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Anfi: More Serious Problems Emerge

Over the past few years, Anfi has been in the news for many reasons, the main ones are the number of cases they have been losing in the courts and the Tauro Beach Project. The project at Tauro beach has also recently been in the news with the former head of the Coastal Authority being sentenced to 3 years in jail. He was found guilty of falsifying documents giving permission for Anfi to carry out the work in establishing a man-made beach months before the permissions were signed. The Canarian Government is in the process of revoking the permissions and licenses allowing Anfi to develop Tauro Beach, this will be a devastating blow to their finances. As for the court cases, there seems to be no sign that these will be ending anytime soon.

Tauro Beach Project, man-made beach, new hotels and commercial centre planned.

All this must be having some effect on the Anfi cash flow, we know they are employing delaying tactics in paying clients what the courts have ordered. It is believed that in many cases it is transferring funds from one account to another, rather like Silverpoint. We also know the Canarian Government is in the process of revoking the permissions and licenses allowing Anfi to develop Tauro Beach, this will also be a devastating blow to their finances. 

Is this an attempt to hide the money and not pay what they are legally obliged to pay claiming cash flow problems?

Or are they actually running out of money?

Where does this leave IFA as 50% shareholders, as they have no control over the board or the company?

Are IFA aware of what Anfi are doing?

The courts are taking a very dim view of Anfi tactics, they have already seen through them, a very good case in point is the one regarding a Norwegian client of Canarian Legal Alliance, Mr Hoyer. Due to the delays and arguments by Anfi on his case, he was awarded 100,000€ above the 31,000€ he originally paid giving him 131,000€. This was the court’s way of punishing Anfi for basically wasting the courts time.


Mr Hoyer one happy Norwegian client

Highlight and right click on link below for the full report

This was a very expensive case for Anfi, yet, they are still attempting to do the same thing with every case that goes before the courts. Obviously, the courts are not too pleased with this and investigations have been ordered by the Fiscal (State Prosecutor) into Anfi funds and bank accounts.

This is not the first time we have reported on “missing funds” we know that between 2012 and 2013 8 Million Euros had been diverted which was noticed by the Lyng family, then only last year in November we reported on a lawsuit between the Cazorla Brothers for unfair administration of funds, to the value of 718,000€ the  result of the case has still yet to be issued. (see links below).

https://insidetimeshare.com/the-great-anfi-battle-of-the-partners-round-2/

https://insidetimeshare.com/la-provincia-anfi-director-declares-lawsuit-between-cazorla-brothers/

The delaying tactics Anfi are employing are constant appeals to the High Court and lodging appeals with the Supreme Court, this is due only to a lack of liquidity or cash flow even taking into account the fines and interest they will accrue. It is also very frustrating to the clients with cases already won in the Courts of First Instance, it is also being used as a ploy by Anfi to put people off taking legal action.

Another method which Anfi are employing to ward off future lawsuits from disgruntled members is the attempt to change contracts, they have so far tried twice to convince members to change, but this has resulted in a very poor response. What we do know is that with all the legal problems members are very concerned with the future of Anfi.

https://www.finanzen.net/aktien/ifa_hoteltouristik-aktie

We now look at IFA as 50% shareholders, they do not have the “golden share” so they have no control over the board or the company,  we know that IFA has set aside millions for a full takeover of Anfi, but are they actually aware of what is going on. It is more than likely that Anfi has not even disclosed this matter with IFA. IFA is a public company and is therefore responsible to have this disclosed to its shareholders, the question is if they are aware, have their shareholders been notified?

Inside Timeshare has spoken to an IFA shareholder and in the last quarterly report, there was no mention of the possible millions in losses. So it would seem that IFA shareholders are also being kept in the dark.

IFA Faro, Maspalomas

Are the IFA shareholders aware that there are around 50 million euros in claims pending against Anfi?

How is this going to affect IFA if they do eventually take full control, will they continue in the same way or will they settle the claims in the quickest way possible?

All we know at the moment is Anfi are moving funds around the different bank accounts, to us it looks like what is happening with Silverpoint, using the transfer of funds to other parts of the company to hide the money and eventually seek liquidation due to “cash flow” problems.

Unfortunately, there are more questions than answers, answers that Inside Timeshare will be looking for and publishing on these pages.

If you have purchased any Anfi product and want to know if your contract contravenes Spanish timeshare law giving you a valid case and you would like to secure your “investment”, then use our contact page. Inside Timeshare will help you find out your legal position and point you in the right direction.

The Tuesday Slot

Welcome to another edition of The Tuesday Slot, This week Irene Parker looks at the Bass Pro Shops and Bluegreen who are both locked in a legal dispute not only with each other but also their own clients. It would look like there is no end to the deceptions, misleading and bad practices that the timeshare industry thrives by. This brings us to ask yet again, when will the industry change its ways and sell a fair and useful product without the bad practices that we see on these pages day after day week after week? Somehow I don’t think we will get an answer any time soon.

Bass Pro Shops v Bluegreen $40 million Settlement

A Separate Lawsuit of Nearly Three Dozen Bluegreen Member Plaintiffs

As reported by The Palm Beach Post June 14, 2019

Boca Raton-based Bluegreen Vacations will pay Bass Pro more than $40 million to continue operating sales kiosks in its stores.

In a separate lawsuit filed this year, nearly three dozen timeshare buyers from around the country sued Bluegreen and Bass Pro Shops. The consumers said they were lured into high-pressure sales pitches, then sold expensive shares in units that they claimed were overpriced or in poor repair.

https://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/20190614/bluegreen-vacations-bass-pro-shops-settle-dispute-over-timeshare-sales-tactics?fbclid=IwAR2T5UbBR9fHwDbyhHIJk0HqhhHqgHYec8Npi2QpcrgE0ufBSEWIkIarxWk

Who’s the Fish?

By Irene Parker

July 9, 2019

Civil Action No. 3:19-cv-54

Excerpts from the Civil Action complaint (my comments highlighted in blue)

In the U. S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee at Knoxville, a third amended complaint was filed April 8, 2019 against defendant Bluegreen Vacation Unlimited, Inc. in Gatlinburg, Tennessee and BPS Direct, LLC dba Bass Pro Shops (BPS), seeking contract rescission and damages on behalf of 16 co-plaintiffs (as of the April 8 filing) for alleged illegal, deceptive and misleading business and sales practices, statutory violations and fraudulent conduct.   

Such practices as described pertain to the Bluegreen Vacations Mountain Loft, Ascend Resort Collection Resort at Gatlinburg. Relevant to this lawsuit, Bass Pro Shop, partially in conjunction with Bluegreen, operated its retail business at its Tennessee-based facilities in Kodak and Nashville, along with 67 other locations across the United States.

According to the lawsuit, Defendant Bass Pro Shops were involved in the offering of a promotion for attending a timeshare presentation, which was solicited through representations made from within Bass Pro Shops, through BPS agents, or at least individuals who appeared to consumers to be acting as agents of BPS, and thus, such actions are attributable to Defendant BPS. The lawsuit Bass Pro Shops filed against Bluegreen seemed to focus on commissions not being paid on any “sampler package” and the “clawing back” of commissions not paid when a member defaulted or cancelled years after the sale.

The lawsuit alleges Plaintiffs were induced to purchase a timeshare interest from Bluegreen by fraud, without knowing the true nature of the presentation, because material information was either intentionally or negligently concealed. Defendants did not disclose material facts concerning the use of points and availability caused by overselling interests, and the right to the Public Offering Statement disclosures, which included rescission rights.

First Basis: Concealment of Rescission Rights and Public Offering Statement

The lawsuit alleges POS disclosures were avoided and/or intentionally hid, including material information about the rescission period. Despite Bluegreen’s legal duty to provide a copy of its POS, not one Plaintiff recalls receiving a copy of such a document. The lawsuit further alleges Bluegreen representatives had a strong incentive to conceal Plaintiffs’ rescission rights and limit access to the information contained in the Public Offering Statement. Plaintiffs were not aware they had a right of rescission or that they were entitled to review the POS before entering the contract.

