Continuing on the theme of timeshare history, this particular article involves me personally. It began about 18 years ago when I first moved to Spain. Like many expats starting a new life on the Costa del Sol the first few weeks are treated like a holiday, getting to know your new surroundings and meeting new people. But, we can’t live on fresh air, a job is needed.
One piece of advice I was given was to look at the Sur in English, published on a Friday, at the time it carried a couple of pages of situations vacant. A great starting point to begin a job search. Most British owned bars carried the paper and it was available free from many shops and supermarkets. So began the search of the listings.
Armed with pen and pad numbers were taken along with the job description, then off to the locutoria for the cheap phone calls. One number I rang was for telesales staff in Torremolinos, the lady asked when I could be available for an interview. As I was in town I replied now.
She told me to meet her at the main entrance to the railway station, after introductions we made our way to the office, it was located in one of the side streets. She explained about the job and asked what telephone experience I had, when I explained I had been a BT telephonist with some experience in shop sales she offered me the job.
It did not carry a basic wage and was commission based, well a job is a job and I felt confident that I would start earning fairly quickly. Not only that the commission was very good with daily bonuses for closing a deal.
The company was Platinum Properties, it was a cold calling timeshare resale company. I had no knowledge of timeshare but this is what they actually preferred. I sat alongside one of the experienced staff and listened to the pitch, it all seemed very easy. I was told about the shop they had in Fuengirola which was just like an estate agents, I even went to Fuengirola that evening to see it for myself. Yes it did exist, in the windows and on boards inside were timeshares for sale along with the prices. Duly impressed I began work the next day.
I was allocated a booth and supplied with sheets of paper with names and telephone numbers, and began calling. At first it wasn’t that easy, but with confidence growing after many calls I began to build up a list of clients interested in selling their timeshare.
After a few weeks we were all told that the lease had ended on the office and for the time being were to be transferred to the office in Fuengirola while the new one was set up. Returning to Torremolinos a few weeks later we found ourselves in a new and more spacious office right on the main road.
I remember my first deal, it was a barrister who owned two weeks and had decided to sell as he no longer used it. Papers and contracts were faxed to him and duly sent back signed, his credit card details were taken and processed. I would be getting a nice pay packet at the end of the week. The following day at the meeting held before each shift I was presented with my bonus, it was 10,000 pesetas, around £60 not a bad start to the day. Now remember at that time you could eat out and have a good drink for less than 1000 pesetas.
As confidence grew so did the pay packet.
The pitch was simple, did the person ever consider selling their timeshare? We asked where they owned, how much they paid for it and what the maintenance fees were. At that time maintenance was very reasonable. We explained that it would be displayed in our shop and placed on the company website, which I later found out didn’t actually exist. You also have to remember the internet was in its infancy, most people didn´t have it at home, some may have had access at work, but like myself to get on the internet it was a case of going to the locutoria and hiring it out for an hour or so.
Now in the office our desks had no computers, the phone was the standard push button with a handset. We were supplied with two catalogues, one for Interval International and the other for RCI. It was from these that we found out where the resorts were located what they looked like and what facilities they had. Armed with this information and the details of price from the client, we gave them a price that we would list it for, this was always inflated. We would explain that by putting a higher price we could then drop it to the price they would like to get. Bear in mind they had been told that their timeshare would increase in value when they bought it, as they were buying bricks and mortar and investing in property. Basically we played on their greed.
The amount of money we charged to list their timeshare was up to us, but a figure of around £1200 was the norm. It was explained to them that it was a deposit refunded when the timeshare was sold, or if we were unable to sell it within the duration of the contract, which was a year. The reason for using a credit card was explained with the help of Section 75 of the Credit Consumer Act 1974. This always helped to close the deal.
Around six months into my employment, we were told we no longer worked for Platinum Properties, it had been closed and a new company formed. This is when the penny dropped. I was party to a deceitful operation. I left that afternoon and never returned, not even to pick up any wages owed. Later I found out I had been working for the infamous Toni Muldoon.
Not only had this guy swindled millions from unsuspecting timeshare owners, he had made people like myself who were new to the Costas a party to it. I soon found work in a bar and kitchen, at least I was now doing an honest day’s work and felt better. Over the next couple of months I bumped into several of the staff I had got to know, they had all left not long after myself, having come to the same conclusion.
Toni Muldoon continued his money making operations, even setting up a company to contact those he had swindled previously. This company said they could get them their money back from Platinum Properties or one of the others that Toni Muldoon had set up. Obviously this would be for an upfront fee. Guess what, the client never heard from them again.
Eventually in 2011 Toni Muldoon got his just deserts, he was arrested by the Spanish authorities and jailed. Although the 2 years was suspended, he was also ordered to pay back around £438,000, whether he did I don’t know.
He then began several operations in the UK, setting up various companies, one of which was an escort agency. Again the authorities got hold of him and he was again jailed, he is apparently due for release this year.
Toni Muldoons Villa in Mijas
This is the list of the companies he ran:
United Vacation Sales SL
Pike Resort Sales SL
AH TRS Myls Services
Gastro RO SL
Global Communication International SC
Apartment Sales Abroad
Consolidated Property Holdings SL
Fidus Consult SL
Holiday property Investments
Celsius EM SC
Spanish Resales Ltd
His business became the model for all the other bogus resale companies that emerged over the next few years. Once again it is a problem that the industry itself created, selling timeshare as an investment and locking people into contracts they can’t get out of, allowing people like Toni Muldoon to prey on the desperate.
For more in depth stories into his escapades follow the links below, they do make interesting reading.
Toni Muldoon is only one in a long list of people that have preyed on timeshare owners over the years, unfortunately he is not the last. If you have been in contact with any company offering anything to do with timeshare, Inside Timeshare would like to hear from you, we will help to research the company and advise you accordingly. Inside Timeshare exists to help you find the truth.