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Diamond Resorts

Start the Week: Another Defeat for Anfi & A Question for the RDO

Welcome to the start of another week with Inside Timeshare, although it will be a short week and looking forward to a welcome break over the Christmas and New Year Period. We begin this week with news which came in late on Friday with another defeat for Anfi at the High Court. We also ask the question of why is the RDO (Resorts Development Organisation) not even acknowledging that their own members are losing in the courts for not abiding by the law let alone the organisation’s code of conduct and ethics?

High Court of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

As we have been seeing time and time again, Anfi is doing their utmost to delay proceedings with their constant appeals to the High Court, causing not just stress for the clients but also creating a huge backlog of cases to be heard by this particular court.

The Court of First Instance of San Bartelomé de Tirajana Number 3, declared the Anfi contract null and void in accordance with all cases they have tried, this is also in accordance with the rulings, of which there are now 131, by the Supreme Court in Madrid. This is Spain’s Highest Court and once they have ruled there is no going back as this is the last port of call for any appeal.


Court of First Instance of San Bartelomé de Tirajana

The original sentence issued by the Court of First Instance as well as declaring the contract null and void also ordered Anfi to repay 61,166€ plus Legal Interest. The award was also calculated to include the repayment of double the amounts the client paid within the statutory cooling-off period.

As expected, Anfi once again appealed the ruling to the High Court of Las Palmas. The Judges once again in accordance with past practice and the Supreme Court rulings rejected and dismissed the appeal. They confirmed the original sentence and returned it to the original court for execution of sentence.

No doubt the Lawyers at Canarian Legal Alliance had already placed a “provisional execution of sentence order”, even before the announcement of the appeal. We have come to expect this in every single case.

In this case, the Norwegian client’s case was prepared and presented by Eva Gutierrez with Claims Consultant Michael Gadman assisting the client throughout the procedure.

We now have to ask the question, “Why does the RDO not sanction Anfi and other timeshare operators who are their members, such as Diamond Resorts and Club la Costa?”

Well, the simple answer is the RDO policy of not getting involved in any dispute between their members and timeshare owners. Yet they will pull out all the stops if a non-RDO member does anything remotely wrong.

Is this practice fair for consumers, Inside Timeshare and others think not!

In fact, all the cases we are seeing and also highlighting on these pages are members of the RDO, they also have one thing in common, they are all in breach of one of the main points of the RDO “Code of Conduct and Ethics”.

Part I, Chapter 3, Paragraph 3.5 actually states:

“To comply with all laws, which apply to Member’s, business in the jurisdiction in which the Member operates.”

Now, considering that the Laws of Spain have been ignored by virtually all timeshare resorts and companies since the Law 42/98 came into force on 5 January 1999, surely this is a blatant breach of their rules?

This is not the only breach of the RDO “Code”, Part II of the code, which covers “Principles”, is also being blatantly breached. This covers the way in which timeshare should be sold and relates to the information consumers must receive. It also covers the point that consumers should be given the facts in order that they are able to make “informed purchase decisions when contracting with an RDO Member”.

In Part II of the Code, it is also clearly stated:

2. Sales and Marketing Principles 

2.1 RDO Members will in no case mislead a consumer into believing that a product or service has other features and/or benefits than those laid down in the contract.

2.2 RDO Members will in particular ensure:

2.2.1 Appropriate marketing techniques that make it clear what the object of the approach to the consumer is;

2.2.2 Appropriate selling methods that treat the consumer with respect and allow the consumer choice between purchasing and reflection; and

2.2.3. The provision of any necessary assistance to consumers to enable them to make an informed decision.

As we have seen over the years, these principles have been ignored by all the major timeshare resorts and operators. The very worst was by one of the RDO’s former largest contributors, Silverpoint, whose CEO Mark Cushway was also a Director of the RDO!

Silverpoint withdrew from the RDO with Cushway resigning as a Director a few years ago, since then have filed for liquidation following major defeats in the courts regarding the sale of their product “Investment Packs”.

Mark Cushway former CEO of Silverpoint and Director of the RDO

These were groups of weeks and apartments sold with the promise of a rental income and a profit when the weeks were to be put up for resale after 2 years. As we know none of these ever materialised with Silverpoint losing in all cases along with around 50 rulings against them in the Supreme Court.

This particular scheme has been dubbed as one of the biggest frauds in timeshare history, yet what did the RDO say or do about it?

Well, you guessed it, absolutely nothing, even when these consumers made complaints to the RDO their response was what we have come to expect, the RDO does not mediate in any dispute between a member and a consumer. The consumer must take up any complaint directly with the timeshare operator. Hence the proliferation in litigation which the timeshare industry is losing.

