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Pricing Points: Advocates Group try to Explain.

Irene Parker is once again ending our week with the following article, she asks the question that many owners have wondered, How are points valued?

We all know that most timeshares are well overpriced, many reps will tell you about the “stack and drop” method of selling, which was mentioned in the last article. In this article Irene, points out the use of leased aircraft by company executives, again another question is posed, who pays for them?

Would the inflated price per point pay or does it come from rising maintenance fees?

Mind you I’m sure most of us would love to have the use of private company jets, at least we wouldn’t be lumbered with the screaming kid or the semi drunken holiday maker.

In the second part of the article, we get the views of five of the advocates from the Diamond Resorts Owners Advocacy facebook group. This is a new forum for owners to air their views, ask questions, seek help and guidance on many issues and share in the latest news. These advocates will also intervene on your behalf in negotiations with the resorts.

In the short time this has been running there have been some very good results, as we say at Inside Timeshare, debate is better than confrontation.

How is a Timeshare Point Valued?

By Irene Parker – February 24, 2017

graph $

There were many responses to this week’s article, “Is This Timeshare Proposal merely Monopoly Money?”  We have summarized the comments in today’s follow-up article.

http://insidetimeshare.com/timeshare-proposal-merely-monopoly-money/

Old fashioned fixed weeks were real estate. Units were sold with a deed, meaning you could see, feel and touch what you bought. Points later developed claiming greater flexibility, but rising maintenance fees, problems with availability and the sinking feeling you get when checking in, knowing you must brace for the sales staff, has caused more than a few timeshare owners some discomfort.

Most of the original fixed week resorts did not maintain a fleet of aircraft. There is not enough information to know if a fleet of aircraft ends up in maintenance fees or in a point price. Here is one Timesharing Agreement concerning leased aircraft.

Relationship with the Company’s Executive Officers and Chairman of the Board

Time Sharing Agreements

Diamond Resorts Corporation (“DRC”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company, is a party to time sharing agreements with each of David F. Palmer, President, Chief Executive Officer and a director of the Company, and Howard S. Lanznar, Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer of the Company, in each case with respect to use of an aircraft leased by DRC. In each case, the time sharing agreement provides for the use by the individual of such DRC aircraft, together with use of DRC’s flight crew, and permits the relevant individual to reimburse the Company for specified costs related to such use. Stephen J. Cloobeck, the Company’s chairman of the board of directors, may also enter into one or more time sharing agreements with DRC with respect to his use of aircraft leased by the Company or DRC.

The Company and DRC have also agreed that the Company will not charge Mr. Cloobeck for use of Company-leased aircraft for non-business purposes for an aggregate number of flight hours with a value, based upon the relative costs of operating the Company-leased aircraft, equal to 50 flight hours on the most expensive to operate of the aircraft leased by the Company.

While leasing executive planes is not unusual for a corporation, it is disconcerting to many families struggling with rising maintenance fees and loans financed at 12% to 18%.

Diamond Resorts does not currently own or lease aircraft”. Clarified DRI PR spokesperson Maya Pogoda.

I would not be surprised if a company the size of Apollo has a lease fleet.

Back to Points

Critics accuse us of being dummies who don’t know how to use Diamond points.

Here are replies from a few of our Advocates.

Blackboard

Several members of our “think tank” and Diamond Owner’s Advocate Facebook expressed alarm over the $8.52 retail price. Today I learned the retail price is expected to increase 25% under Apollo’s guidance to $10.60 and then $12.25.

One of our Facebook members described this as “Anchoring” which is a way to make people think they are getting a bargain at $4 when the retail price is $8.52.

According to Wikipedia, and cognitive and behavioral economics, such a price creates a benchmark for perceived value.

Most people understand the MSRP sticker on the window of a car on a dealer’s lot is not the price the buyer will pay. The buyer understands the car will depreciate the moment the car is driven off the lot and they will in all likelihood sell the car for less due to depreciation. Consumers do have a reference point found in “The Blue Book” of automobile resale value.

We know there are people who will pay well above $3.00 a point for a Diamond point listed at $8.52. However, unlike a car, the selling side of the market doesn’t know what any specific buyer is willing to pay. Thus, they start with a high “opening offer” and then lower it until they discover the buyer’s willingness to pay. Economists call this price discrimination – selling the same product at different prices to different buyers. It is particularly effective when different buyers (or groups of buyers) have differing sensitivities to prices, often caused by differences in income and wealth.

A final observation is that when Diamond was publicly traded, they held quarterly earnings calls with Wall Street analysts. I listened to about 10 of these and was surprised that the price per point was never discussed. The CEO and CFO didn’t mention it in the prepared presentation and the analysts never asked about it. The focus was always the average price per transaction, which is the number of points times the price — something like $22,000. Even when an analyst asked: “what was driving the increase in the transaction price?” the answer was never price-per-point.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/DiamondResortsOwnersAdvocacy/

advocate 1

Our same advocate #1 offered a comparison of Diamond fees with other timeshare systems. The conversion factors are obtained from Diamond’s own Club Combinations valuations. Fees for the non-Diamond systems are trust fund fees (not deeds) for the respective systems.

Chart advocate

A second Advocate

The company determines the price per point.

I would imagine that the value is based upon the “cache” of the brand, the location, demand and the competition, much like any company would value their product.

Say a developer has a resort with 100 units that they sell 50 times/weeks = 5,000 units.  I would image that determines the profit they want to make, divide it by the number of units, and then turn that into points and pricing. How do they convert the value to other travel awards?  How much does the award cost the resort and what does it take to recoup the points they traded in?

I know the conversion from timeshare points (a day or a week) to hotel points is not equal. It cost more points to stay in hotels than resorts.

Advocate #3

I am concerned with the downturn in earnings announced coincidentally just after the Apollo acquisition announcement:

Diamond Resorts‘ second-quarter earnings release was delayed after the company’s independent registered public accounting firm BDO USA said that the company may not have correctly applied the relative sales value inventory valuation model when preparing its consolidated financial statements for 2014 and subsequent periods. Thus, even Diamond accountants did not answer the question accurately.

After the correction, the change resulted in a decrease in net income of $5.6 million for 2015 and a $1.3 million decrease for the first quarter, in each case from amounts originally reported, according to the second-quarter release.

Significantly, second-quarter net income decreased $10.1 million or 28.5% to $25.5 million year over year, compared with a first quarter increase of $8.4% or 32.6% to $34.4 million, prior to the restatement.

https://www.thestreet.com/story/13702895/1/diamond-resorts-international-s-second-quarter-earnings-reversal-is-worrisome.html

Advocate #4 responded:

The issue is that the developer owns the inventory, even though the inventory is first returned to the HOA.

  • The HOA, where members sit, is a nonprofit, which takes financial responsibility for the ongoing operations of the club;
  • HOAs are standalone entities, but are often controlled by the developer, who writes the HOA instruments (using standard language – they are all very similar);
  • Developers give themselves board control, along with declarant control, and hire themselves as managers;
  • If a member defaults, the timeshare points/weeks are actually returned to the HOA, but the HOA rules give the developer the right to grab them;
  • Return points/weeks (inventory) flow through the front door of the HOA and out the back, into the developer’s hands;
  • Developers then get to sell the inventory all over again- and the cost of doing so is essentially only marketing / sales;
  • But they have to pay dues on those weeks/points, like everyone else.

