Inside Timeshare has had more emails regarding Claims Assistance Bureau Ltd, the cold calling company contacting Eze Group clients with tales of money being awarded by the courts and court cases within the next few weeks. The original warning was published on 18 February.
Well it would seem that they have changed their name in the calls to Claims Advice Bureau UK, which from our research there is a genuine company called Claims Advice Bureau (UK) Ltd, with the Company Registration Number 05518043 and the registered address:
So they have now hijacked a genuine company so when you do your searches on the internet, you will find them and be taken in.
Inside Timeshare has spoken with the director of this company today so they are now aware of the situation, we shall be sending them all the details that we have. So hopefully these “fraudsters” will get caught.
As we know, these people with the name Harry Evans, Claire Bruce , Mel Rhys and have concocted some very believable stories that they are acting as intermediaries for the courts. Which we know would never happen.
As you can see these are standard gmail accounts which do not link to any company website, which should always cause alarm bells to ring.
The latest story from Harry Evans, which is then backed up by Claire Bruce in an email, this time there is a case underway in the Madrid Courts against Eze Group, which we do know is not the truth. But according to Harry and then backed up by Claire in the email, they will have the clients money of over £15,000 back in TEN, YES, TEN days! Wow, that is very fast work, Inside Timeshare has never known any payout to be that quick, they are obviously great miracle workers!
If you have been contacted by Harry Evans, Claire Bruce, Mel Rhys under the name of Claims Assistance Bureau or using the name Claims Advice Bureau UK, then contact Inside Timeshare with all the details, we will ensure that it goes to the right authorities.
JUST REMEMBER DO NOT BELIEVE THEM AND DO NOT PAY ANY MONEY!
Need help or advice on any company the has contacted you, that you have found on the internet or in any publication and want to know if they are genuine or a fraud?
Do you have a problem with your timeshare and want to know what options are available to you?
Then use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will give you the best advice possible, all free of charge.
It seems some of the old names are making a come back, the latest is Greenges 2005 SL. These were based in Fuengirola and have not been heard from for around 5 years, this time in a very unusual way.
Inside Timeshare received an enquiry regarding a call they received telling them that their parents had been awarded £24,000 by the courts for a mis sold timeshare in Tenerife. The call came from someone claiming to be from the Ministry of Justice and to verify the fact they should contact Greenges in Spain who he claimed had done the work for the readers parents.
According to the caller from the Ministry of Justice, if they did not claim the money within 5 days it would be returned back to the court. This is a very strange fact, as the courts do not work in this way, also the Ministry of Justice is a Government Department and nothing to do with the Judiciary and Courts.
So we can only speculate that the scam will be the usual “Taxes” to release the money, then a fee to pay for the work involved.
Now Greenges 2005 SL is still a registered company with the NIF number B92652288, the registered address is:
It must also be remembered, when they were operating in the past they were posing as a law firm yet their business activity according to the company register included purchase and sale of motor vehicles and food, the provision of all kinds of services such as accounting and financial advice.
So there we have it, the old firms up and running again, this time claiming that money has been awarded and is waiting to be paid out.
If you receive a call or email claiming to be from the Ministry of Justice, or some company appointed by the courts, then you can be sure it is going to be a scam.
Contact Inside Timeshare if you need any help on how to check out any company that contacts you or that you have found on the internet, doing your homework will save you from the scammers in the end.
Welcome to this week’s Friday’s Letter from America, this week we publish Part II of Karen Garello’s Secret Shopper report, but as usual we look at what is happening in Europe.
During our daily searches of various timeshare websites and forums this particular article made us chuckle. It was published on the Travel & Leisure Group (timeshare resale) website under information and Timeshare Blog, it is an interview with Gavin Brown and his recent stay at Anfi, he is manager of the said company, obviously written by one of the employees who conducted the interview.
The piece starts out with “Anfi Beach Club is known throughout the timeshare industry as a real gem”. It then goes on to describe the location, “Ideally located on a heart-shaped island in Gran Canaria”. Well straight away that brought everyone down laughing, the heart shaped island is a man made island which is situated between the beach and the marina. It does not have the room for the huge resort called Anfi! It does however have sunbeds, a cocktail bar and a restaurant. You can also hire the island for weddings, if you can afford the 12,000€ for the basic package.
It turns out that Mr Brown, who has been in the timeshare industry for years, has never owned a timeshare, (I wonder why?). Mr Brown stated that he always booked with online travel agents and package holidays, but due to sometimes being disappointed with room location and the standards of the hotels, he felt that timeshare resorts offered better standards.
