Today Inside Timeshare revisits an old company which has been the subject of many articles, ABC Lawyers, another company owned by the infamous Mark Rowe. As we already know Mark Rowe and several of his companies are under investigation by the Regional Organised Crime Unit of Somerset & Avon Police and the Spanish authorities. We also know that when the original raids took place they were well-coordinated as both Spanish and UK authorities mounted them simultaneously, several weeks ago we also heard that the Spanish Authorities again raided Mark Rowe’s company offices yet again.
Today’s story is one that may well be familiar to any other reader who has had the misfortune to have dealings with Mark Rowe and ABC Lawyers. It involves an elderly couple who were contacted by ABC a couple of years ago and offered help in relinquishing their contract with Orange Lake in Florida and claiming compensation.
They were invited to meeting with ABC Lawyers who also paid for them to stay at a hotel near to their offices. While there they were “pitched” with a very convincing story that ABC could indeed get them out of their timeshare and also get them compensation. After several hours they decided to sign up with ABC.
They and their family also went through all the contracts and documents provided by ABC, they too were convinced this was genuine.
Eventually, they received a very convincing letter to tell them they were now out of their timeshare contract with Orange Lake and any demands for maintenance fees should be ignored and sent to ABC.
Now two years down the line they have discovered that they had not been released from their contract and are receiving demands and threats of legal action by Orange Lake. They have also been told that Orange Lake has placed a “LIEN” on their property. This has obviously frightened them and the family.
The definition of a lien is:
a right to keep possession of property belonging to another person until a debt owed by that person is discharged.
“they shall be entitled to a lien on any lot sold”
What is a lien and how does it work?
It’s a claim that someone or something has on property that you possess or use. The individual or entity that has the claim—such as a lender—can repossess or foreclose on the property if you don’t make payments on an associated loan or perform other agreed-upon terms.
So for this couple who are European residents owning a timeshare in the US is very good news, Inside Timeshare has sent them a draft letter asking Orange Lake to foreclose, which is what they wanted in the first place.
It is also a fact that US timeshare companies cannot chase for any debts in Europe or affect the owner’s credit standing they do not have any legal jurisdiction.
So we know that ABC Lawyers were taking money for relinquishments and telling the clients to just stop paying maintenance, unfortunately for those who owned in Europe they are now finding that they owe considerable sums in maintenance arrears, ABC Lawyers and Mark Rowe did absolutely nothing apart from taking peoples money!
There is only one small problem there, the purchase was made over 25 years ago and so no claim could be made as there is a 6-year time limit. It is also a fact that even if they were within the time limit, having used the timeshare they have received the goods and services paid for. The credit card provider will always contact the supplier of the goods or services paid for and will then reject the claim.
Section 75 covers, not receiving the goods or services paid for, faulty or unfit for purpose goods, the company has gone into liquidation. It will not cover the mis-selling of a timeshare or the fact the timeshare contract might be illegal.
According to our reader, they have now been passed to another Mark Rowe company, Lansdown Finacial Ltd. Mark Rowe resigned as director 30 May 2019, we suspect that is because of all the investigations into his activities that are taking place.
At least there may be a good ending to this story, the couple will be out of their timeshare, plus they also have a good claim against ABC Lawyers to get back the thousands of pounds they paid, this was done on their credit card and as they have not received the goods or services they were promised plus the fact that ABC Lawyers are now in liquidation they never will.
This is another example that you need to do your homework before engaging with any company that has contacted you regarding your timeshare.
Have you had any dealings with the companies named here or any other company that is owned and operated by Mark Rowe, if so use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will point you in the right direction.
Welcome to this week’s edition of Letter from America, but first some breaking news from Tenerife. As we already know several companies owned and operated by Mark Rowe, are under investigation in the UK by the Regional Organised Crime Unit, Somerset & Avon Police following raids in the UK and Tenerife. We also know that his company ABC Lawyers Ltd is also in liquidation, now Inside Timeshare has heard that the authorities in Tenerife have now raided his offices in Fanabe. One of the companies based there is Timeshare.Lawyer under the umbrella of Advanced Business Consultants Legal SL. It certainly looks like time is running out for Mark Rowe.
Now for today’s Letter from America, this is not the article we had scheduled as we have delayed publishing the subpoena Diamond Resorts attempted to issue Irene until Tuesday. As you will read in today’s article, Howard Nusbaum, the former president of ARDA, is also a former senior partner at Baker Hostetler, Diamond’s outside counsel in their case against a Florida law firm. This gave us pause. Irene will be doing a little more digging as this adds support to our belief this subpoena is a less than subtle form of harassment. Today’s article offers proof that there is no responsible exit for many fully paid timeshare owners. Baker Hostetler explains why.
When ARDA’s Coalition for Responsible Timeshare Exit Fails:
What Happens Next?
Six out of Eight Legacy Resorts have no Responsible Exit, according to eight “Free at Last” participants, reporting what happened when they sought a responsible exit
August 9, 2019
This is the first of four articles summarizing 21 timeshare members piloting the Free at Last Online Timeshare Support Course, sponsored by the nonprofit Straight-A Guide. The next three articles will report on Travel Clubs, timeshares purchased in foreign countries, and point-based timeshares.
