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letter from america

Friday’s Letter from America

Welcome to this week’s Friday’s Letter from America, we continue with another chapter from our traveling writer David Franks, this week it is entitled Miami Vise, edited by Irene Parker. But as usual we begin with some news from Europe.

eu news

Back in May Inside Timeshare reported on some very nasty events in Tenerife, this involved the former Wimpy resort Los Claveles, which was subject to a management buyout by Ivan Pengelly in 1998. Over the years the resorts operated by Wimpen (Wimpy Pengelly) had very good relationships with the owners and the owners committee, this all changed when Pengelly sold out to the Ona Group. (see previous articles).

But there may just be a glimmer of hope on the horizon, it was announced this week that the arbitration process has completed and a judgement has been made. It is in total favour of the owners committee, that the Ona Group, Wimpen and the FNTC, are all in the wrong. The owners committee is legally constituted and has all the rights to run the resort. This means everything must be handed over to the committee, that Wimpen (Ona Group) have no right to collect or demand maintenance fees.

It now just needs to be seen if these companies comply with the Arbitrator, if not the committee will then have to resort to the Spanish Courts to enforce the judgement. We wish them all the very best and hope that this sorry tale will be over very soon. More on this as and when new information comes in.

http://insidetimeshare.com/los-claveles-return-bad-days-timeshare-tenerife/

http://insidetimeshare.com/los-claveles-battle-goes/

http://insidetimeshare.com/horror-weekend-los-claveles/

Now for some news which is proving to be rather disturbing.

Justice4 the claims company owned by Lee Roy Pallister, which went bust recently but re-emerged as Hello Consulting and Tucola Ltd, with his wife as named director, has been taken over. Could this be good news for all those clients who paid Justice4?

Unfortunately that may not be the case, the take over is by ABC Lawyers, yes, you did read that correctly. Mark Rowe of Monster credits, Hollywood Marketing and Jive Hippo fame is now owner of the former Justice4!

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

Loyalty: No Such Thing in Timeshare

The TCA (Timeshare Consumers Association) whole heartedly endorse this, not surprising considering the TCA is also owned by Mark Rowe.

What also has to be remembered is Mark Rowe was at one time a senior sales manager for Resort Properties / Silverpoint under Mark Cushway, now look at the history of that company! Also Lee Roy Pallister is another ex-timeshare salesman. We leave it up to you the reader to decide what the implications of this will be. We think we already know what they are likely to be!

Yesterday Inside Timeshare published an article about Anfi, just after publication, news came in of a sentence which had been issued by the court, it would seem that even though it is August some people are still working.

Another loss for Anfi, at the moment we do not know the infringements ruled upon, but it is more than likely the usual, either perpetuity, floating weeks or points. In this case the ex-member has been awarded 37,224€ plus the legal fees and the court also awarded back all maintenance fees that had been paid.

Do you still believe what Anfi say, that they are not losing any court cases?

Now on with this week’s Letter from America

Our DRI Misadventures

Chapter Four: Miami Vise

miami

By David Franks

August 11, 2017

For background, you might wish to read the first three chapters:

Chapter 1: Vegas, Baby! — http://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-america-5/

Chapter 2: Missouri Loves Company — http://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-america-10/

Chapter 3: Stand Back. These People are Professionals  —http://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-america-12/

(You might not. The annoyance is epical.)

April 2016 arrived. Never mind the showers; my lovely wife and I were going on a Diamond Resorts International Dream Holiday to Miami, Florida and the western Caribbean!

We started the adventure on Tuesday, April 5. I shall note at the outset that it was road and bridge construction, not DRI that turned the drive to the airport into a slightly mobile parking lot.  XNA in Bentonville, Arkansas is a lovely little airport.  It is expensive to fly in and out of XNA, but the cost was covered in the Dream Vacation package.  Score two for DRI.  Keeping their intervention to a minimum works wonders.

We arrived in Miami without incident, unless changing planes at the Houston airport is an incident. We made our way to the Penguin Hotel in Miami Beach, a nice old place on Ocean Drive in the historic South Beach Art Deco District. We had selected the hotel because of its age, and because it was possible (though not easy – see Chapter Three) to get an ocean-view room.

We arrived at the hotel to find that we did not have a room there. Somebody from DRI had decided to “upgrade” us to a brand-new room in the President Villa, a newly-remodeled building. We talked to a couple of hotel managers, met a couple more concierges, and confirmed that our reservation for an ocean-view room was in underlined capital letters in their reservation book.  Having been made aware of their faux pas, the helpful DRI people attempted to mollify us with a $100 certificate for dinner at a rather nice little bistro (double the regular value of $50). We were not mollified, but we accepted the certificate.

Unfortunately, we would not be able to have the favor of their “upgrade” corrected immediately, as there were no rooms available in the Penguin until the next day. So, guided by a helpful DRI minion, we excursed from the Penguin along a dismal alley route to the President Villa, a former office building next to the President Hotel on Collins Avenue. The conversion to residential use was not impressive. Our room was so awkwardly designed as to be uncomfortable; the bathroom would not have been even adequate for a modern resort guest. The ocean view I had struggled to get was of course not available, and the slight smell of fresh paint was no compensation. When we compared the President Villa to the Crescent Resort – and even to the dinged-up but charming Penguin – we felt that we were being treated as second-class guests.

On the other hand, the President Villa – despite its lack of accoutrements consistent with a nice hotel – did offer, under the same roof, exotic car rentals and the services of a psychic/fortuneteller.

gypsy

While we were unable to see the ocean, we were able to see from our window an endless stream of people taking selfies standing next to or sitting in Ferraris and Lamborghinis, presumably with permission.  We declined the opportunity to have a tarot reading, as we already suspected that our future with DRI was not becoming less bleak.

We trundled back over to the Penguin the next morning and took possession of our ocean-view room in time to attend a luncheon provided by DRI prior to a mandatory “buyer update” meeting that afternoon.  The luncheon, set up in the lobby of the Penguin, was actually rather pleasant (DRI managed to not interfere), and we met a few Diamond Resorts members who made a good show of not seeming like victims.

We eight or so members then went next door to the Crescent Resort and up to the penthouse, where over the course of a couple of hours we were told a couple of things that started out interesting but have since turned out to not be true: that, as Gold and Platinum members, we would be receiving a tablet computer preloaded with DRI-related software, which would enhance our owner experience; and that DRI was looking at adjusting maintenance fees based on actual resort usage, which would reduce some members’ fees (“Like ours?” I asked. “Like yours,” they said) because there’s no need to pay so much to maintain facilities one doesn’t use. Oddly enough, they didn’t try to get us to buy more membership, but they did make us stand around on the roof deck for quite some time for no apparent reason.  Particularly given the lack of veracity of the “buyer update”, we would have been better off using the afternoon thus occupied for sightseeing instead.

[Note from Irene: Maybe they read Chapters 1, 2 and 3?]

Our only interaction with a DRI concierge as such was an attempt to find the nearest Walgreens where we could get a prescription filled. He didn’t know, and he guessed wrong.

We had a good time during the remainder of our stay in Miami Beach. We had a nice bus tour, visited Calle Ocho, and enjoyed the meal at the bistro, which ended up costing a little over $100. The Penguin is a perfectly good hotel if your expectations are in line with what an old hotel has to offer. The room was fine – its ocean view was just as good as from a newer hotel – and its cafe provided a good breakfast. As it turned out, we were not charged for the upgrade to an ocean-view room. I hope the Penguin didn’t end up eating a loss caused by DRI’s interference.

group

Important points this week:

  • Although I will not attribute the change in our room reservation to malice or perversity (but what’s left?), I will note that I had explained at some length our interest in the Penguin as a historic hotel as well as our interest in an ocean-view room to everybody I talked to, and our reservation had been emphatically logged.  Calling the change an “upgrade” was a little perverse, however.
  • The Crescent Resort is a DRI property. The Penguin Hotel and the President Hotel are “Club Affiliated” properties.  DRI does not mention the President Villa at all; apparently they prefer to surprise unsuspecting guests with it.
  • Renovation tip: never hire DRI to oversee or approve of a building makeover.
  • Except for the meddling in Miami – which was the only real opportunity DRI had to screw things up –  the Dream Holiday, once underway, went well, despite the fact that it involved a seven-day Carnival cruise (which, apparently amazingly, came with an ocean-view stateroom).  My lovely wife and I thought the Dream Holiday was a good value at 7,500 points, and we saw no need for DRI to misrepresent the potential retail value of the hotel room.
  • Subsequent mentions of the tablet computers and the purported maintenance-fee adjustment to DRI customer service indicated that DRI had never discussed them with the front people at all.  Upon escalating the issues, it turned out that the tablets were supposedly an inducement for brand-new members, rather than an amenity for existing members.  One of the people I talked to said it sounded like I should get a tablet, and he would check into the matter and get back to me. (He never did.)  Based on several reactions at escalated levels of customer service, the supposed maintenance-fee adjustment was a total fabrication.
  • More concierges!  (DRI seems to be a tad lenient in bestowing the title of “concierge”, if my understanding of the office is correct.)

plane

Well, there you have it. David Franks, our intrepid travel writer, is safely back home no doubt planning his next Diamond adventure. Contact Inside Timeshare if you would like to share your Airbnb, Diamond, Bluegreen or Wyndham travel experiences. Canadian postings tell us Diamond is allowing some users to use their Diamond points to book AirBnb. As they say, if you can’t lick them, join them. More on that as we investigate further.

Contact Inside Timeshare or Diamond and Bluegreen member supported Facebooks if you would like to become an Inside Timeshare contributor.

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

This Bluegreen Facebook page of 1,670 members, Sales Team Reviews & Update/Sales Presentation Experience, is for the benefit of the members, corporate Bluegreen personnel and sales agents working towards a more honest and transparent sales process.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1718664518412381/

This Bluegreen Facebook page seems to be a sort of self-help Facebook for members helping members.

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

So there it is, the end to another week, Inside Timeshare again thanks all contributors to the articles, we also thank those who have sent in details on their dealings with some of the companies that have featured. Without that information it would be difficult to give you the facts.

Have a great weekend and join us again next week for more news and truthful facts on the murky world of timeshare.

weekend02

tatoc logo liquid

TATOC Gone: Kwikchex Set Up New Helpline

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

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

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

man_debts
Wonder who this is?

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

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

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

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

Harry Taylor
Bye Bye Harry and good riddance!

