The registered Director is named as Calle Guden Daniel Ernesto who incidentally is also the registered director of Litigation Services SL.
Once again they are targeting ILG / DWVC and Club Class members for a no win no fee claim to get them their money back. One small snag though, there is an upfront commission charge of 10%, so does this mean they already know how much the client “will” be getting back?
There is a website, registered on 14 November 2018 and set to expire on 14 November 2019, not really confidence building. The registrant is Litigation Services SL, so that does lead us to believe they are the same outfit.
It is more than likely that Jose Lara Cabello is not even aware that his registration number is being used, as there is no registered company called JLC Legal Services.
So once again we see another new “company” targeting people who had previously dealt with two companies which are no longer in existence, with the promise of getting them their money back. As these companies no longer exist it does make you wonder how they are going to get back the money paid?
As usual, the warning is very simple, before believing anything you are told in a cold call, do your homework. Check the companies out, if you don’t know how then use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will help you do the checks.
Another word of warning is the payment method, even if you use your credit card to make the payment, you will not be covered by Section 75 of the Credit Consumer Act 1974. The two payment methods are considered third-party companies, therefore no direct payment is made to the company offering the service and your card company will not reimburse you when the service is not delivered.
Welcome to another edition of our Letter from America, this week we ask for your support to the protests planned for May 17th to 19th, this is another in a series of protest that disgruntled timeshare owners have staged. The protest centres on “Unfair and Deceptive Timeshare Sales Practices”, this is a subject of many of the complaints received and also of the many “Nightmare on Timeshare Street” articles we have published.
Following on from our Tuesday Slot and the lawsuit between Diamond & Aaronson here is an editorial by Timeshare Insider.
Inside Timeshare received Diamond Platinum member complaint #82 yesterday, yet another Diamond Platinum member alleging they were up-sold into insolvency, promising maintenance fee relief programs, or programs that would allow the ability to sell points, programs that do not exist.
Hence, Diamond Platinum Member 82 Protest in Orlando next Friday, May 17 to 19. You don’t have to be Platinum to join.
Save the Date! Our next Platinum 80 Protest is in Orlando
May 17 – 19 Two Locations:
Location 1: Friday May 17 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Florida Timeshare Share Division DBPR Office
400 West Robinson Street, Orlando
Location 2: Saturday Sunday May 18 and 19 – 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Near Disney World
535 S Apopka Vineland Road and Palm Parkway, Orlando
You don’t need to be Platinum to Join Us!
Protesting Unfair and Deceptive Timeshare Sales Practices
By Platinum Protest Organizers
Friday May 10, 2019
When we protested in March in Las Vegas, we protested on behalf of 70 Diamond ResortsPlatinum members alleging that they had been intentionally targeted for their loyalty and deliberately up-sold into insolvency. Since then we have grown to 81 Platinum members, many similar if not identical complaints. We believed in programs to pay maintenance fees that do not exist. Others say they were told if they purchased additional points, they would be able to sell points.
By their own admission, Florida’s Attorney General’s Office and the timeshare division, Department of Business and Professional Regulation(DBPR) will take no action unless a member can produce proof. Given Florida demands proof, Florida should change from a two-party state to a one-party state, meaning make it legal to record a timeshare sales presentation without the other person aware. Otherwise, how can there ever be proof? They don’t even let you take what sales agents scribble on paper.
There are many things that cannot be determined by reading a timeshare contract. One member reported that he was shown at a Virginia sales centre a “Special Sales Double Platinum” booking site, but if he had given up his deed he would no longer be able to book the weeks he had owned for years at the Silver loyalty level. He would not have found this out until after the rescission period, as members report not being allowed onto the booking site until after this period to cancel has passed.
His online Diamond account is a “Special Sales Double Platinum Account” (a descriptive term as there is no such thing as a Double Platinum loyalty level). It shows everything in the system and probably quite a bit more, but did not display what we would have access to using the proposed 15,000 points (for two weeks).
As reported at a Florida legislative workshop 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 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.”
Diamond points sell for around $4 a point. Platinum members own a minimum of 50,000 points. By 2018 maintenance fees had increased to $8,631. Out of 81 Platinum complaints, 42 members report that they were told of maintenance fees relief programs that they later learned did not exist and 16 specifically report that they were told they could pay maintenance fees at $.30 per point.
Only Platinum loyalty level members can pay maintenance fees at $.04 per point. If a member turned in 50,000 points, redeemed at $.04 per point, it would mean they would be credited $2,000 towards a maintenance fee bill of $8,631 with no points left to travel. Members report that when they complain about being told they can turn in points to pay maintenance fees at $.30 per point, Diamond responds describing a legitimate 30/30 program that offers travel discounts. This program has nothing to do with paying maintenance fees at $.30 per point.
Platinum 81 Complaint Statistics:
Seniors: 54 out of 81 member complaints are seniors, 65%
21 out of 81 are Veterans, Active Duty Service Members, Law Enforcement, 20%
Other Reports of Unfair and Deceptive Practices
If you buy the additional points, you will be able to sell your points. Contact me when you want to sell points. When the member contacts the agent, the email or call goes to the VP who responds that there is no program to sell points.
If you purchase these additional points, you will be part of the Legacy program and your heirs will not be liable for the points.
We want consumers to Beware and Be Aware. Similar complaints have been directed against other timeshare developers and sales agents as well. Understand:
You may be browbeaten for hours by a tag team of three against two,
You can record in some states like Arizona and Nevada,
Most contracts are perpetual, and,
There is no secondary market.
Points may list a retail price of $9, but this does not mean points are worth $9. It has been widely reported timeshare points are worth nothing.
You don’t have to give up a deeded timeshare for any reason,
If you insist on 24 hours to review documents, you can still buy tomorrow.
Diamond members involved in the 2017 Arizona Attorney General’s investigation report that the Arizona AG’s office received over 900 complaints accusing Diamond of violating Arizona’s Consumer Protection laws. Diamond settled for $800,000 and was issued an Assurance of Discontinuance, essentially keeping Diamond under state supervision for six years.
We all actually liked Diamond Resorts and enjoyed using our points. We had built up trust over the years adding to our points. We feel 81 of a company’s highly loyal members, reporting similar to identical complaints, is proof. The fact that Diamond has dismissed us all as misunderstanding is telling. Bear in mind that we are only banding together as Platinum members. There are many similar to identical complaints reported by Silver, Gold, and lower level Valued members.
T-Shirts will be on Sale for $25 to help defray signage expenses.
Thank you Charles Thomas for being our Voice!
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.
If you are able to join them or are in the area, please go along and give them your support, for those of us unable to attend, we will be with you in Spirit. We also look forward to publishing your report on the protest.
That’s it for another week, the weekend is upon us and it is time to relax, have a great weekend and join us again next week.
