Start the Week: News From The Courts & MacDonald Resorts Are Still At It!

Welcome to the start of another week with Inside Timeshare, today we begin with the news of the latest two cases to come from the courts, the first is against Marriott and the second is a guaranteed bank payment from Anfi. Going back to an old story of Mrs B and her battle with MacDonald Resorts, a story we covered for many years and published the final chapter on 5 November, well, it would seem that MacDonalds is using the same tactics against others. According to several enquiries received recently, the County Courts are going to be busy with cases being brought against members by MacDonalds “bloodhounds” the law firm Shepherd and Wedderburn. This is one of the most despicable timeshare operators anywhere in the world as you, our readers, already know from the long-running saga of Mrs B. But first on with the court news.

On Thursday last week, Canarian Legal Alliance released the result for a case at the Court of First Instance Number 4 of Marbella.

The case was brought on behalf of a German client against Marriott Vacation Club, once again the client’s contract was declared null and void with the court ordering the return of 13,392€ plus a further 21,600€ in respect of the taking of deposits illegally within the statutory cooling-off period. The courts are consistently awarding double the amount for these illegal payments as laid down by the rulings of the Supreme Court.

The total amount the client will now receive is 34,991€ plus legal interest.

In this particular trial, the presiding Judge made specific reference to the very first and groundbreaking ruling in 2015, by Canarian Legal Alliance. It was this ruling in the case of Tove Grimsbo versus Anfi, that confirmed the Timeshare Law 42/98.

In this ruling, it was confirmed that “floating weeks” (which includes points systems) are illegal, that contracts “in perpetuity” (over the maximum 50 years allowed) and the taking of any payment within the statutory cooling-off period are illegal. (See link below for the original news item).

It is clear that the Judge in this case against Marriott was following the law and the Supreme Court rulings to the letter.

The case was prepared by the Lawyers Christine Ihmann and Miguel Angel Melian Santana, with Claims Consultant Evi Richter assisting the client.

The following day yet another bank guarantee for 20,911€ was paid to the court, this is the amount awarded to the Swedish client of CLA in their case against Anfi.

The Court of First Instance Number 3 of San Bartelomé de Tirajana also declared the contract null and void following the many ruling made by the Supreme Court that contracts over the maximum 50 years duration, floating weeks and points systems are illegal along with the taking of any payments at the point of sale.

Although this bank guarantee secures the funds for the client, it is expected that Anfi will launch yet another frivolous appeal to the High Court. So until the original sentence is confirmed by the High Court, the funds will remain in the court’s account, but at least they are secured.

If they do launch another appeal, Inside Timeshare will be keeping an eye open for the result and will have another good laugh when they lose yet again!

This case was prepared and presented by the Lawyer Eva Gutierrez with Claims Consultant Michael Gadman assisting the client.

We now move to the continuing story of the practices of one of the vilest timeshare companies to be in existence, MacDonald Resorts. Our regular readers will be familiar with the long-running battle that Mrs B has had with MacDonalds over maintenance arrears on a timeshare that was “legally” transferred.

The story follows the threats from MacDonalds through various “debt collection” agencies such as Credit Network Services and to the “threats” by their “legal bloodhounds” Shepherd and Wedderburn. (See link below to the last article).

The problem as we have seen with these threats is that MacDonalds with Shepherd and Wedderburn representing them are totally intent on taking “members” to court. Inside Timeshare has been receiving enquiries from many “members” who are also facing a similar problem.

One reader has explained that they originally took over the timeshare at Lochanhully from a friend and neighbour who could no longer use or afford the timeshare membership. This was for a fixed week with an attached apartment, in other words, “real timeshare”.

When they transferred the membership into their name, they never received any notification that it had been completed, they never received any “New Member” agreement or any membership certificates. They were not even informed of any existing “exit mechanism”, not that the one allowed by MacDonalds is anything but fair!

As far as our reader was concerned they never received any paperwork to confirm their ownership, then when they received a letter telling them that MacDonalds had now moved over to the “points” system. This was a system which was wholeheartedly endorsed by Harry Taylor the then CEO of TATOC and recipient of funds from MacDonalds.

Our reader responded that they were not interested in changing to the points system and demanded that his “ownership/membership” be relinquished.

Since then they do not recall ever receiving any demands for the annual maintenance bill and have never paid anything since. Unfortunately, they mistook the lack of communication from MacDonalds as a sign that they had indeed relinquished their timeshare. They are now locked into a timeshare they cannot get out of and are now being taken to court for the arrears.

In our second case of MacDonald Resorts, this new reader is now being taken to court for arrears and their story is very similar.

