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“Nightmare on Timeshare Street”

Friday’s Letter from America: Should Sales Presentations be Recorded?

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.

Why Timeshare Sales Presentations Should be Recorded

See the source image

By Adam Siler, Bernadette, Tiffany Renee

April 16, 2021

Adam Siler, Air Force Veteran

[email protected]

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.

Tiffany Renee

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. 

I was shocked to be told by the Missouri Attorney General’s Office that I should get a lawyer. A YouTube featuring the Missouri Attorney General, the Washington Attorney General, and the former Arizona Attorney General describes attorneys specializing in timeshares as “storefront clowns.” 

The company only offered us their voluntary surrender program FOR THE ORIGINAL CONTRACT I FIRST ATTEMPTED RELEASE. We had no loan before the three up-sells. In frustration I launched this petition:

Articles About or By Veterans

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.”

Timeshare can pose a National Security Threat, December 27, 2017

Wayne Robinson, a Navy Veteran/Navy Journalist, and a former timeshare sales agent, executive, and author of Everything about Timeshare, Before During and After the Sales September 14, 2018

John Collick, Congressional Candidate 2020 (VA-3)

Eddie Rodriguez, Army Veteran, June 25, 2019

Army Veteran Ron Tzinski, June 21, 2019

Platinum Protest March 2019 Orlando organized by a Navy Veteran family

The Sherwood Family, Marine Veteran, Wyndham, March 8, 2019

The Kleen Family, a Veteran Family, Wyndham, January 18, 2019

The Althage Family, Marine Veteran, Wyndham, January 11, 2019

A Bronze Star Veteran, January 4, 2019 1/23 complaint against the agent

James McConnell, Army Veteran and retired VA Chaplain

Willma Miller, Vietnam Army Veteran Family, October 2, 2018

Army Veteran Leo Gomez, deceased, 2 Purple Hearts, 100% disabled Agent Orange September 21, 2018

George Yamada, 70% Disabled Agent Orange Vietnam, September 11, 2018

John Kim, Air Force Active Duty, August 21, 2018

Joshua Parker, Disabled Army Veteran March 16, 2018

Gad and Noreen Liebmann, Navy Veterans protesting Daytona Regency and

Margaret and Edward Chandler, Army E6 at discharge

Mike Yelton, Army and Air Force Veteran

Sean Wolfer, 100% Disabled Army Veteran, Agent Orange, 2/23 complaints

Raymond Mori, age 83, a Disabled Marine Veteran 23 years, 2 Purple Hearts

Kevin and Brenda Hopkins, Air Force Veterans

Roy Simmons, Navy Veteran retired letter carrier, upsold to $2,700 a month in loan payments

Scotty Black, disabled Navy Veteran, Homeland Security

Air Force Active Duty Kevin Hopkins

Anthony Davis, 90% disabled Army veteran

Jeff Diehl, Marine veteran, disabled

Samuel Melendez, 21 yrs Army, chemical, biochemical, nuclear defense, 3/23

Amanda and George Jones, Active Duty Navy, December 19, 2017

Terry Carter, disabled Army Veteran, burn pit in Basra

Alan Callner, retired Coast Guard, 4/23 complaints against the same agent

Nancy Callahan, disabled Gulf War Veteran Family, April 24, 2017, 5/23

A Military Family March 6, 2017

The Hurleys, Canadian career Army Veterans January 25, 2017

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.

Have a great weekend and join us again next week.

The Tuesday Slot: Anfi Case Concluded plus MacDonald Resorts Update

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.

This month, Inside Timeshare, has published two articles on MacDonald Resorts, the first MacDonald Resorts Still Preying on the Elderly and Vulnerable published on 17 March and Start the Week: MacDonalds Using the Courts to Extort Money; News from the Spanish Courts published on 22 March.

These are truly Nightmare on Timeshare Street stories and are only the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

Inside Timeshare has been in touch with Julia Paul, who is the Assistant Producer of the BBC Radio 4 program You and Yours about these stories. For those of you who have followed the Mrs B story, her case was highlighted on this program in November 2020. The article we published was Mrs B v MacDonald Resorts: The Battle Is Won But The War Continues

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.

Start the Week: MacDonalds Using the Courts to Extort Money; News from the Spanish Courts

Welcome to the start of another week with Inside Timeshare, last week we published the story of one reader’s experience with MacDonald Resorts, it is truly a Nightmare on Timeshare Street story. Yet this is only the tip of the iceberg, Inside Timeshare has received yet another “Nightmare on Timeshare Street” story involving MacDonald Resorts and their use of the Courts to extort money from their members. We also have a quick look at the news which came out of the Spanish Courts last week, these involved our old friends Anfi and Silverpoint with one case against Holiday Club.

