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foreclosure

Timeshare Foreclosure

In yesterday’s article “Start the Week”, we had a look at the resale market in Europe, or the lack of it. We highlighted one resale company Fab Timeshare Resales, who specialise in Marriott resale. The prices advertised on their website started at a paltry 1000€ or $1,180 for a timeshare which starts at 17,000€ or $21,000 according to the Marriott website.

Today Irene Parker looks at the growing problem in the US of foreclosure and defaults, which may just be partly due to the lack of the resale or secondary market, but first a little more news from Europe.

here we go again

Last week in Friday’s Letter from America, we published the news released by Canarian Legal Alliance on their 60th Supreme Court ruling. Yesterday they announced another, which is now 61!

In this ruling it is yet again the Tenerife company Silverpoint, which bring rulings from Spain’s Highest Court against them to 22. The judges in this instance ruled the contract null and void with the return of over £43,000 plus legal fees and legal interest. We are still waiting for the actual infractions of the law to be released, but going by past judgements it will more than likely be the duration of the contract being more than 50 years.

alert

On the “scam” front, mindtimeshare have again highlighted another rather clever little ploy coming out of the Costa del Sol. This company is called Joint Returns Legal Consultants, who have apparently been appointed by the High Court to inform consumers that a case has gone through and the court is now holding money to be returned.

Obviously as with all these “scams”, there is a “TAX” to be paid and the “gentleman” on the phone going by the name Peter Sanchez, send emails confirming the story with letter headings from “Agencia Tributaria”. All this along with confirmation from the BBVA (Bank) and a Notary it all seems very plausible.

Telephone numbers:

Tel.: +34 632844887. Fax: 0872 113 1069

Email jointreturns@gmail.com

This really does go to show some of the lengths these people will go just to get your money, we have said this before and we will continue to issue the same warning.

THE COURTS DO NOT APPOINT PRIVATE COMPANIES TO INFORM CONSUMERS THAT MONEY IS BEING HELD. THERE ARE NO CASES AT COURT UNLESS YOU HAVE INSTIGATED THEM YOURSELF. DO NOT PAY ANY MONEY ESPECIALLY BY BANK TRANSFER TO AN INDIVIDUAL.

Now for today’s main article from Irene.

Timeshare Foreclosure

Is it survivable?

graph

By Irene Parker

September 26 2017

Inside Timeshare received five more complaints over the weekend. This makes over 150 timeshare complaints received. The rise in timeshare default rates reported by bond rating agencies and the lawsuits that have ensued as timeshare developers try to stop the flow of “Cease and desist” letters prove we are not imagining a crisis.

  1. Would you buy a house you could not sell?
  2. Would you buy a boat or car you could not sell?
  3. Would you pay $25,000 to over $500,000 to join a country club you can’t quit?

According to Bankrate

Avoid developer financing

Lenders won’t mortgage a time share because they haven’t been successful in resales or in their valuation, says Patricia Hayhurst, mortgage consultant for Capital Bank in Coral Gables, Florida. “They are considered high-risk lending.”

http://www.bankrate.com/finance/loans/timeshare-loans-primer.aspx

Our own Lisa Ann Schreier was quoted in the article.

“Most (consumers) I hear from are using the developer’s financing as they are unaware of any other alternatives,” says Lisa Ann Schreier, founder of the consumer consulting company Timeshare Insights in Clermont, Florida. “If a consumer can obtain a personal loan (elsewhere) for the time share, the interest rate can be significantly lower as typical developer financing runs 15% to 19%.”

The problem is this is how sales are made. “When you get home, get a home equity loan,” is a common suggestion as it gets the developer off the hook once the buyer realizes they cannot afford the timeshare. Rather than sign off on a high interest rate loan on the spot, demand that you have time to check with your bank or credit union to find out if such statements are true and if you qualify.

Financial journalist Robert Shaw in his 2016 Seeking Alpha article, “Does timeshare need a millennial act to attract new buyers?” questions the industry’s over reliance on upgrading or up-selling existing buyers.

Since an existing owner is familiar and already pleased with the product, sales to existing owners are typically much easier to close. It is hard to visualize an existing owner who is totally dissatisfied with their current ownership sitting through a 90-minute sales tour.

sales pitch

Based on the accounts heard by those reaching out to Inside Timeshare, the reason the upgrade is easy to close, is because of deception on the front end of the timeshare sales, offering buy-back and resale programs that do not exist, or ways to offset maintenance fees to those already financially burdened that do not exist.

Mr. Shaw also feels timeshare is no longer sold as an investment. Yes it is. Buy now because the price is going to double refers to the retail price, not the resale price, yet over and over we hear this repeated as the reason the member purchased additional points. Not one member who has contacted Inside Timeshare realized their contract was perpetual and there was no secondary market.

