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Timeshare business check

Timeshare Industry Denies the Truth

Today we follow up on our Tuesday Slot article European Resort Owners Coalition & Misinformation, with the timeshare industries denial of what their own members are doing, but concentrating on misleading “owners” in an attempt to stem the tide of increased litigation. Many comments received ask the same question, if Anfi is a member of the RDO, why are they not doing something about them? Inside Timeshare has asked this question many times as the evidence which we have seen published not just here but in all the major Spanish newspapers as well as on Spanish television news, points to some very disturbing tactics which go against the Code of Conduct of that organization.

To recap, the RDO Code of Conduct, Part I, Chapter 3, Paragraph 3.5 actually states:

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

Yet it appears that Anfi is in flagrant breach of this particular section, as since the timeshare law came into force in January 1999, Anfi continued to sell contracts which breached those laws. It is only recently that they have attempted to issue new contracts which on the surface comply with the law.

But as we have seen, it is the underhand tactics which considering the current situation on travel and the inability to use their weeks, “members” are being “blackmailed” into signing the contracts.

Inside Timeshare has reported on this in previous articles, in short, any member who wishes to save their unused week and receive a “voucher” for use in the future, must sign the new contract first. You don’t sign, you lose the week even though you have paid the maintenance. You also lose your legal rights if you wish to take any legal action against the original contract.

Again, we hear nothing from the trade body, the RDO or the “representatives” for “owners”, EUROC on this matter!

This though is just a minor transgression compared to the tactics they have employed in order to avoid paying clients what the courts have ordered.

It has been published many times on these pages that Anfi continues to lodge appeals with the High Court in order to delay proceedings, they have also used the “excuse” that they do not have the money to pay out!

Yet they seem to have plenty of money to launch appeals at the High Court against the rulings of the Court of First Instance!

It has also been reported on all the mainstream media that Anfi is under investigation by the Provincial Prosecutors Office of Gran Canaria, an investigation which may ultimately lead to “criminal charges”.

The investigation not only focuses on “Punishable Insolvency”, which to briefly explain means that due to the movement of funds from the accounts of the “convicted” companies (Anfi Sales SL & Anfi Resorts SL) to other Anfi accounts, leaves them technically insolvent. Thereby they are unable to pay the amounts so ordered by the courts, an insolvent company cannot pay its debts!

After all, we are seeing many other timeshare companies placing their “sales” branches into liquidation to avoid further litigation, despite them giving other reasons. Surely this is a criminal act, yet we hear nothing from the trade body?

Could Anfi be contemplating liquidating the companies involved in these lawsuits to avoid further “convictions”, a move which could be seen as “criminal”?

Could this be in store for Anfi Directors?

The Anfi investigation is also looking at the use of funds paid by members by way of annual maintenance fees. It appears that these funds are also being moved around different accounts to avoid court-ordered embargoes.

One of the possible charges is “Frustration in the execution of sentences” ( another possible criminal charge), due to the Anfi tactic of “avoiding” payments which they are obliged to do so by order of the courts. Inside Timeshare would call this a blatant “contempt of court”!

Yet with all these court cases, the criminal investigation for the illegal movement of funds in order to appear “insolvent” we hear nothing from the industry trade body the RDO, EUROC, Timeshare Task Force or from Timeshare Business Check. These all claim to “protect the consumer”.

One of their own members is flagrantly breaching not only Spanish law but also the RDO “code of conduct” yet they focus on informing “consumers” it is the law firms bringing the cases that are in the wrong. Informing “consumers” of “legislation” which does not exist, such as “it is illegal to take upfront legal fees”. That the courts, including the Supreme Court, have wrongly interpreted the law, that the law firms bringing these cases are “misleading” clients into false litigation.

Our understanding of a “Trade Body” is to regulate members of a particular industry to ensure they all operate in an ethical manner, to represent these members as one voice and ensure that the “industry” is presented in a good light. They should also be ensuring that “consumers” are protected from any wrong those members may do, assisting in resolving any issue.

