First we take a look at the Criminal Action, this was proposed by the law firm Kaehler Abogados, he believed that what Resort Properties / Silverpoint were selling was classified as a fraud. This involved the selling of multiple timeshare weeks as “investments” in property, with a view to renting for an income and eventually going on the resale market with a return of around 15% to the purchaser.
As it turned out, the hundreds of consumers found out too late that what was actually happening was they were being continually upsold to higher standards of apartments / weeks. The reason they were given was what they had originally purchased was not selling as it was not what the market wanted. The only way to secure their “investment” was to pay even more money to upgrade to the better quality apartments.
Many of these transactions were funded with loan agreements brokered by Resort Properties / Silverpoint using Barclays Partner Finance agreements. The promise was that after two years the weeks would be sold and that would then cover the loan amounts and settle the agreements.
In reality this did not happen.
The first cases went to court and a long drawn out legal battle ensued, with the CEO Mark Cushway being indicted along with many managers and staff on charges of fraud. At the time it was dubbed as the largest fraud in timeshare history.
Unfortunately these cases floundered, Silverpoint successfully argued with the courts that these were property investments and not timeshare, therefore the purchasers were not consumers of timeshare but investors in property. As we know property can go down in value as well as up.
The courts at the time agreed, that these purchasers were buying into property investment, so they believed that no fraud had been committed.
At the same time the other school of thought was beginning to use the civil courts and the timeshare laws to pursue Silverpoint. The most notable case being that of Mrs Shirley Wilson, who instructed the proponent of civil action Miguel Rodriguez Cabellos to fight her case.
Mrs Wilson, argued that she at first believed she was investing in property, but it turned out it was in fact timeshare as there were maintenance fees attached along with other aspects of timeshare.
(Click on the link below to see the original trial)
Again a long drawn out legal battle was underway, with the case eventually going all the way to the Supreme Court.
Then in January 2017, the Supreme Court made its historic ruling, that what Resort Properties / Silverpoint had sold was indeed timeshare. That the purchasers were indeed consumers of timeshare and not “investors”, which also meant they now had the full protection of the timeshare laws.
For the hundreds of clients who had been part of the criminal action this was very good news, it now meant their cases could be converted to a civil action using the now many rulings on timeshare law from the Supreme Court.
Canarian Legal Alliance under Miguel and his team of lawyers were now responsible for representing these clients. They were offered the chance of converting their cases to the civil courts.
One of the first client to do so has now had his case heard and the courts have found in his favour, according to the rulings of the Supreme Court. The Court of First Instance No 5 in Arona, Tenerife has declared this clients contract null and void, his original claim was for 60,000€, the court has awarded him 88,113€.
This is obviously good news for the hundreds of clients who took part in the original criminal cases, they now have the chance to receive the justice they have for so long sought, with many of them having already converted to the civil action. So we can be sure that there will be many more stories such as this in the coming months.
Below is another link to a Youtube video which shows the then Sales Director David Taylor giving another “investor” the run a around.
In another twist, Silverpoint have another product which is very similar to the original “investments” deal, this they call the “Company Participation Scheme”. It is a very clever attempt to bypass the timeshare laws, although looking at the documentation it certainly looks like an advanced form of timeshare. More on this at a later date.
Inside Timeshare would like to thank CLA for the background information used in this article.
If you have any questions or comments about this or any article published, then use our contact page, we look forward to hearing from you.
Over the few months Inside Timeshare has been alerting our readers about two companies, Abogados Lopez and Centaurus Mediations, the latest is the pitch these two are using, first Abogados Lopez.
According to the calls our readers have been receiving calls from first Hope Brugge and then a Megan Haywood, they have been appointed to take over cases against timeshare companies, that the client’s case has been brought forward and is going to be heard in the next couple of days.
Hope or Megan need to verify certain information before presenting the case in the court, which if it had already been filed and the case is being brought forward, those details would have been checked before. So the question is why do they need to verify it and file the case at court, is it for credibility?
They also go on to tell the client that the law firm they have paid to do the case for them is actually a scam which is why they at Abogados Lopez have taken on the cases. Hope or Megan even go on to say they hope that the client didn’t sign a power of attorney.
Within a day or so the client receives another phone call from Hope or Megan, this time with the great news that they have won the case and the court has awarded them thousands of pounds in compensation. Now comes the crunch, to get this money released from the court there is a fee to be paid, some have been told it is for taxes.
This fee has to be paid by bank transfer, the client receives an email with all the bank details, there is only one major problem here, the account is in the name of a private individual. Now, we don’t know about you, but we have to ask, why is a so-called law firm using bank accounts in the names of private individuals?
Unfortunately, due to readers of our pages getting in touch with Inside Timeshare or their law firm they have realised that this is just an elaborate “SCAM”. When they confront Hope with this she gets very aggressive, raising her voice and telling the client that they are not the “SCAM” but everyone else is. She then slams down the phone. Oops, chucking dummies out of the pram!
The next pitch our readers have told us about is another that is being used to gain “credibility”, this involves Centaurus Mediations SL in Tenerife, a company that is not unfamiliar to our pages and that we know is linked to Mark Cushway and Silverpoint.
In this case the representative from Centaurus knocks on the doors of Silverpoint members at the resort, in this case Hollywood Mirage. In the case of our reader it was a young lady, she informed them that they had been “appointed” by the court to act as “mediators” following court cases against Silverpoint.
When questioned the young lady was unable to answer any questions as she stated she didn’t work with the mediators, but acted on their behalf to contact clients. She then made an appointment for them.
At the appointment they were greeted by the same girl, and introduced to a man named John who was described as a “Paralegal” and would explain their options.
The clients then asked where did Centaurus get their contact details and information that they were staying, apparently John looked a little flustered and reiterated that the court gave them the details. Obviously the client did not believe them and informed them of this even stating that it was a breach of protection of data, that the court would not pass on any information without informing the client.
John then brought over another person called Taz who he called the owner and his manager, this Taz told the clients that the court had ordered Silverpoint to supply them with weekly lists of Silverpoint clients stay at the resorts.
Obviously our readers did not believe all this baloney, informing them again that it was a breach of data protection and that they believed that Centaurus was in fact working with Silverpoint and getting the data direct from them as part of Silverpoints enterprise.
