End the Week: The Friday Review

The end of another week and halfway through the first month of the year, unfortunately, we have not started as we would have hoped with many more restrictions being put into place on travel. This is having a profound effect on the holiday and tourism industry, hotels are closing again and timeshare resorts are also announcing reduced capacity or remaining closed. The question is, how are the timeshare resorts going to deal with the problem of maintenance fees, the members’ loss of last year’s weeks and the potential loss of many weeks this year? This is a story we will be watching as it unfolds over the next month or so.

Although Inside Timeshare began a day late this week, we started on Tuesday with an article about Anfi and Airtours. The Anfi section is actually pertinent to the question posed above.

This story revolves around the Anfi attempt to force or as we prefer to call it “blackmail” members into signing their new contracts. For those members who lost last year’s weeks due to various lockdowns and travel bans, in order to save those weeks and receive an “accommodation voucher”, they have to sign the new contracts first.

This is already a question many members are asking on the various members’ forums and Fb groups.

Could this be an indication of how they will behave this year?

The rest of the article was about a recent case in the Courts of Las Palmas involving Airtours, they lost at the Court of First Instance and unlike our friends at Anfi, immediately accepted the court’s ruling.

They did not lodge an appeal but complied with the court and voluntarily paid out the ordered sums. So there was no need for counter appeals, lodging enforcement action or placing embargoes.

Well done Airtours.

On Wednesday, we published Timeshare Sales, Barclay Partner Finance & The FCA

This story is following one that began in 2017/18 and follows the validation order granted by the Financial Conduct Authority to Barclays Partner Finance to “legalise and make enforceable” loan agreements brokered by Azure Service Ltd. This timeshare sales company was not authorised to broker the agreements.

This is an ongoing story which has had a very severe impact on many many people, after all, the number affected by this decision alone is well over 1,400!

We will keep you updated on events as they unfold.

Happy Clients Get Their Cash

Yesterday’s article once again focused on payouts, these also involved Anfi and Airtours.

In the two Anfi cases, the clients received their payments, but only after lengthy court hearings and appeals. Eventually, due to some very clever detective work from the lawyers, they found out Anfi was due to be paid a “tax rebate” and petitioned the court to embargo the accounts.

This was done and several clients have received their money back quicker than expected.

The last case was against Airtours, and as with the previous case, they voluntarily paid what was ordered. Once again saving the courts time, the clients a lot of stress and most importantly, it has saved Airtours a lot of money in legal fees and sanctions.

Again we have to ask Anfi why are you continuing with these constant appeals, knowing that you are going to lose in every case, the courts are now wise to your tactics!

That is all for this week, on Monday we will be publishing another story in our Nightmare on Timeshare Street series.

It is written by one of our readers, who is acting as executor of her late Brothers estate, this includes the Azure purchased Golden Sands financed by a Barclays Partner Finance loan agreement.

Everything in the article is fact and they have all supporting documents, correspondence and other material to back it up. The only thing that has been changed are their names, this has been done at their request.

For those who have followed the various “Nightmare on Timeshare Street” stories over the past few years and are familiar with the horrendous behaviour of sales reps and timeshare companies, this story ranks as one of the worst we have published. Although there is a moment where some justice and compassion was given.

Join us on Monday and have a great weekend despite all the restrictions we all have to live with.

Happy Clients Receive Their Money from Timeshare Companies

Following on from yesterday’s article on the ongoing case of the Azure brokered loan agreements with Barclays Partner Finance and the validation order granted by the Financial Conduct Authority, Inside Timeshare has already received many short comments. The story is the same, “this happened to us”, seems to be a recurring theme, it is obvious that we have opened up a very large can of worms. On Monday we hope to be publishing the story of one family and the horrendous problems they have encountered along the way. Today however we take a very quick look at three clients who have now received their long-awaited court-ordered payments.

The first of the payments is to an English client whose case was prepared and presented by Canarian Legal Alliance, a constant thorn in the side of Anfi!

These clients have now received their 13,608€ plus full legal interest which is now safely deposited in their account.

A rather forlorn looking Anfi

It was at the Court of First Instance Number 5 of San Bartelomé de Tirajana, where the judge made the initial award and declared their contract null and void, all in accordance with the law and the Supreme Court rulings. But as we already know from other cases, Anfi, in their warped way of looking at things, still disagreed and launched yet another appeal to the High Court.

Once again the High Court dismissed the appeal and confirmed the original sentence, ordering Anfi to repay the clients, they did not, claiming they “have no money”.

Well, we have heard this before, hence the Provincial Prosecutors Office investigating possible “criminal activities” due to the depleting of bank accounts to others and the changing of company names.

But in this case, as always, the lawyers at CLA are on their trail, identifying new bank accounts, companies etc as they appear and informing the courts of these facts.

The lawyers previously got wind of a “tax rebate” Anfi were to receive and had the court issue an embargo on the full sum, it is from this money that the client has been paid along with others in the same situation.

Anfi in its heyday

In the second case involving Anfi, another English client of CLA is now celebrating after they received 11,308€ plus legal interest which is now safely in their personal account.

This case is very similar to the one above, a resounding win at the Court of First Instance and then the usual Anfi appealed, which as we have seen to be the case always ends in the High Court confirming the original sentence.

It is also another case where these clients have been paid from the “tax rebate” CLA asked the court to embargo.

Surely this should tell Anfi one thing, PAY UP VOLUNTARILY when you lose in the first court, you are only delaying the inevitable!

Airtours Beach Club now known as Blue Bay

In the third payout, which is to a German client of CLA, their 24,234€ has been paid voluntarily by Airtours. This is the second case in a week where this timeshare company has accepted the ruling of the Court of First Instance of Las Palmas and paid without question.

