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Diamond

Friday’s Letter from America

Welcome to this week’s Letter from America, this week we publish the story of Calvin and his dealings with Nationwide Transfer. It is yet another story of how a respected Veteran with 100% disabled from his service has been defrauded by what can only be described as despicable criminals. As we have said before this is a result of the practices of the industry itself, it is they and they alone that are responsible for the emergence of companies such as this.

As many of our US readers know, Irene Parker has been subpoenaed by Diamond, all because she has helped many to resolve their timeshare problems. It is with regret that Inside Timeshare informs our readers that Irene will not for the time being be publishing any further articles. There will be a go fund me campaign being launched to help Irene with the cost of legal fees so that she is fully represented. More details will be published on this when the campaign is launched.

Veteran Timeshare Fraud is Despicable

Our Experience with Nationwide Transfer

How can our Government stand by and let this continue, especially to the ones who fought for everyone’s Freedom? 

By Calvin W 

Calvin W, age 68

Vietnam Veteran, 100% disabled, Platoon Sergeant E-7

Desert Storm, ran a POW camp, Military Policeman

My family strongly supports me. They had good intentions when we purchased a timeshare for my relaxation, but we entered into another war on US soil that we did not see coming. Stress over this timeshare has added to my sickness and has put us at a poverty level. 

September 20, 2019

In an attempt to be released from our Vacation Village timeshare, my wife Gwen and I lost $20,000 to Nationwide Transfer over a series of payments beginning in 2017. We have recently learned just how horribly we have been defrauded. 

We purchased a Vacation Village timeshare at Williamsburg Plantation Resort in Virginia about ten years ago. I had asked the sales agent what would happen if we could no longer use the timeshare. Like many, we were told it was real estate so it would be easy to sell. When we looked to sell because of my illness, Vacation Village would not discuss it. We found Nationwide Transfer online.

I contacted Irene about Nationwide Transfer. When she learned we still have a small loan balance with Vacation Village, she advised me to contact Vacation Village about what happened. I did contact Vacation Village and spoke with a manager. She was understanding and helpful. I am in the process of getting together the information that Nationwide Transfer should have sent to Vacation Village, instead of sending a letter they had to have known would be ignored. I am writing to warn others about Nationwide Transfer.     

I knew Vacation Village had sent me a letter in December 2017 requesting medical documentation concerning my PTSD hospitalization. I had asked about a medical hardship release. Nationwide had told me not to talk to Vacation Village under any circumstances. Instead of requesting and sending my medical documentation, Nationwide instead sent Vacation Village a letter that said I had Parkinson’s. I don’t. This made it look like Nationwide was doing something, knowing that if I had sent medical documentation as requested, there was a possibility I could have been released from the loan. The ineffective letter allowed Nationwide to string me along to get the following checks out of me: 

DEC 2017 $4,825

APRIL 2018 $3,500

JULY 2018 $2,225

AUG 2018 $6,435

OCT 2018 $800

JAN 2019 $1,800 

I last called Nationwide January of 2019. They said that the deal was about to close, but I would need to send another $1,800. When I spoke with them in November of 2018, they had said they were going to make another trip to Williamsburg to close the deal. 

I spoke with ANTONIO, ROBERT, FRANK ANTHONY, and TONY. AN INVESTIGATOR OBTAINED THE OWNERS NAME, BUSINESS LIC. AND SEVERAL ADDRESSES AND PHONE NUMBERS. AS YOU KNOW THEY CHANGE NUMBERS. THE OWNERS NAME IS MICHAEL McDONAGH, business lic ID 4643788205 (877} 554-7870//address Variations  150 Paularino Ave, Costa Mesa, CA msg description Orange County, CA employees 12 people. 

Irene informed me the phone number has been disconnected. 

NATIONWIDE TRANSFER has a BBB Rating of F

https://www.bbb.org/us/ca/santa-ana/profile/timeshare-transfer/nationwide-transfer-inc-1126-1000054638/complaints

In 11 years we only used the timeshare twice. We have had to refinance our home three times because of this timeshare burden. I fought in two wars and now have to fight another one on my own soil. It is a shame, but at least I am getting some help.  

