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TCA

BBC Radio 4 You and Yours: Timeshare Maintenance

Today’s short article looks at the BBC Radio 4 program You and Yours which was broadcast yesterday. In this program, they explored the problem of maintenance fees being charged by timeshare resorts even though members are unable to use them due to the pandemic. We have already seen the underhand methods of Anfi as far as this subject is concerned, several months ago Inside Timeshare reported on the letter being sent to Anfi members who have not been able to use their timeshares this year. In effect, they are holding them to ransom, Anfi will only give them an accommodation voucher to save this year’s weeks only and only if they sign the new contract. This contract will replace the illegal ones which Anfi are currently up to their eyes with in court cases, the point is to legalise the contracts to ensure that members do not then have a right to take a case to court.

The program also involved a spokesperson from the TCA (Timeshare Consumer Association), and also from the RDO, who just, as usual, was non-committal in their response.

The TCA explained that it is fundamentally wrong for these timeshare companies to still charge full maintenance fees from members who due to no fault of their own are unable to travel as flights were cancelled and all the resorts had to close down as each country went into lockdown.

The RDO in it’s response to the question is this fair, basically did not answer, well we didn’t actually expect them to come out in favour of the consumer, but they stated that it was “too early” to give any answers.

So why are the timeshare companies still charging the full annual maintenance fees for this year even when they are closed?

That is a question that we leave you the reader to answer, but we know what our answer is, “GREED”!

To hear the full recording of the program please follow the link below.

https://timeshareconsumerassociation.org.uk/2020/10/29/radio-4-report-on-the-great-maintenance-heist-of-2020-with-timeshare-consumer-association-and-ecc/

One-Sided Press Reports?

As our title suggests there is a very important question being posed, are reports printed in the press one-sided? This question comes after a recent article in the Daily Mirror by Andrew Penman on a court case between Club la Costa and the timeshare exit firm Carl James Associates, a firm that recently came to the attention of Inside Timeshare, research into this company was underway as the Daily Mirror story was published.

In the article, Andrew Penman, who has published many articles on some of the biggest scams in the timeshare world, told the story of a couple (Mr & Mrs Davies) who purchased a membership with Club La Costa. In a story we have heard so many times, they had retired and they no longer had a need for the timeshare, which costs them £1,400 in annual maintenance fees. The couple also did not want their children to “inherit” the liability for the maintenance.

They received a call from Carl James Associates and after some time decided to take on the services of Carl James to relinquish their membership with Club la Costa. The price of this service was £4,200.

It was not until after Mr Davies paid and then speaking with the representative Gerry Tiernan that he began to have second thoughts. Teirnan told Mr Davies to just stop paying his maintenance fees and that would be that, Mr Davies did not think this was right and decided to cancel his agreement with Carl James Associates and get his money refunded.

Well, obviously this did not happen, Carl James refused to pay back the £4,200 as although no contract was signed and not having passed on any of his paperwork, Mr Davies was told that “they had a verbal contract in kind” and that the work had already been passed to Fulbrook Associates of Sterling for the relinquishment work to start.

It was now at this point that Mr Davies found out that he could have contacted Club La Costa and relinquished his membership free of charge.

So far so good, the article is highlighting the bad practices of a company involved in “timeshare exit”, the problem is the references that Andrew Penman is using to highlight this scam. He refers to Club La Costa and also quotes from the Operations Director Guy Mantel and uses the company Kwikchex.

Well, we couldn’t get more biased towards the timeshare industry than these two, Club La Costa is one of the biggest contributors to the RDO (Resorts Development Organisation) and the beneficiary of these funds is Kwikchex.

It is well known that Kwikchex runs the Timeshare Task Force and Timeshare Business Check, all funded by the timeshare industry with one clear aim, to protect the industry.

In a full email sent to Andrew Penman by Adriana Stoyanova, one of the lawyers at M1 Legal, Adriana pointed out the misinformation that readers would be subject to from this article.

Adriana explains the same tactics used by Carl James Associates to pressure consumers into signing up for their services and the subsequent refusal to terminate the service are the very same tactics used by the timeshare industry to sell the product.

Yet Kwikchex will attack any company that threatens the industry and that includes legitimate law firms such as M1 Legal, who along with associates ECC have suffered many attacks by this company and the RDO.

The reason?

They are winning against the major timeshare companies and RDO members in the courts, having contracts declared null and void plus the return of millions of euros to clients.

Adriana in her email points out one of the main points of the Club La Costa policy of terminations:

“First, it is important to be aware that in the event that a member decides to exit their membership according to “this policy”, Club La Costa (CLC) requires them to sign a disclaimer waiving their rights to claim against CLC or any associated companies including lenders.”

“This means that if this member later wishes to pursue a claim against CLC they are unable to do so, having signed away their rights.”