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

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

task force
The Timeshare Task Force!!!!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

transformation-and-change

 

us-eu-coop

The Wednesday Article from America

Following on from last week’s piece on the RDO’s use of an article in The Spectator, Irene Parker gives us the American take on it and how they are viewing timeshare in Europe.

One thing is for certain, they are looking to us for change in the way timeshare is sold in the USA, we have had many contact Inside Timeshare giving their stories, some are definitely “Nightmares on Timeshare Street”. This title has been used in three articles in the past, with stories that have hit home for many readers.

In this article Irene, interviews Timeshare Insider and author of Timeshare for Dummies, Lisa Ann Schreier, who we welcome as a new voice to our pages.

RDO – Are Unscrupulous Sales Agents a Thing of the Past?

A Timeshare Insider and one of 13 Platinum members respond

notes in hand

By Irene Parker

June 28, 2017

Inside Timeshare published a reality check response to Resort Development Organization’s article “Why Now is the Right Time to Reconsider Timeshare” offering an EU perspective.

http://insidetimeshare.com/rdo-selective-use-spectator-article-timeshare/

It is interesting to note an admission of guilt in this article as to the nature of the unscrupulous timeshare sales agent.

The Chairman of RDO is Susan Crooks, Director of Legal Services and European General Counsel, Diamond Resorts Europe, so the article is even more meaningful, considering her role. I have interviewed two EU Diamond sales agents. The agents said they refused to submit to the aggressive tactics imposed on American Diamond sales agents. One was the sales agent assigned to us when we stayed at Cala Blanca on Gran Canaria.

Here are excerpts from what RDO has to say about timeshare, followed by a report from one of the 13 Diamond Platinum members.

When you think of the word timeshare, what springs to mind? While for some it might be stylish and carefree getaways in your favourite holiday destination, for others it could just as easily be pushy salespeople trying to bamboozle you into signing an unwanted, lengthy contract.  Unfortunately, for a number of years the word timeshare has had negative connotations in the minds of many people, due to the often unethical and unjust way it was sold in the past. This is all changing though as the holiday market goes through a massive shakeup. Timeshare is evolving into something that everyone can enjoy!

In the past a proportion of timeshare was mis-sold to people through unscrupulous sales tactics from pushy sales people only interested in making a quick sale. People were persuaded to sign up for timeshare after lengthy and intense sales presentations which could last for hours. This included parting with large deposits on the same day. Now though, following strict restrictions imposed on developers by the European Timeshare Directive which must be followed by all shared holiday ownership companies operating within the EU, there is a ban on taking deposits on the day of the sales presentation from clients. In addition there is a mandatory 14-day cooling off period between a presentation and signing up for timeshare in which the individual is able to change their mind. The contract offered must also be in the client’s own language.

http://rdo.org/news/now-right-time-reconsider-timeshare/

In the EU and the US, the following groups have formed to protest and support other Diamond members.

  • DRIP website England, over 1,000 British members
  • Diamond Resorts Owners Advocacy 350 members

We seek to provide Diamond Resort members a way to proactively address membership concerns; to advocate for timeshare reform; to obtain greater disclosure from the company; to advocate for a viable secondary market; and to educate prospective buyers.

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

  • Club Intrawest: The Owners Group 3300 members
  • Gold Key Owner’s Forum 65 members
  • COPP website: Concerned Owners at Poipu Point
  • Monarch Grand Vacations Owners Group website

All of the above websites and Facebook pages include concerned Diamond members who don’t know where to turn. Most of those contacting Inside Timeshare are existing Diamond members, but complaints from several timeshare companies abound, alleging deceptive sales practices:

  1. Sell Diamond Points,
  2. Cover Maintenance Fees,
  3. Transfer from US to HI points because only Hawaii can rent points or transfer to US because there will be HI assessments (one Diamond member said they were shown pictures in Virginia of decaying Hawaii air conditioners),
  4. Prevent heirs from being stuck with Diamond points (this benefit is already available).  

In an interview with Timeshare Insider Lisa Ann Schreier and Diamond Platinum members Alan and Debbie Callner that took place at Diamond’s Mystic Dunes Resort June 19, we discussed timeshares flawed business model and the consumer’s deplorable lack of timeshare knowledge. Since the timeshare buyer in many cases cannot rely on the honesty and integrity of the timeshare sales agent, we agreed an organized media campaign is the only answer. “The sales agent is always right. The customer is always wrong” seems to be the developer’s motto.

End of Story

jigsaw 4

No it is not

Lisa Ann Schreier, author of Timeshare for Dummies, has worked in the timeshare industry for approximately 20 years.

It was a quiet morning after “Event of a Lifetime” – a Diamond promotion celebration with country music artist Cole Swindell performing to a packed house. The restaurant was open but in transition from Integrity Golf to Diamond management, so the golf course was closed and the restaurant temporarily without a liquor license.

I asked Lisa if she has seen an upswing in predatory timeshare lending over the years. One of the roles of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was the enforcement of the Dodd Frank Act which has recently been rolled back by the Trump administration. I asked Lisa if she thought the rollback would lead to even more free-wheeling timeshare lending practices, especially in terms of non-verified income and generous lending limits.

“Timeshare lending has always been freewheeling,” Lisa explained. She provided a true story example told in parable fashion:

This happened many years ago when I was a timeshare sales agent. I was getting to know a gentleman who agreed to a presentation. One of the first things he said to me was, “I need to know if you have accepted Jesus Christ as your savior.” Somewhat taken aback, I informed the man that it might be best if I found him another sales agent as I am Jewish. Intrigued however, I asked the man what led to his conversion. He responded he had been converted in jail and had been released just a month earlier have fulfilled a lengthy jail sentence.

Thinking this was the end of my tour, I sought my manager to inform him that my potential customer was a NQ (not qualified). My manager advised me to proceed. “Proceed? Should I conduct a vacation survey? Will his income history be relevant?” Lisa questioned.

Alan and Debbie Callner and my husband and I sat mesmerized as Lisa shared other incredible and interesting timeshare stories with us as several sales agents filed past us with their potential customers following their Event of a Lifetime.

Alan and Debbie are one of thirteen Diamond Platinum members concerned with Diamond’s sales practices. Seven of the thirteen allege almost identical complaints all having taken place at Diamond’s Polo Towers or Cancun Las Vegas Resorts.

Inside Timeshare encourages our readers to report positive as well as negative timeshare experiences. Alan shared his check-in experience.

Alan was somewhat concerned about the check-in at Mystic Dunes after reading a post from a DRI Facebook Member who said she had been held captive for three hours at Mystic Dunes in a hard sell presentation to buy points after check-in.

In the Callner’s case, Alan and Debbie were whisked through VIP check-in. They were invited but not pressured to attend an update. In place of an update, Marcos came to their room with a gift bag chatting amicably about Orlando and local sites to visit other than the theme parks.

A non-invasive program for Diamond members who really have no desire or need to buy additional vacation points would be a real plus. We hope Alan and Debbie’s  comfortable check-in experience did not happen only because their account had been flagged as a member who filed a complaint with the Arizona Attorney General.

Alan and Debbie filed an AZ AG complaint alleging they had been sold 20,000 additional points by Rick Casper at Cancun Resorts in Las Vegas July 2016, convinced to buy an eighth timeshare contract because of a resale program that months later they found out was non-existent.

Allegedly, “Rick Casper told us we should contact him when we needed to sell points because he had people that would buy them. This was the only reason we upgraded from 30,000 points to 50,000 points. When we contacted Rick earlier this year, we learned from Dan Percy (Rick Casper’s immediate boss) that we could not have been told that and we might be able to sell them through a resale third party. We never heard a response from Rick Casper.”

“In addition, we asked Rick about combining our seven previous contracts into one contract covering all 50,000 points. Rick Casper (allegedly) advised us not to do so as it would be easier to sell smaller quantities of points and inferred he could do so easier having contracts in increments, as when someone wants to upgrade from Gold to Platinum requiring only 20,000 additional points.”

“The thought of being able to sell was a relief.”

Inside Timeshare has received 82 reader complaints. Some expressed only the desire to relinquish, but 53 Diamond members have alleged deceit and bait and switch. Of the 13 Platinum members, six filed almost identical complaints against Rick Casper. A report compiling complaints from all loyalty levels is being prepared. If the timeshare industry continues to deny problems on the front end of the sale, efforts will be directed towards regulators, politicians, law enforcement and the media. At some point the testimonies will be overwhelmingly compelling.

know your rights

The two timeshare owning families at our Mystic Dunes table owned timeshares for a collective 70 plus years. We all agreed, verified by Lisa, timeshare predatory sales and lending has escalated to a level never seen before, perpetrated by more than a few timeshare companies.

“No heat, no eat” is a mantra shared by the eight timeshare agents I interviewed who, at some point, decided their conscious would not allow them to stoop to the level necessary to exist in a timeshare world that has led to thousands of internet complaints and lawsuits.

We hope the new timeshare world order as described by RDO will migrate to America as the timeshare members Inside Timeshare has heard from, clearly feel America is nowhere near the hospitable and transparent timeshare world RDO describes.

In a way, we in Europe seem to be the lucky ones in the timeshare world, we have a system of regulation which is being enforced. It all started with the European Union bring out the first Timeshare Directives to protect consumers, although the industry did lobby for their own versions, the EU has continually strengthened them. Some countries have gone even further and added even stronger regulations, Spain in particular is leading the way.

Some of the regulations brought in and enforced by Spain include: Contracts no longer than 50 years; Floating Weeks and Points Clubs being outlawed; enforcing the 14 day cooling off period and the taking of any deposits even by a third party, within this period.

Another aspect Spain has included and is being used by the courts is the doubling of any payment made within 90 days, where the consumer did not receive all information required by law.

Timeshare could be a good product, but regulation is the key, for too long we have seen in Europe, resorts and developers running roughshod over consumers. Unfortunately we still do have some who only think of themselves, we have highlighted many of them within our articles in the past. The story of Mrs B and MacDonald Resorts, the recent story of the Ona Group at Los Claveles are just two. There must be change and the time for change is now.

important news

Horror Weekend at Los Claveles

los claveles logo

Over the past week Inside Timeshare has been running the story of the diabolical goings at Los Claveles in Tenerife, things have now escalated to a new level. Carol Parkinson aged 71, was at the resort speaking with another owner at the pool bar, 4 Police officers, one can only guess they were from Policia National, they proceeded to arrest her. This appears to have been orchestrated by the so-called management company Ona Group.