Below is a PDF copy of the RDO Code of Conduct, once you begin to read it you will see many other infractions of this code by RDO members. Just remember what the sales reps told you when you first attended a presentation or even the constant attempts to “upgrade” you by the in-house reps. This will certainly open your eyes to what this industry and the so-called “Trade Body” are actually all about, we call it “protecting the old boy’s network”.

So, who can you go to when you have a dispute, the Kwikchex “helpline”, which is just another company funded by the RDO designed to protect their own members. The choice is very limited, timeshare owners are basically left on their own and at the mercy of some very dubious “exit & claims” companies. For those whose purchases were made in Spain, at least they are able to use the laws in place and use the legal system to gain redress, as we have constantly shown on our pages.

To end today’s article, if you purchased in Spain after 5 January 1999, with a contract with either no end date (perpetuity) or over the permitted 50 years duration, you have floating weeks or points systems, which also include fractional, paid any amount within the statutory cooling-off period. Then you may have a case under the Spanish legal system against your timeshare company for breaches of Timeshare Laws 42/98 & 4/12.

If you would like more information on this subject please use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get back to you.

The Tuesday Slot: Elder Abuse and Timeshare Sales

Welcome to The Tuesday Slot and another revival of our Letter from America series, today we bring you another “Nightmare on Timeshare Street” with the horrific story of an elderly couple targeted by unscrupulous timeshare sales agents. This particular story is a result of a comment on a previous article “A Timeshare Sales Agent Repeats Himself”, by Donald E. Puyear which we published on 1 December. It is such a dreadful story that we decided that it needed an article all of its own. It appears that in the US this is a significant problem for the elderly, in Europe, we have had some similar stories but not to this extent. This is the story as related by Tiffany Renee on the trials and tribulations of her elderly parents at the hands of timeshare sales agents.

Mortgage Scams Targeting Seniors

https://protectingourelders.com/

Click on the Rachel Ramos Video.

Elder Senior Court

Financial Assaults on our Seniors

  • Home Theft
  • Identity Theft
  • Fake Arbitration Scam
  • Grandchild Needs Money Scam
  • Lawyers Inflated Fees Scam
  • The Timeshare Scam
  • Long Term Insurance Scam 
  • And many more…..

What is causing this alarming epidemic trend?

Our ageing population is more vulnerable as they are more trusting, susceptible to trickery and are less likely to fight or report a scam. The authorities and courts are not up to date with the latest scams and are less likely to investigate or prosecute financial abuse cases.

By Tiffany Renee

December 3, 2020

My parents are devastated because of what happened at a Diamond Resorts presentation in June of 2019. View the video on Protecting our Elders website to see how easy it is for a senior to get scammed. What happened to the senior in the video is why my parents were in a sensitive state. They had been victims of prior scams throughout their lives that resulted in us losing our personal homes and property. Imagine having a bank take your home because they said your deed wasn’t real? And whoever had the real deed, was being foreclosed? Imagine knowing all the money you paid towards your home meant nothing because someone else out there had an outstanding mortgage that you were not aware of. Imagine receiving this news with your wife and two babies, forced out of your home. I won’t get into more details, but my parents didn’t know how to fight this with the mortgage company. They are good, honest people, trusting, hard-working, and God-loving individuals. They trusted the system and, like the senior in the video who had his home stolen and a lien filed against him, felt it was out of their hands. This happened to them more than once! They never wanted this to happen again!!!!

This is why the rawness of what they experienced at Diamond Resorts has devastated my parents more than anyone could ever know. Diamond knows they are devastated. They don’t care. I call what happened to them at Diamond Resorts elder abuse and false and unjust enrichment because my parents received no benefit from this transaction. In laws of equity, unjust enrichment occurs when one person is enriched at the expense of another in circumstances that the law sees as unjust and unfit…where an individual is unjustly enriched, the law imposes an obligation upon the recipient to make restitution, subject to defences. Liability for an unjust (or unjustified) enrichment arises irrespective of wrongdoing on the part of the recipient.

The concept of unjust enrichment can be traced to Roman Law and the maxim that “no one should be benefited at another’s expense” : “nemo locupletari potest aliena iactura or nemo locupletari debet cum aliena iactura.” This has been my motto!

At Diamond Resorts, the consumer is blamed because you signed a contract. Never mind the contract was signed after 11 hours of hard sell, unable to read the contract, relying on the ethics of a timeshare sales agent. They don’t understand rescission periods or cooling-off periods.   