I direct callers seeking timeshare release to reach out first to ARDA’s Coalition for Responsible Exit, or to the timeshare company if the timeshare company does not participate in ARDA’s responsible exit coalition.
Straight-A Guide helps 100,000 prisoners a year transition back to society through self-advocacy. Their customers are prisons. Our Free at Last participants learn how to self-advocate.
Legacy Resorts are single-site, older resorts. Of our eight Legacy owner participants, so far only two were able to work with their resort to take back their unwanted timeshare. One owner was able to deed back to Colorado River Adventures and one owner was able to deed back to Festiva.
There is no responsible exit for Legacy Resorts owners at Eagle Crest, Broadway Plantation, Lehigh Resort Club, and Wyndham Carriage Ridge in Canada, The Seasons in Vermont, or Bellavista. Six out of the eight Legacy resorts have no responsible exit! The only choice for these owners is foreclosure if the resorts will not provide a responsible exit. Three of the owners are over 80 years old and have been paying maintenance fees for decades, two only using the timeshare once or twice over the decades.
Mr. Kenneth McKelvey, founder of Defender Resorts and Chairman of the timeshare PAC ARDA ROC, testified at a legislative workshop held in Tallahassee Florida March 12, 2019, that attorneys and timeshare exit providers are not needed. He made these comments at the Florida legislative workshop:
“Most of the developers I know, and certainly most of the timeshare managers I know, and I managed timeshare properties for thirty years… every single resort had a dissolution policy, every single one! There was a way to get out. You had to come to your management company, and based on what the board of directors instructed us to do in the terms if they had to pay a fee or if they had to be current, whatever those situations were, we did not have one that did not have a dissolution policy and a hardship policy …”
We hear from many seniors forced to endure the demeaning foreclosure process, despite maintaining a high credit score their whole life. Lately, there have been complaints from millennial buyers, as the industry is targeting that demographic. Some seniors tell me they don’t care anymore about a drop in their credit score as they are set, but those in their 30s see their credit score ruined along with their chances to buy a home. The foreclosure process can be overwhelming without support.
The industry calls the vehicle used when a timeshare contract is transferred to fictitious individuals or a fictitious LLC a “Viking Ship,” so-named because Vikings used to stack their dead on a ship, set it on fire, and send it out to sea.
ARDA and the law firm Baker Hostetler published these comments about Legacy Resorts:
COVER STORY • Many legacy timeshare resorts are struggling to survive: why?
Vacation Ownership WORLD contacted some of vacation ownership’s leading figures, as well as experts on the subject, and asked them about a much-discussed matter within the industry: why are so many legacy timeshare resorts having such a tough time and what can be done about it? Many of these resorts are failing due to an assortment of problems that include: a lack of professional management; a lack of adequate reserves; a resistance by the HOA board of directors to impose an adequate assessment for operating expenses; an underperforming or non-existent external exchange relationship; an aging owner base that no longer uses the resort or that wants to exit ownership but is generally unable to; and, diminishing resort maintenance standards. ARDA President and CEO Howard Nusbaum and senior partner in the Orlando office of Baker & Hostetler and ARDA treasurer and Board member Rob Webb offer their viewpoints on this issue. This is the first of a two-part story; the second article on the subject will appear in the next issue.
“Their value comes from using it,” the timeshare industry’s top lobbyisttold ConsumerAffairs in January, admitting that points have no resale value, while claiming that consumers don’t mind this because the value comes from the experience.
Based on complaints from over 900 families, this lobbyist is out of touch with reality. Just two exit companies I spoke with received 3,000 to 3,500 calls per month from desperate timeshare members seeking release.
Legacy Owner reports by Free at Last participants
#1 Unresolved – Robert Kennedy is 81 years old. He seeks release from Eagle Crest in Oregon. In 2017 I published an article in which I interviewed an Eagle Crest collection agent. The interview was in regard to problems Eagle Crest owners experienced when they contacted a fraudulent timeshare transfer company. It’s no wonder Eagle Crest owners are going through this.
At age 81, I have a credit score of 819 but now must face a foreclosure. At our age, we no longer are able to travel as we once could. We will not continue to pay maintenance fees for something we no longer want or need.
Robert sent his request for release to the following individuals:
After Eagle Crest said they would not help me, I contacted Irene Parker at Inside Timeshare. Ms. Parker told me to contact ARDA’s Responsible Exit program. I went to ARDA’s Responsible Exit Website, but Eagle Crest does not participate. We purchased a floating week 33 years ago and have faithfully paid maintenance fees for 33 years. https://responsibleexit.com/
I would like to ask Mr. Andres why Eagle Crest does not have a responsible exit program. I have grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren. As a result of my experience, they have learned not to get involved with timeshare.
I reached out to Ovations as you suggested. Wyndham Ovations will not accept our Carriage Ridge Resort in Canada. We purchased this floating week timeshare May 2004 for approximately $13,750. We have no loan.
We were told at purchase there would be no problem reselling the timeshare. Ovations will not take it back so isn’t it false advertising to say that they have a program for fully paid members when they don’t? I tried selling the timeshare. No one wants it. Availability has been an issue.
