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Wyndham

End the Week: Court News

It’s the end of another week and apart from the big news about the “partnership” between Wyndham and Club La Costa, it has been rather quiet on the news front. Our old friends The Litigious Abogados Family have once again graced our pages with their latest “SCAM” or should we say “FRAUD”, with the use of yet another genuine name to enhance their nefarious purposes. We began the week with a short piece on cold calls. I should point out that “Mavis” is a fictitious character made up to highlight a problem, unfortunately, I did receive comments that they felt “Mavis” should give up her job. That is easy to say if you are comfortable. We end this week with our typical news from the courts.

We start with a Marriott case that was heard by the Court of First Instance Number 3 of Marbella, with the court issuing their sentence on 21 October.

Marbella Court House

The case against MVCI Management and MVCI Holidays was brought by an English client and was represented by lawyers from Canarian Legal Alliance. Their contract was for a period of more than 50 years and was also a points/floating week based membership. 

It was therefore declared null & void as laid out by law and the precedents set by the Supreme Court.

The court also ordered Marriott to repay the client 51,200€ plus legal interest; we now wait to see if Marriott continues to do the right thing and place the money with the court without the need for enforcement procedures.

Moving back to Gran Canaria, at the Court of First Instance Number 2 of SBT, another new case against Anfi was heard and a sentence issued.

The judge ordered the repayment of 47,235€ plus legal interest and costs, with the contract obviously being declared null & void. This amount also includes a double payment for the illegal taking of deposits during the statutory cooling-off period.

The case will now be filed with the Mercantile Court due to the liquidation procedures against Anfi Resorts and Anfi Sales. It is still not clear if Anfi can appeal the sentence, like they always do, with the High Court because of this, once we have a definitive answer we will let you know.

So far this week there have been three Anfi appeals once again dismissed by the High Court of Las Palmas.

High Court Las Palmas

The three cases involve one Norwegian client and two English clients, all won their cases at the Court of First Instance with their contracts being declared null & void and a total repayment ordered to all three of over 91,000€ plus legal interest and legal costs.

The judges also ordered that all three clients be repaid double the amount in respect of the illegally taken deposits at the point of sale. The statutory cooling-off period has actually been in force before the enactment of Law 42/98, this law increased it to 14 days, so really the timeshare companies again only have themselves to blame.

All three clients’ cases will now be filed with the Mercantile Court by their lawyers at Canarian Legal Alliance to ensure they are registered as creditors.

That is all from the courts at the moment, there has been nothing in from Tenerife and the Silverpoint cases, which as we know are also subject to administration by the Mercantile Court. When anything of importance is announced Inside Timeshare will publish it here.

If you would like further information on any articles published or just want to know if your contract is illegal and what options are available to you, then please use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get back to you?

Have a Great Halloween Weekend and join us again next week for more news and information on the world of timeshare.

News From Across the Pond

Today we travel across The Pond and report on the battles that are going on in the US with regards to Diamond Resorts. We know from past articles that Diamond are not the favourite timeshare company in the US, their underhand tactics on sales presentations have been well reported here. We have also reported on Diamonds legal battles with “exit” companies, a problem which to be honest is of their own making, today we bring you news of yet another lawsuit brought by Diamond against one such company. We also include news of another case which was concluded last year which Diamond actually lost.

First, we have a look at the latest case to be filed against an “exit” company, Mutual Release Corporation.

The case was filed at The United States District Court For The Western District Of Missouri Southern Division, with the case number 6:18 – cv – 03053 – MDH. This case ended with an injunction against the company and its agents and employees. This injunction is permanent.

The details of the injunction are far-reaching and basically ends this company’s involvement with any Diamond member. The full text of the injunction can be read at the following link:

https://www.docketbird.com/…/mowd-6:2018-cv-03053-00175

According to our friends in the US, Branson is a bit of a hotbed for some rather deceitful sales agents. It seems that one former sales manager was named in a lawsuit by Wyndham against The Transfer Group. He was working for Diamond at the time.

