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Holiday Club

Friday’s Letter from America

Welcome to this week’s Friday’s Letter from America, it is not the article we originally planned as other events have taken over.

Firstly since Irene sent this article we have received some very sad news, Irene’s brother has sadly passed away. Inside Timeshare, along with all our readers and contributors, the staff at Canarian Legal Alliance send our deepest sympathies and condolences to Irene and all her family. Our thoughts are with you.

condolences

As we said last month, the time has come when all the new companies and some of the older ones will start to contact timeshare owners. This is usually the time it starts as the annual maintenance bills are starting to come through the post.

Inside Timeshare has been receiving many requests for information on these, most are for so called claims. It is surprising how many owners are being told that they have a claim for miss-selling, even though they purchased in places like Mexico.

Appointments at various offices around the UK are being arranged, but beware, these “claims” will result in either the purchase of another product, the offer of relinquishment and then a claim on a no win no fee basis. This will cost thousands of pounds, the claim will more than likely be under Section 75 of the Credit Consumer Act 1974. If the purchase was more than 6 years ago you cannot claim. If you have used your timeshare there is no claim, even if you have never used it you will not have a claim as it was available.

Section 75 only cover the following:

  1. You have not received the goods or services paid for
  2. The company goes into liquidation
  3. The goods are faulty
  4. The company turns out to be fraudulent

section 75At present the only successful claims have been through the Spanish Courts, where the timeshare laws are very strong. So unless you purchased in Spain since 1999, you will not have any basis for a claim and this will have to go through court.

So beware of these companies that say you have a valid claim, check and double check the facts.

On the subject of court cases, the following were announced during the course of this week.

The Court of First Instance Number 4 in Tenerife has found against EZE Group, at present we do not know what the infractions were, no doubt those will be released soon. But the court has declared the client’s contract null and void with the return of over £52,000 plus legal interest.

In another case on Gran Canaria, the High Court has found against Puerto Calma Marketing SL and Vista Amadores SL, which are all part of Holiday Club. In this case the Norwegian clients will receive over 57,000€ plus legal interest, they also have had their contract declared null and void. (The full sentences can be read in the attached PDF)

HC N2 PUERTO CALMA, sentence

These two case were brought on behalf of the clients by non other than the lawyers of Canarian Legal Alliance.

So now on with our shorter article from Irene.

Rather than rush through an article for our regular Friday Letter from America, I would like to reach out to all Inside Timeshare readers who have reached out to us burdened with timeshare loans, credit cards and maintenance fees as a result of medical and financial hardship.

Charles Thomas was not able to complete his trip to Orlando due to problems with Spain’s electronic VISA service. Little did I think the room we had booked for Charles at Diamond Resort’s Mystic Dunes would become part of a Hospice end of life plan for an immediate family member.

Life tends to throw us a few curve balls. My brother entered Hospice near his 86th birthday this month near Orlando. We were able to provide my other brother and his wife Charles’ room as my brother and I kept nightshift watch over our older brother at Good Shepherd Hospice.

The experience led me to think about all the timeshare members who have contacted me under similar circumstances burdened by cancer, a diagnosis of dementia, Bell’s palsy, concussion, loss of a spouse or loss of job or divorce leading to financial hardship. I thought about how much more difficult this family crisis would be if I had a timeshare debt collector calling on top of all this. The majority of readers allege they were deceived into buying points or more points told this would alleviate timeshare expense because of maintenance fee relief programs or selling points programs that do not exist. It is my deepest desire timeshare companies will look upon the financial devastation the lack of a secondary market and the actions of unscrupulous sales agents can cause.

The industry reaction is often to behead the messengers. All of our readers who have followed us and submitted articles as a Contributor are messengers. There has been a glimmer of regulatory action and Social Media no longer keeps victims isolated and silenced. In an earlier article, I reviewed Jay Baer’s book Hug Your Haters describing how Social Media is changing the face of Customer Service. Mr. Baer is scheduled to be keynote speaker at the upcoming Interval International Shared Ownership Conference attended by developers and private equity firms. It’s not your grandma’s timeshare anymore. Timeshare is big business and, in my opinion, for some companies it is motivated by greed. Deceit is also so ingrained it is accepted and encouraged top down. No one disputes there are honest sales agents who sell the product without misrepresentations, but with rising default rates, there is another reason for developers to listen to Mr. Baer because as he warns, “Haters are not your problem….Ignoring them is.”

jay baer
Jay Baer

As always, thank you Charles Thomas for being our voice for members who have been voiceless for too long.

http://insidetimeshare.com/hug-haters-part-ii-customer-service-message/

Thank you Irene, our appreciation for sending this article through under the circumstances, we all wish you and your family well.

Now to end this week, remember to check any company that you are dealing with, if you are not sure how to do this contact Inside Timeshare and we will point you in the right direction.

Have a good weekend.

weekend cat

Anfi SGM: What Are They Up To?

Information has been passed to Inside Timeshare from 3 sources which we have agreed not to identify, that Anfi Sales SL has called for a Special General Meeting in Gran Canaria on 23 June 2017.

This will affect the following clubs which are affected by the Supreme Court rulings: Anfi Beach Club; Club Puerto Anfi and Club Monte Anfi.

