The Spanish Courts have once again sided with the timeshare consumer against the timeshare industry, this his time it is a massive achievement by the lawyers of Canarian Legal Alliance and a severe blow for Silverpoint and Beverley Hills Club. So what have they achieved now?
As we know Silverpoint has been using delaying tactics and the moving of funds in order to escape payments to clients ordered by the courts. Obviously this tactic is causing a great deal of stress to the clients who have seen nothing but deception from Silverpoint over the years, losing thousands in the process.
But that has now all changed, lawyers from Canarian Legal Alliance have secured “embargos” on 6 properties in the Beverley Hills Club, securing funds 100% for their clients. So what is an “embargo”?
In simple terms, the properties have been seized until such time the client is paid out what they are owed. In the event that the client does not receive the funds then the courts have the right to auction off the properties in order to pay the client.
Now, when you consider, that the average value of the apartments is around 250,000€ each that is 1.5 million euros secured so far. In the case of one British client, the court has awarded just around 13,000€, yet this client now has the apartment allocated to him in his purchase embargoed to secure their payment. This is going to prove very expensive for Silverpoint and indeed Beverley Hills Club.
Silverpoint along with other timeshare companies may try to move fund around to avoid payment but this latest move by the lawyers of CLA and the courts will go after the properties to secure justice for the consumer.
Beverley Hills Club is the first, CLA will be extending this to the other “Clubs” within the portfolio of resorts. They have also indicated they have sufficient documentary proof that all the companies are linked and are responsible for each other. So for CLA clients with cases against Silverpoint, this is a first and that there is indeed light at the end of the Tunnel.
This is also good news for clients of other timeshares where the company using the same delaying tactics, we already know that Anfi has had embargos placed on their accounts, how long before the properties are also subject to the same?
Do you own with Silverpoint and want to know where you stand legally with your contract, are you being contacted with horror stories that you are going to lose everything?
If you want to know your legal position and options on how this latest news affects you, then use our contact page and get the facts from Inside Timeshare.
Welcome to this week’s Letter from America, once again Irene Parker reports on further complaints received by Inside Timeshare from WyndhamCarriage Hills and Carriage Ridge owners. But first some interesting breaking news which has only just been received. Canarian Legal Alliance has announced that they have now secured embargoes on 6 apartments at Beverley Hills Club. This means that if Silverpoint do not pay the clients what the courts have ordered the apartments can be sold off to ensure the clients receive what they are owed. Further information will be published next week as Inside Timeshare receives more detailed information.
After following the 128 complaints submitted to Inside Timeshare from Wyndham Carriage Resorts owners, I am astonished by the developer’s callous disregard as to the harm timeshare is causing good people. What other product is out there that you have to pay to give back? What other industry has created another massive industry, some of the companies with questionable business practices, devoted to getting the company’s customer released from being the company’s customer? We can only hope that there is a Carriage board member with a conscience, and hopefully even some compassion, who will be as moved by these accounts as we are, especially Jeannie, David and a new report we just heard about Stephanie’s grandmother. We continue on with families 115 to 128.
Why You Should Not Buy a Timeshare in Ontario Canada
Unless Change Happens
By Irene Parker and Wyndham Carriage Resorts Owners 115 to 128
Timeshare lobbyists have been quoted as saying, “The vast majority of timeshare buyers are happy with their purchase.”
Conversely, a leading academic expert on timeshares provided her statistical data conclusions at an industry conference, as reported by RedWeek:
Dr. Amy Gregory, an assistant professor at the University of Central Florida, where she is in the third year of studying the impact of buyer regret-and-remorse on rescission decisions:
The average rescission rate is 15 percent (which is identical, ironically, to the daily average percentage of people who buy a timeshare after a sales presentation).
A whopping 85 per cent of all buyers regret their purchase (for money, fear, confusion, intimidation, distrust and other reasons).
Forty-one percent of buyers never thought they would regret their purchase, but they did; another 30 per cent were neutral prior to buying, but then regretted it.
I conducted my own research. In addition to the over 1,000 families that have contacted Inside Timeshare, just in the U.S., I contacted exit companies to ask how many calls they receive a week from disgruntled timeshare members and owners. There are many exit providers and law firms offering timeshare exit services. It’s an entire industry. Just two of them reported receiving 3,000 to 3,500 calls per month. Each said they end up with less than 200 as clients.
I also contacted members of theLicensed Timeshare Resale Brokers Association (LTRBA). Themembers I spoke with report being flooded with calls. In most cases, sellers are unlikely to break even. In 2016 I surveyed 64 LTRBA members. Most said they would not speak publically about why they would not even accept a listing to sell my timeshare points. They feared if they said anything negative, they would be sued. One of the respondents sadly explained to me:
For over 15 years now I’ve had to give the bad news to sellers that their timeshare is worth much less than they expected, but for (xx), it’s so hard for them to believe that I can’t help at all.
The most troubling is the unfairness reported by Wyndham Carriage Owners. They werepromised an “Equity $ Position” in published marketing materials, only to learn years later that what they purchased is worth far less than a lump of coal. Their “equity” position is a net loss of $1,300 a year if they can no longer use the timeshare. Wyndham did not own Carriage Resorts back then, but that does not diminish the unfairness of what these buyers are experiencing.
I speak daily with people who spent $10,000 to $20,000 on a timeshare they only used once or twice in 10 or 20 years or more, yet have paid maintenance fees year after year. In addition, a good portion of these members reported losing thousands of dollars to unhelpful timeshare listing agents and fraudulent exit companies.
We thank the 128 Wyndham Carriage Owners who have let their voices be heard. Sometimes the court of public opinion is the only court open. We are hoping next Tuesday’s article summarizing this series will reach Ontario media, consumer protection organizations, and lawmakers. Wyndham’s silence speaks volumes.
Wyndham Carriage Owners 115 to 128 Eternal Timeshare Contract
115 Valerie F
We initially bought a white week in July 2002. We had small children at the time. In 2007 we purchased an additional interval which allowed us to convert to points so we could have more flexibility booking. Our children were getting older. It had been become increasingly difficult to take them out of school for vacations in the off-season.
We have used our timeshare extensively. At first, we travelled with our children. We shared it with our extended family. Currently, we tend to travel as a couple. Although we still enjoy the property regularly, we do have great sympathy for elderly people and others whose personal, health, or financial situations have changed. Our first maintenance fee back in 2003 was $599. We can appreciate how difficult it can be for many to pay the current $1,351 maintenance fee, plus additional booking fees. We know that ill health or income changes could change our own ability to pay.
When the sales office was open, we were told that the property would appreciate in value and that we would have the option to sell, donate or will the timeshare. We were told at multiple presentations that the sales representatives were selling deed-backs from delinquent accounts and owners who had passed. We were told that if our children were not on a deed, they would not have to take it over.
We are deeply disappointed in the closure of the sales office without notice, the fact that Wyndham is not accepting deed backs on the property, and that current owners cannot even give away their intervals, even when willing to pay legal costs and provide additional financial incentives, such as maintenance fees for a year or two or additional cash. It seems ludicrous that our children and other heirs could be saddled with costs in perpetuity. A reasonable exit plan is essential. At this point, it seems that a 75% vote to sell the property may be the only way to recoup any money and save our heirs from never-ending costs. I am attaching some shots of the original sales presentation flyer from 2002.
Accompanying these promises, we received a general email in the summer of 2011 indicating that Carriage Hills owners could buy additional intervals at no cost, provided they covered the legal fees. We did, in fact, purchase an additional every other year red week with a deed of September 2011 at the cost of $600. It was not purchased from an individual owner, but directly from the Carriage Hills Vacation Owners Association. Based on this information and the above promises, we felt that Carriage Hills was taking an active role in sales of deed-backs.
116 Karen L
I have been a timeshare owner at Carriage Hills for about 20 years. My family and I have enjoyed vacationing at Carriage Hills and expect to vacation for the next few years, but I am troubled by the lack of an exit strategy. I am also frightened and not willing to accept a situation that would place the never-ending financial burden of timeshare maintenance fees on my unsuspecting heirs, who are not interested in assuming a position in this trap of owning an unsellable, worthless ‘asset’.
When I agreed to become a timeshare owner back in the late 1990s, I was led to believe that I was buying into a private resort, only accessible to a fixed number of owners and their guests. Since then, the maintenance fees have more than tripled and the property has transitioned to being managed like any other openly accessible hotel, i.e. the price to rent a room is routinely below the equivalent maintenance fee that owners are forced to pay, and these renters don’t have the never-ending financial handcuffs of timeshare ownership.
Many thanks and kindest regards,
#117 Therese B
When I bought my every-other-year red week, I’d done some research and had attended a few presentations elsewhere, as well as at the Horseshoe Resort affiliated property. I came prepared
I’d understood that these timeshares would be of more value because you get a deed and it’s yours for life (as opposed to a 30/40 year scenario). I figured that this would make them easy to sell if and when I no longer could use my week.
