Which is a serviced office rental center where meeting and conference rooms can be hired by the hour.
They use the telephone number: 02476 960 735 which is a coventry code, when this number was called Inside Timeshare was told we had the wrong number. We have susquently found that the telephone number belongs to Coventry Creative, Advertising and Graphic Design , Rover Road, Coventry, CV1 3HT which is Coventry market, a completely different area.
So far no company with this name has come up on any internet search, using the email address does not link to any website and no information about Lance Steer or Joanne Johnson appear on any search.
So what has concerned our reader?
Very simple, they have paid by bank transfer for a relinquishment of their Diamond membership, yet are still getting demands for maintenance arrears. So it looks like yet again money is paid and the relinquishment is not done.
According to the emails our reader has received, Lance says he has been helping timeshare owners for over 5 years, funny how we have not heard of him before. The other strange fact is that in his emails he goes on to say why he has not been in touch with his clients, listing his illnesses, bereavements and severely disabled Father. Even getting an assistant Joanne, to email clients and explain all his personal problems. (see PDF at the end). Not the sort of information one would normally give. (Looking for sympathy comes to mind).
His emails also go on at length about Spanish Supreme Courtrulings, how he has studied many case files and come to the conclusion that all these contracts are illegal. (Which is not surprising considering he sold many of them).
In order to give credibility he mentions Canarian Legal Alliance and places links to their website, even including screenshots attached to his emails. All the details he puts in these emails look as though they have come directly from the CLA website, even using the same phrases.
Another part of his emails go on to tell the clients that Diamond and other timeshare companies have no right to chase for maintenance arrears, or that Daniels Silverman the debt recovery company has no right to chase the debt.
Unfortunately, all this information has convinced our reader to pay for a service which Lance cannot provide, after all we have stated on many occasions in these pages that Diamond, Club la Costa and many other timeshare companies and resorts will not deal with third parties for cancellation of contracts. They will only work with the members directly.
So just from the lack of information on the internet and the lengthy explanations on his illness and private life, plus the fact that Canarian Legal Alliance have never heard of Lance, does get the alarms bells ringing.
Sticking with Canarian Legal Alliance, this week they have announced the following:
Their lawyers have secured another 242,391.46€ on behalf of 6 clients, on the receiving end of this is Anfi Del Mar. These funds have been paid directly to the court of San Bartelomé de Tirajana in Maspalomas. The clients are: 2 from the United Kingdom, 2 from Norway and 2 from Germany.
This comes from the procedure put into place by CLA with a team of their senior lawyers Eva Guitierrez and Judith Diaz Pascual and Cristina Batista, enforcing provisional execution of sentence within 40 days of the judgement being issued. This means that once the judgement is issued the timeshare company must lodge the awarded amount with the court voluntarily or it will be enforced.
There is also another form of securing the funds which has just been enforced by the Court of First Instance No 4 in Maspalomas, which has placed an “Embargo” on Anfi accounts in respect of funds which are due to a German client. These embargoes allow the court to directly take the funds from those accounts and place them in the courts account ready to be paid out to the client.
These moves by CLA have been placed to ensure that funds due to clients are secured, even if the offending timeshare company is appealing. It also stops the timeshare companies from delaying the payouts, which has been the case in the past, now the clients know that their money is secure.
That’s it for today, if you have had any dealings with any company or individual such as Lance Steer, use our contact page and get in touch, we would love to hear from you. You can also contact Inside Timeshare if you require any information relating to your timeshare or any company that has contacted you.
Welcome to this week’s Letter from America, today Sheila Brust gives us an update to her previous article “Pencil Pitch”, again edited by Irene Parker.
It would seem that Darth Vader has sent in his Imperial Stormtroopers and Inside Timeshare is under attack from the dark side, no problem, the force of the good is with us. Keep your stories coming, the truth will always prevail!
Now on with this week’s Letter from America
An Update to Sheilah Brust’s Pencil Pitch
The Florida Timeshare Division told us,
“You have no Proof” and we were not allowed a rebuttal
Why is this not proof?
July 6, 2018
Introduction by Irene Parker
Many potential timeshare buyers have watched timeshare sales agents scribble timeshare promises on a piece of paper. Buyers are not allowed to keep a copy of the “Pencil Pitch” but Sheilah Brust managed to walk out with hers.
As you are aware, alleged verbal misrepresentations are very difficult to prove in light of the written documents and disclosures. In terms of evidence we rely on these documents to prove or disprove the allegations. The actions taken by other state agencies are not evidence of the alleged misrepresentations related to the sales transactions conducted in Florida. Based on our review, it did not appear that the information provided to you by the sales agents were false and misleading. Lack of clarity could be an issue but that in itself cannot be considered a violation. We are not surely, if the sales agent had voluntarily provided the hand-written notes or you had kept them on your own. If there are discrepancies between the notes and what was actually received in terms of points, we will address that issue.
By Sheilah Brust
My husband Thomas and I have been Diamond timeshare members since Diamond acquired our resort. Our original timeshare was purchased in 1994. Things were fine until we fell for the Pencil Pitch.
On February, 4, 2017, we attended an update meeting at Diamond’s Daytona resort The Cove. We wanted to attend the update because Diamond had been sold to Apollo Global Management. We are Platinum Diamond members so already had more points than we needed, but wanted to hear about the changes.
Diamond sales agent Brad Leslie said that he had just returned from training in Orlando and had learned about a new program that would allow us double point usage. We patiently followed Brad’s presentation. He wrote the numbers upside down. I remarked at how he could he do that. He said practice.
We feel Diamond must not understand the Pencil Pitch or they would cancel this purchase. I have learned Diamond retained the law firm Duane Morris to write a letter implying our article was defamatory. I have submitted this article as our rebuttal. We understand the figures we were presented. We were not confused. I have an accounting background. I wrote down everything Brad Leslie said.
Here’s the pitch. We hope you post a comment expressing your interpretation.
The actual Pencil Pitch is three pages long. Page 2 of the Pencil Pitch is based on 15,000 additional points instead of 25,000 points pictured above because we said no to 25,000 points. The numbers below reflect 65,000 points instead of 75,000. For those not familiar with the point system, a Diamond timeshare points sells for around $4 a point.
Timeshare members incur annual maintenance fees. For Platinum members the annual maintenance fee is $.15 per point, or $8,631 for the 50,000 points we owned before the purchase of 15,000 additional points.
