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Anfi Beach Club

Friday’s Letter from America

Welcome to this week’s Friday’s Letter from America, this week we publish Part II of Karen Garello’s Secret Shopper report, but as usual we look at what is happening in Europe.

During our daily searches of various timeshare websites and forums this particular article made us chuckle. It was published on the Travel & Leisure Group (timeshare resale) website under information and Timeshare Blog, it is an interview with Gavin Brown and his recent stay at Anfi, he is manager of the said company, obviously written by one of the employees who conducted the interview.

The piece starts out with Anfi Beach Club is known throughout the timeshare industry as a real gem”. It then goes on to describe the location, “Ideally located on a heart-shaped island in Gran Canaria”. Well straight away that brought everyone down laughing, the heart shaped island is a man made island which is situated between the beach and the marina. It does not have the room for the huge resort called Anfi! It does however have sunbeds, a cocktail bar and a restaurant. You can also hire the island for weddings, if you can afford the 12,000€ for the basic package.

heart shaped island Anfi
The heart shaped island at Anfi

It turns out that Mr Brown, who has been in the timeshare industry for years, has never owned a timeshare, (I wonder why?). Mr Brown stated that he always booked with online travel agents and package holidays, but due to sometimes being disappointed with room location and the standards of the hotels, he felt that timeshare resorts offered better standards.

Well, we can agree with that, so why did he choose Anfi? As he put it he has a great knowledge of Anfi, having sold so many resale weeks, so when “A fantastic week and apartment became available at a great price, and I couldn’t pass it up”. Although we couldn’t help wondering if he would have bought at the ridiculous prices direct from Anfi?

He then goes on with a wonderful sales pitch on how great the place is, the wonderful facilities and the great restaurants, with reasonable prices compared to other 5* resorts. Well sorry Mr Brown, but you can get even better food at even better prices by leaving the resort and heading to some of the local restaurants.

The article then ends with “If this has made you consider Anfi Beach Club, or any of the other Anfi resorts, why not call Gavin himself or one of his colleagues to discuss further”?

Could it be they have that many weeks on their books they need to do a sales drive to get rid of them?

The other point to remember is that when you buy resale you don’t get all the benefits as you would buying direct from Anfi. See the link to the previous article on Resale Vs Direct.

http://insidetimeshare.com/?s=anfi+resale

It has also been announced that ABC Lawyers Ltd, another Mark Rowe company has bought Lansdown Financial Ltd, a claims company registered with the Ministry of Justice. This is another acquisition following that of Tucola Ltd and Justice4 Ltd, Mr Rowe is certainly expanding, the question is why?

After all, his past is not what you could call squeaky clean, there has been a lot in the press and on TV about some of his past enterprises, Monster Credits springs to mind. By purchasing a company already regulated by the MoJ it does save him the problem of applying to the MoJ for authorisation, then having to pass the competence and suitability assessment, which is not a simple task.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/481751/CMR_Applications_for_Authorisation_Guidance_WEB.pdf

Going back to Anfi, although the courts are closed during the month of August, some staff are still working and issuing sentence papers from cases heard previously, this particular case was heard on 6 July. The Court of First Instance in Maspalomas awarded the former Anfi member 42,625€, again the infringement of the timeshare law was the length of the contract, being over 50 years in duration. So Anfi, do you continue to deny that you are losing in the courts?

So on with this week’s Letter from America.

Link to Karen’s first report.

http://insidetimeshare.com/works-industries-not-timeshare/

Timeshare Advocacy Group™

Secret Shopper Questions and a Secret Shopper Report

two meeting

By Karen Garello, Secret Shopper Coordinator

August 18, 2017

Inside Timeshare encourages its readers to submit positive articles about timeshare experiences, so I was relieved to have attended a positive sales presentation at The Suites at Fall Creek in Branson, Missouri. Unfortunately, the presentation was followed by a less than positive customer service experience.

