Welcome to Inside Timeshare and the start of another week with Part Two of Silverpoint Exposed. In the last episode, we gave the background to the start of the Trotta Empire and introduced some of the main characters. Today we continue the story of an intricate web of companies the swift movement of funds and once again a Hollywood style family feud over the inheritance of the Trotta millions.
Kwang Sim was a master in subterfuge, he had set up such a complex network of companies and money trafficking routes a very detailed road map would be required to even get close to following it. Kwang himself continued with his own life happily giving his sermons to his Mormon congregation and ensuring his children went on the mandatory missions, all while carefully and deliberately planning to avoid Taxes at all costs.
With great care, he set up a structure using local law firms and employing local managers who had no actual control of the finances or of any financial activity. For Kwang, this would mean extensive travelling with monthly visits to Spain and then Asia where he was running the finance departments with an iron fist. He was, in essence, Bob Trotta’s “financial enforcer” making sure the funds were moved around the group of companies and ultimately ending up near a palm tree very close to a white sandy beach.
The Trust which is “owned” by a bank with Bob Trotta being the beneficiary used the bank which as recent strong evidence has shown, actively and willingly participated in assisting Kwang and Trotta in this complex web of lies and tax avoidance. It was Kwang who was the mastermind, but they were all complicit and knew exactly what was going on. All was running very smoothly until Bob’s death and the will would be read to the children and his wife Ragni.
Listening to the legal advisors, they, the Trust and executors learned that Bob and Kwang had mismanaged the company funds and taking some very risky decisions prior to his death. This now puts the group of companies in a very precarious position.
It also transpires at this meeting that Ragni learned she had been written out of the will, receiving only 10% of the estate! She was obviously furious. Although no one knows the details of the marriage from the outside it all seemed very rosy.
It has been rumoured by insiders that the marriage was in trouble, with a persistent rumour had for years been having a secret affair with her hunky Jamaican personal trainer. Just like something out of the hit TV show “Housewives of New York”, Ragni seems to have enjoyed a life of privilege with her wealthy older husband, while also enjoying some of the side benefits with her younger hunk. Sources have told us that Bob found out but did not want to be embarrassed publicly but would wait until he died to get his revenge. This has obviously caused huge rifts between her and the children.
The unequal division of the spoils created a massive rift between the family and the trusted sidekick Kwang who was tasked with trying to keep the family together. Just like another TV show “The Sopranos”, the family looked to the deputy Kwang, to steady the ship, he then set about trying to organise the complex web which he had established.
This was not an easy task, even for Kwang, when you consider he had set up around 200 offshore companies in Panama and the British Virgin Islands. Panama and the BVI are considered fiscal paradises in Spain and the recent “Panama Papers” have only added to the challenges of keeping this structure going. To achieve the company’s goal of low taxes the local directors were not allowed any control of the bank accounts with only the London team of Kwang Sim and his later sidekicks of Ketan Patel and Colm Hayden were permitted to move any money.
Part Three will be published on Thursday 13 June.
Over the weekend Inside Timeshare has received further news on the problems of Club Paradiso members. As we explained on Friday, these members are being denied access to the Paramount – Club Paradiso. In another twist, we have since learned that although they are being moved to other resorts such as Hollywood Mirage and Beverly Hills Heights, they are being made to pay for the accommodation.
One client that has been in touch was told if he did not pay 900€ he would not be able to stay, this appears to be happening to others as well. It would seem that the paramount is only being closed to members of Club Paradiso.
The following is an extract from an email received by another of our readers when trying to book their own stay: “Unfortunately, as our inventory is under re-negotiations we unable to provide availability and confirm any new reservations at this time. We kindly advise that you contact us at the beginning of July when hopefully this has been resolved. We are sorry that we cannot be of more assistance at this time and apologise for any inconvenience”.
This does look like an escalation in the arguments between Excel and Silverpoint with the members being the one caught in the firing line.
Have you purchased any product from Silverpoint and want to know what your legal position is?
Then use our contact page and we will get back to you with the best information possible.
Welcome to this week’s Letter from America, today’s article by Irene Parker explores the Whistleblowers of America Code of Ethics. A Code of Ethics is meant to be lived by. In timeshare, a Code of Ethics has been something to write and post on your website, but never seem to be followed. It doesn’t help that 200 or so of our readers who have reported violations in ARDA‘s Code of Ethics have been dismissed by the very executives that sit on their board. We take our hats are off to Whistleblowers of America for taking a Code of Ethics seriously. But then Whistleblowers are not in it for the money.
Inside Timeshare has been asked by an independent member of the committee at Hollywood Mirage Club for members to make contact with him as soon as possible. He and one other will be standing for election to the full committee at the AGM at the end of June. The unfortunate thing is that they have been told that there is “no mechanism” for them to contact other members with the Secretary stating he will not allow it under the GDPR (The EU General Data Protection Regulation). A move obviously designed to control the voting, but Article 47 of the GDPR “fully considers the right of members of groups (clubs) to communicate with each other”.
To make contact directly with this member who is standing please use our contact page and we will send you his contact details privately. It is in your interest to get together and have your say.
Now for Irene’s article.
Whistleblowers of America Code of Ethics
As Applied to Timeshare Support Mentors
Information about the 8th Annual WhistleBlower Summit and Film Festival to be held in Washington D.C. July 28 – August 1:
A Whistleblower is normally a person associated with a corporation or government agency that blows the whistle on wrongdoing as it pertains to waste, fraud and abuse, medical errors and wrongful death. You would not think an old lady crying from the rooftops of Florida about vacation plans would qualify, yet the harm done to veterans and active duty service members on the receiving end of a fraudulent timeshare sale has financially, emotionally, and physically, harmed many. Of the 841 families who have reached out to us, 106 are veterans and active duty.
We are asking for your signature on this petition for reform. You don’t have to be a timeshare member to sign.
A grown daughter contacted me on behalf of her Bronze Star recipient father. She could not answer all my questions about the timeshare, so I told her to ask her father about it. He had a heart attack when they were discussing it, and at the ER, the doctor noted he had a heart attack two years prior when asked about his timeshare. Her parents are the kind of people who saved up and paid cash for cars, He and his wife had been upsold to the point he had to take out a reverse mortgage because he could not afford the timeshare loan payments. He said every time he walked in the front door, he felt like he was losing his home. A Navy veteran declared bankruptcy. He had been upsold to $2,700 a month in timeshare loan payments, living on his letter carrier’s pension, charging to a number of credit cards before his grown daughter found out.
Whistleblowers of America’s Code of Ethics spoke to me. I thought to myself, “Guilty as charged!” as I read through them.
It’s not easy to live in a state of constant anger, moved by the voices of those desperate and deceived. The only thing that keeps me going is hearing the voice turn from a desperate voice to an empowered voice.
From the Whistleblowers of America Code of Ethics:
Counter-balancing dysfunction responses to wrongdoing with informed advocacy and resilience, skill building is the cornerstone of interactions,
Understand legal processes and procedures, a guide in problem solving and decision making to overcome toxic tactics.
I employ skills I learned at CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) writing court reports for Family Court judges and interested parties to make a determination as to the best outcome for a child in state care.
I learned an important lesson from my husband Don, a pharmaceutical researcher. The first thing a pharmaceutical company will do if they don’t like a lab’s answers, that would allow the launch of a billion dollar a year drug, is to blame the lab. Don told me to fight with data, not words.
