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Limora Group

Azure X & XP: What is it?

Azure Resorts is yet another of the infamous late Bob Trotta companies under the umbrella of Limora Group. The products sold were the same as those peddled by their sister company in Tenerife, Silverpoint. They operate out of the Golden Sands Resort in Malta and as we reported some time ago they laid off around 70 staff from their sales team. Since then they have launched new products Azure X and Azure XP. So what are these products?

Azure X is a new kind of membership product which uses a “digital leisure currency” called XP, this “currency” can according to Azure be used across all the leisure products offered by Azure. This according to Azure means that members do not have to purchase into each new product that they come up with.

They way they explain it is that weeks from any time of year or even accommodation units can be used across all the classes of their membership. In theory, this gives members access to boats, cars, motorhomes, lodges, cruising and hotels from their “ever-expanding portfolio”.

The duration of membership is 25 to 30 years, yet they claim it is also flexible. Apparently, members who decide to use more XP each year, the membership can be accelerated with the duration and end date being brought forward. They also claim that with Azure X you are in control. The question here is what about availability?

They also claim that members of other products who are happy with what they already have need not acquire Azure X membership. This product was not available to upgrade by members of other products without payment, yet they will accept trade-ins of previous products purchased as part payment.

Over the years we have seen many products similar to this such as Leisure Credits, Monster Credits and of course the original points systems, all have promised so much yet, in reality, they do not deliver on those promises.

As with all these “club memberships,” availability will always be a problem, there will always be more members than what is available on the inventory. To give an example, a resort using the traditional timeshare concept of fixed weeks and apartments, the resort is only able to sell 51 weeks in each apartment, once these are sold that is it, no more new members. By changing to these “virtual currency” systems they can increase their membership base. This is where we end up with that old scenario of “no availability”.

Azure are also still offering other products alongside Azure X & XP membership, these include timeshare weeks, fractional yacht ownership (Silverpoint also sold this product in Tenerife), UK lodges and UK lodges freehold. The last two we have seen as the Excel Lodges Participation Scheme which is very similar to the Company Participation Scheme sold by Silverpoint.

As with all these types of products, there will also be an annual cost, the dreaded maintenance fees, yet Azure does not mention this in their X magazine called WOW Living, which is sent out to all members.

As always, it will be some time before “members” realise they have not purchased what they were promised, then it will be too late!

If you have purchased Azure X or XP Inside Timeshare would like to hear from you and your experiences, use our contact page and get in touch.

Spanish National Television Report on Timeshare

On Sunday night Spanish national Television RTVE aired a report on the world of timeshare, this Spanish version the BBC’s Panorama is a popular program and delves very deeply into the subjects it follows. The program called Repor (Report) focused on the major timeshare operators and interviews many consumers who have purchased what are now illegal products.

Although the report is in Spanish it is not too difficult to follow, especially for those who have been caught up in these contracts.

The presenters of the program also interview two of the lawyers from Canarian Legal Alliance, Eduardo Álamo and Eva Gutiérrez.

We see Eduardo with his clients who purchased with Anfi around 2011, with the couple also explaining their own story. We later see the couple emerge from the courts after their case had been heard where they express some relief at the process now coming to its finale.

Later in the program, there is an interview with Mr Hoyer from Norway, who had a rather long and drawn out case against Anfi. He originally lost in the Court of First Instance, this case was heard before the Supreme Court ruled and set the law in stone. His case then went to the High Court on appeal which he won. Anfi appealed to the Supreme Court and lost with the court confirming the findings of the High Court. (You can read his story in the link below).

Eva Gutiérrez also explains the investigations into all the companies involved and tied up with Silverpoint, she shows the chart which is the company structure all under the umbrella of the Limora Group.

The companies featured in this program are Anfi, Silverpoint, Ona Group and Club la Costa, all were approached for comment yet all declined. That to us at Inside Timeshare is a very telling point, they have nothing to say in their own defence, they all know that they have broken the laws of Spain with their practices and still deny that they have done anything untoward.

As soon as the program has been edited and highlights with subtitles are available Inside Timeshare will publish here, please see the link to the original program and if you can understand Spanish you will be surprised at the depth of the report.