They should also be sanctioning any member which does not comply with any legislation or breaks any of the “codes of conduct or ethics” that may be in place.

Is the RDO or any other organisation within the timeshare industry doing this?

Inside Timeshare believes not, but we leave you the reader to decide for yourselves.

Previous articles on this topic along with links to news reports.

TVE 1 News report on Anfi Investigation

Previous Inside Timeshare articles

https://insidetimeshare.com/breaking-news-prosecutors-office-denounces-anfi/

https://insidetimeshare.com/the-latest-news-in-brief-azure-services-limited-in-liquidation-and-anfi-funds-frozen/

https://insidetimeshare.com/years-end-not-a-good-one-for-anfi/

Previous articles published by El Diario.

Embargos

Original Spanish

https://www.eldiario.es/canariasahora/tribunales/Fiscalia-denuncia-Anfi-ocultar-embargos_0_924258398.html?fbclid=IwAR2RFYXoewmBTTWBITZLZcXgTe-nSnEmsBgkz04DVFTqzrXm9czh6dqsx5Y

English Translation.

https://translate.google.es/translate?hl=en&tab=wT1&authuser=0&sl=es&tl=en&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.eldiario.es%2Fcanariasahora%2Ftribunales%2FFiscalia-denuncia-Anfi-ocultar-embargos_0_924258398.html

Clients Filing against Anfi Debts

Original Spanish

https://www.eldiario.es/canariasahora/tribunales/Anfi-Timesharing-Condenas-Justicia-Deudas_0_922158442.html

English Translation

https://translate.google.es/translate?hl=en&tab=wT1&authuser=0&sl=es&tl=en&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.eldiario.es%2Fcanariasahora%2Ftribunales%2FAnfi-Timesharing-Condenas-Justicia-Deudas_0_922158442.html

Evading Debt

Original Spanish

https://www.eldiario.es/canariasahora/tribunales/exclientes-lider-europeo-timesharing-denuncian-nuevas-maniobras-empresa-eludir-pago-condenas_1_6623401.html?fbclid=IwAR0WC-uPDj_KNYccII5LEX4jus_6UYCRyMJUgtMKBX52tjLOpRNmgQ-ar4k

English

https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&u=https://www.eldiario.es/canariasahora/tribunales/exclientes-lider-europeo-timesharing-denuncian-nuevas-maniobras-empresa-eludir-pago-condenas_1_6623401.html?fbclid%3DIwAR0WC-uPDj_KNYccII5LEX4jus_6UYCRyMJUgtMKBX52tjLOpRNmgQ-ar4k

Danish

https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=&sl=auto&tl=da&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.eldiario.es%2Fcanariasahora%2Ftribunales%2Fexclientes-lider-europeo-timesharing-denuncian-nuevas-maniobras-empresa-eludir-pago-condenas_1_6623401.html%3Ffbclid%3DIwAR0WC-uPDj_KNYccII5LEX4jus_6UYCRyMJUgtMKBX52tjLOpRNmgQ-ar4k

German

https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=&sl=auto&tl=de&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.eldiario.es%2Fcanariasahora%2Ftribunales%2Fexclientes-lider-europeo-timesharing-denuncian-nuevas-maniobras-empresa-eludir-pago-condenas_1_6623401.html%3Ffbclid%3DIwAR0WC-uPDj_KNYccII5LEX4jus_6UYCRyMJUgtMKBX52tjLOpRNmgQ-ar4k

Finish

https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=&sl=auto&tl=fi&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.eldiario.es%2Fcanariasahora%2Ftribunales%2Fexclientes-lider-europeo-timesharing-denuncian-nuevas-maniobras-empresa-eludir-pago-condenas_1_6623401.html%3Ffbclid%3DIwAR0WC-uPDj_KNYccII5LEX4jus_6UYCRyMJUgtMKBX52tjLOpRNmgQ-ar4k