At least our readers in this case had the good sense to realise that what they were being told was not true.
Silverpoint is that desperate that they set up a company to act in this way and swindle their own clients yet again, don’t forget they are also using two companies in Scotland for the same thing, Claims Solutions Group in Aberfeldy and Fullbrook Associates in Stirling.
Inside Timeshare warns all its readers beware the “pitch” which is designed to give credibility to the company that is contacting you. Question what you are being told, remember the courts do not appoint or order companies to contact timeshare clients. This information is coming from one source and one source only Silverpoint!
If you have had an experience like this then Inside Timeshare would like to hear from you, it will serve as a good warning to others. If you need to check on any company that has contacted you or one you have found in the internet, then contact Inside Timeshare and we will point you in the right direction.
We start this week off with more information on the company linked to Silverpoint and contacting their own clients regarding relinquishments and claims, Centaurus Mediations SL. Once again Inside Timeshare has received more emails from readers who have been contacted or attended meetings at their office in Tenerife.
There is now another new twist to the tale, this is a company based in Stirling Scotland called Fullbrook Associates, this company it seems is employed by Centaurus Mediations (who are charging extortionate amounts) to take on their “cases” to get the owners out of the Silverpoint contracts and claim back their money!
Who are Fullbrook Associates?
According to company house, they were incorporated on 13 June 2016, under the name of Fullbrook Marketing Ltd, changing the name to Fullbrook Associates on 17 March 2017, with the company registration number: SC537793
4/5 Stirling Business Centre, Wellgreen, Stirling, Scotland, FK8 2DZ. But the address given on the website shows a slightly different address: 73 Wellgreen Pl, Stirling FK8 2DZ, UK. This is a business center offering office space to rent either full time or on a need to use basis, as with all these business centers they are also mail delivery points.
According to company records the nature of their business is: 70229 – Management consultancy activities other than financial management. So this begs the question what are they to do with timeshare?
The director section of company records is rather interesting, the original director was Martin Scully, appointed 13 June 2016, but resigned 13 June 2016, (no that is not a mistake) with Kathleen Mary Scully also being appointed on 13 June 2016. It is also believed that Martin Scully was at one time working in the marketing department of EZE Group, not an unfamiliar name to these pages.
When looking at “Meet the Team” section of their website, they show the photos of 6 ladies including one solicitor and one paralegal, yet in their profiles not one of them shows any history or knowledge of timeshare matters or law. Although according to the Legal Services section on Timeshare Termination they state “Fullbrook Associates has such specialism. We can not only extricate unhappy clients from their timeshare contracts but can successfully pursue compensation claims surrounding mis-selling and consumer credit breaches”.
On the point of “compensation Claims”, one has to ask how they are going to do this?
Are they going to use the Credit Consumer Act 1974 Section 75?
Staying on the website, they do not show any company registration numbers, no SRA registration number for the lawyer or any registration with the Institute of Paralegals for the Paralegal, which one would have thought was of great importance. They also show no official membership to any organisation, or show any registration for claims management with the Ministry of Justice.
Obviously, we have mentioned the link between Centaurus Mediations, Silverpoint and Mark Cushway, we have also in the past published that Silverpoint / Mark Cushway had approached Claims Solutions Group to take on cases against themselves!
Once again we have timeshare owners being charged huge amounts of money by one company to extricate them from their timeshare, (run by the very people who sold it to you in the first place), then being passed onto a third party to do the work. One can see the problem here, if the work is not done by the third party, Centaurus can get away from any Section 75 claim by stating they have fulfilled their contract, it is not their fault the work has not been done.
Remember, if you purchased your timeshare in Spain after January 1999, your contract is for more than 50 years, you have points or floating week systems, you paid any money within the cooling off period, then the only way to successfully claim is through the Spanish Courts using Spain’s very stringent timeshare laws. (Please also bare in mind that not all are claimable regardless of what you are told).
If you just want to terminate your membership, contact your own timeshare company first, many are now offering to allow termination, most will not even deal with third parties, only with the member direct, so you could be paying for nothing.
Just because a company boasts they are UK registered does not mean they can be trusted, look for their track record, how long have they been operating, are they able to prove their “expertise” in timeshare law, can you get independent confirmation that they have actually got people out of timeshare and got their money back? (Do not always trust testimonials published on their websites).
These are all questions you need to be asking, do not just believe the “pitch”, do your homework before you pay any money out.
If you require any information about any company that has contacted you or one that you have found on the internet, then contact Inside Timeshare and we will point you in the right direction.
The in February it became apparent that Centaurus Mediations SL is one of the companies set up by Mark Cushway and Silverpoint. It was around the time that Silverpoint closed all of their sales decks and staff lost their “jobs”. (Well not all of them, obviously they would be needed in the new enterprises).
Centaurus began contacting Silverpoint members, the difference being from other companies that also cold call is they knew all the details of the clients membership, even down to the fact that they had taken legal action and won!
So what are Centaurus telling these clients?
During the call the agent James, another name that has come up is Alan, tells the clients that even though Silverpoint have lost the cases at court, no one will get paid out. The only way to cancel the contract and get anything back is to go with Centaurus.
So Silverpoint, who sold the illegal contracts in the first place is now contacting their own clients, albeit under the guise of a new name, to help them get out of their timeshare!
Inside Timeshare has been contacted by many readers after these calls, many have even stated that they have cases waiting to be heard at court. Now we do know from experience that members data is often kept by sales staff as an insurance policy in the event of redundancy, but that usually only contains names and telephone numbers. The type of information these readers are being told is basically their entire purchase history.
This only leads to one conclusion, they are using the SILVERPOINT MEMBERS DATABASE!
The email these readers have received after the initial call is signed by James:
Further to our conversation, I am pleased to provide you with an insight into the professional services provided by us at Centaurus Mediations. I’m sure you are aware of the turmoil that has existed over the last few years regarding the timeshare product, its legality and sales tactics adopted by ruthless timeshare sales people. You are also probably aware that recent Supreme Court rulings have turned the tide in favour of the timeshare member.
