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Lopesan Buy Out the Lyng Family´s 50% of Anfi.

So it has finally happened, the news broke yesterday afternoon that Ragnar Lyng, the heir to the late Bjorn Lyng founder of Anfi, has sold his 50% share to Lopesan IFA. It is reported that Lopesan has paid 41.3 million euros with the papers having now been signed.

The deal has been on the cards for around ten years, since the death of his father none of the Lyng family have lived in Gran Canaria. All of the legal problems that have beset the partnership with Santana Cazorla have been bitter and very public. There have been battles over control of the board, court cases involving millions of euros which have been diverted to the Cazorla Group, as well as a long running court battle which also involved Lopesan.

 

The newspaper La Provincia 7/2/2013 reported that Santana Cazorla provided a Promissory note to avoid foreclosure of ANFI by Lopesan who claimed a debt of 14 million euro. Lopesan claimed the ANFI Group owed 14 million euros for the land in Tauro purchased from the Cardenas family. Lopesan claimed it was owed this as they had bought a Cardenas debt.

The Lopesan Group is well known on Gran Canaria, it has many hotels which are of a very high standard, 3 of which are located in Meloneras. Lopesan has no timeshare interest and are purely a hotel chain, so this begs the question what are their plans? Will the Anfi resort become another all inclusive, what is going to happen to the timeshare owners?

 

Over the past 18 months Anfi have been beset with severe legal problems, the Supreme Court has made a staggering 17 rulings against Anfi. These cases which have been brought on behalf of purchasers of the Anfi timeshare product by the local law firm Canarian Legal Alliance, has cost the Anfi group millions of euros. There are still over 100 cases waiting to be heard by the Supreme Court, with hundreds more pending at the lower courts.

 

Along with the investigations into the Tauro Beach project, which has already resulted in the head of the Canarian Coastal Authority being sacked, there is the possibility of more court cases of a much more serious nature in the pipeline. Could all this be the reason that Santana Cazorla himself has “retired” to Morocco as published in a previous article, the fact one of his bitterest rivals is now a 50% shareholder, along with the possibility of charges over Tauro Beach, does make it look like he has actually “done a runner”.

 

The main question now is what is going to happen in respect of the Anfi members, will this new partnership of “enemies” have an effect on the resort? Are Anfi still going to be selling its product, or is the sales side going to close? These and many other questions will eventually be answered and Inside Timeshare will publish the news as it comes in.

 

Search Anfi for all the articles previously published, click on the links below for some of the main events.

 

If you have any questions about this subject or any other article contact Inside Timeshare and we will try to answer them.

 

http://thecanarynews.com/anfi-del-mar-sold-to-ifa-for-e41m/

 

http://insidetimeshare.com/great-anfi-battle-partners/

 

http://insidetimeshare.com/anfi-boss-cazorla-going-morocco-retirement-escape/

 

http://insidetimeshare.com/irregularities-anfi-tauro-beach-project/

 

US Real Estate Regulations Update.

Further to the article highlighting The Property Man Bob Massi, Irene Parker informed Inside Timeshare that all States except one define VOI (Vacation Ownership Interests, points) as real estate. However Diamond‘s own contracts state (although buried within) insist that the membership is not real estate. The Diamond annual report also states they are not subject to real estate laws.

 

All this is very confusing to say the least, even Irene is confused and she lives in the US! So she kindly put me in touch with one of her contacts who was once a sales agent ILX and the after the acquisition and Diamond agent. Mark is a licenced broker, for 4 years he has been challenging the ADRE (Arizona Department of Real Estate) regarding “fraud” in the sales process of Diamond products. He has kindly sent the following information, which I have produced below, the reason is he explains it better than I could, after all I did say it was confusing. The following is his story:

 

Key to abbreviations:: ADRE Arizona Department of Real Estate. VOI Vacation Ownership Interest: AZ AG Arizona Attorney General.

 

In Arizona any sale of a property interest within the state requires licensing of ALL sales agents. All transactions are to be reviewed by the designated broker or their licensed assistant. The designated broker is liable for all transactions, and conduct of agents. The conduct of all agents is regulated by statute, Diamond has a designated broker in Sedona for all their properties.  


ARTICLE 11. PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT
R4-28-1101.
Duties to Client
A.
A licensee owes a fiduciary duty to the client and shall protect and promote the client’s interests. The licensee shall also deal fairly with all other parties to a transaction.
B.
A licensee participating in a real estate transaction shall disclose in writing to all other parties any information the licensee possesses that materially or adversely affects the consideration to be paid by any party to the transaction

While Diamond trains (requires) its sales agents to commit fraud, there is a clause in the brokers manual (which is not disclosed by broker) which states that the agent shall indemnify Diamond in the event of ANY action is taken against the company for misrepresentation, to the extent that the agent will even cover Diamond’s legal fees. I brought up the fact that the broker did not disclose this at the time he required me to sign a receipt for his manual, agreeing I understood and would abide by the terms however ADRE was not interested.

Most RE development within the state requires that all buyers receive what is called a public report It is  viewed by ADRE as a disclosure document that carries sufficient importance to the buyer, that pre- approval of its content by ADRE is required before sales can commence. Diamond and other companies selling VOI’s in the state are required to give buyers a public report.

