Browse Tag

Canarian Legal Alliance

The Courts Side with Consumers

The Spanish Courts have once again sided with the timeshare consumer against the timeshare industry, this his time it is a massive achievement by the lawyers of Canarian Legal Alliance and a severe blow for Silverpoint and Beverley Hills Club. So what have they achieved now?

Lawyers from CLA

As we know Silverpoint has been using delaying tactics and the moving of funds in order to escape payments to clients ordered by the courts. Obviously this tactic is causing a great deal of stress to the clients who have seen nothing but deception from Silverpoint over the years, losing thousands in the process.

But that has now all changed, lawyers from Canarian Legal Alliance have secured “embargos” on 6 properties in the Beverley Hills Club, securing funds 100% for their clients. So what is an “embargo”?

In simple terms, the properties have been seized until such time the client is paid out what they are owed. In the event that the client does not receive the funds then the courts have the right to auction off the properties in order to pay the client.

Now, when you consider, that the average value of the apartments is around 250,000€ each that is 1.5 million euros secured so far. In the case of one British client, the court has awarded just around 13,000€, yet this client now has the apartment allocated to him in his purchase embargoed to secure their payment. This is going to prove very expensive for Silverpoint and indeed Beverley Hills Club.

Silverpoint along with other timeshare companies may try to move fund around to avoid payment but this latest move by the lawyers of CLA and the courts will go after the properties to secure justice for the consumer.

Beverley Hills Club is the first, CLA will be extending this to the other “Clubs” within the portfolio of resorts. They have also indicated they have sufficient documentary proof that all the companies are linked and are responsible for each other. So for CLA clients with cases against Silverpoint, this is a first and that there is indeed light at the end of the Tunnel.

This is also good news for clients of other timeshares where the company using the same delaying tactics, we already know that Anfi has had embargos placed on their accounts, how long before the properties are also subject to the same?

Do you own with Silverpoint and want to know where you stand legally with your contract, are you being contacted with horror stories that you are going to lose everything?

If you want to know your legal position and options on how this latest news affects you, then use our contact page and get the facts from Inside Timeshare.

Friday’s Letter from America

Welcome to this week’s Letter from America, once again Irene Parker reports on further complaints received by Inside Timeshare from Wyndham Carriage Hills and Carriage Ridge owners. But first some interesting breaking news which has only just been received. Canarian Legal Alliance has announced that they have now secured embargoes on 6 apartments at Beverley Hills Club. This means that if Silverpoint do not pay the clients what the courts have ordered the apartments can be sold off to ensure the clients receive what they are owed. Further information will be published next week as Inside Timeshare receives more detailed information.

After following the 128 complaints submitted to Inside Timeshare from Wyndham Carriage Resorts owners, I am astonished by the developer’s callous disregard as to the harm timeshare is causing good people. What other product is out there that you have to pay to give back? What other industry has created another massive industry, some of the companies with questionable business practices, devoted to getting the company’s customer released from being the company’s customer? We can only hope that there is a Carriage board member with a conscience, and hopefully even some compassion, who will be as moved by these accounts as we are, especially Jeannie, David and a new report we just heard about Stephanie’s grandmother. We continue on with families 115 to 128.

Why You Should Not Buy a Timeshare in Ontario Canada

Unless Change Happens

By Irene Parker and Wyndham Carriage Resorts Owners 115 to 128

September 13, 2019

Original August 16 article about Wyndham’s Carriage Resorts https://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-from-america-63/

Timeshare lobbyists have been quoted as saying, “The vast majority of timeshare buyers are happy with their purchase.”

Conversely, a leading academic expert on timeshares provided her statistical data conclusions at an industry conference, as reported by RedWeek:

Dr. Amy Gregory, an assistant professor at the University of Central Florida, where she is in the third year of studying the impact of buyer regret-and-remorse on rescission decisions:

  1. The average rescission rate is 15 percent (which is identical, ironically, to the daily average percentage of people who buy a timeshare after a sales presentation).
  2. A whopping 85 per cent of all buyers regret their purchase (for money, fear, confusion, intimidation, distrust and other reasons).
  3. Forty-one percent of buyers never thought they would regret their purchase, but they did; another 30 per cent were neutral prior to buying, but then regretted it.

I conducted my own research. In addition to the over 1,000 families that have contacted Inside Timeshare, just in the U.S., I contacted exit companies to ask how many calls they receive a week from disgruntled timeshare members and owners. There are many exit providers and law firms offering timeshare exit services. It’s an entire industry. Just two of them reported receiving 3,000 to 3,500 calls per month. Each said they end up with less than 200 as clients.

I also contacted members of the Licensed Timeshare Resale Brokers Association (LTRBA). The members I spoke with report being flooded with calls. In most cases, sellers are unlikely to break even. In 2016 I surveyed 64 LTRBA members. Most said they would not speak publically about why they would not even accept a listing to sell my timeshare points. They feared if they said anything negative, they would be sued. One of the respondents sadly explained to me:

For over 15 years now I’ve had to give the bad news to sellers that their timeshare is worth much less than they expected, but for (xx), it’s so hard for them to believe that I can’t help at all.

The most troubling is the unfairness reported by Wyndham Carriage Owners. They were promised an “Equity $ Position” in published marketing materials, only to learn years later that what they purchased is worth far less than a lump of coal. Their “equity” position is a net loss of $1,300 a year if they can no longer use the timeshare. Wyndham did not own Carriage Resorts back then, but that does not diminish the unfairness of what these buyers are experiencing.  

