is a word document with a picture of a gavel and scales, the picture is linked to Bing, so the image is just a standard one downloaded from the internet, so the whole thing has just been cobbled together.
Just on these finding alone we can safely assume that this is another scam, there is no money, they are not a law firm, the addresses are very familiar and the Modus Operandi is also very, very familiar, see links below for the original articles.
Once again this shows that you must be absolutely vigilant when it comes to any “firm” contacting you with news that you have been awarded substantial amount of money in “compensation”.
If you have been contacted by any of the companies named here, or are suspicious of any others that have contacted you with a similar story, then use our contact page and let us know. Inside Timeshare will help you find out if they are indeed genuine, but the chances are they are going to be an absolute scam!
Welcome to another Tuesday Slot, this week we publish Part 2 of Manifesto, by another Industry Insider, with the introduction by Inside Timeshares very own Irene Parker.
At the end of last week we received some news from the courts in Gran Canaria, first was the news that the Enforcement / Embargo Team of Canarian Legal Alliance had once again secured a payout for one of their clients. Anfi Del Mar were ordered to deposit with the courts the sum of 49,226.57€ which is a few thousand more than they originally paid. They also received back their legal fees and legal interest along with the contract being declared null and void.
Then it was announced that the Courts of San Bartelomé de Tirajana had declared another 8 Anfi contracts null and void, with a total claim amount of over 400,000€. So some very happy clients indeed.
Now on with our Tuesday Slot.
Another Industry Insider Responds to Manifesto
Manifesto Part I:
Manifesto Part II upcoming: Ourauthor hopes to, “draw public comment for a new Business Proposal to remedy and resolve the issues.”
Introduction by Irene Parker
February 19, 2019
As we learned in Manifesto Part I, considerable effort went into restricting the secondary market. One developer will not allow participation in the company’s voluntary deed-back program if the timeshare points were purchased on the secondary market. The goal is to get and keep the timeshare points in house employing any means possible.
As documented in Manifesto Part I, publicly traded timeshare companies list a viable secondary market as a risk to (their) investors. As baby boomers especially are learning about this timeshare hostage scenario, some families are financially devastated. They are left with no choice but to foreclose. Of the 702families that have reached out to us, 98 are active duty service members or veterans, several disabled. The vast majority have high credit scores. Having to withstand the intimidation and humiliation of foreclosure can be overwhelming, especially for seniors having spent a lifetime paying bills on time.
A Second Insider responds to Manifesto in today’s article. Insider analysis allows timeshare members and owners a glimpse into what goes on behind Wall Street’s timeshare scenes. Wall Street has made light of the well-orchestrated restricted secondary market. It’s just a loan loss provision number. I wish they could spend a day on the front lines listening to family after family explain how they were driven into timeshare insolvency, alleging unfair and deceptive sales practices, a few even to the point of bankruptcy. Most complain they bought additional points promised maintenance fee relief or the ability to sell points that was not forthcoming.
Following are comments from Industry Insider #2 to Manifesto, with responses from Industry Insider #1 (our Manifesto author) interspersed:
Commenter: I appreciate the well-formed Manifesto published last Tuesday, but would like to add some key points. A very important group of companies and individuals played a significant role in helping the timeshare ownership industry evolve/shift into the (points based) industry. The distinction being; now there are very few owners with “real property rights” as the majority of people own a beneficial interest in a club in the form of “crypto-currency” or points.
Anonymous responds; In Wall Street parlance; the Timeshare industry monetized utilizing a derivative – a very smart move. The term “luft” comes to mind. Luft is the German word for “air”. We’ve termed this derivative an RTU or “Termed Length” – Right to Use contract. Right to use timeshare contracts are the most popular forms of vacation ownership sold today. However, right to use (RTU) timeshare, and their agreements, operate differently from traditional deed ownership. Right to use timeshare is exactly as it sounds—you purchase the right to use the timeshare during the period on which you agreed. Unlike deeded timeshare contracts, you do not actually own any part of the property. Instead of a deed or title, you are bound to the timeshare by the terms of your contract. Right to Use contracts often takes the form of a club membership.
The right to use may be lost with the demise of the controlling company, because a right to use purchaser’s contract is usually only good with the current owner, and if that owner sells the property, the contract holder could be out of luck depending on the structure of the contract, and/or current laws in foreign venues. A more important question is; how many points can a (resort) issue to new buyers as 100% of the points are “derived” from the (resorts) land trust ownership of the original deeds? Secondary purchasers of RTU/Points have reported that many (resorts) strip owners’ privileges, access, exchanges and other perks of ownership to discourage and deter secondary market purchases.
This question begins to examine why Club /RTU owners often find that they cannot successfully book accommodations or exchanges unless they plan far in advance (24 months + prior). Because the points/RTU contracts are basically selling ‘air’, the resorts sell many multiples of Points /RTU’s than could ever be accommodated at any given time. As we can see, this Club /Points/ RTU method allows the (Resorts) to sell an infinite number of points when compared to the prior physical simple-deeds.
Commenter: The industry, which upgrades up to 70% of its existing owner base, misleads owners into trading in their deeded intervals for some expansion use of a multi-site developer under the guise of convenience. This opportunity was something that was already afforded to them by the exchange companies.
Anonymous responds; Indeed, the industry quickly saw the future in selling air and swapped out owner’s valuable real estate property deeds for RTU contracts.
Commenter: The industry, already renting some 11M nights and adding 2+Billion in rental revenues (mostly to non-owners), could only be achieved by taking away the “sticks & bricks” of ownership.
