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Enforcement Programme

The Mid Week Report

Welcome to The Mid Week Report, today we highlight a some of the breaking news in the world of timeshare, first we have some news from the High Court of Justice in London, regarding ITRA or International Timeshare Refund Action.

On 30th January 2019, the High Court wound up the company ITRA, this followed many cases brought against them in various courts around the UK from many clients who paid for services to extricate them from timeshare contracts and claim compensation.

This case brought before the High Court was made by a couple that had previously taken ITRA to court. Their grounds in the original case were unlawful conduct which involved misrepresentations and failure to provide the promised services. The services were relinquishment of the timeshare contract and a claim for compensation. It turns out even though the couple had won their case, ITRA failed to refund the money paid for the services as ordered by the courts.

ITRA were by no means unknown by the UK authorities, they had been investigated on many occasions for being involved in various deceptions. The UK authorities named them as being the main instigators of a classic bait & switch tactic, where consumers were invited to meetings for legal assistance. They were then sold concierge services or holiday club, which has also been described as leisure credits.

INTERNATIONAL TIMESHARE REFUND ACTION LIMITED (ITRA) _ Petitions to Wind Up (Companies) _ The Gazette

As far as the relinquishments are concerned, it is well known that many of the timeshare resorts did not recognise these, a case in point is our own Mrs B, who paid ITRA many thousands of pounds to relinquish her Dona Lola timeshare. As we know, ITRA transferred the timeshare to a named person for the nominal sum of 1 euro. MacDonald Resorts have never recognised this transfer, and Mrs B is still being threatened with court action for maintenance arrears, she is 90 years old!

This news was broken by Timeshare Business Check, which is part of KwikChex, funded by the Resorts Development Organisation (RDO). Which we know that it is their own members who did not recognise any of the transfers, if indeed ITRA did actually do them. In a way it is the industry that has brought about this sorry state of affairs where timeshare consumers can be taken in by companies such as ITRA.

As for KwikChex, Inside Timeshare published an article about them and Chris Emmins the director, in March 2016. This was when they were awarded the contract to take over from the discredited Alberto Garcia, who directed the Enforcement Programme along with mindtimeshare on behalf of the RDO, forming Timeshare Business Check and the “Timeshare Taskforce” (bit of a hollywood name). You will see from the article that Chris Emmins does not have a very good track record as a director.

Chris Emmins KwikChex

http://insidetimeshare.com/kwikchex-chris-emmins/

We now move on to the trial of the late  John “Goldfinger” Palmer associates at the Audiencia Nacional, National Court in Madrid, highlighted in previous articles, (links below).

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 defendants in court

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.

Paul Murry, Keith Peter Davies, Neil Campbell Lockie and Dean Wells, all involved in supporting Palmer’s business when he was jailed in the UK, face 10 months for illicit association and 10 months for fraud.

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.

Link to news report in Canarias7.

https://www.canarias7.es/siete-islas/tenerife/la-fiscalia-rebaja-a-24-meses-la-pena-maxima-por-el-fraude-de-la-multipropiedad-de-john-palmer-en-canarias-IC6510831?fbclid=IwAR093WufWmxBrdd8-pAd7sbEmeubBSdeDvPviPvruPS6CgSKNNJB90rN_t8

Links to previous articles.

http://insidetimeshare.com/start-the-week-associates-of-john-goldfinger-palmer-now-in-court/

http://insidetimeshare.com/update-the-john-goldfinger-palmer-saga/

Canarian Legal Alliance has announced the following, which will be good news for their clients.

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 
  • 18 appeals
  • 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.

TATOC: Is The End Now Upon Them!

Well, well, well, the news for consumers just keeps getting better, TESS announced on their website yesterday, Wed 3 May, that Harry Taylor’s crusading enterprise TATOC is finished.

They are now being placed into administration, as TESS put it “TATOC is bankrupt, insolvent and unable or unwilling to pay its debts if and when due”.