I speak daily with people who spent $10,000 to $20,000 on a timeshare they only used once or twice in 10 or 20 years or more, yet have paid maintenance fees year after year. In addition, a good portion of these members reported losing thousands of dollars to unhelpful timeshare listing agents and fraudulent exit companies. 

We thank the 128 Wyndham Carriage Owners who have let their voices be heard. Sometimes the court of public opinion is the only court open. We are hoping next Tuesday’s article summarizing this series will reach Ontario media, consumer protection organizations, and lawmakers. Wyndham’s silence speaks volumes.   

Prior reports: 

Carriage Owners 91 – 114

https://insidetimeshare.com/the-tuesday-slot-47/

Carriage Owners 61 – 90

https://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-from-america-66/

Elizabeth’s Analysis

https://insidetimeshare.com/the-tuesday-slot-46/

Jeannie’s Medical Hardship Dismissed

https://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-from-america-65/

Carriage Owners 31 – 60

https://insidetimeshare.com/the-tuesday-slot-45/

David’s Medical and Financial Hardship Dismissed

https://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-from-america-64/

Carriage Owners 1 – 30

https://insidetimeshare.com/the-tuesday-slot-44/

Wyndham Carriage Owners 115 to 128 Eternal Timeshare Contract

115 Valerie F

Hi Irene:

We initially bought a white week in July 2002. We had small children at the time. In 2007 we purchased an additional interval which allowed us to convert to points so we could have more flexibility booking. Our children were getting older. It had been become increasingly difficult to take them out of school for vacations in the off-season.

We have used our timeshare extensively. At first, we travelled with our children. We shared it with our extended family. Currently, we tend to travel as a couple. Although we still enjoy the property regularly, we do have great sympathy for elderly people and others whose personal, health, or financial situations have changed. Our first maintenance fee back in 2003 was $599. We can appreciate how difficult it can be for many to pay the current $1,351 maintenance fee, plus additional booking fees. We know that ill health or income changes could change our own ability to pay.

When the sales office was open, we were told that the property would appreciate in value and that we would have the option to sell, donate or will the timeshare. We were told at multiple presentations that the sales representatives were selling deed-backs from delinquent accounts and owners who had passed. We were told that if our children were not on a deed, they would not have to take it over.

We are deeply disappointed in the closure of the sales office without notice, the fact that Wyndham is not accepting deed backs on the property, and that current owners cannot even give away their intervals, even when willing to pay legal costs and provide additional financial incentives, such as maintenance fees for a year or two or additional cash. It seems ludicrous that our children and other heirs could be saddled with costs in perpetuity. A reasonable exit plan is essential. At this point, it seems that a 75% vote to sell the property may be the only way to recoup any money and save our heirs from never-ending costs. I am attaching some shots of the original sales presentation flyer from 2002.

Accompanying these promises, we received a general email in the summer of 2011 indicating that Carriage Hills owners could buy additional intervals at no cost, provided they covered the legal fees. We did, in fact, purchase an additional every other year red week with a deed of September 2011 at the cost of $600. It was not purchased from an individual owner, but directly from the Carriage Hills Vacation Owners Association. Based on this information and the above promises, we felt that Carriage Hills was taking an active role in sales of deed-backs.  

Sincerely,

Valerie F

116 Karen L

I have been a timeshare owner at Carriage Hills for about 20 years. My family and I have enjoyed vacationing at Carriage Hills and expect to vacation for the next few years, but I am troubled by the lack of an exit strategy. I am also frightened and not willing to accept a situation that would place the never-ending financial burden of timeshare maintenance fees on my unsuspecting heirs, who are not interested in assuming a position in this trap of owning an unsellable, worthless ‘asset’.

When I agreed to become a timeshare owner back in the late 1990s, I was led to believe that I was buying into a private resort, only accessible to a fixed number of owners and their guests. Since then, the maintenance fees have more than tripled and the property has transitioned to being managed like any other openly accessible hotel, i.e. the price to rent a room is routinely below the equivalent maintenance fee that owners are forced to pay, and these renters don’t have the never-ending financial handcuffs of timeshare ownership.

Many thanks and kindest regards,

Karen L

Mississauga, Ontario

#117 Therese B

Hello Irene,

When I bought my every-other-year red week, I’d done some research and had attended a few presentations elsewhere, as well as at the Horseshoe Resort affiliated property.  I came prepared

I’d understood that these timeshares would be of more value because you get a deed and it’s yours for life (as opposed to a 30/40 year scenario). I figured that this would make them easy to sell if and when I no longer could use my week.

I recently learned that owners are on the hook for this for life. That makes the timeshare difficult to sell. You can’t even give them away.

I continue to use my ownership via RCI exchanges, and plan to do so for the next 10 years. At this point, I don’t know that my adult children will have any interest in taking on the constantly increasing maintenance fees or will even want to use the timeshares. I don’t understand why we can’t just give back our deeds to Wyndham. It’s all very fishy. Someone needs to take a good hard look at the whole thing. It’s too bad that a concept that continues to work for many is also causing such hardship for those who can no longer enjoy their vacation ownership.

Thanks for helping us as we embark on standing up to ‘the powers that be’.

