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MacDonald Resorts Still Preying on the Elderly and Vulnerable

For those of you who have been following Inside Timeshare for a few years, you will remember the long-running battle between Mrs B and MacDonald Resorts, although this dispute did eventually end with a satisfactory conclusion. Inside Timeshare has nonetheless still been receiving emails from owners desperate to end their association with them, along with the threats of legal action through the County Courts against mainly elderly members who can no longer afford the high maintenance fees. Today we highlight yet another case in which this disgusting behaviour is still being pursued.

The Mark of Shame!

With the permission of this lady’s son who is overseeing her affairs and has a power of attorney, we publish her story.

Over the last few years, his Mothers health has been deteriorating and she is now in a nursing home with acute dementia. He is now at his wits end after trying to end her contract with MacDonald Resorts.

The purchase was made in 1987, so is one of the very early timeshare sales and for many years was enjoyed. Each and every year the annual maintenance was paid right up to her hospitalisation in late 2019. In May of 2020, she entered the nursing home so was then unable to use it, plus with the restrictions of the pandemic, no one else could use it either.

Legalised Extortion?

As her son began to take control of her affairs he came across a letter from a debt recovery firm, one that we have highlighted before with Mrs B, Network Credit Services based in Scotland. There was a bill for £500 for the “holiday club”, he went through all her correspondence and found no other reference to this bill.

He then contacted MacDonald Resorts for clarification that the bill was genuine and if so what it related to. After a very lengthy delay, it was explained that it was for the 2020 maintenance fees. Since then the bill for 2021 has also become due and obviously if this is not paid it will be passed to the MacDonald “bloodhounds” Network Credit Services.

He explained his Mothers condition asking how this could be cancelled along with her membership. The reply he received was:

They said that giving up membership can be done at specific times and requires payment of all outstanding management fees plus 4 years management fees in lieu of 4 years’ notice (So £2100 + £1000 management fees). They say that the membership can be sold or passed on to a family member.

Well, obviously he doesn’t want it nor does any other member of the family and as for selling it, well, who is going to buy it?

Also, the only way to “sell it” is through MacDonald Resorts, they will not accept any transfer to any other party unless it is through them. The other point to this is the maintenance fees must also be paid in full, any arrears and no sale will ever go through.

In his own words:

“I feel that 3 aspects of this are unfair and possibly may not be legally enforceable”:

  1. “The management fees of £1,000 when no one can have been using the facilities due to lockdown.   They will also be charging interest on this.
  2. The termination fee of 4 years’ worth of fees is extortionate.
  3. No means of getting out of this due to my mum’s health. I am not even sure what would happen if she were to die. They would probably try to pass the membership on to me.”

“As my mum’s attorney, I have to seek out the best value for money for her so cannot sanction paying over £3000 to cancel this arrangement as all her funds are going towards her Nursing Home fees of £4k a month”.

It is also a fact that MacDonald Resorts only allow terminations every 2 years and this is done on a first-come-first-served basis. Plus the arrears and the 4 years “termination fee” are to be paid upfront.

Then there is no guarantee that your contract will be terminated, we also have to ask the question: If this fee is paid in advance and you are not successful in being “selected” will you get the 4 years maintenance fees back?

Somehow I don’t think that will happen.

So once again, we see a timeshare company that has made millions over the years from sales and annual maintenance fees treating its “members” with nothing but CONTEMPT.

Even the RDO, the industry trade body, removed MacDonald Resorts from membership due to their behaviour, that in itself was a miracle!

MacDonald’s Legal Bloodhounds

We also know that the next stage from MacDonalds will be more “threats” from their “bloodhounds” Network Credit Services and then the legal threats from their “legal bloodhounds” Shepherd and Wedderburn. This will eventually culminate in a County Court action to enforce payment.

This is nothing new, Tony Hetherington published the story “The timeshare contract that even death will not save you from”, way back in 2014 and they are still doing the same thing.

When will the authorities get off their fat backsides and do something about companies such as MacDonald Resorts that use dubious legalities in their contracts to tie people in FOREVER?

Somehow I believe it may have something to do with the “old boys network” and “I’ll scratch your back and you scratch mine”.

This is disgusting behaviour, to say the least, and Inside Timeshare will once again take up the cause and highlight MacDonald Resorts and the owner Donald MacDonald for what they are, money-grabbing crooks with no conscience!

This is not the last you will hear from Inside Timeshare MacDonald Resorts, we will publish and bring this to everyone’s attention. The ball is in your court, you can resolve this, although I have kept the identity of our reader anonymous you can make an offer to this publication and it will be passed on.

Somehow I don’t think they will even acknowledge this and will just continue down the path of destroying the lives and life savings of the elderly.