Why are consumers put in the position of being held hostage with no choice but to foreclose? Who, understanding that buying a timeshare is something you can’t get out of unless foreclosed, would buy one? Especially when the buyer is told, like we were, it would be easy to sell.
I will no longer pay maintenance fees. I will be contacting the Canadian Vacation Ownership Association as you suggested. They should know that many Canadians are being harmed and Wyndham should not falsely advertise that the problem of no secondary market for timeshares has been solved. It’s not true. Thank you for the websites you provided. At least I know others are experiencing the same.
I was duped into a gifted timeshare from my father. The story is sad…he is retired and was desperate to get out as he lost most of his retirement money in 2007. So he misleads my husband and I. I contacted Ovation to take the deed back from Carriage Hills resort in Canada and they said NO. Referred to Fidelity who advised THEY HAVE NOT SOLD a Carriage Hills unit IN YEARS! 31 units are listed on Carriage Hills website for $1. Many owners are offering $400 gift certificates. Wyndham is the ring-leader. They should offer Ovation. https://www.redweek.com/forums/messages?thread_id=20770&page=last
#3 unresolved – a Medical Doctor
We purchased a Broadway Plantation timeshare in Myrtle Beach, a floating week, a long time ago for about $17,000. I have never used it. I have paid maintenance fees for many years. We were told the timeshare would be easy to sell.
I reached out to ARDA as they say timeshare now has a Responsible Exit program. When I contacted Broadway Plantation they said they do not take back timeshares. If there is a responsible exit, why doesn’t Broadway Plantation have one?
I feel defrauded, cheated and abused by the timeshare industry. Having an every other year timeshare for a single week has been a waste of money. When I tried to use it, there was no availability. I have no intention of ever paying you any more money. I am 70 years old.
#4 Unresolved S E
July 20, 2019
I am helping my father. He is age 83. Bellavista was purchased six or seven years ago. We are current with maintenance fees, no loan. He was delinquent with maintenance fees, he settled for about half what he owed..
At age 87, I have been paying maintenance fees since 1991. I only used the timeshare a couple of times. We purchased Lehigh Resorts in 1991 in Florida. We have no loan. I’ve only used it twice since 1991. When I first bought it the maintenance fees were $300. Now they are $670. They said they would not take it back.
I purchased a timeshare a long time ago at The Seasons in Vermont. They will not take back the timeshare. I have filed a complaint with the Vermont Attorney General.
Melissa was provided with the following in writing at the time of purchase, statements in printed literature and in an email Melissa received from a Sugarbush manager dismissing her complaint:
Our current owners are renting for premium dollars and receiving a very high rate of return on their investment, because of supply and demand.
If you rent your unit for less than 15 days/year, the rental income will not be includible in income–thus the income is tax-free and you would still be able to deduct your interest payments.
The timeshare won’t be difficult to resell due to the lack of accommodations in the Sugarbush area (supply and demand).
Don’t listen to family & friends because it is an investment and a guarantee that we would take a vacation every year.
In addition to our 21 Free at Last participants, Inside Timeshare has received many complaints from AmericanoARC owners. They are required to spend $5,000 to $6,000 for an RCI points-based Travel Club called Freedom 365 in order to be released from their timeshare they bought decades ago. We will address their concerns on Friday when we look into Travel Clubs.
I have grouped our 21 callers into the following groups:
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.
Well, that is all for this week, as you will have noticed Inside Timeshare has been a little sparse this week, August tends to be rather quiet as it is the main holiday month, very little news coming from the courts and elsewhere. But keep on checking, we never know when another story will break and as it does we will bring you the news right here.
So what was once an independent website giving independent and impartial advice to timeshare owners is firmly under the umbrella of Mark Rowe. He continually denies he has anything to do with the TCA, the latest evidence shows otherwise.
This is now in black and white on the Privacy Notice updated on 24 April 2019,
So what does this mean for timeshare owners who contact the TCA for advice on how to get out of their timeshare contracts?
Very simple, they will not be getting any independent or impartial advice, instead, they will be directed to one of the companies owned and controlled by Mark Rowe. This is not the first time the TCA’s impartiality has come into question, Andrew Penman of the Mirror brought this subject into the public domain way back in December 2016.
Inside Timeshare has received many emails from timeshare owners who have paid for relinquishments and so-called claims through ABC Lawyers, one reader paid around £7,500 for relinquishment and a claim. They were simply told to stop paying the maintenance fees, which they did, they have since found out that Club La Costa terminated their membership on the grounds of non-payment of fees. In other words, ABC Lawyers did nothing, they have also never received a penny of the £30,000 they were promised for their claim, despite signing the contract with ABC in October 2017.
Inside Timeshare has continually stated that the only sure way of making a claim for timeshare purchased in Spain is through the Spanish Courts, using a genuine lawyer registered to practice in Spain, with the knowledge and experience of timeshare law.
