Welcome to the start of another week with Inside Timeshare, we ended last week with the latest news from the courts, today we begin with news of another appeal by Anfi being rejected. MacDonald Resorts will also be making a reappearance on our pages in the near future, today however we will give you a brief outline of our readers problems, for many, it will be a very familiar story.
So, yet another frivolous appeal by Anfi Sales SL and Anfi Resorts SL has been roundly rejected by High Court Number 3 of Las Palmas, Gran Canaria. The news of this particular case arrived just after the publication of our Friday article.
The case which involves English clients was originally heard at the Court of First Instance Number 4 of San Bartolomè de Tirajana. At this hearing, the judge ruled that Anfi must repay the client full repayment of 30,883€ plus legal interest and return of their legal costs.
The contract which was also declared illegal and therefore null & void consisted of “floating weeks” that have been deemed illegal as they hold no value or substance. There was also no end date on the contract, so it was what is known as perpetuity. The law clearly states that contracts should be no longer than 50 years in duration and the termination date must be clearly shown.
The court also included in the repayment, double the amount taken as a deposit within the statutory cooling-off period. The point of the “cooling-off period” is to give the consumer the chance to cancel the contract without loss. As most of you will know, the sales process is lengthy and high pressure, the taking of the deposit tends to secure the “deal”, as most will not cancel in fear of losing the substantial deposits paid. This is something the sales teams of all timeshare have used to negate the “buyers remorse”, a term used in timeshare for those who want to cancel.
The High Court unanimously endorsed the original sentence and ordered Anfi to comply with these orders.
This client’s case will now be filed with the Mercantile Court to ensure they are accepted as “creditors” by the court-appointed administrator. This is due to the fact that Anfi Sales and Anfi Resorts have been placed into “necessary bankruptcy” by the Lopesan subsidiary Isla Marina SL. See the link below for the full story.
We now move to the upcoming article on MacDonald Resorts, as our regular readers will know, Inside Timeshare has over the years published many articles on the disgusting “business” practices of this Scottish Timeshare Developer. One thing is very clear, they are probably one of the worst operators in the timeshare industry, even the RDO had to remove them from membership!
Our reader first contacted Inside Timeshare back in March, with pleas for help as MacDonalds had already begun to initiate court proceedings using their “legal bloodhounds”, Shepherd and Wedderburn, for so-called arrears in maintenance fees. Something we know that MacDonalds actively pursues even against the elderly and those in distinct financial difficulties. This history of “legal extortion”, as that is what it really is, has been going on for many years as all MacDonald “members” will have seen.
We did highlight this case back in March and it was passed to the BBC Radio 4 program You and Yours, unfortunately, because of the upcoming court case, they were unable to proceed with the program.
The case has now gone to court and we will be bringing you the full story from our reader, who had to give up his employment to become the sole carer for a very ill Father. Below is the initial message our reader sent in.
“In 2013, I signed what I thought was a document allowing me to use a timeshare unit at Plas Talgarth later that year. As it happens, I wasn’t able to use that holiday, so it was all a waste of time and money anyway. From then onwards, I have received an annual bill for hundreds of pounds from MacDonalds for a service fee. I have told them repeatedly that I have never holidayed with them and never will. I have never paid this fee and now they have taken me to court – even though I’ve never had a single night’s holiday with them!”
Once again we are seeing signs of deception on the part of the sales staff, our reader had no idea he was signing and purchasing a timeshare membership with MacDonalds. Inside Timeshare is working with our reader to ensure the correct information is published.
If you have any questions on your own timeshare purchase and contract, whether it is illegal and what your options are, either for a claim of relinquishment, then please use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get back to you.
Welcome to this week’s Letter from America, as you can see from the title, Adam Siler, Bernadette and Tiffany Renee give their views and stories answering the question of why they believe sales presentations should be recorded. As those of you who have been following Inside Timeshare over the years will remember, we have published numerous “Nightmare on Timeshare Street” stories on how people have been duped by sales agents. Some of these articles can be found on the links at the end. Inside Timeshare would also like to remind all our readers to sign the petition from Bernadette for Diamond CEO Michael Flaskey to remove his video which many who have been through the Diamond mill find offensive. Please take the time to sign it, no matter where in the world you are, many voices, one message.
I learned that a timeshare buyer can’t rely on the ethics or words of a sales agent or manager. If the signing is recorded, don’t accept any reason as to why you should not bring up something promised during the sales presentation. Record the sales session in states where legal without obtaining consent. It’s no surprise that recording without the other person aware is not legal in timeshare mecca Florida.
Even if you are savvy enough to record your sales session and easily resolve your dispute, the company will release you “without liability.” That’s the same thing as saying it doesn’t matter what the sales agent says. Despite evidence in my sales agent’s handwriting, illustrating a 7% financing that he promised to help me obtain, I was informed that it doesn’t matter what he promised because I signed a contract.
A recent sixth complaint was directed against my Florida timeshare sales agent. The complaint was reported by a member who attends presentations to report deception. This makes the sixth complaint since 2017. The first was reported by an active-duty Navy couple.
My efforts are focused on veterans and active duty service members. An active duty service member can lose their security clearances over a timeshare foreclosure. Service members should think carefully before buying a product with little to no resale value as they can be deployed at a moment’s notice. Given the ease of entrapment, high-interest rate timeshare lending should be deemed off-limits like Payday loans. Below are four pages of articles about veterans and active duty service members hurt by their purchase of a timeshare.
