Inside Timeshare, today brings you the story of one Norwegian families “Nightmare on Timeshare Street”, with photographs of the “Penthouse” in a “5 Star” hotel they purchased around 20 years ago. As usual, all the promises they were given when they purchased around 20 years ago never came to fruition.
This family were on holiday in Gran Canaria with their 2 young sons and the hotel they were staying at in Playa del Ingles was not up to scratch, in their words “it was of a very poor standard”.
While they were out at one of the local shopping centres they were approached by the usual “OPC’s” or commonly known as “timeshare touts”. The usual “pitch was given along with the ubiquitous “scratch cards”, you guessed it, they won the “star prize”.
They went by taxi to attend the presentation and receive their “gifts” ending up at The Airtours Beach Club, now known as Blue Bay in San Augustin on the outskirts of Maspalomas. This area is very popular with the Scandinavian community and is actually a rather nice area.
On arriving at reception they were duly impressed especially seeing the many plaques showing “5 Star” status. The usual “tour” ensued and they were shown several apartments. After the sales presentation, they purchased a week in the “Penthouse”.
This year they used their timeshare in the “Penthouse” and had a very big shock, the place was falling to pieces and was definitely not “5 Star” standard. Since the year 2000, they have paid well over 20,000€ in maintenance fees and for this year 2019, the cost was over 1,300€. As you will see from the small sample of photographs provided it is looking decidedly shabby and is certainly not a “5 Star Penthouse Suit” more like “Cockroach City”. On top of this, they had to pay for the use of “pool towels at 20€ and the television is old with a pay to view box!
These are just some of the images received by Inside Timeshare
We do know that Airtours Beach Club/Blue Bay has had some very severe problems over the past few years, most of which have been due to financial mismanagement of the resort by previous management companies. Several years ago it was placed in embargo and was due to be auctioned by the court, but it turns out there was interest or bidders, probably due to the financial debt that was attached to the property.
This is not an isolated case, Inside Timeshare has received many complaints over the years about falling standards at timeshare resorts, but this is by far the worst. To be fair, many of the timeshare resorts are of a good standard and well maintained, but for those that are not, it is a serious blight on the industry.
Welcome to The Tuesday Slot, this week we welcome another new contributor Wilma Miller with her “Nightmare on Timeshare Street” and her Buyer Beware article. First we have a quick round up of European news.
October is now with us and in the next few months the annual maintenance bills will be arriving, this will also bring in many calls from “companies” offering cancellation of contracts and claims against timeshare resorts. The warning is beware the fantastic offers these will come out with, from the guaranteed cancellation and the promise of no win no fee claims.
As usual it is important to do your due diligence before engaging with any company, that means check and check again. There are many questions you should be asking yourself:
How long has this company been operating, can they actually have done what they state in the time they have been working?
If they are offering “no win no fee” claims, how are they going to claim?
In order to do the claim do they want money upfront to cancel the contract first?
Are they going to sell you another product?
What lawyers are they going to use if taking the case to a Spanish Court?
Can these lawyers be verified as genuine and registered with their relevant bar associations?
If you need help in answering any of these questions, then use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will point you in the right direction.
The Courts of First Instance in Maspalomas began the month with another ruling against Anfi, in his ruling the Judge of Court No 4 declared the contract null and void, this was on the basis that the contract was longer than the stipulated maximum of 50 years as required by Law 42/98. The judge also awarded double the deposit paid within the cooling off period as this is also in breach of the law, in this case the German client has been award over 66,000€ plus legal interest.
Last month ended with a bang for Canarian Legal Alliance with a total of 18 sentences being issued in various courts ranging from First Instance to High Courts, there were also 6 provisional executions of sentences whereby Anfi has been ordered to deposit over 184,000€ with the court. These provisional executions of sentences will speed up and ensure prompt payouts for the clients.
All contracts were declared null and void and the total awarded was over 286,000€
It would also appear that Abogados Lopez another fake law firm has become active again, with calls to existing CLA clients telling them that they have taken over their case from CLA. Beverley Pritchard is another new new name along with Ricardo Sanchez.
0044 1291 440 500 which is a Chepstow code, although when trying to call this number back a recording states the number does not exist.
If you are an existing client of Canarian Legal Alliance and receive a call from any of the names or numbers above including the original name of Hope Brugge, do not pay them or give them any information, they may sound credible, but are a complete scam.
Now for our Tuesday Slot.
A Buyer Beware Timeshare Experience
By Wilma Miller
October 2, 2018
We first encountered Diamond Resorts while on vacation June 2017. Their people knocked us off our feet with free tickets to a show, and switched us from the Stratosphere to Diamond’s Polo Towers Suites. They even picked us up in a limousine! All we had to do was attend a 90 minute presentation. It’s easy to catch people off guard while on vacation.
Looking back, I believe the presentation room was designed to be noisy and crowded. The 90 minutes turned into hours. I am 78 and my husband James, a Vietnam Army veteran, is 75. As the hours wore on we became more tired and more confused. The presentation began about 11 a.m. and lasted all day.
James has health issues. He was not feeling well after several hours had passed, but the sales agents just kept on. It did not even register when we mentioned his health issues. Sales agents Ninmar N and Diana C were vague on how the program worked. They were vague on the cancellation procedure, and the payment procedure. We felt pressured into signing and we were not allowed enough time to read the documents. They showed us the documents as they explained what was in them, but did not give us a chance to actually hold or read them before we signed. They hurried us through the signing process by placing papers in front of us, telling us what it said, asking us to sign. We later received a copy.
They had said we were eligible for a senior package. We’ve learned there is no such thing called a senior package. We did not know the maintenance fees would be so high. We did not even know we had purchased a timeshare. Jim kept asking if this was a timeshare. They never admitted it was.