The cost of carrying those points has to show up on the developer’s books, which includes the annual maintenance costs and the VALUE of the inventory (which is reported as a short-term asset).

Since the developer controls the inventory, they control the pricing. In my view, they are pricing it at that rate for two reasons:

1 – To try to fool consumers (as they always drop the price)

2 – For inventory management purposes within their own corporation (developers) (that is, for their own financial reporting purposes).

According to extracts from Wyndham and Hilton’s annual reports:

Wyndham’s 2016 10K

https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1361658/000136165817000004/wyn-20161231x10k.htm

Following are descriptions of these inventory sources:

  1. Self-developed inventory: Under the traditional timeshare industry development model, we finance and develop inventory specifically for our timeshare sales. The process often begins with the purchase of raw land which we then develop. Depending on the size and complexity of the project, this process can take several years. Such inventory can include mixed-use inventory developed in conjunction with one of our hotel brands, where a portion of the property is devoted to the timeshare product.
  1. WAAM: In 2010, we introduced the first of our WAAM models, WAAM Fee-for Service (formerly known as WAAM 1.0). This timeshare sourcing model was designed to capitalize upon the large quantities of newly developed, nearly completed or recently finished condominium or hotel inventory in the real estate market without assuming the significant risk that accompanies property acquisition or new construction. This business model offers turn-key solutions for developers or banks in possession of newly developed inventory, which we sell for a fee through our extensive sales and marketing channels. WAAM Fee-for-Service enables us to expand our resort portfolio with little or no capital deployment, while providing additional channels for new owner acquisition and growth for our fee-for-service property management business.

In addition to the WAAM Fee-for-Service business model, we utilize our WAAM Just-in-Time (formerly known as WAAM 2.0) inventory acquisition model. This model enables us to acquire and own completed units close to the timing of their sale or to acquire completed inventory from a third party partner based upon a predetermined purchase schedule. This model significantly reduces the period between the deployment of capital to acquire inventory and the subsequent return on investment which occurs at the time of its sale to a timeshare purchaser. For the most part, inventory is recorded on our balance sheet at the time we are committed to purchase such inventory, which generally coincides with the time of registration.

  1. Consumer loan defaults: As discussed in the “Purchaser Financing” section, we offer financing to purchasers of VOIs. In the event of a default, we are able to recover the inventory and resell it at full current value. We are responsible for the payment of maintenance fees to the property owners’ associations until the product is sold. As of December 31, 2016, inventory on the Consolidated Balance Sheet included estimated recoveries of loan defaults in the amount of $256 million.
  1. Inventory reclaimed from owners’ associations or owners: We have entered into agreements with a majority of the property associations representing our developments where we may acquire from the association’s, properties related to owners who have defaulted on their maintenance fees, provided there is no outstanding debt on such properties. In addition, we frequently work with owners to acquire their properties, provided they have no outstanding debt on such properties, prior to those owners defaulting on their maintenance fees. This provides the owner with a graceful exit from a property that is no longer utilized due to lifestyle changes.

Hilton 10K

https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1361658/000136165817000004/wyn-20161231x10k.htm

Inventories

Inventories include unsold, completed timeshare intervals, timeshare intervals under construction and land and infrastructure held for future timeshare interval development at our timeshare properties (collectively, timeshare inventory), as well as hotel inventories consisting of operating supplies that have a period of consumption of one year or less, guest room items and food and beverage items.

Timeshare inventory is carried at the lower of cost or estimated fair value less costs to sell, based on the relative sales value. Capital expenditures associated with our timeshare intervals are reflected as inventory until the timeshare intervals are sold. Consistent with industry practice, timeshare inventory is classified as a current asset despite an operating cycle that exceeds 12 months. The majority of sales and marketing costs incurred to sell timeshare intervals are expensed when incurred. Certain direct and incremental selling and marketing costs are deferred on a contract until revenue from the interval sale has been recognized.

In accordance with the accounting standards for costs and the initial rental operations of real estate projects, we use the relative sales value method of costing our timeshare sales and relieving inventory. In addition, we continually assess our timeshare inventory and, if necessary, impose pricing adjustments to modify sales pace. It is possible that any future changes in our development and sales strategies could have a material effect on the carrying value of our timeshare inventory and purchase commitments for timeshare inventory. We monitor our projects and inventory on an ongoing basis and complete an evaluation each reporting period to ensure that the inventory and purchase commitments for inventory are at the lower of cost or market.

Hotel inventories are generally valued at the lower of cost (using “first-in, first-out”, or FIFO) or net realizable value.

Advocate #5

It has been my experience that price per point representations were discretionary based on observations made in real time regarding the client’s perceived ability to pay. There appears to be a much more organized push to create acceptance of inflated price per point values by consumers. The timeline is consistent with Apollo’s takeover.

My recollection is that the most lucrative segment of DRI sales is up sell to existing owners. Given high incidence of owner re-tours it is no surprise that as they ramp up owner marketing to pursue this cash cow, consistency between properties regarding inflated costs creates a more effective sales tool.

When fictional upgrade options/letters are tied to an artificially high sales price per point a disciplined sales force will use this to their advantage.

The higher price is designed purely to strengthen and legitimize the subsequent price that will be offered. It was more random in the past. Since Apollo, it sounds like there is now some standardization regarding price point being offered. I would guess that final purchase price has become more uniform so as not to risk owners comparing prices while on property, and the fact that someone is paying attention, at least for now.

thinking pencil

All in all, more questions than answers.

Once again a very informative article from across the “Great Lake”, if you have any questions, views or news, Inside Timeshare would be pleased to hear from you. Having a problem with your timeshare, contact us and if we don’t know the answer, we can find someone who does.

friday-again

Have a good weekend.

Owners Coming Together to Help Each Other.

Following on from previous articles from Irene Parker and the problems owners have, today’s article focuses on the setting up of a forum for owners with legitimate concerns. Many of these forums do not encourage those with problems who need true help and advice, they seem to be pro timeshare and actively discourage people with complaints and problems from posting.

Owners need to be able to get proper advice, not the opinion of a pro-resort owner, who only promotes that fact, labeling others as negative. Timeshare does have a positive aspect, but unfortunately the negative is much more the norm. We hope this article gives some of you hope.

Diamond Resorts Owners Advocate Facebook

Launched to Help Timeshare Owners who do not know Where to Turn

https://www.facebook.com/groups/DiamondResortsOwnersAdvocacy/

By Irene Parker

February 14, 2017

your voice advocacy

Aristotle Onassis, husband of Jackie O, famously said, “Some of the most money I ever made came from ideas that were very simple, but no one ever thought of them before.”