I recently learned that owners are on the hook for this for life. That makes the timeshare difficult to sell. You can’t even give them away.
I continue to use my ownership via RCI exchanges, and plan to do so for the next 10 years. At this point, I don’t know that my adult children will have any interest in taking on the constantly increasing maintenance fees or will even want to use the timeshares. I don’t understand why we can’t just give back our deeds to Wyndham. It’s all very fishy. Someone needs to take a good hard look at the whole thing. It’s too bad that a concept that continues to work for many is also causing such hardship for those who can no longer enjoy their vacation ownership.
Thanks for helping us as we embark on standing up to ‘the powers that be’.
Therese and Barry B
118 Tracy M
We have been owners since 1998. We had kids and used it faithfully. We are retired now and live in Florida during winter seasons. We don’t need this burden any longer. Our lives have changed.
I recently posted on Facebook for a friend to contact me if they were claiming bankruptcy so that I could dump this. I do not want to saddle my children with this anchor.
Sent from our Paradise
#119 Bruce F
I purchased in 2004 with the understanding that my “equity” purchase would be easily marketable. This has turned out to be patently untrue.
I also purchased in order to exchange with RCI properties. Subsequently, the provider was switched to Interval International — which it turns out had a very different selection of properties, excluding the ones I was able to book with RCI. Their (II) booking process was frustrating, to say the least. I was unable to effectively enjoy exchanges.
The maintenance costs (and exchange fees) have increased dramatically, to the point of making this “deal” far more expensive than just booking online. One 2 bedroom week is now close to C$2,000 with maintenance and club fees.
I have investigated selling over the years, but this “asset” cannot even be given away.
We need help dealing with this situation, and with Wyndham, who now operates the resort as their cash cow — and they also effectively control the two boards.
#120 Debbie M
I am a second-generation holder of two deeds – one each for opposite years.
As many have said, my parents were led to believe that this was an investment and sellable. This is now not the case.
My parents were able to use them while my dad was still alive. My parents put my sisters and me on the deeds at the time, which also has concerns.
Although we will continue to pay the fees and use what we can (not an easy task) we do need to find an exit strategy before our own estates would have to figure out what to do with these after we are gone and we move into yet another generation.
With thanks for your concern.
#121 Glenda B
We bought at Carriage Hills over 20 years ago and were told all the things you’ve heard from other people … much of which sadly turned out to be empty promises. Fortunately, we did resist the sales pressure to convert to points.
We mostly have used our 2-bedroom Red Weeks for RCI trading. This did bring us a number of good vacations, although it involved a fair amount of effort in searching etc.
However, our maintenance fees have nearly tripled, and RCI costs have continued to climb, while availability declined. In 2006 a class action was launched (one of several that have been made against RCI). This took six years to resolve but resulted in better access to inventory. Over time, however, there has been a noticeable decrease in availability and is getting worse.
We have wanted to exit Carriage Hills for a long time, mainly due to the expense and difficulty using the timeshare. Seeing all the ads on TUG, etc. (offering units for free), we did not attempt to list our unit, feeling it was hopeless. We purchased a studio at Pueblo Bonito in Mazatlan as a Right-To-Use timeshare in 2012, because they promised to take our Carriage Hills unit as trade-in for a lower buy-in. We specifically said we did not want to own two timeshares.
The company handling the transaction was Resort Connections. Their literature claimed they were “a full-service Equity Trade-in program” that was “owned and operated by timeshare industry veteran Freda Stemick.” They were located in Harrisonburg, Virginia [name aptly changed to Carrion Travel Connections during the process], and an ARDA member. Contrary to the arrangement we made with Pueblo Bonito, their “welcome letter” informed us they could not take our Carriage Hills unit because SVC would not allow them to own it, being a competitor.
Thus they requested a POA to handle the property, in addition to the original deed, while seeking a buyer, plus cash. (During one of many subsequent phone conversations, I think we were told they could only accept RTU properties, not deeded or Canadian.) Their fee was $599, $399 processing plus $200 resort transfer fee — but I think we did manage to get our checks returned along with our deed when they finally cancelled the transaction.
Cutting to the chase, we wound up owning two timeshares. The good news is that we can walk away from Pueblo Bonito when we get ready. The bad news is that our son, John, apparently will be forced into CH ownership when we die.
Glenda B & Paul G
#122 Lisa L
Thank you for listening to Carriage Hills and Ridge owners that want an exit strategy in place. I purchased a red week every other odd year at Carriage Hills in March 2000. I was pleased with this purchase and loved the idea of owning my vacations, using properties that were well maintained and shared with other owners. I didn’t want to stay at hotel type places. I had higher expectations.
At first, things were wonderful. I got what I paid for. Now things have changed!! Staying at Carriage Hills with people renting and paying a small amount of what should be paid for this type of property! I watched a couple let their children colour with crayon all over the stairs! Management did nothing! Dirty diapers and poop smeared on the change room floor in the women’s change room at the pool. I asked 3 separate people to stop smoking cigarettes and cannabis on the balconies and was ignored and/or sworn at! Dogs are being sneaked onto the property. I am here on site to enjoy my week. I am feeling like I need to enforce the rules!!
I am certain that these are renters. I’ve never encountered anything like this here before the units were added to the rental sites. Thankfully, the employees at Carriage Hills are fantastic!! They handled each of my concerns quickly. I truly believe though, that I’m one of the only people complaining. Since I own here, I take the rules seriously and report the issues. Renters just don’t care.
I’m very concerned about the future of this resort. I’ve loved it for many years and took pride in ownership. Unfortunately, things have changed. I don’t want to own a place like this anymore. There is no exit plan and that is very troubling. Owners can’t give it away. They can’t pay someone to take it. Owners are offering thousands of dollars for someone to take it!! This is not right. Owners at Carriage Hills deserve and need an exit plan.
Thanks so much, Irene for writing about this 🙂
#123 Eileen W
My husband and I first bought two deeded red weeks in 1998 at Carriage Hills. We subsequently bought two more weeks, an every other year odd and an every other year even. We have four children and thought they should each inherit a week. When they told us they didn’t want them, we realized they were not in a position to be able afford the weeks. We later converted our weeks to points.
We also bought an every other year timeshare in Mexico. We bought because they told us they would sell our Shell Vacations/Wyndham timeshare. That was over three years ago. We paid fees and sent our deeds off to Value Traded, but they have never been able to transfer title. So everything is still in our names and we still get maintenance fee bills.
Value Traded claims that our CH/CR resorts won’t co-operate with them and that they have been black-listed. So over the last three years, Value Traded has paid maintenance fees to us (always late, with penalties which we have covered) and we have forwarded the payments to the collection company CH/CR uses. Last year, we had a postal strike in Canada. We forwarded the invoices to Value Traded five days late (they want to receive them at least 30 days before due date) so they refused to pay. We are now in arrears and accumulating penalties (20% CH, 30% CR) on top of that to the tune of over $5000 for 2019. About two weeks ago we received what was termed a Pre-Legal notice from the collection agency.
I am retired and my husband will soon retire. We want an exit. We are heartsick to think that our points have no value after all the money we invested. We dread the next round of upcoming invoices. We can no longer afford to be paying so much money every year. To top it off, we keep getting calls with offers to buy our timeshare in Mexico but are so afraid of scams. We just don’t trust the timeshare industry any longer.
Thank you for bringing attention to the plight of owners who have bought into perpetual timeshare contracts. Many of us are desperate for an exit solution. We really appreciate your efforts on our behalf.
Eileen and Kent W
#124 James E
I just learned of your postings and extensive efforts to help timeshare owners. After reading your Letter from America, I am compelled to write to you. A little bit about me. My wife and I own 4 deeds at CH and CR and joined the Shell Vacations Points option which adds an additional fee each year. Our fees per year are now over $4,000 CDN. We are retired and on fixed incomes.
Confronting a timeshare company, individually or as a small group of individuals, is futile and a waste of time. Information about the inner workings of timeshare companies is sparse, fragmented. One feels like a spectator watching a stage magician perform unbelievable tricks when trying to understand why timeshare companies make owners miserable. I share your thoughts about complaints; that they are easily ignored and tend to be bothersome to the receiver.
#125 Brad G
Not only do I want to exit my timeshare at Carriage Hills, because I no longer reside at a location where I can make best use of the facility (we moved to British Columbia in 2005), but for several other reasons:
Annual maintenance fees have been increasing at a rate far and away above the rate of inflation. These imposed costs to owners are simply out of control and cannot be challenged. Nor can owners refuse to pay them.
The survivor clause in the owner’s agreement means that these ever-escalating annual costs get passed on to my heirs and successors in perpetuity. That’s ridiculous.
