Browse Tag

MacDonald Resorts

Start the Week: Two of our old Friends are Back in the News

Welcome to the start of another week with Inside Timeshare, we ended last week with the latest news from the courts, today we begin with news of another appeal by Anfi being rejected. MacDonald Resorts will also be making a reappearance on our pages in the near future, today however we will give you a brief outline of our readers problems, for many, it will be a very familiar story.

The once respected Anfi

So, yet another frivolous appeal by Anfi Sales SL and Anfi Resorts SL has been roundly rejected by High Court Number 3 of Las Palmas, Gran Canaria. The news of this particular case arrived just after the publication of our Friday article.

The case which involves English clients was originally heard at the Court of First Instance Number 4 of San Bartolomè de Tirajana. At this hearing, the judge ruled that Anfi must repay the client full repayment of 30,883€ plus legal interest and return of their legal costs.

The contract which was also declared illegal and therefore null & void consisted of “floating weeks” that have been deemed illegal as they hold no value or substance. There was also no end date on the contract, so it was what is known as perpetuity. The law clearly states that contracts should be no longer than 50 years in duration and the termination date must be clearly shown.

The court also included in the repayment, double the amount taken as a deposit within the statutory cooling-off period. The point of the “cooling-off period” is to give the consumer the chance to cancel the contract without loss. As most of you will know, the sales process is lengthy and high pressure, the taking of the deposit tends to secure the “deal”, as most will not cancel in fear of losing the substantial deposits paid. This is something the sales teams of all timeshare have used to negate the “buyers remorse”, a term used in timeshare for those who want to cancel.

The High Court unanimously endorsed the original sentence and ordered Anfi to comply with these orders.

This client’s case will now be filed with the Mercantile Court to ensure they are accepted as “creditors” by the court-appointed administrator. This is due to the fact that Anfi Sales and Anfi Resorts have been placed into “necessary bankruptcy” by the Lopesan subsidiary Isla Marina SL. See the link below for the full story.

Once again this case was prepared and presented on behalf of the client by the lawyers of Canarian Legal Alliance.

The Plas Talgarth Resort, located on the southern tip of Snowdonia National Park

We now move to the upcoming article on MacDonald Resorts, as our regular readers will know, Inside Timeshare has over the years published many articles on the disgusting “business” practices of this Scottish Timeshare Developer. One thing is very clear, they are probably one of the worst operators in the timeshare industry, even the RDO had to remove them from membership!

Our reader first contacted Inside Timeshare back in March, with pleas for help as MacDonalds had already begun to initiate court proceedings using their “legal bloodhounds”, Shepherd and Wedderburn, for so-called arrears in maintenance fees. Something we know that MacDonalds actively pursues even against the elderly and those in distinct financial difficulties. This history of “legal extortion”, as that is what it really is, has been going on for many years as all MacDonald “members” will have seen.

We did highlight this case back in March and it was passed to the BBC Radio 4 program You and Yours, unfortunately, because of the upcoming court case, they were unable to proceed with the program.

The case has now gone to court and we will be bringing you the full story from our reader, who had to give up his employment to become the sole carer for a very ill Father. Below is the initial message our reader sent in.

“In 2013, I signed what I thought was a document allowing me to use a timeshare unit at Plas Talgarth later that year.  As it happens, I wasn’t able to use that holiday, so it was all a waste of time and money anyway.  From then onwards, I have received an annual bill for hundreds of pounds from MacDonalds for a service fee.  I have told them repeatedly that I have never holidayed with them and never will.  I have never paid this fee and now they have taken me to court – even though I’ve never had a single night’s holiday with them!”

Once again we are seeing signs of deception on the part of the sales staff, our reader had no idea he was signing and purchasing a timeshare membership with MacDonalds. Inside Timeshare is working with our reader to ensure the correct information is published.

All that Inside Timeshare can say at this point is you will be horrified at this Nightmare on Timeshare Street.

Link to the last article on MacDonald Resorts.

If you have any questions on your own timeshare purchase and contract, whether it is illegal and what your options are, either for a claim of relinquishment, then please use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get back to you.

Friday’s Letter from America

For a long time now Inside Timeshare has reserved Friday for our Letter from America articles, which over the years has given consumers on both sides of the “Great Lake” or “The Pond”, depending on which side of it you are on, a glimpse to the similarities owners/members put up with. Even the scams are basically the same, from “Fake” law firms to “Resales”, even the Modus Operandi tend to be the same. Many of these have been highlighted on our pages, some of the emails and experiences have been hard to read, many have been words of thanks.

One of the main points which has been a subject for discussion on these pages are the “SALES” tactics used during the “Presentation”, this has become a thing to be dreaded by so many. The constant “upsell”, with all the false promises.

The tactics we have published in our Letter from America series are, to say the least disgusting, we dubbed them Nightmares on Timeshare Street

In most cases, the “victims” are elderly, vulnerable and sometimes with severe illness, in other stories we have heard how Veterans have been harmed, serving forces personnel have been at risk of losing their positions and security clearance. Others still, have been low-income families, we even had one story of a family losing their home.