Therese and Barry B

Midland ON

118 Tracy M

We have been owners since 1998.  We had kids and used it faithfully.  We are retired now and live in Florida during winter seasons.  We don’t need this burden any longer. Our lives have changed.

I recently posted on Facebook for a friend to contact me if they were claiming bankruptcy so that I could dump this.  I do not want to saddle my children with this anchor. 

Sent from our Paradise

#119 Bruce F

Hi Irene,

I purchased in 2004 with the understanding that my “equity” purchase would be easily marketable. This has turned out to be patently untrue.

I also purchased in order to exchange with RCI properties. Subsequently, the provider was switched to Interval International — which it turns out had a very different selection of properties, excluding the ones I was able to book with RCI. Their (II) booking process was frustrating, to say the least. I was unable to effectively enjoy exchanges.

The maintenance costs (and exchange fees) have increased dramatically, to the point of making this “deal” far more expensive than just booking online. One 2 bedroom week is now close to C$2,000 with maintenance and club fees.

I have investigated selling over the years, but this “asset” cannot even be given away.

We need help dealing with this situation, and with Wyndham, who now operates the resort as their cash cow — and they also effectively control the two boards.

Thanks

#120 Debbie M

Dear Irene,

I am a second-generation holder of two deeds – one each for opposite years.

As many have said, my parents were led to believe that this was an investment and sellable. This is now not the case.

My parents were able to use them while my dad was still alive.  My parents put my sisters and me on the deeds at the time, which also has concerns.  

Although we will continue to pay the fees and use what we can (not an easy task) we do need to find an exit strategy before our own estates would have to figure out what to do with these after we are gone and we move into yet another generation.  

With thanks for your concern.

#121 Glenda B

Hello Irene,

We bought at Carriage Hills over 20 years ago and were told all the things you’ve heard from other people … much of which sadly turned out to be empty promises.  Fortunately, we did resist the sales pressure to convert to points.

We mostly have used our 2-bedroom Red Weeks for RCI trading. This did bring us a number of good vacations, although it involved a fair amount of effort in searching etc.  

However, our maintenance fees have nearly tripled, and RCI costs have continued to climb, while availability declined.  In 2006 a class action was launched (one of several that have been made against RCI). This took six years to resolve but resulted in better access to inventory.  Over time, however, there has been a noticeable decrease in availability and is getting worse.

We have wanted to exit Carriage Hills for a long time, mainly due to the expense and difficulty using the timeshare. Seeing all the ads on TUG, etc. (offering units for free), we did not attempt to list our unit, feeling it was hopeless.  We purchased a studio at Pueblo Bonito in Mazatlan as a Right-To-Use timeshare in 2012, because they promised to take our Carriage Hills unit as trade-in for a lower buy-in. We specifically said we did not want to own two timeshares.  

The company handling the transaction was Resort Connections. Their literature claimed they were “a full-service Equity Trade-in program” that was “owned and operated by timeshare industry veteran Freda Stemick.” They were located in Harrisonburg, Virginia [name aptly changed to Carrion Travel Connections during the process], and an ARDA member. Contrary to the arrangement we made with Pueblo Bonito, their “welcome letter” informed us they could not take our Carriage Hills unit because SVC would not allow them to own it, being a competitor.

Thus they requested a POA to handle the property, in addition to the original deed, while seeking a buyer, plus cash.  (During one of many subsequent phone conversations, I think we were told they could only accept RTU properties, not deeded or Canadian.)  Their fee was $599, $399 processing plus $200 resort transfer fee — but I think we did manage to get our checks returned along with our deed when they finally cancelled the transaction.

Cutting to the chase, we wound up owning two timeshares. The good news is that we can walk away from Pueblo Bonito when we get ready.  The bad news is that our son, John, apparently will be forced into CH ownership when we die.

Glenda B & Paul G

#122 Lisa L

Hi Irene,

Thank you for listening to Carriage Hills and Ridge owners that want an exit strategy in place. I purchased a red week every other odd year at Carriage Hills in March 2000. I was pleased with this purchase and loved the idea of owning my vacations, using properties that were well maintained and shared with other owners. I didn’t want to stay at hotel type places. I had higher expectations.

At first, things were wonderful. I got what I paid for. Now things have changed!! Staying at Carriage Hills with people renting and paying a small amount of what should be paid for this type of property!  I watched a couple let their children colour with crayon all over the stairs! Management did nothing! Dirty diapers and poop smeared on the change room floor in the women’s change room at the pool. I asked 3 separate people to stop smoking cigarettes and cannabis on the balconies and was ignored and/or sworn at! Dogs are being sneaked onto the property. I am here on site to enjoy my week. I am feeling like I need to enforce the rules!!

I am certain that these are renters. I’ve never encountered anything like this here before the units were added to the rental sites. Thankfully, the employees at Carriage Hills are fantastic!! They handled each of my concerns quickly. I truly believe though, that I’m one of the only people complaining. Since I own here, I take the rules seriously and report the issues. Renters just don’t care.

I’m very concerned about the future of this resort. I’ve loved it for many years and took pride in ownership. Unfortunately, things have changed. I don’t want to own a place like this anymore. There is no exit plan and that is very troubling. Owners can’t give it away. They can’t pay someone to take it. Owners are offering thousands of dollars for someone to take it!! This is not right. Owners at Carriage Hills deserve and need an exit plan. 