The voting structure is apparently rigged to make it effectively impossible for owners to carry any sway at AGMs.
Management hides behind privacy laws in order to stonewall any attempt by owners to self-organize.
In what sense are “owners” actually owners? They are not owners in any meaningful or useful sense of the word. Instead, they are sheep that are locked into agreements that guarantee perpetual fleecing rights for management.
Timeshares once had a value proposition to the prospective buyer in terms of the cost of vacations. In the modern age of Expedia and Trivago, timeshare can no longer claim that value proposition. Instead of providing a competitive accommodation option for the owners, timeshares are simply maintenance fee grabs for a management company that has no real accountability to the owners. This situation must be challenged.
I have been an owner for 20+ years. We converted our original weeks to points ago. First, the annual fees were quite reasonable. We used the weeks as our boys grew up. I have since divorced and really can’t use the exchanges anymore.
I’m 68 years old and about to retire. I don’t want to spend $1,500 a year on something I do not use. I would really like
I’m 68 years old and can’t use it anymore also about to retire, and don’t want to spend $1,500 / year on something i do not use I would really like to exit, however it seems impossible I do not want to give this to my boys to worry about.
I don’t mind spending some $$ to get out but I have heard that exit timeshare programs are all scams.
#127 was Simon, the first Carriage Resort owner to reach out
#128 is the owner who explained the tragedy of the Carriage Timeshare Trap.
We seek to provide timeshare members with a way to proactively address membership concerns; to advocate for timeshare reform; to obtain greater disclosure from the company; to advocate for a viable secondary market, and to educate prospective buyers.
Thank you Irene and to all those who submitted their stories, there is something very seriously wrong with the timeshare industry and Inside Timeshare calls on the lawmakers to get a grip and curb these companies with legislation, just as they have done in Spain
That is all for this week have a great weekend and join us for more news and insights on the murky world of timeshare
Today Inside Timeshare revisits an old company which has been the subject of many articles, ABC Lawyers, another company owned by the infamous Mark Rowe. As we already know Mark Rowe and several of his companies are under investigation by the Regional Organised Crime Unit of Somerset & Avon Police and the Spanish authorities. We also know that when the original raids took place they were well-coordinated as both Spanish and UK authorities mounted them simultaneously, several weeks ago we also heard that the Spanish Authorities again raided Mark Rowe’s company offices yet again.
Today’s story is one that may well be familiar to any other reader who has had the misfortune to have dealings with Mark Rowe and ABC Lawyers. It involves an elderly couple who were contacted by ABC a couple of years ago and offered help in relinquishing their contract with Orange Lake in Florida and claiming compensation.
They were invited to meeting with ABC Lawyers who also paid for them to stay at a hotel near to their offices. While there they were “pitched” with a very convincing story that ABC could indeed get them out of their timeshare and also get them compensation. After several hours they decided to sign up with ABC.
They and their family also went through all the contracts and documents provided by ABC, they too were convinced this was genuine.
Eventually, they received a very convincing letter to tell them they were now out of their timeshare contract with Orange Lake and any demands for maintenance fees should be ignored and sent to ABC.
Now two years down the line they have discovered that they had not been released from their contract and are receiving demands and threats of legal action by Orange Lake. They have also been told that Orange Lake has placed a “LIEN” on their property. This has obviously frightened them and the family.
The definition of a lien is:
a right to keep possession of property belonging to another person until a debt owed by that person is discharged.
“they shall be entitled to a lien on any lot sold”
What is a lien and how does it work?
It’s a claim that someone or something has on property that you possess or use. The individual or entity that has the claim—such as a lender—can repossess or foreclose on the property if you don’t make payments on an associated loan or perform other agreed-upon terms.
So for this couple who are European residents owning a timeshare in the US is very good news, Inside Timeshare has sent them a draft letter asking Orange Lake to foreclose, which is what they wanted in the first place.
It is also a fact that US timeshare companies cannot chase for any debts in Europe or affect the owner’s credit standing they do not have any legal jurisdiction.
So we know that ABC Lawyers were taking money for relinquishments and telling the clients to just stop paying maintenance, unfortunately for those who owned in Europe they are now finding that they owe considerable sums in maintenance arrears, ABC Lawyers and Mark Rowe did absolutely nothing apart from taking peoples money!
There is only one small problem there, the purchase was made over 25 years ago and so no claim could be made as there is a 6-year time limit. It is also a fact that even if they were within the time limit, having used the timeshare they have received the goods and services paid for. The credit card provider will always contact the supplier of the goods or services paid for and will then reject the claim.
Section 75 covers, not receiving the goods or services paid for, faulty or unfit for purpose goods, the company has gone into liquidation. It will not cover the mis-selling of a timeshare or the fact the timeshare contract might be illegal.
According to our reader, they have now been passed to another Mark Rowe company, Lansdown Finacial Ltd. Mark Rowe resigned as director 30 May 2019, we suspect that is because of all the investigations into his activities that are taking place.
At least there may be a good ending to this story, the couple will be out of their timeshare, plus they also have a good claim against ABC Lawyers to get back the thousands of pounds they paid, this was done on their credit card and as they have not received the goods or services they were promised plus the fact that ABC Lawyers are now in liquidation they never will.
This is another example that you need to do your homework before engaging with any company that has contacted you regarding your timeshare.
Have you had any dealings with the companies named here or any other company that is owned and operated by Mark Rowe, if so use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will point you in the right direction.
Welcome to another edition of our Letter from America, this week Irene Parker explores the problems surrounding some Canadian Timeshare owners at Resorts taken over by Wyndham. The article also looks at how Quebec is leading the way to protect consumers in Canada. Much of the legislation is very similar to that instituted in Spain, which as we already know has the strongest timeshare laws in favour of consumers in Europe. It does look as though lawmakers in other countries are looking at and using the Spanish model in their bid to protect consumers, this can only be for the best as the industry has failed miserably in this area.
The Hypocrisy of ARDA’s Coalition for Responsible Exit and Wyndham’s Ovation Program for Carriage Resorts Owners
Wyndham’s Carriage Hills and Carriage Ridge Canadian Resorts
By Irene Parker
August 16, 2019
A follow-up to Legacy Resort owners’ lack of a responsible exit
It’s been over a year since Quebec passed a law in June of 2018 challenging the perpetual nature of non-deeded timeshare contracts. It is hoped Quebec’s model legislation will be expanded to include other Canadian provinces. The law does not apply to deeded intervals, which are considered real property in Canada.
Legislative Revision to Quebec Timeshares
A contract related to timeshare accommodation rights is considered a service contract. You may resiliate your contract for other reasons, and you have other rights and recourses (187.13). The verb resiliation means “To draw back from a contract.” Cambridge dictionary (de résilier un contrat cancelling, termination)
Carriage’s draconian policy surpasses anything I have encountered in America. Wyndham acquired Carriage Resorts from Shell Vacation Club several years ago. Carriage Resorts lack of an exit policy is even more disturbing, considering the new president of the timeshare lobby ARDA, is Jason Gamel, Senior VP, Legal at Wyndham. ARDA’s position is that the problem of the lack of a secondary market has been solved by programs like Wyndham’s voluntary surrender program Ovations, and ARDA’s Coalition for ResponsibleExit. A quote from an ARDA lobbyist:
“Their value comes from using it,” the timeshare industry’s top lobbyisttold ConsumerAffairs in January, admitting that points have no resale value while claiming that consumers don’t mind this because the value comes from the experience.
A RedWeek post from a Carriage Resort owner found on the internet (unedited):
I was duped into a gifted timeshare from my father. The story is sad…he is retired and was desperate to get out as he lost most of his retirement money in 2007. So he misleads my husband and I. I contacted Ovation to take the deed back from Carriage Hills resort in Canada and they said NO. Referred to Fidelity who advised THEY HAVE NOT SOLD a Carriage Hills unit IN YEARS! 31 units are listed on Carriage Hills website for $1. Many owners are offering $400 gift certificates. Wyndham is the ring-leader. They should offer Ovation.
As reported by a Carriage Resort member to another Carriage member:
By coincidence, I own at Carriage Hills which is the “sister” resort to Carriage Ridge (Simon’s resort) north of Toronto. Both these resorts are deeded timeshares (not points) and unless Wyndham changed their policy and allowed Ovations to take back Carriage deeds, the owners at both these resorts are “stuck” and obliged to pay their fees unless they manage to sell.
The board of Carriage Hills (and I believe Carriage Ridge as well) takes delinquent owners to court to oblige them to pay through a court ruling. The only way out currently is to sell. They are even taking “delinquent” heirs to court for payment of the late fees and say they have been successful. Simon will not be “foreclosed” – they don’t take back any timeshares at all. The owners’ associations at both timeshares cannot “own” any units and Wyndham is uncooperative.
