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Irene Parker

The Tuesday Slot

Welcome to The Tuesday Slot, our scheduled article has been withdrawn, this is due to the timeshare company reaching out to the family concerned at the last minute. Obviously we at Inside Timeshare are pleased with this, it is just a shame that other timeshare companies do not do the same. In its place Irene Parker has drafted a last minute article on the same theme of No Secondary Market.

Following on from yesterday’s article on fake law firms, we have been informed of a Fake Notary calling clients who have claims going through the courts, this is highly disturbing as the calls are definitely in breach of data protection.

The caller going by the name of Louise Fisher with a broad Irish accent has contacted these clients claiming to be either from Anfi Accounts, Silverpoint and European Notary Office. In the call Louise seems to have some very sensitive information which they should not be in possession of.

In several of the calls she states that they are aware the client has a case pending in court and the timeshare company has offered an out of court settlement involving thousands of pounds. In order to have this money paid a substantial amount has first to be paid into the account of a named individual for administration purposes.

This appears to be the same outfit that we highlighted in several article earlier in the year, the name used at that time was Abogados Lopez, the callers were Hope Brugge, Megan Heywood and Paul Tyler.

This is “FRAUD”, if you receive a call from the Irish Louise Fisher or anybody else with a similar story, check with your lawyers first, do not be taken in by the huge sums they are quoting, do not pay them any money. If you have had a case in court or an out of court settlement is reached it will be from you own lawyers with an email address you will recognise or even a name you are familiar with.

Now for this weeks article.

The Disaster of NO SECONDARY MARKET for Timeshare Buyers vs the Benefits of NO SECONDARY MARKET for Timeshare Stock Market Investors

By Irene Parker

December 4, 2018

Quote from a timeshare member

The reality is that we have ended up in the seemingly inescapable grip of a timeshare industry that tightens, little by little, like a Boa Constrictor, until families are stressed out, broke and/or facing foreclosure.

The following quote is from Mr. Scott Miller, founder of Greenhaven Road Capital, promoting the benefit of no secondary market as a reason to buy stock or invest in a timeshare company, Latticework, May 18, 2016

There are a few websites and specialized brokers in timeshare hotbeds like Maui, but timeshares are hard to sell in general, and when they do sell, it is often at a very significant discount to the original price paid. In summary, customers experience a reasonable value proposition tempered by the lack of a secondary market.

The secondary market has undoubtedly had its growth stunted because the absence of the market creates an opportunity for the timeshare companies.

For example, a timeshare interest that would sell for $25,000 can often be purchased by the company for $3,000 in back maintenance fees. A robust secondary market would clearly yield higher resale values.

This low-cost source of inventory does come at the expense of those who no longer value their timeshare, but is beneficial for the company since it improves the margins and lowers the capital intensity of the business.

https://www.facebook.com/timeshareadvocategroup/

We have heard from 617 timeshare members. For the most part, the only court open has been the court of public opinion. I am sickened by family after family contacting me, widows, disabled veterans and active duty service members, those with top security clearances in jeopardy, driven into likely foreclosure, like Elaine describes in Friday’s article:

http://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-from-america-32/

The article scheduled for today has been postponed, hopefully to be scrapped, as the timeshare company has reached out to the member that wrote the first quote above from their article. The timeshare member also wrote the following.

I have read so many horrific stories about timeshares on this blog that it makes me sick to my stomach. So much so, that I hesitated to even submit our story because of so many people in a much worse situation. I didn’t want to come across like a cry baby. However, it occurred to me, that the majority of timeshare members, held hostage by no secondary market, probably don’t have a major tragedy or illness of some sort. Sick babies, disabled combat veterans, seniors driven to foreclosure in their 70s and 80s, make for interesting reading.  I am in total empathy with those suffering hardship, but my point is – that it is not right for your ordinary everyday citizen either.

There are thousands of hard-working citizens in the same boat, driven into foreclosure because we have no choice. Who would buy a boat, car, or house you could not sell? How can the timeshare industry not recognize that this can’t continue forever without the public becoming aware of this manipulated and restricted secondary market? We all have networks of friends and family listening to how we have found ourselves timeshare trapped.

The majority of people seeking release from timeshare contracts are probably just like us; regular, hardworking people who simply wanted a vacation to look forward to and enjoy when they signed their contract. The reality is that we have ended up in the seemingly inescapable grip of a timeshare industry that tightens, little by little, like a Boa Constrictor, until families are stressed out, broke and/or facing foreclosure.

We are waking up to the realization that what was sold to us as an “asset” is a liability even the timeshare companies don’t want. We are dragged through the demeaning and demoralizing foreclosure process, because a timeshare is an albatross you can’t get rid of.  At least we have a forum to warn the general public – why buy anything you can’t get rid of? If people knew this, who in their right mind would ever buy a timeshare?

If you spent $25,000 to over $500,000 for a timeshare, in all likelihood the timeshare is worth nothing, even just one minute after the state’s contract rescission period.

Something needs to change in the timeshare industry

While timeshares often ruin the credit of hard-working citizens, timeshare sales agents, managers, executives and investors make billions – spinning the hamster wheel of recycled weeks and points.

Inside Timeshare has heard from many honest current and former timeshare sales agents, employees, managers and executives who are well aware of the unfair and deceptive sales practices, also harmed by the actions of the predators. There are thousands of complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau, Trust Pilot, Attorneys General, and lawsuits galore. Who is the finger pointed at – Me a messenger. The finger should be pointed at the Perpetrator.

A quote by Anthony “Tony” de Mello (4 September 1931 – 2 June 1987), an Indian Jesuit priest and psychotherapist, a spiritual teacher, writer, and public speaker  

   I am pointing to the moon and you are staring at the end of my finger!

Self-help timeshare groups and our mission:

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.

https://www.facebook.com/timeshareadvocategroup/

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

https://tug2.com/Home.aspx

https://everythingabouttimeshares.com/consider-exchange-options/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/180578055325962/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/465692163568779/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1639958046252175/

Thank you Irene for your last minute revision, it may have upset your plans yesterday but at least it was for a good reason, it just goes to show the old saying “The pen is mightier than the sword”, is still holding true.

If you have had any calls from any company and you are not sure who they are, use our contact page and let us know the details, we will help you to find out if they are genuine or not.

It is also worth remembering that if you do have a law firm or lawyer working on your case, it is they and they alone who will inform you of any developments including out of court settlements, timeshare accounts departments, notaries etc will not be getting involved.

Friday’s Letter from America

Welcome to another Letter from America by our very own Irene Parker, this week we revisit our series on the 3 Rs and 1F of Timeshare, but first a word of caution brought about by some very disturbing emails received by Inside Timeshare.

These emails are all concerning companies our readers have paid to “relinquish” their timeshares, all being told that the “exit notification letter” being sent on their behalf is all that needs to be done and they are now timeshare and maintenance free. They are told they should not engage with the timeshare company or need to pay any further maintenance fee.

Unfortunately this is not the case, several of our readers have paid a certain company who shall remain nameless at present, but they know who they are, to exit their membership with Diamond, around three years ago. These readers are still getting demands for maintenance fees along with a surcharge for interest. They are also being threatened with court action and a debt collection agency.

The company concerned with these exits tells the clients that they are free of their timeshare  and to “DO NOTHING, PAY THEM NOTHING”. “That Diamond would not take court action because they knew they could lose given the dubious selling practices and the fact that no court would allow a company to insist on payments for a product the owner cannot use”.

We know that Diamond does chase unpaid maintenance, the debt is usually passed to Daniels Silverman a Market Leading Debt Recovery Agency, based in Liverpool. So it is not Diamond who take the “debtors” to court, but Daniels Silverman on behalf of their client Diamond.

If you are told to stop paying your maintenance fees until you have official notification from your timeshare company that your contract and membership has been cancelled, then failure to pay puts you in breach of contract.

It is also known that Diamond will not deal with these “exit” companies, they have their own system in place and will deal direct with the member. Remember no matter what these companies tell you, they are not “lawyers”, they do not know timeshare, all they know is how to take your money.

Now for this weeks Letter.

The 3 Rs or F of Timeshare Revisited (prior revision February 16, 2018)

Resolution
Relinquishment
Refund
Foreclosure

By Irene Parker

November 16, 2018

Our Timeshare Advocacy Group™ advocates brace for when timeshare companies hit the “send” button as millions of maintenance fee invoices hit inboxes.

February 16, 2018, when this article was previously published, we had heard from 300 readers since we began counting January 2017. As of November 14, 2018, we have heard from exactly 600 readers.  Not one of our readers was aware of the limited to no secondary market for a timeshare. This often triggers a complaint.

There is rarely a need to pay anyone money to get you out of your timeshare. Special circumstances, or if a member requests an attorney, we refer to one of the law firms we know and trust, if the timeshare company refuses to help. Seeking legal counsel is the right of every citizen if they feel they have been harmed, as is filing regulatory complaints.    

If you have a complaint, our “How to File a Complaint” form explains a process that takes time, determination and effort, but when it works, it costs nothing. We say when, because no one wins them all.

Timeshare companies cry, “Don’t call an exit company! We have your best interest at heart!” What the timeshare company means is:
Don’t call an exit company because it interferes with our recycled inventory process! Let us foreclose! We make collection calls to you no more than twelve times a day. (Six to each spouse, as has been reported)
When exist companies boast, “We can guarantee you release!” beware that that guarantee may include foreclosure. You don’t need to pay anyone to foreclose.  
Our complaint form: http://insidetimeshare.com/the-tuesday-slot-11/

Our goal:  Convert an angry, desperate, overwhelmed and confused member into an empowered member. Timeshare Advocacy Group™ has 44 core advocates, including a team of reporting advocates to answer questions about regulatory and, if needed, law enforcement filings. All of our Advocates are unpaid.  

The First R: Relinquishment

Some timeshare companies offer voluntary surrender programs, but relinquishments are not guaranteed and there cannot be an outstanding loan or delinquent maintenance fees.

Before relinquishing, check with a member of the Licensed Timeshare Resale Broker Association to find out if your timeshare can be listed with one of their members. http://www.licensedtimeshareresalebrokers.org/

LTRBA members charge nothing up front, so they don’t waste your time or money by listing a timeshare that, in all likelihood, will never sell.

The Second R:
A refund is not easy to come by, but in cases of serious and obvious fraud; a refund may be achieved. The complaint process begins with a petition to the resort, followed by the filing of regulatory and law enforcement complaints.

