Welcome to another Friday edition of Letter from America, today we welcome the Madden Family with their “Nightmare on Timeshare Street”, this time it is Orange Lake in Orlando. It is another story of deceptive sales practices by sales agents working on behalf of the timeshare developer and the lack of a secondary market. It is a story we are all too familiar with at Inside Timeshare.
A TRUE STORY by an Orange Lake Timeshare Buyer
May 31, 2019
By the Madden Family
We recorded our Orange Lake experience on YouTube hoping to prevent others from making the decision we unfortunately made. I’m told Orange Lake is no worse than several other timeshare companies. Buyers who no longer can use the timeshare are held hostage with no choice but to walk away due to the lack of a secondary market.
We purchased an Orange Lake Resort Timeshare in Orlando, Florida in 2014. It was the day after Christmas. After hours of mouth flapping, winning smiles, scribbled notes in illegible writing, we were fairly pliable and ended up signing a contract we now know is worthless. This has been a source of massive stress.
Here are the unfair and deceptive timeshare sales practices we experienced which readers will have heard countless times: The sales agent told us that we were making an investment that would appreciate like any other investment. Timeshares are worthless.
The sales agent said the timeshare had built-in equity from a prior owner. There is no such thing as equity when it comes to a timeshare. Timeshares are a liability. The sales agent said that since this had been owned by a prior party, we had to buy “today” or the price tomorrow would be without equity, so full price. This was nonsense.
The sales agent said we could easily refinance, replacing the exorbitant 26% financing provided by Orange Lake. This was not true. Banks don’t finance timeshares because they are not an asset.
The sales agent said there was a resale market. We tried that market but were scammed the same way we were scammed into buying the timeshare.
The sales agent said he wasn’t a salesman, just there to help timeshare owners find buyers. He was a salesman.
The sales agent said an Orange Lake timeshare is like any other property. You can deduct mortgage interest. You can’t deduct timeshare loan interest.
The sales agent said we could cover the cost of owning the timeshare by renting it out. He said he would help us rent. He didn’t.
The sales agent said we could book wherever we wanted easily. We wanted to book west coast Florida but were told it was unavailable and would be unavailable through the next year. We tried to book Cape Canaveral, Panama City Beach Resorts or Galveston, but that was unavailable. We ended up in Las Vegas as a last resort. We were never able to book with the ease the sales agent promised.
The moral of our story is that you can’t believe a word a timeshare sales agent says. I know there are timeshare members who use and enjoy their timeshare, but there are also thousands and thousands of complaints. Before buying, check the happy and unhappy buyer sites. Weigh each side, because your only discernable truth will come from those who bought timeshares, not from those who sell them.
We tried reaching out to Orange Lake with our concerns but were ignored. The lack of communication from Orange Lake made us feel like they have no cares whatsoever for their customers, or about the deceptive claims their sales agent make, as long as they get their money. They were never in a hurry to answer our concerns, but have invested considerable time to call us daily, repeatedly, to collect money.
When we filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, Orange Lake responded with a copy of our contract. Surely signatures do not exempt a company from promising a diamond but delivering a piece of coal. Where is the Federal Trade Commission?
We intend to tell our story in as many places as possible to warn others. Too many families are being financially harmed so that sales agents can earn commissions and timeshare companies can report profits at the expense of hard-working citizens. Citizens harmed spent a lifetime buying cars and houses, relying on the integrity of the seller, integrity that, based on our experience, does not exist in timeshare.
Join our efforts!
Contact Inside Timeshare to join this family’s efforts to help others. Following are self-help groups we feel are not industry influenced.
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.
Thank you to the Maddens for sharing the experience of your own “Nightmare on Timeshare Street”, many of our readers will recognise some of the tactics and deceptions from their own experiences. Is it not time the timeshare industry reigned in these unscrupulous sales agents, then they may have a product which does not court controversy, complaints and above all misery to consumers. It is only through you the readers sharing your stories and coming together which helps others to see that they are not alone, together you do have a voice that can change the industry.
If you would like to share your own “Nightmare on Timeshare Street” or have a happy story to tell of good sales practise and consumer protection, Inside Timeshare would love to hear from you.
Are you a European owner of a timeshare in the US and want to get out, are you a US owner of a timeshare in Europe especially purchased in Spain and want to know how Spanish law protects you, then use our contact page and lets us know, we will point you in the right direction.
Welcome to this weeks Tuesday Slot article by Irene Parker, who introduces us to Michael Santos, but first, Monday, May 27 was a major holiday in America. Memorial Day honours veterans & soldiers who work to defend even those who may seek to do them harm. Yesterday Inside Timeshare heard from veteran/active duty service member #105 asking about unfair and deceptive timeshare sales practices. Many of the veterans who have reached out to Inside Timeshare are disabled, five from Agent Orange. We hope other members of the military will reach out to us because when buying a primary residence greater disclosure is required. We are reaching out to provide the same for veterans applying for a timeshare loan. Too many have been financially ruined because they believed false promises made by timeshare sales agents. The Free at Last Timeshare Member Support Manual is another tool in our arsenal to fight timeshare corruption.
Meet Michael Santos, no stranger to struggle. Rather than succumb to despair, as many would, Michael faced his challenges head-on. Struggle is struggle. His admitted bad decisions led him to serve 25 years of a 45-year prison sentence. While incarcerated, Michael earned an undergraduate degree in Human Resources Management and a master’s degree. Now he works to serve others in struggle through education, contribution to society, and a support network of people who believe in you.
Michael’s story: 9,135 Days in Prison TEDXConstitutionDrive 2013
I need help. I’m struggling, overwhelmed, with unending calls from infuriated timeshare members, many financially devastated because timeshare sales agents got away with unfair and deceptive sales practices. While top liars earned $1 million or more annually until eventually terminated, family after family described to me how they were lied to. Particularly painful to me are the stories of veterans and active duty service members harmed by timeshare. A timeshare foreclosure can result in the loss of security clearances.
