Hello Monday, and today we have a look at a couple of the items we have come across over the weekend, along with an update to Lemon Lions. One item that did catch our eye was from one of the groups we follow, it appears that a marketing campaign for new members is being launched. There is also an update on the European Order for Payment scam which is targeting mainly elderly ex-timeshare owners.
For several years now, there have really been no new sales initiatives from the timeshare industry in Europe, it has basically collapsed. It has lost all credibility with the general public and is seen only as a scam, mainly due to all the negative publicity regarding illegal sales in Spain, and the resulting court cases.
Three of Europe’s significant developers have already placed their sales divisions into liquidation, with one of them also under international investigation, liquidations designed to deny any payments to claimants. Other resorts are “downsizing” their timeshare commitments and reverting to the open market, many “independent” resorts are “encouraging” owners to end their contracts so they can revert to totally timeshare-free resorts.
But it seems that VCMS which took over the management of all the clubs previously run and sold by Azure, a sister company to Silverpoint and part of the Limora Group, owned by the late Robert “Bob” Trotta, needs an influx of new members.
VCMS or Vacation Club Management Services Ltd is in their words, “the “service arm” of Vacation Club Services Ltd and was set up during the summer of 2020 by the First National Trust Company.” A name that should be very familiar with timeshare owners in Europe, it is the trust company associated with the timeshare industry from the beginning.
Due to the sudden “liquidation” of Azure, along with the huge battle with Barclays Partner Finance over “illegal” loans brokered by Azure sales staff, club members were left in limbo. It was not only the members, but also the local staff in Malta could possibly lose everything until the new arrangement came into place and saved the three clubs based at their home resort, Radisson Blu Resort & Spa and Golden Sands.
Even so, many members have gone, and those who are left have seen many changes, including the closure of one wing to timeshare, with members no longer having access to apartments they previously used. This did result in a few comments on social media, but in reality, the hotel and management company had no choice, the timeshare/club section is only “leased”, unused and unallocated apartments don’t make money and maintenance is still payable by the club.
So, for the club to continue there is a need for new members, and the website for VCMS shows what they have on offer, they have the following memberships with each very briefly explained along with the usual “dream come true” photographs.
Island Residence Club
The Heavenly Collection
VCMS Memberships WildCard
A clue to how these new members are going to be “recruited” is given under the heading Programmes, it begins with:
“Available for Members and non-Members, Programmes are organised by VCMS to provide additional benefits to Members and to offer opportunities to non-Members to enjoy Members’ benefits without actually becoming a Member.”
This section also houses the Resales and Rentals section, with rentals being squarely aimed at non-members:
“Renting Members’ luxury self-catering apartments is a fabulous opportunity for non-Members to experience the life of a Member for a week. The price of the week depends on the time of the year, size of the apartment views and features.”
It looks like the old style “fly buy” or “try before you buy” package, take advantage of any offers and end up on a presentation. If this is the case all we can hope for is that the sales agents do a better job in the way they sell it, not reverting back to the old days of just “getting their credit card”. We also hope they don’t also go back to the OPCs which plagued the streets of every resort.
Moving on to the European Order for Payment Scam, this has been highlighted extensively by our friends at the TCA, with the latest company using this scam being revealed on Friday.
This time the name is AML Executives, it is registered at Company House but again it was only incorporated as a company in August 2022, so just about 1 year old. Their registered address is the usual “rent an address” located at:
Suite A, 82, James Carter Road, Mildenhall, Suffolk. IP28 7DE. An address which houses around 5,705 other companies.
As for the named director, Christian Paul Burton, who is also a Director of Nobel Acquisition & Investment Group, another “bogus” company they reported on in June.
The website https://amlexecutive.co.uk/ was only registered in March 2022, what is significant is the lack of information or mention of TIMESHARE, as the TCA pointed out “Money Laundering” seems to be their speciality. More than likely “laundering” the money stolen from you.
The essence of the scam is simple, the “agent” from AML, will inform you that you are being taken to court for “arrears” in maintenance fees, usually a timeshare you have already been clear of legally for years. To convince you of this, they use the European Order of Payment, which no longer applies to the UK since the end of the Transition Period of Brexit (January 2021).
In other words, it is all baloney, it is designed to scare vulnerable victims into believing they only have a short period in which to stop this from happening, and just conveniently they can do it all for you. Not bad for something that doesn’t actually exist.
All these scams around timeshare use the same tactics, the use and quoting of various laws, along with the implication of a legal case against the member or ex-member for arrears in maintenance such as the EOP. They know you the consumer are unlikely to know what they are talking about and use this to scare the hell out of you and pay them for it to go away.
Since we published our article on Lemon Lion Consulting, there have been many more people coming forward with information on “infiltrators” to various groups and also some who received “private messages”. The tactics used by Lemon Lion are despicable and go a lot deeper than we first thought.
It is also significant that there has been no attempt by Lemon Lion to make contact and give their side of the story. To be honest, what the hell can they say to justify their actions?
That’s it for today, We hope you all had a great weekend, Baby Dog has just spent it relaxing, well, sleeping, and in the most inconvenient place, mind you it has been hot.