Back in December of 2014, we received a notice in the mail from Vacation Village to discuss the terms of our timeshare contract. We had sent them a couple of letters asking them to please release us from our obligations. My health had been greatly declining. Our original purchase price was around $7,000. The salesman we met within 2014 said the point system would allow us to use our points to help with our maintenance fees. I told him I was going to retire at 62 and explained the difficulty I was having due to PTSD from Desert Storm. Believing this would lower our maintenance fees, we exchanged the deeded weeks for 103,000 points. The upgrade cost was $6,295.34 financed at $128 per month. We are still are making loan payments. Maintenance fees did not decline.

https://vacationvillageresorts.com/williamsburg_plantation/index.html

My Military Service

My name is Calvin. I am a proud retired military veteran. My military career began in 1970 when I was drafted into the U.S Army. I officially entered the military January of 1971. I took my basic training at Fort Campbell in Kentucky, then was stationed at Polk Louisiana, a training facility for soldiers preparing for Viet Nam. From there, I was shipped off to Germany, because my brother was in Viet Nam. We supported our brothers in Nam and ran missions from Germany until your loved ones were sent back, some living and some not. 

When I returned home in 1973, I entered the National Guard. My unit was the most active in the state, a Military Policeman. When the nation prepared for the Gulf war we were among the first to start preparing and training troops to deploy. I was promoted to platoon sergeant and assigned to the desert along the Iraq border. We provided security for convoys, route reconnaissance, and POW detainees.

The horror of war was just on the horizon. Scud missiles were a norm, morning, noon, and night. Keeping prisoners in line was probably the most frightening because of the vast number of prisoners, dangers were present 24 hours. The threat of death was so persistent that most soldiers still suffer nerve problems. The prisoners tortured each other because of differing nationalities. We had 27,000 POWs. We saw so much killing inside the camp. There were soldiers from five different factions. I had severe PTSD.  

It hurts today to talk about what happened. I still go to therapy at the VA three times a week. My doctors and therapist advised me not to revisit the nightmares too often. My PTSD has gotten better, but it will never be over. I have headaches daily, an injured knee, and several other injuries. I was hospitalized for two months at the Hampton VA MEDICAL CTR IN 2015 due to my PTSD symptoms. That was when my wife tried to sell or give back the timeshare, but she kept being strung along. 

My Vacation Village loan balance is $2,143.38. I am hoping they will at least cancel the remaining loan balance. 

My family had good intentions when we purchased a timeshare for my relaxation, but instead, we entered into another war on US soil that we did not see coming. We have endured more financial problems as a result of our decision to purchase a timeshare than I thought possible. I will be reaching out to newspapers and to veteran organizations about timeshare fraud. There needs to be more public awareness, like the following news report:  

Comment by Irene

Mother Teresa was once asked, “Who causes the problems of the world?”

Her reply: “I do.” 

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://www.facebook.com/groups/CHCROwners/

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 Calvin for your story, also a very big thank you for your years of dedicated service, we just hope the industry realises the misery that their practices are inflicting on many people. Having clear exit or resale solutions along with sales agents telling the truth will, in the end, put a stop to the scam companies that flourish as a result of the industries practices.

That is all for this week join us again next week and have a great weekend.

Canarian Legal Alliance: Benalmadena Office Interview

While attending a meeting on the Costa del Sol, Inside Timeshare took the time to drop in on the new office in Benalmadena Costa of Canarian Legal Alliance. The office manager and senior consultant Sean Thacker was very kind in spending some time explaining what they do and answering a few questions.

The office itself is situated in the center of Benalmadena Costa, a stones throw from the wonderful Parque de la Paloma and the Aquarium Selwo Marina.

It is a modern and spacious office with facilities for conference calls, with a relaxed atmosphere, which will certainly put potential clients at ease.

The Benalmadena Office of CLA

Here is what Sean had to say.

Inside Timeshare.

As we know Canarian Legal Alliance has had a presence in Gran Canaria for many years, the Benalmadena office is a fairly new branch, when did you open and why was this location chosen?

Sean: This office opened in April of 2017, the main point was we understood there were many clients who took vacations on the Costa del Sol, especially as this area is full of resorts associated with timeshare. It was felt that many of these owners would be interested to learn more about their rights and how the judicial system can protect those rights.

In the light of the publicity surrounding the timeshare industry, we believed they would be more comfortable in visiting our office and discuss their concerns in person. The other advantage is we are also able to offer the many mainland European clients who opt for driving holidays a genuine service.

IT: Have you had many clients just walk in seeking advice about their timeshares and what has been the main concern of these clients?