We begin with MacDonald Resorts and their constant use of the County Courts to force “members” into paying their maintenance fees, even though they are unable to use the weeks due to age or ill-health. In many cases, they are also unable to afford the payments and being “locked-in” to perpetual contracts they have no way out.

We also know that MacDonald Resorts will attempt to freeze assets to ensure payments, they will also do the same with any will, ensuring the family of the deceased are unable to execute the will and are forced into paying.

Article on this subject by Tony Hetherington published 2014

Our latest reader is already in the courts and it does not look good, MacDonald Resorts and their “legal bloodhounds”, Shepherd and Wedderburn are intent on destroying this readers life.

In short, this reader is no longer working, he has no assets of his own and for some time now has been the sole carer for his very ill Father. He was also unaware that he had signed a contract for “lifetime” membership to their club, he thought he was only purchasing one weeks holiday. Since that time he has been in constant contact with MacDonalds as to why he is being constantly billed for annual maintenance fees, all to no avail. Letters and emails are not replied to, just the constant threats of legal action if the arrears are not paid.

We will be bringing you more on this story as we receive the details on how he ended up as a member.

To put things into perspective and a possible reason for this action by MacDonalds, we do know that they and their owner Donald MacDonald are in severe financial difficulty. They are in fact in debt to the tune of £275 million! This was even before the pandemic took effect.

The man himself, Donald MacDonald, Owner of MacDonald Resorts. The man chasing the elderly with no compassion.

Please see the links below for this part of the story.

We now move to news from the Spanish Courts.

On Tuesday 16 March new came in of yet another appeal by Anfi being dismissed and the confirmation of the original sentence of the Court of First Instance, by the High Court Number 5 of Las Palmas.

The original case was heard in the Court of First Instance Number 1 of SBT, where the court ruled the contract null and void, demanding Anfi to repay 18,278€ plus legal interest.

As usual, Anfi appealed the decision to the High Court, for no other reason than to delay payment.

The German client’s lawyers, Canarian Legal Alliance also filed a counter appeal as the awarded amount did not show any reference to the deposits illegally taken within the statutory cooling-off period. This point has been firmly established by the Supreme Court and should have been repaid in double.

Along with confirming the sentence of the lower court, the High Court ordered an additional 28,055€ to be added to the original amount and also included legal cost to be repaid to the client. This brings the total to 46,333€ including legal interest.

The following day, the High Court Number 4 of Santa Cruz de Tenerife confirmed the original sentence delivered by the Court of First Instance Number 4 of Arona against Silverpoint. The original sentence was the declaration the contract was null and void with the return of 125,119€ plus legal interest to the client.

As expected Silverpoint appealed to the High Court, which dismissed the appeal and confirmed the sentence of the lower court, declaring the contract null and void and confirming the 125,119€ plus legal interest. This time they also added the return of all legal costs to the client.

CLA who represented the client is now in the process of applying to the Mercantile Court to expedite the payment of these funds. This is due to the application by Silverpoint to file for liquidation.

On Thursday, Swedish clients of CLA were celebrating as they received their payment of 10,517€ into their own bank account after Holiday Club paid as ordered by the courts.

The case was originally heard at the Court of First Instance Number 5 of SBT with the declaration that the contract was null and void.

It must be noted that, unlike other resorts, Holiday Club accepted the ruling and voluntarily lodged the money with the court. This has not only saved them further legal fees for the appeal but also the possibility of further payments to be added by the High Court.

On Friday afternoon, after yet another appeal to the High Court by Anfi after the Court of First Instance Number 2 of SBT declared the contract null and void with the repayment of 16,548€ plus legal interest.

As with the case above, CLA also filed an appeal with the High Court Number 5, as the original sentence did not show any reference to the payment of double the amount taken by way of illegal deposits.

As we have now come to expect, the High Court had no hesitation in dismissing the appeal by Anfi, finding that the appeal had “no substance”. They confirmed the original sentence increasing the awarded amount by 15,988€ and also adding in the repayment of legal costs.

So the German client can now expect to receive 32,536€ plus legal interest and legal costs.

As we know CLA always files a “provisional execution of sentence” after the ruling by the lower court, they are now in the process of expediting the immediate collection of these funds for the client.

Along with the story about MacDonald Resorts and the antics of Anfi and Silverpoint, this really does show how unscrupulous these timeshare companies are, the only one that has shown any ethical sense is Holiday Club. Let us hope that CLA is successful in receiving a swift payout from Anfi and Silverpoint.

Are you a MacDonald Resorts member, are you or have gone through the same problems as shown in our reader’s stories, if so please use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get back to you.

Last week’s MacDonald’s article

Press report on the debt and attempt to sell 27 hotels

Scotland’s First Minister offers financial help to MacDonald Resorts

Timeshare Consumer Association Article on MacDonald Resorts