Violations of the Tennessee Timeshare Act of 1981 include:

  • Public Offering Statement disclosure – The POS must be provided to purchasers “before the transfer of the timeshare and no later than the date of any sales contract,” and that the contract is voidable until the purchaser has received the POS.

Since late 2016, Inside Timeshare has heard from 890 timeshare members reporting unfair and deceptive timeshare sales practices, including 113 veterans and active duty service members. Only in the last six months have I started asking the members about the Public Offering Statement to which the members reply, “A what?” Digging through past paperwork, they find it to exclaim, “It says,” READ THIS DISCLOSURE STATEMENT BEFORE SIGNING ANYTHING!”  The timeshare customer service representative, also a fine print detective, responds to the member with their initials agreeing that they read and reviewed the document. If the closing is recorded, the presentation of the POS should be recorded.

According to the lawsuit, after often five to eight hours of mentally and physically wearing the consumer down, there is a rapid signing of many documents that lasts only about ten to fifteen minutes. The Closer or Quality Assurance Specialist controls the entire process. Consumers are not permitted to read the contract, leave the room, discuss the contract alone, are not permitted to review the contract with an attorney.

Consumers are not permitted to take the contract and come back the next day. 

The lawsuit alleges this constitutes unlawful practice of law, overlaid with fraud and deceit with no meaningful disclosure of contract terms.  

If you think this is unfair, sign the Petition to Reform Timeshare, which seeks a 24-hour “cooling-off” period before signing a contract. This proposed 24 hour cooling off period was hotly contested by timeshare industry lobbyists during the 2019 legislative sessions.

https://www.change.org/p/state-legislators-in-arizona-florida-and-nevada-demand-reform-of-the-timeshare-industry-s-unfair-and-deceptive-practices

Of note is mention of Unauthorized Practice of Law (UPL) in that consumers are told about how they can plan their Estate with the new “asset” to leave a “legacy” to their child or children using a Will while fraudulently concealing a known “successor” clause that forces obligations upon future generations who are all jointly and severally liable for ever-rising debt.

Inside Timeshare has received numerous complaints from consumers falsely told they must convert a deeded timeshare to a point-based timeshare or their heirs will be liable. It is also my belief this constitutes the unauthorized practice of law.

I asked timeshare attorney Mike Finn about this, as I understand it, rarely is an heir forced to assume a timeshare liability. According to Mike, “Although I haven’t studied the so-called “successor clause” I am of the firm belief that unless the children were listed on the original sales contract as co-owners and signed the contract as same (assuming of course that they were of the age of majority on the date the contract was executed), that they cannot be bound by any third-party, to the contract, including their parents. Again, in my opinion, I believe this would be a violation of the “due process rights” of the children.”

How Can I Eliminate my Timeshare Liability for my Heirs?

https://www.finnlawgroup.com/eliminate-timeshare-liability-for-heirs/

Bluegreen is the sole owner of a subsidiary corporation housed within its corporate headquarters in Boca Raton, Florida called “Pinnacle” and the lawsuit alleges Pinnacle is devoted to exclusively keeping Bluegreen owners trapped in the resale market void.

Second Basis: Intentional Misrepresentation: Buy-Back Program

Bluegreen has never operated a program that buys back unwanted VOIs. Pinnacle sells services to VOI owners which purports to help owners sell unwanted VOIs when in actuality there is no viable resale market.

“Owners Meetings” or “Owner Classes” air to sell existing owners additional timeshare interests. Owners are told such meetings are mandatory to teach Bluegreen members how to navigate Bluegreen’s reservation system. In reality, such meetings are an attempt to sell existing Bluegreen members more points. Reported disappointments with the product can be resolved by buying additional points, but the lawsuit alleges promised benefits are rarely if ever, realized.   

Plaintiffs’ Common Factual Allegations

Promised 90-minute presentations lasted typically four to eight hours. Some presentations are timed with the presentation beginning only after completion of a known driving tour that lasts at least three hours, and for two Plaintiffs, the drive lasted eight or nine hours.

After long sales sessions, only 10 to 15 minutes was spent, on average, for the entire contract signing process, which harboured unknown obligations and lacked the use rights, amenities and features that were promised.

Plaintiffs allege they were told:

(a) Bluegreen timeshares are good investments and will always go up in value.

(b) Bluegreen timeshare is a long-term asset that can be resold at a profit.

(c) Maintenance fees do not exist, do not go up, or only go up very little.

(d) Bluegreen timeshares are a valuable asset and “a legacy” to pass on to children.

(d-f) Plaintiffs did not know that, despite any possible future contract to make a Will or Codicil, contracts executed that day would bind all children as “successors’ that are jointly and severally liable for the inter-generational debt.

(g) Plaintiffs have anytime, anywhere “easy booking.”

(h) Rental income can pay the mortgage, fees and sometimes earn a profit. Rental is impossible as represented.

(i) Promises that an “Upgrade” will resolve deficiencies, but were never fixed.

All Plaintiffs have a strong correlation regarding these four rescission-based commonalities:

(a) Plaintiffs did not receive Public Offering Statement prior to signing.

(b) Plaintiffs did not receive proper Statutory Rescission notice.

(c) Plaintiffs were deceived about a Will Asset (vs Successor Liability).

(d) Plaintiffs spend up to $21,000 for a one-week vacation, representing over 1000% of the timeshare’s online market value, accompanied by rising fees.

Third Basis: Intentional Misrepresentation: Points Value Representation

No Plaintiff had access to Bluegreen’s inventory system until after they were contractually-bound as Bluegreen owners for life. Upon access, they discovered availability constraints, insufficient point values, or other cost prohibitions they were not made aware of.

This is another source of a multitude of complaints. Members complain of having been sold too few points to book their desired locations, but they were not allowed access to the booking site until the next year.

In spite of this lawsuit and so many others, the timeshare developers and their lobbyists insist all is well and we are just a disgruntled few. In addition to member complaints, former timeshare sales agents have joined efforts to expose unfair and deceptive sales practices. Our Friday, July 5 article describes former Hyatt Sales Executive Candace Czarny v Hyatt wrongful termination/whistleblower lawsuit and our February 2019 article about a Wyndham Florida Whistleblower lawsuit:

https://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-from-america-57/

http://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-from-america-42/

It is in everyone’s interest to drain the swamp of perpetrators.  

Join one of the self-help groups, organize, and get involved:

We seek to provide timeshare members 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.

https://www.facebook.com/timeshareadvocategroup/

https://tug2.com/Home.aspx

https://everythingabouttimeshares.com/consider-exchange-options/

Free at Last Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/groups/314773876071616/members/

Free at Last Timeshare Support Course offered by Straight-A-Guide

https://www.udprep.info/june

Bluegreen Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/groups/180578055325962/

Wyndham Facebook

New: https://www.facebook.com/groups/376743609795740/  

Sapphire Starpoint New: https://www.facebook.com/login/?next=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fgroups%2F292083584642570%2F%3Fref%3Dshare

Diamond Resort Facebook

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

Gold Key Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1639958046252175/

Inside Timeshare Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/groups/2213231165610648/

Thank you Irene for this weeks article, If you have any questions or comments on this or any article published, then use our contact page and get in touch, we would love to hear from you.

Start the Week

Welcome to the start of another week at Inside Timeshare, over the past few weeks we have been publishing many articles on Silverpoint, especially the move by the parent company Limora Investments Ltd (BVI) filing for liquidation. We have also published the news that The Paramount – Club Paradiso has closed their doors with many members unable to book, the website is down and no one seems to be answering the phones. We also reported on Keys Concierge having also gone into liquidation with all the staff losing their jobs, as we know the administrator dealing with the liquidation is Alex Lawson of Alvarez and Marsal working on behalf of the Trotta family.

So as you can imagine, Inside Timeshare has been inundated with emails enquiring about the legality of all the products sold by Silverpoint. The most prolific of these products and having by far the highest costs are the “Company Participation Scheme”, with purchases from 40,000€ all the way to 150,000€ plus. Just on the enquiries Inside Timeshare has received we are looking at purchases of well over one million euros, this certainly is a very big money making scheme, the question is where has it all Gone?