Timeshare is definitely not a real estate investment and apart from the occasional overzealous sales associate, timeshare companies long ago stopped pitching it as such an investment. Yet, its lack of being a real estate investment may make it less attractive to newer, younger buyers who are wanting value and the ability to sell it when they no longer want or need it.

https://seekingalpha.com/article/3991819-timeshare-need-new-act-attract-millennial-buyers

At least Mr. Shaw questions the concerns expressed by timeshare insiders. Most financial news services merely want to justify the buy on the stock price.

The Foreclosure process is gruesome. There will be threatening calls and the hit on your credit score. We are not attorneys and cannot give legal advice, but the Nolo article about timeshare foreclosure is one of the best articles I’ve read on the subject. Many have tried to resolve issues with their resort, but the oral representation clause reigns.

http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/options-avoid-timeshare-foreclosure.html

A good number of those reporting back to us that their resort will not cancel their loan, despite alleged deception on the front end of the sale, has led to many indicating they will not be paying their 2018 maintenance fees. They have no choice because they cannot afford the timeshare. Do not respond to the ads appearing when we publish our articles asking for upfront money to get you out of your timeshare.

I question how the industry can survive. Almost all of the members contacting us have children and grandchildren. Although there is a bit of a role reversal with several parents telling us, “We haven’t told our kids about this”, many have, and those children and grandchildren want nothing to do with the timeshare product once they learn their parents were deceived into buying it.

Please continue to report your grievances. In the book The Burglary by former Washington Post reporter Betty Medsger, describing the break-in at the FBI office in late 1970 that led to the exposure of J Edgar Hoover’s illegal surveillance tactics, led by a Haverford College physics professor at the Media, PA FBI office.  Gloria Steinem wrote as a testimonial:

“Ordinary people have the courage and community to defeat the most powerful and punitive of institutions.”

Timeshare today is broken. When sales agents can lie and laugh about it, at the expense of the young and the old, financially devastated by their vacation plan, something is very wrong. Lawmakers, heavily influenced by the industry, don’t seem to care because timeshare buyers don’t typically buy a timeshare in the state they live in. Attorneys General try to protect the public, but the settlements achieved are mere speed bumps in extraordinary revenue streams.

Add your voice to the growing number of timeshare members who have had enough. Contact Inside Timeshare or one of these self-help groups if you have had enough of the hamster wheel called timeshare sales if deceit has been used to sell the product, foreclosure to retrieve it, and resale at full price to continue the never ending process.

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

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

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

green advocacy

 

So there we have it, no resale or secondary market equals foreclosure, what a state of affairs.

In Europe we are seeing the proliferation of the bogus claims companies, these are playing on the desperation of those who want out but are unable to do so. It may be the resorts or developers will not allow them out, it may be they are unable to sell due to no market, it used to be bogus resale companies that took owners for thousands, how times have changed or have they?

 

midweek

The Mid Week Slot: Another New Name along with an Article by Michael Kosor

During our usual morning search of various websites and forums, we came across this from Mindtimeshare, it is our old friends Litigious Abogados with a new name to add to their ever increasing family.

amador-galeca-300x191

Amador Galeca is the new name to look out for, the address is one that has been used before with one of their other incarnations:

Calle de V. Sanz, N14, 16, 38002, Santa Cruz De Tenerife

With the freephone number: 0800 802 1223

Email: galeca_ukclaims@consultant.com

Website: http://amadorgaleca.com/

They also have some new names, which are variations of those that have been used before, and what looks like a few new faces in the photographs of the “lawyers”.

amador-malodan-galeca-243x300
Amador Malodan Galeca

Once again it is going to be the same old story, we are taking your timeshare company to court, it is scheduled for trial within the next few weeks, pay ex-amount and be part of it. Then suddenly you are told you won, as the director, (we’ll bet it is Keith Baker or Keith Balker again) has pleaded guilty.

We will be publishing a fuller post on this when we have done a little more research.

On the subject of legal action against timeshare companies, those lawyers at Canarian Legal Alliance have once again got another result from the Supreme Court. That now makes 58!!

This one from reports is against Silverpoint, with the court declaring the contract null and void with the return of over £63,000 plus legal interest and legal fees. They also had another win against Silverpoint at the Court of First Instance in Tenerife. Again the contract was declared null and void and the return of over £59,000.

So now on with the article which was supposed to have been published in last Friday’s Letter from America.

Timeshare and Asset-Backed Security Products

cash

By Michael Kosor

September 20, 2017

There has been an increase in defaults for some timeshare companies concerning timeshare loans packaged in their Asset-Backed Securities (ABS) products. The average consumer will recall the devastation its sister security, the Mortgage-Backed Securities (MBS), created that triggered financial collapse. Consumers and regulators should pay attention to the timeshare product today so similar to the products of 2007 that led to financial devastation.