As I have discussed with you, we here at Centaurus provide solutions for the numerous and varied concerns of the average timeshare member, whether they be concerns over the legality, effectiveness or longevity of your contract or the minefield that exists when solutions to those issues are sought from third parties.
As mediators our roles are to extract you from your commitment with your Timeshare company and introduce you to our recommended registered law firm if necessary. Our services range from extraction from complicated and binding timeshare agreements to the investigation into possible financial compensation on your behalf. Our services are all of a new win no fee nature and in some cases have guaranteed time frames. Should the services of our recommended law firm be required, a no win no fee service is also offered by the firm.
Mediation. In our role as mediators we aim to provide best advice with the sole intention of resolving disputes between our clients and their resort or holiday club.
It would be interesting to see what these services under their “New no win no fee nature”, along with what guaranteed time frames?
It also seems strange that the “recommended law firm offers a no win no fee service”!
Another name that has suddenly cropped up with regards to Centaurus is one Lee Burton, apparently he is well known in timeshare circles, mainly as a bit of a henchman. He is closely associated with Mark Cushway, as well as others in the industry.
Inside Timeshare has also been informed that this individual is also under investigation for lying to the court under oath, which is known as perjury. A Criminal Denuncia (official police complaint) has also been filed against him on this very matter.
It is believed from our sources that his role is ensure the smooth running of the operation and dealing with any “problems”. Judging by his reputation, a role he is well suited for.
If you have been contacted or taken up the services of this company and no feel that you may be subject to being “defrauded”, then contact Inside Timeshare and we will pass you to a lawyer for free legal advice.
Inside Timeshare would also like to hear from you about any company that contacts you regarding your timeshare, especially if it is with Silverpoint, use our contact page and we will point you in the right direction.
On 5 March, Inside Timeshare published the article about Aspirantco SL, we have been reliably informed of inaccuraccies in this article, which was based on information received from sources we believed reliable.
Aspirantco SL are now the official marketing company for Excel Resorts, which is the management company for all the properties in the former Silverpoint portfolio. Excel Resorts cancelled the contract with Silverpoint and Mark Cushway for the sales and marketing of the resorts.
Carl Jenkins was the former second in command for Mark Cushway, but he resigned as he did not agree with the sales and marketing practices that were being used by Silverpoint. His company Aspirantco Sl are endeavoring to readdress the past mistakes and operate within all legal boundaries.
Inside Timeshare apologises to Carl Jenkins and Aspirantco SL for the misleading information published in the article. Inside Timeshare should have made more stringent checks on the sources. We hope that Carl Jenkins accepts this written apology.
Today’s article is in response to many enquiries that Inside Timeshare receives on an almost daily basis, it centers around the promise of no win no fee claims.
From the many companies now operating in this field, especially since the Spanish Supreme Court ruled that many contracts sold in Spain are illegal, this has become a growth industry.
Firstlly, if you purchased or upgraded an original purchase in Spain since 5 January 1999 and your contract has the following, then you may just have a valid claim:
The contract is for a duration of more than 50 years, what is usually known as perpetuity;
You have been sold either floating week or points systems, (in many cases this may include fractional);
You paid a deposit or even the full amount within the 14 day cooling off period, (in some cases this may be extended to 90 days).
In order to claim it has to be done through the Spanish courts and legal system, this will mean employing a lawyer or law firm with the relevant experience in this field. Not all lawyers will have the correct knowledge of the laws involved.
For example Inside Timeshare knows of one German owner who took on the services of a German Lawyer based in the Canary Islands, to file a claim against Anfi. Unfortunately this particular lawyer wrongly informed his client to stop paying the maintenance fees. Eventually the case went before a judge at the Court of First Instance in Maspalomas, he lost the case. It was deemed that because he had not kept up his maintenance fees he was in breach of contract and his membership had been cancelled.
So what is involved in taking out legal action in Spain?
Once you have found a reputable law firm or lawyer with the correct experience, all contracts will have to be translated into Spanish.
A Power of Attorney will need to be signed to allow the lawyers to act on your behalf. This is not a full Power of Attorney and is only applicable to that case. It can be done either in Spain or at a notary in your own country.
Once this has been done they are then sent to the assigned lawyer for case preparation.
They will then be passed to a Procurador to file at the court along with the relevant court fees and taxes. A judge will then be assigned and the process will start.
For this to be put into place legal fees are required to be paid, these cover all of the above and are payable either in full or can be paid by installments depending on the firm or lawyer you instruct. They do not work on a no win no fee basis.
There are so many companies now that are telling owners that they have a claim and will do this on no win no fee. Then comes the crunch.
In order to do the claim a rather hefty amount of money will need to be paid to cancel the timeshare, or what is known as relinquishment and then the claim can be lodged. In some cases the client also has to buy into another product.
The problem is once a contract has been terminated then no claim can be filed at any Spanish court, so where and how is the claim going to be done?
The most common is through Section 75 of the Credit Consumer Act 1974.
Unfortunately most owners will have purchased more than 6 years previously, which most card companies use as the cutoff point. Also the fact the owners will have most probably used their timeshare in the period since they purchased.
So the timeshare resort or company will quite rightly state that the owner had received the goods or service they had paid for, after all they have taken the holidays.
Section 75 will cover:
Not receiving the goods or services paid for.
The company has gone into liquidation.
Faulty goods or goods not fit for purpose.
It does not cover the fact that you were sold a timeshare product that has been deemed an illegal contract in Spain.
As for timeshares purchased elsewhere, the same would also apply under section 75.
For information on what is involved in a section 75 follow the link to the Martin Lewis website:
There are some UK firms that will offer a claim through the Spanish courts on a no win no fee basis, which may be genuine, these will use what are known as litigation funding. In essence these are companies that speculate on the probability of a win and will invest the funds to pay for the legal services. These will result in at least 40% of any funds awarded being taken in commission. Many of these types of litigation funders are used for class actions.
If you are tempted by these type of offers, one thing should be taken into account, an insurance policy should be purchased to cover any costs in the event of losing and being awarded the other sides costs, or you could be in for a bill of thousands.
There are some very basic questions you need to ask, if they are unable to provide any answers then you do need to think very hard in accepting their offers.