It is important to note that it is a somewhat generic document and does not include material information regarding how a timeshare interest is structured, no explanation of the difference between a deeded interest and a VOI, or mention of relevant statue regarding sales and administration of these systems. This has left the door open for pirates like Diamond to circumvent disclosure requirements mandated by licensing, while openly committing fraud in the sales process. By alerting buyers to the existence of their RE license Diamond agents falsely present to buyers that they are being protected by RE statute.

In general real estate ALL sales must include a sellers disclosure document that requires all known material facts affecting the value of real estate being sold be disclosed by the seller. It is known as a SPUDS and intentional withholding of material information is grounds for civil litigation and other administrative penalties.. As I have been arguing repeatedly with the AZ AG and ADRE, since no SPUDS is given in connection with a timeshare, the sales presentation constitutes an oral SPUDS with appurtenant disclosure obligations.

During my 6 month tenure with Diamond I filed multiple administrative complaints against Diamond’s designated broker for lack of mandatory supervision. ADRE investigated those complaints and would not have done so if Diamond’s product was not considered real estate and subject to applicable statute. I was required to maintain an active license to sell Diamond’s poisoned pill. I have found in public records that Diamond’s broker entered into a consent order, and paid a fine for allowing an agent to continue selling VOI product after his license expired. ADRE could not have taken these administrative enforcement actions without Diamond’s VOI being legally defined as a real estate product in AZ.

This was the basis of my argument to AZ AG and ADRE that institutionalized fraud was being committed on the public by lack of enforcement pertaining to regulation and the insistence of continuing to classify VOI’s as a real estate holding when in fact Diamond’s own contracts states to the contrary and insists in clear terms (buried in an obscure place) that the membership is not a real estate interest. Clear as mud, that’s how they like here in sunny AZ.

 

As you can see, things are not as clear cut as we thought, Europe is not as big a minefield as the US. But this could be a very big problem for those in Europe who did purchase in the US, especially as they would not be aware of the regulations there.

 

As more information comes in, Inside Timeshare will publish it here, thanks to Mark and Irene for their input into these articles, it has helped to clarify some important points.

 

If you have any questions or information regarding this or any other article, Inside Timeshare would like to hear from you.

More News From Across The Pond: Bob Massi The Property Man

Following on from some of the articles highlighting the problems timeshare owners have in the United States, Irene Parker sent Inside Timeshare the following link:

 

http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2016/06/09/tired-your-timeshare-heres-how-to-unload-it-without-losing-money/

 

Bob Massi is a Las Vegas attorney known as The Property Man hosting a show aired by Fox News, who is a very determined advocate of the rights of consumers. In one case Irene points out a couple he helped resolve the issue of their bankruptcy, it took them five years to attempt to buy a house, then they found that the bank had not foreclosed in the first place.

 

He has also highlighted the problems in the timeshare world and as you can see from the video, gives the consumer some sound advice. He points out that unlike real estate, timeshare does not appreciate in value, that many owners if they are able to sell, only recoup a fraction of their original investment.

fox-news

So this is not just a problem we have in Europe, it affects timeshare owners in the US. In his article, he points out how to sell the timeshare or how to just get out, in the interviews with licenced resale brokers they explain how to safeguard yourself from the “scam artists” that promise the earth and deliver nothing. He also explains how one particular scam works, this is where you have listed your timeshare for sale on a marketing website, the next thing you know, a bogus company is in contact with you saying they have a buyer. (Think of the corporate buyer pitch or even the Russian market one, we have many buyers waiting!). Now in order to conclude this “deal” a closing fee is required upfront, guess what? You never hear from them again.

 

According to the video, timeshare is in the top 10 of scams in the US, this is probably the same for Europe. He also interviews the Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, in this she states they worked with the timeshare industry to enact laws to curb this abuse. She points out that since the laws were put into place they have closed down numerous firms, around 41, in many cases they have also secured convictions.

 

In the US, as we have highlighted before timeshare is regulated by real estate laws, sales staff must be licensed, if not they can’t sell the product. For those in Europe who own timeshares across the pond, the problem of how to get out is even more difficult, mainly because of the differing state laws and the distance involved. There are some companies in Europe who can help to get out of the timeshare, but if you are looking to sell, this article will help. You could also contact The Licensed Timeshare Resale Broker Association, (see link at bottom of the page), it consists of 64 members and works completely within the legal framework, all members must adhere to regulations and the codes of conduct set out by the association. But remember, as stated in the video many timeshares sell for only 10% of the original purchase price, contrary to what you were told at the initial presentation.

ltrba

Irene and her husband have also recorded an interview with Bob Massi, it is hoped that this will be broadcast in the Autumn (fall in American), when it is we will publish the links here. We also look forward to more articles in The Street by Irene, including one she is working on now.

The following link is an article about Bob Massi, it gives a very good insight into the man himself, the type of work he engages in and what it means to him, Hope you enjoy it.

 

http://www.reviewjournal.com/business/longtime-lawyer-sees-himself-advocate-underdogs

 

If you require any further information about this article, or any timeshare matter, contact Inside Timeshare. If we don´t know the answer we will find out for you.

More From Across The Pond.

As we all know trying to sell your timeshare or as they like to call it today “holiday ownership”, is a bit of a minefield. Who can you trust?

 

Our friends from across the Atlantic have the same problems, you think you have got rid of your timeshare, then suddenly you receive the annual maintenance bill. The resort does not recognise the transfer. This happened to many people who ended up buying into Designer Way Vacation Club several years ago.