At 1:52pm on Saturday 27 May, Inside timeshare received the following from the Club Chairman Albert Fletcher:

Dear CHARLES

We have a situation.  Carol Parkinson the Club President has been arrested on the Resort by 4 police officers.  She is at the Adeje national Police Station.  She is waiting for an interpreter.  She is accused of Criminal damage but has no idea of what they are talking about.  On Thursday she was assaulted by an Onagrup employee and had a bruise on her arm.  She attended the hospital and made a complaint to the police.  We think that an accusation has been made to get there own back.

Our solicitor is not answering his phone being a week end.  They are threatening to keep Carol locked up until Monday,  why we do not know.

She is in desperate need of an English speaking solicitor at the Police Station.  Can you help with finding one at short notice?

Thanks

Albert

Sent from my iPad

This is a very disturbing turn of events, it is a very severe escalation of the battle going on for control of this resort which is governed by the Owners Committee on behalf of all the members and owners. This is in accordance with communidad rules and the constitution of the club.

The resort for around 25 years was managed by Ivan Pengelly’s company Wimpen, after a management buyout from Wimpy. Los Claveles was a very rare phenomenon in the timeshare industry, being one of the very few where the owners committee worked closely with the management company. In fact there are no known adverse comments or complaints about the resort, which boasted one of the friendliest family atmospheres of any resort in timeshare. As Mac puts it in his email to Inside Timeshare at 5:27pm on 27 May:

Charles,

Onagrup’s dirty business at Los Claveles goes on. The fact that 4 police officers arrived to arrest a 71 year old lady tells us all we need to know what’s going on inside the Spanish establishment on the island. There can be no doubt that it was deliberately done in this way to intimidate her and keep her off the resort.

Pengelly asked owners to trust him over the sale of his business to Onagrup and this is what it has come to. It’s shameful, and he is responsible. He is the President and everything that his Administrator does is in his name. It is a spectacular fall from grace for someone who once had a clean reputation in the timeshare industry.

Regards,

Mac

Sent from my iPad

As we can see from Mac’s message, Ivan Pengelly is still President of the company and the Administrator does everything in his name. We have to wonder how Pengelly must be feeling now, especially as he asked the owners and members to trust him when he sold to the Ona Group, promising that everything would be alright and nothing would change. How wrong could he have been,from one of the most respected reputations in the timeshare industry to one that is now amongst the worst. What a fall from grace!

Ivan Pengelly
Ivan Pengelly in his glory days!

At 16:02pm 27 May the news came in of why Carol had been arrested, it also informs us that on the previous day she was again assaulted by Ona Group staff, taken to hospital and then made a complaint to the police. We can only guess and to be perfectly honest we are probably right that the Ona Group used this and the weekend to counter attack, knowing that she would get no help. In Spain the police can hold a person for 72 hours.

Following is the message Albert sent out:

Begin forwarded message:

From: Albert Fletcher <albertejfletcher@msn.com>

Date: 27 May 2017 at 16:02:23 BST

To: (Various recipients removed by Inside Timeshare)

Subject: Carol

Dear Friends,

Carol was arrested by 4 police officers around lunch time today.  She was sitting at the pool bar talking to Graham Holland.  It appears the charge is Criminal damage or assault.

Carol was assaulted on Friday by a man in reception.  She had a bruise on her arm.  She had great difficulty in reporting the incident to the police who sent her to the hospital.  Problems arose and the hospital examination failed and therefore the complaint was never recorded.

This is obviously A false complaint to hide the attack on Carol.  The Police have not taken a statement and the solicitor who was with Carol at the police station advised her to say nothing.

After threatening to keep Carol locked up until Monday they released her on conditional bail, including reporting and keeping away from Los Claveles.  Carol has to attend Court on Monday at 10.00 am.  Carol has not been given details of the allegations other that she has damaged someone’s glasses costing €1,300.  Carol does not know anything about this.

Hiro and other solicitors all have their phones switched off for the week-end and offices are closed.  This was a well timed complaint to the police designed to cause distress and keep Carol off the Resort.  Carol has a witness to the attack on her who will be at Court. Alex is assisting as best he can.

Albert

At least some of the news was good, Carol would not have to spend the weekend in what we know are disgusting conditions of the holding cells.

Looking at Albert’s last email, it is clear this is a total fabrication by Ona Group in their campaign to destroy what was once a thriving club. Anyone in their right mind should be able to see through this, a 71 year old lady with an impeccable reputation being accused of “criminal damage or assault”, is ludicrous at the very least

Inside Timeshare urges anyone who knows an English speaking Lawyer in Tenerife and is in Tenerife to contact Albert, your help is needed. Inside Timeshare has tried, but the weekend is notorious for making contact.

We also ask that all readers share this post on facebook and other social media, and as Irene Parker, Inside Timeshares US partner says:

Will keep them in our prayers

Total thugs

Doesn’t anyone in law enforcement see through this?

Irene.

To Carol and all the committee and members at Los Claveles, you are not alone. Inside Timeshare will keep publishing your news and we all hope that someone within the National Police comes to their senses and puts a stop to the thuggery of the Ona Group. To Ivan Pengelly, we say shame on you, it would seem you were bought off, reputation is worth more, you have destroyed yours.

 

letter from america

Friday’s Letter From America

Welcome to this week’s Letter From America, and what a week it has been, Irene Parker has been kept busy with the Diamond Advocacy work, as well as being slave to writing for Inside Timeshare. Keep it coming Irene!

There have been some great results for some of those the advocacy team are working for, in one case thanks to the publishing of one article Diamond reached out to a family and resolved the problem. This was even before they had lodged a complaint, so it does show that they are watching what we publish and that your voices are being heard.

Irene also confirmed that another family have had a successful resolution, we are unable to publish the details as they are subject to a non disclosure agreement. But Inside Timeshare will give credit where credit is due and say well done to Diamond Resorts International, As we often say, take notice of your members and you will prosper as a company.

Back over this side of the great lake, we have been publishing a very disturbing story about Los Claveles. The news coming in is some of the worst that I have personally ever heard, elderly people being forcibly removed from their apartments, being forcibly prevented from lawfully entering their apartments and the resort.

los claveles logo

The President of the Owners Committee, who is I believe 70 herself, has been subject to verbal and physical abuse, ( the verbal being threats of sexual abuse). All this by staff and security of the Ona Group. Long standing staff and resort manager have been sacked and replaced by Ona Groups own personnel, even though their contract to manage the resort on behalf of the owners has ended. If this is not criminal behaviour, what is?

We will be keeping you upto date on any developments as they come in, Inside Timeshare has promised to keep this story in the public eye.

That group of groundbreaking lawyers are at it again, Canarian Legal Alliance has published the results of another two victories this week, there are more but until they publish them we cannot.

The first was on Monday 22 May, in this case it was Holiday Club in Gran Canaria. The Court of First Instance No1 in Maspalomas, ordered that the contracts be declared null & void due to various infringements of the timeshare law. They also ordered that as they also had taken deposits within the cooling off period, which is forbidden, they would have to pay back DOUBLE the amount received. The client in this instance will receive back over 36,000€.

In the second case, Silverpoint have been ordered to return to the German clients over 24,000€ plus legal interest. The contract was also declared null & void.

The judge of the Court of First Instance No3 in Arona, Tenerife, found various infringements in the contract, and found that the documents were indeed illegal. This is another blow for this particular company, who have been the subject of many years of legal battles, clients are now seeing justice thanks to the rulings of the Supreme Court.

Now to this Friday’s Letter From America, this article by Irene was first published in 2016, due to the problems of the Los Claveles owners, she thought it would be appropriate to re-publish it, in support of these beleaguered owners.

The Mafia Owns my Timeshare?

How to take back your holiday or vacation

al capone

By Irene Parker

May 26, 2017

Inside Timeshare first published this true story in 2016. Given the shocking timeshare battle between the original owners of Los Claveles and the Ona Group taking place in Spain, we thought this would be a good time to publish it again in a show of support for our timeshare brothers and sisters. Here in America we are no strangers to fights over HOA (Home Ownership Associations, Club Committees, (IT comment))  timeshare board control.

Retired Officer Douglas Goldie’s letter brought back memories of our story, especially in reference to divided loyalties between timeshare owners and timeshare developers, except our owner and knight was a state representative.

It all started when I started to pitch the invitation to the annual meeting of Holiday Shores in the trash bin when I happened to read something to this effect:

You are invited to attend the annual meeting for Holiday Shores. Please consider attending or your week will be auctioned off on the steps of the Sheriff’s office on Tuesday at 3:30 PM.

It was the first and last timeshare annual meeting we ever attended.

Here’s what happened

One day, in 1984, my fiancée told me he bought a timeshare called Holiday Shores.  Little did he know it was owned by the Mafia.  Holiday Shores is located in the Missouri Ozarks and was a popular vacation spot for the Mafia.

Needless to say, we attended. There was not enough room for all of us at the scheduled location, so we all moved to the church where we managed to get a seat in the rafters. The resort’s timeshare attorney started the meeting by dramatically rolling out a scroll that flew out about 20 feet as he explained the Bennett family of New York was putting a lien on the property as the construction company had not been paid by the resort owners. Somehow the resort discovered the owners of the resort and the owners of the construction company were cousins.    

Fortunately for us, Jim Marshall of Marshall Missouri was an owner and a state representative. The story has a happy ending because, thanks to Mr. Marshall, and the efforts of the timeshare owners sticking together, our timeshare was taken back and the resort lived happily ever after. It’s still there.

The moral of the story is that owners can make a difference.

Richard Rohr in his book, Immortal Diamond, talks about Swiss psychiatrist C. G. Jung and how he feared the manipulation, violation, and “annulment” of the human personality. Although Jung was often critical of Christianity, his comment parallels Pope John Paul the II when he described “rigid capitalism” as when capitalism becomes destructive, denying many of the essentials of humanness.

Battles like the one taking place at Los Claveles and at various resorts in America and Canada are really about greed. Ever an optimist, Inside Timeshare reaches out not only to timeshare owners, but to timeshare sales agents and developers to come to the table to work out differences. Listen, don’t dictate.

A 90 year old young new friend of mine named Ed said in a Centering Prayer meeting after reading Mr. Rohr’s passage above, “Unity is about Flow. When we are divided we are not “In Synch”. Whether the division is over timeshare control or the political divide at its worst in America, let’s hope both sides of the industry and our country take a deep breath, clean out our ears, and listen.