I believe this is clearly and directly related to the increase in litigation by these particular developers, targeting consumer advocates and the legal community. While there definitely are attorneys practicing questionable business practices, “Kill all the lawyers” is not the answer. Every citizen has a right to legal representation if they feel they have purchased a product sold by deceit.

Developers are rightly hypersensitive to any bad press that points to increases in loan defaults as they are sure to negatively impact ABS rating/pricing. The ABS product and the associated market are by nature complicated, not part of our public market system, so limited to sophisticated players. As such, it is not a part of mainstream news. To that end, watch a very short video published by Allison Bisbey, Editorial Director, Capital Markets Newsletter.  

https://asreport.americanbanker.com/video/diamond-resorts-abs-under-pressure-from-companys-sales-tactics

Some developers are experiencing an elevated level of defaults. In the case of Diamond Resorts, it has reached a point the rating agency for DRI, KBRA (Kroll Bond Rating Agency) recently saw fit to issue a note on the issue, albeit not surprisingly, a reaffirmation of KBRA’s original rating.

https://www.krollbondratings.com/announcements/3705

A timeshare ABS is a security whose income payments, and hence value, is derived from and collateralized or “backed” by a pool of underlying assets. Contrary to popular opinion, “hard” assets do not serve as the primary collateral – only the contractual obligation to pay. However, hard assets do provide secondary security and impact overall price/return.  

Today, the vast majority of timeshare loans are not backed by any real property interest. Timeshare ABSs sold today are little more than securitized consumer loans. Yet when I talked to the Moody analysts just a couple weeks ago about their most recent Wyndham ABS rating, they stated they use criteria established in 2003 – when a timeshare loan was typically still attached to a real estate interest.

In rating an ABS, comparisons with historical loan default rates are critical. Timeshare ABSs, notably a different underlying product than the one packaged today, report very limited/zero defaults.  This is not because the consumer default rate is or was low – to the contrary. Rather, DRI (not unlike Wyndham) uses ABS structure options allowing them to repurchase or substitute all of its defaulted loans. As a result, the ABS reports defaults as 0% while actual consumer defaults are much higher. (Note a 6% – 8% default rate for “aged” loans is informally used, if any pre-option rate is reported or available at all). Aged loans have a proven repayment history of 6 months or more. The “aged” number does not include what is certainly a much higher total consumer default percentage of timeshare loans when early defaults are included.  

The repurchase and substitution option in an ABS is typically capped at around 15% of the total. More importantly, the rating agency should not (but appear to nonetheless) give credit to the option to repurchase or substitute defaulted loans. Gross loss expectations are increasing also. It is reported in the investor literature as 11 – 12% in prior years to 13-14% today; dangerously close to underwriting limits.  

Wyndham and DRI would like its debt investors to believe the increase in defaults is due to an uncharacteristically high number of borrowers being solicited by lawyers and “scammers” offering to get consumers out of their timeshare. Thus, we see the rise in Cease and Desist letters and litigation targeting consumer “friendly” legal providers.

What is more, ABS investors, thus the developers selling timeshare ABSs, are hypersensitive to cash flow. Admittedly a bit desensitized since 2007, they will nonetheless respond when issues or news challenge a specific ABS or a class of ABS, such as timeshares.

Timeshare regulators (assuming any exist and/or pay attention) also need to be reminded that in 2007 investors experienced losses because they made decisions on bogus ratings, guarantees from mono-line insurers, and a blind faith in historically real-estate prices.  Simplistically, people ignored the quality of the contractual cash flow, relying instead on history (home price appreciation in the case of the MBS). This sounds analogous to timeshares today.  

With the rise in Social Media, timeshare members are more and more expressing increased owner unrest, disturbed by a rise in consumer complaints, as evidenced by Mark Brnovich’s issuance of Diamond’s Assurance of Discontinuance AOD fueled by over 900 consumer complaints. Is anyone paying attention?

I spoke to a Wyndham executive last month at my VOAs annual meeting. He saw this issue as a problem caused by lawyers seeking timeshare members and a major problem. With an aging population of original buyers who no longer want or need their timeshare, many don’t know where to turn when there is no secondary market and the contract is perpetual.

On a similar line, most all ABS, to include timeshares, are supported by significant “credit enhancements” to protect the investors from higher than anticipated (historical) default rates. Overcollateralization (issuing less debt than total assets held) is a particularly valued credit enhancement technique used. However, overcollateralization becomes tricky, even suspect, when the assets held by the seller have no explicit face amount/market established price as with the non-viable timeshares resale market. My impression is most agency raters, while sophisticated financial types, are not educated on the underlying change of the timeshare product pool being securitized, as most are reliant on the developers for their information and understanding.