 

With this particular scheme, you “sold” your timeshare to DWVC but had to pay many thousands of pounds to become a member of their club. The perks, well, you could stay in the same resorts for a fraction of the cost, discounts on flights, and off course no more maintenance bills. Oh yes, I almost forgot, you also were given a “cashback” certificate, this was for the value of your timeshare plus a bit extra for the cost of your membership. Then after registering it (which was a nightmare task), you had to wait around 5 years for it to mature. If you were lucky you may have got a few quid back, that’s if you claimed correctly.

 

Then after finding that the so called “discounts” were not what you were told at the presentation, (actually costing more), you suddenly received a maintenance bill for several years arrears. All this with the threats of legal action by a debt collecting agency. DWVC did not transfer your timeshare, or the resort did not recognise it.

 

This has also happened to one old lady who owned a MacDonalds timeshare, Yes, I am referring to Mrs B. Her timeshare has been sold for 1euro, (she actually paid the company around £7,500 to relinquish, not sell it). MacDonalds is now chasing for maintenance arrears because they do not recognise the transfer.

for_sale

Following is an article written by Tom Tubbs, an advisory member of The National Timeshare Owners Association, the American equivalent of TATOC. In this article he clearly shows how some companies in the US operate and how it affects the resorts and owners. This was sent to me by my American colleague Irene Parker.

 

By Tom Tubbs

Island Consulting Realty – NTOA Advisory Board Member

 

We’ve all heard the radio commercials, received the postcards in the mail, seen the TV ads, seen the web sites:

 

“Get out of your timeshare now! Call us today. Guaranteed or your money back!”

 

“You own a timeshare you can’t sell? We guarantee to get you out”.

 

“Dear friends. This is ‘Mr/Ms. Celebrity’. I trust these people”.

 

Now, think back. Remember the similar ads we heard from different companies years ago? Where are those companies now? What happened to them? Are these just new companies who rose up to fill in the gap? Hmmm…..

 

So, how is it that you could sell your timeshare but continue to be on the hook for the maintenance fees? What I’m going to share with you is a real story that is taking place right this minute. The names are changed, obviously. The way it’s being handled is not brand new, but relatively so and it’s happening more and more and more. Read the story and make sure you don’t fall victim to this.

 

So we’ve told you in the past about “transfer companies”. You pay them $3500 or so and they take your time share from you and they promise that your days of owning a timeshare and paying the maintenance fees are done. Many of these are perfectly good timeshares that could be sold and money put into the pockets of the owner, but if you’re a reader of this newsletter you know the stories the transfer companies tell you to convince you to give up your money. These companies for the most part have no real estate license so that they don’t have to worry about a state agency looking over their shoulder. Many of them come and go quickly…..with your money.

 

But there’s a new sheriff in town. A company called Timeshare Transfer Registry (real name) monitors timeshare transfers. They are especially suspicious about transfers going into the name of an LLC or Trust. Suspicions go up when they see 10, 20, 50, 100 or more timeshares being transferred into the same name. Resorts can register with TTR to try to protect themselves from being deceived by the transfer company.

 

So here’s what happened. “ABC Resort” (names are changed now) gets a copy of a recorded deed showing one of their owners sold their timeshare to “Whoopie Doo, LLC”. The resort contacted Timeshare Transfer Registry and learned that Whoopie Doo owns a LOT of timeshares. It’s looking pretty obvious that the LLC will never pay the resort a maintenance fee and the resort at some point will have to foreclose (that’s what happened to your timeshare). You don’t care, right? You’ve sold your timeshare and the deed is out of your name, right? Wrong……to an extent. You’re definitely going to care. Here’s why.

 

The resort notified the LLC that they noticed the LLC has purchased a LOT of timeshares and it looks like an obvious case of a transfer company about to dump the timeshares on the resort; costing the resort a ton of money. The resort refused to acknowledge the transfer.

 

In an interesting twist, the LLC contacted the resort and swore up and down they were not the same “Whoopie Doo, LLC” that owns so many time shares. Seriously? Really? The resort contacted National Timeshare Owners Association (NTOA, http://www.NationalTimeshareOwnersAssoc.com/) asking for advice. (Now in the interest of full disclosure I want to mention I am on the advisory board of NTOA. Before I became a member of the board, however, I was singing the praises about this organization for a long time. Becoming a member [talking about you, dear reader] is not a bad thing. You know I would never steer you wrong). I was asked my opinion about this. I advised that the resort tell Whoopie Doo to go pound sand. Whoopie will probably threaten legal action but the resort should stand firm. The last thing con artists like Whoopie Doo want to do (hey! That rhymes!) is walk into a court of law.

 

So now here is an interesting situation. You’ve paid a company $3500 to take your time share. You have signed the deed over to this LLC. You actually no longer own the timeshare, this is technically true. But the resort is refusing to acknowledge the transfer which means you are still on their books as the owner and you’re going to get a maintenance fee bill each year! Congratulations! Now, you won’t find this out until you get your bill next year. By that time, good luck on finding those nice folks who took your $3500. You now no longer own a timeshare and you’re on the hook for the yearly maintenance fees.

 

“Wait”, you say, “How can the resort refuse to acknowledge a lawfully recorded transfer of a deed”. (we heard you thinking this). Well, there’s this little thing called fraud. It was a fraudulent transfer designed to make money by bringing harm to the resort. (As a side note: Some resort who have been burned by this are now suing not only the folks behind the LLC but also the original owner [that would be……you] claiming fraud).