Wyndham took over these resorts from Shell Vacation Club several years ago and at that time also closed the sales office because they alleged they could not sell the units. Since that time they also have stopped taking back units from owners wanting out. This is a Facebook group which could be helpful (https://m.facebook.com/groups/152117225452689) for Ridge and Hills owners. They discuss “exit” strategies and appeals to the board to find a solution for owners who want to exit, amongst other topics.
Unfortunately, I don’t have a good answer for you – at Embarc, because it is points and we are members who own no “real estate”, and because Diamond still takes back points to resell, a member has the choice of 1) Selling at around $10 per point (a fraction of the purchase price), 2) asking Diamond to take back the points or, 3) If they refuse, simply not pay one’s fees and points will be eventually forfeited.
Carriage Hills/Ridge has no such choices – right now, the only thing one can do is attempt to sell to someone else – on Redweek.com, tug2.com or local Kijiji pages. I myself have listed my unit on the Carriage Hills website and am attempting to sell… There doesn’t however, appear to be a similar website for Carriage Ridge owners.
Excerpt of email to Irene Parker at Inside Timeshare from Simon
August 5, 2019
I reached out to Ovations as you suggested. Wyndham Ovations will not accept our Carriage Ridge Resort in Canada. We purchased this floating week timeshare May 2004 for approximately $13,750. We were told at purchase there would be no problem reselling the timeshare.
Under Quebec Bill 178, a service contract can be cancelled under liberal conditions if the purchaser is not getting the benefits of ownership due to medical conditions, availability, or a host of other reasons.
Introduced 18 April 2018 Quebec National Assembly
Passed 6 June 2018
Excerpt from the bill: “You may resiliate your contract for other reasons, and you have other rights and recourses.”
187.13 A contract relating to timeshare accommodation rights is deemed to be a service contract
Quebec’s consumer protection act is not the first time Canada has ruled on the definition of a timeshare. According to a 2017 ruling, the Canadian Court of Appeals defined a timeshare more like a country club than real property.
Spain was the first country to rule that perpetual timeshare contracts are illegal. In Spain timeshare contracts purchased in perpetuity, floating weeks, and points-based timeshares have been deemed unlawful by the Supreme Court.
I attended a Florida legislative workshop in Tallahassee March 12 of this year. Hearing lobbyists explain responsible exits and hardship departments, I learned of two parallel timeshare universes – what lobbyists and developers portray to lawmakers – and what over 900 families report is really happening.
We seek to provide timeshare members with a way to proactively address membership concerns; to advocate for timeshare reform; to obtain greater disclosure from the company; to advocate for a viable secondary market, and to educate prospective buyers.
Thank you Irene, one thing this article does show is at least some lawmakers are taking an active interest in curbing the excesses of the timeshare industry and giving them some rights under law. I don’t know of any other industry where the consumer has no protection with the laws in favour of the industry, this must change and we are slowly seeing that happen.
Inside Timeshare would also like to apologise for the lack of articles over the past few weeks, August is usually rather quiet so Inside Timeshare has taken the time to have a well earned rest. All will be back to normal in the next week or so.
Welcome to the latest edition of The Tuesday Slot, as we know Irene Parker has received a subpoena to disclose emails and other documents which she lists in the article. This is a blatant attempt by Diamond Resorts to attack a volunteer who works hard to help others resolve their timeshare disputes, as we all know Irene receives no payment whatsoever for the work she does, neither do any of the other volunteers who have stepped forward to take some of the pressure away from Irene. Please support Irene in whatever way you can.
One thing that Inside Timeshare finds very sad with all this is that a company wants to subpoena one of their own customers, especially to silence one that refused to sign a non-disclosure agreement.
The Subpoena Diamond Resorts sent to me, a volunteer
By Irene Parker
August 9, 2019
Instead of Diamond Resorts, and other developers, acknowledging that they may have a few bad apples, the timeshare lobby ARDA, in cooperation with several developers, has raised $50 million to crush timeshare exit companies, legitimate law firms providing timeshare relief services, and my 81-year-old husband and me.
As a hotel owner and operator, and as an attorney who has represented hotel owners and operators since 1988, I am a regular reader of your publication. At the end of the Mike Flaskey opinion piece, [which appeared in the July 15 issue], you requested comments.
While Mr. Flaskey provides helpful advice for avoiding scams, he and ARDA have chosen to ignore the underlying problem. People wouldn’t become prey for scammers if the companies selling timeshares provided them with a reasonable means of exiting.
There are many reasons people want to sell or otherwise exit; it could be age, changed financial circumstances, changed family circumstances, or simply dissatisfaction with the product that was represented at the time of the high-pressure sales pitch.
For Mr. Flaskey to end his opinion piece with the claim, “When people invest in vacations, they invest in happiness and a lifetime of memories,” is to be disingenuous. If timeshare ownership is as picture-perfect as he portrays it, people wouldn’t be getting scammed; people are getting scammed because of their desperation over the inability to find a means to sell or exit their timeshare. – Bill Bowen
I work over 40 volunteer hours per week providing straight answers to about 35 callers per week. I have never been compensated and I have nothing whatsoever to do with a lawsuit Diamond Resorts filed against a Florida law firm. Diamond attempted to subpoena the documents listed below.
This is evidence of extreme retaliation because I listened and responded to over 700 Diamond Resort members as they reported unfair and deceptive sales practices. In 2016 and 2017, the Arizona Attorney General’s investigators listened to over 900 complaints from Diamond members, according to what an investigator told one of our member-sponsored Diamond Facebook members.
At last year’s Whistleblower Summit and Film Festival held in Washington D.C., I learned that I am a whistleblower. Most whistleblowers are employees, offered some protection thanks to whistleblower laws. At this year’s Summit, I learned laws protecting whistleblowers often fall short. As an individual, I have no protections, save my readers and supporting members of the legal community.
There is no question in my mind Diamond’s intentions are to file a SLAPP lawsuit against me. I am guilty of four of the six points below. According to ACLU Ohio:
A large, well-funded organization may be SLAPPed, but more often, individuals with fewer resources are the victims of SLAPP suits.
Examples of Actions Which Have Resulted in SLAPPs: 2
Writing letters to the editor
Circulating flyers or petitions
Participating in a demonstration
Filing complaints with a government agency
Commenting at public hearings
Filing legal claims or lawsuits
This example of retaliation goes beyond the call of Pro Bono legal representation so I will be launching a GoFundMe as soon as I receive the narrower in scope subpoena. I have already received a multitude of pledges of support.
Subpoena directed to: Irene Parker who is not a party, to produce the items listed at the time and place specified in the attached Subpoena.
DATED this 10th day of July 2019.
Filing # 92298657 E-Filed 07/10/2019 09:16:51 AM
YOU ARE NOTIFIED that after ten (10) days from the date of service of this notice, if service is by facsimile or hand delivery, or fifteen (15) days from the date of service, if service is by mail, and if no objection is received from any party, the undersigned will issue or apply to the Clerk of this Court for issuance of the attached Subpoena directed to: Irene Parker who is not a party, to produce the items listed at the time and place specified in the attached Subpoena.
Brandon T. Crossland, Esq. Fla. Bar No. 0021542 Primary email: [email protected] Secondary email: [email protected][email protected] Christa C. Turner, Esq. Fla Bar No. 0076627 Primary email: [email protected] Secondary email: [email protected] BAKER & HOSTETLER LLP SunTrust Center, Suite 2300 200 South Orange Avenue Post Office Box 112 (32802) Orlando, Florida 32801 Telephone: 407.649.4000 Telecopier: 407.841.016 8 Attorneys for Plaintiff
CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE
I hereby certify that on July 10, 2019, I electronically filed the foregoing document with the Clerk of the Court by using the Florida Courts E-Filing Portal, which will send a Notice of Electronic
DEFINITIONS AND INSTRUCTIONS
1. The term “document” or “documents” refers to any printed, written, taped, recorded, graphic, electronic, computer materials, or other tangible or intangible matter, from whatever source, however produced or reproduced, whether in draft or otherwise, whether sent or received, or neither, which contains information or from which information can be obtained and which is in Your possession, custody or control, including, but not limited to, the original, a copy (if the original is not available), and all non-identical copies (whether different from the original because of notes made on or attached to such copy or otherwise) of any and all writings, correspondence, letters, telegrams, cables, telexes, facsimiles, emails, text messages, contracts, proposals, agreements, minutes, acknowledgments, notes, memoranda, analyses, projections, work papers, books, forecasts or appraisals, papers, records, reports, diaries, statements, questionnaires, schedules, computer programs or data, books of account, calendars, graphs, charts, transcripts, tapes, or recordings, photographs, pictures or film, ledgers, registers, work sheets, summaries, digests, financial statements, pictures, videos, audio recordings, and all other information where data, records or compilations can be obtained, including all underlying, supporting or preparatory material now in Your possession, custody or control. The term “document” or “documents” specifically includes documents kept by individuals in their desks, at home or elsewhere.