Timeshare owners are not trying to make money – far from it. They only want to be treated fairly. Several Diamond Resort members Facebook pages are feverishly trying to maintain an equal number of happy/disgruntled owners. Rather than worry about Diamond owners like Mr. Ralph Marble, tilting the balance towards unhappy – why not refer owners like Mr. Marble to a Facebook page designed to help owners with legitimate concerns? Mr. Marble’s case was resolved after eight years only because a television reporter called Diamond asking that Mr. Marble be released from his contract.

http://www.clickorlando.com/news/investigators/timeshare-woes-for-one-man-who-tried-to-cancel-after-an-illness

Inside Timeshare has been inundated with emails from timeshare owners who are tired of the stories we write week after week describing the harm being done to hard-working families victimized by rogue timeshare sales agents. Even sales agents are coming forward reflecting on how they used to earn a decent living selling timeshare according to rules that, while not perfect, did not financially devastate the lives of people who signed off on a “Vacation Experience of a Lifetime” only to learn their experience was at the opposite end of a dream vacation. Vacation nightmare is not too strong a word.

Over time, several owners, former sales agents, attorneys and advocates have formed a timeshare think tank composed of some of the greatest minds in timeshare. Some are attorneys, but most are owners bringing a lifetime of expertise in management, finance, accounting, legislative and advocacy skills that can move a timeshare mountain.

Helpful websites and Facebook pages posting helpful comments don’t go far enough. The beleaguered timeshare owner still faces what can be the challenge of a lifetime, unaware of the army of attorneys working against them. There’s a reason why people facing legal battles require opposing counsel and one on one advice and support.

A case in point is the family we will call William and Mary. This married couple has two sons, one stationed in Germany at a US army base. A timeshare sales agent painted a dream vacation describing how the family of four could stay at exquisite resorts, including Germany, where they could vacation near their son. The couple bought 2500 points for approximately $10,000. Their real names have been withheld pending the outcome from Diamond Consumer Advocacy.

Armed with 2500 vacation points and their membership ID and location booklet received long after the contract recession period, the family later sadly learned their 2500 points fall far short of what it would take for a family of four to stay at a promised resort for a week to ten days in Germany. Not sure where to turn, they contacted Charles and Irene at Inside Timeshare.

I spent a career in finance, but still fell for the dream of being able to stay at a New York Diamond property to visit our daughter. Like William and Mary, my husband and I learned the 10,000 points we accumulated fell far short of the 40,000 to 60,000 points required to stay one week at a Diamond NYC hotel, not told affiliated properties are not Diamond owned so never discounted. In real dollars, it means it would cost from $5000 to $10000 in Diamond maintenance fee dollars to stay one week at the same hotel booked online for $2400, including tax.  I checked several times throughout the year. We do find value at other parts of the country, so have made do, but the reason we bought our points remains unfulfilled.

Travel awards also fall short. A point purchased for $2 to $4 is only worth $.07 if used for airfare. Understanding basic math, I later learned it would take all our points or approximately $2500 in maintenance fees to book one domestic US airline ticket. Unless you intend to travel first class next day, this makes no economic sense. A Diamond customer service representative later explained travel awards are offered for convenience, not value, helpful for owners who have so many points they don’t know what to do with them all.

Where do we go from here?

Our timeshare think tank Facebook members may just follow along, unless they have advice to add. Send your story and we will follow up – one timeshare owner by one timeshare owner.

united we stand

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free ….  

 The Statue of Liberty, written by American poet Emma Lazarus (1849–1887)  

https://www.azag.gov/press-release/attorney-general-brnovich-announces-800000-settlement-diamond-resorts

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this or any article published on Inside Timeshare, please do contact us and we will answer them for you, failing that we will pass you to the appropriate place to have them addressed.

  

 

Latest News from Europe and the US.

Before we go on with today’s article from Irene, there has been some breaking news over the past week. The Supreme Court in Madrid has issued three rulings against Silverpoint, on behalf of three clients of Canarian Legal Alliance, all three came within days of each other.

In the first was the British Client who purchase at Club Paradiso, the court ruled that this was indeed timeshare and not a club affiliation as Silverpoint claimed. This case has taken around five years to get to this stage, with appeal following appeal.

The second case was that of a CLA client from Belgium, the court declared once again the illegality of contracts over 50 years.

Another British client of CLA who purchased the Hollywood Mirage and Beverly Hills Club Vacation Package. Again this ruling was around the “club affiliation” scheme, the court once again ruled that this did indeed fall under the scope of Spanish timeshare law, (Ley 42/98) as in the first ruling.

So far since March 2015 CLA have achieved remarkable results, with around 42 rulings from the Supreme Court, involving numerous timeshare companies, with Anfi being the most prominent. (Follow the link to The Northern Echo article on the first case).

http://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/15045851.Woman_wins_a_landmark_legal_ruling_on_timeshares/?ref=rl&lp=2

In the article by Irene today, she looks at the Diamond Resorts Clarity (™) programme, it would seem that Diamond are trying to change the way they operate amid growing protests from owners, especially the elderly.

This programme at present will not be rolled out in Europe, Although Diamond Resorts in Europe have already begun to make considerable changes in their approach to owners / members. They have set in place a programme where members can surrender their timeshare under what Diamond call “exceptional circumstances”, with this there is no charge.

One reader has Steve has taken advantage of this, with Diamond accepting his surrender, but there is a twist in this story. Diamond are investigating how he was sold and how he also ended up with a finance package, they obviously believe that there is something wrong. Once this is completed, Inside Timeshare will bring you the results.

Contained within the article is an interview Irene had with Maya Pogoda the Diamond Public Relations Officer. She has welcomed the chance to speak with Inside Timeshare and has supplied numerous comments and answers to our questions. So on with Irene´s article.

Diamond Resorts Clarity (™) – The Good, the Bad and the Critical

Diamond Owners are Hopeful but Skeptical

By Irene Parker January 29, 2017

Skeptical Method

DIAMOND CLARITY(™) is the offspring of Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s issuance of an “Assurance of Discontinuance” resulting from allegations that Diamond Resorts International violated the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act.

http://insidetimeshare.com/opcs-europe-usa/#more-1518

Maya Pogoda, Diamond Public Relations spokesperson, talked to me about the new national program consisting of a series of operational procedures and enhancements, new training and compliance procedures and protocols, and other customer-friendly changes to the sales process.

Press Release excerpts:

Missing from press release: “We recognize the need for Diamond Resorts and all timeshare companies to change or improve timeshare business practices that have led to predatory lending and deceptive sales techniques, resulting in harm to timeshare owners,” suggests Irene.

I took issue with several statements made in the press release:

“At Diamond Resorts, we already excel in customer satisfaction, but we are constantly looking for ways to do even better,” said Executive Vice President, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer Michael Flaskey.

I spoke with a few timeshare attorneys. One paralegal who works for a timeshare attorney asked not to be identified. Their firm has released 10,000 owners from timeshare contracts and said Diamond is their biggest “customer”.  Timeshare attorney Mike Finn of the Finn Law Group carries approximately 500 timeshare cases with 20% to 25% against Diamond Resorts. Mr. Finn said he’s never had a Disney timeshare client.

There are also several angry Diamond owner groups:

DRIP Diamond Resort International Protestors launched by over 1000 angry British owners trying to be released from contracts.

Intrawest Embarc Diamond Facebook page has over 2500 Intrawest members. An administrator of this group recently suggested I post our last Inside Timeshare article on their Facebook page after being banned by a Diamond Influenced Member Supported 7000 member Facebook group.

