Over the past few years, Anfi has been in the news for many reasons, the main ones are the number of cases they have been losing in the courts and the Tauro Beach Project. The project at Tauro beach has also recently been in the news with the former head of the Coastal Authority being sentenced to 3 years in jail. He was found guilty of falsifying documents giving permission for Anfi to carry out the work in establishing a man-made beach months before the permissions were signed. The Canarian Government is in the process of revoking the permissions and licenses allowing Anfi to develop Tauro Beach, this will be a devastating blow to their finances. As for the court cases, there seems to be no sign that these will be ending anytime soon.
All this must be having some effect on the Anfi cash flow, we know they are employing delaying tactics in paying clients what the courts have ordered. It is believed that in many cases it is transferring funds from one account to another, rather like Silverpoint. We also know the Canarian Government is in the process of revoking the permissions and licenses allowing Anfi to develop Tauro Beach, this will also be a devastating blow to their finances.
Is this an attempt to hide the money and not pay what they are legally obliged to pay claiming cash flow problems?
Or are they actually running out of money?
Where does this leave IFA as 50% shareholders, as they have no control over the board or the company?
Are IFA aware of what Anfi are doing?
The courts are taking a very dim view of Anfi tactics, they have already seen through them, a very good case in point is the one regarding a Norwegian client of Canarian Legal Alliance, Mr Hoyer. Due to the delays and arguments by Anfi on his case, he was awarded 100,000€ above the 31,000€ he originally paid giving him 131,000€. This was the court’s way of punishing Anfi for basically wasting the courts time.
Highlight and right click on link below for the full report
This was a very expensive case for Anfi, yet, they are still attempting to do the same thing with every case that goes before the courts. Obviously, the courts are not too pleased with this and investigations have been ordered by the Fiscal (State Prosecutor) into Anfi funds and bank accounts.
This is not the first time we have reported on “missing funds” we know that between 2012 and 2013 8 Million Euros had been diverted which was noticed by the Lyng family, then only last year in November we reported on a lawsuit between the Cazorla Brothers for unfair administration of funds, to the value of 718,000€ the result of the case has still yet to be issued. (see links below).
The delaying tactics Anfi are employing are constant appeals to the High Court and lodging appeals with the Supreme Court, this is due only to a lack of liquidity or cash flow even taking into account the fines and interest they will accrue. It is also very frustrating to the clients with cases already won in the Courts of First Instance, it is also being used as a ploy by Anfi to put people off taking legal action.
Another method which Anfi are employing to ward off future lawsuits from disgruntled members is the attempt to change contracts, they have so far tried twice to convince members to change, but this has resulted in a very poor response. What we do know is that with all the legal problems members are very concerned with the future of Anfi.
We now look at IFA as 50% shareholders, they do not have the “golden share” so they have no control over the board or the company, we know that IFA has set aside millions for a full takeover of Anfi, but are they actually aware of what is going on. It is more than likely that Anfi has not even disclosed this matter with IFA. IFA is a public company and is therefore responsible to have this disclosed to its shareholders, the question is if they are aware, have their shareholders been notified?
Inside Timeshare has spoken to an IFA shareholder and in the last quarterly report, there was no mention of the possible millions in losses. So it would seem that IFA shareholders are also being kept in the dark.
Are the IFA shareholders aware that there are around 50 million euros in claims pending against Anfi?
How is this going to affect IFA if they do eventually take full control, will they continue in the same way or will they settle the claims in the quickest way possible?
All we know at the moment is Anfi are moving funds around the different bank accounts, to us it looks like what is happening with Silverpoint, using the transfer of funds to other parts of the company to hide the money and eventually seek liquidation due to “cash flow” problems.
Unfortunately, there are more questions than answers, answers that Inside Timeshare will be looking for and publishing on these pages.
If you have purchased any Anfi product and want to know if your contract contravenes Spanish timeshare law giving you a valid case and you would like to secure your “investment”, then use our contact page. Inside Timeshare will help you find out your legal position and point you in the right direction.
Welcome to the start of another week at Inside Timeshare, over the past few weeks we have been publishing many articles on Silverpoint, especially the move by the parent company Limora Investments Ltd (BVI) filing for liquidation. We have also published the news that The Paramount – Club Paradiso has closed their doors with many members unable to book, the website is down and no one seems to be answering the phones. We also reported on Keys Concierge having also gone into liquidation with all the staff losing their jobs, as we know the administrator dealing with the liquidation is Alex Lawson of Alvarez and Marsal working on behalf of the Trotta family.
So as you can imagine, Inside Timeshare has been inundated with emails enquiring about the legality of all the products sold by Silverpoint. The most prolific of these products and having by far the highest costs are the “Company Participation Scheme”, with purchases from 40,000€ all the way to 150,000€ plus. Just on the enquiries Inside Timeshare has received we are looking at purchases of well over one million euros, this certainly is a very big money making scheme, the question is where has it all Gone?
Now for some news from the courts around Spain.
Last Friday the leading law firm in timeshare litigation Canarian Legal Alliance, announced their results for the week, with 26 victories in various courts around Spain.