2. The term “computer materials” shall mean any and all files from any personal computer, notebook or laptop computer, file server, minicomputer, main-frame computer, or other storage device, including, but not limited to, hard drive disk drives or backup or retrieved electronic information, including, but not limited to email. All relevant files that are still on the storage media, but are identified as “erased but recoverable,” are to be included.
3. The term “copy” when used in reference to a document means any color, or black or white facsimile reproduction of a document, regardless of whether the facsimile reproduction is made by means of carbon papers, pressure-sensitive paper, xerography or other means or process.
4. The term “communication” or “communicate” means any writing, or oral conversation, including, but not limited to, telephone conversations and meetings, letters, emails, text messages, emails, telegraphic and telex communications, and includes all information
relating to all oral communications and “documents” ( as hereinabove defined), whether or not any such document, or the information contained therein, was transmitted by its author to any
5. The term “person” means any natural person, any employer, any business entity (whether a corporation, partnership, or other business association), any government or political
subdivision thereof, or governmental body, commission board, agency, bureau or department.
6. “Lawsuit” means the lawsuit filed by DRC against Finn Law Group, P.C., Finn Law Group, P.A., and Michael Finn in the Circuit Court in and for Orange County, Florida and
bearing Case No. 2017-CA-006199-O.
7. “You”, “Your”, and “Parker” means Irene Parker and your agents, representatives, directors, officers, members, employees, attorneys, accountants, predecessors, successors, assignors or assignees, and anyone else acting on its behalf or subject to your control.
8. “DRC” means Diamond Resorts Corporation and its agents, representatives, directors, officers, members, employees, attorneys, accountants, predecessors, successors, assignors or assignees, and anyone else acting on its behalf or subject to its control.
49. “Finn” means Finn Law Group, P.C., Finn Law Group, P.A., and Michael Finn and their agents, representatives, directors, officers, members, employees, attorneys, accountants, predecessors, successors, assignors or assignees, and anyone else acting on their behalf or subject to his control.
10. “Diamond Customers” means any individual(s) and/or entity that purchased, owns and/or holds a Vacation Ownership Timeshare Interest with Diamond Resorts Corporation, or
one of its separately named and operated affiliates, parents, or subsidiaries.
11. To the extent that You consider any of the following requests objectionable, respond to so much of each Request and part thereof, as is not objectionable in Your view and separately state that part of each Request as to which you raise objection and each ground for
12. If You object to the identification of any document on the basis of attorney/client or work product privilege, identify the privilege claimed as well as each document for which such privilege is claimed, together with the following information with respect to each such document: a. Date; b. Sender; c. Addressee; d. Subject;
e. The basis on which the privilege is claimed; and f. The names of persons to who copies of any part of the document were furnished, together with an identification of their employer and their job titles.
13. You shall produce the documents requested herein as they are kept in the usual course of business or You shall organize and label them to correspond with the categories in the request.
1. Produce any and all contracts, agreements or any other arrangements between you and Finn.
2. Produce any and all contracts, agreements or any other arrangements between you and Finn regarding Diamond Customers.
3. Produce any and all engagement agreements between you and Finn wherein Finn agrees to provide you with legal services.
4. Produce any and all invoices, bills, or other requests for payment from Finn to you since January 1, 2015.
5. Produce any and all documents, checks, or bank statements evidencing any payment from you to Finn since January 1, 2015.
6. Produce any and all documents, checks, or bank statements evidencing any payment from Finn to you, whether direct or indirect, since January 1, 2015.
7. Produce any and all communications and emails between you and Finn regarding Diamond Customers from January 1, 2015, through December 31, 2018.
8. Produce any and all communications and emails between you and Finn regarding Finn’s solicitation of, a referral to Finn by you, or Finn’s potential representation of Diamond Customers from January 1, 2015, through December 31, 2018.
9. Produce any and all communications and emails between you and any Diamond Customers from January 1, 2015, through December 31, 2018.
10. Produce a list of Diamond Customers that were referred by you to Finn from January 1, 2015 through December 31, 2018.
11. Excluding communications where you were requesting that Finn provide you with legal advice regarding articles, blogs, or social media posts that you have written, produce any and all communications and emails between you and Finn that relate to DRC, timeshare, or timeshare owners from March 1, 2015, to December 31, 2018.
12. Produce any and all communications and emails between you and Finn regarding the Lawsuit.
13. Produce all blogs, articles, editorials, commentaries, exposes, FaceBook posts, or other social media content written, in full or in part, by you from January 1, 2015, through the date of the Subpoena.
14. Produce any and all communications and emails between you and Inside Timeshare regarding Diamond Customers from March 1, 2015, through December 31, 2018.
15. Produce any and all communications between you and Greg Christ regarding DRC, timeshare, or timeshare owners from March 1, 2015, through December 31, 2018.
Our Diamond Member-Sponsored Facebook has over 3,400 members.
We seek to provide Diamond Resort members with a way to proactively address membership concerns; to advocate for timeshare reform; to obtain greater disclosure from the company; to advocate for a viable secondary market, and to educate prospective buyers.
What the Diamond Resort Owners Advocacy Facebook is not:
If members join our Facebook only to express displeasure, they are better served by posting on Trip Advisor. While venting may make a person feel better, ranting on a complaint site will do nothing to change what we feel are unfair and deceptive business practices, as defined by the FTC and the FBI.
Timeshare Accountability Group™
Timeshare Advocacy Group™ was launched by a small group of advocates concerned about the volume of timeshare complaints found on the internet directed against Wyndham, Bluegreen, Diamond Resorts, Westgate, Vacation Village and a few others. Disney Vacation Club has almost no complaints. Hilton and Marriott have few complaints.
We hope the lessons learned by consumers who purchased a timeshare product they did not understand will reach the general public so prospective timeshare buyers know what questions to ask before buying or upgrading a timeshare.
We hope the lessons learned by consumers who purchased a timeshare product they did not understand will reach the general public so prospective timeshare buyers know what questions to ask before buying or upgrading a timeshare.
TAG hasalsoreceived Sell My Timeshare Now complaints. It has been widely reported Diamond pointshave no resale value, yet SMTN charges already financially distressed members $1499 to $1699 for ads to list points.
Thank you Irene, I am sure that once you launch the GoFundMe campaign many of our readers will be donating. What Inside Timeshare will say is this, Irene has worked tirelessly giving up her free time for this cause, please show your support and make a pledge now. Use our contact page and show your support.
Following Monday’s article about Anfi Sales and Anfi Resorts hiding assets in an attempt to avoid paying back money awarded to clients in the Spanish courts for the selling of illegal contracts, they are back in the news. This time it is on Spanish national television TVE 1.
They report what we already have published and what was published in El Diario, Inside Timeshare has a recording of the news item to which has been added subtitles it has also been uploaded to Youtube.
The lawyer who is dealing with this case on behalf of Canarian Legal Alliance clients, Eva Gutiérrez is being interviewed outside one of the CLA offices in Arguineguin, with the Anfi Resort in the background. In the interview, Eva explains the reason behind the emptying of bank accounts giving the reporter all the figures. She is also seen working on documents showing the various bank accounts.
It is actually quite staggering the amounts which are in the millions of euros that are being diverted from these accounts to avoid court-ordered repayments. It is no wonder that the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office has been taking a very keen interest in this matter.
During the interview, Eva Gutiérrez also explains that CLA and their clients are urging the courts to appoint an independent administrator to oversee the accounts and the investigation. This blatant attempt we are seeing by the Anfi Group, who are also paying members of the RDO (Resorts Development Organisation) the timeshare industry trade body and governed by their code of conduct and ethics, is in the mind of Inside Timeshare possibly a criminal act.
As yet we have not seen any statement from the RDO regarding this and we very much doubt that they will even sanction them over this. So much for the trade body and their code of conduct and ethics.
This story should place no one in any doubt as to the lengths timeshare companies will go to deceive consumers, it should also remove any doubt as to the authenticity of Canarian Legal Alliance which has over the years been smeared by the timeshare industry as a criminal gang and swindlers!
Inside Timeshare knows who the real swindlers and criminals are and now so do you!
Link to the original article by El Diario with English translation in PDF format.
On Thursday 18 July 2019 in Duisburg Germany the Annual General Meeting of the IFA Group, which is a publicly owned company and listed on the stock exchange was held. IFA Group which also includes since 2016 via IFA Canarias SL and Anfi Invest AS owns a 50% stake in the Anfi Group which they purchased from the Lyng family for 41.3 million Euros in September 2016.
After a capital increase which is intended along with other things to acquire the remaining 50% share of Anfi, the company has a balance sheet totalling 467 million Euros, it is also now 76% owned by Lopesan Touristik SA of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. The operating results after adjustment were only €7.4 million before tax due to various special items. With a positive contribution by IFA Canarias SL of €3.8 million including Anfi with € 2.4 million.
