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The Tuesday Slot with Irene

Welcome to the first Tuesday Slot with Irene of December, this week Irene gives an update on an article from October, but first some important news from Europe.

Last week Inside Timeshare had some unconfirmed news on a raid in Tenerife, which we did not publish, this was against the offices of Mark Rowe’s enterprise there. This week news came out of raids at his businesses in the UK By Trading Standards, so this could just verify the Tenerife news.

This raid follows an investigation by the “Scambuster Team” of Trading Standards, offices of around 22 Mark Rowe companies were searched, employees questioned and documents removed for further investigation and as evidence if any criminal charges are brought.

trading standards

Among those raided were ABC Lawyers, Glenmore Consultants, Monster Rewards, Jive Hippo (replacement for Monster Credits) and apparently the TCA (Timeshare Consumer Association). The raid in Tenerife would most likely have been Hollywood Marketing SLU.

It looks like we will have to wait until the new year before we know the outcome, this follows the news last month of another enterprise EZE Group, where the directors and owners Dominic O’Reilly and his daughter Stephanie O’Reilly pleaded guilty at Birmingham Magistrates of “Aggressive” sales tactics and “Coercion” with their product EZE Credits. They are to appear at Crown Court on 15 December, whether they will be sentenced then or just remanded on bail until the New Year remains to be seen.

Now on with the article from Irene Parker.

TARS – Timeshare Advisory and Resolution Services

An Honest Timeshare Exit Program – Who knew?

TARS Limited Term Deed Program – A Monthly Update

case

By Irene Parker

December 5, 2017

In October Inside Timeshare featured the launch of TARS TIMESHARE ADVISORY AND RESOLUTION SERVICES LLC new “limited term deeded” program.  “Consumers enjoy all the “pros” of traditional timeshare and none of the “cons”, plus even more benefits,” announced TARS President and General Counsel, Martin M. Kandel.

http://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-america-24/

The limited deed/limited fun program is geared toward fixed week resorts, but the same strategy could be implemented by major timeshare point sellers, solving the problem a timeshare owner faces when life changes and now they own a vacation product they don’t want, they can’t afford, and can’t sell. TARS could eventually neutralize resale and listing scams. Scam revenue would turn into new buyer revenue which would be a win-win for everyone except the scammers.

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

Inside Timeshare has received timeshare complaints from 223 readers (176 when the October 26 article was published). Members sometimes describe catastrophic financial distress when denied a release.

I asked Dennis F. DiTinno, CEO and President of the Liberté Management Group of Companies and Chairman of TARS to provide an example of how the limited deed works. “The TARs program offers the member an option to purchase a limited term deed for five or ten years. The term will be the decision of the Associations, but we would not recommend any term less than three years. We feel the five year plan best suits the Association and the owners. The design is to utilize the units’ maintenance fee costs with an increase annually to make the tax repercussions better for the Association – a major savings, but each unit in each resort would be different,” Dennis explained.   

All Seasons Vacation Resort in Madeira Beach and the Voyager Beach Club Treasure Island are the first to launch a TARS program. TARS had just signed up their first sale when we first talked to Dennis and he said other owners told him they would be glad to sign up when they returned home.

The example Dennis provided was for a Voyager unit with an annual Maintenance fee of $510. A five year limited deed could be purchased for $6,000. The now former perpetual deed owner becomes a limited deed owner. At the end of five years the term is up and the unit reverts back to the HOA.         

At this point skeptics raise their eyebrows. Wait! A $510 annual maintenance fee turns into $1,200 a year or $171 a night for a seven night stay? The Liberté website offers a one bedroom gulf view for $1,053 a week. So the limited deed would cost the member $735 ($1,200 – $1,053 = $147 x 5 years).

One timeshare insider suspects it’s a crafty upfront scam. I know Dennis and Martin Kandel so I have no concerns there. Another insider I contacted voiced a concern about what would happen if TARS went out of business. Liberté has been in business 35 years managing seven fixed week resorts and brokers resales and rentals as well. Liberté is a member of the Licensed Timeshare Resale Broker Association.

Dennis received a great congratulation from one timeshare advocacy organization, told this can be a huge positive change for the industry. Dennis also spoke with Robert Follis at the Florida Attorney General’s office who also saw the program as a solution to many problems.  