The timeshare lobby ARDA has a Code of Ethics. Not one of the 600 members who have contacted us could tell us what the letters ARDA ROC stand for, yet collectively give about $5 million a year to ARDA ROC. ARDA stands for American Resort Development Association and ROC Resort Owners Coalition. The money comes through “voluntary” opt-in or opt-out donations. This $3 to $10 amount, which varies depending on the resort, appears on all maintenance fee invoices purchased in the U.S. if the developer is an ARDA member. Despite our advocates and members forwarding approximately 200 complaints to ARDA, questioning ARDA’s Code of Ethics, there has been no response.

ARDA’s Code of Ethics:

The intent is that all member activities subject to the Code are designed to be honest and fair, and are conducted with integrity, dignity and propriety.  http://www.arda.org/ethics/

Litigation can take years and often the amount of money at stake doesn’t justify the time and expense litigation requires. Some developers have a class action ban, forcing arbitration. There are many critics of arbitration, including Minnesota AG Lori Swanson:  
“The right to have your dispute resolved before a jury of your peers is as American as it gets; it’s a fundamental core American democratic principle,” says Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson. “To think that millions upon millions of consumers are forfeiting their fundamental right to have their day in court because of fine print in a contract….”
Chris Parker, a reporter for City Pages writes: “Should a dispute arise, arbitration forces consumers out of the court system and into arbitration where appeals aren’t allowed, corporations historically wield a huge advantage—and details of misconduct are kept private,”

http://www.citypages.com/news/the-plot-to-kill-consumer-protection/451334393

Timeshare buyers should check immediately after signing a contract to see if they can opt out of the arbitration clause. Probably only a lawyer would think to do so.
http://insidetimeshare.com/tuesday-slot-arbitration/

According to the FBI agents and attorneys we spoke with, it is not legal for a company to hide behind fine print, providing sales agents the means to say anything they can come up with to sell points. With little enforcement in some states, deception prevails. Families after family have no option but foreclosure, if they have a loan outstanding. Most members contacting us do.        

The Third R

It doesn’t happen very often, but there is the possibility the member just doesn’t know how to use the booking system. Blanket statements like “You can always book online cheaper than using timeshare points” are not accurate. My husband and I are Diamond owners. We have often booked two weeks in Sedona or Orlando for less than it would cost booking online using our points.

I ALWAYS tell members when they say, “After we signed we read all these negative complaints!” that there are just as many and more who use and enjoy their timeshare.  

    Foreclosure

This is the least pleasant outcome, but foreclosure is not the end of the world. We’re working on a document for those who experience foreclosure to provide to credit rating agencies or lenders, detailing the patterns of complaints listed with the Better Business Bureau, Attorneys General, and lawsuits.

If you foreclose, there will be a hit to your credit score, but if you feel you are a victim of unfair and deceptive sales practices provide the credit rating agencies or your lenders with the reason why you refused to pay off a timeshare loan. Lenders are human. Many will take this into consideration.     

I asked timeshare attorney Mike Finn of the Finn Law Group some common questions we are often asked about the foreclosure process:
Will the timeshare company try to ruin my credit for non- payment of maintenance fees, loans or both?


Mike Finn: Generally no credit reporting on maintenance fees, yes they do on “mortgage” payments. Most timeshare property owner associations, which are separate non-profit entities, do not report non-payment of maintenance fees largely because they don’t maintain subscriber contracts with the credit reporting agencies. However, once referred to collection, those agencies do maintain subscriber relationships and that’s where the issue becomes relevant.

Can members be taken to court for non-payment of maintenance fees or loans?

Mike: Can yes, will, maybe not so much

Do they place liens for non-payment of loans?

Mike: Yes in the sense that they do pursue foreclosures, yes for maintenance fees as well.

Does the lien apply just to the timeshare, or does the lien apply to a member’s primary residence as well?  

Mike: The word ‘lien’ can be utilized in more than one way. In the timeshare world it typically means the security interest filed against the timeshare itself by virtue of nonpayment of maintenance fees. Only the timeshare interest itself is impacted by that kind of lien, not the owner’s property beyond the timeshare. A mortgage lien on the timeshare caused by non-payment of the initial purchase price can, under certain circumstances, become a judgment which could be satisfied by going after the defaulting party’s personal assets. This very rarely happens, but it has happened, so we can never, say never. A foreclosure on your credit report is quite damning, it will make refinancing or new residential purchases an issue for about five years. Rarely will they sue for deficiency balance.

http://www.finnlawgroup.com/learning-center/can-a-timeshare-hurt-my-credit-score

http://www.finnlawgroup.com/english/learning-center/page-12

Our Advocates, bringing experience and expertise from all walks of life, are here to help you put your timeshare in the rear view mirror, if that is your goal.

Our mission

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.
https://www.facebook.com/timeshareadvocategroup/

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

https://tug2.com/Home.aspx

https://everythingabouttimeshares.com/consider-exchange-options/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/180578055325962/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/465692163568779/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1639958046252175/

Thank you Irene, useful as always, in the Tuesday Slot next week, we will have another “Secret Shopper” report, edited by Pete Gibbes the Secret Shopper Coordinator, so join us for another insight into the murky world of a timeshare presentation.

Don’t forget the book by Wayne C Robinson, Everything About Timeshares, Before, During and After the Sale, with the forward by Irene Parker, you can obtain your copy from the link below.

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/everything-about-timeshares-wayne-c-robinson/1129749757?ean=2940161600962

The Tuesday Slot

In this weeks Tuesday Slot, Irene Parker writes about the Veterans who have reached out for help with their “Nightmare on Timeshare Street”. It is also to remember all those who served, Sunday in the US was Veterans day, in the UK it was Remembrance Sunday, there were also services and gatherings all over Europe to remember the 100th anniversary of the end to the Great War. One thing was common, to remember those who gave their lives in the service of their country.

Veterans Day 2018 – A Tribute to Those Who Served and

To those veterans we have gotten to know through timeshare

By Irene Parker

November 13, 2018

My father was a Navy veteran, but I did not grow up hearing about war stories. It wasn’t until Inside Timeshare started hearing from veterans and active duty military service members and law enforcement reaching out to us, that I heard war stories of heroism that left me in awe.

That’s not my father pictured above. It is the actor Glen Ford. My dad served in the Navy with Glen Ford. Dad always said he had the best job in the Navy. He was a cook for the nurses until his medical discharge for ulcers. He enlisted at age 36, called to the cause. Many Thanksgiving dinners were ruined because of too much salt in the dressing and when he cooked chili or shrimp, it was always enough for a barracks. He once told me he was in the monkey cage at the San Diego Zoo. “You mean at the monkey cage,” I asked? “No, I was IN the monkey cage. They turned the monkey cage into an infirmary.”  

I started hearing about accounts of heroism when veterans who purchased timeshares started asking for help. Army veteran Leo Gomez contacted me. He was worried about an outstanding timeshare loan. After listening to Mr. Gomez, I said I did not hear any deception so he would in all likelihood be responsible for the loan. That night something bothered me. I called Leo the next morning and asked WHY he changed from one program to another. His reply was more than enough assurance to convince me that he had been lied to, especially since he did not KNOW he had been lied to. I asked if the sales agent knew he had pancreatic cancer, likely a result of Agent Orange exposure. He said yes because he was tired from the aftereffects of treatment. The company did resolve his issue, but with hours left to live, Leo’s wife called distraught, saying the credit card company was calling demanding to talk to him, demanding the $4,000 down payment. Leo passed away November 2, 2018.

Leo earned two Purple Hearts.

      

https://www.opednews.com/articles/A-Fourth-Agent-Orange-Vete-by-Irene-Parker-Fraud-180917-513.html

From Marine veteran Raymond Mori

Mr. Mori’s daughter Teresa also contacted me distraught. Despite being timeshare members for years, they were sold a trial program. As the bills mounted, Teresa delved into their contracts.  She called the timeshare company and asked that the trial program be cancelled. Teresa said the timeshare customer service agent said they would have to talk to her dad. She said they “fixed” it by selling them 17,000 additional points for $49,492.

Mrs. Mori called me one day. What she described as Mr. Mori’s symptoms sounded like the symptoms experienced from a type of blast syndrome that causes brain changes that contribute to flashbacks and symptoms associated with PTSD. Mrs. Mori had explained that for years Mr. Mori woke up with horrific memories. He had spent over five months in a diabetic coma.

Teresa decided to attend a sales presentation at their resort to see what would happen. She said the sales agent attempted to sell her mom and dad $234,000 in additional timeshare points at age 83, while Mr. Mori was dozing off in his wheelchair, possibly a side effect from prescribed drugs.

Mr. Mori earned two Purple Hearts

60 Minutes aired a segment on how explosions can affect the brain. Veteran Mancini later committed suicide.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/brian-mancini-brain-how-ieds-may-be-physically-causing-ptsd/

Raymond Mori in uniform Raymond and Lillian Mori

  

George Yamada, disabled from Agent Orange, paid US Consumer Attorneys $6,000 to get out of his timeshare contract. We helped him for free. George works as a pension administrator. He bought points he said were sold as an investment. After I suggested George file a complaint with the Securities and Exchange Commission, his loan was terminated.

https://www.opednews.com/articles/Let-s-Honor-our-Veterans–by-Irene-Parker-Fraud-180908-59.html

These are only three of our veteran complaints. Of the 81 military and law enforcement timeshare members that have reached out to us, 55 are veterans. Of the 55 veteran complaints, 22 resolved their dispute, but not without losing money.

Several of our veterans were scammed by a timeshare exit company. We helped one 100% disabled Agent Orange exposed Army veteran, who was up-sold by a sales agent we have 17 complaints against, resolve his IRS issue. He was issued a $170,000 1099 tax liability form, but we were able to provide him with the information he needed to get this reversed. The timeshare exit company in Branson was of no help.    

I listen to members and type the member’s account as we talk, as they explain what went wrong with their timeshare. We have a list of contacts their complaints can be sent to.

Some states will investigate based on a volume of complaints, but other states seem to walk lock step with the timeshare developer and reply to all complaints filed with, “You have no proof.” In those states, timeshare sales agents can say anything, based on responses from 514 timeshare members.

Of course, there are honest timeshare sales agents. They too are harmed by the actions of predators.