I had sent the article to an Intrawest administrators individually. She receives a link to all my articles. Unfortunately, one of the administrators from the 7000 member group voiced a warning to one of the other Intrawest administrators urging a word of caution concerning the dangerous piano teacher, Irene Parker.

https://www.facebook.com/Club-Intrawest-Owners-Group-921012087982547/

The 7200 member Facebook group consists of about 50% happy/angry owners. Members who are 100% negative on Diamond Resorts are privately and quietly urged to join DRIP, according to one member who asked not to be identified. Ironically, the same administrator was banned from the DRIP website accused of being too positive.

Charles Thomas was banished within days of joining the 7000 member Facebook accused of supporting the Canarian Legal Alliance. Charles can better explain the success CLA has had fighting timeshare abuse.

Owner infighting is strongly encouraged by Diamond Resorts because United we Stand and Divided we Fall. There is a lot of that going on in the world today.

Inside Timeshare allows political commentary to enter into our articles. In fact, given the fact the Trump family is launching a timeshare in Scotland, it is even encouraged. One of President Trump’s closest friends of 20 years is David Siegel of Westgate. Westgate has been under Consumer Financial Protection Bureau investigation for the last few years.

Continuing the litany of unhappy Diamond owners:

Monarch Website of angry owners owning fixed weeks could not gain access after converting to points, resulting in a class action lawsuit.

http://www.monarchowner.com/p/our-story.html

Poipu Angry Owner website:  Assessments resulting in a class action lawsuit.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Point-of-Poipu-Angry-Owners/148027451960608

Thousands of complaints have been voiced on Redweek, BBB and other internet complaint sites. Just yesterday a Redweek member reached out to me. I sadly informed her she made my list of top two percent timeshare horror stories. The subject of Diamond timeshare sales agent Rick Casper of Polo Towers Las Vegas will be the subject of my next article

Of course, people can always contact me directly.

Irene Card

RedWeek continues to allow me to post.  I was asked to provide a link to the article that caused me to be banned. Controversy generated by an article is a writer’s best friend.

My Facebook page has no quota on happy/angry comments. I deny I am 100% negative on Diamond. We still enjoy Diamond Resorts and find good value at times. I am encouraged by the meaningful conversations I have had with diplomat and PR spokesperson Maya Pogoda.

I find relatively few complaints on the internet about Hyatt, Hilton or Disney.

Back to the Clarity Press Release:

“It will increase transparency”

Keep Reading

Timeshare Advocacy

On Monday 23 January we published “And So It Begins”, it was about freedom of speech and the press. This was in response to Irene Parker being banned from the Diamond Resorts Members Facebook Page, which is a members page for Diamond owners. Irene is a long standing Diamond owner. She campaigns for greater clarity in the sales process and for the secondary market, also for those who wish to surrender their ownership. In this she has engaged with Diamond in meaningful dialogue and has achieved some results.

Irene did managed to sneak in one Diamond owner’s testimony before she was banned from her Diamond Members Facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/diamondresortsmembers/

Irene caused an escalation in negative comments so was banned from the Diamond Members Facebook page, although the charge was because she posted our Inside Timeshare article about Attorneys General in the US working for timeshare owners, compared to Attorneys General who seem to be on the side of the timeshare developers. She was told she had been warned. When she posted her previous article on this topic, the article had been removed, but protest resulted in the article being re-posted. Irene erroneously  interpreted this as an approval of free speech.

The article banned and reposted was about timeshare dividing down party lines with Attorney General Eric Schneiderman halting sales at The Manhattan Club for a “bait and switch” scheme, compared to Attorney General Pam Bondi seeming to be on the side of the timeshare developers.

President Trump has a golf resort in Belmedie in Scotland with plans for around 900 timeshare apartments, which is set to double under new plans. In America this was reported to be only a golf course, they had no idea of the plans for timeshare to be built along with a 450 room hotel and 500 homes. Not to forget a second 18 hole course. We will of course be closely following developments in Belmedie and President Trump’s new golf and  timeshare resort.

Irene was accused of being political. Most timeshare owners don’t know that their voluntary $7 donation to ARDA ROC goes toward the timeshare developer’s lobby efforts. Lobby efforts in 2015 resulted in a law being passed making it more difficult for timeshare owners to be released from contracts due to “immaterial errors” as reported by the Orlando Sentinel. Is this not “political”? We reported on this in the October article “More News from Across the Pond”.

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/taking-names-scott-maxwell/os-gov-rick-scott-signs-bad-timeshare-law-20150617-post.html

For today, free speech still exists in Spain, Europe and in America. Free speech will always exist at Inside Timeshare or we will die trying. Without it you a will not know what is happening.

Today Irene´s article is about “Advocacy”, even Diamond agree this is needed and they have created a “Consumer Advocacy Department” to resolve consumer problems.

How Timeshare Advocacy Works

Update on Arizona Attorney General’s “Assurance of Discontinuance”.

 Retired Canadian Army Family’s Diamond Resorts Advocacy Experience.

By Irene Parker January 24, 2017

Support

For years timeshare owners and prospective owners have been clogging the complaint sites, complaining about what the Arizona Attorney General’sAssurance of Discontinuance” or AOD describes as Diamond Resorts:

Deception, deceptive or unfair acts or practices, fraud, false pretenses, false promises, misrepresentations or concealment, suppression or omission or material facts violating the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich has issued Diamond Resorts an Assurance of Discontinuance and announced an $800,000 settlement.

https://www.azag.gov/press-release/attorney-general-brnovich-announces-800000-settlement-diamond-resorts

Diamond Resorts, while not admitting wrongdoing, despite hundreds of complaints filed, takes owners concerns seriously. The company has announced a new Clarity program. Next week we will publish an article on Clarity offering owner feedback as to how they feel about the new program. At least it’s a step in the right direction.

Diamond has also created a Consumer Advocacy Department. It is my belief that owners need an advocate not employed by Diamond, interacting with Diamond’s Advocate until the owner’s concern is resolved or the decision is made to seek legal recourse.

In today’s article we examine one family’s advocacy experience. Terry and Roxanne Hurley were prepared to sign their Diamond relinquishment papers until they got to the part about not being able to say anything negative about Diamond.

“We put everything we had for our retirement into this, and we are gutted to know our many years in the Canadian Military (Army), planning and saving for our retirement over 40 years, is most likely lost,” said Roxanne.

Not knowing where to turn, the Hurleys contacted me and asked if there was any way they could recover any of their life savings. Most people would have contacted an attorney, but we contacted Diamond’s Advocacy Department. The reason they invested all their savings was because the Diamond sales agent (Vacation Counselor) said buying Diamond vacation points was like buying a second home. He neglected to tell the family it was like buying a second home without a secondary market.

The Hurleys chief complaint was availability. “Ash painted a beautiful picture of Diamond and even gave us a beautiful book and said these were all the places we could go. He said we would have access to over 2500 resorts through Interval International,” Roxanne explained. “We were getting ready to retire from the Canadian Army and we thought what a wonderful way to spend our retirement! He showed us a beautiful suite we would be able to get if we wanted to stay at Mystic Dunes.”

Terry and Roxanne Hurley recently retired from the Canadian army.

Hurley

Terry and Roxanne twice bought Diamond vacation points from DRI sales agent Ash Hanting at Mystic Dunes in Orlando. They bought points a second time when they discovered they did not have enough points to book the following year after their first purchase. The Hurleys have spent 50,000 Canadian for 15,000 points.