You are also unable to make any claim through the courts once you have had your contract terminated, plus you are very unlikely to receive any money back by using the Credit Consumer Act 1974 Section 75. This is a simple fact, the credit card company (if you paid the deposit by card) will always contact the timeshare company, they will obviously inform the card provider that the timeshare was used, so they have provided the goods and services paid for. Section 75 does not cover the fact that your timeshare contract may be illegal under Spanish law.
Once again, it is important that you know who you are dealing with, the TCA may have been independent and impartial at one point, but that was many years ago, we are sure the late Sandy Grey will be turning in his grave, all his hard work has now been turned upside down.
If you have any questions or need real advice on any timeshare matter, use our contact page and we will get back to you. Remember to do your homework before engaging with any company that contacts you or that you find on the internet.
Welcome to The Tuesday Slot, this week we have another in our series of Secret Shopper reports, but first some news from the UK about ABC Lawyers, one of the Mark Rowe owned companies.
On 8 February 2019, an application to wind down the company ABC Layers Ltd was filed by Mark Rowe with Companies House. The appointed liquidator is David Meany of Quantuma LLP, The Old Town Hall, 71 Christchurch Road, Ringwood, Hampshire.
The question being posed now is what will happen to all those clients who have signed up with ABC Lawyers for “compensation claims” and “relinquishments”, are they going to have the work completed?
As we know, several of Marke Rowe’s companies are under police investigation, could this liquidation be a move to prevent yet another of his companies falling under that investigation? Only time will tell.
Now for today’s Secret Shopper Report.
Timeshare Wars! Deeded Timeshare Owners Fight Back
What kind of business sells points by demanding that if you don’t buy our timeshare points, your children will have to be our customer?
Not since the Book of Genesis [1:9-10] has the extraordinary feat of creating land from nothingness been chronicled … and Marriott “saw that it was good” for business. (Plaintiff’s response to motion to dismiss)
By Another Deeded Week Secret Shopper from Out West
April 23, 2019
Some Vacation Clubs employ predatory and deceptive methods to convince deeded week timeshare “owners” to give up their deed to become a “member” of a points-based timeshare program. Owners are lured to “mandatory” updates designed to convince them why they should join their vacation club.
Last Tuesday a Secret Shopper shared his experience. Shopper owned two continuous deeded weeks at Virginia Beach. He determined that if he had agreed to forfeit his deeds for points, it is unlikely he would have access to the vacation location the family had enjoyed for years.
Some timeshare point members have no “beneficial interest” in actual real estate. Wyndham does sell a point-based deeded timeshare. The (intended pun) point is that just because points are used to identify one’s use interests, does not necessarily make the timeshare a users’ rights product.
In the case of non-deeded points, the point buyer buys points in a “right-to-use” program. Ownership rights are stripped away from the actual real estate. It’s more like buying a membership in a country club than buying a condo, except it’s a country club membership you can’t easily terminate unless the membership is free and clear. If there is no loan and maintenance fees are current, the resort MAY take the timeshare back in return for nothing more than the peace of mind knowing you are done with it.
Charging closing costs for a product that is not real estate was the basis of a class action lawsuit against Marriott Vacation Club. In a recent ruling,
A Florida Judge has sustained central claims in the class action against Marriott and their points based system. “Consumer Deeds are invalid because they lack any cognizable legal description of a real property interest being conveyed as required by Florida law.”
Throughout our presentation, we were concerned about the sales agent using terms associated with real estate. Our sales agent said points are backed by real estate held in a trust. Agents used words and phrases like “opening escrow” and a 30 to 45 day closing period. One particularly deceptive use of real estate jargon was stating maintenance fees as HOA fees. They are not the same. It would take another article to explain why they are different. They would not disclose the terms of a loan unless we agreed to purchase.
My husband and I went after them from a financial angle. We said we were concerned about the company’s financial health. We felt the thousands of complaints that can be found about this company on the internet, over 1,000 Better Business Bureau Complaints, a government action, and numerous lawsuits would eventually catch up with them. That doesn’t mean all their sales agents are dishonest, but there are a disproportionate number of complaints compared to other timeshare companies.
What seemed to be the craziest comment came from an agent who came over to answer our questions about the budget report. We had asked:
“Is the Club solvent?” “Are they in debt?”
The agent shockingly responded, “Why would that matter to you?”
We asked for their California public report. We showed them that there was a deficit of $9.696 million. We asked why the public report does not show a reserve account. They said it’s typically not shown in a public report. This makes no sense as that is one of the first things to put in a public report to make the consumer feel more secure. The truth is – there is no reserve account based on documents we had analyzed.
Our sales agent seemed a bit dumbfounded. Our session ended without the usual downturn in attitude when a member says no and means no. We don’t think these agents are used to informed buyers. But Vacation Clubs don’t just try to take your deed. They try to take your Resort!
We are longtime owners at one of the resorts that have opposed the Vacation Club’s attempts to take control. Owners realized a few years ago that the Club was rapidly accumulating inventory. Some owners started reporting that they had been to presentations or updates where they had been informed that either the Club already ‘owned’ our resort, or used scare tactics to convince the owner that if they didn’t convert their deed to points, their deed would be worthless and would be subject to a special assessment. Often, especially seniors are falsely told that if they don’t give up their deed and convert to points their children will be required to be club members when the owner passes.
