The registered director is Joshua Rice, born April 1989, with the occupation of Financial Consultant. Also registered at the same address. He has no links to any other directorship or company on Company House records.
The address is one that is owned by Regus PLC, one of the largest office space providers. Part of their service includes rental of office and conference facilities by the day and virtual offices. The Virtual office facility provides a business address at a prime location, call answering service and mail handling. So a very convenient way to provide a company such as Money Advice Limited with the cover of legitimate company.
According to our information Money Advice Limited is contacting customers of Eze Group and Regency Shores SL and informing them they are working directly with the courts. That only Money Advice Limited will be able to recover the money paid by the customer. As we know, the courts do not use third party or private companies to contact “victims”.
If during any investigation by the Police, Trading Standards or any other authority, they discover “potential victims” of fraud, it is they who would make contact. They would then be asking for information and statements in order to facilitate their inquiry into the alleged fraud.
So the question arises, how has Money Advice Limited got hold of customer details, knowing what they have purchased and for how much?
The only answers are very simple, either they are ex-employees of the company and have stolen the customer records, or they have purchased them from another ex-employee.
So along with Claims Assistance Bureau Limitedand other companies, Money Advice Limited is using genuine court cases to defraud people who have already lost a great deal in the original purchase.
As we have already highlighted, Claims Assistance Bureau Limited, have hijacked a genuine company name to make their calls, all to give them credibility. (see link below)
If you have received a call or unsolicited email from any company claiming they have been appointed by or working with the courts to retrieve any money, whether it is Eze Group or any other timeshare, contact Inside Timeshare using our contact page and let us know the details. We will research them and publish our findings to warn other consumers.
Have you paid for a timeshare or timeshare related product and want to know how to get out or even if you can get your money back, use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get back to you.
But do remember, you must do your homework before engaging with any company that contacts you or that you have found on the internet or advert in any publication. Only by doing this will you prevent yourself from being scammed.
As usual before publication we have sent the article to Wyndham and ARDA for comment, but as always these tend to be ignored. As a matter of course we always send the proposed article as we welcome comments from the industry, as it furthers debate and it can accomplish our goals of consumer protection.
Without this debate nothing will ever be achieved and the consumer will forever be at the mercy of the industry. In this respect the lack of response only says one thing, for that we let you the reader decide what it is!
More on the Florida House Bill 435 Workshop held March 12
In response to ARDA ROC and Wyndham’s testimony:
How Timeshare Sales Agents can Dodge a Rescission Period
Why Reading the Timeshare Contract does not Always Help
Why the Delay in Reporting Fraud
By Irene Parker
March 19, 2019
The Florida HB 435 Workshop held March 12 in Tallahassee:
At the Florida HB 435 workshop held in Tallahassee March 12, Victoria Butler, from the Florida Attorney General’s Department of Consumer Protection, reported a figure of 1,500 to 1,600 timeshare complaints in 2017 and 2018, with about 50% involving senior citizens. She said the majority of complaints were in regard to the initial sales presentation. There have been 700 complaints filed so far in 2019. Ms. Butler stated that the Florida timeshare division engaged only 42 complaints, the majority concerning resale.
This fits with our members reporting that all timeshare complaints submitted to Florida’s http://Department of Business & Professional Regulation (DBPR) were met with “Verbal representations are difficult to prove.” This lack of enforcement gives a green light to perpetrators, knowing their company will dismiss complaints with, “You signed a contract,” echoed by DBPR’s response, “Verbal representations are hard to prove.”
Platinum timeshare member Sheilah Brust, who designed our Timeshare Regret T-Shirt pictured above, and other Platinum members, are organizing a protest in May in Orlando, astonished at the figures reported by Florida’s timeshare division. The oral representation sentence in the timeshare contract stating, “I did not rely on oral representations to make my purchase,” buried in an 80+ page contract, gets a workout. Our goal is to alert the public that they should not believe a word a timeshare sales agent says, which is not fair to timeshare agents selling the product honestly.
Inside Timeshare has heard from 735 families. Of the 735, 100 are veterans and active duty service members. Over 200 of our readers have sent complaints to the timeshare lobby and PAC ARDA ROC. ARDA ROC does not mediate complaints, but they have a Code of Ethics. All complaints sent to ARDA ROC but one were ignored. ARDA ROC responded to one complaint, “This has been resolved,” even before the member, with a top security clearance, had heard from the company. The CEO of the company sits on ARDA’s board. An active duty service member or a defense department worker can lose their security clearance, their job and their career over a timeshare foreclosure. ARDA ROC purports to be the voice of timeshare members.
On Saturday, March 16, I heard from Platinum member #74, told that by purchasing additional points, they would be able to sell or rent points to offset rising maintenance fees, now over $10,000 per year. A 126 page summary report I prepared of reader complaints, shows a pattern and volume of complaints, often the sales agent a repeat offender. All the Platinum members report being told of maintenance fee relief programs that do not exist or a program allowing the member to sell points, if they purchased additional points.
Platinum report submitted by Andrea K, Platinum member #74:
Our family has been emotionally and financially devastated because of the last timeshare points purchased. By 2016 or 2017 our maintenance fees had increased. The sales agents said we were the only deeded owners left and that is why they said our maintenance fees were so high. They said they were not sure if it was too late, but they could try to get us converted to points.
