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Mrs B

Start the Week: News From The Courts & MacDonald Resorts Are Still At It!

Welcome to the start of another week with Inside Timeshare, today we begin with the news of the latest two cases to come from the courts, the first is against Marriott and the second is a guaranteed bank payment from Anfi. Going back to an old story of Mrs B and her battle with MacDonald Resorts, a story we covered for many years and published the final chapter on 5 November, well, it would seem that MacDonalds is using the same tactics against others. According to several enquiries received recently, the County Courts are going to be busy with cases being brought against members by MacDonalds “bloodhounds” the law firm Shepherd and Wedderburn. This is one of the most despicable timeshare operators anywhere in the world as you, our readers, already know from the long-running saga of Mrs B. But first on with the court news.

On Thursday last week, Canarian Legal Alliance released the result for a case at the Court of First Instance Number 4 of Marbella.

The case was brought on behalf of a German client against Marriott Vacation Club, once again the client’s contract was declared null and void with the court ordering the return of 13,392€ plus a further 21,600€ in respect of the taking of deposits illegally within the statutory cooling-off period. The courts are consistently awarding double the amount for these illegal payments as laid down by the rulings of the Supreme Court.

The total amount the client will now receive is 34,991€ plus legal interest.

In this particular trial, the presiding Judge made specific reference to the very first and groundbreaking ruling in 2015, by Canarian Legal Alliance. It was this ruling in the case of Tove Grimsbo versus Anfi, that confirmed the Timeshare Law 42/98.

In this ruling, it was confirmed that “floating weeks” (which includes points systems) are illegal, that contracts “in perpetuity” (over the maximum 50 years allowed) and the taking of any payment within the statutory cooling-off period are illegal. (See link below for the original news item).

It is clear that the Judge in this case against Marriott was following the law and the Supreme Court rulings to the letter.

The case was prepared by the Lawyers Christine Ihmann and Miguel Angel Melian Santana, with Claims Consultant Evi Richter assisting the client.

The following day yet another bank guarantee for 20,911€ was paid to the court, this is the amount awarded to the Swedish client of CLA in their case against Anfi.

The Court of First Instance Number 3 of San Bartelomé de Tirajana also declared the contract null and void following the many ruling made by the Supreme Court that contracts over the maximum 50 years duration, floating weeks and points systems are illegal along with the taking of any payments at the point of sale.

Although this bank guarantee secures the funds for the client, it is expected that Anfi will launch yet another frivolous appeal to the High Court. So until the original sentence is confirmed by the High Court, the funds will remain in the court’s account, but at least they are secured.

If they do launch another appeal, Inside Timeshare will be keeping an eye open for the result and will have another good laugh when they lose yet again!

This case was prepared and presented by the Lawyer Eva Gutierrez with Claims Consultant Michael Gadman assisting the client.

We now move to the continuing story of the practices of one of the vilest timeshare companies to be in existence, MacDonald Resorts. Our regular readers will be familiar with the long-running battle that Mrs B has had with MacDonalds over maintenance arrears on a timeshare that was “legally” transferred.

The story follows the threats from MacDonalds through various “debt collection” agencies such as Credit Network Services and to the “threats” by their “legal bloodhounds” Shepherd and Wedderburn. (See link below to the last article).

The problem as we have seen with these threats is that MacDonalds with Shepherd and Wedderburn representing them are totally intent on taking “members” to court. Inside Timeshare has been receiving enquiries from many “members” who are also facing a similar problem.

One reader has explained that they originally took over the timeshare at Lochanhully from a friend and neighbour who could no longer use or afford the timeshare membership. This was for a fixed week with an attached apartment, in other words, “real timeshare”.

When they transferred the membership into their name, they never received any notification that it had been completed, they never received any “New Member” agreement or any membership certificates. They were not even informed of any existing “exit mechanism”, not that the one allowed by MacDonalds is anything but fair!

As far as our reader was concerned they never received any paperwork to confirm their ownership, then when they received a letter telling them that MacDonalds had now moved over to the “points” system. This was a system which was wholeheartedly endorsed by Harry Taylor the then CEO of TATOC and recipient of funds from MacDonalds.

Our reader responded that they were not interested in changing to the points system and demanded that his “ownership/membership” be relinquished.

Since then they do not recall ever receiving any demands for the annual maintenance bill and have never paid anything since. Unfortunately, they mistook the lack of communication from MacDonalds as a sign that they had indeed relinquished their timeshare. They are now locked into a timeshare they cannot get out of and are now being taken to court for the arrears.

In our second case of MacDonald Resorts, this new reader is now being taken to court for arrears and their story is very similar.

They purchased a fixed week with an attached apartment at Elmers Court, which was used and enjoyed as they were guaranteed their week each and every year. Unfortunately, they suffered the same fate as every other owner, they were forced to accept the “new points” system introduced by MacDonald’s and as we have said endorsed by Harry Taylor.