How can I leverage my time and our team’s limited resources?
Enter Michael Santos of Prison Professors, Straight-A Guide Foundation
Continues with Aspiration, Action, Accountability, Awareness of Opportunities, Achievement, and Appreciation of Resources
In addition to offering a sophisticated platform that has been helping the incarcerated work towards release and reentry back into society, Michael teaches adversity skills. The Straight-A Guide Foundation helps 100,000 people every year, teaching people in struggle how to prepare for success.
Employing these same adversity skills, Michael Santos and I developed a timeshare self-help manual to leverage our timeshare team’s efforts, and the efforts of others experienced in the field of timeshare.
Unfair and deceptive timeshare sales practices don’t just harm timeshare members. Honest timeshare sales agents, managers, and even an executive or two have expressed their frustration over spotty and inadequate state regulation and a Pollyanna attitude on the part of timeshare lobbyists and developers insisting all is well in timeshare.
Dr Amy Gregory, PhD in Hospitality Management from the University of Central Florida and Masters in International Business Administration from the Thunderbird School of Global Management was a presenter at a 2017 timeshare ARDA World convention. She describes statistics that tell a different timeshare tale, as reported by RedWeek’s chief correspondent, Jeff Weir:
Here are some of Dr Gregory’s findings:
The average rescission rate is 15 per cent (which is identical, ironically, to the daily average percentage of people who buy a timeshare after a sales presentation).
A whopping 85 per cent of all buyers regret their purchase (for money, fear, confusion, intimidation, distrust and other reasons).
Forty-one per cent of buyers never thought they would regret their purchase, but they did;
30 per cent were neutral prior to buying but then regretted it.
Wondering if there is something wrong with me, I contacted timeshare law firms and timeshare exit service providers across the country and learned that they are also frustrated with this “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” media spin strategy on the part of the industry.
Two of the exit companies I contacted reported that they received 3,000 to 3,500 calls a month from people seeking timeshare relief. Both companies said they only accept as clients, less than 200 callers, as the timeshare member must meet their timeshare deceit criteria.
What happens to the 2,800 or so turned away? Even if your only option is to foreclose, thanks to the orchestrated lack of a secondary market, these members need support. As if someone broke into your home, you feel violated, alone. Most begin their call to me with, “I feel so stupid.” I respond that I have heard from a detective who works economic crimes undercover, two counter-terrorism experts, two private detectives, a professor with a PhD in criminology, an ICE agent with an M.S. in Criminal Justice, all describing how they were duped by timeshare sales agents.
If you take the time to listen to the entire 20 minutes of Michael’s Top Ten Surrender Tips before Surrendering to Federal Prison, it’s easy to see how prison adversity skills carry over to timeshare adversity:
Michael’s Ten Tips
Understand your Finances
Develop a Reading Plan
Journal, Write and Publish – Writing is Therapeutic!
Personal Belongings – One Navy veteran charged $2,700 a month in timeshare loan payments to credit cards. He lived in fear of losing his home and had to seek advice from a bankruptcy attorney.
Prepare for Communication
Set Your Values and Goals and Create Timelines
Create an Accountability Metric Adhering to Timelines
Quadrant Adjustments Reflecting New Opportunities and Opportunity Costs Visualize/Plan/Prioritize/Execute
Release Plan – Think about your day of release!
Hoping to leverage what I and others have learned, I support the Free at Last Timeshare Support Manual lending what I’ve learned to others. All proceeds from our manual are to be donated to the Straight-A Guide Foundation. Together we will work alongside those in prison or formerly incarcerated to become Free at Last. I’m pretty sure Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. would support our borrowing his prayer.
I think it was Ella Fitzgerald who said her momma told her, “Go out and make something happen. If you’re not going to make something happen – stay out of the way!” Morgan Freeman said it another way:
These self-help groups were launched and subscribed to by doers seeking:
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.
15 in the Courts of First Instance against Anfi Del Mar
3 High Court against Anfi Del Mar
2 Court of First Instance against Silverpoint
2 High Court against Silverpoint
1 Court of First Instance against Club La Costa
1 High Court against Holiday Club Finland
All contracts were declared null and void and in most cases, clients received back their legal fees plus legal interest.
The total being returned to clients is a staggering 787,664.00€
Obviously some very happy clients but some very unhappy and embarrassed timeshare companies. Well, they only have themselves to blame!
Do you have any questions about your timeshare purchase, want to know if you have a claim or want to just get out, have you been contacted by a company offering you a service and want to know if they are genuine?
Then use our contact page and get in touch, we will point you in the right direction with the best advice available.
For sometime Inside Timeshare has been reporting on the “Company Participations and Rental Agreement” sold by Silverpoint. As we already know this product was rolled out to replace the discredited “Investment Weeks” product sold originally By Resort Properties then under the Silverpoint banner, again this product is subject to many court cases which are being found in favour of the clients.
It now appears that Excel Resorts and Hotels SA are distancing themselves from Silverpoint at an alarming rate, we already know that Excel has informed clients of the “Company Participations” that they are no longer working with Silverpoint and this is causing alarm among those who have purchased in this expensive and elaborate product.
The latest news has been coming in over the weekend from many regular readers of Inside Timeshare who have purchased this product, it comes in the form of an email from Excel Resorts and Hotels SA, the company which manages the resorts. Under the agreement entered into with Silverpoint Vacations SL, Excel undertook to operate the assets of the “Company Participations” guaranteeing a return of 4.5% of the corporate income until “apartments” are converted to accommodation units.
So far this year it seems that no one has received any of this income, according to the letter Excel state that “owing to the economic and financial situation”Silverpoint has been unable to honour the agreements during 2018.
In their email, Excel Resorts have stated that they will be calling for an AGM to allow “shareholders” to vote on new contracts and conditions.