As I wrote this story, the phone rang with a second positive outcome this week from a timeshare member angry with Diamond Resorts. She happily reported that the issue she and her husband had with Diamond Resorts had been resolved and she knew it would not have happened without the availability and efforts of our Timeshare Advocacy Group.

It’s easy to focus on the negatives, but we must give credit where credit is due. The wheels turn slowly, but they won’t turn at all if no one is listening and no one will listen if timeshare members don’t organize, energize and act to let the people who control our vacation know when the motivation for greed has overpowered human compassion and understanding.

Sometimes timeshare reform feels like this but together progress happens.

hammer

We seek to provide Diamond Resort members a way to proactively address membership concerns; to advocate for timeshare reform; to obtain greater disclosure from the company; to advocate for a viable secondary market; and to educate prospective buyers.

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

Inside Timeshare (Charles & Irene) thank all those who have contributed in this week’s articles, we also thank you all for the comments and support on the Advocacy and Inside Timeshare Facebook pages.

These are your stories and experiences, by sharing them you help others to see they are not alone. Keep contributing and let’s work together to bring some justice to owners and members.

Have a good weekend.

weekend cat

heavy handed

Los Claveles: The Battle Goes On!

We continue the sad tale of the struggle Los Claveles owners are having with Ona Group over their refusal to allow them access to their own apartments, along with forceful removal of owners from the resort, many of whom are elderly. We also reported in the last article about the abuse that Carol Parkinson, who is also elderly, has suffered, both verbally and physically at the hands of Ona Group staff and security.

Carol is the club President and is in Tenerife trying to help owners arriving and unable to lawfully access their apartments, which many have owned for 30 years. She is working tirelessly under difficult conditions to ensure that they have somewhere to stay.

Inside Timeshare has promised the members of the committee and especially the Chairman Albert, that we will publish their letters and inform the world of timeshare. This is also a warning to other owners whose resort management has been taken over by this company. This is what you can expect.

We start with an open letter from Douglas Goldie a long standing owner and a retired Police officer, it is an open letter to all owners.

los claveles logo

CLUB LOS CLAVELES

Open letter from owner Douglas Goldie

24th May 2017

Dear Owner Friends

I just want to reiterate that Avril and I fully support the committee in what they are attempting to do for us.  Like many we sometimes feel frustrated at the speed of progress and the lack of detailed information but we fully appreciate the reasons information is withheld and realise that we are in this for the long game.

We urge you to keep your faith in the committee and continue your support. We have made donations, loans and paid our 2018 fees to the club in advance.  We are not rich by any means but we have no regrets over our actions so far.  We just wish we were in a better position to do more.

As a retired Police officer having completed 30 years’ service upholding the criminal law I think I am qualified to recognise criminal activity in whatever country it originates and if our meagre contributions help bring some justice to this situation then it has been worth it.

I spent a considerable part of my life assisting and supporting victims of crime and that is exactly what we are right now. Please don’t give in to the people trying to take what is ours.  A lost or spoiled holiday would be devastating to us but would be well worth it to see justice done and we truly believe justice will prevail if we stick together and support our committee and helpers.

Please do not pay your fees to people who wish us all harm. To do so would condone and support their criminal activity against all of us including yourselves.  It is obvious they are trying to divide our loyalty. Let’s not let them. Let’s stick together.

Yours sincerely,

Douglas

In this letter Douglas clearly has a valid point, to pay your annual fees to these people gives them credibility, it will also allow them to claim they are right!

In a response to his letter the Chairman of the Owners Committee, Albert Fletcher has issued this statement.

los claveles logo

CLUB LOS CLAVELES

Club Chairman’s Statement, 25th May 2017

on Douglas Goldie’s Open Letter

 

The Committee would like to take this opportunity to thank Douglas Goldie for his letter and for the support he is giving to the Club, plus all the other members who have contacted me and commented expressing their support.  Members should continue to pay their maintenance fees to the Club, not WimPen, and are encouraged to make payment as early as possible.  

Owners have asked who they should believe when they keep getting two different messages about who is in the right. I say once again, WimPen’s management contract ended on the 2nd May, regardless of the outcome of Arbitration.  We are still awaiting the final decisions of Arbitration despite requests for an early resolution in view of the escalation of events for Club owners at Los Claveles.

Onagrup/WimPen never gives you the whole story but sadly has all the ‘aces’ as it holds our assets and is trying to starve us of the funds to fight for what is ours.  You have to make your own minds up about who you believe to be right in this dispute, considering all of the considerable information made available to you from both sides, but bear in mind your committee members are the only ones who have nothing more to gain than other owners, but much more to lose with all we have invested personally.  

If Members are in any doubt about who to pay their maintenance fees to, please do not contact WimPen sales or administration as they are giving out the opposite advice to the Club, despite WimPen having no contractual agreement to invoice Club Members and collect maintenance payments from them.  Club President Carol Parkinson is available to give any further reassurance. Her phone number is  07931 778886 and her email is carol.parkinson@ntlworld.com

albert sign

Albert Fletcher

Chairman, Club Los Claveles

In his letter Albert confirms that Wimpen/OnaGrup no longer has the right of management, their contract ended on 2nd May 2017. He also states that it is the owners / members of the club who have the most to lose. The initial outlay for your weeks and apartments, the years of paying the maintenance fees for them and the prospect of losing the one thing of importance, the sense of community and family that you have all built up over the years.

Wimpen and Ona Group are not the only ones at fault here, the trust company FNTC is also culpable. In January 2016, the following letter was sent to FNTC, it formally raises a complaint, on their refusal to hand over to Hutchinson Trust Company, who the committee employed to replace FNTC. It also highlights their refusal to allow access to the club members database, this is essential if the committee is to inform all members of the situation.

 

CLUB LOS CLAVELES

21 January 2016

Mr Mike Lightfoot

Managing Director

First National Trustee Company Limited

International House

Douglas

Isle of Man

IM2 4RB

Dear Mr Lightfoot,

Official Complaints Procedure

This complaint is directed against Mr Declan Kenny,  Mr Philip Broomhead and the Company (Trustees)

  1. During the many years of employing the Company there has never been an employee attend any General Meeting of the Club or Committee.
  2. There was a very important meeting of the Club, an AGM held in June 2015 that involved the ratification of the Termination of the Management Contract between the Club and Wimpen/Onagrup.  Mr Kenny was expressly asked to send a representative to this meeting and failed to do so.
  3. The Management Contract was terminated at the Committee Meeting held on 31 March 2015.  This was recorded in the minutes and confirmed by letter from me as Chairman on the same day.  Copies of the minutes and letter are with yourselves.  I spoke to Mr Broomhead,  informed him that I had been elected as Chairman and that we had terminated the Management Contract.  In answer to my question Mr Broomhead informed me that as Chairman I would take responsibility for the common Parts.  This is known as “The Development Owners Association” and sometimes referred to as “Comunidad”.  To date, I as Chairman have not been handed the necessary authority to control the Common Parts by FNTC.
  4. During a meeting with Mr Broomhead, in front of the solicitor acting for the Committee, Mr John Hughes, Consultant, Shakespeare Martineau in Birmingham, Mr Broomhead accused myself and Carol Parkinson (a Committee Member) of lying and actively came to the defence of Onagrup/Wimpen.  There was no justification given other than Wimpen/Onagrup had told him a different story.
  1. Mr Kenny met with the Committee on 13 October 2015.  He promised to open an Escrow account and instruct Onagrup/Wimpen to place all monies belonging to the Club into this account.  This he has failed to do.
  2. At the meeting on 13 October Mr Kenny agreed that the contract with Wimpen/Onagrup had been terminated and he would help the Club in any way he could.  Specifically he agreed that if Wimpen/Onagrup continued to prevent proper access for the Committee to the Club Database (Member Register) then he would allow the Committee to use the FNTC Database.  This he did on one occasion but subsequently refused further access.  This will be detailed later.
  3. At the meeting on 13 October Mr Kenny agreed to ensure that the Club took control of the Common Areas (The Development Owners Association) by giving the votes held by FNTC in respect of Escrituras to the Club Chairman.  This was to be used to replace Mr Pengelly (Onagrup employee) as the President.  For information:  The DOA controlled the Club by holding the bank account and employing all Resort staff.  This position also controlled the appointment of an Administrator, a requirement in Spain.  Mr Kenny has subsequently refused to do this.
  4. Rather than support the Club in removing Onagrup/Wimpen as per the Constitution and democratic decisions reached at an AGM Mr Kenny has openly stated that the best thing for the Club is for Wimpen/Onagrup to continue running things.
  5. A meeting was held in Barcelona between myself, representatives from Onagrup and Mr Broomhead.  The meeting was to see if there was a way forward that could be negotiated to bring this situation to a mutually agreed conclusion.  During this meeting I quickly gained the impression that Mr Broomhead was acting more of a Solicitor on behalf of Onagrup than assisting me in any way.  Mr Broomhead interrupted me on several occasions saying that I had no right to discuss issues (an example of this was around the DOA)
  6. On the one occasion that Mr Kenny sent out a mailing for the Committee there were substantial amounts of mail that was returned.  This included:

Gone away 6 years ago

Undelivered not known at this address

We sold our weeks 10 years ago

We have not owned at Los Claveles for many years

 This will of course mean that many legitimate members were not contacted at all.

 It is the duty of FNTC to keep accurate Member Records.  This is a falling of FNTC

  1.   Mr Kenny and Mr Broomhead have threatened to call a meeting of the Club without

       the consent of the Committee.  They have threatened to actively support the sending

       out of information on behalf of Wimpen/Onagrup although their services had been

       terminated in order to encourage re-instatment and to undermine the Committee.  

       FNTC have no authority to do this

  1.   Mr Kenny has refused to supply the Club (through me Chairman) address labels                Members so that the Chairman and Committee can communicate directly.
  2. Mr Kenny has refused to supply me, as Chairman and the Committee a list of Members and weeks owned.
  3. Mr Kenny has refused to supply a list of all Cancelled weeks that are the responsibility of the Club Committee.
  4. Mr Kenny has refused to supply documentation to prove the validity of Founder Members.  This should have transferred when FNTC took over the Trusteeship.
  5. FNTC is in breach of the Deed of Trust 1.3 stating that they must accept the decisions conveyed to FNTC by the Chairman without right of challenge.  This has been ignored.  (I as Chairman have been ignored).
  6. As Chairman I called a Special General Meeting of the Club (This took place on 16 January 2016 Minutes will follow shortly).  I sent the papers for the meeting to Onagrup, as they had control of our Member Register and instructed them to be sent out without any delay.  It was some time later than Mr Broomhead emailed me and said that Onagrup will not be sending out the papers as the SGM was illegal.  