Courts of First Instance Maspalomas

Now for some news from the courts around Spain.

Last Friday the leading law firm in timeshare litigation Canarian Legal Alliance, announced their results for the week, with 26 victories in various courts around Spain.

At the Court of First Instance in Maspalomas Gran Canaria, there were 11 cases found against Anfi, with 2 cases at the High Court of Las Palmas being found in favour of the clients after Anfi appealed.

At the same Court of First Instance, a sentence was issued against Palm Oasis.

In the Court of First Instance of Arona, Tenerife, Silverpoint was on the receiving end of the judges, with 11 rulings against them in favour of the CLA clients.

The last was against Club la Costa in Fuengirola, where the judge again found in favour of the client.

As usual, all contracts were declared null and void with the courts ordering a total of 1,226,260.15€ A very expensive week for the timeshare industry indeed. But at the end of the day, had they sold their products in accordance with the law, then they would not be finding themselves in this position.

If you have purchased any timeshare product in Spain and would like to know if you have a valid and viable claim or would just like to know your legal position and your options, then use our contact page. We will get back to you and point you in the right direction.

Friday’s Letter from America

Welcome to this week’s edition of Letter from America, today Irene Parker reports on the start of the jury trial between Candace Czarny v Hyatt Residential Marketing Corporation. Irene first published news of the pending legal action back in 2017, so this has been a long wait. We hope to bring you news of the result in a later edition.

Former Hyatt Timeshare Sales Executive Candace Czarny v Hyatt Residential Marketing Corporation and Kent and Allison R. Drysdale

CASE NO.  CV2013-006230

By Irene Parker

July 5, 2019

The jury trial of former Hyatt Sales Executive Candace Czarny v Hyatt Residential Marketing Corporation, a Florida corporation, and Kent and Allison R. Drysdale began this week. The trial is expected to last seven days. The Joshua Carden Law Firm, P.C. filed on July 6, 2019, a second amended complaint on behalf of plaintiff Candace Czarny, in Maricopa County, Arizona Superior Court.

The lawsuit is a wrongful termination lawsuit. It is unlawful for an employer to retaliate against any employee because the employee refuses to participate in and/or properly disclosed illegal activities, according to Arizona statutes, including “fraud, false pretense, false promise, misrepresentation, or concealment, suppression or omission, in connection with the sale or advertisement of any merchandise whether or not any person has in fact been misled, deceived or damaged thereby….” 

The lawsuit alleges Hyatt defendants fired Candace after she refused to commit such acts or omissions that would violate Arizona statutes. Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages.

Candace was employed by Hyatt on or about January 1, 2011, as a Sales Executive at Hyatt’s Piñion Pointe timeshare resort in Sedona, Arizona. Defendant Kent Drysdale was her supervisor. Candace alleges she was instructed by Drysdale to make certain false statements and omissions when communicating to Hyatt timeshare owners and potential clients in order to make sales. 

Inside Timeshare has heard from 887 families. The majority have reported unfair and deceptive timeshare sales practices. Some just can’t afford the timeshare and didn’t know when they purchased there was no secondary market. If they have a loan outstanding, the only option may be foreclosure, especially if there is no evidence of deception. Most complaints are dismissed with, “You signed a contract.” General allegations from this lawsuit, that are similar or identical to our readers’ complaints, include: 

·        9. (a) Owners were told that if they did not add to their portfolio on the day of their tour they would give up rights to upgrade in the future and would forfeit special pricing.

·        9. (i) Owners were told that Hyatt would leave two agents on the property that would resell their ownership for them in the future and implied that they would be getting a minimum of original purchase price.

·        12. Some potential buyers that had paid cash or lived in a more expensive zip code (referred to as PG or Preferred Guests) were given prices that were inflated more than other potential buyers, that had either never made a payment, had financed a payment or lived in a less desirable zip code. Plaintiff and other Sales Executives were instructed, at various times, to mislead PG clients into believing they were getting special consideration when in fact they were not.

·        20. Plaintiff and other Sales Executives were instructed to bring a manager to the table when attempting to close deals, so that the manager could make certain false statements and omit certain facts when communicating to potential clients. False statements made by Drysdale and other Hyatt managers include:

a. Telling owners that they had given up their rights to upgrade, looked in their files, and if not finding the disclosure, would say that he might be able to get corporate to allow them to upgrade if they would write a letter supporting their request. He would then tell them that if they did not purchase that day they would forfeit their right in the future.

b. Telling owners that Hyatt had sent a letter to them telling them to upgrade or sign off on the ability to do so in the future. He told owners that this letter stated that Hyatt would deny an upgrade in the future.

c. Telling owners that unless they owned a “platinum” or “diamond” week they would not be able to access new Hyatt timeshare properties.

I have heard many accounts from former sales agents, of a manager’s ability to “starve out” an agent who was not a team player, meaning the sales agent refused to employ unfair and deceptive practices.  It is known, prior to a tour, who is likely to buy and who is likely not to buy. The lawsuit alleges such actions were taken against Candace. In addition, Candace alleges manager Drysdale would only allow agents of his choosing special incentives to offer potential clients and he would refuse to release certain more desirable inventory to sales agents who did not play by his rules.  

Candace was terminated despite high overall job ratings, but others who had performance numbers similar to Candace were not terminated. Upon information and belief, such Sales Executives had either not announced opposition to Drysdale’s sales methods and tactics, or had expressly agreed to cooperate with them.  

It’s a modern day David & Goliath story. Timeshare companies employ armies of attorneys in their effort to suppress the seedy side of timeshare. While many owners use and enjoy their timeshare year after year, others, as our readers have reported, fall into deceptive and fraudulent sales presentations, ending up with a vacation dream that turns into a financial trap.

Some lawmakers have sided with the timeshare consumer in an effort to expose selling strategies that incorporate psychological manipulation, omissions, deceptions, and fraud. Others blame the victim, maintaining the “You signed a contract” mantra.

Candace Czarny is a former Hyatt and Diamond Resorts sales agent. While at Hyatt, Candace said was advised by management to order a copy of the CIA Guide to Interrogation and Human Manipulation. According to numerous Attorneys General investigations and lawsuits, some timeshare companies employ strategies designed to intimidate and confuse hardworking consumers worldwide in order to generate profits and earn wildly inflated commissions and compensation. Honest sales agents, previously able to earn a good living, find themselves subtly maneuvered out of this new, more sinister timeshare business.  

According to Candace, “It was only after working in the industry as a sales agent that I came to see and understand the complicated strategy of greed from the inside. Like Trish Williams, awarded $20 million in a Wyndham Whistleblower case, I am one of the individuals not willing to be a pawn perpetuating a scam against hard working people trying to create a happy life for their families.”

The lawsuit began six years ago with three plaintiffs, former Hyatt sales agents. One plaintiff settled, but the other’s case did not move forward.

Some timeshare companies hide behind carefully and strategically worded contracts intended to shield them from responsibility and litigation. Arbitration is private and binding. If you lose, you may be ordered to pay arbitration fees. Timeshare attorneys I have asked about arbitration feel arbitration is a kangaroo court.

This leaves the timeshare member, sold by unfair and deceptive timeshare sales practices, feeling hopeless and angry, with no recourse. Timeshare companies rely on the burdened member not being able to withstand a costly and lengthy legal battle. If the member resolves a dispute, they are often required to sign a non-disclosure agreement, agreeing not to say anything disparaging about the company, another effort to silence and isolate victims. I was offered my money back in 2016 for the purchase of additional points in response to my complaint. I refused to sign the NDA.

Social Media is here to stay. Members sharing reports of deceit with other members have created a clearinghouse of information and a means to track complaints against timeshare sales with repeated complaints against them.

While New York, Missouri, Colorado, Tennessee and Arizona Attorneys General have made some progress protecting consumers, more needs to be done. There has been a notable lack of concern from some state and federal regulatory agencies.

