Browse Tag

Designer Way Vacation Club

The Mid Week Report: Platinum Services and Administration SL

Back in October 2018, Inside Timeshare reported on a company going by the name of Litigation Services SL, they were contacting former clients of Incentive Leisure Group (ILG) who marketed Designer Way Vacation Club (DWVC) and members of Club Class. According to Litigation Services, they could get back money paid for these memberships.

Recently a new company has emerged, Platinum Services and Administration SL, Company Registration Number B93650307, with the address Calle Lope de Vega 60 29631 Benalmádena Málaga.

Telephone number: 0034 951122027 and 0034 951122320

The registered Director is named as  Calle Guden Daniel Ernesto who incidentally is also the registered director of Litigation Services SL.

Once again they are targeting ILG / DWVC and Club Class members for a no win no fee claim to get them their money back. One small snag though, there is an upfront commission charge of 10%, so does this mean they already know how much the client “will” be getting back?

There is a website, registered on 14 November 2018 and set to expire on 14 November 2019, not really confidence building. The registrant is Litigation Services SL, so that does lead us to believe they are the same outfit.

http://www.platinumservicesandadministration.com/

It must also be pointed out that it is not a secure site, it is also identical to the website of Litigation Services SL.

http://www.litigationservices.es/

Both websites also show two methods for payment, Klik & Pay and PayXpert.

They also both show the name of their supposed lawyer JLC Legal Services, with a registration number from the Ilustre Colegio de Abogados de Malaga 6956. There is indeed a lawyer with that registration number by the name of Jose Lara Cabello with the address Av de la Estación 29631 Arroyo de la Miel  Benalmádena Costa Málaga. His office is located just opposite the train station in Arroyo de la Miel and has been there for many years. Incidentally, this lawyer was also named by another fraudulent firm called Greenges 2005 SL back in 2014.

It is more than likely that Jose Lara Cabello is not even aware that his registration number is being used, as there is no registered company called JLC Legal Services.

So once again we see another new “company” targeting people who had previously dealt with two companies which are no longer in existence, with the promise of getting them their money back. As these companies no longer exist it does make you wonder how they are going to get back the money paid?

As usual, the warning is very simple, before believing anything you are told in a cold call, do your homework. Check the companies out, if you don’t know how then use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will help you do the checks.

Another word of warning is the payment method, even if you use your credit card to make the payment, you will not be covered by Section 75 of the Credit Consumer Act 1974. The two payment methods are considered third-party companies, therefore no direct payment is made to the company offering the service and your card company will not reimburse you when the service is not delivered.

The Tuesday Slot

Welcome to the Tuesday Slot, this week we welcome another new contributor, Vanessa Hernandez, with her “Nightmare on Timeshare Street” and her dealings with Starpoint.

Vanessa’s article was scheduled for today. It just happened to follow Saturday’s horrific mass murder at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh that resulted in the death of eleven worshipers.

Is it so much to ask, Starpoint, to show this family compassion? If you had bought a timeshare in Pittsburgh, believing you experienced unfair and deceptive sales practices, and then experienced what Vanessa experienced, how would you feel? Has greed in the timeshare industry so run amuck to show such callousness?  

What do you think? Inside Timeshare would like to hear from you via our comment section.

But first continuing with our theme of reporting some of the latest companies that are appearing on various blogs and forums, today we give the basic details of another new enterprise.

This one is called Hutchinson Holidays, with the website

http://hutchinsonholidays.com

Registered on 20 June 2018 and due to expire on 20 June 2019, so not intended to stay around long, the registrar is not named but the website is registered in Gujarat India, not really giving much confidence there!

The address they give is one that is very familiar 22 Wenlock Road London N1 7GU, which is just a registered office service and is a Company Formation Service with the website https://www.companiesmadesimple.com

According to their blog page https://www.companiesmadesimple.com/blog/20-22-wenlock-road-registered-office/

The title question is:

“Can I use the 20-22 Wenlock Road Registered Office service if my company wasn’t formed by you?”