A mentor needs to know their boundaries.
I don’t know if I speak for all whistleblowers, but I think there is a tendency to become over-involved, breaking through necessary boundaries. I will share an example of how I overstepped mine, but in the heat of the battle, we bend rules.
A Harvard graduate and fellow Rotarian turned out to be a brute holding a Korean lady hostage. Thankfully, another fellow Rotarian was our chief of police. He helped me rescue the mom and their toddler. Major Ganot of the Salvation Army was also in my Rotary Club. She could be a Major in anyone’s army after spending a couple decades in Haiti.
Mom and child stayed with us before we returned them both back to Korea. Mom had been a manager of Duty Free shops in Korea before coming to America. Her parents were math teachers at a university. The first night at our house I heard the child screaming. I went to ask mom what the child wanted. Mom replied, “Irene,” the child grabbed my neck and clung. Dad also had child porn on his computer. The police chief found THC in the refrigerator which mom said he used to put on his pancakes. He had DTs and once dropped the child at a Rotary function.
The advice Major Ganot gave to me is the advice all mentees and mentors should heed. “You are less effective if you become part of the storm.” Doctors call this intellectualization, in that if they went into a tailspin every time they lost a patient, they would lose effectiveness. This doesn’t mean the doctor doesn’t care. It means he or she must put their role is perspective.
In psychology, intellectualization is a defense mechanism by which reasoning is used to block confrontation with an unconscious conflict and its associated emotional stress – where thinking is used to avoid feeling. It involves removing one’s self, emotionally, from a stressful event.
Whistleblowers of America Code: Ethical Standard #2
Shared Experience Rapport
I appreciate more than ever the fidelity of “Semper fi” that exists among those battling a common enemy. Lifelong friendships have blossomed and grown. Once a timeshare dispute has been resolved, we encourage the person made whole, or as whole as possible, join our efforts to respond to others.
The moto of Whistleblowers of America is Speak Truth to Power. I would like to add to that the headline this reporter used in his investigative report about ALEC, a powerful lobby. The television reporter led with “Holding the powerful accountable” and I see “Holding the powerful accountable” as the next step after speaking truth to power.
Ethical Standard #5 Non-judgementA mentor needs to be reflective and inquisitive, but not judgmental. A mentor does not adjudicate. They facilitate problem solving rather than solve the problem.
An obstacle to resolving any dispute is getting your opponent to listen, as opposed to just hearing what the other person is attempting to communicate. Callous customer service representatives “hear” the complainant and respond, “You signed a contract.”
They don’t listen. Leadership coach Stephen R. Covey said it best:
11. Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”
My collaborator Michael Santos at Straight-A Guide, teaches how self-advocacy can overcome struggle. The outcome may not be what you expected. It may not be the outcome you wanted, but staying the course with determination, and making the most of available resources, is part and parcel of advocacy and self-advocacy. A Whistleblower needs both as they must advocate for their cause, and they must advocate for themselves.
Ethical Standard #11Self-care
The words “disengage when necessary” hit me like a dagger. I hear from one to five infuriated timeshare members a day, seven days a week. The unhappy emails outweigh the “we did it!” emails. Resiliency is a word often mentioned in whistleblowing. Hurtful potshots from our opponents can weigh us down or sharpen our sword. Author Carlos Castaneda, a student of Yaqui Indian Don Juan, described them as petty tyrants.
I have a friend in Sedona by the name of Pete Sanders, a Navy veteran. A technic I learned from Pete, during one of his Free Soul sessions, taught me how to find my brain’s Limbic Center and Joy Center. As I understood Pete’s lecture, you can shift your negative thoughts by employing Pete’s techniques.
The limbic center is somewhere behind the eyes and between the ears. It’s kind of a negative thought center. Think about a time you were so angry that you were acting out in front of your spouse and kids. All of a sudden the doorbell rings and you snap into normalcy. According to Pete, you have shifted negative thoughts from your Limbic Center, to somewhere in the frontal lobe of the cerebral cortex, the Joy Center, a compartment that holds positive thoughts. I took a class in head and neck anatomy and two semesters of A & P, but I’m getting out of my depth. But trust me; even if I have botched the explanation, it works. I swear that I can feel the “half empty/half full” feeling before and after shifting the same thought.
Pete Sanders of Free Soul
Pete Sanders is an honors graduate of Massachusetts Institute of Technology with principle studies in BioMedical Chemistry and Brain Science. Accepted to Harvard Medical School, he chose instead to pursue independent mind/body potentials research. That quest led to a revolutionary discovery: how to directly stimulate the brain’s natural mood-elevation mechanisms.
This technique provides a natural alternative to using alcohol, nicotine, drugs, or overeating for coping with life’s challenges. It gives you a method to enhance your feeling of well-being without being dependent on achievement or relationship success.
I look forward to this year’s Whistleblower Summit. I didn’t attend the Whistleblower Summit last year because I thought I was a whistleblower. I attended on behalf of the veterans and active duty service members harmed by timeshare. An active duty service member can lose his security clearance and his career over a mortgage foreclosure, so don’t think timeshare is a silly topic. One Marine lost his air unit command over a timeshare loan foreclosure.
There are laws protecting traditional whistleblowers, but not individuals. I’m alone. But an individual is alone only if they don’t reach out to other whistleblowers for help and support. Rosa Parks was one person who committed a courageous and dangerous act. She sat in the front of the bus. It was a small act, but possibly inspired by the actions and words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King was not so naïve as to think he was going to resolve racial divide once and for all. He knew this problem would not likely be solved in his lifetime. That did not deter his efforts.
One financial journalist called me a gadfly. “You’re nothing but a gadfly to this timeshare company,” he sneered. I looked up the definition.
The original definition was an insect that stings cattle. Somewhere around the Middle Ages, in England, the meaning of gadfly morphed into “an annoying person who spurs others to action.”
I’m okay with being a gadfly. When I told my Free Soul Florida mate, attorney Mike Finn, that the journalist called me a gadfly, Mr Finn suggested an adjective, “How about the Green Gadfly?” “Like the Green Hornet?” I responded.
A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to explain to the attorneys who deposed me for six hours why Mr. Finn calls me gg. The deposition serves as an example of retaliation. I enjoyed explaining to my interrogator lawyer why I am called gg. Gallows Humor, or Humour, as my British collaborator would spell, should be included as a defense mechanism to Ethical Sandard #11 Self-care . Humor really can be our best medicine.
Thank you to Whistleblowers of America for your support because this is not easy. My twilight years are anything but relaxing.
Although WoA recognizes that it is not inherent within the VA mission to protect veterans from fraud and scams that could cost them their benefits, it suggests that it could be assistive in educating veterans against these unscrupulous tactics. For example, WoA has had multiple complaints from veterans related to timeshare deceit and bait and switch tactics, which are defined by the FBI as fraud for profit. Often elderly veterans are mentioned as being targeted by the Timeshare Advocacy Group, TM which fights for active duty and retired military who fear losing their security clearance, career, homes or other assets. Foreclosures and financial distress because of these misrepresented investments are happening every day to elderly disabled veterans and their families. In the past, VA has cooperated with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) over mortgage and other loan scams that caused financial hardships for veterans. Home loans and timeshare loans are identical as both are reported as foreclosures. WoA asks that Congress consider a role for the VBA Employment and Economic Initiative (EEI) could play in cooperation with CFPB to educate and protect veterans from unscrupulous financial predators and fraudulent practices.