Armed with 15,000 points, they tried to book Myrtle Beach but it was not available so they had to book through Expedia. Booking one year out they were able to book Arizona.

 Terry and Roxanne approached Ash on a third visit to Mystic Dunes asking how they would go about selling their points because the vacation plan they bought was not turning out to be what they had been promised. Ash told them they would need to get a broker.

Unfortunately, not one member of the 64 member Licensed Timeshare Resale Broker Association will market Diamond points because they feel Diamond points are worthless on the resale market due to restrictions Diamond places on points purchased resale. LTRBA members will buy and sell any major timeshare except Diamond Resorts; although I’m told only one of the members will market Westgate.

http://www.licensedtimeshareresalebrokers.org/

The Hurleys told Ash the level of quality of their current accommodation was nowhere near the standard of what they were showed when they were sold their initial points. Their complaints were ignored. Roxanne wrote to Founder Stephen Cloobeck and Victor McElroy about what they felt were deceptive business practices, but no one responded.

The Hurleys are coping with Roxanne’s mother who is very ill and who lives about 2000 miles from them in Ontario. “It is very difficult to scrimp up the money to get to her. And my husband is dealing with medical issues as well,” Roxanne added.

I contacted Maya Pogoda, Diamond’s Public Relations Representative helping to launch Diamond Advocacy and Clarity. While the Hurley’s concerns about availability and the burden of rising maintenance fees, exacerbated by the Canadian exchange rate, have not been resolved; Diamond’s Advocate was able to offer the Hurleys a little “time out” in the midst of the family’s medical crisis in order to allow the family some time to weigh their options. I had suggested someone from Diamond contact the Hurleys to see if someone could help them find better availability. That is not the role of the Vacation Counselor, so Mr. Hanting cannot be of help.

Timeshare Needs a CASA,  

CASA

Court Appointed Special Advocates, (CASA) is a national association in the United States that supports and promotes court-appointed advocates for abused or neglected children in order to provide children with a safe and healthy environment in permanent homes.[1]

The CASA is a volunteer who need not be an attorney, whose role is to gather information and make recommendations to the judge.[3]

Judge Soukup in 1977 formulated the idea that volunteers could be dedicated to a case and speak for children’s best interests.[5]

Fifty volunteers responded to his idea, which started a movement.[7]

A Proposal for our Attorneys General

Appointed Special Advocate for Timeshare Owners (™)

Here to help

CASA provides a voice for the voiceless. The Hurleys are not alone. I have talked to dozens of owners who don’t know where to turn or who to talk to.

Other advocates pictured above include Sylvia Saldana. The Saldana family is left with a $33,000 home equity loan and no vacation points.

http://insidetimeshare.com/irene-parker-write-barclay-card-usa/

Kathie Olds and her husband were told to buy more points because Apollo would be coming up with a new program that would allow them to “cash in” points at $.50 a point to pay for maintenance fees. Points sell for about $2 to $4 a point.

http://insidetimeshare.com/call-change-us-timeshare-industry/#more-1397

BL, Our Devil’s Advocate saying positive things about Diamond having signed a non-disclosure statement.

Roxanne Hurley

Irina Allen (featured in last week’s article)

http://insidetimeshare.com/timeshare-news-across-atlantic/

As a former CASA supervisor, I wrote court reports and attended hearings and trials on behalf of foster children and teens aging out. Victimized timeshare owners need a voice for the voiceless. Just like foster care, there is a need for advocates who understand the system. The Arizona Attorney General’s “Assurance of Discontinuance” is 37 pages long. It’s a lot for me to plow through.

Here is one reason why the Arizona AOD has encouraged DRI agents to stick to the script rather than make oral representations offering benefits not in existence. DRI Sales agent Wajdi’s promise below wandered far afield:

We (C and P) purchased an additional 60,000 points from Wajdi at Cancun Resort on July 25, 2016 based on our ability to sell half of our points back to DRI to pay maintenance fees. We have contacted Wajdi a few times, but still do not know how to pay our MF with points.

Through advocacy, C & P’s concerns were resolved. They will remain Diamond Platinum members because of their positive outcome. They ceased legal action.  

A lot is happening in Timeshare.

get-involved

This is what freedom of speech really means, without it nothing will change, Inside Timeshare will report what it finds, whether it is good, bad or ugly. We will continue to publish Irene´s articles on what is going on in the timeshare world in America. We also hope to start publishing news from timeshare owners in Australia in the very near future. The problems facing timeshare are not confined to Europe or America, they are worldwide.

Inside Timeshare welcomes those with news and views on timeshare worldwide, we will endeavour to publish and keep all informed on events and news which affect you the owners.

 

Are TCA Using Others Work as Their Own?

plagiarism

ˈpleɪdʒərɪz(ə)m/

noun

  1. the practice of taking someone else’s work or ideas and passing them off as one’s own.
  2. “there were accusations of plagiarism”
  1. synonyms:
  • copying, infringement of copyright, piracy, theft, stealing, poaching, appropriation;
  • informalcribbing
  • “there were accusations of plagiarism”

It has not gone unnoticed that the so-called  “Independent Voice” of the timeshare consumer, the TCA (Timeshare Consumer Association) is using other people’s work, writings and court victories, then making it look as if it is their own.

Inside Timeshare for some time has been researching and reporting on one particular enterprise, Litigious Abogados. Although we applaud the fact this story is being published to inform consumers of this “Fraud”, we do however find that by not citing their source or even acknowledging where it came from downright reprehensible.

It has always been the practice to give credit to the origin of any information, either by naming who and where it came from and providing a link to the original article. In the past Inside Timeshare has done this when using information from the “old” TCA, pre Mark Rowe ownership days. TESS has recently done the same for Inside Timeshare when they published further information from one of our articles.

The latest from the TCA is the story published on their website on 16 January 2017, titled Network of Cunning ‘Lawyers’ in Tenerife. In this article they mention their has been “correspondence” from a third party, who they say were involved. In this they imply that it is they who have received this correspondence. The fact of the matter is, the gentleman in question contacted Inside Timeshare about Litigious Abogados, after seeing one of our original articles. He sent us copies of all paperwork and emails, including a statement of events.

In this statement he explained how he was contacted, the dates of the case, how much he paid and how much he had to pay in “Tax”. This information has not been published in any other place, it is exclusive to Inside Timeshare who has documents and statements from several readers.

This is not the first time this has happened, it has also been noticed by our readers in the USA, who have seen very close similarities to the articles written by our American writer Irene Parker. Again much of the information included in these articles is exclusive to the writer and has not been published elsewhere.

Link to the original Inside Timeshare article published 3 January 2017

http://insidetimeshare.com/litigious-abogados-plot-thickens/

Link to the TCA article published 16 January 1017

http://www.timeshareconsumerassociation.org.uk/2017/01/16/network-of-cunning-lawyers-in-tenerife/

We leave you to decide.