Their answer: “Absolutely. Our Registered Office service, which operates from our own offices at 20-22 Wenlock Road, London, N1 7GU – can be used by any England and Wales limited company, even if it wasn’t formed by us. This is provided that you pass on the necessary proof of ID and proof of address documents needed to comply with the Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regulations.”

Which does not really seem to ring true considering the company we are talking about here, Hutchinson Holidays, the other contact details are email: [email protected]

Telephone +44 20 3868 2489

So what are they offering, well according to the website and their homepage they appear to be another “Holiday Club” that we have seen so often in the past, think Designer Way Vacation Club and Club Class Concierge. You pay to join and presumably trade in your timeshare (or is it originally pitched as a reslae with guaranteed buyer) and bingo, none of the holidays are available and with the time left on the registration they are gone never to be seen again.

We also believe that this is the same lot that were doing the resale with guaranteed buyer scam, highlighted on another blogsite in July 2018, the logo is very similar:

Anyway more on this little “scam” as more information is found, so on with our Tuesday article with Vanessa.

Our Las Vegas Timeshare Experience on October 1, 2017

The Callousness of Starpoint

Sapphire Resorts DBA Starpoint

By Vanessa Hernandez

October 30, 2018

To be honest, I don’t remember as much as I’d like about the purchase of our Starpoint timeshare October 1 of last year. That night Rogelio and I went to the concert that flipped Vegas upside down. We hid and ran for our lives, hoping to make it out alive. Thankfully we did. We cut our trip short, so I didn’t look over the paperwork as I told myself I would. I couldn’t get out of bed or eat for a month.

I remember feeling pressured and pushed into buying the timeshare, which was why I told myself I needed to look over the paperwork as soon as I got home. The reasons I felt uncomfortable with my decision:

  • They said the timeshare was prime real estate,
  • I was not aware the credit check was being run,
  • They told me to wait 30 days before booking,
  • They promised a free trip (which never materialized).

As the days wore on, I tried to get back to my everyday life, learning how to live with the trauma I had just experienced. About a month later I received a certificate of membership. I got out my paperwork and started looking through it. That’s when I realized the misrepresentations.

I thought I was going to be done paying off the timeshare in three years. It turned out to be a seven year loan financed at 21%. The loan document had circles on it as if this had been explained, but I don’t remember the sales agent doing so. I think that part was deliberately skipped.  I suspect the sales agent circled those items after we signed the documents.

We were staying at the Excalibur. When we walked by CVS we were invited to attend a timeshare presentation at the Jockey Club, affiliated with Starpoint. We met with sales agents Brandon and Matthew. Matthew said he wasn’t supposed to help with presentations, but wanted to help out. They told us that the Cosmopolitan next door had been trying to buy the Jockey Club and that some members had already turned down offers from those wanting to buy their Jockey Club timeshare. They said that if we bought and sold the timeshare back to the Jockey Club we could make good money because the Jockey Club was prime real estate on the strip and was basically priceless. We have since learned timeshares have virtually no secondary market.

They ran my credit when they said they wouldn’t. I told them I was rebuilding my credit. They assured me they were not going to run it, but they did without my consent. I received an alert from my credit monitoring company.

They sold the timeshare as a week’s vacation for the next 45 years. We understood there would be maintenance fees, but they never mentioned the resort fees charged at every stay. The Starpoint timeshare cost $5,995.

They told me I had to call Starpoint to book 30 days before my desired travel times, which was beyond the contract rescission period. When I called, there was no availability. The 5,000 points they sold us was not enough for a week’s stay.     

They promised us a complimentary three night round trip airfare and hotel package if we signed. We never received it.

In short, I felt pressured into making the purchase. I wanted to review the contract when I got back from vacation. Unfortunately, the events that took place after I bought the timeshare meant that I did not check the contract within the cancellation period. When I did review the contract, I found discrepancies between what we understood the benefits to be, and what we actually bought.

