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MacDonald Resorts

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.

The Tuesday Slot: Anfi Case Concluded plus MacDonald Resorts Update

Welcome to the Tuesday Slot with Inside Timeshare, we begin today with the news of a final payout to a client by Anfi after an unsuccessful appeal to the Supreme Court. The news of this appeal was published on 16 March along with another appeal to the Supreme Court by Diamond Resorts, which was also unsuccessful with the judges roundly rejecting the appeal.

Anfi lost the original case at the Court of First Instance where the contract was declared null and void and they were ordered to repay the client over 45,000€. As we have seen in all these cases Anfi launched another appeal to the High Court of Las Palmas, the court rejected and dismissed the appeal confirming the original judgement and sentence.

Anfi, true to form, decided to waste the court’s valuable time and launched an appeal with Spain’s Highest Court, The Supreme Court in Madrid. This court has made 130 rulings on Spanish Timeshare Law and set them in stone or what is known as jurisprudence.

The Anfi appeal to the court was based on their request “for clarity” on previous rulings, we have to ask what clarity?

It appears that this “clarity” was a suggestion by Anfi that there was an element of “contradiction” in some of the previous rulings made by the High Court of Las Palmas. As we have seen with previous appeals the High Court has been following all the rulings of the Supreme Court to the letter and upholding sentences from the Court of First Instance. In many cases, the High Court has also improved the original sentence such as the lower court failing to take into consideration the illegal taking of deposits and not awarding double the amount taken.

This is a precedent made by the Supreme Court and has been enforced in all cases.

Obviously, Anfi lost their appeal and the case was returned for the execution of the sentence.

As we have previously reported, Anfi uses this ploy to delay any payments which also gives them time to “spirit away” funds from the relevant accounts in order to avoid payment. Unfortunately for them this is not working and is also being investigated by the Provincial Prosecutors Office of Gran Canaria. This may just result in criminal charges being brought against the directors and the board which is in the control of the Cazorla Group. We also know that they are themselves in severe financial difficulty.

The lawyers from Canarian Legal Alliance who represented the English client throughout these proceedings had already placed provisional execution of sentence proceeding with the court. This has become standard procedure for the lawyers at CLA and also helps to save time.

They managed to get a partial settlement but were still 13,345€ short of the awarded amount of 45,825€. With all their procedures in place and the threat of embargoes, the final amount has now been secured with the client already receiving this money into their own personal bank account.

Another successful case has now reached a conclusion and we expect to see more of the same in the coming months. No doubt Anfi will continue to waste time and cause the courts more work with their appeals, a ploy which in the end will cause them more financial problems.

This month, Inside Timeshare, has published two articles on MacDonald Resorts, the first MacDonald Resorts Still Preying on the Elderly and Vulnerable published on 17 March and Start the Week: MacDonalds Using the Courts to Extort Money; News from the Spanish Courts published on 22 March.

These are truly Nightmare on Timeshare Street stories and are only the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

Inside Timeshare has been in touch with Julia Paul, who is the Assistant Producer of the BBC Radio 4 program You and Yours about these stories. For those of you who have followed the Mrs B story, her case was highlighted on this program in November 2020. The article we published was Mrs B v MacDonald Resorts: The Battle Is Won But The War Continues

We have been informed that the program You and Yours will be highlighting these stories on Friday 26 March, the program goes on air at 12:20 pm, please find the time to tune in and listen, we are sure that it will be very interesting. If there is any change in scheduling Inside Timeshare will let you know.

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