Finally, as I noted earlier, reported default rates are zero. As a result, most rating agencies, I argue to retain clients, and many investors, dependent on industry reporting, do not dig any deeper. Both sides see no news as good news – once again analogous to the 2007 mortgage back securities fiasco. This needs to change.

risk1

Thank you Michael, not being of a financial mind, the article has been a bit of an education, I just didn’t know these things went on.

There we have it, look out for the article on Amador Galeca, more important beware of any calls or emails promising that you have money waiting for you. The truth is you haven’t, all they want is your money, so stay safe, keep your money in the bank and do your homework before parting with it.
homework kid

letter from australia

Friday’s Letter from Australia

We start September with another Friday’s Letter from Australia, just to give our American cousins a rest. Today Justin Morgan, looks at the the role private equity plays in timeshare, with the introduction and comments by our very own Irene Parker. But first a little from Europe.

europe

Earlier in August we said that it tends to be a quiet month, well this was not the case this year, as our roundup of the month article yesterday showed. We also mentioned that September usually sees the start of new companies, changes of name or even resurrected ones. Well they have started to surface already.

Doing our usual daily rounds of the internet, one site, mindtimeshare, since the beginning of August has published the names of 6 that have come to their attention. 3 of these were published yesterday. We begin with:

Appointing Consultants, with the following website, which was only registered on the 14 August, as usual, the registrant is hiding under a privacy service.

http://appointingconsultants.co.uk/

According to the website, they are a company that offers the following services:

  • Appointment Setting; We can provide your business with qualified appointments for your sales team.
  • Lead Generation; We can offer bespoke leads from both websites and telemarketing operations.
  • Customer Service; Create the best customer services team for your business.
  • Online Marketing; Run an online marketing campaign. We can help you with SEO or e-mail campaigns.
  • Data Sourcing; Source the best possible data to make your business thrive.
  • Sales Training; Teach your team with one of our professionals to be the best. (Their spelling mistake)

The thing is they are informing timeshare owners that they have grounds to make a claim, which for a telemarketing company making appointments for another company is a little worrying.

They also do not appear on any company house records.

The next one is Barlow & Scott, with the telephone number 01904 501 389 which is a York number. When checking on who is calling, one name comes up First 4 Legal, there was a company of this name registered in London, but it was dissolved in February 2012.

There is no mention of a website and they seem to be contacting Club Class members, stating that they are a solicitors office and that there is money being held for the client by the courts in Spain!

They claim that the purchase of membership was never completed as the client never had an NIE Number, no problem for £500 we can get this for you then you can get your money back.

This is however untrue, you do not need an NIE number unless you are going to live in Spain or for any of the following:

  • Open a bank account
  • Buying, selling or insuring a property
  • Arranging a mortgage or credit
  • Pay taxes
  • Being employed
  • Registering with employment agencies
  • Registering to study
  • Applying to start a business
  • Registering with social services, receiving social security benefits
  • Applying for a driving licence
  • Inheriting assets

The NIE is a Spanish Tax Number for foreigners. So beware these types of claims.

The next is called Stapleton Consultancy. Once again they claim that the Spanish courts are holding money owed to the consumer from a previous fraud. Now to get this money paid out Stapleton Consultancy will need to be paid in order to do the work. There are no contact details available, so very little is known.

There is a company called Stapleton Consulting Limited, but they are chartered building surveyors, so absolutely nothing to do with timeshare. As and when new information comes to light, we will publish it here.

This really does show that you must do your homework before dealing with any company that calls you out of the blue, especially when they inform you that you have a payment waiting to be released by a court!

homework1

Just to finish off the month of August, Canarian Legal Alliance announced yet another sentence from the Court of First Instance in Maspalomas, once again it is against Anfi, who still deny that they have any cases against them.

In this particular instance the court declared the contract null & void, the infraction was again a contract over the stipulated period of 50 years. The court awarded this consumer over 23,000€, they also awarded over 4,000€ as double the amount that was taken as a deposit within the mandatory 14 day cooling off period.

If August was a quiet month, what will the next few months bring? Keep an eye on these pages and you will see.

So here we go to the land down under and this weeks article from Justin.

What Role Does Private Equity Play in Timeshare?

we the corporations

By Justin Morgan

Introduction and comments by Irene Parker

September 1, 2017

Private equity firms, traditionally providing capital to fund high growth start-ups, may be shortchanging timeshare consumers in their quest for returns typically targeted to reach higher returns than those of the public market.

Timeshare in general has been facing increased pressure due to overly aggressive sales tactics. This warning about escalating default rates was published February of this year by American BankerDiamond Resorts and Wyndham under pressure due to aggressive sales tactics. Wyndham is a publicly traded company. Diamond is owned by private equity firm Apollo Global Management.