In 2017 we went to Hawaii. We purchased $55,000 worth of more points. They said if we purchased Hawaii points, we could easier sell because Hawaii is so popular. He showed me a magazine listing Hawaii timeshares for sale. I still have the magazine. He also said if I have this many points I can rent, especially in January to pay for the maintenance fees. We have learned our timeshare company does not allow us to rent using the internet, and that their points are worthless on resale.
In 2018 we stayed at Tahoe in California but purchased in Nevada. In Tahoe they said because we had not purchased at our last stay, we lost our $3 price so that we would have to pay $9 per point if we did not buy additional points that day. He said our price lock was lost, but when he checked our records, he said for some reason the $3 was still there. He said I needed to sign a paper to remove the $3 price and in the future I would have to buy points at $9. He should have told us our timeshare points are worthless on resale. These presentations have taken 6 to 8 hours, despite being told they would only be for 90 minutes.
As years have gone by, we have learned that things we were told are either exaggerated or not true. Many of the reimbursements promised did not yield what they had said they would yield.
Twenty of the 74 Platinum complaints were lodged against the same sales agent over a two year period. According to a lawsuit the agent has filed against the company, he said he was instructed to create reasons why existing members needed to buy additional points. He reported earning over $1 million in 2015 selling timeshare points, $2.4 million in 2016 and $2.4 million in 2017, before being terminated. His replacements are generating similar to identical complaints.
Mr. Ken McKelvey, ARDA ROCChairperson, questioned why timeshare buyers wait so long to report deception. Mr Jason Gamel, Wyndham Sr. VP, Legal said exit companies are not needed because Wyndham has a hardship department to address members struggling with high interest rate timeshare loans. Both spokespersons said the rescission period provides enough time to review a contract and rescind. Our reader complaints address these objections:
How timeshare sales agents and timeshare companies can easily dodge the rescission period:
The buyer is told, “This is a new program, so don’t say anything to quality assurance because I could get fired.”
The buyer is told, “This program will be available after January 1.”
The buyer is not allowed onto the booking site until after the rescission period. Several buyers report being told airfare is included when booking. It’s not until they attempt to book they learn this is Blarney.
The buyer reports being told loans will be consolidated, but then the loan is not consolidated. The buyer does not learn this until the next loan payment, after the rescission period.
The buyer is told to wait a few months before refinancing.
Why reading the contract does not always help:
Buyers are shown a booklet of resorts, but the buyer is not allowed onto the booking site until after the rescission period. Actual availability cannot be determined by reading the contract.
My contract stated, “You can sell points, we will not assist you.” It left out the part about licensed timeshare brokers will not accept a listing for my timeshare points.
Why there is a delay in reporting fraud:
The reason that it may be several years before fraud is reported is because a negative life event triggers the need to sell. It is not until that trigger occurs that the buyer, who was sold on the promise that the timeshare is like real estate, easily sold, learns their timeshare is worthless.
It is not until a tax preparer, attorney, or grown child of elderly parents discovers predatory actions, such as the retired Navy veteran, living on a letter carrier’s pension, up-sold to $2,700 a month in timeshare loan payments. There have been numerous complaints involving Alzheimer diagnosed buyers.
We are hoping Marine veteran James Sherwood fell through the cracks at Wyndham, and that Wyndham will reach out to Mr. Sherwood. Mr. Sherwood’s wife broke both hips three years ago and has had a total hip replacement. He is disabled. Neither can travel. Wyndham would not accept that Mr. Sherwood was disabled. They demanded proof he could not travel. The VA provided a letter stating Mr. Sherwood could not travel. This was not sufficient. Mr. Sherwood felt it was an invasion of privacy to demand all medical and financial records, especially since he was told when he purchased the timeshare, that the transaction was a real estate transaction and could easily be sold. http://insidetimeshare.com/http-insidetimeshare-com-p5114/
Timeshare members are deeply grateful to Florida lawmakers, who echoed some of their negative timeshare experiences during the Florida HB 435 workshop. For the first time in memory, lawmakers’ voices talked back to the timeshare industry and to industry lobbyists. A timeshare consumer protection Arizona HB 2639 bill is currently being debated, strongly opposed by ARDA. The Arizona Attorney General’s office received 400 complaints against just one company. After a press release announcing an investigation a few years ago, they received an additional 500 complaints, according to members who spoke with the Arizona AG’s office.
The question I am most frequently asked: “How do they sleep at night?”
My answer, “Bernie Madoff had no trouble sleeping at night.”
The comment I hear most frequently, “I feel so stupid.”
I answer that the following have reached out to us describing unfair and deceptive sales practices, in addition to the vulnerable:
Three PhD economic and criminal justice professors
A Florida detective who worked economic crimes undercover
A Consolidated Edison contract specialist
Lawyers and mortgage brokers
Can it be, after all this time, the consumer’s voice is being heard?
Contact Inside Timeshare or one of these self-help groups if you need help:
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.
Welcome to this week’s Letter from America, todayIrene Parker gives her account on the workshop she attended at the Florida House of Representatives, regarding the Florida House Bill 435. As Sunday is St Patrick’s Day for all of our Irish friends, we couldn’t resist using the definition of Blarney in the opening graphic. After watching the recording of the Workshop, it seemed apt to use it, once you watch it for yourselves, you will understand why.
Before we go to Irene’s report some very brief news on the legal front in Spain.