Welcome to The Tuesday Slot, this week Irene Parker asks the question Wait! What Timeshare Regulations? But first, we have an update on the last 2 weeks of court cases in Spain, these figures came in late Friday afternoon, just a little too late to include in Friday’s Letter from America.
In total, Canarian Legal Alliance has received 38 sentences by various courts in Spain, these have been against 3 of the major players in European timeshare and are broken down as follows.
2 Court of First Instance against Silverpoint in Tenerife
1 Court of First Instance against Club La Costa in Fuengirola, Malaga
In one of the High Court sentences against Anfi, they were also ordered to repay the client the in-house finance including interest, this may just be good news for others who purchased their timeshare using in-house finance. It certainly sets a precedent.
The total amount which will be returned to the clients is an incredible 1,310,533.00 €, plus in most of the cases the return of legal fees and legal interest. All contracts were also declared null and void leaving them all timeshare free.
At least in Spain, there are regulations that protect consumers, so now on with our Tuesday article with Irene.
I enjoyed reading Are Timeshares Worth the Money in the Long Run?published by Women Who Money. I agree with the author’s major points, except “regulations being in place to protect timeshare consumers.” Having heard from timeshare members about how easy it is for a timeshare sales agent to dodge a contract rescission period, I wonder if there is any foolproof way to prevent being scammed. Some things, like actual availability, cannot be discerned by reading the contract. My contract said, “You can sell your points. We will not assist you.” The part about no buyers was left out. I was duped by reading the contract.
House, Senate and Assembly Bills are flying across the country. The timeshare PAC ARDA ROC was successful in extracting consumer protection measures out of Arizona HB 2639, as reported by The Courier Daily.
“They’ve got a lobbying presence here and around the country,” added Amanda Rusing who lobbies for the office, “It was very disappointing to have to remove all of the stronger, pro-consumer provisions.”
Timeshare members “voluntarily” contribute approximately $5 million annually to ARDA ROC via maintenance fee invoices. ROC stands for Resort Owners Coalition. Why would any organization oppose offering a buyer 24 hours before signing a perpetual contract with no secondary market? Buyers are told that they have to buy the same day.
We are asking legislation be proposed that would allow the timeshare member 24 hours to review a contract before signing. We understand a member may not want 24 hours to review, so this offer could be waived. This offer should not be buried in the tap, tap, tap, electronic fine print. Members often report being held under duress for up to eight hours by a tag team of agents. Some sales centers take your driver’s license and credit card and won’t give them back.
ARDA ROC introduced legislation in Nevada and Florida that would require those contracting with timeshare exit service providers be given 24 hours to review a timeshare exit service provider contract. This was proposed because they care about their members experiencing deceptive sales practices? Give me a break.
We would think it silly if a bill was proposed requiring those who seek to buy a car be allowed 24 hours before signing a contract. Typically when buying a car, you shop, and a tag team of agents doesn’t gang up on you for hours.
A synopsis of recent Florida, Arizona and Nevada legislation:
Timeshares are regulated by states. Since timeshare buyers typically buy a timeshare in a state other than their state of residence, lawmakers have little incentive to react to non-constituents. Lawmakers need to listen to those who bought a timeshare in their state, not just those who reside in their state.
I found the Woman Who Money article, “Are Timeshares Worth the Money in the Long Run?” on Lisa Ann Schreier’s Timeshare Crusader blog. Having worked in the industry for years, Lisa’s knowledge brings a lot to the table. Lisa is the author of Timeshare Vacations for Dummies.
From Women Who Money
Regulations now exist to help protect consumers from high-pressure sales tactics. If you buy a timeshare and quickly regret it, you may have options for getting out of the signed contract.
Timeshare expert and author of Timeshare Vacations for Dummies
“While it is true that each state has a legally mandated rescission period, the fact of the matter is that 99% of purchasers will not read the contract within that time frame. The days of relying on the salesperson for good, solid information are over. Consumers must go into these timeshare sales pitches armed with a litany of questions and be prepared to walk out without purchasing anything if they don’t receive answers that can be pointed out within the contract.”
My husband and I used and enjoyed our timeshare for 25 years with no complaints, questions or Facebook posts. The points-based product does offer greater flexibility. We’re not saying timeshares aren’t good for many, and we know there are many honest sales agents, but I am convinced after hearing from over 800 timeshare members, current and former sales agents, managers and even an executive or two, “pitching heat” is on the upswing.
Timeshare buyers should record their timeshare sales sessions in one-party states where legal. Florida is a two-party state, so you cannot legally record without the other person aware. How is a victim supposed to obtain proof? All our readers’ Florida and Nevada timeshare complaints sent to the Nevada Real Estate Division and Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation were dismissed with “You have no proof.” I would recommend not buying a timeshare in a two-party state.
One of our Supporters, Sheila Brust, has her “Pencil Pitch” denoting the following figures, with an arrow and “save” written alongside:
According to Sheilah, the three-page pencil pitch describes how she would be able to cover all her maintenance fees through point usage. A second and third buyer bought from the same sales agent. The Florida DBPR reviewer told Sheilah that she did not understand the program either until she spoke with the company’s attorney. What chance does the average consumer have if a Florida timeshare reviewer, who has reviewed hundreds, if not thousands of timeshare contracts, did not understand the program until she spoke with the company’s attorney?
As far as proof, 83 Platinum members, who don’t know each other, reported similar to identical complaints, often against repeat offender sales agents. I’m told that constitutes proof as it is a good faith investigation and a reasonable conclusion. We have prepared a 130-page summary which is available upon request if a lawmaker or regulator is interested. We can hope.
We are working on a petition. If you would like to become more involved with our efforts, contact Inside Timeshare. Of the 805 timeshare members who have contacted us, 103 are veterans and active duty services members.
We seek to provide timeshare members with a way to proactively address membership concerns; to advocate for timeshare reform; to obtain greater disclosure from the company; to advocate for a viable secondary market and to educate prospective buyers.
Thank you, Irene, and also Lisa Ann Schreier for your contribution, if you have any comments or views on any article published, please use our contact page, we would love to hear from you.
If you have been contacted by any company with regards to resale, relinquishment or a claim and you are unsure if they are genuine, again use our contact page and let us know. We will point you in the right direction. Remember, doing your homework will save you in the end from losing your money.
So what was once an independent website giving independent and impartial advice to timeshare owners is firmly under the umbrella of Mark Rowe. He continually denies he has anything to do with the TCA, the latest evidence shows otherwise.
This is now in black and white on the Privacy Notice updated on 24 April 2019,
So what does this mean for timeshare owners who contact the TCA for advice on how to get out of their timeshare contracts?