When I called Voyager, I spoke with M J Hassall, also with Liberté, who expressed great enthusiasm. “Every owner is unique so we provide a one on one presentation. One obstacle is convincing owners this is not just another ruse to get them to buy more weeks. This really is important information they need to know about. We have presented the plan to about 15 members with about 50 percent in favor of the program,” explained M J.

“In conjunction with select strategic partners, TARS will provide an a la carte menu of products and enhanced services designed exclusively for the legacy market segment. One of the partners is Let’s Go N Travel,” M J added.

This led me to Let’s Go N Travel which will be the subject of January’s monthly TARS update. I spoke with Chip Langdon at Let’s Go N Travel. Chip described Let’s Go as a Vacation Club boasting 450,000 members. More on how this fits in with TARS later.  

https://www.facebook.com/4life4less/

TARS provides a new way to address old problems (www.tarserv.com) in an effort to provide legacy resorts with a means to maintain their resorts for a decade or more in order to plan for robust continuation or an orderly repurposing of the resort and its timeshare program. This would seem a concept owners need to wrap their heads around, as they may not have yet thought about an exit or even if they need one.

Thank you to all at TARS for their help as we learn more about this evolving program. As a former deeded fixed week owner, I can see spending the extra money on something I enjoyed for 30 years, paying an extra $735 spread out over five years to be done with it without the hassle of dodging scams or waiting for an over supplied product to sell. As with any product, if it meets the needs of the consumer, it will sell itself. Timeshare does not sell itself. It is product that has to be “sold” and often requires six to eight hours of brow beating, “pitching heat” and deceit, according to 220 of our readers. We hope, working with developers, such tactics will diminish. We know there are good timeshare sales agents out there selling the product the way it should be sold. Inside Timeshare endorses Disney for their scarce complaint record.

Inside Timeshare will publish a monthly resale recycle report to follow along as TARS progresses. I still need to call my favorite fixed week timeshare people at Port Elsewhere in the Missouri Ozarks and Maui Hill at Maui Lea to hear what they think.

 Liberté

At least this provides a positive topic members and developers can agree on – the need for an honest timeshare exit to shut off the scam valve.  

http://resorttrades.com/timeshare-advisory-and-resolution-services-llc-tars-and-the-liberte-management-group-join-to-expand-services-for-legacy-resorts-and-owners/

Irene will be keeping us updated on a monthly basis on TARS Limited Term Deed Program, could it be that there is some honesty in this industry called timeshare? Only time will tell.

Other news coming in from the US is the link up between ARDA (American Resorts Development Association) and Europe’s RDO (Resorts Development Association). It has been rumoured for sometime that the RDO is what you might call “strapped for cash”, well they have this year lost one of their major members, Silverpoint. Could this link up be the saviour of them?

Kwikchex has also laid out the scope of its new mission, running the “Timeshare Helpline”, on behalf of the RDO, which replaces the disgraced and bankrupt TATOC. As we know TATOC was supposed to be an independent body representing timeshare owners through their committees, but under the leadership of Harry Taylor, they did the bidding of their benefactors. These benefactors were the industry and RDO members.

So the question is if the new helpline is run by Kwikchex and the Timeshare Task Force, paid for by the RDO, how can it be independent and on the side of the consumer?

Have Trading Standards and other Authorities been taken in by them, the same way as Citizens Advice Bureau were taken in by TATOC?

Inside Timeshare leaves you the reader to draw your own conclusions.

Remember

“Non enim videtur”

“Not all is as it seems”

tatoc logo liquid

TATOC Gone: Kwikchex Set Up New Helpline

So that is the end of TATOC, The Association of Timeshare Owners Committees or the so called Timeshare Association, it is now official that as of 20 July 2017 they are now in official receivership. Harry Taylor and his little empire is no longer, they were unable or unwilling to pay off their debts, according  to TESS who brought the action, the court asked three very simple questions:

  1. “Have you paid your debts”?
  2. “Will you be able to pay your debts”?
  3. “Do you intend to pay your debts”?

As the answer was NO, the court had no other option than to place TATOC in the hands of the Official Receiver.

man_debts
Wonder who this is?

This will be a big blow to ARDA (American Resorts Development Association) who at the beginning of the year during the TATOC conference presented Harry Taylor with a cheque for $30,000 as a contribution for the TATOC helpline.

We have reported before that TATOC was not really on the side of the consumer, how could it be? It was funded by the very industry the consumer had problems with!

Just look at the relationship Harry Taylor and his TATOC team had with MacDonald Resorts, a company that even the RDO had not had any relationship with since 2005!