In Tenerife, Silverpoint have been subject to a “cash” embargo, this is a result of a case brought by Canarian Legal Alliance for an execution of sentence on a recent case. Their senior lawyer Eva Gutierrez brought the order to the court to force Silverpoint to lodge the awarded amount with the court. This was done to ensure swift payment of the funds to the client, who will now receive 27,047.11€ plus legal fees and all legal interest.
CLA are now using this enforcement action as soon as the sentence is issued by the court. This stops any delaying tactics by the timeshare companies in making payment. It seems to be working very well.
It has also been published that the Fiscal Prosecutor in Gran Canaria, is looking into the accounts of Anfi Resorts and Anfi Sales, for the possible illegal movement of money to various accounts in order to delay the payment of funds to clients who have won cases against them.
For the Fiscal Prosecutor to be involved in this, shows that it is a serious matter, the full story can be read at the link below. Although it is in Spanish, use google and use the translate page feature.
Business and Profession Workshop held in Tallahassee March 12
Florida House Bill 435
Does it restrict the rights of citizens to retain legal counsel?
By Irene Parker
March 15, 2019
Inside Timeshare has received many complaints about timeshare exit companies, in addition to reports from timeshare buyers describing unfair and deceptive timeshare sales practices. Critics of Florida HB 435 feel if passed this bill would restrict the ability of timeshare buyers to seek legal counsel.
Due to disclosures, we will not publish the link to the recording of the Florida HB 435 workshop held March 12, but the recording can be easily found at https://thefloridachannel.org/. Search the workshop by entering 3/12/19 Business and Professions Committee. The first 1 ½ hours is about beer and spirits distribution. The timeshare workshop can be found by fast-forwarding to the session’s last hour.
A panel composed of exit company attorneys and industry attorneys answered questions from Florida state representatives, who clearly seemed on top of the issues. Panel members included:
Jason Gamel, Sr. Vice President, Legal at Wyndham Vacation Resorts, Inc.
Shannon Zetrouer, Outside Counsel, Reed Hein and Associates
Tiffany Kimble, Director of Underwriting, First American Title’s Vacation Ownership Services Division
Wayne Halper, Esq., in-house counsel Wesley Financial Group, LLC
K.L. “Ken” McKelvey, CPA, ARDA ROC Chairman
Boyd McAdams, from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR), shed light on the number of consumer complaints filed in the last few years. Previously, our figures reported 2,360 timeshare complaints filed from April 2012 to April 2014. DBPR only acted on 110 of those complaints.
The approximate figures of timeshare related complaints, as I understood the figures, are:
2016 1200 complaints 600 reported misleading information
2017 1300 complaints 700 misleading information
2018 1300 complaints 700 misleading information
2019 700 complaints 300 misleading information
Victoria Butler, from the Florida Attorney General’s Department of Consumer Protection, reported a figure of 1,500 to 1,600 complaints in recent years, with about 50% involving senior citizens. She said the majority of complaints were in regard to the initial sales presentation.
Ms. Butler stated that the Florida timeshare division engaged only 42 complaints, the majority concerning resale. This fits with our members reporting that all timeshare complaints they submitted, DBPR responded, “Verbal representations are difficult to prove.”
Consumer attorneys matched the strength of industry attorneys. I would like to point out and dispute a few of the comments made by panel members Wyndhamattorney Jason Gamel and ARDA ROC spokesperson Ken McKelvey.
Reid Hein’s legal counsel, Shannon Zetrouer, described how a buyer, typically held for hours in a high pressure timeshare sales presentation, signs a perpetual contract, often reporting that they were given misleading information.
Ms. Zetrouer argued that Florida HB 435 would infringe on a consumer’s right to seek other legal services, such as bankruptcy, foreclosure, or estate planning advice. She feels the bill, as currently worded, is overreaching in that it would affect timeshare buyers across the nation if they purchased in Florida. “I specifically have concerns about House Bill 435. First, I think it will actually have a negative impact on consumers…It seems to infringe on the right of contracts and the right of companies to contract with consumers for relief that they [the consumers] are clearly seeking. Otherwise this industry wouldn’t exist,” said Zetrouer. “Simply put, if going to developers was an option for these consumers, then there would be no third party industry,” she added.
Mr. Gamel spoke of the 2012 Transfer Act that addressed disclosure, rescission, escrow and prohibited acts.
Ms. Kimball addressed the problems associated with fraudulent transfers.
Wayne Halper, Esq. described the criteria required to become a client of Wesley Financial Group, LLC. Wesley Financial receives 3,000 to 3,500 calls per week from timeshare buyers seeking relief from timeshare contracts. Of those initial contracts, only 150 to 200 per week are accepted as clients, because they must meet the criteria for fraud. Similar to the complaints Inside Timeshare receives, 100% of Wesley clients report being told the timeshare is an investment and will increase in value and 91% report the ability to rent will offset maintenance fees and provide an income stream in retirement.
Mr. Halper echoed Ms. Zetrouer’s comments, in that 99% of timeshares sold in America have a presence in Florida, and the bill as written would eliminate the right of timeshare members to seek the services of those offering exit services. Later in the discussion, Mr. Halper pointed out that being released from a timeshare contract can take up to three years. He felt it would be unfair to expect a provider not be allowed to charge for services performed until after proof of exit has been provided, proof not always provided.
