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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

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.