MacDonald Resorts pursued an aggressive policy of taking over fixed weeks, converting those owners to the points system, which even owners did not want. Harry Taylor ran a campaign stating that this was the best way forward, that it was in the best interests of the owners.

Harry Taylor
Bye Bye Harry and good riddance!

The question is how was it in the best interests of the owners? By changing to the points system from their fixed weeks, which gave them very strong rights, they effectively gave control of the resorts to MacDonald’s. Overnight they changed from being owners with the right to set maintenance fees, employ the management company and basically run their resort, to mere members with no rights whatsoever. Just the right to use subject to availability.

It now transpires that Kwikchex has set up a consumer helpline of their own, this has been announced by the RDO on 24 July. This seems to be part of the Timeshare Task Force, the question is how will this be independent advice considering that they are also funded by the RDO?

task force
The Timeshare Task Force!!!!!

According to the RDO announcement this new consumer helpline will be offering assistance and advice about any company that is not an RDO member. What about offering assistance and advice about their own members, after all most of the problems are with the resorts and developers themselves.

The fact that owners / members who are having problems with their own resorts are left on their own as the RDO will not intervene in any dispute, this leaves those owners with nowhere to turn. This in itself leads to those unscrupulous companies to feed off the vulnerability of owners who either want to sell or just want to get out of their timeshare. The industry itself has created the “scam” market because of it’s own inability to deal with the issues, disputes and resale markets that owners need. Their own greed has been their downfall!

For years, timeshare has been sold, especially in Spain, with total disregard for the laws set in place to protect consumers, this has resulted in hundreds of court cases,along with Supreme Court rulings enforcing the laws that they have themselves flouted. Only last week, a recent ex-member of the RDO, Resort Properties / Silverpoint had five rulings against them in one day.

The RDO themselves have backed up the resorts against these rulings, believing that the judges have interpreted the law incorrectly, (see link).

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

If the industry is to survive, it needs to change how it operates, it needs to listen to the concerns of the owners / members, the very consumers who pay for it, not just chase those companies bogus or legitimate who decline to join their little club. After all, why would law firms such as Canarian Legal Alliance or JCLA & AS pay for membership when it is those members they are taking to court?

We have said this on many occasions, timeshare could be a good product, many have had many happy years of ownership, especially with those resorts that valued their custom. One has to only look at recent events at Los Claveles, for years those owners had no complaint, until Wimpen sold out their management rights to the ONA Group, then it really turned nasty.

The time for change is now, the industry cannot police itself, it is self serving, the likes of Kwikchex running a consumer helpline in the interests of the industry is a farce. There are very few places consumers can turn for truly independent and valuable advice, it has become an even bigger minefield.

If you have any questions or concerns about any timeshare matter, contact Inside Timeshare, if we don’t know the answer we will find it for you. These pages are read worldwide, we are bringing owners together from the USA, Canada, Australia and the Philippines adding more as we go, through their articles and contributions you will find you are not as alone as you think.

transformation-and-change

 

out of business

TATOC: Is The End Now Upon Them!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alberto-garcia-2
A Rare Photo of Alberto Garcia

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

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

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

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

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

tatoc logo    mcdonaldsresortlogo

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

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

task force
The Timeshare Taskforce

 

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

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

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

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

 

old tricks

New Name Same Company

Following on from Monday’s article which highlighted Keys Concierge and the relationship with Silverpoint, Inside Timeshare has received further information from one of our readers.

This reader attended a presentation at Beverly Hills Club in Tenerife, one of the Silverpoint resorts, he was then sold a one year trial membership of Keys Concierge, the new “lifestyle product” which we found out is the new product Silverpoint are marketing.

silverpointlogo

According to the information received, the new company selling this membership is called:

Signallia Marketing Distribution SA, with the CIF. A76539030, based at Avda San Francisco 12, Arona Tenerife. When the CIF number and the company is checked there is a little surprise. Lo and behold the company was formerly known as Silverpoint Vacation Solutions SA.

So there we have it, new company name, same CIF and address, but I would not be surprised if they deny that they are still Silverpoint, a little like Silverpoint tried to deny they were Resort Properties.

As for the new product, it is a credits based lifestyle membership, offering stays at Beverly Hills Club (no longer timeshare), Beverly Hills Heights (part of which is being sold off) and Hollywood Mirage. They also offer a “concierge service” where their “lifestyle managers” do all the work for you, make your bookings and travel arrangements even helping you with switching your utility company.