At this meeting there will be three resolutions for members to vote on:

Resolution 1: To establish occupancy periods for a maximum of 50 years duration, with an option for further recurring occupancy periods of 50 years.

Resolution 2: To limit the duration of the Timeshare Scheme to a maximum of 50 years.

Resolution 3: Total change of the Timeshare Scheme to adapt to Spanish Act 4/2012.

As far as the law 42/98 is concerned it stated that no contract was to be for more than 50 years:

“all pre-existing schemes shall have a maximum duration of 50 years which shall be calculated from 15 December 1998, unless they have a shorter lifetime or their continuance has been expressly confirmed in a relevant public deed of adaptation to be for an indefinite or a specific period of time”.

Anfi claim that theirs is covered by the “Deed of Adaptation” which was granted to them in October 2000. But from our reading of this the word “Existing” is those sold before the enforcement of the 42/98 law. Any contract sold after that date should have been in accordance to the relevant law and be no more than 50 years.

This is exactly how the Supreme Court has seen it and ruled upon.

Now according to Resolution 1, the termination of the first period of 50 years is to be week 52/2048, as the timeshare law 42/98 was passed in December 1998.

So this now begs the question if you only purchased say in 2010, then surely your 50 years should be ending in 2060 not 2048?

So this brings us to Resolution 2.

The timeshare scheme shall have a maximum period of occupancy of 50 years, now the end date to this is week 52/2048. All the club members existing at that time will automatically stop holding rights of occupancy. The rights will revert back to the founding member.

Again, the question needs to be asked what if you purchased years after 1998, say in 2010, does that mean you will lose 12 years of what you paid for?

Also under resolution 2, the termination of the contract will not entitle any member from receiving any consideration or amount from the company (Anfi Sales SL), the management company, Anfi Resorts SL or the club.

Resolution 3, is a vote on the adaptation to law 4/2012, where schemes must be in the form of Rotational Enjoyment Rights, with a maximum 50 years duration. Under this scheme it reverts to the original fixed week fixed apartment system.

In this resolution every current member will receive a number of Rotational Rights equal to the number of membership certificates that they hold. Members will also cease to hold the right of use of apartments through the club and the trustee, they will hold directly a Rotational Enjoyment Right.

The majorities for the resolutions to be passed are:

  • Resolution 1, 75% of all votes cast.
  • Resolution 2; 80% of all membership certificates.
  • Resolution 3, 80% of all membership certificates.

There is also another question that is being posed by resolution 3, are there enough of these fixed weeks and fixed apartments to go around the number of members, due to the floating weeks and points systems?

This does all look very confusing, it makes you wonder how the members, which are made up of many nationalities will be able to decide on how to vote and which one to vote on. This also looks like a way that Anfi is trying to get around the current wave of litigation it is experiencing and losing in the courts

It must be remembered that Anfi have always denied any wrongdoing, that all their contracts were legal and all the claims made about litigation were bogus. By coming up with these resolutions it looks to me they are actually admitting they were wrong, as the old saying goes “closing the stable door after the horse has bolted”,

And the reader might ask why this and why now? All this also comes as a direct result of Supreme Court rulings against the timeshare company which were won by the law firm Canarian Legal Alliance, who are specialists in timeshare claims. These rulings set groundbreaking precedents to protect timeshare consumers, with many receiving back their purchase price and having the contracts declared null & void.

Another company Holiday Club also tried the same thing, changing contracts in order to avoid litigation. That didn’t work either, the courts are not stupid. One has to wonder how many how many others have done the same so you are then unable to get back what is rightfully yours?

Again, there is a very good question that must be asked, how can the majority vote decide on the individual terms of contracts?

Each of you signed the contracts without knowing the fact that your contracts were essentially illegal, why should the you vote and protect Anfi?

They are not protecting you the members, they are protecting themselves, they know what they have done and are coercing you into saving them from past wrongdoing, a fact which they have always denied.

Inside Timeshare has followed the Anfi story for a long time, publishing many articles on them and the history of conflict between the partners, the many court battles and most recently the debacle over the Anfi Tauro Beach Project. That story is not over yet.

In the end the only losers in this will be the members.

I would suggest that you do not reply to this convocatory, and definitely do not sign it accepting the changes. You should ask yourself if this benefits You or Anfi… You can guess on what I think….

DO NOT REPLY TO IT, DO NOT SIGN, DO NOT PROTECT ANFI.

Below is the letter sent out by Anfi to members

Resolutions 2017 SGM CPA (1) (1)

QAs SGM 2017 ALL (2) (1)

The Great ANFI Battle of the Partners.

Irregularities in Anfi Tauro Beach Project

 

Friday’s Letter From America

Welcome to this week’s Letter From America, and what a week it has been, Irene Parker has been kept busy with the Diamond Advocacy work, as well as being slave to writing for Inside Timeshare. Keep it coming Irene!

There have been some great results for some of those the advocacy team are working for, in one case thanks to the publishing of one article Diamond reached out to a family and resolved the problem. This was even before they had lodged a complaint, so it does show that they are watching what we publish and that your voices are being heard.

Irene also confirmed that another family have had a successful resolution, we are unable to publish the details as they are subject to a non disclosure agreement. But Inside Timeshare will give credit where credit is due and say well done to Diamond Resorts International, As we often say, take notice of your members and you will prosper as a company.

