Browse Tag

section 75

CUC Abogados: Update

Yesterday Inside Timeshare published a warning about another new “FAKE” law firm that has appeared in Tenerife, CUC Abogados, which we believe is part of the “FAKE” law firms we have nicknamed as the Litigious Abogados family. From further investigations, we have now confirmed that the company that apparently seems to be working with CUC Abogados is one we are already familiar with and has been around for a number of years, Solutions SL or previously known as The Solutions Group.

https://insidetimeshare.com/yet-another-new-fake-law-firm-appears-in-tenerife/

The Solutions Group was also known as Section 75 were very active several years ago contacting DWVC and ILG clients with promises of making claims using Section 75 of the Credit Consumer Act 1974. As far as we know not one person ever managed to get paid out for any claims made by this company.

They are still using the same email [email protected]

The address they use is:

C/ Luciano Bello Alfonso Nº5 Oficina 1 Las Chafiras 38639 Tenerife

This address is a residential street and shows no offices when checked on Google street view, this obviously gets the alarm bells ringing.

The telephone number they are using is 0203 137 3970 which is a London code and is predominantly used for businesses especially via the internet.

Solutions Group have used various names in the past including Section 75, Consumer Advisory Solutions and European Consumer Solutions, all based in Tenerife.

So now we have a link with CUC Abogados, who explains that there has been a court case against DWVC & ILG with money waiting to be paid out. CUC Abogados will be the law firm to pursue this payout, obviously, there is going to be a fee. No doubt as in the past the fee will be paid by a bank transfer into the bank account of a named individual and not to a company account. Again this fact should start your alarm bells to ring!

So far Inside Timeshare has not found any reference to any company called Solutions SL on the Spanish company register, nor have we found any record for CUC Abogados.

If you are contacted by any of the “companies” mentioned use our contact page and let us know the details, remember there have been no court cases in Spain and there are none that have been filed against DWVC/ILG. After all, DWVC/ILG was effectively closed down by the UK authorities many years ago and with the death of the owner Gary Peter Lee all his companies folded.

Once again it pays to do your homework before engaging with any company that contacts you out of the blue with promises of court cases pending or that money awarded is waiting for you. If you need help in identifying any caller contact Inside Timeshare.

Start the Week: The Monday Briefing

Yes its Monday and the start of another week, over the weekend Inside Timeshare has received many more enquiries regarding companies owners have been contacted by. They range from so-called legal companies offering cancellation of contracts and the promise of possible compensation to “Lifestyle Credits”, offering massive discounts if you join their club.

On the point of cancellation of contracts and compensation, this is one area that you should be very careful of. One reader was offered this for a cost of £8000, upfront payment. The cancellation or relinquishment would be done within a year, and then a claim would be made for compensation. Only one problem here, the claim is to be done through section 75 of the credit consumer act, against his card company.

We have said this before, this will not work, the card company will argue that you have used the timeshare, therefore you have received the goods and services paid for. Mis-selling is not covered, the fact your contract may be in perpetuity is not a basis for a claim under section 75. Also why would you pay this huge amount to get out, when you may be able to do this yourself for a fraction of the cost direct with your timeshare company or resort.

credit cards

Lifestyle Credits, this is where you join a club for a huge amount of money with the promise of huge discounts on holidays and other goods. You will receive a number of “credits” which you use to pay for the goods, these may include discounts at major stores and outlets. For example, a holiday will be advertised by the company for £2,500, using ex amount of credits, the holiday will cost £1,800. Looks good on paper, but don’t forget, you have probably paid over £10,000 to join. Also do a search online, you may even find the same holiday and at a fraction of the cost.

These clubs are not regulated, they do not come under timeshare laws, so you have very little in the way of consumer rights. So remember, it may sound like a good deal, but it very rarely is.

consumer rights

Following on from Friday’s Letter from Australia, the following video has been found on youtube, it is a rather comical look at timeshare, with a very good spoof presentation. Yes you’ve guessed it, it comes from Australia. Have a look, it is one of the best timeshare videos we have seen in a long time.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICpOrsQcKT8

After publishing on Friday the following announcement was made by Canarian Legal Alliance, two of their clients have been paid out by Anfi. one for over 34,000€ the other for close to 43,000€. Again this goes against what Anfi claim, that they are not losing and people are not getting paid out. What do you believe?

