Latest News: The Paramount – Club Paradiso

Over the past few weeks Inside Timeshare has been running a series of articles regarding the troubles around Silverpoint and associated companies. We began with a series of articles in six parts on the truth behind Silverpoint this can be found in the link below. As a result, Inside Timeshare has been receiving many enquiries on this but also many many more from members who have been told their bookings will not be honoured.

https://insidetimeshare.com/?s=exclusive+breaking+news

Our readers have also been sending letters to Inside Timeshare from Excel Hotels & Resorts SA and also from Club Paradiso Ltd outlining their reasons behind all of this. We begin first with the letter one reader was given by Excel while actually on holiday.

In this letter which can be read in full on the link below, explains that on 13 September 2018, Excel Hotels & Resorts SA, had terminated the product marketing agreement with Signallia Marketing Distribution SA, formerly known as Silverpoint Vacation Solutions SA.

The result is that any member who has booked through Signallia to stay at any of the resorts managed by Excel has after that date will not be honoured. They do however say that they did honour some of the bookings to “prevent disruption” being caused to members.

It also transpires that Signallia continued to market the products even after the termination of the agreement without the consent of Excel. Therefore none of these reservations will be honoured at any of the resorts.

The letter also goes on to say that Excel never received any payments collected by Excel and that they are not liable for any sums paid. Now considering that all these companies are interlinked via the parent company which was owned by the late Bob Trotta does make this look very suspicious indeed.

The letter which is unsigned but carries the Excel stamp ends with Excel informing clients that they are informing the relevant police authority, in other words, they are denouncing one of their own companies!

PDF of the full letter

Several other readers have also sent us a letter amounting to 4 pages, with the last 2 being Frequently Asked Questions, from Club Paradiso Ltd another British Virgin Islands company and signed by Alex Lawson who we know is working on behalf of the Trotta family with his company Alvarez & Marsal to liquidate assets to save the Trotta family fortune. (See the link at the start)

The letter dated 12 July 2019 begins with advising members that on 14 May 2019 he was appointed as a director of the company, with the former sole director resigning with effect from 30 May 2019. This now makes Lawson the sole director of Club Paradiso Ltd.

He explains that since his appointment it has become apparent that Club Paradiso is facing a “number of significant issues”, we know and so do all the members who are contacting Inside Timeshare!

He goes on to complain that not all the company’s books, records and documents have been made available to him, it appears that he is unable to do his job because of this. Now the question is what actually is his job?

We know he has been appointed “administrator” of several other Trotta companies including Keys Concierge which we know has also closed down. He is also the administrator dealing with the liquidations of two BVI companies, Limora Investments Ltd the parent company to all the others and also Excel Overseas Holdings Ltd. We also know that a new company by the name of Excel Overseas Holdings is based in Dubai. So we can assume that his job is either to revamp the “Club” or “liquidate it”, we actually believe it is the latter given what his company does.

This letter also goes on to explain under previous management Club Paradiso failed to pay for the contractual agreements and arrangements with other service providers and resorts. Now we also know that all these “service Providers” and “resorts are all part of the same group of companies owned by the Trotta family under Limora Investments Ltd.

Again we see another tangled web of intrigue and dodgy dealings which is resulting in nothing but stress and anguish for the consumers who have paid considerable sums for these products. We know from our readers that they are all worried they are about to lose everything, not just the holidays not being honoured but now having to pay for new bookings after they have already paid their annual maintenance fees!

To Inside Timeshare, this does not seem to be fair, most of these members have initially paid thousands of pounds to purchase the product and also thousands in annual maintenance fees. Now it does not take a lot of working out, but these companies have made millions over the years and this is how they treat their clients. SHAME ON YOU!

The letter from Alex Lawson

Have you purchased any product from Silverpoint, Signallia Marketing or any other company and are worried about all that is going on, then use our contact page and let us know. We will explain what your legal options are and point you in the right direction to get the legal help you need.

Remember, the courts are finding in favour of the clients on all cases going to court, this may be the only way not to lose what you have “invested” in your holidays.

The Tuesday Slot

Welcome to this weeks Tuesday Slot, today Patty Boyak reports on the trial highlighted in Friday’s Letter from America on 5 July between Candace Czarny and Hyatt. The case centres around the wrongful termination of Candace after being forced to use “unfair and deceptive sales practices”.  Branded a whistleblower she found it difficult to find new employment, but she has worked hard to rebuild her life and Inside Timeshare is proud to share her story, after all, that is what these pages are about, to give you the reader a glimpse into the world of timeshare and all that is dirty about it.

Part II Continuation of Whistleblower Wrongful Termination Trial

Candace Czarny v Hyatt and Kent and Allison Drysdale

Part I: The Trial

CASE NO.  CV2013-006230

https://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-from-america-57/

By Patty Boyak

July 16, 2019

I learned a lot this week attending the jury trial of Candace Czarny v Hyatt and Kent and Allison Drysdale that began last week in Maricopa County, Arizona, Superior Court. An Arizona resident myself, I took this opportunity to observe the trial proceedings to better understand the inner workings of timeshare today.    

Candace worked for Hyatt in Sedona, Arizona from November 2011 to June of 2012. She previously worked at Diamond Resorts but left Diamond concerned about what she considered to be questionable business practices. Hired by Hyatt to sell timeshare, Candace alleges in her lawsuit that she was forced to employ unfair and deceptive sales practices or face termination. Hyatt did terminate Candace.

Sedona is a small town, so Candace had difficulty finding work after her termination. She moved to Phoenix. Candace had lived in Sedona for 25 years.

Hyatt’s attorney, Mr Kraig J. Marton, challenged the reasons why Candace had remained unemployed since her termination, insinuating that Candace had not tried very hard to get a job, even after moving to Phoenix.

I reached out to Candace outside of the trial. I had not attended Candace’s testimony in which she explained the difficulty she experienced when she sought employment. Candace said that potential employers were turned off because of her whistleblower stigma. Candace generated income from her rental property and worked on re-stablishing a business she had been involved with previously. She has been generating income from that business since 2017. Prior to that time, she had been paying off debt to re-establish her business.

Candace said in Phoenix, she has been living in a 10 x 10 rented room with a view of a block wall, after living in a beautiful home in Sedona with views of the Red Rocks. Candace said she mitigated her damages by scaling back, but she has not sat around idle since her termination.  

Mr Marton continued to examine Candace’s work history. Candace responded that the reason she did not apply for other timeshare positions is because she did not want to find herself put in another position in which she would be instructed to employ unfair and deceptive sales practices. She felt the obligation of anyone holding a real estate license is to uphold the principles of integrity that holders of a real estate license should abide by. 

Working under the conditions Candace described took an emotional toll. A witness for the Plaintiff, Jackie Garrick, who is an expert in Workplace Traumatic Stress and post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD), described psychological abuse as a “serious injury” justifying a diagnosis of PTSD. Ms Garrick explained that PTSD can be experienced by anyone, not just soldiers who witness harm against others and suffer a moral injury because it violates their sense of ethics. She compared whistleblower retaliation to domestic abuse in which one spouse manipulates, humiliates, isolates, and bullies another spouse. Defence attorney Mr Marton tried to minimize PTSD as if it only related to combat stress, ignoring all research on emotional abuse and identity disruption.      

Candace’s attorney, Joshua Carden, next called Larry Stokes as a witness for Candace. Mr Stokes is an economist. He testified as to Candace’s loss of income. He calculated her annual wages as follows: 

Loss wages from 8/2012 to 7/2019

$449,186 in back pay

$168,709 in loss front pay

$54,756 in interest on back pay

Grand Total:  $672,651  

Former Hyatt Sales Executive Mark Schmidt, also a witness for the Plaintiff, testified on July 9. Mark had worked as a timeshare sales agent for 15 years. Candace and Mark’s employment overlapped for a period of about two months, prior to Candace’s termination. On cross-examination, Mr Schmidt was asked about his relationship with Candace. He stated they were friendly coworkers. They were asked about emails they had exchanged as to the possibility of an age discrimination lawsuit against Hyatt

Mr Schmidt had also been terminated from Hyatt for being a “bad fit” and for poor performance. Mr Schmidt responded that he had worked three tenures at Hyatt and generated $130,000 in sales the last six working days of a March month. An “eligible for re-hire” letter was placed in his personnel file. Mark said the reason for his short work tenures was because he would leave the company if a bad sales manager was hired and wait it out until the sales manager was fired or left the company.  

Like Candace, Mr Schmidt testified that he had been terminated because he refused to give false statements to potential buyers. He stated that Kent Drysdale in 2012 instructed agents to sell “First Day Incentives” that were deceptive. Agents would threaten potential buyers, telling them that if they did not buy that day, in the future they would have to purchase a two-week timeshare vs only a one-week timeshare. It was not true that buyers could not buy a one-week timeshare in the future.

What Letter?