Back over this side of the great lake, we have been publishing a very disturbing story about Los Claveles. The news coming in is some of the worst that I have personally ever heard, elderly people being forcibly removed from their apartments, being forcibly prevented from lawfully entering their apartments and the resort.

los claveles logo

The President of the Owners Committee, who is I believe 70 herself, has been subject to verbal and physical abuse, ( the verbal being threats of sexual abuse). All this by staff and security of the Ona Group. Long standing staff and resort manager have been sacked and replaced by Ona Groups own personnel, even though their contract to manage the resort on behalf of the owners has ended. If this is not criminal behaviour, what is?

We will be keeping you upto date on any developments as they come in, Inside Timeshare has promised to keep this story in the public eye.

That group of groundbreaking lawyers are at it again, Canarian Legal Alliance has published the results of another two victories this week, there are more but until they publish them we cannot.

The first was on Monday 22 May, in this case it was Holiday Club in Gran Canaria. The Court of First Instance No1 in Maspalomas, ordered that the contracts be declared null & void due to various infringements of the timeshare law. They also ordered that as they also had taken deposits within the cooling off period, which is forbidden, they would have to pay back DOUBLE the amount received. The client in this instance will receive back over 36,000€.

In the second case, Silverpoint have been ordered to return to the German clients over 24,000€ plus legal interest. The contract was also declared null & void.

The judge of the Court of First Instance No3 in Arona, Tenerife, found various infringements in the contract, and found that the documents were indeed illegal. This is another blow for this particular company, who have been the subject of many years of legal battles, clients are now seeing justice thanks to the rulings of the Supreme Court.

Now to this Friday’s Letter From America, this article by Irene was first published in 2016, due to the problems of the Los Claveles owners, she thought it would be appropriate to re-publish it, in support of these beleaguered owners.

The Mafia Owns my Timeshare?

How to take back your holiday or vacation

al capone

By Irene Parker

May 26, 2017

Inside Timeshare first published this true story in 2016. Given the shocking timeshare battle between the original owners of Los Claveles and the Ona Group taking place in Spain, we thought this would be a good time to publish it again in a show of support for our timeshare brothers and sisters. Here in America we are no strangers to fights over HOA (Home Ownership Associations, Club Committees, (IT comment))  timeshare board control.

Retired Officer Douglas Goldie’s letter brought back memories of our story, especially in reference to divided loyalties between timeshare owners and timeshare developers, except our owner and knight was a state representative.

It all started when I started to pitch the invitation to the annual meeting of Holiday Shores in the trash bin when I happened to read something to this effect:

You are invited to attend the annual meeting for Holiday Shores. Please consider attending or your week will be auctioned off on the steps of the Sheriff’s office on Tuesday at 3:30 PM.

It was the first and last timeshare annual meeting we ever attended.

Here’s what happened

One day, in 1984, my fiancée told me he bought a timeshare called Holiday Shores.  Little did he know it was owned by the Mafia.  Holiday Shores is located in the Missouri Ozarks and was a popular vacation spot for the Mafia.

Needless to say, we attended. There was not enough room for all of us at the scheduled location, so we all moved to the church where we managed to get a seat in the rafters. The resort’s timeshare attorney started the meeting by dramatically rolling out a scroll that flew out about 20 feet as he explained the Bennett family of New York was putting a lien on the property as the construction company had not been paid by the resort owners. Somehow the resort discovered the owners of the resort and the owners of the construction company were cousins.    

Fortunately for us, Jim Marshall of Marshall Missouri was an owner and a state representative. The story has a happy ending because, thanks to Mr. Marshall, and the efforts of the timeshare owners sticking together, our timeshare was taken back and the resort lived happily ever after. It’s still there.

The moral of the story is that owners can make a difference.

Richard Rohr in his book, Immortal Diamond, talks about Swiss psychiatrist C. G. Jung and how he feared the manipulation, violation, and “annulment” of the human personality. Although Jung was often critical of Christianity, his comment parallels Pope John Paul the II when he described “rigid capitalism” as when capitalism becomes destructive, denying many of the essentials of humanness.

Battles like the one taking place at Los Claveles and at various resorts in America and Canada are really about greed. Ever an optimist, Inside Timeshare reaches out not only to timeshare owners, but to timeshare sales agents and developers to come to the table to work out differences. Listen, don’t dictate.

A 90 year old young new friend of mine named Ed said in a Centering Prayer meeting after reading Mr. Rohr’s passage above, “Unity is about Flow. When we are divided we are not “In Synch”. Whether the division is over timeshare control or the political divide at its worst in America, let’s hope both sides of the industry and our country take a deep breath, clean out our ears, and listen.

As I wrote this story, the phone rang with a second positive outcome this week from a timeshare member angry with Diamond Resorts. She happily reported that the issue she and her husband had with Diamond Resorts had been resolved and she knew it would not have happened without the availability and efforts of our Timeshare Advocacy Group.

It’s easy to focus on the negatives, but we must give credit where credit is due. The wheels turn slowly, but they won’t turn at all if no one is listening and no one will listen if timeshare members don’t organize, energize and act to let the people who control our vacation know when the motivation for greed has overpowered human compassion and understanding.