Anonymous responds; Thus, creating extreme amounts of actual real inventory that could be rented out without benefitting RTU /Points Owners. Simultaneously, major resorts banned aggregations or collections of Points that could be used for business ventures; I.e. renting the points out.
Commenter: To accelerate this effort of transition, a modernization of laws needed to be created. This started in 2012 when ARDA drafted a sponsored a bill known as the “Timeshare Resale Accountability Act”. What few knew then was that the secondary market was collapsing right along with the primary market in the “Great Recession” – Timeshare developers began stripping various benefits of owners, selling into the secondary market, and imposed great “use” restrictions on those who acquired timeshares in the secondary market (like on eBay or through another resale channel).
As the economy began to improve and timeshare sales rebounded, a new subset of companies emerged. Those companies were called *Trade-in/Transfer groups and many of them worked on the same tables alongside of the teams of resort reps waiting to help those existing owners getting into an upgraded and competitive timeshare program.
Anonymous comments – These were the earliest aggregators working in contact with the developers who were filling their land trusts with the deeds as owners got part exchanged or traded into upgrading for RTUs.
Commenter: What to do with these competitive intervals? Most of these companies ultimately failed as a result of a suppressive business model that was never shared with owners regarding how this created the nominal value factor which some even call negative value. Examples of companies: (Fireside Registry – Catalyst – SumDay Vacations – ALL ARDA members, assisting to provide inventory recovery/aggregator services for resort developers. Each acquired inventory for literally a penny to five cents a point, or sometimes at no cost.
Further, the writer suggests that attorneys are not effective and cannot make the resorts release their owners. This is simply untrue. There are thousands of owner/members who have successfully used attorneys to negotiate a release or litigate for return of monies paid and further, many multi-plaintiff or class actions in which resorts have paid multiple millions back to owners. These all were settled out of court and protected by settlement agreements that have confidentiality clauses and/or have been sealed by the courts, designed to protect developer secrets and activities of unclean hands, they simply do not want owners to know about.
Anonymous Comments – Attorneys that were early were certainly very effective.
The industry richly deserves its worst courtroom defeats. Many large defeats were on the basis of sales misrepresentation, contract misrepresentation, fraud in the inducement, fraudulent credit card/credit line applications and many other examples too numerous to mention.
Most effective examples are when the attorney/client relationship is limited to one timeshare case. Thousands of people have been willed unwanted timeshares as beneficiaries and literally 100% of these get redeemed with no issues and nominal fees. In 2008/09/10 owners who went bankrupt got redeemed without any issues, their personal credit was already damaged. The resorts could not use the leverage of personal negative credit reporting to force payment so “attorneys of merit” handled all of that work, therefore “yes” attorneys of merit are effective in dealing with unwanted timeshare assets.
Sadly, not all Attorneys are cut from the same cloth. Attorneys working on behalf of TPE’s represent a type of faux-Legal Mill. Rarely do attorneys working with TPE’s ever meet, counsel, or in fact speak to the customers. In fact, attorneys working in conjunction with TPE’s seem to be ineffective, due mostly to the overall felonious strategy.
Commenter: Finally, timeshare developers are finding it harder and harder to conduct business around the world *(UK, Spain, South Africa, Canada, others) except here in the United States where powerful lobbyists have used timeshare owners monies thru voluntary contributions to ARDA-ROC, Orange Lake Resort Alliance and other funds from developers to ensure passage of laws that protect the industry from angry consumers who unfairly have not been told the truth about their lifetime vacation ownership purchases.
Anonymous Comments – These lobbying attempts indubitably and with little doubt demonstrate how the industry desperately clings to its massive residual cash-cow after decades of selling a clearly worthless, illiquid luxury product to giddy, undefended, vacation minded, innocent members of the public.
Thank you to both our Insiders. We would appreciate input from the industry, but to my knowledge have refused to admit the secondary market is a problem and that there are thousands, if not millions who have wanted or want to be rid of their timeshare. There are some developers who have responded when we have sent an article for comment. We appreciate developers who will at least respond after members report being financially harmed by unfair and deceptive timeshare sales practices. We hope more dialogue ensues.
Thank you Irene for your introduction and for editing the article, we would also like to thank both our Industry Insiders for their contributions, no doubt we shall receive many more from them.
If you have any comments or questions on this or any article published, Inside Timeshare invites you to use our contact page, or join our Inside Timeshare Facebook Group, use the visit group box to log in, or use our contact page to send in your comments or questions.
If you have a timeshare issue that you would need help with or want to know what you can do, again contact Inside Timeshare, we are here to help and guide you.
This address is actually used by a company called Help Debt Plus (Wales) Limited, who have full Financial Conduct Authority authorisation, so obviously have nothing tho do with Claims Assistant Bureau.
The company was registered with Company House on 2 March 2009 and the current director Stephen Michael Francis being appointed on 2 December 2009, he is also the Company Secretary, appointed on 2 March 2009.
According to the filing history at company house, the company has been listed as “dormant” since 2 April 2010 and is now listed as a “Micro Company”.
So it would seem that it is only registered so it can be used for initiating various “scams”, to fool people into thinking they are dealing with a “legitimate” UK company.
So what are they promising?
According to information from several readers in the past few days they have either been appointed by Birmingham Crown Court, The High Court in Madrid and the Courts in Tenerife to make contact with Eze Group victims. Apparently there is a substantial amount of money being held and Claims Assistant Bureau can help you retrieve it. For a fee that is.
Further to your telephone conversation with Mr. Evans here is an email giving you further insight into the situation at hand.