 

So how do you protect yourself? First, if you find yourself in a situation where you want to sell your timeshare, call us. It’s what we’ve done for folks for the past 30 years and we offer different programs depending on what you have and your particular situation. There’s not many folks we can’t help. And for the few we can’t help, we can refer you to the right person who can or offer free advice on what to do. Secondly, if you’re bound and determined that you trust that famous celebrity or the nice person across the table from you who wants you to pay them a lot of money, ask them for a copy of their real estate license. They should offer no excuses, no “this doesn’t apply to us” stories; they either have one or they don’t. If they don’t, well……..I’d hate to be writing a story about your situation in an up-coming newsletter.

 

At least in the US there is a company which tries to ensure this does not happen, The Timeshare Transfer Registry, but even with this in place the scam still goes on, not only losing thousands for the owners but also for the resorts.

 

So what can you do about not getting caught, unfortunately there is no straight answer. All you can really do is check the company and check again, ask your resort do they recognise the company you are dealing with. If you are undertaking a private sale, again check with your resort on how the transfer is done legally. Once the transfer is complete, again check with your timeshare company or resort that you are no longer registered as the owner and liable for maintenance.

 

The biggest problem is actually finding someone who wants to buy it in the first place, just look on ebay! There are alternatives to trying to sell, some resorts will take them back, for those that do not, then there is a legal process of relinquishment. Yes this will cost, the amount again depends on the company, but beware, as Mrs B found out she paid for a relinquishment but ended up with a transfer of ownership to another person and this is not recognised by the resort.

 

If you have any questions about this article or any other timeshare matter, Inside Timeshare is here to help. Contact through the comments section and will find the answer or point you in the right direction.

News From Across the Great Lake.

On many occasions Inside Timeshare publishes news as it comes in from the United States, much of this comes from my colleague Irene Parker. Irene is a long standing Diamond member, although she and her husband are happy with the holidays and membership over the years, she has highlighted the main problems in many articles. Irene also publishes articles in The Street, an online financial journal, in these articles she mainly highlights the stocks and shares side of the many timeshare companies. Whether they are a good investment or not and the reasons behind some of the falls in these share prices. (see link to her latest article in The Street at foot of the page).

 

In many of her articles she also highlights what they call in America as the secondary market, or to us in Europe the resale market. The fact that no secondary market exists for owners of Diamond Resorts International, is one of the biggest complaints owners have. Another that we are very familiar with in Europe is the difficulty in being able to exit your membership. In the US, the perpetuity contract is not illegal, unlike in Europe where the EU Directives on Timeshare have stated contracts should be for no longer than 50 years. As we have seen from the Supreme Court rulings in Spain, this is actually helping people to get out of their contracts and in many cases being paid back the full purchase price for being sold an illegal contract.

 

Many people in America are watching the events here in Europe, especially in Spain, taking stock of the way timeshare laws are being implemented. Some are even wondering if these laws can be brought into place for them in the USA.

dri logo

Following is the email she sent with a letter from Stephen J Cloobeck of Diamond, she also points out two complaints on Tripadvisor, then her own letter to Mr Cloobeck.

 

An Open Letter to Mr. Cloobeck from Irene Parker

 

A Message from Stephen J. Cloobeck

 

Dear Members and Owners, 

I am thrilled with the completion of the acquisition of Diamond Resorts by an affiliate of funds managed by affiliates of Apollo Global Management, LLC (“Apollo”), and am confident that this transaction will only enhance your vacation experience at Diamond resorts worldwide. 

Diamond Resorts was founded on the platform of The Meaning of Yes®, a customer-centric ideology that elevates the hospitality experience above all else. The company goes above and beyond to deliver exceptional vacations to its members, owners and guests so that you can enjoy a lifetime of memories and experiences that can be passed down from generation to generation. Over the years this platform has transformed into a core belief and our philosophy of We Love to Say Yes®. 

 

Recent complaint posted on Trip Advisor:

 

  1. Re: Diamond Resorts International (Trip Advisor)

Sep 01, 2016, 10:10 PM

To Glenvine32 – my husband and I got caught in this scam to our incredible embarrassment. We thought we were smarter and I should have read reviews before we went to their presentation in May in Sedona, AZ. It was a 4 hour ordeal and we bought a worthless 2500 points which we have not used nor plan to. We have since heard from their own reps that we should have never been offered so few points, that those were add on points to be purchased by owners – not prospective buyers. We are retired and will never get value out of these points even if we buy more which we absolutely have no plans to do.

Having read so many negative reviews now I am concerned we will have little recourse. It’s bad enough losing the 13k but to be held to annual fees for at the rest of our lives? Have contacted them by phone and have drafted a letter to send by registered mail. Probably won’t get a reply. I don’t want to resign myself to the loss of the money but what’s worse is how it will affect my credit. Any thoughts? How did you do?