Very simple, they will not be getting any independent or impartial advice, instead, they will be directed to one of the companies owned and controlled by Mark Rowe. This is not the first time the TCA’s impartiality has come into question, Andrew Penman of the Mirror brought this subject into the public domain way back in December 2016.
Inside Timeshare has received many emails from timeshare owners who have paid for relinquishments and so-called claims through ABC Lawyers, one reader paid around £7,500 for relinquishment and a claim. They were simply told to stop paying the maintenance fees, which they did, they have since found out that Club La Costa terminated their membership on the grounds of non-payment of fees. In other words, ABC Lawyers did nothing, they have also never received a penny of the £30,000 they were promised for their claim, despite signing the contract with ABC in October 2017.
Inside Timeshare has continually stated that the only sure way of making a claim for timeshare purchased in Spain is through the Spanish Courts, using a genuine lawyer registered to practice in Spain, with the knowledge and experience of timeshare law.
You are also unable to make any claim through the courts once you have had your contract terminated, plus you are very unlikely to receive any money back by using the Credit Consumer Act 1974 Section 75. This is a simple fact, the credit card company (if you paid the deposit by card) will always contact the timeshare company, they will obviously inform the card provider that the timeshare was used, so they have provided the goods and services paid for. Section 75 does not cover the fact that your timeshare contract may be illegal under Spanish law.
Once again, it is important that you know who you are dealing with, the TCA may have been independent and impartial at one point, but that was many years ago, we are sure the late Sandy Grey will be turning in his grave, all his hard work has now been turned upside down.
If you have any questions or need real advice on any timeshare matter, use our contact page and we will get back to you. Remember to do your homework before engaging with any company that contacts you or that you find on the internet.
Welcome to this weeks Letter from America, but before we start the article, a quick update on A K Advisory Limited. As we have reported this is just one company contacting Eze Group clients, saying they can get their money back for a £725 upfront fee, one of our readers has informed us of the “ESCROW” account and the name of the recipient that it should be paid into, these are the details.
The BACS account is a Lloyds TSBaccount, Number 37871668, Sort Code 77-13-11, Name of account holder Mr Connor Baker.
This company along with all the others is a fraud, do not pay them anything, you will not get your money back.
Now for todays Letter from America.
It is unlikely Arizona Senator Michelle Ugenti-Rita, R-Scottsdale, quoted below, will bother to read the reports from some of the 80 Platinum members who have been financially devastated because they believed in timeshare programs they say did not exist. Today’s Inside Timeshare describes some of the members financially devastated. We hope timeshare members will recognize how ARDA ROC lobbyists spent some of members’ $5 million in annual $3 to $10 opt-out “donations” and recognize that this organization is not the voice of 1.8 million timeshare members. The comments below from lobbyists and pro-industry lawmakers are appalling.
At least the Arizona Attorney General’s Office and Howard Fischer, a journalist for the Daily Courier, understand. What chance does the consumer have if ARDA and the developers will not even heed the advice of an Attorney General. As we have previously explained, there are many ways to dodge a rescission period. Tuesday’s Secret Shopper explained how easy it is to bait and switch the unsuspecting. Just how out of touch can those in authority be. Imagine how you would react if you learned minutes after the rescission period that you experienced fraud, reading,
“the timeshare industry’s top lobbyist told ConsumerAffairs in January, admitting that points have no resale value while claiming that consumers don’t mind this because the value comes from the experience.
From The Daily Courier
Lobbied by the industry, state lawmakers are not going to help those who bought timeshares get out from under what is often a lifetime obligation.
“We’re disappointed that the timeshare industry killed a lot of the pro-consumer parts of this bill,” said Katie Connor, spokeswoman for the Attorney General’s Office.
“They’ve got a lobbying presence here and around the country,” added Amanda Rusing who lobbies for the office. “It was very disappointing to have to remove all of the stronger, pro-consumer provisions.”
Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita, R-Scottsdale, who chairs the Senate Commerce Committee, said the legislation, which now awaits a roll-call vote, does include some additional requirements for what needs to be disclosed to prospective buyers.
“At some point, these are adults that come to a meeting of the minds and want to sign a contract,” Ugenti-Rita said, saying that buyers have some responsibility to know exactly what they are signing.
While the industry claims that “points” are no different than a deed, simply with more flexibility, consumers have noted that points appear to have no intrinsic value because they can’t be resold, making memberships that were purchased for hundreds of thousands of dollars essentially worthless on the resale market.
“Their value comes from using it,” the timeshare industry’s top lobbyist told ConsumerAffairs in January, admitting that points have no resale value while claiming that consumers don’t mind this because the value comes from the experience.
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.
Save the Date! Our next Platinum 80 Protest is May 17 – 20
Friday, May 17 near the Florida DBPR Office
Saturday and Sunday, May 18 and 19 near Disney World
You don’t need to be Platinum to Join Us!
Protesting Unfair and Deceptive Timeshare Sales Practices
By Platinum Protest Organizers
Friday, April 19, 2019
When we protested in March in Las Vegas, where we represented 70 Diamond ResortsPlatinum members alleging that we had been intentionally targeted for our loyalty and deliberately up-sold into insolvency. Since then we have grown to 80 Platinum members, many similar if not identical complaints. We believed in programs to pay maintenance fees that do not exist. Others say they were told if they purchased additional points, they would be able to sell points. According to Diamond, we are all confused. We are all educated professionals.
As reported at a legislative workshop in Tallahassee, Florida March 12,
Victoria Butler, from the Florida Attorney General’sDepartment 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.”
Based on these numbers, a sales agent can say anything to sell points. At least let the consumer know they should not believe a word a sales agent says. Reading the contract doesn’t always help. Members are often not allowed onto a booking site until after the rescission period has passed.
The status of 80 Platinum member complaints:
26 Resolved their Diamond dispute so won’t be protesting. Resolved doesn’t mean people didn’t lose a lot of money,
9 Foreclosed with one senior Navy veteran filing for bankruptcy,
18 Unknown outcome because we don’t call to find out what happened,
4 Relinquished which meant they lost everything.
2 In litigation.
Diamond points sell for around $4 a point. Platinum members own a minimum of 50,000 points. In 2018 maintenance fees had increased to $8,631. Out of the 80 Platinum complaints, 42 members report that they were told of maintenance fees relief programs that they later learned did not exist and 16 specifically say they were told they could pay maintenance fees at $.30 per point.
Only Platinum loyalty members can pay maintenance fees at $.04 per points so if a member turned in 50,000 points, redeemed at $.04 per point, it would mean they would be credited $2,000 towards a maintenance fee bill of $8,631 with no points left to travel. Members report that when they file a complaint, the hospitality agent responds describing a legitimate 30/30 program that offers travel discounts. This program has nothing to do with paying maintenance fees at $.30 per point.