When someone is helped by our efforts we suggest a donation to Whistleblowers of America. They included our report on unfair and deceptive timeshare sales practices in their report to the Joint Committee on Veterans Affairs presented March 14, 2018. Whistleblowers of America seeks justice for the military and government workers.

https://whistleblowersofamerica.org/

Veteran stories are humbling. Several developers have worked WITH us instead of against us, but they are companies that will listen to the merit of a complaint rather than auto-dismiss with “You signed a contract” or “We are not responsible for what our sales agents say.”    

Veterans Day was Sunday, but there is never a day we should not remember our veterans.

NEVER FORGET

Related articles: The St. Louis Better Business Bureau Timeshare Report

https://www.bbb.org/en/us/article/news-releases/18149-dont-fall-for-deception-pressure-and-traps-disguised-as-vacations-a-better-business-bureau-study-of-the-missouri-timeshare-vacation-club-industry?bbbid=0734

Thank you Irene for this account, it is horrific that people who have given their all should be treated in this way, just to satisfy the greed of some sales agents with the complicity of their employers.

The timeshare industry needs to change, it is they and they alone who are destroying what should be an industry that promotes happiness, fun and family memories, especially for those who have served.

If you have any comments on this or any other article published, Inside Timeshare would love to hear from you, just use our contact page and get in touch.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning we shall remember them.

Friday’s Letter from America

Today Timeshare Advocacy Group Secret Shopper Coordinator Pete Gibbes describes a remarkable Diamond sales presentation. Inside Timeshare is always ready to publish a good report. Pete has not yet heard back from the sales agents and managers who said they would look into the complaint that prompted Pete to become more involved with advocacy efforts. Inside Timeshare will follow along and report in as soon as Pete hears back.

On 17 October Inside Timeshare published an article warning about another new “fake” law firm in Tenerife called,  ADN Alberto Dlendro Nabalez, Litigacionespaña SL, we have now had another reader send us information on the contact they have had with them. It seems that the Director of their timeshare resort The Harbour Club at Los Gigantes, Tenerife, has been charged with fraud. ADN have told our reader that many owners are getting together to cancel their membership, ADN would do this for them for 20% when the claim goes through.

Our reader then received another call informing them that a date has been set for a hearing on 20 November at 12.20pm. All they need to do is pay the “fake procurator” as soon as possible and they would be part of the case. This is very speedy indeed, but as we have said before this is all a FRAUD, there is no case, the director has not been charged with fraud and no trial date has been set. If you have had a similar call to this regardless of who you own with, then contact Inside Timeshare, your information is invaluable in helping others steer clear of this outfit.

http://insidetimeshare.com/consumer-warning-a-new-fake-law-firm-in-tenerife-part-of-the-litigious-abogados-family/

It has been a very busy week for the courts all over Spain, on Wednesday 7 November there were 15 cases being heard in various courts against a variety of timeshare companies and resorts.

In Tenerife another High Court has affirmed a First Court sentence and declared a Silverpoint contract null and void, with the return of their initial payments and double the deposit paid.

Continuing with Anfi, after yesterday’s article, it was announce that a further two sentences have been received from the Court of First Instance No 1 in Maspalomas, both contracts have been declared null and void with the return to both the clients of over 43,933€ and 47,582€ respectively.

Court Sentences PDF’s

Anfi Sentence a

Anfi Sentence b

Now for this weeks Letter from America.

Our Diamond Resorts Experience

A Not So Secret Shopper Reports

By Pete Gibbes, Timeshare Advocacy Group™ Secret Shopper Coordinator

November 9, 2018

We stayed at Diamond’s Los Abrigados Resort in Sedona Arizona October of this year. I was treated like royalty during a member update and sales presentation, neither of which would have lasted 15 minutes unless I had more concerns. Our sales promotion presenter, who said he had been with Diamond Resorts for 27 years, said that if we would like to buy more points we could talk about it. If not, was there anything else we wanted to ask? I asked if I was in an alternate universe.

They maintained that the company no longer employs hard sell because they found it to be counterproductive.

The internet is flooded with complaints that begin with, “The sales agent said….” only to be dismissed with, “You signed a contract” or, as we were told in 2016, “We are not responsible for what our sales agents say.” In my opinion, any company which does not take responsibility for their salesperson’s words and actions is implicitly incentivizing them to misrepresent the product in order to elicit a sale. When the sales agent is allowed to keep his or her commission, time after time, undisciplined or not terminated, that company is rewarding unfair and deceptive business practices.

To avoid being fleeced, I advise – don’t believe a word a timeshare sales agent says. “You signed a contract” is a fair response for simple buyer’s remorse.  If companies refuse to reverse transactions when allegations of misrepresentations are detailed and credible, sales will ultimately be affected.

I hope our experience at Los Abrigados is representative of future updates to come.   We received “Priority Check-in”, i.e., whisked to their VIP accelerated check-in which, according to the Diamond Resort’s website, is reserved for ‘Gold‘ and ‘Platinum’ loyalty owners, but I’m just a ‘lil old Silver member’.

During the update I was asked to document my previous purchase elicited, I believe, by deception. They actually wanted me to put it all down in writing because they wanted to directly bring my case to Diamond. They said to specifically use the word ‘misrepresentation’, because that has been the term which phony sales presentations have been scrutinized over. They also said to be sure to put that I was pursuing legal remedies, because Diamond took that seriously.

Two or three higher level people at the update were shocked and dismayed about how we had been treated in 2016. A senior manager appeared and commiserated with us. He sweetened the vouchers. They maintained that several years ago the abusive sales practices were addressed and things changed for the better. They were glad that I had let them know how I had been so shabbily treated before. They wanted to go to bat for me. (My account of what happened in 2016 follows this Secret Shopper report.)

At the sales presentation we were told that we could use our Diamond points to pay for nights at ANY 3 star rated hotel. I’d be reimbursed for 300 (or 400?) points per night. Now that’s not a bad deal, at least for many Diamond stays. At 400 points per night for 7 nights you’d be paying 2800 points for a very nice lodging, and it would be wherever you wanted to go, whether there was a Diamond resort available or not. I had not heard of such a benefit. This time around I will confirm if this is true. I have this sales agent’s contact information. He said to call him anytime about anything.

Also, there are supposed to be now 39 different ways for you to spend points, although he said points for flight miles wasn’t a very good use of points at $.07 to $.10 per point. It would take about $2,000 in maintenance dollars to book one domestic airline ticket. Typically, the best of use of points for any timeshare member is to use the points to stay at the resort’s properties. There are 39 different ways to use points? That may be a whopper.

I would like for someone familiar with alternative uses of points to refer me to where all these uses are detailed so we can calculate the actual value. I don’t see them listed on the Diamond website. Members need to do their timeshare math, as using the Barclaycard to pay maintenance fees is only at 1% per purchase, so it would take $200,000 charged in a year to pay a $2,000 maintenance fee bill. When members are told, “You can pay maintenance fees by charging purchases to a Barclaycard”, do the math to determine the actual value of this strategy.  

We were given all kinds of extra vouchers and discounts to attractions because I had had such a poor experience with the company. The concierge seemed amazed at the generosity of our discount/voucher amounts. He said he had never seen anything like it. Thought somebody must have made a mistake. This may have been a bit of luck, but our unit had what surely must have been the best view of the red rocks as anyone there.

The entire experience was far friendlier than I have ever experienced at a Diamond Resorts property. It was bizarre. Could they have been apprised that I am TAG’s Secret Shopper Coordinator? Or does Los Abrigados just happen to be a resort where members are treated particularly well? If my dispute over our 2016 purchase gets resolved, I will credit the sales team at Los Abrigados. I certainly would praise this particular resort, if my experience is typical, which I don’t know. I thought you would find my experience of interest. Maybe someone can even explain it to me.

All in all, I felt like Donald Trump must feel like when he stays at one of his properties. I do have to say that if the people I dealt with were ‘acting‘, they should be up for some awards, because even my highly tuned BS detector never flashed any warnings. Unfortunately it never did two years ago either. Proof is in the pudding, as they say.

It may be advisable to make all the people on our advocacy site Co-coordinator Secret Shoppers.

Here’s what happened to us at a Hyatt presentation in Charlottesville 11/18/2016.

My goal here goes well beyond getting this transaction reversed. I am hoping all those who feel that they experienced unfair and deceptive sales practices will come forward and file regulatory complaints and warn prospective buyers to be EXTREMELY skeptical of anything a timeshare sales agent says. This is not fair to those selling the product honestly, but the liars are so good, it is impossible to tell the difference.

We originally purchased 11,500 points in 2007 at Lake Tahoe Vacation Resort. We were not unhappy with Diamond until the 2016 Virginia purchase.

We learned about six months after our purchase that a Diamond “buy-back” program described in great detail by our sales agent does not exist. The buy-back program was the only reason we purchased the additional 4000 points for $15,500.

We attended the member update only because we wanted to get out from under the Diamond points we had already purchased. It was then DRI sales agent Mark W offered us a “great new deal” whereby DRI members who bought enough points to become Silver loyalty members could sell back ALL Diamond points.

After multiple “no” responses to other reasons to buy additional points, Mark W brought up the non-existent program that was of great interest to us. He said that if we became Silver members, after three years, we would have the option to sell all our points back to Diamond for $108,000. He said Gold loyalty members would be able to sell points back in two years. He put this in writing (which I have), by writing down $108,000. He also wrote 2Y=G and 3Y=S.

I was extremely skeptical because I had never heard of a timeshare buying back points. However, after he repeated this ‘new deal’ about five times, we finally decided he must be telling the truth. We signed.

When we ultimately learned there was no buy-back program we repeatedly asked Diamond to cancel the contract. Diamond’s response inevitably was, “It doesn’t matter what the salesman said,” or even wrote down apparently. They said that we had signed the contract.

My oral and written requests to get our contract cancelled began around June 2017. When you buy additional points, obviously you are not thinking about selling. It is only until you inquire about selling you learn you were duped.

I am encouraged by the Sedona Diamond representatives and their willingness to look into our complaint. There is a lot more detail to our complaint, but no sense rehashing it here since the entire experience is well documented. I look forward to hearing what my new friends at Los Abrigados find out.   

Advocacy Facebook offer support groups for those who have had bad timeshare experiences like ours. Our Facebook has over 2,000 members.

https://www.facebook.com/timeshareadvocategroup/

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

https://tug2.com/Home.aspx

https://everythingabouttimeshares.com/consider-exchange-options/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/180578055325962/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/465692163568779/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1639958046252175/


Contact us at Inside Timeshare or one of our Advocacy Groups if you or someone you know needs timeshare help.