Thanks so much, Irene for writing about this 🙂

Lisa L 

#123 Eileen W

Hello Irene, 

My husband and I first bought two deeded red weeks in 1998 at Carriage Hills. We subsequently bought two more weeks, an every other year odd and an every other year even. We have four children and thought they should each inherit a week.  When they told us they didn’t want them, we realized they were not in a position to be able afford the weeks. We later converted our weeks to points.

We also bought an every other year timeshare in Mexico. We bought because they told us they would sell our Shell Vacations/Wyndham timeshare. That was over three years ago. We paid fees and sent our deeds off to Value Traded, but they have never been able to transfer title. So everything is still in our names and we still get maintenance fee bills.

Value Traded claims that our CH/CR resorts won’t co-operate with them and that they have been black-listed.  So over the last three years, Value Traded has paid maintenance fees to us (always late, with penalties which we have covered) and we have forwarded the payments to the collection company CH/CR uses. Last year, we had a postal strike in Canada. We forwarded the invoices to Value Traded five days late (they want to receive them at least 30 days before due date) so they refused to pay. We are now in arrears and accumulating penalties (20% CH, 30% CR) on top of that to the tune of over $5000 for 2019. About two weeks ago we received what was termed a Pre-Legal notice from the collection agency.

I am retired and my husband will soon retire. We want an exit. We are heartsick to think that our points have no value after all the money we invested. We dread the next round of upcoming invoices.  We can no longer afford to be paying so much money every year. To top it off, we keep getting calls with offers to buy our timeshare in Mexico but are so afraid of scams. We just don’t trust the timeshare industry any longer.

Thank you for bringing attention to the plight of owners who have bought into perpetual timeshare contracts.  Many of us are desperate for an exit solution. We really appreciate your efforts on our behalf.

Regards,

Eileen and Kent W

#124 James E

Hi Irene,

I just learned of your postings and extensive efforts to help timeshare owners.  After reading your Letter from America, I am compelled to write to you. A little bit about me.  My wife and I own 4 deeds at CH and CR and joined the Shell Vacations Points option which adds an additional fee each year.  Our fees per year are now over $4,000 CDN. We are retired and on fixed incomes. 

Confronting a timeshare company, individually or as a small group of individuals, is futile and a waste of time. Information about the inner workings of timeshare companies is sparse, fragmented.  One feels like a spectator watching a stage magician perform unbelievable tricks when trying to understand why timeshare companies make owners miserable. I share your thoughts about complaints; that they are easily ignored and tend to be bothersome to the receiver.

#125 Brad G

Not only do I want to exit my timeshare at Carriage Hills, because I no longer reside at a location where I can make best use of the facility (we moved to British Columbia in 2005), but for several other reasons:

  • Annual maintenance fees have been increasing at a rate far and away above the rate of inflation. These imposed costs to owners are simply out of control and cannot be challenged. Nor can owners refuse to pay them.
  • The survivor clause in the owner’s agreement means that these ever-escalating annual costs get passed on to my heirs and successors in perpetuity. That’s ridiculous.
  • The voting structure is apparently rigged to make it effectively impossible for owners to carry any sway at AGMs.
  • Management hides behind privacy laws in order to stonewall any attempt by owners to self-organize.

In what sense are “owners” actually owners? They are not owners in any meaningful or useful sense of the word. Instead, they are sheep that are locked into agreements that guarantee perpetual fleecing rights for management. 

Timeshares once had a value proposition to the prospective buyer in terms of the cost of vacations. In the modern age of Expedia and Trivago, timeshare can no longer claim that value proposition. Instead of providing a competitive accommodation option for the owners, timeshares are simply maintenance fee grabs for a management company that has no real accountability to the owners. This situation must be challenged.

Best regards,

Brad G

#126 Stefan

Hi,

I have been an owner for 20+ years. We converted our original weeks to points ago. First, the annual fees were quite reasonable. We used the weeks as our boys grew up. I have since divorced and really can’t use the exchanges anymore.

I’m 68 years old and about to retire. I don’t want to spend $1,500 a year on something I do not use. I would really like

I’m 68 years old and can’t use it anymore also about to retire, and don’t want to spend $1,500 / year on something i do not use I would really like to exit, however it seems impossible I do not want to give this to my boys to worry about.

I don’t mind spending some $$ to get out but I have heard that exit timeshare programs are all scams.

Help

#127 was Simon, the first Carriage Resort owner to reach out

#128 is the owner who explained the tragedy of the Carriage Timeshare Trap.

We seek to provide timeshare members with 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.

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

https://tug2.com/Home.aspx

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/everything-about-timeshares-wayne-c-robinson/1129749757?ean=2940161600962

Free at Last Timeshare Support Course offered by Straight-A-Guide

https://www.udprep.info/june

Bluegreen Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/groups/180578055325962/

Wyndham Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/groups/376743609795740/

Wyndham Carriage Resorts Facebook

https://m.facebook.com/groups/152117225452689

Sapphire Starpoint: https://www.facebook.com/login/?next=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fgroups%2F292083584642570%2F%3Fref%3Dshare

Diamond Resort Facebook

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

Gold Key Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1639958046252175/

Inside Timeshare Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/groups/2213231165610648/

Thank you Irene and to all those who submitted their stories, there is something very seriously wrong with the timeshare industry and Inside Timeshare calls on the lawmakers to get a grip and curb these companies with legislation, just as they have done in Spain

That is all for this week have a great weekend and join us for more news and insights on the murky world of timeshare

Start the Week: New Website Warning

Welcome to the start of another week at Inside Timeshare, today we highlight another new website that has been detected, Anfi-Illegal-Contracts. It is a very strange one indeed, having only just been registered on 17 August 2019, it does make some very extravagant claims, regarding the number of clients it has with cases in court and also the number of Supreme Court rulings made against timeshare companies, it also seems to focus purely on Anfi.