My Diamond saga began when I purchased a trial Sampler program I had not realized I had purchased until I returned home and saw a $3,995 charge to a Barclaycard. Diamond would not reverse the charge.

http://insidetimeshare.com/works-industries-not-timeshare/

Trying to make the best of a bad situation, I decided to attend a presentation as this is required when purchasing a Sampler. After I returned home from a Branson presentation, I attempted to access Luxury benefits but was denied access. Luxury benefits include luxury hotels, shopping and wine. When I contacted customer services at the Sampler department, asking why I was denied access, the customer service agent put me on hold for a long time while he called Branson. After completing his “investigation” he told me the reason I could not access Luxury benefits is because Branson reported me as a “NO SHOW”!!!

Had it not been for our Diamond Resorts member supported Advocacy Facebook, I probably would not have gotten the sales agent’s name, and I certainly would not have prepared a report.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/DiamondResortsOwnersAdvocacy/

Admitting deceit it seemed, the customer service agent said, according to the notes during the presentation (he initially said I had not attended), I had told the sales agent TK I had complained about the unauthorized charge to purchase the Sampler. I pointed out that I had used my American Express for all the charges I made at The Suites. Customer service said they will investigate further and get back to me.

Now onto my original article

buttons

Many timeshare companies already have Secret Shopper programs. Still, it doesn’t hurt for timesharing member Secret Shoppers to evaluate for other members how near or far a timeshare sales agent ventures from his or her script.

I guess I am not that secret of a Secret Shopper in that my name is on this article, so I hope the good experience I had at Diamond ResortsThe Suites at Fall Creek in Branson, Missouri wasn’t because they were aware of my Timeshare Advocacy Group™ position, Secret Shopper Coordinator. I’d like to give them the benefit of the doubt.

My presenter was TK Armstrong. She used to work for Bluegreen but joined Diamond because she said they have more resorts. TK and I talked for about 45 minutes. I went over my Polo Towers experience. She seemed sincerely concerned. She showed me a description of CLARITY™ Diamond’s new Enhanced Quality Assurance program. She was supportive of the program and said she was going to abide by it. She went over the Sampler product I did not realize I purchased until I returned home from Polo Towers. At least I know what I bought now.

We have three new Secret Shoppers. We will not identify them because they are, well, secret. After compiling over 100 complaints from readers who have reached out to Inside Timeshare for assistance, we have determined the most popular complaints involve the following:

  • Maintenance Fee relief program that do not exist,
  • The ability to sell points or weeks when there is no secondary market,
  • The value of travel awards,
  • Misrepresenting the value of using a credit card to offset Maintenance Fees,
  • Stating a lower loan interest rate can be obtained from a bank or credit union in order to escape high timeshare loan interest rates,
  • Oversold availability

We arm our Secret Shoppers with intelligent questions that, maybe because of being on vacation brain, people forget to ask. These are questions of course that any timeshare consumer can ask, so we share them with our readers. Transparency, honesty and accuracy are rated on a scale from one to five with a five being the most honest. Results are tabulated quarterly and sent to our team for review. After we complete our pilot program, we hope to submit the data to the respective resort for review.

Suggested Questions

  • May I take notes?

Qualifications

  • How long have you worked at this resort?
  • Have you worked at other resorts?
  • What did you do before you sold timeshare?

Consumer Protections

  • May I call my lawyer to discuss your proposal?
  • May I take the contract to my room so that I can have an adequate amount of time to review such a major purchase?
  • Are you a member? May we log onto your account so I can check actual availability and value? I am spending a significant amount of money on something I have not even attempted to use.

Resale or Exit Program

  • What happens if I can no longer use or afford the timeshare?
  • If I can sell it, how can I sell it? Who do I call? Can you give me a reference?

Note: Contact a member of the Licensed Timeshare Resale Broker Association to ask about the benefits or lack of benefits buying on the resale market and to see if they will accept a listing for the timeshare you own.

http://www.licensedtimeshareresalebrokers.org/

Maintenance Fees

  • Please show me in the paperwork the cap on maintenance fee increases. How much does a maintenance fee go up on average annually? Does it go up every year?
  • Can you provide a five year history of Maintenance Fee increases?
  • Is there anything I can do to offset Maintenance Fees?
  • If I can use my points for maintenance fees, how much per point are they credited?
  • Where in the paperwork can I verify this information?
  • If I offset Maintenance Fees with credit card purchases, please provide an example of the value of a $1 purchase and how many purchases it would take to pay off my annual maintenance Fee? (One member reported it would cost over $270,000 in annual purchases to pay a $2,700 Maintenance Fee!)
  • Can I rent my timeshare to pay Maintenance Fees?

