Oral arguments in the Tanethia Holden and Mark Mayer v. Holiday Inn Club Vacations (HICV), Case 6:19-cv-02373-CEM-EJK concerns allegations that HICV is violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) by not adequately investigating disputes. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the Federal Trade Commission jointly filed an Amicus Curiae brief on December 16, 2022, in support of the plaintiffs. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce weighed in on the side of the industry. Oral arguments took place at the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals this past Tuesday, October 3rd.
The CFPB in support of timeshare consumers:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce in support of the timeshare industry:
The CFPB is not only listening to timeshare consumers but also talking! The appellate court granted CFPB’s motion to address the court for five minutes today, October 6th in TAMARAH C. LOUIS and EMMANUEL G. LOUIS, JR, Plaintiffs, vs. BLUEGREEN VACATIONS UNLIMITED, INC. and BLUEGREEN VACATIONS CORPORATION, CASE NO. 0:21-CV-61938-RAR Bluegreen was accused of violating the Military Lending Act (MLA). The lower court dismissed the case, stating that plaintiffs suffered no actual damages and lacked standing, but did not address whether timeshare should fall under the MLA or remain exempt. Residential mortgages do not have to comply with the MLA. It has been debated whether timeshares are a transient stay or more like a residential stay. There is an upcoming appeal in which a lower Florida court ruled in a lawsuit filed against Westgate that a timeshare stay is a transient stay and thus should fall under the MLA.
The MLA prohibits arbitration. Timeshare Developers do everything they can to compel arbitration, arguably pro-industry. Timeshares have virtually no secondary market value and are financed at 12% to 19.99% making the product almost impossible to sell if there is an outstanding loan. Left with little choice but to default, active duty service members can find their security clearances in jeopardy
Thank you Irene for keeping us posted on these latest “oral arguments”, it is plainly obvious to any person with any sense, that these are just stalling tactics from the developers. Not only stalling and wasting the time of the court but also using it as a financial tactic, prolonging the case inevitably leads to higher costs, something the average “Joe” cannot afford, which leads us to believe is all part of their plan to stem further action by consumers. Basically putting the cost out of their reach.
This tactic of “stalling” with unfounded appeals is nothing new, in fact, the main developers in the Spanish cases did precisely the same thing. Club la Costa and Diamond Resorts Europe tried every conceivable angle they could in their attempt to stave off litigation. The favourite was the issue of the jurisdiction of the contracts, according to their contracts the jurisdiction was to be applied by the UK courts and UK law, even though the contract was purchased in Spain and under Spanish law. At every turn, the courts from First Instance to the High Court and ultimately the Supreme Court had all ruled the contracts came firmly under Spanish legal jurisdiction. But still, they tried and wasted even more of the court’s time.
In this instance, it was not the added cost to the consumer that was of importance, it was the incessant delays caused in order to put off any other consumers from bringing a case to court. These cases were cut and dried as the contracts had infringed Spanish Timeshare Law, and could have been heard and closed within around 12 months, the delays caused up to five years of delays before conclusion. Now if that is not designed to “scare you off” bringing a case I don’t know what is.
In the end, the developers know they are in the wrong, but as usual, they still believe they are right and the law is wrong, I’m sorry to tell you this gentlemen, times are changing, you are now being seen by the judiciary for what you are, they are seeing through your tactics and they are about to turn the tables on you.
The answer is very simple, if you do not want the trouble of fighting off cases, then change how you operate, and take responsibility for the lies and misdeeds of your employees. They work for you, they sell your product, and it is up to you to ensure that all legal requirements are met.
That is all for this week, Monday we will be publishing our Guest article from Germany on the subject of the Anfi story and all the legal fighting surrounding the liquidations of Anfi entities and the struggle for control. It is from the perspective of an investor and shareholder of LS Invest AG, one of the parties involved in this struggle, it is quite an insight into events which have consequences outside of timeshare.
Have a great weekend, we are in the middle of a Calima, it is one of the worst we have been subjected to, the air is that thick you need a chainsaw to cut through it. So, poor old Baby Dog is overcome with the heat and is confined to “barracks”, (he’s not the only one), it doesn’t seem to bother him though, he just (pretends) to sleeps it all away.