Anfi-Illegal-Contracts website:

http://anfi-illegal-contracts-news.com/

Registered on 17 August 2019, it is due to expire on 17 August 2020, so straight away it does not build any feeling of confidence that this is genuine.

The registrar is Muhammad Rohail Hassan and is based in Pakistan and may only be the person contracted to build and register the website, not the actual person behind a dubious company.

While scrolling through the website there is a contact form which keeps appearing, it asks for your name, email address, telephone number and when you purchased your Anfi timeshare. There is also no reference to any company name or registration or even who the lawyers are supposed to be. The website itself looks as though it is purely a contact page which is phishing for your data and information, where it will end up at the moment no one knows!

According to the website they claim there have been 404 rulings made by the Supreme Court of Spain, which is a very far fetched claim as we know there are only 129, all brought by one law firm, Canarian Legal Alliance.

They also claim to have between 3 and 7 cases in court each week and have over 5500 clients going through the courts. This along with their claim that they have over 120 million euros worth of claims so far is what we would call a little bit of an over-exaggeration!

There are also three “client” reviews, one from the UK, one German and one Norwegian, all three mention the Anfi-Illegal-Timeshare-Contracts Lawyer Office, with the UK client saying they visited the office. Yet when we search for any company or office using this name, yes you guessed it, nothing shows up!

Inside Timeshare is making further enquiries into who might be behind this website and where your information will end up, but needless to say caution should be employed if you decide to fill in the contact form.

As and when more information comes to light we will publish it on Inside Timeshare. Tomorrow we publish yet another “Nightmare on Timeshare Street” story from Wyndhams Carriage Hill Resort in Canada.

So to all our UK readers have a wonderful Bank Holiday Monday and enjoy your heatwave.

Anfi Hits Spanish Television News

Following Monday’s article about Anfi Sales and Anfi Resorts hiding assets in an attempt to avoid paying back money awarded to clients in the Spanish courts for the selling of illegal contracts, they are back in the news. This time it is on Spanish national television TVE 1.

They report what we already have published and what was published in El Diario, Inside Timeshare has a recording of the news item to which has been added subtitles it has also been uploaded to Youtube.

https://youtu.be/VOujAX_HS50

The lawyer who is dealing with this case on behalf of Canarian Legal Alliance clients, Eva Gutiérrez is being interviewed outside one of the CLA offices in Arguineguin, with the Anfi Resort in the background. In the interview, Eva explains the reason behind the emptying of bank accounts giving the reporter all the figures. She is also seen working on documents showing the various bank accounts.

Eva Gutiérrez

It is actually quite staggering the amounts which are in the millions of euros that are being diverted from these accounts to avoid court-ordered repayments. It is no wonder that the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office has been taking a very keen interest in this matter.

During the interview, Eva Gutiérrez also explains that CLA and their clients are urging the courts to appoint an independent administrator to oversee the accounts and the investigation. This blatant attempt we are seeing by the Anfi Group, who are also paying members of the RDO (Resorts Development Organisation) the timeshare industry trade body and governed by their code of conduct and ethics, is in the mind of Inside Timeshare possibly a criminal act.

As yet we have not seen any statement from the RDO regarding this and we very much doubt that they will even sanction them over this. So much for the trade body and their code of conduct and ethics.

This story should place no one in any doubt as to the lengths timeshare companies will go to deceive consumers, it should also remove any doubt as to the authenticity of Canarian Legal Alliance which has over the years been smeared by the timeshare industry as a criminal gang and swindlers!

Inside Timeshare knows who the real swindlers and criminals are and now so do you!

Link to the original article by El Diario with English translation in PDF format.

https://www.eldiario.es/canariasahora/tribunales/Anfi-Timesharing-Condenas-Justicia-Deudas_0_922158442.html

If you own a timeshare at Anfi or any other resort and want to know what your legal options are, then use our contact page and we will point you in the right direction.

Breaking News: Prosecutors Office Denounces Anfi

Further to our article about the Anfi partner IFA’s AGM published on 22 July 2019, in this article, it was revealed that IFA was subject to questions regarding all the court cases, the possible cost to IFA and what it would mean to shareholders. The article also explained how IFA is being denied any influence or information on the running of Anfi by their partners Santana Cazorla who owns the “Golden Share”. Today’s article brings in a new dimension to the tale.

The newspaper El Diario has published that The Provincial Prosecutor’s Office of Las Palmas has now filed two complaints against two of the Anfi Group Companies, Anfi Resorts and Anfi Sales. The nature of the denuncias is for hiding assets in order to avoid seizures of money in the execution of sentences issued by the courts against Anfi Group for the numerous infringements of the law in the sales of their timeshare product.