Have you had or are going through a similar experience with MacDonald Resorts?

If so Inside Timeshare would like to hear your story, we will also publish your experiences for all the world to see, negative publicity against MacDonald Resorts will be the only way to defeat them.

Please use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get back to you.

One link to a similar story published last year.

The Tony Hetherington Article of 2014

Mid Week Review: Mindtimeshare Post and Marriott Payout Voluntarily

Well, here we are, halfway through the last week of February and it has been quite a month for news from the courts, with Anfi appeals being systematically dismissed and others such as Palm Oasis and Marriott paying out without all the problems. Yesterday we also highlighted one case against Marriott with the story of one family’s purchase. This story certainly showed how misleading sales presentations can be and it also highlighted the problem of availability and then the ability to be able to book independently online, often cheaper than the annual maintenance fees.

First, we must address a post on the blog site Mindtimeshare.

On 17 February, Inside Timeshare published the article “Anfi and the Tui Connection: Are Tui Liable for Court Claims?”

This looked at a question that is being asked in legal circles, it is still under debate and the possibility is being investigated by various lawyers. The article did not as Mindtimeshare would have you believe say that Tui was liable for paying out on claims while they controlled Anfi.

The article clearly showed that Tui who was in control of the “Board of Directors” were at the time responsible for the decisions of all companies within the Anfi Group and that includes the sales departments. Although they are registered companies in their own right, they are still part of the Anfi Group which was controlled by Tui at the time, the same as the Cazorla Group are now. So the question still stands.

It is obvious that the person writing for Mindtimeshare has absolutely no idea what they are talking about.

Their article is insinuating that the purpose behind the article is to “confuse” owners into making “spurious” legal claims. The purpose of the article is to inform people of legal questions and issues which are being raised, discussed and investigated. The article did not say that Tui was liable, it asked the question “could they be liable”.

Mindtimeshare has taken out of context in their blog this quote “This may also mean they are also liable for the claims against Anfi…”

(Obviously not a native English speaker!)

The full text is:

“Although Tui is no longer a shareholder at Anfi, they are legally responsible for the sale of the contracts which are illegal under Timeshare Law 42/98, sold under their watch as the controlling body of Anfi Group.”

“This may also mean they are also liable for the claims against Anfi which amount to over 48 million euros.”

Again it is posing a question, could they be liable in law?

They also state in their blog a point they have used for many years, that “Cold Calls” are “illegal” and not allowed under current Data Protection Law. Cold calls are not illegal, they are a recognised marketing tool and used by many industries. There are very strict rules which call centres must abide by, there are also rules on the data that is used. It must come from a legitimate and verifiable source, the information that they hold is also limited. Unsolicited emails, text messages etc are not allowed, emails can only be sent with the permission of the person being called. The information gained on these calls also cannot be passed to any other third party without the express permission either in writing or via a recording of the call by the “potential client”.

Once again we see Mindtimeshare confusing people with their half baked blogs, it appears they are also struggling to find anything to write about. Recently their posts have been gleaned from other sources and most are what can be called old news.

Alberto Garcia, is he back at the helm?

So again we have to ask the question, who is behind Mindtimeshare now, is Alberto Garcia back in control?

How are they being funded now?

What are they doing with all the data they have collected from “consumers” over the years?

These are very legitimate questions, after all for years this blog site was in the pay of the industry, with Silverpoint and Anfi being major contributors to the funding body the RDO.

Are they still being influenced by this?

On this point of data, Inside Timeshare does not share any readers details when they make an enquiry to any third party. Inside Timeshare will try to answer the questions and if the reader asks for a recommendation of who to go to, then we will give one. It is then down to the individual to make contact with the recommended firm unless the reader expressly asks for Inside Timeshare to make contact on their behalf and this must be in writing to conform to Data Protection.

Moving now to Marriott, yesterday we published the story of one family’s legal battle with Marriott, they have won their case and are just waiting for the payment to be made to the court and then receive this money into their own account.

Just after publishing the news came in about another case against Marriott at the Court of First Instance Number 4 of Marbella, which has now had a very satisfactory conclusion.

The court declared the contract null and void, also ordering Marriott to repay 34,992€ back to the client.

The case was heard in November 2020, with Marriott “VOLUNTARILY” paying the money into the court. These funds have now been released by the court and are now safely in the personal account of the German client, who no doubt is celebrating.

The companies named in the suit are MVCI Management SL and MVCI Holidays SL.

This has taken just 3 months and is one of the fastest payouts that we have seen for some time, this probably due to the fact that Marriott being responsible to their shareholders did admit to losing in the Spanish Courts and had already set aside over $16 million to cover these expenses.

Anfi, once again take note!