The Vacation Club business model dealing with “Legacy” resorts is well known. I call this model extortion. Here’s how it works:
The acquiring company takes over management,
Substantially higher fees are charged than the resort was currently paying,
Deeded owners’ maintenance fees are raised substantially,
The cost of club operations is shifted to the deeded owners,
Excessive capital reserve projects are imposed in order to collect additional fees from deeded owners,
Availability, especially for desirable weeks, is reduced for deeded owners.
Desirable weeks are rented to the public to increase income to Club managers.
Nuisance fees are added that are applicable to only deeded owners such as parking fee, split week fee.
Benefits deeded owners enjoyed for many years are eliminated, such as day use and bonus time
Information available to deeded owners is reduced in order to force them to attend high-pressure sales presentations or “updates” designed to wrestle the deed away from the owner.
The value of deeded ownership is demeaned by emphasizing the negative aspects of deeded ownership. Deeded owners are threatened with special assessments, higher maintenance fees, less availability.
Exchange options become limited for deeded owners in order to coerce them to convert to club membership.
Our Club has used unscrupulous Florida title companies to purchase units from deeded owners under false pretext and transfer them to the Club. The Club has pressured management hired by the resort to enact policies beneficial to the Club. The Club has brought frivolous legal action against the association and board members individually to intimidate vendors and board members so that the Club can gain control of the resort.
The intent of the Club has been to purchase voting power rather than quality ownership. They have done this by acquiring less than desirable units in less than desirable seasons. The units are not used by the Club for occupancy, yet they still pay the dues for these units. As a result, the Club is determined to take control of the resort so that they can better monetize this worthless inventory.
What can be done to keep our resort?
Our resort has taken advantage of social media to increase owner engagement and the free flow of information among owners and between owners, the board of directors and resort management. The availability of timely information to the deeded owners has empowered our resort to resist the persistent pressure from the Club to take control of our resort.
Our owners and our board are passionate about our resort and determined to maintain the control that allows them to continue enjoying what they purchased. Deeded owners must unite and organize to hang on to what little real timeshare real estate is left. To think the timeshare world will be nothing but points is sad.
We seek to provide timeshare 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.
On Thursday 21 March at Birmingham Crown Court, Judge Laurence Creed passed the following sentences.
Dominic O’Reilly, jailed for 2 years 4 months, disqualified from directorships for 9 years.
Stephanie O’Reilly, 9 months suspended for 2 years, 18 months suspended for 2 years plus, disqualified for 6 years.
Inside Timeshare has received a transcript by a court reporter, which although it is not verified, it does match reports published in the press.
In the Prosecution opening statement, it was asked that the judge consider monetary harm, this was extremely high according to the prosecution, with 36 complaints, 90 in process and 45 further complaints pending.
The prosecution also explained the emotional impact, consumers were told they had no cancellation rights along with aggressive sales tactics. It was also mentioned that the defendants were told to stop these tactics including the institution of cancellation rights, but these did continue even after Trading Standards began investigations.
In mitigation, the defence for Mr O’Reilly asked for the sentence to be suspended as he did plead guilty at an early stage. He also told the court that Mr O’Reilly is now 54, in ill health and in need of a heart operation.
The fact that one elderly couple aged 68 and 69, one who had recently had a stroke, the other had diabetes including an attack during the meeting, were made to transfer money before being allowed to leave, does make the above mitigation plea a complete joke.
Miss O’Reilly’s defence used her being the mother of a 1-year-old baby which is breastfed and she is now 11 weeks pregnant. Also, she has no support structure in the UK, as her parents live in Tenerife, that her partner would have to give up his job to look after the baby if she was jailed.
In all, the 36 complaints totalled £425,000 of which only £3,813 was ever refunded, Trading Standards found another 100 complaints totalling £1.3 million. In all the company made by 2017 around £3.375 million.
The judge also highlighted several clients, that were sent threatening letters for payments when the client wanted to cancel. One client had to call their daughter to help pay, then chased with a letter before action.
The client cases in this trial are only the tip of the proverbial iceberg, there are hundreds more, unfortunately, many of these are now subject to scams due to this trail. Cold calls from companies stating they are working with or have been appointed by the courts to help them get money back which the courts are holding. As we have said before this is not true.
The O’Reilly’s are now being investigated under the Proceeds of Crime Act, The authorities have to power to seize accounts and assets such as houses and cars if it is deemed they are from the proceeds of crime. The problem now is can they link it, where is the money, are any properties in their names, or are they in his wifes or her partner’s names. If so can it be proven the money used was from the O’Reilly’s in the first place?
We can only wait and see.
If you have been a client and receive any calls regarding money being held for you, then contact Inside Timeshare. We will then explain where you stand and if you are able to get anything back.
This investigation is very similar in nature to the one into Eze Group, it is still underway and no new or further information is yet available. But no doubt we may see a case in the courts in the near future.
In the case of the Farhouds and their company Nordic Consulting Canary Islands SL, they now entice their old Silverpoint clients with legal action against their one-time employer Silverpoint. See the links below for further information.
We have from very reliable sources been informed that criminal denuncias have been made to the Spanish authorities against all three. Many of these by their very own clients.