Mr Broomhead supported this stance without any authority.  Another example of Mr Broomhead appearing to be working for Onagrup.

  1. Onagrup/Wimpen have refused to pay legitimate Club legal expenses and also Committee Member expenses.  This stance has been supported by Mr Kenny and Mr Broomhead who have said that Onagrup will pay these when I, as Chairman, sign a new contract with Onagrup.  Blackmail on behalf of Onagrup by FNTC obviously working closely together against the interests of the Club, Committee and Committee Members.
  2. On 23 May 2012 an agreement was signed By Mr Pengelly (an Onagroup employee) on behalf of the Club Committee with Hutchinson.  This agreement transferred the Trusteeship from FNTC to Hutchinson.  This contract was a result of an earlier AGM decision and substantial notice being given to FNTC.  The delay in transferring all documentation by FNTC is unacceptable.  As recently as last week I am informed by Hutchinson that Mr Kenny is refusing to accept their calls and enquiries regarding this matter.  It is my belief that this delay is deliberate by FNTC in order for them to continue supporting the activities of Onagrup against the wishes of the Club.  This transfer must take place immediately.

Mr Lightfoot,  unfortunately these points only highlight the main issues.  There are other examples but I believe you have enough to be going on with.  I am enclosing minutes of Committee Meetings held on 31 March, 27 July, 1 September 2015 and 5 January 2016.  You will of course have access to all the emails received by Mr Kenny and Mr Broomhead from myself and Carol Parkinson and their replies.  May I also ask that you look at the emails between  FNTC and Onagrup/Wimpen.  I hope that you will agree to safeguard all the emails in the event they are required by a regulator or Arbiter should this matter require progression.

Thank you for considering this matter

Yours sincerely,

Albert E.J. Fletcher

Chairman

Club Los Claveles

So there we have it, what I believe to be the truth in this sorry tale, it is certainly one of David Versus Goliath.

Inside Timeshare urges all owners or club members not just from Los Claveles, but all timeshare resorts to stand behind them and give whatever support you can. It may be you next!

If any readers know anything about crowd funding, which could help the beleaguered committee to raise the funds to fight this, either contact Inside Timeshare and we will pass it on, or contact the committee members direct.

crowd funding

YOUR SUPPORT IS ESSENTIAL!

 

Los Claveles: Is This a Return to the Bad Days of Timeshare in Tenerife?

Trustees: Independent or Part of the Problem?

mass media

Diamond in the News Again.

Yesterday 23 May 2017, Canarian Legal Alliance announced another sentence passed from the Courts in Tenerife. The company in this instance is Diamond Resorts Tenerife SL, which was the sales company selling Diamond products in Tenerife.

In this judgement two contracts have been declared null & void, the first was a purchase in 2008 which came under the Spanish Timeshare Law 42/98. In this case it breached the law regarding the points system, which like floating weeks has no actual object to the contract.

The second contract was signed in 1998, so the timeshare law could not be applied, although the lawyers from CLA asked for the nullity by the civil code for the lack of object of the contract (points system).

There were also other infringements of the law which were:

  • The contract was in perpetuity;
  • There was a lack of information in the contract;
  • The withdrawal period was missing along with various other points.

In this case the client has been awarded over 28,000€ plus legal interest.

PDF of Court Sentence. (click to open)

20170523103054910

Another case they announced on 22 May, was that Holiday Club Finland (based in Gran Canaria) have been ordered to pay back the client over 36,000€ and the contract declared null & void.

Once again the Court of First Instance at Maspalomas, Gran Canaria, followed the Supreme Court rulings that deposits taken with the cooling off period illegal. In this instance the client had paid almost the whole amount within the 14 day period, the court ordered that to compensate the client the company had to pay back double the amount received.

As this article was being prepared, CLA announced another case from the Tenerife Courts, this was against that old adversary Silverpoint.

The judge in this instance found many infringements in the contract contrary to the timeshare law. Again the contract was declared null & void with the return of over 24,000€ plus legal interest.

It would seem that the lower courts are following what the Supreme Court has laid down to the letter and according to our information there are many cases still waiting to be heard.

Inside Timeshare also issues this warning, there are many firms being set up purporting to be lawyers, using these cases as a basis for duping the unsuspecting. Not every owner has a claim, with many of these dubious companies stating that they do, then all you end up doing is paying a fortune only to find the company then disappears.

If you want to know if you do have a legitimate claim contact Inside Timeshare we can check this for you. If you have been contacted by any company saying that you have a claim or that your timeshare company has been taken to court, found guilty and there is money waiting for you, then let us know before paying any money.

Be informed and stay safe, in the end you will save yourself thousands, as we always say:

homework
Now for another article from across the great lake, once again Diamond are in the frame!

Another Polo Towers Diamond Misadventure!

Not Las Vegas Again!

Result

By Neina Orrillo May 26, 2017  

It’s hard to believe a fun trip to Las Vegas can turn into a financial disaster – all over a vacation plan! After reading David Franks article about his plunge into the abyss of an eternal timeshare sales presentation, I decided to tell my story too, hoping to warn others to beware of the bait! When Diamond Resorts says “STAY VACATIONED!” they mean it in a way not expected.

I ended up at Polo Towers in Las Vegas at the presentation because I was using a “Sampler” package I had previously purchased. My niece had a dance competition so we decided to use the timeshare to stay in Vegas with our family. Since the Sampler is a trial presentation I was told I had to attend a sales presentation.

We listened to a vacation plan that was out of this world. It sounded as if it was too good to be true. It was. I fell for it, but I know I am not alone thanks to our member sponsored Diamond Advocacy Group.

We seek to provide Diamond Resort members a way to proactively address membership concerns; to advocate for timeshare reform; to obtain greater disclosure from the company; to advocate for a viable secondary market; and to educate prospective buyers.

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

We signed up and we are living to regret it. Here is what Diamond sales agent, Janine Viraga, told us:

The timeshare would be tax deductible like mortgage interest, and the deal is so great if she wasn’t already an owner she would take the deal she was offering me.

We would receive a “free” trip but it turned out I had to pay $1000 before I could even book the trip!

I should and could easily get a personal loan like a home equity loan to refinance it to reduce the 14% Diamond interest rate.

The interest rate on what Diamond financed would be no higher than 13.99% when it turned out to be 15.99%.

When I said I wanted to take the offer back to my room and think about it, she told me that if I left before buying then she could not offer me the deal I was getting.

Here is what timeshare buyers should know that I didn’t know:

Know your cancellation period. I was never told of the 5 day cancellation policy.

I didn’t have the money for a down payment so she “talked to her manager” who decided they could put the down payment on the Diamond Barclaycard credit card and finance the rest so double interest charges.

Go to complaint sites and Advocacy sites like our Diamond member sponsored Advocacy Facebook before you buy to see how many complaints there are relative to other timeshare companies. Most car shoppers and home buyers don’t buy the first car or house they see. They comparison shop.   

Learn about availability issues. I have a hard time using the timeshare because everything is always booked. I am a nurse anesthetist, so I am not retired and cannot travel as spontaneously as someone who is retired.

We ended up buying 7,500 points for $29,305 and the balance on our loan is financed at 15.99%. Through our Advocacy Group I learned Diamond is the only major timeshare company that can’t be listed with a member of the Licensed Timeshare Resale Broker Association because the 64 members feel the restrictions Diamond places on the use of points purchased on the secondary market is more restrictive than any of Diamond’s major competitors.

When I contacted Diamond’s Advocacy Department after filing a formal complaint I was told, “Well, you signed the contract.”

I realize now I have joined a growing list of timeshare consumers who know we were sold by deceit, concealment, violation of trust and “bait and switch”.

It’s time timeshare members organize to stop predatory and aggressive timeshare sales and lending.

My Advice:

Consumers need to do their homework and don’t sign anything on the same day!

Stay Strong!

Bullying

Thank you Neina for your contribution, your voice has been added to all the others.

stop press2

As we were about to publish this last piece of news just arrived.

Following Yesterday’s article on “Clarity”,   one families story that was highlighted by Irene Parker,  has had a successful outcome.

 

Your voices are being heard, some of these companies are taking notice. One voice is never heard, but coming together they get louder and stronger.

To those owners at Los Claveles, take heart from this, your voices will be heard above the lies, deceit and bullying of the Ona Group. You have many supporters, all it takes is them coming together.

together 1

us-eu-coop

Clarity: The Quality of Being Coherent and Intelligible.

Yesterday Inside Timeshare highlighted the plight of owners at Los Claveles resort in Tenerife, our US readers have a similar problem with developers attempting to take over resorts. Their problem is the transfer of deeded weeks to points, rather than the heavy handed actions of the Ona Group. We have also seen this in Europe, where the likes of MacDonald Resorts with the tacit approval of the owners committees association TATOC, are attempting to change all fixed week owners to their ridiculous points system. A system which only allows a stay under one condition “SUBJECT TO AVAILABILITY”.

Over the past few months Irene Parker Inside Timeshares partner from across The Great Lake, has been highlighting the problems that Diamond owners are having. One of the main themes has been the downright lies sales agents have been using to sell more and more points to people who obviously cannot afford it. The use of the Diamond BarclayCard is one tactic they have used, with promises that it reduces maintenance fees. Irene has in previous articles shown how this has devastated people’s lives.

Diamond sometime ago rolled out “Clarity”, supposedly to make everything transparent, today’s article from Irene poses the following question:

Is the Diamond Resorts Clarity Program Real?

facts

By Irene Parker

May 23, 2017

My husband and I stayed over two weeks at Diamond Resorts Scottsdale Links and Los Abrigados this past month. Anxious to hear more about Diamond’s Clarity Program, I asked if I could speak with a sales agent to learn more. Unfortunately, my requests at the concierge desk and emails went unheeded. Disappointed, I approached several existing members asking them for their feedback. I had hoped to hear positive stories.

Two of the families I spoke with did not want to go on record, but Faye and Mike Hanrahan from New Jersey shared their experience with me. I probably picked the wrong couple because they are former Monarch owners. Diamond has pursued former Monarch owners to give up their deeded timeshare week in exchange for non-deeded “right-to-use” points. In addition to Monarch, ILX, Intrawest and now Gold Key face the same battle in an attempt to hold onto their deeds.