Inside Timeshare told us they do not link prior articles if the complaint has been resolved, but given Platinum complaints are increasing, they said they would allow us to link articles published by 14 of the 80 Platinum members even though some have resolved. They resolved, but not without endless rebuttals and regulatory filings. When you read our 130-page summary report – reports from educated professions who don’t know each other, all reporting similar to identical complaints, it’s unlikely a reader would conclude all our reports are falsehoods.
We have added the Lusk family to our list of 81, even though they did not submit their complaint through Inside Timeshare. Their experience was published in USA Today. As reported by Rebekah L Sander for the Arizona Republic, Frank and Betty Lusk are retired Christian missionaries, nearly 90 years old. Annual maintenance fees are $19,000.
He told the Lusks buying another $150,000 timeshare with 10 per cent down was “life insurance” that would resolve any debts they had with the resort when they died, a promise they repeatedly questioned, Betty said. The timeshare contract they received is not life insurance and does not pay off debts upon death.
Following are 14 articles submitted by our Platinum 80 members:
Article 1 published April 12, 2019 Platinum member #80
The timeshare member is single, over 70 years old. From 2015 to 2018 the member was ping-ponged back and forth seven timeshare times told, “You should not have bought Hawaii points,” and then “You should not have bought US Mainland points,” until up-sold into insolvency. The member has lost their entire retirement savings that were worth almost $400,000. The member also suffered tax consequences due to liquidating a retirement asset.
Since we published the article, the family learned she was only switched back and forth five times over six transactions. These histories can be a nightmare to piece together, worse than your worst tax return.
Article 2 was published by Consumer Affairs March 29, 2019 Platinum #57/80
The FBI website is tricky. One of our three FBI helpers helped Diane through the intricacies of the FBI filing website IC3.gov. It starts off confusing asking if you want to report Terrorism, Missing child or Internet Crime.
Diane’s father had asked Diamond to take back a fully paid timeshare when he was 85 years old. They said no. He was sold five additional contracts between the ages of 85 to 88.
Diamond Resorts still can’t explain why it sold $250,000 worth of timeshare points to an 88-year-old
In late December, Diane Burkhart sent a complaint to the FBI describing how her 88-year-old father agreed to purchase $250,000 worth of timeshare points over the course of 18 months, from 2016 until late 2017. In 2018, he was diagnosed with dementia. He is now 89 and living in a nursing home, Burkhart says. His wife passed away last May.
Article 3 is by Platinum Protestor Patty Boyak Valentine’s Day 2019 #28/80
Patty’s Las Vegas sales agent was recorded defrauding a disabled veteran in 2017. That family was interviewed January 2018, at which time they provided to Inside Timeshare a copy of the highly disturbing recording. An interview Inside Timeshare conducted with the couple was sent to Diamond’s attorney. The dispute was swiftly resolved, but instead of firing this agent, Patty met him October 2018. He introduced himself as a Platinum Specialist. Patty purchased her last contract from him. Just recently Inside Timeshare has heard from a third member sold by the same agent, the husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and English is his wife’s second language. The family is financially devastated.
The very first complaint Inside Timeshare received in 2016 was about being told buying additional points would relive maintenance fees.
At their last stay at a Diamond Resorts International resort in August 2015, Sylvia Saldana said that a sales agent tried to convince them to purchase another 10,000 points in order to achieve platinum level, which is 50,000 points (Remember they owned 30,000 points). The sales agent explained that by being platinum, it would allow the couple to pay their maintenance fees with their points, as only platinum members are allowed to use their points to pay maintenance fees, Sylvia Saldana said. https://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-from-america-on-thursday/
Patty’s Miracle Mile Protest in March article (pictured above)
Article 4 was submitted by a 100% disabled Army veteran. He was issued a 1099C for $170,000. His is one of now 21 complaints directed against the same sales agent. At least following the advice we provided to his CPA, he successfully disputed the phantom income.
This former Diamond member says DRI sales agent Rick Casper, working out of Polo Towers in Las Vegas, told him to buy more Diamond vacation points to eliminate maintenance fees. He and his wife wanted to talk to someone at DRI because they were struggling to pay maintenance fees on the 50,000 DRI points they already owned. This member is a 100% disabled Vietnam veteran, having been exposed to Agent Orange. The former member did not contact us to complain about Diamond Resorts. He wanted to know if there was anything that could be done about 1099. I did ask why he purchased additional timeshare points from Rick Casper, given Inside Timeshare has received 11 identical complaints about the same Las Vegas sales agent over an 18 month period.
In 2016 we went to Las Vegas and stayed at Diamond’sCancun resort and met with Rick Casper. Mr Casper said if we upgraded, we would be able to cover maintenance fees. However, maintenance fees increased after the upgrade to $16,000 a year. After five hours, my blood sugar was at 400. I was recovering from congestive heart failure. Rick Casper said it would cost us $198,000, $2500 a month in payments for the next 10 years but after ten years we would have no maintenance fees and no loan payment. Rick Casper said, “Then the little people will be paying for your vacation.” He said it would take a year to a year and a half to set up but he would personally handle it. He said since we were only paying $3, he had a guy that could sell points for much more than that and the proceeds would pay for the maintenance fees. I ended up paying a company in Branson MO $1500 to get out of this, but now the IRS has issued us a 1099 which has to be claimed as income. It’s for around $170,000. I’m now 71 years old. I would have been better off foreclosing.
Article 5 is by Gad Liebmann and his wife Noreen. They have been protesting outside Daytona for a year. They have had to stop protesting because Noreen was injured in a fall. They are both Army veterans and have many foster children.
One of the Diamond sales agents told them they should be greeters at Walmart to help pay maintenance fees. Their complaint is identical to Sheilah Brust’s complain. Sheilah and Gad were sold by the same agent. Sheilah attended a presentation as a Secret Shopper and was told this agent was a problem at Wyndham.
Article 6 is Sheilah’s article. The article is called “Sheilah’s Pencil Pitch”
Sheilah is in possession of her “Pencil Pitch” which clearly states $8,631 minus $8,631 = 0 on the first page. There is an arrow and “save” written on the paper. At first, DBPR dismissed Sheilah with, “We don’t know if you were given this paper or you took it.” Sheilah was astonished. The last Sheilah heard from the reviewer is that she didn’t understand the program either until Diamond’s attorney explained it. That alone should have been grounds for dismissal. Here’s the first page of the pencil pitch. Sheilah was impressed her agent could write this upside down.
Article 7 is by Angela Simmons Sandstede. Her dad is one of those switched back and forth between Hawaii and US Mainland programs like the single female described in Article 1.
Roy is a retired letter carrier and Navy veteran, up-sold to $2.700 a month in loan payments. He had been charging loan payments to credit cards. The family had to retain a bankruptcy attorney. They are in their 70s. They had maintained a high credit score before this.