But this is not unique to the US, in Europe, we have had our fair share of “Nightmares on Timeshare Street” stories.

One was the recurring story of Mrs B and her very long battle with MacDonald Resorts, a Scottish based company. Then there was the operation running out of Tenerife, which was once dubbed The Biggest Fraud in Timeshare History. That is one description Inside Timeshare totally agrees with.

Yes, we are talking about Silverpoint/Resort Properties, this one took timeshare to another level of fraud.

The Suites at Beverly Hills Heights, Tenerife. Sold by Silverpoint, managed by Excel. Both are part of the Limora Group.

They did not just sell one or two weeks, which is what most people actually need, no, they sold “packs” of weeks and apartments, usually around 6 to 8 in each sale. These were pitched as an “Investment” in “Property”, they would yield an income through rental, then after 2 or 3 years when they “went up” in value, they would then be sold by Silverpoint. You, making a tidy profit, NOT!

Again the smooth-talking, well-trained sales staff and managers loved to target the retired, just retired and about to retire, another group that can be added are those that were being made redundant/early retirement. It didn’t end there, as the court cases and investigations go on, more is coming to light.

In the US regulation is very complex, there are so many laws each dependent on individual states, there is no Federal Law to regulate the industry and protect consumers. The same was the case in Europe, it was a complete mish-mash, there was no Europe wide protection. Then in 1994, the first EU Directive on Timeshare was brought in. Over the years these have been augmented and updated, taking into account the lessons learnt from the past, such as increasing the cooling-off period in all EU Countries. It was also required that they were incorporated into domestic law, not just to regulate the industry but also to protect the consumer.

It’s not perfect, some countries watered them down, some strengthened them, Spain was at the forefront to enable what have become the strongest Timeshare Laws in Europe. These came into force on 5 January 1999, but, as we now know many of the timeshare companies failed to comply with Spanish Law and ignored them.

Would you accept watered-down wine?

The result is the legal cases being lost by them on a daily basis, they believed they were “untouchable”, all we can say is “It’s your own damn fault!”

Since Inside Timeshare began the US perspective, we have all learnt one thing, that you are not a lone voice, there are others out there who are going through the same thing. It is a fact, whatever practices are used across the pond, they will eventually be used this side of the great lake and vice versa.

The Fridays Letter from America slot will still be a part of Inside Timeshare, myself and Irene have learnt a great deal from these exchanges, we are also sure that all you readers have as well, we still have a lot to learn, as they say, timeshare never sleeps. The new format will not be weekly but a monthly slot, as Irene is involved in a great deal of important research work, but she will be dropping us an occasional letter. Obviously, if and when important news develops such as the Hilton acquisition of Diamond, that news will be fitted in.

Have a great weekend and join us again next week.

Start the Week: MacDonald Resorts Makes an Offer and News from the Courts

Welcome to the start of another week with Inside Timeshare, the original article which was published this morning on the “Bankruptcy” of the Cazorla Group, has had to be removed temporarily, the reason is we have received some information that needs to be added along with some points which need to be clarified. This article will be published in full in due course.

Last Friday, the BBC Radio 4 program You and Yours were supposed to broadcast the story of our reader and their problems with MacDonald Resorts. At the last minute, our reader was contacted by MacDonalds who made an offer. So the BBC decided not to broadcast the item.

Our reader has since been in contact with Inside Timeshare and we are pleased to report that the offer made was satisfactory, he is very pleased with the outcome and has now come to an agreement. The case is now concluded and closed.

We do hope that MacDonald Resorts take a very long hard look at their policies and how they treat their members, it would save MacDonalds a great deal of adverse publicity and improve their credibility. Times have changed, members are no longer going to put up with how timeshare companies treat them, they need to change and change quickly.

Last week was a rather difficult week in the courts for the timeshare industry, with yet another Club la Costa case being found in favour of the client. Again CLC tried to appeal the decision of the court to accept the case, citing the contract was subject to UK law and UK jurisdiction.

This move was rejected and the Court of First Instance of Fuengirola found against CLC, declaring the contract null and void with the return of over 45,000€ plus legal interest and legal costs.

In the High Court Number 5 of Las Palmas, Anfi had yet another appeal dismissed with the original sentence of the Court of First Instance being confirmed.

The High Court also confirmed the counter appeal by lawyers representing the client that the Court of First Instance did not take into account the illegal taking of deposits within the statutory cooling-off period. The High Court duly applied the double payment of these deposits increasing the original award by over 20,000€ bringing the total to around 48,000€ Plus legal interest and legal costs. The contract was also declared null and void.

Then on Friday afternoon, another case against Anfi was announced by the Court of First Instance of San Bartelóme de Tirajana. The client’s contract was declared null and void with the court awarding a massive 185,241€ plus legal Interest and legal costs. No doubt Anfi will launch yet another appeal to the High Court, just to be awkward and cause the client as much stress as possible.

Again the clients were represented by the lawyers of Canarian Legal Alliance, who will continue to represent them throughout all stages of the case including any appeals they make.

That is all for today, if you have any questions or comments, please use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get back to you.