Here’s what happened at Los Abrigados in Sedona according to Faye and Mike:

We had our sit down. We were told we have no way out of Monarch unless we spend approximately $10,000 for the equivalent of 6,000 Diamond vacation points with either a $1,400 maintenance fee or, if we signed a contract that same day, an $871maintenance fee. After we refused the first sales agent, we were introduced to an agent who said he was an original Monarch owner, but now worked for Apollo, although he had on a Diamond name tag. It was because he was with Apollo he could offer a half price on maintenance fee offer if we signed before leaving the room. Already familiar with timeshare, we knew there is no such opportunity for one owner to have half off the company’s maintenance fee. They offered to help by opening a Diamond Barclaycard for $3,995 put up by Barclays. The deal was to pay $39.95 month for 23 months to buy a “Club Combination for Life” program. After 23 months we were told we could use the $4,000 to buy into Diamond or Barclays will “zero out the debt” having paid a total of $918.85 at the end of 23 months. We of course could continue to use the credit card. Do you have any suggestions for getting rid of this timeshare?

Pressure to give up a deed is a frequent complaint. Once you give up your deed, the Diamond owner is no longer allowed to rent using a third party rental agency or website.

But back to Clarity, which is about accountability, transparency and respect for the customer. In the spirit of fair and balanced reporting, here are some excerpts about Clarity provided by Maya Pogoda, PR spokesperson for Diamond resorts.

Before we begin, I should mention that Inside Timeshare has been hearing from Diamond members on almost a daily basis. The majority of complaints received have been about upsells to existing members, even Platinum members, as per the individuals who reported to us, for the following reasons:

The only way to sell Diamond points is to buy more points because only Platinum members can sell their points.

The only way your heirs don’t have to keep up with maintenance fees is to upgrade to the next loyalty level. One family bought more points for this reason only to be told by the next agent at a subsequent presentation this benefit is already available, as she pointed out in a guidebook.

You should not have bought US Collection points because you won’t be able to book Hawaii (if in Hawaii) or you should not have bought Hawaii points because Hawaii maintenance fees are going to increase dramatically (if on the US mainland).

The only way to be eligible for a $.30 maintenance fee reduction is to upgrade to the next loyalty level. Only Platinum members can use points to pay maintenance fees at $.04 per point.

You need to buy more points because you can’t do anything with the small number of points you purchased.

Member stories are listed in our Barclaycard article

Timeshare and Barlcaycard in the US

Here is Diamond’s perspective on Clarity from PR spokesperson, Maya Pogoda. Her comments are from discussions we had in January and were previously reported.

“We have been piloting the various elements of the Diamond Clarity program for some time,” Pogoda explained. “Now that we gained the confidence that each of these pieces were effective, we were able to roll out this cohesive, national program that seeks to enhance the overall customer experience when purchasing and holding a vacation membership. Diamond Clarity will rewrite industry best practices by increasing transparency for the consumer and accountability for our team members.”

Pogoda noted that 70% of its sales are to existing members, however, Diamond Clarity “will improve the overall customer experience by increasing transparency for the consumer and accountability for our team members. At Diamond Resorts, we are always working to provide our members with the best possible vacation experiences. This focus on hospitality and creating lasting experiences has made Diamond Resorts an industry leader. We have always believed that customer satisfaction creates loyalty. So while the definition of customer loyalty has not changed, our commitment to finding new ways to drive customer satisfaction to create loyalty evolves constantly. Diamond Clarity is evidence of that.”

Creating a Consumer Advocacy Channel within the company’s corporate headquarters, to quickly address any issues or concerns members may have. This new platform will allow Diamond Resorts to maintain the highest standards of service in the industry.

https://www.loyalty360.org/content-gallery/daily-news/diamond-resorts-international-raises-the-bar-on-cu

No one doubts there are are Diamond members who are sold honestly and fairly, but over 250 Diamond member families have bonded together through our advocacy Facebook to support one another as we fight off endless up-sell attempts that have driven families further and further into debt.

To date our Advocacy group has received and assisted the following complaints.

Our Advocacy Efforts Statistics Update

75 Inquiries for assistance

55 Formal interventions complaints filed or assisted with

Reasons for 75 complaints as provided by the complainants

34 Sold by deception and bait and switch

09 Barclaycard upsell/predatory lending

02 30 cents to convert to MF relief (non-existent program)

06 Switch back from HI to US Collection or vice versa

06 Maintenance fees increases

02 Survivor benefit program (non-existent as already available)  

08 Bought more points told it was the only way to exit the timeshare

08 Lack of Availability

We seek to provide Diamond Resort members a way to proactively address membership concerns; to advocate for timeshare reform; to obtain greater disclosure from the company; to

advocate for a viable secondary market; and to educate prospective buyers.

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

According to Maya,

Diamond Clarity is not limited to just one state, it’s a national program that includes four new operational initiatives. One of these initiatives is recording quality assurance sessions subject to consent from purchasers, to review compliance with all policies and procedures, and to augment and enhance the company’s sales and quality assurance training.  The company has invested in technology to ensure that these recordings can be archived and searchable. Recording sales presentations would not meet these objective and thus are not currently part of the Diamond Clarity Program.”

The recording of the QA session is the biggest sore point Diamond members have with Clarity. Many of our complaints include the sales agent advising the buyer not to say anything about an exciting new program because “The program is not public yet so I could lose my job if you tell anyone.” Arizona allows the recording of the sales session but few buyers will go to the trouble.

Marjorie Menacker’s experience is an example of this. To date, Diamond has denied her release.

http://insidetimeshare.com/another-nightmare-timeshare-street-client-experience-diamond

We end with some member advocate comments as to why these upsold members are wary.

inspired advocates

Irene Allen

Jan 28 (5 days ago)   

 http://insidetimeshare.com/timeshare-news-across-atlantic/

This new program by DRI is a very predictable step after the Arizona Attorney General’s action. If Clarity is about transparency, why does Maya not once reveal the only reason the company issued the program is because Diamond is essentially under state supervision in Arizona after the issuance of an “Assurance of Discontinuance” after over 400 complaints received claiming Diamond violated Arizona’s Consumer Fraud Act.

 DRI is obligated to demonstrate cooperation and compliance to new disclosure requirements by the AZ AG, but the company will do nothing for existing owners because they purchased contracts during the “Murky Stage”

“Clarity” does not have any provision of fixing the existing and growing problems which are flooding the courtrooms all over the world where DRI operates ….

  1. Regarding recording the QA sessions by DRI, this should be only offered if attendees, who are, according to “Clarity“, 70% existing owners, be allowed to do the same in order to establish a level playing field. Otherwise it is a trap participating owners will end up in, because it will give DRI additional defense tool in the courtroom.
  1. Regarding creating a Consumer Advocacy Channel. This Channel should have consumer rights attorneys and secret observers not employed by DRI in order to eliminate conflict of  interest.
  1. Regarding increase training to frontline personal. The frontline personnel had superb national training during the “Murky Stage”. How else can you explain the fact so many owners all over the world had exactly the same upsell by deceit and “bait and switch” during sales presentations? Many of our 250 Facebook member families claim sales representatives all over the world presented exactly the same falsified and misleading comments in order to entice owners to buy additional points. The name of the national sales training program should be: “101 ways how to deceive owners during sales presentation process and increase the volume of sales.”

Second member comment

I realize we are all skeptical about “promises” made by DRI, but this program has the potential of making a positive impact on our relationship with DRI.

Third member, a Diamond member and an attorney

  • Is the idea that none of these rules were previously in place?  It appears to me these are designed as Diamond CYA’s going forward, “we have a recording” or “there as an observer” or “contact the consumer advocacy channel within __ days”.  For Diamond to say the allegations we all experience did not happen.  

What does this accomplish for the victims of the bad business practices from the past?

  • Recording Quality Assurance sessions, subject to consent from purchasers, to review compliance with all policies and procedures, and to augment and enhance the company’s sales and quality assurance training.
  • Creating a Consumer Advocacy Channel within the company’s corporate headquarters, to quickly address any issues or concerns members may have.  This new platform will allow Diamond Resorts to maintain the highest standards of service in the industry.
  • Increased training of frontline personnel.  All sales and marketing personnel will take part in quarterly training exercises to reinforce their awareness, understanding, and compliance with all sales and marketing rules, principles, and practices.
  • Regularly placing “Consumer Engagement Observers” at sales presentations to continuously provide the sales organization with feedback necessary to achieve constant improvement.  
  • I would suggest these are great improvements to the training and consumer friendly positions Diamond should have had all along.  It does nothing to help people who have already suffered with no recourse from Diamond.
  • If their product was so great, Clarity would be evident within the first 6-12 months of an owner’s experience with the company.  It would be clear that this is “everything they said and represented” or it is “nothing that I was promised” and the consumer would still have options to exit, sell or rescind on some compromised plan. The longer you wait the less you retain.

I am not impressed.

Fourth comment anonymous due to Litigation

Enforcement of DRI “PROMISE” is difficult, unlikely, and merely a smoke screen to generate a false sense of security regarding oversight. It is another set of unenforced regulatory promises which incidentally spawned the crisis currently engulfing Diamond owners. The paltry AG financial agreement and appurtenant agreements simply demonstrate that the AZ AG is taking steps to protect itself from accusations of inaction.

Their behavior is reminiscent of the legal machinations demonstrated by ADRE and California Department of Real Estate. Complainants with ADRE regarding fraudulent practices at Diamond are told that such a complaint is an employee/employer dispute.

When filing complaints with RE regulatory agencies, it must be understood that determinations that deflect the fraud accusations are made to avoid costly investigations. This embraces the policy of waiting for some catastrophic event to prompt unavoidable enforcement action. It does not eliminate the need to continue to create a public record of these complaints, and legitimate demands to be made whole from recovery funds. Misleading determinations by these agencies should be challenged in order to demonstrate the lack of responsible enforcement pertaining to regulatory obligations.

Fifth anonymous member

If we only hear one side of the story or information how are we truly being informed? That is what happened with the hard sales only hearing their side. Our Advocacy members and Diamond need to hear and listen to both sides instead of the constant media spin.

You can share.

Sixth anonymous member

I’m afraid I don’t have much hope that this “Diamond Promise” will change much. I purchased a Sampler package in Sedona in 2012 and annual points the next year in Las Vegas. As best as I can recall, the procedures enumerated in the “new” Diamond Promise existed then, and still I was misled on some important issues.