Complaint #2

I am at the Cancun resort in Las Vegas and went to a breakfast where they said they would simply update me about the changeover to Diamond. I was told that I should have been invited to a dinner where I would have been given options, decided by a judge in a legal ruling against Monarch due to their bankruptcy. They proceeded to show me a print out that said when my current term expires in August. I would have to pay $573 per quarter to Monarch. They said that due to the bankruptcy, I would have no equity. That was option one. Pay more, have nothing. The other option they said was to transfer into Diamond at a cost of $12,000 plus and pay a yearly maintenance fee of $1,700. Less than the $2,292 I would soon be giving Monarch. They also told me that I would then have equity of $41,000 that I could sell. I was in tears. I do not have any extra money. In fact I have been looking for ways to get out of Monarch for over a year now. They said that was not an option and that as an owner, I was now proportionally responsible for their debt. I felt trapped and signed all the papers to transfer, with no idea how I can pay. After reading the comments above I am even more scared. I am trying to start my own business and am already in severe debt. They claimed when they ran my credit though that it looked better than most and assured me I qualified for financing. I would have to pay off, basically transfer to credit cards, which I can barely make my payments on now before I could look to sell. One of the reps assured me that she would put me in touch with someone who could help me sell my points. She even gave me her cell phone number to call after the sale/transfer is finalized. I am really scared though. Please help! We have to do something. It seems as though they have no qualms about lying to and robbing people for their own benefit.

September 5, 2016

Dear Mr. Cloobeck,

If I were you, I would be thrilled with the millions you and other insiders made on the Apollo leveraged buyout; along with the millions paid out in executive compensation.  For Diamond owners who are widowed, elderly, ill, unemployed or victims of high pressure sales, slogans like “Stay Vacationed!” and “The Meaning of Yes” feel like a cruel taunt.

According to a Kroll Bond report, Diamond employs 90 full time collectors making over 100,000 calls per week via a dealer. These calls originate because of being told no. All firms have a few bad apples and complaints on the internet, but complaint sites are flooded with Diamond Resort and Westgate complaints.

Please explain to me how the contract I signed is different from a junk bond in that it became worthless the moment I signed it if I could no longer travel and needed to sell. In the subprime mortgage debacle, even properties foreclosed could be sold.

My husband and I have used and enjoyed timeshare for over 25 years without a question or complaint until Diamond purchased ILX. We signed a contract that said we could sell points. We also asked several times if we would be able to sell points if we could no longer travel and were told we could.

The first person who told me Diamond points cannot be sold was attorney Bob Massi of the FOX show Property Man. After Property Man aired a segment explaining how to unload a timeshare, I contacted David Cortese of Magical Realty. Mr. Cortese was featured on a Property Man segment stressing the importance of using a licensed resale broker to sell a timeshare, rather than listing or transfer agents that come with a minefield of scams.

I wrote to Mr. Massi after enduring a pathetically aggressive sales presentation at Grand Beach in Orlando last July. We were promised three times we would not be paired with a commissioned agent. We were greeted and tortured by three commissioned sales agents.  

In a timeshare presentation, an agent gleefully explains how Diamond has many affiliated resorts. Our daughter lives in New York City. In searching for a Diamond location, I found a Diamond affiliated resort. It required 63,000 points. It was the least expensive offered. This equates to over $10,000 in our maintenance fee dollars. Booked through the hotel, the cost including taxes is $2,693.  I will be sending a copy of this letter to NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, one of the few AGs actually on the side of the consumer. I doubt there is a sales agent in the Diamond organization that would explain affiliated properties are not discounted. A Diamond representative explained that these Diamond offers are for platinum owners who have so many points they don’t know what to do with them. They are probably short on math skills.

Never imagining I would earn a response from Mr. Massi, I was contacted and learned the show received a multitude of timeshare complaints after airing “The Queen of Versailles”. The producer told me I was the only person selected for an interview because I was the only person that said I would like to talk about timeshares positives in addition to the negatives.

It is my understanding that not one member of the 64 member Licensed Timeshare Resale Broker Association will buy or sell Diamond’s non-deeded points or Westgate weeks due to restrictions placed on the use of points purchased on the secondary market and other tactics designed to restrict the secondary market.  I also leaned members of the LTRBA will buy and sell all Diamond’s competitor programs except Westgate. I sent a survey to all the members and received 16 responses. These I compiled and forwarded to the Attorney General of Arizona and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.  

The Trip Advisor complaint I included with this letter has convinced me that Diamond has become so brazen; the company is confident it can get away with anything indefinitely and unchallenged. Unless an owner is fortunate to live in a state like New York or Tennessee, Attorney Generals do not seem to consider timeshare abuse a cause worth pursuing.

Many of the complaints are about availability and maintenance fees. The 15% pure profit Mr. Palmer bragged about to shareholders, added on to maintenance fees, is excessive. In a Latticework article written in cooperation with ADW Capital, the lack of a secondary market is mentioned as a reason to buy Diamond stock. From my research, I have determined Diamond and Westgate are the only two timeshare companies that have restricted the secondary market to the extent it does not exist.

I have written an article entitled Sometimes a Diamond Resort Dream Vacation Turns into a Nightmare. Diamond’s in-house council, Ben La Luzerne, said he hoped he could help the Saldana family devastated by Diamond’s rising maintenance fees and victim of high pressure sales. They were told to get a home equity loan to reduce Diamond’s high interest rate.  I am still waiting to hear back from the family before publishing the article, hoping for a positive outcome.

What I am asking, is for Diamond to reach out to a few members of the LTRBA to see what would be needed to create a secondary market. Unlike most internet complainers, I can live with the maintenance fees and the problems with availability. I would like to enjoy my retirement instead of researching, on a daily basis, how Diamond is ruining the financial lives of so many, especially the elderly.

