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The Tuesday Slot with Irene

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

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

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

trading standards

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

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

Now on with the article from Irene Parker.

TARS – Timeshare Advisory and Resolution Services

An Honest Timeshare Exit Program – Who knew?

TARS Limited Term Deed Program – A Monthly Update

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By Irene Parker

December 5, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Liberté

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Remember

“Non enim videtur”

“Not all is as it seems”

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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.

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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.

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The RDO: Does it Protect Consumers?

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

albert

What is the mission of the RDO?

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

La Pinta

Is It Resale?

sellmytimeshare-logo

 

On 9th March 2016 the TCA posted a piece by Harriet Cooke of The Sun newspaper, her article from February 2016 was about Sell My Timeshare, a resale website. In the article it stated that 2,250 timeshares had been sold or cancelled by them in 2015.

 

This to me seems very odd, as many people I have spoken to in the past have informed me that they had contacted this company when trying to rid themselves of their timeshares. What then has happened is a meeting has been set up with Glenmore Consultants at one of their offices; Bournemouth, York or Stratford upon Avon.

 

At this meeting the client is then pitched to purchase Monster Credits in order to be rid of their timeshare. These credits can then be used for future holidays, with no time limit, some have even been told they are able to sell the unused credits for a small profit.

 

So in order to be rid of the timeshare the client pays Monster Travel a hefty sum of money in return for credits. This is not a timeshare resale. It reminds me of the ILG DWVC and Club Class meetings.

 

Monster Travel is a registered business, it is part of Hollywood Marketing SLU based in Tenerife. Although according to their web site, from the 3rd March 2016 they have been renamed Monster Group (Travel) SLU.
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Kwikchex and Chris Emmins

An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because no one sees it.

Mahatma Ghandi.

 

Who and what is Kwikchex, well it seems that no one really knows, It purports to be a WORLDWIDE REPUTATIONAL MANAGEMENT COMPANY. Big words for a company that has only two directors and has been registered for just under 6 years. It has been given the contract to run the Timeshare Task Force and improve the reputation of the Timeshare Industry in Europe by The RDO.

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The company is headed by Mr Christopher Anthony Emmins, a position he has held for 5 years and 4 months. Director I.D. 904358976 and born in June 1957, the entry on Director Check for nationality shows unknown.

 

He has resigned from 4 companies and held 17 appointments at 17 dissolved Companies. It is alleged that the dissolved companies has left unpaid creditors with around £500,000 of debt.

 

The following are the companies he has been associated with:

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