Thank you, Irene, for all your hard work in getting these articles ready, along with all the work you do helping those with problems, you are a thorn in the side of the timeshare industry, as well as a Green Gadfly, but you are our thorn and our Green Gadfly!
Information has been received by Inside Timeshare that the resort known as Paramount – Club Paradiso has closed. Those with bookings have been refused entry on arrival and moved to other resorts such as Hollywood Mirage and Beverly Hills Heights.
The telephone is on constant voicemail and the website is no longer working
If you have purchased any product such as standard timeshare, investment packs, company participations or Keys Concierge use our contact page and get in touch. Inside Timeshare will explain your options and point you in the right direction.
That is all for this week, join us again on Monday for Part Two of Exclusive Breaking News: The Truth Behind Silverpoint Exposed.
Over the next few weeks Inside Timeshare will be publishing exclusive information on the complex setup of one of the largest timeshare empires in Europe, we all know it as Silverpoint. Behind it was the late Bob Trotta, who as you will see in each article along with his cronies was very adept at moving his enormous wealth around. Today we start with a little background and introduce the major character in this very elaborate financial game.
In the early 1980s, Bob Trotta founded the company Resort Properties based in Tenerife, the first stage in establishing one of the largest timeshare companies in Europe. He was very much seen as one of the founding fathers of the timeshare industry in Europe and built 4 resorts in Tenerife, selling around 200 Million Pounds worth of timeshare, becoming a millionaire in the process.
Bob Trotta married for a second time to Ragni a Norwegian lady who was a former Timeshare Marketing person living in Tenerife. On leaving Tenerife they relocated to London where they enjoyed Non-Domicile Tax Status.
Setting up his Global HQ in the UK with offices in the exclusive area of Mayfair, Bob and Ragni certainly enjoyed the high life, living in their multi-million-pound townhouse in Chelsea and driving the very best Aston Martins.
We now introduce into the picture one person who was to become one of the most important and influential people in the Trotta Empire, Kwang Boon Sim.
Kwang was hired with only one purpose in mind, NOT TO PAY ANY TAX. As you will see, he was the mastermind behind the huge and complex web of offshore companies which exist today, using a very clever offshore trust.
The trust which is owned by a bank with Bob Trotta and his wife Ragni being the sole beneficiaries and controllers of the trust until his death in December 2017.
Kwang Sim is well known in the timeshare industry and is affectionately known as “The Chinaman” or “El Chino”. Kwang gives the impression of being a very religious man, with ties to the Mormon Church where he works as a Mormon Bishop. It looks like a script from a James Bond movie, when a “clever American Tycoon” brings in another equally clever man masquerading as a religious leader (Licence to Kill comes to mind), who very quietly and stealthily creates a very complex web of offshore havens with the sole intent on depriving many local economies and countries of their rightful and lawful tax.
It has certainly done the job, over the years Kwang managed to avoid paying any tax and moved 10’s of millions of pounds from one lot of companies through the web of others into tax havens disguised as intercompany loans. The local managers of these companies had no control over the money or what happened to it. It was Kwang who controlled and ran the financial department from his Mayfair HQ with what can only be described as an “Iron Fist”.
In order to avoid the ever-prying eyes of the US tax authorities who have a policy and reputation for worldwide taxation of their citizens, Bob Trotta gave up his US citizenship. He took up Italian citizenship (again this could be the setting for another movie) living like a true Italian mobster in a huge mansion set in the estate of his hotel the Luxurious Castello Del Nero.
Bob and Ragni were living like a king and queen in their estate reputedly worth around 10 million pounds. The estate was set in 700 acres of rolling Tuscan countryside, all within the grounds of their Hotel worth 50 Million Euros. All the while Kwang kept the funds flowing into Panama and the British Virgin Islands
Bob along with his two daughters Jennifer and Erin Trotta spent the long summers in Italy with their respective families. One of the husbands (Jennifer’s) Douglas Campbell was for a while the groups CEO making sure the family fortunes were protected, all under the watchful eye of his mentor “El Chino”
That brings us to the end of this opening chapter and part one of our story, join us again on Monday 10 June for part two, where we find that all was not as cosy with the family as many were led to believe, greed plays its part.
If you can answer yes, then get in touch with Inside Timeshare through our contact page, we will explain where you legally stand and point you in the right direction to claim back your money and have your contracts declared null and void.
Welcome to this weeks Tuesday Slot, today we have an article by an Industry Observer, who we have kept anonymous as per their wishes, the question posed is How is a Timeshare Point Valued? Our writer begins with the question “Why does Spain not allow points-based perpetual contracts?” As you read the article the answer to that question does become very apparent.
So on with this weeks article.
How is a Timeshare Point Valued?
June 4, 2019
I created a Spreadsheet after we bought points back in 2004 to see if I was getting my money’s worth. I added in maintenance fees. Not sure if I’m right but the bottom line was the only value the points have is if you use them. I went to numerous free weekends. I figured I should count those. Our bottom line average is around $95 a night. Usually, we could get through painful sales pitches quickly but our last visit to Vegas turned into abduction. I figure they are getting desperate. If you bought thinking these points had value beyond their sales pitch you were sadly mistaken. If the timeshare industry wants to survive and thrive they better create a secondary market and quickly. The competition is fierce. Websites like VRBO provide lots of options for less than your annual maintenance fee. Quality will be all over the map. Tim Dugan’s Facebook post
By an Industry Observer
Why does Spain not allow points-based perpetual timeshare contracts? In America, we think we have a lot going for us. After all, “we” invented the internet after inventing the computer. “We” invented baseball, Mickey Mouse, and McDonald’s. And “we” blessed the world with Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Harrison Ford, and Clint Eastwood….
Do “we” have the best of everything? No way… We have bad highways. Some of our bridges are crumbling. Our national debt is ballooning. We can’t agree on immigration. Our politicians constantly bicker.
“We the people” are supposed to have government agencies that protect us from threats inside and outside our borders – like the FAA (air travel), the FBI (crime), FDA (food and drug), DEA (drug enforcement), and CIA (foreign threats), to name a few.
Do “we” have a Vacations and Timeshare (VAT) agency to protect timeshare buyers? No, we don’t. Timeshare and vacation companies are regulated by individual states. There has been no action on the part of the Federal Trade Commission to step in. It is “buyers beware” on that venue.
There are some ominous and problematic indicators. Timeshare companies, at least two, are reporting loan loss provisions greater than 20%. If we calculated the actual dollar amount of foreclosed timeshare loans, given enormous revenue streams, the dollar amount would be staggering. This is just an accounting line item to the industry players, but the loan loss number includes a multitude of seniors and veteran families financially devastated after being up-sold into high-interest rate loans and higher interest rate credit cards. For those who maintained high lifelong credit scores, the foreclosure process is demeaning and degrading. Many have reported unfair and deceptive sales practices.
Wyndham has increased its loan loss provision to 21%, as reported by Jason Garcia at The Florida Trend:
Timeshare Companies and Exit Companies are Blaming Each Other for Rising Default Rates
Of the company’s nearly 900,000 owners, only 200,000 have loans. However, the company expects to set aside 21% of its gross sales to cover losses in 2018 — meaning it expects not to collect $21 of every $100 it loaned.