One fraudulent practice was that Mr Drysdale trained his sales agents to tell existing Hyatt clients that there was a letter sent to the existing member advising them of an advantageous price, but the letter, in fact, did not exist. According to Mr Schmidt, Mr Drysdale instructed the agents to tell the existing member that they would check their file to see if the letter was there. One of the jurors asked if they could see the letter. Hyatt’s attorney seemed to scramble to produce the letter. What was produced, Mr Schmidt said, was a completely unrelated document. It was an Upgrade Document Declaration. This document was discredited because it pertained to the surrendering of points after a member upgraded. Mr Schmidt added that if the letter existed, Hyatt would have produced it during discovery. 

Oh boy, have I heard this “Did you get the letter?” before. I am a member of a 3,300 timeshare member-sponsored Facebook. Many complaints begin, “They said we should have gotten a letter!” If the letter is fictitious, this is unfair and deceptive.    

Mr Schmidt stated that Mr Drysdale used to be the Director of Training for Diamond Resorts. He brought up the Assurance of Discontinuance (AOD) and the $800,000 fine issued by Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich after their office received hundreds of complaints from Diamond members. Mr Drysdale had been employed by Diamond Resorts during the period in which the Arizona Attorney General’s office received so many complaints.

In addition to the Arizona complaints, I was aware of former Diamond top sales agent Mary Bowling’s allegations, describing how a deceptive price freeze was employed by Diamond sales agents in Hawaii:

Mary Bowling sued Diamond Resorts, not because of deceptive sales, but because she was terminated when no one else was. She applied for FMLA 2-12-16 and was terminated 2-15-16. 

Case 1:17-cv-00562-DKW-RLP filed in Hawaii District Court

Page 10 of complaint

#43 Owners Update is deceptive because it is to sell points.

#44 Customer is told the current “list price” but the agent has to see someone else.

#48 the sales agent has the customer sign a form indicating they were updated and the agent has to have the manager sign off.

#49 the sales manager has reviewed all prior customer contracts and the manager falsely states the customer was given a “price freeze” but none exists.

#50 because of the “price freeze” only today can the customer buy for the discounted price.

#51 the price given is the real price planned from the outset.

#52 the “price freeze” never existed because (a) The special deal available to this customer only is available to anyone and (b) Urgent to buy only for today

#54 this is lucky news for the customer – brand new information!

#55 the sales agent waits for the customer to “step in”

At one point, Candace had provided an example of an observed deceptive sale: “Say the property is $35,000, but the Director of Sales would say that there had been a default, so we got this new inventory we can get you for $29,500. However, $29,500 had been the intended price all along.” Mark Schmidt explained that the difference between a primary residence negotiation and timeshare, is anyone selling a primary residence doesn’t start with their bottom line price requirement, then issue threats and false consequences if the interested party doesn’t buy at the bottom price that day – or will not be able to buy the house the next day at the low price.

Mr Schmidt further testified that price sheet packages were manufactured by Mr Drysdale: a two weeks package and the standard one week package. Mr Schmidt stated that Mr Drysdale would change the prices at will.

Mr Schmidt was asked to describe Mr Drysdale as Director of Sales.  He said Mr Drysdale was aggressive and physical. He witnessed Mr Drysdale giving a body check to Joey, another sales agent. Mark stated he addressed his concerns with Human Resources regarding Kent’s behaviour that included CIA like intimidation tactics and deceptive practices. He said Mr Drysdale was enthusiastic about the practices and procedures described in the CIA Manual on Human Manipulation.

Next a witness for Hyatt, Theodore “Ted” was called. Ted was the former Director of Sales during Candace and Mark’s tenure. He had hired Candace and supervised Kent Drysdale. Ted said Candace had little sales experience but was hired anyway due to tough hiring times during the years 2010 to 2011. He described Candace as someone who didn’t want to listen and stated that her personality wasn’t “fun” or personable.  He claimed he tried to help her but concluded she was not “coachable” as she did not like to take his advice. He stated she had low performance. 

July 10

Candace returned to the witness stand. In earlier testimony, it was described how Hyatt employee Shelley instructed Candace to create a “First Visit Incentive” document. This document was reviewed by the potential buyer, but never given to a buyer.  

Candace testified that another agent, Scot Steward, did not have a real estate license on file, but was allowed to give tours and transact sales. Mr Steward had been hired by Shelley or Mr Drysdale. Candace took handwritten notes of observed sales and the line rotation, meaning who was up next to meet a potential client. Her notes showed that Mr Steward made a sale, but that Mr Drysdale had limited the number of tours Candace was given, a practice used against an agent who did not play by the rules. There are 3 types of tours: 1) An owner 2) Owns a timeshare other than Hyatt 3) Not a timeshare owner. Candace stated that AM tours always went to the agents on the top of the list (Top Selling Agents).

On Friday I will continue with what happened next. All in all, it was a fascinating experience, and I have a much better understanding of how easy it was to dupe our family. My husband and I experienced deceptive timeshare sales practices. We have joined forces with other timeshare buyers alarmed at the rise in such practices. Deceptive practices seem to be employed industry-wide by some sales agents and managers. That’s my opinion, but the only opinion that counts are the opinions of the nine members of the jury. Join a self-advocacy group if you would like to join our timeshare consumer protection efforts. 

Please sign our petition to reform timeshare:   

https://www.change.org/p/state-legislators-in-arizona-florida-and-nevada-demand-reform-of-the-timeshare-industry-s-unfair-and-deceptive-practices

Candace Czarny has joined our list of just a few of the recent Attorneys General investigations and lawsuits. We’re not making this up.

The NY Attorney General investigation into the Manhattan Club resulted in a $6.5 million settlement. https://www.amny.com/real-estate/the-manhattan-club-settlement-includes-6-5-million-in-restitution-ag-says-1.14048559

Colorado Attorney General sued Highlands Resort, Sedona Pines and twelve other defendants for deceptive trade practices. https://businessden.com/2016/12/07/ag-sues-timeshare-firm-for-deceptive-tactics/

Missourians sometimes are targeted by real estate developers and resort communities to buy vacation timeshares. https://ago.mo.gov/civil-division/consumer/consumer-topics/vacation-timeshares

Arizona Attorney General received hundreds of complaints against Diamond Resorts, fined the company $800,000 and issued an Assurance of Discontinuance. https://azag.gov/press-release/attorney-general-brnovich-announces-800000-settlement-diamond-resorts

Tennessee Attorney General announced a $3 million settlement with Festiva, a network of vacation and timeshare companies, for alleged violations of the federal Telemarketing Act, federal Telemarketing Sales Rule, and the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act. https://www.tn.gov/attorneygeneral/news/2016/2/24/pr16-04.html

Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen says his office received 58 timeshare complaints in 2018, including concerns about pressure sales tactics, exorbitant fees, and difficulty reselling. https://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/local/Timeshare-Troubles–What-To-Do-Before-You-Buy-and-Sell-504017151.html

A Florida Whistleblower lawsuit was filed on behalf of ten former Wyndham employees, including eight former sales agents. Plaintiffs allege that they objected to and refused to participate in illegal sales practices.  https://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-from-america-42/

Former Wyndham sales agent Trish Williams, a jury awarded an initial $20 million. https://dolanlawfirm.com/2016/11/wyndham-timeshare-whistleblower-lawsuit/

Candace Czarny v Hyatt and Kent and Allison Drysdale – Former Hyatt timeshare Sales Executives alleged that they were instructed to make certain false statements and omit certain facts when communicating to Hyatt owners and potential clientele in order to make more sales. https://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-from-america-57/

We seek to provide timeshare members with a way to proactively address membership concerns; to advocate for timeshare reform; to obtain greater disclosure from the company; to advocate for a viable secondary market, and to educate prospective buyers.

https://www.facebook.com/timeshareadvocategroup/

https://tug2.com/Home.aspx

https://everythingabouttimeshares.com/consider-exchange-options/

Free at Last Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/groups/623703881470577/?ref=share

Free at Last Timeshare Support Course offered by Straight-A-Guide

https://www.udprep.info/june

Bluegreen Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/groups/180578055325962/

Wyndham Facebook

New: https://www.facebook.com/groups/376743609795740/  

Sapphire Starpoint New: https://www.facebook.com/login/?next=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fgroups%2F292083584642570%2F%3Fref%3Dshare

Diamond Resort Facebook

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

Gold Key Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1639958046252175/

Inside Timeshare Facebook Group

https://www.facebook.com/groups/2213231165610648/

Thank you, Patty, for taking the time to attend the trial and prepare this very interesting report, I am sure that all our readers are rooting for Candace, it is time that justice was done.

If you have any views or comments you would like to share please use our contact page and get in touch.

Friday’s Letter from America

Welcome to another Letter from America, this week we welcome another new contributor Diane Smith with an introduction by our very own Irene Parker. This article looks at Bluegreen and their suggestion that Diane donates her points to one of four selected charities. Have we not heard of a scheme like this before?

Bluegreen offers new Pilot Program to Donate Points to Charities 

Diane Smith Responds to “Who’s the Fish?”

Bass Pro Lawsuit v Bluegreen

https://insidetimeshare.com/the-tuesday-slot-38/

July 10, 2019

By Diane Smith

Introductory comments by Irene Parker

I was alarmed when Diane reported that Bluegreen suggested she donate her 5,000 points to one of four select charities. Charities don’t need the liability of a perpetual contract and ongoing maintenance fees. After learning one of the charities was founded by the co-founder of RCI, and other timeshare executives are members of the 18 member Board of Directors, I reached out to industry insiders, puzzled.  

