We start today with another warning about the “Fake Law Firm”, Abogados Lopez, more readers have contacted Inside Timeshare with information on the calls they have received from Hope Brugge, claiming to be working for Canarian Legal Alliance.
According to our readers, many of whom are existing clients of CLA, the call is to inform them that their case is about to go to court and she needs to confirm some information before submitting the case. This is obviously a fishing call, as if you have a case with a legitimate law firm they would already have those detail and they would have been confirmed at the start.
Within a few day Hope Brugge calls again and informs the client that the case has been won and a substantial amount of money has been awarded. In order to have this money released, (yes you guessed it), Hope Brugge and Abogados Lopez need a fee to release it. The client is given bank details for a named individual to transfer the money.
If you receive any call of this nature do not be fooled by them, if you are an existing client of any law firm, contact them directly and inform them.
This is a blatant fraud, which the authorities are aware of.
Another reader has also informed us that another company has been contacting owners who purchased with Azure Resorts in Malta, using a Barclay Partner Finance loan agreements. Unfortunately the reader was not able to get the name properly so we will not speculate and guess.
According to the caller they are working with the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) to bring a “class action” against Barclay Partner Finance on the 19 June, all rather urgent wouldn’t you say?
There is a case on that date being brought by the FCA, but this has nothing to do with what this company are on about. The case is being heard at the Upper Tribunal (Tax and Chancery) of the Royal Courts of Justice.
The case revolves around a validation order sought by BPF for loan agreements made by Azure Resorts for timeshares in Malta, it turns out that the company brokering and arranging the loans was not authorised or licenced by BPF to do so. BPF turned to the FCA to have these agreements validated. These are only for certain clients who signed these agreements between April 214 and April 2016. If you did not receive any information about this in February 2018, then you are not involved.
The FCA on the evidence made out a validation order to have the loans legally recognised, as no client had suffered the “possibility of any consumer detriment arising from the manner in which the unauthorised broker carried out its activities”.
Unfortunately, the FCA was not aware of the full facts and many clients made complaints, the FCA has now sought to have this validation order overturned in the light of these complaints and new evidence put forward by the clients.
Inside Timeshare will keep you updated as to the outcome of this hearing.
If you have any questions or comments on any this or any other article, then use our contact page and get in touch.
Have you been contacted by any company offering you a claim or stating that a case has been won and there is a substantial amount of money waiting for you at court then contact Inside Timeshare, your information can help others avoid losing thousands.
The case was brought against Club la Costa Leisure Limited by CLA on behalf of their English clients. The main basis for the judgement was the contract did not have an end date, which made it a perpetuity one, this has been declared illegal under Spanish Timeshare Law 42/98, which states that contracts have a duration of between 3 and 50 years.
In this case the contract has been declared null and void, with the clients being refunded a total of £19,442 plus all their legal fees and legal interest.
It is quite clear that the lower courts are following the now 115 rulings made by the Supreme Court, which is good news for all clients who have cases pending or are considering filing claims.
Now for today’s article.
Resort Relief and Castle Law Group’s Tangled Web
Part I: How Haley Saldana Lost $3,495 retaining Resort Relief
Haley Saldana shares her Castle Law and Resort Relief experience
Introduction by Irene Parker
May 29, 2018
Former Silverleaf member Haley Saldana relates her frustration over a cycle of hopeful vacation promises that ended with a desperate need to get out. More consumer awareness is needed, so Haley has shared her story today hoping people ask the right questions before buying a timeshare or signing up to get out of one. It’s important to examine the reasons why people reach out to a timeshare exit company in the first place.
Inside Timeshare has heard from 431 mostly angry, overwhelmed, desperate timeshare members. They don’t know where to turn for straight timeshare answers. Most allege that they either bought or upgraded a timeshare from sales agents employing bait and switch tactics. If deceived, or just not understanding the nature of the product they purchased, they soon learn the challenges one faces attempting to be released from a timeshare contract, especially if there is an outstanding loan. The contract is perpetual, and the resort usually dismisses the member with a “You signed a contract.” Some state regulators second that response. With no other way out, the buyer seeks legal or third party assistance, or gets foreclosed. In Haley’s case, seeking third party assistance cost her $3,495 and she still got foreclosed!
Haley explains why she feels she was deceived into purchasing a Silverleaf upgrade. Unable to get help from Silverleaf, she contacted Resort Relief. Haley is 31 years old and her husband Louis, 34. Haley and Louis went from Silverleaf timeshare owner,to Resort Relief, to Castle Law, and ultimately to foreclosure.
Through public filings, we obtained depositions from two former Castle Law Group, P.C. employees. Their descriptions of what it was like to work for Castle Law will be the subject of Friday’s Letter from America.
By Haley Saldana
I contacted Resort Relief in 2016after being convinced to make a second Silverleaf timeshare purchase. In 2014 we had paid approximately $11,000 for our first Silverleaf timeshare. We had no problem affording this purchase.
We feel we were deceived into making the second Silverleaf purchase.We could not use the bonus time that went with the original purchase. At a members’ meeting we were told a second purchase or upgrade would give us more availability, but it did not. I contacted Resort Relief. Resort Relief set us up with Castle Law Group. We were charged $3,495 February 2016.
