Further to our article about the Anfi partner IFA’s AGM published on 22 July 2019, in this article, it was revealed that IFA was subject to questions regarding all the court cases, the possible cost to IFA and what it would mean to shareholders. The article also explained how IFA is being denied any influence or information on the running of Anfi by their partners Santana Cazorla who owns the “Golden Share”. Today’s article brings in a new dimension to the tale.
The newspaper El Diario has published that The Provincial Prosecutor’s Office of Las Palmas has now filed two complaints against two of the Anfi Group Companies, Anfi Resorts and Anfi Sales. The nature of the denuncias is for hiding assets in order to avoid seizures of money in the execution of sentences issued by the courts against Anfi Group for the numerous infringements of the law in the sales of their timeshare product.
Link to the full report published by El Diario 26 July 2019. (To translate from Spanish open in google and right-click on the article selecting translate)
On 12 July, the Prosecutor Elena Herra signed the papers that send the investigative proceedings opened in January to the Court of San Bartolomé de Tirajana. This follows denunciations by two lawyers Eva González of Canarian Legal Alliance and Miguel Rodriguez Ceballos (formerly of CLA) on behalf of clients following Anfi’s failure to pay the court awarded amounts to the clients by enforcing embargos.
This process is being initiated in all cases and given the refusal of the Anfi Group to comply and voluntarily pay as requested by the courts, the court has demanded a list of all assets in order to embargo and seize the assets.
It is also alleged that since 2014 to the present millions of euros have disappeared from these current accounts with the balances being practically zero. This is despite the fact the activity of the selling of timeshare at Anfi has neither ceased or decreased as stated in the annual statements of the Anfi Group.
The information has revealed that Anfi Resorts and Anfi Sales accumulated more than 13 million euros in sales one month before the Supreme Court made its first-ever ruling establishing that no contract was to be sold for a duration of more than 50 years (Law 42/98). By December 2017 those 13 million euros had been reduced to 400,000€ and that figure has decreased even further within the last 18 months.
In this specific case, five examples of cases in which Anfi have failed to pay on sentences issued by the courts between 2017 and 2018, some of these are for sums in excess of 200,000 euros. This is despite the fact that there are in existence orders and decrees that urge the company to comply with the execution of sentences under severe penalties for serious disobedience.
The Prosecutors Office has requested that preliminary proceedings be opened in the courts regarding these facts and that the legal representatives of Anfi Sales and Anfi Resorts, members of the boards of directors for both companies in 2018, persons responsible for services be investigated as legal entities and the person responsible provide the relationship of the assets to the courts.
A second article was also published by El Diario on 28 July, in this article, it was announced that lawyers from Canarian Legal Alliance on behalf of their clients have filed for a court administrator to be appointed to oversee the accounts.
According to El Diario Anfi stopped the first of three applications to the court by immediately settling with the clients and paying them what they were due. However, in the case of other clients, the court has already convened for September to try and reach an agreement to pay them if this is not settled the court will activate the option of the Judicial Administrator and embargo the accounts.
This leaves Anfi in a very precarious position as the emptying of accounts to avoid payment could lead to criminal action against the companies and the responsible persons involved. It leaves us in no doubt that the courts are taking this matter very seriously.
Link to the second article published by El Diario.
Over the past few weeks, Inside Timeshare has been receiving many emails regarding Club Paradiso, it seems that they all have one thing in common, they are not able to get into their resort and use their weeks. As we know, Club Paradiso has closed its doors, the website is down as is the website for Excel Hotels & Resorts the company which manages the resorts. It also appears that telephone calls are not being answered.
The latest email involves a member who has “invested” in several weeks, being elderly and now unable to travel abroad they decided to use their weeks and book an associated resort in the UK. Unfortunately, they have just received a call from the resort that their booking has been cancelled, the reason given is that Excel is not honouring the payments to the resort. This is despite being up to date with their maintenance fees.
This particular reader was supposed to be checking in this Sunday 7 July, now they have been left without their holiday with no other alternative to using their weeks anywhere else.
Other readers have also informed us that they have been moved to other resorts sold by Silverpoint, but have been told they would have to pay if they wanted to check in, despite already having paid this year’s maintenance fees. These resorts are also managed by Excel Hotels & Resorts.
We do know Silverpoint and Excel are in the middle of a dispute, what the reasons for this are is not actually apparent, but it is affecting many members of Club Paradiso who are now losing out on weeks they have purchased and paid the annual maintenance fees. This does not seem fair at all.