At the Court of First Instance in Maspalomas Gran Canaria, there were 11 cases found against Anfi, with 2 cases at the High Court of Las Palmas being found in favour of the clients after Anfi appealed.
At the same Court of First Instance, a sentence was issued against Palm Oasis.
In the Court of First Instance of Arona, Tenerife, Silverpoint was on the receiving end of the judges, with 11 rulings against them in favour of the CLA clients.
The last was against Club la Costa in Fuengirola, where the judge again found in favour of the client.
As usual, all contracts were declared null and void with the courts ordering a total of 1,226,260.15€ A very expensive week for the timeshare industry indeed. But at the end of the day, had they sold their products in accordance with the law, then they would not be finding themselves in this position.
If you have purchased any timeshare product in Spain and would like to know if you have a valid and viable claim or would just like to know your legal position and your options, then use our contact page. We will get back to you and point you in the right direction.
Over the past few years Inside Timeshare has been following the story of the Anfi Tauro Beach Project. This was the creation of a manmade beach along with the development of the land to build a commercial centre and hotels. As we know there has been much controversy over the project, with the Head of the Coastal Authority José María Hernández de León being sacked and charged. His trial has now begun.
The former head is being prosecuted for illegally authorising the creation of an artificial beach at Tauro. The project was being financed by Anfi, who saw this as their flagship project, it would also involve the illegal importation of sand from the Western Sahara, which is banned by International law as well as Spanish and European law.
On the first day of the trial, the charges are of prevarication and falsehood, which Hernández denies vehemently, stating he always proceeded within the law. The Environmental Prosecutor has called for a jail term of three and a half years.
This trial is set to open up a can of worms, especially if it turns out that Anfi had influenced the passing of the plans and the starting of the work without the correct permissions and licences.
The Mayor of Mogan Onalia Bueno was also being investigated for authorising the work to start before the permissions were signed, several months after the fact. That investigation is still underway.
We shall bring you the latest news on this trial as it emerges.
The calls are being made by a former sales agent Geert de Greef, in the call, he is offering the client the chance to take legal action through the courts against Silverpoint, the cost 15,000€, but he then drops the price to 10,000€.
Geert de Greef apparently is also sending out a POA (poder) without the agreement of the client. In the agreement all the client’s details including passport numbers are present, this only leads us to believe that he is working from the official client data held by Silverpoint. So does this mean that they are cooperating with Silverpoint or have the details been stolen?
This is something we leave you the reader to decide, whichever it is, it certainly is not ethical and may even be in breach of data protection laws due to the information that they are holding such as passport details.
If you have been contacted by Nordic Consulting and especially Geert de Greef, contact Inside Timeshare and we will point you in the right direction, remember it may not be illegal to cold call but holding personal information without your knowledge or permission is.
Welcome to this weeks Letter from America, today Irene Parker sets out instructions on how to file complaints with the FBI and the FTC (Federal Trade Commission). Unfortunately, many of the requests for help Inside Timeshare receives fall into the category of fraud, yet the industry still does not recognise that they need to change.
Before we start a bit of news from the Spanish Courts.
The lawyers from Canarian Legal Alliance have been at it again this week with a resounding 25 sentences issued against timeshare companies.
These have been broken down as 3 issued from the High Court and 22 from the Court of First Instance. With Anfi receiving 24 judgements against them and Club La Costa receiving 1. The Club la Costa case was heard at the court of First Instance in Fuengirola, Malaga and is the very first case to involve one of CLA’s Spanish clients. (Click on the PDF below for the court sentence).
The other cases were clients from the UK and Scandinavia, with most receiving double the deposits paid and the return of legal fees, all contract were also declared null and void.
The total amount awarded in all these cases is a staggering 828,329€. So congratulations to the clients and also the entire legal team at Canarian Legal Alliance.
Now for our Letter from America.
Timeshare Accountability Group™
FBI and FTC Filing Instructions and Talking Points
April 26, 2019
By Irene Parker
When timeshare members feel they have experienced unfair and deceptive timeshare sales practices, the member should first reach out to their resort in an attempt to resolve the dispute. If informed, “You signed a contract” or “We are not responsible for what our sales agents say,” file a Better Business Bureaucomplaint and file a complaint with the Attorney General from the state where you signed a contract.
Unfortunately, some timeshare complaints meet the FBI definition of white-collar crime. If the complaint is of a nature that meets the following description, file with the FBI at IC3.gov or file orally by contacting an FBI field office.
# 1 IC3.gov
Timeshare fraud falls under White Collar Crime/Mortgage Fraud/Financial Institution Fraud/Fraud for Profit. click on the link below to read about mortgage fraud. The general definition of white-collar crime is “deceit, concealment, violation of trust, and bait and switch.”
Fraud for profit: Those who commit this type of mortgage fraud are often industry insiders using their specialized knowledge or authority to commit or facilitate the fraud. Current investigations and widespread reporting indicate a high percentage of mortgage fraud involves collusion by industry insiders, such as bank officers, appraisers, mortgage brokers, attorneys, loan originators, and other professionals engaged in the industry.