We owned two Gold Key deeded weeks prior to Diamond’s acquisition of Gold Key! Diamond’s Mystic Dunes Resort sales agent Dawson Allen, and Quality Assurance Agent Tim Lima told my parents in June of 2019, that they were required to attend a meeting, or they would be fined $400 !! They are elderly and trusting, they cannot afford this unexpected news, so they agreed to attend the “update” to avoid the fine. They had no obligation to attend this meeting. 

During the meeting, Dawson and Tim told my parents it was necessary to give up their Gold Key deeds in order to protect themselves and their children from dire financial consequences. If they didn’t, their maintenance fees would increase by thousands of dollars over the years and could put my parents in a position of bankruptcy because they could be one of the last deed-holders standing. They could end up solely responsible for building repairs if a hurricane came through… looking at a 5 or 6 figure liability! That’s right, they threatened bankruptcy and a bill in the double or triple-digit thousands. They told them their current deeds were worthless, despite being told the prior year that their deeds were worth $250,000.

The news devastated my parents, feeling as if they could lose their home again and became homeless. THEY WERE PUT IN AN EMOTIONAL STATE. They could not think clearly or logically. They must turn in their deeds and purchase points. On top of it, they were promised they could use points to pay fees, they could sell points for profit, Diamond would buy the points back, blah blah blah. 

My parents cannot see well. The agent read the contract, stopping off and on, to explain “how this really works” or “this is the way it really is,” pointing to information missing from the actual contract. My parents had informed the agents they could not afford to do anything right now, and the decision would have to wait until the following year. NOTHING was to take place until they could attempt to get their finances in order. This was June of 2019. 

My parents said they had no food, water or medications for over 11 hours. They were exhausted and eager to have permission to leave. FINALLY, they saw the light at the end of the tunnel and started to perk back up, happy to finally be released. They were informed they would be recorded. They did not want to sound sad, embarrassed, and stupid to the general public. They made sure they “looked good on TV” as one would put it. They had not yet given Diamond any form of payment and they had not yet filled out any applications. They signed paperwork to acknowledge they had attended the meeting so as to not be fined $400 and were finally released with the notion they had a plan and that this was something that will need to be addressed in the following year.

My parents had no idea that Diamond had charged a down payment onto a Barclay Bankcard, and then later received a few bills due immediately. Remember when they said they would be avoiding high maintenance fee increases? Their maintenance fees jumped from $2200 to almost $6000 immediately! They now hold 78,450 points. How is this not enough?

We owned TWO Gold Key deeded weeks, both 3 bedroom condos with a lockout. We NEVER had a problem going on vacation or exchanging. Now all of a sudden it wasn’t enough? My parents have no intention of travelling anywhere in the future EXCEPT to go to the same spot they’ve always gone in Virginia Beach. Now that Diamond has their Gold Key Deeds, they are unable to return to their home resort during their previously guaranteed week. Nothing they search for is ever available for exchange.

I recently found our “QA” agent has an extensive criminal record, complete with a four-year jail term, with multiple felonies ranging from theft, burglary, domestic violence, and traffic criminal charges. Tell me WHY this person is allowed to work in Trading and Money Lending????? As a QA agent?

The timeshare lobby ARDA has a Code of Ethics? Diamond has a representative on ARDA’s board.  

Link to ARDA Code of Ethics see Frequently asked questions: Why does ARDA have a Code of Ethics?

https://www.arda.org/about-us/code-ethics#:~:text=ARDA%20and%20its%20members%20are%20committed%20to%20ethical%20behavior%20in,with%20integrity%2C%20dignity%20and%20propriety.&text=ARDA%20does%20not%20mediate%20or,consumers%20and%20ARDA%20member%20companies.

In all the years of doing this work, Inside Timeshare has never come across a story as devastating as this, in our opinion this behaviour is not just against all moral codes and ethics, it is downright criminal. If this story doesn’t show that there is a great need for change in how these timeshare agents are allowed to operate we are unfortunately going to see many more of these in the future.

If you have a similar story and would like to share it with others please use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get back to you.

End Of The Week Roundup

Here we are again at the end of another week and there seems to be no let-up in the number of enquiries received by Inside Timeshare, all have one thing in common, they are all about “fake” law firms or claims companies. One of the most disturbing aspects of these calls is the fact they claim to be either employees of the courts, the Bank of Spain or they have been appointed by the courts to contact “victims” of various timeshare scams. These are all warning signs of a scam.