Travel awards

  • If I can use my points for hotels, what is the value per point?
  • If I can use my points for airline tickets, what is the value per point?
  • If I can use my points for a cruise, what is the value per point?

Loans

  • Where in the paperwork does it state my loan interest rate?
  • How much will I pay for the timeshare if I carry the loan for the maximum term?
  • Is there anything I can do to reduce my interest rate?
  • What is the interest and penalty if I miss a payment?

risk

If consumers must take out a loan to buy a timeshare, consider carefully the actual cost of financing a vacation at 12 to 18%. America is a buy now pay later society. I don’t think many financial planners would recommend financing a luxury item without comparison shopping. Well over half of the complaints Inside Timeshare has received involve high interest rate financing.

We hope Secret Shoppers create smart shoppers asking the right questions before plunging into a purchase so many of our readers have come to regret. Societal changes are influencing the wants and needs of today’s traveler. Are timeshares more flexible or less if you are locked into usage and maintenance fees increasing annually.

Our first Secret Shopper, Laurie Sabbagh, offered the first Timeshare Advocacy Group™ Secret Shopper report. She reported some good and not so good observations. Of merit is the warning to timeshare buyers to take the promise of travel awards a step farther and ask, “At what value?” In general consumers should buy a timeshare for its intended purpose which is to vacation at a resort. Here is Laurie’s report:

http://insidetimeshare.com/friday-review-news-across-ocean/

Contact Inside Timeshare if you have interest in becoming a Secret Shopper or would like to share a positive or negative timeshare shopping experience. There are several member supported Facebooks and websites where members can reach out to other members to share experiences. Timeshare Advocacy Group™ posts information from all sites. Our motto, courtesy of Jimi Hendrix, is –

knowledge speaks

https://www.facebook.com/timeshareadvocategroup/

Thanks to Karen for her Secret Shopper part II, also thanks to Irene as usual for the editing and coordination from the other side of the great lake. We have many more articles coming up in the next few weeks with part II of Hug Your Haters and a piece about the Castle Law Group lawsuit with Orange Lake. We will also be having another article from our Antipodean friends from the other side of the world.

So that’s it for this week, have a great weekend and we will be with you next week.

 

 friday dog

 

Anfi SGM: What Are They Up To?

Information has been passed to Inside Timeshare from 3 sources which we have agreed not to identify, that Anfi Sales SL has called for a Special General Meeting in Gran Canaria on 23 June 2017.

This will affect the following clubs which are affected by the Supreme Court rulings: Anfi Beach Club; Club Puerto Anfi and Club Monte Anfi.

At this meeting there will be three resolutions for members to vote on:

Resolution 1: To establish occupancy periods for a maximum of 50 years duration, with an option for further recurring occupancy periods of 50 years.

Resolution 2: To limit the duration of the Timeshare Scheme to a maximum of 50 years.

Resolution 3: Total change of the Timeshare Scheme to adapt to Spanish Act 4/2012.

As far as the law 42/98 is concerned it stated that no contract was to be for more than 50 years:

“all pre-existing schemes shall have a maximum duration of 50 years which shall be calculated from 15 December 1998, unless they have a shorter lifetime or their continuance has been expressly confirmed in a relevant public deed of adaptation to be for an indefinite or a specific period of time”.

Anfi claim that theirs is covered by the “Deed of Adaptation” which was granted to them in October 2000. But from our reading of this the word “Existing” is those sold before the enforcement of the 42/98 law. Any contract sold after that date should have been in accordance to the relevant law and be no more than 50 years.

This is exactly how the Supreme Court has seen it and ruled upon.

Now according to Resolution 1, the termination of the first period of 50 years is to be week 52/2048, as the timeshare law 42/98 was passed in December 1998.

So this now begs the question if you only purchased say in 2010, then surely your 50 years should be ending in 2060 not 2048?

So this brings us to Resolution 2.

The timeshare scheme shall have a maximum period of occupancy of 50 years, now the end date to this is week 52/2048. All the club members existing at that time will automatically stop holding rights of occupancy. The rights will revert back to the founding member.