All monies that you will be receiving are being settled to you by the successful outcome of recent court proceedings against Regency Shore (EZE Group) Holdings SL, were upon you were listed as one of their members GP11186.
The amount you will receive is £3,950.
About any paperwork you may or may not have, do not worry as we will be sending notarised legal paperwork that will include all company histories and court documentation regarding your outcome.
Some of your paperwork will be in Spanish if you have any problems understanding it please do not hesitate in contacting us as we offer a free translation service for you the client.
Our processing fee is £695 this includes our fees, courier service and translation services, once you have paid our fees we will be under contract with you to finalise the claim, all monies will be settled within 10 working days. If the process does not complete within the given timeframe all monies will be returned to you the client.
We are now giving you not only our company guarantee but that too of our contractual and fiscal arrangements with the Bank of Spain, the Portuguese Chamber of Commerce and the High Court of Madrid. This means that all business is backed and covered by these three entities and ourselves.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate in contacting us on the details below.
Well, not very, for one there is no money being held by the courts, there has been no case in Spain against Regency Shores, those institutions would not be making any guarantee or have any dealing with a private company for any legal matter.
The case in Birmingham has not been concluded so no money has been set aside for victims.
If the courts had your name and membership numbers as victims of any company, they would have been in contact through official channels, not using a third party company. If you have been contacted with this or a similar story, do not be fooled into paying anything, it is a “fraud” pure and simple.
Another of our Scandinavian readers has been contacted by this person and his companies, our reader has paid a substantial amount for the Silverpoint “Company Participations” and somehow Brussel had his details.
Unfortunately, our reader was taken in by the pitch that JB Legal / SIM Legal would take their case against Silverpoint to court, claiming fraud. A lawyer was named as the person taking on the case, Ruben Padron Perez, but it seems he claims his identity has been stolen for illegal purposes.
Mr Brussel also required a payment to himself of almost 2000€ to be paid in cash for the notary, that is a rather large amount for any notary.
But it doesn’t end there, without his knowledge of permission, his documents were handed to another firm, which at this point is not being named. He has also paid this other company over 28,000€ to take on the case.
So what has happened to the initial payments made to Walker Padron Perez and Jeroen Martijn Brussel?
Our reader has not been able to contact Walker Padron Perez or Brussel, all emails are being ignored and the telephone calls not being answered.
He has been told by the “new” company that they will get him back this money, we will just have to wait and see.
Once again, these two stories reinforces what we have been saying all along, before doing any business and paying out substantial amounts of money, do your homework. If you do not know where to start, then use our contact page, we will help you find the genuine from the fraudsters.
If you have also been contacted by any of the companies mentioned, Inside Timeshare would like to hear from you, use our contact page and let us know what happened.
You will also notice that we have started a new Facebook Group, log in to join.
Further to our previous articles on the Silverpoint Participations and Nordic Consulting Canary Islands SL, today we publish the experiences of one reader from Scandinavia, taken from the many enquiries received in the past two days. It explains how he was sold the these “participations” and has since been contacted by Ali Farhoud from Nordic Consulting. We have slightly changed certain details to keep the identity of our reader private.
Back in 2017, our reader attended a meeting with Silverpoint Vacations, the representative was Alex Farhoud, another brother of Ali. The scheme was explained to him and he was led to believe that he was buying a specific apartment at Beverly Hills Heights, part of the agreement was that he would receive an income from the rental of the said apartment and eventually be able to sell.
After some time, he eventually signed the contract and parted with over 150,000€, along with the purchase contract was a rental contract with Silverpoint Vacations, as we know the CEO is Mark Cushway, who is no stranger to these pages. The client left in the belief that he had a good deal.
Then in 2018, Alex Farhoud made contact, our reader was informed that the rental contract had been cancelled and new less favourable conditions had been presented. In order to fix this Alex Farhouddemanded a further 10,000€ fee. Our reader fearing the loss of his “investment” duly paid. The new rental contract was with Excel Hotels and Resorts. He received an outline of the new rental contract, which to some extent the original conditions that they had initially agreed to.
Nearly a year later he was once again contacted by Alex Farhoud, this time it was stated that the purchase contract they our reader had signed was not valid. The reason being he could not get a title for a product that was essentially made up of timeshares!
Enter Nordic Consulting and Ali Farhoud, Alex Farhoud referred our reader to this company with the proposal that Nordic Consulting would instigate legal proceedings to have the contract with Silverpoint nullified, plus claiming back what they had initially paid, but in double. Obviously there was going to be a fee for this, that was estimated at over 30,000€. Our reader has had repeated calls from both brother to pay and get the process initiated. But our reader has not done so, one reason is that he has received no explanations or clarification in writing.
Our reader has also received a letter from Mark Cushway and Silverpoint informing him that the process of obtaining title was moving on and that all units had been cleared of timeshare owners. Apparently a “certificate” confirming that all 52 weeks in the unit purchased were clear. Our reader would then be called to Tenerife to sign the title.
Our reader is now so confused, can he believe or trust Silverpoint?
Can he trust Nordic Consulting, his brothers company, especially as it was Alex Farhoud who sold him the product in the first place?
This is why our reader turned to Inside Timeshare, he had nowhere else to turn, he didn’t know who to trust. After lengthy discussions we made a recommendation and our reader is now discussing his options with a leading law firm in this field. It will be sometime before we will be able to give you an outcome, but we are sure that his problem will be resolved to his satisfaction.