I asked Starpoint to show some compassion in light of the trauma I experienced, especially since most of what we were told was not true. I asked to be released from the contract, but there has been hardly any communication and certainly none that addressed my concerns about the misrepresentations, or whether they would cancel the contract on compassionate grounds.

I have been back to Vegas two times since the shooting, once was to fill out paperwork. The other was for a reunion to meet with other shooting survivors.

Before the horror:

I have no desire to ever go back to Las Vegas again. I bought on October 1. the day the shooting happened, so anything about that day brings back bad memories.

I have a certificate that states I was a victim of crime. I am seeking professional help. It feels like nothing matters to Starpoint except getting my money.

I am 30 years old. I guess the only silver lining is the life lesson learned. I will never believe a word a timeshare sales agent says. The general public needs to be aware that buying a timeshare can turn into a financial disaster you are stuck with for life. What other product carries this weight?   

Starpoint’s Better Business Bureau report:

https://www.bbb.org/us/nv/las-vegas/profile/resort/starpoint-resort-group-inc-1086-66568/customer-reviews

Thank you to Vanessa for sharing her traumatic experience. Only someone who has experienced the symptoms of PTSD can understand the power of association. Even if Vanessa had been happy with her purchase, she would have had a hard time enjoying future vacations because of the negative associations brought back after experiencing that terrible day. Feeling she had experienced unfair and deceptive sales practices, makes it even worse.

Like John Walsh of America’s Most Wanted, we hope Vanessa can learn to channel her trauma and grief outward to help others, like other timeshare victims.

Self-help groups we feel are not industry influenced:

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/

On Thursday we will be reporting on another company that was brought to our attention by a regular reader, this one revolves around one of the largest scams over the past few years, the bogus claims companies. Once again this company has full details of who the client has dealt with, what they purchased, how much for, when purchased and even membership details and number.

In this case our reader is fully wise to these scams having fallen for one in the past and then finding out via Inside Timeshare, he now regularly informs us of the companies that cold call him, on this occasion he has also given us a recording of the telephone conversation. So don’t forget to join us on Thursday.

Remember, do your due diligence and check any company that contacts you or one that you have found on the internet, if you are not sure how to check or need help in clarifying their legitimacy, then use our contact page and ask Inside Timeshare, we will be happy to help.

Friday’s Letter from America

Welcome to this week’s Letter from America, we publish another “Nightmare on Timeshare Street” article this week which focuses on Westgate, we welcome our new contributor who wishes to remain anonymous for obvious reasons. But first a quick look at the timeshare news from Europe.

Another Judge at the Courts of First Instance Number 2 in Maspalomas has joined other Judges in deciding on a case at the pre-trial stage rather than sending it for a full trial, that now makes Courts numbers 1, 2, 3 and four all following the same route.

Usually the pre-trial stage is used to allow a last minute out of court settlement and deciding if the case warrants a full trial. These courts have now decided that it is a waste of valuable court time to set dates and hold the full trial, the reasoning is that it is a matter of the contracts, they violate the timeshare laws and are cut and dried cases. This will be good news for many clients who are waiting to go to court as it will now speed up the process considerably.

We have heard from another reader who informed us of a company called Litigation Services SL with the company registration number B93268936, they give the address C/ CORONEL RIPOLLET, EDF SANTOS REIN S/N FUENGIROLA (this is a rather seedy street).

The director is listed as CALLE GUDEN DANIEL ERNESTO Appointment: 15/10/2014, but another very old familiar name is also listed although he was dismissed on the above date, SHARIFI DADVAR MAHMOUD REZA.

According to the caller, the courts have seized sizable amounts of money from Timelinx and DWVC (Designer Way Vacation Club) which we know are no longer in existence, Litigation Services SL will help you to claim the money you paid. Obviously they need a fee to process this. The thing is there are no funds waiting at court to be claimed, we also know that in the past this company has had links with the likes of Greenges, Fuengirola Servicios 2000 and our old friends Ramirez and Ramirez.