I look forward to hearing how we can work together to stop the harm Diamond is placing on the ill, the widowed, the elderly, the unemployed and the victims of the oral representation clause protecting Diamond and be able to say YES! to the people .

Sincerely,

Irene Parker

The Peasant of Venice (Florida)    

As you can see, our cousins across the pond are not very happy with how Diamond Resorts International operate. They too are locked into contracts which are almost impossible to extricate yourself from. The fact that their so-called investments in Vacation ownership Interests (US term for holiday ownership) are virtually worthless. Lets hope that they take stock of what is happening in Europe and use it to help the many owners in the US to get some protection.

Inside Timeshare thanks Irene and the many others who have contributed to the information we share with you, we also thank the many readers in the US for their support of this publication.

If you have any questions about this article or any other matter, Inside Timeshare will be pleased to answer them. If you are looking for advice on who to go to for cancellation of contracts or possible claims, Inside Timeshare will help point you in the right direction.

Link to The Street article by Irene Parker

https://www.thestreet.com/story/13653117/1/the-timeshare-industry-has-improved-its-reputation-but-still-faces-scrutiny.html

 

CLA Client Receives Payment from Anfi.

Yesterday 30 August 2016, Canarian Legal Alliance announced that one of their clients has received the money awarded by the courts.

 

CLA Logo

Earlier this year the client had a favourable decision by the High Court Number 3 of Las Palmas, this was once more against Anfi. This court again used the Supreme Court Rulings in reaching their verdict. The Client will receive over 33,000€ plus interest and legal fees, CLA reports that the client is still yet to receive this interest and legal fee payment as it is dealt with separately.

 

It appears that these cases are not only getting to court quicker, but the payments are being received by the client in a much speedier manner. This is proof that the rulings made by the Supreme Court are having a profound effect on the lower courts.

miguel1
Miguel Rodriguez Cabellos Senior CLA lawyer representing the clients

This is obviously another blow for the Anfi empire, with more cases still in the pipeline including over 100 still to be heard at the Supreme Court. What with all the legal wrangles over the Tauro Beach Project, in which work has been suspended pending the investigation by the Guardia Civil’s Nature Protection Service (SEPRONA). Also there is the matter of the complaints made to the Guardia Civil by the residents of Tauro for damage caused by the floods on 4 August. There is no doubt another court case will be in the offing for compensation.

seprona

 

 

 

 

 

 

Along with the news which was published by La Provincia about the Anfi boss Santana Cazorla, who is reportedly taking “refuge” in Morocco, things are not looking that good for Anfi. So this again begs the question of where is all this going to leave Anfi and above all you the members?

 

The past is certainly starting to catch up with this company, who are no strangers to controversy, Inside Timeshare has highlighted some of these in past articles. (see links at the foot of the page).

 

If you would like more information on these judgements and how they may affect your contract, Inside Timeshare will try to answer any questions. These Supreme Court rulings also apply to other timeshare companies, and we will be happy to give you the information as to how they may also affect you.

 

http://insidetimeshare.com/great-anfi-battle-partners/

http://insidetimeshare.com/anfi-tauro-beach-project-people-flooded/

http://insidetimeshare.com/tauro-beach-project-latest-news/

Anfi Boss Cazorla Going to Morocco: Is it Retirement or Escape?

 

 

Tauro Beach Project Information Update.

Since the last article on the Tauro Beach Project, the high tides that were expected did not cause any problems for the residents. This is probably due to the building of sandbag defences and the fact the weather has been very calm. But it is getting to the time of year when storms out at sea begin to become commonplace, it is these storms that will be the real test for the local community and any defences put into place.

 

Inside Timeshare has been looking around the internet at the story of this project, it has been reported widely for some time in the English language by Gran Canaria info. Another local paper in English The Canary News have also followed the story over the past year or so. Not to forget all the Spanish newspapers who have brought much information into the public arena.

 

For those who are interested we have provided some links into this story, mainly from Gran Canaria Info. There is also a link to a video made by Anfi, this includes an interview with the Anfi Ambassador David Silva.

david silva
David Silva, Anfi Ambassador laying the first sand.

David is a famous son of the area, hailing from nearby Arguineguin and has become a world renowned football star. His support for his local community is exemplary, having made significant investments in the area which has benefited his local community. In the video he states that he believes the project to be a worthy one, with benefits for the area in tourism and the subsequent jobs this will bring.

 

Although, we do have to agree with him in this respect, the problem is not with the idea, but how it has been implemented, this is not his fault, all he wants is the best for his local community. For this he gets our total respect. The apparent lack of environmental research into the impact of changing the beach from a rock and pebble beach to one of sand, is at its heart. The current investigations into the licences and permissions granted, all being conducted by the Guardia Civil, raises other disturbing questions. This is a problem of big business and politics overriding what is right. (see previous articles)

new tauro beach

This is a story which is going to run for some time, not just because of the investigations, but for the local community when the winter storms do start out at sea.

 

http://www.gran-canaria-info.com/news/tauro-beach-development-march-2016

 

http://www.gran-canaria-info.com/latest-articles/all-change-at-tauro-beach

 

http://www.gran-canaria-info.com/news/new-tauro-beach-to-be-finished-in-2015

 

http://thecanarynews.com/tauro-beach-project-is-moving-at-last/

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iny_Bgj3Dno

 

http://timeshare-talk.info/2016/08/05/challenge-of-legality-tauro-beach/

If you have any questions about any company you are not sure about, contact Inside Timeshare and we will find the answers for you. Inside Timeshare is here to give you the news on what is going on in the world of timeshare, keeping you informed and where to look for yourself.