Have you had dealings with Silverpoint, either the “investment weeks” or the “company participation scheme”, have you been contacted by Nordic Consulting regarding these?
Welcome to the start of another week in the world of timeshare, we begin with some news being passed around various forums regarding Anfi. As we know Anfi is contacting members to change their contracts, but the latest is rather disturbing.
The change in contracts is to try and bring them within the law, the new contracts will be for a maximum of 50 years, with apartment numbers and week numbers being allocated to the floating week contracts, although they will remain “floating”.
According to information received, the new contracts will also penalise the members for “early termination” of their membership. Any early termination of the contract will be seen as a serious breach of contract on part of the member, Anfi will then apply a retrospective charge on the member for “hotel Costs” of around 350€ per night for all weeks used.
They have already used this threat to members who may be contemplating legal action in regard to illegal and missold contracts. This is also the subject of an ongoing legal argument, which has yet to be finally resolved.
Another point that has come to our attention is the number of members who have just ceased to pay their maintenance, especially with the new contracts. It is reported that around 100 members in 10 countries are about to have legal proceedings made against them for recovery of the maintenance fee arrears. Plus to have the mentioned “hotel costs” charged against them.
Another point which is irritating some of the members posting on the forums is the problem of resale. According to many posters, Anfi has the right to refuse the buyer of any timeshare sold privately. Again this is to ensure that all resales go through the resale programme, which we know is not very effective and will only command a very small resale price.
As with any timeshare advertised for sale, the price you see is what the owner believes they will get, remember, when purchased, many were under the impression they were investing in property. The sales staff openly told them it would go up in value, as we know this is definitely not the case.
So what do we make of this change in contracts and the other tactics being used?
Simple, by changing to the new contract, you lose all rights to take them to court, this is what Anfi want, after all it is costing them a fortune in payouts. (Which they will deny).
The threat of the “hotel costs” with legal action against maintenance arrears and making it more difficult to sell privately, is again to stem the tide of a significant loss of membership. This loss hits them in the pocket with reduced income of maintenance fees. After all, they are not selling like they used too, people are very wary of purchasing timeshare today.
There were also 2 High Court wins in Las Palmas, again against Anfi del Mar.
Again at the Court of First Instance in Maspalomas, Palm Oasis lost 3 cases.
Over in Tenerife, The Court of First Instance again found against Silverpoint in 2 cases.
In another First Instance hearing, Club la Costa were the ones on the receiving end of a judgement.
In all a massive 27 victories against the biggest names in European timeshare, the total amount claimed on behalf of clients is over 648,000€ with all contracts being declared null and void.
CLA have also issued this video, which shows their impressive record so far, it was made at the end of 2018.
That’s it for today, join us tomorrow for a very special article, this was received by another timeshare insider after we published the article on the Florida Bill 435, tomorrow we publish Part 1.
If you need any help or advice regarding your timeshare, about any company that has contacted you or you have found either on the internet or advert in any publication, then use our contact page. We will be pleased to help.
Also if you have any comments, views or information you would like to share with other timeshare owners, then again use our contact page, we would love to hear from you.
Further information has been received by Inside Timeshare regarding a previous article on the Silverpoint Company Participation Scheme and a company contacting consumers who have purchased this flawed product.
From the information received from an English client, he was sold “participations” in this scheme by none other than Ali Farhoud, this purchase was for over 440,000 Euros.
He received a call from Nordic Consulting Canary Islands SL, (Mr Farhoud’s company), the caller was, yes you guessed it, Ali Farhoud himself. In the call the client was informed by Mr Farhoud, that at the time he was selling this “product” for Silverpoint, he did not know that it was “fraudulent”, (if you can actually believe that).
Also during the call this client was told that Nordic Consulting would take his case to court and get him compensation. The cost, over 21,000 Euros, plus 25% of the awarded amount. This client felt as though he was once again being pressured into parting with huge sums of money, from the very same person who sold him the “product” in the first place.
Needless to say he didn’t fall for it on this occasion, he has decided to take legal action through a respected and experienced law firm.
Now obviously the list of clients who purchased into this “scheme” is in the possession of Nordic Consulting and Mr Farhoud, one does have to wonder how this was obtained?
It is also very obvious that the person who made large amounts of money from selling the “scheme” in the first place is now set to get what is called a “double dip”, in other words making more money out of those who were sold a defective and highly floored product in the first place.
So the warning is very clear, if you receive a call regarding taking legal action against Silverpoint (Farhouds previous employer) by Nordic Consulting, you will be lining the pockets of the one who sold it to you in the beginning.
Below is a transcript from a recorded meeting between Ali Farhoud and one of his duped clients, this was in 2013. It revolves around the “investment” weeks Silverpoint were peddling. These sales are subject to many court cases being brought in Tenerife. It must also be noted that Silverpoint were at this time members of the Trade Body the Resorts Development Organisation (RDO), with the CEO of Silverpoint Mark Cushway also being a director of this organisation.
Just from this transcript alone, Farhouds claim that he had no idea that the “participations” were fraudulent is somewhat flawed. He knew he was selling a “frudulent” product long before the “participations” came on the scene.
We leave it to you the reader to decide.
The link to the transcript since publication has been removed from the TCA website. Although it is still showing on Google search.
Have you purchased into this product and now feel that you have been defrauded?
Do you want to know who you can actually trust to get you your money back and have the contracts declared null and void?
Then use our contact page, Inside Timeshare will go through it with you and point you in the right direction and to the people who can and will do the job. In the end Inside Timeshare will give you the best advice without any obligation and free of charge.
