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The Tuesday Slot with Irene

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

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

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

trading standards

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

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

Now on with the article from Irene Parker.

TARS – Timeshare Advisory and Resolution Services

An Honest Timeshare Exit Program – Who knew?

TARS Limited Term Deed Program – A Monthly Update

case

By Irene Parker

December 5, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Liberté

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Remember

“Non enim videtur”

“Not all is as it seems”

gavel

Tenerife Court Rules Silverpoint Responsible for Resort Properties

On 1 August 2016, Canarian Legal Alliance announced a significant victory in Tenerife, this was against Silverpoint. The Court of First Instance in Arona ruled in favour of the CLA client, declaring their contract null & void, again the court used the recent Supreme Court rulings as precedent. (These now number 17)

contract

They upheld the fact that the contract was illegal as it was for more than 50 years, they also found other irregularities in the contract. Consequently the client was awarded over 25,000€ including maintenance fees and legal costs.

 

The court also ruled that Silverpoint was responsible for contracts issued by Resort Properties, this ruling puts into no doubt the courts see Silverpoint and Resort Properties as one and the same entity.

 

This has been a point of contention for some time, Silverpoint have always denied they are Resort Properties, that they had bought them out and were not responsible for what Resort Properties did.

 

The former sales manager David Taylor had consistently denied any link, even being caught on video, (see youtube link). In this video Mr Taylor states to a client that he can not do anything about the purchase made under Resort Properties. He blatantly uses the Data Protection Act as a cover, saying that under this act all records from Resort Properties are unavailable to Silverpoint.

silverpointlogo

The problem with this is the client already knows the people involved from Resort Properties, he had dealt with them before, including Mr Taylor. Also bearing in mind the CEO of Resort Properties Mark Cushway is also CEO of Silverpoint.

 

So how true is Mr Taylor’s claim under the data protection act? Not very.

 

When Diamond took over from Sunterra, all records of transactions and members became their property, how else could they run the club / resorts. Surely if Silverpoint was a completely new entity, not just a revamped Resort Properties, they would have had access to all members and purchases made under Resort Properties. Obviously they would need to know what has been sold and who the members are.

 

As the video shows, it was a ploy to make the client pay more money, the investment pitch! This company has been doing this for years, making investment promises and continually reneging on them. These investment packs have been peddled for many years and have been highlighted on many occasions, in total contravention of the rules regarding selling timeshare as an investment. Yet these companies blatantly made a fortune from this, despite being members of the RDO, including Mark Cushway being one of the directors of this organisation, yet failing to follow the codes of conduct and ethics.

 

What did the RDO do about this?

Nothing.

rdo-logo

Why did they not do anything as the body set up as a trade association to ensure compliance with regulations?

 

Simple, Resort Properties / Silverpoint are main contributors of the organisation, it is not there to protect the consumer, it is there to protect its own members. They even state on their website, they do not investigate any complaint about any member of the RDO, you must go directly to the member concerned. What type of trade body is this?

 

Inside Timeshare has also recently publish news that the said Mr Taylor is now working out of the York office for Monster Rewards, his new title is Senior Client Advisor, supposedly helping people to get out of their timeshare, yet ending up purchasing Monster Credits. After watching the video over and over, my feeling is how could I trust this man?

 

We have stated before, timeshare itself is a great concept, it is the people involved and how it is sold that is the problem. The RDO and TATOC need to be replaced, preferably by independent bodies, not beholden or financially dependent on the industry.

 

In the following links are the David Taylor video:

Silverpoints new website;

Summary of Monster companies;

Trade bodies and Associations.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_oNdi4NT4O8

 

http://insidetimeshare.com/look-now-giving-timeshare-advice/

 

http://insidetimeshare.com/monster-credits-associated-companies-summary/

 

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

 

If you have any information about any company you have dealt with and would like to share this with others, Inside Timeshare would like to hear from you. If you have any questions about this article or any timeshare matter Inside Timeshare will find the answers for you.

SILVERPOINT COURT VICTORY