Lawmakers responding with “Well, they signed a contract” have no concept of the depth of deception some timeshare agents employ to sell points. Many things, like promised availability, cannot be determined by reading the contract, and state contract rescission periods can be artfully dodged.  

Based on the timeshare lobby ARDA’s estimates, there are over 9,500,000 timeshare units in the United States.  To give you an idea of how profound this corporate culture of greed is and how the courage and bravery of single individuals are making a difference in the name of what is right, listed below are just some of the settlements, judgements and lawsuits against these timeshare giants.

Members can do their part by joining forces with others seeking to reform timeshare. Sign this petition to let your voice be heard, and join one of these self-help groups. If none are appropriate, start one!

https://www.change.org/p/state-legislators-in-arizona-florida-and-nevada-demand-reform-of-the-timeshare-industry-s-unfair-and-deceptive-practices

https://www.facebook.com/timeshareadvocategroup/

We seek to provide timeshare members 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.

https://tug2.com/Home.aspx

https://everythingabouttimeshares.com/consider-exchange-options/

Free at Last Timeshare Support Course offered by Straight-A-Guide

https://www.udprep.info/june

Bluegreen Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/groups/180578055325962/

Wyndham Facebook

New: https://www.facebook.com/groups/376743609795740/  

Sapphire Starpoint New: 

https://www.facebook.com/login/?next=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fgroups%2F292083584642570%2F%3Fref%3Dshare

Diamond Resort Facebook

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

Gold Key Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1639958046252175/

Inside Timeshare Facebook Group

https://www.facebook.com/groups/2213231165610648/?source_id=1677690672490888

Have a safe 4th of July weekend.

That is it for this week, Inside Timeshare would like to thank Irene for all her hard work in preparing these articles, all the volunteers of the Advocacy Group and of course all our Secret Shoppers, who we hope will be bringing us another of their wonderful reports very soon.

It just leaves Inside Timeshare to wish all our American readers a very Happy 4th July Weekend, join us again next week for more revelations on the murky world of timeshare.

The Tuesday Slot

Welcome to The Tuesday Slot, this week we welcome another new contributor Theresa Taylor, with her experience of attending a presentation. As you will see from her story, it is one that is very familiar to every reader of these pages, high-pressure sales tactics with plenty of ways to get around a problem of affordability. One of the most disturbing facts of this story is the fact the sales agents found a way to get Theresa finance despite being in the middle of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. As we already know from other stories, sales agents will do and say anything to get the deal, yet the timeshare companies still allow this to continue.

Part I: I Explain to Wyndham CFO Michael Hug:

Why Wyndham’s Default Rate is higher than he would like

By Theresa Taylor

June 18, 2019

Timeshare Tussle, by Jason Garcia at Florida Trend

There was a cloud over the results, however. During the call, Wyndham also revealed that the number of owners defaulting on their timeshare mortgages climbed during the second quarter, extending what has become a multiyear increase in defaults. The company says the rate of increase in its provision for loan losses has slowed to “under 5%” in the second half of 2018, but in the earnings call Brown said defaults remain “higher than we would like,” seconded by CFO Michael Hug, who added that “loan loss remains a central area of focus.”

Of the company’s nearly 900,000 owners, only 200,000 have loans. However, the company expects to set aside 21% of its gross sales to cover losses in 2018 — meaning it expects not to collect $21 of every $100 it’s loaned.

https://www.floridatrend.com/article/25726/timeshare-tussle

Part II Friday: Timeshare Reinvents Subprime Mortgages by Ron

My friend Ron reached out to Wyndham’s hardship department. He was turned away. Wyndham’s reaction to my friend explains why timeshare members reach out to timeshare exit companies for help. Going through a foreclosure process is not something a timeshare member wants to go through alone.

If Ron doesn’t qualify for hardship, I don’t know who would. Ron is an 11-year veteran. His wife died two years ago after his timeshare was purchased in 2016. His annual income is less than $12,000. He is self-employed.

I decided to attend a Wyndham timeshare presentation. My experience will explain why so many are defaulting on timeshare loans. I don’t think Wyndham is the only company providing loans to buyers who should not be buying, lending through high-interest rate loans and even higher interest rate Barclay credit cards. Undeterred by my bankruptcy, Wyndham’s sales agents explained how they could list me as a foreigner to circumvent the obstacle.

Here’s what happened at Wyndham Grand Desert Resort in Las Vegas:       

It was a family celebration for my son’s 21st birthday. After arriving late, I awoke the next morning to find a card slid under my door instructing me to see Amelia to receive a Welcome Packet. I proceeded to check-in to get my welcome package and before I knew it, I was informed that I had to attend a timeshare presentation the next morning.

Lauren informed me that I qualified for a “no-high-pressure card” to take with me to the presentation. I had to give them a $20.00 refundable fee to hold my spot.  She then discussed income requirements. They required a minimum household income of $75,000. She assumed that my friend Ron was my partner. We explained that he was not, and even if we were together, Ron currently has no income. I told Lauren my income was only $60,000. Lauren kept insisting that Ron was part of my household income.

Once we finally convinced Lauren that Ron should not be involved, she decided I could proceed with $65,000 per year household income. She changed the form from $75,000 to $65,000. When I reiterated that I only made $60,000 Lauren stated that they can actually work with that. She offered me show tickets or a $100 American Express gift card as my reward after I completed the presentation. I elected the gift card.

Red Flag #1 Falsified Income

The next morning I got up to attend the presentation. Ron decided to go with me. They showed us a video of all the places you can stay if you join Wyndham Vacation Resorts. We learned Wyndham owns RCI which is why there are so many places to stay. There are fees involved to use RCI.

Our presenter Eddie did a breakdown of the cost to vacation, explaining the value in buying into Wyndham Vacation Resorts. After the video, Judy took us on a tour of the Grand Desert, showing me the presidential suite. Next, we went to a room where tables were set up with other salespeople talking to other potential customers about the cost to vacation.

Judy showed us a price sheet. After she went over the costs, I asked for a moment to think about it. Visions of beautiful resorts momentarily left my head. I talked to Ron because it dawned on me that I am currently in a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. I shouldn’t be able to buy anything.

We flagged Judy down to explain that I forgot to mention I was in the midst of a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. She said she would go talk to her manager.  To be honest, I thought my time there was done. Nope, Judy came back and stated that the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy wasn’t a problem and that they could get me into a program that did not require a credit check or my social security number. Judy indicated that it was their international/foreign (non-US resident) program.   

Red Flag #2 Suitability

I told Judy thanks but no thanks. I thought it best to wait until I am through with the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. She said fine, gathered up all the paperwork and advised that someone would be over with my gift card.

After about 15 minutes a woman named Sophie came to the table. She stated that she was doing a survey of my experience. She asked me how I liked Judy, how was the presentation. She asked if this was a program that I would enjoy given different circumstances. Trying to be pleasant, I explained that I don’t think the program is right for me at this time given I am in the middle of a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. Undeterred, she flipped over some paperwork to show me another offer to buy into Wyndham Vacation Resorts.

Red Flag #3 High Pressure

I couldn’t believe it. Here I’m trying to get my financial head above water, and Sophie is convinced I need to buy a luxury item so that I can be driven deeper into debt. This go-round they offered me a “trial period” program which involved 400,000 points for use over two years at a cost of $3,548. She explained I could put down approximately $400 and make monthly payments.

At this point, I remembered my “no-high-pressure card” Lauren was supposed to give me, which seemed like ages ago. I said to Sophie, “Lauren said I was supposed to experience a no high-pressure presentation. She even said she would give me a “no-high-pressure card” (which Lauren forgot to give me), so I would not be pressured into buying something.  Sophie said “A what”?

Red Flag #4 Unfair and Deceptive Sales Practice

There obviously is no such thing as a “no-high-pressure card” so this was unfair and deceptive. First, my income was falsified to qualify, I am in debt up to my ears, I told them no, they will not take no for an answer, and they want to add another layer of monthly payments on top of my bankruptcy payments. Maybe it’s just me, but I think this is high pressure. Note the 6th line down on the left indicating 120 payments at 17.99%. What a great way to start life after bankruptcy.

