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Azure Malta Action And Support Group

Timeshare Sales, Barclay Partner Finance & The FCA

For the past couple of years, Inside Timeshare has been following the case of the Financial Conduct Authority granting a validation order for loans provided by Barclays Partner Finance, brokered by timeshare sales agents of Azure Services Ltd. This validation order was granted to BPF after the finance company found out that over 1,400 loan agreements were brokered by Azure Services who were not authorised, competent or diligent enough to broker them.

Many of the clients who signed these agreements for the purchase of timeshares, tended to be either retired or just coming up to retirement. They were lured with the wonderful patter of you are “investing in property”, “it’s not timeshare”.

There was the promise of renting out the purchased weeks, which would give an income, supposedly to cover the maintenance fees and a bit more. Then after 2 years the “investment weeks” would be sold and they would make a profit. This would cover the cost of the loan provided by Barclays Partner Finance.

Well, we all know how that story ends, remember that Azure is part of the Limora Group of companies owned by the late Robert “Bob” Trotta and was also the sister company to Silverpoint in Tenerife.

Company Participations have been likened to this!

Silverpoint, formally Resort Properties, sold the same product, in fact, it was they who originated it. They further developed the product into the Company Participation Scheme, which changed by registering the apartments for sale as “companies”. But the same idea was applied in the sales presentation, it was an investment with rental income and profit after sales when the “company” was transferred to the purchaser. (Sorry but that is the very simple version).

The vast majority of these purchases were made by loan agreements brokered by the sales staff selling the products and provided by Barclays Partner Finance.

When you consider that in the two years which the FCA is looking at for Azure clients this has affected over 1,400, the number of loan agreements financed by BPF must number in the thousands and as far as money is concerned worth hundreds of millions of pounds. Although this is just a guess it is on the figures received by Inside Timeshare on the Azure loans worth around £40 million.

We now move to the latest phase of the case, back in August 2018, Judge Timothy Herrington, ordered the FCA to re-evaluate its decision to validate the order, citing that “consumer detriment” must be taken into consideration.

Judge Timothy Herrington

Over a year later, the FCA confirmed the validation order with a provision that BPF appoints a “competent person” to investigate client detriment.

Now the appeal has been launched to overturn this decision, there is a group that has been formed to coordinate clients who are affected by this decision called Azure Malta Action And Support Group. They are a closed group on Facebook and are gaining in membership, not just with Azure owners, many others affected by the sales practices of the timeshare sales reps and their brokering of these loans.

The group has now published a letter to BPF which Inside Timeshare has placed as a downloadable link below, which demands the right to know what information was given to BPF by the broker regarding the loan application. It also calls for BPF to provide all details of any correspondence between the client and BPF.

It is a legal right under data protection and known as Data Subject Request.

This template letter is not just for Azure clients, any timeshare purchaser who was brokered a finance agreement by the sales reps with BPF or any other finance company can use it. Inside Timeshare urges you to do so, as from all the people that Inside Timeshare has spoken with none have ever provided any full financial details such as “income v expenditure” which are normal procedures especially when considering the sums involved. These reports show if the repayments are affordable and in fact, Shawbrook Bank admitted it had not carried this out several years ago.

The Azure Malta Action And Support Group along with Inside Timeshare are urging all those affected by BPF loan agreements to begin submitting these requests and then filing complaints with the FCA. Hopefully, this may force the FCA to investigate.

Unfortunately, in an article in the Mail on Sunday by Jeff Prestridge, it appears that there are some very serious concerns about the FCA.

According to the start of the article, which we must point out is also our opinion, the Financial Conduct Authority is there to protect consumers, but “is more interested in protecting its own”.

It also goes on to highlight the inherent problems of staff untrained and lacking the knowledge to actually carry out their work. They are not being trained to spot “anything suspicious” in the companies they are supposed to be monitoring.

They lack any training, knowledge or experience in dealing with consumer complaints, and as Inside Timeshare has found in the past, every complaint seems to be dismissed in favour of the industry. Sounds a bit like the Resorts Development Organisation don’t you think!