Norwegian

https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=&sl=auto&tl=no&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.eldiario.es%2Fcanariasahora%2Ftribunales%2Fexclientes-lider-europeo-timesharing-denuncian-nuevas-maniobras-empresa-eludir-pago-condenas_1_6623401.html%3Ffbclid%3DIwAR0WC-uPDj_KNYccII5LEX4jus_6UYCRyMJUgtMKBX52tjLOpRNmgQ-ar4k

Swedish

https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=&sl=auto&tl=sv&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.eldiario.es%2Fcanariasahora%2Ftribunales%2Fexclientes-lider-europeo-timesharing-denuncian-nuevas-maniobras-empresa-eludir-pago-condenas_1_6623401.html%3Ffbclid%3DIwAR0WC-uPDj_KNYccII5LEX4jus_6UYCRyMJUgtMKBX52tjLOpRNmgQ-ar4k

The Tuesday Slot: European Resort Owners Coalition & Misinformation

Back in April 2019, Inside Timeshare published the news of a replacement for the liquidated and discredited TATOC (The Association of Timeshare Owners Committees), which as you will remember was fronted by the also discredited Harry Taylor, or was it, Henry Taylor? The name of this new “organisation” is the European Resort Owners Coalition or EUROC, it’s purpose according to their own website “is to represent the interests of its members and act as the official spokesbody for current or potential issues relating to timeshare ownership”. But the question is are they actually representing the interests of timeshare consumers rather than the “owners” of the resorts and the management companies that operate them?

With the demise of TATOC, the RDO (Resorts Development Organisation) along with ARDA (American Resorts Development Association) worked together to form the new organisation, which incidentally bears a resemblance to ARDA ROC (American Resorts Development Association Resort Owners Coalition).

The RDO awarded a grant of 97,000€ and ARDA $150,000 respectively, which according to the RDO they will eventually “become self-sufficient”. So the question is how long will that take and will the two “trade bodies” still be funding them the same way as they did TATOC?

But what is the reason behind this new “initiative” of the RDO?

Well, the most telling part is in a statement they made when announcing the funding:

“The industry trade association RDO (Resort Development Organisation) is unlikely to be seen by the authorities and regulators as truly representing owners. When EUROC talks to regulators, it will speak on behalf of thousands of timeshare owners and homeowner clubs across Europe. Where appropriate, EUROC will work alongside the Resort Development Organisation (RDO).”

(Quote is taken from the TCA Article of 10 April 2020)

This is in fact very laughable, the RDO actually admitting that no one is taking them seriously or even being seen to be representing the interests of consumers. We use the term consumers as that is what they are, they are not “homeowners” as ARDA and the RDO would have you believe, perpetuating the old myth that when purchasing timeshare you are purchasing “property”.

Just as TATOC bowed down to the will of the timeshare companies it appears that EUROC is also doing the same.

In a recent letter to Marriott’s Club Son Antem “owners”, they give a warning about the number of “claims companies and fake law firms” targeting timeshare “owners/members” with cold calls regarding mis-sold timeshare and illegal contracts. (Contrary to popular belief, cold calls are not illegal).

This in itself is not a bad thing, but it is the nature of what they are saying that is the problem along with the fact that they are also including the genuine law firms in their statement.

According to the letter, it appears that EUROC is following the same line as the RDO in denying that many contracts sold and signed after 5 January 1999 are illegal under Spanish Timeshare Laws.

Now, this actually goes against what we already know from the many court cases that have taken place and been reported not just by Inside Timeshare but also Spanish newspapers and television.

It is also a fact that Marriott themselves admitted that they had been losing cases in the Spanish Courts for the sale of illegal contracts. It also set aside $16.3 million to cover litigation costs in the US and Spain. The admission which came in a financial statement reported in Market Exclusive (see link below) on 7 July 2018.

Market Exclusive report

https://marketexclusive.com/marriott-vacations-worldwide-corporation-nysevac-files-an-8-k-other-events-4/2018/07/amp/

Original Inside Timeshare article

https://insidetimeshare.com/marriott-admit-losing-in-spanish-courts/

On this point, we leave you the reader to make up your own mind as to what the truth really is.