We bought 3000 points. They charged $14,000 to two Diamond’s Barclaycard. We were not aware we had opened the cards, much less that the cards had been charged. We repeatedly told the sales agents we were not interested, but they kept insisting we sign the contract.
After the signing process, they placed the Diamond Resorts U.S. Collection Public Offering Statement in our packet. We were not given an opportunity to even see what it was, much less read it. They said no one ever reads it. When we looked at it later it said right on the front – THE PROSPECTIVE PURCHASER SHOULD READ THIS REPORT BEFORE SIGNING ANY PAPERS!
In our opinion, the biggest deception of all was when they told us the payment would be $80 per month with no interest and Diamond Resorts would invoice us for the payment. This is in complete contrast to what has since transpired. Instead of one payment of $80, there are two payments, making it double the price they told us.
We received two Diamond Barclays Bank Credit Cards in the mail. As I mentioned, we were not even aware the cards had been opened. One Barclaycard was in my name and the other in James’ name. Neither agent mentioned credit cards during the presentation. They said we had to fill out an application to see if we would qualify. We never received a copy of the application.
To add insult to injury, the credit cards had no interest charges until now. Now the two payments are too much for us to afford.
After we received the high maintenance fee bill and credit cards, we went back for our orientation August 2017. We told them several times that we wanted to cancel or sell the timeshare. We said we wanted out. When we told one person, they would get another person to talk to us. They tried to sell us an upgrade even when we said we could not afford what we bought! We talked to several sales people, but they ignored our concerns. It was obvious to us they did not care. We never saw our original sales agents. Despite being told it was an orientation, we received no training or explanations.
We complained to Diamond Resorts directly. They dismissed our claims out of hand. They expect us to pay for something based on being told:
This was a great financial investment that would increase in value,
There were tax benefits as owners,
We could easily sell it,
Diamond had a buy-back program but recommended we never use it because we would lose all our points,
We would have a personal representative or coordinator assigned to us. They said this several times. We never heard from anyone, much less a personal representative or coordinator.
They did not tell us:
How much vacation time we would get. We kept asking the sales agents but never received an answer. They bypassed every question.
We received 3000 points, but when we asked how we could use them, they gave us a confusing run around.
When we asked about maintenance fees and other fees, they avoided answering our questions by changing the subject.
We have sent a letter saying we cannot and will not make payments. We received a lot of collection calls. We sent a letter asking that the calls be stopped. They did stop. We had a high credit score before this. We stopped making payments around March. We received a form saying they would settle for a lower amount. They were talking about the Barclaycard.
James has been diagnosed with cancer. It’s hard enough growing older without having to go through this. How many seniors will be harmed and harassed before lawmakers and Nevada regulators do something to stop this? We fear it will never stop, so the best we can do is write about our experience, hoping it will help others.
When I submitted this article to Inside Timeshare, I was told about this member sponsored Diamond Resorts Members’ Facebook page. I wish I knew about this Facebook before we got ourselves into this. It’s been a disaster.
This article was written and submitted by Wilma Miller. We invite Diamond Resorts and Barclays to respond. We publish member accounts, good and bad, in an effort to warn the general public to know what they are signing and what they are buying.
That’s it for today, remember to do your homework before engaging with any company that has contacted you or one that you have found on the internet. It must also be pointed out that just because a company advertises in a prestigious publication, the radio or the TV, this does not mean they are genuine, these are sold advertising spaces, the marketing companies that sell them do not check on the authenticity of the company advertising. They will also publish a disclaimer, that they are not responsible for the content or authenticity of the advertiser.
If in doubt, use our contact page and we will be pleased to help you with your checks.
Tomorrow Friday’s Letter from America is not the one that was scheduled, we have had to replace it at the last minute due to a very good result, we will give you more on this tomorrow,
Today Inside Timeshare has received an enquiry from another reader search for information on a new name which has cold called them. This is Donaldson Bruce Associates, on searching the net for any information about them nothing can be found, there are no company records for them, just their website:
This was registered on 14 December 2017, so is only just 6 months old, the owner of the website is protected by a privacy protect service and is registered in the United States.
They show no address or company registration number on the website, or any registration to any official body such as Ministry of Justice for claims management or anything else, there is a contact form and telephone number, which is for the Sheffield area: 0114 303 0678
So what are the offering?
Well it is the usual claiming compensation and getting your money back for your timeshare, but just looking at the FAQs section, it becomes obvious that they will be doing this on a section 75 basis. Which as we have stated before is unlikely to work as the timeshare company, unless they have gone bust, will rightly claim to the credit card company that you have received the goods and services paid for, as you will probably have used it. If you claim that you could never use it due to lack of availability of dates you require, the timeshare company will just say that they offered alternatives and that it was explained to the member that it is “subject to availability”. The credit card company will refuse the claim.
This is either a new claims company or a contact page front for another of the established “claims” companies we have reported on in the past?
Either way, just by the information we have, it does not look like a good idea to have anything to do with them, even though their website does say “SAFETY AND PEACE OF MIND, ONLY WITH DONALDSON BRUCE ASSOCIATES”.
On Tuesday 8 May, Canarian Legal Alliance had what can only be described as a very successful and eventful day, no less than SEVEN sentences issued!
All contracts were also declared null and void, with the courts also awarding legal fees and legal interest in most of the cases.
Yesterday Wednesday 9 May, also saw the Court of First Instance Number 4 in Maspalomas issuing yet another judgement against Anfi. In this case the client will receive back over 10,000€ plus legal interest, with their contract being declared null and void.
So what a few day the lawyers have had and several very happy clients and ex-timeshare owners!
Join us tomorrow for our weekly Letter from America.