CLA also announce that they have 54 new cases at the courts in Gran Canaria along with 4 new cases at the courts in Malaga. These represent a total claim value of 2,436,000€, the courts are certainly going to be busy.

Now September is upon us, we should be seeing more announcements from the courts, but also the “bogus” companies will be out in full swing. To protect yourself, do your due diligence and your homework before engaging with any company, especially in the field of claims. The promise of huge amounts in “compensation” are designed to draw you in, check and check again. If in doubt contact Inside Timeshare, we will point you in the right direction and show you how.

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Friday’s Letter From America

Welcome to this week’s Letter From America, from Irene Parker, as usual in her own style she explains what is happening across the Great Lake, but first a look at the week’s news in Europe.

Inside Timeshare is receiving many questions about the Anfi SGM and the vote to change the constitution, it seems to be causing a lot of confusion. No one seems clear as to what it is all about, so in a nutshell here it is.

Voting on Resolution 1

To establish occupancy periods for a maximum of 50 years duration, with an option to extend for further recurring occupancy periods of 50 years.

This will bring the contracts in line with the 50 year rule established in Spanish timeshare law, but it allows you to extend voluntarily to another 50 years.

Voting on Resolution 2

To limit the duration of the Timeshare Scheme to a maximum of 50 years.

The same as resolution 1 without the option to extend to another 50 years.

Voting on Resolution 3

Total change of Timeshare Scheme to adapt to Spanish Act 4/2012.

This adapts the contract to  “Rotational Enjoyment Rights” Anfi explains it thus:

“Every current holder of a membership certificate shall be allocated a number of rotational enjoyment rights, equal to the number of membership certificates they currently hold and which will entitle them to enjoy the same week of use as they currently hold”.

It will not make any difference unless you accept the new contract and sign them, it will however affect any new sales and those contracts.

As usual it is framed to confuse, why is it that anything to do with timeshare is made complicated, confusing and difficult for mere mortals to understand. Well, quite simply that is how they sold it to you in the first place!

The courts in the Canary Islands have been busy again this week, with many cases against timeshare companies being heard. Some of these sentences have yet to be announced, but as usual, we think we all know the outcome!

It has also just been announced that another ex-Anfi owner who won their case some time ago, has now received into their bank account the awarded amount. Their contract was declared null & void and now they can enjoy the 15,531€ as well as being timeshare free.

We have also been inundated with enquiries into several “claims” companies, all offering claims on a no win no fee basis. Then comes the crunch, they want several thousand pounds upfront! Obviously this is to relinquish the timeshare then the claim will be pursued, this claim is more than likely to be under the Credit Consumer Act 1974, Section 75. Which as we have stated before will not get paid out as the purchase was more than likely over the 6 year limit, (limitations act) or the fact that they will say you have received the goods and services as you have used the timeshare.

Again it pays to be cautious, so on with our Letter from America.

A Tina Timeshare Pinocchio Tale

Told by a Wyndham owner, possibly foreclosed by now, Mr. Patrick

pinocchio

By Irene Parker

June 9, 2017

Wyndham member Gene Patrick was one of several Wyndham owners to go to the trouble of making a YouTube about his timeshare trouble, continuing on with our “Nightmare on Timeshare Street” series.

Comments ranged from “this is the most boring video I’ve ever watched” to “this is the most informative video I’ve ever watched.”

