Today’s article from Canada by Patrick Cormier is about Intrawest sales practices to Club Intrawest members. The complaint in the lawsuit concerns the immediate and extreme devaluation of points after purchase from the developer, providing little to no resale value. Diamond Resorts acquired Intrawest Resorts in 2015 and continues the practices leading to this devaluation.
Diamond Resort members in the US have learned their points are virtually worthless on resale. Many Inside Timeshare readers tell us they have been told points would be easy to resell and points will increase in value. In response to one of our reader complaints, a Diamond Vice President’s response was, “We’re not responsible for anything our sales agents say.”
This is the very reason Inside Timeshare is so important and why every timeshare member needs to be an advocate, reaching out to the general public to warn the general public that timeshares official position in several companies seems to be, “We’re not responsible for anything a sales agent says.” This is indeed a green light to lie. With little to no enforcement of timeshare regulation, timeshare sales and marketing fraud continues unchecked.
Following on from yesterday’s article where we identified the genuine lawyers from their photographs used by the “FAKE” Legalidades Abogados, we have now identified another three from the previous “FAKE LAW FIRM” Manuel Hidualdo Abogados article published in March, both of these are from the Litigious Abogados family of “Fake firms”.
The first is the “founder” of the firm, Manuel Selando Hidualdo, the actual person is:
Graduado Social Diplomado (1988/1990).
Colegiado nº 924 por el C.O.G.S.S. dese 1993.
Of Bolonia Abogados based at the following address:
Avenida San Francisco Javier, 24, 9ª, 12 – Edificio Sevilla I – 41018 Sevilla
Av. Sunyaxchen lotes 56 y 57
Sm 24, Mz 28
Edificio Siglo XXI oficina 209
+52 (998) 251-7010
Law Offices of Winer & Winer
9 N County St. #100
Waukegan, IL 60085
Tel: (847) 336-9111
Fax: (847) 336-4182
Obviously these gentlemen have no idea that their images are being used for fraudulent purposes, well they will do now!
We shall be keeping an eye open for the next incarnation that they come up with, we will also identify any other photo of their so called lawyers with the genuine person.
Now on with our Tuesday article from Canada.
Quebec Superior Court Authorizes Class Action against Intrawest
Intrawest ULC owns, operates, and manages mountain and beach destination resorts in North America and Europe. The company also manages heli-skiing operations, and golf and beach resort clubs. In additions, it provides resort real estate sales and marketing services for various destinations; rental management services at various resort locations; and vacation reservation services with information on accommodations, air and ground transportation, destination, virtual tours, vacation guides, activities, entertainment, and places to dine. Further, Intrawest ULC engages in real estate development operations. Intrawest ULC was incorporated in 1979 and is headquartered in Vancouver, Canada.
April 10, 2018
On March 20th, 2018, the Superior Court of Quebec released a decision by Hon. Anne Jacob certifying a class action to proceed against Intrawest ULC. The full text of the decision is available here (available in French only). What follows is a summary of key information.
What has been authorized by the court? A lawsuit in reduction of price paid to Intrawest UCL, compensatory damages and punitive damages in relation to alleged illicit sales practice in relation to becoming a Club Intrawest member and to fees that were allegedly not disclosed at the time of purchase.
Who are the potential class members?
Potential class members are individuals that have purchased points directly from Intrawest in Quebec, with the exception of such individuals having sold their points before 2007. So, if you purchased your points from the developer in Quebec and have not sold those points before 2007, you currently stand to be eligible.
What does it mean for a class to be certified? It means that Martin Robichaud will be allowed to proceed in his suit against Intrawest as a representative of a larger class of individuals. Should he be successful, it means that the remedy obtained by him will also be available to similarly eligible class members. By certifying this class action, it means the court believed the four following conditions were met:
- The factual context of members is identical, similar or connected.
- Allegations appear to justify the remedy sought.
- The composition of the class would not make it practical for individual members to individually or jointly sue the defendant.
- The representative member (Mr Robichaud in this case) can ensure adequate representation of other members.
What are the facts underpinning this case?
Mr Robichaud’s case is in relation to the purchase of 160 points for a total price of Cdn$30,560 in 2009. At the time, Mr Robichaud (like so many of us) believed, according to the explanations offered at the time of sale, that should he wish to re-sell at a later time, he would essentially recoup his investment. There was also the purchase of 300 additional points on the secondary market also in 2009.
In 2014, five years after the initial purchase, he asked about the repurchase program. He was also informed at that time about the need to sell his points to another member with a minimal price per point failing which there would be no Extraordinary Escape (EE) privileges attached to the points sold.
The circumstances under which Mr Robichaud attempted to sell his points or have the points repurchased led him to believe the 160 points he originally purchased had been severally devalued because of undisclosed facts at the time of purchase and subsequent decisions and actions by Intrawest ULC.
What are the issues raised in this class action?
Mr Robichaud is asking the court to answer many important questions, including:
- Has Intrawest used prohibited sales practices? Should this be the case, should Intrawest be reimbursing members or should members be entitled to a reduction in the price paid?
- Should members be entitled to punitive damages because of their alleged breach of the Consumer Protection Act (Québec)?
- Should members be dispensed from paying annual fees because they do not own the properties?
What is the remedy sought by this class action?
Mr Robichaud believes the points have been devalued by approx 75% because several keys facts were not disclosed to him in accordance with the Consumer Protection Act of Quebec. He also believes he should not have paid the annual fees. He therefore asks the court:
- A 75% refund of the price paid in relation to the original purchase of 160 points from Intrawest ULC;
- 100% of the annual fees paid to date for all points;
- Punitive damages ($5,000).
What are the next steps of this class action?
There are a few additional minor procedural steps before the case fully proceeds. The Volunteers Coordinating Committee (VCC) will keep the Club Intrawest Owners Group (CIOG) posted as details are known to us. We have a good relationship with Mr Robichaud and are already supporting him, for example, by sharing aggregate member survey information.
What are the next steps of the VCC?
We welcome this highly sought after decision as a key milestone that will significantly influence and inform the refinement of our legal strategy. Broadly speaking, the major areas of further analysis are:
- Assuming the case of Mr Robichaud succeeds, how could the remedy be extended to purchases of points outside of Quebec?
- Develop a fully informed legal analysis, taking into account the Robichaud class action and its repercussions, and table options to the membership in the form of proposals at a first AGM of the future Embarc Owners Association, a new association in the process of being created by the VCC.
Stay vacationed, but stay aware!
Patrick Cormier, B.Sc., B.C.L./LL.B., CD VCC Team Leader
Related articles: Club Intrawest v. Canada – Must Pay Millions in GST Back Taxes
Club Intrawest (Embarc)Timeshare
Thank you Patrick for your contribution, this does show that timeshare owners / members the world over are being subjected to some very dubious practices, we are all in this together, it is only through articles such as this will we ever see any change.
If you have any questions or comments about this or any article published, contact Inside Timeshare through our contact page.
For those readers in Europe, if you have been contacted by a law firm from Tenerife that tells you your timeshare resort / company is being taken to court and you can be in on the action, please do let us know, especially if it sounds like one of those we have been highlighting.
It is through your information that we can research and report as to the legitimacy of these companies, warning others to beware. Remember to do your homework, it will save you in the end.