If you have purchased a timeshare in Spain since 5 January 1999 and would like to know if your contract contravenes the law, please use our contact page and we will get back to you with the options available to you.

http://www.rtve.es/m/alacarta/videos/repor/repor-atrapados-multipropiedad/5500078/?fbclid=IwAR0C0yj2DeK0A1rr8p1IROb0ZFZaqQk9yJCFhotSQf_Rhv-v5FuLeCVObik

Timeshare Sales End at Golden Sands Malta

Welcome to the end of the week, today Inside Timeshare reports of the latest news coming from Malta. It has been announced in the Times of Malta that timeshare sales are ending at the Radisson Blu Golden Sands Resort and Spa with the loss of around 80 jobs. Azure Services Ltd which is the sales and marketing company for the resort told employees by email that “the majority” of staff will be made redundant. They will be making way for a new “elite team” which will be embarking on a “new strategy”. As yet we don’t know what this new strategy is, but this will be a blow for the staff especially at this time of year. (See link at the end for the full article)

Azure Services Ltd is part of the Limora Group owned by the Trotta family and is the Maltese sister company of Silverpoint selling the very same products. Azure Services was set up in 2003 with the sole intention of selling timeshare or as they called it “vacation ownership” at the five-star Radisson Blu Golden Sands located at Golden Bay beach at Għajn Tuffieħa.

Radisson Blu Golden Sands Resort and Spa

Linked to the hotel at one point were the Manchester United football players Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs, they had invested in Island Hotels Group which was the company that managed the hotel. This was a major selling point for the sales staff and tended to swing sales in their favour.

In 2015, the Corinthia Group, the parent company of Corinthia Hotels a Maltese hotel company acquired a 50 per cent share of Azure Services, with the remaining 50 per cent being owned by international investors (Limora Group).

On Monday the email sent to employees explained that the company would no longer be selling timeshare or holiday clubs but the focus would be on servicing its thousands of members.

The email went on to say “inevitably, in consequence of this new strategy going forward, the majority of the sales and marketing teams will need to be made redundant to make way for an elite team of marketing and sales staff selected to promote and take forward this new strategy.”

There will also be a restructuring of other servicing departments and this could increase the numbers losing their jobs to 120.

In the Times of Malta report, a spokesman said that both sets of shareholders remained committed to the future of the resort as a “high-end luxury destination.” They also maintained that Azure and Golden Sands Resort would fully honour all timeshare commitments arising from obligations to existing members

Azure sold not just the basic timeshare but also copied the model from their sister company in Tenerife Silverpoint, this was the selling of “investment” weeks with the promise of rental income and then a resale with profit after 2 years. None of this ever materialised.

They also moved into selling membership points-based holiday club called Azure X, which Inside Timeshare has been told by readers is known as XP. These are explained by the sales staff as a virtual currency such as bitcoin and could be traded in the same manner or used to gain access to motor yachts, supercars and other hotels which include those owned by the Corinthia Group.

This product is designed as an attempt to bypass timeshare legislation as it is a membership to a club and has no property or weeks attached. But we all know that anything sold by any of the Limora Group companies will be worthless and useless, just look at all the products sold by Silverpoint over the years.

As for the new product and the “new strategy”, we will just have to wait and see what this will bring, no doubt it will not be for the benefit of the consumer!

Full article Times of Malta

https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/timeshare-sales-end-at-golden-sands-with-loss-of-80-jobs.756316

This is not the first time Azure and Golden Sands has hit the press, Malta today reported in February 2019 on the investigation by the FCA into loan agreements brokered by Azure for the purchase of timeshare with Barclays Partner Finance. These loan agreements were brokered illegally as Azure was acting without official authorisation.

https://www.maltatoday.com.mt/news/national/93169/golden_sands_timeshare_loans_investigated_over_misselling_by_uk_watchdog_#.XfNzg-j7SUm

If you have purchased any product from Azure especially the XP “virtual” currency, Inside Timeshare would love to hear from you. Please use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get back to you.

Have a great weekend.

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