Don’t forget the book by Wayne C Robinson, Everything About Timeshares, Before, During and After the Sale, with the forward by Irene Parker, you can obtain your copy from the link below.

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/everything-about-timeshares-wayne-c-robinson/1129749757?ean=2940161600962

So that is all for this week, join us again next week for more news and views on the world of timeshare, have a great weekend.

The Tuesday Slot

Welcome to The Tuesday Slot, today we publish “How to File a Complaint Form” with the Federal Trade Commision, by Irene Parker.

The Federal Trade Commission’s How to File a Complaint Form

ANSWER: BUY MORE POINTS! TO QUESTIONS:

The availability is not as promised?

Buy more points! “I can’t believe that sales agent sold you so few!!!”

How can I get help paying maintenance fees?

Buy more points!

How can I sell my timeshare points?

Buy more points!

I don’t have enough points for a family of five?

Buy more points! “I can’t believe that sales agent sold you so few!!!”

By Irene Parker

Election Day in America, Tuesday, November 6

The first family to contact me was a Hispanic family in 2016.

Families already struggling with maintenance fees are often advised to buy more points to achieve the next loyalty level that will allow them to pay maintenance fees or be able to sell points. Unfortunately, the programs as described do not exist. A similar program does exist, so when the complaint is made, the company representative responds with the actual program that has nothing to do with paying maintenance fees or tells the member, “We don’t assist in selling points.”

Sylvia contacted me the summer of 2016.  Here it is 2018 and not a week goes by without more complaints, just like Sylvia’s 2016 complaint:   

Sylvia and her husband were persuaded to give up a deeded week that did have a limited secondary market, in exchange for timeshare points with virtually no secondary market. During a series of five sales presentations over a five-year period, the family accumulated enough points to elevate them to the next loyalty level in 2013. But maintenance fees increased to the point where they could no longer afford to own their points. The family soon found that they had to charge maintenance fees to their credit card in order to pay them.

Sylvia had already taken out a $33,000 home equity loan from their credit union to reduce the high timeshare loan interest rate, typically 14% to 18%. Never transfer a timeshare loan balance to a third party lender.

At their last resort stay in August 2015, Sylvia said that a sales agent tried to convince them to purchase more points in order to achieve the highest loyalty level.  The sales agent explained that this would allow the couple to pay their maintenance fees with their points, as only the highest loyalty members are allowed to use their points to pay maintenance fees. However, even at the highest loyalty level, turning in all points would only contribute $2,000 towards an $8,000 maintenance fee.

Sylvia relinquished $60,000 worth of points. She is probably still paying off her home equity loan and has no vacation points. One child graduated high school that year and was starting college.

Fortunately, Sylvia did not fall for the falsehood that would have driven her deeper into debt. We have received 63 almost identical complaints from highest loyalty members. They are infuriated.

Today is November 6, Election Day in America. Lobbyists are hard at work, making sure pro-industry candidates get elected. Lawmakers have a, “They signed a contract” answer to families alleging unfair and deceptive timeshare sales practices. We have heard from 571 families, many financially devastated because they believed a timeshare sales agent. As always, our disclaimer is that we know there are honest timeshare sales agents harmed as well by the actions of dishonest sales agents.

Timeshare buyers who feel they experienced unfair and deceptive trade practices should file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission if the timeshare company dismisses them with “You signed a contract.” Members should also file with the Attorney General of the state where they signed a contract. Most, if not all states have incorporated a portion of the FTC Section 5 Code that describes unfair and deceptive business practices.

Unfortunately, the FTC doesn’t make it easy to file a timeshare complaint. The timeshare tab is buried. It took me a year to find it after a timeshare member explained how he found it. It’s almost like they don’t want you to find it. This is the link to file an FTC complaint and my step-by-step instructions directing you to the timeshare tab. We probably need about 10,000 members to file before the FTC raises an eyebrow.

 https://www.ftc.gov/faq/consumer-protection/submit-consumer-complaint-ftc

Step 1 Go to the link above: Submit a Consumer Complaint

Step 2 Bottom of the form, click FTC Complaint Assistant

Step 3 Click “Other”

Step 4 Click “For more options”

Step 5 Click “Travel Vacation or Timeshare”

Step 6 Click Other

Step 7 Click Timeshare

It was announced at an industry conference that $50 million has been set aside to put timeshare exit companies out of business, as well as honest lawyers and lawyers with questionable business practices. Timeshare exit is a problem the industry created by not allowing a secondary market. They admit this in annual reports to shareholders, listing a viable secondary market as a risk to their shareholders. Meanwhile, we are inundated with timeshare buyers contacting us describing how they have experienced unfair and deceptive sales practices.  

A jury awarded former Wyndham sales agent and whistle blower Trish Williams $20 million. Ms. Williams said Wyndham had TAFT days on slow sales days. (Tell them any #$%* thing). A former timeshare sales agent told me TAFT is a real person.

As private equity takes over timeshare, seeking venture capital returns, I believe this is only going to get worse. Timeshare is not the next Microsoft, disrupting a typewriter industry, prompting explosive growth. Upselling existing members into insolvency in an effort to generate 30% or better returns for investors is not the answer. The complaints never stop.   

We want more honesty. It’s a lot to ask, but we will keep asking.

Our complaint form: http://insidetimeshare.com/the-tuesday-slot-11/

Contact Inside Timeshare if you have a timeshare concern or a story to share. These are self-help groups we feel are not industry influenced.

https://www.facebook.com/timeshareadvocategroup/

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

https://tug2.com/Home.aspx

https://everythingabouttimeshares.com/consider-exchange-options/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/180578055325962/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/465692163568779/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1639958046252175/

Thank you Irene, as usual you have explained it all for our readers, if you have any questions, comments or need help with this or any other matter relating to timeshare, use our contact page and get in touch, please explain where you are located, (US or Europe), so we can pass you to the relevant team.

Breaking News:

La Provincia has just published an article with the following head lines:

El director de Anfi declara en un pleito entre los hermanos Santana Cazorla

La familia se enfrenta por un delito de administración desleal de fondos de la sociedad

Translation:

The director of Anfi declares in a lawsuit between the Santana Cazorla brothers

The family faces for a crime of unfair administration of funds of the society

Inside Timeshare will bring you more on this tomorrow.

Don’t forget the book by Wayne C Robinson, Everything About Timeshares, Before, During and After the Sale, with the forward by Irene Parker, you can obtain your copy from the link below.

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/everything-about-timeshares-wayne-c-robinson/1129749757?ean=2940161600962

 

 

Start the Week

Welcome to the start of another week with Inside Timeshare, we start this week with a press release from Canarian Legal Alliance and their ongoing court cases against the timeshare industry on behalf of their clients, along with news released late on Friday.

The Spanish Courts around the country are going to be very busy this week, in total CLA have 31 cases appearing before the courts, these are a mixture of pre-trial and full trial cases, that is an average of 6 trials per day. It now remains to be seen how many of these pre-trial judges will follow other courts and decide to issue judgements rather than send them for the full trial. If so this will certainly speed up the legal process.

On Friday, the news came in from the courts that Anfi had lost another 4 cases, 3 at the Courts of First Instance and 1 at the High Court. All contracts have been declared null and void. In total Anfi have been ordered to pay out over 100,000€.

In Tenerife, Silverpoint have also been on the receiving end of a High Court judgement, in this case, High Court Number 3 has reaffirmed the sentence of the Court of First Instance, after Silverpoint appealed. The judgement is that Silverpoint must pay out over 24,000€ plus legal interest along with the contract being declared null and void.

It was also announced that in the long running and ground breaking case at the Supreme Court, of Mrs Shirley Wilson versus Silverpoint, she finally has received her award into her bank account. You will remember from previous articles, her case was the first at Spain’s Highest Court against Silverpoint, it took many years of appeals and counter appeals to get this case heard. 

Making up the News?

Eventually the Supreme Court declared her contract with Silverpoint null and void on the basis she was a consumer and her contract did not meet the requirement of Spanish Timeshare Law 42/98. This long running case was due to Silverpoint insisting that she had not purchased timeshare, but had “invested” in apartments and weeks for resale. This is the basis for many of the cases against Silverpoint, many hundreds of clients were duped into purchasing several weeks and apartments, which would then be placed on the “resale program”.

As we know these “resales” never happened, the clients were told that what they had purchased was not selling, but to secure and save their “investment” they would need to upgrade to better quality apartments and weeks. This scheme went on for years, with many losing tens of thousands of pounds each. The vast majority of these clients were also given Barclay Partner Finance loans to pay for the purchases, all arranged by Silverpoint in conjunction with BPF, no doubt receiving huge commissions for the loan agreements.

Today we are seeing a similar scheme which is trying to circumvent the law, they call it Company Participations, in essence the purchaser buys “participations in a “company” which is actually an apartment registered as such. Again there is the promise of profits to be made. But having seen the contracts, they are stacked against the purchaser and in favour of Silverpoint.

Silverpoint: The Story Moves On

If you require any information on this ar any other timeshare matter, or just need to know if any company is genuine, then contact Inside Timeshare using our contact page.

Tomorrow in the Tuesday Slot, we will be publishing the article entitled “The Federal Trade Commission’s How to File a Complaint Form”, by our very own Irene Parker.

Friday’s Letter from America

Welcome to this week’s Letter from America from Irene Parker, with her own 13 “Secrets the timeshare industry does not want you to know”. These are her own thoughts and follow on from Wayne C Robinson’s book recently published. But first some legal news from Europe.

At the start of the week Canarian Legal Alliance announced they had 23 pretrials or full trials scheduled to be heard this week alone in courts throughout Spain, so it looks like it will be a very expensive week for the timeshare industry. In all there were 44 new cases being prepared and presented to the various courts during October.

They also announced that the Courts in San Bartelomé de Tirajana have once again decided not to send six cases for a full trial at the pre-trial stage, instead the judges will issue sentences themselves. This is very good news for the clients as it will no doubt speed up the process.

It was also announced that another bank guarantee was received by Anfi for over 40,000€ as part of a provisional enforcement of sentence at the court in San Bartelomé. In Tenerife a court has also embargoed over 50,000€ for a German client from Silverpoint. This particular case was won in the Supreme Court. This will obviously ensure swifter payout for clients.

Now for those 13 shocking secrets.