From the original illustration above, to offset maintenance fees, on the right side of sheet, Brad said and wrote:
Own 75,000 points
Ability to get (Double Usage) 150,000 points – 50,000 points is what would be left for travel
100,000 points would be available for point redemption @ 10 per point through a Travel Reimbursement program. Brad told us to book hotels, etc., and then cancel the reservations. We would receive a reimbursement check back for $10,000. The 50,000 points tendered would not be credited back. Brad said we would be reimbursed via check in about 30 days or 72 hours if via a reloadable debit Visa card. Without the double points, this program is of no value. If we used all our 50,000 points for redemption at $.10 a point, we would receive a reimbursement check for $5,000 that would only pay $5,000 towards a $8,631 maintenance fee bill with no points left for travel.
Brad said we could use the reimbursement check to pay maintenance fees but he said he could not tell us that. He said, “It’s your money!”
Brad said we paid $8,631 in maintenance fees for 50,000 points in 2017. Following Brad’s logic, we could eliminate $8,000 of the increased $11,252 maintenance fee (due to the purchase of 15,000 additional points), by taking advantage of this new program.
65,000 own $8,631 current maintenance fees before 15,000
65,000 given 2,621 maintenance fees on the new 15,000
130,000 points $11,252 Total maintenance fees with new 15,000
50,000 if used 8,000 Less reimbursement check
80,000 left $3,252 Maintenance fees still owed
x $.10 reimbursed EXCEPT THERE WAS NO 65,000 POINTS GIVEN!
Brad said Diamond was working on a new member page for the new program that would have a split screen and that we would be able to see our newly acquired 15,000 points in the background. He said the 65,000 points “given” (Brad’s word) would also appear on a “split screen” on our member account page.
When I asked about the maintenance fees on the new 15,000 points, Brad said, “If you don’t use them you don’t pay maintenance fees on them.They will be kept in the background. If you want to use them then you will pay maintenance fees.”
I specifically asked Brad, “So if I had all 130,000 points reimbursed, they could all be redeemed for a check? Brad said, “Yes.”
I asked Brad why this program was developed. He said Diamond wanted to make sure we STAYED VACATIONED.
We met with Brad again in May 2017. Brad said the program had changed. Brad said Diamond was getting rid of the debit cards because there were problems. He said DRI was working on the split screen. He said now we would need to generate the reimbursement checks by participating in the Travel Reimbursement program. I was familiar with this program and had used it before. This was a benefit we already had as Platinum members, but only beneficial if we were to lose points. We feel Brad adulterated the Travel Reimbursement program, incorporating it into his February Pencil Pitch.
Brad’s reply to our complaint submitted to the Florida DBPR was that 15,000 points in the background was for a Dream Vacation. He said I was confused! Dream vacation points were not in any background account. They were added to our account February 17, 2017 so these could not have been the points in question. Brad sent us a $2,621 check to reimburse us the maintenance fees on the newly purchased 15,000 points. If it wasn’t for the NEW 15,000 points, we never would have gotten a $2,621 reimbursement check for the maintenance fees. Diamond representative Brandi said sales agents are allowed to reimburse members for their first year’s maintenance fees. Dream Vacation points don’t have maintenance fees.
Of course Brad was selling a double point program. He wrote down 130,000 and called the 65,000 points “given” points. I had told him that this program better be right because we are retired and living on fixed incomes and that we had NO extra money if he was not telling us the truth. His answer was that he hoped to rebuild our trust in Diamond. We had told him we had been duped previously, told we had to buy 4000 points to prevent our heirs from being stuck with Diamond points.
The CLARITY Promise: With this clear, concise and consistent information, consumers can easily determine whether the Diamond Resorts hospitality experience is the right decision for them and their families.
On April 5, 2018, we received a call from a DRI Hospitality agent. She said our complaint had been escalated to the legal team and they found no wrongdoing. This is part of what she said to us.
I definitely agree that your confusion of that process is warranted. I have spoken to our legal team and sales team and we agree the double point explanation is definitely something that could have been misconstrued or seen as confusing by members or purchasers.
We have made changes to the way that information is given at the time of sale but we have to say the stance we take on this is: because there may have been some confusion on how you may use those points to create a savings for yourself doesn’t make the explanation illegal.
As a result of this upsell and lack of clarity, we have less time to travel because we have to work to pay for the additional points that increased maintenance fees to $11,252. We have a loan with Diamond for $31,000 and $26,000 Barclay Card balance.
Brad charged on two Barclay Cards $14,000 in my name and $12,000 in Thomas’ name. He had us fill out a credit card application to see if we qualified for the new program. He returned and said, “Barclays loves you! You got $26,000 credit!” I was livid after I learned we had been charged these amounts. We could have used a different credit card that would have gotten us rewards points.
This whole deal was based on having 130,000 points using points at $.10 a point for a Travel Advantage reimbursement service taking advantage of 65,000 bonus points. You can book a lot of vacations with 50,000 points that would vastly exceed a measly reimbursement check for $5,000. You can stay a week for roughly 2500 to 5000 points. At an estimated 4000 points per week, about 12 weeks.
From the Arizona Attorney General’s Assurance of Discontinuance:
“Diamond shall enhance its programs, policies and training and continue to instruct and train its Vacation Counselors and Sales Managers to comply with the ACFA (Arizona Consumer Fraud Act). Diamond shall advise all Vacation Counselors and Sales Managers that they may not:
Sales agents should not deviate from sales material
Sales agents should not make oral representations at the point of sale inconsistent with the Purchase document.
Thank you Sheila for your candid story, it just amazes us that this type of sales practice still goes on, yet the companies involved deny all responsibility for their sales agents actions. In Europe timeshare is very much on the decline, partly due to the antics in the past of unscrupulous sales reps, not all I hasten to add, I do know many who abhor the deceitful practices and are genuine in their approach to selling the product. They believe that telling the truth sells the product.
We have said this on many occasions, timeshare was and could be a good product, it may not suit everyone but sold properly and truthfully will only strengthen it and give it a future.
So we say to all timeshare companies, get your house in order, reign in your sales agents / reps, stop these types of sleazy sales presentations, take control or you will lose a product that could work.
News has just come in from Canarian Legal Alliance of this weeks court cases, on the receiving end are Anfi in Gran Canaria once known as the flagship of timeshare resorts in Europe and Silverpoint in Tenerife.