Although Anfi is jointly owned with a 50/50 split between IFA and the Cazorla Group, IFA actually has no say in the company as Cazorla has the “Golden Share”. Giving them total control, this is how it looks:
Grupo Santana Cazorla SL has a double vote on all the key decisions, with IFA only having 33% of the voting rights on these decisions. After the acquisition of the Lyng share, it became apparent that IFA is unable to actively participate in any financial and business policy decisions due to company-contractual agreements. Grupo Sanatana Cazorla SL, in fact, excludes IFA any participation in all business decisions, even important business meetings are held and conducted without IFA. But even so, IFA was able to acquire the balance sheets of the Anfi Group.
IFA has basically confirmed that it is being kept more or less in the dark and have no idea what is going on inside Anfi. This does look like Anfi is holding back very important information regarding their position from its own shareholders, this is definitely no way for a company to operate.
During the Annual General Meeting in Duisberg, the most interesting part was the questions and answer sessions. Unfortunately, these are not required to be published unlike the report of the AGM which should be published in around 1 month.
Due to the presence of Anfi insiders (including Inside Timeshares source), the IFA board was totally overwhelmed with questions concerning almost all the problems of Anfi. There was nothing left out and of particular importance were the questions regarding the solvency and the wave of complaints. Our source has limited these to only a few concrete statements:
By 31 December 2018 there were around 1,000 complaints at court;
The complaints would only lead to a deferred resale of withdrawn weeks;
In all cases Anfi claims it looks for agreement out of court;
Anfi has formed a €15.5 million risk reserve for that eventuality, (does this mean that IFA also has to contribute the same amount?);
IFA sees Anfi as solvent with some bearable risk;
A full takeover of Anfi is planned within the next 5 years:
There are also negotiations with the Mogan Community about a hotel in Tauro;
What we also know about this “partnership” is that IFA claims they were not aware of the “Cazorla Golden Share” until after they purchased the 50% from Ragnar Lyng. It was also confirmed by IFA that they have very limited access to the running of the business and information. This poses a very important question, as IFA is a multinational public company spending millions on this purchase, is it conceivable that they did not perform due diligence before committing to the purchase?
It has also transpired that IFA was also unaware of an article published in La Provincia in March 2019 that Anfi was employing delaying tactics with payouts ordered by the courts. Inside Timeshare found out after consulting CLA that there is €57,800,000 worth of claims. This now begs the question if IFA matches the 15.5 million set aside by Anfi bringing the total to €31 million, who will cover the rather large shortfall?
One thing is for sure, IFA is a very valuable company, they have recently spent $481 million on their new resort in the Dominican Republic, The Lopesan Costa Bávaro Resort, Spa & Casino which is a luxury 5-star hotel.
So even with the Cazorla’s transferring funds between accounts to delay court-ordered payouts, IFA is in a very good position to cover these costs. For claimants this means only one thing, claim payouts will be 100% guaranteed.
It must also be pointed out that the number and value of claims set for the court is only the tip of the iceberg, this may yet rise significantly, especially with Anfi attempting to force members into new contracts. We have already seen two attempts with very little response from the membership.
There are many other questions which need answering but the one that comes up though enquiries to Inside Timeshare most often is if IFA does take full control of Anfi, where does this leave the members, will IFA continue with the “timeshare model”?
The answer that question still eludes everyone.
The one thing that is certain with the IFA revelations and this is great news for clients of CLA with cases in court is that they will now get paid when the court orders the return of their money.
Welcome to this week’s Letter from America, today Patty Boyak who has been attending court on behalf of Inside Timeshare reports on the verdict in the trial between Candace Czarny and Hyatt for unfair dismissal. Unfortunately, it is not the result that we had all hoped for. We then go on to report on seven more complaints against a Diamond Resorts sales agent in Las Vegas and five against another Diamond sales agent in California. These complaints are becoming all too frequent with Inside Timeshare receiving them almost on a daily basis, yet the timeshare companies do nothing and continue to allow their sales agents to behave in this despicable manner.
Now on with Patty’s report.
Former Hyatt Timeshare Sales Executive Candace Czarny v Hyatt Residential Marketing Corporation and Kent and Allison R. Drysdale
CASE NO. CV2013-006230
Jury Trial Verdict
Seven complaints against our Diamond Resorts Las Vegas sales agent and five complaints against our California agent
By Patty Boyak
July 19, 2019
In the trial of Candace Czarny v Hyatt and Kent and Allison Drysdale, the jury ruled in favour of Hyatt. While the verdict was a profound disappointment for Candace, when God closes one door he often opens another.
In 1991 Anita Hill got dragged through the muck of Senate hearings after accusing U.S. Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment. She didn’t want to go public, but knew in her heart she needed to speak out about actions she felt were inappropriate for a Supreme Court justice nominee. A movie was made about her humiliating ordeal. At the end of the movie, the wrap-up listed the positive consequences because of her efforts. Nationwide revisions to antiquated sexual harassment policies and procedures ensued.
To be honest, having listened to a week of testimony, I felt Candace had at best a 50/50 chance. She had only worked in the timeshare industry for 17 months. However, Candace scored a major victory in court for timeshare members, assisted by other witnesses, and Hyatt’s attorneys provided landmark evidence or lack of:
THERE IS NO LETTER!
The reason this is so important is that so many timeshare complaints begin with, “They said I should have gotten a letter.” This statement is reported by many Diamond members, including a disabled veteran who caught deception on a recording. Understandably, his dispute was quickly resolved. We experienced the same agent but were told another member’s complaints had no bearing on our complaint.
If you listen to the recording, most would conclude this agent should have been fired. Instead, he introduced himself to us a year later as a Platinum Counselor, and just a few weeks ago, our group received complaint #7 against this agent.
Defendant Kent Drysdale was Hyatt’s Director of Training, but some of the deceptive practices described in Candace’s lawsuit (like the letter), were the same practices members complained about during the Arizona Attorney General’s investigation of Diamond Resorts in 2016. Mr Drysdale was the Director of Training for Diamond prior to being recruited by Hyatt. Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich issued an Assurance of Discontinuance against Diamond Resorts after the AG’s office received hundreds of complaints from Diamond members.
A “deceptive price freeze” demands the member buy points the same day or loose special pricing. In the case of the veteran who recorded our Diamond sales agent, not only had the veteran repeatedly asked for his driver’s license and credit card back over two hours of a five hour ordeal, he was told that because he “didn’t get the letter” he was not grandfathered in for a special price after Apollo Global Managementhad acquired Diamond. Alaa stated this meant they would have to pay enormous maintenance fees over the next ten years unless they purchased additional points. As this dispute quickly resolved, we will not identify the buyers or link the article published about their dispute.
Thank you, Candace!
Those of us whose families have been harmed by timeshare sales agents, now have proof of deceptive and unfair practices because Hyatt’s attorney could not produce the letter. One of the members of the jury had asked where it was. There were 200 exhibits. Two letters hastily produced at trial, but neither had anything to do with a prior letter the member was supposed to have received.
I would like to share our Diamond Resorts experience so consumers may understand how the decked is stacked against the consumer. Of the 913 complaints our advocacy group has received, 115 are veterans and active duty service members. My husband is a Navy veteran.
Our Timeshare Accountability Group™ members share experiences in an effort to expose timeshare sales agents that have had multiple complaints filed against them. Including the veteran and our family, a total of seven complaints have been received, directed against Las Vegas sales agent Alaa C, and five complaints against California agent Trevor W. We purchased from both agents!
I have asked Inside Timeshare to publish our complaint submitted to the California and Nevada Real Estate Divisions hoping to reach lawmakers who, in recent Arizona legislation, bent to the will of ARDA lobbyists. ARDA’s position is that a state should not take responsibility for those who did not bother to understand the product and Arizona Senator Michelle Ugenti-Rita was quoted, “These people are adults. There was a meeting of the minds and they signed a contract. They should take responsibility.”
I’d like for ARDA lobbyists and lawmakers to read five complaints against the California agent in today’s article, and the seven complaints against Nevada agent Alaa C (to be published next Tuesday) to understand the kinds of minds that meet.