Sometimes timeshare reform feels like this but together progress happens.

hammer

We seek to provide Diamond Resort members a way to proactively address membership concerns; to advocate for timeshare reform; to obtain greater disclosure from the company; to advocate for a viable secondary market; and to educate prospective buyers.

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

Inside Timeshare (Charles & Irene) thank all those who have contributed in this week’s articles, we also thank you all for the comments and support on the Advocacy and Inside Timeshare Facebook pages.

These are your stories and experiences, by sharing them you help others to see they are not alone. Keep contributing and let’s work together to bring some justice to owners and members.

Have a good weekend.

weekend cat

Timeshare Finance: Barclay’s in Hot Water at the High Court.

We all know about how timeshare has been sold, the long drawn out presentation to wear you down, the oral misrepresentations to entice you, which then never materialise or appear in the contracts. Then we have the sales staff offering finance agreements if you cannot afford the timeshare, with these same sales staff arranging the loans and completing the application forms.

One such timeshare operator, Resort Properties / Silverpoint even went as far as selling packs of weeks as an “investment”, with an “oral” promise that these weeks would be sold at a “profit”, or even rented out to make the owner money.

Many of these were funded by Barclays Partner Finance (formerly Clydesdale), Edwin Coe is representing around 106 of these timeshare customers in a suit worth more than £1.5 million.

edwincoe  barclays

https://www.edwincoe.com/our-expertise/group-action-litigation/resort-properties-barclays-partner-finance/

https://www.moneymarketing.co.uk/barclays-credit-arm-sued-106-holidaymakers-timeshare-deals/

The claimants say Resort Properties / Silverpoint arranged these loans indicating that by renting out the purchased “properties”, the incoming rentals would easily cover the repayments. As far as anyone knows this never materialised, if they were rented out the income just about covered the management fees on those weeks.

As for the reselling of those weeks for a “profit” which again they said would more than cover the cost of the finance, never happened. Everyone now knows that timeshare is not an investment, it is a drain. One only has to look on ebay to realise that people cannot even give them away, let alone sell them. We also see some very inflated prices from the many resale companies, after all those prices are what the owners want for them, not what they are worth.

These are the figures from one loan agreement over 15 years Inside Timeshare has been given for a 1 week timeshare, it is from Barclays:

  • Cost of the timeshare                   £10,900.00
  • Credit facility fee                           £65.00
  • Interest                                             £18,465.00
  • Total amount payable                  £29,430.00
  • Interest rate                                     17.6%
  • APR                                                     17.7%

So with an outlay of £29,430.00 it is not hard to see you will never recoup the “investment” promised.

It is also known that many of these sales staff falsified some of the applications, Inside Timeshare knows of one elderly couple who were pressured into signing up for one of these “investment” packs. When they purchased she was 76 and her husband was 78, both on small private pensions topped up with state pensions. Yet somehow they were given a loan through BPF for around £40,000!

The application was made out by the staff, they signed for the timeshare and the loan after around 6 hours of persuasion, also the husband was in need of his medication. It was not until several years later when they got into difficulty and the finance agreement was being looked over that it was found the income had been falsified.

When speaking with them they were asked, if had they gone to their own bank for a loan of this amount, did they think they would have been given it? Their answer was as you rightly suspect, a big affirmative NO! Their case against Silverpoint is waiting to be heard at the courts in Tenerife.

Another aspect of falsifying these loan applications is the purpose of the loan, on many we have seen it has gone down as “home improvements”. This was done to break the link with “timeshare”. Unfortunately, it could be argued that the people signing the agreements have been coerced into committing a fraud without their knowledge.

Barclay’s are not the only financial institution who are supplying the finance for  timeshares, Hitachi and Shawbrook Bank provide such loans. In the case of Shawbrook, they announced back in July 2016, that they had set aside £9 million to cover defaults on these loans. They admitted they had not carried out their due diligence when accepting and granting them.

credit check

As far as “due diligence” is concerned, one has to ask how has this been done when the loans are agreed on the day?

  • Have the correct credit checks been made?
  • Has the income been verified?
  • Has an income versus expenditure been done to check if the applicant can actually afford the repayments?

Somehow with the number of people Inside Timeshare has been in contact with, it would seem not. It looks like the only “checks” that have been made are ones that show your credit rating, such as Experian.

This has also been a problem in the US, where Irene Parker, Inside Timeshares US partner has been highlighting the problem.

http://insidetimeshare.com/shawbrook-bank-announce-irregularities-timeshare-loans-similar-activities-usa/

Timeshare is going through a very big upheaval, with the likes of Resort Properties / Silverpoint, Anfi, Palm Oasis / Tasolan, Holiday Club / Puerto Calma to name a few, all being pursued through the courts. All of these companies have also had judgements against them from the Supreme Court in Madrid, the highest court in Spain, which have strengthened the Spanish timeshare laws. These cases are costing them dearly, we are looking at millions of pounds in repayments and declaring the contracts null & void.

If you have any questions or comments on this subject or would just like to know if you have grounds to make a claim, Inside Timeshare will find out for you and point you in the direction of reputable law firms.

Remember, there are many out there who say they are law firms but in reality they are not, many are just after selling you another product or even just out to steal your hard earned cash. A prime example of this is Litigious Abogados in Tenerife, which we have published many articles about.