Link to the full report published by El Diario 26 July 2019. (To translate from Spanish open in google and right-click on the article selecting translate)

https://www.eldiario.es/canariasahora/tribunales/Fiscalia-denuncia-Anfi-ocultar-embargos_0_924258398.html?fbclid=IwAR2RFYXoewmBTTWBITZLZcXgTe-nSnEmsBgkz04DVFTqzrXm9czh6dqsx5Y

On 12 July, the Prosecutor Elena Herra signed the papers that send the investigative proceedings opened in January to the Court of San Bartolomé de Tirajana. This follows denunciations by two lawyers Eva González of Canarian Legal Alliance and Miguel Rodriguez Ceballos (formerly of CLA) on behalf of clients following Anfi’s failure to pay the court awarded amounts to the clients by enforcing embargos.

This process is being initiated in all cases and given the refusal of the Anfi Group to comply and voluntarily pay as requested by the courts, the court has demanded a list of all assets in order to embargo and seize the assets.

It is also alleged that since 2014 to the present millions of euros have disappeared from these current accounts with the balances being practically zero. This is despite the fact the activity of the selling of timeshare at Anfi has neither ceased or decreased as stated in the annual statements of the Anfi Group.

The information has revealed that Anfi Resorts and Anfi Sales accumulated more than 13 million euros in sales one month before the Supreme Court made its first-ever ruling establishing that no contract was to be sold for a duration of more than 50 years (Law 42/98). By December 2017 those 13 million euros had been reduced to 400,000€ and that figure has decreased even further within the last 18 months.

In this specific case, five examples of cases in which Anfi have failed to pay on sentences issued by the courts between 2017 and 2018, some of these are for sums in excess of 200,000 euros. This is despite the fact that there are in existence orders and decrees that urge the company to comply with the execution of sentences under severe penalties for serious disobedience.

The Prosecutors Office has requested that preliminary proceedings be opened in the courts regarding these facts and that the legal representatives of Anfi Sales and Anfi Resorts, members of the boards of directors for both companies in 2018, persons responsible for services be investigated as legal entities and the person responsible provide the relationship of the assets to the courts.


Court of San Bartolomé de Tirajana, Maspalomas, Gran Canaria

A second article was also published by El Diario on 28 July, in this article, it was announced that lawyers from Canarian Legal Alliance on behalf of their clients have filed for a court administrator to be appointed to oversee the accounts.

According to El Diario Anfi stopped the first of three applications to the court by immediately settling with the clients and paying them what they were due. However, in the case of other clients, the court has already convened for September to try and reach an agreement to pay them if this is not settled the court will activate the option of the Judicial Administrator and embargo the accounts.

This leaves Anfi in a very precarious position as the emptying of accounts to avoid payment could lead to criminal action against the companies and the responsible persons involved. It leaves us in no doubt that the courts are taking this matter very seriously.

Link to the second article published by El Diario.

https://www.eldiario.es/canariasahora/tribunales/Anfi-Timesharing-Condenas-Justicia-Deudas_0_922158442.html

For those clients with cases yet to be heard or waiting for sentences to be issued this is very good news indeed as it will set a precedent and will lead to quicker payments as ordered.

Inside Timeshare will be watching this latest development very closely and will publish any further news when it comes in.

Anfi: More Serious Problems Emerge

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.

Tauro Beach Project, man-made beach, new hotels and commercial centre planned.

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.


Mr Hoyer one happy Norwegian client

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).

https://insidetimeshare.com/the-great-anfi-battle-of-the-partners-round-2/

https://insidetimeshare.com/la-provincia-anfi-director-declares-lawsuit-between-cazorla-brothers/

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.

https://www.finanzen.net/aktien/ifa_hoteltouristik-aktie

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.

IFA Faro, Maspalomas

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.

Start the Week

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?

Courts of First Instance Maspalomas

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.

Start the Week

So here we are at the start of another week, today we start with the news from the courts at the end of last week, we also republish the link to a TVE 1 news report about timeshare law in Spain and an interview with Eva Gutiérrez from Canarian Legal Alliance. We also highlight a new “claims” company that has just come to our attention.

At the end of last week after publishing out Letter from America, Canarian Legal Alliance published their results for the week. Once again it was a busy week for the courts and the lawyers with no less than 15 new victories on behalf of their clients.

In frame with the most rulings against them was once again Anfi Del Mar, with 10 cases heard by the Court of First Instance of San Bartolomé de Tirajana in Maspalomas. In the High Court of Las Palmas Gran Canaria, Anfi del Mar had 4 appeals rejected and sent back to the lower courts for the execution of sentence.

In Tenerife at the High Court in Santa Cruz, Silverpoint also lost an appeal, with the case being sent back to the Court of First Instance, again for the execution of sentence.

The total amount being returned to clients is a massive 517,056.50€ this amount doe not include legal fees or legal interest that is calculated separately. Contracts were also declared null and void. The infringements of the timeshare laws ranged from contracts over 50 years in duration, floating weeks and points systems plus the taking of payments within the 14 days cooling off period.

Considering the Supreme Court rulings of which there are 129, and the number of cases being found against the timeshare companies at the lower courts, it does make you wonder why the timeshare companies insist on prolonging the process and taking the lost cases to appeal. All we can surmise is that they are trying to delay making any payments as they still believe the courts have interpreted the law incorrectly.

In response to that belief, Inside Timeshare republishes a link to the National Spanish TV Station TVE1, in this news item they look at the Supreme Court rulings and explain why the timeshare companies are being taken to court. In the item, they also interview one of the Senior Lawyers at Canarian Legal Alliance Eva Gutiérez. This clip will put you the reader in doubt as to who is telling the truth.