Roy’s YouTube and March 6, 2018 article:
Article 8 This PhD trained the sales force for Perkin Elmer.
They are caregivers for two grandchildren, one autistic, one Down’s syndrome. They relinquished, losing everything.
Article 9 Filipino seniors with a previous high credit score foreclosed.
Article 10 – An executive VP posted one rental ad on RedWeek, despite hundreds of ads to rent on RedWeek.
Their account was suspended and it was demanded she pay $2,400 a month in loan payments and a $23,000 annual maintenance fee while her account was suspended.
Article 11- These seniors are foreclosed, the husband has Bell’s palsy
We were told “We are real estate agents. You can write off the interest paid and closing costs on these contracts because it is like real estate.” They said the proof was because they have real estate licenses. They are licensed real estate agents, but what they told us was not true. Our accountant said we were not allowed to take any deductions. We were told we had to buy that day so we could not talk to our accountant.
Article 12 This family did not know until they returned home they had purchased $142,000 in timeshare points, $17,000 charged to a Barclaycard.
Their attorney gave up. They submitted this article for comment and resolved their dispute that day. He is a Gulf War veteran, on 25 meds. She has had two knee replacements and a double mastectomy.
Article 13 A 21 year Army veteran, taught biological, chemical and nuclear defence at colleges.
Today we thank Samuel Melendez who spent 21 years in the army training soldiers, working with colleges, teaching chemical, biological and nuclear defence. When a military family is forced into foreclosure because they were lied to about being able to sell back points or finance at a lower rate, they don’t just lose their money. This can jeopardize their security clearance and their job.
Article 14, A Coast Guard veteran, relinquished so lost all.
Rick Casper told us we should contact him when we needed to sell points because he had people that would buy them. This was the only reason we upgraded from 30,000 points to 50,000 points. When we contacted Rick earlier this year, we learned from Dan Percy (Rick Casper’s immediate boss) that we could not have been told that and we might be able to sell them through a resale third party. We never heard a response from Rick Casper.”
“In addition, we asked Rick about combining our seven previous contracts into one contract covering all 50,000 points. Rick Casper (allegedly) advised us not to do so as it would be easier to sell smaller quantities of points and inferred he could do so easier having contracts in increments, as when someone wants to upgrade from Gold to Platinum requiring only 20,000 additional points.”
“The thought of being able to sell was a relief.”
These are only a few of the Platinum complaints. We have heard from exactly 700 families as of today. We wish there were only a few bad apples, but Inside Timeshare says they have received multiple repeat offender complaints.
St. Louis BBB report warning consumers about timeshare
Don’t Fall for Deception Pressure and Traps Disguised as Vacations
We hope you can join us on May 17 – 20! We will publish exact locations soon.
Our Mission Statement
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; to educate prospective buyers.
Which are free email address provider and is not linked to any company website, always a sure sign of a dodgy company.
The company was registered on 20 December 2017 with the director named as Adam Hussain.
The first new name we have is Martin Jacobs, in his call, he states he is the payments manager for A & K Advisory, well, this is a new position which we have not heard of before, does sound official. During the call, Martin Jacobs claims that they will be able to get back all the money the client paid to Eze Group, plus, wait for it an extra £2000!
Sounds great, but first, the client needs to pay £725 by BACS (Bacs Payment Schemes Limited, previously known as Bankers’ Automated Clearing Services, is the organisation with responsibility for the schemes behind the clearing and settlement of UK automated payment methods Direct Debit and Bacs Direct Credit, as well as the provision of managed services for third parties.) The money will be held in an ESCROW account for 10 days.
A courier will then arrive with paperwork, once this has been translated into Spanish (in Madrid), the client will then receive their money. The client also received an email from Mr Jacobs outlining the cost but there was no company name or details.
The second name to appear is David Eaton, in his call, he asked the client if they would like to go with A & K Advisory to get their money back from Eze Group. Again he wanted £725 to be paid upfront and they will then work on the client’s behalf to get the original money refunded.
When you think about it, £725 doesn’t sound much considering how much other scams are charging, but if you think of how many people may have been taken in it soon mounts up. It would only need 200 Eze Group clients to pay this amount and the scammers will have received £145,000 a very lucrative scam indeed.
These companies are out to take your money and that is it, there is no money being held by any Spanish Court or UK Court for that matter. The courts do not appoint or retain private or third-party companies to contact clients, plus the Spanish Courts at present are not even involved in any case against Eze Group.
If you have been contacted by A & K Advisory Limited or any of the companies listed below or even any new company name with a similar story, then use our contact page and let us know. We would also advise you to contact Action Fraud and make a report. The potential amounts of money that these people are able to make is huge.
Remember, never believe what you are told no matter how plausible it sounds until you have done your homework. If you require any help in checking any company contact Inside Timeshare and we will point you in the right direction.
Welcome to the start of another week, today we highlight another company that has been “appointed” by the High Court and contacting Eze Group clients with the news that they are due money held by the court going by the name A & K Advisory Limited.
According to our reader, the calls coming from 01422 400223, which is a Halifax number, George Smith and Jill Rutherford can help to get money back for the client, there is only a matter of a processing fee of £725 which needs to be paid first. This is the same amount being asked by the other companies that are making the same calls and claims.
They all have the same pitch, being “appointed/retained” by either Birmingham Crown Court or the High Court in Madrid, which leads us to believe they are the same people or are working together. We also believe that they are either ex-employees of Eze Group or have obtained the customer records of all purchasers from employees.
Remember, no court is going to “appoint or retain” any private or third party company to make contact with potential victims. If as customers your names had come up in any seized documents taken before the courts you would have been contacted by the authorities and asked to give statements. This is just an out and out fraud to get your money.
If you have received a call telling you the same or similar story or even any new name, do not pay any money, use our contact page and let Inside Timeshare know, Inside timeshare will publish as a warning to others.
On Monday 8 April in Start the Week, Inside Timeshare published an article on the RDO and Kwikchex, We then received from Sharon Johnston, Public Relations Manager for ECC the following press release which Inside Timeshare is pleased to publish for them.
ECC Timeshare Truth about RDO & Kwikchex
Inside Timeshare wrote a great article produced by lawyers backing up what ECC have been saying about the supposedly independent advice bodies within the timeshare industry and revealing who is behind these organizations and their “REAL” intentions.
The sad truth is that they all have a hidden agenda:
Consumers are given the impression that Kwikchex, Timeshare Taskforce, Timeshare Business Check offer an independent advisory service but their existence in reality, is to protect the timeshare industry. Kwikchex claim that they work with Trading Standards, the Competition and Markets Office, the Ministry of Justice, the Information Commissioner’s office and the Insolvency Service.
Kwikchex.com is run by Mr. Chris Emmins who confirms that his entities are funded by the RDO.