It appears that the Anti Corruption Prosecutor’s Office has reduced the highest penalty of imprisonment to 24 months, a far cry from the 8 to 12 years originally called for. The reason is that the Prosecutor’s Office applied a mitigation of undue delays as the investigation which actually began 20 years ago.
However, the defendants will be liable for a subsidiary civil liability of 1,890,000 euros. A rather paltry amount considering the millions that was scammed from their victims.
The largest sentences of 24 months were given to Richard Cashman, Palmer’s lieutenant, for illicit association, fraud and money laundering.
Darren Morris was hand 10 months for unlawful association, 10 months for fraud and 4 months for money laundering. He was also handed a further 1 year for a firearm with the serial number erased, which was found in his home.
Christine Ketley who was jailed for 2 years on 2001 in the UK along with palmer and the lawyer Ramón Solano seem to have been spared sentence.
The prosecutor had also asked for a sentence of 8 months for Jacobba Visscher who ran the headquarters of Dinastia Resorts for 44 charges of fraud, this is reduced from the 8 years originally requested.
In the end although they have finally been brought to court, somehow the victims will not think that justice has actually been served.
In Gran Canaria the Judges in Maspalomas have been consistently declaring there is no need for cases against Anfi to go to a full trial. These Judges have decided to pass their resolutions at the preliminary hearing, yesterday 5 January, 5 preliminary hearings took place with all 5 having results announced without the full trial. For the clients this will mean no travelling for the trial and a much speedier resolution to their case.
In Tenerife a cash embargo has been placed to the value of 44,494.20€ against Silverpoint. Great news for this particular client, as the original claim was 32,791.75€, 11,702.45€ more. They will also get legal fees and legal interest.
Back to the courts in Gran Canaria, Another embargo has been placed against Anfi to the value of 12,882.79€ on behalf of a German client. The enforcement team consisting of the lawyers Judith Diaz Pascual and Cristina Batista are obviously doing a fantastic job on behalf of their clients.
In January the state of play was:
76 trials in all Spanish courts
28 appeals from the opposition
1 supreme court hearing
21 provisional executions
9 provoked interventions
1 cash embargo against Anfi
47 sentences all in favor of our CLA clients
1.600.000 € in claim amounts
Once again this does go to show that contrary to some posters on various forums and websites that have an axe to grind that CLA does not do what it says and along with the timeshare resorts and RDO who deny they are losing, or that the courts have got the law wrong, that is certainly not the case. These are all a matter of public record and can be verified.
If you have any comments or questions about this or any article published then use our contact page, we welcome the feedback.
Also if you have had dealings with any company or are about to with regards to a possible claim against your timeshare resort, but are not quite sure if it is genuine, then again use our contact page and we will give you the best advice possible.
Yesterday, Thursday 31 January, at Birmingham Crown Court , Dominic O’Reilly, Stephanie O’Reilly and Eze Europe Limited, appeared for sentencing. As we know they had faced many charges of unfair trading practices, misleading consumers and many more. On checking the courts website this morning, nothing has yet been posted, but Inside Timeshare has emailed the court for confirmation of sentences and we are waiting for a reply. As soon as this comes in we will be publishing on these pages.
The High Court reviewed the case and ruled that the First Instance Courts decision was flawed, they immediately overruled the first court’s ruling, as per the Supreme Court rulings. They deemed that all 5 contracts were illegal and declared them null and void, they also awarded the client 100% of the purchase price, plus double the deposit paid within the 14 day cooling off period, all legal fees and legal interest. This client will now be receiving over 25,000€ and can now enjoy a timeshare free life.
Now for this weeks Letter from America.
The ‘Take Away Timeshare Close’
By a Wyndham buyer
By the Wheat Family
Introduction by Irene Parker
Inside Timeshare has heard from 671 families. Like a broken record, the member reports being told “I can’t believe that last salesperson sold you this!” You should have never bought:
So few points!
The wrong package!
Understand that this is a tried and true sales technique. I spent 30 years in sales selling in a number of industries, but can’t recall using this technique unless I felt the sales agent really did sell the buyer a wrong product. For example, as a stockbroker I would run into a young person’s 401K funded with a fixed income product. In timeshare, it’s used as a ploy. If both sides of the supposedly wrong/right product sell against each other, it means no consumer should buy the product. It’s not unusual to hear, on the same day, from two different members, Sales agent A said I should not have bought Product 1 while sales agent B said I should have bought Product 1. It’s called the Take Away Close:
The Take Away Close really takes some time to master. Though it sounds simple at first, the real secret is learning when to use it. The danger is always using the take away close and having a customer agree to purchase a lesser product when they were close to committing to a larger sale. From The Balance Careers
The motive behind the ‘Take Away Close’ is to make the customer/prospect feel like they are missing out on something they should have been entitled to and then make them spend the money so they feel they are getting their money’s worth.
We experienced this sales ploy. I wonder how many other people fell for it too.
We bought a Discovery package (200,000 points) for $1,944 at Wyndham’s Great Smoky Lodge at the beginning of 2017. A credit card was opened and the purchase charged. When we tried to use the Discovery package for Florida in July 2017 it did not work. There were restrictions on when we could reserve. In August 2017 we tried to reserve in Myrtle Beach. We tried a third time at the beginning of 2018 for the Smoky Lodge. We were told it was full so we paid for two days ourselves. That is when another salesperson, JR Renteria, said they had 64 vacant rooms so we should have been able to reserve one. He said the problem was because of the Discovery package we purchased. Although Wyndham would not be able to reimburse us, they could give us a free week certificate (which turned out not to be free). Mr. Renteria advised us to upgrade so we would not have this lack of availability problem again.