What type of claim are they doing, is it a section 75 or are they using the courts?
If they are using the courts, which jurisdiction are they using?
What are the names of the lawyers including bar association membership numbers or the law firms they will be employing?
If on a no win no fee basis, how is the court case to be funded?
Remember, not all timeshares sold will be valid to make a claim, off course the company talking to you will tell you that you do have a claim, after all they are sales people after your money.
It is also fair to point out that many law firms only offer no win no fee for injury, accident and medical negligence claims, these are where the client is going for compensation. With timeshare claims you are not getting compensation, but the return of money originally paid for a contract that is deemed illegal.
If you have been contacted by any company offering any of these services and would like to know the truth behind what they are saying, contact Inside Timeshare and we will give you an honest answer.
Want to know if a company or law firm is genuine again contact Inside Timeshare, don’t forget, doing your homework will save you in the end.
This first piece of information from one of our readers, (although the same information has been received in the past), concerns the “FAKE” law firm in Tenerife Abogados Canarias, part of the ongoing fraud known as the Litigious Abogados family.
This particular reader had been contacted by this outfit with news that their timeshare company was being taken to court (as usual), that they could be part of this action. All they needed to do was pay a fee for the procurator to file their case with the rest.
Luckily this reader decided to search the internet about this “law firm”, lo and behold found the article published here on Inside Timeshare, they then contacted us for further information, which as usual we gave free of charge.
We even warned them that this “FAKE” law firm would say that Inside Timeshare are the scammers! Not bad considering none of our readers are ever charged for any information or help given.
Well they decided to accept the return call as arranged, Yes you guessed it, they told the reader exactly what we had warned. They even told them that they had taken Inside Timeshare to court SIX TIMES last year!
Well myself and my lawyers memories must be going, as we can’t remember going to court ONCE, let alone SIX times.
Just to let you know at Abogados Canarias, all information supplied by our readers has and will be passed to the authorities to augment the denuncia made in February 2017 against your original “FAKE” law firms!
Another piece of interesting information has been supplied by our readers, this time it is concerning Diamond Resorts, it would appear that they are upsetting many of their members. (Well nothing new there!)
It now transpires that any members family using as guests, below that of Platinum is going to have to pay to use the WiFi, Swimming pool and other facilities on the European sites!
Apparently, the cost for using the pool is around £6 per day per person, not going to be a cheap holiday then, considering the extortionate maintenance fees associated with Diamond. It makes you wonder why you pay the high cost of membership in the first place along with the ongoing annual fees, when this happens?
Also is this just another ploy to “Upgrade” members to Platinum?
According to the information provided, it has nothing to do with Apollo, as they are only an “Investment Company” and has nothing to do with the day to day running of Diamond!
Hang on they Own Diamond, surly anything that Diamond management do which upsets the members, bringing bad publicity to the public eye, will have a detrimental effect on the share prices and thus on the “Investment”?
Well, all we can say is, timeshare is not the great thing is used to be, it has become nothing more than a money making machine that does not care about you the member. After all they got your money to join, they now get your money each year and if they can find another way to get more of it, they will!
We published recently the article on Centaurus Mediation SL, contacting Silverpoint members offering a relinquishment service, it also seemed that they were using the members data supplied by Silverpoint. We also stated that there was another company which had also been set up but no name had yet come forth.
The latest information provided by yet another reader is that Excel have taken the marketing contract from Silverpoint due to their bad practices. (Something we have known for years).
Apparently this was told to our reader by a representative from another company called Aspirantco, which we believe is part owned by Excel.
Excel is the management company behind all the resorts.
From other information supplied Mr Jenkins is also Project Director for a Tenerife Real Estate Company called Homes Under the Sun, which does not appear to have any known ties with the timeshare industry.
Further information has been uncovered on 12 companies in the UK where Mark Cushway is the registered director. 10 of the companies were registered on 24 June 2016 and 2 registered on 29 July 2016. All have the same registered address for the director as1 Bedford Row, London, England, WC1R 4BZ.
As the old saying goes, “What a tangled web we weave”!!!
We leave you the reader to decide where this may just be going, we obviously have our suspicions. We also thank all readers who have contributed information.
If you are contacted by any of these companies Inside Timeshare would like to hear from you, or if you need any information, help or advice on any company that you may be thinking of doing business with get in touch and we will point you in the right direction.
Centaurus Mediation SL is a new company based in Tenerife, it is engaged in cold calling timeshare owners, cold calling is not in itself illegal, but it is the nature of the calls and the owners being targeted.
The company was registered in Spain on 31 October 2017, with the website registered on 2 November 2017, yet according to them they have already achieved the following successes
97 Successful Claims
64 Agreed Terminations.
Not bad going for a company that is only 3 months old! (PDF Company records) below
As for the owners being targeted, they are all Resort Properties / Silverpoint owners, not really a problem until you realise that Centaurus Mediation has all the details of these owners including the facts they have either started legal action or have already done so against Silverpoint.
This leaves us with some very important questions, where has the data come from, who has supplied it, and what data protection laws have been compromised?
In our mind, there are only these explanations, either the data has been stolen from Silverpoint, by a member of staff, or Silverpoint have set up these companies and provided their membership database.
The latter seems the more probable, especially when you find out the nature of the calls.
In the call, one name that has come up is the agent known as James, he explains that his company can get them out of their membership from Silverpoint, that Excel have now taken over and that no one will ever get any compensation. The only way out is to let Centaurus to do it for you. Obviously this is going to be for a fee.
In another call, the agent knew that the client had already won their case at the Supreme Court, that they would get nothing and the only way to cancel the contract was for Centaurus Mediation to do it for them, as the court have no authority to cancel the contract.
This is untrue, the courts have declared the contracts null and void, there is nothing to cancel, having confirmed with Canarian Legal Alliance that the enquiry received was a genuine client of theirs, they confirmed that the contract had been declared null and void. They were asked to explain what this means.
Very simply, null and void means that it never existed, that everything reverts to the state before the contract was signed, the timeshare reverts back to the company, all money paid by the consumer is then returned. The contract and agreement never existed.