The Court of First Instance in Maspalomas, Gran Canaria, has had NINE sentences passed against them this week. The clients will receive back all their money and have had their contracts declared null and void.
In Tenerife, Silverpoint, who are well known on these pages has lost another case in the Court of First Instance in Arona. Again the court ordered the return of all money and the contract declared null and void.
In total these 10 cases will cost these timeshare resorts over 325,112€ plus legal interest and in most cases the return of the client’s initial legal fees.
So the week ends with another “Black Cloud” hanging over the timeshare industry. Will they ever learn?
Inside Timeshare welcomes your comments and stories, if you would like to share these with the rest of the timeshare world, then use our contact page and get in touch.
So that is all for this week, join us on Monday for more news and views of the timeshare world, have a great, enjoyable and safe weekend.
Now we are in July the legal world will start to slow up in Spain, the courts are beginning to wind down for the August break, but there will still be some news as sentences are issued for cases previously heard.
In the Court of First Instance Number 4, in Maspalomas San Bartelomé de Tirajana, Anfi have been on the receiving end of a very severe sentence, this particular one shows the courts are not taking it lightly when timeshare companies break the law.
In this case Anfi have been ordered to payback double the amount paid within the cooling off period, this can range from 10 days to 90 days. The law states that no payment shall be taken within this cooling off period even by a third party such as a trustee, which many timeshare companies have tried to use to get around this law.
This follows the Supreme Court rulings which created jurisprudence in 2015 in favour of the clients. This has been confirmed many times in Spain’s highest court and has been followed judiciously by the lower courts.
The clients in this case have also had their contract declared null and void but will now receive over 63,000€ plus legal interest.
The Spanish Timeshare Law 42/98 has been in existence since 5 January 1999, yet until recently the timeshare companies thought they were immune, since March 2015 and the very first ruling by the Supreme Court, they have found they are not as powerful or immune from sanction as they thought. Now with around 124 rulings the odds are firmly stacked against all contracts which have infringed the law, leaving the timeshare companies to pay back millions of Euros to clients. (See PDF below for the full court sentence).
In further news from the Supreme Court, they finally issued their ruling in a case against Puerto Calma, in Gran Canaria. They have upheld previous judgement that the contracts which were issued were illegal under Spain’s Timeshare Law 42/98. This follows all other rulings from the highest court in Spain, declaring the contract null and void with the client being awarded over £11,000.
It looks like David Cox may have resurfaced, a new post has just gone up on his website, this lists “cases” won in court for his many clients since July 2017 upto April 2018. At first glance it does all look very impressive with the figure being shown, but it is when you actually start looking at the list the questions then begin.
Every single entry is worded the same, “Mr & Mrs X won damages, interest and costs in the amount of £xxxxx”.
There is no mention of which timeshare company, which court the case was held in and no mention of what the infringements of the timeshare laws had been. There is also no mention of which lawyers or law firm had conducted the cases.
Surely if you were looking for credibility you would show these details and the court sentence papers on at least some of the entries. So could it be as he has claimed of others that these are all Bogus?
Another fact which is rather disturbing is his companies adverts on the forum Timeshare Talk, which is owned by Mark Rowe. The reason this is disturbing is we all know that David Cox had a falling out with his former partner, posting many scathing comment about Mark Rowe companies, then they all disappeared!
Have they now kissed and made up, it certainly looks like it.
As usual we leave you the reader to make up your own mind.
If you want to know about any company that has contacted you or have found on the internet, then contact Inside Timeshare, we will help you get to the truth.
Join us tomorrow for our Friday’s Letter from America where we give you an update on “Sheilah’s Pencil Pitch” article, with an introduction by our very own Irene Parker.
First we take a look at the Criminal Action, this was proposed by the law firm Kaehler Abogados, he believed that what Resort Properties / Silverpoint were selling was classified as a fraud. This involved the selling of multiple timeshare weeks as “investments” in property, with a view to renting for an income and eventually going on the resale market with a return of around 15% to the purchaser.
As it turned out, the hundreds of consumers found out too late that what was actually happening was they were being continually upsold to higher standards of apartments / weeks. The reason they were given was what they had originally purchased was not selling as it was not what the market wanted. The only way to secure their “investment” was to pay even more money to upgrade to the better quality apartments.
Many of these transactions were funded with loan agreements brokered by Resort Properties / Silverpoint using Barclays Partner Finance agreements. The promise was that after two years the weeks would be sold and that would then cover the loan amounts and settle the agreements.
In reality this did not happen.
The first cases went to court and a long drawn out legal battle ensued, with the CEO Mark Cushway being indicted along with many managers and staff on charges of fraud. At the time it was dubbed as the largest fraud in timeshare history.
Unfortunately these cases floundered, Silverpoint successfully argued with the courts that these were property investments and not timeshare, therefore the purchasers were not consumers of timeshare but investors in property. As we know property can go down in value as well as up.
The courts at the time agreed, that these purchasers were buying into property investment, so they believed that no fraud had been committed.
At the same time the other school of thought was beginning to use the civil courts and the timeshare laws to pursue Silverpoint. The most notable case being that of Mrs Shirley Wilson, who instructed the proponent of civil action Miguel Rodriguez Cabellos to fight her case.
Mrs Wilson, argued that she at first believed she was investing in property, but it turned out it was in fact timeshare as there were maintenance fees attached along with other aspects of timeshare.
(Click on the link below to see the original trial)
Again a long drawn out legal battle was underway, with the case eventually going all the way to the Supreme Court.
Then in January 2017, the Supreme Court made its historic ruling, that what Resort Properties / Silverpoint had sold was indeed timeshare. That the purchasers were indeed consumers of timeshare and not “investors”, which also meant they now had the full protection of the timeshare laws.
For the hundreds of clients who had been part of the criminal action this was very good news, it now meant their cases could be converted to a civil action using the now many rulings on timeshare law from the Supreme Court.
Canarian Legal Alliance under Miguel and his team of lawyers were now responsible for representing these clients. They were offered the chance of converting their cases to the civil courts.
One of the first client to do so has now had his case heard and the courts have found in his favour, according to the rulings of the Supreme Court. The Court of First Instance No 5 in Arona, Tenerife has declared this clients contract null and void, his original claim was for 60,000€, the court has awarded him 88,113€.