ARDA ROC Chairman K. L. McKelvey said ARDA ROC represents 1.8 million Timeshare Owners. I have asked 742 families who have reached out to me, feeling they experienced unfair and deceptive sales practices, if they even knew what ARDA ROC stands for. Not one member could answer, yet collectively timeshare members give ARDA ROC approximately $5 million a year, often “opt-out” contributions.
Mr. McKelvey described ARDA’sResponsible Exit Industry Coalition. For my timeshare, this is nothing more than media spin. I surveyed all 64 members of the Licensed Timeshare Resale Broker Association. Of the 64 members, 22 members responded, saying they would not accept a listing for my timeshare company, feeling restrictions the company places on points purchased on the secondary market excessive.
In response to a question asked by Representative Randy Fine (R), asking the percentage of Wyndham’s marketing costs; Mr. Gamel thought 30 to 40%.
Let’s compare this scenario to the primary housing market. The timeshare buyer sits across from a real estate agent in most states. There is an understandable assumption a buyer would think they have the same rights as a primary housing market buyer.
What would happen to the primary housing market if:
The Buyer paid 30 to 40% upfront in commissions,
The Buyer is demanded to buy the house the same day,
The Buyer learns licensed brokers won’t accept a listing to sell their home should they need to sell.
Committee member Representative Michael Gottlieb asked about “Adhesion” – meaning a timeshare contract cannot be changed, so why should someone need to talk to a lawyer before signing a contract, because you can’t change the contract anyway. The reason is because buyers are exhausted after an hours long high pressure sales session, signing a perpetual contract without being allowed adequate time to review copious and complicated documents. Not only attorneys, buyers are discouraged from seeking advice from a mom, dad, son or daughter. Sales agents are trained on how to defer this request, according to numerous current and former sales agents. Not being allowed 24 hours to think about a perpetual purchase, spending anywhere from $20,000 to $150,000 highlights the unfair in unfair and deceptive practices.
There have been many Attorneys General investigations and lawsuits concerning unfair and deceptive timeshare sales practices. Former Wyndham sales agent and whistleblower Trish Williams was awarded $20 million after reporting deceptive sales practices, and a recent Florida whistleblower lawsuit was filed November 2018 on behalf of ten former Wyndham sales agents and employees, working at Wyndham’s Florida Clearwater Beach Resort. Buyers need to beware of potential deceptive timeshare sales practices.
Buyers sign perpetual timeshare contracts accompanied by rising maintenance fees. Often existing members are sold additional points, promised maintenance fee relief programs that do not exist. The lack of a viable secondary market exacerbates the problem. Wyndham lists a viable secondary market as a risk to their stock market investors in their 10k reports.
Clearly, as Committee Chairwoman Heather Fitzenhagen stated, timeshare is a thorny issue. Let’s hope actual member voices can be heard in future sessions.
On Tuesday, our reader data can easily address concerns expressed by Mr. McKelvey and Mr. Gamel:
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.
Contact Inside Timeshare to let your voice be heard.
Inside Timeshare did have trouble locating the recording mentioned in paragraph two of Irene’s report, so Inside timeshare has provided a direct link to it in order to assist readers, the relevant part starts at approx 1:45:50
As we know he no longer works for Silverpoint but is a consultant for his brother’s company Nordic Consulting Canary Islands SL, who are now making more money from the very people they sold the scheme to in the first place, this time through dubious legal action against their former employer Silverpoint.
It all began with a visit to Tenerife in 2017 and a subsequent invitation for a return visit with discounted air fares and two week stay at Beverly Hills Club. The only “condition” was they would have to attend an “information” meeting with Silverpoint.
Once they arrived they were contacted by the Silverpoint representative Alex Farhoud. They attended the arranged meeting and were greeted by the friendly Alex. He began in the time honoured timeshare “warm up”, enquiring into their health, how they are enjoying their stay and giving information on the variety of restaurants, trips and attraction that Tenerife had to offer. All designed to put them at ease.
Eventually the conversation switched to a proposal which would be of great interest and benefit to the client, namely how they could purchase an apartment at Beverly Hills Club well below the market value, this equated to about 60% less.
He went on to explain that they would be able to use the apartment for up to half of the year and for the rest rent it out for a considerable income. Although they would have to wait a few years they would receive “compensation” of 4.5% of the the purchase price, around 155,000€
Alex Farhoud explained the business structure with the aid of the tried and trusted “pencil pitch”, (of which Inside Timeshare has a copy). It shows the workings of the 4.5%, which would equate to 6,975€ which they would receive in the first year as compensation of forthcoming rental income.
This forthcoming rental, was also shown on the hand written “pitch” and showed the proposed income of 21,623.51€, although the amount was actually shown in Swedish Kroner. There would also be a 19% tax deducted from the amount to be paid to the Spanish Tax Authority. This note does have Alex Farhouds name on it.
For the purchase to go ahead a deposit of 5,000€ was payable at that time with the balance of 150,000€ within the next couple of months.
As they had received so much information it was proposed that they would return the following day after looking over the paperwork.
They obviously had many questions they wanted answers to.
According to the paperwork, they would not receive “title” to the property until all the “timeshares” had been freed from their owners, a process that would take approximately 3 years. The paperwork also stated that they were not purchasing “timeshare”.
Moving on to 2018 early 2018, Alex Farhoud makes contact with an important announcement, problems had arisen with the lease. He also announce that he had parted company with Silverpoint, but did not elaborate if he resigned or was dismissed. Now that he was an independent agent he would be able to restore the original terms of the Rental Program Agreement, but this would entail a payment of 2 x 5,000€, paid in two instalments.