Fraud for profit aims not to secure housing, but rather to misuse the mortgage lending process to steal cash and equity from lenders or homeowners.
To file a complaint with the FBI, select IC3.gov from the three choices available. It’s confusing because IC stands for Internet Crime, but it doesn’t have to be about internet crime. That’s just the name of the portal. You can file a complaint on behalf of someone else. At the end of the form it will ask if you are filing on someone else’s behalf.
Some of the information that the IC3.gov online form asks for is not necessary – fields like routing numbers, bank addresses. Don’t worry about having all that information. They are not required fields. Victim bank is the bank from where you made payments or the credit card company. Subject bank is where you send your payments.
If you receive additional information after filing an original complaint, there is a handy box to check that asks, “Is this an update to a prior report?” Start the complaint over, but check that box to add the new information.
Step #2 File an oral FBI report 24/7
You can also file orally by contacting an FBI field office. Contact the field office where you signed a contract. Members have reported some agents have spent one or two hours on the phone with them. One member met with her FBI agent!
When you call the field office, select “Submit a Tip” then wait for the white-collar crime prompt. One person ended up in the wrong pew of the right church told they had to have lost a million dollars or more to file a complaint. That’s not true.
Members report the FBI has been responsive, but the FBI agent needs to be convinced getting a lawyer will do nothing to stop the problem of timeshare fraud for profit. Timeshare companies have armies of lawyers and they can drag a proceeding on forever until the member is broke. It is an understatement to say timeshare attorneys don’t look favourably on the arbitration process.
Whether filing at IC3.gov or orally, you can provide the name and phone number of other victims, especially if you are aware of similar complaints. That way the FBI can look up other reports directed against the same repeat offender sales agent.
Sheila Brust’s article, “Just the Facts, Ma’am” is about her experience reaching out to the FBI. Sheilah worked for New York Governor’s Office of Employee Relations. The FBI advised Sheila to file with the Secret Service because her allegation also involved credit card fraud.
Don’t expect to hear back from the FBI. They don’t work like that. That doesn’t mean they are not listening. It takes volumes of complaints and a pattern of complaints to launch any investigation, whether with the FBI or with an Attorney General.
Filing your own complaint requires dedication and perseverance. Resolutions can be accomplished, empowered with information the member needs to take matters into their own hands. Thinking beyond their own dilemma, members can become one of our volunteer Supporters to help others.
Our Complaint Instructions were revised by a millennial timeshare buyer who followed our complaint instructions to resolve her dispute.
How to File a Complaint revised January 25, 2019
Timeshare member complaints tend to start out convoluted and confusing. We suggest having a friend or neighbor, not familiar with timeshare, read your complaint to see if it makes sense. Provide examples. Expect to be denied. Read the reason for dismissal and respond with a rebuttal.
Saying things like “I can’t afford this” is useless. You can’t go to your home mortgage lender and say “I can’t afford my home mortgage” and expect them to take your house back. You signed a legally binding contract. If there was no deception, you are bound by the contract, although it’s possible to request a contract cancellation due to medical or financial hardship.
We refer to a lawyer about one in ten times when all else fails, or the member does not have the time or energy to follow our process, which is admittedly timeshare consuming. A list of reputable law firms is provided upon request.
You must inform the FBI agent why you experienced unfair and deceptive sales practices. The agent you speak with may know nothing about timeshare basics. Explain the contract is perpetual, there is no secondary market, and when members complain, the company often hides behind the oral representation clause.
Your mission is to convince the FBI that this is not about only a few complaints. This article “Timeshare Foreclosure Explained to Lenders” lists just a few of the Attorneys General investigations and lawsuits, and the St. Louis Better Business Bureau reporttells consumers what to watch out for:
When a member complains, they are shown their initials on the fine print,
Retaining an attorney will not stop unfair and deceptive business practices,
Litigation is time-consuming and expensive,
Arbitration is widely known to be pro-industry. If you lose you can end up paying the resort’s arbitration fees. The resort hires the arbitrators.
The CFPB has been rendered ineffective. Even in the CFPB heyday members could not file a complaint because the borrower often doesn’t even know the name of their lender. You had to select a financial institution from the dropdown menu and timeshare companies are not a choice.
Some state AGs turn a blind eye. At a Florida legislative workshop in Tallahassee March 12 of this year, the spokesperson for the Florida AG reported their office received 1,600 annual timeshare complaints in 2017 and 2018, mostly about the initial sales presentation, 50% seniors, of which the AG engaged only 42 of the complaints, mostly about resales. This spells no enforcement. The Nevada Real Estate Division responded to all our readers with a “You have no proof letter.”
Timeshare members give the ARDA ROC Political Action Committee approximately $5 million dollars annually, often “Opt-Out” donations. We have heard from over 800 timeshare members. Not one could tell us what ARDA ROC even stands for. ARDA ROC vigorously opposed recent proposed pro-consumer changes in Arizona.