Inside Timeshare reveal the hard truth that Kwikchex funds several entities to discredit companies that do genuinely try to help beleaguered timeshare owners, Kwikchex, Timeshare Taskforce and Timeshare Business Check, are all run by Chris Emmins. Inside Timeshare also continue to reveal that Chris Emmins background is not a good one with 17 appointments, all companies being dissolved under his directorship.
With the timeshare industry having such a tarnished past is it no wonder consumers do not know who to trust and these organizations are just adding to the problem.
Than you Sharon, your press release has certainly shown that the article published was factual and shows the RDO and Kwikchex for what they are, run for the benefit of the industry to the detriment of the consumer.
Tomorrow in Friday’s Letter from America, we will be publishing the article A Legislative Scoreboard – Nevada, Florida and Arizona by our very own Irene Parker, so join us for the end of another week.
Welcome to our Tuesday Slot, this week Irene Parker explains why she is an advocate. As many of our readers will know, Irene has been coming increasingly under attack by the industry for her role in helping timeshare owners with their “Nightmare on Timeshare Street” stories. This replaces the scheduled article which will be published at a later date.
Two Timeshare Developers Want to Depose Me
I asked why? I’m told they probably want to ask:
What personal benefit do you gain by your efforts?
My answer: A reduction in survivor guilt
By Irene Parker
April 9, 2019
Abraham Lincoln described it best. Abe was riding in a carriage. He asked the driver to stop, got out of the carriage, waded through mud, and pulled a stuck pig out of the mud. When he got back into the carriage his driver told him he was a good person to have waded through mud to help the pig. Abe answered back, “No, I am a selfish person because seeing the pig stuck in the mud made me uncomfortable. Pulling the pig out of the mud made me feel better.”
I was losing sleep over being deposed by two timeshare developers’ attorneys over a lawsuit. I’m told these attorneys are aggressive and lose their cool if you don’t give them the answer they want. Timeshare members communicate with this debt collection law firm. An article was published about the lawsuit a while ago. InsideTimeshare and I were mentioned as supporting the law firm being sued. I reread the article yesterday. It sounds like lawyers quibbling. I asked an attorney why they would want to depose me. He speculated that they might want to ask:
What personal benefit do you get out of your efforts?
I compare myself to John Walsh, host of the popular American television show America’s Most Wanted. His four year old son was murdered. A tsunami of grief and horror can turn inward and destroy you. If directed outward, you devote your life to helping victims. A detective said you never get over a homicide.
I have only faced pure evil three times in my life. Many have told me I should write a book. This blog will suffice.
My first encounter with evil occurred at age 24. My first husband Raymond was diagnosed at age 24 with “Wilson’s Disease” (hepatica-lenticular degeneration). His sister died of the disease two months after she married. Ray lost his ability to speak, drooled constantly, teeth rotted, fingers turned to pretzels and bizarre personality changes materialized. He had been a caring EMT, but gradually over three years became dangerous and violent due to the disease process.
In the middle of all this my best friend since third grade, Jayme Simmons, author of her version of I-Ching, called. Her husband John almost killed her, her mom and her two year old. Her mom was left with bite marks on her arm. He was jailed for 30 days. There he told everyone he would murder her when released. My friend was in jail with him. Dental students had a habit of not paying their parking tickets.
Jayme lived with me the last two months of her life before he shot her in the face three times in front of her two year old. I was to testify premeditation, but he switched his plea to guilty. The judge sentenced him to seven years. Seven years. Jayme was a songwriter. The song “I’m not Lisa, my name is Julie” is prophetic because the adoptive family had to get her husband’s permission from jail in order to adopt the child. They changed her name to Julie. This happened in 1974. Jayme was stunningly beautiful. When Jessi Colter turns her head a certain way, she looks just like Jayme. Jayme asked me to look out for Julie. My eyes are blue.
Evil #2 happened after I retired from Edward Jones Hawaii in September 2001. We exchanged our timeshare for a timeshare in northern Michigan. The church we attended was embroiled in a horrific controversy over a renovation. The prior priest had received death threats. It was the new priest’s first Sunday. He began, “I know five priests have refused to come here but I’m not afraid of you.” No one played the piano, so I asked the priest if he wanted me to play as we still had another week’s vacation. Father offered me a full-time job that came with a $500,000 pipe organ renovation. The pipe organ renovation sealed the deal.
Three years later, I noticed a headline in our local paper, “Unholy Childhood School of Jesus” about how Notre Dame Nuns at our sister parish had sexually abused Chippewa and Odawa Indian boys from the 1st to the 7th grades. Long story short, since I filled in at the cathedral on the pipe organ, I knew the Bishop at least to say hi. I arranged a meeting between Tribal Peacemaker Paul Raphael and the Bishop. When I wrote to the Bishop, he replied, “I don’t know how to stop it (Catholic sex abuse in general).”
At first Peacemaker, Paul didn’t want to meet the Bishop. He had not been abused. He had been told to turn around and watch TV. The nuns only abused dark-skinned Indian boys. Peacemaker Paul asked me how meeting the Bishop would help them. I said, “It won’t. But it will help the Bishop and maybe stop a child from being abused.” When I met Peacemaker Paul at the Diocese, I could sense how difficult it was for him to face his evil.
I introduced Peacemaker Paul to the Bishop. I held their hands and I prayed to Jesus, Mary, Joseph and Tecumseh. I left them and waited outside with my husband. Don said if it only takes a few minutes, this didn’t work. They talked for over an hour. When Peacemaker Paul left us, it was the first time I saw him smile.
The end result was the Bishop issued a formal apology in the local newspaper. This meant a lot to the tribe. When I first asked about this horror, one priest I worked for said, “There’s no bonafide evidence to prove that happened.” This will sound familiar to timeshare victims, especially in Florida and Nevada.
The four-part articles about the abuse were published in 2008.
I was introduced toWhistleblowers of America over a year ago. A veteran I helped introduced me to the organization. Last summer I attended the Whistleblower Summit in Washington D.C. This summer I have been invited to be a panel participant. I will explain the advocacy “bug” one catches when a troubled life you touch turns calm and I will explain how fighting predators, whether child abuse or timeshare, is similar. I met OpEd News at the summit:
The Unholy Child School of Jesus experience led me to become a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer. I raised enough money through car shows and with the help of a grant writer, to work two years to develop and launch Fostering Futures, a program to assist teens ageing out of foster care.
Evil #3 is predatory timeshare sales. There are timeshare sales agents intentionally harming the young and the elderly. Perpetrators can earn top dollar, sometimes over $2 million a year. I have many horror stories. Leo Gomez last words to me before he died of pancreatic cancer were, “I want my story told.”