My mom called me a number of times during their 11 hour sales session. She told me they could not leave because the agent had taken their IDs. They were falsely told that my brother and I would be liable for increasing fees should something happen to them. They forfeited their two deeded weeks and lost over $30,000. Now they are receiving collection letters threatening to add legal fees and collection agency fees.
In their 70s my parents had no choice but to default. Their maintenance fees increased from $2,000 to $6,000 after converting to points. My parents were no match for a “QA” agent who served a four-year jail term for burglarizing seven homes, some while occupied. He had other criminal charges over the years. The timeshare company blamed my parents, saying they sounded fine on the recorded closing. That’s why you need to record your sales session.
It’s important to file complaints with the Federal Trade Commission and other appropriate regulatory agencies. The Florida Attorney General only forwarded our information to the timeshare company, and in turn, forwarded the company’s denial, but if no one filed complaints it would seem there are no problems.
At a Florida HB 435 workshop held in Tallahassee March 12, 2019, Victoria Butler, from the Florida Attorney General’s Department of Consumer Protection, reported a figure of 1,500 to 1,600 timeshare complaints in 2017, about the same number in 2018, and 700 complaints filed in 2019 through March 12, 2019. Ms Butler said about 50% of the complaints involved senior citizens with the majority in regard to the initial sales presentation. Ms Butler stated that the Florida timeshare division engaged only 42 complaints, the majority concerning resale.
(Irene Parker attended and reported)
Bernadette in Oklahoma
We did not record our sales presentation. On three occasions in Las Vegas, Hawaii and Missouri, we were not informed of the company’s voluntary surrender program. We attended a meeting only to learn how to be released due to my husband’s chronic and debilitating health problems. Each time we were told we would need to purchase additional points to gain release.
Calvin Wardrick, a disabled Army Veteran, explains how timeshare companies and timeshare exit companies feed off each other. Calvin ran a POW camp of 27,000 Iraq soldiers and is 100% disabled due to PTSD. As Calvin explains, “My family had good intentions when they purchased a timeshare for my relaxation, but I entered into another war on US soil that we did not see coming. Stress over this timeshare has added to my sickness and has put us at a poverty level.”
Thank you Adam, Bernadette and Tiffany for your contributions, once again you have given all our readers a sound argument as to why the industry must change and change for the benefit of consumers and the industry, not just one side.
Inside Timeshare would also like to thank all the past contributors for their experiences, for many it was a very difficult step to take and share what they perceived to be problems of their own making, not realising that others have also been taken in by the sales patter.
While some families seem so obviously mislead and suffer financial harm, others are able to work out their differences. Let’s hope consumers do their part by following Ronald Reagan’s advice, “Believe but verify!”
All Inside Timeshare and our readers who have followed us and contributed over the years can say, is you are no longer alone.
Welcome to the Tuesday Slot with Inside Timeshare, we begin today with the news of a final payout to a client by Anfi after an unsuccessful appeal to the Supreme Court. The news of this appeal was published on 16 March along with another appeal to the Supreme Court by Diamond Resorts, which was also unsuccessful with the judges roundly rejecting the appeal.
Anfi lost the original case at the Court of First Instance where the contract was declared null and void and they were ordered to repay the client over 45,000€. As we have seen in all these cases Anfi launched another appeal to the High Court of Las Palmas, the court rejected and dismissed the appeal confirming the original judgement and sentence.
Anfi, true to form, decided to waste the court’s valuable time and launched an appeal with Spain’s Highest Court, The Supreme Court in Madrid. This court has made 130 rulings on Spanish Timeshare Law and set them in stone or what is known as jurisprudence.
The Anfi appeal to the court was based on their request “for clarity” on previous rulings, we have to ask what clarity?
It appears that this “clarity” was a suggestion by Anfi that there was an element of “contradiction” in some of the previous rulings made by the High Court of Las Palmas. As we have seen with previous appeals the High Court has been following all the rulings of the Supreme Court to the letter and upholding sentences from the Court of First Instance. In many cases, the High Court has also improved the original sentence such as the lower court failing to take into consideration the illegal taking of deposits and not awarding double the amount taken.
This is a precedent made by the Supreme Court and has been enforced in all cases.
Obviously, Anfi lost their appeal and the case was returned for the execution of the sentence.
As we have previously reported, Anfi uses this ploy to delay any payments which also gives them time to “spirit away” funds from the relevant accounts in order to avoid payment. Unfortunately for them this is not working and is also being investigated by the Provincial Prosecutors Office of Gran Canaria. This may just result in criminal charges being brought against the directors and the board which is in the control of the Cazorla Group. We also know that they are themselves in severe financial difficulty.
The lawyers from Canarian Legal Alliance who represented the English client throughout these proceedings had already placed provisional execution of sentence proceeding with the court. This has become standard procedure for the lawyers at CLA and also helps to save time.
They managed to get a partial settlement but were still 13,345€ short of the awarded amount of 45,825€. With all their procedures in place and the threat of embargoes, the final amount has now been secured with the client already receiving this money into their own personal bank account.
Another successful case has now reached a conclusion and we expect to see more of the same in the coming months. No doubt Anfi will continue to waste time and cause the courts more work with their appeals, a ploy which in the end will cause them more financial problems.
We have been informed that the program You and Yours will be highlighting these stories on Friday 26 March, the program goes on air at 12:20 pm, please find the time to tune in and listen, we are sure that it will be very interesting. If there is any change in scheduling Inside Timeshare will let you know.
That is all for today, if you have any questions or comments on any article published, please use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get back to you.