Another “misleading and untrue” statement made by EUROC in paragraph 5 (see PDF of the letter), they state that it is “illegal to pay any upfront fee” for taking up legal services.

The question is if it is illegal for a law firm to take upfront legal fees, how is the case ever going to be prepared and eventually end up in court?

We also have to ask the question what legislation are they using to state that it is “ILLEGAL” to pay “upfront legal fees”, they show no link to any legislation either in Spain, the UK or Germany?

Inside Timeshare has even asked several lawyers for confirmation and they know nothing of any legislation.

We all know that lawyers need paying to do the work and bring a case to court, so is this just another attempt to stop the growing number of “consumers” who are taking the timeshare companies to court?

The letter also urges “consumers” to report any calls along with details to Timeshare Business Check, a website run by Kwikchex which is another company funded by the RDO and ultimately the industry. (see the link to a previous article on Kwikchex below).

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

EUROC also states that they and the Timeshare Task Force, another Kwickchex and RDO funded enterprise work very closely together to combat “fraud”. They are not doing very well considering the “frauds” have been perpetrated by RDO members, Silverpoint and Azure are two very prominent cases in point, yet nothing has ever been said or done about these companies by either the RDO or TATOC.

It is also interesting to note who the directors of EUROC are, first, we have the FNTC or the First National Trust Company based in the Isle of Mann, then we have Paul Gardner-Bougaard who was also associated with FNTC and is now the director of the RDO.

Another director is Susan Kathleen Barnet, who is also listed as a Director of Diamond Resorts European Collection Ltd.

Richard David Coles, who was a former director of The Timeshare Association which was also part of TATOC.

John Micheal Davey, a former director of Diamond Resorts European Collection Ltd.

Another director with links to the timeshare industry is Philip Micheal Broomhead, who has many directorships most of which he is resigned from, but they do include Club Cala Blanca Ltd, First National Trust Company which are still active and many more including Los Claveles Ltd, of which there are several companies listed. Full company details and list of officers can be found on the links below.

Company House Registration for EUROC Ltd

https://find-and-update.company-information.service.gov.uk/company/11687730

https://find-and-update.company-information.service.gov.uk/company/11687730/officers

Just on the information, we publish here, it certainly does appear that EUROC is for the benefit of the industry and not the consumer, it is just another “smoke & mirrors” attempt to reduce the number of cases for illegal contracts getting to courts.

If they are so concerned about saving the industry, which already has a very negative reputation they are too late and the use of untrue information to timeshare consumers in order to sway them away from seeking legal redress puts them in the same category as the scammers they claim they are trying to protect consumers from.

We all know that the holiday industry has been suffering for the past year and timeshare consumers are still having to pay exorbitant annual fees, even though they are unable to use their membership. By using these methods to stem the tide of litigation and the loss of maintenance fees is nothing short of scandalous and holding consumers to ransom.

If an association formed with the purpose of “protecting” consumers interests cannot get their facts right, who does the consumer turn to for the TRUTH?

8 April 2019 article on the formation of EUROC

https://insidetimeshare.com/start-the-week-19/

25 July 2017 article on TATOC and Kwikchex

https://insidetimeshare.com/tatoc-gone-kwikchex-set-new-helpline/

If you would like further information on your legal rights and whether you have a valid and viable case, please use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get back to you.

Translations of this article

Danish

https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=en&tl=da&u=https://insidetimeshare.com/the-tuesday-slot-european-resort-owners-coalition-misinformation/

Finnish

https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=en&tl=fi&u=https://insidetimeshare.com/the-tuesday-slot-european-resort-owners-coalition-misinformation/

German

https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=en&tl=de&u=https://insidetimeshare.com/the-tuesday-slot-european-resort-owners-coalition-misinformation/

Norwegian

https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=en&tl=no&u=https://insidetimeshare.com/the-tuesday-slot-european-resort-owners-coalition-misinformation/

Swedish

https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=en&tl=sv&u=https://insidetimeshare.com/the-tuesday-slot-european-resort-owners-coalition-misinformation/


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/