Well, we can agree with that, so why did he choose Anfi? As he put it he has a great knowledge of Anfi, having sold so many resale weeks, so when “A fantastic week and apartment became available at a great price, and I couldn’t pass it up”. Although we couldn’t help wondering if he would have bought at the ridiculous prices direct from Anfi?
He then goes on with a wonderful sales pitch on how great the place is, the wonderful facilities and the great restaurants, with reasonable prices compared to other 5* resorts. Well sorry Mr Brown, but you can get even better food at even better prices by leaving the resort and heading to some of the local restaurants.
The article then ends with “If this has made you consider Anfi Beach Club, or any of the other Anfi resorts, why not call Gavin himself or one of his colleagues to discuss further”?
Could it be they have that many weeks on their books they need to do a sales drive to get rid of them?
The other point to remember is that when you buy resale you don’t get all the benefits as you would buying direct from Anfi. See the link to the previous article on Resale Vs Direct.
After all, his past is not what you could call squeaky clean, there has been a lot in the press and on TV about some of his past enterprises, Monster Credits springs to mind. By purchasing a company already regulated by the MoJ it does save him the problem of applying to the MoJ for authorisation, then having to pass the competence and suitability assessment, which is not a simple task.
Going back to Anfi, although the courts are closed during the month of August, some staff are still working and issuing sentence papers from cases heard previously, this particular case was heard on 6 July. The Court of First Instance in Maspalomas awarded the former Anfi member 42,625€, again the infringement of the timeshare law was the length of the contract, being over 50 years in duration. So Anfi, do you continue to deny that you are losing in the courts?
Inside Timeshare encourages its readers to submit positive articles about timeshare experiences, so I was relieved to have attended a positive sales presentation at The Suites at Fall Creek in Branson, Missouri. Unfortunately, the presentation was followed by a less than positive customer service experience.
My Diamond saga began when I purchased a trial Sampler program I had not realized I had purchased until I returned home and saw a $3,995 charge to a Barclaycard. Diamond would not reverse the charge.
Trying to make the best of a bad situation, I decided to attend a presentation as this is required when purchasing a Sampler. After I returned home from a Branson presentation, I attempted to access Luxury benefits but was denied access. Luxury benefits include luxury hotels, shopping and wine. When I contacted customer services at the Sampler department, asking why I was denied access, the customer service agent put me on hold for a long time while he called Branson. After completing his “investigation” he told me the reason I could not access Luxury benefits is because Branson reported me as a “NO SHOW”!!!
Had it not been for our Diamond Resorts member supported Advocacy Facebook, I probably would not have gotten the sales agent’s name, and I certainly would not have prepared a report.
Admitting deceit it seemed, the customer service agent said, according to the notes during the presentation (he initially said I had not attended), I had told the sales agent TK I had complained about the unauthorized charge to purchase the Sampler. I pointed out that I had used my American Express for all the charges I made at The Suites. Customer service said they will investigate further and get back to me.
Now onto my original article
Many timeshare companies already have Secret Shopper programs. Still, it doesn’t hurt for timesharing member Secret Shoppers to evaluate for other members how near or far a timeshare sales agent ventures from his or her script.
I guess I am not that secret of a Secret Shopper in that my name is on this article, so I hope the good experience I had at Diamond Resorts – The Suites at Fall Creek in Branson, Missouri wasn’t because they were aware of my Timeshare Advocacy Group™ position, Secret Shopper Coordinator. I’d like to give them the benefit of the doubt.
My presenter was TK Armstrong. She used to work for Bluegreen but joined Diamond because she said they have more resorts. TK and I talked for about 45 minutes. I went over my Polo Towers experience. She seemed sincerely concerned. She showed me a description of CLARITY™Diamond’s new Enhanced Quality Assurance program. She was supportive of the program and said she was going to abide by it. She went over the Sampler product I did not realize I purchased until I returned home from Polo Towers. At least I know what I bought now.
We have three new Secret Shoppers. We will not identify them because they are, well, secret. After compiling over 100 complaints from readers who have reached out to Inside Timeshare for assistance, we have determined the most popular complaints involve the following:
Maintenance Fee relief program that do not exist,
The ability to sell points or weeks when there is no secondary market,
The value of travel awards,
Misrepresenting the value of using a credit card to offset Maintenance Fees,
Stating a lower loan interest rate can be obtained from a bank or credit union in order to escape high timeshare loan interest rates,
We arm our Secret Shoppers with intelligent questions that, maybe because of being on vacation brain, people forget to ask. These are questions of course that any timeshare consumer can ask, so we share them with our readers. Transparency, honesty and accuracy are rated on a scale from one to five with a five being the most honest. Results are tabulated quarterly and sent to our team for review. After we complete our pilot program, we hope to submit the data to the respective resort for review.
