Inside Timeshare, today brings you the story of one Norwegian families “Nightmare on Timeshare Street”, with photographs of the “Penthouse” in a “5 Star” hotel they purchased around 20 years ago. As usual, all the promises they were given when they purchased around 20 years ago never came to fruition.
This family were on holiday in Gran Canaria with their 2 young sons and the hotel they were staying at in Playa del Ingles was not up to scratch, in their words “it was of a very poor standard”.
While they were out at one of the local shopping centres they were approached by the usual “OPC’s” or commonly known as “timeshare touts”. The usual “pitch was given along with the ubiquitous “scratch cards”, you guessed it, they won the “star prize”.
They went by taxi to attend the presentation and receive their “gifts” ending up at The Airtours Beach Club, now known as Blue Bay in San Augustin on the outskirts of Maspalomas. This area is very popular with the Scandinavian community and is actually a rather nice area.
On arriving at reception they were duly impressed especially seeing the many plaques showing “5 Star” status. The usual “tour” ensued and they were shown several apartments. After the sales presentation, they purchased a week in the “Penthouse”.
This year they used their timeshare in the “Penthouse” and had a very big shock, the place was falling to pieces and was definitely not “5 Star” standard. Since the year 2000, they have paid well over 20,000€ in maintenance fees and for this year 2019, the cost was over 1,300€. As you will see from the small sample of photographs provided it is looking decidedly shabby and is certainly not a “5 Star Penthouse Suit” more like “Cockroach City”. On top of this, they had to pay for the use of “pool towels at 20€ and the television is old with a pay to view box!
These are just some of the images received by Inside Timeshare
We do know that Airtours Beach Club/Blue Bay has had some very severe problems over the past few years, most of which have been due to financial mismanagement of the resort by previous management companies. Several years ago it was placed in embargo and was due to be auctioned by the court, but it turns out there was interest or bidders, probably due to the financial debt that was attached to the property.
This is not an isolated case, Inside Timeshare has received many complaints over the years about falling standards at timeshare resorts, but this is by far the worst. To be fair, many of the timeshare resorts are of a good standard and well maintained, but for those that are not, it is a serious blight on the industry.
Welcome to The Tuesday Slot, we begin with news from Irene Parker and her Legal Defense Fund in the Diamond Resorts v Finn Law Group case, as of last night (after today’s article was submitted) it is now standing at $3,999. What a great start, keep the donations coming in. Here is a fine example of the work Irene has undertaken, we are also more than grateful to timeshare resorts who have been working with the elderly and the infirm to voluntarily take back timeshares. Irene reported that in just the last few weeks, by making sure timeshare owners who don’t know where to turn, or who to call, get pointed in the right direction. Irene has been doing a little detective work for them to make sure the timeshare member or owner has the right department or person to talk. You would think this would be an easy task, but due to age-related concerns or disability, small tasks can become mammoth in size.
Yesterday a struggling elderly couple in their 80s stayed on the line while Irene was able to put them in touch with a company that really does have a responsible exit. The company representative walked the couple through the process while Irene stayed on the phone. Maybe there is hope that we can turn Timeshare Wars into Timeshare Cooperation by having exit companies refer timeshare members and owners with fully paid for timeshares to Inside Timeshare and we will do what we can to keep up the pace of our readers seeking release.
Irene Parker’s $25,000 Legal Defense Go Fund Me Campaign
Launched: September 26, 2019
A Progress Report: Diamond Resorts v Finn Law Group
October 1 Update: Over $3,000 donated since Friday Towards $25,000 Goal!
Please donate $10 (or more) to my GoFundMe and let your voice be heard!
Borrowing a page from NPR, America’s version of the BBC, we are interrupting our regularly scheduled articles to meet our fundraising goal of $25,000.
My GoFundMe is a Legal Defense Fund to cover legal expenses concerning a lawsuit Diamond Resorts filed against Finn Law Group in 2015. I received a subpoena to produce documents it would be humanly impossible, as an individual, to produce without technological and legal support.
#2 of 13 subpoenaed demands: The term “computer materials” shall mean any and all files from any personal computer, notebook or laptop computer, (we gave one old laptop to a Wisconsin Diamond member when he was here in Florida. He asked if he could stop by my house for help with regulatory filings. Diamond called him before we finished the third regulatory filing. He resolved his dispute after he returned home and was able to get the deception he recorded out of his phone. He mentioned his son’s computer broke down, so my husband gave him my old laptop he had been tinkering with.) To continue: file server (This is what got Hillary in trouble), minicomputer, main-frame computer, or other storage devices, including, but not limited to, hard drive disk drives or backup or retrieved electronic information, including, but not limited to e-mail. All relevant files that are still on the storage media, but are identified as “erased but recoverable,” are to be included.