This is obviously good news for the hundreds of clients who took part in the original criminal cases, they now have the chance to receive the justice they have for so long sought, with many of them having already converted to the civil action. So we can be sure that there will be many more stories such as this in the coming months.
Below is another link to a Youtube video which shows the then Sales Director David Taylor giving another “investor” the run a around.
In another twist, Silverpoint have another product which is very similar to the original “investments” deal, this they call the “Company Participation Scheme”. It is a very clever attempt to bypass the timeshare laws, although looking at the documentation it certainly looks like an advanced form of timeshare. More on this at a later date.
Inside Timeshare would like to thank CLA for the background information used in this article.
If you have any questions or comments about this or any article published, then use our contact page, we look forward to hearing from you.
The case was brought against Club la Costa Leisure Limited by CLA on behalf of their English clients. The main basis for the judgement was the contract did not have an end date, which made it a perpetuity one, this has been declared illegal under Spanish Timeshare Law 42/98, which states that contracts have a duration of between 3 and 50 years.
In this case the contract has been declared null and void, with the clients being refunded a total of £19,442 plus all their legal fees and legal interest.
It is quite clear that the lower courts are following the now 115 rulings made by the Supreme Court, which is good news for all clients who have cases pending or are considering filing claims.
Now for today’s article.
Resort Relief and Castle Law Group’s Tangled Web
Part I: How Haley Saldana Lost $3,495 retaining Resort Relief
Haley Saldana shares her Castle Law and Resort Relief experience
Introduction by Irene Parker
May 29, 2018
Former Silverleaf member Haley Saldana relates her frustration over a cycle of hopeful vacation promises that ended with a desperate need to get out. More consumer awareness is needed, so Haley has shared her story today hoping people ask the right questions before buying a timeshare or signing up to get out of one. It’s important to examine the reasons why people reach out to a timeshare exit company in the first place.
Inside Timeshare has heard from 431 mostly angry, overwhelmed, desperate timeshare members. They don’t know where to turn for straight timeshare answers. Most allege that they either bought or upgraded a timeshare from sales agents employing bait and switch tactics. If deceived, or just not understanding the nature of the product they purchased, they soon learn the challenges one faces attempting to be released from a timeshare contract, especially if there is an outstanding loan. The contract is perpetual, and the resort usually dismisses the member with a “You signed a contract.” Some state regulators second that response. With no other way out, the buyer seeks legal or third party assistance, or gets foreclosed. In Haley’s case, seeking third party assistance cost her $3,495 and she still got foreclosed!
Haley explains why she feels she was deceived into purchasing a Silverleaf upgrade. Unable to get help from Silverleaf, she contacted Resort Relief. Haley is 31 years old and her husband Louis, 34. Haley and Louis went from Silverleaf timeshare owner,to Resort Relief, to Castle Law, and ultimately to foreclosure.
Through public filings, we obtained depositions from two former Castle Law Group, P.C. employees. Their descriptions of what it was like to work for Castle Law will be the subject of Friday’s Letter from America.
By Haley Saldana
I contacted Resort Relief in 2016after being convinced to make a second Silverleaf timeshare purchase. In 2014 we had paid approximately $11,000 for our first Silverleaf timeshare. We had no problem affording this purchase.
We feel we were deceived into making the second Silverleaf purchase.We could not use the bonus time that went with the original purchase. At a members’ meeting we were told a second purchase or upgrade would give us more availability, but it did not. I contacted Resort Relief. Resort Relief set us up with Castle Law Group. We were charged $3,495 February 2016.
Castle Law Group told us if we talked to Silverleaf they would drop us and keep our money. I heard nothing until I talked to a guy at Castle in 2017. He said to keep not paying and again told us not to talk to Silverleaf. We had gotten a letter from Silverleaf that said we should contact them. We received a second letter from Silverleaf June 23, 2017that said if we do not pay them what we owed them, it would go against our credit, but we had been instructed not to talk to Silverleaf. By this time it had been well over a year since we had originally contacted Resort Relief February 2016.
I emailed Barb Holland from Castle Law the Silverleaf letter June 23, 2017.
Next, now almost two years later, we got a letter from Silverleaf January 26, 2018 saying that they were proceeding with foreclosure.
We notified Castle Law. Castle responded by letter informing us they no longer represent us because of a serious legal conflict with the organization that referred us to Castle Law Group (Resort Relief).
We contacted Resort Relief. Resort Relief owner Kevin Hanson told us, “I’m sorry, I lost $2 million because of Castle Law. He said that Castle Law Group came back to Resort Relief and said “Here are your clients. Castle Law Group is no longer representing Resort Relief clients.”
You would think Resort Relief would make things right since they were the ones that set us up with Castle Law. Instead, Mr. Hanson said if we pay Resort Relief $750 they will transfer our case to a local attorney. We lost the timeshare through foreclosure, and the $3,495 paid to Resort Relief/Castle Law. I have all the emails confirming this disaster.
Mr. Hanson said Baker & Britt is the local (Conroe Texas) law firm that is representing him (Resort Relief) against Castle Law Group.
On the creditor’s side of the fence, back in March 2017, I interviewed Kristie, an HOA collections agent. Kristie expressed her discomfort with Timeshare Exit Team andtimeshareattorney Mitchell Reed Sussman. Countering Kristie’s comments, timeshare attorney Mitchell Sussman Reed responded:
While I understand their position, the simple fact is that if the timeshare had any value at all….the resort should be thrilled to take it back so that they can resell it for a profit. Of course, since the timeshare is a liability and not an asset; the resorts refuse to take back what is essentially a lifetime financial obligation.
Senior citizens are especially vulnerable. When for health reasons or simply lack of income they are unable to utilize the timeshare the resorts have zero sympathy, refuse to take back the timeshare and then report the owner as a dead beat to the credit reporting agencies.
Shame on them, and bravo to any attorney willing to sue or otherwise punish the resort for taking advantage of the weak and infirm.
If a resort wants attorney’s in the field of timeshare cancellation to not feel as I do, they should simply agree to take back their timeshare when asked by their owner. Not by the attorney. Why should there have to even be attorneys in this field?
If timeshare resorts maintained a policy that would allow owners who are no longer willing and able to travel out of their timeshare, there would be no need for timeshare attorneys or timeshare transfer companies.
Here’s a complaint almost identical to Haley’s complaint!