Let us know if you are active duty military, law enforcement, a government worker or a veteran, as we are supported by WhistleBlowers of America. They added timeshare fraud to their March 14, 2018 report before the Committees on Veterans’ Affairs (the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has since been all but dismantled and we changed our name from TS Advocacy to Timeshare Accountability Group):
601 Pennsylvania Ave, South Tower, Suite 900 Washington, DC 20004
Ms. Jacqueline Garrick, LCSW-C
Whistleblowers of America
Committees on Veterans’ Affairs
U.S. House of Representatives
March 14, 2018
House and Senate Committee Members:
Whistleblowers of America (WoA) was incorporated in 2017, as a newly focused nonprofit service organization providing peer support to whistleblowers, so we are honored to be able to share our concerns with you today. The majority of our contacts are with Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) employees or veterans who have identified waste, fraud, and abuse, medical errors, denials of care or benefits, discrimination, harassment or bullying. For doing so, they have suffered reprisal and retaliation. From the report:
Fraud and Scams Against Veterans:
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.
Consider a donation to Whistleblowers of America if you have been helped by Timeshare Accountability Group™
It’s remarkable that a timeshare member must go through this many stressful hoops concerning a product that was sold to be stress reducing. If you have skills that could help others, consider becoming a Supporter. Contact TAG.
3Rs or F of Timeshare
The Timeshare Tax Trap, February 26, 2019
Arizona HB 2639, March 1, 2019
Arizona HB 2639, March 5, 2019
Florida HB 435, March 15, 2019
Florida HB 435, March 19, 2019
Nevada SB, March 22, 2019
Arbitration October 24 2017
Member self-help groups
We seek to provide timeshare members a way to proactively address membership concerns; to advocate for timeshare reform; to obtain greater disclosure from the company; to advocate for a viable secondary market; and to educate prospective buyers.
Thank you Irene, this information should prove a great help to many of our readers, it is just a shame that we have to resort to this type of action. One day the industry may just realise that it is through their own greed that they are on the receiving end of so many complaints.
Once again the weekend is upon us, whatever you are doing and wherever you are, have a great weekend and join us next week for news and information on the murky world of timeshare.
Over the past few weeks Inside Timeshare has been highlighting the growing rise in EZE Group customers being contacted with stories of companies being “appointed” or “retained” by the courts to help them get their money back.
Well, it hasn’t stopped, Inside Timeshare is still receiving many enquiries from concerned coustomers who have been contacted. Today we published the company names and adresses along with some of the names that have been supplied from our readers.
Again the story is the same, they have been “appointed or retained” by the High Court in Madrid and can get back the money, but a processing fee of £725 is required. One reader was also told that they had to travel to Tenerife and get a “Spanish Tax Number” which would cost £1595.
One reader was emailed by Sarah Elliot within an hour of speaking with Mark Spalding of Money Advice Ltd, in her email she reiterated what Mark Spalding had told our reader, although she did refer to him as Mr Smith.
So it is obvious these are all working together, either they are ex-employees of Eze Group or have purchased the data from an employee.
At the same court Anfi once again has been ordered to repay over 117,000€ plus double the deposit and the contract being declared null and void.
The same Court of First Instance has also ruled that Anfi repay over 7,000€ plus double the deposit and another contract declared null and void.
Again the truth is the timeshare companies are losing despite what they and the industry report, consumers now have the backing of the law and the courts. If you have been sold a timeshare in Spain after 5 January 1999, it is for a period greater than 50 years or known as perpetuity, you have floating weeks, points or fractional and you also paid any money within the cooling off period and you would like to know if you have a valid and viable claim then contact Inside Timeshare and we will point you in the right direction.
The perpetrator behind this claims fraud, Stephen Paul Fairclough has seemed to have disappeared, his offices at Regus House are now empty. We do know that he does have links in Portugal and is believed to own a property and lives there. So he may just have fled the UK and is living his life of luxury on the money he has swindled from countless victims.
Apparently from information received by one source, who wishes not to be identified, it looks now like the Police in the UK will not be pursuing the matter against Stephen Fairclough. From the information received the reason is that they do not have sufficient evidence. As we know to secure a prosecution and ensure a conviction in any criminal trial, the evidence must be strong and be of “beyond reasonable doubt”.
Inside Timeshare would love to see Fairclough prosecuted and convicted, so it is now up to you the readers and victims of his fraud to come forward. Inside Timeshare is in contact with one victim who would like to gather together all those affected and form an Action Group.
If you have lost money for services not provided by Fairclough, then use our contact page, send in your details and Inside Timeshare will pass them to the coordinator of the Action Group. It is only with your help that this person will ever be brought to justice.
Our information is that two clients have begun legal proceedings against Silverpoint but they have also lodged the criminal complaints against the two Farhoud brothers who sold them the scheme in the first place. It is believed from our sources that more clients are also coming forward and more “Criminal Denuncias” are going to be made.
It must also be remembered that they are now contacting previous victims via their company Nordic Consulting Canary Islands SL, with the offer of taking legal action against Silverpoint (their former employer) and claiming back what their clients originally paid. They explain that what was sold to them was not legal, yet they are the ones who sold it in the first place, yet they claim they had no idea that it was “fraudulent”.