Castle Law Group told us if we talked to Silverleaf they would drop us and keep our money. I heard nothing until I talked to a guy at Castle in 2017. He said to keep not paying and again told us not to talk to Silverleaf. We had gotten a letter from Silverleaf that said we should contact them. We received a second letter from Silverleaf June 23, 2017that said if we do not pay them what we owed them, it would go against our credit, but we had been instructed not to talk to Silverleaf. By this time it had been well over a year since we had originally contacted Resort Relief February 2016.
I emailed Barb Holland from Castle Law the Silverleaf letter June 23, 2017.
Next, now almost two years later, we got a letter from Silverleaf January 26, 2018 saying that they were proceeding with foreclosure.
We notified Castle Law. Castle responded by letter informing us they no longer represent us because of a serious legal conflict with the organization that referred us to Castle Law Group (Resort Relief).
We contacted Resort Relief. Resort Relief owner Kevin Hanson told us, “I’m sorry, I lost $2 million because of Castle Law. He said that Castle Law Group came back to Resort Relief and said “Here are your clients. Castle Law Group is no longer representing Resort Relief clients.”
You would think Resort Relief would make things right since they were the ones that set us up with Castle Law. Instead, Mr. Hanson said if we pay Resort Relief $750 they will transfer our case to a local attorney. We lost the timeshare through foreclosure, and the $3,495 paid to Resort Relief/Castle Law. I have all the emails confirming this disaster.
Mr. Hanson said Baker & Britt is the local (Conroe Texas) law firm that is representing him (Resort Relief) against Castle Law Group.
On the creditor’s side of the fence, back in March 2017, I interviewed Kristie, an HOA collections agent. Kristie expressed her discomfort with Timeshare Exit Team andtimeshareattorney Mitchell Reed Sussman. Countering Kristie’s comments, timeshare attorney Mitchell Sussman Reed responded:
While I understand their position, the simple fact is that if the timeshare had any value at all….the resort should be thrilled to take it back so that they can resell it for a profit. Of course, since the timeshare is a liability and not an asset; the resorts refuse to take back what is essentially a lifetime financial obligation.
Senior citizens are especially vulnerable. When for health reasons or simply lack of income they are unable to utilize the timeshare the resorts have zero sympathy, refuse to take back the timeshare and then report the owner as a dead beat to the credit reporting agencies.
Shame on them, and bravo to any attorney willing to sue or otherwise punish the resort for taking advantage of the weak and infirm.
If a resort wants attorney’s in the field of timeshare cancellation to not feel as I do, they should simply agree to take back their timeshare when asked by their owner. Not by the attorney. Why should there have to even be attorneys in this field?
If timeshare resorts maintained a policy that would allow owners who are no longer willing and able to travel out of their timeshare, there would be no need for timeshare attorneys or timeshare transfer companies.
Here’s a complaint almost identical to Haley’s complaint!
We were sent a letter from Resort Relief where we were talked to about getting timeshare relief for the Timeshare we have through Silverleaf Resorts and was told that this service was a money back guarantee and that we were going to be able to get out of our timeshare once we paid the $4050.00. We… paid the monies and was referred to Castle Law Group who took the information and received all of our documents for them to proceed. I had no heard from the in sometime so I contacted Castle Law Group for a follow up. I was informed on September 11th that the law firm could no longer represent us due to a conflict of interest and referred me back to Resort Relief. I have been calling nonstop and no one is available to give me information or anything. I have stressed that I want my money back and I am getting tossed back and forth from Resort Relief back to Castle Law Group and back to Resort Relief. This has been stressful and I am not getting anything but a Reba will bet back to me and I haven’t heard anything and the worker that answers the phone Tyler doesn’t either and he knows its stuff going on and can’t tell me.
Thank you, Haley for sharing your disappointing experience after responding to a “Get you out of your timeshare or your money back” ad, powered by massive search engines seeking desperate timeshare members. It’s very difficult to reach Castle Law and when I tried calling Resort Relief I kept getting the busy signal.
Maybe it’s just me, but I find today’s timeshare product one of the most flawed products in history. First, members contacting us allege they were deceived into buying or upgrading a timeshare. When they complained to the resort, the resort dismissed them with, “You signed a contract.” The member is then driven into the net of a search engine, and contacted by someone that often is a former timeshare sales agent or executive. When we researched one questionable timeshare sales agent, we learned he had several open and closed LLCs with names like Vacation Planning. Hence, the sales agent dangled the bait, made the sale, the timeshare buyer victimized, the exit company next deceived them, and possibly by the very person who sold them the timeshare in the first place! Worse, one snoop removed from our advocacy Facebook, had in his background a company called, Timeshare Fraud Recovery. No question this meets the definition of racketing. The member is defrauded by an exit company and then contacted by the same people offering fraud recovery!
We’re not lawyers, so Haley and Louis would need to contact a reputable lawyer for an opinion as to where to go from here. Given what money has already gone down the drain, I can understand her reluctance to pursue this further. It’s a mess.