Although we know that these investigations take time, especially when new complaints are likely, one thing is certain, the authorities always get them in the end.
As and when new information comes in, it will be published on these pages.
If you require any further information or have had dealings with any of the companies mentioned, then use our contact page and let us know. Inside Timeshare will get back to you and point you in the right direction.
As usual, a word of warning, before you deal with any company that contacts you or you have found on the internet or from an advert, do your homework. If you are not sure then contact Inside Timeshare.
This information has been supplied by one of our readers who has been contacted by them, but there is now a new aspect to how they are operating. As we have explained before, the initial contact is to inform the owner of a pending court case against their timeshare resort / company, now to be part of this action, a “procurator” fee is required to be paid by bank transfer. The case was to be against Marriott Marbella Beach Resort and Marriott Son Antem SL, with the director being named as Marcos Row, ( we wonder if this is a play on Mark Rowe). The case was lodged on 9 October 2018 and a hearing set for 30 October at 12.20pm in Court No 5 Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Very quick indeed. It must also be pointed out that Marriott did not sell in Tenerife, only Marbella and Mallorca, so any cases would need to be brought at those respective courts, not in Tenerife.
Now our reader refused to pay this fee, and told them they were not interested, then on 31 October they received an email from Litigaciones SL, another “fake” firm informing them that the court case had been heard and they had been awarded over £34,000 by the court. All this even though they did not pay the initial “procurator” fee!
This award is to be paid by bank transfer or personal cheque, once they receive confirmation from the court that the funds can be released. No doubt there is going to be an “tax” which needs to be paid first, going by the previous accounts we have received this is going to be around 20% of the awarded amount.
We do know that at least 25 other owners have been contacted with this same case, Inside Timeshare does have the names, but as yet we are unable to trace them.
Below are PDF files of all the documents received by our reader, they are all “FAKE” including the court document. If you have had a call or received any similar documents via email, please note they are a very sophisticated fraud, they are also very similar to the documents all the other incarnations this group has been using over the past 3 years. Each incarnation runs for only around 3 to 4 months before a new name appears.
Welcome to the last Friday’s letter from America for August, this week Irene Parker reviews the similarities between victims of the Catholic Church and Timeshare victims, it looks at how speaking up can make a difference. But first a couple of items from Europe.
Another company offering discounted travel has come to our attention, Advantage Group British Travel SL, according to Spanish company records the registered address is:
It appears that they use OPC’s on the street with the ubiquitous scratch cards to lure holiday makers into a presentation. This will involve several hours of high pressure sales to get you to part with a significant amount of money for a membership to another dubious “discount holiday club”.
The director of British Travel was Paul Hughes, which was also a “discount holiday club”, but was pitched as a travel agency, where you could get discount from 25% to 80%. Obviously Victoria Hughes is more than likely his wife and is now the front for this company, we also know that Caroline is linked to paul as they are facebook friends.
So beware the ticket touts and the offers of great discounts!
We have also been informed by one of our regular readers who had dealings with the fake law firm in tenerife, Legalidad Abogados, part of the Litigious Abogados family, of another email being received about his court case against Diamond.
This has caused us a great deal of hilarity, the case was supposedly heard on 24 July 2018 and the director of Diamond Resorts International pleaded guilty, just like all the timeshare directors in these cases from this fake outfit. You will never believe who they named as the director, MARK ROWE!
So if you are reading this Mark, congratulations on your employment at Diamond and what a shame you ended up in court!
Now for today’s article.
Timeshare Predators compared to Catholic Predators
By Irene Parker
August 31, 2018
There are many good Catholic priests, sisters and nuns, especially Benedictine Sister Joan Chittister of Erie, Pennsylvania, speaking out on what has been the pervasive Catholic culture of institutional cover-up.
Pedophilia, the abuse of children, has finally unmasked for all to see the operational principles of an organization that has been able for years to ignore, reject– even disdain–the cries of multiple other groups of the ignored and abused.
It is clear now, in ways it was never clear before, how much damage is done to the church itself, ironically, by the kind of silence that makes it impossible for the church to admit its weaknesses, to deal with its questions. .http://www.joanchittister.org/
Something clicks inside a victim when they have had enough. Some timeshare companies employ the same tactics as the church. As timeshare members alleging fraud read through this, they will have no trouble seeing similarities. I advocate on behalf of timeshare members alleging fraud, alongside 44 Timeshare Advocacy Group™ advocates.
The Catholic scandal ultimately led me to timeshare advocacy. Turning anger over child abuse outward led me to CASA, Court Appointed Special Advocates for children in foster care, where I learned how to write court reports for Family Court. When timeshare members contact me, their complaints are often confusing and lengthy. I listen to their allegations, transcribe, and return to them their complaint in court report format. Other advocates answer questions that come up when members need to file regulatory complaints
A life’s journey can take many twists and turns. My life changed dramatically after a trip to Peshawbestown, Michigan to meet with tribal spiritual director and peacemaker Paul Raphael of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians. Peacemaker Paul was one of nine male children who attended the Holy Childhood School of Jesus in Michigan where Indian boys were sexually abused by three School Sisters of Notre Dame nuns in the 1960s and ‘70s. I contacted him after reading a four part article about the abuse. By part four I was livid.