May I take notes?
How long have you worked at this resort?
Have you worked at other resorts?
What did you do before you sold timeshare?
May I call my lawyer to discuss your proposal?
May I take the contract to my room so that I can have an adequate amount of time to review such a major purchase?
Are you a member? May we log onto your account so I can check actual availability and value? I am spending a significant amount of money on something I have not even attempted to use.
Resale or Exit Program
What happens if I can no longer use or afford the timeshare?
If I can sell it, how can I sell it? Who do I call? Can you give me a reference?
Note: Contact a member of the Licensed Timeshare Resale Broker Association to ask about the benefits or lack of benefits buying on the resale market and to see if they will accept a listing for the timeshare you own.
Please show me in the paperwork the cap on maintenance fee increases. How much does a maintenance fee go up on average annually? Does it go up every year?
Can you provide a five year history of Maintenance Fee increases?
Is there anything I can do to offset Maintenance Fees?
If I can use my points for maintenance fees, how much per point are they credited?
Where in the paperwork can I verify this information?
If I offset Maintenance Fees with credit card purchases, please provide an example of the value of a $1 purchase and how many purchases it would take to pay off my annual maintenance Fee? (One member reported it would cost over $270,000 in annual purchases to pay a $2,700 Maintenance Fee!)
Can I rent my timeshare to pay Maintenance Fees?
If I can use my points for hotels, what is the value per point?
If I can use my points for airline tickets, what is the value per point?
If I can use my points for a cruise, what is the value per point?
Where in the paperwork does it state my loan interest rate?
How much will I pay for the timeshare if I carry the loan for the maximum term?
Is there anything I can do to reduce my interest rate?
What is the interest and penalty if I miss a payment?
If consumers must take out a loan to buy a timeshare, consider carefully the actual cost of financing a vacation at 12 to 18%. America is a buy now pay later society. I don’t think many financial planners would recommend financing a luxury item without comparison shopping. Well over half of the complaints Inside Timeshare has received involve high interest rate financing.
We hope Secret Shoppers create smart shoppers asking the right questions before plunging into a purchase so many of our readers have come to regret. Societal changes are influencing the wants and needs of today’s traveler. Are timeshares more flexible or less if you are locked into usage and maintenance fees increasing annually.
Our first Secret Shopper, Laurie Sabbagh, offered the first Timeshare Advocacy Group™ Secret Shopper report. She reported some good and not so good observations. Of merit is the warning to timeshare buyers to take the promise of travel awards a step farther and ask, “At what value?” In general consumers should buy a timeshare for its intended purpose which is to vacation at a resort. Here is Laurie’s report:
Contact Inside Timeshare if you have interest in becoming a Secret Shopper or would like to share a positive or negative timeshare shopping experience. There are several member supported Facebooks and websites where members can reach out to other members to share experiences. Timeshare Advocacy Group™ posts information from all sites. Our motto, courtesy of Jimi Hendrix, is –
Thanks to Karen for her Secret Shopper part II, also thanks to Irene as usual for the editing and coordination from the other side of the great lake. We have many more articles coming up in the next few weeks with part II of Hug Your Haters and a piece about the Castle Law Group lawsuit with Orange Lake. We will also be having another article from our Antipodean friends from the other side of the world.
So that’s it for this week, have a great weekend and we will be with you next week.
Inside Timeshare published an article “Is it Resale?” which was prompted by the TCA highlighting a piece by Harriet Cooke of The Sun Newspaper, this also questioned the claims of Sellmytimeshare.tv that it had helped so many people. This article was published 23 March 2016. This was followed by an article called “Testimonials: Fact or Fiction?” This article was prompted by a question from a reader if they could trust testimonials that appeared on websites.
What Inside Timeshare would like to say to you the reader, is look at these articles and then at the following links on the TESS website, then make your own judgements as to whether the truth has been served.
Then on 20 July they published a transcript of a sales presentation, it was taken from a recording by a client. This was transcribed by the Ministry of Justice, therefore it is considered as evidence. It makes interesting reading.
The advisor actually states they don´t buy timeshare, that there is not even a market and people can’t even give them away on ebay. So why have these people travelled to attend these meetings if there is no resale market? Could it be another product is up for sale? Do they know what awaits them?
These articles by TESS do actually answer these questions, but I will leave it up to you the reader to decide who is telling the truth.
Timeshare is a minefield, trust is very difficult to determine, who do you believe?
The only answer is research any company that you may be contemplating doing business with, the information is out there. Some may be negative, but then look at who is publishing it. Is it a rival company? Do they have an ulterior motive?
If in doubt forget it, better to be safe than sorry.