Christel DeHaan, Founder and Chairman of the Board

Co-Founded and sold RCI for $825 million

https://www.forbes.com/profile/christel-dehaan/?fbclid=IwAR3Qn-QE_uDsHYPVo0b9yuh3qb4Y4opDRT7zAiC0wk97D_n0H19_bD7re7k#6d7903079fd0

https://christelhouse.org/our-people/

Olivier Chavy, President, RCI Exchanges

Gordon S. Gurnik Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Hilton Grand Vacations

Don Harrill, Vice Chairman of Board of Directors, Orange Lake

According to an industry source, who wishes to remain anonymous, the charities will not be liable for maintenance fees or the perpetual contract. If Diane were to donate her 5,000 Bluegreen points, it would prompt a paper transaction known throughout the industry as a “Press and Clean” that will ultimately transfer the points back to Bluegreen. While transferring timeshares is perfectly legal, legal point laundering does not solve the problem when timeshare buyers experience unfair and deceptive sales practices.  

If my source is correct, in this scheme, Bluegreen controls who gets referred to the charity, so you can’t just call up one of the charities and ask them to take your Bluegreen points. Bluegreen benefits because they are not as bothered by calls from people wanting to get rid of their points, as they can refer the member to the charities if there is no loan outstanding.

It is ironic Christel House works with those in poverty, considering Inside Timeshare has heard from 894 timeshare members and more than a few driven into poverty because of unfair and deceptive sales practices that are accompanied by rising maintenance fees and no secondary market.

So why is being allowed to donate timeshare points to a charity, not a good idea? When sold by deceit, the charity becomes a link in the progression described by one former sales agent as a hamster wheel: deceive, force insolvency, take-back, resell – with the charity brokering the points back to the timeshare company.

We hope this isn’t the timeshare lobby ARDA’s idea of a Responsible Exit.

ARDA’s Coalition for Responsible Exit

https://responsibleexit.com/

Diane’s Response to “Who’s the Fish?”

I read Inside Timeshare’s article about the lawsuit filed on behalf of nearly 36 Bluegreen plaintiffs against Bass Pro Shops and Bluegreen with great interest after I received Bluegreen’s response to my complaint. My reports of deception are similar to identical to those listed in the lawsuit complaint.

My concerns were not even addressed. Instead, I received an email suggesting I donate our points to a charity. Given an attorney I contacted was going to charge me $5,000 to get us out of this financial trap, I questioned why a nonprofit would want to accept timeshares.  

Bluegreen responded to my complaint saying that they have no provision to take back a timeshare (even when deceived?), but I could contact one of four selected charities to donate our 5,000 points. The four select charities are listed below. While I applaud any assistance is to a charity, I don’t feel this is appropriate. 

Our family purchased our points in 2011 after we had endured the Joplin, Missouri EF5 tornado that killed approximately 160 people. My father broke his back and ribs, his home was destroyed, and we endured over $40,000 in damages to our home. Shortly after the tornado, we took a trip to Branson to get away for a breather. At Bass Pro Shops we were approached by a Bluegreen representative. The resulting consequences I would describe as a financial tornado.

In the lawsuit Bass Pro Shops filed against Bluegreen, they were concerned about commissions they had not been paid. Bass Pro Shops will be rewarded $40 million, but there is little concern as to the deception described by Plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed on behalf of Bluegreen members. In the lawsuit complaint, Bass Pro Shops mentioned aggressive sales practices that were offensive to their customers, but I’m sure the reason for the lawsuit was to sue for commissions. It’s all about the money with timeshares – our money.

We experienced the following:

  1. The meeting promised to last no more than an hour, lasted for hours,
  2. They explained how we would save money on vacations by buying points. In actuality, most of the places we attempted to book were either not available when we were able to use them, or we couldn’t book them at the time we wanted to book (not in the booking window). We have never been able to vacation anywhere using Bluegreen points but Branson, except for one Florida trip.
  3. We were told we were not buying a timeshare! They provided us with a “deed” explaining that we were purchasing real estate.
  4.  We were told we could sell Bluegreen points at any time and that points would appreciate in value like our home. There is no resale value as evidenced by their suggestion we donate points to a charity.
  5. A credit card was opened to make the purchase and we were advised to transfer the purchase price to a home equity loan.
  6. They explained the benefit of being able to transfer the points to our heirs. We now know what is passed down is a financial liability.

The few trips we did take were a disappointment due to high-pressure sales tactics that made us feel like we could not leave unless we purchased additional points. We have no desire to stay at another Branson property due to our last stay when we experienced soft spots on the bathroom floors, roaches, and the same furniture as 2011. The pool looked nasty, cloudy and full of algae. 

Bluegreen responded to our concerns as follows:

We are sorry to hear that you wish to cancel your ownership. Unfortunately, there are no provisions for you to cancel your contract at this time.

However, we would like to offer you the opportunity to participate in a pilot program we have developed to assist owners like you who have no outstanding loan but would like to separate from the Bluegreen Vacation Club. The program is outlined below:

1.     Donate your timeshare interest benefiting a charitable organization. Please see the attached document regarding worthy organizations.

2.     You will be provided with a donation letter from the charity based on the current third party comparable selling price. With respect to your ownership, this is estimated to be $745. Please note that this letter does not represent proper documentation to support a deduction on your tax return nor is it a substitution for any third-party valuation that may be required by the IRS. We recommend that you consult with a tax advisor regarding requirements for claiming non-cash charitable donations.

3.     You will have the option to utilize one-year’s allotment of (5,000) Vacation Points for up to two years (at no cost to you).

4.     You will be released from any future obligations to the Bluegreen Vacation Club.

Charitable Giving Program – Donation Options 

Junior Achievement of South Florida (JA)

SOS Children’s Villages – Florida is a foster care neighbourhood in Coconut Creek.

Christel House Some things should be handed down from one generation to the next. A life of poverty isn’t one of them.

JDRF is the leading global research organization accelerating medical breakthroughs to cure, prevent and treat Type 1 Diabetes (T1D).

I imagine waves of baby boomers, with children and grandchildren, have experienced the same. We will teach the next generations to avoid timeshares and travel clubs. The existence of unfair and deceptive timeshare sales practices is apparent. See the lawsuits and Attorneys General investigations below.  

Thank you to Diane for informing us of this remarkable timeshare development. Our readers are not just a disgruntled few:

The NY Attorney General investigation into the Manhattan Club resulted in a $6.5 million settlement. https://www.amny.com/real-estate/the-manhattan-club-settlement-includes-6-5-million-in-restitution-ag-says-1.14048559

Colorado Attorney General sued Highlands Resort, Sedona Pines and twelve other defendants for deceptive trade practices. https://businessden.com/2016/12/07/ag-sues-timeshare-firm-for-deceptive-tactics/

Missourians sometimes are targeted by real estate developers and resort communities to buy vacation timeshares. https://ago.mo.gov/civil-division/consumer/consumer-topics/vacation-timeshares

Arizona Attorney General received hundreds of complaints against Diamond Resorts, fined the company $800,000 and issued an Assurance of Discontinuance. https://azag.gov/press-release/attorney-general-brnovich-announces-800000-settlement-diamond-resorts

Tennessee Attorney General announced a $3 million settlement with Festiva, a network of vacation and timeshare companies, for alleged violations of the federal Telemarketing Act, federal Telemarketing Sales Rule, and the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act. https://www.tn.gov/attorneygeneral/news/2016/2/24/pr16-04.html

Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen says his office received 58 timeshare complaints in 2018, including concerns about pressure sales tactics, exorbitant fees, and difficulty reselling. https://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/local/Timeshare-Troubles–What-To-Do-Before-You-Buy-and-Sell-504017151.html

A Florida Whistleblower lawsuit filed on behalf of ten former Wyndham employees, including eight former sales agents. Plaintiffs allege that they objected to and refused to participate in illegal timeshare sales practices.  https://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-from-america-42/

Former Wyndham sales agent Trish Williams, a jury awarded an initial $20 million. https://dolanlawfirm.com/2016/11/wyndham-timeshare-whistleblower-lawsuit/

Candace Czarny v Hyatt and Kent and Allison Drysdale – Former Hyatt timeshare sales allege that they were instructed to make certain false statements and omit certain facts when communicating to Hyatt owners and potential clientele in order to make more sales. https://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-from-america-57/

Petition to Reform Timeshare:

https://www.change.org/p/state-legislators-in-arizona-florida-and-nevada-demand-reform-of-the-timeshare-industry-s-unfair-and-deceptive-practices

We seek to provide timeshare members with a way to proactively address membership concerns; to advocate for timeshare reform; to obtain greater disclosure from the company; to advocate for a viable secondary market, and to educate prospective buyers.

https://www.facebook.com/timeshareadvocategroup/

https://tug2.com/Home.aspx

https://everythingabouttimeshares.com/consider-exchange-options/

Free at Last Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/groups/623703881470577/?ref=share

Free at Last Timeshare Support Course offered by Straight-A-Guide

https://www.udprep.info/june

Bluegreen Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/groups/180578055325962/

Wyndham Facebook

New: https://www.facebook.com/groups/376743609795740/  

Sapphire Starpoint New: https://www.facebook.com/login/?next=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fgroups%2F292083584642570%2F%3Fref%3Dshare

Diamond Resort Facebook

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

Gold Key Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1639958046252175/

Inside Timeshare Facebook 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/2213231165610648/

Thank you Diane and Irene, this certainly looks like one of those schemes which only benefits the timeshare company, if you have any views, comments or questions on this article please use our contact page and get in touch.