I have been described by one timeshare developer to Attorneys General and the Better Business Bureau: “It appears they talked to Irene Parker, a third party, not a lawyer, not a professional journalist, a self-styled “advocate” helping her “clients.” It is of note that the member changed their story after talking to her. She purports to get people out of their legally binding contracts.”
What I do is direct a member like Leo Gomez to file complaints with regulatory agencies if the member describes unfair and deceptive sales practices.
Yes, Leo changed his story after talking to me. I bought the same points Leo purchased. It was not necessary for Leo to give up his points to switch from one program to another. Leo didn’t know he had been duped until he talked to me.
I first told Leo I did not hear anything deceptive, but when he told me he only had 30 days left to live, I was concerned. Leo was 100% disabled due to Agent Orange. He earned two Purple Hearts and was the sweetest man ever. I went to sleep that night but woke with one of my timeshare moments. I asked myself, “Why did Leo switch programs??” I called Leo the next morning and asked. He said, “They said I had to because my resort went bankrupt.” My next question, “Leo, did the sales agent know you have pancreatic cancer when he told you this?” Leo answered yes. Leo was a victim of financial elder abuse. Leo is one of 102 veterans and active duty service members to report timeshare fraud.
As a result of Jayme’s murder, I was hospitalized three times between the ages of 24 to 28 for symptoms relating to PTSD. My undergraduate degree was financed by Vocational Rehabilitation. I credit my husband with saving my life. I understand why soldiers suffering from PTSD, survivor’s guilt, commit suicide.
I also helped a family who purchased from the developer who wants to depose me. Mom had given birth to a blue baby. The baby had to have open heart surgery in her first week of life and then a second surgery. The timeshare sales agent told the mom when she bought the timeshare that it would be easy to sell. Mom submitted an article about their financial hardship. She sent me pictures of the baby with a smile that broke my heart, the baby smiling with oxygen tubes in her nose.
The parents were stressed beyond words and worried about timeshare foreclosure. I sent a draft of the article to the timeshare company’s media department for comment. They resolved the complaint. The article was scrapped.
I did not remember the mom’s name or the baby’s name. I remembered the media contact’s name because he asked for an additional week to respond due to damage sustained from hurricane Maria. I said two weeks was fine. Right before the article was to be published mom called and said they had resolved their dispute. I recently found mom’s Facebook page and there was the baby. Beautiful and strong, sitting in a flower garden looking at what could be a butterfly, with that same smile.
That’s why I do this. I take calls from timeshare members desperate, angry and confused. When I tell them how to proceed with regulatory complaints, if they are dismissed with “You signed a contract” or “We are not responsible for what our sales agents say,” they become empowered.
I hope this answers the questions two developers are likely to ask me, “What personal benefit do you gain from your efforts?”
I doubt the lawyers will understand or accept this answer. It’s the truth. I don’t think those so motivated by greed will be able to understand.
Self-help groups we feel are not industry influenced:
We seek to provide timeshare members with a way to proactively address membership concerns; to advocate for timeshare reform; to obtain greater disclosure from the company; to advocate for a viable secondary market, and to educate prospective buyers.
Thank you, Irene, for all the great work you do for timeshare owners, Inside Timeshare knows that you get a tremendous amount of support from our readers and the members of the facebook groups you have helped to get started. Keep up the good work and let the industry be damned.
Welcome to another Letter from America, This week Irene Parker writes about Americano Beach Resort and the lawsuit that has been filed regarding Foreclosure Proceedings, but first a quick warning to our European readers.
Another warning is being issued to those clients of Eze Group, a new firm has just emerged contacting consumers stating they have been appointed by the court to manage the return of money paid to Eze Group.
The company was incorporated on 19 July 2016, but the filing history shows very little information or filing of any accounts.
As we have stated before, the courts do not appoint private companies or third parties to manage any payouts. No money has been awarded by Birmingham Crown Court to consumers of Eze Group, the O’Reilly‘s are now subject to investigation under The Proceeds of Crime Act, which will take some time to complete.
A Class Action Lawsuit was Filed against ARC Daytona Americano Beach Resort Contesting Real Property Foreclosure Proceedings are being Illegally Applied to Foreclose on Personal Property
By Irene Parker
March 29, 2019
DC Capital Law, LLP filed a class action lawsuit on November 6, 2018, against ARC Americano, LLC and Americano Beach Lodge Resort Condominium Association on behalf of plaintiffs Gerald J Sohasky and Norma J. Sohasky in the Florida Circuit Court of the Seventh Judicial Circuit Volusia Civil Division.
According to the lawsuit, plaintiffs Gerald and Norma Sohasky allege illegal practices that violate the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act and the Florida Vacation Plan and Timeshare Act by threatening foreclosure on a piece of personal property and threatening to charge up to 40% of amounts owed in collections, where the original contract or law does not authorize charging such collection fee. The ARC lawsuit contends “Floating Week” debt is consumer debt, incurred primarily for personal, household or family use.
Having read or listened to complaints from 746 timeshare members and owners, I am astonished by the level of stress caused by what is supposed to be a stress reducing product.
Comment sent to Inside Timeshare
My parents bought into the Americano in the 90’s. Fast forward to 2017 – my 70 something year old mother, now a widow, had to pay for a service we hadn’t used in ages.
They (Americano) HOUNDED MY MOM about switching to the freedom 365 plan. She was a 13 year widow on a very fixed income and somehow we were pushed into signing for a new plan that would offer us huge hotel discounts and she would be able to stop paying after 5 years.
My mom is going broke! Sara
My husband and I purchased an Ozark timeshare in 1985. A St. Louis native, we enjoyed years of vacations, but after moving to Florida we no longer desired to vacation in the Ozarks. I contacted the resort and talked to the manager I had gotten to know over the years. “Yeah, we had a board meeting and decided we can’t expect loyal owners who faithfully paid maintenance fees for thirty years, now older, to be held hostage,” she said. A few days later I received a one page form to be notarized, sent it back and that was that. We paid $8,000 for the timeshare in 1985. I had no regrets getting nothing in return as we had used the timeshare for many years. Like Sara’s mom, and many in my age bracket, we are losing hips, knees, eyesight and spouses. The thought of going to the Ozarks alone, should something happen to my spouse, is depressing.
Americano is demanding owners, many who have owned at Americano for decades, spend an additional $5,000 to $6,000 to join a Freedom 365 Travel Club in order to be released from their deeded weeks. Making this mandatory for seniors seems unfair. Granted, the resort is in need of funds as Americano is the only Daytona resort still not opened after suffering hurricane damage, but other developers now have voluntary surrender programs for members in good standing. There may be a fee, but the fee is less than $1,000. Don’t forget that we were all told we were buying real estate so no problem selling the timeshare should we need to dispose of it. In a statement made by ARC’s law firm, they assert they will work with owners to find appropriate alternatives but typically for seniors, a Travel Club is the last thing needed. I’m looking at long term care plans.
