Press Release from CLA, Plus a Quick Look at the Biggest Timeshare Fraud in History

As August is very much the summer holiday month, there is not a lot of news from the courts in Spain, but it is a month when some of the new names and old ones will be making a comeback on the scam front. We will be keeping a watch on these and will start reporting them as and when they do become active.

Following on from Start the Week on Monday, we reported the news from the Royal Courts of Justice regarding the case of the Financial Conduct Authority and the validation order issued to Barclay Partner Finance:

We have been given the following press release from Canarian Legal Alliance.

On 19 June 2018, a representative from Canarian Legal Alliance attended the hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice, Upper Tribunal, Tax and Chancery Division, to represent the interests of one of our clients.

These clients had been sold timeshare in Malta by Azure Resorts and were financed by loan agreements with Barclay Partner Finance. It transpires that these loan agreements were brokered by an unauthorised agent Azure Services Ltd. As such these agreements breached the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.

This affected 1,444 credit agreements with a total value of £47 million, in the period between 1 April 2014 and 24 April 2016.

This made the agreements unenforceable, which entitled the borrowers to recover their money and have the agreements cancelled. Therefore BPF applied to the Financial Conduct Authority in May 2017 to have a validation order issued to rectify this. The FCA on the evidence and information at the time issued the order to validate the loan agreements in February 2018.

This validation would then entitle BPF to retain money paid to them under the agreements, also allowing BPF to enforce payments by any consumer who defaulted.

On 1 August 2018 Judge Timothy Herrington issued his judgement, in his ruling he stated the FCA should re-examine the original order and take into account “client detriment”, a factor which the FCA had not considered in the original order.

In the case of our client, this “client detriment” is very clear, they were mislead into purchasing the timeshare as an investment with the promise of income rental and then resale, which never materialised. They were pressured into signing the loan agreement after hours of high pressure timeshare sales tactics, even though our client explained they could ill afford the timeshare.

They were not explained the terms and conditions of the agreement or the full extent of the cost, the product they were purchasing was not suitable for their needs and would not fulfill the promises given. They were also mislead as to the length of the loan agreement, being 2 years and not 15 years which it turned out to be.

There were no proper credit checks made with regards to affordability or the ability to afford the repayments, they were not asked to provide any proof of income (bearing in mind they were both in their 70’s and on pensions), or any proof of outgoings.

Once the validation order is overturned by the FCA, this will leave our client able to recover all money paid to BPF and have the loan agreement declared null and void.

This ruling may also have an effect on loan agreement for timeshares purchased via loans even by an authorised broker. As a law firm we have many clients who have gone through the same process, lengthy presentations, high pressure sales and no proper checks regarding the ability to afford the repayments. We believe this may give clients an avenue to have these agreements cancelled and be reimbursed the money paid.

Canarian Legal Alliance

Our thanks to CLA for that information, now a quick look at an old story which was prompted by an item on ITV News, this was an interview by the wife of John “Goldfinger” Palmer who was shot and killed at his Essex home in June 2015.

In the interview she expressed her disbelief at the inability of Essex Police to find her husband’s killer, which the police believe was a professional hit. She also claimed she felt “sorry” for those who lost thousands in the timeshare scam. This is after she started the interview with “It was a wonderful Lifestyle” and “We had everything we possibly could want”. On whose money is the question?

The timeshare scam involved 17,000 victims and was worth over £100 million, it revolved around the multiple selling of timeshare units, resorts that had not been built or ever going to be built and ones without any planning permission.

It has been regarded as the biggest timeshare fraud in history.

Palmer was eventually jailed for 8 years in 2001 in the UK after being convicted for timeshare fraud. He was also ordered to repay around £33 million to his victims, but as the Crown Prosecution Service bungled the paperwork this order was overturned to the consternation of the police. He was released in 2005 and returned to Tenerife.

He was eventually arrested on the runway and bundled into a military transport and taken to Madrid to await trial by the Spanish authorities, he spent 2 years in jail and was then released on bail returning to the UK. The rest as they say is history.

Click on the link below to see the interview and the second link which is a report by Roger Cook made around 2 years ago on the full story of John “Goldfinger” Palmer, from his involvement in the Brinks Mat bullion robbery through to his timeshare frauds.

Join us tomorrow for our Letter from America, this week Irene Parker reports on the Whistleblowers Summit which she attended in Washington DC in July, you will certainly find it a revelation.


One Comments

  • James Holmes

    August 18, 2018

    We have owned our week at Americano for 22 years. We paid cash for it and have always paid our dues and fees early. We have in the past paid some special assessments
    , but never of this magnitude. We have in the past been told that we had plenty of insurance to cover whatever damage. That is part of the fees we pay every year. The deal was always satisfactory to us because we felt we were getting what we paid for. That was a safe place with family ideals to take our family to enjoy a vacation. In the past few years that has steadily gone downnhill. We used to be able to let our grandkids go down without us and not worry. In the past few years we have been unable to do this because there are so many drunks and fights going on. The police were called out several times during the last week that we stayed there. It is no longer a safe place.
    In addition to that , now they are wanting us to pay a large assessment to cover damages from the hurricanes that they say insurance has not paid. How can that be when we’ve been assured all along that we had enough insurance to cover anything! We have asked ARC for an accounting of the spent money that the insurance co has already paid. They hem haw around and we never get that accounting. Dont you think as ownwrs we have a right to have an accounting of that money since our money goes to pay these premiums?
    Most recently, we had a rep call us to offer options to “get out” from under our ownership. All of these options included signing over our paid for week and paying them $5000-6000 to change to abother system. I dont think this is legal. This is coercion and extortion in my book. We told the guy that called us that what we wanted was an accounting of the money that the insurace co has already sent and thwn we would make our decision about our next step of action. He promised us to get that info emailed to us within the week and he would then call us back to again discuss the situation the next Saturday. Needless to say, we have received NO info from him and he did NOT call us back. This seems luke a big scam to me and this should be stopped. I think its time to get State govt and maybe even Federal govt involved in this situation.
    I have a written contract that has NEVER been revised, stating that we ould never have to pay over 50% of the room cost at anytime we wanted to come down and stay or rent a room for family. That was good 2 years ago, but when we rented our son a room last year, we had to pay full price. If we have never had our original contract changed, shouldnt the contract that we have be honored? I know that we have never signed a revision. We are waiting to see what happens next to see what our actions are going to be, but i dont plan to give up this property that we have paid for many times over without a fight! We need all the support that we can get.


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