Within days they announced a date for the “Shareholders’ Ordinary General Meeting” being held on 12 June 2019 at 9:40 am at the registered office of the company.
To review and approve, as appropriate, the Company’s Financial Statements relating to the year ended 31 December 2018.
To decide upon the application of the results for the year ended 31 December 2018.
To approve the management of the Company for the year ended 31 December 2018.
The Rental Program Agreement entered into with “Silverpoint Vacations SL” and decisions to be taken on this. Analysis of proposals and contractual alternatives for the holiday rental and decisions to be taken on this. To authorise, where appropriate, the sole director to enter into, on behalf of the Company, the contractual proposal which may ultimately be approved, even if impinging upon the figure of self-contracting, double or multiple representation.
Well, not sure about you but it doesn’t look very promising for those who purchased into this scheme.
For those who are unable to attend excel have also sent forms to sign to allow a proxy to vote on your behalf. Very kind of them, but the named persons are actually employees of the company, so we just wonder who the vote will go in favour of, certainly not the “shareholders”?
It would also appear that assets and funds are being tranferred to many offshore companies and accounts, is this an attempt to hide everything because of the number of court cases, we can reveal that moves are already being made to identify all companies, accounts, persons with significant interest and control.
This has already shown the links to all the companies, which one ownes which, who ownes what and who is ultimately the main character of interest. As they say there is always a paper trail which can be followed.
It has also been revealed that Limora Investments Ltd, a British Virgin Islands-based resort owner on Friday asked a New York bankruptcy court to give Chapter 15 protection to its U.S. assets while it investigates what it called “misconduct” by members of its management team.
From enquiries made it would also appear that this company is very much linked to Excel Resorts and Silverpoint.
The company began insolvency proceedings in the British Virgin Islands in February after discovering “unusual” cash flow problems with the subsidiaries that manage its flagship Spanish properties. Limora has more than 100 subsidiaries with interests in resorts, timeshares, hotels and other businesses in the United Arab Emirates, Spain, the U.K., Singapore, Thailand and the U.S.
The company also stated that its primary source of income is resorts and timeshare in Spain and that in the mid-2018 their Spanish subsidiary had been requesting emergency funding. So along with what we already know about Silverpoint and Excel with Excel Overseas Holdings filing for liquidation, our enquires are just being confirmed.
With what we already know but are unable to publish yet, time is of the essence, especially with the upcoming AGM, we very much doubt that any decision will be infavour of you the clients.
So if you have purchased any product from Silverpoint especially the Company Participations Scheme, or the Excel Overseas Lodging Rental Program and you would like to know how you can get back your “investment” along with having the contract declared null and void, use our contact page and get in touch.
Welcome to this weeks Letter from America, today we publish the final report by Irene Parker on the Platinum Protest in Orlando which was held on 17 to 19 May. This report also includes their brief stories which helps to explain why they are protesting. In the case of Patty and her story, we have received many complaints which have named the same sales agent. Inside Timeshare has read these complaints and it is surprising that for people who have never met how close their stories are. This can only lead us to conclude there is something very wrong in what this sales agent is doing.
What Happened at the May Platinum Member Protest in Orlando
Save the Date for the next Platinum Protest in Arizona:
Veteran’s Weekend November 9 – 11
By Irene Parker
May 24, 2019
Many have expressed admiration for the efforts of four Diamond Resorts Platinum families protesting on behalf of 85 Platinum members who have reported that they were told to buy additional timeshare points for reasons they say do not exist. Of the 85, 43 reported that they were told they would be able to offset maintenance fees only if they purchased additional points. Others report they bought points told that they must buy additional points to be able to sell points.
What happened to Sheilah and Gad (a protestor not pictured), is why Friday’s location was at the Florida state building housing the Florida Attorney General’s timeshare division, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR). Sheilah, Gad and a third buyer all bought from the same Daytona agent. They each have their “pencil pitch” which is what agents scribble as they talk. Near the top of Sheilah’s three-page pencil pitch appears:
Diamond’s response, from the company promoting a CLARITY promise of “Clear, concise, accountable and transparent information” was, “We admit this was confusing, but it was not illegal,” according to Sheilah.
“Talking to the Florida Timeshare Division DBPR was the same as talking to Diamond Resorts,” Sheilah said. At first, I was dismissed with “We don’t know if you were given this evidence or if you took it.” Their point I believe was that evidence obtained illegally is not admissible. When I questioned the logic of this statement, the reviewer called back several days later reporting that she spoke with Diamond’s attorneys. “I didn’t understand the program either until I spoke with Diamond’s attorneys, but now I do,” she reported to Sheilah. It’s not difficult to understand why someone would be so angry they would fly 1,000 miles to protest.
Florida’s DBPR has dismissed all our readers’ complaints with, “Verbal representations are hard to prove.” While Arizona, New York, Tennessee and other states have launched timeshare investigations based on a volume and pattern of complaints, Florida will not. When Sheilah asked why, the DBPR supervisor responded, “How they do things in other states is not how we do things in Florida.” By their own admission, Florida dismisses timeshare complaints, despite a volume of complaints. The timeshare lobby ARDAhas been quoted as saying, “Timeshare is a highly regulated product.” Apparently regulation means dismissing all complaints.
Florida’s dismal statistics:
As reported at a Florida legislative workshop in Tallahassee March 12:
Victoria Butler, from the Florida Attorney General’sDepartment of Consumer Protection, reported a figure of 1,500 to 1,600 complaints in recent years, with about 50% involving senior citizens. She said the majority of complaints were in regard to the initial sales presentation.
Ms Butler stated that the Florida timeshare division engaged only 42 complaints, the majority concerning resale.
Nevada is another state that dismissed all our readers’ complaints with, “You have no proof.” At least in Nevada, you can record a conversation without the other person aware. Florida is a two-party state meaning it is illegal to record without the other person aware.
