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Happy Clients Receive Their Money from Timeshare Companies

Following on from yesterday’s article on the ongoing case of the Azure brokered loan agreements with Barclays Partner Finance and the validation order granted by the Financial Conduct Authority, Inside Timeshare has already received many short comments. The story is the same, “this happened to us”, seems to be a recurring theme, it is obvious that we have opened up a very large can of worms. On Monday we hope to be publishing the story of one family and the horrendous problems they have encountered along the way. Today however we take a very quick look at three clients who have now received their long-awaited court-ordered payments.

The first of the payments is to an English client whose case was prepared and presented by Canarian Legal Alliance, a constant thorn in the side of Anfi!

These clients have now received their 13,608€ plus full legal interest which is now safely deposited in their account.

A rather forlorn looking Anfi

It was at the Court of First Instance Number 5 of San Bartelomé de Tirajana, where the judge made the initial award and declared their contract null and void, all in accordance with the law and the Supreme Court rulings. But as we already know from other cases, Anfi, in their warped way of looking at things, still disagreed and launched yet another appeal to the High Court.

Once again the High Court dismissed the appeal and confirmed the original sentence, ordering Anfi to repay the clients, they did not, claiming they “have no money”.

Well, we have heard this before, hence the Provincial Prosecutors Office investigating possible “criminal activities” due to the depleting of bank accounts to others and the changing of company names.

But in this case, as always, the lawyers at CLA are on their trail, identifying new bank accounts, companies etc as they appear and informing the courts of these facts.

The lawyers previously got wind of a “tax rebate” Anfi were to receive and had the court issue an embargo on the full sum, it is from this money that the client has been paid along with others in the same situation.

Anfi in its heyday

In the second case involving Anfi, another English client of CLA is now celebrating after they received 11,308€ plus legal interest which is now safely in their personal account.

This case is very similar to the one above, a resounding win at the Court of First Instance and then the usual Anfi appealed, which as we have seen to be the case always ends in the High Court confirming the original sentence.

It is also another case where these clients have been paid from the “tax rebate” CLA asked the court to embargo.

Surely this should tell Anfi one thing, PAY UP VOLUNTARILY when you lose in the first court, you are only delaying the inevitable!

Airtours Beach Club now known as Blue Bay

In the third payout, which is to a German client of CLA, their 24,234€ has been paid voluntarily by Airtours. This is the second case in a week where this timeshare company has accepted the ruling of the Court of First Instance of Las Palmas and paid without question.

They have accepted that their contracts are illegal and have conducted themselves in a professional and ethical manner. This has a double effect, the client does not have the stress of further court cases and the timeshare company does save on additional legal costs.

If only all timeshare companies who lose in the courts acted in this way, I’m sure it would go some way to repair the damage they have caused to what was once a great concept and product.

I am also convinced that the High Courts will, as we have seen in the past, increase the award from the Court of First Instance on every appeal case and it only serves them right.

Timeshare Sales, Barclay Partner Finance & The FCA

For the past couple of years, Inside Timeshare has been following the case of the Financial Conduct Authority granting a validation order for loans provided by Barclays Partner Finance, brokered by timeshare sales agents of Azure Services Ltd. This validation order was granted to BPF after the finance company found out that over 1,400 loan agreements were brokered by Azure Services who were not authorised, competent or diligent enough to broker them.

Many of the clients who signed these agreements for the purchase of timeshares, tended to be either retired or just coming up to retirement. They were lured with the wonderful patter of you are “investing in property”, “it’s not timeshare”.

There was the promise of renting out the purchased weeks, which would give an income, supposedly to cover the maintenance fees and a bit more. Then after 2 years the “investment weeks” would be sold and they would make a profit. This would cover the cost of the loan provided by Barclays Partner Finance.

Well, we all know how that story ends, remember that Azure is part of the Limora Group of companies owned by the late Robert “Bob” Trotta and was also the sister company to Silverpoint in Tenerife.

Company Participations have been likened to this!

Silverpoint, formally Resort Properties, sold the same product, in fact, it was they who originated it. They further developed the product into the Company Participation Scheme, which changed by registering the apartments for sale as “companies”. But the same idea was applied in the sales presentation, it was an investment with rental income and profit after sales when the “company” was transferred to the purchaser. (Sorry but that is the very simple version).