So what do we make of all this, here we have a company contacting specific timeshare owners, using a database that could only have come from Silverpoint, a company that has sold packs of weeks as investments that never materialised. Now this company is demanding payment to get the owners out of their contract, using very dubious methods and tactics.
So now we have a report that Silverpoint have set up two companies in Tenerife , Centaurus in Los Cristianos and another in Playa de Las Americas, the name of which has yet to be revealed. We also know they have closed their sales decks, that two names have come up in conjunction with running the new office for Centaurus, Carl Jenkens and Ruben Miller.
We must admit, they have been very clever in keeping any documentary link separate and difficult to find, but anyone with any sense would see through the client database. After all if a company was illegally using your client data, would you not take legal action?
So we now ask the question what is the reasoning behind all this?
Over the years Resort Properties / Silverpoint have been raking in the profits from their “investment” program, many people have been taken in by it, many have lost everything, others are still paying the price. Since January 2017, the Supreme Court has ruled on about 30 cases against them, declaring all contracts null and void and returning in many cases double the amounts originally paid by consumers. The lower courts are also ruling on an almost daily basis.
Silverpoint have obviously decided the only way to avoid any further litigation and huge losses is to allow people to get out, but why not make some money out of them first! We have had them once, lets have them again!
If you have been contacted by Centaurus Mediations SL or any other company using the same technique, let us know the details and we will publish the information here.
Need any help or advice on checking a company that has contacted you or you may be thinking of doing business with, then contact Inside Timeshare and we will point you in the right direction.
In this week’s Letter from America we welcome the first article from Ken Silva, with his Nightmare on Timeshare Street story. This is also made more complicated due to the involvement of Barclays, as this is considered as a separate agreement to the timeshare. But first we look at the news from Europe.
It has now been confirmed that the enterprises owned by Mark Rowe, are being investigated by South West Police, this follows the report at the beginning of January of the raids conducted by Trading Standards at several premises used by these companies. This followed after an investigation by the “Scambuster Team”.
The Police are contacting clients who either have lodged complaints with Trading Standards and the Police in the past, or from records seized in the raids. If you have had any dealings with any of his companies (a full list can be found at the link below), then contact:
South West Police ROCU. DC 4624 Katie Andrews. PO Box 37, Valley Rd, Portishead,Bristol. BS20 8QJ
Could this now be the end to the Mark Rowe Enterprises?
If we thought that things could not get any stranger in the world of timeshare, then you would be wrong.
Silverpoint based in Tenerife and headed by Mark Cushway, have not only closed their sales decks, but have now set up two companies to offer their own clients a relinquishment service!
One company has been identified as Centaurus Mediations SL, which was highlighted on 15 January. They are contacting clients with the story that the only way out of their timeshare and maintenance fees, is to pay them to relinquish the timeshare. James, one of the callers also tells them that Excel has taken over and that no one will get any compensation for any claims.
How do we make this link, very simple, the information that the caller has on the timeshare owner can only have come from one place, Silverpoint! The caller knew that they had employed ReclaimGC and CLA to institute a claim against Silverpoint, so we leave you to make up your own mind. A fuller story will be published in due course, once all the information has been processed.
For now on with today’s Letter from America.
A Warning to Anyone Thinking About Buying a Timeshare
Timeshare Consumers, take my advice and do due diligence before buying a timeshare.
Protect your family. Do not get your family into the mess we are in. Do your research. There’s a reason there are so many timeshare members on Facebook and websites seeking to dump their timeshares. I’m sure there are sales agents selling the product honestly, but you decide about our sales agent after reading what happened to us. All you have to do to prove we are telling the truth is to get on our booking site and try to find a vacation based on what we were sold.
Attorneys General, please, do not dismiss our experience. We are fighting to get our money back, as we still owe $10,000 on a Diamond ResortsBarclaycard credit card. We hope to escape the “ironclad”STAY VACATIONED contract.
Here’s what happened
In May of 2016 my wife and I purchased a Diamond Resorts International (DRI) Sampler (trial) package for $2,995 in Las Vegas.
Using our Sampler points we booked a stay at Diamond’s Ka’anapali Resort. We purchased 2,500 Hawaii Collection Diamond points for $13,000. Our sales agent was Karen Cossettee. Ms. Cossette told us we would be able to book one to three weeks of vacation anywhere. Our son Jacob, age 3, has a serious medical condition so we need to vacation close to home as we have to be near medical facilities. We had to cut both our Hawaii and Las Vegas trip short because our son experienced a medical emergency back home.
After we returned home, we got on the booking site, but found no locations meeting our requirements. About the only bookings you can get with 2,500 points are for places like Branson Missouri or Gatlinburg, maybe a one bedroom in Orlando. It is impossible to stay one to three weeks in a one bedroom in California near a major medical facility.
Jacob has cerebral palsy. He has been diagnosed failure to thrive and is on a feeding tube. He requires 24/7 care and he is a case study at Stanford University Medical School. We cannot fly because of his condition. We booked Tahoe recently, but cancelled that trip because even Tahoe is too far.
Using our Sampler points requires a sales presentation, so we booked a trip to
Las Vegas November, 2017. We stayed at DRI’s Cancun resort. There the Diamond sales agent, Davia Hunsicker said, “Hawaii lied to you! You can’t go anywhere on 2,500 points.” We were told Hawaii Collection points are expected to be slammed with assessments and 10-14% increases in maintenance fees because Hawaii is so expensive and subject to weather damages. However, in Hawaii they told us maintenance fees increase only 6%. They went on to explain that Hawaii was going to have a $1,000 plus assessment for damage to shores. Ms. Hunsicker told us U S Collection maintenance fees increase only 2% on average.
The Vegas agents told us the only way out of this situation was to move our Hawaii points to the US Collection and to do that we had to buy 4,500 points for $18,000 to own 7,000 U S Collection.
Like in Hawaii, we were shown several places we could stay that met Jacob’s needs. Again, when allowed on our booking site (again after the rescission period), it was a different inventory. I called DRI and reached a Platinum agent who said, “I’m with the Platinum desk. I can pull strings.” She found a desirable option, Pacific Grove in California. This was one of the locations we were shown in Vegas, only in our inventory it would require 22,000 points.