Now, we also know that they will be charging huge amounts for legal fees to carry out this “service”, so in reality they made large amounts in commission for selling it and are now set to make even more by offering a “legal service”!
If you have purchased these “Company Participations” or any other product peddled by Silverpoint, or have been contacted by Nordic Consulting, then use our contact page to get in touch. Inside Timeshare will then answer your questions and point you to the best solution for your situation.
We also have an update of court cases held in the Courts on Gran Canaria, all these involved Anfi and were brought on behalf of clients by Canarian Legal Alliance.
In total there were seven sentences issued, 3 by the High Court in Las Palmas and 4 by the Courts Of First Instance in Maspalomas. Again all contracts were declared null and void as the contained infringements of the Timeshare Laws as laid down by the Supreme Court. These ranged from floating weeks to perpetuity contracts, the courts awarded over 241,545€ to the clients along with legal fees and legal interest.
Then on Tuesday 5 March, another sentence was issued by the Court of First Instance of San Barlelomé De Tirajana, again this was against Anfi. This quite a significant case as the amount involved is huge.
The client in this instance is set to receive over 212,476€ plus legal interest, along with the contract being declared null and void. This will be one happy client.
The case was conducted on behalf of the clients by the Canarian Legal Alliance lawyer Adrián Diaz-Saavedra Morales, who is another of the young and dynamic team at CLA. So congratulations to them all, and keep up the good work.
If you need any advice with a timeshare problem or paid a company for services which you have not received, contact Inside Timeshare via our contact page. We will point you in the right direction.
Welcome to the start of another week in the world of timeshare, we begin with some news being passed around various forums regarding Anfi. As we know Anfi is contacting members to change their contracts, but the latest is rather disturbing.
The change in contracts is to try and bring them within the law, the new contracts will be for a maximum of 50 years, with apartment numbers and week numbers being allocated to the floating week contracts, although they will remain “floating”.
According to information received, the new contracts will also penalise the members for “early termination” of their membership. Any early termination of the contract will be seen as a serious breach of contract on part of the member, Anfi will then apply a retrospective charge on the member for “hotel Costs” of around 350€ per night for all weeks used.
They have already used this threat to members who may be contemplating legal action in regard to illegal and missold contracts. This is also the subject of an ongoing legal argument, which has yet to be finally resolved.
Another point that has come to our attention is the number of members who have just ceased to pay their maintenance, especially with the new contracts. It is reported that around 100 members in 10 countries are about to have legal proceedings made against them for recovery of the maintenance fee arrears. Plus to have the mentioned “hotel costs” charged against them.
Another point which is irritating some of the members posting on the forums is the problem of resale. According to many posters, Anfi has the right to refuse the buyer of any timeshare sold privately. Again this is to ensure that all resales go through the resale programme, which we know is not very effective and will only command a very small resale price.
As with any timeshare advertised for sale, the price you see is what the owner believes they will get, remember, when purchased, many were under the impression they were investing in property. The sales staff openly told them it would go up in value, as we know this is definitely not the case.
So what do we make of this change in contracts and the other tactics being used?
Simple, by changing to the new contract, you lose all rights to take them to court, this is what Anfi want, after all it is costing them a fortune in payouts. (Which they will deny).
The threat of the “hotel costs” with legal action against maintenance arrears and making it more difficult to sell privately, is again to stem the tide of a significant loss of membership. This loss hits them in the pocket with reduced income of maintenance fees. After all, they are not selling like they used too, people are very wary of purchasing timeshare today.
There were also 2 High Court wins in Las Palmas, again against Anfi del Mar.
Again at the Court of First Instance in Maspalomas, Palm Oasis lost 3 cases.
Over in Tenerife, The Court of First Instance again found against Silverpoint in 2 cases.
In another First Instance hearing, Club la Costa were the ones on the receiving end of a judgement.
In all a massive 27 victories against the biggest names in European timeshare, the total amount claimed on behalf of clients is over 648,000€ with all contracts being declared null and void.
CLA have also issued this video, which shows their impressive record so far, it was made at the end of 2018.
That’s it for today, join us tomorrow for a very special article, this was received by another timeshare insider after we published the article on the Florida Bill 435, tomorrow we publish Part 1.
If you need any help or advice regarding your timeshare, about any company that has contacted you or you have found either on the internet or advert in any publication, then use our contact page. We will be pleased to help.
Also if you have any comments, views or information you would like to share with other timeshare owners, then again use our contact page, we would love to hear from you.
It appears that the Anti Corruption Prosecutor’s Office has reduced the highest penalty of imprisonment to 24 months, a far cry from the 8 to 12 years originally called for. The reason is that the Prosecutor’s Office applied a mitigation of undue delays as the investigation which actually began 20 years ago.
However, the defendants will be liable for a subsidiary civil liability of 1,890,000 euros. A rather paltry amount considering the millions that was scammed from their victims.
The largest sentences of 24 months were given to Richard Cashman, Palmer’s lieutenant, for illicit association, fraud and money laundering.