Some of the “benefits” are the discounts you can get from utilising your Keys membership, from 5% discount at Marks & Spencer, 4% discount at Sainsbury’s or even 8% at B&Q! You can also get upto 15% discount at Disneyland Paris among others. (see the link for offers).

https://www.keys-concierge.com/discovery-offers

Keys concierge

Looking at the website, the product is very similar to others in the past, a Discount Holiday Membership Club, with other services attached. Did we not see something similar with the same type of “Lifestyle” promises from Club Class Concierge?

They also had a “concierge service” which would “enhance” your lifestyle, your very own personal assistant to do all the mundane things like booking travel or theater tickets. Massive discounts which never materialised, either on the holidays or the other products they listed.

It is also sold that you “earn” more credits when you book anything with them, which “saves” you even more. I’m sure we’ve heard this before with “Leisure Credits”?

So the next question is, now that Silverpoint is no longer “selling” timeshare, or no longer members of the RDO, will Kwikchex business service be contacting them for a transparency report? Will they “comply” and if not what will Kwickchex say?

Will Mindtimeshare even post anything about them and this “New Product”? After all Mindtimeshare does publish about companies that are not “Timeshare” and in their eyes are “bogus or scams”. We shall watch those blogs and all the other forums for any comments about this new venture. Somehow I don’t think we will have to wait to long for answers.

On another note, Silverpoint again lost another case, the news was announced on 18 April. The High Court No 3 of Santa Cruz de Tenerife found in accordance with the Supreme Court rulings and declared the CLA client’s contract null & void. They ordered Silverpoint / Resort Properties to return over 27,000€ plus first instance legal fees and legal interest.

So just to finish, Silverpoint Vacations Marketing SA are now Signallia Marketing Distribution SA, a new name and a new product to peddle, will this product turn out to be a good one or will it go the same way as others before it? As usual it is all left to questions needing answers.

If you have had any contact with this company or product and want to aire your views, contact Inside Timeshare and we will share it with our readers. (see one readers comments) http://insidetimeshare.com/keys-concierge-another-credits-based-lifestyle-company/#comment-4014

It is through your experiences and information that others can be warned as to what is going on and be prepared.

 

fridaycat

Friday Letter from The US: Part II: What is our Timeshare Advocacy Group Doing Today?

Here we are again, another Friday and another letter from America, courtesy of Irene, following on from last week’s article.

Firstly the similarities between ARDA ROC and the RDO TATOC, both are industry trade bodies and owners organisations funded by the industry. Both require their members to abide by a code of ethics, but neither will arbitrate or investigate their own members. One difference is that ARDA ROC will not recommend any resale company, but RDO and TATOC will recommend any company that is one of its members.

Both bodies also actively focus on chasing scam and bogus companies, the RDO has employed kwikchex to head their Timeshare Taskforce. This company runs Timeshare Business Check, who contact businesses and question them for transparency, they list those who are not RDO or TATOC members, basically saying if they are not members or submit to their questions don’t touch them. They have no legal mandate and the owner has what can only be described as a very poor track record as a director. (see following link).

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

Only last week we announced and published the news that ARDA have donated $30,000 to TATOC and their Consumer Helpline, which received charitable status after initially being rejected. This donation was given because it is said they help and advise European Owners of US timeshares.

This is obviously a saving grace for TATOC as many of their members are withdrawing their membership or reducing their membership status, as was seen by Silverpoint dropping from Platinum to Silver.

Harry Taylor himself has been somewhat discredited over the Lakeview debacle, which has been going on for sometime. He has also been a very vociferous supporter of MacDonald Resorts and their forcing owners from fixed weeks into points. There is a class action ongoing by members who do not want the change as it then gives MacDonald’s “ownership” of the resorts and reduces members to “right of use only”.

This is happening in Spanish resorts, where we know that the points system is illegal, yet is still going ahead. MacDonald Resorts have a very bad reputation for the way they deal with members including the elderly. Yet they are main contributors to Harry Taylor and TATOC. Even the RDO have had nothing to do with them since 2005.

So we now move on to Irene’s article.

Part II: What is our Timeshare Advocacy Group Doing Today?

Part I: What is ARDA ROC Doing Today?  