With an upgrade we were told we would be VIP members and that the original credit card that was opened for our first purchase would be upgraded to a Gold credit card which we could use to reserve when and where we want to go, any day. They said we could get 50% off cruises and restaurants. Other family members could make reservations in their names. Mr. Renteria said if we upgraded they would roll the original 200,000 Discovery package points over for the next year. Renteria gave us our documents after we signed the new contract, but told us to wait for the Gold Card and the Silver VIP card before we tried to book anything. This effectively dodged the contract rescission period. He told us we should receive the new cards in about a week. It took around three to four weeks before we received the VIP card. We still have not received the upgraded Gold Card. We were told we had six months to pay in full with no interest.
We bit and got bitten for $18,000.
Another strange thing was that Renteria said he wanted us to write a note saying the first reps, Carol Finch and Cyndy Vdaw, did not cover everything properly for the Discovery package. Maybe this was part of a scam, maybe Wyndham actually kept a copy. Either way, we wrote a note saying we did not understand everything on the Discovery package deal.
After the upgrade we tried to reserve a room to attend a wedding in Atlanta. Wyndham told us we would have to reserve two months in advance in order to use our points. (Renteria had said we could book on the day with our new Silver member status.) Wyndham told us that they could reserve a room for $188 on the day we needed it. The sad thing is we could book the same room for the same dates for $108 online. You would think being a Silver member (VIP) we should have been able to get a better price than a non-member.
Renteria told us we could call him if we ever had any problems getting reservations and he would take care of it. We tried to contact him but NEVER got a reply to any of our calls or texts.
We called Carol Finch at the Discovery timeshare when Renteria did not return our calls. I told Carol we were not happy and that nothing we were told was true. She said we should not have had to wait two months to reserve a room and Renteria should have combined the two timeshares. She said she would let him know and would call us back that afternoon. We have not heard back. That was the final straw. In this day and age of Expedia, Airbnb and Booking.com, don’t buy a timeshare. That’s my takeaway close.
But that’s not all!
To make things worse, after looking over the credit card application we found that the application had been doctored. There is an annual income noted under both of our names for $100,000 each. However, $100,000 is what we may make combined, not individually. I have a copy of the credit card application as proof. My writing is very distinctive. I filled out the whole form, yet the only place that was left blank was filled in by someone with a much scruffier handwriting than mine and he wrote another $100,000 to double our annual income. We sent this obviously doctored form to Wyndham, but they did not even acknowledge it. They chose to focus on the parts of our complaint that they could reasonably deny because the lies were verbal and can’t be verified. Wyndham conducted an ‘investigation’ into our allegations of concealment and omission. We were informed, somewhat predictably, that their investigation had found that our allegations were baseless and the contract was properly executed and legally binding. I suppose I’ll go and ask the drunks to guard the bar for my next trick.
Other representations we feel were unfair and deceptive:
They did not say we were actually buying a timeshare. They called it a vacation ownership or something like that.
They said they would help us rent so we could earn a profit.
They said maintenance fees would never increase.
They said we could call every six months to continue our interest free rate.
They told us our purchase would give us more reservation rights than it actually did.
Do yourselves a favor and stay away from Wyndham. I imagine Wyndham is not alone, so the best advice is to stay away from timeshare altogether.
Thank you to the Wheat family for sharing their experience. Timeshare companies should want their buyers to feel good about their decision to buy a timeshare. Timeshare is not for everyone and we hope by sharing experiences, buyers will be better informed as to whether the timeshare product is right for their family.
Veteran family Wyndham buyer Kleen family article:
Self Help groups we feel are not industry influenced:
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.
Thank you Irene for your editing efforts and a very big thank you to the Wheat family for sharing their experiences with us. These real life stories that we publish do show how the industry is in dire need of reform, especially in the tactics employed by their sales agents. As we know when high commissions are the motivation, these agent will say and do anything to get the sale.
If the industry does not do anything themselves to curb these practices, then maybe like Spain, the law needs to take control in order to protect consumers. We do know that many other countries in Europe with a large timeshare presence have been watching Spain very closely and are also now in the process of enacting similar legislation.
If you have a “Nightmare on Timeshare Street” story that you would like to share then contact Inside Timeshare, it is through your own experiences that we hope we can make the industry listen and change.
Have you been contacted by any company with a story that sounds too good to be true?
Are you looking to do business with any company you have found on the internet or advertising in the press or magazines?
Do you want to know if they are genuine and will do what they say?
Are you able to find out for yourself or do you need help?
If you answer yes to any of these questions, then use our contact page and we will point you in the right direction.
Remember doing your homework will save you not only money but also a whole lot of stress.
Inside Timeshare has received information about another Cold Calling company Sim Legal Services, this in itself is not a problem provided that Data Protection laws are adhered to, the problem is the nature of the calls.
The company is owned by Jeroen Martijn Brussel, there does not seem to be a website attached and any searches bring up warnings to Dutch speaking owners on two different websites:
Unfortunately so far we have not had a chance to have these translated, but there do seem to be some very serious concerns about Sim Legal Services, with the mention of several other companies they appear to be linked with. JB Legal and Timeshare Reclaim Consulting.
As for JB Legal, again a search of the internet finds no website, although there are several companies with a similar name including a genuine law firm in the United States. This makes it very difficult for any potential client to do the necessary due diligence checks.
Timeshare Reclaim Consulting do have a website and are known to Inside Timeshare, although we have never had any concern or reason to mention them in any article.