That is all for this week, we hope that you all have a great weekend and join us again next week.

Anfi: More Serious Problems Emerge

Over the past few years, Anfi has been in the news for many reasons, the main ones are the number of cases they have been losing in the courts and the Tauro Beach Project. The project at Tauro beach has also recently been in the news with the former head of the Coastal Authority being sentenced to 3 years in jail. He was found guilty of falsifying documents giving permission for Anfi to carry out the work in establishing a man-made beach months before the permissions were signed. The Canarian Government is in the process of revoking the permissions and licenses allowing Anfi to develop Tauro Beach, this will be a devastating blow to their finances. As for the court cases, there seems to be no sign that these will be ending anytime soon.

Tauro Beach Project, man-made beach, new hotels and commercial centre planned.

All this must be having some effect on the Anfi cash flow, we know they are employing delaying tactics in paying clients what the courts have ordered. It is believed that in many cases it is transferring funds from one account to another, rather like Silverpoint. We also know the Canarian Government is in the process of revoking the permissions and licenses allowing Anfi to develop Tauro Beach, this will also be a devastating blow to their finances. 

Is this an attempt to hide the money and not pay what they are legally obliged to pay claiming cash flow problems?

Or are they actually running out of money?

Where does this leave IFA as 50% shareholders, as they have no control over the board or the company?

Are IFA aware of what Anfi are doing?

The courts are taking a very dim view of Anfi tactics, they have already seen through them, a very good case in point is the one regarding a Norwegian client of Canarian Legal Alliance, Mr Hoyer. Due to the delays and arguments by Anfi on his case, he was awarded 100,000€ above the 31,000€ he originally paid giving him 131,000€. This was the court’s way of punishing Anfi for basically wasting the courts time.


Mr Hoyer one happy Norwegian client

Highlight and right click on link below for the full report

This was a very expensive case for Anfi, yet, they are still attempting to do the same thing with every case that goes before the courts. Obviously, the courts are not too pleased with this and investigations have been ordered by the Fiscal (State Prosecutor) into Anfi funds and bank accounts.

This is not the first time we have reported on “missing funds” we know that between 2012 and 2013 8 Million Euros had been diverted which was noticed by the Lyng family, then only last year in November we reported on a lawsuit between the Cazorla Brothers for unfair administration of funds, to the value of 718,000€ the  result of the case has still yet to be issued. (see links below).

https://insidetimeshare.com/the-great-anfi-battle-of-the-partners-round-2/

https://insidetimeshare.com/la-provincia-anfi-director-declares-lawsuit-between-cazorla-brothers/

The delaying tactics Anfi are employing are constant appeals to the High Court and lodging appeals with the Supreme Court, this is due only to a lack of liquidity or cash flow even taking into account the fines and interest they will accrue. It is also very frustrating to the clients with cases already won in the Courts of First Instance, it is also being used as a ploy by Anfi to put people off taking legal action.

Another method which Anfi are employing to ward off future lawsuits from disgruntled members is the attempt to change contracts, they have so far tried twice to convince members to change, but this has resulted in a very poor response. What we do know is that with all the legal problems members are very concerned with the future of Anfi.

https://www.finanzen.net/aktien/ifa_hoteltouristik-aktie

We now look at IFA as 50% shareholders, they do not have the “golden share” so they have no control over the board or the company,  we know that IFA has set aside millions for a full takeover of Anfi, but are they actually aware of what is going on. It is more than likely that Anfi has not even disclosed this matter with IFA. IFA is a public company and is therefore responsible to have this disclosed to its shareholders, the question is if they are aware, have their shareholders been notified?

Inside Timeshare has spoken to an IFA shareholder and in the last quarterly report, there was no mention of the possible millions in losses. So it would seem that IFA shareholders are also being kept in the dark.

IFA Faro, Maspalomas

Are the IFA shareholders aware that there are around 50 million euros in claims pending against Anfi?

How is this going to affect IFA if they do eventually take full control, will they continue in the same way or will they settle the claims in the quickest way possible?

All we know at the moment is Anfi are moving funds around the different bank accounts, to us it looks like what is happening with Silverpoint, using the transfer of funds to other parts of the company to hide the money and eventually seek liquidation due to “cash flow” problems.

Unfortunately, there are more questions than answers, answers that Inside Timeshare will be looking for and publishing on these pages.

If you have purchased any Anfi product and want to know if your contract contravenes Spanish timeshare law giving you a valid case and you would like to secure your “investment”, then use our contact page. Inside Timeshare will help you find out your legal position and point you in the right direction.

The Tuesday Slot

Welcome to another edition of The Tuesday Slot, This week Irene Parker looks at the Bass Pro Shops and Bluegreen who are both locked in a legal dispute not only with each other but also their own clients. It would look like there is no end to the deceptions, misleading and bad practices that the timeshare industry thrives by. This brings us to ask yet again, when will the industry change its ways and sell a fair and useful product without the bad practices that we see on these pages day after day week after week? Somehow I don’t think we will get an answer any time soon.

Bass Pro Shops v Bluegreen $40 million Settlement

A Separate Lawsuit of Nearly Three Dozen Bluegreen Member Plaintiffs

As reported by The Palm Beach Post June 14, 2019

Boca Raton-based Bluegreen Vacations will pay Bass Pro more than $40 million to continue operating sales kiosks in its stores.

In a separate lawsuit filed this year, nearly three dozen timeshare buyers from around the country sued Bluegreen and Bass Pro Shops. The consumers said they were lured into high-pressure sales pitches, then sold expensive shares in units that they claimed were overpriced or in poor repair.

https://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/20190614/bluegreen-vacations-bass-pro-shops-settle-dispute-over-timeshare-sales-tactics?fbclid=IwAR2T5UbBR9fHwDbyhHIJk0HqhhHqgHYec8Npi2QpcrgE0ufBSEWIkIarxWk

Who’s the Fish?

By Irene Parker

July 9, 2019

Civil Action No. 3:19-cv-54

Excerpts from the Civil Action complaint (my comments highlighted in blue)

In the U. S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee at Knoxville, a third amended complaint was filed April 8, 2019 against defendant Bluegreen Vacation Unlimited, Inc. in Gatlinburg, Tennessee and BPS Direct, LLC dba Bass Pro Shops (BPS), seeking contract rescission and damages on behalf of 16 co-plaintiffs (as of the April 8 filing) for alleged illegal, deceptive and misleading business and sales practices, statutory violations and fraudulent conduct.   

Such practices as described pertain to the Bluegreen Vacations Mountain Loft, Ascend Resort Collection Resort at Gatlinburg. Relevant to this lawsuit, Bass Pro Shop, partially in conjunction with Bluegreen, operated its retail business at its Tennessee-based facilities in Kodak and Nashville, along with 67 other locations across the United States.

According to the lawsuit, Defendant Bass Pro Shops were involved in the offering of a promotion for attending a timeshare presentation, which was solicited through representations made from within Bass Pro Shops, through BPS agents, or at least individuals who appeared to consumers to be acting as agents of BPS, and thus, such actions are attributable to Defendant BPS. The lawsuit Bass Pro Shops filed against Bluegreen seemed to focus on commissions not being paid on any “sampler package” and the “clawing back” of commissions not paid when a member defaulted or cancelled years after the sale.

The lawsuit alleges Plaintiffs were induced to purchase a timeshare interest from Bluegreen by fraud, without knowing the true nature of the presentation, because material information was either intentionally or negligently concealed. Defendants did not disclose material facts concerning the use of points and availability caused by overselling interests, and the right to the Public Offering Statement disclosures, which included rescission rights.

First Basis: Concealment of Rescission Rights and Public Offering Statement

The lawsuit alleges POS disclosures were avoided and/or intentionally hid, including material information about the rescission period. Despite Bluegreen’s legal duty to provide a copy of its POS, not one Plaintiff recalls receiving a copy of such a document. The lawsuit further alleges Bluegreen representatives had a strong incentive to conceal Plaintiffs’ rescission rights and limit access to the information contained in the Public Offering Statement. Plaintiffs were not aware they had a right of rescission or that they were entitled to review the POS before entering the contract.

Violations of the Tennessee Timeshare Act of 1981 include:

  • Public Offering Statement disclosure – The POS must be provided to purchasers “before the transfer of the timeshare and no later than the date of any sales contract,” and that the contract is voidable until the purchaser has received the POS.