By Irene Parker

March 31, 2017

Boss

“What is ARDA ROC Doing Today?”

http://insidetimeshare.com/friday-letter-america/

ARDA, the American Resort Development Association, is the national organization representing the timeshare industry. The ROC in ARDA ROC is the Resort Owners’ Coalition looking out for timeshare owners’ or members’ interest. Critics argue ARDA ROC works against timeshare owners when the interest of the owner and the developer diverge. It should be noted that non-deeded point members don’t “own” anything as they are right-to-use programs.

 FAQ Timeshare Resale Questions found on ARDA ROC website

Can ARDA-ROC or ARDA help me?

ARDA provides professional and educational development for its members provides industry research and data and advocates for policies that promote the vitality and continued growth of the industry. Based in Washington, DC, ARDA is comprised of nearly 1,000 corporate members and one million timeshare owner members.

Question: How many readers knew they were a member? Donations range from $3 to $10 as an opt-in or opt-out donation. That adds up to approximately $5 million a year in voluntary donations.  How many timeshare members even know what the letters stand for?  I didn’t. I was told it was an organization that helps timeshare owners. Foreign buyers who buy a US timeshare are also charged. How much do you think they know about ARDA ROC?

More from ARDA ROC FAQ

Neither ARDA-ROC nor ARDA provide information about complaints they receive.  ARDA-ROC and ARDA do not mediate, arbitrate or otherwise resolve individual disputes between a consumer and an ARDA member or non-member business. They don’t buy or sell timeshares OR recommend companies with whom you should do business. Neither can tell you if a company is “legitimate.”

ARDA does not have any regulatory authority, although they do require member companies to agree to abide by their Code of Ethics. Failure to do so may result in expulsion of the company from membership.

http://www.ardaroc.org/roc/resource-library/default.aspx?id=2771

Timeshare owners, often unaware they have signed a perpetual contract without a secondary market, consider the lack of a secondary their primary concern. ARDA has focused their efforts on chasing timeshare transfer agent scams, but little is mentioned about the cause of the scams, which is the lack of or limited secondary market.

 Thank you to Disney because Disney does allow a secondary market. “Disney is known for exercising their first right of refusal. When a timeshare company exercises their first right of refusal, the effect supports the resale price,” explained Tom Tubbs of Island Consulting Realty. Check out those Disney resale prices. Is your timeshare on the resale list below?

http://www.timesharestogo.com/listings/index.phtml

Deeded weeks can almost always be listed. If a resort has converted from weeks to points, non-deeded points with no secondary market will not be listed as the members of the Licensed Timeshare Resale Broker Association feel such points are worthless on the secondary market. If denied a voluntary surrender, a seller in this situation has nowhere to turn but foreclosure or the well reported transfer agencies that may or may not get you out of your timeshare.

Tom is a LTRBA member. I’ve gotten to know quite a few of the members and respect what they do to work with what little secondary market they’ve got.

http://www.licensedtimeshareresalebrokers.org/

Tom cautioned against making a blanket statement accusing ARDA ROC of not doing anything for members. A good example is the Virgin Islands. They are trying to slap an extra $300 onto an exchange. “If that happens, Aruba and other locations may try to follow suit,” warned Tom. In Hawaii, our two bedroom timeshare at Maui Hill slipped in a $6.90 a night Hawaii some kind of tax.

However, when the interests of the timeshare developer are at odds with the timeshare owner, the result is controversy. Issues like:

Owner access to membership lists. Timeshare owners receive endless calls offering vacation giveaways due to a mysterious $1800 credit on our maintenance fees, yet the developers work to pass laws or put up obstacles preventing owners from contacting other owners. No one on our Advocacy Facebook group will question why developers don’t want that!

https://www.redweek.com/resources/ask-redweek/timeshares-refuse-to-share-owner-lists

The lack of a secondary market.

Back to my $7 ARDA ROC “Voluntary” Donation

accountability

This “voluntary donation” can be difficult to remove from your account.  

What is this voluntary ARDA-ROC fee doing in my maintenance fee bill? – RedWeek.com

I asked timeshare Mike Finn of the Finn Law Group why it has been impossible to have my voluntary $7 removed from my timeshare maintenance fee invoice?

“Indeed you are quite correct that several other resorts include a line item in their maintenance fee statement for an ARDA-ROC contribution. I guess they get away with it because it’s allegedly voluntary. However subsequent maintenance billing beyond the first one incorporates that so called voluntary contribution and lumps it in with the subsequent maintenance fee total billing. If you don’t pay your bill after you receive the initial bill and you pay it after you receive a subsequent bill, you’ll probably be inadvertently including that voluntary contribution into your maintenance fee,” Mike explained.