Again, the question needs to be asked what if you purchased years after 1998, say in 2010, does that mean you will lose 12 years of what you paid for?

Also under resolution 2, the termination of the contract will not entitle any member from receiving any consideration or amount from the company (Anfi Sales SL), the management company, Anfi Resorts SL or the club.

Resolution 3, is a vote on the adaptation to law 4/2012, where schemes must be in the form of Rotational Enjoyment Rights, with a maximum 50 years duration. Under this scheme it reverts to the original fixed week fixed apartment system.

In this resolution every current member will receive a number of Rotational Rights equal to the number of membership certificates that they hold. Members will also cease to hold the right of use of apartments through the club and the trustee, they will hold directly a Rotational Enjoyment Right.

The majorities for the resolutions to be passed are:

  • Resolution 1, 75% of all votes cast.
  • Resolution 2; 80% of all membership certificates.
  • Resolution 3, 80% of all membership certificates.

There is also another question that is being posed by resolution 3, are there enough of these fixed weeks and fixed apartments to go around the number of members, due to the floating weeks and points systems?

This does all look very confusing, it makes you wonder how the members, which are made up of many nationalities will be able to decide on how to vote and which one to vote on. This also looks like a way that Anfi is trying to get around the current wave of litigation it is experiencing and losing in the courts

It must be remembered that Anfi have always denied any wrongdoing, that all their contracts were legal and all the claims made about litigation were bogus. By coming up with these resolutions it looks to me they are actually admitting they were wrong, as the old saying goes “closing the stable door after the horse has bolted”,

And the reader might ask why this and why now? All this also comes as a direct result of Supreme Court rulings against the timeshare company which were won by the law firm Canarian Legal Alliance, who are specialists in timeshare claims. These rulings set groundbreaking precedents to protect timeshare consumers, with many receiving back their purchase price and having the contracts declared null & void.

Another company Holiday Club also tried the same thing, changing contracts in order to avoid litigation. That didn’t work either, the courts are not stupid. One has to wonder how many how many others have done the same so you are then unable to get back what is rightfully yours?

Again, there is a very good question that must be asked, how can the majority vote decide on the individual terms of contracts?

Each of you signed the contracts without knowing the fact that your contracts were essentially illegal, why should the you vote and protect Anfi?

They are not protecting you the members, they are protecting themselves, they know what they have done and are coercing you into saving them from past wrongdoing, a fact which they have always denied.

Inside Timeshare has followed the Anfi story for a long time, publishing many articles on them and the history of conflict between the partners, the many court battles and most recently the debacle over the Anfi Tauro Beach Project. That story is not over yet.

In the end the only losers in this will be the members.

I would suggest that you do not reply to this convocatory, and definitely do not sign it accepting the changes. You should ask yourself if this benefits You or Anfi… You can guess on what I think….

DO NOT REPLY TO IT, DO NOT SIGN, DO NOT PROTECT ANFI.

Below is the letter sent out by Anfi to members

Resolutions 2017 SGM CPA (1) (1)

QAs SGM 2017 ALL (2) (1)

The Great ANFI Battle of the Partners.

Irregularities in Anfi Tauro Beach Project

 

ANFI: Resale Vs On-site Purchase

Inside Timeshare has recently received many enquiries from readers regarding Anfi Resales, which have been private sales either through resale companies, ebay or advertised in newspapers. Would they be better buying those rather than direct from Anfi?

 

As we know, timeshare does not have a great resale value, which many owners who have paid upwards of £15,000 for a basic week have found out. With this also comes very hefty charges for maintenance, which tends to rise each and every year.

 

For those who have purchased privately for very low amounts they have found they do not qualify for any of the benefits which Anfi add on for those who purchase on-site at Anfi. These services such as the Anfi Vacation Club are included in the price when purchasing direct from Anfi, they are not free as many have been led to believe. It is also the case the annual fees are higher for these purchases than for the resale weeks, as these services will be included in the annual fees.

anfi-resale-pageWhat are these so-called benefits?