Diamond Resorts ABS under Pressure from Company’s Sales Tactics

https://asreport.americanbanker.com/video/diamond-resorts-abs-under-pressure-from-companys-sales-tactics

The question is – how are higher returns for private equity investors won?

Is timeshare even an appropriate venue for private equity investment? Can higher returns be earned without strangling the timeshare consumer with excessive maintenance fee increases, reduced availability and other unsavory tactics driven by such demands?

Former Diamond CEO David Palmer explained this concept to investors at a September 2014 conference, according to a transcript, “Anything that is put in the budget that gets expended on an annual basis, we get our 15 percent fee, That is basically a 100 percent profit business.”

Meanwhile, timeshare members received this notification:

“Timeshare owners of the Grand Beach Resort, a 192-unit property in Orlando, Fla. … learned in a letter in September that their annual maintenance fee would rise 14.9 percent this year.”

I asked Advocate Justin Morgan, our Australian Contributor, his thoughts:

This is the ‘Super Profits’ issue that I questioned years ago… I pointed out that retail prices for vacation points were sometimes four to six times retail value across Asia and Australia. But the real focus involves turning vacation ‘currency’ into more fiat currencies at super profit level. In my opinion, they are not interested in member value at all. It’s an early version of cryptocurrency! My sentiments are no different today…even worse.

In my case, I found my Diamond Resorts account terminated for renting, although my contracts clearly gave me in writing the right to rent. If they changed the rules, that’s unfair, but virtually all timeshare contracts state the rules can be changed at any time for any reason.  It is now apparent we were ‘all-in’ against the Vegas House that takes all it can get.

Irina Allen agrees. Irina is a professional who ended up with 139,000 Diamond points alleging she was up-sold to that level by deceit. Inside Timeshare previously reported on how Irina’s account was suspended for posting one ad on RedWeek. Rental ads for Diamond points on RedWeek abound.

http://insidetimeshare.com/monday-start-another-week/

The timeshare point’s product is a cryptocurrency that offers no backing other than your promise to keep paying ‘whatever it is this year’ maintenance fee increases. Some timeshare companies force maintenance fee increases for any reason…They can then pick up default points.

Timeshare developers pocket millions and millions this way. Most members are not allowed to leave. It’s like ‘Hotel California’s’…you can check in anytime you want, but you can never check out.

“Last thing I remember, I was

running for the door

I had to find the passage back

to the place I was before

“Relax, “said the nightman,

“We are programmed to receive.

You can check-out any time you like,

But you can never leave!” The Eagles

It doesn’t matter much whether they are public or private, though I feel private equity firms have far less scrutiny. The problems lie in the legal structuring of these entities, and how they can basically bill members for whatever tab that they find is allowable. If they control the HOA, and therefore budget approvals, the rest of the structure is usually just a financing and ‘dividend’ pay out model. Wages can be like a hidden dividend, if they are simply looking to pull money from members over to those they seek to pay out:  i.e. usually management, vs the actually financiers, who are often at the back of house in the financing structure.

In my opinion these private equity firms are targeting the timeshare industry now because they understand that they can raid them by simply jacking up maintenance fees by 20%, or even their required rate of 30% return, by simply hiding cost allocations within their structure, or simply paying their executives directly from the Club. There’s no stopping what they can do under some structures. It is a license for them to take what they want.

dollar man

As reported by Business Wire, “A class action lawsuit has been filed against timeshare developer Diamond Resorts International, timeshare owners associations Bali Condominium Association and Parkway International Owners Association, and auditor RSM U.S. L.P. alleging breaches of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, and professional negligence over billing practices for maintenance.”

The plaintiffs allege that the language addressing maintenance and management fees in the condominium association’s governing documents were outdated and ambiguous. The outdated language allowed the defendants to include subsequent amendments to:

  • Charge inappropriate maintenance fees.
  • Inflate management fees.
  • Hide inappropriate fees.
  • Charge costs unrelated to the maintenance and management of the timeshare development including an “indirect corporate fee.”

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20170629005705/en/Finn-Law-Group-Files-Suit-Timeshare-Maintenance

Bluegreen is exploring a possible Initial Public Offering. I asked Bluegreen member and Economics Professor Michael Nuwer if Bluegreen BBX Capitol falls into this private equity category.

http://www.otcmarkets.com/stock/BBX/news?id=167811

BBX Capitol is not a private equity firm. Alan Levan has had a significant ownership interest in Bluegreen since at least 2008. Something like 85% of BBX revenue and 75% of their income comes from Bluegreen.”  

squiggle

What falls from the mouths of timeshare company public relations departments in their message to the investment community often sounds like a foreign language to beleaguered timeshare members. New York, Tennessee, Colorado and Arizona Attorneys General settlements against timeshare companies are but the tip of the iceberg.