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/everything-about-timeshares-wayne-c-robinson/1129749757?ean=2940161600962

By Irene Parker

November 2, 2018

After St. Paul switched sides, initially he was not accepted by either side. The Christians were wary and he was scorned by his former peers. This is the no-mans-land a timeshare sales agent may face when he or she realizes the company and industry they work for endorses and rewards sales agents who employ questionable business practices.

The over abused oral representation clause eliminates any complaint that begins with “The sales agent says.” The company representative emails the member their initials on the fine print with a “You signed a contract” dismissal. This dismissal is seconded by some state regulators demanding proof of false claims. Other states have acted after receiving a volume of complaints that illustrate a pattern of unfair and deceptive sales practices. Signing a perpetual contract, with little to no secondary market, accompanied by rising maintenance fees, has spelled financial disaster for family after family contacting Inside Timeshare. Thanks to advocates like Wayne, and our advocate team on six continents across the globe, we have kept up with our spike in contact volume.  

Wayne Robinson, author of Everything About Timeshares, Before, During and After the Sale has been removed from Facebooks he had been a member of for years, inhabited by timeshare sales agents. Our Inside Timeshare publisher Charles Thomas carries the same wounds, at times attacked because he used to sell timeshares. I once worked for a crooked life insurance company. After three weeks in the field, I was sent out for training with a top producer. I witnessed him put a pen back in the hand of an obviously dementia diagnosed senior, asking him to sign off on a fifth life insurance policy. I quit that day. Does that make me a villain because I worked for a crooked insurance company?

Wayne’s YouTube, linked in this article, follows the path that led him to become a timeshare consumer advocate.

https://everythingabouttimeshares.com/wayne-c-robinson-author/   

13 More “Secrets The Timeshare INdustry Does Not Want You To Know

“Like any industry, there are shocking secrets with the timeshare industry that consumers are not supposed to know about to protect the integrity of the companies…the industry, and the legal ramifications by knowing what really goes on”

The first 13 Secrets the Timeshare Industry Does Not Want You to Know was a great success. The first report is no longer available, but Irene Parker came up with her 13 Secrets after reading Everything About Timeshares. Irene wrote the forward to EVERYTHING ABOUT TIMESHARES.

We believe the industry can still be a viable source of happiness for families worldwide if widely reported deceptive sales practices are eliminated or at least reduced.

Irene’s 13 More Shocking Secrets

We’d like to hear from you if you have discovered secrets we have not uncovered.  

1: The “TODAY ONLY” price is always good the next day, next month and probably next year.

That’s right. The resorts will do all that they can to get you to buy the same day because once you are gone, the opportunity is gone also – so they think. This is why the timeshare resorts always tell their guests that the today price is only good for today.  This is untrue, for many reasons.

2: The FREE gifts aren’t free. They are built into the timeshare purchase price and closing costs.

When they throw in more gifts to induce you to purchase, what guests do not know is that the gifts are not free.  Those items are already factored into the purchase price and the closing costs. They are only free to those who attend and don’t buy.

3: It’s easy for sale agents and timeshare companies to dodge the contract rescission period.

“… Should you cancel within the rescission period, you are responsible for paying for all the gifts at rack rates and the highest advertised prices.”

There are several tricks that timeshare sales agents will use to prevent new owners from cancelling during the rescission period. “This new (non –existent) program is not available until after the first of the year” is one way. Often the buyer is not allowed onto the booking site until after the contract rescission period has passed. “Don’t say anything to the contract reviewer since this is a new program. I could get fired.” “Wait until you have made three months of loan payments before refinancing.” “Wait a year before selling.”

“You can offset all your maintenance fees” – which the member learns is not true when maintenance fee season rolls around.   

4: The timeshare you just bought may have no secondary market.

“It became even more expensive when owners were conned into converting their deeded weeks into points and had to pay an additional $4,000 to $12,000 for their own timeshare.”

The market is flooded with owners who will do anything to get out of their timeshares.

Some resorts have hundreds or thousands of timeshares for sale as many members are fed up with unethical behaviors, poor customer service, broken promises, and lack of availability.  

5: With a points program, it is often cheaper to book with an online travel site.

Irene had a firsthand experience when her family converted from a deeded week to a points system. Her daughter lives in   New York City. She bought points for this specific location, but learned it would cost her over $8,000 for a New York City hotel using timeshare points.  However, when she searched online for the same room at the same hotel for the same period, it would have cost only $950 using an online booking service. When she questioned the company, the reply was, “That’s for people who bought so many points they don’t know what to do with them all.”

As a former timeshare sales rep at the Holiday Inn Club Vacations in Las Vegas at the Desert Inn Resort, Wayne felt that their points program was very expensive compared to booking online.  After he added up the original purchase price, the annual maintenance fees, the exchange company membership, and the fee to use the points, it was very expensive.

6: It is not advisable to use third party lending.

“…I felt that the points programs were very expensive compared to booking online at the same resort during the same time period.”

“Not everybody pays the same price.  It all depends on the negotiation skills between the guests and the sales reps.”

When you transfer your high interest rate timeshare loan to a third party lender, like a home equity loan, or a credit card, you are in effect asking for a refund as opposed to a loan cancellation, a much greater challenge. Don’t finance a luxury item at 12 to 20%.

7: Master timeshare closers can earn up to $1 million annually.

One of the primary reasons why Wayne entered the timeshare industry was the amount of money that friends were making – over $250,000 per year, and this was in the year 2000.

Now, master timeshare closers are generating up to one million dollars a year or more in commissions selling timeshares.

8: Many licensed timeshare resale brokers do not charge upfront fees

If you’re going to buy or sell your timeshare on the resale or secondary market, always use a licensed timeshare resale agent. Many timeshare resellers are not licensed to sell timeshare online as they are not real estate licensed by the states, so buyers and sellers do not have protection should anything go wrong.  

We recommend going through the Licensed Timeshare Resale Brokers Association whether you want to buy or sell a timeshare for several reasons:

  • Each real estate agency has agreed to conduct business in an ethical manner.
  • They do not charge upfront fees.
  • They can legally answer any questions about selling or buying a timeshare and know the pros and cons of buying directly from the timeshare company versus through the secondary market.

9: The equity that timeshare resorts say they are giving you for trading in your old timeshare is “non-existent.”

This is one of the biggest scams in the timeshare industry that most timeshare owns are not aware of.

When a current timeshare owner attends a timeshare sales presentation with a different company, the sales reps will always offer to trade in their timeshare for the new one.  They will inform the guest that they will give them equity for their old timeshare, and can apply it to the new timeshare.  This is untrue. NO TIMESHARE COMPANY WILL EVER GIVE YOU EQUITY FOR YOUR OLD TIMESHARE – PERIOD.

It is a sales tactic that has been used for years, and consumers are still going for it.

10: A timeshare trial or sample program may have no contract rescission period.

Once the 4-6 hour sales presentation is over, and the sales person is convinced that they cannot make a sale, they will escort the guest to the “developer representative.”  Actually, there is no developer representative, just another sales person with a cheaper program. This program is called an exit or trial program – a way of sampling the program at a cheaper price ($2,000 $5,000) without long-term commitments.

The objective of this program is to provide the timeshare company with future opportunities to sell the full program to the members.

Trial programs are not defined as a timeshare in some states. Some local governments do not protect it the same way they would a timeshare. If you have purchased this product feeling like you experienced unfair or deceptive trade practices, you may be able to cancel despite no rescission period.

11: Using a timeshare cancellation company may present more headaches than dealing with the timeshare company.

Sadly, many consumers have been scammed by companies that promise to get you out of your timeshare offering a money back guarantee. Not all exit companies are scams, but review this 14 page FTC report listing timeshare exit scams.  Getting your money back from a money back guarantee can be as much or more of challenge than cancelling your timeshare. Timeshare members who used these outfits listed in this FTC report ended up stuck with the timeshare and never got their money back guaranteed money back.

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

12: Travel clubs that say they can get you out of your old timeshare may not do so.

There are many “travel clubs” throughout the U.S. roaming local communities.  Their marketing departments have a list of timeshare owners around the U.S. Wayne believes that the exchange companies are selling these lists compiled of RCI and Interval International members. Former timeshare sales agents and executives are often involved.They will call and inform the member that there is an important update on their timeshare from RCI or Interval International, and they must attend. The lure is a free dinner at a local restaurant.  When the guests show up at the local establishment, the sales reps attempt to sell them another timeshare at a lower price, showing them a lower maintenance fee. They will always offer to trade in the guest’s timeshares as long as it is fully paid. The buyer can find themselves stuck with the travel club and the timeshare they thought they were getting rid of.

13: There are many items that cannot be documented in the timeshare contract.

During the presentation, the sales agent shows you a directory of resorts, noting the points required. However, in most cases, you are not shown the actual availability based on supply and demand.  Of course you can find good value, less expensive than an online booking, but the internet is flooded with complaints from members who feel the sales agent overstated and over promised availability.

Know Before You Go on a Timeshare Presentation

Before purchasing a timeshare, attending a timeshare presentation, or trying to get rid of your unwanted timeshare, research the resort, the reviews, and the resale costs to learn all you can about the resort and the company. We still want consumers to buy timeshares, but are asking for more honesty and more concern for the member who feels they experienced unfair and deceptive timeshare sales practices. If you are aware of our 13 Secrets,   did your homework, and still want to jump into a timeshare lifestyle, enjoy your vacations! Three times Irene and her husband exchanged their timeshare, fell in love with the location, bought a home and moved to the exchange destination. Timeshares changed their lives for the better. One daughter now asks when told they go on vacation, “Uh, are you coming home?”

About the Author

Wayne C. Robinson has worked in the timeshare industry for more than 15 years and currently holds a timeshare license in Nevada and has held licenses in Pennsylvania and New Mexico. He has sold millions of dollars of timeshares and has hundreds of owners. Additionally, Wayne has worked for developers reviewing contracts and in sales and marketing.

Wayne has worked for many timeshare resorts in the U. S., Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean Islands, including Holiday Inn Club Vacations, Wyndham, Royal Resorts, The Manhattan Club, Pueblo Bonito Sunset and many more. He is thoroughly familiar with the contracts and the local timeshare laws on all types of timeshares.

The culmination of his career was being promoted to Director of Sales and Marketing for the timeshare at the luxurious Azul Sensatori Resort in Jamaica.