Timeshare CEOs don’t seem very worried about rising defaults touting increased sales and an increase in first-time buyers. A circle of sell, up-sell, foreclose and sell the same points again and again ensues. And points don’t depreciate like a car. It’s a cash cow.
Timeshare operators have been adept at capitalizing on the limited protections afforded their prospects. They’ve adopted:
The same day sale, after a gruelling sales session,
Electronic signing, difficult for even the most technically savvy to read,
Perpetual contracts, accompanied by rising maintenance fees,
No secondary market,
Pitfalls, like availability, that can’t be determined by reading the contract,
Ways to dodge the rescission period by not allowing access to the booking site until after the rescission period has ended,
Recording the closing, but not allowing the recording of the sales session,
Sales agents that coach buyers on how to “pass” QA,
Over-reliance on the verbal representations clause,
Point “members” stripped of all beneficial rights of real estate ownership,
False scare tactics about heirs inheriting the timeshare if deeded.
What’s right with timeshare points?
Point contracts do offer the flexibility of being able to stay for more or less than the typical week. They allow for incremental purchases.
What’s wrong with timeshare points?
Refer to Figure A and B below. A look at the original timeshare model shows that developers sold a week or weeks guaranteeing the customer that they would always be able to stay a particular week at a particular location. A common complaint comes from deeded week owners who complain they could not get access to the unit, and sometimes not even the resort they had stayed at for years after they gave up their deed. This is especially true at prime locations, like Virginia Beach during summer months.
On the old real estate system, due to location and seasons, each resort had a quantity of valuable weeks, and also “dog” weeks. July 4th in Hilton Head would be a valuable week. So would Christmas in Aspen, Colorado. But winter in Cape Cod would be dog weeks. Customers knew this and usually didn’t buy into “dog” weeks. In a “weeks” model, a graphic representation of anyone resort might look like Figure A. The very best weeks would be in the centre of the graph, with value declining until you reach the very outside of the circle. If your resort was in a great location, with great weather year round, like Hawaii, you would be in the bullseye year round.
Imagine now, a complete resort system converted into points as illustrated in Figure B. Instead of red, blue and white weeks, you are now sold loyalty levels. There are no more ‘best red weeks’ in the system. The buyer has lost control. The developer now controls who gets to vacation when and where. Add to this scenario the developer’s ability to rent out inventory and you have an unfair advantage of developer over point buyer.
But wait – what is the area outside the second line from the bullseye showing the “good and best” points? That is where the developer can sell points, but the chances of taking a great vacation may not be possible. A fixed week buyer knew they were buying Branson in January, maybe hoping to exchange it. The buyer that buys 2,500 points compared to the Platinum member’s 50,000 points dictates less availability. Certainty is gone. The “point” to remember is that in a points-based system, the “dog” weeks become part of inventory just like “best” weeks. This puts a load on the “best weeks” inventory. When it comes to booking, somebody won’t get what they want.
In a pure points system, the developer is NOT selling a vacation. The developer is selling the “opportunity” to vacation SUBJECT TO AVAILABILITY. Two factors determine the success of timeshare owners in a pure points system:
Having enough points to meet your vacation needs, and
Booking at the earliest possible date.
The complaint sites are littered with people, some even highest loyalty members, complaining about availability. Say a buyer bought 5,000 points because that is what they could afford on a monthly basis. Those 5,000 points might get them a week in Myrtle Beach – in the winter but only two days at Myrtle Beach in the summer, if you’re lucky. The sales agent can promise anything, “Any place you want to stay, any time you want.”
The first time buyer is scheduled for an orientation in which they are told, “I can’t believe that sales agent sold you so few points! You can’t stay anywhere with 5,000 points!” The member is sadly informed of his dilemma. BUT, the new and improved sales agent “corrects” the mistake created by the first agent. Buy more points!
As an inducement to upgrade, some systems have early bookings for highest loyalty level members, then advance booking for one tier down, and finally open booking for everyone else. Consider this day and age of the instant internet. Booking vacations over a year out seems antiquated.
Granted, if you have a fluid vacation schedule, as many retired do – and can travel slightly offseason, you might find a pure points system to be of value. But don’t go to a sales meeting unprepared, facing a tag team of three against two. Be an informed timeshare buyer. Read what existing members have to say on Tug2.net, Redweek and member sponsored Facebooks. The point system can be unfair and have drawbacks, but they can be resources for those who know how to maximize their use.
The informed consumer is the best consumer. Don’t fall for a pipe dream vacation.
Self-help groups we feel are not industry influenced including TUG, which consists of a balanced group of members for and against timeshare.
We seek to provide timeshare members with a way to proactively address membership concerns; to advocate for timeshare reform; to obtain greater disclosure from the company; to advocate for a viable secondary market, and to educate prospective buyers.
We began with the question Why Spain does not allow points or perpetuity contracts, the simple reason is availability, with a fixed week system your are guaranteed the holiday time you purchased, you basically own that particular week. With points you own nothing, just a right to use subject to availability, you are a member of a vacation club not an owner. According to the ruling from the Spanish Supreme Court, points and floating week systems lack any substance, you are paying for a promise, or to put it simply you are buying fresh air.
For example we have a resort with 180 apartments, with fixed weeks they can only sell 51 weeks in each, that gives you a total number of weeks available at 9,180, that means you may only have that number of owners, great they all get their weeks. Now let us change this to a points based system, let’s say the vacation club only doubles its membership, we now have 18,360 members. Hang on we only have 9,180 weeks available, that means 9,180 members will not get their holiday at that resort this year.
Along with that, yes, you guessed it, the timeshare company has now also doubled their income in management fees!
They make more money but at the expense of the members who cannot get the holidays they want.
Spain also outlawed the perpetuity contract, this particular law came into force on 5 January 1999, the duration for any contract was to be a minimum of 3 years and a maximum of 50 years and was ignored by the industry. It was also envisaged that the age of the purchaser should also be taken into consideration, for example a couple aged 55, would not really require the maximum of 50 years, so why not sell them 25 years. The law makers also believed that perpetuity was inherently unfair to the children of purchasers, as timeshare was always sold with the idea it was property or real estate and therefore would be inherited. Their motive was why should the children be liable for the ongoing liability of maintenance on a contract they did not instigate.
These points are now the subject of many legal actions going through the Spanish courts and it is costing the industry millions in repayments along with all contracts being declared null and void. Spain is at the forefront of protection for consumers regarding timeshare and how it is sold, it is only a matter of time before others do the same.
So here we are at the start of another week, today we start with the news from the courts at the end of last week, we also republish the link to a TVE 1 news report about timeshare law in Spain and an interview with Eva Gutiérrez from Canarian Legal Alliance. We also highlight a new “claims” company that has just come to our attention.
At the end of last week after publishing out Letter from America, Canarian Legal Alliance published their results for the week. Once again it was a busy week for the courts and the lawyers with no less than 15 new victories on behalf of their clients.
In frame with the most rulings against them was once again Anfi Del Mar, with 10 cases heard by the Court of First Instance of San Bartolomé de Tirajana in Maspalomas. In the High Court of Las Palmas Gran Canaria, Anfi del Mar had 4 appeals rejected and sent back to the lower courts for the execution of sentence.