“I have studied a number of cases where CLC clients had a valid claim due to irregularities in their contracts (which did not comply with law), however having signed such disclaimers they were unable to proceed to process a claim. As you can imagine many of these clients were distraught to learn of this, having no idea that by signing the disclaimer as part of CLC’s exit “policy” they had lost the opportunity to claim back tens of thousands of pounds.”

Well, it can’t be any clearer than that, the email then goes to point out the situation with regards to finance agreements to pay for the purchase:

“Furthermore, the majority of the CLC purchases are financed by different banks (one of which, namely First Holiday Finance Limited is a CLC associated company). This means that in case the clients have signed a disclaimer, they would be left with the burden of repaying the loan without having the possibility to have their contract nullified which would have entitled them to claim money back and cancel any outstanding liability from the loan. You have to also bear in mind that the loans that finance such purchases usually carry with them exorbitant rates of interest, which double and almost triple the original purchase amount being lent.”

“Let us assume one of your readers had bought a modest £20,000 membership with CLC which was financed by Shawbrook, BPF or First Holiday Finance Limited with a total amount to be repaid over a 10 years term being £48,000. Now imagine that this member is having problems with availability and wants out of their membership with CLC.”

“The member has now read your article and instead of researching their options (As according to your article claims management companies misrepresent and are “not required”) they decide to contact direct CLC and exit their membership without any cost. They then sign the disclaimer as per CLCs “policy” and later realise that they will have to repay the full outstanding loan amount without having any asset or any possibility to claim any amount back from CLC.”

So, there we have a senior lawyer dealing with timeshare litigation explaining very clearly why this CLC policy exists.

The email also goes on to explain the loan agreements and how they are brokered, not by independent employees of the bank/finance company, but by the timeshare sales reps themselves. They receive a commission for selling the timeshare, now to ensure the sale goes through, broker a loan agreement and earn more commission.

It is also a fact which Inside Timeshare has found over the years, the correct credit checks are never made, such as income v expenditure reports, these are normally required for any substantial loan to ensure the client can actually afford the repayments. Shawbrook Bank admitted this several years ago and the then CEO had to resign.

Shawbrook Bank Article July 2016

https://insidetimeshare.com/shawbrook-bank-announce-irregularities-timeshare-loans-similar-activities-usa/

The email which does go into a lot of detail also explains the sales process and includes these extracts from the Island Residence Club sales training manual:

“Imagine a second home luxuriously furnished, completely equipped, immaculately maintained and serviced by internationally-renowned hospitality professionals. Here at Island Residence Club, YOU are happily ensconced in a residence of ultimate luxury and comfort.”

“You must take control of your UP immediately! You need to build up a subtle psychological and physical dominance (e.g. you control where they sit, what they touch, where they go, what they look at and when they eat and drink).”

  • Once you have this control you can calm their fears and guide them towards buying.
  • Some people will try to take control of you. Do not allow them to do this.
  • Some may say they only want to see the apartments and price.
  • Some may say they have an appointment.
  • Some may say they don’t want to look around.
  • Just ignore this and carry on your tour.

This coupled with the long tour which on average last at least 5 hours is enough to make even the strongest give in and sign.

Yet, the RDO their lackeys Kwikchex say nothing and do nothing about the underhand tactics carried out by their own members. It is not just the hard sell tactics, it is the verbal misrepresentations which are made such as the investment pitch, it is the fact they have continued to sell a product with contracts that do not comply with the law. But, do we see any sign of the RDO or Kwikchex mentioning these bad practices or even sanctioning their members? Of course not, you can’t sanction those that fund you, can you?

All this is nothing new before Kwikchex it was Alberto Garcia of Mindtimeshare and the “enforcement program”. The main target of this campaign was Canarian Legal Alliance who at the time were actively taking Silverpoint to the criminal and civil courts, this also included many managers and the CEO Mark Cushway being indicted.

At that time it was obvious what was going on, Cushway was also a director of the RDO, Silverpoint were the biggest contributors and Garcia’s job was to protect him, Silverpoint and the RDO.

So really nothing has changed, just some of the players.

This article is in no way intended as a rebuke of the Andrew Penman story, Inside Timeshare, the TCA, CLA, ECC and M1 Legal applaud the story and highlight the problems faced by timeshare owners at the hands of companies such as Carl James Associates. But it should also show that the industry is also at fault, in fact, it is down to the industries reluctance to actually have a proper exit strategy or resale program that has brought about the many scams we have published here.

Let us hope that Andrew Penman who has also been contacted by Inside Timeshare on numerous occasions regarding our Mrs B and MacDonald Resorts. Yet that is not a story he seems to have taken any interest in, he might actually get around to showing the whole industry for what it is and then consumers may have the full story.

Please use our contact page if you have any questions on this article or any others published and Inside Timeshare will get back to you.