Thank you Justin, we look forward to more from our Australian cousins and your insights into this worldwide product called timeshare. No matter where you are, the story seems to be the same, you are the UP’s, you have the money and we will take it from you, but give you nothing but hassle in return!

It now just leaves us to say thank you to all who contribute to Inside Timeshare, a very big thank you to all the volunteer advocates of our advocacy group, who do a splendid job of helping others with their problems. Have a great weekend and we’ll be back again next week with more from the murky world of timeshare.

BBQ chef

 

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.

 

consumer alert

Litigious Abogados: The Plot Thickens

 

litigious-abogadoslitigar-abogados-4

Back in September 2016 Inside Timeshare published the article Litigious Abogados Who Are They? This followed a warning published by Mindtimeshare on 23 September about a so-called law firm Litigious Abogados. They also highlighted another firm in July 2016 called Litigar Abogados, it turned out that both websites apart from lawyers names were exactly the same, even sharing the same address: Calle Duque de la Torre 29, 114, Santa Cruz, Tenerife, this address was not quite correct and should have read: Calle Duque de la Torre, 29 Arona Casco 38640 Arona Tenerife, which when checked on Google Street View it turns out to be the Oficina del Servicio de Atención Ciudadana, the equivalent to the Citizens Advice Bureau of the local council.

Since then another has been highlighted called Abogacia Española, with the website:

abogacia-logo

http://abogaciaespanola.com/

 

This website again is identical to the other two, this time showing a different address: Calle de Valentín Sanz, 16, Santa Cruz De Tenerife, España, with the telephone number: 0800 802 1758.

 

The following is the website for the founder Fernando Holaci

fernando-holaci-300

http://fernandoholaci.com/

All three websites show a photograph of the founders of the companies:

Manuel Amas Conde for Litigar Abogados;

Emilio Leyes Catillianos for Litigious Abogados;

Fernando Roleba Holaci for Abogacía Española.

 

litigar-abogados-24

The only problem is they all have the same photograph, it could be that they are identical triplets!

Since the original articles more documentation has been sent in by a reader ( we shall call him Mr X) who was almost taken in by Litigious Abogados, unfortunately he had already paid them around 1200€ for procurator fees, and was about to pay more when he found the original article.

Below is the original contact letter he received telling him about the case against his timeshare company. They state “we are officially recognised by the high Court of Santa Cruz”, their “lawyers are legally authorised to operate in any Court of Law in Spain” and they “are currently working in conjunction with the Spanish Authorities”. This is signed by Ramon Quilnar Canal of the Reclaim Department.

original-letter pdf

Ramon Quilnar Canal has a photograph in the Litigation, Civil law section of the Litigious website, problem is it the same photo on the other two websites, with the following names:

Ramon Quenan Cansal on the Litigar website;

Ramon Quilon Climol on the Abogacia Website.

 

ramon-quilnar-canal

These picture are more than likely to have been downloaded from the net from lawyers images on google etc.

Now to the court case.

Mr X then received a letter with the amount that needed to be paid to the Court Procurator Davido Harstun Jaime, this was originally 1,312€ reduced to 1,201€ and was refundable. Once he agreed to this he would be included in the case, which was to be heard on 15 November 2016. The website and address for Davido Harstun Jaime the Procurator is:

http://www.davidoharstunjaime.com/

Avenida Juan Carlos I, Edificio Valdez, Oficina 604-605 B, 38618, Arona, Tenerife.

proc-fees-letter  pdf

court_fees1  pdf

confirm-case  pdf

Then in a letter dated 17 October 2016 Mr X is informed that the hearing on 15 November was successful and he had been awarded the grand total of 32,449€ not a bad sum. It may be a clerical error but we did not think that time travel was yet possible!

confirmation-of-win  pdf

Mr X was then informed that the money had been lodged with the “Procurator” and a cheque had been made out in his name (he received a copy by email to confirm). Only snag is he must first pay the tax to the court procurator to release the funds. This amounted to around 6,800€, unfortunately he could not afford that amount and informed Litigious of this.

compensation_cheque  pdf

They then informed him of some good news, after a conversation with the lawyer liaison Richard Lehmen, a meeting was held and as a goodwill gesture they would pay 50% of these fees on his behalf. Mr X would pay this back when he received his money. A cheque was made out to the Procurator and a copy sent to Mr X. This letter was signed by Simone Maro Malivaz (Abogado).

bbva_cheque_on_behalf_of_mr-x  pdf

Inside Timeshare has made substantive checks on all the named lawyers and none have shown up on any Bar Association Register, nor have the companies shown up on company house records.