Inside Timeshare published the photograph of Harry Taylor receiving a cheque of $30,000 from ARDA, this was ostensibly for their helpline, as it was said they were helping owners of American Timeshare. This information was supplied by our US readers before it was announced publicly by TATOC.

image1 (1)
Howard C. Nusbaum, RRP President and Chief Executive Officer Handing the cheque to Harry Taylor

We also know that recently TATOC has been losing support from its long standing industry allies, namely the RDO and Silverpoint. These are the ones we know about, how many more have been fleeing the nest or reducing their membership contributions, without us knowing about it.

This is another of the self proclaimed TIMESHARE CONSUMER CHAMPIONS falling by the way side and being totally discredited.

Along with TATOC, there was Alberto Garcia, another “Timeshare Consumer Champion”, again funded by the industry, primarily by the RDO. He was made head of the “Enforcement Programme”, (very Hollywood), along with his website mindtimeshare, he waged a war against any company or individual that threatened the industry.

Alberto-garcia-2
A Rare Photo of Alberto Garcia

He may have highlighted the most dubious of enterprises, but he made it his mission to destroy by any means possible, not only the downright dirty, but also those companies that were genuine, including respected and practicing lawyers and law firms.

This culminated in his fabrication of evidence to destroy the Arguineguin law firm CLA, even to presenting statements to the National Police that these lawyers were part of a “Criminal Gang”. He alleged that they were extracting money from people for court cases they could never win, yet still took them on.

All this has been proven to be false, the law firm is thriving and beating the industry on behalf of consumers from the lower courts right up to the Supreme Court.

TATOC have duped organisations including the Citizens Advice Bureau into believing they were on the side of timeshare consumers, so they advised people with timeshare problems to go to TATOC. What did TATOC do? Send them back to the timeshare company they had the problem with.

A very good example of the way Harry Taylor and TATOC have behaved is their unwavering support of MacDonald Resorts, (even the RDO has had nothing to do with them since 2005). Harry Taylor extolled and fully supported MacDonald’s moved to take away from all fixed week owners their weeks and moving them into a points system. He even went on to say it was in the best interests of owners, regardless of the fact that fixed week owners had more rights than points club members. This effectively transferred ownership of the resort from the members to MacDonald’s. There is an ongoing legal battle by these owners against MacDonald Resorts.

tatoc logo    mcdonaldsresortlogo

Another example which Inside Timeshare has been highlighting and fighting for almost a year, is the case of our Mrs B. She went to TATOC because MacDonald Resorts did not accept that she had legally transferred her Doña Lola week to another person using the services of another firm. She has been and still is  being chased by MacDonald’s through a debt collecting agency for maintenance arrears, (aged 87). TATOC told her to speak to MacDonald’s and even directed her to Alberto Garcia to report the firm she had dealt with as “bogus”, all because they were not RDO or TATOC affiliated. The case is still going.

Harry Taylor has lost credibility, reputation and now his little empire, this can only be good for the owners, unfortunately, unconfirmed news from our contacts across the pond is not very promising. It is reported that the one and only, serial failed director Chris Emmins of Kwikchex, Timeshare Business Check and the RDO’s Timeshare Taskforce, (replacing the enforcement programme, still trying to sound hollywood or pseudo legal), is set to take over the resurrected and saved TATOC, (if that does happen).

task force
The Timeshare Taskforce

 

We have said it before and we will say it again, the only way timeshare owners can be represented properly is to have their own association which is not funded or controlled by the industry. The only problem is the industry is very good at sending in the infiltrators.

So there we have it, great news for some but devastating news for others, as the news comes in we shall be reporting it here. So watch this space!

Since we went to press the NTOA are very surprised at this news, here is their response: “The NTOA has worked with TATOC in identifying a number of rogue resale and secondary market companies over the past several years. To that end, our staff has shared intelligence and best practices for consumers or foreign purchasers of timeshare intervals. We have always considered TATOC a partner in the war on resale fraud.” 

TATOC “The Butcher of Consumer Rights”-is in Administration

 

The RDO: Does it Protect Consumers?

There are many trade associations which have been setup to represent the interests of their particular industry, but also to ensure that the public / consumer is also protected. So what about the timeshare / holiday ownership industry?