The vast majority of these purchases were made by loan agreements brokered by the sales staff selling the products and provided by Barclays Partner Finance.

When you consider that in the two years which the FCA is looking at for Azure clients this has affected over 1,400, the number of loan agreements financed by BPF must number in the thousands and as far as money is concerned worth hundreds of millions of pounds. Although this is just a guess it is on the figures received by Inside Timeshare on the Azure loans worth around £40 million.

We now move to the latest phase of the case, back in August 2018, Judge Timothy Herrington, ordered the FCA to re-evaluate its decision to validate the order, citing that “consumer detriment” must be taken into consideration.

Judge Timothy Herrington

Over a year later, the FCA confirmed the validation order with a provision that BPF appoints a “competent person” to investigate client detriment.

Now the appeal has been launched to overturn this decision, there is a group that has been formed to coordinate clients who are affected by this decision called Azure Malta Action And Support Group. They are a closed group on Facebook and are gaining in membership, not just with Azure owners, many others affected by the sales practices of the timeshare sales reps and their brokering of these loans.

The group has now published a letter to BPF which Inside Timeshare has placed as a downloadable link below, which demands the right to know what information was given to BPF by the broker regarding the loan application. It also calls for BPF to provide all details of any correspondence between the client and BPF.

It is a legal right under data protection and known as Data Subject Request.

This template letter is not just for Azure clients, any timeshare purchaser who was brokered a finance agreement by the sales reps with BPF or any other finance company can use it. Inside Timeshare urges you to do so, as from all the people that Inside Timeshare has spoken with none have ever provided any full financial details such as “income v expenditure” which are normal procedures especially when considering the sums involved. These reports show if the repayments are affordable and in fact, Shawbrook Bank admitted it had not carried this out several years ago.

The Azure Malta Action And Support Group along with Inside Timeshare are urging all those affected by BPF loan agreements to begin submitting these requests and then filing complaints with the FCA. Hopefully, this may force the FCA to investigate.

Unfortunately, in an article in the Mail on Sunday by Jeff Prestridge, it appears that there are some very serious concerns about the FCA.

According to the start of the article, which we must point out is also our opinion, the Financial Conduct Authority is there to protect consumers, but “is more interested in protecting its own”.

It also goes on to highlight the inherent problems of staff untrained and lacking the knowledge to actually carry out their work. They are not being trained to spot “anything suspicious” in the companies they are supposed to be monitoring.

They lack any training, knowledge or experience in dealing with consumer complaints, and as Inside Timeshare has found in the past, every complaint seems to be dismissed in favour of the industry. Sounds a bit like the Resorts Development Organisation don’t you think!

Although the article is not about timeshare it is a very damning report of the FCA and their apparent inability to actually perform the job they are entrusted with. It certainly highlights the problems being faced by consumers who have had to endure lengthy high-pressure sales presentations, ending up signing agreements for finance on the false promises of sales staff, reliant on the loans to close the sale.

The link to the full article is below along with previous articles on this subject along with the link to Azure Malta Action And Support Group.

If you have purchased a timeshare with a loan arranged by the sales staff and would like more information on what your rights are, then please use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get back to you. If we are unable to answer your question we will find out for you.

Link to the Azure Action Group

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1152657598482168

PDF & Word versions of the template letter

Jeff Prestridge Article

https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/comment/article-9070435/JEFF-PRESTRIDGE-FCA-let-investors.html?fbclid=IwAR3M0bPZrnghdan3Ae5zxaGP17CHfiwYQ5llR0V0ELMTzic-j9XZD_3-72E

Articles on the FCA validation

https://insidetimeshare.com/fca-validate-azure-bpf-loan-agreements/

https://insidetimeshare.com/fca-validate-bpf-azure-loans-update/

https://insidetimeshare.com/barclays-the-fca-and-azure-the-story-continues/

Shawbrook Bank

https://insidetimeshare.com/shawbrook-bank-announce-irregularities-timeshare-loans-similar-activities-usa/

The Tuesday Slot: Anfi and Airtours in the News

Welcome to the beginning of another week with Inside Timeshare, for those of you who were looking for our usual Start the Week, our apologies as due to circumstances beyond our control we were unable to publish on Monday. Today we bring you some more information on the Anfi attempt to make members sign the new contracts, a subject that has caused great concern and many enquiries to Inside Timeshare. We also bring the latest news from the courts which highlight Anfi and Airtours.