In Tenerife at the High Court in Santa Cruz, Silverpoint also lost an appeal, with the case being sent back to the Court of First Instance, again for the execution of sentence.
The total amount being returned to clients is a massive 517,056.50€ this amount doe not include legal fees or legal interest that is calculated separately. Contracts were also declared null and void. The infringements of the timeshare laws ranged from contracts over 50 years in duration, floating weeks and points systems plus the taking of payments within the 14 days cooling off period.
Considering the Supreme Court rulings of which there are 129, and the number of cases being found against the timeshare companies at the lower courts, it does make you wonder why the timeshare companies insist on prolonging the process and taking the lost cases to appeal. All we can surmise is that they are trying to delay making any payments as they still believe the courts have interpreted the law incorrectly.
In response to that belief, Inside Timeshare republishes a link to the National Spanish TV Station TVE1, in this news item they look at the Supreme Court rulings and explain why the timeshare companies are being taken to court. In the item, they also interview one of the Senior Lawyers at Canarian Legal Alliance Eva Gutiérez. This clip will put you the reader in doubt as to who is telling the truth.
Another new name in the “claims” business has just come to our attention, Refund My Claim with the website:
It was registered on 9 February 2019 with the actual owner and registrar being hidden, the website has been regestered for one year only and is set to expire on 2 February 2020, these are never good signs.
The website itself gives very little information, with no company registration details only the company address, telephone number and email:
53 Fountain Street, Manchester, M2 2AN. Once again this is rented office space with postal and telephone answering service run by Regus, one of the biggest suppliers of serviced and rental office space on long term or daily basis.
On their Home Page, they state, “We are a free advice service that identifies the best Lawyers, Solicitors or Claims management company that best suits you for your claim.” They also explain the “Claims management” is big business in the UK and then go to list all the types of claims they work with including timeshare.
Now considering the age of the website, the lack of company information, no Company House registration and no mention of any lawyers or regulated claims managment company names, makes this is look like a very dodgy set up.
If you are contacted by any company with offers of getting you your money back for any timeshare or holiday club, do your homework before engaging with them. Make sure they are genuine, if you need help or advice on this, then use our contact page and we will be happy to help.
Tomorrow in our Tuesday Slot we publish an article titled How is a Timeshare Point Valued, this has been written by an Industry Insider and we have kept them anonymous as per their wishes. So join us tomorrow for more information and news on the world of timeshare.
Welcome to another Friday edition of Letter from America, today we welcome the Madden Family with their “Nightmare on Timeshare Street”, this time it is Orange Lake in Orlando. It is another story of deceptive sales practices by sales agents working on behalf of the timeshare developer and the lack of a secondary market. It is a story we are all too familiar with at Inside Timeshare.
A TRUE STORY by an Orange Lake Timeshare Buyer
May 31, 2019
By the Madden Family
We recorded our Orange Lake experience on YouTube hoping to prevent others from making the decision we unfortunately made. I’m told Orange Lake is no worse than several other timeshare companies. Buyers who no longer can use the timeshare are held hostage with no choice but to walk away due to the lack of a secondary market.
We purchased an Orange Lake Resort Timeshare in Orlando, Florida in 2014. It was the day after Christmas. After hours of mouth flapping, winning smiles, scribbled notes in illegible writing, we were fairly pliable and ended up signing a contract we now know is worthless. This has been a source of massive stress.
Here are the unfair and deceptive timeshare sales practices we experienced which readers will have heard countless times: The sales agent told us that we were making an investment that would appreciate like any other investment. Timeshares are worthless.
The sales agent said the timeshare had built-in equity from a prior owner. There is no such thing as equity when it comes to a timeshare. Timeshares are a liability. The sales agent said that since this had been owned by a prior party, we had to buy “today” or the price tomorrow would be without equity, so full price. This was nonsense.
The sales agent said we could easily refinance, replacing the exorbitant 26% financing provided by Orange Lake. This was not true. Banks don’t finance timeshares because they are not an asset.
The sales agent said there was a resale market. We tried that market but were scammed the same way we were scammed into buying the timeshare.
The sales agent said he wasn’t a salesman, just there to help timeshare owners find buyers. He was a salesman.
The sales agent said an Orange Lake timeshare is like any other property. You can deduct mortgage interest. You can’t deduct timeshare loan interest.
The sales agent said we could cover the cost of owning the timeshare by renting it out. He said he would help us rent. He didn’t.
The sales agent said we could book wherever we wanted easily. We wanted to book west coast Florida but were told it was unavailable and would be unavailable through the next year. We tried to book Cape Canaveral, Panama City Beach Resorts or Galveston, but that was unavailable. We ended up in Las Vegas as a last resort. We were never able to book with the ease the sales agent promised.
The moral of our story is that you can’t believe a word a timeshare sales agent says. I know there are timeshare members who use and enjoy their timeshare, but there are also thousands and thousands of complaints. Before buying, check the happy and unhappy buyer sites. Weigh each side, because your only discernable truth will come from those who bought timeshares, not from those who sell them.
We tried reaching out to Orange Lake with our concerns but were ignored. The lack of communication from Orange Lake made us feel like they have no cares whatsoever for their customers, or about the deceptive claims their sales agent make, as long as they get their money. They were never in a hurry to answer our concerns, but have invested considerable time to call us daily, repeatedly, to collect money.
When we filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, Orange Lake responded with a copy of our contract. Surely signatures do not exempt a company from promising a diamond but delivering a piece of coal. Where is the Federal Trade Commission?
We intend to tell our story in as many places as possible to warn others. Too many families are being financially harmed so that sales agents can earn commissions and timeshare companies can report profits at the expense of hard-working citizens. Citizens harmed spent a lifetime buying cars and houses, relying on the integrity of the seller, integrity that, based on our experience, does not exist in timeshare.
Join our efforts!
Contact Inside Timeshare to join this family’s efforts to help others. Following are 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 to the Maddens for sharing the experience of your own “Nightmare on Timeshare Street”, many of our readers will recognise some of the tactics and deceptions from their own experiences. Is it not time the timeshare industry reigned in these unscrupulous sales agents, then they may have a product which does not court controversy, complaints and above all misery to consumers. It is only through you the readers sharing your stories and coming together which helps others to see that they are not alone, together you do have a voice that can change the industry.
If you would like to share your own “Nightmare on Timeshare Street” or have a happy story to tell of good sales practise and consumer protection, Inside Timeshare would love to hear from you.
Are you a European owner of a timeshare in the US and want to get out, are you a US owner of a timeshare in Europe especially purchased in Spain and want to know how Spanish law protects you, then use our contact page and lets us know, we will point you in the right direction.
Welcome to this weeks Tuesday Slot article by Irene Parker, who introduces us to Michael Santos, but first, Monday, May 27 was a major holiday in America. Memorial Day honours veterans & soldiers who work to defend even those who may seek to do them harm. Yesterday Inside Timeshare heard from veteran/active duty service member #105 asking about unfair and deceptive timeshare sales practices. Many of the veterans who have reached out to Inside Timeshare are disabled, five from Agent Orange. We hope other members of the military will reach out to us because when buying a primary residence greater disclosure is required. We are reaching out to provide the same for veterans applying for a timeshare loan. Too many have been financially ruined because they believed false promises made by timeshare sales agents. The Free at Last Timeshare Member Support Manual is another tool in our arsenal to fight timeshare corruption.