As a purchaser through Anfi Sales the following are part of the package:

  • Anfi Vacation Club Membership (this allows for internal exchanges)
  • Club and week exchanges (again internal exchanges)
  • RCI Worldwide Exchanges (You can join RCI privately and exchange through them)
  • Springfest 2 for 1 offers (very few and far between)
  • Bonus Weeks (available through RCI anyway)
  • Being able to bank or save weeks (Bank through RCI anyway)
  • Members week offers (never available)
  • Rental programme (only when available, very rare)
  • Anfi buy-back (only when available, very rare)
  • Discounts for on-site services (Restaurants, bars etc, prices are higher than off the resort anyway)

As you can see from the above, you are not actually getting anything for the higher price that you pay when purchasing direct.

Below are some examples of resale weeks advertised either privately or by resale companies.

These four are or have been posted on ebay and Timeshare Hypermarket, what needs to be remembered is that these prices are what the seller believes they can get, most of the time they will sell for a great deal less.
anfi-hyper-1

anfi-2-bed-ebay

This is taken from a Norwegian resale website, a penthouse for week 3, sleeping 6. The price at the current exchange rate is 14,000€ this would sell on-site for upwards of 45,000€

Again this is the price that the owner and the resale company have agreed they believe they can get.
anfi-penthouse-norwegian

These two are advertised on a German resale website, Anfi Beach Club would sell for upwards of  15,000€, Club Monte Anfi for more. Again the prices shown are what the resale company and owner believe they can get, they will more than likely sell for a lot less.
german-anfi-2

So to answer the question is yes you are better off with a resale week, you can join RCI directly and receive the benefits of exchanges through them, purchase the bonus weeks that RCI offer, usually at a better price than Anfi would offer.

As for the so-called discounts, try going off resort to places like Patalavaca and Arguineguin where there is a wider selection of restaurants and bars at much more reasonable prices.

Then when you eventually decide it is no longer for you, you will not be making such a loss as the person you purchased from.

Remember the cost of the timeshare from any resort will always be more than it is actually worth. They do after all have large overheads like the sales staff and marketing costs, these are the bulk of the price that you pay. So if you can pick up weeks for as little as 1500 € which means Anfi over prices the weeks by 90 % ….which is also the reason why the maintenance fees are so high.

 

Guess Who is in the News Again? More on Anfi

A day does not seem to pass without the beleaguered Anfi being in the news, this time it is Canarian Journalen, an online Norwegian journal in Gran Canaria. Their article outlines the recent sale by the Lyng family of their 50% share in Anfi to IFA Lopesan. (See link at end of article).

canarian-journalen-logo

The price given for this sale is a paltry 41.3 million euro, which pales in comparison to the reported 100 million euro the Cazorla group paid for their 50% stake in 2004. Canarian Journalen hints at the reason behind this low figure, not just the legal battle over contracts which Anfi are losing on an almost daily basis, but also the problems associated with the Tauro Beach project. They hint quite strongly this could be the involvement of the Cazorla Group in corruption accusations and scandals which may also involve “political characters”.

 

Canarian Journalen asked Ragnar Lyng if these problems influenced the decision to sell? In his reply Mr Lyng stated “It is impossible to be passive partner when it is not built on trust, says Ragnar Lyng. When asked for the main reason for the sale Mr Lyng replied, “Disagreement on business philosophy. First and foremost in how a customer should be treated.Satisfied customers will return again and again, taking with them more, and give praise that strengthens your brand. It is also about respect for other people’s fundamental approach”.

anfi logo

 

 

 

 

Just from these few words it can clearly be seen the original concept of his father had been tarnished. Instead of very happy members who wished to return year after year, they became very disgruntled with the way they were treated. This is obviously borne out by the court judgements against Anfi, with even more in the pipeline. On this point many members have stated they were happy with Anfi as a resort, the problem has been in their treatment, continuous upgrading and the lack of availability.

 

One member who has taken action said they were upgraded several times, the last being a floating week at Anfi del Mar, but when trying to book were told no availability. Yet that was the reason given to upgrade, to ensure availability. When this particular member caused a stir with bookings, he was given one of the worst locations at Anfi Beach Club, on the ground floor with all the noise from the bars and the pool to contend with. This particular client was so incensed by this they sought redress through legal action to cancel the contracts.