Timeshare companies can dodge the rescission period by not allowing access to the booking site until after the rescission period. In our case, I tried to log on two days after signing but was told my account was in escrow. The rescind period is seven to ten days, but it takes nearly 30 days before you can access the booking site.
DRI sales agents are so good at having all the answers and they will promise you the moon. Ms. Hunsicker also said we could get an extra 8500 “ghost” points that would upgrade us to Silver by saying we owned an RCI week. She instructed us to just nod to the QA person when they ask about RCI and we would be able to get the extra points, but not to say she told us because, “You might get me fired if they find out, but that way you’ll get another 8500 points.” She advised us to purchase an RCI week at Sam’s Club for $500 – $600 and then trade it in to Diamond for 8,500 points. She said with Silver benefits we could have food stocked and luggage forwarded. This was a tremendous benefit because of Jacob’s needs. However, when I read about these benefits the luggage benefit costs additional funds and the food service was not available at the Silver level.
We asked about what would happen if we could no longer use the points and were told DRI will work something out and were informed DRI has a website where you can sell points. DRI points are virtually worthless on the secondary market.
We would have rescinded our contract immediately if I had been able to see that we could not use our points as promised. Diamond salespeople will offer their cell and promise to be available and act like they genuinely care about you (like ours did concerning Jacob), but then disappear after a few days of friendly texts.
I work for a faith based non-profit. We teach anti-bullying and leadership skills. Our credit score is over 800. I am 33 years old and my wife is 31, caring for our son’s severe medical issues. To think that timeshare companies allow these practices and hides behind the fine print is astonishing.
I published a review on Trust Pilot.
Reply from Diamond Resorts International
Published Monday, January 15, 2018
We regret to hear of your experience as we are known in being forthright and delivering top notch service. Please email us at [email protected] for further assistance.
My response to Diamond’s response
Edit: Diamond Resorts reached out, as seen below, however, they have not responded to my email to them as of 1/25/18. Also, they are not known for their top notch service. In fact, look on Facebook for the various groups of people who are in positions like mine, or the many other reviews on Trust Pilot. It often takes DRI 45 or more days to get back to you and many are ignored. When you call customer service, they tell you there’s not much they can do to help.
If Diamond was forthright and delivering top notch service, they would refund victims their money. I’m glad I have a background in Social Justice and Social Media.
I hope our pain will save others.
Notes from Irene
Since Ken submitted this article a week ago, Inside Timeshare received five more complaints directed against this same sales center, one against the same agent Ken complained about. Especially in California, there have been complaints from Monarch owners of deeded weeks, coerced into giving up their deed and buy points, only to find out they did not have access to the week they had used and enjoyed for years.
All timeshare resorts have non-member inventory that always guarantee non-members can spend the money but members often cannot find availability. Diamond is not the only resort with complaints like this. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman settled with The Manhattan Club for $6.5 million. Clearly, there is a problem industry wide.
Timeshare deception and “bait and switch” is not a practice limited to Diamond, but in the case of DRI, licensed resale brokers will not even accept a Diamond listing. It’s bad enough if you can sell a timeshare if you were lied to, (often a timeshare is worth only pennies on the dollar), but with Diamond it is worse because it has been widely reported Diamond has virtually no secondary market. Try calling some of the members of the Licensed Timeshare Resale BrokersAssociation and see what they have to say.
We really do hope timeshare developers will work with us to stop predatory timeshare sales.
Thank you Ken and Irene for today’s article, it is with these stories that everyone becomes aware of what is happening, including the developers. Let us hope that they take note and start to change how they operate.
Inside Timeshare has just been informed from one of our German readers that Marriott is sending out emails to clients with the following statement (part of email translated from German):
An important commentary has been published in the press regarding letting restrictions on tourists (especially in the Balearics and in Catalonia) in 2017.
We would like to point out that MVCI Management, S.L. the only licensed company that has the right to rent properties in MVCI Resorts in Spain for themselves or their owners.
Weekly owners who rent their time-share weeks either by themselves or through third parties face fines of up to € 400,000.
Due to the complex nature of the legislation in question in Spain, we recommend that you obtain legal advice on your individual circumstances before renting your weeks outside the MVCI rental program.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call us or send an e-mail to [email protected]com.
Marriott Vacation Club
We will obviously bring you more on this as we get more information as and when we get it.
If you have any questions or require any information on this or any other article published, contact Inside Timeshare, we will be pleased to help and point you in the right direction.
So that is it for another week, Friday is upon us and the weekend beckons, have a good one.
Welcome to Friday’s Letter from America, the last one for 2017, this week Irene looks at the past year from across “The Great Lake”, while we look at the past year in Europe.
Our first article of 2017 was about the family of fake lawyers from Tenerife, Litigious Abogados, it highlighted a new firm called Abogacia Española, which happens to be the name of the official website to check the validity of lawyers registrations. This was a very good move on the part of this well planned out fraud, as it did give an air of legitimacy when you did a web search.
Since then, we have seen many incarnations of this fake law firm, although the names have changed, one thing hasn’t, that is the nature of the fraud. They are still duping consumers into believing that they have a case at court, then to be part of it you need to pay the Procurator fees. That is only the start, it get even more sophisticated. Search Litigious Abogados for the full story.
While we are on the subject of Silverpoint, It was announced in April that Silverpoint were withdrawing their membership to the RDO, (Resorts Development Organisation) and would no longer be selling timeshare. Hence the product Keys Concierge, which does not appear to fall into the realms of timeshare laws.
This was a great blow to the RDO, as Mark Cushway was not only a director, but Silverpoint was also a major contributor. Funds this organisation could ill afford to lose. It has since come to our attention that the RDO is to form a partnership with ARDA (American Resorts Development Association). This particular organisation is well endowed with contributions and is very strong in the world of lobbying for its members. So it begs the question is the RDO going to be taking on board the tactics of ARDA?
Staying on the subject of Silverpoint, January was a momentous time on the legal front, with the Supreme Court making their first ruling against this company. This was the case of Mrs Shirley Wilson and her long battle against the selling tactics of Silverpoint.
Within a week the highest court in Spain ruled three times against Silverpoint, opening the doors for many more cases against them. Since then the rulings have been coming in thick and fast, leaving no doubt that what they had been selling was illegal.