Wayne knows almost everything there is to know about the timeshare industry and wants to share industry secrets to those who want to get out of a timeshare-without paying anyone.

Thank you Irene, I’m sure that we could all come up with a few secrets that the industry doesn’t want us to know, I’m sure there will be many of our readers who will have an their own answers to that question, so if you have any comments on this or any article published, use our contact page and send them, we love to hear from you.

Have a great weekend and join us again next week.

Friday’s Letter from America

Welcome to this weeks Letter from America, today’s article is all about heirs inheriting your timeshare, with the introduction by Inside Timeshare’s very own Irene Parker, with contributions from Tom Tubbs of Island Consulting Realty and Mike Finn of Finn Law Group. This article will not only be of interest to our American readers but also to our European contingent.

But first Europe, news came in late yesterday of another High Court ruling from Tenerife against Silverpoint. Following a ruling against them at The Court of First Instance, Silverpoint appealed to the High Court. This court reaffirmed the previous courts verdict, consequently the original verdict has been upheld. The clients contract has been declared null and void due to lack of tangibility (a previous judge described it as “a bag full of smoke”), the client has been awarded over 24,000€ plus legal interest.

Again this is a case brought on behalf the client by Canarian Legal Alliance, these lawyers are just going from strength to strength.

After the article published yesterday about the “FAKE” law firm in Tenerife using the name of Mindtimeshare, another reader has sent in the following information on Abogados Litigación España  and JDD Juan Drimals Deolaro, which we highlighted on 22 October.

It is another “FAKE” compensation claim against Diamond, Grand Vacation Club and Sunterra, the Procurator fee was to be paid to one Ramon Juanca Comez in Tenerife who is also a “fake”. They also confirmed that a successful claim had been awarded amounting to 18,348€ plus 703€, obviously a “tax” of 20% would need to be paid before the court would release the money. Below are the bank details for the client to pay the procurator:

The Beneficiary  Ramon Juanca Comez

Address  C/Tortieras , Edif . Juntas , 323 Santa Cruz  38004 Tenerife 

A/C  IBAN … ES16 2038 9043 6060 0046 1027

BIC …..CAHMESMMXXX

Bank Address Avda.Santa Cruz 188 38600 Granadilla de Abona Tenerife

Now the address above is incorrect as this IBAN Number is the following bank in Valencia:

IBAN: ES1620389043606000461027  

BIC: CAHMESMM

Bank: BANKIA, S.A.

PINTOR SOROLLA 8
46002 VALENCIA

Branch number: 9043

SEPA Credit Transfer is supported.

SEPA Direct Debit is supported.

B2B is supported.

SEPA Instant Credit Transfer is supported.

 

Now on with today’s Letter from America.

Are Timeshare Developers the Pot Calling the Kettle Black?

The Heir Scare – The Same Scare Provided by a Timeshare Sales Agent and a Timeshare Exit Company Sales Agent!

A Second Warning We Wish We Did Not Have To Give

By Tom Tubbs of Island Consulting Realty

Following Phyllis and Marcy’s report

Introduction by Irene Parker

October 26, 2018

If Tom Tubbs Island Consulting Realty’s second warning wasn’t so sad it would be amusing. The most common complaint Timeshare Advocacy Group™ receives is:

“The sales agent said we had to give up our deeded week and buy points.”

The member, especially if a senior, is browbeat, told they have to give up their timeshare deed or they will be the last man standing, left holding the maintenance fee bag. Often the mostly bogus reason provided is that your heirs will be responsible for a deeded timeshare but not for non-deeded timeshare points.

The deed is usually paid in full, so by buy buying points via a loan, or charged to a credit card, the sales agent has created a liability when none existed. I’m not an estate planning lawyer, but I found this RedWeek post from a practicing estates lawyer:

To all those inquiring about your heirs being saddled with this albatross: I have been a practicing estates lawyer in NY for nearly 50 years. The information given to you by Laura (I believe her name was) was basically correct: your beneficiary cannot be “forced” to inherit (and therefore have to pay for maintenance etc.) for the timeshare. The legal route is to execute a disclaimer within 9 months after death, and make sure that you do NOT accept the timeshare by using it or otherwise indicating acceptance (e.g., trying to sell it as if you own it). However, each state has its own laws as to how one disclaims. ……Note though: the (resort) can then also disclaim it, so there are some further fine points legal steps that must be implemented in your Will or trust to deal with that possibility. But most definitely your heirs are NOT bound to accept the timeshare and make the payments if a proper disclaimer strategy is included in your estate planning documents.

stevenw on May 02, 2017 06:01 PM.

This is a complaint I read perpetrated by a timeshare sales agent falsely telling a deeded owner that she had to give up her deed or her heirs would suffer. Inside Timeshare previously published this account by Phyllis, age 67. She ended up representing herself in court and negotiated a lesser amount with the credit card company arbitrator. Following this scare offered by a timeshare sales agent, is the identical scare offered by a timeshare exit company sales agent.

What a timeshare sales agent told Phyllis (Unedited)

I feel I am a victim of fraud. I was asked to attend a breakfast to talk about upgrades on a timeshare I own. I was told it would last only 55 minutes. 4 highly pressured sales people took turns on me and held me for 7 hours, bouncing me into 3 different rooms. I told them I didn’t want it and that I already owned the timeshare over and over again. They said I have to buy into the new and I own my timeshare for ever, and that I could never get out of it. They said my Monarch timeshare went bankrupt and I had to invest with them or they would go after my children for payment. I had a panic stress disorder attack. I was tired and hungry.  I was tired. In order to get out of there I signed under dearest. I am a senior citizen 5 feet tall women and he is a 6 feet tall man standing over me stating he was a child of GOD and he can help me then said to me “I am a friend I can tell you the best thing to do only if I signed”. He added the BANK CREDIT CARD. I was misled to only use the card for shopping that my points would go up and maintenance fees would go down. I never received the card. I never used the card. Now I have a trial date May 8, 2018 to pay their lawyers in the amount of $3446.04. I received a letter stating the timeshare went into foreclosure. Since the timeshare and the bank are together I should be out of paying the bank as well? I need help. Could someone give me advice? Can I get someone to go with me and represent me? I am afraid and stressed. Please email me on what I can so as soon as possible. Thank You.

A pitch from U.S. Consumer Attorneys that Marcy submitted to Inside Timeshare which we previously published. Marcy called me the same day Phyllis did; both said they were having a panic attack over the result of their timeshare debacle. The timeshare exit company US Consumer Attorneys threatened Marcy as follows:

Louis S called me and said he was with US Consumer Attorneys Group and that he was calling about my timeshare. He was aware that I was a Diamond owner and that I owned at Ka’anapali Resort. He sent me a copy of their contract and said I needed to pay him $2900 to get out of the contract.  He said he is an attorney with US Consumer Attorneys Group. He said Diamond was going to take my house and my children would be responsible for paying all Diamond debts and that they would even attach my wages.  He said Diamond would also take my Social Security payments and my retirement.

I have not paid my Diamond maintenance fees for about three years. I wanted to deed it back to Diamond but they would not take it back when I was not behind on maintenance fees. I tried to sell it but no one wanted it.

Given the fact that many exit scam artists are former timeshare sales agents, it’s no surprise they will take the deception with them when they leave their timeshare sales job and make the move to an exit scam. Not all exit companies are scams, but this Federal Trade Commission link listing scams cannot be posted to often:

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

Thank you once again Tom Tubbs for this important year end warning.

From Tom Tubbs at Island Consulting Realty:

A Second Warning We Wish We Did Not Have To Give

Hi Folks. So last week we warned you about “Exit” companies and this week we’re giving you a little bit of a different take on them. Why? We don’t want to beat a dead horse but it’s important that you do not fall victim to this. This time of year is when these companies get more aggressive in that they know your maintenance fee will be due soon and it’s a prime opportunity for them to pick your pocket. But first….Just what is an “Exit” company?

Well, these are the folks who “create” a problem that does not exist. This is a very common sales tactic with just about anything out there for sale or service. With timeshares, these companies create the VERY false impression that your timeshare is actually a burden instead of an asset. They give you the VERY false impression that you can’t sell it (although that’s what we’ve been doing for folks for the past 33 years….) and that when you die your kids will then be strapped with it (also false). Then they have a solution! (Of course!). Give them $3500 plus the deed to your timeshare and they’ll get you out of it. What great guys!

So in a nutshell what you have here is a company creating a problem for you that minutes earlier you did not know you had, and then solving that problem for you by you giving away your timeshare and your money! Problem is, for many of these companies it’s all one big fat lie; as the following story will tell….

Orlando woman says timeshare exit plan was all a lie

American Consumer LLC charged thousands then filed

Chapter 11 bankruptcy

ORLANDO, Fla. – Lisa Eller, a timeshare resort customer for 18 years, is convinced American Consumer LLC never intended to negotiate an exit from her resort contract despite promises from then Chief Operations Officer Cory “Hubb” Hubbell, that he could get it done.

    “He’s a smooth salesman; he seemed like he knew what he was doing,” Eller said. “He said, ‘It takes us about 12 months to work the program.'”

 Eller and her husband agreed to pay $2,350 for the program but just this week discovered no one from the company, aka A Consumer LLC, ever contacted her resort.

“They present themselves as people who have contacts at these resorts,” Eller said. “Our contract was paid in full; we were just paying maintenance.”

The last time Hubbell spoke to Eller was in March, according to Hubbell’s Facebook account, he left the company in May. Eller’s attorney, Jennifer Beaman Clark, told News 6 that when she advised the resort representative that her clients had been trying to resolve this for a year she was told, “It was the first time they had been contacted about the account.”

 According to records obtained by News 6, American filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Sept. 9. The registered agent, Brevard County Attorney Michael Sarocco, said he would try to help consumers who wanted to get their money back but that he had no official ties to the company. In an email to News 6, Sarocco wrote, “I no longer represent the company and do not have authorization to make any statements on their behalf.”

A review of state records shows Saracco was the registered agent for American Consumer Credit LLC along with another 12 companies all linked to the same manager: Dana Micallef. Micallef started the company in 2011 and, according to state records, lives in Daytona Beach. Still, it appears he has been calling customers from a New York area code.

Rebekah Nelson hired the company last September and agreed to pay $2,800 to get a release from a timeshare in Vista, California. Nelson told News 6 a man she believes to be Micallef, asked her to wire $700 to continue the contract. “They block the consumer from talking to the timeshare so you don’t know (American) is not doing their job,” she said.