Darren Morris was hand 10 months for unlawful association, 10 months for fraud and 4 months for money laundering. He was also handed a further 1 year for a firearm with the serial number erased, which was found in his home.
Christine Ketley who was jailed for 2 years on 2001 in the UK along with palmer and the lawyer Ramón Solano seem to have been spared sentence.
The prosecutor had also asked for a sentence of 8 months for Jacobba Visscher who ran the headquarters of Dinastia Resorts for 44 charges of fraud, this is reduced from the 8 years originally requested.
In the end although they have finally been brought to court, somehow the victims will not think that justice has actually been served.
In Gran Canaria the Judges in Maspalomas have been consistently declaring there is no need for cases against Anfi to go to a full trial. These Judges have decided to pass their resolutions at the preliminary hearing, yesterday 5 January, 5 preliminary hearings took place with all 5 having results announced without the full trial. For the clients this will mean no travelling for the trial and a much speedier resolution to their case.
In Tenerife a cash embargo has been placed to the value of 44,494.20€ against Silverpoint. Great news for this particular client, as the original claim was 32,791.75€, 11,702.45€ more. They will also get legal fees and legal interest.
Back to the courts in Gran Canaria, Another embargo has been placed against Anfi to the value of 12,882.79€ on behalf of a German client. The enforcement team consisting of the lawyers Judith Diaz Pascual and Cristina Batista are obviously doing a fantastic job on behalf of their clients.
In January the state of play was:
76 trials in all Spanish courts
28 appeals from the opposition
1 supreme court hearing
21 provisional executions
9 provoked interventions
1 cash embargo against Anfi
47 sentences all in favor of our CLA clients
1.600.000 € in claim amounts
Once again this does go to show that contrary to some posters on various forums and websites that have an axe to grind that CLA does not do what it says and along with the timeshare resorts and RDO who deny they are losing, or that the courts have got the law wrong, that is certainly not the case. These are all a matter of public record and can be verified.
If you have any comments or questions about this or any article published then use our contact page, we welcome the feedback.
Also if you have had dealings with any company or are about to with regards to a possible claim against your timeshare resort, but are not quite sure if it is genuine, then again use our contact page and we will give you the best advice possible.
Welcome to The Tuesday Slot, this week we welcome another new contributor, known only as “Industry Observer” as he wishes to remain anonymous. The introduction is once again by our very own Irene Parker, who was very excited to have this published, as it is from someone who has watched the industry for many years even though he has never purchased. It is certainly a very welcome independent insight into the timeshare industry and sales presentations.
Firstly a little news provided by Canarian Legal Alliance, they are certainly going to be keeping the courts busy over the next month.
At present they have in various courts around Spain 75 pre-trial scheduled, the three main timeshare companies are Anfi on Gran Canaria, Silverpoint on Tenerife and Club la Costa who have resorts on mainland Spain and the Canary Islands. Pre-trials are basically a formality and a last chance for a settlement to be reached before the case goes to a full trial. At the Courts in Maspalomas, Gran Canaria, 4 judges have been dealing with cases at this stage and issuing sentences without the need to go to a full trial. They have sat on so many cases now that they feel it is a waste of the courts time to set full trials. This has certainly speeded up the process for many clients.
Along with the pre-trials, the are 26 trials to he heard against the same timeshare resorts, again at various courts around Spain. We hope to bring you news of the conclusions as and when the cases are concluded and the judges issue their judgements.
One of the many complaints that Inside Timeshare receives from readers about their timeshares is the number of resorts that are advertising on the internet and the various booking websites.
This was sent to Inside Timeshare from one very angry reader, (see link below), it is for Select Marina Park, Mijas, Costa Del Sol. This is a Club la Costa Resort, which as we know is not a cheap timeshare to buy. It also uses the points system, which has been deemed illegal by the Supreme Court on many occasions, the reason is that it lacks any substance.
What that means is that you do not actually have any guarantee of booking your holiday accommodation, it is subject to availability. Yet this resort is being advertised on hotels.com for a fraction of the cost of the exorbitant maintenance fees that owners / members are required to pay annually, on top of the original extremely high purchase price. Is it any wonder that so many timeshare purchasers want out of their contracts!
Why at Age 70 I Have Never Attended a Timeshare Presentation
Introduction by Irene Parker
Timeshare members are always grateful when a member who has been through the complaint or foreclosure process, thinks beyond their own Nightmare on Timeshare Street to support others. There is nothing more frustrating than groveling before timeshare customer service representatives who dismiss complaints of unfair and deceptive sales practices with, “You signed a contract” or “We are not responsible for what our sales agents say.” Our deepest gratitude to the author of today’s article who has been keeping Charles and me informed of industry developments over the past two years so we can in turn pass that information on to our readers. He has never owned a timeshare.
By an Industry Observer
January 22, 2019
I have been a timeshare industry observer since 1985. I have concluded that timeshare is not for me. I shun contracts (especially perpetual ones) and I don’t plan very well in advance. For those with disposable income and the ability to plan, timeshare may be a rewarding experience. However, I would advise looking to the resale market for the best bargains. And, I would study the industry before dipping my feet in the resort pool.