I brought up the “no-pressure card” again to Sophie and that Lauren had said I was entitled to a “no-pressure card” because I was somewhat related to the person who booked my stay with them. Sophie confirmed my suspicion that there is no such thing as a “no-high-pressure card” by saying she had no idea what I was talking about.  I told Sophie (pretty sternly) that I WAS NOT INTERESTED. She asked if I felt I was being pressured.

This all occurred over  2 ½ hours and I think it ended only because I got stern with her and used the words “high pressure” hoping it would register.

On Friday Ron will explain why he feels the ARDA Code of Ethics doesn’t exist and Wyndham’s hardship department is fictional. I sent Wyndham a draft of this article for comment, but they did not respond. I can put them in touch with Ron if they would like to review his case.

I encourage those who feel they have experienced unfair and deceptive sales practices to join one of the self-help support groups listed below. There’s a new Wyndham Facebook page which is member/sponsored.

New: https://www.facebook.com/groups/376743609795740/

A Petition to Reform Timeshare

https://www.change.org/p/state-legislators-in-arizona-florida-and-nevada-demand-reform-of-the-timeshare-industry-s-unfair-and-deceptive-practices

https://www.facebook.com/timeshareadvocategroup/

https://tug2.com/Home.aspx

https://everythingabouttimeshares.com/consider-exchange-options/

Free at Last Timeshare Support Course offered by Straight-A-Guide

https://www.udprep.info/june

Bluegreen Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/groups/180578055325962/

Wyndham Facebook

New: https://www.facebook.com/groups/376743609795740/  

Sapphire Starpoint New: https://www.facebook.com/login/?next=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fgroups%2F292083584642570%2F%3Fref%3Dshare

Diamond Resort Facebook

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

Gold Key Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1639958046252175/

Thank you, Theresa, for your contribution, it is a story that I would think is familiar to all our readers and one that we at Inside Timeshare have highlighted on many occasions. Once again we see sales agents using practices which can only be described as despicable and underhand, yet what does senior management do? Allows them to continue.

That is all for today, join us tomorrow for Part Five of our continuing “saga” of Silverpoint exposed.

Exclusive Breaking News: The Truth Behind Silverpoint Exposed (Part Four)

Welcome to Part Four of Silverpoint the Truth Exposed, the previous articles laid out the foundation and the history of the Bob Trotta Empire, the employment of Kwang Boon Sim and the myriad of companies he founded to whisk away millions for Trotta. We also looked at how with the death of Bob, his family began to split over the inheritance and also the introduction of Alex Lawson, who is charged with liquidating the companies to protect the Trotta fortune. Today we go into a little more detail and introduce the Limora Group, we do have even more detailed information on file which we are unable to publish at present.

So, here we go with another chapter in the Hollywood Blockbuster “The Rise and Fall of the Trotta Empire”.

Kwang Boon Sim

The Limora Group, the company at the head of all the other companies which are just what are known as “shell Companies”, the puròse of which is to distract the authorities making it very hard work to keep track of and trace the money.

The trust operates most of its companies in Panama and The British Virgin Islands as these are jurisdictions known for secrecy, for a long time it worked, however, like all people driven by greed, eventually one makes mistakes and a recent one was by Alex Lawson along with his team to put Excel Overseas Holdings into liquidation.

Based in Dubai, Excel Overseas Holdings had created the product ELPP (Excel Lodgings Participation Program), with hundreds of people purchasing these participations. In the first year, all seemed to be good with all those putting money in getting what they expected.

Excel Overseas Holdings used the money from other consumers to help keep the various group companies in business and in total around 10 million was taken by Excel Overseas Holdings. EOH, are part of the Limora Investment group of companies.

Alex Lawson, the children being represented by Doug Campbell a former CEO, Ragni Trotta and the Alvarez team decided they did not want to honour the promises made to innocent customers and applied to the court in the BVI to put the company into provisional liquidation, claiming that Excel could not meet their obligations and that somehow the management had done something wrong. In reality, the family, the bank that owned the trust and the Lawson team of executive “highwaymen” decided it would be a good idea to “rob” consumers of their hard earned money, all so they could use it to continue to fund their luxurious lifestyle in the mountains of Colorado and the rolling hills of Tuscany.

It must not be forgotten that Alvarez and Marsal are able to charge huge amounts of fees by acting in this way, so everyone is happy except that is for the hundreds of worried consumers who have paid with their hard earned cash and trusted the company!

In keeping with their “modus operandi” Alvarez and Marsal appointed themselves as liquidators, all so they could keep a very tight lid on what actually happened to the money and who the company was that Excel owed money to!

The fact the debts of Excel Overseas Holdings are, yes, you guessed it, a company owned by the same people and therefore cannot be used as a reason to close down the company, especially when in the process it hurts real people. This complete lack of morality seems to have been lost on the Trotta family, Kwang Sim and Alex Lawson. It is strange that Kwang Sim who was a director of Excel Overseas Holdings and one of the “masterminds” of the ELPP, seems to have been omitted from the letter which Alvarez has sent to pariticipants of the ELPP. Instead, they have set out a carefully crafted letter which was intended to imply the program was not set up properly, In fact, the agreements contained within the program were exclusive with “Limora related companies”!

Alex Lawson

Alex Lawson and his team are making a complete mockery of the corporate legal system and all with the sole intention of avoiding their consumer obligations, aiding and abetting the greedy Trotta family in their bid to keep a few more millions.

The Team at Inside Timeshare have it on very good authority that criminal and civil proceedings are being planned against the bank, Kwang Boon Sim and the team at Alvarez for their part in this well-orchestrated conspiracy.

What is a very big shame in this whole affair, is that some of the people who introduced consumers into the program in good faith are now being informed by Alvarez that they are not allowed to even talk to participants when they make contact about their worries. No doubt, this is so Alvarez, Kwang Sim and the Trotta family, watched very carefully by the bank, can control the information and attempt to contain the fallout!

Gran Cayman, home of Alex Lawson

Here at Inside Timeshare, we will do whatever it takes to expose the truth along with the legal teams who are working hard building strong evidence to put the instigators in jail. Kwang Sim is currently hiding out in his million-pound mansion in the UK, while, Alex Lawson enjoys his paradise lifestyle on the sun-kissed island of Grand Cayman, but for how long?

Justice is on its way Gentlemen!

Join us on Wednesday for Part Five of this unbelievable but true story. If you have purchased any product from any of the companies mentioned in these articles and would like to know where you stand legally, then use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will point you in the right direction.

Exclusive Breaking News: The Truth Behind Silverpoint Exposed (Part One)

Hollywood Mirage and Beverley Hills Heights

Over the next few weeks Inside Timeshare will be publishing exclusive information on the complex setup of one of the largest timeshare empires in Europe, we all know it as Silverpoint. Behind it was the late Bob Trotta, who as you will see in each article along with his cronies was very adept at moving his enormous wealth around. Today we start with a little background and introduce the major character in this very elaborate financial game.

In the early 1980s, Bob Trotta founded the company Resort Properties based in Tenerife, the first stage in establishing one of the largest timeshare companies in Europe. He was very much seen as one of the founding fathers of the timeshare industry in Europe and built 4 resorts in Tenerife, selling around 200 Million Pounds worth of timeshare, becoming a millionaire in the process.

Bob Trotta married for a second time to Ragni a Norwegian lady who was a former Timeshare Marketing person living in Tenerife. On leaving Tenerife they relocated to London where they enjoyed Non-Domicile Tax Status.

Ragni and Bob Trotta

Setting up his Global HQ in the UK with offices in the exclusive area of Mayfair, Bob and Ragni certainly enjoyed the high life, living in their multi-million-pound townhouse in Chelsea and driving the very best Aston Martins.

We now introduce into the picture one person who was to become one of the most important and influential people in the Trotta Empire, Kwang Boon Sim.