Meet Michael Santos, no stranger to struggle. Rather than succumb to despair, as many would, Michael faced his challenges head-on. Struggle is struggle. His admitted bad decisions led him to serve 25 years of a 45-year prison sentence. While incarcerated, Michael earned an undergraduate degree in Human Resources Management and a master’s degree. Now he works to serve others in struggle through education, contribution to society, and a support network of people who believe in you.
Michael’s story: 9,135 Days in Prison TEDXConstitutionDrive 2013
I need help. I’m struggling, overwhelmed, with unending calls from infuriated timeshare members, many financially devastated because timeshare sales agents got away with unfair and deceptive sales practices. While top liars earned $1 million or more annually until eventually terminated, family after family described to me how they were lied to. Particularly painful to me are the stories of veterans and active duty service members harmed by timeshare. A timeshare foreclosure can result in the loss of security clearances.
How can I leverage my time and our team’s limited resources?
Enter Michael Santos of Prison Professors, Straight-A Guide Foundation
Continues with Aspiration, Action, Accountability, Awareness of Opportunities, Achievement, and Appreciation of Resources
In addition to offering a sophisticated platform that has been helping the incarcerated work towards release and reentry back into society, Michael teaches adversity skills. The Straight-A Guide Foundation helps 100,000 people every year, teaching people in struggle how to prepare for success.
Employing these same adversity skills, Michael Santos and I developed a timeshare self-help manual to leverage our timeshare team’s efforts, and the efforts of others experienced in the field of timeshare.
Unfair and deceptive timeshare sales practices don’t just harm timeshare members. Honest timeshare sales agents, managers, and even an executive or two have expressed their frustration over spotty and inadequate state regulation and a Pollyanna attitude on the part of timeshare lobbyists and developers insisting all is well in timeshare.
Dr Amy Gregory, PhD in Hospitality Management from the University of Central Florida and Masters in International Business Administration from the Thunderbird School of Global Management was a presenter at a 2017 timeshare ARDA World convention. She describes statistics that tell a different timeshare tale, as reported by RedWeek’s chief correspondent, Jeff Weir:
Here are some of Dr Gregory’s findings:
The average rescission rate is 15 per cent (which is identical, ironically, to the daily average percentage of people who buy a timeshare after a sales presentation).
A whopping 85 per cent of all buyers regret their purchase (for money, fear, confusion, intimidation, distrust and other reasons).
Forty-one per cent of buyers never thought they would regret their purchase, but they did;
30 per cent were neutral prior to buying but then regretted it.
Wondering if there is something wrong with me, I contacted timeshare law firms and timeshare exit service providers across the country and learned that they are also frustrated with this “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” media spin strategy on the part of the industry.
Two of the exit companies I contacted reported that they received 3,000 to 3,500 calls a month from people seeking timeshare relief. Both companies said they only accept as clients, less than 200 callers, as the timeshare member must meet their timeshare deceit criteria.
What happens to the 2,800 or so turned away? Even if your only option is to foreclose, thanks to the orchestrated lack of a secondary market, these members need support. As if someone broke into your home, you feel violated, alone. Most begin their call to me with, “I feel so stupid.” I respond that I have heard from a detective who works economic crimes undercover, two counter-terrorism experts, two private detectives, a professor with a PhD in criminology, an ICE agent with an M.S. in Criminal Justice, all describing how they were duped by timeshare sales agents.
If you take the time to listen to the entire 20 minutes of Michael’s Top Ten Surrender Tips before Surrendering to Federal Prison, it’s easy to see how prison adversity skills carry over to timeshare adversity:
Michael’s Ten Tips
Understand your Finances
Develop a Reading Plan
Journal, Write and Publish – Writing is Therapeutic!
Personal Belongings – One Navy veteran charged $2,700 a month in timeshare loan payments to credit cards. He lived in fear of losing his home and had to seek advice from a bankruptcy attorney.
Prepare for Communication
Set Your Values and Goals and Create Timelines
Create an Accountability Metric Adhering to Timelines
Quadrant Adjustments Reflecting New Opportunities and Opportunity Costs Visualize/Plan/Prioritize/Execute
Release Plan – Think about your day of release!
Hoping to leverage what I and others have learned, I support the Free at Last Timeshare Support Manual lending what I’ve learned to others. All proceeds from our manual are to be donated to the Straight-A Guide Foundation. Together we will work alongside those in prison or formerly incarcerated to become Free at Last. I’m pretty sure Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. would support our borrowing his prayer.
I think it was Ella Fitzgerald who said her momma told her, “Go out and make something happen. If you’re not going to make something happen – stay out of the way!” Morgan Freeman said it another way:
These self-help groups were launched and subscribed to by doers seeking:
A way to proactively address membership concerns; to advocate for timeshare reform; to obtain greater disclosure from the company; to advocate for a viable secondary market, and to educate prospective buyers.
15 in the Courts of First Instance against Anfi Del Mar
3 High Court against Anfi Del Mar
2 Court of First Instance against Silverpoint
2 High Court against Silverpoint
1 Court of First Instance against Club La Costa
1 High Court against Holiday Club Finland
All contracts were declared null and void and in most cases, clients received back their legal fees plus legal interest.
The total being returned to clients is a staggering 787,664.00€
Obviously some very happy clients but some very unhappy and embarrassed timeshare companies. Well, they only have themselves to blame!
Do you have any questions about your timeshare purchase, want to know if you have a claim or want to just get out, have you been contacted by a company offering you a service and want to know if they are genuine?
Then use our contact page and get in touch, we will point you in the right direction with the best advice available.
For sometime Inside Timeshare has been reporting on the “Company Participations and Rental Agreement” sold by Silverpoint. As we already know this product was rolled out to replace the discredited “Investment Weeks” product sold originally By Resort Properties then under the Silverpoint banner, again this product is subject to many court cases which are being found in favour of the clients.
It now appears that Excel Resorts and Hotels SA are distancing themselves from Silverpoint at an alarming rate, we already know that Excel has informed clients of the “Company Participations” that they are no longer working with Silverpoint and this is causing alarm among those who have purchased in this expensive and elaborate product.
The latest news has been coming in over the weekend from many regular readers of Inside Timeshare who have purchased this product, it comes in the form of an email from Excel Resorts and Hotels SA, the company which manages the resorts. Under the agreement entered into with Silverpoint Vacations SL, Excel undertook to operate the assets of the “Company Participations” guaranteeing a return of 4.5% of the corporate income until “apartments” are converted to accommodation units.
So far this year it seems that no one has received any of this income, according to the letter Excel state that “owing to the economic and financial situation”Silverpoint has been unable to honour the agreements during 2018.
In their email, Excel Resorts have stated that they will be calling for an AGM to allow “shareholders” to vote on new contracts and conditions.
Within days they announced a date for the “Shareholders’ Ordinary General Meeting” being held on 12 June 2019 at 9:40 am at the registered office of the company.
To review and approve, as appropriate, the Company’s Financial Statements relating to the year ended 31 December 2018.
To decide upon the application of the results for the year ended 31 December 2018.
To approve the management of the Company for the year ended 31 December 2018.