As we have said before and will keep saying, doing your homework is vital.

homework

2016 End of Year Review

So here we are at the end of another year and what a year it has been, it started with the relaunch of Inside Timeshare, bringing you truthful information and news you would otherwise not get.

One of our first articles explained what fly buys are, the fact you would get a cheap holiday but be subject to attending a presentation. At this you would be pitched a holiday product of some sort, be it a holiday club or timeshare. The article also warned of the pitfalls of not attending the presentation, either being charged the full accommodation price and in many cases being removed from the resort.

We also highlighted many “scams” that timeshare owners have been subjected to over the years including many new ones. The latest being the article on Litigious Abogados (see links). We also showed how some of the so-called resale companies operate, giving you the reader the information to make an informed choice.

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

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

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

CLA Logo

Another theme Inside Timeshare published was the on-going woes of Anfi, the first article titled: “The Great ANFI Battle of the Partners”, explained the story of the two partners in the Anfi empire, the Lyngs and the Cazorlas. We then published the story of legal history being made with the very first Supreme Court ruling, this was the case of the Norwegian lady, Mrs Tove Grimsbo and her battle with Anfi. The case was brought on her behalf by Canarian Legal Alliance.

Since that auspicious occasion, Canarian Legal Alliance has gone from strength to strength, securing 36 rulings from the Highest Court in Spain, 29 of these have been against Anfi. Others have been against TasolanPalm Oasis and Holiday Club Puerto Calma, with the ruling against Puerto Calma confirming the Fractional did indeed come under Timeshare Laws. This resulted in around 243,000 Euros being returned to a British client.

There have also been 24 High Court and 21 Local Court rulings against various timeshare companies including Resort Properties / Silverpoint and Club La Costa. Some of these Courts have been in Maspalomas, Arona, Barcelona and Fuengirola. There are approximately 800 live cases in various courts and over 2000 clients. The total claim value is around 80 million Euro, with 117.208.00 Euros reclaimed per month, there are on average 2 to 3 cases per week being heard.

(These figures are what we have on file, there have obviously been more cases, but we have yet to receive an update).

This is certainly an impressive achievement by this law firm, who has in the past suffered from some very negative press instigated by the industry itself. Inside Timeshare congratulates the whole team at Canarian Legal Alliance, including the clients who in some cases have waited years for these results.

Another series of articles have been about MacDonald Resorts and the ongoing battle of Mrs B, now known as Mrs Price. It is a case that has riled us at Inside Timeshare, who are fighting on her behalf. The story revolves around MacDonald Resorts refusal to accept that she no longer owns a timeshare at Dona Lola in Spain, continuing to harass this 87 year old via a debt collecting agency Network Credit Services. This harassment has included threats of court action to recover a debt that is not owed, this case has been referred to the Financial Ombudsman Service. Inside Timeshare will continue to highlight this case until MacDonald Resorts abandon the chase for money. It must also be noted that the RDO, which is the industry trade body has also washed their hands of this company.

In the April article “The Resurrected” a warning was issued about an old company from Fuengirola had come back to life. It is the story of Ramirez and Ramirez, who several years ago were very active in deceiving many timeshare and holiday club members out of thousands for bogus claims. It must be said that very little has been heard of them since.

Mark of excellence

We have also had a few light hearted moments, although they did come with a serious message. In the spoof article “A New Member to EGTBW”, it explained about the trade bodies for the timeshare industry operate. This was extremely fun to write and gave many people a good laugh, the only problem was that it was actually based on fact.

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

Back in July we started to publish the ongoing story of the Tauro Beach Project, the fact that irregularities had been uncovered and an investigation had been started by the Guardia Civil Nature Protection Service (SEPRONA). As the story unfolded the Head of The Canarian Coastal Authority had been dismissed and is now awaiting trial for wrong doing in public office and forgery of official documents. Then in August we published the story of the local inhabitants and their homes being flooded, this instigated further investigations which also include the local mayor. The story continues. (search Tauro Beach for further information).

We also teamed up with Irene Parker in the United States, she has provided some valuable information and interesting articles on the world of timeshare across the Great Lake. Below is her latest article.

What Timeshare Owners Can Look forward to:

Timeshare Lawsuits 2017

By Irene Parker,  December 26, 2016

2017

Our Inside Timeshare mission is to offer timeshare owners accurate reporting on both the good and bad aspects of timeshare today. While we admit we bear more to the negative side of timeshare reporting, this thirteen page report from the US Department of Justice listing timeshare scams explains why:

https://search.justice.gov/search?query=timeshare+fraud&op=Search&affiliate=justice

The other reason is because the industry is not well regulated. Timeshare owners do not have the level of organization or funds necessary to compete with timeshare developer lobbyists. Lobbyists used to primarily direct their efforts towards influencing lawmakers, but more and more efforts are now being directed towards influencing US Attorneys general:

https://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/29/us/lobbyists-bearing-gifts-pursue-attorneys-general.html

Looking to 2017, we need to look back and reflect on timeshare’s unresolved and continuing legal battles. Timeshare developers, former timeshare sales agents and  solicitors, timeshare owners, federal and state regulators and advocates continue to weigh in on possible changes that will make timesharing more owner friendly and less predatory.