It would also appear other “buyers” had received similar information.
Step in Nordic Consulting, as we have stated the CEO is Ali Farhoud, Alex Farhoud is the consultant. They announced they had “found illegalities” in the agreements, that what they had purchased was “timeshare”, which as we know is subject to some very strict laws in Spain.
Nordic Consulting explained they had already taken several cases to court where the contracts were cancelled with the client receiving back full payment. They proposed that they would take on the case and help this purchaser. The cost would be over 30,000€ to be paid to Nordic Consulting.
So now we have the very people who sold the scheme in the beginning, making what must have been large amounts of money in “commissions”, contacting the very people they sold it to, claiming they had no idea it was “illegal” at the time. Now making more money from the very same people!
From information received, several formal criminal denuncias have been made against them, with apparently more in process of being filed.
We don’t know about you, but it does appear to us that something is very wrong that these brothers who sold the timeshare and the participations scheme on behalf of Silverpoint for many years are able to operate in this way.
If so, use our contact page, let us know what you have purchased, Inside Timeshare will get back to you with information on where you stand and what is open to you on the legal front. Whether you are from the UK, Scandinavia, or any other European country, we can point you in the best direction.
The perpetrator behind this claims fraud, Stephen Paul Fairclough has seemed to have disappeared, his offices at Regus House are now empty. We do know that he does have links in Portugal and is believed to own a property and lives there. So he may just have fled the UK and is living his life of luxury on the money he has swindled from countless victims.
Apparently from information received by one source, who wishes not to be identified, it looks now like the Police in the UK will not be pursuing the matter against Stephen Fairclough. From the information received the reason is that they do not have sufficient evidence. As we know to secure a prosecution and ensure a conviction in any criminal trial, the evidence must be strong and be of “beyond reasonable doubt”.
Inside Timeshare would love to see Fairclough prosecuted and convicted, so it is now up to you the readers and victims of his fraud to come forward. Inside Timeshare is in contact with one victim who would like to gather together all those affected and form an Action Group.
If you have lost money for services not provided by Fairclough, then use our contact page, send in your details and Inside Timeshare will pass them to the coordinator of the Action Group. It is only with your help that this person will ever be brought to justice.
Our information is that two clients have begun legal proceedings against Silverpoint but they have also lodged the criminal complaints against the two Farhoud brothers who sold them the scheme in the first place. It is believed from our sources that more clients are also coming forward and more “Criminal Denuncias” are going to be made.
It must also be remembered that they are now contacting previous victims via their company Nordic Consulting Canary Islands SL, with the offer of taking legal action against Silverpoint (their former employer) and claiming back what their clients originally paid. They explain that what was sold to them was not legal, yet they are the ones who sold it in the first place, yet they claim they had no idea that it was “fraudulent”.
Now, we also know that they will be charging huge amounts for legal fees to carry out this “service”, so in reality they made large amounts in commission for selling it and are now set to make even more by offering a “legal service”!
If you have purchased these “Company Participations” or any other product peddled by Silverpoint, or have been contacted by Nordic Consulting, then use our contact page to get in touch. Inside Timeshare will then answer your questions and point you to the best solution for your situation.
We also have an update of court cases held in the Courts on Gran Canaria, all these involved Anfi and were brought on behalf of clients by Canarian Legal Alliance.
In total there were seven sentences issued, 3 by the High Court in Las Palmas and 4 by the Courts Of First Instance in Maspalomas. Again all contracts were declared null and void as the contained infringements of the Timeshare Laws as laid down by the Supreme Court. These ranged from floating weeks to perpetuity contracts, the courts awarded over 241,545€ to the clients along with legal fees and legal interest.
Then on Tuesday 5 March, another sentence was issued by the Court of First Instance of San Barlelomé De Tirajana, again this was against Anfi. This quite a significant case as the amount involved is huge.
The client in this instance is set to receive over 212,476€ plus legal interest, along with the contract being declared null and void. This will be one happy client.
The case was conducted on behalf of the clients by the Canarian Legal Alliance lawyer Adrián Diaz-Saavedra Morales, who is another of the young and dynamic team at CLA. So congratulations to them all, and keep up the good work.
If you need any advice with a timeshare problem or paid a company for services which you have not received, contact Inside Timeshare via our contact page. We will point you in the right direction.
ARDA Timeshare Lobbyist Don Isaacson Opposes Arizona House Bill 2639 – A Bill to Safeguard Timeshare Buyers
ARIZONA TIMESHARE BILL PASSES OUT OF HOUSE COMMITTEE
By Irene Parker and registered nurse, Fran D
March 5, 2019
Arizona has proposed a timeshare bill to protect timeshare buyers, but this bill is being contested by timeshare lobbyists. If Arizona HB2639 passes, it would help to protect consumers from fraud and deceptive sales practices by allowing a 14 day rescission period, among other safeguards. Fran, an Arizona resident, hopes that by sharing her timeshare experience that took place in Sedona, Arizona, and Maui, Hawaii, it will help lawmakers understand what buyers face when purchasing a product improperly presented.
Timeshares have little to no secondary market. ARDA ROC has launched 8 Tips to Navigate the Resale Market. I contacted 22 licensed brokers. Not one would accept a listing for my timeshare points, feeling the restrictions placed on the use of secondary points too restrictive. For the members of my timeshare company, there is no resale market. http://www.ardaroc.org/timeshare-resales-resource-center.aspx
Many of the families affected by the lack of a secondary market for timeshares have been financially devastated. The majority of our readers have reported unfair and deceptive timeshare sales practices.