Nelson is convinced there are dozens of victims who fell for the same scheme.

News 6 found a website that explained how the company claimed to complete the exit:

“When you enter into the contract termination process with Aconsumercredit™, we start to permanently remove your timeshare contract burden. No more fees. No more payments.” Nelson said she was told to stop paying her timeshare fees and that is when her credit was ruined.

If you believe you are a victim of this company, contact Mike Holfeld at [email protected]

For more information, contact attorney Saracco: [email protected]

See you next week!

Tom Tubbs, Broker, R.N.G.

Island Consulting Realty

800-809-6020 or 941-922-3808  www.TimeSharesToGo.com

Senior Licensed Real Estate Specialist

Co-Founder: Licensed Timeshare Resale Brokers Association

Board Member: Florida Timeshare Owners Group

Doctor of Funology

Related articles:

By Mike Finn of Finn Law Group:

How Can I Eliminate my Timeshare Liability for my Heirs?

https://www.finnlawgroup.com/eliminate-timeshare-liability-for-heirs/

Timeshare self-help groups:

https://www.facebook.com/timeshareadvocategroup/

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

https://tug2.com/Home.aspx

https://everythingabouttimeshares.com/consider-exchange-options/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/180578055325962/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/465692163568779/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1639958046252175/

Thank you to Irene, Tom and Mike for your contribution this weeks, we are sure this will be of great interest to all timeshare owners on both side of the “Great Lake”.

If you have any questions or comments on any article published, please use our contact page and get in touch, we welcome your input. If you need to find out about any company that has contacted you or you have found on the internet then get in touch and we will help you find out if they are genuine and trustworthy.

Friday is upon us and the weekend beckons, we hope that you all have a great one and just relax, join us again next week for more on the murky world that is timeshare.

A New Twist In the Saga of Litigious Abogados

As if things couldn’t get any stranger, the “FAKE” law firm in Tenerife Litigacion Abogados which is one incarnation of the “FAKE” lawyers we have dubbed the Litigious Abogados family has now surpassed themselves with the lengths they will go to dupe timeshare owners.

The blog sight Mindtimeshare is now the victim, timeshare owners are now receiving calls from one Joyce Adams, who claims she is calling from a “law firm” called Mindtimeshare, from the following number:

0034822684554

Another number given is:

0800 802 1982

 

They have even set up an email address, again using the free email address provider of consultant.com, one thing you will notice is they have spelt it wrong:

[email protected]

As well as the Mindtimeshare name they are also using their logo, if you look at it carefully is not the same typeface as the original.

The story is the same as always, the consumers timeshare company is being taken to court and you can be part of the case. All you need to do to “benefit” from this is to pay the Procurators fee into an Escrow Account with the court in Tenerife.

One snag here, the account is in the name of the “Fake” Procurator Alexander Bowross. If you were paying money into a court I very much doubt that it would be into the account of a named individual!

For those of you who are aware of mindtimeshare you will know they are not a law firm, but a consumer advice blog site which also issues warnings of rogue and bogus operations, just like Inside Timeshare. Over the past year or so, Inside Timeshare has been sharing information on this “fake” lawyers in all their incarnations, we shall continue to do so which is why we are publishing this article today.

Inside Timeshare will continue to publish articles on these “FAKE, BOGUS and DUBIOUS” companies to warn you the reader and help you to save your hard earned cash.

If you have been contacted by any company or found one on the internet and want to find out if they are who they say they are, contact Inside Timeshare, we will help you to find out if they and what they say is genuine.

Remember the golden rule

CHECK, CHECK AND CHECK AGAIN, DO YOUR HOMEWORK!

Tomorrow in Friday’s Letter from America the article is entitled

Are Timeshare Developers the Pot Calling the Kettle Black?

The Heir Scare – The Same Scare Provided by a Timeshare Sales Agent and a Timeshare Exit Company Sales Agent!

With an introduction from our very own Irene Parker along with Contributions from Tom Tubbs of Island Consulting Realty and Mike Finn of Finn Law Group.

This article will also be of benefit to our European readers as they will also be familiar with this subject, so join us tomorrow for more Letters from America.

 

The Tuesday Slot

Welcome to this weeks Tuesday Slot, once again this is not the article we had scheduled, that has been pulled at the last minute. The original article (which as always was sent to the timeshare company Holiday Inn Vacation Club for comment), was a particularly heart wrenching story of woe, but thanks to someone at the timeshare company, (some of them do have a heart), the matter has been resolved. All we can say to Holiday Inn Vacation Club is thank you and well done for responding so quickly.

Inside Timeshare has been receiving many emails from readers wanting to check on companies calling them, it is that time of year, as maintenance bills start to arrive, so all these companies are getting in with the usual pitch, we can get you out of your timeshare. Unfortunately most are bogus and fake law firms, which we have highlighted in previous articles. So beware the caller, get as much information about them as possible, then contact Inside Timeshare for further help.

We have also heard from one of our German readers regarding Diamond Resorts (Europe), it would appear that Diamond may have changed the policy on exiting the contract. We do know they have exceptional circumstance, which are over 75, death of a partner, financial difficulty and medical, where they will allow exit for free. For those who do not fall into this category they were allowing an exit on payment of 2 years maintenance, well, according to our German reader who applied for this, he was told “NO”! They would only let him out when he fits the exceptional circumstances or reaches 75, until then he must continue to pay maintenance.

We will be keeping an eye on any other developments regarding this, it does seem strange that this policy has suddenly changed. If any of our other readers have experienced this please do let us know, it may be that this was just a one off incident from an un-informed member of staff.

How to File a Timeshare Complaint (October 22, 2018 revision)

               

Start with the Attorneys General Office

If necessary, continue to the FBI at IC3.gov

Finish with the Federal Trade Commission, if Section 5 is violated

If you were sold a timeshare as an investment, file an SEC complaint

“I was told that in order to be released from a timeshare, which was a deeded timeshare, I had to turn the deed into points. Believing the sales agent, on June 19th I bought $12,000 worth of points for no reason. A few weeks after the purchase I learned through Social Media the company has a voluntary surrender program. I had told the sales agent that my wife had bought this timeshare 18 years ago and that I had hated it for 18 years. I explained that I was only attending the presentation to find out how to get rid of it. At that point he should have advised me of the voluntary surrender program instead of selling me points for no reason. The response from the company was it sounds like a ‘he said she said’ and to make matters worse, there is a six month waiting period for the voluntary surrender program.”

We have received 634 timeshare complaints as of October 22, 2018. Recently, several complaints have been from timeshare members who say they were told the timeshare was an investment; the timeshare could be rented for income, and would be easy to sell. The complaints were directed against four timeshare companies.

Marketing a timeshare for the purposes of generating income, or leading the buyer to believe the retail price is what the timeshare is worth, is selling the timeshare as a security without being registered as a security with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Therefore, we have added the SEC as an avenue for grievance if this applies to you.

We have also added the AARP fraud alert. The AARP hotline responders have been responsive, but misleading in their advice. We will be publishing an article shortly to address why we believe AARP is providing misleading information.

https://www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/?CMP=KNC-DSO-Adobe-Bing-FWN-Core-Brand-Brand&s_kwcid=AL!4520!10!73804843580956!73804805721970&ef_id=W0ZctQAAAJQd2ANC:20180725171110:s

One Attorney General’s office is directing people to a list of timeshare attorneys. The member pays the attorney, the attorney has no timeshare experience, and the member ends up referred to us. We help for free and the lawyer gets paid. This has happened several times. Do not use an attorney without timeshare experience. The field is too specialized.   

In all but a few cases, the timeshare company has dismissed member complaints with “You signed a contract” or “It doesn’t matter what the sales agent said.” If timeshare companies would acknowledge that some timeshare sales agents do intentionally mislead the consumer, there would be no need to file complaints and no reason for the existence of member supported advocacy groups.

According to FBI agents and lawyers our advocates have consulted, it is not legal to hide behind fine print, but it takes volumes of complaints to raise a regulator’s eyebrow. The Federal Trade Commission released its 2017 complaint report, listing travel, vacation, and timeshare as one of the most costly frauds at $1,710. Our reader complaints dollar amounts range from $4,000 to $400,000 or more. We wish members were only losing $1,710. Inside Timeshare has received complaints from 81 veterans and active duty military and law enforcement.   

Travel, vacation, and timeshare frauds were the most costly with people losing a median amount of $1,710. The FTC also broke out fraud losses for members of the military and found their median fraud loss to be 44 percent higher than the general population.

https://www.jacksonsun.com/story/opinion/columnists/2018/04/06/ftc-releases-2017-complaint-statistics/493425002/

Most of the members contacting us have an outstanding loan. The industry has created this nightmare because if you buy a house and have a loan outstanding, you can still sell the house. When the member alleges they experienced unfair and deceptive sales practices, they have signed a perpetual contract with little or no secondary market. Timeshare companies list a viable secondary market as a risk to their shareholders.

Timeshare Members need to be especially vigilant about “Get you out of your timeshare” firms because many are scams. Some are not. Timeshare Advocacy Group™ (TAG) has a scam research team formed by members who have themselves been scammed. This 15 page US Department of Justice timeshare scam report illustrates the seriousness and extent of the problem, caused by the lack of a viable secondary market.     

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

Advocates for reform feel the problems that exist in the industry today are caused by an overreliance on the oral representation clause, iron clad developer based contracts, the lack of an adequate secondary market, and limited enforcement. We don’t dispute there are many who use and enjoy their timeshare and many sales agents who sell the product properly, but here are the most common timeshare complaints reported by our readers:

  • The agent said I could easily sell my points,
  • The agent overstated the value of travel awards to pay for airline tickets, or the use of a travel credit card to pay maintenance fees,
  • The agent said I had to give up my deeded timeshare and buy points,
  • The agent said I have to give up my deed and buy points or my heirs will be burdened,
  • The rescission clause was dodged because the agent said the (bogus) program would not be available until after the first of the year, or we were not allowed access to the booking site until after the rescission period.    

To begin your complaint, raise your right hand.

Do you promise to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God? Present your information factually and without opinion or inflammatory language.

Information Needed to File a Timeshare Complaint

Name (s) and age of member

Phone Number

State of Residence

Member Number

For each contract in dispute:

Where Purchased and Date of Purchase

Number of Points Purchased

Sales Agent and Sales Agent ID# (if available)

Purchase Price

Down Payment

Amount Financed and Interest Rate

Loan Number

Current Loan Balance

Name of Credit Card if one was used to pay the down payment

What do you want? Do you seek Refund or Relinquishment?