It would also seem that not only those who had dealings with DWVC are being targeted, but Club Class Concierge clients are being contacted. The story is that there is a court case against them in the Spanish Courts, The company is called Key Legal Claims and they will represent you in court and obtain the money you paid Club Class.

The caller is Emily Carter with the phone number 01212852941. Emily will require a release fee to get the money from the courts, as we have seen in the past this is not the case, there is no money being held by the courts for either of these “Clubs”.

Now on with our Letter from America

My Westgate Timeshare is Up in Smoke!

By a Westgate buyer

October 5, 2018

The peasant of Venice and the Queen of Versailles revisited,

Comments from Irene

The Siegel’s “Queen of Versailles” Florida home

Their lavish pad is nine times larger than other houses in the area (90,000 square feet) and has a $20 million mortgage, which is 100 times the size of the average mortgage in Central Florida, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2310067/Construction-FINALLY-restarts-vast-Queen-Versailles-mansion-recession-hit-owners-raise-30m-needed-complete-it.html     

By a Westgate owner who wishes to remain anonymous. Contact Inside Timeshare if you would like to contact the author.  

Wealth Achieved at What Price?

Up in Smoke

I own a Westgate timeshare. I purchased the timeshare in Gatlinburg, Tennessee a while ago. In November 2016 the resort caught fire and my unit was burned to the ground. They are rebuilding, but the new units are totally different from the units being replaced.  I am being asked to pay for a unit that has not been built, and given less options for the same money. I don’t see how this can be fair, but given the way in which we have been treated, I don’t think ‘fair’ is anything Westgate cares about.

The manner in which I was induced to sign the original contract attests to this:

The timeshare would be a great investment because it is real estate,

  • I could sell it,
  • I could rent it to make my money back,
  • I could get a tax break, the same as a homeowner,
  • I could get a loan to pay off my loan because it was an investment.

Westgate sales agent Zak told us it was best to buy low because in years to come the value of the property would increase.  He provided an example of one of the original owners that purchased paying only $3000, and then showed me what the property is worth today. I now know timeshares are a liability, almost impossible to sell for even pennies on the dollar. The salesman misrepresented pretty much everything to make the sale.

Timeshares are not the same as real estate, and with little to no secondary market, not an investment. Many timeshares, including Westgate, can be bought online for $1. The market is flooded with timeshares and it is almost impossible to rent them out. Tax deductions are not allowed.

I relied on what the sales agent said. Now I am left with payments for something that is not what was described. Based on my experience, the poorly regulated timeshare product benefits only the sales agent, in the form of commissions, and the timeshare company, who apparently has amassed a fortune at our expense.  

Our timeshare sale began with deception. A mandatory update, which is not mandatory, stated it would last 30 minutes, but it was a sales presentation that lasted 4 hours. They didn’t care about my sightseeing tour plans ruined. There has never been a time when staying at a Westgate vacation resort that I have not been pressured by employees trying to sell or upgrade me to a pricier unit. Despite making loan payments every month plus maintenance fees, before you can even use the week, you have to undergo the pressure imposed by a Westgate employee, taking up one of your vacation days, trying to sell you something that you don’t want or need.

When I think about my Westgate experience these last five years, listening to sales agents making promises unfulfilled, having spent thousands of dollars, what I have is worth nothing. This has been a nightmare.

I have tried to contact Westgate to talk about my concerns. They strung me along for months and months saying they’d get back to me. Eventually, their paralegal wrote a generic cut and paste letter stating that I had signed a contract so that was that. This is the level of care Westgate shows its owners?

Their home is 90,000 Square feet?

Thank you to this Westgate owner, who wishes to remain anonymous, but has provided their contact information should others wish to contact them through Inside Timeshare. These are member accounts hoping to warn others to know that what they bought is probably worth nothing. The timeshare developer is always welcome to present their side of the argument.  