Since late 2016, Inside Timeshare has heard from 890 timeshare members reporting unfair and deceptive timeshare sales practices, including 113 veterans and active duty service members. Only in the last six months have I started asking the members about the Public Offering Statement to which the members reply, “A what?” Digging through past paperwork, they find it to exclaim, “It says,” READ THIS DISCLOSURE STATEMENT BEFORE SIGNING ANYTHING!”  The timeshare customer service representative, also a fine print detective, responds to the member with their initials agreeing that they read and reviewed the document. If the closing is recorded, the presentation of the POS should be recorded.

According to the lawsuit, after often five to eight hours of mentally and physically wearing the consumer down, there is a rapid signing of many documents that lasts only about ten to fifteen minutes. The Closer or Quality Assurance Specialist controls the entire process. Consumers are not permitted to read the contract, leave the room, discuss the contract alone, are not permitted to review the contract with an attorney.

Consumers are not permitted to take the contract and come back the next day. 

The lawsuit alleges this constitutes unlawful practice of law, overlaid with fraud and deceit with no meaningful disclosure of contract terms.  

If you think this is unfair, sign the Petition to Reform Timeshare, which seeks a 24-hour “cooling-off” period before signing a contract. This proposed 24 hour cooling off period was hotly contested by timeshare industry lobbyists during the 2019 legislative sessions.

https://www.change.org/p/state-legislators-in-arizona-florida-and-nevada-demand-reform-of-the-timeshare-industry-s-unfair-and-deceptive-practices

Of note is mention of Unauthorized Practice of Law (UPL) in that consumers are told about how they can plan their Estate with the new “asset” to leave a “legacy” to their child or children using a Will while fraudulently concealing a known “successor” clause that forces obligations upon future generations who are all jointly and severally liable for ever-rising debt.

Inside Timeshare has received numerous complaints from consumers falsely told they must convert a deeded timeshare to a point-based timeshare or their heirs will be liable. It is also my belief this constitutes the unauthorized practice of law.

I asked timeshare attorney Mike Finn about this, as I understand it, rarely is an heir forced to assume a timeshare liability. According to Mike, “Although I haven’t studied the so-called “successor clause” I am of the firm belief that unless the children were listed on the original sales contract as co-owners and signed the contract as same (assuming of course that they were of the age of majority on the date the contract was executed), that they cannot be bound by any third-party, to the contract, including their parents. Again, in my opinion, I believe this would be a violation of the “due process rights” of the children.”

How Can I Eliminate my Timeshare Liability for my Heirs?

https://www.finnlawgroup.com/eliminate-timeshare-liability-for-heirs/

Bluegreen is the sole owner of a subsidiary corporation housed within its corporate headquarters in Boca Raton, Florida called “Pinnacle” and the lawsuit alleges Pinnacle is devoted to exclusively keeping Bluegreen owners trapped in the resale market void.

Second Basis: Intentional Misrepresentation: Buy-Back Program

Bluegreen has never operated a program that buys back unwanted VOIs. Pinnacle sells services to VOI owners which purports to help owners sell unwanted VOIs when in actuality there is no viable resale market.

“Owners Meetings” or “Owner Classes” air to sell existing owners additional timeshare interests. Owners are told such meetings are mandatory to teach Bluegreen members how to navigate Bluegreen’s reservation system. In reality, such meetings are an attempt to sell existing Bluegreen members more points. Reported disappointments with the product can be resolved by buying additional points, but the lawsuit alleges promised benefits are rarely if ever, realized.   

Plaintiffs’ Common Factual Allegations

Promised 90-minute presentations lasted typically four to eight hours. Some presentations are timed with the presentation beginning only after completion of a known driving tour that lasts at least three hours, and for two Plaintiffs, the drive lasted eight or nine hours.

After long sales sessions, only 10 to 15 minutes was spent, on average, for the entire contract signing process, which harboured unknown obligations and lacked the use rights, amenities and features that were promised.

Plaintiffs allege they were told:

(a) Bluegreen timeshares are good investments and will always go up in value.

(b) Bluegreen timeshare is a long-term asset that can be resold at a profit.

(c) Maintenance fees do not exist, do not go up, or only go up very little.

(d) Bluegreen timeshares are a valuable asset and “a legacy” to pass on to children.

(d-f) Plaintiffs did not know that, despite any possible future contract to make a Will or Codicil, contracts executed that day would bind all children as “successors’ that are jointly and severally liable for the inter-generational debt.

(g) Plaintiffs have anytime, anywhere “easy booking.”

(h) Rental income can pay the mortgage, fees and sometimes earn a profit. Rental is impossible as represented.

(i) Promises that an “Upgrade” will resolve deficiencies, but were never fixed.

All Plaintiffs have a strong correlation regarding these four rescission-based commonalities:

(a) Plaintiffs did not receive Public Offering Statement prior to signing.

(b) Plaintiffs did not receive proper Statutory Rescission notice.

(c) Plaintiffs were deceived about a Will Asset (vs Successor Liability).

(d) Plaintiffs spend up to $21,000 for a one-week vacation, representing over 1000% of the timeshare’s online market value, accompanied by rising fees.

Third Basis: Intentional Misrepresentation: Points Value Representation

No Plaintiff had access to Bluegreen’s inventory system until after they were contractually-bound as Bluegreen owners for life. Upon access, they discovered availability constraints, insufficient point values, or other cost prohibitions they were not made aware of.

This is another source of a multitude of complaints. Members complain of having been sold too few points to book their desired locations, but they were not allowed access to the booking site until the next year.

In spite of this lawsuit and so many others, the timeshare developers and their lobbyists insist all is well and we are just a disgruntled few. In addition to member complaints, former timeshare sales agents have joined efforts to expose unfair and deceptive sales practices. Our Friday, July 5 article describes former Hyatt Sales Executive Candace Czarny v Hyatt wrongful termination/whistleblower lawsuit and our February 2019 article about a Wyndham Florida Whistleblower lawsuit:

https://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-from-america-57/

http://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-from-america-42/

It is in everyone’s interest to drain the swamp of perpetrators.  

Join one of the self-help groups, organize, and get involved:

We seek to provide timeshare members a way to proactively address membership concerns; to advocate for timeshare reform; to obtain greater disclosure from the company; to advocate for a viable secondary market; and to educate prospective buyers.

https://www.facebook.com/timeshareadvocategroup/

https://tug2.com/Home.aspx

https://everythingabouttimeshares.com/consider-exchange-options/

Free at Last Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/groups/314773876071616/members/

Free at Last Timeshare Support Course offered by Straight-A-Guide

https://www.udprep.info/june

Bluegreen Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/groups/180578055325962/

Wyndham Facebook

New: https://www.facebook.com/groups/376743609795740/  

Sapphire Starpoint New: https://www.facebook.com/login/?next=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fgroups%2F292083584642570%2F%3Fref%3Dshare

Diamond Resort Facebook

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

Gold Key Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1639958046252175/

Inside Timeshare Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/groups/2213231165610648/

Thank you Irene for this weeks article, If you have any questions or comments on this or any article published, then use our contact page and get in touch, we would love to hear from you.

Start the Week

Welcome to the start of another week at Inside Timeshare, over the past few weeks we have been publishing many articles on Silverpoint, especially the move by the parent company Limora Investments Ltd (BVI) filing for liquidation. We have also published the news that The Paramount – Club Paradiso has closed their doors with many members unable to book, the website is down and no one seems to be answering the phones. We also reported on Keys Concierge having also gone into liquidation with all the staff losing their jobs, as we know the administrator dealing with the liquidation is Alex Lawson of Alvarez and Marsal working on behalf of the Trotta family.

So as you can imagine, Inside Timeshare has been inundated with emails enquiring about the legality of all the products sold by Silverpoint. The most prolific of these products and having by far the highest costs are the “Company Participation Scheme”, with purchases from 40,000€ all the way to 150,000€ plus. Just on the enquiries Inside Timeshare has received we are looking at purchases of well over one million euros, this certainly is a very big money making scheme, the question is where has it all Gone?

Courts of First Instance Maspalomas

Now for some news from the courts around Spain.

Last Friday the leading law firm in timeshare litigation Canarian Legal Alliance, announced their results for the week, with 26 victories in various courts around Spain.

At the Court of First Instance in Maspalomas Gran Canaria, there were 11 cases found against Anfi, with 2 cases at the High Court of Las Palmas being found in favour of the clients after Anfi appealed.

At the same Court of First Instance, a sentence was issued against Palm Oasis.

In the Court of First Instance of Arona, Tenerife, Silverpoint was on the receiving end of the judges, with 11 rulings against them in favour of the CLA clients.

The last was against Club la Costa in Fuengirola, where the judge again found in favour of the client.

As usual, all contracts were declared null and void with the courts ordering a total of 1,226,260.15€ A very expensive week for the timeshare industry indeed. But at the end of the day, had they sold their products in accordance with the law, then they would not be finding themselves in this position.

If you have purchased any timeshare product in Spain and would like to know if you have a valid and viable claim or would just like to know your legal position and your options, then use our contact page. We will get back to you and point you in the right direction.