Another new name in the “claims” business has just come to our attention, Refund My Claim with the website:

http://www.refundmyclaim.co.uk

It was registered on 9 February 2019 with the actual owner and registrar being hidden, the website has been regestered for one year only and is set to expire on 2 February 2020, these are never good signs.

The website itself gives very little information, with no company registration details only the company address, telephone number and email:

53 Fountain Street, Manchester, M2 2AN. Once again this is rented office space with postal and telephone answering service run by Regus, one of the biggest suppliers of serviced and rental office space on long term or daily basis.

The telephone number given is 0161 826 49 62

With the email [email protected]

On their Home Page, they state, “We are a free advice service that identifies the best Lawyers, Solicitors or Claims management company that best suits you for your claim.” They also explain the “Claims management” is big business in the UK and then go to list all the types of claims they work with including timeshare.

Now considering the age of the website, the lack of company information, no Company House registration and no mention of any lawyers or regulated claims managment company names, makes this is look like a very dodgy set up.

If you are contacted by any company with offers of getting you your money back for any timeshare or holiday club, do your homework before engaging with them. Make sure they are genuine, if you need help or advice on this, then use our contact page and we will be happy to help.

Tomorrow in our Tuesday Slot we publish an article titled How is a Timeshare Point Valued, this has been written by an Industry Insider and we have kept them anonymous as per their wishes. So join us tomorrow for more information and news on the world of timeshare.

The Tuesday Slot

Welcome to The Tuesday Slot, this week Irene Parker asks the question Wait! What Timeshare Regulations? But first, we have an update on the last 2 weeks of court cases in Spain, these figures came in late Friday afternoon, just a little too late to include in Friday’s Letter from America.

In total, Canarian Legal Alliance has received 38 sentences by various courts in Spain, these have been against 3 of the major players in European timeshare and are broken down as follows.

In one of the High Court sentences against Anfi, they were also ordered to repay the client the in-house finance including interest, this may just be good news for others who purchased their timeshare using in-house finance. It certainly sets a precedent.

The total amount which will be returned to the clients is an incredible 1,310,533.00 €, plus in most of the cases the return of legal fees and legal interest. All contracts were also declared null and void leaving them all timeshare free.

At least in Spain, there are regulations that protect consumers, so now on with our Tuesday article with Irene.

Women Who Money

Are Timeshares Worth the Money in the Long Run?

https://womenwhomoney.com/timeshares-worth-money/?fbclid=IwAR0bYNP97–z3c_zLuiKII59MamwEsSaCA6exdi6GdNOspnL26F88c09eeg

Wait! What Timeshare Regulations?

By Irene Parker

April 30, 2019

I enjoyed reading Are Timeshares Worth the Money in the Long Run? published by Women Who Money.  I agree with the author’s major points, except “regulations being in place to protect timeshare consumers.” Having heard from timeshare members about how easy it is for a timeshare sales agent to dodge a contract rescission period, I wonder if there is any foolproof way to prevent being scammed. Some things, like actual availability, cannot be discerned by reading the contract. My contract said, “You can sell your points. We will not assist you.” The part about no buyers was left out. I was duped by reading the contract.

House, Senate and Assembly Bills are flying across the country. The timeshare PAC ARDA ROC was successful in extracting consumer protection measures out of Arizona HB 2639, as reported by The Courier Daily.

“They’ve got a lobbying presence here and around the country,” added Amanda Rusing who lobbies for the office, “It was very disappointing to have to remove all of the stronger, pro-consumer provisions.”

https://www.dcourier.com/news/2019/apr/16/opt-out-provisions-timeshare-bill-no-longer-table/

Timeshare members “voluntarily” contribute approximately $5 million annually to ARDA ROC via maintenance fee invoices. ROC stands for Resort Owners Coalition. Why would any organization oppose offering a buyer 24 hours before signing a perpetual contract with no secondary market? Buyers are told that they have to buy the same day.

We are asking legislation be proposed that would allow the timeshare member 24 hours to review a contract before signing. We understand a member may not want 24 hours to review, so this offer could be waived. This offer should not be buried in the tap, tap, tap, electronic fine print. Members often report being held under duress for up to eight hours by a tag team of agents. Some sales centers take your driver’s license and credit card and won’t give them back.  

ARDA ROC introduced legislation in Nevada and Florida that would require those contracting with timeshare exit service providers be given 24 hours to review a timeshare exit service provider contract. This was proposed because they care about their members experiencing deceptive sales practices? Give me a break.

We would think it silly if a bill was proposed requiring those who seek to buy a car be allowed 24 hours before signing a contract. Typically when buying a car, you shop, and a tag team of agents doesn’t gang up on you for hours.

A synopsis of recent Florida, Arizona and Nevada legislation:

Timeshares are regulated by states. Since timeshare buyers typically buy a timeshare in a state other than their state of residence, lawmakers have little incentive to react to non-constituents. Lawmakers need to listen to those who bought a timeshare in their state, not just those who reside in their state.

I found the Woman Who Money article, “Are Timeshares Worth the Money in the Long Run?” on Lisa Ann Schreier’s Timeshare Crusader blog. Having worked in the industry for years, Lisa’s knowledge brings a lot to the table. Lisa is the author of Timeshare Vacations for Dummies.