If you have any information that you would like to share with others, Inside Timeshare will be pleased to include it, be it about any of these companies or others you have dealt with. Without your help and information it is difficult for others to make decisions, it could save others a lot of stress and financial problems.
Now the website was registered 6 May 2016 only just 2 months ago, with hidden registration details. On the home page they show three customer comments, two are for disposal and one is for what looks like a section 75 claim. What is strange is if the website has only been running for this length of time, how could these have been done? Section 75 claims usually take months and cancellation of contracts also take a long time. Fine if this company has been running long before the website, but no registration can be found at UK Company House or the equivalent in the Republic of Ireland.
The address for contact is Phoenix House, Monahan Road, Cork. This is business center which offers rental office space including one day use, virtual office facilities with telephone answering and mail collection.
The telephone number they give is: 028 9521 5532 which is for Belfast Northern Ireland. Where are they actually based, is it the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland? Another number found is 0121 667 8770 which is Birmingham England.
Nothing really adds up, surely if they are a company pursuing claims, should they not be registered?
They show no company registrations or any type of registry with any organisation such as the Ministry of Justice who oversee claims management. These are usually fundamental inclusions on any company website.
Remember, if you are claiming under section 75, the mains points of the claim are: you have not received the goods or services paid for or the company no longer exists. If you have had your timeshare for a number of years and have used it, then where is the claim? The credit card company will argue that you have received the goods or services paid for. Credit card companies will not pay out just because the contract sold has been deemed illegal. So in respect of companies promising claims under section 75, all you are paying for is a relinquishment. Then you must ask yourself will your resort accept it? Will they argue they do not recognise the company you are dealing with? If this is the case then you will have paid for nothing and are still liable for the maintenance.
In order to claim the full amount paid for your timeshare, you must have purchased or upgraded after 5 January 1999 in Spain, the contract must be for more than 50 years, a payment made within the 14 day cooling off period or you have been sold floating weeks or points systems. Then the only way to get this money back is through legal action in the courts, then your contract will be declared null & void also.
So once again it pays to do your research before dealing with any company, if you have had any contact with a company and want to know more about them, Inside Timeshare will help you find the answer. If you want to know how to find a law firm who can help you we will point you in the right direction.
This is a question I am asked frequently, there is no simple answer. It is a matter of doing your homework, finding out where to look and how to look. The internet has made this easier, the only problem is which sites are genuine and which are not.
Firstly, let´s take a look at small claims companies, these are the ones you may be familiar with doing PPI claims. There are many such entities around, they tend to be using the Credit Consumer Act 1974 Section 75 as a way of reclaiming your money. There have been many pop up around the timeshare industry over the years. Many originated around the time that DWVC was in the spotlight and being closed.
Both these sites explain what the act is and how to go about claiming. Both have an extensive archive of template letters, they are easy to use, replace the markers with your information and the reason for your claim. Generally this will be not receiving the goods or services paid for or promised. Another general claim is the company has disappeared. This particular claim is one I have been involved with in the past, usually from bogus resale companies.
If you get a company to do it for you, many will work on a no win no fee basis. But remember when you do have a successful payout it may cost upwards of 40% of your claim.
Most legitimate companies will be registered with the Financial Service Authority, some may even be registered with the Ministry of Justice (Claims). These registrations depend on the type of work they do, but obviously they are the ones to investigate further.
Law firms, this should be the easiest, but how many people have been taken in by slick operations and websites?
Genuine Law Firms will be registered with the relevant authorities, in the UK it will be the SRA, these can be checked using Bar Registration Numbers. In Spain I use a website reddeabogados, they have made it a little more difficult to use than I remember. Again use the Bar Association Registration Numbers. All practising lawyers must be registered with their bar association. Using Spain as an example, a lawyer working in Malaga will be registered there, a lawyer in Barcelona will be registered in that city.
If you are looking to find a lawyer to represent you in another country, a good first stop is the British Consulate for the area the lawyer is in. You can also go to the Embassy or Consulate of the specific country to check. In the world of timeshare doing this just diligence is the most important step you can make. It is the difference between losing thousands or getting the result you wanted.
One reader has sent in a comment which will be of use. There are some European Lawyers that are registered with the UK SRA as “Registered European Lawyers”. You can ask to see their certificate of registration, if they are registered then you can be sure the SRA has checked their qualifications. (See comments for the full version 04/05/16).
Inside Timeshare can help begin the process of research, if you have been contacted or are looking to contact any company and wish to know how to check them, we will help. Inside Timeshare can also put you in touch with various companies depending on your problem. We will also offer any advice if you wish to make a section 75 claim, showing where to get any supporting evidence.
Remember, do your homework and stay safe from the sharks!