We began this week with news from the courts and also that MacDonalds appears to be stepping up their campaign to take members to court who can no longer afford the maintenance fees or can no longer use their membership. On Tuesday we revived our old “Letter from America” with the experiences of Donald at the hands of Diamond Resorts, next week Inside Timeshare will publish yet another Nightmare on Timeshare Street, this particular article clearly focuses on Elder Abuse. We then published two articles on the History of Timeshare and the History of the Supreme Court Rulings on Timeshare in Spain. 

To end this week we bring you the latest news from the courts with another payout from Anfi along with yet another Bank Guarantee, then for a change, it is the turn of Marriott with yet another defeat for the timeshare industry.

For one English family on Monday, Christmas this year became something to really to celebrate, they have just received their long-awaited payment from Anfi of 16,509€ which is now safe and secure in their own account.

The case first went to trial last year at the Court of First Instance Number 4 of San Bartelomé de Tirajana, where the judge ordered the contract to be declared null and void and the repayment of their full purchase price. The court also included the payment of legal interest.

As you may have guessed, Anfi launched yet another appeal to the High Court of Las Palmas, this case was heard in February 2020 and yes, as usual, the court dismissed the appeal and confirmed the original sentence.

The client’s lawyers at Canarian Legal Alliance also placed an execution of sentence order with the court and three months later in May the Anfi bank accounts had been embargoed and the funds were now 100% secured for the client.

The case was prepared by the CLA Lawyer Eva Gutierrez with Claims Consultant Jake Kaiser assisting the client throughout the proceedings.

On Tuesday at the courts of First Instance Number 2 of SBT declared another Anfi contract null and void and have ordered Anfi to repay a massive 194,760€ plus legal interest.

The case involving German clients took less than 12 months and this was during the severe restrictions and lockdown which virtually closed the country down. Thanks to the Supreme Court rulings and the groundbreaking victory at that court in 2015, we are beginning to see the time it takes to bring these cases is slowly reducing. No doubt we will shortly hear that Anfi will launch yet another appeal against this decision and we all know what the result will be!

The case was prepared and presented by CLA Lawyers Eva Gutierrez and Christine Ihmann with Claims Consultant Evi Richter assisting the client.

Staying with Anfi, on Wednesday another English client has had their funds guaranteed by the bank following a provisional execution of sentence order placed by CLA. These funds are now 100% secure and payment is now waiting for the High Court of Las Palmas to confirm the sentence.

These orders are being increasingly used to ensure that clients do receive what they are entitled to, it is also becoming more evident that the courts are applying these orders and is a sign that they are supporting the clients and have lost patience with the incessant delaying tactics employed by Anfi. We are now just waiting for the High Court to confirm the original sentence.

This case was prepared and presented by Eva Gutierrez with Jake Kaiser again supporting the client.

It is now obvious that Anfi is using these appeals to delay the inevitable, it is also obvious the courts are taking a very dim view of these tactics and it will not be long before Anfi is sanctioned even more with the High Court adding more payments just as we have seen them do in the past.

Moving back to Tuesday and it was the turn of Marriott to be in the frame with the Court of First Instance Number 3 of Marbella declaring the Marriott Club Son Antem contract null and void. The court also ordered that Marriott repay the client 13,890€ plus legal interest.

When calculating the payment the court awarded double the amount paid as a deposit with the statutory cooling-off period, payments within this period are forbidden by law even if taken by a third party. This is in accordance with the rulings of the Supreme Court.

The client’s case was prepared and brought by the CLA Lawyers Eva Gutirrez and Christine Ihmann with Evi Richter assisting the German client until the conclusion of the case.

These are just a few of the cases which the courts have been dealing with all over Spain, it is now very clear that the law is being applied and in favour of the consumer and not of the industry. After all, we have said this before and we will say it again, “they only have themselves to blame”.

News has just come in of a full payout to German clients of CLA in their case against Silverpoint, they will be reiving into their personal bank account 27,638€.

The case was originally won in the Court of First Instance, just as was predicted, Silverpoint launched an appeal, CLA immediately filed a “provisional execution of sentence order” to the court to secure the funds for the client until the sentence was confirmed by the High Court.

The moment the High Court dismissed the appeal and confirmed the original sentence, CLA simply asked for the court to release the funds.

Once again the case for the German client was prepared and presented by the Lawyers Eva Gutierrez and Christine Ihmann with Claims consultant Evi Richter assisting the client.

That is all for this week, join us again next week for news from the murky world of timeshare and remember to look out for our next “Letter from America” and the abominable behaviour of sales agents and what can only be described as “Elder Abuse”.

Have a great weekend.