 

The trade body for this industry is the RDO, Resort Development Organisation, formerly the OTE, Organisation for Timeshare in Europe. It purports to represent the interests of resorts, developers, resale companies and consumers. But there seems to be a problem, it will not investigate any of it’s own members, even when there have been blatant breaches of regulations and their own codes of conduct. (see link: Tenerife Court Rules)

 

It is well known there are many cases going through the courts against RDO members, but nothing from this organisation acknowledging the fact. Look at the RDO website, the news section carries not one word about the 21 Supreme Court Rulings made against at least 3 of it’s members. The latest being another against Anfi, a long standing member of the RDO, yet again the RDO says nothing. (see CLA links)

 

At present one law firm has over 2000 cases at various stages of preparation going to court against RDO members, again nothing from the RDO apart from denials that any infringement of the laws have taken place. In other words don’t worry boys we will put a spin on this and protect you.

 

Only recently, Holiday Club Finland and Palm Oasis (Tasolan SL) have had rulings made against them, the RDO has said nothing. You the consumer are being kept in the dark, according to the RDO the judges have got it wrong, (even when they are unanimous decisions by a panel of 12 judges). They say these cases are not genuine, they are frivolous and even indicated that anyone winning a case will be liable to pay for all the holidays taken. Hang on, have you not already paid for them with maintenance fees? (see link: RDO Trying to Scare Anfi Owners)

albert

What is the mission of the RDO?

 

To put it simply, to ensure the interests of their members are served. They state they have a code of conduct and ethics, one of which is all members shall abide by any laws in the country in which they operate. This also includes the EU Directives on Timeshare. Yet for years they have ignored the fact their own members are operating outside of the law. According to their website they have a consumer policy which allows consumers to file complaints against its members. But in another paragraph they clearly state they will not mediate in any dispute and the consumer must first try to deal directly with the member concerned.

 

The RDO has even had the audacity to complain that newspaper articles about it´s members are poorly researched. A little snipe at Tony Hetherington who highlighted several cases of the bad practices of the industry and in particular another member of the RDO, MacDonald Hotels and Resorts. (see link: A new member)

 

In the past the RDO setup “The Enforcement Programme”, this was run by one Alberto Garcia and was called Mindtimeshare. It attacked any company that was not an RDO member, while protecting any company that was. This was highlighted several years ago by one Mrs Wilson, she approached Mindtimeshare for help with a dispute against Resort Properties / Silverpoint. Mindtimeshare failed miserably, she eventually took her case to court using the services of a Canarian law firm. She won her case for being sold several timeshare weeks as an investment which failed to materialise. Mindtimeshare has since been discredited and Alberto Garcia was forced out.

 

They have also set up another initiative called Timeshare Task Force, this is being overseen by Kwikchex, a company which also runs Timeshare Business Check. Again just like Mindtimeshare it targets any company that is not a member of the RDO. They have along with the RDO made out they have a legal authority to check on any business, then if that business fails to respond to their enquiries, (which it does not have to) negative comments are placed on the website. The overall picture is they are trying to look like a Pseudo Police Force without any official mandate. The company itself is run by a man who does not have a very good track record. (see link: Kwikchex)

 

Inside Timeshare has published many articles on the RDO, each time highlighting their failure to help the consumer. Each article even suggests that an independent body separate from the industry should be setup to ensure compliance and protection for the consumer.

 

Until the RDO recognises the fact they are protecting a discredited industry, failing to act against infringements by their own members, timeshare is going to remain a dirty word. The industry only has itself to blame and at the helm is the RDO.

 

http://insidetimeshare.com/tenerife-court-rules-silverpoint-responsible-resort-properties/

 

http://insidetimeshare.com/rdo-trying-scare-anfi-timeshare-owners/

 

http://insidetimeshare.com/kwikchex-chris-emmins/

 

http://insidetimeshare.com/new-member-egtbw/

 

http://www.canarianlegalalliance.com/visit-from-one-of-our-supreme-court-victors/

 

http://www.canarianlegalalliance.com/anfi-supreme-court-21/

 

http://www.canarianlegalalliance.com/cla-supreme-court-success-against-puerto-calma/