Five complaints against California Diamond sales agent Trevor W and Principal Broker Peter M
Trevor W complaint #1 A Senior in her mid-70s
Trevor W complaint #2 Brandon and Patty Boyak
Trevor W complaint #3 A Navy veteran
Trevor W complaint #4 Reported complaint but did not buy
Trevor W complaint #5 A senior age 75, resolved
Trevor complaint #1 Platinum Member #80 of 101, age 75
April 10, 2019
My mother lost her entire retirement annuity of $350,000, plus maintenance fees are $20,000 so almost $400,000. She was switched back and forth five times over six transactions. (Highlighted in red are agents Inside Timeshare received multiple complaints against):
Everything was okay until May 2015 when Rick C transferred her points to the US from Hawaii, which cost $42,000. September 2015 she was switched back to HI by Paul M for $33,000. April 2016 HI points were switched back to the US at Mystic Dunes in Orlando, by Angelica S. In March 2017 she was switched back to HI by Ras for $38,000. November 2017 Palm Canyon Resort $80,000 bought points from Trevor W. October 2018 Billie B and Fred K transferred points back to the US telling her she would be able to pay maintenance fees costing $45,000. In Hawaii, one of the brokers said he has a broker who could help her rent points (which is not allowed for-profit) to get her money back and in the future, her points could be sold back to Diamond.
She did not buy a second time March 2019 from Paul M. Paul said she should switch back to HI because there was going to be a huge Special Assessment in the US if she didn’t switch back to Hawaii for $63,000. She ended up with 100,000 US Collection points and $17,000 in annual maintenance fees
Trevor complaint #2 Platinum Member #28 of 191
July 6, 2019
Brandon and Patty Boyak
Our complaint is against CA Diamond Resorts sales Agent Trevor W.
We purchased 17,500 points October 21, 2017, from Trevor at Palm Canyon Resort in Palm Springs, CA for $72,850.
Consumers need to know there is nothing to prevent timeshare fraud without a recording because proof is required. I spoke to attorneys to ask what constituents proof. I was told a pattern of complaints serves as a form of proof. This is why we are gathering complaints.
Peter M, Principal Broker California
Trevor W said if we became Platinum “members” as opposed to “owners” we would be eligible for a program to sell points back to DRI at $0.30 per point. He explained this as a buyback program available only to Platinum members. We had never heard the term “member” before. Trevor explained that by becoming a member we would lock in our maintenance fees, preventing them from increasing at alarming rates over the coming years. There is no such thing as member or owner points.
We never attempted to sell points back at $.30 because we missed the window period. Trevor explained that we had to turn in points by November 30 and we had to have 20% of our loan paid to be eligible for the maintenance fee buyback program. In no way would we have 20% of the loan paid in such a short time. This avoided the rescission period. We were already aware of a travel discount program called 30/30. We did not know at the time only Platinum members can pay maintenance fees at $.04 per point, a worthless benefit because 50,000 points turned in at $.04 a point would cover only $2,000 towards an $8,631 maintenance fee bill (in 2018).
Trevor explained that as soon as a buyer makes an initial purchase of Diamond points, they become an owner. Any new purchaser is considered an owner, but once we became Platinum we would become a Diamond member. He reminded us that we were considered “owners” because of our past Monarch affiliation.
We had five contracts prior to this meeting. This would finally give us true Platinum Member status with DRI. The contracts were not wrapped.
We attended a presentation at a hotel on January 28, 2018. Mr R. He said it would be better if we were to upgrade to Platinum because then we would be able to use our points to pay maintenance fees. I explained that we did not have the resources to upgrade. After several hours we agreed.
September 4, 2018, NV
Points purchased: 16,000
Sales Agent: Mr J Trevor W
Manager: Mr Matthew G
Purchase price: $48,000
September 4, 2018, we met with Trevor W. Mr W went over our account and stated that we were only a temporary platinum member and that we could not use our points towards maintenance fees.
I recall being told several times that if we were to upgrade to Platinum it would be an investment that we could pass to our children. He said if our children did not want the timeshare in the future they would be able to say that they did not want it or that they could sell points to pay maintenance fees.
Mr W asked us how we were able to purchase our existing points at such a low price because the price for points now was much higher. He left to talk to his manager and came back stating that they would honour the low point price but if we waited the price would be substantially higher, somewhere in the range of 9 dollars and that they would increase soon in the future. It was again mentioned that we would be able to use our points to pay maintenance fees by selling points. He said we would be able to sell our timeshare points outright in the future, but not at the present time.
Mr W said he would assist me in using Barclay Card points and Platinum exchanged points to pay maintenance fees. Mr W gave me his cell phone number and told me to call him towards the end of the year and he would assist me with the process. Mr W never returned calls. After contacting customer service I found out that the point conversion was so small it would not make a dent in the liability. I did not find this out until I was billed for maintenance fees and attempted to pay the fees via points.
I have learned members are not required to attend presentations unless accepting a promotion. This also is deceptive to be told an update is required when it is not. Diamond points are worthless on resale.
A senior, age 73, who did not buy from Trevor
Trevor Complaint #4 Platinum member #85 out of 101
At Palm Canyon CA Trevor showed me a graph of maintenance fees showing maintenance fees increasing. Trevor had said that the way my contract with Al C had been written, my maintenance fees were at a higher rate of increase. Al had told me my maintenance fees would be at the lower rate of increase, but Trevor explained that because of how C wrote the contract I was at the higher level because C wrote the contract as an owner contract and not a member contract. He explained that there is a difference between members and owners in terms of how much you pay in maintenance fees. However, I bought non-deeded Diamond points from Al, so what he sold me was a membership. He said C made more money selling owner points.
Trevor waived the maintenance fee graph in front of me and said, “I know you are telling me the truth because there would be a signature acknowledging receipt in your file”. I asked Trevor for a copy of the contract history he was reviewing, but he said he could not give this to me. Trevor said the only way to fix the problem C caused was to buy more points for $125,000. Had I believed Trevor’s nonsense about buying ownership and not membership points, I would have been driven deeper into debt. I would be another Platinum member-driven into foreclosure.
Trevor also presented the misrepresentation about heirs saying that my heirs would be responsible if I did not buy an additional 75,000 points for $125,000.
Trevor, and a second agent, Brad G, said I could get out of the owner status and go to “member status” if I made the purchase. Trevor assured me if I bought the points, I would then have the lowest maintenance fees. He told me I would need to do this to take care of the mess C had created.
Trevor and Brad acknowledged that “middle easterners at Cancun” in Las Vegas often made these mistakes. They thought Al was one who had put another person in a bad situation, but they would call Mike B to see if they could help me. Trevor agreed that Al had sold me a bait and switch. Trevor and Brad also stated that Al had sold me 7000 more points than I needed to reach platinum status.
In the end, I did not feel that I could trust Trevor. I asked Trevor for a copy of his proposal that he had written down so I could talk to my financial advisor. He would not give it to me. I said I had to talk to my family because they had been waiting for hours. My friend and daughter-in-law returned with me and said that I was not going to sign anything. Trevor got nasty and said, “I resent you coming in here at the last minute giving advice.”
I also was told that unless I bought the new points from Trevor I could not sell my points. If I did buy the points from them, Diamond would give me a list of members to whom I may sell. Diamond points are worthless on resale.
Besides ruining my afternoon with my family for my grandson’s birthday, I was a mental wreck. When I returned, I told the two men that I didn’t have enough funds to make the purchase. I asked for more time so I could talk to my financial advisor who was not available by phone. Trevor denied that request. He said I had to sign right then. He said if I signed I had 7 days in CA to cancel the contract.
Trevor Complaint #5
A senior, age 70, Diamond Platinum member #90 of 101
On 4/22/19 in Palm Desert, I went to an “Owner Update” with Platinum specialist Trevor W. I had previously been assured that since I already owned 90,500 points, I was well in excess of the 50,000 points needed to be Platinum. I am 70 years old and have no children. The timespan and need for points are limited. Trevor launched into an explanation of why I had to buy additional “membership” points because the prior Hawaii sales agent had fraudulently, or at least mistakenly, sold me “owner” points due to inadequate training.
I explained to Platinum specialist Trevor W that my only goal was to find a way to SELL my points, and also to make absolutely sure that Diamond could NOT attach my estate because my heirs did not want the points.
Trevor explained that my points were essentially worthless, that there was no market for them because of the type of ownership category I held. He explained that the points that I owned, on the secondary market, would have none of the myriads of benefits like travel reimbursement for air and hotel, or access to other features. The buyer could only access specific Diamond-owned properties.
The Hawaii sales agent said that Hawaii points were the premium to own and in huge demand by buyers. They explained that Hawaii points have a limited supply, so I could use them and then easily sell them. In fact, they said Diamond itself would likely buy them back because they were running out of property in the tight Maui market.
Trevor pretended to be disappointed that I was sold a pack of lies, and implied that the Diamond rep knew the Hawaii points had no resale value. He said the rep should have disclosed this fact about worthless “ownership” points, worthless even when sold in Hawaii. I was really discouraged. Trevor posed as my friend, sorry to have to explain this to me.
Trevor offered a solution. Apollo owned Diamond, and Apollo was going public in the next couple of months. He said Apollo wanted Diamond to be clean as a whistle to have a stellar rating and reputation. Many owners had complained about not being able to resell, so Apollo had created a new class of ownership called “membership” which entitles a future buyer to all the Platinum benefits of my points. The maintenance fees for “owners” were going to skyrocket, compounding every year. He showed me a horrifying chart showing maintenance fees growing to a million dollars in aggregate over 20 years. But the “membership” category would be capped. This would result in huge savings over time.