Our Advocacy Group will begin having monthly conference calls to:

  • Target legislators that might be willing to consider owner concerns;
  • Educate the general public about what questions to ask before buying a timeshare. We wish someone gave us that advice!
  • Get updates on current legislation;
  • Get updates on legal and regulatory matters;
  • An update on the measurable success of our Advocacy Group.

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

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

Happy group

So there we have it the end of another week in the murky world of timeshare, Irene and myself thank those who have contributed to all the articles we publish, hoping it gives you the owners and readers an insight into what is going on. We have had many people contact us for advice and help, and through the contributions from readers, we have highlighted many dubious companies.

It remains for Irene and myself to wish you a very happy weekend, have fun.

weekend

 

parting

Parting of the Ways: RDO Announces it is Dropping Mindtimeshare

It was announced yesterday 7 February, that the RDO (Resorts Development Organisation) is not going to renew the contract with Mindtimeshare SL. This follows last year’s announcement that Alberto Garcia was “stepping down” as director of mindtimeshare and head of the RDO “Enforcement” programme.

As we reported in our article of 16 March 2016, Alberto Garcia had attacked many firms with false allegations, all at the behest of the RDO in its bid to discredit any company who was not a member of that organisation.

enforcer

During his time working as “The Enforcer” (sounds like something from a hollywood film) this ex-police inspector falsified allegations and used his connections to discredit, have arrested and destroy innocent people. All under the guise of protecting the consumers of the timeshare industry, an industry that itself is doing nothing for the consumer apart from causing many financial burdens and stress.

This can be seen in the number of cases being won against RDO members in all the courts in Spain. The Supreme Court itself has made 46 rulings against these RDO members, yet nothing is said or done to change what the industry is doing. In fact the RDO backs up the claims from the likes of Silverpoint and Anfi that the laws are wrong and that these eminent judges are wrong in their interpretation of the law.

The RDO´s enforcement programme has been discredited, mindtimeshare has been discredited, Alberto Garcia has vanished (not that anyone had ever seen him, with this the only photo found).

Alberto-garcia-2

But in its place a new entity has been created to replace it, “The Timeshare Task Force”.

Another name that tries to imply it is a “legal law enforcement entity”. This time it is being coordinated by Kwikchex, a company owned by Chris Emmins, which claims to be a “Worldwide Reputational Management” company, which is only around 6 years old.

Mr Emmins, has a very long history as a director, having resigned fro 4 directorships, and held 17 appointments at 17 companies which have all been dissolved. It is also alleged that these dissolved companies have left a debt of over £500,000 to creditors. Not a very auspicious record! (see link to previous article)

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

It is also believed that Chris Emmins was the only tender for the contract to run the new “Timeshare Task Force”.

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OK guys lets take em out!

Again, it is designed to fool the public into believing that only the RDO can be believed, that when Kwikchex does its so-called verification process, it is doing so as a legal right. Any company not subjecting themselves to their questioning will receive negative comments on the Kwikchex Timeshare Business Check website. No company is legally obliged to answer their questions, there is no legal reason why they should, let alone have to join the RDO in order to conduct business.

Ask yourself the question, why would, say a law firm engaged in suing the timeshare industry want to join the industry trade body?

Why would they pay the organisation the membership fees to be accredited as “legitimate”, when it is those members who are flouting the timeshare laws?

These are questions for you the reader to decide the answer.

We also recently published the article on 6 February “The battle Lines have been Drawn”, we reported about the problems of TATOC and Harry Taylor. Since then we have received information of a major falling out between TATOC and the RDO, with RDO members withdrawing membership or reducing their contributions. In another twist to this story, it has been reported from the US that the American Resorts Development Association (ARDA) President and CEO Howard Nusbaum, will be speaking at the March Conference. We have also been told that this organisation will be contributing substantial funds to TATOC, apparently much to the consternation of the RDO.

On this we will just have to wait and see.

 

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The RDO: Does it Protect Consumers?

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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What is the mission of the RDO?

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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Monster Credits Associated Companies Summary

 

Glenmore Consulting Ltd 08718409
5th Floor Waverley House, Holdenhurst Rd, Bournemouth. BH8 8DY
Offices also in York and Stratford. These are known as Advice Centers.

