Consumer Awareness: Knowing the Facts Behind the News

As part of our consumer awareness theme that knowing the facts is your only weapon against being scammed, today we have a mix of news from around the courts to some warnings on what to beware of with cold callers.

Over the past few days, there seems to have been a rise in the number of cold calls, predominantly to Azure BPF clients. So far all the “company” names that are cold calling have failed to show in any searches as genuine, from Company House to general searches on the internet.

There are plenty of hits for the names used, but they have been legitimate, from local authority legal advice to university advice for students, with absolutely nothing found to do with timeshare. The numbers provided have not surprisingly come up with warnings that they are linked to “timeshare scams”. The numbers themselves are easily purchased from many suppliers for use on VOIP systems, in other words, they are virtual numbers and you can purchase whatever country or town code you want. You can also guarantee that whoever purchased the numbers through various suppliers online, did so using a fake ID.

The gist of their “pitch” is that BPF “will not be paying everyone back”, only a small percentage. This we already know to be false, it has been widely publicised by BPF themselves that they will be contacting every single client involved. They have also made it abundantly clear they will not deal with any third parties, only direct with the clients concerned.

Link to The Independent Article

https://www.independent.com.mt/articles/2020-11-05/local-news/Barclays-ordered-to-repay-millions-on-timeshare-loans-in-Malta-6736228423

Staying with telling “fact from fiction”, there are also two other items which readers should also be aware of, the first is the Monster Group Trial, with many of their “clients” being hit by “fake law firms” operating out of Malaga. This all began with the initial reports of the huge police raids years ago,  a flurry of calls with news the courts had seized money in your name, and then the calls escalated when news of the charges was made.

At Westminster Magistrates Court on 31 March, the first in a series of hearings against all 18 defendants were heard, and all defendants were in attendance. From the court announcement, there is certainly a long way to go before the trial is actually heard.

A timetable has been set and agreed upon in order to deal with as many routine legal matters as possible before the trial proper begins. A provisional agreement has been reached where there will be two trials each of 9 defendants.

The timetable which has been agreed for the present and is subject to change is:

  • STAGE 1 – June 2022 is the submission of Prosecution evidence for the defence to analyse.
  • STAGE 2 – September 2022 is the defence response to the evidence.
  • STAGE 3 – October 2022 is the Prosecution’s response to stage 2.
  • STAGE 4 – November 2022 is for any other remaining matters prior to trials.

The proposed trial dates are: Trial one is listed for 8 May 2023 with Trial 2 listed for 11 September 2023. The estimated time for both trials is 13 weeks apiece, so we know there will be no conclusion soon, contrary to what the “cold callers” may tell you.

Another group of timeshare consumers have also been targeted by “cold call” campaigns, Club la Costa, the first began with the liquidating of their sales companies, with wild claims that CLC was going under and members would lose everything. Then there is the Wyndham takeover of resorts, the news is rather scarce and obviously keeping members confused and open to suggestions from the scammers.

The TCA this week published a rather good article on this subject, this follows the release of a “marketing” video featuring the founder Roy Peires being interviewed by none other than Jenny Bond, former BBC Royal Correspondent and ultimately a long-standing Ambassador for CLC.

The opening sequence is rather humorous with the referral to “changing the face of timeshare”, a point which seemed to be skirted over very quickly. Mr Peires spends a short time trying to explain the confusion which surrounds the new relationship between CLC and Wyndham. 

To be honest, it seems to sow more confusion, which again leaves CLC members at the mercy of the scammer’s pitch. Below is a link to the video and at the end will be the link to the original TCA article.

https://vimeo.com/704447792

In news from the Spanish Courts, the only cases which have appeared are Anfi and Marriott, the Anfi cases are all appeals lodged by Anfi with the High Court of Las Palmas. Marriott are all Court of First Instance hearings.

The appeals lodged by Anfi have been the subject of many articles in various publications. It is well known that Anfi has used the right of appeal and the appeals process in order to delay paying back what the Courts of First Instance have awarded.

In the past few weeks, the High Court has rejected at least 5 appeals and confirmed the original sentences. As the two sales companies are now in liquidation, those cases will have to be filed with the Mercantile Court along with all cases against Anfi to recover the funds.

It is also interesting to note that all the cases were originally won in 2018 or 2019, so this gives a very good indication of why the delaying tactics by Anfi.

Marriott, on the other hand, appears to be playing a different game, the last 3 cases to go before the courts of Marbella, saw Marriott lose and the clients were awarded full repayment of the purchase price, double any deposit taken along with legal interest and in some cases legal fees. Within days of the sentence being issued, Marriott has deposited the full amount with the court.

This does not mean they have rolled over and given in, they also retain the right to appeal, at present, it is not known how many cases where Marriott has paid into the court have also been lodged as appeals.

It may be that Marriott is a publicly listed company and has certain duties to the shareholders, one of these are the annual accounts. We know Marriott publicly acknowledged losing in the Spanish Courts and set aside a considerable amount to cover these costs. We will need to wait for the next company statement to see if they have added to this. But for now, they are complying.

Link to TCA article on CLC

https://timeshareconsumerassociation.org.uk/2022/05/09/club-la-costa-more-confusion-2/

That is all for today, join us on Friday for “Timeshare Renting for Profit Doesn’t Work – Nantucket Resort” another in our series on dubious sales pitches. If you have any comments or have any questions please use the comments section on the relevant article or use our contact page to get in touch.

To bring a smile to your face, Baby Dog loves chips, “fries” to our US cousins, he was so tired after a day out he didn’t even react when tempted. Music Baby Boy by Fred Hughes and is from the UK’s Northern Soul. Have a great day.

 

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