Mr. Patrick is a videographer. I side with the latter, although the video is long at 45 minutes. Mr. Patrick is also an effective storyteller, but for those who would rather read a short article than watch the video, here are the seven lies (allegations) he described. He seemed to lose count after three, but I believe I found seven. Mr. Patrick did provide a disclaimer stating these were his opinions or allegations, a word I have come to detest in that, even if only half the highly educated and professional people asking Inside Timeshare for assistance with their timeshare troubles are telling the truth, Timeshare has a problem.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q218fyTmYpc

The back and forth comments among the 244 respondents sound familiar. Timeshare Facebooks that maintain a quota of happy vs angry members, admonish the angry members as irresponsible suckers that should have known better. Lawmakers and timeshare developers seem to agree with those hurling insults.

A Timeshare Tale

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Gene and Melissa Patrick used his mom’s RCI points to stay at a Wyndham Resort. He was told he had to attend a member update or he would be charged $77 for a gift. He should have stopped right there, but like so many of our readers, he continued on.

We will call the sales agent Tina Timeshare as the sales agent in the video is like so many others we have reported on. As we always say, we know there are those trying to work fairly and honestly in timeshare, but the proportion of bad apples seems to be higher than even the proverbial used car salesman. Watch the video, but give it a chance. It seems boring in the beginning but the plot becomes more interesting as it thickens. For now, we will just itemize the allegations mentioned.

#1 A timeshare is tax deductible

This is a gray area, so we will defer to RedWeek and TimeSharing Today. Tax laws change, so a date would have been helpful. Apparently, in Mr. Patrick’s case, his timeshare was not tax deductible.

https://www.redweek.com/resources/articles/timeshare-tax-deductions

#2 Jim Cramer of Mad Money said Wyndham is a good investment.

Yes, Jim Cramer has been known to tout timeshare stocks, but that is not the same as saying buying a timeshare is a good idea. Mr. Patrick learned that the television clip he was shown was about Wyndham stock. Fifteen insiders made over $600,000 million on the Apollo buyout of Diamond, but that doesn’t mean buying the timeshare is a good idea. Mr. Patrick feels timeshare stock investors make money at the expense of so many who are duped into buying a timeshare.

One of our readers reported that he was shown a clip of the Ellen DeGeneres show at his Mystic Dunes presentation and told Ellen bought “hundreds of thousands” of Diamond points. Inside Timeshare is following up with Ellen on that one.

This is a good time to slip in the article I wrote for Jim Cramer’s investment news service, TheStreet, about timeshare contracts. At least Cramer allows opposing views.

https://www.thestreet.com/story/13653117/1/the-timeshare-industry-has-improved-its-reputation-but-still-faces-scrutiny.html

Tina advised Mr. Patrick that he had to promise not to sell the membership to someone for a higher price than what he had to pay. It was at this point Mr. Patrick began to lose track of the lies. “The pace of the deceit was so fast I could not keep up,” he lamented.

#3 Wyndham has a buy-back program

Mr. Patrick said his job had just been cut to 32 hours from 40 and he was unsure about his employment stability. “Not to worry Mr. Patrick! Wyndham has a buy-back program,” Tina assured him.

#4 The 90 minutes presentation was heading into its eighth hour

My favorite is #5

#5 God wants you to buy a Wyndham timeshare! He wants you to enjoy life.

Mr. Patrick might have been confused at this point because Tina probably meant “God wants me to enjoy life.”

#6 Your credit is Golden!!!

Melissa raises an eyebrow. “Our credit is golden?  Our credit score is less than 650. Our credit is not golden.” Mr. Patrick might have been confused here as well, because 650 is no problem whatsoever for a timeshare purchase so in that sense, his credit was golden, at least for the sales agent.

#7 is a sin of omission. Maintenance fees go up.

It wasn’t until the eighth or ninth hours, with pens in hand, were the Patricks told about maintenance fees and at that point they were about to collapse from exhaustion it seemed. The kids were getting a little tired too.

the end

That’s the end of our article, but we don’t know the end of the story. We do know that after Mr. Patrick lost his job he learned the hard way Wyndham did not have a buy-back program.

Which side are you on?

Like timeshare sales agent Chuck used to tell us on our timeshare Facebook, we’re all irresponsible suckers and should have known better. Lawmakers, timeshare developers and some Attorneys General seem to be on Chuck’s side.