Friday’s Letter from America

Welcome to this week’s edition of Letter from America, today Irene Parker reports on the start of the jury trial between Candace Czarny v Hyatt Residential Marketing Corporation. Irene first published news of the pending legal action back in 2017, so this has been a long wait. We hope to bring you news of the result in a later edition.

Former Hyatt Timeshare Sales Executive Candace Czarny v Hyatt Residential Marketing Corporation and Kent and Allison R. Drysdale

CASE NO.  CV2013-006230

By Irene Parker

July 5, 2019

The jury trial of former Hyatt Sales Executive Candace Czarny v Hyatt Residential Marketing Corporation, a Florida corporation, and Kent and Allison R. Drysdale began this week. The trial is expected to last seven days. The Joshua Carden Law Firm, P.C. filed on July 6, 2019, a second amended complaint on behalf of plaintiff Candace Czarny, in Maricopa County, Arizona Superior Court.

The lawsuit is a wrongful termination lawsuit. It is unlawful for an employer to retaliate against any employee because the employee refuses to participate in and/or properly disclosed illegal activities, according to Arizona statutes, including “fraud, false pretense, false promise, misrepresentation, or concealment, suppression or omission, in connection with the sale or advertisement of any merchandise whether or not any person has in fact been misled, deceived or damaged thereby….” 

The lawsuit alleges Hyatt defendants fired Candace after she refused to commit such acts or omissions that would violate Arizona statutes. Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages.

Candace was employed by Hyatt on or about January 1, 2011, as a Sales Executive at Hyatt’s Piñion Pointe timeshare resort in Sedona, Arizona. Defendant Kent Drysdale was her supervisor. Candace alleges she was instructed by Drysdale to make certain false statements and omissions when communicating to Hyatt timeshare owners and potential clients in order to make sales. 

Inside Timeshare has heard from 887 families. The majority have reported unfair and deceptive timeshare sales practices. Some just can’t afford the timeshare and didn’t know when they purchased there was no secondary market. If they have a loan outstanding, the only option may be foreclosure, especially if there is no evidence of deception. Most complaints are dismissed with, “You signed a contract.” General allegations from this lawsuit, that are similar or identical to our readers’ complaints, include: 

·        9. (a) Owners were told that if they did not add to their portfolio on the day of their tour they would give up rights to upgrade in the future and would forfeit special pricing.

·        9. (i) Owners were told that Hyatt would leave two agents on the property that would resell their ownership for them in the future and implied that they would be getting a minimum of original purchase price.

·        12. Some potential buyers that had paid cash or lived in a more expensive zip code (referred to as PG or Preferred Guests) were given prices that were inflated more than other potential buyers, that had either never made a payment, had financed a payment or lived in a less desirable zip code. Plaintiff and other Sales Executives were instructed, at various times, to mislead PG clients into believing they were getting special consideration when in fact they were not.

·        20. Plaintiff and other Sales Executives were instructed to bring a manager to the table when attempting to close deals, so that the manager could make certain false statements and omit certain facts when communicating to potential clients. False statements made by Drysdale and other Hyatt managers include:

a. Telling owners that they had given up their rights to upgrade, looked in their files, and if not finding the disclosure, would say that he might be able to get corporate to allow them to upgrade if they would write a letter supporting their request. He would then tell them that if they did not purchase that day they would forfeit their right in the future.

b. Telling owners that Hyatt had sent a letter to them telling them to upgrade or sign off on the ability to do so in the future. He told owners that this letter stated that Hyatt would deny an upgrade in the future.

c. Telling owners that unless they owned a “platinum” or “diamond” week they would not be able to access new Hyatt timeshare properties.

I have heard many accounts from former sales agents, of a manager’s ability to “starve out” an agent who was not a team player, meaning the sales agent refused to employ unfair and deceptive practices.  It is known, prior to a tour, who is likely to buy and who is likely not to buy. The lawsuit alleges such actions were taken against Candace. In addition, Candace alleges manager Drysdale would only allow agents of his choosing special incentives to offer potential clients and he would refuse to release certain more desirable inventory to sales agents who did not play by his rules.  

Candace was terminated despite high overall job ratings, but others who had performance numbers similar to Candace were not terminated. Upon information and belief, such Sales Executives had either not announced opposition to Drysdale’s sales methods and tactics, or had expressly agreed to cooperate with them.  

It’s a modern day David & Goliath story. Timeshare companies employ armies of attorneys in their effort to suppress the seedy side of timeshare. While many owners use and enjoy their timeshare year after year, others, as our readers have reported, fall into deceptive and fraudulent sales presentations, ending up with a vacation dream that turns into a financial trap.

Some lawmakers have sided with the timeshare consumer in an effort to expose selling strategies that incorporate psychological manipulation, omissions, deceptions, and fraud. Others blame the victim, maintaining the “You signed a contract” mantra.

Candace Czarny is a former Hyatt and Diamond Resorts sales agent. While at Hyatt, Candace said was advised by management to order a copy of the CIA Guide to Interrogation and Human Manipulation. According to numerous Attorneys General investigations and lawsuits, some timeshare companies employ strategies designed to intimidate and confuse hardworking consumers worldwide in order to generate profits and earn wildly inflated commissions and compensation. Honest sales agents, previously able to earn a good living, find themselves subtly maneuvered out of this new, more sinister timeshare business.  

According to Candace, “It was only after working in the industry as a sales agent that I came to see and understand the complicated strategy of greed from the inside. Like Trish Williams, awarded $20 million in a Wyndham Whistleblower case, I am one of the individuals not willing to be a pawn perpetuating a scam against hard working people trying to create a happy life for their families.”

The lawsuit began six years ago with three plaintiffs, former Hyatt sales agents. One plaintiff settled, but the other’s case did not move forward.

Some timeshare companies hide behind carefully and strategically worded contracts intended to shield them from responsibility and litigation. Arbitration is private and binding. If you lose, you may be ordered to pay arbitration fees. Timeshare attorneys I have asked about arbitration feel arbitration is a kangaroo court.

This leaves the timeshare member, sold by unfair and deceptive timeshare sales practices, feeling hopeless and angry, with no recourse. Timeshare companies rely on the burdened member not being able to withstand a costly and lengthy legal battle. If the member resolves a dispute, they are often required to sign a non-disclosure agreement, agreeing not to say anything disparaging about the company, another effort to silence and isolate victims. I was offered my money back in 2016 for the purchase of additional points in response to my complaint. I refused to sign the NDA.

Social Media is here to stay. Members sharing reports of deceit with other members have created a clearinghouse of information and a means to track complaints against timeshare sales with repeated complaints against them.

While New York, Missouri, Colorado, Tennessee and Arizona Attorneys General have made some progress protecting consumers, more needs to be done. There has been a notable lack of concern from some state and federal regulatory agencies.

Lawmakers responding with “Well, they signed a contract” have no concept of the depth of deception some timeshare agents employ to sell points. Many things, like promised availability, cannot be determined by reading the contract, and state contract rescission periods can be artfully dodged.  

Based on the timeshare lobby ARDA’s estimates, there are over 9,500,000 timeshare units in the United States.  To give you an idea of how profound this corporate culture of greed is and how the courage and bravery of single individuals are making a difference in the name of what is right, listed below are just some of the settlements, judgements and lawsuits against these timeshare giants.

Members can do their part by joining forces with others seeking to reform timeshare. Sign this petition to let your voice be heard, and join one of these self-help groups. If none are appropriate, start one!

https://www.change.org/p/state-legislators-in-arizona-florida-and-nevada-demand-reform-of-the-timeshare-industry-s-unfair-and-deceptive-practices

https://www.facebook.com/timeshareadvocategroup/

We seek to provide timeshare members a way to proactively address membership concerns; to advocate for timeshare reform; to obtain greater disclosure from the company; to advocate for a viable secondary market; and to educate prospective buyers.

https://tug2.com/Home.aspx

https://everythingabouttimeshares.com/consider-exchange-options/

Free at Last Timeshare Support Course offered by Straight-A-Guide

https://www.udprep.info/june

Bluegreen Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/groups/180578055325962/

Wyndham Facebook

New: https://www.facebook.com/groups/376743609795740/  

Sapphire Starpoint New: 

https://www.facebook.com/login/?next=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fgroups%2F292083584642570%2F%3Fref%3Dshare

Diamond Resort Facebook

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

Gold Key Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1639958046252175/

Inside Timeshare Facebook Group

https://www.facebook.com/groups/2213231165610648/?source_id=1677690672490888

Have a safe 4th of July weekend.

That is it for this week, Inside Timeshare would like to thank Irene for all her hard work in preparing these articles, all the volunteers of the Advocacy Group and of course all our Secret Shoppers, who we hope will be bringing us another of their wonderful reports very soon.

It just leaves Inside Timeshare to wish all our American readers a very Happy 4th July Weekend, join us again next week for more revelations on the murky world of timeshare.

The Paramount – Club Paradiso Clients Left Without Holidays

Over the past few weeks, Inside Timeshare has been receiving many emails regarding Club Paradiso, it seems that they all have one thing in common, they are not able to get into their resort and use their weeks. As we know, Club Paradiso has closed its doors, the website is down as is the website for Excel Hotels & Resorts the company which manages the resorts. It also appears that telephone calls are not being answered.

