Inside Timeshare has received information about another Cold Calling company Sim Legal Services, this in itself is not a problem provided that Data Protection laws are adhered to, the problem is the nature of the calls.
The company is owned by Jeroen Martijn Brussel, there does not seem to be a website attached and any searches bring up warnings to Dutch speaking owners on two different websites:
Unfortunately so far we have not had a chance to have these translated, but there do seem to be some very serious concerns about Sim Legal Services, with the mention of several other companies they appear to be linked with. JB Legal and Timeshare Reclaim Consulting.
As for JB Legal, again a search of the internet finds no website, although there are several companies with a similar name including a genuine law firm in the United States. This makes it very difficult for any potential client to do the necessary due diligence checks.
Timeshare Reclaim Consulting do have a website and are known to Inside Timeshare, although we have never had any concern or reason to mention them in any article.
The problem is with Sim Legal and what they are telling potential clients, one of our readers spoke with them and was very disturbed by what they were told. In the phone call they tell clients that they used to work for CLA, (Inside Timeshare has no knowledge of this), but since CLA are not doing what they promise, they are now working with a better company called TRC, all to give themselves a semblance of credibility.
The question is, are the management of TRC aware of the tactics of Sim Legal Services, the fact that they are making accusations against a competitor who is in the same vicinity and happens to be the leading law firm in timeshare litigation, in order to talk clients into signing up with them and then passing them to TRC?
If not, they will be now, as far as we are concerned, for any caller to make assertions about another company in order to “sign up” a client is to say the least a sign that they themselves cannot be trusted.
Also are they aware of how much Sim Legal are charging clients before sending passing them to TRC, according to the two Dutch websites Sim Legal are charging extortionate amounts.
All we can say is TRC need to be aware that firms such as Sim Legal Services will not do their business any favours, it will in the end come back to haunt them, they will be tarred with the same brush.
In another strange enquiry, we have been asked what is mindtimeshare doing now?
It appears that they have moved on from being a consumer association to something else. Our enquirer has told us that mindtimeshare is actively emailing those who have contacted them and recommending a firm for taking out litigation against clients timeshare companies. Apparently it appears that this company is TRC, mentioned above.
Just to recap, at one time, mindtimeshare was funded by the industry, the Resorts Development Organisation, this was under the tenure of the now discredited Alberto Garcia. Under his direction, mindtimeshare attacked any company which threatened the industry. He eventually got his comeuppance, and the RDO withdrew funding.
Since then Mindtimeshare has had to find its own way and began to change how it wrote their blogs, to be honest, they became more factual and evidence based, giving a more balance view. But obviously funds must have been a problem.
There is no problem with making a recommendation, but if what our reader has told us is true, making a deal to use your own client database to secure clients for one firm, does not appear to be conducive to the ideals of an independent consumer association. This subject was also a question that we posed in the article below.
Welcome to our Friday’s Letter from America, this week Wayne Robinson explains why it is often very difficult to cancel after purchasing a timeshare, but first a quick look at Europe.
Earlier this week it came to our attention that one of the largest tour operators TUI had been advertising weeks at Anfi Emerald for 1000€ p.p.p week, this was for a 1 bed deluxe apartment and included flights, transfers and breakfast. Now when we consider that members have paid thousands for their floating weeks along with the annual maintenance fees, yet we constantly hear from them that there is no availability, it makes you wonder what is going on?
This is not just a problem with Anfi, we have heard from many timeshare members that they are constantly having trouble booking, yet they see their own resorts being advertised on the various booking websites. Is it fair that these people pay thousands for what they are told is exclusive to members and find they can in many cases book cheaper than their maintenance fees, without having to pay the initial purchase extortionate price.
It revolves around the liquidation of Enduria Travel, also known as the Travel Shop and was based in Gran Canaria, they were also affiliate members of the RDO. In their article, mindtimeshare explained that they actually expressed concerns to the RDO about this company, but the RDO still accepted their membership. All we can say is how things have changed.
Today is what everyone is calling Black Friday, but at the start of the week it was for Anfi BLACK MONDAY!
Canarian Legal Alliance received on that day alone 12, yes 12 sentences against Anfi in favour of their clients, with over 900,000€ awarded, plus all contracts were declared null and void. They also received another sentence from the High Court in Tenerife against Silverpoint. In all this year CLA have secured over 11 million euros in awarded claims.