Directors
Mark Rowe
Nicola Rowe (Wife)

On 5 January 2016 the company name was changed to:
Monster Rewards Limited using the same company number and registered at the same address. There is also a Monster Rewards SL in Tenerife. the Ltd company is the UK arm.

Mark Rowe also owns:

Complete Internet Solutions Ltd which owns Monster Credits. This company sold the rights to sell Monster Credits to Hollywood Marketing SLU based in Tenerife, Mark Rowe is also director.
Hollywood Marketing licenced Glenmore Consultants Ltd now Monster Rewards Ltd to sell Monster Credits.
sellmytimeshare.tv is the trading arm of Hollywood Marketing and is also operated by Mark Rowe. (See advertising video) link.
Another arm is www.timeshare.lawyer according to the website on “who we are” they are a niche legal division of SellMyTimeshare.tv which is owned by Monster Rewards SL.

Hollywood Marketing SLU recently changed to Monster Group (Travel) SLU
Other names associated with these companies are:
Obviously Mark Rowe, previously sales manager Resort Properties/Silverpoint
Mrs Jodi Beard Marketing Director sellmytimeshare.tv

Cheap Holidays, Monster Rewards SL and Monster Travel
Niel Aylward telemarketing director. Previously Contract Sales Manager Resort Properties/ Silverpoint. before this employed by Club la Costa.

David Taylor and Joanne Taylor from Silverpoint. Now operates from the York office for sellmytimeshare/ Glenmore Consultants. Both are Senior Client Advisors.

The Timeshare Consumer Association (TCA)

This was originally set up by Sandy Grey, (1999), when he died it was taken over by a group of people wanting to continue his work. May 2014 Stephen Boyd (lawyer) instituted the new Company The Timeshare Consumer Association Ltd, he resigned in December 2014, Now a partner in Athena Law. For some time (December 2014 Director) it was controlled by Mr David Cox (now a TESS Director). The Website was taken over by Tolmex Ltd 08143115 and was directed by William Aspinall.

On 11 April 2016 the company changed name to Bridgewell Investments Ltd using the same company number and address:
Fernhills Business Center, Foerster Cham, Todd Street. Manchester BL9 5BJ

William Aspinal resigned as director on 8 July 2016

He was replaced on that date by Mark Rowe.

This now means that the TCA a previously independent information resource website is now under the effective control of Monster Group Travel and Mark Rowe.

According to some new information taken from Timeshare Business Check (an arm of Kwikchex RDO funded), When they published their findings on the TCA (23 June 2014), they listed as “Other associated businesses and trading names” the following:

Athena Law (again known to be associated with TCA)

Complete Internet Solutions Ltd

Hollywood Marketing SL

Monster Travel

Sell My Timeshare

 

With these links can the TCA still claim to be the independent voice for the timeshare owner?

Sandy Grey will be turning in his grave!

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Kwikchex Update

It would now appear that the company Kwikchex have themselves been subject to a ruling by the Advertising Standards Authority. The TCA published a piece today 23/3/16 that the ASA ruled that the term “World Leading” was not factually correct. They were ordered to revise it.

 

They now use the term “World Renowned”. I don´t know about you, but does it not sound very similar? As I stated in the post dated 17th March, how can a company no one had heard of, running for only 6 years claim to have such a Global reputation?

 

Surely they are trying it on with the ASA, and still trying to claim this crusading status. Maybe another complaint to the ASA is in order, I leave it to you the reader to decide.

Thanks to the TCA for bringing this to our attention.

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Kwikchex and Chris Emmins

An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because no one sees it.

Mahatma Ghandi.

 

Who and what is Kwikchex, well it seems that no one really knows, It purports to be a WORLDWIDE REPUTATIONAL MANAGEMENT COMPANY. Big words for a company that has only two directors and has been registered for just under 6 years. It has been given the contract to run the Timeshare Task Force and improve the reputation of the Timeshare Industry in Europe by The RDO.

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The company is headed by Mr Christopher Anthony Emmins, a position he has held for 5 years and 4 months. Director I.D. 904358976 and born in June 1957, the entry on Director Check for nationality shows unknown.

 

He has resigned from 4 companies and held 17 appointments at 17 dissolved Companies. It is alleged that the dissolved companies has left unpaid creditors with around £500,000 of debt.

 

The following are the companies he has been associated with:

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