The latest email involves a member who has “invested” in several weeks, being elderly and now unable to travel abroad they decided to use their weeks and book an associated resort in the UK. Unfortunately, they have just received a call from the resort that their booking has been cancelled, the reason given is that Excel is not honouring the payments to the resort. This is despite being up to date with their maintenance fees.

This particular reader was supposed to be checking in this Sunday 7 July, now they have been left without their holiday with no other alternative to using their weeks anywhere else.

Other readers have also informed us that they have been moved to other resorts sold by Silverpoint, but have been told they would have to pay if they wanted to check in, despite already having paid this year’s maintenance fees. These resorts are also managed by Excel Hotels & Resorts.

The Paramount – Club Paradiso

We do know Silverpoint and Excel are in the middle of a dispute, what the reasons for this are is not actually apparent,  but it is affecting many members of Club Paradiso who are now losing out on weeks they have purchased and paid the annual maintenance fees. This does not seem fair at all.

What we must also point out is that both companies are part of the same group of companies owned by the late Bob Trotta and the parent company Limora Investments Ltd (BVI). The following companies are filing for liquidation along with Limora Investments Ltd, Excel Overseas Holdings Ltd (BVI), Keys Concierge and we believe others will be following suit.

Although there are reports that Silverpoint has filed for liquidation it must be pointed out that so far they have not and due to the reasons surrounding this, it may be impossible to do so. If they do file for liquidation, this could result in criminal charges being brought as the reasons for the other liquidations has been fully explained in the link below.

These liquidations are an attempt to save the Trotta family finances, you can read the full story behind this in our six-part series Exclusive Breaking News: The Truth Behind Silverpoint Exposed (Part Six), on the link below.

https://insidetimeshare.com/?s=exclusive+breaking+news

This should put you the members in no doubt as to why you are likely to lose everything that you have paid for with your hard earned cash and in some cases with high interest loans brokered by the sales staff.

If you purchased any product sold by Silverpoint form standard timeshare weeks to the “investment packs” and the “company participation scheme” and would like to know where you legally stand, then use our contact page, Inside Timeshare will then point you in the right direction to help you decide on your options.

The Tuesday Slot

Welcome to The Tuesday Slot, today we welcome another new contributor John Collick, who is seeking the Republican nomination for Congress. We begin with a short biography of John and his military career, then John explains his views on protecting not only military personnel but all consumers from unscrupulous timeshare sales agents.

Inside Timeshare also asks all our readers to sign this petition on change.org demanding reform of the timeshare industry. So far there have been 2,700 signatures and we are working to achieve 100,000 by next legislative sessions in 2021. Click on the link below and sign.

https://www.change.org/p/state-legislators-in-arizona-florida-and-nevada-demand-reform-of-the-timeshare-industry-s-unfair-and-deceptive-practices

Why Military Families Need Greater Timeshare Disclosure

https://www.valoans.com/articles/va-loans-escape-clause/

By John Collick

July 2, 2019

https://www.collick4congress.com/?fbclid=IwAR2JoSF5-2j3HM7wgR_Y5LBab112dzCj8qyR6PmiZsUJDFE1Q9sL1eIl4sY

It’s Time for a Military Vet to Represent a Military Community

After a distinguished military career, John knows how to listen and act. As a timeshare owner himself, John understands the concerns of timeshare buyers that may have experienced unfair and deceptive timeshare sales practices. Inside Timeshare has heard from 112 veterans and active duty service members harmed by timeshare. Of particular concern are our active duty service members who can lose their security clearance over a timeshare foreclosure. Some companies target veterans, particularly disabled veterans, such as John. John would not meet George Bernard Shaw’s definition of a politician. Irene Parker, Inside Timeshare

“He knows nothing and thinks he knows everything. That points clearly to a political career.” George Bernard Shaw.

Suffolk resident John Collick is seeking the Republican nomination for Virginia’s 3rd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. Mr Collick served our nation for over 35 years combined – in the Marine Corps, as a contractor, and as a government employee. He served as an Intelligence Specialist during his entire adult life, working at all levels of the Intelligence Community.

As an Intelligence Specialist, he worked on high priority missions, including the International Port Security Program for the U.S. Coast Guard; the Syrian Refugee Vetting Process for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services; and an Asymmetrical Threat Methodology for the United States Standing Joint Forces Headquarters, Homeland Security, in Norfolk. With extensive knowledge of the Middle East, he was recruited into the private sector to work on a Defense Intelligence Agency Contract as the HUMINT Issues Manager for Yemen. These projects are in addition to his Marine Corps career as a Signals Intelligence Collector, Linguist, and Analyst.

If elected, several of Mr Collick’s priorities for the families of Virginia’s 3rd Congressional District include:

  • Providing the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security with the resources necessary to protect the United States at home and our interests abroad.
  • Working with area educators, employers, and local leaders to reduce the unemployment rate in the 3rd Congressional District from 7%, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, to the national rate of 3.8%.
  • Ensuring the rights and freedoms identified in the Constitution can be enjoyed by all Americans, without abridgement by any state, local, or municipal government.
  • Enacting a school voucher program for children in underperforming schools and school districts, particularly in low-income and inner-city neighborhoods.
  • Propose term limits so that no legislator can serve more than six terms in the House of Representatives and two terms in the Senate.

Mr Collick will serve no more than 3 terms if elected.

Propose significant changes to the Timeshare Industry, including:

  1. A 24 hour “cooling off” period offered before signing a timeshare contract. Timeshare sales presentations can last six hours or more. The buyer is told they must buy the same day. A rescission period is the time a buyer has to rescind a contract after signing. The rescission period varies by state.
  2. If the signing of a timeshare contract is recorded, there needs to be a mandatory recording of the sales presentation, with copies provided to the customer. Sales agents often coach buyers on how to “pass” the closing session.
  3. Eliminate perpetual contracts – no person should be allowed, wittingly or unwittingly, to agree to a perpetual contract with no secondary market.
  4. Buyer to be provided with a single complete and understandable summary disclosure document and the reviewing of the document should be on the recording. Presentation of the Public Offering Statement should also be presented on the audio recording so that it is not buried in a stack of documents with the dismissal, “You can review these when you get home” or “No one reads this.” Despite initials acknowledging receipt and review, given the high pressure and long sales presentation, adequate time to review complex and lengthy documents is not provided. Buyers unknowingly initial that they have read and reviewed the POS when they have not. Most consumers don’t know of its existence until asked to look for it. 
  5. To alleviate buyers of timeshare paying more than those booking the same property at the same time online, units available for rent at timeshare properties should not be rented below 5% of the cost of the highest amount paid for timeshare ownership plus applicable maintenance fees. E.g. Week at Fun Times Timeshare cost $22,000 for 1 week of annual usage and maintenance fees are $1,000 per year, the cost per week is $1,100 + $1,000 for a total of $2,200 per week. This will encourage Timeshare Developers to ensure there are ample units available for members and an incentive to keep maintenance fees as low as possible. 

For more information about John Collick and the campaign, visit 

www.collick4congress.com

John Collick on Timeshare

The more I became involved with those who have purchased timeshares, the more I learned about veterans and active duty service members reporting unfair and deceptive sales practices. Given an active duty service member can lose their security clearance over a timeshare foreclosure, I agree this could present a threat to our national security. The bar to get hired to sell timeshare points is pretty low, and in a state like Virginia, which is home to many military personnel, those with ill intent could seek to jeopardize security clearances.  

If an American citizen, military or civilian, has a security clearance and they default on a loan, their clearance will normally be suspended and often revoked. The consequence can be loss of job, career, and even bankruptcy.  This could mean discharge from the military. 

Most of these folks are upstanding Americans who want to continue in their careers but are prime targets for an unscrupulous timeshare salesperson. If an active duty service member buys into a timeshare, they’ll do everything they can to prevent foreclosure. I expect there are many who have no idea what they can do to save their clearances and/or careers.

The advice I give, especially to military personnel, is to NOT purchase a timeshare on the day of a timeshare presentation. The price WILL NOT CHANGE. Do your research. Talk to other members, check with the Better Business Bureau, and have an attorney review the contract. Any honest businessman or woman would give you 24 hours to think about making a sizeable purchase, especially one accompanied by rising annual maintenance fees and no secondary market.

The lack of a secondary market is even more of a risk for active duty service members, due to the mobility of service life. Decisions can be made on a moment’s notice, making the disposition of timeshare even more cumbersome.

Let’s say that you’re interested in purchasing a timeshare. If the first thing you’re told is the company’s motto: “We will say whatever it takes to make a sale” and then you look up and see a poster illustrating the Timeshare Consumer Lifecycle stating, “From initial contact through debt collection $$,” would you stick around for the presentation or simply get up and walk away? Of course, you would walk away. Well, this Timeshare Consumer Lifecycle was presented during a timeshare industry conference in Las Vegas, Nevada last year.