We were sent a letter from Resort Relief where we were talked to about getting timeshare relief for the Timeshare we have through Silverleaf Resorts and was told that this service was a money back guarantee and that we were going to be able to get out of our timeshare once we paid the $4050.00. We… paid the monies and was referred to Castle Law Group who took the information and received all of our documents for them to proceed. I had no heard from the in sometime so I contacted Castle Law Group for a follow up. I was informed on September 11th that the law firm could no longer represent us due to a conflict of interest and referred me back to Resort Relief. I have been calling nonstop and no one is available to give me information or anything. I have stressed that I want my money back and I am getting tossed back and forth from Resort Relief back to Castle Law Group and back to Resort Relief. This has been stressful and I am not getting anything but a Reba will bet back to me and I haven’t heard anything and the worker that answers the phone Tyler doesn’t either and he knows its stuff going on and can’t tell me.
Thank you, Haley for sharing your disappointing experience after responding to a “Get you out of your timeshare or your money back” ad, powered by massive search engines seeking desperate timeshare members. It’s very difficult to reach Castle Law and when I tried calling Resort Relief I kept getting the busy signal.
Maybe it’s just me, but I find today’s timeshare product one of the most flawed products in history. First, members contacting us allege they were deceived into buying or upgrading a timeshare. When they complained to the resort, the resort dismissed them with, “You signed a contract.” The member is then driven into the net of a search engine, and contacted by someone that often is a former timeshare sales agent or executive. When we researched one questionable timeshare sales agent, we learned he had several open and closed LLCs with names like Vacation Planning. Hence, the sales agent dangled the bait, made the sale, the timeshare buyer victimized, the exit company next deceived them, and possibly by the very person who sold them the timeshare in the first place! Worse, one snoop removed from our advocacy Facebook, had in his background a company called, Timeshare Fraud Recovery. No question this meets the definition of racketing. The member is defrauded by an exit company and then contacted by the same people offering fraud recovery!
We’re not lawyers, so Haley and Louis would need to contact a reputable lawyer for an opinion as to where to go from here. Given what money has already gone down the drain, I can understand her reluctance to pursue this further. It’s a mess.
When a reader asks about an exit company, keeping an open mind, I contact the company, explaining one of our readers asked us whether we would recommend them. Often they hang up the phone after a few questions. Once I received a threat accompanied by a string of expletives. Three timeshare exit companies I contacted I feel are reputable and we have maintained communication in an effort to better understand this murky world of timeshare exits and transfers.
One timeshare insider provided us with this Timeshare User Groupforum (beginning November 2016). I can vouch for one of the licensed brokers mentioned, Judi Kozlowski. Judi has helped us out with a few of our articles.
I’m adding one more voice strongly recommending that you steer clear of any and every “exit / release / escape” entity — and to ignore meaningless BBB ratings.
You might consider “sweetening” the TUG “giveaway” by now additionally offering to pay the transfer fees — and maybe even the next maintenance fee bill as well (…said bill is likely already in hand at this time of year, or very soon en route to you). You’d still be mathematically “ahead” compared to paying any shaky upfront fee parasite, whoever they may be.
Finding a valid new recipient is infinitely more “clean” and legally conclusive than getting involved with (and/or paying) any upfront fee “exit / release/ escape”entity. Bear in mind that some of these entities are actually committing outright fraud by design …which could boomerang back around to you in the future.
Good luck, but do yourself a big favor and stay away from any and all of these alleged “escape artists”.
TUG Admin February 23, 2018
Looking at your ad, we see you are still asking for money for your Festiva timeshare.
You also don’t appear to be offering to pay closing costs as the seller.
Both of these factors are the reason you are having no success in selling your timeshare…not that fixing them will guarantee a buyer…but having them is certainly guaranteeing that the only folks interested in your ad…are upfront fee scammers.
(You are welcome; we just saved you thousands of dollars being thrown away for an upfront fee company)
Contact any of these independent self-help groups if you have a question or concern about your timeshare.
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 and Haley, this industry is in dire need of a major shake up and regulation, the periphery companies such as resale, terminations and claims are a product of the greed of the major developers, with the lack of a resale market and the inability to terminate membership.
If you have any questions or comments regarding this or any other article published on Inside Timeshare, use our contact page and we will get back to you.
Have you been contacted by a termination or claims company, or have found one on the internet and are not sure if they are genuine, then contact Inside Timeshare and we will help you to check them.
Remember, by doing your due diligence and your homework, you will save thousands in the end.
One of our regular readers has sent in a link to another website giving David Cox a bashing, it certainly looks like he has annoyed a lot of people. Well that is not surprising, he does attack anyone with his ranting lies and false information, all to try and give himself and his company TESS Paralegal Services Ltd credibility.
This website which was registered at the end of March, is hard hitting and well written, the author or authors who have remained anonymous for obvious reasons, also seem to have a sense of humour.
It goes on to vilify his writing skills or rather lack of, calling him “Dyslexic Dave” and “David “The Dunce” Cox”, but it also explains that he is also under investigation by Avon & Somerset Police due to his dealings with Mark Rowe and Monster Credits. The article also asks the question why his rants against Monster have been removed from his website, after all he did even attack his former partner.
Inside Timeshare knows he has been sent legal notice of action to remove his posts, as yet no response from him has been received by Inside Timeshare or any of the other parties involved. No new posts have been published since the end of March, he just seems to have melted away into the shadows where he belongs.
He has duped timeshare owners all over the UK first with his ownership of the Timeshare Consumer Association, which was once run by the late and esteemed Sandy Grey, then using that platform to enhance his own business TESS. The people we feel sorry for are the poor consumers who have been taken in by this charlatan.
Click on the link below and have a bit of a laugh.
The Barrister for CLA has received the payment and this is now being transferred to the clients personal account. This is not the full amount as the court are still calculating other sums due the client.
It is obvious from this, the courts are taking a dim view at Silverpoints continual delaying tactics, which has resulted in delays and considerable court time in chasing up. There is also a system of embargoes which the court can enforce, this will freeze assets and bank accounts, allowing the court to withdraw the funds at their will.
Canarian Legal Alliance have also set into place a system where they now have lawyers whose task is to file these embargoes with the court and enforce the settlement in favour of their clients.
Silverpoint have a history of delaying and this is a clear warning from the courts that they will no longer tolerate this behaviour. It is a good sign for the many client that have cases against this company, speeding up the return of their money.