But the bottom line, said (ARDA lobbyist) Isaacson, is that the state should not step in to protect people who didn’t bother to understand the nature of the deal.
“You read the documents,” said Isaacson. “And unless there is fraud, you are bound to that particular purchase.”
Anyway, Isaacson argued that too much is being made of the issue. He said the 250 complaints a year to the Attorney General’s Office pale in comparison to the 600,000 timeshare units owned in Arizona.
What Mr. Isaacson doesn’t understand, is that members are bound by the contract, despite fraud, with the vast majority of complaints alleging deception dismissed with “You signed a contract.” It’s not that buyers don’t understand the product. It’s that they understand the product as it is so often deceptively presented. Three major timeshare companies have received, respectively, over 2,000, 1,000 and 800 Better Business Bureau complaints over the last three years.
When buyers complain, they are typically told they signed a contract. How many people buy cars and houses without relying on reading every word of a contract, relying on the ethics of the real estate or automotive broker? It is only in timeshare that the oral representation clause is so abused and so overused. The industry itself calls deceptive practices “pitching heat,” a term unique to timeshare sales.
There are many ways to deceive, such as:
“This is a new program, so don’t say anything because I could get fired.”
Access to booking is not allowed until after the rescission period, so reading the contract would not help.
Wait until you make a few payments before refinancing – when banks don’t finance timeshares.
Fran’s complaint, recently sent to the Arizona and Hawaii Attorneys General, was dismissed by the company, responding that there were no misrepresentations. You be the judge. She will file complaints with the BBB, the FTC, the FBI at IC3.gov and theSecurities and Exchange Commission.
Fran hopes ARDA lobbyist Don Isaacson reads her complaint. She will be reaching out to the following Arizona representatives involved with the bill:
Excerpts from the complaint Fran filed with the Arizona and Hawaii AG offices:
We purchased 8500 points in Sedona Arizona April 24, 2017.
Purchase price: $29,955.00
Down payment: $6,150.00
Amount financed $23,805.00
Sales agent Eric told us that we were buying points at a low rate, less than $ 4 per point, and that “at this price the point value can only go up.” We could sell some points at a profit and keep the original base points for travel. Ultimately getting our entire purchase for free, he called it a “401-V”. He said he would lock the price for one year in case we decided to get more points later to utilize our “401-V”. We have since learned Diamond points are virtually worthless on resale.
The forms were long and extensive. We asked for time to review the documents but were pressured into signing “today” or not get the price per point offered. After seven hours, my husband got upset and left. Eric followed us to our room insisting that we sign. We thought that Eric must be telling the truth, because if he wasn’t, there would be some sort of regulation. We incorrectly put our faith in Eric.
We were referred to ARDA. ARDA’s advice leads members to scams, as licensed brokers will not even accept a listing for Diamond points, feeling the restrictions Diamond places on the use of secondary points excessive.
Virginia Beach, August 2017
The sales agents in Virginia were also very high pressure. They told us what we bought in Arizona was not worth it for us and that we had to purchase another 8500 points in order to keep the price of less than $4 per point. The agent said that after that day the price would be higher. We did not buy. Being deceived into attending the presentation, under the guise that we were getting an education toward our membership was unfair and deceptive. The insistence that we had not purchased enough points made us so angry we did not buy.
Maui, Hawaii, February 12, 2018
We purchased an additional 5,000 points and switched our US Collection points to the Hawaii Collection to total 13,500 Hawaii Collection points.
Purchase price $56,510.00
Down payment of $2,731
Amount financed $47,713.00
We met with sales agent Sequan R. This again ended up being a hard sell when we told him that we were expecting more of an educational meeting. He said he would give us all the education we need as he had left the company to give independent conferences to teach people how to maximize and exit a timeshare through “Timeshare Confidential Seminars,” but said Diamond hired him back to the sell side of the industry. We were again told “You can’t travel to where you want to go with what you have.” We have since learned that 8500 points were enough points to meet our needs.
Sequan told us we could use a program called Club Combinations at least six times a year to rent out to generate income that would offset the cost of our mortgage. Sequan also told us that we are lucky that the agent in AZ locked in the price because points have already gone up to $8.00 per point so we could already sell points and double our money. Sequan said that many more high income level people are coming into this resort for the investment which is why the company started the rental program. He said at that income level people want to see a good return on their investment. I told Sequan I did not have time to spend on rentals because I work a lot of hours. Sequan said that the company would appoint someone to help us so we could start to offset our cost right away. I asked Sequan what if they don’t help us. He gave us his cell number and said to call him if that happens. We called Sequan but there was no person by that name.
Later we called and asked how to rent out our club combinations listings. We were told there was no such program. There was no such thing as a rental program or selling of points for a profit.
Most buyers are on vacation without funds available for a large purchase, so end up signing off on high interest rate loans. We went into debt to invest in Diamond’s timeshare points.
We had hoped for great vacations and the ability to sell some points for profit as had been explained. Diamond’s motto “Stay Vacationed” for us means being held hostage. This vacation nightmare has become a major stress in our lives. Filing regulatory complaints is like having a part time job. I am a registered nurse and have spent many years working hard. My husband has worked hard for 40 years. We trusted the timeshare salespeople as we would trust any real estate broker, relying on the ethics of the real estate industry. It was a mistake.