Another former sales agent was found to be working for an “exit” company named Mutual Release. This was not long after he had sold a Diamond member points with the promise of “making good money” by renting out his Diamond points, but as we found out some time ago this is not allowed via any 3rd party website.

But what makes this case more interesting are two of the named persons, Joseph Dickleman and Dan Chudy.

It turns out that Chudy was a former Branson sales manager and Dickleman a sales agent both with Diamond Resorts!

It also turns out that both had complaints made against them by consumers, which at first were ignored with the usual Diamond response “you signed the contract”. This dispute was later resolved.

According to our US friends, it is common knowledge that leave the company have “pirated” data, because Diamond points are not deeded, therefore that information is not readily available from any public records.

Well, we all know that sales staff keep records of all their own sales and clients, we also suspect that many will “download” further information from company records. Inside Timeshare has mentioned this on numerous occasions when answering the question “where did they get my information from as it was so detailed”!

The simple answer is it is their “insurance policy” in the case of being made redundant, don’t forget the vast majority of sales agents/reps are self-employed and paid on a commission-only basis.

Moving on now to The Newton Group, who were on the receiving end of Diamonds never-ending attacks on any “exit” company. It appears this company which has been running for 15 years has a very good reputation, with high ratings including an A+ from the BBB.

According to Diamonds complaint, The Newton Group used scare tactics in a letter about “unprecedented increases” in maintenance fees. Diamond claimed that the advertisement was “literally false”.

They petitioned the court to find a Newton Group mailshot which stated that timeshare owners “may be affected by new Timeshare Laws allowing developers to raise maintenance fees with no restriction” was false. According to Diamond, developers are not permitted to raise maintenance fees and that there are “no laws that allow maintenance fees to be raised without restriction”.

In response, The Newton Group produced evidence to the court which clearly showed that the law does indeed “permit developers such as Diamond Resorts to raise maintenance fees, and that certain maintenance fees may be raised without restriction, as evidenced by a publication made by Diamond Resorts itself wherein Diamond advises consumers that certain maintenance fees may be raised without limitation”.

They also produced evidence that Diamond does inform consumers of the following:

″[T]he only limit on any increase in Assessments for Collection Costs is the statutory general limit found in section 721.55(4)(h)2, Florida Statutes, which prohibits the total Assessments for Collection Costs from exceeding 125% of the total Assessments for the preceding fiscal year. This prohibition does not apply to the assessments levied by the Component Site Owners Associations.”

The judge agreed with The Newton Group and Diamond lost the case. The full story can be seen at the following link:

https://apnews.com/…/timeshares-lawsuits-crime-consumer…

In another publication, the BBB (Better Business Bureau) has warned the public about the practices of yet another “exit” company based in Springfield. This story can be read at the following link:

https://eu.news-leader.com/story/news/local/ozarks/2021/02/09/timeshare-exit-better-business-bureau-warns-relief-solutions-international/4439289001/

It certainly looks like the gloves are off in the US, with lawsuits between developers and “exit” companies being thrown about as if there was no tomorrow.

As we have said before, all the problems that owners/members have when it comes to ending any timeshare agreement begin with the developers themselves and their intransigent attitude to not allowing anyone to leave. Well, they will but they usually want huge sums of money to be paid to let you out, or you have to purchase another product with the promise it will end your contract in the next 2 years or whatever time scale they decide. Diamond is just one company who used this method in order to sell “fractional” in Europe, which in Spain is illegal as it is a points-based product.

Until the developers take steps to ensure that their sales agents and managers don’t lie, just to get the “sale” and allow an easy exit, then this problem will not go away. This can be seen by the number of “new exit” scams that are appearing not just in the US but also in Europe.

Inside Timeshare would like to thank our US friends for the information on this subject, we did not go into depth as the article is to show our European readers that their cousins over the pond are in the same situation.