The case was prepared and brought on behalf of the client by the Canarian Legal Alliance Lawyer Oscar Salvador Santana Gonzalez with Claims Consultant Evi Richter assisting the client through the process.

We now wait and see if Marriott does the same with the case we highlighted yesterday, we suspect there will be news on this in the very near future.

If you have any questions or comments on any article published or just want to know if whoever has contacted you is genuine, please use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get back to you.

End the Week

Welcome to the last Friday of January and what a month it has been, we began the year with the news of several Club la Costa sales companies going into liquidation, news that has been seized upon by some of the less reputable companies that have emerged. According to our readers, they have been told that it is Club la Costa itself that is going into liquidation and they will lose their timeshares. Well, nothing could be further from the truth. It has also been a very bad and expensive month for Anfi. They have consistently lost all cases in the Court of First Instance, lodged appeals with the High Court, only to have them dismissed and rejected. They have also been forced to pay out to clients, who now have the money secured in their own accounts.

On 6 January, while Spain was celebrating Day of the Kings, we received news of a very important case against Diamond Resorts in the Court of First Instance in Fuengirola. The case centred around jurisdictional issues of the contract.

As we have explained before, many timeshare companies like Diamond and Club la Costa have a clause in their contracts which claim that the contract is subject to UK law and the jurisdiction of UK courts. Even though the purchase was made in Spain, deposits paid in Spain and the contract signed in Spain, thereby denying the legal rights afforded to consumers under Spanish law.

As with the other jurisdictional cases including those of Club la Costa, the court ruled as per the judgements of many High Court hearings, that Spanish law and courts take precedence and do have full jurisdiction. This is a blow to the timeshare companies who have used this to “escape” the strict regulations governing the sale of timeshare.

It should also be pointed out at this point, that this is also a breach of the “Code of Conduct” laid down by the trade body the RDO, whose code clearly states:

“To comply with all laws, which apply to Member’s, business in the jurisdiction in which the Member operates.”

It doesn’t get any clearer than that.

We then began our series of articles about the ongoing battle between Azure clients, Barclays Partner Finance and the Financial Regulation Authority. This is around the loan agreements brokered by Azure, who for almost two years was not “authorised” to broker these loans.

As part of this series, we published the personal story of one family and how they ended up being sold a timeshare by Azure with so many false promises and the ubiquitous BPF loan. The story follows the problems this has caused especially with the passing of one of the partners. The article is called The Story of Smoke and Mirrors.

We also brought you news from around the courts in Spain, with some rather good results from two law firms and one independent lawyer.

The cases ranged from First Instance trials, appeals to the High Court, Jurisdictional issues and then embargos to force payments. All in all, it was an expensive week for timeshare.

There was also a visit to articles published by the TCA, the first was on the confusion around the Club la Costa liquidations, which has been extensively covered by the TCA and Inside Timeshare. They also published another scathing article on the timeshare industry, this time regarding the availability at Diamond Resorts through independent booking sites.

Again this is a subject that Inside Timeshare has covered, not just for Diamond but all the major timeshare resorts. The fact that non-members are able to book at these resorts, usually cheaper than members pay in maintenance fees, plus without the huge initial outlay to join, is, to say the least totally unfair.

We then ran two articles on the timeshare industry, focusing on the replacement for TATOC, to “represent” timeshare “owners”, this is called EUROC, European Resort Owners Coalition. The articles asked the question “do they actually represent you the members”? The answer to that we leave you to decide, we know what our answer is.

We then published an update on Themis Resolution, a “company” which does not appear to be registered either in Spain or the UK. Certainly doesn’t look good.

Then for our friends across the pond, we issued a warning on a scam operating out of Mexico, the Modus Operandi is very similar to a previous one and also mirrors that of our friends the Litigious Abogados Family.

We then continued to look at the RDO and EUROC with Timeshare Industry Denies the Truth.

In this article, we looked at one of their own members, our old friends at Anfi. It highlighted the breaches that this company has made in not just Spanish timeshare law, but also against the Code of Conduct of the RDO. It also asked the question, why this organisation does not “sanction” their members for these breaches? Again we leave you to make up your own mind, we know what we think.

We end this week with the happy news for one English client who won their case at the Court of First Instance against Anfi. Then to find that Anfi had as they always do to delay proceedings had lodged an appeal with the High Court.

While this was going on the “provisional execution order” had been put into place, this resulted in money being secured from an embargo against a tax refund that was due to Anfi.

The client who was represented by Canarian Legal Alliance has now received over 11,000€ into their account and are also timeshare and maintenance-free.

That is it for this week, we hope that you have enjoyed reading the articles and we welcome your comments and views. Join us again next week for more in the murky world of timeshare.

Have a great weekend.