Will the final piece of this legal and regulatory puzzle result in a less aggressive and deceptive industry – or will practices continue unabated and unchecked resulting in more of the same?

round-table

Westgate

Westgate is facing lawsuits in several jurisdictions and a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Investigation. Allegations include fraudulent and deceptive business practices ranging from high pressure sales tactics, failure to honor timely rescission requests, elder abuse, illegal debt collection practices and impermissible telephone solicitations.” The Capitol Forum June 27, 2016

https://www.buzzfeed.com/matthewzeitlin/financial-regulators-are-looking-into-americas-largest-times?utm_term=.pbyQ8MPbx#.pmA2BeVyM

Colorado Attorney General

Colorado Attorney General Cynthia H. Coffman is suing Highlands Resort, Sedona Pines and twelve other defendants for deceptive trade practices.

Another US Attorney General Exposes Deceptive Tactics.

Wyndham $20 Million

Former Wyndham sales agent Trish Williams was awarded $20 million for exposing deceptive sales practices. While the amount will probably be reduced on appeal, it sends a message that courts and juries are listening.  http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/25/business/my-soul-feels-taller-a-whistle-blowers-20-million-vindication.html?_r=0

Hyatt

Candace Czarny and two other former Hyatt timeshare agents would like to see the industry improved. They are in year five of a class action alleging deceptive practice.

http://insidetimeshare.com/whistleblowers-expose-timeshare-sales-tactics/

The Manhattan Club

Attorney Douglass Wasser represents 30 Manhattan Club defendants.

“To my knowledge there has been no dismissal of any Manhattan Club proceeding at this point.  The NY Attorney General investigation is proceeding, and the motion to dismiss a currently pending class action suit has been adjourned to January 5, 2017 for now. Three prior class action suits at the Manhattan Club have been dismissed.  But, at least for the time being, the current class action still survives,” Mr. Wasser reported November 15. 2016

http://www.reuters.com/article/manhattan-club-ruling-idUSL1N18U0DL

Marriott Racketeering

“The Marriott racketeering lawsuit seeks to abolish Marriott’s points program, which attorney said is unique among timeshare companies. It also seeks the return of fees and costs paid by buyers.” Paul Brinkmann reported October 13, 2016 for the The Orlando Sentinel.

 http://www.orlandosentinel.com/business/brinkmann-on-business/os-marriott-timeshare-racketeering-20161013-story.html

Diamond Resorts

A recent class action was filed against Diamond Resorts:

https://topclassactions.com/lawsuit-settlements/lawsuit-news/348667-diamond-resorts-class-action-high-pressure-timeshare-sales-deceptive/

Matt Daniel Finazzo, et al. v. Diamond Resorts International Club Inc., Case No. 5:16-cv-02256, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

holidays-are-hereI don’t mean to be the Grinchess that stole Christmas, so to end on a positive note,

People are listening!

Charles Thomas and I are hearing from people all over the world who are joining forces to work towards:

  • A legitimate secondary market
  • Less aggressive and deceptive selling
  • Less predatory lending

Thank you from timeshare owners to our regulators and lawyers working to protect us. Human leverage and a clearinghouse of information exchange is the answer.

inside final small

So that is the end of 2016, we hope you will join us in 2017 and also help us to get the news out to others. Without your information many of the articles, particularly on possible scam or bogus companies will not be published. So from the Charles and Irene, we wish you a very happy and prosperous New Year.

happy-new-year

What! I Can´t Sell It?

Since posting the article titled “More Bad News For Anfi” yesterday 9 August, we have received many comments about the section on resale.

 

In this part is an advert posted on facebook about the sale of a one bed apartment for one week at Puerto Anfi. This is up for sale for £1000 ovno, with so far no one taking up the offer, not even Anfi! (I wonder why?) Many of the comments expressed the same theme, what resale market? No one is even buying from new!

13987329_10209868741703556_346148743_o

Having looked on ebay the number of timeshares for sale is staggering, many being given away, even with the incentive of the transfer fees being paid by the vendor. Yet still no takers. One has to ask why is this the case?

 

It may have something to do with the industry’s reputation, the fact maintenance fees are continually rising, the inability to get out of the contracts when circumstances change, or even the fact you can book into these timeshare resorts via the internet cheaper than members can.

 

Many of the resorts also have adverts on their own websites offering rentals to non members for less than most maintenance charges. Is this actually fair on the members, who bought with the promise they were joining an exclusive club, only members would be able to use the resorts.

cheap holiday

 

 

 

 

 

How many of you bought your timeshare with these two promises: You are buying property it will go up in value, when you no longer need it we will buy it back from you? Have any of these ever materialised? Only you can answer that question.

 

So what of the resale market, is there one?

 

Simple answer, NO!

 

Most owners, who have tried to sell have paid extortionate upfront fees, then never heard from the company again. Others have been lured to meetings with so-called corporate buyers. Then sold a dubious holiday club or some kind of leisure credits, with a huge discount for taking the timeshare off their hands. Unfortunately it is not a discount, the price quoted is basically double, then they take into account the “value” of your timeshare, highly inflated off course, that is your discount!