Once again our readers told MacDonalds that they did not want the points and would hand back their timeshare. Once again nothing was heard from MacDonalds until recently, the same tactics are being employed by MacDonalds, intimidation and threats by their“legal Bloodhounds Shepherd and Wedderburn”.

When will the authorities begin to clamp down on the likes of MacDonald Resorts, using every means of intimidation to ensure that they do not lose members but keep cashing in their extortionate maintenance fees for timeshare people don’t want and are unable to use.

We also suspect that the vast majority of “members” of MacDonald’s are all in their latter years of life, their circumstances have changed, they are probably on pensions and do not have the funds they once had. They are more than likely unable to travel and their own children and in some cases grandchildren don’t want the timeshare. Yet they are locked in with no real way of exiting.

We also know that MacDonalds is not in a very good financial situation, it is believed that they are selling off some of their hotels and we suspect that the latest increase in the number of “members” being threatened with court, is in our opinion just a way to ensure they have an income.

In other words, it is pure greed on the part of MacDonalds Resorts, “to hell with the members they only supply us with the money!”

If you are also being threatened by MacDonald Resorts, Inside Timeshare would like to hear from you, please use our contact page and we will get back to you.

Are you wanting to be rid of your timeshare, if so and you want to find out what your legal rights and options are then please get in touch by using our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get back to you?

End The Week: Club la Costa Name Change and Barclays Acknowledge Repayment of Interest

Welcome to the end of another eventful week in the timeshare world, the biggest story this week was the saga of Mrs B and her battle with MacDonald Resorts. This story finally came to an end on Wednesday, when the BBC Radio 4 Program You and Yours broadcast the story and interviewed Mrs B. The research team at You and Yours made contact with MacDonalds for a comment on the case, then just before the program went on air they agreed to “waive” the arrears and stop chasing for them. So now Mrs B and her Sister after an epic 5-year battle are finally free of their MacDonalds timeshare. There was also the latest news on the new “fake” law firm Las Alas Abogados, which is following the same Modus Operandi as the previous incarnations, even down to sending a photocopy of the La Caixa cheque, which incidentally is fake, the IBAN number does not come up as genuine. Today we bring you the latest news on Club la Costa and the continuing case of the Barclay Partner Finance agreements brokered by Azure Services Ltd without authorisation.

First, we look at a rather interesting piece of news from Club la Costa, this information may be the reason for the “rumour” being circulated by some dubious cold callers that Club la Costa is going into liquidation.

As we already know the only thing that has closed at Club la Costa are the sales decks with all sales staff now either out of work or on furlough. The reason for the suspension of sales and the sales team is really very obvious, with the current situation no one is travelling, therefore there are no clients for in-house or for the cold line. No clients, no sales!

It has now come to light that Club la Costa Ltd, Company Number 2448397 has filed with company records that they have had a change of name as of 21 October 2020. The new name which also keeps the original Company Number is now Jade Realty Limited.

This is not the first time that the name has been changed, in fact since 1990 they have had 3 previous names. Now the question is why the change of name now and why to the name of a real estate company?

Previous names for Club-la-Costa Ltd

Well, there is one explanation, could this be them getting ready to resume sales again, but this time with another product, possibly being passed off as real estate and property?

Your guess is as good as mine but it is a thought, only time will tell.

Moving on now to the story of Barclay Partner Finance, the Financial Conduct Authority and Azure Services Ltd.

As we have already reported, 1,444 Azure clients who purchased timeshares in Malta paid for with loans brokered by Azure Service Ltd. It turned out that these loans were not entirely legal, Azure was not authorised to carry out loan agreements or broker the loans on behalf of BPF.

When BPF turned to the FCA to have these loans “validated”, which then makes them legal and enforceable in the event of a default, the FCA issued the validation order. This set off a reaction from the various law firms and clients who took the case to the High Court in London to have the FCA retract the validation order.

The judge sitting ordered the FCA to investigate their decision to validate these agreements and take into account the impact of client detriment. It is also a fact that none of the usual checks were made for these substantial finance agreements. Not one client ever had a full viability check such as income v expenditure to ensure they could afford the repayments.

In October Inside Timeshare reported that the FCA did validate the loan agreements, (see link below).

Yet now the Financial Times has reported that BPF have been ordered to repay interest already charged on the loans issued between April 2014 and April 2016. It was also reported that future interest on the loans may also be cancelled.

The amount of interest to be repaid is £26m, which is around half the total value of the £48m owed in the loan agreements.

It also appears that Barclays must appoint an “independent assessor” in order to review if any of the loans were actually affordable. This is also an acknowledgement that this was not done at the beginning of the agreement process.

This could result in the cancellation of the loans and repay all clients back in full, this will also include an interest payment of 8%.