Why? Is it due to Deception, Health, Age or Financial Burden?

Complaints expressing dissatisfaction with general availability will go unheeded as will a request based on not being able to afford the timeshare. If you feel you were deceived, list the reasons why. If there was no deceit, ask for relinquishment. Maintenance fees must be current and there can be no loan outstanding. Just like your personal residence, you can’t go to your home mortgage lender and say you can’t afford it. The difference is you can sell your home if there is an outstanding loan.  Section 5 Federal Trade Commission, explains unfair and deceptive practices:

FTC Unfair Practices

An act or practice is unfair where it

  • causes or is likely to cause substantial injury to consumers;
  • cannot be reasonably avoided by consumers; and
  • is not outweighed by countervailing benefits to consumers or to competition.

 

FTC Deceptive Practices

An act or practice is deceptive where

  • a representation, omission, or practice misleads or is likely to mislead the consumer;
  • a consumer’s interpretation of the representation, omission, or practice is considered reasonable under the circumstances; and
  • the misleading representation, omission, or practice is material.

https://www.federalreserve.gov/boarddocs/supmanual/cch/ftca.pdf

MOST IMPORTANT – Purchase Timeline

It is better to state your narrative as a narrative referring back to the figures at the top of your complaint. Begin with when you first became involved with the company and proceed chronologically. Keep your history brief up to the point when things began to go wrong.

After you complete your complaint, email it to the appropriate resort department. Expect to be denied. Typically your resort reviewer will restate your concerns, produce your initials and signatures, point out the oral representation clause and inform you, “If something was important to you, you should have asked for it to be put in the contract.” File a rebuttal if you disagree with the company response.

Mark your email to the resort urgent if you are in financial distress. It is best to file a complaint before the debt collectors are hounding. If one of our advocates is assisting the member, the member will report back to us if the issue is resolved. Due to the required non-disclosure, terms and conditions will not be discussed.

Attorneys General

If the resort has dismissed your complaint, the next step is to file a complaint with the Attorney General of the state where you signed your contract. It can take sometimes a month to hear back from an AG. You can find any Attorney General by searching the state name and Attorney General. Some states will direct you to the real estate or consumer division. You should file a complaint with the state Real Estate Division against the agent if the agent was deceptive. Not all states require timeshare sales agents be real estate licensed.     

We have determined, based on reports from our readers, some Attorneys General walk lockstep with the developer, responding to complaints with, “You should not have relied on verbal representations.” Thus, in those states, the consumer is out in the cold and at the mercy of the developer’s decision. In other states, Attorneys General have opened investigations and reached settlements based on a volume of complaints and a pattern of consistent reports of deceptive behavior.

The FBI

Any complaint reported to the FBI should be of a more egregious nature. “They promised me a free cruise but it wasn’t free” is an example of a complaint that is not serious enough for the FBI. Our opening example, describing a buyer told they had to give up their timeshare deed when that was not necessary, would merit an IC3.gov report. To determine if your complaint is serious enough to file an FBI complaint, review the FBI definitions of criminal acts:  

White-collar crimes are characterized by deceit, concealment, or violation of trust and are not dependent on the application or threat of physical force or violence. The motivation behind these crimes is financial—to obtain or avoid losing money, property, or services or to secure a personal or business advantage. These are not victimless crimes. A single scam can destroy a company, devastate families by wiping out their life savings, or cost investors billions of dollars (or even all three).

Mortgage fraud is a subcategory of financial institution fraud known as “fraud for profit”:

Fraud for profit: Those who commit this type of mortgage fraud are often industry insiders using their specialized knowledge or authority to commit or facilitate the fraud. Current investigations and widespread reporting indicate a high percentage of mortgage fraud involves collusion by industry insiders, such as bank officers, appraisers, mortgage brokers, attorneys, loan originators, and other professionals engaged in the industry. Fraud for profit aims not to secure housing, but rather to misuse the mortgage lending process to steal cash and equity from lenders or homeowners. The FBI prioritizes fraud for profit cases.

https://www.fbi.gov/investigate/white-collar-crime

The FBI has advised our members, if the allegation involves credit card fraud, the member should also file a complaint with the Secret Service.

https://ask.metafilter.com/81136/Should-I-call-the-Secret-Service-over-credit-card-fraud

Most important, consider reaching out to local or national media. Reporters look for content and are surprisingly easy to reach. Write an article about your experience. The more people who come forward, the more the public is made aware of timeshare black holes before engaging in a timeshare sales presentation.

Summary of Regulatory and Law Enforcement Agencies

  • The Attorney General’s office where you signed your contract. Most AG complaints can be filed online.
  • The Real Estate Division of the state where the agent is licensed if your complaint is against the agent.
  • The FBI at IC3.gov portal if you feel you were deceived. For allegations of a serious nature you may also contact an FBI field office to file a tip orally. Have your facts and figures ready. The FBI complaint website is called IC3.gov which stands for Internet Crime. This is a bit confusing. IC is the name of the portal. That doesn’t mean it has to be an internet crime. Click IC3 as your choice when filing. Sometimes your local field office will pay closer attention than say Las Vegas, where losing money is a tourist attraction. You can find your nearest field office from this website. https://www.fbi.gov/contact-us/field-offices https://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx
  • The Federal Trade Commission is one of the most important agencies to file with, because it is federal. Most states have incorporated a portion of the FTC’s “Unfair and Deceptive Trade Act” in their state law. It’s tricky to find the timeshare tab. Look for “next page” until you find it.   
  • The media – the court of public opinion is often the only court available. Inside Timeshare, published in Spain, welcomes member submissions, positive or negative.
  • The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for credit card or lending complaints, under the mortgage option (even if no mortgage), selecting the bank involved. Timeshare has dodged this regulatory bullet because most members don’t know the identity of the lender as the timeshare company often services the loan (Timeshare companies are not an option from the CFPB’s drop-down menu). CFPB is the organization that helped Wells Fargo victims. The CFPB lost influence after the roll back of the Dodd Frank act March 2018. The Dodd Frank act was enacted after the abuses caused by subprime lending. The CFPB is still considered a regulator. https://www.consumerfinance.gov/
  • File a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. The company’s BBB rating can be misleading in that the BBB only rates how efficiently a company responds to complaints. Sometimes the BBB allows you to log in and file a rebuttal. If you file a complaint, a review is not allowed. We have received complaints from members reporting that a company representative called, saying the message is time sensitive, but does not answer the phone when the member repeatedly tries to call back. We suspect this boosts the company BBB rating because the company can report, “We reached out.”
  • Lawmakers – The problem is the timeshare buyer typically does not buy in their state of residence which is why lawmakers don’t seem to take timeshare seriously. Still, any effort to contact lawmakers is encouraged.
  • The Securities and Exchange Commission for selling timeshare points as an investment without being registered as a security.
  • AARP Fraud Watch

If this sounds like work, it is, but you can file with some, all, or none of the agencies. If you pick two, pick the Attorney General and the FTC. We have a team of advocates who can answer questions and help guide you through the process. We feel “Action and Advocacy” is the best way to change questionable timeshare business practices. Many families contacting us are financially devastated by their decision to buy a timeshare. We seek to promote consumer awareness.   

Depending on the seriousness of your complaint, you may forward your complaint to the firm’s public relations office or firm and to ARDA, the timeshare industry’s PAC, for violating ARDA’s Code of Ethics. ARDA’s Code of Ethics can be found on ARDA’s website. ARDA ROC does not mediate disputes, but ARDA does have a Code of Ethics. Due to lack of response to over 200 of the more serious complaints we forwarded to ARDA, we do not recommend owners make the voluntary “opt in” or “opt out” ARDA ROC donation on your maintenance fee invoice. Not one of the members we questioned knew what ARDA ROC stands for, yet collectively members gives ARDA ROC about $5 million a year. It is the opinion of our advocates, that although ARDA lobbies for the industry and for timeshare members, when the issue at stake is one that is at odds with members, members lose because they have no voice.

You may also forward your complaint to the Association of Vacation Owners.

https://avoworldwide.com/news/

AVO has been tracking our complaints for research purposes. http://insidetimeshare.com/the-tuesday-slot-with-irene-3/

If you are granted a positive outcome, you may not say or write anything disparaging about the resort, but there is no harm in staying involved by referring timeshare members who need help to Inside Timeshare or to one of the self-help groups listed below we know are not industry influenced.  

Who We Are and Why We Do This

Our advocates are not attorneys and we do not provide legal advice. We have researched regulatory agencies and are here to direct consumers to the appropriate regulatory and law enforcement agencies. The right to file a regulatory complaint is the right of every citizen who feels they have been wronged.  

It’s a good idea to contact a member of the Licensed Timeshare Resale Broker Association to find out whether your timeshare has a secondary market. http://www.licensedtimeshareresalebrokers.org/

Venting on complaint sites has no effect whatsoever but an organized campaign to track complaints and report alleged fraud has already born fruit in the form of Attorneys General investigations and greater public awareness.

If all else fails, we will refer to an attorney if the member can afford one. If you are forced into foreclosure, but have an otherwise unblemished credit report, you can write to the credit reporting agencies in an effort to explain why you were deceived and why you were not able to resolve your dispute.

Contact Inside Timeshare or email Irene Parker at [email protected] or call 270-303-7572 EST if you are interested in becoming a volunteer. Feel free to call any day of the week from 1:00 to 5:00 PM EST. It’s best to schedule a call. All calls and emails are returned within 24/48 hours.  If your email is not returned, please resend and send a text message.

 Self-help groups seek to provide 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. We hope to promote a better relationship between disgruntled timeshare buyers and their respective resort. We appreciate all timeshare companies who have responded to article drafts and resolved customer issues. Inside Timeshare would always rather see a dispute resolved over publishing an article.

https://www.facebook.com/timeshareadvocategroup/

https://tug2.com/Home.aspx

https://everythingabouttimeshares.com/consider-exchange-options/

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

https://www.facebook.com/groups/180578055325962/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/465692163568779/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1639958046252175/

October 23, 2018 Irene Parker

Timeshare Advocacy Group     

Related article: FTC Section 5

http://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-from-america-12/

If you have any timeshare problem or need help in checking if a company is genuine, contact Inside Timeshare with the details, we will point you in the right direction.