 

In many of these cases, a few years down the line they start getting maintenance fee demands from their resorts, the timeshare ownership was never transferred. So not only have they paid for a “club” that doesn’t work or even exist, they are still stuck with a timeshare they don´t want.

helpUnfortunately there are not many options:

 

  1. Keep it, and carry on paying maintenance, you may be able to rent it out to friends to cover some of the cost.
  2. Stop paying and walk away, hoping they will not chase you with debt collectors. (Not really an option).
  3. See if your resort will take it back (usually for several years maintenance fee payment if you are lucky).
  4. Using a reputable law firm to relinquish (this is by far the best option as it is done using legislation)
  5. Depending when and where you purchased, you may just be able to claim back the purchase price and have the contract cancelled. This will usually require a reputable law firm, well versed in timeshare legislation, and involves litigation.

 

In other words your options are limited.

 

Following are just a few of the comments received:

 

  • 1000 euros for a Puerto anfi week and nobody wants to by it , not even Anfi themselves 😢 that shows you how much the resale market is worth ….nothing 😓😢😢😓”
  • “Tried to sell got conned, wnated to give it back no luck now looking at lawyers”
  • “For sale over year no offers, believed promises of selling more than paid”
  • “Just want out cant give away”
  • “Tried raffle at local pub money goes to charity, no tickets sold”

 

There were many more, but all were saying the same thing, no one wants them. The last comment I think sums it up perfectly, if you can not even raffle it off for charity, what can you do?

 

If you would like further information on what options may be open to you, contact Inside Timeshare. We will try to give you the best advice and information possible, if we do not know the answer we will find it for you.

 

CLA Making the News Again.

It looks like the lawyers at Canarian Legal Alliance are becoming quite the celebrities around Europe. Over the past month their legal battles with the timeshare industry have been attracting a lot of media attention.

 

The renowned Norwegian Business Magazine, Kapital, ran a lengthy article on the law firm, highlighting the Grimsbo v Anfi case. This has resulted in CLA gaining a much higher profile among Norwegian timeshare owners.

 

The following link will take you to the articles in Norwegian and an English translation.

CLA IN NORWAYS LEADING BUSINESS MAGAZINE

 

Recently El Diario, a Spanish national newspaper also ran an article on the Anfi cases and the Supreme Court judgements. These rulings appear to have caused quite a stir in Spain, probably because it has made legal history, as well as putting Spain at the forefront of protecting customers from the timeshare industry.

The following link shows the El Diario article.

eldiario

 

http://www.eldiario.es/canariasahora/economia/Anfi-timesharing-reclamaciones-clientes-anticipos-ventas-turismo_0_504650586.html

 

Another newspaper MaspalomasAhora (Maspalomas Today) also ran an article explaining the Supreme Court rulings. They also highlighted the number of cases that are ongoing and those in the process of being submitted. The amounts of money involved so far are quite staggering, with this being set to increase substantially.

 

Follow this link to view the article.masahora

 

http://www.canarianlegalalliance.com/maspalomas-ahora-highlights-cla-cases-anfi-group/

rdo-logotatoc logoholiday clubanfi logo

So it would look like all the information the RDO, TATOC, Holiday Club and ANFI have been putting out is false. These and other timeshare companies have been denying anything is wrong, that there are no court cases against them. The press around Europe seems to disagree with them. They have highlighted over the past year, many of the cases that this particular law firm has won, including all the Supreme Court Rulings. The industry is certainly feeling the pinch, but they only have themselves to blame, their past and ongoing greed is catching up with them.

 

Inside Timeshare will bring you the latest information as it is received. If you have any question regarding anything to do with timeshare, holiday clubs, resale, relinquishment or how to claim Inside Timeshare will give you the best advice possible. If we don´t know the answer we will find out.

The Resurrected!

One thing that never surprises me is the number of companies that disappear for a while and then suddenly reappear. One company that seems to have been resurrected are our old friends from Fuengirola, Ramirez & Ramirez Abogados SL.

ramirez1

Around six years ago this company was targeting clients who had dealings with Incentive Leisure Group, purchasing the Designer Way Vacation Club membership. Their pitch at the time was reclaiming the purchase price and promoting a class action against ILG and the cashback scheme. They passed themselves off as a law firm, with a website called specialist-lawyers.com.

 

This company was headed up by one Fabian Marcelo Ramirez, who was also the administrator of several sister companies in the same area peddling the same product. These were Fuengirola Servicios 2002 SL, Key Properties Town Advisory and Greenges SL. Many people had dealings with these smooth talking outfits, all losing very substantial amounts of money.

scacert

Ramirez & Ramirez began to have a field day when the ILG & DWVC operations were closed down by the Office of Fair Trading (UK) in September 2012. Clients were bombarded with calls claiming that a class action was being pursued by Ramirez & Ramirez, or that there were substantial amounts of money being held by the Courts in Malaga which were waiting to be paid out to them.

 

One Genuine Law Firm in Malaga had many dealing with Ramirez & Ramirez, LawBird whose website belegal.com highlighted them for several years, even to the extent that Antonio Flores was taken to court for liable. Ramirez lost the case with the judge actually saying in open court that it was not wrong to call Ramirez a “crook and swindler”

 

http://belegal.com/blog-by-antonio-flores/tag/ramirez-and-ramirez-abogados/

 

Then all of a sudden around June 2013, they disappeared, phone lines no longer working and the website closed down. After a few months, around October 2013, clients began receiving calls and emails from another company offering to help. These emails were signed by one Marcelo Ramirez.

 

Was it the same person, or one of the ex employees with the client list. Personally I think it was Marcelo himself. This didn’t last long as once again it all stopped. But the story is not over.