Kwang was hired with only one purpose in mind, NOT TO PAY ANY TAX. As you will see, he was the mastermind behind the huge and complex web of offshore companies which exist today, using a very clever offshore trust.

The trust which is owned by a bank with Bob Trotta and his wife Ragni being the sole beneficiaries and controllers of the trust until his death in December 2017.

Kwang Sim is well known in the timeshare industry and is affectionately known as “The Chinaman” or “El Chino”. Kwang gives the impression of being a very religious man, with ties to the Mormon Church where he works as a Mormon Bishop. It looks like a script from a James Bond movie, when a “clever American Tycoon” brings in another equally clever man masquerading as a religious leader (Licence to Kill comes to mind), who very quietly and stealthily creates a very complex web of offshore havens with the sole intent on depriving many local economies and countries of their rightful and lawful tax.

It has certainly done the job, over the years Kwang managed to avoid paying any tax and moved 10’s of millions of pounds from one lot of companies through the web of others into tax havens disguised as intercompany loans. The local managers of these companies had no control over the money or what happened to it. It was Kwang who controlled and ran the financial department from his Mayfair HQ with what can only be described as an “Iron Fist”.

Kwang Boon Sim “The Chinaman or El Chino”

In order to avoid the ever-prying eyes of the US tax authorities who have a policy and reputation for worldwide taxation of their citizens, Bob Trotta gave up his US citizenship. He took up Italian citizenship (again this could be the setting for another movie) living like a true Italian mobster in a huge mansion set in the estate of his hotel the Luxurious Castello Del Nero.

Bob and Ragni were living like a king and queen in their estate reputedly worth around 10 million pounds. The estate was set in 700 acres of rolling Tuscan countryside, all within the grounds of their Hotel worth 50 Million Euros. All the while Kwang kept the funds flowing into Panama and the British Virgin Islands

Bob along with his two daughters Jennifer and Erin Trotta spent the long summers in Italy with their respective families. One of the husbands (Jennifer’s) Douglas Campbell was for a while the groups CEO making sure the family fortunes were protected, all under the watchful eye of his mentor “El Chino”

That brings us to the end of this opening chapter and part one of our story, join us again on Monday 10 June for part two, where we find that all was not as cosy with the family as many were led to believe, greed plays its part.

Did you purchase a timeshare from Resort Properties then Silverpoint, did you get involved with the “investment packs” or the later incarnation “company participations” and “Excel Overseas Lodging Participation Programme“?

If you can answer yes, then get in touch with Inside Timeshare through our contact page, we will explain where you legally stand and point you in the right direction to claim back your money and have your contracts declared null and void.

Now is the time to act.

The Tuesday Slot

Welcome to this weeks Tuesday Slot, today we have an article by an Industry Observer, who we have kept anonymous as per their wishes, the question posed is How is a Timeshare Point Valued? Our writer begins with the question “Why does Spain not allow points-based perpetual contracts?” As you read the article the answer to that question does become very apparent.

So on with this weeks article.

How is a Timeshare Point Valued?

June 4, 2019

I created a Spreadsheet after we bought points back in 2004 to see if I was getting my money’s worth. I added in maintenance fees. Not sure if I’m right but the bottom line was the only value the points have is if you use them. I went to numerous free weekends. I figured I should count those. Our bottom line average is around $95 a night. Usually, we could get through painful sales pitches quickly but our last visit to Vegas turned into abduction. I figure they are getting desperate. If you bought thinking these points had value beyond their sales pitch you were sadly mistaken. If the timeshare industry wants to survive and thrive they better create a secondary market and quickly. The competition is fierce. Websites like VRBO provide lots of options for less than your annual maintenance fee. Quality will be all over the map. Tim Dugan’s Facebook post

By an Industry Observer

Why does Spain not allow points-based perpetual timeshare contracts? In America, we think we have a lot going for us. After all, “we” invented the internet after inventing the computer. “We” invented baseball, Mickey Mouse, and McDonald’s. And “we” blessed the world with Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Harrison Ford, and Clint Eastwood….

Do “we” have the best of everything? No way… We have bad highways. Some of our bridges are crumbling. Our national debt is ballooning. We can’t agree on immigration.  Our politicians constantly bicker.

“We the people” are supposed to have government agencies that protect us from threats inside and outside our borders – like the FAA (air travel), the FBI (crime), FDA (food and drug), DEA (drug enforcement), and CIA (foreign threats), to name a few.  

Do “we” have a Vacations and Timeshare (VAT) agency to protect timeshare buyers? No, we don’t. Timeshare and vacation companies are regulated by individual states. There has been no action on the part of the Federal Trade Commission to step in. It is “buyers beware” on that venue.   

There are some ominous and problematic indicators. Timeshare companies, at least two, are reporting loan loss provisions greater than 20%. If we calculated the actual dollar amount of foreclosed timeshare loans, given enormous revenue streams, the dollar amount would be staggering. This is just an accounting line item to the industry players, but the loan loss number includes a multitude of seniors and veteran families financially devastated after being up-sold into high-interest rate loans and higher interest rate credit cards. For those who maintained high lifelong credit scores, the foreclosure process is demeaning and degrading. Many have reported unfair and deceptive sales practices.  

Wyndham has increased its loan loss provision to 21%, as reported by Jason Garcia at The Florida Trend:

Timeshare Companies and Exit Companies are Blaming Each Other for Rising Default Rates

Of the company’s nearly 900,000 owners, only 200,000 have loans. However, the company expects to set aside 21% of its gross sales to cover losses in 2018 — meaning it expects not to collect $21 of every $100 it loaned.

https://www.tetli-institute.com/scrapping-timeshare-usa-26102018

Diamond Resorts International Inc. has been downgraded to CCC+ on very high anticipated leverage. Their outlook is negative, as reported by AC INVEST.

https://www.ademcetinkaya.com/2019/04/diamond-resorts-international-inc.html?fbclid=IwAR1gO6Z6cI-emaClmHkccP4_8XWyOpJYRgJsN40Pd0ydbr1e7DifJW76PZE

Timeshare CEOs don’t seem very worried about rising defaults touting increased sales and an increase in first-time buyers. A circle of sell, up-sell, foreclose and sell the same points again and again ensues. And points don’t depreciate like a car. It’s a cash cow.

Timeshare operators have been adept at capitalizing on the limited protections afforded their prospects. They’ve adopted:

  1. The same day sale, after a gruelling sales session,
  2. Electronic signing, difficult for even the most technically savvy to read,
  3. Perpetual contracts, accompanied by rising maintenance fees,
  4. No secondary market,
  5. Pitfalls, like availability, that can’t be determined by reading the contract,  
  6. Ways to dodge the rescission period by not allowing access to the booking site until after the rescission period has ended,
  7. Recording the closing, but not allowing the recording of the sales session,
  8. Sales agents that coach buyers on how to “pass” QA,
  9. Over-reliance on the verbal representations clause,
  10. Point “members” stripped of all beneficial rights of real estate ownership,
  11. False scare tactics about heirs inheriting the timeshare if deeded.                                                                                                      

What’s right with timeshare points?

Point contracts do offer the flexibility of being able to stay for more or less than the typical week. They allow for incremental purchases.

What’s wrong with timeshare points?

Refer to Figure A and B below. A look at the original timeshare model shows that developers sold a week or weeks guaranteeing the customer that they would always be able to stay a particular week at a particular location. A common complaint comes from deeded week owners who complain they could not get access to the unit, and sometimes not even the resort they had stayed at for years after they gave up their deed. This is especially true at prime locations, like Virginia Beach during summer months.

On the old real estate system, due to location and seasons, each resort had a quantity of valuable weeks, and also “dog” weeks.  July 4th in Hilton Head would be a valuable week.  So would Christmas in Aspen, Colorado. But winter in Cape Cod would be dog weeks.  Customers knew this and usually didn’t buy into “dog” weeks. In a “weeks” model, a graphic representation of anyone resort might look like Figure A.  The very best weeks would be in the centre of the graph, with value declining until you reach the very outside of the circle. If your resort was in a great location, with great weather year round, like Hawaii, you would be in the bullseye year round.