The scam is very simple and they are very adept at making consumers believe them.
The call comes from a woman (possibly Dutch) called Hope Brugge, in her call she seems to know many details, that the case is going to be heard in court the following day. The next call is to say that the court has found in the client’s favour and awarded Ex amount.
To have this money released the client needs to send an amount via bank transfer to an account in the name of an individual, they are using numerous accounts and names.
This is also backed up by fake but official looking paperwork, do not be taken in by them, if you do have a case with a law firm, contact them for verification before engaging with Hope Brugge and paying any money.
This is a very well laid out fraud.
If you have any questions or comments about this or any article published, then use our contact page and we will get back to you.
Been contacted by a company, found one on the internet and not sure if they are genuine, then ask Inside Timeshare, we will point you in the right direction.
In this case the court ruled on several infringements of the law 42/98, thus the court ruled that the contract was declared null and void with the client to receive a total of £44,790 which included double the deposit taken illegally on the day. (See PDF of sentence below)
The EU Timeshare Directive 2008/122/EC which supersedes previous one along with the Spanish law states that no deposit shall be taken within the 14 day cancellation period (cooling off) even by a third party.
It is also stipulated that the consumer must also be informed of this prohibition in writing, failure to do so along with other information required by law, extends the cooling off period to 90 days. The courts are penalising resorts by paying the consumer double the amount taken within that period.
We have seen some sales decks using the method of issuing a voucher for accomodation, or even moving the purchaser into the resort and stating the payment was for accomodation, the courts have determined that this is indeed a payment to a third party to secure the sale, so is classified as a deposit.
Up until January 1999 most contracts were in what is known as perpetuity, or never ending. It was thought that as the original concept of timeshare was looked at as property, perpetuity appeared to be good thing. The law makers decided that contracts should be for a minimum of 3 years with a maximum of 50 years.
The thinking behind this was simple, it was felt that it is inherently unfair to saddle the children of purchasers with an ongoing debt for maintenance on a contract they did not instigate or sign.
The idea of “floating weeks & points” systems was made illegal due to the fact that they lacked any substance. With the fixed week system each purchaser was given a specific week number and apartment number. This was then logged at the land registry, this also had the effect of stopping overselling and guaranteed the purchaser a specific week in a specific apartment.
With the floating weeks and points systems you own nothing apart from a right of use which is subject to availability. You became a member of a vacation club rather than an owner with specific rights.
The sales of these were not governed to the same extent, therefore the resort was able to double, triple or even quadruple its membership. In other words have more members than actual weeks available, so actually being able to get your preferred date became a lottery.
It also has the advantage of more income in regard to maintenance fees, so obviously more profit!
There are other laws which are also being used in bringing these cases, they range from Civil Consumer Laws, Mercantile law and Criminal Law. All this is to protect the consumer and regulate an industry that for many years did what it liked, believing it could not be touched.
See PDF’ below for the English & Spanish version of Law 42/98 and EU Directive 2008/122/EC
There are many companies springing up now who will tell you that you do have a claim, many will entice you with a “no win no fee” offer. But then in order to do this you must first pay for a cancellation, this will cost thousands and as many of our readers have since found out, their contracts have not been terminated.
At present the only country in Europe that is seeing cases going to court is Spain, so unless your purchase was in Spain after January 1999, with the main criteria as above, then you may not actually have a claim possible.
If you have been contacted or have found one of these companies on the internet, it is important that you do your homework and check them out thoroughly. If you need any help in doing this then contact Inside Timeshare and we will point you in the right direction.
Inside Timeshare has received information from one of our readers involving Silverpoint in Tenerife, it is to do with the so-called “Company Participation” scheme they have been selling.
In this scheme, the clients for considerable amounts of money, in many cases in excess of more than 150,000€, clients purchase not shares but “participations” in companies set up to hold “freehold” apartments, which will then be rented out by Excel Resorts. (Allegedly).
Having seen the documents for this scheme, it doesn’t leave much to the imagination that they are not in the best interest of the clients.
This reader has been contacted by Ali Farhoud one of Silverpoints sales people by email, in this he tells the client what we already know, that Excel Resort Management have cancelled the rental contract with Silverpoint.
This does look like Silverpoint are no longer in a position to generate a sufficient rental income to satisfy their contractual promise to their clients who have purchased the participation scheme.
Apparently Mr Farhoud told our reader that he had helped clients sell their apartments with genuine sales companies. But he also added that many companies had said that the apartments with leases concluded with Excel were not saleable.
He has taken on the services of a lawyer, (we wonder if it is the same one Silverpoint use), on behalf of the clients and that the necessary Power of Attorney was being sought from the clients.
Having studied this scheme and reading the documentation, it is Inside Timeshares opinion that extreme caution should be exercised before signing any power of attorney. Do not rely on any lawyer appointed on your behalf, as with any business or property transaction you should always engage your own independent legal advice.
Continuing with our David Cox/ TESS theme, we have just been told that it looks like Mr Cox is about to retire and that he is trying to find a buyer for his pathetic excuse of a company TESS Para Legal Ltd! To be perfectly honest who would purchase any company that has been associated with this individual?
It also begs the question where is this going to leave all his clients?
You have seen the list of his history with different companies, not the most impressive CV with many leaving debts in their wake!
He also seems to be a bit of a delusional character, a Walter Mitty if you like, according to Company House records he is Director of the following company:
According to the records the company is listed with its activities as:
80300 – Investigation activities
82990 – Other business support service activities not elsewhere classified
So does this mean he is also a “Private Detective”?
The address given is also very interesting, according to Google Maps and Street View, it is comprised of two rather large detached houses, number 39 and then number 41, two separate properties.
According to Zoopla, number 39 has a value of £411,000 and was last sold in August 2007. Number 41 has nothing listed for price or when last sold.
So either the registered address for his company is the two homes, or he has not been economical with the truth when registering his company!
On that point we leave it for you the reader to decide!
The Court of First Instance No 2, in Maspalomas, Gran Canaria, has just issued the following sentence. Anfi have been ordered to repay one of their clients a total of 70,000€ plus legal interest, with the contract being declared null and void. The infringement of the law in this particular case is the length of the contract, it was one in perpetuity, when the law only allows for a maximum period of 50 years.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding any part of this article, or would like to know where you stand with any product purchased, then use the contact page and get in touch.