 

Just recently in the past month Ramirez & Ramirez seems to have come back from the dead. The address given is the same as before, Calle Cordoba no 35 Edif Villa Blanca 1C, 29640, Fuengirola, Malaga. This time all cases they had running have been won and the money is waiting for you. Only a matter of fees to be paid and you can have it back. Oh well, I suppose old Ramirez must be a little short of cash after his holiday!

backdead1

Remember the courts do not operate in this way, and if there are any fees to be paid, why not take them from the awarded amounts and send the remainder to the client. That seems to make more sense. So don’t fall for this smooth talking pitch, Ramirez did not have any cases going to court, they are not abogados / lawyers, they just have a very long track record of duping people out of their money.

 

If you have had any contact with this company recently Inside Timeshare would like to hear from you. Give us your story and we can warn others of any change in this companies pitch.

What is a Flybuy?

Have you had a call offering a cheap holiday at a quality resort?

Did it sound tempting?

Did you think it was too good to be true?

Was it one you found on the internet?
bedroom

The chances are it was a promotional holiday run by lead generating companies. These are what are known as “Flybuys”. The whole point is to provide another company such as a holiday club or timeshare with potential customers.

 

In order to qualify for this amazing offer you have to meet certain criteria, be between certain ages, have full time employment, have a certain income and also be either married at least 3 years or been a couple for this time.

 

The terms and conditions which if you actually read them are rather interesting. I have read three from different sites and they are worded almost the same, as if it is the same person writing them. As many of these companies are linked this may be true. Failure to comply with any of these terms and condition could result in the loss of the accommodation or incur severe charges.

 

Another condition is that you must attend a some kind of meeting. Obviously a “Sales Presentation”. Kate Palmer of the Telegraph did a piece about this in March 2015. (see link below).

 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/money-saving-tips/11496625/Return-of-the-timeshare-The-bargain-holiday-where-you-cant-leave-the-hotel.html

7-300x300

These holiday offers are nothing new, Timelinx used this offer with calls to owners of timeshare, offering Bonus Weeks. Once the offer had been taken the unsuspecting owners were then pitched for the DWVC Club, with them taking the timeshare off their hands and issued with the Cashback Certificate. We all know what happened next. The cashback certificate was worthless, you then found out a few years later on receiving a maintenance bill that the timeshare was never transferred. those  great deals you were shown were never there as the small print said “Subject to availability”.

 

The other company using this idea was Club Class, they used the same tactics of Cashback  great discounts and being rid of your Timeshare.

Keep Reading

Help! Where do I look?

Over the years I have seen many ways that you the timeshare or holiday club owner has been fleeced of your hard earned cash.

 

Firstly the bogus resale companies taking upfront fees as guarantees, with the promise you would get it refunded when your timeshare has been sold or if they are unable to sell it within a year. Then promptly disappear and reform as a new entity.

 

Then we had the we´ll get rid of your timeshare but to do this you have to join our non existent or never works holiday club. ILG had this well and truly sown up with the wonderful cashback scheme. You received a cashback certificate for the value of your timeshare which was more than you paid to join this new club. No one ever got the promised amount and many never got a thing.

 

After the closure of ILG a firm on the Costa del Sol, Ramirez and Ramirez began fleecing DWVC members, with the promise of legal action to recuperate the money lost. Other firms wanted payments upfront for doing relatively easy claims against credit card companies. Many of these claims failed or were never even instituted.

 

Then after Ramirez was closed down he opened as another company to claim back what clients had paid the firm Ramirez & Ramirez. Obviously using his old data.

 

Now we have the bogus claims companies. These make out that the courts have already seized assets from holiday clubs such as ILG or Club Class and resale companies. The modus operandi here is that you have already been awarded a substantial amount by the courts and this company has been charged with tracing you in order to pay you the money.

payout 1

This sounds very nice. But then there is a small matter of tax needing to be paid. One company downloaded genuine copies of tax forms from the internet for you to fill in. Then once you have done this, a bank transfer needs to be paid to a non existent notary or some other person. Another company wanted Western Union Transfers made out to a private individual. Low and behold you never hear from them again.

 

Another part to this idea was the NIE Number. Some FIRMS stated you need one of these to get the money back and they would do the work for you. Obviously for a fee, usually several hundred pounds. Now the NIE is the foreign residents identification number, which you only need if you become resident in spain or are buying real estate.

 

There are also now the class action companies, many are taking substantial fees to pay for these actions which in most cases are never instituted.

 

There are genuine companies out there but finding them is very difficult. There are also law firms who specialise in timeshare law, and are very successful, these are not part of the timeshare industry and tend to be shunned or slated by the timeshare companies, resort owners and the so called trade bodies such as the RDO and TATOC. Obviously they don’t want to lose your maintenance fees or payout compensation.

 

Any genuine law firm will be able to show you case papers of cases they have fought and won. The lawyers will also show their bar registration numbers, all lawyers must be members of the association for the area in which they practice. These can be easily checked and credited.

law soc

You can also find information via the internet on how to get money back when payments have been made using a credit card. So there is no need to pay someone to do it.

credit cards

If you need any help and advice on how to find these things out contact inside timeshare for free and impartial advice. The information is out there, you just need to know where to find it.

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