February brought the news that Alberto Garcia had “stepped down” from Mindtimeshare and that the RDO would not be renewing the contract with that “Consumer Association”. Alberto Garcia for many years had been running the RDO’s“Enforcement Programme”, attacking any company which threatened the timeshare industry. This has now been given to Kwikchex and the “Timeshare Taskforce”, run by Chris Emmins.
Throughout the year, Inside Timeshare has been following the Anfi “Tauro Beach Project”, this has been a story that has now seen the former head of the Coastal Authority being charged with falsifying official documents and wrong doing in public office. No doubt we will see his trial sometime in the new year.
This project was to build a man made beach at Tauro, with the building of hotels and a shopping center. This was given to Anfi to run for 50 years, the Government of Gran Canaria is now seeking in the courts to remove these concessions in the light of the evidence of malpractice. This story is not over yet.
Anfi have been on the receiving end of many Supreme Court rulings since March 2015, they however have continued to deny any wrongdoing and inform their members that they have not lost any cases. In fact they have embarked on a campaign to attack Canarian Legal Alliance, trying to sow seeds of doubt among their clients. Below is a link to a video showing the National Spanish TV news on TVE 1, in this clip, one of the CLA lawyers explains the Supreme Court rulings. For the National Television to broadcast this item shows that CLA is doing what they say and that Anfi is trying to divert attention from this.
Another story we have been following is that of Los Clavelesin Tenerife and the battle for control of the resort. Again this is an ongoing story which at present seems to be dragging on. It revolves around the selling of Wimpen to ONA Grup, who were the managing company of this resort. Their contract has been ended but they still seem to be trying to run the resort against the wishes of the Owners Committee.
There has been a lot of argument on this issue, with some very nasty consequences, it is clear that this issue is not going to be resolved in the near future. It may also end up being a rather costly one with only the lawyers benefiting.
In July we published a rather different article on the timeshare world, this was a positive one, featuring a company that we have not been able to find any adverse comments or complaints. It is off course Disney.
This is a shining example of how the timeshare industry should operate, fair, truthful and with the consumer in mind. There again, it is what we expect from an organisation which prides itself on putting people first.
After a long reign TATOC finally went into liquidation, with Harry Taylor and TATOC being totally discredited. For years this organisation has duped not only timeshare owners but also organisations such as Citizens Advice Bureau. Any owner that went to CAB with a problem would be recommended TATOC as the place to go. Little did CAB know that this organisation was funded and basically run by the industry. All we can say is good riddance to a very bad and foul smelling egg!
There have been so many articles it is difficult to review them all, but Inside Timeshare has highlighted some of the most dodgy companies that have emerged over the course of the year. These articles have saved many readers considerable sums of money, we intend to continue with this.
But before we go on with Irene’s roundup of the year from the US, we finish with the news of yet three more sentences issued by the courts. On 27 December the Court of First Instance in Maspalomas declared yet another Anfi contract null and void with the client being awarded over 29,000€ plus legal interest.
On the same day the High Court in Tenerife announced another ruling against Silverpoint, with the contract being declared null and void and the client in this case being awarded over £9,000 plus legal interest.
There then followed on the 28 December another Supreme Court ruling from Madrid, this was number 82! Again the company was Silverpoint, with the contract being declared null and void and an award of over £23,000 plus legal fees and legal interest.
These cases were brought on behalf of clients of Canarian Legal Alliance, so this does show this law firm is doing what they say.
Now for the year from a US perspective.
What Timeshare Members Can Look Forward to in 2018 and what
I wrote looking forward to 2017 on December 26, 2016
Our Advocacy Group did not have a name one year ago, or a Facebook page. Our advocacy Facebook page was launched February 2017 and Timeshare Advocacy Group™ April 2017. As I write this, our advocacy Facebook page has 706 members. We encourage industry observers, as long as they are respectful.
Back in February, I remember scrolling down my Facebook feed, a pianist, waiting with nervous flute, oboe, trumpet, and bassoon middle school students for our competitions to begin, when I suddenly saw a post called “Diamond Resorts Owners Advocacy” launched by an economics professor. This Facebook page was launched in response to a draft article I had written and distributed, requested by a few former timeshare sales agents who felt the practice of “pitching heat” to sell vacation points needed to be addressed and brought to the attention of the general public. Based on reader responses, only Disney Vacation Club seems to disavow this sordid selling technique.
Our professor also prepared this mission statement for our DRI advocacy group, but as our Inside Timeshare readers started to reach out to us asking for help with timeshare issues concerning other timeshare companies, I borrowed our DRI mission statement and generalized it to apply to all timeshare companies.
We seek to provide timeshare members and owners 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.
April 2017, a former Diamond sales agent contacted me, urging me to write a press release as she was worried Diamond members were not aware of the Arizona Attorney General’s $800,000 DRI settlement and the Assurance of Discontinuance announced December 23, 2016. There was a May deadline to file a complaint.
This former timeshare sales agent said we needed a Facebook page so that readers had somewhere to respond. I didn’t even know how to use Facebook until I got mad at timeshare July 2015, but I struggled through the establishment of a Timeshare Advocacy Group™ page, delighted to find a butterfly with a “Knowledge Speaks, but Wisdom Listens” quote by Jimi Hendrix. My first concert I attended in high school was Jimi Hendrix, second row, in front of the mic.
I expected my new creation to last for a month or two, until the press release ran its course, but it continues to receive views. We consider this Timeshare Advocacy Group™ Facebook a clearinghouse of articles written about all timeshare companies and are grateful to all our volunteer admins for both Facebook pages.
Now a look back to what I wrote December 26, 2016 with updates
Timeshare Lawsuits 2017
By Irene Parker, December 26, 2016
Our Inside Timeshare mission is to offer timeshare owners accurate reporting on both the good and bad aspects of timeshare today. While we admit we bear more to the negative side of timeshare reporting, this thirteen page report from the US Department of Justice listing timeshare scams explains why:
The other reason is because the industry is not well regulated. Timeshare owners do not have the level of organization or funds necessary to compete with timeshare developer lobbyists. Lobbyists used to primarily direct their efforts towards influencing lawmakers, but more and more efforts are now being directed towards influencing US Attorneys General:
Looking to 2017, we need to look back and reflect on timeshare’s unresolved and continuing legal battles. Timeshare developers, former timeshare sales agents and solicitors, timeshare owners, federal and state regulators and advocates continue to weigh in on possible changes that will make timesharing more owner friendly and less predatory.