The problem is with Sim Legal and what they are telling potential clients, one of our readers spoke with them and was very disturbed by what they were told. In the phone call they tell clients that they used to work for CLA, (Inside Timeshare has no knowledge of this), but since CLA are not doing what they promise, they are now working with a better company called TRC, all to give themselves a semblance of credibility.
The question is, are the management of TRC aware of the tactics of Sim Legal Services, the fact that they are making accusations against a competitor who is in the same vicinity and happens to be the leading law firm in timeshare litigation, in order to talk clients into signing up with them and then passing them to TRC?
If not, they will be now, as far as we are concerned, for any caller to make assertions about another company in order to “sign up” a client is to say the least a sign that they themselves cannot be trusted.
Also are they aware of how much Sim Legal are charging clients before sending passing them to TRC, according to the two Dutch websites Sim Legal are charging extortionate amounts.
All we can say is TRC need to be aware that firms such as Sim Legal Services will not do their business any favours, it will in the end come back to haunt them, they will be tarred with the same brush.
In another strange enquiry, we have been asked what is mindtimeshare doing now?
It appears that they have moved on from being a consumer association to something else. Our enquirer has told us that mindtimeshare is actively emailing those who have contacted them and recommending a firm for taking out litigation against clients timeshare companies. Apparently it appears that this company is TRC, mentioned above.
Just to recap, at one time, mindtimeshare was funded by the industry, the Resorts Development Organisation, this was under the tenure of the now discredited Alberto Garcia. Under his direction, mindtimeshare attacked any company which threatened the industry. He eventually got his comeuppance, and the RDO withdrew funding.
Since then Mindtimeshare has had to find its own way and began to change how it wrote their blogs, to be honest, they became more factual and evidence based, giving a more balance view. But obviously funds must have been a problem.
There is no problem with making a recommendation, but if what our reader has told us is true, making a deal to use your own client database to secure clients for one firm, does not appear to be conducive to the ideals of an independent consumer association. This subject was also a question that we posed in the article below.
Welcome to another Friday’s Letter from America, this week we publish revised instructions on how to file a complaint, this has been revised by one of our readers who was successful.
First a quick piece of news from Europe.
The Supreme Court in Madrid has issued another judgement, Spain’s highest court once again has defended the rights of timeshare consumers, in this case British, by declaring a Diamond Resorts contract null and void. As in all other judgements the court ruled that the contract was in contravention of Law 42/98, as the contract had no end date, known as perpetuity. The law clearly states that timeshare contracts may only be for a minimum of 3 years and a maximum of 50 years.
The court also awarded the clients all money paid in the first three months in double, this reaffirmed the court’s stance on the illegal taking of deposits within the cooling off period. Along with over £11,000 they were also awarded back their legal fees and legal interest. (click on PDF below to see court document)
How to File a Timeshare Complaint (January 25, 2019 revision)
By a Timeshare Member who Followed our Complaint Process
Step 1 GATHER INFORMATION
Read Your Contract and any documents given to you at the time of signing. If your contract offers a rescission and you are still within the offered period you should take the steps necessary to rescind immediately.
Educate yourself! There are many resources in place that are meant to protect consumers (most of which I was completely unaware of until I had to tackle this issue). The more you know the better you will be able to stand up for yourself.
LIST OF RESOURCES AND ORGANIZATIONS TO FAMILIARIZE YOURSELF WITH
a: AG: Attorney General – You will want to file a complaint with the AG from the state in which you purchased your timeshare. If you can connect with other buyers in your state of residence, file a complaint with your own state Attorney General. See instructions below. Some states, like California and Nevada, require you file your complaint with the state real estate division against the sales agent.
b: ARDA-ROC: American Resort Development Association-Resort Owners Coalition
Excerpts from ARDA Code of Ethics: Read this code and make note of any parts that were violated during your purchase. ARDA ROC does not mediate disputes, but they have a Code of Ethics that may be violated. The full code of ethics can be found here.
d: BBB:Better Business Bureau: This is the organization that most people are familiar with and the link to file a complaint is found right on the homepage of their site. You may need to edit your complaint to 4,000 characters, sometimes no easy task. The good thing about the BBB is that they often allow you to log in and file a rebuttal if you disagree with the company’s answer to your complaint.
e:SEC: USSecurities and Exchange Commission: You will only file a complaint with the SEC if you were falsely led to believe that the purchase of a timeshare was a good investment. The sale of an investment product must be registered with the SEC.
f:FBI: Sound serious? That’s because it is serious to report a complaint to the FBI. The definition of White Collar Crime is “Deceit, concealment, violation of trust, bait and switch.” File an online complaint at IC3.gov. Select Internet Crime from the three choices available. It’s confusing because your timeshare complaint doesn’t have to be about internet crime. That’s just the name of the portal.
g:Legal Action: Retaining a lawyer is something you can do after you have exhausted the above resources and still feel as though you are getting nowhere. It is a last resort option and it will cost you; make sure that the cost is worth the possible worst-case outcome. There is a compiled list of law firms that specialize in timeshare cases on one Advocacy Facebook page.Law Firms Doc You do not have to use one of these lawyers but it is recommended that you use someone who has specific experience with timeshare, and do not do business with a lawyer or a law firm you do not know. One timeshare lawyer has recently been disbarred
h:TUG:Timeshare Users GroupTUG Forums: These forums are incredible for gathering information from other timeshare owners. You can search specific questions to see if anyone else has already asked and received answers.
i: Timeshare Exit Firms: BEWARE! A lot of these firms are scams. Some are not, but you can do the lion’s share of what any exit company can do. Beware especially of money back guarantees. Some companies consider foreclosure an exit. Obviously, you don’t have to pay anyone to get foreclosed. Also, it is important to note that some timeshare companies will not approve voluntary relinquishment of a timeshare if you have contracted with an exit firm.
j: Most would agree The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau does not offer the consumer protections it once did, they still regulate banks. File a complaint with the CFPB if your complaint involves a credit card. Remember to dispute the credit card charge, even if the transaction extends beyond 30 days. Some companies will extend the period if you can present a compelling case for fraud. The Secret Service also investigates credit card fraud.