This is Irene´s reply to the TCA

From Irene: Timeshare has enough warring factions. It does not help timeshare when those who are supposed to be on the same side are at odds. We hope TCA readers read IT and IT reads TCA. Like Charles, we are  grateful for any dissemination of information. I am a Diamond owner and a member of the 7000 plus member Diamond Facebook page. Whenever I am asked about a TCA article posted, I note that two of my articles have been plagiarized. Following the conduct of responsible journalism raises both publications to a higher level of standard and accountability. I will pay closer attention to your articles and write on a similar theme crediting your work. As we say in America, United we Stand, Divided we Fall, but that is not working very well at the moment over here.

plagiarism

Another matter on this theme are two articles published on 20 December and 8 December 2016. These refer to rulings made by the Supreme Court in Spain, against various timeshare companies and resorts. At no point do they in any article refer to the law firm who brought these cases to a successful conclusion.

When Inside Timeshare publishes any article on this subject we will say who the law firm is, we have on many occasions congratulated Canarian Legal Alliance on these results and reported the court’s findings. This is true for any firm who has success and wishes it to be published. Obviously upon verification of the facts.

CLA links

https://www.canarianlegalalliance.com/court-victory-dinastia-sl/

https://www.canarianlegalalliance.com/puerto-calma-payout/

TCA link

http://www.timeshareconsumerassociation.org.uk/2016/12/20/more-compensation-wins/

The TCA articles urge anyone to contact them if they have a claim, again implying they are responsible for these victories. Fine they do not actually say it is them, but the way it is written with no credits or links to original articles, the implication is there.

We wonder what their motives are and who they are passing enquirers on to, after all the TCA is now part of the Mark Rowe group of companies?

Inside Timeshare also emailed the TCA with the following on 16 January 2017:

Dear Sirs,

Although I am pleased that you are using my articles on a regular basis to fill your pages, I do take a dim view that you are trying to take credit for the information.

It is a common courtesy and a fact in the world of journalism to acknowledge and give credit to where it came from. In this article you have used information supplied by one of my readers. This has not been published anywhere other than my site.

This is not the first time, many of the articles have been basically copied, with my writer in the US not very pleased that no credit was given to her or our site.

As for this company, I do agree that this information needs to get out.

But you do not do yourselves any good by this sort of action.

Charles Thomas

Research Journalist Inside Timeshare

All we received was an automated reply wishing us “Happy Holidays” and that their office will be closed until 3 January 2017.

This speaks volumes, to our mind they are not the association originally set up by the late Sandy Grey, or the new TCA set up after his passing.

Inside Timeshare leaves it to you the readers and consumers to decide who you can trust.

 

Thinking of Buying a Timeshare?

For most people buying a timeshare was not actually on their mind, the usual scenario was they were on holiday and they were stopped on the street by a happy, smiling young lad or girl, the OPC. They would be offered a free scratch card and would win some kind of prize, then low and behold one of the cards was the “Star Prize”.

The lad or girl would then turn cartwheels of joy that you had “won” this, they have never had a winner before, you are so lucky, there are only ever one or two a week. In truth everyone who is given the cards has a “Star Prize. The touts know which ones are which. We´ll let you into a secret here, on the front is a picture, it may be of a palm beach with seagulls in the air, one card has three of them the other has four. You guessed it, the four seagulls contains the star prize.

After this you are invited into a taxi and taken to the resort to collect your prize, you will also hear about this wonderful resort while you wait for your prizes. This will only take a maximum of 90 minutes.

That is how the majority of “owners” got into timeshare, very few went out of their way to buy one.

90mins

So is it worth buying one?

It may be for some and not for others, it really depends on what you want from your holidays. The original concept of timeshare, being the fixed week fixed apartment was in fairness a good one. It did give you quality accommodation, the feeling of exclusivity as only other members would stay at the resort.

Also the fact that before the internet, you were reliant on the high street travel agent and we all know that many of the hotels were not as advertised. Some even had allocation on arrival.

For many families it worked well, especially for those with a couple of kids, as booking through a travel agent you were charged per person for the accommodation. With the timeshare you paid the original fee and then a yearly maintenance charge, so whether you went alone of with a family of four the price was the same. when you added the cost of flights and airport transfers, the cost was usually cheaper than a travel agent for the same quality of accommodation.

bedroom

Obviously buying a timeshare from the resort developer themselves is a very costly way of doing it, costing in most cases upwards of £10,000. Buying from a resale agent or even from ebay may be the best option, with prices as low as £500 for a week. But you must also remember that the yearly maintenance fees have to be paid, so you do need to know how much they are beforehand. Also this fee will go up, how much does depend on the resort.

Then there is the length of the contract, in Spain no contract can be for more than 50 years, other places are still issuing perpetuity contracts, in other words lifetime never ending. Another problem is the fact that you will then be at the mercy of the in-house sales reps, who will continually try to upgrade you and sell you more. As long as you can resist this it could actually work for you.

As with anything in life, do your homework before you decide, is timeshare right for you, does it fit your way of taking holidays, what are the benefits against cost. These are all questions you need to answer.

Mike Finn of Finn Law Group in Florida is a leading timeshare lawyer with around 45 years of experience, he recently posted an article on timeshare and the retired on his website. It carries some very good information, though it is aimed at those in the US, it is still relevant to those in Europe. Follow the link for his article

http://www.finnlawgroup.com/learning-center/major-lifestyle-mistakes-retirement?utm_content=buffer195b5&utm_medium=social&utm_source=linkedin.com&utm_campaign=buffer

If you require any information about this or any article published, contact Inside Timeshare and will find the answer for you. If you have been contacted by any company or are contemplating dealing with them and want to know more we will help you with the research.

 

Litigious Abogados: The Plot Thickens

 

litigious-abogadoslitigar-abogados-4

Back in September 2016 Inside Timeshare published the article Litigious Abogados Who Are They? This followed a warning published by Mindtimeshare on 23 September about a so-called law firm Litigious Abogados. They also highlighted another firm in July 2016 called Litigar Abogados, it turned out that both websites apart from lawyers names were exactly the same, even sharing the same address: Calle Duque de la Torre 29, 114, Santa Cruz, Tenerife, this address was not quite correct and should have read: Calle Duque de la Torre, 29 Arona Casco 38640 Arona Tenerife, which when checked on Google Street View it turns out to be the Oficina del Servicio de Atención Ciudadana, the equivalent to the Citizens Advice Bureau of the local council.

Since then another has been highlighted called Abogacia Española, with the website:

abogacia-logo

http://abogaciaespanola.com/

 

This website again is identical to the other two, this time showing a different address: Calle de Valentín Sanz, 16, Santa Cruz De Tenerife, España, with the telephone number: 0800 802 1758.

 

The following is the website for the founder Fernando Holaci

fernando-holaci-300

http://fernandoholaci.com/

All three websites show a photograph of the founders of the companies:

Manuel Amas Conde for Litigar Abogados;

Emilio Leyes Catillianos for Litigious Abogados;

Fernando Roleba Holaci for Abogacía Española.

 

litigar-abogados-24

The only problem is they all have the same photograph, it could be that they are identical triplets!

Since the original articles more documentation has been sent in by a reader ( we shall call him Mr X) who was almost taken in by Litigious Abogados, unfortunately he had already paid them around 1200€ for procurator fees, and was about to pay more when he found the original article.