They purchased a fixed week with an attached apartment at Elmers Court, which was used and enjoyed as they were guaranteed their week each and every year. Unfortunately, they suffered the same fate as every other owner, they were forced to accept the “new points” system introduced by MacDonald’s and as we have said endorsed by Harry Taylor.

Once again our readers told MacDonalds that they did not want the points and would hand back their timeshare. Once again nothing was heard from MacDonalds until recently, the same tactics are being employed by MacDonalds, intimidation and threats by their“legal Bloodhounds Shepherd and Wedderburn”.

When will the authorities begin to clamp down on the likes of MacDonald Resorts, using every means of intimidation to ensure that they do not lose members but keep cashing in their extortionate maintenance fees for timeshare people don’t want and are unable to use.

We also suspect that the vast majority of “members” of MacDonald’s are all in their latter years of life, their circumstances have changed, they are probably on pensions and do not have the funds they once had. They are more than likely unable to travel and their own children and in some cases grandchildren don’t want the timeshare. Yet they are locked in with no real way of exiting.

We also know that MacDonalds is not in a very good financial situation, it is believed that they are selling off some of their hotels and we suspect that the latest increase in the number of “members” being threatened with court, is in our opinion just a way to ensure they have an income.

In other words, it is pure greed on the part of MacDonalds Resorts, “to hell with the members they only supply us with the money!”

https://insidetimeshare.com/mrs-b-v-macdonald-resorts-the-battle-is-won-but-the-war-continues/

If you are also being threatened by MacDonald Resorts, Inside Timeshare would like to hear from you, please use our contact page and we will get back to you.

Are you wanting to be rid of your timeshare, if so and you want to find out what your legal rights and options are then please get in touch by using our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get back to you?

Is It The End of Timeshare Sales in Europe and What About the RDO?

Welcome to the end of another week with Inside Timeshare, it has certainly been a busy one with so much news coming in from the courts and some more scam warnings were also issued. We began on Monday with news of the latest payouts to clients from cases against Anfi, this also included a warning on misinformation being put out on various forums regarding clients not getting paid out. On Tuesday we brought you more news from the courts including those from another timeshare law firm and also from an independent lawyer. We then published the story of the “fake” law firm supposedly operating out of Madrid and claiming to be working for the Courts. There is no company name but there are plenty of fake court documents. There was also more news on the “Battle for Anfi Payments”, this article followed one case which is now over with the client finally receiving their money. This story explains why there is such a “battle” to secure clients funds from Anfi, it is a real eye-opener.

Today however we have a look at the future for the timeshare industry and what it may hold for timeshare resorts/companies and the RDO (Resorts Development Organisation) the supposed “Trade Body” of the timeshare industry.

Over the past few years, we have seen many “timeshare sales” companies closing their “sales decks” with many sales staff losing their jobs.

Around three years ago, Diamond Resorts closed all their sales decks around Europe keeping on a few of the “in-house” sales reps. This was followed by Silverpoint, then recently the announcement that Club la Costa has now closed down all of their timeshare sales. It is also a fact that even Anfi has cut down on their cold line and in-house reps. The reason, well, there are several which we can think of, obviously, the first is the lack of sales on the “cold line”.

The “cold line” is your first introduction to timeshare, you will probably have been picked up on the street by an “OPC” with those wonderful “scratch cards” where you are the “only” winner of the “star prize”. (Sorry, but everyone’s a winner).

You spend several hours (after being told it is only 90 minutes), being given “the hard sell” along with “selling the dream”. Everything sounds great and you are then convinced to sign up. You are now a “proud” timeshare owner, but you also now are fodder for the in-house reps to attempt to upgrade you every time you holiday.

As people have become aware of the tactics used to get you to these presentations, it has become increasingly difficult for the OPC’s on the street to get people  “on the tour”. Those that do are not as easily convinced to purchase as they were years ago when timeshare first appeared and during its heyday in the late 80s and early 90s.

Another reason is that so many of the current owners/members are now elderly and are giving up their timeshares either through relinquishment or by taking the case to court having the contract declared null and void plus the return of their purchase price. Now there is a severe lack of new members, the management companies are now liable for the maintenance on the unsold and returned weeks.

So with the lack of sales, the closure of the sales decks, the diminishing membership base what is the future for the timeshare industry and the RDO?

Timeshare ownership has been on the decline for years, leaving the management companies with more weeks on their inventory than members in many cases, so they need to make up the shortfall. This has been done by advertising those weeks on various booking websites, this has tended to infuriate members who due to owning floating weeks or points (which incidentally are illegal in Spain) find that there is a lack of availability. Many are able to book cheaper than the annual maintenance fees!