Now for this weeks article.
5 Strategies Timeshare Resorts Use To Prevent Cancellations
By Wayne Robinson
Black Friday November 23, 2018
Today is Black Friday in America, celebrated by standing in long lines at shopping malls to be followed by Cyber Monday, when stay at home shoppers shop the internet. I hope you will add my book Everything About Timeshares: Before, During and After the Sale onto your Cyber Monday shopping list.
Many timeshare buyers do not even think about the contract they signed until after the rescission period has passed. Given that buyers are often not allowed onto the booking site until after the rescission period, the product the consumer bought is for the most part bought sight unseen and untried. Anything we can do shed light on these important rescission days could save the timeshare buyer untold grief and money, should they come to regret their purchase.
The Rescission Period
The rescission period is the time allotted by local governments for consumers to review their purchase and legally cancel their timeshare. The length of time varies by state, but is typically three to ten days. In Aruba, and in some American states, there is no rescission period.
If the timeshare buyer cancels their purchase during the rescission period, the government requires timeshare companies to give purchasers a full refund of any monies they have received. There is nothing more frustrating for a sales team than to spend 6-8 hours making a sale that later cancels. Sales agents and their managers will do everything they can to prevent new owners from cancelling their timeshare purchase during the rescission period.
Here are 5 strategies that many timeshare resorts use to prevent new timeshare owners from cancelling during the rescission period.
Sales agents will avoid the rescission clause that is included in the documents.
Although the rescission clause is clearly written in the documents, many timeshare agents or Legal Verification Officers (VLO) will avoid mentioning this very important item. Many reps will discuss other matters to avoid the clause that outlines the rescission.
The resort’s management will not allow sales reps to mention the rescission period during the sale presentation. Mentioning it could lead to disciplinary action or being fired.
This is how many timeshare sales reps avoid having their sales cancelled.
Most timeshare buyers will not review the paperwork during the rescission period. After a 6-8 hour grueling sales presentation, the last thing the new owner wants to do is review all the legal jargon included in the documents. If the rescission period is not mentioned by the staff, too often the buyer is not even aware of it. In some states trial products have no rescission period.
Each state rescission period is listed in this chart provided by ARDA, the American Resort Development Association. There have been more than a few complaints from timeshare members who were denied release, despite being only a half day late. Instructions on how to rescind are buried deep within the contract, and sometimes instructions are vague.
It is important for the timeshare sales staff to keep in touch with their new clients shortly after the sale to prevent them from cancelling. Most clients will have buyer’s remorse and reconsider their purchase after the buyer has taken the time to think about their purchase, research the company that they just spent $21,000 on (on average), to ensure that they did the right thing. For this reason, sales reps need to be available just in case the client wants to cancel. After all, it might have been a very expensive and unexpected purchase that was sold on emotion
According to aRedweek article, Dr. Amy Gregory, assistant professor at theUniversity of Florida has been studying the impact of buyer regret and remorse and rescission decisions. She says that most timeshare buyers regret their decisions.
“A whopping 85 percent of all buyers regret their purchase (for money, fear, confusion, intimidation, distrust and other reasons).”
Dr. Gregory’s findings are as follows:
The average rescission rate is 15% – essentially identical to the daily average percentage of people who buy a timeshare following a sales presentation.
85% of all buyers regret their purchase, citing reasons including money, fear, confusion, intimidation, and distrust.
41% of buyers never thought they would regret their purchase but ended up doing so; 30% were neutral prior to buying, but came to regret their decision.
95% of all buyers go back to their resort and sales team for more information after the sale, usually within one to three days, seeking more information about maintenance fees, resale options, and pricing alternatives.
Some sales reps will treat their new owners out for a nice dinner to help “bond the relationship.” This tactic works well as the new owners are getting to know the sales agent on a personal basis rather than as a sales person. After all, the salesperson used their own money and time to take the new owners out for dinner. Why would they consider canceling with “their new friend?”
They will follow-up by phone.
If the new timeshare owners are on vacation some resorts will require the sale staff that made the sale to meet with the new clients the next day, or call them within 24 hours. This is to overcome buyer’s remorse, and to answer any questions or provide clarifications. Often, the new owners forget the verbiage made during the presentation.
The resort may reduce the sales price.
