Browse Month

November 2021

The Tuesday Slot: Fraud, but there is no Fraud!

Today’s article really does show how vulnerable we are in today’s world in respect of “identity theft”. It also shows that the authorities are somewhat reluctant to deal with “frauds” where this has happened, a point that is not lost on many of our readers who have been scammed over the years. Although this story is not timeshare related, the similarities timeshare owners have had when reporting their own scams will be familiar.

This story is one that has completely baffled me, it involves what we believe to be a highly regulated and controlled industry, buying and selling a house.

We have all gone through the mill, all the solicitors, the conveyancing, the mortgage and a host of other things, but central to all this is the Land Registry, or to give it its proper title H.M. Land Registry. Yes, it is a GOVERNMENT/CROWN department.

So we would think that it would be impossible for a fraud to take place, well think again.

On this morning’s early news that myth has been well and truly shattered. It has also brought into question the attitude of the Police.

The Revd Mike Hall was working away from his home in Luton Bedfordshire and was a good couple of hundred miles away in North Wales. He then received a call from his concerned neighbours that somebody was in the house and all the lights were on.

Driving back to Luton, he attempted to get in with his key, but the lock had been changed, a man opened the door, he was employed by the “Owner” to carry out renovations. The builder left and returned with the “new owners” father.

The full story can be read at the links below, we have placed several publications but all are very much the same.

Mr Hall was able to check with the Land Registry, according to their records the house had been sold and entered in the register with the “new owner”. There was nothing the Land Registry could do; it was all legal as far as they were concerned.

The thing is, the land registry works on trust, they have to trust all those involved in the transaction of property. In their own words:

“We work with professional conveyancers, such as solicitors, and rely on them and the checks that they make to spot fraudulent attempts to impersonate property owners.”

“Despite our efforts, every year we do register a very small number of fraudulent transactions.”

All they could do was to report it to the police.

The response from the police to Mr Hall was, to be honest, disgusting.

Mr Hall was told:

 “Well, there’s nothing further we can do here. This is a civil matter; you need to leave the house and contact your solicitors.”

Using the online service for reporting crime, it was probably Action Fraud, the response was the same, he commented:

“I was shocked – having seen the house in the state it was, I was in a bit of a state of shock anyway – but then to be told by the police they didn’t believe a criminal offence had been committed here was just unbelievable,”

They believed that “no criminal offence has been committed”, had they investigated?

We very much doubt it considering it was the BBC Radio 4 program You and Yours who came to the rescue.

According to their own investigations they uncovered plenty of evidence:

“You and Yours obtained the driving licence used to impersonate Mr Hall, details of a bank account set up in his name to receive the proceeds of the sale, and phone recordings of the house being stolen.”

Bedfordshire Police have now launched an investigation.

This is a shocking story of how something so simple as a “Driving Licence” can be used to open a bank account and receive the proceeds of a sale of a “stolen” house.

At the start, I mentioned similarities, these are to do with how you are treated when reporting any “scam or fraud”. Over the years Inside Timeshare has received so many emails from people who have paid a fraudulent company, Inside Timeshare has always recommended they report the “scam”. The first reason is to obtain the crime number, this will be required when making a claim against your credit card or a refund from your bank if it was transferred.

Other than that, you’ll more than likely hear no more, no one has been hurt, you might get your money back, no investigation is ever likely to be launched. It comes under what was once explained as a “victimless crime!”

Now considering that H.M. Land Registry paid out £3.5 million in compensation for fraud in 2020, a figure which compared to the world of timeshare is we believe low, the question is who paid out the compensation?

That person or persons are the victims and in this case, it is probably the TAXPAYER!


Start the Week: Two of our old Friends are Back in the News

Welcome to the start of another week with Inside Timeshare, we ended last week with the latest news from the courts, today we begin with news of another appeal by Anfi being rejected. MacDonald Resorts will also be making a reappearance on our pages in the near future, today however we will give you a brief outline of our readers problems, for many, it will be a very familiar story.

The once respected Anfi

So, yet another frivolous appeal by Anfi Sales SL and Anfi Resorts SL has been roundly rejected by High Court Number 3 of Las Palmas, Gran Canaria. The news of this particular case arrived just after the publication of our Friday article.

The case which involves English clients was originally heard at the Court of First Instance Number 4 of San Bartolomè de Tirajana. At this hearing, the judge ruled that Anfi must repay the client full repayment of 30,883€ plus legal interest and return of their legal costs.

The contract which was also declared illegal and therefore null & void consisted of “floating weeks” that have been deemed illegal as they hold no value or substance. There was also no end date on the contract, so it was what is known as perpetuity. The law clearly states that contracts should be no longer than 50 years in duration and the termination date must be clearly shown.

The court also included in the repayment, double the amount taken as a deposit within the statutory cooling-off period. The point of the “cooling-off period” is to give the consumer the chance to cancel the contract without loss. As most of you will know, the sales process is lengthy and high pressure, the taking of the deposit tends to secure the “deal”, as most will not cancel in fear of losing the substantial deposits paid. This is something the sales teams of all timeshare have used to negate the “buyers remorse”, a term used in timeshare for those who want to cancel.

The High Court unanimously endorsed the original sentence and ordered Anfi to comply with these orders.

This client’s case will now be filed with the Mercantile Court to ensure they are accepted as “creditors” by the court-appointed administrator. This is due to the fact that Anfi Sales and Anfi Resorts have been placed into “necessary bankruptcy” by the Lopesan subsidiary Isla Marina SL. See the link below for the full story.

Once again this case was prepared and presented on behalf of the client by the lawyers of Canarian Legal Alliance.

The Plas Talgarth Resort, located on the southern tip of Snowdonia National Park

We now move to the upcoming article on MacDonald Resorts, as our regular readers will know, Inside Timeshare has over the years published many articles on the disgusting “business” practices of this Scottish Timeshare Developer. One thing is very clear, they are probably one of the worst operators in the timeshare industry, even the RDO had to remove them from membership!

Our reader first contacted Inside Timeshare back in March, with pleas for help as MacDonalds had already begun to initiate court proceedings using their “legal bloodhounds”, Shepherd and Wedderburn, for so-called arrears in maintenance fees. Something we know that MacDonalds actively pursues even against the elderly and those in distinct financial difficulties. This history of “legal extortion”, as that is what it really is, has been going on for many years as all MacDonald “members” will have seen.

We did highlight this case back in March and it was passed to the BBC Radio 4 program You and Yours, unfortunately, because of the upcoming court case, they were unable to proceed with the program.

The case has now gone to court and we will be bringing you the full story from our reader, who had to give up his employment to become the sole carer for a very ill Father. Below is the initial message our reader sent in.

“In 2013, I signed what I thought was a document allowing me to use a timeshare unit at Plas Talgarth later that year.  As it happens, I wasn’t able to use that holiday, so it was all a waste of time and money anyway.  From then onwards, I have received an annual bill for hundreds of pounds from MacDonalds for a service fee.  I have told them repeatedly that I have never holidayed with them and never will.  I have never paid this fee and now they have taken me to court – even though I’ve never had a single night’s holiday with them!”

Once again we are seeing signs of deception on the part of the sales staff, our reader had no idea he was signing and purchasing a timeshare membership with MacDonalds. Inside Timeshare is working with our reader to ensure the correct information is published.

All that Inside Timeshare can say at this point is you will be horrified at this Nightmare on Timeshare Street.

Link to the last article on MacDonald Resorts.

If you have any questions on your own timeshare purchase and contract, whether it is illegal and what your options are, either for a claim of relinquishment, then please use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get back to you.