Although there are reports that Silverpoint has filed for liquidation it must be pointed out that so far they have not and due to the reasons surrounding this, it may be impossible to do so. If they do file for liquidation, this could result in criminal charges being brought as the reasons for the other liquidations has been fully explained in the link below.
These liquidations are an attempt to save the Trotta family finances, you can read the full story behind this in our six-part series Exclusive Breaking News: The Truth Behind Silverpoint Exposed (Part Six), on the link below.
This should put you the members in no doubt as to why you are likely to lose everything that you have paid for with your hard earned cash and in some cases with high interest loans brokered by the sales staff.
If you purchased any product sold by Silverpoint form standard timeshare weeks to the “investment packs” and the “company participation scheme” and would like to know where you legally stand, then use our contact page, Inside Timeshare will then point you in the right direction to help you decide on your options.
Welcome to this week’s Letter from America, we today publish yet another “Nightmare on Timeshare Street” from yet another Veteran, Ron Tzinski. Since we began highlighting these stories, Inside Timeshare has received around 111 complaints from Veterans and how they have been targeted and lied to by unscrupulous sales agents, yet the timeshare companies still allow the deceptions and lies to continue. These are men and women who have given their lives to the service and defence of the country and this is the thanks they receive! Despicable is the only word I can use without the use of profanities.
Part II Timeshare Reinvents Subprime Mortgages
What Wyndham Timeshare Hardship Department?
Veterans Speak Out
Part I Theresa Provides Insights into Wyndham’s Defaults
Part III Why centeroneelderabuse.org Suggestions Offer no Help
On July 11, 2018, President Trump signedExecutive Order 13844, establishing the Task Force on Market Integrity and Consumer Fraud and identifying the Deputy Attorney General as its chair. The Task Force is part of a government-wide initiative to combat fraud against consumers – particularly the elderly, service members, and veterans – and corporate fraud that victimizes the general public and the government.https://www.justice.gov/fraudtaskforce
By Ron Tzinski, an Army Veteran
June 21, 2019
I am an eleven year Army veteran, retired. I became inactive after Desert Storm when President Clinton decided to reduce the military. I have been inactive since 1993. I have an Honorable Discharge.
I would not be in a dispute with Wyndham had I been told about Wyndham’s Veterans Holidaysprogram. I could have taken advantage of their “Always Low Fees” instead of being driven to foreclosure. I have not made a payment in eight months.
While accommodations are mostly at timeshare resorts, you will not be required to attend a timeshare presentation. Some resorts are already sold out and do not have active sales centers on-site. If the resort is still in sales, at some time during your stay, you will probably be given an opportunity to attend a presentation in exchange for a premium or gift (free dinner, theater/show tickets, amusement/theme park tickets, etc.). Everyone at these resorts is given this same opportunity. If you like the incentive gift and want to attend the presentation, you are welcome to do so. But you are under no obligation and can simply say, “No, thanks.”
I bought my Wyndham timeshare in Tennessee October 2016. October 2017, I talked to someone at the Wyndham Grand Desert about getting out of my timeshare. Instead of getting out, I got talked into buying additional points. They promised that if this purchase was a problem, Wyndham would buy-back the timeshare. They explained the reason for this convenience was because Wyndham self-finances loans. And I was buying a trial product. This made perfect sense.
I am a small business owner on the verge of bankruptcy due to massively decreased income. I have the tax returns to prove it. My family needs dictate that I provide the basic day-to-day necessities for my families now, over a timeshare
I never should have been sold a timeshare in the first place. Even when I bought the timeshare, I made less than $12,000 a year. I’m self-employed. When I bought the timeshare, I wasn’t asked about my income. As Theresa mentioned in her article, she was told a minimum of $75,000 was required to make a timeshare purchase. Also, my wife passed away two years ago, after we had purchased the timeshare. I never even used the points.
I applied for a hardship release. Wyndham started three files on me, but ultimately denied a release. Inside Timeshare sent a draft of this article to Mr Jason Gamel, Sr. VP Legal at Wyndham, and to another Wyndham representative, asking why an annual income of $12,000 a year and death of a spouse would not qualify for hardship. Mr Gamel said at a Florida legislative workshop that Wyndham members need not seek timeshare exit provider services because of Wyndham’s hardship department. You must have to be on welfare to qualify.
Wyndham doeshave a release program called Ovations for those without loans:
‘We understand that your situation may have changed since you purchased your timeshare with us and now you’re unable to use it the way you planned. Whether it’s a change in marital status, family needs or vacation preferences, these events impact how and when you choose to travel.’