The issues related to property damage are complicated. When Americano owners contact me, I explain that if they bought a primary residence condo, and the condo is rendered uninhabitable, the assessment fees don’t stop. It would be difficult to sell an uninhabitable condo. I understand ARC’s argument from this perspective.
Due to pending litigation, ARC’s response is from their attorneys. I have found others at Americano willing to listen and weigh in consideration; the harm timeshare exit in general is causing especially seniors. Let’s hope continued dialog will result in some form of relief for angry and frustrated owners.
Below is the response we received from ARC’s attorneys. Contrary to the attorney’s response, this article will not be disseminated to some of the Americano owners. Some Americano owners do read and share our articles. We sent a draft of today’s article to ARC to give ARC an opportunity to correct any inaccuracies, which they corrected. Inside Timeshare is published from Spain. Following ARC comments, are arguments presented by the plaintiffs’ attorney taken from the lawsuit complaint. A legal expert weighs in. Plaintiffs’ attorneys did not respond.
Response from ARC’s attorneys submitted by ARC President Scott MacGregor:
This information is given to correct inaccuracies to be contained in a publication that will be disseminated to some of the owners. Americano is a Legacy resort that was severely damaged due to the recent back to back hurricanes, 2016 Hurricane Matthew and 2017 Hurricane Irma. There was one Special Assessment for $4,348,109, not $15 million, which will correct the incorrect reference in the article. The Association continues to seek insurance from its carriers, but had to pursue litigation to address the claims. The Developer is seeking financing and other options for the remaining restoration of the Resort estimated to be $15 million plus. However, it is imperative that all owners pay the maintenance fees, taxes and assessments as required under the Declaration and Florida law. It is fundamentally unfair to the paying owners for other owners not to pay to operate and restore the resort.
The Association is faced with vigorously defending any lawsuit against the Association, which litigation will only increase fees and costs to all owners, as required under Florida law, at the Resort. While our trial legal counsel has stated that no comment should be made at this time concerning any lawsuits, the Americano Beach Lodge Resort is a real property timeshare under Florida law and actions taken are authorized and required under the Declaration and Florida law.
The Developer and Association continue to try to work with each owner to find appropriate alternatives as discussed before. Owners are encouraged to seek ownership and payment options through the Association and Developer. Lawsuits against the Association will not only increase maintenance fees and assessments for all of the owners due to legal and professional fee expenses, but also may leave those owners with potentially expensive legal bills in addition to their ongoing obligations to the Association. We believe it is much better to work together to resolve the issues that everyone is facing rather than unnecessarily expend owner and Association funds and resources that are needed to restore the Resort, for court expenses.
More from Sara:
They used scare tactics to convince my mom that I would be responsible for the timeshare in the event of her passing, and my children would be responsible after I passed. I have learned this is not true.
The Freedom 365 plan supposedly offered us huge hotel discounts and would allow my mom to stop paying after five years. We attempted to use the Freedom 365 plan. The first two times we used it we did get a good discount on hotel rooms, but after that the deep discount was no longer available. We got a good rate the first time at $93 for a Hyatt room, but when we later tried to book the same week of the year the price was $100 more, about $170 plus tax. I called and asked why it was so much more. They stated they could price match if we got a better price on another website. What good is that? You don’t have to pay any kind of upfront money, financed by a loan, to book a hotel room using an online service. We were promised the best deals. We were promised so much and at what cost? My mom is going broke! The amount financed was $6,000.
Following are allegations made in the lawsuit
Is a “Floating Week” timeshare real estate or personal property?
If the timeshare is defined as personal property, the lawsuit claims foreclosure rights do not legally exist and are in violation of the Florida Timeshare Act.
I’ve had many discussions about timeshare foreclosure questioning whether a timeshare really is real property. I found the requirements governing real vs personal property foreclosure in Texas helpful:
Comparison of Texas Foreclosure Procedures for Real property and Personal Property
Real property and personal property foreclosures are dramatically different. Real property foreclosures are conducted on the first Tuesday of each month between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. at the courthouse door in the county in which the real property is located, with a notice posted at the courthouse door, personal notice to the debtor, and filing of the notice with the county clerk, all 21 days before the foreclosure sale. These requirements are defined by § 52.001 of the Property Code and are unique to Texas law. Personal property foreclosures are conducted under § 9.504 of the Texas Business and Commerce Code, which generally requires a commercially reasonable sale. The requirements of Article Nine of the Texas Business and Commerce Code are followed, with some minor variations, by all states except Louisiana.
According to the ARC lawsuit, plaintiffs purchased only the ability to make a reservation rather than ownership in real property. In the “Floating (or flex use) periods and The Timeshare Plan article of the Declaration, the Declaration makes it very clear that the Warranty deed of an “owner” who switched to Floating time to become a member of a “Right to Use” program renders the deed worthless and provides none of the requisite rights associated with real property.
I asked an expert, as argued in the lawsuit, if switching from a “Fixed Week” to “Floating Week” would render the “Fixed Week” deed worthless.
Purchasers still own that deeded week and it can be found in land records. The purchaser simply surrendered their right to occupy that week and the use rights that went with it in exchange for a floating week use right. Their interest, however, is tethered to an actual real property ownership (even if they cannot legally possess it). If they sold their interest, they would be selling the deeded week they bought which would include the surrender and exchange agreement for a floating week. By the same token, if they are foreclosed upon for non-payment, it would be the deeded week that would be foreclosed and the agreements tied to it (i.e., the floating week right) would be rendered null and void.
As an analogy, let’s say you join a car-sharing group where everyone in the group can use whatever car is available using a reservation system. In order to get into the group, however, you are required to purchase a car to add to the fleet. You don’t buy the car outright; you finance it through the group such that your monthly dues are part car payment and part fees. Even though you hold title to one car in the fleet, you have no more right to use that car than anyone else in the group. If you fall behind in your monthly dues, you will lose your car-sharing membership (i.e., the use rights you bargained for), and the car that you added to the fleet (i.e., the tangible property you hold title to but surrendered possessory interest in) will be repossessed by the group.
Note from Inside Timeshare: Spanish Timeshare Law prohibits Floating Weeks and Points as there is no tangible product and they lack any substance.
My unnamed source is not saying the lawsuit is without merit, in that they feel the underlying real property is illusory, but they feel it may be a tough argument to win.
Timeshare Foreclosure Explained to Lenders
What happens if I stop paying my maintenance fees? Timeshare attorney Mike Finn answers the question in this article:
Proprietors behind Americano are ARC American Resort Collection
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, next week in the Tuesday Slot we welcome Mike Kosor with his response to the Wyndham Sr VP Jason Gamel and his testimony to the Florida HB 435 workshop.