Please do whatever you can to pass this bill and not allow ARDA, a paid lobbyist, to change your minds!
Thank you to Fran for sharing her timeshare experience. Inside Timeshare sent a draft of this article to ARDA. They did not respond. Of the 717 families who have reached out to us reporting unfair and deceptive timeshare sales practices, 99 are veterans and active duty service members. Several of the veterans are disabled, five Agent Orange disabled.
Proposed Florida HB 435, in which developers are worried about members deceived by timeshare exit companies, is supported by ARDA. A recent Florida whistleblower lawsuit was filed on behalf of ten former Wyndham sales agents. The actions of deceptive sales agents also harm honest timeshare sales agents.
IMPORTANT LINKS CONCERNING ARIZONA HOUSE BILL 2639
Preparing a narration for a governmental agency or a timeshare loss mitigation department is difficult for some due to age related issues or language barriers. We’re here at Inside Timeshare, along with our Supporters, to listen and educate. Contact us or one of these self-help groups we feel are not industry influenced if you experienced unfair and deceptive timeshare sales practices.
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.
Thank you Irene and Fran, it is now down to you the readers to do your bit and make your voices heard, this bill is to protect you the consumer, do not let the industry that has walked over you for years do it again.
In Spain, the law is on the side of the consumer, the industry is being taken to the cleaners after years of predatory selling, with many other European Countries with timeshare resorts looking to follow Spain’s lead. This is a result of the European Union issuing several directives on what timeshare is and how it should and should not be sold, which each state having to place this into their own laws, Spain was by far the strongest in its implementation. It took many years to get to this stage, but at least the consumer has the full protection of the law.
On the 22 February 2019, District Judge Obodai, wound-up both companies in the public interest, an official receiver has been appointed. All public enquiries concerning the affairs of the company should be made to: The Official Receiver, Public Interest Unit, 2 Floor, 3 Piccadilly Place, London Road, Manchester, M1 3BN. Email: [email protected]
Meredith Pritchard was no stranger to many enquiries made to Inside Timeshare, we did publish an article in March 2017 with a full account of one readers experience. Unfortunately this article was removed after the director Stephen Paul Fairclough made threats to our reader for submitting his story for publication.
Stephen Faircloughs company, Meredith Pritchard, along with FLS, was in the business of supposedly making claims against timeshare companies and offering relinquishment services. He scammed many people out of thousands of pounds for legal fees, with the promise that they would be passed to various lawyers in Spain, Malta and various other countries, to pursue litigation through the courts.
As it now turns out, this was never the case as investigations found out, lawyers may have been instructed, but no evidence of any of the work for the services being carried out was ever found.
MPCC received £440,000 while FLS was paid £110,000, with investigators being unable to find any evidence of any payments being made to any overseas lawyers. Although they did find that FLS had only paid £13,000 to any lawyer and this was during the investigation.
The grounds of the petitions presented by The Insolvency Service, were that both companies “traded with a lack of commercial probity by failing to provide contracted services in a timely manner or at all. This included accepting payments in respect of non-viable claims, charging excessive fees, and using misleading and aggressive sales techniques”.
We can well believe the last part of that sentence due to the comments given by our readers at the time, plus the fact that Stephen Fairclough did threaten one correspondent.
Another factor to the petition was that both MPCC and FLS“It was also alleged that MPCC and FLS did not maintain, preserve and/or deliver up full accounting records and that they were remiss in complying with statutory obligations to file annual accounts and confirmation statements”.
It was also noted that MPCC did not fully cooperate with the investigation. Knowing the nature of Stephen Fairclough, that is not surprising.
To see the full press release from The Insolvency Service click on the link below.
Welcome to this weeks Letter from America, today we publish a press release about the Arizona House Bill 2639, a bill designed to give consumers the protection they need when purchasing a timeshare. As usual ARDA (American Resorts Development Association) is opposing this bill, this release is a call for all consumers, timeshare owners and non-timeshare owners to voice their support for the bill.
The story from Paul Burrows is the same as before, Eze Group member has been awarded a specific amount of money, but to get this they first have to pay a fee of £695. This will be held in “TRUST” at an unnamed High Street Bank, the client will then receive their money in 10 days.
Now for our Letter from America
Time-Sensitive in Advance of Arizona House Bill 2639 Vote
We Need Your Voice
ARDA Opposes Arizona House Bill 2639, Which Offers Consumer Protection
On the heels of perceived unfair and deceptive timeshare sales practices that have left many families financially devastated, 13 Arizona representatives have proposed the creation of Arizona HB 2639 in an effort to safeguard consumers from entering into a perpetual contract, often buying a product they have not even had a chance to try before purchase.
Buyers often enter into timeshare contracts when on vacation, are encouraged to review documents after they return home from vacation, sometimes long after the rescission period has ended – leading to confusion, anxiety and costly fees that can last years.
Arizona House Bill 2639, aimed at alleviating some of those problems, was approved by a committee in a 7-0 vote, but is strongly opposed by the timeshare lobby group American Resort Development Association (ARDA), an industry-supported PAC.
Provisions in the proposed bill offer safeguards for timeshare buyers. We ask that consumers voice their support for this bill by emailing the representatives listed below.
The proposed bill includes:
Purchaser is granted a 14-day rescission period. The closing, as evidenced by delivery of the deed or other document, is prohibited before the 14 day calendar period expires.