Step 2 HOW TO WRITE A COMPLAINT LETTER
Create a Record of Events: The very first thing you should do is make a list of everything that you were told by timeshare representatives (i.e. salespeople, managers, receptionists, concierge services). Write down every detail that was said even if it seems insignificant; you can always weed out details that are less important later. Your memory of the event will start to warp and change over time so it is important that you write down this information as soon as possible so that every complaint you file has consistent information.
Organize the information:
a: Create a Timeline: Begin with when you first became involved with the company and proceed chronologically. Keep your history brief up to the point when things began to go wrong; it at this point you should be as detailed as possible.
What was your first encounter? (phone call, concierge, sales agent)
What resort or location did the presentation take place?
Date and time of presentation.
Names of all sales agents/managers that you dealt with (names will typically be listed somewhere on your contract)
How long did they tell you the meeting would last vs what was the actual duration of meeting?
Did they offer you food or beverages during the duration of the meeting?
Did they take your ID and credit card? Did you ask for these items to be returned?
If you feel you experienced unfair and deceptive sales practices, describe your experience.
When did you first realize your agent misled you?
Was it possible to learn you were deceived during the rescission period? Sometimes an agent will say a bogus program won’t be available until after the first of the year, or wait a few months before refinancing. Banks don’t finance timeshares. Sometime over promised availability can’t be determined until allowed onto the booking site, after the rescission period has expired.
What steps did you take after realizing you were misled? Did you contact the agent or the company? What was their response? List dates/times if possible. Keep all emails.
Did the sales person ask you to apply for any credit cards/loans or take any other extraordinary measures (refinance home, equity line of credit, etc.) in order to cover costs? Transferring to a third party lender complicates things.
b: List Relevant Complaints: Here is a list of some common complaints from timeshare owners. Certain misleading statements are more serious than others:
The agent presented maintenance fee relief programs that do not exist
The agent said I had to give up my deeded timeshare and buy points
The agent said I have to give up my deed and buy points or my heirs will be burdened
The agent told me this would be a good investment. At least 49% of the cost of your timeshare is attributed to marketing costs (source a major timeshare company’s annual report)
The agent said that I could rent out my timeshare for money when the company rules do not allowed renting
The agent overstated the value of travel awards to pay for airline tickets, or the use of a travel credit card to pay maintenance fees
The rescission period was dodged
Step 3 EMAIL AND SEND YOUR LETTER OF COMPLAINT
Below is an example of a sample layout with some ideas of information that you might want to include in your letter. Copy and paste your complaint into the body of an email (do not send as an attachment). Email or send to all interested parties, including customer service, ARDA ROC (if their Code of Ethics has been violated), the credit card company if a credit card is involved. You will send your complaint to regulatory agencies if your request is denied, so make sure you take the time to present your grievance clearly and factually. Have a friend or family member read your complaint before submitting to see if they understand the complaint.
Include the following information:
Name(s) of Member(s)
State of Residence
**List the following information for each contract you are disputing**
Date and Place Purchased
Number of Points Purchased
Sales Agent and Sales Agent ID# (if available)
Amount Financed and Interest Rate
Current Loan Balance
Information to include in the body of the complaint:
What do you want? Do you seek a refund, cancellation of contract, or relinquishment?
Why? Is it due to Deception, Health, Age or Financial Burden?
This is your written timeline. Provide a chronological account of what happened during the sales process that makes you feel you experienced unfair and deceptive sales practices.
Consider citing the ARDA code of ethics and what articles of the code were violated.
Making emotional statements will most likely not help your case.
In conclusion, restate the main complaint and what it is you are asking for.
**Complaints expressing dissatisfaction with general availability will go unheeded and so will requests based on not being able to afford the timeshare.
**If there was no deceit then request relinquishment. This is only an option if your Maintenance fees are current and you have no outstanding loan. Contact your resort for more information about voluntary surrender.
HOW TO FILE A COMPLAINT WITH THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
File your complaint with the AG from the state in which you purchased your timeshare. In “Part 2” of the link below it explains how to find the correct AG and file a complaint. Some states, like California and Nevada, require you file a timeshare complaint with the state’s real estate division.
Always send copies of important documents and keep originals
If not filed online, mail your complaint via Priority Mail with tracking.
OTHER CONSUMER PROTECTION RESOURCES
Seniors should consider contacting the AARP Fraud Hotline. Weigh their advice as they are not timeshare experts, but it is important for them to be aware that a significant proportion of complainants are age 60 or older. ClickHERE to visit the AARP site.
Contact Inside Timeshare if you are interested in helping other members or have questions about the filing process. Our goal is to make consumers more aware of the financial pitfalls that can result if you buy a timeshare you don’t understand or was not presented truthfully. We know there are many who use and enjoy their timeshares and sales agents that sell the product honestly. Honest sales agents are also negatively affected by predatory sales and lending.