My question to timeshare developers is, how much is enough? Inside Timeshare has heard from 609 timeshare members and owners, many families financially devastated, alleging unfair and deceptive sales practices. Most signed off on high interest loans.

We thank timeshare members for submitting their experiences in the hope of warning those thinking about buying a timeshare, to be aware the purchase they are about to make can have devastating financial consequences.

What house, condo, boat or car would you buy that could not be resold? What would happen to the residential home market if buyers learned after their purchase, the “asset” they bought had no secondary market? It is not uncommon for Inside Timeshare to hear from timeshare buyers who paid $100,000 or more for a timeshare, easily the cost of a condo or home. Timeshares are hard enough to sell, but almost impossible with a loan attached. You can sell a house or a car with a loan, but not a timeshare.

You can rent the documentary “The Queen of Versailles” from Netflix, about the 90,000 square foot home being built in Orlando by Westgate owners David and Jackie Siegel. The documentary took Best Director at Sundance some years ago.

https://www.justwatch.com/us/movie/the-queen-of-versailles#

As a former stockbroker, I have no objection to great wealth, but given the Dashiell’s articles submitted last week and today’s article by a Westgate owner, I ask, “Wealth at what price?”

http://insidetimeshare.com/the-tuesday-slot-7/

I have heard from Carolyn Willis, a third Westgate buyer, whose timeshare went “Up in Smoke” also, angry beyond words.

 The Siegel’s 90,000 square foot house led to my timeshare advocacy efforts. I attended a pathetically aggressive timeshare sales presentation July 2015. When I returned to our unit, I turned on the television and happened to tune into Las Vegas attorney Bob Massi’s FOX show Property Man, featuring the Siegel house.  Disgusted with what I had just experienced, I wrote to Mr. Massi. About a month later the FOX producer called me and said they had received a flood of timeshare complaints. The producer said the segment was not even about timeshare, but about the Siegel’s palatial home. She said Mr. Massi is a friend of the Siegels. I was the only respondent invited to be interviewed by Mr. Massi. She said I was selected because I was the only respondent who said I wanted to talk about the positives of timeshare and not just the negatives.

 My house in Venice 1,770 square feet

Sometimes it takes a peasant revolt.

I described my timeshare presentation experience in fairytale format. My husband and I were in between homes, moving from Bowling Green, Kentucky to Venice, Florida. The comparison was irresistible, so I christened myself the peasant of Venice, as my LinkedIn profile describes.

http://insidetimeshare.com/peasant-venice-queen-versailles/

Contact Inside Timeshare if you have a timeshare experience to share. We know there are many who use and enjoy their timeshare. They may not be aware that timeshares often have virtually no secondary market. Many reaching out to us only learned this when life circumstances prompted them to look into selling their timeshare.  Timeshare companies list the lack of a secondary market as a risk to shareholders in their annual reports. There is little empathy for the timeshare buyer who has spent thousands of dollars only to learn their timeshare is, by design, worth nothing. Greenhaven Capital Management touted the lack of a secondary market as a benefit for private equity investors. In a moment of anger, I wrote this mock interview after reading about Greenhaven, touting the timeshare stock BECAUSE of no secondary market. I find this shameful.  

My apologies to British comedians Bird and Fortune

http://insidetimeshare.com/new-across-atlantic/

Do not pay anyone money upfront to get out of a timeshare without checking with Inside Timeshare or one of these self-help groups. You will find straight answers at no cost on these sites.

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

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

https://tug2.com/Home.aspx

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

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

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

That’s it for this week, remember if you have been contacted by any company with a story that your timeshare company or club has been taken to court and there is money waiting for you, it will be a scam. If you need any help in checking the validity of any company that contacts you or one that you have found on the internet or advert, then use our contact page and we will point you in the right direction.

Have a great weekend and join us again next week.