How in the world is a timeshare buyer expected to obtain proof?
Three of our protestors were able to speak at length with one individual inside the state building. In fear of retaliation, we will not identify this person, but their advice was to have the protestors protest every Friday. Logistics preclude this, but we appreciated their support and knowledge of unfair and deceptive practices.
Inside Timeshare has heard from 831 families describing unfair and deceptive timeshare sales practices. ARDA and Diamond’s CEO Michael Flaskey argue that the vast majority of timeshare buyers are happy with their timeshare.
Fair enough, so I checked facts and figures. I contacted law firms and timeshare exit companies throughout the United States. There are many. Two exit companies reported that each receives 3,000 to 3,500 calls per month. They accept less than 200 as clients. Just two of the many law firms and exit providers receive over 6,000 calls per month from families seeking timeshare release! An entire industry of law firms and timeshare exit providers has sprung up catering to timeshare members waking up to the realization that the timeshare they were told would be easy to sell, or sell if they bought additional points, has no secondary market.
I have to admit I was not looking forward to a weekend of sign holding, but the reward we felt by the number of horn honks, thumbs up and, especially on Sunday, a steady stream of members stopping by to express their concerns, made it all worthwhile. Here we met Platinum member #84.
I’m not a Platinum member, but wanted to support the Platinum Protestors’ efforts. Patty and Cindy have their stories. The second day of the protest I heard from a Diamond memberwho contacted me infuriated. She had bought points from the same agent Patty bought points from, becoming #43 of 85 Platinum members who say they were pitched maintenance fee relief programs that do not exist. This will make six complaints against Patty’s agent; the third complaint against this agent was from a couple ages 79 and 80, the husband diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. We even have a recording of the agent provided by a veteran from over a year ago who experienced a similar up-sell.
Rather than show concern for 85 of their highest loyalty members who have reported unfair and deceptive practices, Diamond and the timeshare industry as a whole insists there are few complaints. There is not enough space in an article to list all the law firms, timeshare exit companies, lawsuits, including whistleblower lawsuits, and Attorneys General investigations concerning timeshare sales.
All protest participants had been timeshare owners and members for decades. They liked timeshare. The Platinum members had purchased points a number of times, so with the ensuing trust did not expect to be blindsided by programs that they say do not exist.
We’re not saying there are not honest timeshare sales agents trying to make a living selling timeshare points properly. But when top liars, who eventually get fired for pitching too much heat, are put up on a pedestal for new hires to emulate, the result fosters deceit.
Many have wondered if this industry could exist without deception. One timeshare insider reported that Diamond Resorts has the highest loan loss provision of all major timeshares. As reported by Wall Street:
Diamond Resorts International Inc. Downgraded To ‘CCC+’ On Very High Anticipated Leverage, Outlook Negative
The negative outlook on Diamond reflects our expectation for minimal cash flow generation and very high leverage in 2019. The outlook also incorporates our belief that the company is vulnerable to possible future operating missteps or an unexpected downturn in the economy over the next two years, which may render its capital structure unsustainable despite our assessment of adequate liquidity.
Many of the 85 Platinum members have resolved their dispute, but resolution required several rebuttals and regulatory filings. Some relinquished their points, meaning they walked away from all the money spent. Diamond points sell for around $4 per point so we’re talking about Platinum members with 50,000 points or more walking away from $200,000 or more. A recorded QA closing is routinely used in the dismissal, but recording the sales session is not allowed. As mentioned, recording without the other person aware is legal in some states, but not Florida.
Given a reluctant regulatory environment, the Courts of Public Opinion seem the only courts open. Holding up signs is not easy, but the rewards are great. A realtor stopped by clearly upset that he could not sell a Westgate timeshare for his client. I gave him my contact information. Within a few hours, his client called from Brazil. Out of about 60 licensed timeshare resale brokers, only one I am aware of will accept a Westgate listing. If there are no takers, I advised the member to speak Portuguese when the maintenance fees collectors call. He can no longer afford the timeshare. Fortunately, there is no loan outstanding. His relief at hearing straight answers was palpable, even from that far away.
Two new Facebooks have been launched by Wyndham and Starpoint Sapphire Inside Timeshare contributors. Through Social Media and grassroots protests we little by little are letting the consumer know timeshare sales can be a quagmire of debt and deceit. These are the support groups we feel are not industry influenced:
Thank you Irene and a very big thankyou to those who were able to make it to the protest, also thanks must go out to all those who showed support in whatever way they could. The next Platinum protest is scheduled for 9 to 11 November which is Veterans Weekend in the US and is being held in Arizona. If you are able to make it, you will be most welcome.
That is all for this week, use our contact page if you have any views or comments on any article published, or if you just need a little help or advice we are here to help.
Over the past few years Inside Timeshare has been reporting on the changing names of “FAKE” law firms based in Tenerife. We have dubbed them The Litigious Abogados Family, a family that has been growing at a very fast rate, with a new name and website every three to four months. This obviously keeps them one step ahead of the authorities.
The latest incarnations are just a couple of months apart, with the Legalizalos website registered on 14 March 2019, with an expiry date of 14 March 2020, the registrar of the website is again hidden by privacy protect.
Then on the 5 May 2019, the next in the family appears, Legal Izalos, with the website
Again, the website was registered on 5 May 2019, with an expiry date of 5 May 2010 with the registrant again hidden by privacy protect.
Both websites are the same from layout, logos names and photographs of the “lawyers”, also the same is the CIF Number A87531643, along with the founder Manuel Lamaconio Congana who set up the firm on Tuesday 30 May 1989.
which is not linked to the website but is from a free email address provider.
There is no need to go through the pitch as it is the same one we have reported right from the start, but again it sounds very convincing with the consumers timeshare company about to go to court. This once again is backed up by some very convincing documents including very good fake court documents.