This is one of those, “Honey, can you help me with this?” My husband Don is pretty good with computers.
It is ironic that hundreds of Diamond members have sent hundreds of complaints to Diamond and to the timeshare lobby ARDA and ARDA ROC, a Political Action Committee, and it is no secret I review members’ reports of unfair and deceptive sales practices. ARDA and ARDA ROC have ignored all complaints. (ARDA is closely related to the law firm Baker Hostetler that deposed me for six hours and issued the subpoena). Diamond CEO Michael Flaskey sits on ARDA’s board and has oft-quoted his concern over unfair and deceptive sales practices perpetrated by timeshare exit company providers.
I am humbled and grateful, having received over $3,000 in GoFundMe contributions since Friday. GoFundMe has accomplished much good for so many.
My Inside Timeshare September 24, 2019 article explains the subpoena.
Rather than an article today, I offer two highlights from this past week. Resorts tell me they are inundated with owners calling seeking timeshare release.
From Frank Hennessey, age 78 to XXX Resort
August 21, 2019
I purchased an XXX timeshare on Nov. 15, 2013, from XXX Resort for $7,900. After complaining about lack of availability, I was told the unit I had was not very desirable and I should upgrade to a better unit. On July 23, 2015, I purchased from XXX unit 202 at XXX sales price $15,900.
As of September 2019, I have never been able to use this or any property I was promised. Not once. Because of some medical problems I have experienced in the last few years – knee surgery (ACL repair) hip replacement, knee replacement, broken arm, 10 broken ribs with punctured lung (5 days in hospital) I do not wish to remain in this contract
Please contact me. I reached out to ARDA’s Coalition for Responsible Exit, but xxx was not listed. The timeshare is fully paid. September 13, 2019, I E-mailed ARDA and informed them of my wish to cancel my contract with XXX and would appreciate their help. I’m waiting for a reply.
ARDA Coalition for Responsible Exit
Frank did receive a release.
#2 Helene Broome (same resort)
Helene Broome, age 88
September 26, 2019
To Ms. Parker, (an excerpt) from the resort:
I wish that we could take back the units of every owner who calls us with a sad story. Unfortunately, the condo association could not afford to pay all of their fees. We will make an exception for Mrs. xxx and send her a Quit Claim Deed to terminate her ownership.
From Irene to Ms. xxx
Helene is 88 years old, she has just been denied (I later learned gave up) her driver’s license, she’s a widow, uses a walker. Do you have to be in a permanent coma? Holding people 88 years old hostage is not healthy for the industry.
I am grateful you will make an exception in Helene’s case.
Thank you, Irene
Ricard is 89. An exit company was going to sign him up for $4,000, even took Richard to Disney for a chicken dinner. I made one call to Welk Resort to make sure Richard could easily reach the right person.
I have heard from about 60 Legacy owners in the last few months. Some resorts have worked with their owners. Some will not. Seniors are terrified of the foreclosure process. I am working on a good, bad, and ugly report of exact figures.
Mr. Kenneth McKelvey, of Defender Resorts, Chairman of ARDA ROC, testified March 12, 2019, at a Tallahassee legislative workshop I attended:
“Most of the developers I know and certainly most of the timeshare managers I know, and I managed timeshare properties for thirty years… every single resort had a dissolution policy, every single one! There was a way to get out. You had to come to your management company, and based on what the board of directors instructed us (the management company) to do in the terms if they had to pay a fee or if they had to be current, whatever those situations were, we did not have a one that did not have a dissolution policy and a hardship policy….”
The lawsuit Diamond Resorts filed against Finn Law Group
Finn and Diamond signed a settlement agreement in 2015 because Finn was bringing so many cases against the company, according to Diamond’s lawsuit.
Diamond says Finn disclosed the contract to third parties, violating an agreement to keep it confidential. But Finn responded in court that Diamond failed to cancel some of the contracts it had promised to, while the timeshare company also violated the confidentiality agreement, rendering the contract void.
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 Irene for another report on the work that you and our other advocates do free of any charge, to all our readers Inside Timeshare asks that you help by making a donation to the Defense Fund. Only together can we beat the monster that is the timeshare developers.
Tomorrow Inside Timeshare will be publishing a report from El Diario a Spanish newspaper titled “A court seizes the first properties of the giant ‘timesharing’ in the south of Tenerife’. Inside Timeshare has already published on this subject but the El Diario report only goes to reinforce the fact.