The Rental Program Agreement entered into with “Silverpoint Vacations SL” and decisions to be taken on this. Analysis of proposals and contractual alternatives for the holiday rental and decisions to be taken on this. To authorise, where appropriate, the sole director to enter into, on behalf of the Company, the contractual proposal which may ultimately be approved, even if impinging upon the figure of self-contracting, double or multiple representation.
Well, not sure about you but it doesn’t look very promising for those who purchased into this scheme.
For those who are unable to attend excel have also sent forms to sign to allow a proxy to vote on your behalf. Very kind of them, but the named persons are actually employees of the company, so we just wonder who the vote will go in favour of, certainly not the “shareholders”?
It would also appear that assets and funds are being tranferred to many offshore companies and accounts, is this an attempt to hide everything because of the number of court cases, we can reveal that moves are already being made to identify all companies, accounts, persons with significant interest and control.
This has already shown the links to all the companies, which one ownes which, who ownes what and who is ultimately the main character of interest. As they say there is always a paper trail which can be followed.
It has also been revealed that Limora Investments Ltd, a British Virgin Islands-based resort owner on Friday asked a New York bankruptcy court to give Chapter 15 protection to its U.S. assets while it investigates what it called “misconduct” by members of its management team.
From enquiries made it would also appear that this company is very much linked to Excel Resorts and Silverpoint.
The company began insolvency proceedings in the British Virgin Islands in February after discovering “unusual” cash flow problems with the subsidiaries that manage its flagship Spanish properties. Limora has more than 100 subsidiaries with interests in resorts, timeshares, hotels and other businesses in the United Arab Emirates, Spain, the U.K., Singapore, Thailand and the U.S.
The company also stated that its primary source of income is resorts and timeshare in Spain and that in the mid-2018 their Spanish subsidiary had been requesting emergency funding. So along with what we already know about Silverpoint and Excel with Excel Overseas Holdings filing for liquidation, our enquires are just being confirmed.
With what we already know but are unable to publish yet, time is of the essence, especially with the upcoming AGM, we very much doubt that any decision will be infavour of you the clients.
So if you have purchased any product from Silverpoint especially the Company Participations Scheme, or the Excel Overseas Lodging Rental Program and you would like to know how you can get back your “investment” along with having the contract declared null and void, use our contact page and get in touch.
Welcome to this weeks Letter from America, today we publish the final report by Irene Parker on the Platinum Protest in Orlando which was held on 17 to 19 May. This report also includes their brief stories which helps to explain why they are protesting. In the case of Patty and her story, we have received many complaints which have named the same sales agent. Inside Timeshare has read these complaints and it is surprising that for people who have never met how close their stories are. This can only lead us to conclude there is something very wrong in what this sales agent is doing.
What Happened at the May Platinum Member Protest in Orlando
Save the Date for the next Platinum Protest in Arizona:
Veteran’s Weekend November 9 – 11
By Irene Parker
May 24, 2019
Many have expressed admiration for the efforts of four Diamond Resorts Platinum families protesting on behalf of 85 Platinum members who have reported that they were told to buy additional timeshare points for reasons they say do not exist. Of the 85, 43 reported that they were told they would be able to offset maintenance fees only if they purchased additional points. Others report they bought points told that they must buy additional points to be able to sell points.
What happened to Sheilah and Gad (a protestor not pictured), is why Friday’s location was at the Florida state building housing the Florida Attorney General’s timeshare division, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR). Sheilah, Gad and a third buyer all bought from the same Daytona agent. They each have their “pencil pitch” which is what agents scribble as they talk. Near the top of Sheilah’s three-page pencil pitch appears:
Diamond’s response, from the company promoting a CLARITY promise of “Clear, concise, accountable and transparent information” was, “We admit this was confusing, but it was not illegal,” according to Sheilah.
“Talking to the Florida Timeshare Division DBPR was the same as talking to Diamond Resorts,” Sheilah said. At first, I was dismissed with “We don’t know if you were given this evidence or if you took it.” Their point I believe was that evidence obtained illegally is not admissible. When I questioned the logic of this statement, the reviewer called back several days later reporting that she spoke with Diamond’s attorneys. “I didn’t understand the program either until I spoke with Diamond’s attorneys, but now I do,” she reported to Sheilah. It’s not difficult to understand why someone would be so angry they would fly 1,000 miles to protest.
Florida’s DBPR has dismissed all our readers’ complaints with, “Verbal representations are hard to prove.” While Arizona, New York, Tennessee and other states have launched timeshare investigations based on a volume and pattern of complaints, Florida will not. When Sheilah asked why, the DBPR supervisor responded, “How they do things in other states is not how we do things in Florida.” By their own admission, Florida dismisses timeshare complaints, despite a volume of complaints. The timeshare lobby ARDAhas been quoted as saying, “Timeshare is a highly regulated product.” Apparently regulation means dismissing all complaints.
Florida’s dismal statistics:
As reported at a Florida legislative workshop in Tallahassee 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.
Nevada is another state that dismissed all our readers’ complaints with, “You have no proof.” At least in Nevada, you can record a conversation without the other person aware. Florida is a two-party state meaning it is illegal to record without the other person aware.
How in the world is a timeshare buyer expected to obtain proof?
Three of our protestors were able to speak at length with one individual inside the state building. In fear of retaliation, we will not identify this person, but their advice was to have the protestors protest every Friday. Logistics preclude this, but we appreciated their support and knowledge of unfair and deceptive practices.
Inside Timeshare has heard from 831 families describing unfair and deceptive timeshare sales practices. ARDA and Diamond’s CEO Michael Flaskey argue that the vast majority of timeshare buyers are happy with their timeshare.
Fair enough, so I checked facts and figures. I contacted law firms and timeshare exit companies throughout the United States. There are many. Two exit companies reported that each receives 3,000 to 3,500 calls per month. They accept less than 200 as clients. Just two of the many law firms and exit providers receive over 6,000 calls per month from families seeking timeshare release! An entire industry of law firms and timeshare exit providers has sprung up catering to timeshare members waking up to the realization that the timeshare they were told would be easy to sell, or sell if they bought additional points, has no secondary market.
I have to admit I was not looking forward to a weekend of sign holding, but the reward we felt by the number of horn honks, thumbs up and, especially on Sunday, a steady stream of members stopping by to express their concerns, made it all worthwhile. Here we met Platinum member #84.
I’m not a Platinum member, but wanted to support the Platinum Protestors’ efforts. Patty and Cindy have their stories. The second day of the protest I heard from a Diamond memberwho contacted me infuriated. She had bought points from the same agent Patty bought points from, becoming #43 of 85 Platinum members who say they were pitched maintenance fee relief programs that do not exist. This will make six complaints against Patty’s agent; the third complaint against this agent was from a couple ages 79 and 80, the husband diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. We even have a recording of the agent provided by a veteran from over a year ago who experienced a similar up-sell.
Rather than show concern for 85 of their highest loyalty members who have reported unfair and deceptive practices, Diamond and the timeshare industry as a whole insists there are few complaints. There is not enough space in an article to list all the law firms, timeshare exit companies, lawsuits, including whistleblower lawsuits, and Attorneys General investigations concerning timeshare sales.