As for the RDO, over the years they have always backed up their members, they have ignored the fact that it is their own members who have been selling contracts which are illegal in Spain. It is their own members who are being taken to court for these illegal contracts, yet they make no mention of it apart from the odd statement that they believe the Courts and the Supreme Court have interpreted the law incorrectly. We wonder why?

A great case in point is that of Silverpoint, for years this company along with their predecessor Resort Properties sold many illegal contracts, the most prolific were the “investment packs” of weeks. These were supposedly weeks which would gain a rental income and after 2 years be resold at a profit. This was later replaced with the “company participation scheme”, the same thing under another name.

These “products” have been clearly deemed as illegal and there are hundreds of cases waiting to be heard in court, which is a large contributing factor to the closure of sales and the liquidation of Silverpoint. Yet, Silverpoint were one of the largest contributors to RDO funds, the CEO of Silverpoint, Mark Cushway was also a director of the RDO!

So it is not rocket science why the RDO does not mention or sanction these companies for their “illegal” practices, it is their payments that keep this “organisation” afloat.

Now when Silverpoint withdrew their membership and Cushway resigned as a director, the RDO still said absolutely nothing, even though they were no longer members and have been completely discredited in the courts.

This also brings us to Kwikchex, this company replaced the discredited Alberto Garcia and mindtimeshare website, their brief is to bring to the attention of timeshare members the “bogus” practices of the many companies on the periphery of timeshare. But, only if they are not members of the RDO, yet did they say anything about the practices of Silverpoint, the answer is a resounding NO!

So what of the RDO if other timeshare companies go the same way, how will the RDO be able to function without their annual subscriptions?

That is the million-dollar question as it would not take much to diminish that income, after all, it appears that the RDO only represents around 10% of the timeshare industry in Europe and these are the major companies such as Diamond, Club la Costa and Anfi.

We know that Anfi is also in dire straits legally and financially, the majority shareholders and controllers of Anfi is the Cazorla Group, they are on the verge of being placed into liquidation. The number of claims and the amounts being seized by the courts is absolutely staggering, there is no way the sales company can survive. When they do finally go, will Anfi be withdrawing from the RDO?

This year has been very hard for the holiday industry with all the restrictions being imposed around the world, hotels have had to close resulting in a severe loss of income, timeshare, however, has fared a little better.

The reason being is that they are still demanding the payment of the annual maintenance fees even though the members cannot use it, resulting in many complaints about the fees. Will they get a refund, will they get a reduction in next year’s fees?

Unfortunately from the enquiries received by Inside Timeshare, this does not seem the case. In fact, Anfi has been downright despicable in this matter.

Members are basically being “blackmailed” into signing the new Anfi contracts or they will not receive a voucher to save this year’s week. The reason for the “new” contract is very simple indeed, ever since the introduction of the timeshare laws on 5 January 1999, Anfi has continued to sell their product in breach of these laws. Again nothing from the RDO except their backing of the Anfi claim the “law is wrong”.

The issue of the “new” contract is specifically designed to bring them within the law, with the duration set at the maximum of 50 years, along with the allocation of a week number and apartment number which then gives the impression that it is a fixed week. In fact, the contract still calls it a floating week. We also suspect that the same weeks and apartments have been allocated to several members at the same time!

So to answer our question of what does the future hold, well it does look very bleak indeed, timeshare seems to have had its day, people have found better and cheaper ways to holiday without the huge initial income of the timeshare purchase and the obligatory annual fees. The standard of hotels on package holidays has also improved considerably as many of the timeshare resorts have become dated. Along with the increasing number of elderly members wanting out and no new young blood purchasing, the timeshare industry will slowly diminish with many timeshare resorts reverting to standard hotels. Could this be the future for Anfi if they do liquidate, after all the minority shareholders with no direct control at present, are a major hotelier?

As for the RDO, with the demise of the industry who are they going to represent, after all, we have said that they only seem to represent 10%, so to lose another few of their main contributors would certainly reduce their influence.

Kwikchex, well your guess is as good as mine, we are sure the CEO Chris Emmins who has a rather colourful track record (see link below), will find another company to “contract” their services!

Chris Emmins CEO Kwikchex

In the end, the timeshare industry has only itself to blame for its demise, for years they have reaped millions of euros in sales yet have given virtually nothing in return. They have flouted the laws in virtually every place they operate and all with the full sanction of the RDO who will not investigate or adjudicate on any complaint against their members.

The industry does need to change and wake up to the realities that they are no longer the “must-have product” of the past, they need to reevaluate what they do and how they do it, they need to become more consumer/member aware. There will still be a timeshare industry, but this will be limited and more than likely appeal to the high-end market rather than the ordinary Joe in the street who was “kidnapped” and cajoled into purchasing.

