Browse Month

January 2017

More Timeshare News from Across The Atlantic.

Following on from our previous article from Irene Parker about the Arizona Attorney General´s $800,000 settlement with Diamond, Irene has given her analysis of it.

One of the most contentious issues they have in the US is the perpetuity contract, this becomes part of the owner’s estate, thereby the children and then grand children etc, inherite the timeshare and with it the ongoing maintenance / management fees. Spain banned this concept in the timeshare Law 42/98, which came into force on 5 January 1999.

Any timeshare sold in Spanish territories since that date is limited to a maximum of 50 years, the reasoning behind this is quite clear. The powers that be believe that it is inherently unfair for the children of owners to be saddled with a contract and debt which they have not freely entered into.

There are other countries within Europe who have had this enshrined in their laws for years. Madeira, an Autonomous archipelago which is part of Portugal, situated in the Atlantic southwest of Portugal and 400 Km north of the Canary Islands, has never allowed perpetuity contracts. They have alway limited them to no more than 50 years, this was very popular with owners as they knew exactly when they would no longer be liable for the annual charges.

Malta, situated in the  Mediterranean 80 Km south of Sicily, also limited the length of the contract to 30 years. Speaking with many of those owners who purchased in the 1980´s, they are now elderly, some getting to the stage where they no longer travel, Their contracts are now ending or have ended, they also know they are not leaving a continuing debt for their children.

It just remains to be seen if other countries in Europe follow suit, ending the controversy of perpetuity contracts. Now to Irene´s article.

Spain has ended perpetual contracts and now Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich is working on the front end to stop outrageous oral representations. Together we are changing the timeshare world.

An Analysis of the Arizona Attorney General’s Diamond Resorts $800,000 Settlement and One Reason Why It’s About Time

By Irene Parker

January 13, 2017

woman shoe

Irina Allen is a Diamond Resorts owner who was encouraged, over time, to buy 139,000 Diamond points.  The sales agent encouraged her to buy such a large amount of points in order to be able to rent to cover her maintenance fees.

Diamond has now changed their rental policy. Owners can only rent to friends or family. Owners are prohibited from using sites like RedWeek, VRBO or EBay, commonly used to rent vacation weeks and points.

Timeshare contracts are a developer based contract, according to timeshare attorney Mike Finn of the Finn Law Group. “It basically states the timeshare company can change just about anything for any reason at any time.”

This new Diamond policy preventing renters from renting outside of friends and family may not sound significant in a new rule book, but for families, advised by sales agents to buy a high volume of points, it proves a disaster. Rising maintenance fees exacerbate the problem.

Owners told me earlier member guides stated travel agents could be used to rent points and the language in one signed contract states: “some or all Points can be rented outside of the immediate family.”

High Volume Diamond owners feel they are being targeted. If unable to pay maintenance fees without renting, they could be forced to surrender their points or foreclose. Surrenders are not guaranteed. When that happens, the timeshare company takes back the “inventory” and resells for full value.

Renting for the purpose of covering maintenance fees is still being proposed as a sales strategy, according to posts on our closed member based Diamond Resorts Facebook page. According to the post below, one Diamond timeshare sales agent did not get the memo:

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

“We attended a sales presentation at Kaanapali Beach Club and were encouraged to buy points to rent. The agent said his wife is renting out their units and made a profit last year.”

I contacted the owner who posted the above contract. She was able to provide:

The agent’s name, James Ziskend;

Date – January 5, 2017;

Location – Kaanapali Beach Club Maui

She posted the comment asking if anyone thought this was a good idea.

One owner was astounded the agent tried to sell them more points to rent AFTER the family had been issued a “Cease and Desist”. He said they could not launch a website, but renting on sites like RedWeek would be allowed. “Mega-renters” are high volume owners who do use websites to rent points for commercial purposes.

But back to Irina Business woman

Keep Reading

Thinking of Buying a Timeshare?

For most people buying a timeshare was not actually on their mind, the usual scenario was they were on holiday and they were stopped on the street by a happy, smiling young lad or girl, the OPC. They would be offered a free scratch card and would win some kind of prize, then low and behold one of the cards was the “Star Prize”.

The lad or girl would then turn cartwheels of joy that you had “won” this, they have never had a winner before, you are so lucky, there are only ever one or two a week. In truth everyone who is given the cards has a “Star Prize. The touts know which ones are which. We´ll let you into a secret here, on the front is a picture, it may be of a palm beach with seagulls in the air, one card has three of them the other has four. You guessed it, the four seagulls contains the star prize.