Will the final piece of this legal and regulatory puzzle result in a less aggressive and deceptive industry – or will practices continue unabated and unchecked resulting in more of the same?
WestgateUpdate 12/29/17: After the presidential election the CFPB dropped the Westgate investigation. President Trump is close friends with the Siegels, Westgate owner David Siegelwas seen campaigning next to the candidate in 2016. That’s Mr. Siegel to the left of Trump. Charles Thomas reported on the timeshare the Trump family is launching in Scotland, reported as a golf course in the US during the campaign.
“Westgate is facing lawsuits in several jurisdictions and a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Investigation. Allegations include fraudulent and deceptive business practices ranging from high pressure sales tactics, failure to honor timely rescission requests, elder abuse, illegal debt collection practices and impermissible telephone solicitations.” The Capitol Forum June 27, 2016
Former Wyndham sales agent Trish Williams was awarded $20 million for exposing deceptive sales practices. While the amount will probably be reduced on appeal, it sends a message that courts and juries are listening.
The Manhattan Club Update: Remarkably, New York AG Eric Schneidermanmanaged to ban the owners of The Manhattan Club from working in the timeshare industry and achieved a $6.5 million settlement. Rarely is wrongdoing admitted. However, attorney Douglas Wasser, representing TMC owners, said “Hundreds of members will be helped, but there are over 14,000 members.” Even a settlement this size will do little to curtail predatory marketing and sales practices. The investigation took years.
Back in 2016
Attorney Douglas Wasser represents 30 Manhattan Club defendants.
“To my knowledge there has been no dismissal of any Manhattan Club proceeding at this point. The NY Attorney General investigation is proceeding, and the motion to dismiss a currently pending class action suit has been adjourned to January 5, 2017 for now. Three prior class action suits at the Manhattan Club have been dismissed. But, at least for the time being, the current class action still survives,” Mr. Wasser reported November 15. 2016
Marriott Vacation Club Racketeering Update: Most disturbing of all, political and legislative maneuvering in Florida resulted in a change in the definition of timeshare, seemingly in an attempt to circumvent the merit of the case, according to attorneys involved with the case. That was not the end of it. We will hear more about this case in 2018.
“The Marriott racketeering lawsuit seeks to abolish Marriott’s points program, which attorney said is unique among timeshare companies. It also seeks the return of fees and costs paid by buyers.”Paul Brinkmann reported October 13, 2016 for the The Orlando Sentinel.
Diamond Resorts Update:A judge ruled in favor of arbitration in the billion dollar lawsuit filed against the company, and Congress reversed the CFPB ruling that would allow class actions. Diamond Resorts is one of the only timeshare companies to have a class action ban in their contract, forcing arbitration. Arbitration is binding and private. Lawsuits filed are public record.
A recent class action was filed against Diamond Resorts:
Matt Daniel Finazzo, et al. v. Diamond Resorts International Club Inc., Case No. 5:16-cv-02256, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
I don’t mean to be the Grinchess that stole Christmas, so to end on a positive note,
People are listening!
Charles Thomas and I are hearing from people all over the world who are joining forces to work towards:
⦁ A legitimate secondary market
⦁ Less aggressive and deceptive selling
⦁ Less predatory lending
Thank you from timeshare owners to our regulators and lawyers working to protect us. Since last year we have found a few more self-help groups we are confident are on the side of the timeshare member and are not industry influenced.
So that is 2017 in a nutshell, if this coming year is anything like the last we will be seeing many more stories like these.
Inside Timeshare thanks all those who have contributed to the articles and also to all the readers and those who have contacted Inside Timeshare for help and advice. If you require any information on any company that has contacted you or you may be thinking of using but need to know about them, contact Inside Timeshare and we will point you in the right direction.
We wish you a prosperous New Year, enjoy your celebrations and we will be with you in 2018.
He is going to send his own clients to a claims company to sue himself!!
Apparently the company he has made a deal with is Claims Solutions Group Ltd, previously Timeshare Solutions Group Ltd, of Aberfeldy in Scotland. This lot came to our attention last September, many Diamond owners were being contacted by them regarding their timeshare ownership with Diamond. At the time it was widely believed that the company was set up by ex Diamond sales staff, using their old client lists.
This particular company was registered on 13 June 2016, the name change took place 2 February 2017.
So what is this all about, the CEO who was behind the contracts now being found illegal by the courts, is now going to help all those owners that were duped into buying the non existent “investments” to get their money back. I know that we have seen some very weird goings on in the timeshare world but this one really takes the biscuit.
Firstly, this really does look like a desperate ploy to attempt to stop the ever increasing litigation Cushways companies are going through. But how are these claims going to be made?
One cannot see any of these cases going to court, after all why would Cushway take himself to court?
We can only surmise that once the claim is lodged with Claims Solutions, the client will be unable to process a claim with any other company or to file a claim with the courts. So that leaves only two choices, either Cushway will offer a pittance of a settlement or the claim will be on a Section 75 basis, which is unlikely to cost Cushaway anything. He may even offer to end the contracts, mind you that will probably mean a swap to Keys Concierge the “new” product.
So Mr Cushway, how are you going to make money out of this, surely there is a profit motive behind it, we can’t see you suddenly being the philanthropist!
All we can say to our readers is this, you were taken in once by this person, don’t let him fool you again. If you think you have a claim against any timeshare bought from the companies headed by Mark Cushway, then seek proper legal advice and take it to court. Don’t line his pockets.
The Supreme Court rulings that have been made against them since January this year, have set the law in stone, if you need any advice or guidance regarding your ownership and would like to know where you stand legally, contact Inside Timeshare. We will tell you if you do have a valid and viable claim or not, this service is given free of charge, at least then you will know where you stand, that way you will not to fall for the slick calls and claims from the “dodgy” companies.