ARDA says nine million own timeshares and 83% are happy with them. That leaves 1,530,000 not happy with most complaining about being sold by deceit, concealment, violation of trust and bait and switch. I’m on the side that thinks timeshare needs greater disclosure.

Diamond Resorts agrees too as they have launched a CLARITY™ program that, if followed, and that’s a big if, does provide accurate statements about their program. Inside Timeshare has heard stories reporting when CLARITY™ has worked and when it hasn’t.

The consumer is not off the hook here. I don’t blame the buyer for not reading word for word an 81 page contract, but the CLARITY™ forms ARE easy to read and are written in English rather than legalese. Items in bold are in bold on the form. I would have bolded what I have underlined. There are 20 items to be initialed on the legal size single sheet including:

I have reviewed the chart of Maintenance Fees for past years. I understand annual increases are normal.

The purchase of additional points will not decrease my maintenance fees.

Diamond does not offer a buy-back program and makes no representation regarding tax deductions, refinancing opportunities, or that there will be a secondary market for the sale of Points. Points do not typically appreciate in value.

I many not engage in any commercial rental activity to rent out Points for cash through online or print advertising to the general public and understand that my membership may be suspended or terminated if I do.

My membership is perpetual and may transfer by gift, or intestate succession upon my death. However, the transferee is not obligated to accept the transfer.

Redeeming points for reimbursement of travel services does not provide the best monetary value for my Points and is typically not lower in cost than spending cash for the same arrangements.

Non-Platinum Loyalty members cannot redeem Points for Maintenance Fees. Only Platinum Loyalty members may use Points to pay part of their annual Maintenance Fees, but that is not the highest and best use of Points. There is a $100 transaction fee and the redemption value per Point is currently $0.04 per Point and a maximum of 50,000 points can be redeemed.  

That about covers what Inside Timeshare has heard from readers asking Inside Timeshare for assistance with their Diamond complaints. I fell for two of the above.

So the moral of this story is not “Don’t buy a Timeshare” but “Timeshare Buyer Beware” and talk to a member of the Licensed Timeshare Resale Broker Association before buying any timeshare to compare the cost of buying resale or from the developer and the benefits or lack of benefits for doing so. Some may specialize in one resort or another like David Cortese of Magical Realty who specializes in Marriott Vacation Club, or Judi Kozlowski of RE/MAX who likes Hilton Grand Vacations, feeling Hilton has the most consumer friendly secondary market.

Contact Inside Timeshare or our member sponsored Diamond Advocacy Facebook to join the discussion.

We seek to provide Diamond Resort members a way to proactively address membership concerns; to advocate for timeshare reform; to obtain greater disclosure from the company; to advocate for a viable secondary market; and to educate prospective buyers.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/DiamondResortsOwnersAdvocacy/

There we have it, another week over and time to enjoy the weekend, breakout the BBQ’s, open a few tinnies or some vino and as our Aussie cousins say “Stick another shrimp on the barbie”!

Have a great weekend and as we always say before engaging with any company that either contacts you or you contact with anything to do with timeshare, it pays to do your homework!

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Just as we were getting ready to hit the publish button this latest news has just come across The Great Lake from Irene Allen.

Lawsuit: Diamond Resorts ‘Harasses’ Timeshare Owners

 

https://www.classaction.org/news/lawsuit-diamond-resorts-harasses-timeshare-owners

It tells of a huge class action filed on 10 May 2017, so it looks like Diamond are being hit on both side of the lake!

 

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Solutions Group, Still Going?

Around three years ago a company came up on the radar called Simple Solutions, this was part of the Solutions Group registered as XYZ Solutions SL. This company is based in Tenerife and was registered at Avenida Del Claudio Delgado Diaz 101, Las Chafiras, San Miguel De Abona, 38620. CIF Number B76558519 and telephone numbers 0203 137 7214 & 0203 137 3970 also using an email address [email protected], the website they quoted was www.consumeract75.co.uk which was registered to Global Solutions at the same address.