Sean: Yes, we were very surprised at the number of clients who passed and came in for some general advice. We offer this advice free of any charge, explaining the law in Spain and what their rights are under the Spanish Timeshare Laws.

One of the main concerns was the mounting rise in maintenance fees, along with no availability, especially for the points and floating week owners, yet they were increasingly seeing that they could book online in the high season considerably cheaper than what they pay in fees. Another concern was where clients purchased on a rental basis yet they received no rental income.

IT: Are most of your enquiries made by telephone or do you receive more via email?

Sean: Our clients, apart from walkins, are mainly via enquires from the internet or social media and we now find we have a major source from our current client referrals to other owners or even friends and family.

IT: What has been the main nationality of the clients or have they been from all over Europe?

Sean: We deal with clients from all of the major countries, UK, Germany, France, Spain, Belgium/Holland, Scandinavia and we have now found over the last 3 months a big increase in Finnish clients who are interested to understand their rights in Spain.

IT: As you said, many of your clients are now from Finland, which timeshare company has figured the most with these clients and what type of products have they purchased?

Sean:I notice that most of our Finnish clients predominantly purchased with Silverpoint / Excel, The Company Participation Schemes seem to play a major role in most of the purchases.

IT: You mentioned the Company Participations Scheme sold by Silverpoint, would you say that these are now becoming more numerous than the old “investment packs” that were being sold originally?

Sean:Yes, there seems to be a switch from the old investment packs to Company Participation which suggests that companies are trying to look for alternative sales tools to offer to clients while always trying to circumnavigate the Spanish legal system.

IT: How do the “Company Participations” differ from the original “investment packs” and would you say that the average amount spent by purchasers is much higher than before?

Sean:The biggest difference is that customers thought they were buying an apartment as freehold. But they bought between 8 to 52 timeshare weeks, these “apartments” are “registered” as SL or limited companies, this is another ploy to remove them from the strict timeshare laws. On this point, in a recent case held in Tenerife, Silverpoint admitted in court that The Company Participations are timeshare. We are finding that our clients are spending anything between 37,000 and 250,000 euros per purchase. That is a huge amount for a product which is essentially timeshare.

IT: Would you say that most clients are nervous about taking legal action and how do you overcome this?

Sean: Everyone is always nervous in the first place to take any legal action, especially in a foreign country, the most important aspect of our work is to make sure we offer full support and transparency in how the process works, then guide the clients step by step through the whole process. It is important at all times we never apply any pressure techniques. This process is totally in the client’s hands, we are a support vehicle for them.

IT: We know there is always going to be bad press on the internet, much of it made by the industry, which will make prospective clients sceptical, so how do you overcome this problem?

Sean:Bad press is something we deal with daily, it proves to me that we do our job correctly for our clients. If you take the record of CLA and the number of case victories including over 129 Supreme Court wins, this shows to our clients that bad press is the only option certain industry members have. I personally will always go through with clients all good and bad press so they feel comfortable, as I mentioned earlier, transparency is the key .

IT: Roughly, how many cases do you think you have taken on since opening this office and would you say that those which have been to court have lived up to the expectations of your clients?

Sean: Since opening, we have delivered over 500 cases from the mainland office alone, all our client’s expectations have been surpassed using the correct Spanish Laws. Our clients who have had their cases heard have received back the full purchase price, including double the deposit paid within the 14 days cooling off period, in some cases, this has been extended to 90 days, which then doubles any amount paid within that period.

Thank you Sean, you have explained what you do and how you work with your clients, I’m sure that anyone coming into this office is going to be put at ease and be given the facts.

The Benalmadena office is certainly following the success of their parents in Gran Canaria, no doubt we shall hear more of them in the future.


Sean Thacker indicating a Supreme Court ruling against Silverpoint

Sean also pointed out that Diamond has several resorts in the area one is their flagship Sahara Sunset. Diamond has also had rulings against them from the Supreme Court, Inside Timeshare published this in December 2018. Below is a PDF of that ruling.

In another court case, this time held at the Court of First Instance in Barcelona, Restotel SA, MedHotel Group SL and ONA Group (Club Dorada SL), were found to be in breach of the timeshare laws. The contract was declared null and void with the client being awarded 112,724€ including double the deposit paid within the cooling off period. Below is a PDF of that ruling.