After this you are invited into a taxi and taken to the resort to collect your prize, you will also hear about this wonderful resort while you wait for your prizes. This will only take a maximum of 90 minutes.

That is how the majority of “owners” got into timeshare, very few went out of their way to buy one.

90mins

So is it worth buying one?

It may be for some and not for others, it really depends on what you want from your holidays. The original concept of timeshare, being the fixed week fixed apartment was in fairness a good one. It did give you quality accommodation, the feeling of exclusivity as only other members would stay at the resort.

Also the fact that before the internet, you were reliant on the high street travel agent and we all know that many of the hotels were not as advertised. Some even had allocation on arrival.

For many families it worked well, especially for those with a couple of kids, as booking through a travel agent you were charged per person for the accommodation. With the timeshare you paid the original fee and then a yearly maintenance charge, so whether you went alone of with a family of four the price was the same. when you added the cost of flights and airport transfers, the cost was usually cheaper than a travel agent for the same quality of accommodation.

bedroom

Obviously buying a timeshare from the resort developer themselves is a very costly way of doing it, costing in most cases upwards of £10,000. Buying from a resale agent or even from ebay may be the best option, with prices as low as £500 for a week. But you must also remember that the yearly maintenance fees have to be paid, so you do need to know how much they are beforehand. Also this fee will go up, how much does depend on the resort.

Then there is the length of the contract, in Spain no contract can be for more than 50 years, other places are still issuing perpetuity contracts, in other words lifetime never ending. Another problem is the fact that you will then be at the mercy of the in-house sales reps, who will continually try to upgrade you and sell you more. As long as you can resist this it could actually work for you.

As with anything in life, do your homework before you decide, is timeshare right for you, does it fit your way of taking holidays, what are the benefits against cost. These are all questions you need to answer.

Mike Finn of Finn Law Group in Florida is a leading timeshare lawyer with around 45 years of experience, he recently posted an article on timeshare and the retired on his website. It carries some very good information, though it is aimed at those in the US, it is still relevant to those in Europe. Follow the link for his article

http://www.finnlawgroup.com/learning-center/major-lifestyle-mistakes-retirement?utm_content=buffer195b5&utm_medium=social&utm_source=linkedin.com&utm_campaign=buffer

If you require any information about this or any article published, contact Inside Timeshare and will find the answer for you. If you have been contacted by any company or are contemplating dealing with them and want to know more we will help you with the research.

 

Litigious Abogados: New Update

litigious-abogadoslitigar-abogados-4

Further to the articles published on Litigious Abogados and the two other companies, Litigar Abogados and Abogacia Española, Inside Timeshare has recently noticed that Abogacia Española is also the name of the register where you can check the validity of registered lawyers:

http://www.abogacia.es/servicios-abogacia/censo-de-letrados/

abogados-espanola-official-logo

So if you were to conduct a search for Abogacia Española you would in fact come up with that website heading the page. This would give you the confidence to believe that they were in fact a legitimate law firm.

abogacia-logo

As we have stated before in our articles, there are many ways in which “bogus” operations will attempt to confuse you, using actual or similar names to legitimate companies, including using their website names albeit with different domains for example .com, .co.uk, .me, etc.

The more that we look into this operation the more it becomes apparent that it is very sophisticated indeed. From very genuine looking court documents to the letters and copies of the cheques that clients receive.

court_doc-page-001
Court Sentence (Right click to enlarge)

Along with the fact that all three websites are the same except for the names of the so-called lawyers, none who appear on the official Abogacia Española register, is proof enough that this is setup to fleece you of your hard earn cash.

Following is a list of all websites associated with these companies:

litigiousabogados.com

http://emiliocatillianos.com/

litigarabogados.com

http://manuelamasconde.com/

abogaciaespanola.com/

fernandoholaci.com/

www.davidoharstunjaime.com/

Names appearing on emails:

Luisa Ernas Fernandez Departamento Legal

Layla Lavame Fernandez Departamento Legal

Layla Lavame Carita Departamento Legal

Maria Sanchez Gotera Departamento Legal

Madelena Huele Aflores Departamento Legal

If you have received any call or email from any of these or similar firms purporting to be lawyers claiming against your timeshare company or resort, Inside Timeshare would like to hear from you. We will also help you to make official complaints to the relavent authorities, this may not help to get any money paid back into your account, but it will help to have operations such as this closed down. Remember any payment made by any other means than a credit card, that money is almost certainly lost.

If you are unsure as to the legitimacy of any company, Inside Timeshare will do its utmost to find the truth for you.

As we always say it pays to do your homework, it will save you money and a lot lot of heartache.

homework