 

There was also another company apparently based in Madrid called European Consumer Complaints which used the same www.consumeract75.co.uk  website.

claim01

The nature of the business was claiming for breach of contract, misrepresentation and mis-selling of timeshare and discount holiday clubs such as Incentive Leisure Group and Designer Way Vacation Club. These claims would be made under the Credit Consumer Act 1974, Section 75, there was also an upfront fee which was payable via bank transfer.

 

It now seems they are back, this time as Solutions Ltd, which is supposedly a UK registered company, yet no trace can be found at Company House. The telephone number is the same one used by Simple Solutions and XYZ Solutions, 0203 137 3970 also using the same email address [email protected]. The address given this time is: Calle Luciano 5D, San Miguel, 38369, the address is genuine but looking at street view on google maps, there is no sign of any company such as this and is right on the corner of the original address

 

The operation is the same as before, claims against timeshare companies using the Credit Consumer Act, again for breach of contract, misrepresentation and mis-selling. There is still an upfront fee which is payable by bank transfer to a Santander bank account.

section 75

Inside Timeshare has also been informed of one lady who believed that her timeshare resort had gone bankrupt several years ago, this was after she had received a call from one of the original companies. She then stopped paying her maintenance fees thinking she no longer owned, now she is getting demands for payment of the arrears. The resort was a Heritage Resort in Marbella.

 

Now she has had a call from Solutions Ltd to pay them to make a claim, luckily because of the demands from Heritage, she has realised the original call several years ago was a ruse to get her to pay for a claim.

 

It is important to remember to make your checks before dealing with any company that claims your resort has gone bankrupt or closed down, or that you can get a refund via section 75 for an upfront payment. Also never pay anything using a bank transfer, cheque, paypal or even a Western Union, once any payment is made in this way your money is gone. If you do need to make any claim for any payment using section 75 it can be done yourself, your bank, citizen advice or one of the following websites can help you do this:

 

http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/shopping/section75-protect-your-purchases

 

http://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/regulation/section-75-of-the-consumer-credit-act

 

http://insidetimeshare.com/claiming-money-back-credit-card/

 

If you need any help in finding information about any company, contact Inside Timeshare, if we know of them we can pass on the information. If they are not known to us then we will research them for you or tell you how to find out for yourself. It pays to do your homework and keep your money safe.

homework

Debit Cards and Chargeback.

Following on from the previous article on Section 75, there is another tool that can be useful, this is called Chargeback.

 

It is used mainly for transactions made by debit card, although it can be used for credit cards where the amount is less than the £100 needed for Section 75. Unlike the system for credit cards this scheme is not law, it is a voluntary scheme set up by the banks themselves. It also has a 120 day time limit, so if you buy today and the goods are faulty the 120 days starts then.

 

If you book a flight and the airline subsequently goes out of business the 120 days will start from the point your flight should have left, unless you were informed by the airline that they would not be able fulfil their obligation. In this instance the time would start from when you were informed.

 

Most claims using chargeback tend to be for faulty goods, goods not being delivered, services not being provided or the company has gone bust.

debitcards

If your bank refuses the chargeback claim you have six months to appeal to the Ombudsman. The rules that govern chargeback may vary from bank to bank, so you will need to check with your card provider on how they operate the system.

 

Although it can be useful to have this facility using a credit card is the much safer option, at least it is covered in law and not a voluntary scheme. Follow the links below for more detailed information on this scheme. As usual the two sites are ones we have highlighted before.

 

http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/shopping/visa-mastercard-chargeback

 

http://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/advice/how-do-i-use-chargeback

 

If you require any information or want to know how to find it Inside Timeshare is here to help. Contact us through the comments section.

How do I Find a Genuine Firm?

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.

 

A general rule is that section 75 can be done by yourself, Google it and the first two items will be Which and Money Saving Expert. The latter is run by Martin Lewis. Another source of help is Citizens Advice, or even your own bank.

claimmoney

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.

fsa logo

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.

sralogo

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!