Inside Timeshare has highlighted the great results achieved by Canarian Legal Alliance in Gran Canaria for several years now, including all the Supreme Court rulings. Even though the facts speak for themselves, the industry is still in denial, they will not admit they are losing. There are still false statements about Canarian Legal Alliance being posted on the internet, much of it we know is from the industry itself, but the facts are these cases are in the public domain and cannot be denied.

Below are two links to previous articles published by Inside Timeshare on Silverpoint, to find more use the search box on the website.

If you would like further information on this article or any other published, use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get back to you.

Maintenance Fees: To Pay or Not To Pay

One question Inside Timeshare receives on a regular basis is in regards to maintenance fees, “should we just stop paying them?”. Looking at many of the timeshare forums the general answer from posters is “yes, just ignore the bills, that is what I did, they won’t take you to court”.

It is also one of the main points that the so called relinquishment / cancellation / exit companies tell their clients, “once you sign up with us, don’t pay”.

Unfortunately, that is not quite true.

Many of the timeshare companies will chase for unpaid maintenance, at first through their own collections departments, but eventually they will pass these arrears to a debt collecting agency. Diamond along with other companies tend to use one of the biggest agencies in the UK, Daniels Silverman, based in Liverpool. MacDonald Resorts use Network Credit Services, based in Hamilton, Scotland.

The Ona Group based in Barcelona, Spain, actively chase unpaid maintenance fees, even for resorts they have taken over and the owner ended the contract with the original resort over 10 years ago. Ona Group say they have no record of the contract being cancelled and are taking those people through the Spanish Courts for upto 15 years unpaid fees. They use a law firm based in Barcelona called Punt Blau, who say they are are expert lawyers in the field of timeshare. The worst part of this will be the cost to the “debtor”, once the Spanish court has issued the judgement, it will be passed to a UK law firm and go through the County Courts for execution.

Once the debt has been passed to these agencies, you will be dealing with them not the resort, they will also incur huge amounts of interest and legal fees. You also then risk being issued with a County Court Judgement, commonly known as a CCJ. This will also have a very negative affect on your credit rating, preventing you from getting loans and even a mortgage.

Another question that arises from these enquiries is, “has anyone ever been taken to court, if so can you show us the judgements?”

Nobody has posted on any forum that they have been taken to court and lost”.

Well that is not surprising, would you publicise the fact that you have had a county court judgement made against you?

Agreed, it is not always taken to court, in most of the cases the person will give in to the threats of the debt collectors and pay. After all many of these owners are getting on in years and just want out, but they also have old views on debt, the stigma of being taken to court is a definite NO.

For the past few years Inside Timeshare has been highlighting the case of an elderly lady, now 90 years old, we called her Mrs B. She paid a company over £5000 to get her out of her MacDonalds timeshare at Dona Lola, this was in 2015. She was told the timeshare was no longer her responsibility and not to pay any further maintenance.

Her “debt” has been passed to Network Credit Services, this has now been handed over to a law firm Shepherd Wedderburn based in Edinburgh.

This firm is threatening to take her to court over the “debt”.

In their correspondence they even sent her copies of court judgements of MacDonald Resorts members who have been taken to court and had CCJs issued against them. They literally boast about it, which to an old lady is in our opinion a very serious threat.

They even place in their letter headed “Claims already issued in England and Scotland”, 4 cases along with which courts, case numbers and the names of the people involved, where MRL has won the claim.

  • Manchester County Court, Mr & Mrs S, case number C8QZ5392
  • Elgin Sheriff Court Scotland, Mr & Mrs C, case number ELG-SG24-18
  • Airdrie Sheriff Court Scotland, Mr & Mrs F, case number AIR-SG76-18
  • Gloucester & Cheltenham County Court, Mr & Mrs C, Case number E8QZ399H

These are genuine cases, these people have been ordered to pay and now have the dreaded CCJ on their credit files. All because they believed what they were told or read on various forums by idiots who have nothing better to do than give out bogus information on subjects they know nothing about.

There are ways of being rid of your timeshare, not paying your maintenance fees is not one of them. It may have been in the past when non-payment after 3 years the timeshare was repossessed, it may still hold true for the smaller independents, but for most of the big timeshare companies that is no longer the case.

If you have any questions on this subject and would like to know what your options are for relinquishing your timeshare, then use our contact page and we will point you in the right direction.