In 1985 my wife and I were at North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina on our first beach vacation. Upon leaving the supermarket, I noticed a flyer underneath our car’s windshield. Similar flyers were under all the out-of-state car windshields. The flyer offered a $40 gift to preview a new resort in North Myrtle Beach. Husband and wife were required to attend. A minimum income of $30,000 was required, as well as a driver’s license and credit card. Military couples with a certain minimum grade level were also welcome. I thought,“Why do they have to pay people to go see something for sale?”People don’t get paid to look at houses or condos, and condos were quite the rage in Myrtle Beach in 1985.
I filed this experience in the back of my mind. It would reemerge numerous times in the future. On subsequent vacations to Myrtle Beach, Virginia Beach, Charleston, Orlando, Branson, and of course, Las Vegas, I would become more than aware of the smiling faces of OPCs who wanted to be my friend to get me to attend a tour, open house, remodel, new resort – whatever. Each approached us at a boardwalk or a booth, often a hyped-up boy or girl who had something special to share with me for only a few minutes of my time (90 minutes). I always reacted poorly to these solicitations since #1: I was on vacation and #2: I am not a real estate guy.
Fast forward to 2012 – I was in the midst of closing a company that I had run for 24 years. The economy had been unkind to the printing industry. I had to close the doors to my tiny empire and move to an early retirement. Fortunately, I could afford to do so. In 2013, finding myself with time on my hands, I decided to study the timeshare industry which had been in the shadows of my vacations. Three of my friends owned timeshare in different systems. I had quizzed them on their experiences. One loved his relationship. The other two had mixed feelings about whether the process was worth it.
I began to google the names of timeshare operators along with keywords – problems, complaints, regrets, and lawsuits. Come to find out, there were a lot of people who bought timeshares that either didn’t want them or felt they had been duped into buying them. As mentioned, many are satisfied with their purchase, but it appeared many families had been financially harmed by their decision to buy a timeshare.
I have spent five plus years spending an hour or two a day on sites like TUG, RedWeek, Inside Timeshare, Inside the Gate, YouTube, and complaint sites. I developed a theory as to how the timeshare companies succeed in plying their trade.
Here are my simple conclusions:
First: It starts with a bribe. It may be money, food, gambling, discounts, shows, or trips. Prospects are offered something of value by an OPC (outside person contact) for attending a presentation. David Siegel, Jr. of Westgate timeshare fame, has termed prospects “mooches.”
Second: It is seldom the promised 90 minutes. The goal is to play a game of attrition. The longer the interview, the better the chance of capitulation – the customers will buy SOMETHING even when there may be an agreed upon pact not to buy. There is a good possibility that the prospects will break down and sign just to get their gifts and get out the door.
Third: There will be more than one presenter. First is the “greeter” who will become your friend. They need to see your driver’s license and credit card. The driver’s license is to verify the family relationship and the credit card is to run a credit check. The credit check may be an unwanted surprise. The first sales agent will extol all the virtues of membership. If there is no bite, he/she will get approval to lower the price. After the initial sales agent, comes the manager or “closer.” He/she is out to make sure a sale happens. The friendliness will have worn thin. Prices will be reviewed and maybe lowered again. The sale needs to be made. If no sale has ensues, then comes the “survey person.” He/she will review the presentation, the offers, and reasons for not buying. He/she will try one last attempt to sell an exit package. It may be a “discovery” “trial” or “sample” package. This will allow the prospects the chance to check out the resorts in the system, but requires another presentation. Trial packages are limited in scope and availability.
Fourth: The whole job of the sales team is to make a SALE and that sale needs to be made TODAY. They know no one comes back later to purchase a timeshare. The sales team is on commission. They don’t eat if they don’t sell.
Fifth: Truth may take a back door to the need for a sale. There is a clause in most, if not all timeshare contracts, that says the prospect did not rely on verbal representations to make their purchase. How many of us have relied on the ethics of the salesperson sitting across from us when buying a car, boat, condo or house? In Florida timeshare sales agents are licensed sales agents but they are exempted from the ethics requirement! It’s pretty scary if you can’t rely on ethics.
The terms of the contract are in the contract – not in the words of the salesman. The salesman may say that the company will buy back your timeshare. They won’t. He/she may say that the timeshare will go up in value. It will not. He/she may say that you can go anywhere at any time. Complaints about availability abound. Attorney Mike Finn called this verbal representation clause a “license to lie,” and the beleaguered buyer unwittingly signs voluminous documents containing this one toxic sentence timeshare companies over-rely on.
Sixth: Most timeshare contracts are perpetual. Once the three to ten day state contract rescission period is up, the buyer may have no other option but to pay the mortgage and maintenance fees if they cannot convince the timeshare company to break the agreement. It can be sold or given away, but the marketplace is almost non-existent. A default can have dramatic consequences on one’s credit score.
Seventh: Sales people will make sure that no hand-written notes leave the room. False promises are not in the contract. The contract is long and initialed in many places. There are three things to be especially aware of.