One thing we do know the outcome will be in the consumer’s favour and they will be awarded a huge amount by the court, they will then have to pay “TAX” to have the money released. This will be a cheque posted to them from Tenerife, but we do know from experience that the envelope will be open and the cheque missing.
In comes the next company, who are investigating the missing cheque, which, just happened to be “cashed” by a gang of either Ukranians, Romanians or some other East European gang. Oh yes, there will be an upfront fee for this to happen, as if it will!
Below is a list of names for the law firms and procuradors which have been used.
Abogados Abel Garcia
Amador Ganeca – Amador Juandoz Ganeca
Abogados AG – Armando Gonzalez Areca
Abogados Amable Garcia
Abogados Litigacion España – JDD
Alberto Kalimro Galvera Abogados
Alberto Diendro Nabalez – Litigacion España
Alejandro Omross Procuradores
Amador Galeca Abogados
Amador Malodan Galeca
Angel Alarcon Prieto Notario
Armando Gareca Abogados
Bulganu & Valentin Asesoria
Carlos Igraim Procurador
Carlos Ingramo Procuradores
Carlos Imgran Procuraduria
Darstun Jilmo Davida Procurador
Davido Thursta Procurador
Daniel Marco Yariz Procurador
Elias Elisa SA
Elinabeta Yessica Elierz Procuradores
Elisabetta Olias Asesoria
Emilio Leyes Catillianos
European Union Complaints
EU Litigation Services
Ivana Birka Asesoria
Jessica Kiegle Procurador y Notario
Juan Luis Partalabo Lawyer
La Litigacion Española
Legalidad Abogados S.A.
Legitimous – legitimos Abogados
Litigacion Espana SL
Litigious Lawyers -Litigious Abogados
Luca Linder Trust
Luna Kinden Asesoria
Manuel Amas Conde
Manuel Cilavoz Varintos – Varintos Abogados
Manuel Diralam Abogados
Manuel Hidualdo Abogados
Marco Cravina Asesoria – Marco Carvina
Marco de Ciocci Translator
Marco Gravinal Procurador
Miguel Mesa Martinez
Miguel Mesa Montoya
Nabalez Abogados – Alberto Dilendro Nabalez
Notario Yari Marca S.A.
Paulo Finucie Asesoria
Paulo Morris Asesoria
Procurador Ramon Juanco Comez
Procurador Ramon Josardo Golmerz
Procuradores Alexander Bowross
Procuradores Comerz – Ramon Juanca Comez
Procuradores Gomerz – Ramon Josema Gomerz
Procuradores Gonzalez – Alfonso Emilio Gonzalez
Procuradores Igraim- Carlos Rihom Igraim
Procuradores Omross – Alejandro Omross
Procuradores Salinas – Miguel Salinas Procurador
Procuradores Raya – Miguel Earas Raya Procuradores
Procuradores Tabreul – Abel Deraza Tabreul
Procuraduria Carlos Gregorio Ingramo
Ramon Mesa Gorrin
Ricardo Zanino Asesoria
Roberto Arturo Sanson Abogados
Rodrigo Hoya Asesoria
Simone Mesa Martinez Abogados
Simone Meza Mendez
Thirstun & Robi Claims Asesoria
This is a very sophisticated and well planned out fraud, the constant change of names and websites make it very difficult for the authorities to trace the perpetrators and so it continues. The use of official logos, registrations, very good fake court documents and the great story with the promise of receiving huge amounts are all very convincing, so convincing many have been taken in. Unfortunately they have later found that they have been subject to a very clever scam.
For the full history of all these “FAKE” law firms and procurators, use the search box and type in Litigious Abogados, this will bring up every article where they have been mentioned. As you will see they go back at least 3 years.
Welcome to The Tuesday Slot, today we welcome another new contribution from the Valdibieso Family, with their “Nightmare on Timeshare Street”. These features are becoming all too commonplace, so it does beg the question, When will the industry take note and change?
Our very own Irene Parker has reported that the Platinum Protestors, protesting out front of Diamond ResortsCypress Pointe Resort in Orlando over the weekend, especially on Sunday, had a steady stream of horn honks, thumb’s up, and members who talked about their experiences, and many who asked questions about their concerns. On Friday, May 17, they protested outside the Florida Timeshare Division. One person who works inside the state facility, who asked not to be identified, suggested they protest every Friday. Unfortunately, since the protestors live in NY and AZ, it would be difficult to commute. All in all, it was a major success. A full report will be presented in Friday’s Letter From America.
Don’t Buy a Timeshare Without Checking Good and Bad Reviews
By the Valdibieso Family
May 21, 2019
Our nightmare began after we purchased a Sapphire Resort timeshare in Las Vegas in October 2017. From the start, our timeshare experience has been one of anger and frustration.
We have joined efforts with Vanessa Hernandez who purchased a Sapphire timeshare the day of the Las Vegas mass murder. Her article is linked below. Vanessa was uncomfortable after signing her contract, so planned to review her contract that evening, but attended the concert that devastated her life. She could not even get out of bed for a long time due to the trauma. Even a horror like witnessing a mass murder did not move Starpoint Sapphire to cancel her contract, despite reported misrepresentations.
I found 221 Starpoint Sapphire complaints on file with the Better Business Bureau, in addition to a host of complaints on other complaints sites. Starpoint has an A+ BBB rating. The BBB basically assigns a rating on how efficiently a company handles complaints. As you can see, Starpoint Sapphire is quick to respond that you signed a contract so you’re stuck.
Vanessa and I have joined forces to get the word out to let others know the timeshare you buy is worthless if you need to sell it. Not only is it worthless, it is accompanied by rising maintenance fees. I know of no other product that holds the buyer hostage, making sure they stay vacationed or else.
Join our consumer protection efforts. If you bought a timeshare and are happy with it, we understand. Not all sales agents are deceptive. We intend, like so many other timeshare buyers who feel they experienced unfair and deceptive sales practices, to build our Facebook group and start a RedWeek and Timeshare Users Group thread.