 

On another note it has just been announced that on 27 September, the Supreme Court made another judgement against Anfi. This was in favour of a Norwegian client of Canarian Legal Alliance. This brings the total Supreme Court Rulings to an amazing 22, with many more in the process of being heard.

CLA Logo

The Norwegian clients have been awarded 27,000 euro, with their contract being declared null & void. Again the Supreme Court ruled on the basis that “Floating Weeks” are illegal. More on this as it is made public. So to the clients and the legal team at CLA, a very big congratulations.

 

It is very clear these stories on legal action, the sale by Lyng to Lopesan and off course the ongoing investigation into the Project at Tauro Beach still have a long way to go. It will certainly keep the newspapers busy, Inside Timeshare will publish any news as and when it comes in, so watch this space!

 

http://www.canariajournalen.no/Nyheter/Lyng-familien-har-solgt-seg-ut-av-timeshare-anlegget-Anfi-del-Mar-paa-Gran-Canaria

 

If you need any information on any article published, or just need information on any company you may be dealing with, contact Inside Timeshare, if we don´t know the answer we will find out for you. Have a good weekend.

Happy Owners!!

Yes, there are some owners out there who are happy with what they bought years ago, some have learnt how to use the system to their advantage, this is one story.

 

Kim and Andy have been friends of mine for several years, we met while I was working at a restaurant and were old friends of the owners. Each year they come back for their week at Anfi Beach Club, which they have owned for around 15 years. They have a fixed week and return to the same apartment each time. This suits them perfectly.

 

Over the years Kim & Andy have however been subject to the coffee and chat routine with in house reps. They have tried to convert them or upgrade them to floating weeks, points and even tried the sell them Tauro Golf. Each time they have declined.

on holiday 2

As they have said they like what they own. “The apartment we own is situated so that we get the sun from 9.30 am until around 5.30 pm on our balcony”. Sounds idyllic. “ We also have great views and it is relatively peaceful, whilst still being close to the pool and beach”. They also added “this year when we arrived the apartment had new appliances fitted, these were of good quality, so we felt our maintenance fees had been well spent”:

 

Why did they not take up any of the offers? “We realised that these little chats were nothing more than a sales meeting, they could not offer us the guarantees that we had with our fixed week at the Beach Club”. They also said that these meetings were taking up valuable time from their week, so now they politely decline any invitation from the rep and continue to enjoy their holiday.

 

Around ten years ago they also purchased Infinity Points from Petchey. They bought 60,000, and these could be used to book at a multitude of resorts. As they said “whenever we wanted, each resort / week had a set number of points, we could save points from 1 year to use the next or borrow from the upcoming year”:

on holiday 1

As they pointed out there is an exchange fee to book RCI resorts that were out of the Infinity Portfolio. “This was working well for us in the initial years. However on one visit to Grangefield Oasis we fell prey to one unscrupulous rep”.

 

They remember his name was Sheldon, he managed to convince them to upgrade another 40,000 points. This gave them 100,000 points to use, it also according to him gave them enough to qualify for corporate membership and the company could then rent out  the points making them some money which would cover the maintenance costs.

 

“On our next visit to Portugal when we went for our “chat” with the rep, we discovered that this was not right”, how many times have I heard this. “The rep concerned had been caught doing this a lot and was subsequently sacked”. They were told that unfortunately there was nothing that could be done to reduce the points back to the original 60,000 or compensate them in any way for the additional costs. “So we had to put it down to a bad experience and learn from it”:

 

Initially they struggled to use all their allocated points before they expired, they just didn’t have the time or afford to take that many holidays. As the years have gone on “we have found it easier as we have used our points to send family away and have enough points for better apartments”. They have also found “a place we love in Portugal that also enables us to have short breaks as well”:

 

They are now looking forward to the future when the extra points will allow them to spend more time away in the winter sun. They also now avoid doing the rep chat wherever they go.

 

This does show that for some timeshare is working, I have said it before it is not the concept but the way in which it is sold that is the problem. The experience of Kim and Andy at the hands of Sheldon show this.

on holiday

Inside Timeshare would like to thank Kim and Andy for their time in talking to me and writing their experiences down for this article. Inside Timeshare wants to create a balanced view, not just highlighting the bad things around this industry, but also show some of the positive outcomes.

 

Charles Thomas

 

Inside Timeshare