Timeshare as we know it is a thing of the past, this year I believe has really put a spanner in the works, owners/members are waking up to the fact that they mean nothing to the companies apart from a readily available source of income. What we call “cash cows on a money-making conveyor belt”.

Are you experiencing problems with your timeshare, are you getting what you paid for and were promised, is your contract illegal, do you want out for whatever reason?

If you are answering yes to these questions and would like further information on your legal rights and your options, please use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get back to you.

Have a great weekend.

Article on Kwikchex

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

General search on RDO articles

https://insidetimeshare.com/page/1/?s=rdo

The Battle for Anfi Payments

Recently Inside Timeshare has been reporting on the problems of getting Anfi to payout what the courts have ordered. It has already been reported not just on Inside Timeshare but in the main Spanish newspapers and also on Spanish National Television News on the tactics employed by Anfi to stall or even attempt to avoid payment. This has brought the attention of the Provincial Prosecutors Office in Gran Canaria to begin an investigation. The focus of this investigation is the movement of funds between various Anfi accounts to avoid those accounts from being embargoed by the courts and the money seized. This investigation is being conducted on a criminal basis and charges may follow. Today’s article focuses on one client whose battle is now over.

Anfi Resort from the air

The case was brought against Anfi on behalf of a Dutch client by Canarian Legal Alliance, with the trial at the Court of First Instance of San Bartelomé de Tirajana, finding in favour of the client and declaring their contract null and void. The court also ordered that Anfi repay the client 103,820€.

As usual, Anfi appealed this decision to the High Court.

CLA immediately filed for a “provisional execution” to secure the funds until such time the High Court confirmed the original sentence. Once again Anfi appealed against this request, but the court rejected the appeal and placed an embargo on their accounts.

Once the embargo was enforced on the accounts, Anfi were informed by the court that 7,849€ had been seized from the account. Now, considering the size of the company it seems inconceivable that they only had such a small amount in the account!

Could this be an open sign that Anfi knows exactly what they are doing and doing so in order to cause clients as much distress as possible?

Well, this did not deter the lawyers at CLA, they immediately petitioned the court to investigate the situation of Anfi assets.

After the CLA request to the court to investigate Anfi assets the court managed to seize a further 27.367€, this is still a very small amount for a company such as Anfi. According to the documents supplied by CLA, this was not one large amount but was made up of smaller sums being seized.

The funds were still 68,604€ short of the ordered amount and CLA firmly believed that Anfi was giving them, their client and the courts the runaround and making a complete mockery of the system. Again CLA appealed to the courts in order to speed up the recovery of funds for their client.

During the months that followed the court was unable to secure and seize any further funds, obviously, CLA suspected that Anfi were “hiding the money”.

Trust me, I’m broke!

With their suspicions aroused, CLA asked the court to appoint an official independent administrator to investigate the affairs of Anfi, establishing if they actually did have a genuine inability to pay what they owed to the client.

It would seem that the court agreed with this request, in the meantime, CLA received from the High Court the result of the Anfi appeal.

As expected in line with all previous appeals, the High Court dismissed it and CONFIRMED the original sentence of the Court First Instance.

A court date was also received regarding the appointment of an independent administrator, Anfi and their shareholders were duly informed.

Now we have a surprising little twist in the tale, the date for the hearing was set for 11 March 2020.

On 10 March, just one day before the hearing to appoint the administrator, Anfi suddenly and voluntarily paid into the court 68,604€!

Oh Look! we found your money under the mattress!

In order to show how complex this situation is, since the first sentence at the Court of First Instance, CLA has filed 176 documents with the court in their bid to secure the funds for the client.

This is a long and laborious process, it is very distressing to the clients and it does not help matters that there are certain people on various forums who continue to state that CLA never pays their clients. It is not a matter of CLA not paying, it is a matter of absolute fact that Anfi is making the procedure so long and difficult for one simple reason:

THEY DON’T WANT TO PAY!

So it is congratulations to the client on now receiving their money and also being timeshare free, also a very big congratulations to the legal team at CLA for their dogged pursuit of justice for their clients. In this particular case, we must not forget the hard work and dedication of the Head lawyer Eva Gutierrez who prepared and represented the client in court along with
Christine Ihmann, the German/Spanish lawyer and Claims Consultant Evi Richter who helped the client during the long and trying process.

Link to view the documents.

If you would like further information on what your legal rights are and if you have a valid and viable case against Anfi or any other timeshare purchased in Spain after 5 January 1999, then please use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get back to you.