Until the timeshare industry wakes up to the fact that they are financially destroying family after family by allowing unfair and deceptive sales practices, and restricting the secondary market to the extent you can’t dispose of it, consumers will be harmed. Publicly traded timeshare companies even warn their stock investors that a secondary market is a risk to THEM. What about us?
Our Timeshare Nightmare
Our Sapphire sales presentation dragged on for hours. To seal the deal they offered us a free trip to Hawaii or Cancun but said we had to sign quickly because they were only giving one free trip to our group.
After we signed a contract, something didn’t feel right. We decided to cancel the contract. When we talked to them about cancelling, we asked how the timeshare could be transferred to someone else and – boom! That’s when we found out about maintenance fees and all the fees that would be needed if we wanted to sell the timeshare. They also informed us that if we could not sell it, we did not have the right to cancel. None of this was mentioned in the presentation. A company representative suggested we put it on Craigslist and hung up. We have tried to contact Sapphire, to no avail. They could care less about misrepresentations.
We were told we would be allotted 5,000 points annually that would allow us to go anywhere. This was not the case. The Sapphire points are not good everywhere. They can only be used at certain places and then only thru RCI. This was crazy because I did not even sign up for RCI. When we attempted to reserve a stay, we were informed that our points would expire on July 10, 2018. We could roll them over, but we could only roll them over one time. The points eventually expired.
All the locations listed in a book that was given to us required over 5000 points. We were also informed we could purchase trips for only $269. That was not the case, because again, we could only book through RCI and they have different rules. This had not been explained.
The free trip to Hawaii turned out not to be free. The sales agent failed to mention all the fees that we would have to pay, or that we would have to fly out from a specific airport, one we did not have easy access to. We would have to pay for plane tickets to the required airport and back. The free trip to Hawaii was what eventually sold us. If we knew about the costs associated with the “free” trip, we would not have signed the contract.
We have never used our timeshare.
This has literally been one of the worst experiences we have ever had in terms of deception and aggressive sales tactics that seem geared to wear you down. They brainwashed us and have caused our marriage to fall apart due to the stress of this purchase.
Only false promises accompanied our purchase.
Excerpt from Vanessa’s Starpoint Sapphire Resort article
October 30, 2018
To be honest, I don’t remember as much as I’d like about the purchase of our Starpoint timeshare October 1 of last year. That night Rogelio and I went to the concert that flipped Vegas upside down. We hid and ran for our lives, hoping to make it out alive. Thankfully we did. We cut our trip short, so I didn’t look over the paperwork as I told myself I would. I couldn’t get out of bed or eat for a month.
I remember feeling pressured and pushed into buying the timeshare, which was why I told myself I needed to look over the paperwork as soon as I got home. The reasons I felt uncomfortable with my decision:
They said the timeshare was prime real estate,
I was not aware the credit check was being run,
They told me to wait 30 days before booking,
They promised a free trip (which never materialized).
If you would like to join Mari and Vanessa’s Advocacy Facebook, contact Inside Timeshare and we will put you in touch with two more timeshare regret consumers dedicated to warning the public about the negatives of timeshare, to counterbalance timeshare developers and lobbyists insisting few regret their purchase.
Self-help groups we feel are not industry influenced:
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.
That’s all for today, thank you to our latest contributors for their story, if you have a story that you would like to share, whether it be a “Nightmare on Timeshare Street” or a positive experience (which we would love to hear about just to make a change), use our contact page and get in touch.
Welcome to the start of another week in the world of timeshare, today we highlight more scams appearing especially in regards to Eze Group. Several readers have been contacting Inside Timeshare with more information which does look a little disturbing considering the amount of knowledge the callers have on the member’s information.
We begin with a text received on one of our regular reader’s mobile phone, the text has been sent from +44 7860 015136 which is a number operated by the O2 network. This number is obviously new as it has not shown up on any of the who calls me websites yet.
The text received offers “NO WIN NO FEE” claim to get money back paid to Eze Group:
“Did you join EZE GROUP ? Would you like your MONEY BACK ? EZE GROUP has closed down , START your NO WIN NO FEE CLAIM TODAY.Reply YES for more information.”
There is no indication as to any company name so at present, we have no idea who is behind it, but it is obvious that they do have “client” details including their mobile numbers. Once we have more details we shall publish them here.
There does not appear to be a website for this company but the email address is given as [email protected] which as we know is the free email provider Gmail, so it is not linked to any website.
Again the story is the same, the caller who is using the number 0203 745 1086 with two names being identified as Ruth Firth and Sarah Baker, is one that is very familiar to us, they state they are appointed by the courts to reimburse Eze Group (Regency Shores SL) client money which is being held by the courts. They also state that they have a “long standing relationship” with The Madrid High Court, Central Bank of Spain and the Portuguese Chamber of Commerce. Not bad considering the company is less than 6 months old!
Now all this sounds very good, but they do want an upfront fee of £725 to do the work for the client, just coincidentally this is the exactly the same amount which every other “scam” company is asking for. So along with the fact they all seem to have very good information as to the purchase and personal details of the clients, which leads us to believe they are either employees, ex-employees of Eze Group or they have purchased the data, it also looks as though they may all be working together to maximise the money they can scam.
As always, never believe what you are told in cold calls, texts or emails, question them as to how they have your information, get as many details of the company as possible, but never pay them a thing. If you need help in checking them out, use our contact page and we will point you in the right direction.
Remember no courts, either UK or Spanish will appoint or employ private companies or third parties to contact potential victims, they also do not have any funds held or seized from Eze Group.
Welcome to this week’s edition of Letter from America, following on from our previous articles on the timeshare bills put forward by Florida and Nevada, Attorney Mike Finn submits his thoughts on this subject with the introduction by Inside Timeshares very own Irene Parker.