 

No Availability: Why?

One of the main complaints we hear about at Inside Timeshare and on various forums, is the lack of availability that floating weeks and points members encounter. So why is this?

 

Originally, timeshare was sold on a fixed week basis, with the owner being given a week number and apartment. This entitled the owner to return to their resort the same week each year and use the same apartment. It was this method of use which attracted many people to buy, it guaranteed the standard of accommodation and the holiday. For many this system was great, they returned the same time each year, getting to know other owners. For many who had young children this was an added bonus, they got to know other kids and over the years some very good friendships developed.

 

Over the years and speaking to these owners, they even arranged holidays at other resorts as a group. Using the RCI or Interval International exchange system, they would bank their weeks and book at other locations. They became in effect an extended family.

how-timeshare-points-systems-work-presentation-and-script-5-638

When the floating weeks and points systems were introduced, they were marketed as being more flexible. At first this was the case, although many remained as fixed week owners. The points system does not actually entitle you to anything other than right to use, you are no longer an owner at a resort but a member of the club which sells the points.

 

For example, Sunterra took over the management of a small resort in Mallorca called Cala de Mar. It is not a large resort, around 45 apartments, it had a large membership of fixed week owners who returned year after year. They got to know the staff and the staff remembered them when they returned. Sunterra tried to convert these owners into points members, but most resisted. For them, they purchased at this resort for one simple reason, they loved the size and friendliness of the place. They actually felt that they owned something.

cala de mar
Cala de Mar Mallorca

After Sunterra collapsed and Diamond took over, the resort was ditched. It was taken over by the ONA Group, many of the old fixed week owners are still there and return year after year.

 

Another aspect to the complaints of availability is the rental weeks that are also on offer. These are available over the internet through booking companies such as booking.com, tripadvisor, medresorts,net, Trivago and many more. Resorts also have their own websites and offer rentals, many for considerably less than the maintenance fees that members are charged, some even advertising 25 to 60% discounts.

bookingcom

These resorts are also booking out to the major tour operators such as TUI and Thomas Cook, again many at less than maintenance charges. Why is this happening?

 

Remember that most resorts are not owned by the companies that manage them, they own your membership of points, they collect your maintenance fees but you are their members not the resorts. They may only have so much inventory at this or that resort, the resorts themselves only get a fraction of the maintenance fees. In order to keep the resort afloat, they rent out the inventory not being used by the points club. So when you the points member tries to book, there is no availability at the resort, hence the booking window in many cases is a minimum of 12 months in advance. Anything after that, you may just be lucky. It is also the case that the points club has more members than it has inventory, so you can see where the the problems is, more people than accommodation available.

 

So why are you the member paying thousands for a membership which guarantees you nothing, costs you the earth every year in management fees, then you are unable to get rid of it. Locked into a contract which is no good to you?

 

Only you can answer this question.

 

Yes, these resorts are of a high standard, but would you not be better booking as a non member, paying for your holiday without the ever increasing maintenance. Then as we have seen recently at Garden Lago, the management company who you own the points with, sells their interest and you end up losing any of the member benefits when returning to the resort on the exchange system.

interval

Try searching the internet for the resorts by name which are in the RCI & II catalogue, you will be amazed at what is available. You will also be surprised at the cost, yes at certain times of year the prices may be high, but is this not also the case when using the high street travel agent? One thing to remember, even if the price for a week is more than your maintenance fees, the person booking as a non member has not paid around £10,000 for membership. I leave you to decide what is better value.

 

It must also be mentioned, this is the reason the Spanish Supreme Court has ruled that floating weeks and points have been declared illegal.

 

If you have any questions about this or any other timeshare matter, Inside Timeshare will try to answer. If we do not know, we will find out. Also if you want any information as to how you can get out of your membership, contact Inside Timeshare, there is a solution for you.

My Thoughts for Today: End of August.

So here we are, the end of August and what a month it has been, we ended July with the breaking news about the Anfi Beach Project at Tauro. It was announced the Guardia Civil Nature Protection Service (SEPRONA) had begun an investigation into irregularities in the permissions that were granted.

Playa-Anfi-Tauro-Canarias-Ahora_EDIIMA20160716_0223_18

This resulted in the dismissal of the head of the Coastal Authority, it appears the investigation which is ongoing may result in more dismissals and may even end in charges being brought. Inside Timeshare has been following the case as more information came to light, on 1 August Ben Magec of Ecologists in Action called for “the immediate shutdown and sealing” of the project, pointing out that it was having a detrimental effect on the nearby Special Area of Conservation.

 

Then on 5 August, Inside Timeshare published the story about the floods that occurred the day before, posting a video made by one of the local residents. At the time the flooding occurred it was a high tide, this would not have been a problem when the beach was in its original state. The rocks and pebble beach which was much higher than the sand beach, created a natural defence, with the rocks breaking up the waves. Without this natural defence the sea just rolled over the beach, flooding several homes.