If the new timeshare owners decide that they want to cancel, the resort can offer to reduce the price. Often this “second round” rendezvous could require another 2-3 hours of negotiations. Many take the bait and purchase at the lower price, or some keep the original agreement. Unfortunately, the timeshare company may not change the original rescission period, and the new owners now have less time to reconsider their purchase.
Consumers need to be aware that the “today only” price will always be available the next day, week, month or maybe even years later.
The resort may offer more gifts.
If the resort offered gifts, there are hundreds or thousands of additional monies that was left on the table because the sale did not exceed their “bottom line” price.
If the new owners want to cancel, the management can offer more gifts to “sweeten the deal.” These free gifts might include free accommodations, free meals, free activities, free or discounted RCI weeks or other options.
New owners must be aware of the new terms that might have entered the contract. These terms could include paying rack rates for the free accommodations or paying the highest advertised prices for any gifts just in case they decide to cancel the deal. This action could add into the thousands of dollars if they decide to cancel.
Timeshare resorts will use every strategy that they can, including embarrassment and condescendence to keep the sale, but it’s the consumer’s final decision to end the relationship or move forward. Therefore, it is imperative to read all the documents thoroughly before signing, or present it to an attorney during the rescission period.
Wayne C. Robinson is the author of Everything About Timeshares: Before, During and After The Sale. He is a former timeshare executive who is advocating with consumers to assist them their timeshares problems, and to help consumers better understand the timeshare business from an “insider’s” perspective.
Welcome to Start the Week, today we have a look at some of the items found while having a look at some of the forums, groups and blog sites on the internet about timeshare.
First we look at a discussion on the Diamond Resorts Advocacy page of Facebook, one of the members started a thread regarding an owner update meeting at their resort. During this meeting the sales agent was discussing transferring their deed week into points, part of the pitch was that there were no maintenance fee associated with points.
Well you can imagine the comments that abounded following that post.
So, if there are no maintenance fees attached, that has to be good, yes?
No, after the owners pushed and pushed the sales agent, they admitted there were fees associated but this wasn’t maintenance, so what is it?
As you can guess, just a change of name, it might be management fees, club dues or some other concoction of words, but in the end they are what they are, extortionately high fees!
To us in Europe especially the UK it is what we call PC or political correctness, I prefer to call it Newspeak from George Orwell’s 1984, change how you say it to confuse the masses. Some good examples are the cook, you are not a cook you are a nutrition technician, a garbage collector or what in England we call a binman or dustman, they are waste disposal engineers. It makes no difference what they change the name to it is the same thing.
We also received from a reader a post in the Anfi del Mar Contracts FB page, it was an advert for a timeshare for resale, it was far far less than what they probably paid for it. This is a subject we have published in the past, (see link below).
Many of those advertised are either for the derisory sum of £1 or even less, we have even seen them for £0.01, this particular one even showed the annual maintenance fee of £687!
There are many others such as Marriott, which are not cheap when originally purchased being advertised for over £2,000, this is the value the owners believe it is worth, having paid around £15,000 upwards for in the first place.
We all know that many owners believed the original sales pitch, it was property, it is an investment, it will go up in value. The only thing that is likely to go up is maintenance fees!
There is also another problem associated with resale, the “scam” companies that have been set up, taking upfront fees to list the timeshare for sale, knowing full well that it will never sell. As Lisa Ann Schreier asked in her “Open Letter to Timeshare Developers” published on Inside Timeshare, Why do you not buy back?
Another valid question to our readers is: What do you think your timeshare is worth, considering what you paid for it? We would love to hear from you.
Last Friday, Mindtimeshare published another warning of a cold calling company called Resort Management Direct or RMD, this is actually an old company offering bargain priced holidays at various resorts. The whole point is what is known as “flybuy”. Part of the deal is that you attend a presentation for a timeshare.
The Warning put out about this one though is very disturbing, the call from a lady called Angelina, states that she is calling from “Resort Management at Club la Costa”. So once again we have a company calling timeshare owners purporting to be from their resort.
So there we have it, from timeshare sales agents trying to bamboozle owners at update meetings to Owners believing they actually have a timeshare that is worth something, finishing with a “flybuy” company clearly stating they are from a legitimate timeshare resort. You really do have to be careful and not believe the first thing you are told.
Have you had an experience of sales agents giving you the runaround, have you tried to sell your timeshare and ended up losing money, or even had a call similar to those of RMD, if so Inside Timeshare would like to hear from you.