Figure A

Imagine now, a complete resort system converted into points as illustrated in Figure B.  Instead of red, blue and white weeks, you are now sold loyalty levels. There are no more ‘best red weeks’ in the system. The buyer has lost control. The developer now controls who gets to vacation when and where. Add to this scenario the developer’s ability to rent out inventory and you have an unfair advantage of developer over point buyer.


Figure B

But wait – what is the area outside the second line from the bullseye showing the “good and best” points? That is where the developer can sell points, but the chances of taking a great vacation may not be possible. A fixed week buyer knew they were buying Branson in January, maybe hoping to exchange it. The buyer that buys 2,500 points compared to the Platinum member’s 50,000 points dictates less availability. Certainty is gone.  The “point” to remember is that in a points-based system, the “dog” weeks become part of inventory just like “best” weeks. This puts a load on the “best weeks” inventory. When it comes to booking, somebody won’t get what they want.

In a pure points system, the developer is NOT selling a vacation. The developer is selling the “opportunity” to vacation SUBJECT TO AVAILABILITY.  Two factors determine the success of timeshare owners in a pure points system:

  1. Having enough points to meet your vacation needs, and
  2. Booking at the earliest possible date.

The complaint sites are littered with people, some even highest loyalty members,   complaining about availability. Say a buyer bought 5,000 points because that is what they could afford on a monthly basis. Those 5,000 points might get them a week in Myrtle Beach – in the winter but only two days at Myrtle Beach in the summer, if you’re lucky.  The sales agent can promise anything, “Any place you want to stay, any time you want.”

The first time buyer is scheduled for an orientation in which they are told, “I can’t believe that sales agent sold you so few points! You can’t stay anywhere with 5,000 points!” The member is sadly informed of his dilemma.  BUT, the new and improved sales agent “corrects” the mistake created by the first agent. Buy more points!

As an inducement to upgrade, some systems have early bookings for highest loyalty level members, then advance booking for one tier down, and finally open booking for everyone else. Consider this day and age of the instant internet. Booking vacations over a year out seems antiquated.

Granted, if you have a fluid vacation schedule, as many retired do – and can travel slightly offseason, you might find a pure points system to be of value.  But don’t go to a sales meeting unprepared, facing a tag team of three against two. Be an informed timeshare buyer. Read what existing members have to say on Tug2.net, Redweek and member sponsored Facebooks. The point system can be unfair and have drawbacks, but they can be resources for those who know how to maximize their use.

The informed consumer is the best consumer. Don’t fall for a pipe dream vacation.

Comments by Irene

Thank you Industry Observer. Your article prompted me to search back to 2017 to revisit our “Is This Timeshare Proposal merely Monopoly Money?” https://insidetimeshare.com/timeshare-proposal-merely-monopoly-money/

Self-help groups we feel are not industry influenced including TUG, which consists of a balanced group of members for and against timeshare.

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.

https://www.facebook.com/timeshareadvocategroup/

https://tug2.com/Home.aspx

https://everythingabouttimeshares.com/consider-exchange-options/

Bluegreen Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/groups/180578055325962/

Wyndham Facebook

New: https://www.facebook.com/groups/376743609795740/  

Sapphire Starpoint New: https://www.facebook.com/login/?next=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fgroups%2F292083584642570%2F%3Fref%3Dshare

Diamond Resort Facebook

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

Gold Key Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1639958046252175/

We began with the question Why Spain does not allow points or perpetuity contracts, the simple reason is availability, with a fixed week system your are guaranteed the holiday time you purchased, you basically own that particular week. With points you own nothing, just a right to use subject to availability, you are a member of a vacation club not an owner. According to the ruling from the Spanish Supreme Court, points and floating week systems lack any substance, you are paying for a promise, or to put it simply you are buying fresh air.

For example we have a resort with 180 apartments, with fixed weeks they can only sell 51 weeks in each, that gives you a total number of weeks available at 9,180, that means you may only have that number of owners, great they all get their weeks. Now let us change this to a points based system, let’s say the vacation club only doubles its membership, we now have 18,360 members. Hang on we only have 9,180 weeks available, that means 9,180 members will not get their holiday at that resort this year.

Along with that, yes, you guessed it, the timeshare company has now also doubled their income in management fees!

They make more money but at the expense of the members who cannot get the holidays they want.

Spain also outlawed the perpetuity contract, this particular law came into force on 5 January 1999, the duration for any contract was to be a minimum of 3 years and a maximum of 50 years and was ignored by the industry. It was also envisaged that the age of the purchaser should also be taken into consideration, for example a couple aged 55, would not really require the maximum of 50 years, so why not sell them 25 years. The law makers also believed that perpetuity was inherently unfair to the children of purchasers, as timeshare was always sold with the idea it was property or real estate and therefore would be inherited. Their motive was why should the children be liable for the ongoing liability of maintenance on a contract they did not instigate.

These points are now the subject of many legal actions going through the Spanish courts and it is costing the industry millions in repayments along with all contracts being declared null and void. Spain is at the forefront of protection for consumers regarding timeshare and how it is sold, it is only a matter of time before others do the same.

Start the Week

So here we are at the start of another week, today we start with the news from the courts at the end of last week, we also republish the link to a TVE 1 news report about timeshare law in Spain and an interview with Eva Gutiérrez from Canarian Legal Alliance. We also highlight a new “claims” company that has just come to our attention.

At the end of last week after publishing out Letter from America, Canarian Legal Alliance published their results for the week. Once again it was a busy week for the courts and the lawyers with no less than 15 new victories on behalf of their clients.

In frame with the most rulings against them was once again Anfi Del Mar, with 10 cases heard by the Court of First Instance of San Bartolomé de Tirajana in Maspalomas. In the High Court of Las Palmas Gran Canaria, Anfi del Mar had 4 appeals rejected and sent back to the lower courts for the execution of sentence.

In Tenerife at the High Court in Santa Cruz, Silverpoint also lost an appeal, with the case being sent back to the Court of First Instance, again for the execution of sentence.

The total amount being returned to clients is a massive 517,056.50€ this amount doe not include legal fees or legal interest that is calculated separately. Contracts were also declared null and void. The infringements of the timeshare laws ranged from contracts over 50 years in duration, floating weeks and points systems plus the taking of payments within the 14 days cooling off period.

Considering the Supreme Court rulings of which there are 129, and the number of cases being found against the timeshare companies at the lower courts, it does make you wonder why the timeshare companies insist on prolonging the process and taking the lost cases to appeal. All we can surmise is that they are trying to delay making any payments as they still believe the courts have interpreted the law incorrectly.

In response to that belief, Inside Timeshare republishes a link to the National Spanish TV Station TVE1, in this news item they look at the Supreme Court rulings and explain why the timeshare companies are being taken to court. In the item, they also interview one of the Senior Lawyers at Canarian Legal Alliance Eva Gutiérez. This clip will put you the reader in doubt as to who is telling the truth.

Another new name in the “claims” business has just come to our attention, Refund My Claim with the website:

http://www.refundmyclaim.co.uk

It was registered on 9 February 2019 with the actual owner and registrar being hidden, the website has been regestered for one year only and is set to expire on 2 February 2020, these are never good signs.

The website itself gives very little information, with no company registration details only the company address, telephone number and email:

53 Fountain Street, Manchester, M2 2AN. Once again this is rented office space with postal and telephone answering service run by Regus, one of the biggest suppliers of serviced and rental office space on long term or daily basis.

The telephone number given is 0161 826 49 62

With the email [email protected]

On their Home Page, they state, “We are a free advice service that identifies the best Lawyers, Solicitors or Claims management company that best suits you for your claim.” They also explain the “Claims management” is big business in the UK and then go to list all the types of claims they work with including timeshare.

Now considering the age of the website, the lack of company information, no Company House registration and no mention of any lawyers or regulated claims managment company names, makes this is look like a very dodgy set up.