From Women Who Money   

Regulations now exist to help protect consumers from high-pressure sales tactics. If you buy a timeshare and quickly regret it, you may have options for getting out of the signed contract.

https://womenwhomoney.com/timeshares-worth-money/?fbclid=IwAR0bYNP97–z3c_zLuiKII59MamwEsSaCA6exdi6GdNOspnL26F88c09eeg

Lisa Ann Schreier

Timeshare expert and author of Timeshare Vacations for Dummies

“While it is true that each state has a legally mandated rescission period, the fact of the matter is that 99% of purchasers will not read the contract within that time frame. The days of relying on the salesperson for good, solid information are over. Consumers must go into these timeshare sales pitches armed with a litany of questions and be prepared to walk out without purchasing anything if they don’t receive answers that can be pointed out within the contract.”

http://thetimesharecrusader.blogspot.com/

My husband and I used and enjoyed our timeshare for 25 years with no complaints, questions or Facebook posts. The points-based product does offer greater flexibility. We’re not saying timeshares aren’t good for many, and we know there are many honest sales agents, but I am convinced after hearing from over 800 timeshare members, current and former sales agents, managers and even an executive or two, “pitching heat” is on the upswing.

Timeshare buyers should record their timeshare sales sessions in one-party states where legal. Florida is a two-party state, so you cannot legally record without the other person aware. How is a victim supposed to obtain proof? All our readers’ Florida and Nevada timeshare complaints sent to the Nevada Real Estate Division and Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation were dismissed with “You have no proof.”  I would recommend not buying a timeshare in a two-party state.

One of our Supporters, Sheila Brust, has her “Pencil Pitch” denoting the following figures, with an arrow and “save” written alongside:

  • $8,631
  • -8,631
  • 0

According to Sheilah, the three-page pencil pitch describes how she would be able to cover all her maintenance fees through point usage. A second and third buyer bought from the same sales agent. The Florida DBPR reviewer told Sheilah that she did not understand the program either until she spoke with the company’s attorney. What chance does the average consumer have if a Florida timeshare reviewer, who has reviewed hundreds, if not thousands of timeshare contracts, did not understand the program until she spoke with the company’s attorney?

As far as proof, 83 Platinum members, who don’t know each other, reported similar to identical complaints, often against repeat offender sales agents. I’m told that constitutes proof as it is a good faith investigation and a reasonable conclusion. We have prepared a 130-page summary which is available upon request if a lawmaker or regulator is interested. We can hope.       

We are working on a petition. If you would like to become more involved with our efforts, contact Inside Timeshare. Of the 805 timeshare members who have contacted us, 103 are veterans and active duty services members.

We seek to provide timeshare members with 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.

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

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

https://tug2.com/Home.aspx

https://everythingabouttimeshares.com/consider-exchange-options/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/180578055325962/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/465692163568779/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1639958046252175/

Thank you, Irene, and also Lisa Ann Schreier for your contribution, if you have any comments or views on any article published, please use our contact page, we would love to hear from you.

If you have been contacted by any company with regards to resale, relinquishment or a claim and you are unsure if they are genuine, again use our contact page and let us know. We will point you in the right direction. Remember, doing your homework will save you in the end from losing your money.

Friday’s Letter from America

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 Bureau complaint 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.

The FBI prioritizes fraud for profit cases.

https://www.fbi.gov/investigate/white-collar-crime/mortgage-fraud

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.

https://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx

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.

In Florida call the Tampa Field Office

https://www.fbi.gov/contact-us/field-offices/

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.

www.secretservice.gov                                                       

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.   

#3 File with the Federal Trade Commission

The FTC online form has a “Timeshare Sales” option. It’s not easy to find. Instructions are in this article. Don’t be discouraged by receiving only a “Here’s some timeshare tips!” response. https://insidetimeshare.com/the-tuesday-slot-13/

Extra Talking Points

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 report tells consumers what to watch out for:

Timeshare Foreclosure Explained to Lenders

St. Louis BBB report

https://www.bbb.org/en/us/article/news-releases/18149-dont-fall-for-deception-pressure-and-traps-disguised-as-vacations-a-better-business-bureau-study-of-the-missouri-timeshare-vacation-club-industry?bbbid=0734

Why doesn’t the government do something about this?

  1. There is no federal enforcement,
  2. Timeshare Attorney General Investigations and settlements are usually mere financial speed bumps, comparable to fining an NFL player $10,000. One exception is The Manhattan Club settlement. https://nypost.com/2017/08/17/new-york-ag-reaches-6-5m-settlement-with-manhattan-club
  3. When a member complains, they are shown their initials on the fine print,
  4. Retaining an attorney will not stop unfair and deceptive business practices,
  5. Litigation is time-consuming and expensive,
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Some lawmakers may be influenced by lobby dollars, as reported by The Daily Courier. https://www.dcourier.com/news/2019/apr/16/opt-out-provisions-timeshare-bill-no-longer-table/
  9. 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.”
  10. 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):

United in Speaking Truth to Power

www.whistleblowersofamerica.org @whistleP2P

601 Pennsylvania Ave, South Tower, Suite 900 Washington, DC 20004

Statement of

Ms. Jacqueline Garrick, LCSW-C

Executive Director

Whistleblowers of America

Before the

Committees on Veterans’ Affairs

U.S. Senate

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.

Related articles:

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.

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

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

https://tug2.com/Home.aspx

https://everythingabouttimeshares.com/consider-exchange-options/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/180578055325962/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/465692163568779/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1639958046252175/

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.