Daily Mirror Article 24 September 2020

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/club-la-costa-couple-fight-22732136

Previous articles on Kwikchex

https://insidetimeshare.com/kwikchex-chris-emmins/

https://insidetimeshare.com/http-insidetimeshare-com-p5321/


Demands for Payments and Threats by Fake Law Firms

Inside Timeshare has been receiving many emails from some very concerned readers regarding demands for payments. These have included demands from the “FAKE” law firms that we have highlighted. These have also included threats of taking legal action against the “client” from our old friends the Litigious Abogados Family, CUC Abogados.

We begin with CUC Abogados operating out of Tenerife, on 30 July, we published another warning about this lot, from one reader who has lost thousands of pounds. Unfortunately, this reader was taken in by the very slick operation these crooks have concocted. These include “FAKE” court documents, “FAKE” Procurators and even “FAKE” Notaries based in the UK.

It all began when he received a “cold call” regarding his Westgate (US) timeshare, that they were being taken to court along with the director. As he purchased in the US, the Spanish Courts do not have any jurisdiction. It later turned out the case was against Incentive Leisure Group, DWVC and Personal Travel Group. As we know these companies no longer exist and have also been used before by not only CUC Abogados but all the previous incarnations we have named the Litigious Abogados Family.

Although we did not name him, CUC Abogados knew full well who he was due to the case. After the article was published they telephoned him and threatened his partner and told her that;

“the payment (non-existing) would now be stopped, and they will be taking me to court for slandering their name.”

This is not the first time this has happened, it has also happened with previous incarnations of this CRIMINAL GANG.

What a complete joke, a FAKE and FRAUDULENT operation threatening legal action for Slander! Should that not be Libel as it was written and they are supposed to be LAWYERS!

Yet Inside Timeshare has not even received any emails with any threat of legal action from CUC Abogados and it was published by Inside Timeshare!

We wonder why?

Well, our reader has not been rattled by this, although it may have caused some distress to his partner, he has just shrugged it off and is only pleased that his information may just help others to not get “stung” by this disgusting bunch of “CRIMINALS”.

We now move to Suarez and Simpson who we began to highlight on 18 July, this is yet another “FAKE” law firm operating out of the Costa del Sol, claiming to be working with the Màlaga High Court. They have even used the name of a Judge, who we as yet are not sure if he is genuine or fake, His Honorable High Judge Dr Jose Mario Savantes. Enquiries are ongoing. This name is also being used by another “FAKE” law firm Morales Maxwell, which along with identical Modus Operandi and “FAKE” documents leads us to believe are the very same people.

We must also point out that the use of genuine names without their knowledge is a very common practice, this helps to convince people that the “law firm” is genuine if any searches are made.

Below is an example of this on the right is one of the “supposed founders of CUC”, next to it is the actual person whose identity has been stolen. Notice it is the same photograph but reversed and turned into monochrome in an attempt to stop any identification. Sorry CUC, it didn’t work!

Our latest information from a reader who contacted us this morning has been informed by Internal Transfer Investigations in London, phone no 0203 7692195;

“that award waiting for me but has “embargo” on, with a time limit of 5 days to sort out and to ring Maria Rodríguez at Courts of Malaga on 0034 604189749”.

If our reader did not pay the “LEGAL” fees by this Friday, the “embargo” would not be released and they would not receive the “Bankers Draft”.

Please note that the telephone number for Maria Rodriguez at the Courts of Málaga is a Spanish mobile telephone number, these would not be used by court officials.

So far we have not been able to identify any firm or organisation called Internal Transfer Investigations, but we have had the number checked and so far over 13,000 enquiries have been made. All have considered it a “Dangerous” number. The link below is from the website Who Called Me and shows those enquiries with another entry in Who Called Me UK .

https://who-called.co.uk/Number/02036277695

https://whocalledmeuk.co.uk/phone-number/2037692195

This link below explains the 0203 number, please also be aware that many genuine companies do use this configuration of London numbers.

https://www.lovemoney.com/news/28892/0203-code-phone-number-scam-cost-who-owns-this

One company that sells 0203 telephone numbers

https://www.switchboardfree.co.uk/0203-numbers/

These stories from our own readers are a very stark reminder of how vigilant you must be when being approached either by phone, email or post by any company or law firm. Especially if they are claiming they are either holding vast sums of money awarded by the courts on your behalf or that they are or have taken your timeshare company or other holiday product such as DWVC or Club Class to court.

The information is out there on the internet, you just have to know where to look, so it is vitally important for you to do your homework. If you are not familiar with searching for information and need help, please use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get in touch. The chances are we may already be aware of them.

REMEMBER PROTECT YOUR MONEY AND DO YOUR HOMEWORK!

UPDATE RECEIVED

Regarding our article published yesterday on Global Timeshare Legal Experts, Inside Timeshare received an email from the TCA (Timeshare Consumer Association) to inform us that cases and sentences published by ECC and M1 Legal have also been “Cut and Pasted” from their website. We just wonder how many more have also been used and not published but sent to clients as their own?