This is certainly good news for these particular timeshare clients, all we need now is for BPF and others involved in loan agreements for the purchase of timeshare to come clean and also admit they have never carried out any proper credit or affordability checks. This is obviously going to be a staggering figure considering that the majority of timeshare purchases that Inside Timeshare has seen were all purchased with loans brokered by the sales reps themselves.

Well, that is all for this week, If you have any comments or questions about any article published, or you would like to know your legal options for your timeshare, please use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get back to you.

Have a great weekend and join us again next week.

Mrs B v MacDonald Resorts: The Battle Is Won But The War Continues

For those readers who have been following the story of Mrs B and her battle with MacDonald Resorts for the past 4 to 5 years will be pleased to know that her fight is now over. Yesterday 4 November, the BBC Radio 4 Program You and Yours highlighted her case. As usual, the team at You and Yours did their own research and also made contact with MacDonalds and also the European Consumer Centre, which is a Government-funded body. At the last minute, a spokesperson for MacDonald Resorts contacted You and Yours with the following statement.

“Under our management contract with the Resort Owners’ Club at Dona Lola, we are responsible for collecting outstanding fees due to the club.

“In 2014, the club introduced a simple system which enables owners to exit their contracts by paying a sum equivalent to four times their management fee, which in this case would have been £4,107 for the two weeks owned.

“Unfortunately, many owners have fallen victim to unscrupulous ‘exit scammers’ such as ITRA, paying them exorbitant sums on the false promise of being able to terminate their legal contracts. It appears that these two ladies paid £5,000 to ITRA on that basis, when they could have permanently resolved the situation several years ago for a far lower sum.

“In these exceptional circumstances, given their age and the fact that they were duped into paying thousands of pounds to ITRA, the Resort Owners’ Club has agreed to waive the sum which is legally due and which will now have to be met by the other club members. We hope this episode is a salutary lesson to other owners who are approached by exit scammers.”

Although they have promised to “waive” the “contested” sum and no longer chase Mrs B or her Sister for the arrears, they have not actually acknowledged the fact that they are also responsible for the situation.

They maintain that the amount owed is “legally” due to them and claim that now this sum has to be met by “other club members”. This certainly shows that they have no remorse, let’s just fleece the remaining members, sorry, but there must be something wrong with their timeshare model if they need existing members to cover the costs of “returned points”.

They also do not acknowledge that they are also responsible for their members getting scammed by “resale and exit” companies, the sentence:

We hope this episode is a salutary lesson to other owners who are approached by exit scammers”.

This sentence says it all, in fact in the notes they state:

Notes –

“The system introduced in 2014 has enabled many owners to exit their contracts quickly and simply”.

“The Resort Owners’ Club writes regularly to owners warning them of the dangers of exit scammers, several of whom have been the subject of legal action”.

“The contracts in question are bound by Scots Law, which recognises “in perpetuity” contracts”.

If this is the case, why were Mrs B and her Sister not warned that MacDonald Resorts did not recognise ITRA, surely that is their responsibility to inform “members” of their policy when it comes to exits!

As for the system they introduced in 2014, apply for an exit, pay 4 years maintenance and then wait to see if your application is accepted. This system is a first come first served basis, numbers allowed to exit are limited and it is only rolled out every two years. This information has been supplied in the past by members who follow Inside Timeshare.

The last part of the “notes” is also very telling, they maintain that the contracts are “bound by Scots law” which “recognises in perpetuity” contracts. This may be the case for those sold in Scotland, but the contracts that are sold in Spain with the resorts in Spain, the taking of payments has been done in Spain and the client signed the contract in Spain, squarely puts the contract under Spanish timeshare law.

The courts in Malaga have already ruled against MacDonalds on this point in 2015/2016, where they clearly stated that Spanish law has jurisdiction. In many more cases just recently against Club la Costa and Diamond Resorts, the High Courts have also ruled that these companies cannot “choose the jurisdiction” of their contracts, consumers have the right to the protection of the laws in the country they are purchasing in.

On this point, this also makes the conversion to the points system illegal under Spanish law, we also know that other members including Mrs B were basically forced into converting their fixed week fixed apartment timeshare for the point system. They own nothing, they are members of a vacation club.

Remember who was behind this conversion, Harry Taylor of TATOC, both now discredited, he and his organisation which was supposedly there to help and protect timeshare owners, wholeheartedly backed this move by MacDonalds. It is also a fact that MacDonald Resorts were also one of the biggest contributors to TATOC and that was the only organisation they belonged to in the timeshare industry after all their membership to the RDO was essentially revoked.

So as we said at the start, the Battle for Mrs B is over, but the war against this type of practice goes on. Inside Timeshare has been happy to help Mrs B over the years and hope that our support has been of great comfort to her and her Sister. We would also like to thank Julia Paul the Assistant producer at You and Yours for taking an interest in this case and helping to get a resolution.

Are you a MacDonald’s member, have you gone through something similar or just want to get out, Inside Timeshare would like to hear your stories so please use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get back to you.