Over the past weeks, AIT has been highlighting the immense task faced by purchasers of timeshare where the sales staff brokered the finance to pay for it. The main lender who is responsible for many of these loan agreements is Barclay Partner Finance and this is where the problem begins. A fraud has been committed on the consumer when being sold the timeshare, a fact which has been proven in the Spanish Courts, yet no notice is taken by BPF.
In fact, it appears that neither the Financial Conduct Authority nor the Financial Ombudsman Service, have yet been able to grasp the facts or the evidence supplied. Today we show the ineptitude of those charged with dealing with you, the consumer.
Fraud is being highlighted in the mainstream media, with calls for the banks to take more responsibility along with platforms such as Google & Facebook and be liable for the losses suffered by victims of fraud perpetrated on their platforms.
Timeshare consumers are well aware of the never-ending “cold calls, unsolicited texts and emails” regarding their timeshares, some are genuine, most are not. Many of these consumers have paid hundreds if not thousands of pounds for “services” that never materialised. These same consumers are also subject to “scams” not related to timeshare and they see all these calls for protection, but not one mention of their own main concern, THEIR OWN TIMESHARE FRAUD.
Our friends at the TCA are also highlighting many of the same issues on their own News Section, their latest offering “Fraud – Who pays for it.” is very interesting. It explains very simply how it is possible for anyone to “start their own scam”, and unfortunately as we have seen so often “get away with it”.
Money Marketing has also highlighted a problem which we have come across in timeshare frauds, the “clone” company. Again the question is asked; How do they get away with it?
Link to the TCA article
Link to Money Marketing
Our reader’s case is one which many Silverpoint/Azure “victims” will be familiar with, the purchase of “investment weeks”, which according to one of Silverpoint’s defence strategies in the courts was “It is not Timeshare”. This is an extract from one court document from our reader:
“FOURTH. – Law 42/1998 on the use of real estate in shifts. Membership: the defendant maintains that the disputed product is not timeshare because it is not intended to acquire the right to enjoy a specific accommodation, for a certain time and in a specific property and therefore understand that Law 42/98 should not be applied.”
This clearly shows the consumer is being told by Silverpoint sales that they are purchasing “weeks/apartments” for “investment” purposes, not “intended” for the “right to use”. That defence failed at the Supreme Court.
It was a point that was highlighted in the first major case involving a UK client against Silverpoint, the recording of her trial was posted on Youtube, it clearly shows in her testimony with the Sales Manager present, we shall not name him as he is awaiting trial in the Monster Group Case. She emphatically tells the court that she did not purchase timeshare, she purchased an investment in property:
Yet in all the loan agreements brokered by Silverpoint and also Azure (Malta’s Silverpoint arm) sales staff and managers on behalf of Barclay Partner Finance show otherwise.
In the purpose of the loan section, there is no mention of “investment for rental and resale”, it is simply “TIMESHARE”.
Now, I’m not sure about you, but does this look like the beginning of a fraud?
As things moved on with these Silverpoint Investments, purchasers were then bombarded with excuses as to why they were not receiving “rental income” and where was the promised “resale with profit”.
Each excuse perpetuated the fraud by the continuous “upgrades” to their “investment portfolio”, yes, you have guessed it, yet more “finance agreements” brokered by the very same staff on behalf of BPF. What does the loan agreement state as the purpose “TIMESHARE”.
A second case of “fraud”, just in brokering the loans, let alone the ongoing fraud of the “product” itself. Yet our esteemed friends at the FCA and ultimately the FOS are unable to grasp this simple fact.
In our reader’s case, we have copies of all court documents that have been asked for by a series of “investigators” at the FOS and each time they have been supplied. Help with letters explaining these documents and answering the same questions have also been sent.
Yet our latest “investigator”, who has been on this case before has asked for the same documents and the same information which he has received before directly to his email.
In his latest email of questions, he asks if our reader’s Husband was part of the “court case”, what a joke, the purchases are signed by both husband and wife, it is only the loan agreements that are signed by one partner. The court documents the FOS has been given clearly show both names on the final judgment.
So why ask the question?
The next question was even more ridiculous, it asked if they had received any payments from Silverpoint as ordered by the court and do they expect to receive any? Again a full explanation of this was given.
The fact that Silverpoint is in liquidation, the Mercantile Court of Tenerife has appointed an Administrator to oversee the process, which is very complex, to say the least. The FOS has been given all the details on this point, from the investigations into the possible “illegal” movement of funds, not just in Spain but through a series of offshore companies. So this is an international investigation into possible “money laundering”. This point is also being investigated by the criminal authorities, with all involved attempting to trace the “cash”.
Our reader is not the only one in this situation regarding payments, AIT has it on good authority that clients’ lawyers are doing their utmost to secure at least some payments. These are diverse but also include taking legal measures to make certain key persons “personally responsible”, resulting in the possible seizure of all personal assets.
So to answer the question which is obvious to any person with an ounce of common sense, the chances are very slim to nil on the Silverpoint front and we are unlikely to know that answer for several years at this rate.
The FOS has also been informed the Administrator and the Mercantile Court are also investigating the point as the evidence suggests, the “liquidation” has been “manufactured”. That is to say, it was all planned to save as much cash as possible for the “Trotta” heirs.
They have also been told that for further detailed information on the liquidation, they should contact the client’s Spanish Lawyers directly. Bet they won’t.
We now move to the point of the loan agreements themselves, as we have already stated, the “purpose” of the loan was “timeshare”. But there is a more important point which is also being overlooked, that is the credit checks which should have been carried out.
These loan agreements are not small, they vary from 20, 30, 40 thousand pounds or more, especially when “upgrades” are included. Yet in ours and many more cases there is no evidence of the usual checks being made.
This is despite using rights such as Data Subject Request or the Freedom of Information Act, nothing has ever been provided by BPF to show:
- Proof of Income;
- Income V Expenditure Report;
- Any information on the above supplied by Silverpoint/Azure.
- Any further information from Silverpoint that is connected with the agreements.
Or any other check that we would associate with “due diligence” for a loan of this size, a major error we believe by BPF.
All of the above and this is only a fraction of available evidence, points directly to consumers being defrauded, then having that fraud “legalised” by those entrusted to “independently” protect consumers, or so we believe is downright despicable.
This then leaves us with the same old question; given the facts, why are the FCA & FOS “protecting” BPF with their rejections of “victims” claims?
Is the answer just the inability to grasp the evidence and believe what BPF tells the investigator, or does it go higher and deeper than that, these are questions consumers need to have answered, this problem is not going away?
As usual, we leave you with more questions to ponder. This is a very important matter. In the grand scheme of things, the number of timeshare owners with loan agreements is small, but we are looking at a huge amount of money, running into the millions. We can say this with confidence as the Azure, BPF, FCA case shows, around 1400 consumers, a total value of over £48 million pounds.
Your comments are as usual welcome.
Change to the Friday article.
There is a last-minute change to the proposed Friday article which continues the Westgate saga, that will be published next week, this week we will be publishing “US Court of Appeals, Club Exploria V Aaronson, LLC. The article is currently being worked on by our US friends, so join us on Friday.