All the emails Mr X has received have been signed by the following:

Luisa Ernas Fernandez Departamento Legal

Layla Lavame Fernandez Departamento Legal

Layla Lavame Carita Departamento Legal

Maria Sanchez Gotera Departamento Legal

Madelena Huele Aflores Departamento Legal

All emails carry the following number: Freephone: 0800 862 0102 and carry this copyright: © 2013 Ilustre Colegio de Abogados de Tenerife. Todos los derechos reservados.

European Union Data Protection Directive 95/46/E

This is a very sophisticated operation and for anyone who does not know the legal or tax systems in Spain it looks very plausible. Once again Inside Timeshare urges anyone who receives any calls, email or letters stating that their timeshare company is being prosecuted or that they have won a substantial amount in compensation to be very careful. Unless you have personally instructed a law firm, signed a power of attorney with a notary for them to act on your behalf, then there is no case. Also court taxes and government tax are paid when the case is lodged with the court by your instructed law firm.

This story proves the point that doing your homework and due diligence is the most important thing to save you possibly thousands. If you require any information about any company that has contacted you with anything similar or even by any of these contact Inside Timeshare and we will look into them for you. It will also help other readers not to be taken in.

 

cold-calling

Timeshare Consumer Association: Incorrect Information

What are the regulations regarding cold calling?

This question has been prompted by the latest post on the TCA website, in their post they talk about a company based in Barcelona called La Moneda, this particular company was highlighted on 4 November by Mindtimeshare. This in itself is not the problem, it is the incorrect information they give regarding cold calling.

They state “Cold calling in the UK is illegal as it is considered a breach of privacy”. This is actually incorrect, according to the Information Commissioner’s Office website they state:

You can call any individual who has specifically consented to receive marketing calls from you – for example, by ticking an opt-in box”.

“You can also make live calls without consent to a number if it is not listed on the TPS – but only if that person hasn’t objected to your calls in the past”.

“In practice, this means you will need to screen most call lists against the TPS register. You will also need to keep your own ‘do not call’ list of people who object or opt out, and screen against that as well”

call-centre-2

The rules for live marketing calls are very simple and are as follows (again taken from ICO website):

“The rules on live marketing calls are in regulation 21. In short, you must not make unsolicited live calls to:

  • anyone who has told you they don’t want your calls; or
  • any number registered with the TPS or CTPS, unless the person has specifically consented to your calls – even if they are an existing customer.

You must always say who is calling, allow your number (or an alternative contact number) to be displayed to the person receiving the call, and provide a contact address or freephone number if asked”.

TPS is the Telephone Preference Service for individuals, all lists must be screened through this service, but it only applies to companies based in the UK, any company based elsewhere is not bound by it.

CTPS is the Company Telephone Preference Service and is for companies and other corporate bodies.

calls

We know that cold calls can be annoying, but it is a legitimate marketing tool, as long as the regulations are adhered to. In the end you are the one in control, you can just say not interested and ask them to remove you from their list. Once you asked them to remove you, then it is illegal for them to call again.

It is just a shame that a so-called Consumer Advice Association cannot even get their facts right, so the question has to be asked, can you trust any advice they give?

I leave you to decide on that one.

Follow the link for more information on this subject:

https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-pecr/electronic-and-telephone-marketing/telephone-marketing/

If you have any questions or comments on any article published, contact Inside Timeshare, if we do not know the answer we will find it.

consumer alert

Litigious Abogados Who Are They?

On 23 September 2016 Mindtimeshare published a warning about a so called lawyer and law firm, it asked the question are they for real? Their conclusion was no.

While looking at the websites, they looked very familiar, even the address was one we had seen before. While searching the Mindtimeshare website it was revealed that it was familiar, the same address has been highlighted before on 5 July 2016 for Litigar Abogados.

litigious-abogados

Litigious Abogados or Litigious Lawyers, name of the lawyer is given as Emilio Leyes Catillianos.

Both web sites show the same CIF Number: A36428761

Tel: 0800 862 0102

The address given is:  Calle Duque de la Torre 29, 114, Santa Cruz, Tenerife

This address is not quite correct, it should read: Calle Duque de la Torre, 29 Arona Casco 38640 Arona Tenerife. This address is actually for Oficina del Servicio de Atención Ciudadana which is part of the Ayuntamiento or local council offices. (Checked on google maps street view).

Both websites were only registered on 14 August 2016, details of who the registrant is are hidden.

litigiousabogados.com

http://emiliocatillianos.com/

 

Back in July 2016 another company of so called lawyers came up on the radar, they too used the same address as above. Both websites are exactly the same as those for the above lawyers.

litigar-abogados-4

This other firm was known as Litigar Abogados, the So called lawyer is Manuel Amas Conde.