Below is the original contact letter he received telling him about the case against his timeshare company. They state “we are officially recognised by the high Court of Santa Cruz”, their “lawyers are legally authorised to operate in any Court of Law in Spain” and they “are currently working in conjunction with the Spanish Authorities”. This is signed by Ramon Quilnar Canal of the Reclaim Department.

original-letter pdf

Ramon Quilnar Canal has a photograph in the Litigation, Civil law section of the Litigious website, problem is it the same photo on the other two websites, with the following names:

Ramon Quenan Cansal on the Litigar website;

Ramon Quilon Climol on the Abogacia Website.

 

ramon-quilnar-canal

These picture are more than likely to have been downloaded from the net from lawyers images on google etc.

Now to the court case.

Mr X then received a letter with the amount that needed to be paid to the Court Procurator Davido Harstun Jaime, this was originally 1,312€ reduced to 1,201€ and was refundable. Once he agreed to this he would be included in the case, which was to be heard on 15 November 2016. The website and address for Davido Harstun Jaime the Procurator is:

http://www.davidoharstunjaime.com/

Avenida Juan Carlos I, Edificio Valdez, Oficina 604-605 B, 38618, Arona, Tenerife.

proc-fees-letter  pdf

court_fees1  pdf

confirm-case  pdf

Then in a letter dated 17 October 2016 Mr X is informed that the hearing on 15 November was successful and he had been awarded the grand total of 32,449€ not a bad sum. It may be a clerical error but we did not think that time travel was yet possible!

confirmation-of-win  pdf

Mr X was then informed that the money had been lodged with the “Procurator” and a cheque had been made out in his name (he received a copy by email to confirm). Only snag is he must first pay the tax to the court procurator to release the funds. This amounted to around 6,800€, unfortunately he could not afford that amount and informed Litigious of this.

compensation_cheque  pdf

They then informed him of some good news, after a conversation with the lawyer liaison Richard Lehmen, a meeting was held and as a goodwill gesture they would pay 50% of these fees on his behalf. Mr X would pay this back when he received his money. A cheque was made out to the Procurator and a copy sent to Mr X. This letter was signed by Simone Maro Malivaz (Abogado).

bbva_cheque_on_behalf_of_mr-x  pdf

Inside Timeshare has made substantive checks on all the named lawyers and none have shown up on any Bar Association Register, nor have the companies shown up on company house records.

All the emails Mr X has received have been signed by the following:

Luisa Ernas Fernandez Departamento Legal

Layla Lavame Fernandez Departamento Legal

Layla Lavame Carita Departamento Legal

Maria Sanchez Gotera Departamento Legal

Madelena Huele Aflores Departamento Legal

All emails carry the following number: Freephone: 0800 862 0102 and carry this copyright: © 2013 Ilustre Colegio de Abogados de Tenerife. Todos los derechos reservados.

European Union Data Protection Directive 95/46/E

This is a very sophisticated operation and for anyone who does not know the legal or tax systems in Spain it looks very plausible. Once again Inside Timeshare urges anyone who receives any calls, email or letters stating that their timeshare company is being prosecuted or that they have won a substantial amount in compensation to be very careful. Unless you have personally instructed a law firm, signed a power of attorney with a notary for them to act on your behalf, then there is no case. Also court taxes and government tax are paid when the case is lodged with the court by your instructed law firm.

This story proves the point that doing your homework and due diligence is the most important thing to save you possibly thousands. If you require any information about any company that has contacted you with anything similar or even by any of these contact Inside Timeshare and we will look into them for you. It will also help other readers not to be taken in.

 

ANFI: Resale Vs On-site Purchase

Inside Timeshare has recently received many enquiries from readers regarding Anfi Resales, which have been private sales either through resale companies, ebay or advertised in newspapers. Would they be better buying those rather than direct from Anfi?

 

As we know, timeshare does not have a great resale value, which many owners who have paid upwards of £15,000 for a basic week have found out. With this also comes very hefty charges for maintenance, which tends to rise each and every year.

 

For those who have purchased privately for very low amounts they have found they do not qualify for any of the benefits which Anfi add on for those who purchase on-site at Anfi. These services such as the Anfi Vacation Club are included in the price when purchasing direct from Anfi, they are not free as many have been led to believe. It is also the case the annual fees are higher for these purchases than for the resale weeks, as these services will be included in the annual fees.

anfi-resale-pageWhat are these so-called benefits?

As a purchaser through Anfi Sales the following are part of the package:

  • Anfi Vacation Club Membership (this allows for internal exchanges)
  • Club and week exchanges (again internal exchanges)
  • RCI Worldwide Exchanges (You can join RCI privately and exchange through them)
  • Springfest 2 for 1 offers (very few and far between)
  • Bonus Weeks (available through RCI anyway)
  • Being able to bank or save weeks (Bank through RCI anyway)
  • Members week offers (never available)
  • Rental programme (only when available, very rare)
  • Anfi buy-back (only when available, very rare)
  • Discounts for on-site services (Restaurants, bars etc, prices are higher than off the resort anyway)

As you can see from the above, you are not actually getting anything for the higher price that you pay when purchasing direct.

Below are some examples of resale weeks advertised either privately or by resale companies.

These four are or have been posted on ebay and Timeshare Hypermarket, what needs to be remembered is that these prices are what the seller believes they can get, most of the time they will sell for a great deal less.
anfi-hyper-1

anfi-2-bed-ebay

This is taken from a Norwegian resale website, a penthouse for week 3, sleeping 6. The price at the current exchange rate is 14,000€ this would sell on-site for upwards of 45,000€

Again this is the price that the owner and the resale company have agreed they believe they can get.
anfi-penthouse-norwegian

These two are advertised on a German resale website, Anfi Beach Club would sell for upwards of  15,000€, Club Monte Anfi for more. Again the prices shown are what the resale company and owner believe they can get, they will more than likely sell for a lot less.
german-anfi-2

So to answer the question is yes you are better off with a resale week, you can join RCI directly and receive the benefits of exchanges through them, purchase the bonus weeks that RCI offer, usually at a better price than Anfi would offer.

As for the so-called discounts, try going off resort to places like Patalavaca and Arguineguin where there is a wider selection of restaurants and bars at much more reasonable prices.

Then when you eventually decide it is no longer for you, you will not be making such a loss as the person you purchased from.

Remember the cost of the timeshare from any resort will always be more than it is actually worth. They do after all have large overheads like the sales staff and marketing costs, these are the bulk of the price that you pay. So if you can pick up weeks for as little as 1500 € which means Anfi over prices the weeks by 90 % ….which is also the reason why the maintenance fees are so high.

 

Friday: The Week in Review.

We ended last week with the ongoing story of Mrs B, now known as Mrs Price and her continuing battle against MacDonald Resorts. The article explained the events leading up to the present dispute over a “So-called” debt for past maintenance and MacDonald Resorts refusal to accept she no longer owns.

In the article “The Story of Mrs B: Open Letter to MacDonald ResortsInside Timeshare called for MacDonald Resorts to do the right thing and let two elderly and not well ladies out of their contract. It also called for them to call off the debt collecting agency Network Credit Services, from issuing threats of legal action. So far there has been no response, even though they did receive the article via email along with many others including several newspapers. The story continues.