They have accepted that their contracts are illegal and have conducted themselves in a professional and ethical manner. This has a double effect, the client does not have the stress of further court cases and the timeshare company does save on additional legal costs.

If only all timeshare companies who lose in the courts acted in this way, I’m sure it would go some way to repair the damage they have caused to what was once a great concept and product.

I am also convinced that the High Courts will, as we have seen in the past, increase the award from the Court of First Instance on every appeal case and it only serves them right.

Timeshare Sales, Barclay Partner Finance & The FCA

For the past couple of years, Inside Timeshare has been following the case of the Financial Conduct Authority granting a validation order for loans provided by Barclays Partner Finance, brokered by timeshare sales agents of Azure Services Ltd. This validation order was granted to BPF after the finance company found out that over 1,400 loan agreements were brokered by Azure Services who were not authorised, competent or diligent enough to broker them.

Many of the clients who signed these agreements for the purchase of timeshares, tended to be either retired or just coming up to retirement. They were lured with the wonderful patter of you are “investing in property”, “it’s not timeshare”.

There was the promise of renting out the purchased weeks, which would give an income, supposedly to cover the maintenance fees and a bit more. Then after 2 years the “investment weeks” would be sold and they would make a profit. This would cover the cost of the loan provided by Barclays Partner Finance.

Well, we all know how that story ends, remember that Azure is part of the Limora Group of companies owned by the late Robert “Bob” Trotta and was also the sister company to Silverpoint in Tenerife.

Company Participations have been likened to this!

Silverpoint, formally Resort Properties, sold the same product, in fact, it was they who originated it. They further developed the product into the Company Participation Scheme, which changed by registering the apartments for sale as “companies”. But the same idea was applied in the sales presentation, it was an investment with rental income and profit after sales when the “company” was transferred to the purchaser. (Sorry but that is the very simple version).

The vast majority of these purchases were made by loan agreements brokered by the sales staff selling the products and provided by Barclays Partner Finance.

When you consider that in the two years which the FCA is looking at for Azure clients this has affected over 1,400, the number of loan agreements financed by BPF must number in the thousands and as far as money is concerned worth hundreds of millions of pounds. Although this is just a guess it is on the figures received by Inside Timeshare on the Azure loans worth around £40 million.

We now move to the latest phase of the case, back in August 2018, Judge Timothy Herrington, ordered the FCA to re-evaluate its decision to validate the order, citing that “consumer detriment” must be taken into consideration.

Judge Timothy Herrington

Over a year later, the FCA confirmed the validation order with a provision that BPF appoints a “competent person” to investigate client detriment.

Now the appeal has been launched to overturn this decision, there is a group that has been formed to coordinate clients who are affected by this decision called Azure Malta Action And Support Group. They are a closed group on Facebook and are gaining in membership, not just with Azure owners, many others affected by the sales practices of the timeshare sales reps and their brokering of these loans.

The group has now published a letter to BPF which Inside Timeshare has placed as a downloadable link below, which demands the right to know what information was given to BPF by the broker regarding the loan application. It also calls for BPF to provide all details of any correspondence between the client and BPF.

It is a legal right under data protection and known as Data Subject Request.

This template letter is not just for Azure clients, any timeshare purchaser who was brokered a finance agreement by the sales reps with BPF or any other finance company can use it. Inside Timeshare urges you to do so, as from all the people that Inside Timeshare has spoken with none have ever provided any full financial details such as “income v expenditure” which are normal procedures especially when considering the sums involved. These reports show if the repayments are affordable and in fact, Shawbrook Bank admitted it had not carried this out several years ago.

The Azure Malta Action And Support Group along with Inside Timeshare are urging all those affected by BPF loan agreements to begin submitting these requests and then filing complaints with the FCA. Hopefully, this may force the FCA to investigate.

Unfortunately, in an article in the Mail on Sunday by Jeff Prestridge, it appears that there are some very serious concerns about the FCA.

According to the start of the article, which we must point out is also our opinion, the Financial Conduct Authority is there to protect consumers, but “is more interested in protecting its own”.

It also goes on to highlight the inherent problems of staff untrained and lacking the knowledge to actually carry out their work. They are not being trained to spot “anything suspicious” in the companies they are supposed to be monitoring.

They lack any training, knowledge or experience in dealing with consumer complaints, and as Inside Timeshare has found in the past, every complaint seems to be dismissed in favour of the industry. Sounds a bit like the Resorts Development Organisation don’t you think!

Although the article is not about timeshare it is a very damning report of the FCA and their apparent inability to actually perform the job they are entrusted with. It certainly highlights the problems being faced by consumers who have had to endure lengthy high-pressure sales presentations, ending up signing agreements for finance on the false promises of sales staff, reliant on the loans to close the sale.

The link to the full article is below along with previous articles on this subject along with the link to Azure Malta Action And Support Group.

If you have purchased a timeshare with a loan arranged by the sales staff and would like more information on what your rights are, then please use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get back to you. If we are unable to answer your question we will find out for you.

Link to the Azure Action Group

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1152657598482168

PDF & Word versions of the template letter

Jeff Prestridge Article

https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/comment/article-9070435/JEFF-PRESTRIDGE-FCA-let-investors.html?fbclid=IwAR3M0bPZrnghdan3Ae5zxaGP17CHfiwYQ5llR0V0ELMTzic-j9XZD_3-72E

Articles on the FCA validation

https://insidetimeshare.com/fca-validate-azure-bpf-loan-agreements/

https://insidetimeshare.com/fca-validate-bpf-azure-loans-update/

https://insidetimeshare.com/barclays-the-fca-and-azure-the-story-continues/

Shawbrook Bank

https://insidetimeshare.com/shawbrook-bank-announce-irregularities-timeshare-loans-similar-activities-usa/