Trevor said the terms of the public offering SEC filing by Apollo mandated that points had to be sold at a base rate of slightly over $11/point. No more bargaining. Trevor said there were scores of Platinum buyers clamouring to buy points, as they would not want to pay the new rate, creating a hot market to sell points to those who had previously purchased “ownership” points like I had been mistakenly sold. Trevor said he would give me a list of buyers with their emails once Apollo went public. Of course, it would be up to me to make a private party agreement. We had an elaborate discussion about what my average cost per point would be – about $4.50.
Trevor said he had recently purchased points, knowing he could sell them back at a profit. Being leery, I said I wanted to see his purchase contract, which he said was at home, so on speakerphone, he called his wife to ask her to fax it. She answered, such a sweet voice, and said she was at the market, but would send it as soon as she got home. So we took a break, as we’d been talking for hours. The break stretched to an hour. When we reconvened Trevor showed me his purchase contract. It must have taken an hour to make the mock purchase contract, backdate it, and have it faxed.
The hook was lowered. I would be required to buy 25,000 points at $112,500 in order for Diamond to convert all my “ownership” points to “membership” points. I was shocked at the dollar amount. It was like betting on the come, but it seemed the only way out. In about 2 months, Apollo would go public and Trevor would give me a list of eager existing Platinum owner-buyers. As I stalled, exhausted and discouraged, Sales Manager, Bradley reassured me.
I signed the purchase contract with misgivings, and explained to the contract/quality control guy (who said he was there to protect me from any misleading sales practices), that I was forced to buy points in order to be able to sell points in the near future and at least break even. He didn’t blink an eye, which was reassuring.
During this process, a loved one was rapidly sinking into dementia/Alzheimer.
Members and current and former timeshare sales agents like Candace can help by joining forces with others seeking to reform timeshare. Sign this petition for reform to let your voice be heard, and join one of these self-help groups.
We seek to provide timeshare members with a way to proactively address membership concerns; to advocate for timeshare reform; to obtain greater disclosure from the company; to advocate for a viable secondary market, and to educate prospective buyers.
Once again thank you Patty for taking the time to attend the trial and submitting your report, itjust unfortunate that it was not the result that Inside Timeshare and our readers had hoped for. We must also give Candace a very big thank you for having the courage to take on the big boys, we all hope that you will now move on and rebuild your life.
If you have any comments or views on this or any other article published, please do use our contact page and let us know.
That is it for this week, have a great weekend and join us again next week.
Lynch begins first explains that the company EOHL (Excel Overseas Holdings Ltd) was placed into provisional liquidation on 26 March 2019, this a was put before the High Court of Justice of the British Virgin Islands (Commercial Division). He explains that the application has been brought by a company called Landcastle Holdings Ltd, which as it turns out is a majority shareholder of EOHL.
Lynch then report on the hearing of 13 May 2018 before the BVI Court in order to bring the application to a final hearing. At this hearing, Landcastle Holdings argued that the application should be dealt with in the same way as other similar applications. They were seeking the appointment of liquidators for the benefit of creditors and hoped that the final hearing would be held within 6 to 8 weeks.
This was opposed by another company called Landcastle Capital Ltd who are registered as minority shareholders of EOHL.
Although these two companies have similar names they are in fact separate entities independent of each other and separately owned and managed.
Landcastle Capital is owned by a gentleman in New York who is attempting to block the liquidations.Landcastle Holdings working on information they have available are of the view that this individual is primarily responsible for the issues facing EOHL. This also includes all the problems now facing those “Investors” of the ELPP.
So what do we deduce from this?
It looks like that this is a dispute between the shareholders of EHOL, this means that both parties should be required to lodge their pleadings in full detail on their respective positions of the dispute.
The BVI Court ordered that pleading did need to be filed in the application so they may determine the claim.
Landcastle Holdings filed and served their statement of the claim on 21 June 2019, Landcastle Capitol has until 19 July (tomorrow) to file and serve their defence.
With the BVI Court’s decision the application will not be a speedy one as was initially hoped, it is believed that the application is not going to be heard until late 2020 or even early in 2021.
The Joint Provisional Liquidators have now taken control of companies which are below EOHL within the corporate group, they are believed to be taking steps to protect and maintain the value of all the assets. Lynch states that the JPL’s“are working diligently to ensure the best possible outcome for EOHL creditors, principally being the ELPP Investment investors”.
Apparently, Landcastle Holdings is continuing to seek the appointment of liquidators to EOHL.
If any of the assets of EHOL be realised then any money collected from those assets will be held in the estate of EHOL purely for the benefit of creditors and to cover any ongoing costs. This will also include costs for the provisional liquidation and any future liquidation. It is not yet know how the distribution to creditors will pan out.
Lynch ends his letter with “the JPL’s will continue to take all necessary steps to protect and maintain the value of EHOL assets. They will also continue to provide creditors with updates on any relevant developments”.
This along with all the other articles Inside Timeshare has published on the tangled web of companies of which Silverpoint is part of, is going to be a very long-running and complicated story. It is one that Inside Timeshare will be following very very closely, so watch this space.
Over the past few weeks Inside Timeshare has been running a series of articles regarding the troubles around Silverpoint and associated companies. We began with a series of articles in six parts on the truth behind Silverpoint this can be found in the link below. As a result, Inside Timeshare has been receiving many enquiries on this but also many many more from members who have been told their bookings will not be honoured.
Our readers have also been sending letters to Inside Timeshare from Excel Hotels & Resorts SA and also from Club Paradiso Ltd outlining their reasons behind all of this. We begin first with the letter one reader was given by Excel while actually on holiday.
The result is that any member who has booked through Signallia to stay at any of the resorts managed by Excel has after that date will not be honoured. They do however say that they did honour some of the bookings to “prevent disruption” being caused to members.
It also transpires that Signallia continued to market the products even after the termination of the agreement without the consent of Excel. Therefore none of these reservations will be honoured at any of the resorts.
The letter also goes on to say that Excel never received any payments collected by Excel and that they are not liable for any sums paid. Now considering that all these companies are interlinked via the parent company which was owned by the late Bob Trotta does make this look very suspicious indeed.
The letter which is unsigned but carries the Excel stamp ends with Excel informing clients that they are informing the relevant police authority, in other words, they are denouncing one of their own companies!
Several other readers have also sent us a letter amounting to 4 pages, with the last 2 being Frequently Asked Questions, from Club Paradiso Ltd another British Virgin Islands company and signed by Alex Lawson who we know is working on behalf of the Trotta family with his company Alvarez & Marsal to liquidate assets to save the Trotta family fortune. (See the link at the start)
The letter dated 12 July 2019 begins with advising members that on 14 May 2019 he was appointed as a director of the company, with the former sole director resigning with effect from 30 May 2019. This now makes Lawson the sole director of Club Paradiso Ltd.
He explains that since his appointment it has become apparent that Club Paradiso is facing a “number of significant issues”, we know and so do all the members who are contacting Inside Timeshare!
He goes on to complain that not all the company’s books, records and documents have been made available to him, it appears that he is unable to do his job because of this. Now the question is what actually is his job?
We know he has been appointed “administrator” of several other Trotta companies including Keys Concierge which we know has also closed down. He is also the administrator dealing with the liquidations of two BVI companies, Limora Investments Ltd the parent company to all the others and also Excel Overseas Holdings Ltd. We also know that a new company by the name of Excel Overseas Holdings is based in Dubai. So we can assume that his job is either to revamp the “Club” or “liquidate it”, we actually believe it is the latter given what his company does.
This letter also goes on to explain under previous management Club Paradiso failed to pay for the contractual agreements and arrangements with other service providers and resorts. Now we also know that all these “service Providers” and “resorts are all part of the same group of companies owned by the Trotta family under Limora Investments Ltd.
Again we see another tangled web of intrigue and dodgy dealings which is resulting in nothing but stress and anguish for the consumers who have paid considerable sums for these products. We know from our readers that they are all worried they are about to lose everything, not just the holidays not being honoured but now having to pay for new bookings after they have already paid their annual maintenance fees!
To Inside Timeshare, this does not seem to be fair, most of these members have initially paid thousands of pounds to purchase the product and also thousands in annual maintenance fees. Now it does not take a lot of working out, but these companies have made millions over the years and this is how they treat their clients. SHAME ON YOU!
Have you purchased any product from Silverpoint, Signallia Marketing or any other company and are worried about all that is going on, then use our contact page and let us know. We will explain what your legal options are and point you in the right direction to get the legal help you need.
Remember, the courts are finding in favour of the clients on all cases going to court, this may be the only way not to lose what you have “invested” in your holidays.