All protest participants had been timeshare owners and members for decades. They liked timeshare. The Platinum members had purchased points a number of times, so with the ensuing trust did not expect to be blindsided by programs that they say do not exist.
We’re not saying there are not honest timeshare sales agents trying to make a living selling timeshare points properly. But when top liars, who eventually get fired for pitching too much heat, are put up on a pedestal for new hires to emulate, the result fosters deceit.
Many have wondered if this industry could exist without deception. One timeshare insider reported that Diamond Resorts has the highest loan loss provision of all major timeshares. As reported by Wall Street:
Diamond Resorts International Inc. Downgraded To ‘CCC+’ On Very High Anticipated Leverage, Outlook Negative
The negative outlook on Diamond reflects our expectation for minimal cash flow generation and very high leverage in 2019. The outlook also incorporates our belief that the company is vulnerable to possible future operating missteps or an unexpected downturn in the economy over the next two years, which may render its capital structure unsustainable despite our assessment of adequate liquidity.
Many of the 85 Platinum members have resolved their dispute, but resolution required several rebuttals and regulatory filings. Some relinquished their points, meaning they walked away from all the money spent. Diamond points sell for around $4 per point so we’re talking about Platinum members with 50,000 points or more walking away from $200,000 or more. A recorded QA closing is routinely used in the dismissal, but recording the sales session is not allowed. As mentioned, recording without the other person aware is legal in some states, but not Florida.
Given a reluctant regulatory environment, the Courts of Public Opinion seem the only courts open. Holding up signs is not easy, but the rewards are great. A realtor stopped by clearly upset that he could not sell a Westgate timeshare for his client. I gave him my contact information. Within a few hours, his client called from Brazil. Out of about 60 licensed timeshare resale brokers, only one I am aware of will accept a Westgate listing. If there are no takers, I advised the member to speak Portuguese when the maintenance fees collectors call. He can no longer afford the timeshare. Fortunately, there is no loan outstanding. His relief at hearing straight answers was palpable, even from that far away.
Two new Facebooks have been launched by Wyndham and Starpoint Sapphire Inside Timeshare contributors. Through Social Media and grassroots protests we little by little are letting the consumer know timeshare sales can be a quagmire of debt and deceit. These are the support groups we feel are not industry influenced:
Thank you Irene and a very big thankyou to those who were able to make it to the protest, also thanks must go out to all those who showed support in whatever way they could. The next Platinum protest is scheduled for 9 to 11 November which is Veterans Weekend in the US and is being held in Arizona. If you are able to make it, you will be most welcome.
That is all for this week, use our contact page if you have any views or comments on any article published, or if you just need a little help or advice we are here to help.
Over the past few years Inside Timeshare has been reporting on the changing names of “FAKE” law firms based in Tenerife. We have dubbed them The Litigious Abogados Family, a family that has been growing at a very fast rate, with a new name and website every three to four months. This obviously keeps them one step ahead of the authorities.
The latest incarnations are just a couple of months apart, with the Legalizalos website registered on 14 March 2019, with an expiry date of 14 March 2020, the registrar of the website is again hidden by privacy protect.
Then on the 5 May 2019, the next in the family appears, Legal Izalos, with the website
Again, the website was registered on 5 May 2019, with an expiry date of 5 May 2010 with the registrant again hidden by privacy protect.
Both websites are the same from layout, logos names and photographs of the “lawyers”, also the same is the CIF Number A87531643, along with the founder Manuel Lamaconio Congana who set up the firm on Tuesday 30 May 1989.
which is not linked to the website but is from a free email address provider.
There is no need to go through the pitch as it is the same one we have reported right from the start, but again it sounds very convincing with the consumers timeshare company about to go to court. This once again is backed up by some very convincing documents including very good fake court documents.
One thing we do know the outcome will be in the consumer’s favour and they will be awarded a huge amount by the court, they will then have to pay “TAX” to have the money released. This will be a cheque posted to them from Tenerife, but we do know from experience that the envelope will be open and the cheque missing.
In comes the next company, who are investigating the missing cheque, which, just happened to be “cashed” by a gang of either Ukranians, Romanians or some other East European gang. Oh yes, there will be an upfront fee for this to happen, as if it will!
Below is a list of names for the law firms and procuradors which have been used.
Abogados Abel Garcia
Amador Ganeca – Amador Juandoz Ganeca
Abogados AG – Armando Gonzalez Areca
Abogados Amable Garcia
Abogados Litigacion España – JDD
Alberto Kalimro Galvera Abogados
Alberto Diendro Nabalez – Litigacion España
Alejandro Omross Procuradores
Amador Galeca Abogados
Amador Malodan Galeca
Angel Alarcon Prieto Notario
Armando Gareca Abogados
Bulganu & Valentin Asesoria
Carlos Igraim Procurador
Carlos Ingramo Procuradores
Carlos Imgran Procuraduria
Darstun Jilmo Davida Procurador
Davido Thursta Procurador
Daniel Marco Yariz Procurador
Elias Elisa SA
Elinabeta Yessica Elierz Procuradores
Elisabetta Olias Asesoria
Emilio Leyes Catillianos
European Union Complaints
EU Litigation Services
Ivana Birka Asesoria
Jessica Kiegle Procurador y Notario
Juan Luis Partalabo Lawyer
La Litigacion Española
Legalidad Abogados S.A.
Legitimous – legitimos Abogados
Litigacion Espana SL
Litigious Lawyers -Litigious Abogados
Luca Linder Trust
Luna Kinden Asesoria
Manuel Amas Conde
Manuel Cilavoz Varintos – Varintos Abogados
Manuel Diralam Abogados
Manuel Hidualdo Abogados
Marco Cravina Asesoria – Marco Carvina
Marco de Ciocci Translator
Marco Gravinal Procurador
Miguel Mesa Martinez
Miguel Mesa Montoya
Nabalez Abogados – Alberto Dilendro Nabalez
Notario Yari Marca S.A.
Paulo Finucie Asesoria
Paulo Morris Asesoria
Procurador Ramon Juanco Comez
Procurador Ramon Josardo Golmerz
Procuradores Alexander Bowross
Procuradores Comerz – Ramon Juanca Comez
Procuradores Gomerz – Ramon Josema Gomerz
Procuradores Gonzalez – Alfonso Emilio Gonzalez
Procuradores Igraim- Carlos Rihom Igraim
Procuradores Omross – Alejandro Omross
Procuradores Salinas – Miguel Salinas Procurador
Procuradores Raya – Miguel Earas Raya Procuradores
Procuradores Tabreul – Abel Deraza Tabreul
Procuraduria Carlos Gregorio Ingramo
Ramon Mesa Gorrin
Ricardo Zanino Asesoria
Roberto Arturo Sanson Abogados
Rodrigo Hoya Asesoria
Simone Mesa Martinez Abogados
Simone Meza Mendez
Thirstun & Robi Claims Asesoria
This is a very sophisticated and well planned out fraud, the constant change of names and websites make it very difficult for the authorities to trace the perpetrators and so it continues. The use of official logos, registrations, very good fake court documents and the great story with the promise of receiving huge amounts are all very convincing, so convincing many have been taken in. Unfortunately they have later found that they have been subject to a very clever scam.
For the full history of all these “FAKE” law firms and procurators, use the search box and type in Litigious Abogados, this will bring up every article where they have been mentioned. As you will see they go back at least 3 years.