It’s Fridayyyyyyyy! So welcome to another Friday’s Letter from America, Irene once again looks at Customer Service, this time with a positive outcome. But as usual a quick round up on timeshare news in Europe.
One of our long standing readers has sent in the following information, it concerns a long running dispute many owners have been having at Club Jardines del Puerto in Puerto Banus. Costafield Management have pulled the plug on the club 3 years early. It will close on 31 December 2017, after this no members will have any right to occupy.
It looks as though FNTC will be selling off the properties, they will also have to comply with the constitution which demands a 50/50 split between members and the developer.
Our reader also asks this question, How can a small thriving club in the centre of one of the most popular prestigious resorts in Europe become “financially unsustainable”?
More on this as we get the news.
The same reader also asked if we knew anything about MRL (MacDonald Resorts Ltd) taking owners to court for alleged unpaid maintenances fees in Manchester. At present we have found no reference to this in the press, although it must be said that cases of this nature do not tend to be publicised. But knowing the reputation of MacDonald Resorts, we would not be surprised in the least.
Further to the article about Anfi, yesterday saw 2 new sentences from the courts against Anfi.
At the Court of First Instance No 2 in Maspalomas, the judge declared the Anfi contract null and void. He also ordered the return of over 32,000€ plus legal interest.
The second sentence from the Court of First Instance No 1 in Maspalomas, also declared the contract null and void with the return of over 19,000€ plus legal interest.
So contrary to what Anfi say, the courts are finding against them, invoking the Supreme Court rulings, of which there are now 77, 32 against Anfi.
On the story of Los Claveles, there are now some very interesting comments being posted. These are measured and put forward opposing arguments in a sensible manner. Inside Timeshare welcomes these, but will not tolerate abuse or accusations against named people, especially ones of a criminal nature. Inside Timeshare has given a neutral forum for this debate, in the hope that an agreement can be reached. It is up to you the members to come to this agreement.
Now for this weeks Article from Irene Parker.
Grandview at Las Vegas – a Vacation Village Resort
A Positive Customer Service Outcome
By Irene Parker
December 8, 2017
Was this a customer service representative showing compassion towards a former Marine, or a willingness on the part of Grandview at Las Vegas to support their customer over their own sales agent? Either way, it was a first for me in the way Grandview handled a timeshare owner alleging they were victimized by deceit and “bait and switch”, which may allow this timeshare buyer to put a wrong decision in the rear view mirror. Grandview is part of Vacation Village/Eldorado Corporation owned by The Berkley Group.
Jeff Diehl contacted Inside Timeshare asking for advice concerning his two bedroom unit at Grandview in Las Vegas purchased January 2017, alleging he was fraudulently sold by a sales agent making exaggerated claims. What was unusual about Jeff’s report is the specificity. Many complain saying they were told they can rent their unit or points for income, but Jeff knew the name of the sales agent, Marylou G, the specific amount promised – $2,000 to $2,500 per week for his fixed week and for eight more weeks using their equivalent 80,000 points. Jeff had told Marylou this was the only way the family could afford the week. After researching on TUG, there was no evidence to support a rental price of $2000 to $2,500 per week.
Rather than leave it at what Jeff had been told about renting, I advised Jeff to do a little research by checking TUG Timeshare Users Group to find out what a Grandview week would bring in rental income. Jeff found only one rental ad for $525 that had been listed since March 26, 2017, with no response.
After Jeff wrote out his complaint, I called the number listed on Grandview’s Better Business Bureau’s report and spoke to a Grandview representative. At this point, I am usually told the resort cannot talk to me so I was surprised the agent asked if I had a loan number and a phone number for the owner. I did. When I explained all of the above to the representative, she said she would call Jeff. I emailed Jeff and told him the name of the representative who said she would call. What usually happens next is one or two weeks of being ignored passes, prompting Better Business Bureau and other regulatory filings.
A first! The representative called Jeff the next day informing him his loan would be cancelled.
As I mentioned, Jeff is a former Marine. He is also disabled. The specific data Jeff provided made it difficult to deny the sales agent told him something that was not true. This would not have prevented any timeshare resort from pointing to the oral representation clause found in the fine print of a volume of documents that allows a sales agent to say anything under the sun to close a deal. To soften the blow, some are told, “If something was important to you, you should have had it added to the contract,” perpetuating the hamster wheel called recycled inventory, as described by one former timeshare sales agent.
Jeff should not have to proceed to the next step which would have involved filing complaints with any or all of the following:
- The Better Business Bureau
- The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
- The Attorney Generals of Florida, Nevada, and New Jersey
- The Nevada Real Estate Division against the agent or agents
Jeff had initially included predatory lending in his complaint saying,
“Just a quick note to say that the reason I included predatory lending in my complaint, is that the definition of this type of lending says, that when a lender makes a loan to a consumer who cannot afford the loan, in order to benefit themselves, but harms the consumer in the process, this is predatory lending. So, I believe you misunderstood why I included the 17.9 % loan rate.”
I informed Jeff that all timeshare sales agents sell timeshare in this fashion so making this part of his complaint was meaningless.
Jeff also is demanding monies paid be refunded as he alleges the timeshare was sold by deceit, violation of trust, and “bait and switch” meeting the FBI’s definition of White Collar Crime Financial Institution Fraud. At the time of publication, Jeff had not yet heard if his monies paid would be returned, as he would have to contact the corporate office, which Jeff plans to do.
Before we place Vacation Village up there with Inside Timeshare’s favorite timeshare, Disney, more due diligence is required.
Vacation Village has a Better Business Bureau rating of F. Two sources tell us The Berkley Group is being investigated by the Florida Attorney General’s office. According to Berkley’s LinkedIn page, “The Berkley Group is a private timeshare resort development firm owned by more than 2,000 company employees. Under its Vacation Village Resorts and Affiliates brand, The Berkley Group has generated a worldwide owner base that exceeds 500,000 families.”
Grandview at Las Vegas, owned by Eldorado/Vacation Village has a BBB rating of B, so maybe this resort is trying to improve its customer service.
Remember: BBB ratings are not a guarantee of a business’s reliability or performance. BBB recommends that consumers consider a business’s BBB rating in addition to all other available information about the business.
Inside Timeshare has heard from 227 timeshare member readers, of which 212 allege they were sold a timeshare by deceit and bait and switch. If you need help or just the support of others in your situation, here are some member sponsored self-help groups:
Thank you Irene, at least this is one family that has had a positive outcome.
On Tuesday we will publish another article from Irene, this is titled:
Another Military Family Wages War against Timeshare
Will Bluegreen Honor those whose sacrifice is so great?
This is a short but hard hitting article, it shows the disgusting lengths sales agent will go just to “close a deal”. For those who are ex-serviceman or those who support them, you will find this article will make your blood boil.
That’s it for this week, if you have any comment about this or any other article published, Inside Timeshare invites you to send it in.
If you need help with any timeshare matter, or just need to know which firms you can trust, Inside Timeshare will be pleased to help.
Have a great weekend and see you next week.