But first, a reminder that today is the first day of the Platinum Protest in Orlando, even if you can’t make it, please enter your support for them on the Diamond Resorts Owners Advocacy page on Facebook. We hope to bring you a report from them next week.
Lawyers and Their Important Role in Consumer Protection
By Attorney Mike Finn
Why You Should Sign our Petition asking a lawmaker to sponsor a Bill in 2021 requiring that timeshare buyers be offered 24 hours to review a perpetual timeshare contract before signing.
Provide the timeshare consumer 24 hours to review, at least think about, their decision to sign a lifelong perpetual contract, with no secondary market, often without even having tried the product, and often not allowed access to the booking site until after the rescission period.
This offer could be waived if the buyer chooses, either due to the certainty that the buyer wants the product, or the need to sign because the vacation is ending soon.
This offer should not be buried in the electronic fine print. It should be a separate disclosure presented and signed before the sales presentation. The price per point offer would be required to be maintained for 24 hours.
What’s so unfair about that?
Introduction by Irene Parker
Never mind a lawyer! We’d settle for our mom, dad, son, or daughter!
Both the Florida and Nevada Bills referenced in Mike Finn’s article below, asking that timeshare exit providers provide buyers 24 hours to review their contract before signing, died in committee: Florida HB 2639 and Nevada SB 348 bill are dead
SENATE – Died in Innovation, Industry, and Technology
How do you separate the wheat from the chaff? There are legitimate lawyers and lawyers with questionable business practices. I have contacted a number of exit company providers to inquire about the volume of calls they received. Two of the major exit companies say they receive between 3,000 to 3,500 calls each month from timeshare buyers desperately seeking release from timeshares they were told would be easy to sell. Each company only accepts less than 200 callers as clients, as the member must meet specific criteria of unfair and deceptive sales practices.
“Add to that advantage the fact that the purchaser purchases on the same day they’ve been introduced to the product with no ability to consult with or review the multipage purchase contract with their own legal representative and you can begin to understand the owner/purchaser’s situation years later when they ultimately seek to terminate their arguably lifelong contractual obligations contained within their timeshare purchase contract.”
It’s hard to say anything about lawyers that haven’t already been said. They are both revered and reviled as staunch proponents and champions of justice or as avaricious opportunists. The profession is comprised of all types, from the most learned jurists to the slightly seamier side of humanity. We lawyers share the same spectrum of positive human qualities and negative frailties as the rest of our species.
The import of this article is less related to the issues of lawyers individually, but rather to the role of the attorney as consumer advocate within the legal system. I speak to the issue of what removing lawyers, or significantly diminishing their role to effectively represent their consumer clients, does to strengthen or weaken consumer protection in general, as a matter of national policy.
Currently, there is pending in at least two states with a significant timeshare presence, Nevada and Florida, House and Senate Bills sponsored by ARDA, the timeshare industry’s trade association. Ostensibly, per the statements made by ARDA’s political arm, ARDA-ROC (American Resort Development Assoc.-Resort Owners Coalition), the primary intent of these Bills is to enhance consumer protection. However, to some of us on the consumer side of the equation, we suspect there may be a darker, more industry serving purpose. These Bills seek to regulate two separate and quite distinct groups, lawyers and timeshare exit companies.
There can be no argument that some regulation is warranted, specifically in regard to the unlicensed and unregulated timeshare exit companies; however, this ‘shotgun style’ approach of lumping-in lawyers with this proposed legislation will if passed, create some chilling and decidedly consumer-unfriendly impacts on the timeshare consumer/owner.
To further distinguish these totally disparate entities, lawyers are already both licensed and extensively regulated by their respective State Bar Associations. Additionally, as lawyers, (and unlike exit companies) we are specifically trained and educated to handle matters involving contract disputes, as well as debtor/creditor rights issues and other relevant matters that may well arise in the course of a controversy. Without getting too far into the weeds, I think it’s fair to state that the pending State Bills are clearly designed to severely limit and restrict the involvement of both timeshare exit companies and, from my perspective, more importantly, lawyers, in terms of their ability to provide services to timeshare owners seeking third-party assistance in terminating or modifying their timeshare purchase contracts.
To summarize the owners’ plight, many owners didn’t realize that their purchase contracts did not include a way to terminate their contract when they could no longer utilize their timeshares because of life changes, like aging, job loss, divorce, death of a spouse, or other major life changing events. This issue wouldn’t be so troublesome if it were not for the fact that there exists little to no resale value or market for these timeshare interests, trapping owners who cannot continue to derive any benefit from their ownership, but remain legally bound by their purchase contract, subject to annual rising maintenance fees and other contractual liabilities.
The ‘timeshare exit’ industry sprang into existence to fill the market void created when the timeshare developers themselves were unwilling to offer owners relief from essentially ‘lifelong and perhaps beyond’ contracts. This exit industry includes lawyers who focus on consumer timeshare owner issues as part and parcel of their law practices, and exit companies, non-lawyers who claim industry knowledge and apparent ability to act on behalf of timeshare owners in their negotiations with timeshare developers or property owner associations.
The focus of this article will remain on the lawyer and not the exit company. It’s important to distinguish between these two different kinds of organizations and avoid comparing the two. They are completely and totally unlike and should not be combined or grouped together in these Bills. It’s impossible to make any logical form of comparison beyond stating that each seek to represent the consumer timeshare/owner in dealing with the respective owner’s timeshare situation. Combining the two and treating them as equals in proposed legislation is grossly inaccurate and inappropriate. It only adds to consumer confusion!
Attorneys have undergone extensive education and training and have prepared for and passed a state mandated Bar examination in order to prepare themselves for dealing with contested and controversial legal issues. Our legal system is by definition adversarial in nature. Justice involves a process by which parties on each side of a controversy present, through their selected legal representative, their respective position to an impartial determiner of the facts in order to produce a just outcome. Indeed, our very symbol of justice is a robed and blindfolded woman holding a scale aloft in her hand.