Although the article is not about timeshare it is a very damning report of the FCA and their apparent inability to actually perform the job they are entrusted with. It certainly highlights the problems being faced by consumers who have had to endure lengthy high-pressure sales presentations, ending up signing agreements for finance on the false promises of sales staff, reliant on the loans to close the sale.

The link to the full article is below along with previous articles on this subject along with the link to Azure Malta Action And Support Group.

If you have purchased a timeshare with a loan arranged by the sales staff and would like more information on what your rights are, then please use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get back to you. If we are unable to answer your question we will find out for you.

Link to the Azure Action Group

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1152657598482168

PDF & Word versions of the template letter

Jeff Prestridge Article

https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/comment/article-9070435/JEFF-PRESTRIDGE-FCA-let-investors.html?fbclid=IwAR3M0bPZrnghdan3Ae5zxaGP17CHfiwYQ5llR0V0ELMTzic-j9XZD_3-72E

Articles on the FCA validation

https://insidetimeshare.com/fca-validate-azure-bpf-loan-agreements/

https://insidetimeshare.com/fca-validate-bpf-azure-loans-update/

https://insidetimeshare.com/barclays-the-fca-and-azure-the-story-continues/

Shawbrook Bank

https://insidetimeshare.com/shawbrook-bank-announce-irregularities-timeshare-loans-similar-activities-usa/

The Tuesday Slot: Anfi and Airtours in the News

Welcome to the beginning of another week with Inside Timeshare, for those of you who were looking for our usual Start the Week, our apologies as due to circumstances beyond our control we were unable to publish on Monday. Today we bring you some more information on the Anfi attempt to make members sign the new contracts, a subject that has caused great concern and many enquiries to Inside Timeshare. We also bring the latest news from the courts which highlight Anfi and Airtours.

We begin today with the enquiries on the new Anfi contracts, a subject that has been highlighted over quite a period of time.

Back in June 2017, Anfi held a Special Meeting in which they put forward three options for a change in the contracts, this change was to bring all their illegal contracts within the law. This in itself is not a bad thing until you see the take up was not very good and they have since reverted to using some very underhand techniques to “force” members into signing.

In the past, the story was that they wanted to update their “database”, as members may wish to remove or add someone to or make revisions in the membership certificate. But to do this the new contract needs to be signed. A date of 31 January was set as the final date to complete this. Obviously since then, not many have done so and they reverted to other tactics. (See links below to previous articles).

This began when the current situation developed and travel was severely restricted with members unable to use their weeks. Many questions were asked if they would lose those weeks or carry them forward to 2021, which is what you would have expected.

Well, yes you could save those weeks and receive an “accommodation voucher” to be used in the future, but only if you signed the new contract.

In other words, sign it or lose the week you have already paid for in your maintenance fees!

So what is the reason behind this, it is very simple, Anfi is losing every single case in all the courts for illegal contracts which breach the timeshare laws. Now, remember, these laws came into force on 5 January 1999, yet Anfi along with other timeshare companies believed the new laws did not apply to them and they all continued to sell the same contracts as before.

By forcing members to sign the new contracts in this way, Anfi is attempting to stem the tide of some very disgruntled members from seeking legal redress, having their contracts declared null and void plus the return of the full purchase price plus double any illegal deposit taken within the statutory cooling-off period.

By signing the new contract you are signing away your rights to take any legal action, so it is nothing short of blackmail.

The other point that has been raised by our readers is even if you do sign the new contract, how is Anfi going to accommodate all those members, after all, they do appear to have more members than actual weeks available. We also have to ask what about this year, after all, there does not seem to be any let-up in the travel restrictions, with many members who will be unable to use last years or even this year’s weeks?

We leave you the reader to make up your own mind on those questions.

Now for some court news.

On Friday 8 January, Canarian Legal Alliance announced the “payment” Anfi has finally made to one of their German clients.

The case was originally won at the Court of First Instance with the contract being declared null and void with the client being awarded 9,520€ in respect of their purchase price plus a further 14,000€ for illegally taken deposits.

As we have come to expect, Anfi lodged an appeal with the High Court, once again this court rejected and dismissed the appeal and sent the case back to the original court for execution of sentence.

The client has now received 23,520€ into their own account and the case is now closed.

In a case against Airtours, another German client of CLA is now celebrating with 43,620€ plus legal interest and legal costs having now been paid into their own personal account.