Grand Rapids Michigan investigative reporters met with Sister Laura Jean Spaeth of the School Sisters of Notre Dame in Milwaukee. Sister Spaeth was skeptical about the credibility so the reporters interviewed a total of 80 former students to verify the abuse.
“My answer was if it was just one person, that would be a legitimate argument — but we interviewed 80 people and we heard a consistently recurring story,” Golder said. “And it was troubling to me that the leaders of the order, sought to dismiss what we were saying based on the other problems in their lives,…but it was clear to me, as people told the same stories over and over, that it established a pattern that was factual.”
In 2008 I was practicing for a pipe organ exam at the cathedral for an American Guild of Organists exam. Patrick Cooney was Bishop then. Stunned after speaking with Peacemaker Paul, I wrote Bishop Cooney a letter asking if I could arrange a meeting. Peacemaker Paul resisted saying, “How will that help us?” I said it wouldn’t but it would help the Bishop because he cares and hearing directly from Peacemaker Paul could possibly help Bishop Cooney stop a potential abuser.
“There have been up to 400 reports nationally of sex abuse by nuns,” said David Clohessy, former national director and spokesman for SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. “The laws are written in Michigan to protect perpetrators and those who are doing the cover-ups. There have been efforts in the Michigan legislature over the past five years to get those laws changed, to be more victim-friendly, but in each case the bishops and the bishop’s conference spent a lot of resources to get those laws defeated,” Clohessy said. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Clohessy
After experiencing a timeshare bait and switch, I wrote to ARDA, The American Resort Development Association, explaining my concerns. I thought they would be grateful someone brought criminal actions to their attention. I did not hear from ARDA except for an auto-reply. Approximately 200 allegations of fraud have been sent to ARDA over two years – and no response. ARDA does not mediate disputes, but they have a code of ethics that is being violated, based on member reports.
According to Dr. Amy Grant, University of Central Florida, who presented at an ARDA World conference in 2017.
“A whopping 85 percent of all buyers regret their (timeshare) purchase (for money, fear, confusion, intimidation, distrust and other reasons). Forty-one percent of buyers never thought they would regret their purchase, but they did; another 30 percent were neutral prior to buying, but then regretted it.”
Victims need to file regulatory complaints, lobby lawmakers and reach out to the media. I attended a Catholic conference where victims and clergy met to address the problems. It is only through the courage and fortitude of the Sister Chittisters of the world, change happens. It is unclear if the Pope or ARDA have really accepted the reality of Social Media because victims no longer need be silenced and isolated.
This article does go to show that only by speaking up and working together can any real change happen, these cases of abuse, although very different in nature, in the church and timeshare have one thing in common, both want you to remain quiet and say nothing.
That’s all for the month of August, the courts in Spain are about to start hearing cases again so there will no doubt be some interesting news on the legal front. Also during September Inside Timeshare will not be publishing regular articles as I am on leave and spending some quiet time with a large family reunion.
Have a great weekend and remember, any company that contacts you regarding your timeshare, do your homework before you do any business with them.
The websites is as usual exactly the same as all the others except for the new names and photographs of the lawyers, which no doubt are photographs of genuine lawyers taken from the internet. We will be trying to identify the genuine people as we have done in the past.
The company apparently was was founded by Manuel Midan Embalori (photo below), on Monday 20th July 1990, which was in fact a Friday! They have the CIF Number (National ID Number), is A30458629, which is again not genuine.
Obviously it will be the same ploy they have used in the past, your timeshare company and the director is being taken to court, for a payment to the Procurador you can be included in the case. The Procurador is named as Jesia Elisabeta Eliaz and the money is to be paid into her Bankia account.
Now the case our lucky reader was to be involved in was to be heard at the end of July, this involved his timeshare at Island Village and the director is named as one Mark Rowe, who for those regulars to our pages will know is not a director of Island Village but owns companies such as Hollywood Marketing, The Monster Group of companies, ABC Lawyers to name just a few.
No doubt within days our reader would have received the wonderful news that Mark Rowe pleaded guilty, which somehow no one will ever believe, Mark Rowe pleading guilty!
We also wonder which gang will steal the cheque and cash it, we have had Romanians and Ukrainians, we have heard that the new gang are Croatians!
Whoever they are, there is no legal law firm called Legalidad Abogados, there are genuine lawyers with those names, there is no case case at court and there will definitely not be a cheque sent from the court!
It will be the same old “Fraud” we have seen in the past, don’t fall for their story, the documentation looks real, but it is all fake.
If you have been contacted by this or any other firm with a similar story, then beware, unless you have personally instructed a Spanish law firm to act on your behalf then you do not have a case in court.
The courts do not instruct any company to contact timeshare owners, or to act on the courts behalf. They do not send out cheques and will definitely not instruct another company to investigate a stolen and cashed cheque.
Remember doing your homework, just like our reader, will save you a lot of money. If you are not sure about any company that contacts you or even one you have found on the internet, then use our contact page and we will point you in the right direction.