Have you been called or found a company on the internet and want to know if they are genuine, then contact Inside Timeshare and we will point you in the right direction.
Yesterday Canarian Legal Alliance published in their news section a case study of a recent trial, nothing unusual there, except this had a rather different twist. This particular trial was dealt with at the pre-trial stage rather than the full trial, the venue was the Court of First Instance No 1 in Maspalomas, the lawyer representing the clients was Judith Diaz Pascual of CLA.
The pre-trial is a formality where the defending party may argue why the case should not be accepted, it is also a point where the judge will ask if there is a possibility of a settlement out of court. Usually the judge will then decree that a full trial date be set, with the defendants demanding the appearance of the clients.
As there was no agreement that day Anfi, the defendants, asked for a full trial to take place with the clients in attendance, CLA lawyers argued that this was not necessary as the case and infringements of the timeshare laws was based on documentation, so there was no need for a trial or for the clients give testimony. The judge agreed, he stated that he would issue a resolution after the preliminary hearing, three days later the judgement was issued.
The judge concluded that due to the infringements which included, floating weeks and the taking of deposits within the cooling off period, the contract was declared null and void. Anfi were also ordered to repay over 49,000€ which included double the deposit paid, the court also awarded legal interest.
Apparently this is now becoming more common, it is not the first case to be dealt with at the preliminary stage, it will only be a matter of time before more judges decide that this is the best course. After all the cases are based on the contracts and documents, if the timeshare company has sold floating weeks or points, the contract is longer than 50 years and any payment taken within the cooling off period, these are breaches of the law, so why prolong the issue with a full trial?
Yesterday we again published information concerning TESS and David Cox, keeping a check on his website, he has still not published anything about any subject since his last defamatory article on 29 March. We just wonder if this could be a sign that TESS is going the same way as those companies highlighted in yesterday’s article?
Now for our Letter from America.
Gad and Noreen Liebmann, Army Veterans
An Open Letter to Diamond Resorts CEO Michael Flaskey
April 20, 2018
We are one of 29 Diamond Platinum Member Families Up-sold alleging we were defrauded
A Diamond Daytona sales agent’s response to Gad and Noreen:
While picketing yesterday one of the salesman came down to talk to us. He brought some water and wanted to “thank us” for picketing. He claimed that our presence increased their sales. He also told us that we could have more effect by working as greeters at Walmart and using the money earned to help pay our dues.
Inside Timeshare has received 375 Diamond Resorts complaints from our readers, Diamond members alleging they were sold or up-sold by fraud. Families are devastated. Platinum member #29 contacted us April 16, 2018, a disabled Vietnam veteran, age 71. He says they were told by a Florida Mystic Dunes sales agent if they purchased additional points it would take care of maintenance fees. Now they too are forced to foreclose or walk away from their points. We hope AARP takes note.
A Diamond Vice President’s response to Joshua Parker:
“We are not responsible for what our sales agents say”4/5/18
The Diamond CLARITY TM Promise:
Accountability, Transparency and RESPECT for the customer
A Quote from CEO Michael Flaskey:
“Clarity seeks to build on Diamond’s already impressive standing with its members. Almost 70% of the company’s sales are to existing members seeking to increase their Diamond resorts vacation memberships,” said Mr. Flaskey.
Mr. Flaskey, We are one of 29 Platinum member families alleging we were upsold by fraud. We have been Diamond members for 20 years, but we made the mistake of believing Brad Leslie at Daytona Beach Regency. So did Sheilah and Thomas Brust. We did not know about Diamond’s official policy, “We’re not responsible for what our sales agents say.” What kind of accountability, transparency and RESPECT for your customer is that? There are over 1,200 members on our Diamond Resorts Owners Advocacy Facebook, many alleging fraud.
Josh Parker is an Iraqi veteran. Josh says he was told his points are an investment and would be easy to sell. Now, expecting twins, a high risk pregnancy, they have learned the truth, so will in all likelihood have to suffer through 180 days of endless collections calls. Josh is 90% disabled, a combat veteran. Josh’s YouTube:
My wife Noreen and I have been protesting outside Daytona Regency for the last month. We are Platinum Diamond members. We own 96,000 Diamond points only because we bought an additional 25,000 points to take advantage of a program that did not exist. We are not confused. Sheilah and Thomas Brust are not confused. Sheilah has an accounting background. Sheilah Brust does not get numbers confused.
We had purchased eight Diamond contracts over 20 years and had been happy Diamond members until Daytona sales agent Brad Leslie sold us 25,000 points November 22, 2017, we allege by fraud. Brad told us that if we purchased 25,000 additional points for $70,000 we would get additional benefits. He showed us how using these benefits, we might not have to pay more maintenance fees if we used the same amount of vacation time. What Brad Leslie neglected to tell us was that we were already eligible for these benefits. He knew this. The calculations shown to us were false. Sheilah has a copy of Brad’s “Pencil Pitch” promising her double points. He also claimed that we could recover the cost of the additional points after 10 years. This was also false. Brad made it sound like these were new benefits that could only be obtained by purchasing additional points. Brad said that we would be even on the $70,000 within ten years if we only booked through Value Getaways. When we returned home we learned booking vacations using Valued Getaway and Point Saver were already available to us.
We appealed to the local DRI marketing VP. He was unsympathetic. A call to Michael Flaskey, CEO, who leaves his card at every front desk, got a response from a lady who offered to allow us to give back some of the points we purchased in the past, lowering the dues but not eliminating the latest purchase. In other words, give back points we already paid for, requiring us to pay the company $70,000 after being sold points we didn’t need because of a convoluted scam. We may be older, but we’re not stupid.
We feel we meet the FBI definition of white-collar crime, “deceit, concealment, violation of trust, bait and switch”, in addition to Elder Abuse.
Many Diamond members feel there is no timeshare enforcement in Florida. The Arizona Attorney General opened an investigation after receiving hundreds of Diamond complaints, just in Arizona, accusing DRI of violating the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act. They did not turn Diamond members away because “Diamond is not responsible for what Diamond sales agents say.”
Veteran Teresa Laird is planning to protest outside DRI Polo Towers. DRI sales agents tried to sell her dad, at age 83, in a wheelchair dozing off, a recipient of two Purple Hearts, $234,000 in additional DRI timeshare points.