The Diamond Clarity program has no mechanism which commits the vacation counselors, sales managers, and quality assurance officers to the Promise. In other words, there is no effective enforcement mechanism. Such a mechanism must impose a cost on the seller when the promise is violated.

The economic analysis of warranties has shown that a product sold with a warranty creates an incentive for companies to improve product quality. Reductions in the level of quality – like the misleading sales information in the case of timeshares – leads to higher warranty costs and thereby penalizes such behavior. We have good reasons to believe that in the absence of warranties high quality products get driven out of the market, while low quality products are driven out when warranties are used.

This new program depends on the trust in and good will from Diamond managers. But this is the same group that is incentivized to increase sales and revenue for the organization.

Seventh anonymous member

Promises are only as good as the party providing the assurances. I too see no real means of enforcement, and if anything this could provide an excuse for relaxed oversight by regulators.

I have been pressing the AZ Dept. of RE for 3 years to take enforcement action against DRI’s brokers.  It has been clearly demonstrated that they are negligent in discharging their responsibilities pursuant to RE statute.

I would recommend that owners look at filing a claim with ADRE as complaints are mounting regarding DRI behaviors.

Eighth anonymous member due to litigation

Clarity is definitely a meaningless program – except to bolster Diamond’s position in court.  I can hear it now – our QA monitored sessions prove no widespread fraudulent practices.  

Agents will know when they are being monitored or recorded so they will be on their best behavior.

Shacking hands

Will there ever be a day when we can all get along by communicating and responding to voices of the concerned?

Once again thanks to Irene and all who contribute from the other side of The Great Lake, one thing is for certain, owners on both sides are starting to see that by joining together they can make a difference.

To those owners at Los Claveles, you do have support, we only need to bring it together.

getting together

If you have any comments on any article published or would like to contribute, Inside Timeshare welcomes you.

 

heavy handed

Los Claveles: Is This a Return to the Bad Days of Timeshare in Tenerife?

Inside Timeshare has received this very disturbing email from two owners of Los Claveles in Tenerife:

From: XXXXXXXXX  XXXXXXXXXXXXX

Subject: Pensioners physically abused at Los Claveles Tenerife

Message Body:

Please see the press release http://tesslimited.co.uk/2017/05/12/war-break-out-at-club-los-claveles/

What was feared in this release has come true and much worse.

Armed thugs have physically and verbally abused at least two people trying to peacefully and lawfully obtain access to their timeshare apartments last Friday. More are arriving today and getting similar treatment.

This e-mail was sent from a contact form on Inside Timeshare (http://insidetimeshare.com)

Los Claveles, is a resort which was originally built by Wimpey Leisure some 30 years ago, most of the owners have been there since that time and are now either pensioners or soon to be so. When it was first sold, the timeshare was split as follows:

The first 15% were sold as Escritura with the remaining 85% as standard timeshare club system, all are fixed week owners with an allocated week and apartment number. This means they have certain rights, which in effect makes them the owners of the resort with the right to employ or dismiss the management company. The right to vote for any increase in maintenance and the right to say how that would be used.

In 2000, with the new timeshare laws coming into effect, the club which is run by the owners committee had the deed of adaptation signed  to comply with the new laws.

June 1998, saw the management buyout from Wimpey Home Holdings, led by Ivan Pengelly. Over the years it grew from strength to strength and was one of the very few which had no issues or complaints, with all owners and members having nothing but good to say about them. Indeed it is one of the few whose membership base has stayed constant.

It would appear that it is what timeshare was all about, having a share in a holiday home with great facilities and a wonderful resort staff. Many of which have been at the resort for many years, creating a very family atmosphere.

Unfortunately that has all change since January 2015, when Wimpen sold the management right to the Ona Group, a Barcelona based timeshare marketing company. This resulted in confrontation with the long standing owners, many being owners for the past 30 years, due to the heavy handedness of Ona Group. They totally ignored the wishes of owners.

The owners through the committee served notice on the ONA Group, as is their right, to terminate the management contract in July 2015. This was taken to arbitration. Ona Group failed to accept it.

The contract to manage the resort on behalf of the owners came to a natural end in May 2017, Ona Group refuses to hand back the clubs assets. It is also known that FNTC (First National Trust Company) were removed by the owners with Hutchinson & Trust Co Ltd, employed in their place. FNTC according to the Chairman of the committee have failed to transfer all title deeds to the new company.

The committee are also being denied access to the members database, so are unable to contact a large number of members to inform them what is going on.

Now we have a very disturbing escalation to the conflict, as shown in the opening paragraph, owners are being removed from apartments and the resort which they have a right to occupy. This is being done in a very heavy handed manner, with Ona’s own security company who are wielding batons forcibly removing owners and denying them access. Many of these are elderly.

The President of the committee has been verbally abused and has also been told she will be sexually assaulted. This has been reported to the police, yet they have done nothing. Apparently Ona Group have made accusations to the police about the Chairman and the President.

Following is a personal message from the President Carol Parkinson, who calls for continued support of the owners and explains who maintenance fees should be paid to:

A Personal Message from Carol Parkinson

I implore all owners to believe in, and support, the committee at this critical point in our fight to ensure the resort stays ours.  On a personal level I cannot bear the thought that all we have fought for, day in day out for two and a half years, could be lost because we lacked the courage to withstand the intimidation from Onagrup and hang on in there for a little longer whilst the strong committee and team of lawyers work in the background to bring this matter to a successful conclusion.

Despite having had four pretty upsetting days dealing with horrendous individuals, who frankly can only be described as the lowest of the low, I am still here in Tenerife and feeling strong (after a good sleep!) and positive.  Please do not let me, the team or the resort down and ‘hang in there’.  After four hours of questioning by a senior police officer on Monday on ‘trumped up’ charges of extortion and fraud the police are now listening and making investigations.  Our legal team here are working hard and we are gaining ground.  But we cannot do it if you do not assist with your financial support.  Please be brave and pay your maintenance to the Club as this is the only legal and rational way forward.  For those of you going to the resort in the next couple of weeks we will ring each of you to speak to you confidentially.  It has to be this way because unfortunately we have those amongst us who continually try to derail our plans by reporting back to WimPen and Onagrup.  If you pay your fees in advance to Onagrup you will have lost your money when that company is removed.  Pay to the Club that is being led by your elected committee members and supporters who are all owners you can trust as they love Los Claveles as much as you and have no interest other than justice.

There are owners who have continued to support WimPen, and who may have betrayed fellow owners with reports back to Mr Pengelly, and are responsible for the spreading of misinformation.   They have refused to see that a hostile takeover of this nature could ever happen – the evidence is now before you and surely even they cannot condone the aggressive and intimidating behaviour owners have experienced this week!

This has happened on other resorts where Onagrup took over and, as our lawyers have told us, the committees concerned with those resorts quickly rolled over giving Onagrup control.  We told you that we believed that Mr Pengelly had ‘sold’ your resort to Onagrup – a resort he did not own.  I have been told repeatedly in the last few days ‘We own this resort – you will do as we say’, ‘You are nothing’,  ‘You are no-one’,  ‘We will set the rules’, ‘You abide by our rules now’.

Onagrup is not solely responsible for what is happening at the resort.  All the appalling actions, verbal abuse assaults etc, over the past few days took place in full view of a senior member of Mr Pengelly’s management team. He stood and smirked as he saw Mr Weller and I assaulted. When asked how he could sleep at night when he saw this happening to owners who had provided him with a good living for years he replied that he had no trouble sleeping because we were in ‘his’ country and we were criminals.  

Even worse Mr Pengelly and other WimPen staff held the meeting that decided to remove Salvador from his livelihood and his home – leaving him homeless.  They also made the decision to remove Sue and Annie from reception. On Saturday Jarra (another member of reception) was sacked at a minute’s notice for ‘apparently’ handing out a key to an owner. They have sacked our maintenance team. There is only one left ‘because we are overstaffed’ and in their words ‘These are our rules now!’  All our loyal staff, who have served us well and with such good grace now are without an income and unable to support their families.

All of the above actions that I have described are shameful and appalling. It is not just our holidays that are being affected, but the people who have helped to make those holidays so enjoyable. Your Los Claveles may look the same, for the moment, but is not the place it was.  It can be again if we can regain control but we need the support of owners like yourselves.

More thoughts to contemplate:

If Onagrup was only taking what belonged to it why didn’t it do it via the law? The reason is it has no legal case!

Why did Onagrup remove all of our lovely staff?  Because they are trying to break us and to take the heart out of our lovely resort!  

Mr Pengelly tried to assure us that he was only doing what was best for our owners and there was nothing to worry about because nothing would change. We did not believe him and how right we were!  

Please owners think longer term and have faith in a committee that has got further than any other committee opposing Onagrup.  The resort is ours – stay with us, pay your maintenance to the Club ahead and do not pay Onagrup or you will lose your money.

This is a very heartfelt plea, Carol is in Tenerife to give help and support to those who are arriving and being refused their right to their apartments. She is ensuring that they do have other resorts to go to.

Following are two statements from owners showing their experiences, it is disturbing reading, their names have been removed in order to protect them..

Statement from Club Member G H, 14th May 2017

This is going to be hard to put into words and I cannot over stress what a disgusting and lying set of people we now have trying to take over our resort .
This is the first week after close down and because the committee expected some kind of confrontation Carol went out to help all owners in any way she could. Over the last few days she has worked tirelessly making sure owners that have been turned away have had some accommodation at other resorts, even going in the taxi with them.
Back at the resort she has been treated with contempt by the new manager who said that Carol was ‘nothing’ and he would be there for the next 25 years telling her to go away (using the F word). She has been continually hounded by the security and sworn at with extremely vile language on many occasions, also outside the resort jabbed in the side by a man in a suit, saying she was low life and pointing to her mouth, threatening to put his manhood somewhere that it should not go this was followed by some other vile threats.
Having reported this to the Police, Carol, at the police station was confronted by a senior policeman asking why she should be believed when she had been reported for crimes in his country. It transpires that the resort management, ONA had sent a many paged document to the police reporting that Carol along with Albert had been stealing money from the resort. (This must be the maintenance which goes into OUR bank account ‘Club Los Claveles Ltd’). Carol is back with the police and lawyers tomorrow (Monday). There is far more but this will do for now.
I must say that Carol is out there, on her own, trying to do a fantastic job for the rest of us owners and I have never heard her on the phone sound so frightened and intimidated by the bullies, tired by the continuous battle and near breaking point maybe by not eating and having a break. This is one lady that really deserves our support in the same way as she is supporting us. There is no financial gain or bathing in glory, just the love of our resort and keeping it under our control for the years to come.