There is often a clause that says the company can change the terms and conditions of the contract whenever they want. Why even have contracts when benefits can be changed at any time?
Accommodations are subject to availability. There are many complaints about lack of availability. Actual availability often cannot be verified until the buyer has access to the booking site, conveniently after the rescission period has expired.
These days contracts are often signed electronically, meaning your initials are stored and then tapped, tapped, tapped on a cheap tablet even tech savvy buyers find hard to read.
Eighth: Timeshare contracts have a rescission period, which varies by state. It may be three to ten days. There are creative ways sales agents and their company can dodge the rescission period. A new program to be relieved of maintenance fees (that doesn’t exist) won’t be available until after the first of the year. While on vacation, sometimes with the kids, reviewing complex contracts can be a difficult chore. Sadly, even reading the contract doesn’t always disclose some of the pitfalls, like availability.
Ninth: Roughly 50% of the cost of a timeshare purchase is the marketing, promotion, and commission costs. Think about it. If you list your house for sale, you pay 6% or 7% commission. What would happen to your home price if you had to pay a 50% commission to buy? Add that to the false promise that your timeshare is easy sell and you have a disaster waiting to happen. Sellers are lucky to get 10% of their initial investment back, thanks to the lack of an adequate secondary market. Timeshare developers don’t even want the timeshare back. You may even have to pay the developer a fee to take the timeshare back.
Ten: Timeshares can be purchased on the resale market for pennies on the dollar. Sites like Tug2.net, Ebay, and Redweek have real people selling real timeshares for bargain prices. You can check with a member of the Licensed Timeshare Resale Broker Association to find out if your timeshare has a secondary market value. They can explain the pros and cons of buying from the secondary market compared to buying directly from a timeshare sales center. Plus LTRBA members have knowledge of all timeshares.
Don’t jump. Don’t believe you have to buy TODAY. Research the company. Research the industry. Social Media is here to stay. Chances are there is a member Facebook page out there for the timeshare you are considering, with members reporting positive and negative experiences you can evaluate. Do your timeshare math to calculate the purchase price, borrowing costs, and annual fees, not to mention special assessments. Check the resale market.
Thank you to our Industry Observer for his observations. Here are a few member sponsored sites to check with to determine if you are jumping into your vacation dream so that you don’t end up one of our Nightmare on Timeshare Street authors:
We seek to provide timeshare members a way to proactively address membership concerns; to advocate for timeshare reform; to obtain greater disclosure from the company; to advocate for a viable secondary market; and to educate prospective buyers.
Thank you Irene for the introduction and a very big thank you to our industry observer for this article and all your information over the past two years.
If you have any comments on this or any other article, please use our contact page, we welcome your insights.
If you need any information about any company that has contacted you, that you have found on the internet or from an advert in a publication, then again use our contact page and we will help you do your credibility checks. Remember, doing your homework is one of the most important ways of saving you from losing your hard earned cash.
What a year 2018 has been for the lawyers at Canarian Legal Alliance, they have recently announced their end of year results and it is impressive to say the least.
They have ended the year with 131 Supreme Court rulings, this is unprecedented in Spanish legal history, the last 2 rulings being made against Diamond Resorts. These judgements reinforced the previous ones by Spain’s Highest Court that contracts over 50 years, floating weeks and points systems along with the taking of any payment, even by a third party within the cooling off period are in breach of Spanish Timeshare laws 42/98 and 4/12.
In another landmark ruling from the Courts of First Instance in Tenerife, Silverpoint and their lawyers admitted that their “Company Participations” were indeed timeshare. This has now opened the way for many more clients who have been sold these “participations” as “investments” to now lodge claims against Silverpoint. This will result in the contracts being declared null and void plus the return of all money paid. (See previous article)
This is an incredible 214,590€ secured for these clients, with all contracts being declared null and void.
These figures speak for themselves, no other law firm in Spain has achieved anything near to this, so for those who continue to post on various forums that these are all fake, check your facts before you post. These cases can all be verified through court documents, they are in the public domain.
It is quite clear that 2019 is also going to be a record breaking year, especially now that all courts are subject to the rulings of the Supreme Court. Inside Timeshare will bring you the latest news on cases as and when they happen.
If you require any further information on this subject or would like to know if you have a legitimate and viable case, then use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get back to you.
December 21st was the final day of a Newton Hearing in the case against Stephanie O’Reilly, Mr O’Reilly was not in attendance as he had earlier pleaded guilty to 27 charges of breaches of consumer legislation and aggressive selling amongst other things.
The reason for the Newton Hearing was that Miss O’Reilly had to explain why she pleaded guilty to Fraud but not as charged. The defense argued that Eze Group had employed the services of a Legal Advisor to ensure that they were compliant with UK law and that this advice was wrong which ultimately led to the mis-selling of the product.
This argument was vigorously rejected by the prosecution, who were also able to produce documentation refuting the argument. This was accepted by the court and a date of 11 January 2019 has been set for what we believe will be sentencing. We will bring you this news as and when it happens.
If you have any comments on this or any other article, use our contact page, Inside Timeshare welcomes your comments.