There is little to no regulatory enforcement because the Attorneys General in Nevada and Florida dismiss complaints, also falling back on the oral representation clause, or in Nevada at the Nevada Real Estate Division, “You have no proof”, so there is nothing to stop timeshare fraud.
From the Florida Attorney General’s Timeshare Division DBPR
Timeshare developers are required to provide full and meaningful disclosures to purchasers in the documents they are required to deliver to them including the public offering statement, sales contract, and all supplemental documents at the point of sale. A document called“Acknowledgment of Representations”or “Purchaser’s Understanding”or a similar document provides the disclosures which each purchaser initials and signs at the time of purchase and it contains all the relevant information about the timeshare product. A developer heavily relies on these documents to refute any claims by a purchaser regarding the alleged misrepresentations. Therefore, in light of these written documents, it is very difficult to prove the allegations raised in the complaint.
We are veterans in our late 70’s and two of 40 active duty or veteran military and law enforcement timeshare members alleging we have been defrauded by timeshare sales agents. Several are in danger of losing their Security Clearance.
LICENSED timeshare resale brokers will not even accept a Diamond listing feeling it would be a waste of their time and your money, due to restrictions Diamond places on the use of secondary points LTRBA members feel are too restrictive. Sheilah and Josh contacted Florida LTRBA members. None would accept a Diamond listing. Scammers have no problem taking your upfront money.
The Florida Timeshare Division, DBPR, and Diamond’s Transition department send members on a wild goose chase to contact a real estate broker, but legitimate brokers won’t accept a Diamond listing, because they are honest.
A Diamond member talked to a Diamond Transition’s specialist:
I tried last night to speak with someone in Financial Services with no luck. I tried again today as well but the phone just rings and rings. I did speak with Tiffany Davis in Transitions and she said our maintenance fees would have to be paid in order to do the Transitions program. She then said that I didn’t have to do Transitions – if I wanted to gain anything from my Timeshare that I should speak to a real estate agent to get it sold. I said I was unaware this could even be done. Tiffany said “Oh, absolutely, if you don’t want to just relinquish it, you can sell it”.
From the Arizona Attorney General’s Assurance of Discontinuance:
“Diamond shall enhance its programs, policies and training and continue to instruct and train its Vacation Counselors and Sales Managers to comply with the ACFA (Arizona Consumer Fraud Act). Diamond shall advise all Vacation Counselors and Sales Managers that they may not:
Sales agents should not deviate from sales material
Sales agents should not make oral representations at the point of sale inconsistent with the Purchase document.
Afraud is an intentionally false representation made with the intent to mislead the listener, and that the listener relied on “to her detriment.”
The first part means that fraud must involve an intentional lie. If you truly believe you’re telling the truth and end up being wrong, that doesn’t qualify.
That doesn’t excuse willful denial or ignorance of the truth. If you should have known the truth or could easily have discovered it before telling the lie, it could still be a problem.
The second part is about the liar’s intention. A lie that you don’t mean anyone to take seriously, such as a joke or hyperbole, wouldn’t constitute fraud.
When it comes to proving intent for fraud, courts often look at what the liar could gain if someone believes the lie. If the liar benefits from someone believing and acting on the lie, that tends to show intent.
The legal analysis will also rely on context. A lie while you’re trying to sell your house is more likely to result in a lawsuit than a lie told over drinks at a bar. Those are obvious examples, but there are many situations in between where the line isn’t so easy to see.
The third element is whether the lie actually caused harm.
If the listener believed the lie, acted as if it were true, and suffered some kind of injury because of that belief, then there may be some liability for fraud.
Injury can mean actual physical harm or financial loss. In general, emotional “pain” isn’t enough to build a case for fraud.
In general, anything other than a white lie (like how nice your spouse looks) should be avoided. Remember, a lie runs the risk of becoming fraud if you expect the listener to act on the lie. Keeping it honest isn’t just a good personal policy; it’s a sound legal strategy too.
For timeshare buyers, the customer is always wrong because they signed a contract. And no one cares. Inside Timeshare has heard from 131 Diamond members alleging fraud since January 1. The company does not respond to requests for comment.
Thank you Gad and Noreen, you have the support and thoughts of many timeshare owners not just in the US but also from across the great lake in Europe and beyond, also thanks to Irene once again for taking the time to edit these articles.
If you have any questions, comments or need to find information on any company mentioned here or that has contacted you then use our contacts page and we will point you in the right direction. Remember doing your homework saves you money!
Well the weekend is once again upon us and Inside Timeshare hopes that you have an enjoyable and relaxing weekend.
Today another company has come to our attention which is cold calling timeshare owners, this one is called Timesure Solutions Limited. According to Company House records they are based at:
Suite 7, The Business Centre, Edward Street, Redditch, Worcestershire, England, B97 6HA
Which is a familiar address from the past.
They have the company number 10022303, they were registered on 23 February 2016. The director is one Brian Carr, a name which is very familiar from previous posts, but it is just coincidence as this one is 60 years old not 31 like the Brian Andrew Carr who has just been jailed for fraud.
The interesting fact is that he also has 2 other companies:
Convert a Garage Ltd (10470650) registered in November 2016, with the address:
The Business Centre, Edward Street, Redditch, England, B97 6HA it also has an active proposal to strike off.
It must also be said that David Cox of TESS published an article headed “Timesure Solutions Jailed For Fraud” on 26 February 2018, the unfortunate thing is he actually got it wrong, it was actually “Simple Property Marketing Solutions”, The wrong company and the wrong Brian Carr!
So once again we have a company contacting owners regarding cancellation and claims, remember do your homework first.
Now for some news from the courts in Gran canaria.
There have been 4 sentences issued at the Court of First Instance in Maspalomas, all involve Anfi del Mar. All contracts have been declared null and void with the courts awarding in total 137,988€
There has also been news of another client receiving a massive 37,979€ into their bank account, this payout is from Anfi, who still insist that these claims do not exist.
News just arrived from the Court of First Instance number 1, again in Maspalomas, the judge has declared another Anfi contract null and void, awarding the the sum of 32,980€ plus legal interest back to the client.
Contrary to what David Cox and his company TESS want you to believe, these cases are real, yesterday we showed you where they can be found. These cases are a matter of public record, so what would be the point in making them up. Mr Cox, you are deluded if you think you can convince people you are telling the truth, all you are doing is destroying yourself and that can’t come soon enough!
Join us tomorrow for Fridays Letter from America, have a good evening.