We all know that salespeople may exaggerate, but in general, consumers depend on salespeople to provide us with correct information on which to base our decisions. Based on timeshare encounters with other members of the military, I have found a high number of timeshare members and former members that have purchased timeshare points – not deeded timeshares – based their decision to buy by listening to salespeople who provided inaccurate, misleading, and sometimes complete fabrications to make a sale. 

My family’s first purchase of a “perpetual” vacation was a camping membership over three decades ago at Wilderness Resorts Campground in Spotsylvania, Virginia. I was on active duty in the Marine Corps and we didn’t have much money, so this ensured that we had a vacation almost every year. 

We often visited the same location every year but about a decade ago, we decided we wanted something different; camping had become difficult, so we decided to buy a timeshare. We purchased a 2-bedroom timeshare at The Colonies of Williamsburg, the week before the 4th of July. The cost was about $40,000 and maintenance fees $750 a year. Over a decade maintenance fees only increased by about $125. We had great experiences with both memberships. Our vacations were perfect. 

Others were not so lucky. Some have experienced maintenance fees that escalated dramatically – and they have no deeded interest in any property, just points that they might be able to use somewhere, sometime. Timeshare problems are not isolated to just one company. Complaints of existing members being presented maintenance fee relief programs that do not exist exacerbate the problem. You need to attend a meeting this week.  It’s not an invitation but a demand. Some don’t even know it’s a sales presentation. Those attending presentations are sometimes held “captive” for several hours waiting for “gifts.” This is not fair to soldiers suffering symptoms of PTSD.

Veterans have reported being told of special programs for veterans (that do not exist) or eligible for, in my case, a disabled veteran program, eligible to receive a lower price. Later I learned there was no “special price” for disabled veterans. 

The standard response to complaints is typically, “it doesn’t matter what the salesperson told you or wrote down…. You signed the contract.” “You have no proof” is often seconded by some state timeshare divisions. Timeshare contracts are not contracts that can be signed in good faith, believing the information provided by the sales staff. Think how many times you purchased a car or home, relying on the ethics of the real estate professional.

Heavily discounted promotional trips typically mean a conversely high-pressure sales session. Unlimited entertainment, food, and drinks often mean unlimited high pressure. A 60 to a 90-minute presentation which you are told emphatically is NOT a sales presentation, will often turn into a tag team of three against two that can last for hours. Promises are scribbled on paper, but the paper disappears.

Anyone buying a timeshare should research the company, the industry and any points-based product. This is something I should have done. I found over 200 people across the United States, including other Disabled Combat Veterans and active duty service members, who described unfair and deceptive timeshare sales practices.

There are also complaints describing credit card fraud. Members did not know until they returned home that a card had been opened and charged. Several hours before the transaction, they were told to fill out a form to see if they qualify for a down payment. In addition, members report being told they will be able to pay maintenance fees by using a timeshare company sponsored credit card, unaware this will offset only 1% or 2% of the maintenance fees bill.

A lifetime is a long time to bet nothing will happen to make the timeshare unaffordable. There is no secondary market for timeshare.

Recently, when my wife and I were told of an update we needed to attend, I politely asked the clerk to mail us any pertinent information – she understood that we weren’t interested in attending any more timeshare sales presentations.

This is one veteran’s story. After 9/11 Terry volunteered to go to Iraq. He was close to retirement so he felt it was the last thing he would be able to do for his country. After he got in country, he again volunteered with six other guys to be on a team deployed to Basra where the British had a FOB.

A forward operating base (FOB) is any secured forward military position, commonly a military base used to support tactical operations. (Wikipedia)

Terry was diagnosed with blood cancer after living next to a burn pit is Basra.

Terry was the lead man for the C-RAM program.

C-RAM: Counter Rocket, Artillery, and Mortar abbreviated C-RAM or Counter-RAM, is a set of systems used to detect and/or destroy incoming artillery, rockets and mortar rounds in the air before they hit their ground targets, or simply provide early warning. (Wikipedia)

Terry and his guys would monitor incoming fire. Basra was one of those places where they were the only Americans so it was hard to get medicine and supplies. Terry and the guys lived in tents next to burn pits where the British burned anything that could be burned. Then there was Afghan. Terry was there for eighteen months until he was sent home after a diagnosis of blood cancer. He also served twenty years in the National Guard. He is 55 years old.

I really don’t know what else to say – he lived army ‘til he couldn’t anymore.

Our timeshare experience November 16, 2017

We were told in Gatlinburg at a group presentation that points were an investment and could be sold for a profit. My husbands diagnose of blood cancer was in 2014. We could no longer afford the timeshare. We know the agent lied about being able to sell timeshare points. We are not concerned that we cannot make a profit as the agent claimed, but are concerned that timeshare points are worthless should a member need to sell. Sales agents should not sell points based on the points being an investment. There were several in the room who heard this claim as it was made in the group presentation and in our individual meeting. Also, Cammie said all we had to do is when we got back home was go to our bank as we wouldn’t have a problem getting a lower interest rate. This was not true. Banks will not finance timeshare.

It’s not right. Our veterans deserve better.

We seek to provide timeshare members with a way to proactively address membership concerns; to advocate for timeshare reform; to obtain greater disclosure from the company; to advocate for a viable secondary market, and to educate prospective buyers.

https://www.facebook.com/timeshareadvocategroup/

https://tug2.com/Home.aspx

https://everythingabouttimeshares.com/consider-exchange-options/

Free at Last Timeshare Support Course offered by Straight-A-Guide

https://www.udprep.info/june

Bluegreen Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/groups/180578055325962/

Wyndham Facebook

New: https://www.facebook.com/groups/376743609795740/  

Sapphire Starpoint New: 

https://www.facebook.com/login/?next=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fgroups%2F292083584642570%2F%3Fref%3Dshare

Diamond Resort Facebook

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

Gold Key Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1639958046252175/

Inside Timeshare Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/groups/2213231165610648/

Thank you, John, for your wonderful contribution, we and all our readers at Inside Timeshare wish you all the best in your campaign, also a very big thank you to Irene for her time editing the Tuesday Slot and Friday’s Letter from America articles.

If you have any comments or question on this or any article published, please use our contact page, we would love to hear from you.

Can you Trust a Kwickchex Endorsement?

Welcome to the start of another week at Inside Timeshare, over the past few weeks we have been publishing the story of Silverpoint and associated companies being liquidated to spirit money away for the Trotta family fortune. Today we look at a company employed by the RDO (Resorts Development Organisation) who endorsed Silverpoint who at the time were major members of the RDO. In light of what we now know, this endorsement is definitely suspect.

The company is Kwikchex who we have published about on several occasions, the company is owned by Chris Emmins who as a director does not have what could be called a very good track record resigning from 4 companies, held 17 appointments at 17 dissolved companies with “alleged” debts to creditors of around £500,000. See link below for the original article.

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

Kwikchex is tasked with protecting the RDO and its members from so-called “unscrupulous” companies which threaten the industry claiming they “provide investigation and verification services that deliver accurate online information about businesses”. This is done through their website Timeshare Business Check.

According to their website they “reach out” to businesses for information on the company etc, many companies do not respond as they have no legal requirement to do so. But when this happens the entry on timeshare business check for that particular company is not what you would call positive, bringing in links to other dubious websites funded by the RDO which discredit the company concerned.

Club Paradiso Tenerife

Yet while doing this to companies which are not paying the RDO to be members, Kwikchex was endorsing Silverpoint a major RDO member and financial contributor at the time, using youtube videos of Club Paradiso members via “testimonials”. Fine, we will admit the resort and accommodation is excellent but what they have not shown is the tactics Silverpoint used to sell their products.

As we know Silverpoint sold various packages of timeshare, from packages of weeks sold as “investments” with the intention of rental income and resale at a profit in the future to the Company Participation Scheme. This particular product is a variation on the original product, the difference being the apartments are registered as companies in their own right.

These are all subject to many legal actions in the courts with Silverpoint losing at every stage, yet do we see Kwikchex publish anything about them on any of their websites? The answer is no, even though Silverpoint is no longer an RDO member.

So what do we have, a company funded by the industry endorsing a company that has for years been making millions from consumers with false promises and very dodgy products, while on the other hand attempting to discredit any other company that is not an RDO member yet is there to help consumers?

Can you the reader believe any information from Kwikchex or Timeshare Business Check in the light of this?

Somehow I don’t think so, the whole point of Kwikchex, Timeshare Business Check and the “Timeshare Task Force” is to protect the industry while all the time allowing the industry to continue with the same practises which have resulted in so many court cases with contracts being declared null and void and the consumer receiving back their money.

It must also be pointed out that none of these organisations has published any information on silverpoint liquidations or the fact that Club Paradiso is closed and no one knows when it will be or even if it will be reopened to members.

One thing is certain, these companies and the industry is very adept at convincing you the consumer that only they are telling the truth while placing doubt about any other company that is not associated with them. The upshot is you the consumer has nowhere to turn, the advice you will get is industry propaganda and weighed in their favour rather than yours.

Links to Kwikchex published testimonials authenticated by Kwikchex.

If you have purchased any Silverpoint product and want to know where you stand legally with your contract, use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will point you in the right direction.