Each side, through its appointed legal representative, presents its best case to the referee, hearing officer, or judge and jury. At the end of the contest, the winning side, through presentation of evidence and persuasion, tipped the scales in its favor. This is our legal system, or at least the portion of it that decides controversies. Add to our justice system the requirement that each side starts off with a level playing field. Neither side has gained an unfair advantage prior to the contest commencement. As a condition of fundamental fairness, may the side with the most compelling case for justice win!
What can skewer the ‘level playing field’ aspect of the justice model, is if one of the players gets to the game before the other side, gaining a one-sided advantage. Arguably, that’s exactly what the Timeshare Developer has been able to do. Since the state requires the Developer to register and apply for a license to market timeshares within that particular state, the Developer has prepared its purchase contracts and other disclosure documentation and submitted them to the appropriate state agency well in advance of its initial sale. It’s probably fair to suggest that these purchase agreements were prepared by an able team of lawyers with the Developer’s best interests in mind. In fact, the only remaining task for the Developer’s sales team at the time of consumer purchase is to fill in the blanks on the preprinted purchase contract with the purchaser’s name and other pertinent information.
Add to that advantage the fact that the purchaser purchases on the same day they’ve been introduced to the product with no ability to consult with or review the multipage purchase contract with their own legal representative and you can begin to understand the owner/purchaser’s situation years later when they ultimately seek to terminate their arguably lifelong contractual obligations contained within their timeshare purchase contract.
Now that you can envision, from the consumer’s perspective, the un-level playing field that the consumer finds themselves on at termination time, and add to that the circumstances that would exist if the Timeshare Developers are successful in passing these new laws. These Bills, if passed, would further restrict the consumers’/owners’/members’ ability to seek justice within the legal system, if the lawyers’ ability to represent the consumer is constrained and restricted.
From where I sit, as lawyer representing timeshare owner/consumers, it appears that the timeshare industry is dissatisfied with its already existing unfair advantage over their consumer and still seeks to tilt the field further in their favor. My advice to them (not that I anticipate them appreciating any of it) is to show a kinder, gentler aspect to your loyal owners by either recognizing and permitting an easier contract termination, or, at minimum, not further attempting to restrict their right to effective legal representation as they seek relief from their onerous timeshare purchase contracts.
Thank you Mike and Irene for this week’s edition of Letter from America, these articles are certainly helping many timeshare owners see exactly what is going on in the murky world of timeshare.
If you have any views or comments on any article published then use our contact page we would love to hear from you. Do you have a story to tell, be it a positive one or a “Nightmare on Timeshare Street”, which you would like to share, then contact us and we will help you to submit an article.
Well, that is all for this week, remember the Platinum Protest and show your support, have a great weekend and join us again next week.
Over the past few years Inside Timeshare has been following the story of the Anfi Tauro Beach Project. This was the creation of a manmade beach along with the development of the land to build a commercial centre and hotels. As we know there has been much controversy over the project, with the Head of the Coastal Authority José María Hernández de León being sacked and charged. His trial has now begun.
The former head is being prosecuted for illegally authorising the creation of an artificial beach at Tauro. The project was being financed by Anfi, who saw this as their flagship project, it would also involve the illegal importation of sand from the Western Sahara, which is banned by International law as well as Spanish and European law.
On the first day of the trial, the charges are of prevarication and falsehood, which Hernández denies vehemently, stating he always proceeded within the law. The Environmental Prosecutor has called for a jail term of three and a half years.
This trial is set to open up a can of worms, especially if it turns out that Anfi had influenced the passing of the plans and the starting of the work without the correct permissions and licences.
The Mayor of Mogan Onalia Bueno was also being investigated for authorising the work to start before the permissions were signed, several months after the fact. That investigation is still underway.
We shall bring you the latest news on this trial as it emerges.
The calls are being made by a former sales agent Geert de Greef, in the call, he is offering the client the chance to take legal action through the courts against Silverpoint, the cost 15,000€, but he then drops the price to 10,000€.
Geert de Greef apparently is also sending out a POA (poder) without the agreement of the client. In the agreement all the client’s details including passport numbers are present, this only leads us to believe that he is working from the official client data held by Silverpoint. So does this mean that they are cooperating with Silverpoint or have the details been stolen?
This is something we leave you the reader to decide, whichever it is, it certainly is not ethical and may even be in breach of data protection laws due to the information that they are holding such as passport details.
If you have been contacted by Nordic Consulting and especially Geert de Greef, contact Inside Timeshare and we will point you in the right direction, remember it may not be illegal to cold call but holding personal information without your knowledge or permission is.
The registered Director is named as Calle Guden Daniel Ernesto who incidentally is also the registered director of Litigation Services SL.
Once again they are targeting ILG / DWVC and Club Class members for a no win no fee claim to get them their money back. One small snag though, there is an upfront commission charge of 10%, so does this mean they already know how much the client “will” be getting back?
There is a website, registered on 14 November 2018 and set to expire on 14 November 2019, not really confidence building. The registrant is Litigation Services SL, so that does lead us to believe they are the same outfit.
It is more than likely that Jose Lara Cabello is not even aware that his registration number is being used, as there is no registered company called JLC Legal Services.
So once again we see another new “company” targeting people who had previously dealt with two companies which are no longer in existence, with the promise of getting them their money back. As these companies no longer exist it does make you wonder how they are going to get back the money paid?
As usual, the warning is very simple, before believing anything you are told in a cold call, do your homework. Check the companies out, if you don’t know how then use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will help you do the checks.
Another word of warning is the payment method, even if you use your credit card to make the payment, you will not be covered by Section 75 of the Credit Consumer Act 1974. The two payment methods are considered third-party companies, therefore no direct payment is made to the company offering the service and your card company will not reimburse you when the service is not delivered.