After the end of the rescission period, the first use of the timeshare interest concludes; “first use of the timeshare interest” means the first time the purchaser or third party transferee stays in a timeshare pursuant to the purchase agreement.
The seller can charge up to a 10% cancellation fee. Seller may charge regularly scheduled maintenance fees for one year.
The purchaser may cancel the purchase agreement and relinquish all the timeshare interest within one year after the purchaser signs the agreement.
At least ten years after a purchaser purchases a timeshare, a purchaser who has paid the entire purchase price and current annual fees may terminate the purchase agreement without cause.
A request can be denied only if it does not meet the criteria described.
The bill also requires disclosure to alert the purchaser that the contract may be of a perpetual nature.
Please contact the following representatives in support of this bill. There have been numerous Attorneys General investigations, BBB complaints and lawsuits describing unfair and deceptive timeshare sales practices. The following individuals are the bill sponsors; we urge you to call and write to them to voice your support.
So there you have it, a bill to protect consumers being opposed by the industry because it does not fit in with their own agenda and curbes the power they have held over consumers for years.
It is now down to you the reader to exercise your right to lobby and have this bill past to protect all consumers. The industry has had its own way for far too long, they need to be brought down and be regulated by independent regulation.
On The Tuesday Slot we shall be publishing more about this bill, so join us then.
If you have any comments on this or any other article, or if you have any information regarding any company that you are suspicious of and believe it is a scam, then use our contact page and get in touch.
Have a great weekend and remember to do your homework on any company that contacts you.
Inside Timeshare has had more emails regarding Claims Assistance Bureau Ltd, the cold calling company contacting Eze Group clients with tales of money being awarded by the courts and court cases within the next few weeks. The original warning was published on 18 February.
Well it would seem that they have changed their name in the calls to Claims Advice Bureau UK, which from our research there is a genuine company called Claims Advice Bureau (UK) Ltd, with the Company Registration Number 05518043 and the registered address:
So they have now hijacked a genuine company so when you do your searches on the internet, you will find them and be taken in.
Inside Timeshare has spoken with the director of this company today so they are now aware of the situation, we shall be sending them all the details that we have. So hopefully these “fraudsters” will get caught.
As we know, these people with the name Harry Evans, Claire Bruce , Mel Rhys and have concocted some very believable stories that they are acting as intermediaries for the courts. Which we know would never happen.
As you can see these are standard gmail accounts which do not link to any company website, which should always cause alarm bells to ring.
The latest story from Harry Evans, which is then backed up by Claire Bruce in an email, this time there is a case underway in the Madrid Courts against Eze Group, which we do know is not the truth. But according to Harry and then backed up by Claire in the email, they will have the clients money of over £15,000 back in TEN, YES, TEN days! Wow, that is very fast work, Inside Timeshare has never known any payout to be that quick, they are obviously great miracle workers!
If you have been contacted by Harry Evans, Claire Bruce, Mel Rhys under the name of Claims Assistance Bureau or using the name Claims Advice Bureau UK, then contact Inside Timeshare with all the details, we will ensure that it goes to the right authorities.
JUST REMEMBER DO NOT BELIEVE THEM AND DO NOT PAY ANY MONEY!
Need help or advice on any company the has contacted you, that you have found on the internet or in any publication and want to know if they are genuine or a fraud?
Do you have a problem with your timeshare and want to know what options are available to you?
Then use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will give you the best advice possible, all free of charge.
Welcome to the start of another week with Inside Timeshare, we have had more emails from concerned readers regarding Claims Assistant Bureau, a company we highlighted only last week.
As we know, this company is calling timeshare owners along with those who have had dealings with Eze Group, they claim they have been appointed by the courts to tack down owners who have had money awarded to them and is being held by various courts.
According to Harry Evans and then back up by an email from Mel Rhys, Regency Shores Holdings SL (Eze Group), have recently been in court in Tenerife. The court is now holding a substantial amount which Claims Assistant Bureau will be able to get back for you, for a fee that is.
Another fact is they also claim that they are backed up and guaranteed by The Portuguese Chamber of Commerce, The Bank of Spain and the High Court of Madrid.
Another reader who we spoke with was very suspicious, as the person on the phone was contradicting himself so much it set off alarm bells. Below are the company details along with a link to the article publish on 18 February.
14 Victories in the Courts of First Instance against Anfi
1 High Court judgement against Anfi
2 First Instance victories against Silverpoint
2 High Court victories against Silverpoint
1 First Instance against Holiday Club Finland
1 First Instance against Club La Costa
In all these 21 sentences the contracts were declared null and void, the total claim value has yet to be released, but it is believed to be very substantial.
In further news from the Courts in Maspalomas, another 8 cases have been sent for sentencing at the pre-trial stage. It appears the judges are dispensing with the need for a full trial, which is only good news for the clients. This will result in cases being concluded in a much faster manner, with payouts being much quicker.
Obviously it will not be long before other courts in Spain start doing the same thing, it is obvious now that the laws put into place to protect consumers are solid and are being enforced by the courts.
Have you been contacted by any company mentioned in any of our articles, or one that you have found on the internet or even from an advert in a newspaper or magazine?
Do you want to find out if they are genuine and not sure how to do this?
Have you been told you have a valid claim and want to know if it is true?
Then use our contact page and send us a message, we will point you in the right direction.