On Monday we published an article by Irene Parker, entitled “Another US Attorney General Exposes Deceptive Tactics”. This was originally published the previous week but was withdrawn for re-writing.

colerado-seal-ag

This follows on from others she has contributed about the battles in the USA between timeshare companies, workers and owners. It explains the story of the Colorado Attorney General Cynthia H. Coffman and how she is suing Highland Resorts at Christie Lodge Colorado for deceptive trade practices in the Denver County Court. The State is also sales manager Greg Penrod and twelve other defendants.

Irene in her article also spoke about how sales agent are made to commit these practices, and were prevented from saying anything due to confidential non-disclosure agreements. She is preparing part II of this article which Inside Timeshare will publish in due course.

On this note Inside Timeshare has a message for the TCA (Timeshare Consumer Association) who published “Highland Resorts Legal News”.

Irene Parker was surprised to read such similarities from her Highland Resorts article on Timeshare Consumer Association as it so closely paralleled the article she wrote this week. The same thing happened the day after she wrote the Saldana family story. As the TCA article was published so soon after the Inside Timeshare article was published, she wondered why credit was not given to the author of the original article. This is how professional journalists do things in the US. She wondered if things were different in Europe. She is glad to see the information disseminated to a wider audience. Since she is planning on writing a second part, she wondered if TCA would like her to just send them her article so they could publish it under her name?

la-provincia   the-canary-news-views-sunshine-logo-2016-250

 

 

On Tuesday news came in about the saga that is Tauro Beach Project, La Provincia (Spanish daily paper) and Canary News (local English language paper), published the story about how much of the beach has been washed away by the sea.

Inside Timeshare has been following this story since August, when the sea flowed up the beach and flooded local homes. There is currently a huge investigation underway, which also includes the Mayor of Mogan. It is also investigating alleged corruption and impropriety at the highest levels of the Canarian Coastal Authority, the former head has already been formally charged with wrongdoing in public office and forgery of official documents. The case is already at the court of San Bartolomé de Tirajana in Maspalomas.

http://insidetimeshare.com/tauro-beach-latest-development/

Yesterday, we published the story of a company that was highlighted in September, Litigious Abogados. Since the first publication, more information has come to light, with one reader supplying vital information about how they are operating. This reader also provided documentary evidence with court papers and bank details, these court papers are almost certainly fake. Below is a “stamp” we have made in around 2 minutes just from a google image download and basic windows paint, with a little more work it could be made to look better. It is also a “stamp” not used by the courts.

jl

The week has also been a good one for clients of Canarian Legal Alliance, with several more victories in various courts.

On 14 November it was announced that the Court of First Instance in Tenerife had found for the clients of CLA against Dinastia Resorts SL. In this case they were awarded 15,950€ with their contract being declared null and void. The sentence followed Supreme Court rulings that contracts over 50 years (perpetuity) were illegal.

Yesterday 15 November, saw 2 more announcements, the first was for Swedish clients of CLA being awarded over 114,000€ including legal interest against Anfi. Again the High Court No 5 of Las Palmas found in accordance with the Supreme Court that floating weeks and perpetuity contracts were illegal. The contract was again declared null and void.

In the second announcement, again Swedish clients, have been paid out 72,885.78€ in compensation, following a recent judgement. This was against Holiday Club Finland / Puerto Calma. Again the ruling made was for the length of the contract, over 50 years (perpetuity) with the contract being declared null and void.

So an early Christmas present for some.

This again goes to show, through the hard work of the legal team at CLA, their clients are finally getting justice and the Supreme Court rulings are having a profound effect on the lower courts.

http://www.canarianlegalalliance.com/news/

If you would like any further information on articles published, contact Inside Timeshare and we will be pleased to help. Also if you have any questions about any company that you are not sure about, send us a message, we will then contact you by personal email and if we don´t know them we will help you find the answers.

 

Have a good weekend. weekend01

Litigious Abogados: Latest Information

Back in September Inside Timeshare published the article Litigious Abogados Who Are They? Since then we have received the following information from one reader who has been contacted by them, this article explains how they are operating.

litigious-abogados

This reader received a call and emails explaining that they had won their case against Club la Costa at the Court of First Instance, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, they had been awarded 24,261 Euros. Fantastic news, the only problem is they did not even know they had a case going through the courts.

img_1627 img_1628

There is also a small matter of “TAX” needing to be paid in order to release the funds, this amounts to 21% of the awarded amount and totals 5,094.83 Euros, which has to be paid into the account of one D Harstun SL at the Banco Sabadell.

img_1633

According to the accompanying letter, the Procurator for their case, Davido Harstun Jaime, has already signed the tax forms on their behalf and once payment is received by the Court Procurator Office, the tax lawyer for Litigious Abogados Mrs Olivia Navarro will liaise with them to execute the tax logistics and have the funds released by the Court Funds Office. This letter is signed by Manuel Mar Prilo (Abogado). Along with the contact number 0034 822 250 489

No lawyers have been found with any of these names. Also when this number was called a native English speaker answered with “Claims Department how can I help you”, when asked what the company name was he just hung up.

To back all this up, copies of the tax forms duly made out were sent to the client, along with a copy of the court sentence.

agencia-tributaria

This document is almost certainly a fake, from genuine documents Inside Timeshare has on file, it is missing some vital information, even the “court stamp” is one that has not been seen before (google justice logo images and it is on there). It is also strange that a case has gone to court, been adjudicated, sentence passed and the money paid into the court by the timeshare company in such a short space of time. All this without any statement being given to the court by the client no power of attorney given to the “lawyers” to act on their behalf and most important not even knowing they had a case going to court. This is not how it works.

 

court_doc-page-001
Copy of Court Sentence (Right click to enlarge)

Also there is the matter of “TAX”, when a client instructs lawyers to instigate legal proceedings, court taxes are paid at the time the case is lodged, once the court has made judgement the client will receive the awarded amount without the need to pay any tax. Especially not to a named individual or company. If any tax was due, this would be paid directly to the court or the tax authorities.

This is a sophisticated fraud, which plays on the uninformed public in another country. After all if you receive documents that look official, not knowing how the laws and tax systems work in a foreign country, would you not believe they were genuine. In this case the person had found the original article and contacted Inside Timeshare for advice and confirmation, fortunately he did not pay any money to them. So that is 5000€ this lot will not be getting.

The problem is now, how many others have they taken in?

Litigious Abogados Contact details are:

Tel: 0800 862 0102

The address given is:  Calle Duque de la Torre 29, 114, Santa Cruz, Tenerife.

This address is not quite correct, it should read: Calle Duque de la Torre, 29 Arona Casco 38640 Arona Tenerife. This address is actually for Oficina del Servicio de Atención Ciudadana which is part of the Ayuntamiento or local council offices. (Checked on google maps street view).

cab-arona

Links to previous articles

http://insidetimeshare.com/1059-2/

http://insidetimeshare.com/litigious-abogados-update/

If you receive any calls or receive any official looking documents by email or post be very wary of them, especially if you have not instigated any legal process. It also takes a long time for these cases to actually get to court, then there is the process of the loser taking it to appeal which will prolong the case even further.

Inside Timeshare would like to hear from anyone who has had any contact with companies such as this, it is through your information that others can benefit. If you have any comments or questions about this article or any other matter, contact Inside Timeshare through the comments section.