Both websites show the same CIF Number: A34812673

Tel: 0800 862 0140

The address given is the same as above.

Both websites registered on 6 June 2016, again registrant is hidden.

litigarabogados.com

http://manuelamasconde.com/

 

None of the websites show any registration number for any bar association, although they do state they are members of the Bar Association. If so the registration number should be shown.

On both websites in the location section, they also show the logo for the Oficina del Servicio de Atencion Ciudadana, to try and show credibility. Also on both home pages they claim 15 years of presence on the internet.

In the law section of Litigar Abogados they also show the coat of arms for the Colegio de Abogados, or the College of Lawyers which is the bar association. Above this is another logo stating 25 years of membership to the college.

On the Litigious Abogados website in the Civil Law section it shows two photographs of lawyers with the names:

Simone Manuel Olivaz & Ramon Quilnar Canal

 

I am waiting for further information on both companies and all the named lawyers, when this comes in it will be published as an update.

If you have been contacted by either of these companies Inside Timeshare would like to hear from you. Remember, lawyers would normally show Bar Registration Numbers and which College of Lawyers they are registered with, these can then be verified as to their legitimacy. This does prove that doing your research into any company that contacts you or one you may have found in the internet, is the first step in protecting yourself. If you need any help in finding information Inside Timeshare will be pleased to help.

 

header

The RDO: Does it Protect Consumers?

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

albert

What is the mission of the RDO?

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

what is happening

More Bad News For Anfi!

Over the past week Inside Timeshare has been highlighting the Anfi Group project at Tauro Beach, the fact that an investigation is underway into serious flaws in the licences and permissions granted to Anfi. Also the fact that homes have been subject to flooding because the natural defences of the original beach have been removed, changing the dynamics of the tides and currents, and the question of who is going to pay.

Tribunal-Supremo

On top of all this, Canarian Legal Alliance has just announced the 18th Supreme Court ruling, this will be the 17th against Anfi. Once again the court has ruled in favour of the client awarding them over 45,000€ plus interest and legal fees.

 

The court has reiterated their previous ruling that contracts in perpetuity (over 50 years) are illegal, that floating weeks and the taking of deposits also makes the contracts null & void. Yet we still see Anfi claiming their contracts are legal, they can not seem to acknowledge the fact the Supreme Court has ruled, they still believe the court has got it wrong.

 

Back in March 2016 Anfi issued a statement to their members, also backed up by the RDO, in it they reaffirm their belief the Supreme Court has got it wrong. They also go on to say that when a member takes legal action and wins, they will also have to pay for the holidays they have already taken. (I thought they had already paid with the maintenance fees). (see pdf) Anfi state they will use the Spanish Civil Code in order to enforce payment. (see post http://insidetimeshare.com/rdo-trying-scare-anfi-timeshare-owners/) Again it appears Anfi are trying to scare people from taking legal action, when the clients have the legal right to have their contracts cancelled and be reimbursed for being sold illegally. They have also resorted to emailing clients using out of date accusations from Mindtimeshare. This is obviously an act of desperation, they know they are in trouble not just because of the 17 Supreme Court rulings against them, but also with the recent developments over their Tauro Beach project being investigated.

ANFI Supreme Court Ruling   (click for pdf)

So far nothing has been heard from Anfi regarding the problems at Tauro Beach, no statements have been seen in the press or anything online. Considering they are the ones building the beach and therefore responsible for these events, not even a whisper or any contact with those affected has been seen or heard. Surely any company would have made some kind of statement, even just to say they would look into it.

for sale 1

For those who still believe that their timeshares are worth something, think again. This was sent to Inside Timeshare and apparently comes from Anfi del Mar Friends, it is an advert for a timeshare up for sale and it reads:

 

“Hi folks, if anyone out there is interested in buying a week, I have week ** anfi puerto, one bed with saturday changeover in room ***. Would take £1000 ovno. Also on sale in house at Anfi. It’s a cheap buy for anyone interested”

anfi resale

Well apparently over 5200 have seen it and it still hasn´t gone! I wonder why? Could it be the reputation timeshare has or is it just Anfi? Or is it the ongoing costs, after all the maintenance fees are not cheap, and we did notice there was no mention in the add of the cost. This added to the facts published in previous articles regarding the beach and the court rulings does make it look as though the future for Anfi is likely to be rather bleak!

bleak

If you have any questions regarding anything in this or any previous article contact Inside Timeshare, we will try to answer them and if we do not know the answer we will find out. If you have anything you would like to share, Inside Timeshare would love to hear from you. Need information on any company you may be thinking of using but don´t know where to look we may be able to help.

They keep on coming….. #18

 

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