I just don’t understand the high bar obstacles for release, given Wyndham can take back the timeshare today and sell it to someone else tomorrow for full price. A member can’t even sell the timeshare on eBay for a dollar. Wyndham already has the money I paid until I could no longer afford to make payments. I understand that money is gone. Wyndham is in a win-win proposition, and with no secondary market, the consumer loses.
‘With Ovation by Wyndham, owners receive the peace of mind that their best interest is being protected, something fraudulent timeshare resale, transfer and cancellation companies cannot offer.’
At least a cancellation company can support you during the demoralizing foreclosure process. Therein lays the rub. You can exit as long as you are paid up. So, what if you are only 2 ½ years into a 10-year loan when your situation changes? And we were told Wyndham self-finances so can easily take back the timeshare. We have no option but foreclosure.
Based on the response we received, Wyndham does not care about me or my situation. I know I am not alone. This Facebook page was started because we need support. At least members deceived can support each other. How sad.
I feel that all timeshare companies care about is the money they feel they are entitled to. They care about keeping as many people on the hook as possible. I am sure the units, weeks, and points that everyone is ‘timesharing’ exceed the available inventory. I’m sure that most of the money goes to pay sales presentation incentives and sales staff wages.
We pay a ‘voluntary’ donation to the timeshare PAC ARDA ROCtobe our voice, yet ARDAignores us when we call them out on a violation in theirCode of Ethics. Wyndham describes its Ovations program as an “award-winning” program. An award was presented to Wyndham by the timeshare lobby ARDA. The president of ARDA is a Wyndham executive.
I have connected with other veterans. We are now veterans in a different kind of war. The lack of a timeshare secondary market is even more harmful to active duty service members who could lose their security clearances over a foreclosure. Something needs to change, beginning with the non-existent secondary market. It’s a recipe for financial disaster, much like the subprime mortgage crisis.
Afterthoughts by Irene
After reading about Ron’s disappointment with Wyndham’s hardship department, I thought of the legislative workshop I attended in Tallahassee on March 12, 2019. ARDA had proposed a Florida bill that included a provision whereby timeshare exit providers must allow potential customers a 24-hour cooling-off period before signing a contract with an exit company. ARDA and Wyndham were concerned about unfair and deceptive sales practices, yet Ron was told it would be easy to have Wyndham take back the timeshare.
Exit providers and timeshare members wholeheartedly agreed with the cooling-off period as long as timeshare buyers would be allowed 24 hours to consider their decision. This would eliminate the high-pressure “today only or the deal is off” hard sell. The bill ultimately died in committee surely to resurface in 2021.
We are one hundred per cent in agreement that there are many timeshare exit scams, but I’ve been in contact with a few exit service providers who are as sincerely concerned about unfair and deceptive sales practices as we are. “We” are our volunteer Supporters who answer questions for timeshare members filing regulatory and law enforcement complaints for members who feel they experienced unfair and deceptive timeshare sales practices.
Sign this Petition for Timeshare Reform. We are working towards 100,000 signatures by 2021. Over 1,200 have signed. You don’t have to be a timeshare member to sign.
Marine veteran Jim Sherwood is a 100% disabled Marine Corp Master Sergeant. Wyndham did resolve Jim Sherwood’s request for hardship, so there is a legitimate hardship department. Mr Sherwood’s article was published on March 8 of this year. We appreciate Wyndham’s response to Jim Sherwood’s request for hardship, but Mr Sherwood was at his wit’s end when he contacted Inside Timeshare, after denials following the VA’s report that he and his wife were unable to travel.
Thank you to Ron for sharing his experience. Our standard disclosure is that we know there are many happy with their timeshare purchase. That doesn’t make up for thousands of families reporting deceptive and unfair timeshare sales practices. We have organized an outreach committee to seek more disclosure for veterans buying timeshares.
Whistleblowers of America is a nonprofit organization assisting whistleblowers who have suffered retaliation after having identified harm to individuals or the public. Together, we can speak truth to power.
Self-advocacy groups 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, Ron, and also to Irene Parker for her contribution to this article, we would also like to thank all the volunteers who are helping with the advocacy efforts and giving others some hope.
It is such a shame that the timeshare companies act the way they do, they allow their own sales agents to destroy the lives of those who have served, all for what? There is only one word and that is GREED!
Inside Timeshare welcomes your comments and views on this article and any others published, just use our contact page and get in touch with us.
That is all for this week, join us on Monday for Part Six of our exclusive story on Silverpoint Exposed. Have a great weekend.
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.