 

August 8th, we published further videos of the flooding and photographs of some of the damage caused to homes of the local residents. The Bomberos (fire brigade) spent considerable time helping to pump out the water from these homes, but damage to many appliances such as fridges and washing machines was considerable. The local population then made denuncias (official complaints) to the Guardia Civil, who are now investigating. One comment from a resident was who was going to pay for the damage, they also felt they were being ignored that they were “desperate, nobody pays attention to us”.

CLA Logo

On 9 August it was announced that Canarian Legal Alliance had just won their 18th Supreme Court Victory, this took the rulings by the Supreme Court against Anfi to an incredible 17. In this particular case the court awarded over 45,000€ plus interest and legal fees to the client. Again the court stated that contracts over 50 years, floating weeks and taking deposits within the 14 day cooling off period illegal. So another happy client of Canarian Legal Alliance.

 

Then on 15 August another win for a client of CLA, this time at the High Court in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria. A staggering 66,907€ plus interest and legal fees were awarded to the client, also their contract was declared null & void. The High Court cited the Supreme Court rulings in making this judgement, showing that the judgements from Madrid are having a profound effect on how the lower courts rule.

 

The following day we published an article on the argument that is raging between TESS (Timeshare Exits & Support Services) and the Monster Travel Group. It highlighted two articles published on the TESS website on the same day, in this Tess pulled no punches in the accusations laid against Monster Travel. It also made a scathing attack on the sales staff, particularly what TESS called the “Taylor Twins”, again TESS pulled no punches.

eldiario

Then it was published in the Spanish press that the boss at Anfi (one of the part owners) Santana Cazorla was moving to Morocco for “retirement”. El Diario headlined it as Santana Cazorla se refugia en Marruecos” or Santana Cazorla takes refuge in Morocco. Inside Timeshare published this story on 17 August, in the article the questions asked are what had prompted this news. One only has to see the problems of Anfi with the court cases being brought by their members, then to cap it all the accusations and investigation into the Tauro Beach Project.

 

Just to move away from Anfi for once, Diamond Resorts announced that they had sold off their interests at the Garden Lago resort in Mallorca. The ONA Group now run Garden Lago, they also have interests at the  Cala de Mar and Cala Pi resorts, also in Mallorca. It also highlighted one member who bought because they loved it there, now Diamond have no interests there, the only way for them to use the points they own is to use them on exchange, or book direct with the resort. With this last option they would have to pay the going rate as their points would not be used.

 

19 August, CLA announced another victory at the High Court in Las Palmas, the British couple Mr & Mrs Hammond had their contract declared null & void. They were also awarded a full refund including interest and legal fees, it was not stated how much this was.

 

So in all, August has turned into quite an eventful month, it remains to be seen what September will bring.

 

If you have any questions relating to any of these articles please contact Inside Timeshare and we will do our best to answer them. It only remains for me to say have a great bank holiday weekend and I hope the weather is just as good for you to get the BBQ´s out.

bbq man

Diamond Resorts Sell Garden Lago Interest.

Just recently it was announced that Diamond had sold its interest in the Garden Lago Resort, Alcudia Mallorca. The new management company that has taken over is the ONA Group, who also run the former Sunterra / Diamond resort Cala de Mar in Cala Egos and also the Cala Pi resort in Llucmajor.

logo_Onagrup

Diamond did not own the resort, they were purely the management company charged with operating it. This is the same for all the resorts that come under the Diamond Brand. Many of the original owners at Garden Lago purchased fixed weeks, then were converted to the points system under Sunterra and then Diamond. Under this system they are members of Diamond Resorts International and have no rights at Garden Lago.

 

So what does this mean for members?

 

While Diamond ran the resort, members had the right to use with full member benefits that Diamond offered. Now the only way to stay at this resort as a Diamond points member is to use the exchange programme, either through Interval International or RCI. Unfortunately this will not include the full Diamond member benefits.

 

For one family this has come as a rather big blow, their story was posted on Tripadvisor just recently. They state that they had been on holiday in Mallorca and attended a presentation at Garden Lago, and liked what they saw, they then purchased the Discover Diamond Package.

 

After visiting the resort on several occasions, they decided to purchase the full Diamond Points system, as they told the sales staff, it was on the basis that they only wanted to use Garden lago. They were not interested in other resorts that Diamond had to offer, Mallorca held some special holiday memories for them, and as stated before they loved the resort itself.

dri logo

Now that Diamond no longer has a presence on Mallorca and especially at Garden Lago, they believe that their contract with Diamond has been altered significantly. Unfortunately, this is the problem with the points system, members do not have any rights at the resort in which they made the purchase. So, the only way their points membership will get them the full benefits, is to use another resort managed by Diamond.

 

This is one example of why the Spanish Supreme Court declared the points system illegal, the other is that it is subject to availability, your holiday at a particular resort is not guaranteed.

 

For this family it will also now incur considerable expense, when it was managed by Diamond they would use the Diamond booking system. Now they will need to pay Interval International or RCI membership, including the exchange fees.

 

As reported elsewhere, Diamond have had a fall in their net income of around 28%, normally Diamond are buyers, it may be this fall that has prompted the sale. Could this be just the first, are there more planned? Are Diamond offloading some of their European Collection and is it linked with the acquisition by Apollo?

 

These questions may not be answered yet, but time will tell. As the news comes in Inside Timeshare will bring it to you.

 

If you have any questions about this or any timeshare matter, contact Inside Timeshare for free and impartial advice.