If you are contacted by any company with offers of getting you your money back for any timeshare or holiday club, do your homework before engaging with them. Make sure they are genuine, if you need help or advice on this, then use our contact page and we will be happy to help.

Tomorrow in our Tuesday Slot we publish an article titled How is a Timeshare Point Valued, this has been written by an Industry Insider and we have kept them anonymous as per their wishes. So join us tomorrow for more information and news on the world of timeshare.

The Tuesday Slot

Welcome to this weeks Tuesday Slot article by Irene Parker, who introduces us to Michael Santos, but first, Monday, May 27 was a major holiday in America. Memorial Day honours veterans & soldiers who work to defend even those who may seek to do them harm. Yesterday Inside Timeshare heard from veteran/active duty service member #105 asking about unfair and deceptive timeshare sales practices. Many of the veterans who have reached out to Inside Timeshare are disabled, five from Agent Orange. We hope other members of the military will reach out to us because when buying a primary residence greater disclosure is required. We are reaching out to provide the same for veterans applying for a timeshare loan. Too many have been financially ruined because they believed false promises made by timeshare sales agents. The Free at Last Timeshare Member Support Manual is another tool in our arsenal to fight timeshare corruption.

The Free at Last Timeshare Member Support Manual

http://timesharedisputeresolution.mykajabi.com/

Offered by the Straight-A Guide Foundation

https://michaelsantos.org/about/
https://michaelsantos.org/about/

By Irene Parker

May 28, 2019

Meet Michael Santos, no stranger to struggle. Rather than succumb to despair, as many would, Michael faced his challenges head-on. Struggle is struggle. His admitted bad decisions led him to serve 25 years of a 45-year prison sentence. While incarcerated, Michael earned an undergraduate degree in Human Resources Management and a master’s degree. Now he works to serve others in struggle through education, contribution to society, and a support network of people who believe in you.  

Michael’s story: 9,135 Days in Prison TEDXConstitutionDrive 2013

I need help. I’m struggling, overwhelmed, with unending calls from infuriated timeshare members, many financially devastated because timeshare sales agents got away with unfair and deceptive sales practices. While top liars earned $1 million or more annually until eventually terminated, family after family described to me how they were lied to. Particularly painful to me are the stories of veterans and active duty service members harmed by timeshare. A timeshare foreclosure can result in the loss of security clearances.

How can I leverage my time and our team’s limited resources?

Enter Michael Santos of Prison Professors, Straight-A Guide Foundation

Continues with Aspiration, Action, Accountability, Awareness of Opportunities, Achievement, and Appreciation of Resources

In addition to offering a sophisticated platform that has been helping the incarcerated work towards release and reentry back into society, Michael teaches adversity skills. The Straight-A Guide Foundation helps 100,000 people every year, teaching people in struggle how to prepare for success.

Employing these same adversity skills, Michael Santos and I developed a timeshare self-help manual to leverage our timeshare team’s efforts, and the efforts of others experienced in the field of timeshare.

Our Free at Last Timeshare Member Support Manual also offers webinars and podcasts.  http://timesharedisputeresolution.mykajabi.com/


From left, my husband Don, me and Michael Santos

Unfair and deceptive timeshare sales practices don’t just harm timeshare members. Honest timeshare sales agents, managers, and even an executive or two have expressed their frustration over spotty and inadequate state regulation and a Pollyanna attitude on the part of timeshare lobbyists and developers insisting all is well in timeshare.

Dr Amy Gregory, PhD in Hospitality Management from the University of Central Florida and Masters in International Business Administration from the Thunderbird School of Global Management was a presenter at a 2017 timeshare ARDA World convention. She describes statistics that tell a different timeshare tale, as reported by RedWeek’s chief correspondent, Jeff Weir:

Here are some of Dr Gregory’s findings:

  • The average rescission rate is 15 per cent (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 per cent of buyers never thought they would regret their purchase, but they did;
  • 30 per cent were neutral prior to buying but then regretted it.

https://www.redweek.com/resources/ask-redweek/arda-world-timeshare-owners

Wondering if there is something wrong with me, I contacted timeshare law firms and timeshare exit service providers across the country and learned that they are also frustrated with this “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” media spin strategy on the part of the industry.

Two of the exit companies I contacted reported that they received 3,000 to 3,500 calls a month from people seeking timeshare relief. Both companies said they only accept as clients, less than 200 callers, as the timeshare member must meet their timeshare deceit criteria.

What happens to the 2,800 or so turned away? Even if your only option is to foreclose, thanks to the orchestrated lack of a secondary market, these members need support. As if someone broke into your home, you feel violated, alone.  Most begin their call to me with, “I feel so stupid.” I respond that I have heard from a detective who works economic crimes undercover, two counter-terrorism experts, two private detectives, a professor with a PhD in criminology, an ICE agent with an M.S. in Criminal Justice, all describing how they were duped by timeshare sales agents.

If you take the time to listen to the entire 20 minutes of Michael’s Top Ten Surrender Tips before Surrendering to Federal Prison, it’s easy to see how prison adversity skills carry over to timeshare adversity:

https://prisonprofessors.com/top-ten-surrender-tips-surrendering-federal-prison/

https://prisonprofessors.com/top-ten-surrender-tips-surrendering-federal-prison/

Michael’s Ten Tips

  1. Expect Challenges!
  2. Understand your Finances
  3. Develop a Reading Plan
  4. Journal, Write and Publish – Writing is Therapeutic!
  5. Personal Belongings – One Navy veteran charged $2,700 a month in timeshare loan payments to credit cards. He lived in fear of losing his home and had to seek advice from a bankruptcy attorney.
  6. Prepare for Communication
  7. Set Your Values and Goals and Create Timelines
  8. Create an Accountability Metric Adhering to Timelines
  9. Quadrant Adjustments Reflecting New Opportunities and Opportunity Costs Visualize/Plan/Prioritize/Execute
  10. Release Plan – Think about your day of release!

Hoping to leverage what I and others have learned, I support the Free at Last Timeshare Support Manual lending what I’ve learned to others. All proceeds from our manual are to be donated to the Straight-A Guide Foundation.  Together we will work alongside those in prison or formerly incarcerated to become Free at Last. I’m pretty sure Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. would support our borrowing his prayer.

I think it was Ella Fitzgerald who said her momma told her, “Go out and make something happen. If you’re not going to make something happen – stay out of the way!” Morgan Freeman said it another way:

These self-help groups were launched and subscribed to by doers seeking:

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.

https://www.facebook.com/timeshareadvocategroup/

https://tug2.com/Home.aspx

https://everythingabouttimeshares.com/consider-exchange-options/

Bluegreen Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/groups/180578055325962/

Wyndham Facebook

New: https://www.facebook.com/groups/376743609795740/  

Sapphire Starpoint New: https://www.facebook.com/login/?next=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fgroups%2F292083584642570%2F%3Fref%3Dshare

Diamond Resort Facebook

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

Gold Key Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1639958046252175/

Thank you, Irene, and also a big thank you to Michael, we are sure that you will get plenty of support from our readers.

Late on Friday, Canarian Legal Alliance published the following results of cases over the past two weeks, these were against Anfi Del Mar, Silverpoint, Club La Costa and Holiday Club Finland. In total there were 24 sentences as follows:

  • 15 in the Courts of First Instance against Anfi Del Mar
  • 3 High Court against Anfi Del Mar
  • 2 Court of First Instance against Silverpoint
  • 2 High Court against Silverpoint
  • 1 Court of First Instance against Club La Costa
  • 1 High Court against Holiday Club Finland

All contracts were declared null and void and in most cases, clients received back their legal fees plus legal interest.

The total being returned to clients is a staggering 787,664.00€

Obviously some very happy clients but some very unhappy and embarrassed timeshare companies. Well, they only have themselves to blame!

Do you have any questions about your timeshare purchase, want to know if you have a claim or want to just get out, have you been contacted by a company offering you a service and want to know if they are genuine?

Then use our contact page and get in touch, we will point you in the right direction with the best advice available.