In all cases the contracts have been declared null and void and the amount of money the timeshare companies have been ordered to return is over 561,000€.
It was also announced by Canarian Legal Alliance that their Provisional Execution of Sentence team had also successfully had 2 more embargos place on Anfi cash accounts, securing the money for their clients.
Tomorrow Inside Timeshare once again publishes a revised article on How to File a Complaint, these articles are aimed at our American readers but are still of interest as you can adapt them to suit your own country and associations.
If you have any comments or stories you would like to share then use the contact page, also if you need to find out about any company that has contacted you or one that you have found on the internet, then get in touch and we will point you in the right direction.
We start this week with a look at some of the companies we have highlighted over the past few months, many of these are now going into liquidation. These companies are in most case only around two years old and began as “contract termination”with “no win no fee” claims once the contract has been cancelled. We also look at some of those that are under investigation or are in court and those that have even been sentenced.
First we look at RSB Legal, this company first came to our attention back in 2016, there modas operandi was very simple, once they contacted the timeshare owner the offer was to meet at one of their offices to discuss a “no win no fee” claim against the clients timeshare company. This soon turned into a pitch for the cancellation of the contract first, once this had been completed then the claim could go forward.
The one problem was they needed upwards of £6,000 to do the cancellation to be paid in advance, the claim would come later. The question that was asked was how was the claim to be made? After all it couldn’t go to court, especially if it was a timeshare bought in Spain, as once a contract is cancelled then no claim could be taken to court.
This left a Section 75 claim under The Credit Consumer Act 1974, against the credit card company or the finance company if it was purchased with a loan supplied by the timeshare company.
These were unlikely to have paid out, as with all section 75 claims you must show either: you have not received the goods or services paid for; the company has gone into liquidation; faulty goods unfit for purpose. This is fine if you are purchasing say a washing machine, but with a holiday product, especially a timeshare purchased many years ago, you will have used it and taken holidays. Even if the company no longer exists it would be difficult to get a payout.
Section 75 does not cover the misrepresentation of the sales agent at the time of purchase, if it is not in the contract it was never said!
The credit card provider will always contact the company involved to get their side, obviously, they will say that you have received the goods and services, after all you have used it. You may argue that you were unable to use it as you could not get the dates you required, the answer of the timeshare company is always going to be, sorry but these are always subject to availability, we did offer alternatives but the member didn’t want those. Hence claim denied.
Another twist is RSB Legal palmed off the cancellations to another firm Taylor Marshall Associates, a very clever move as if the contract wasn’t cancelled, no claim could be made against RSB Legal under section 75. They would claim that they have fulfilled their part of the contract and it was Taylor Marshall who had not done the work.
This is a scenario that we have seen on many occasions with many of these “Exit Companies”. Once it is passed over the client is then told that they should no longer pay their maintenance fees as their contract will be cancelled within weeks. The unfortunate thing is that nothing was done, the exit company did not carry out the work and the client ends up with several years of maintenance fee arrears. This has been the case with RSB Legal clients passed to Taylor Marshall, especially those members of Club la Costa. In this case CLC had informed RSB and Taylor that they do not recognise them, that they do not deal with third parties, but will cancel a membership directly with the member only and free of charge!
For those clients who have been through this, you can try a section 75 claim, but you should also report to Trading Standards and Action Fraud.
So it looks like all these companies were all working hand in hand, the unifying factor appears they all worked with or for RSB Legal. The unfortunate thing is that many people have paid and lost thousands, yet these companies are limited liability companies and go into liquidation after spiriting the money away leaving no way of retrieving what you have lost. It just makes you wonder what new companies and scams they owners are going to come up with next.
A good example is one reader, an elderly lady who saw one of his adverts in the Royal British Legion magazine, so naturally she thought it was genuine. The next thing is she had been sold Monster Credits. As we explained, just because the advert appears in a publication which we know and trust, does not mean it is genuine. After all, the magazine publishers need to sell advertising space to cover costs, they don’t check if advertisers are genuine, they only take the money.
Back in February we also reported on the jailing of several people involved in a long running timeshare scam, this revolved around the resale of timeshare. It then went on to contacting those who paid to sell their timeshare being contacted yet again, this time to get the money back from the original scam. There was then a third part, another company called to say they had been appointed by the Spanish courts to contact clients who had been scammed before, that there was money waiting for them and a tax needed to be paid to release the money.
The full article can be seen by following the link below:
There is still no news on the sentencing of Dominic O’Reilly or his Daughter Stephanie O’Reilly of EZE Group. From information received this may not be taking place until around September. This leaves it very difficult for those taken in by the Leisure Credits to be able to get their money back. When new information becomes available we will publish it here.
So, we are losing some of these companies, but how long before other surface to take their place, as always, beware the calls offering “no win no fee” claims, the guaranteed exit solution or the “fake”law firm that tells you a case against your timeshare company is about to go to court or has been to court. Check, check and check again, do your homework, contact Inside Timeshare if you want help in checking the validity of any company that has contacted you or even one you have found either on the internet or advertising in the press.
Tomorrow we publish another Tuesday Slot with Irene, this week it is about “Special Assessments” at the Americano Beach Resort.