Statement from Club Member R O  

Friday 19th May 2017

I left Los Claveles last night, after a very disturbing week, so I feel I need to be brutally honest with everyone.

Yes I paid my fees for week 20 to Ona because it was before the option to pay the Club was set up.

Yes. I was a ‘fence sitter’.  I didn’t want to get involved with the politics of it all.  I just wanted my holiday.

No I had never been to an AGM or even an owners’ meeting.  (For your information I own 7 weeks spread through the year).

THAT IS ALL GOING TO CHANGE AFTER THE BLATENT INTIMIDATION AND DISGUSTING BEHAVIOUR I WITNESSED FROM ONAGRUP ON THE RESORT LAST WEEK.

I could write pages, and will do so if it will help.  And yes it was me that stood and asked the leading questions at this week’s owners’ meeting.

The outcome of all of this is that I have just paid my maintenance fees for weeks 29 and 30 to the Club.

If I am refused admission to the resort then so be it, I will be camping outside.

This Ona Bulldozer has to be stopped before it is too late. I have pledged my support to Carol in person.

And any committee members reading this, I will do anything I can to help you out.

R O

Here we publish two press releases from the Club Committee at Los Claveles:

los claveles logoCLUB LOS CLAVELES

PRESS RELEASE 10 MAY 2017

For Publication

Elderly British holiday makers threatened with being refused access to their own timeshare apartments in Tenerife

Long term, loyal timeshare owners, many of whom are now elderly pensioners, who are due to arrive on Friday for the start of their annual holiday at Club Los Claveles in the Tenerife resort of Los Cristianos, are being threatened with being refused access to their holiday apartments by Spanish company Onagrup despite having paid for their accommodation. The company took over the management contract for Los Claveles  without any consultation with the owners or their representatives when it bought over WimPen Leisure Management SA in January 2015. It quickly came into conflict with owners due to its heavy-handed, controlling approach, ignoring the wishes of the owners, most of whom have been members of Club Los Claveles for nearly 30 years.  The owners served notice on Onagrup to terminate the management contract in July 2015, subsequently taking the case to arbitration when Onagrup failed to accept this. Controversially, Onagrup has defied interim orders from arbitration and refuses to accept that it no longer has a management role for Club Los Claveles. It continues to use bullying tactics against the owners, and their Club committee members, who have been paying their own legal expenses over the past 2 years to fight to regain control over what is legally theirs.

Onagrup refuses to acknowledge that WimPen’s contract to manage Club Los Claveles came to a natural end at the beginning of May 2017 no matter what the outcome of arbitration , and refuses to hand back the Club’s assets. Unless there is an eleventh hour change of course by Onagrup, the police will be called by the Club President to protect owners from this obstructive intimidation and criminal activity on Friday morning when the first owners arrive to take occupancy of their apartments.

Background Information

The Los Claveles timeshare resort was one of several constructed in the Canary Islands and managed by well-known British company Wimpey Leisure. After a management buy-out in the nineties, the running of these resorts was taken over by WimPen Leisure Management, with former Wimpey Director Ivan Pengelly at the helm.

All seemed to be well for the next 25 years until WimPen was sold to Barcelona-based timeshare marketing company Onagrup in January 2015, and then the trouble began. A major dispute over Onagrup’s handling of the changeover resulted in the owners taking their case for the early termination of WimPen’s contract to arbitration in March 2016. In the meantime, WimPen’s contract expired at the beginning of May 2017, but it has continued to control what goes on at the resort. Snr German Castro, Onagrup’s General Manager has been writing to British owners who are due to arrive on Friday for the start of their annual holiday at Los Claveles to tell them that they will be refused access to their villas unless they pay their maintenance fee to WimPen. Elderly owners are alarmed at the prospect of a private security firm reportedly being hired to escort them from the resort without anywhere to stay despite them having paid their maintenance fees to their new, legally appointed Club Administrator. WimPen is also legally obliged to pay maintenance to Club Los Claveles under its new Administrator but it has refused. So, a major confrontation is set to take place on Friday morning when the Club’s President and long term owner at Los Claveles, Mrs Carol Parkinson, will be defending the owners’ right of access to their timeshare property, supported by the Administrator’s legal representative.

This Press Release has been issued by the Club Los Claveles Owners Committee. For further information please contact:

In the UK: Club Committee Member Roger Lindsay  rogerlindsay123@btinternet.com                                     tel +44 1874 731124 / +44 7399 280302

In Tenerife: Club President Carol Parkinson  carol.parkinson@ntlworld.com                                                                   tel +44 7931 778886

los claveles logoCLUB LOS CLAVELES

PRESS RELEASE 12 MAY 2017

For Publication

Shock Dismissal of Much Admired and Popular Manager and Reception Staff from Los Claveles Timeshare Resort, Tenerife

In an alarming escalation of events at the Los Claveles timeshare resort in Tenerife, long standing Resort Manger Salvador Garcia , and his reception staff Sue and Ann, have been summarily dismissed  from their positions by Onagrup. This follows earlier threats by Onagrup to refuse access to timeshare owners who are due to arrive today for the start of their annual holiday at Club Los Claveles, despite having paid for their accommodation.  The group claims that it no longer has confidence in these long term members of staff, in stark contrast to owners who for years have consistently rated them very highly indeed.  It is reported that Onagrup has replaced them with its own staff, and sent in their own lawyers and a private security firm to manage the resort,  in defiance of Club Los Claveles’ appointment of a new Administrator following the expiry of Onagrup’s management contract at the beginning of this month.

The President of the Club and its legal team are in attendance to make representation to Onagrup and protect owners’ right of access to their property.  

This Press Release has been issued by the Club Los Claveles Owners Committee. For further information please contact:

In the UK: Club Committee Member Roger Lindsay  rogerlindsay123@btinternet.com                                     tel +44 1874 731124 / +44 7399 280302

In Tenerife: Club President Carol Parkinson  carol.parkinson@ntlworld.com                                                                   tel +44 7931 778886

Los Claveles Community of Owners, Asomada de Los Ceres, 38650

Los Cristianos, Tenerife.

 

This is one of the most disgusting stories that we have ever heard in the world of timeshare, it really does look like a return to the bad old days when timeshare in Tenerife was ruled by the likes of John “Goldfinger” Palmer. Everyone thought that those days were over, it would seem not.

Ona Group, who are still using Pengelly to sign everything are no better than those in the past. Not just manhandling owners off the resort but also sacking long serving and loyal staff such as the manager and the reception staff. The manager who also had a home on the resort as part of his job was only given 2 hours to clear out!

Owners are also being told not to even bother trying to contact the Club Chairman Albert Fletcher, as he is in jail for embezzling funds. Inside Timeshare spoke with him today and this UK Magistrate is free and ready to fight this injustice.

Inside Timeshare will publish any information it receives on this subject, including testimonies from those who have suffered the ordeal of this heavy handed  removal or denial of access.

This is a cause which all timeshare owners need to get behind, if any of you know how to start a crowd funding campaign to help fund the legal battle ahead, please contact Inside Timeshare or one of the committee members.

Your support is paramount in this before it escalates and involves other clubs, or even other management companies see it as a license to do what they like.
support

trust02

Trustees: Independent or Part of the Problem?

For many timeshare owners the belief is that the trustees who hold their ownership in trust are independent, but this does not appear to be the case.

 

Information is coming to Inside Timeshare from various sources and our own research, which show there is a possible conflict of interest between one major trustee and the resorts management companies. If this is indeed the case, then there is no independence, the trustees are part of the industry and a conflict of interest does actually exist.

 

One example is the Alanda Club Marbella SL, one of the directors is Phillip Broomhead, who also happens to be a director at FNTC (First National Trust Company). (see pdf links) This club is also part of the Alanda Group of companies which the ONA Group acquired around 2011.

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So, when the ONA Group acquired Wimpen, the FNTC would have been duty bound to have advised the owners of the fact that a ”conflict of Interest” had now arisen. With this particular link it does appear that FNTC were no longer “independent trustees”.

 

To the Wimpen owners, it appears that Phillip Broomhead is the link between Wimpen and the ONA Group. The owners committee, from information received wanted a transfer of Trusteeship to another company Hutchinsons, but it appears that FNTC refused to transfer this. This does beg the question, is it because the FNTC do have a “Conflict of Interest”?

 

One source also passed on some of their own research, this led to the “Panama Papers” where they found that the owning companies of their club weeks were: FNTC First Nominee and Second Nominee.

 

FNTC First Nominee Ltd is also listed as a shareholder of Regency International Services Ltd, alongside Mossack Fonseca with the intermediary being First Names Group. As we know the Regency Palace Hotel and Club had to close down for tax reasons, with Luis Comacho being prosecuted for failing to hand over more than 15 Million Euros to the Portugese tax authorities. He has also been barred from holding any directorships.

 

The trustees who hold the owners weeks are FNTC, it is alleged that they were either ignorant of the fact or even complicit in the events which befell this hotel. Apparently many owners have been met with a wall of silence and have not received any help when contacting FNTC. How many of these owners have lost all their rights?

 

FNTC also have an involvement with Club Jardine del Puerto in Puerto Banus, with many problems befalling the owners at this resort. This particular resort has caused the owners many, many years of grief, it was also the subject of an investigation by the late Sandy Grey.

 

One incident is when the founding members tried to stop an AGM, with Phillip Broomhead of the FNTC representing the founding members, claimed that the AGM was illegal. This followed the move by Declan Kenny also of FNTC, to persuade the club to sell back around 650 weeks to one of his suggested enterprises. FNTC also backed the sale of weeks as “floating” and as we know under Ley 42/98 of the Spanish Timeshare Act, these weeks are illegal. This has been verified on several occasions by the Spanish Supreme Court in Madrid, the highest court in the land!

 

It must also be pointed out that the present CEO of the RDO is one Paul Gardner Bougaard, who was also once a director of FNTC. FNTC are also an RDO member and therefore should be subject to the code of conduct and ethics. Somehow this does not look like the case.

 

So the question of independence of the trustees from the industry, does look very dubious indeed, it is up to you the reader to decide. But do bare in mind this is the first of many articles on this subject, as more information comes to light through research and information received it will be published here.

 

If you have any information on this article or any timeshare matter or have any questions, contact us through the contacts section.

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