When a reader asks about an exit company, keeping an open mind, I contact the company, explaining one of our readers asked us whether we would recommend them. Often they hang up the phone after a few questions. Once I received a threat accompanied by a string of expletives. Three timeshare exit companies I contacted I feel are reputable and we have maintained communication in an effort to better understand this murky world of timeshare exits and transfers.
One timeshare insider provided us with this Timeshare User Groupforum (beginning November 2016). I can vouch for one of the licensed brokers mentioned, Judi Kozlowski. Judi has helped us out with a few of our articles.
I’m adding one more voice strongly recommending that you steer clear of any and every “exit / release / escape” entity — and to ignore meaningless BBB ratings.
You might consider “sweetening” the TUG “giveaway” by now additionally offering to pay the transfer fees — and maybe even the next maintenance fee bill as well (…said bill is likely already in hand at this time of year, or very soon en route to you). You’d still be mathematically “ahead” compared to paying any shaky upfront fee parasite, whoever they may be.
Finding a valid new recipient is infinitely more “clean” and legally conclusive than getting involved with (and/or paying) any upfront fee “exit / release/ escape”entity. Bear in mind that some of these entities are actually committing outright fraud by design …which could boomerang back around to you in the future.
Good luck, but do yourself a big favor and stay away from any and all of these alleged “escape artists”.
TUG Admin February 23, 2018
Looking at your ad, we see you are still asking for money for your Festiva timeshare.
You also don’t appear to be offering to pay closing costs as the seller.
Both of these factors are the reason you are having no success in selling your timeshare…not that fixing them will guarantee a buyer…but having them is certainly guaranteeing that the only folks interested in your ad…are upfront fee scammers.
(You are welcome; we just saved you thousands of dollars being thrown away for an upfront fee company)
Contact any of these independent self-help groups if you have a question or concern about your timeshare.
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.
Thank you Irene and Haley, this industry is in dire need of a major shake up and regulation, the periphery companies such as resale, terminations and claims are a product of the greed of the major developers, with the lack of a resale market and the inability to terminate membership.
If you have any questions or comments regarding this or any other article published on Inside Timeshare, use our contact page and we will get back to you.
Have you been contacted by a termination or claims company, or have found one on the internet and are not sure if they are genuine, then contact Inside Timeshare and we will help you to check them.
Remember, by doing your due diligence and your homework, you will save thousands in the end.
We ended last week with the news of the 115th ruling from the Supreme Court, plus the news that judges in 3 courts at Maspalomas all made the same judgements in 4 cases against Anfi. All these were in accordance with those set down by the Supreme Court. This leaves us in no doubt that the law is very much set in stone.
Today is Memorial Day in the US, this is the equivalent of the UK’s Remembrance Sunday held in November, although some in the US may have lost sight of its meaning, lost in a sea of Memorial Day sales at auto dealers and shopping malls.
“But at its heart, Memorial Day is a solemn day of remembrance for those who have died serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.”
“This is not Veterans Day, it’s not a celebration, it is a day of solemn contemplation over the cost of freedom.”
Our favorite quote, out of 17 quotes, as it applies to our veterans helping veterans and active duty military and law enforcement, alleging they were fraudulently sold or up-sold a timeshare, best describes their efforts.
“Heroism doesn’t always happen in a burst of glory. Sometimes small triumphs and large hearts change the course of history.” —Mary Roach
Inside Timeshare has heard from over 50 veterans and active duty military and law enforcement. Decorated war heroes join Timeshare Wars, hoping the industry will acknowledge the harm done to those who have sacrificed their physical, and sometimes mental health, to protect even those who seek to do them financial harm. The consequences of predatory timeshare sales and lending can be devastating, as described by many military families reaching out to Inside Timeshare, asking for help.
It would seem that the “fake lawyers” AG Abogados, part of the Litigious Abogados family may have stopped cold calling, but the scam has now moved on the familiar cheques has been sent, but the envelope is open and the cheque is missing.
The same story which we reported last year, the only difference is that the gang of Romanians has now been replaced by Ukrainians!
There is now a new law firm which has been charged by the court to investigate and sort this out for the clients, Elias Elisa SA, yet another fake law firm. (See link below for the previous article).
Just to remind you, the courts do not send cheques through the post to payout clients, these “firms” are all fake. With this new phase of the scam underway, it is more then likely that the website will soon be down, so we just wait and see what new name comes up. If you get a call from a “Law Firm” that tells you your timeshare company is being taken to court and you can join in the action, contact Inside Timeshare and let us know.
Some parts of this post have been removed due to information which has come in since publication. It does look like they will be working in the interest of consumers.
With the proliferation of claims companies setting up it is making it very difficult for timeshare owners to know who to trust. Stick to the basic rules and remember, can they prove what they say, especially if the have only recently been registered as a company. If they claim to have links with well known law firms etc, check with them to verify the claim. We have seen too many companies claim they are working closely with known lawyers and companies, only to find out it is a fabrication. ,
If you are unsure on how to make any checks, then contact Inside Timeshare and we will point you in the right direction. Remember do you homework and stay safe.