The case was heard at the Court of First Instance of Las Palmas in May 2020, with the court declaring the contract null and void plus all the return of all money.

Unlike Anfi and many other companies, Airtours have paid out voluntarily without the need for lengthy proceedings to ensure compliance. So all credit to Airtours for their accepting the court’s decision and complying with the sentence.

This decision by Airtours has also saved a great deal of money in legal fees for appeals as well as not causing stress and anguish for the client. Maybe, all the other companies including Anfi should take a leaf out of their book!

Tomorrow we will bring you more news from the Azure Malta Action and Support Group in their efforts to bring Barclay Partner Finance to accountability. As we know, BPF is the main provider of finance for the timeshare industry, with sales reps brokering the loans to ensure they get the sale. We also know that no proper credit checks have been made and this has left many timeshare purchasers in severe financial difficulty (mainly retired and elderly people) because of all the lies made by the sales reps. More on this subject in tomorrow’s article.

If you would like further information on any item published or would like to know your legal rights, please use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get back to you.

Links on the Anfi contracts saga

https://insidetimeshare.com/anfi-special-general-meeting-vote/

https://insidetimeshare.com/anfi-another-offer-to-members/

End the Week Roundup and the Latest on the CLC Liquidations

Welcome to the end of the first full week of 2021, although the news coming from around the world does not look good with increased restrictions on travel and more lockdowns, it doesn’t stop in the world of the timeshare scammers. In fact, judging by the number of emails received along with the comments posted on the various Fb groups, the number of calls seems to be increasing. Many are those which we have already highlighted, some are new, but, they do all have one thing in common, the scare tactics and misinformation. In today’s article Inside Timeshare once again warns Club la Costa members to be on their guard and to seek advice before engaging with any company that calls. First, we have a quick look at what we covered this week.

We began the week with yet another appeal by Anfi being rejected and dismissed by the High Court. This was the last sentence issued by the court just before Christmas, so it was very welcome news for that particular client.

On Tuesday we had a quick look at our old friends at Mindtimeshare who began publishing again a few weeks ago. Although much of what they posted was out of date, it does serve as a reminder of how careful timeshare owners must be.

We also published the latest information on the Financial Conduct Authority and their validation of the loan agreements brokered by Azure through Barclay Partner Finance. In these articles, we published a link to the Fb Group, Azure Malta Action and Support Group who are gathering other victims for a concerted effort to have the validation order overturned.

In another case surrounding the subject of jurisdiction, this time it was the turn of Diamond Resorts (Europe) Ltd. Once again the Court of First Instance Number 1 of Fuengirola ruled in accordance with all rulings from various High Courts that Spanish Law and Courts do have jurisdiction and the timeshare companies operating from Spain must comply with the law.

Yesterday, in another ruling made by the same Court of First Instance in Fuengirola, ruled in the case of Continental Resort Services SLU, which is a Spanish registered company Club la Costa sales branch, also claimed that their contracts were subject to the Jurisdiction of UK Law and UK Courts.

The judge ruled in accordance with all previous rulings and declared the contract null and void with the client being awarded over 41,000€ plus legal interest and costs.

This case was brought before the courts on behalf of a German client by Canarian Legal Alliance.

Staying with Club la Costa, as we have published previously, there are several Club la Costa sales companies which have now filed for liquidation. We have already been informed that this is being used by some unscrupulous callers to scare CLC members into signing up for relinquishments and claims.

They are claiming that members are going to lose everything due to the liquidations, what we can tell you is these liquidations will have no effect on your membership. It does, however, affect any member looking at making a claim against the sales company which sold them the product.

The companies which are now going into administration are:

Paradise Trading SL;

Club la Costa (UK) PLC  sucursal en España;

Continental Resort Services SL;

California Beach Hotel, S.A.U.

PDF copies of the Official Bulletin Announcements.

If you already have a case in the courts, having a case prepared our advice is to contact your law firm or lawyer for clear and precise advice to check if this affects you and your case.

If you are contemplating legal action against CLC then ensure that you are being told the correct information. If you would like any further information on this or any other timeshare matter, please use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get back to you.

Have a good weekend and join us again next week for more on the murky world of timeshare.

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