We begin today with the enquiries on the new Anfi contracts, a subject that has been highlighted over quite a period of time.

Back in June 2017, Anfi held a Special Meeting in which they put forward three options for a change in the contracts, this change was to bring all their illegal contracts within the law. This in itself is not a bad thing until you see the take up was not very good and they have since reverted to using some very underhand techniques to “force” members into signing.

In the past, the story was that they wanted to update their “database”, as members may wish to remove or add someone to or make revisions in the membership certificate. But to do this the new contract needs to be signed. A date of 31 January was set as the final date to complete this. Obviously since then, not many have done so and they reverted to other tactics. (See links below to previous articles).

This began when the current situation developed and travel was severely restricted with members unable to use their weeks. Many questions were asked if they would lose those weeks or carry them forward to 2021, which is what you would have expected.

Well, yes you could save those weeks and receive an “accommodation voucher” to be used in the future, but only if you signed the new contract.

In other words, sign it or lose the week you have already paid for in your maintenance fees!

So what is the reason behind this, it is very simple, Anfi is losing every single case in all the courts for illegal contracts which breach the timeshare laws. Now, remember, these laws came into force on 5 January 1999, yet Anfi along with other timeshare companies believed the new laws did not apply to them and they all continued to sell the same contracts as before.

By forcing members to sign the new contracts in this way, Anfi is attempting to stem the tide of some very disgruntled members from seeking legal redress, having their contracts declared null and void plus the return of the full purchase price plus double any illegal deposit taken within the statutory cooling-off period.

By signing the new contract you are signing away your rights to take any legal action, so it is nothing short of blackmail.

The other point that has been raised by our readers is even if you do sign the new contract, how is Anfi going to accommodate all those members, after all, they do appear to have more members than actual weeks available. We also have to ask what about this year, after all, there does not seem to be any let-up in the travel restrictions, with many members who will be unable to use last years or even this year’s weeks?

We leave you the reader to make up your own mind on those questions.

Now for some court news.

On Friday 8 January, Canarian Legal Alliance announced the “payment” Anfi has finally made to one of their German clients.

The case was originally won at the Court of First Instance with the contract being declared null and void with the client being awarded 9,520€ in respect of their purchase price plus a further 14,000€ for illegally taken deposits.

As we have come to expect, Anfi lodged an appeal with the High Court, once again this court rejected and dismissed the appeal and sent the case back to the original court for execution of sentence.

The client has now received 23,520€ into their own account and the case is now closed.

In a case against Airtours, another German client of CLA is now celebrating with 43,620€ plus legal interest and legal costs having now been paid into their own personal account.

The case was heard at the Court of First Instance of Las Palmas in May 2020, with the court declaring the contract null and void plus all the return of all money.

Unlike Anfi and many other companies, Airtours have paid out voluntarily without the need for lengthy proceedings to ensure compliance. So all credit to Airtours for their accepting the court’s decision and complying with the sentence.

This decision by Airtours has also saved a great deal of money in legal fees for appeals as well as not causing stress and anguish for the client. Maybe, all the other companies including Anfi should take a leaf out of their book!

Tomorrow we will bring you more news from the Azure Malta Action and Support Group in their efforts to bring Barclay Partner Finance to accountability. As we know, BPF is the main provider of finance for the timeshare industry, with sales reps brokering the loans to ensure they get the sale. We also know that no proper credit checks have been made and this has left many timeshare purchasers in severe financial difficulty (mainly retired and elderly people) because of all the lies made by the sales reps. More on this subject in tomorrow’s article.

If you would like further information on any item published or would like to know your legal rights, please use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get back to you.

Links on the Anfi contracts saga

https://insidetimeshare.com/anfi-special-general-meeting-vote/

https://insidetimeshare.com/anfi-another-offer-to-members/