Carriage Resorts Annual Meeting Report

Welcome to the last article for this week, as you know Irene Parker is now concentrating on her work with Tarda, so this slot will no longer be called Friday’s Letter from America as it was her one of her twice-weekly slots. Although Irene will continue to submit reports on the timeshare situation in the US when she is able to. For those wishing to follow Irene’s posts plus those from many timeshare owners’s/members, you can do so at the link below. Also please do join and donate to TARDA, they will be working in your interest and need your support.

www.TARDA.org

Carriage Resorts October 21 and 22 Annual Meetings

Will BDO Dunwoody Find Solutions to the Need for an Exit Strategy?

By Irene Parker

October 25, 2019

The Wyndham Carriage Hills annual meeting was almost held October 21 and the Carriage Ridge annual meeting was held October 22 in Ontario Canada. The Carriage Hills October 21 annual meeting was cancelled because the facility could only hold 500 while another 500 members waited outside. Owners were annoyed but felt the chaotic debacle was the best message they could have sent.

The reason for the robust attendance was because the Carriage Board of Directors had notified Owners that they had retained the strategic accounting firm BDO Dunwoody to study the two-fold problem of no responsible exit from the timeshare and the resulting and escalating bad debt. Owners, even those with severe medical and financial hardship, have not been allowed a release from their fully paid for timeshares. They are liable for ongoing annual maintenance fees, as well as their heirs – there has been no responsible exit.

At the Carriage Ridge Oct 22 annual meeting, not much new news was provided other than a statement concerning early-stage negotiations between the two Carriage Boards of Directors and BDO Dunwoody. Board President Marti Ginsherman reported that information as to actual proposals and desired outcomes would not be made available until first quarter 2020.

The U.S. timeshare lobby ARDA does have a Coalition for Responsible Exit. Owners in good standing need only to look for their resort on the ARDA website. If the resort is not found, it doesn’t mean there is no exit. The resort may have a program, but not be a part of ARDA’s program. Usually, there is a charge to voluntarily deed back the timeshare points or deed. Some U.S. resorts are still resistant to any form of exit except foreclosure.

https://responsibleexit.com/

The Canadian counterpart to ARDA is CVOA. They are aware of the dilemma Carriage owners face, responding that a solution will require time and considerable resources. Those considerable resources include the strategic accounting firm BDO Dunwoody which will work with a Transition Team to address problems and solutions.

At the October 22 Carriage Hills meeting, Carriage Ridge board secretary/treasurer Maureen Lee Ah Yen volunteered to head the Transition team and Carriage Ridge owners Lori Smith and Bruce Fleming volunteered to act as the liaison between owners and Transition Team board members.

The most glaring example of the need for a medical and hardship release concerns Stephanie’s grandparents, Gary, and his wife of 53 years Sandra. Gary resides in a nursing home and Sandra lives with her unemployed son. Gary’s entire pension must go towards his care. Sandra suffers from depression, and the worry over finances contributed towards a recent hospital stay.

Published marketing materials provided at the time of purchase stated:

  • Freeze costs of future vacations
  •  Equity $ position
  •  Worry-free vacations

 Maintenance fees have increased from $600 a year to $1,500 over the years. Owners feel they do not have worry-free vacations as the absence of an exit strategy has caused significant stress for many. In addition, thousands of dollars have been lost to timeshare exit providers and timeshare listing services.

Carriage Resorts were acquired by Shell Vacation Club and subsequently, Wyndham acquired Shell. No doubt the argument will be that current owners are not responsible for the original developer’s marketing claims. That does not change the unfairness of owners finding themselves held timeshare hostage.

On Monday Carriage Hills Owner Karen Levins will offer her comments on the current situation and hope for the future.

Thank you, Irene, from all the previous articles on these two resorts and now this report of the Annual Meeting, it is very clear there is a very serious problem for our Canadian friends. In all the years that Inside Timeshare has been running and we include the original incarnation, we have never had a series of stories such as these. They are truly a “Nightmare on Timeshare Street”.

That is all for this week, join us again on Monday with another story of why you need to be careful about who you do business with.

Have a great weekend.