Alberto Garcia / Resort Properties / Silverpoints
I have received the following letter which I want to share with you all.
I think this perfectly sums up the “Modus Operandi” of Resort Properties/Silverpoints. The lies, the deceit, the deliberate and pre orchestrated methodology which they repeatedly apply to con people out of as much money as they can is blatantly obvious.
The way these people feed of their clients trust and vulnerability is stomach churning.
To everyone who has felt that pang of embarrassment about falling for their lies read on.
Sadly, Hugh’s experience is typical of what hundreds of us have experienced so for those of you who ask “why did you carry on investing?” I think reading this will answer all your questions.
My wife and I accepted an invitation to a free week in the Hollywood Mirage on condition that we attended a sales presentation, along with a conducted tour of other timeshare complexes, by Resort Properties.
On the pre-arranged morning of our sales presentation we were visited in our apartment by a very polite and smartly dressed young man by the name of Paul Salih, anxious to ensure that we were happy with our accommodation, he then led the way to a very busy and efficient looking Sales Office, sat us down in comfortable chairs at his very tidy desk, before plying us with cups of delicious coffee. First impressions were highly commendable, I have to admit.
What followed was a lengthy familiarisation exercise, us being shown pictures of his lovely wife and children, he lightly probing onto our back grounds, our preferences for holidays and overseas travel etc. He liked to build up an accurate profile of all his guests so that in the event that any of them became future clients he would be in a better position to offer them his own personal service. He also liked to look upon his clients as personal friends, since trust was extremely important to him in this business. Fair enough.
Now it was time to familiarise us with the profile of Resort Properties, a powerful organisation established over a long number of years, keen to promote the modern image of Timeshare, and strictly controlled by the legislation regarding all Timeshare transactions. So we are in safe hands.
After a conducted tour of the other timeshare complexes which included the new Paramount, we were then given an outline of what they were hoping to interest in: groups of time share apartments for immediate resale, these were Timeshare weeks which had been put up for sale by individual owners but under some complex strict rules had to be sold to individuals such as ourselves before they could be marketed by Resort Properties (R Ps) at a profit.
Many hours of skilful sales talk (by Paul Salih) then followed, urged on by his boss Peter? (sorry! don’t have his surname) using such language as – sound investment – could expect quick return much better than banks and stock markets – Resort Properties have access to thousands of prospective clients from all over Europe and beyond — that we should even consider setting up an offshore account to avoid being taxed on our proceeds — their sales personnel were paid commission only after each resale had been fully completed, so we could expect good service although time scales could not be guaranteed, recent performance had shown that most if not all these apartments would be sold by Christmas 2005, well before any Maintenance Fees were due in most cases any Maintenance Fees that were paid for by us would normally be recovered from the resale’s when eventually made – even the worst case scenario would still produce a worthwhile return.
Finally we were persuaded to invest £21,177 of our savings in a group of timeshare apartments which would be placed on Resort Properties immediate resale list. These were a group of eight different apartments for different weeks spread over Hollywood Mirage, Beverly Hills Heights and Beverly Hills Club, hand picked to attract the maximum chance of quick resale’s.
A lump sum which we had placed with Norwich Union over about ten years (following my own retirement) was producing very disappointing results, and if Paul and his boss were telling the truth, and they had been very convincing, it certainly would be a nice little earner for a retired couple such as ourselves. Also they would have the task of finding suitable buyers for us
Resort Properties would add 25% on top of each resale price by way of their commission. Expected Net Return would be around £27,382 i.e. £6,205 profit All monies were paid in cash (from our Norwich Union savings account), except for a Management Fee of E706.20 / £500 paid with my Barclaycard.
Total Net Investment £21,177
November / December 2005
None of the 8 Apartments had been sold, as promised by Paul Salih and his boss.
Received bills for maintenance fees totaling £2,463
Tried desperately to contact Paul Salih but failed for all sorts of reasons, he was busy with other clients, not practical for him to contact individuals because of the thousands of other clients R Ps had to deal with day to day. No luck in contacting his boss either. Finally spoke to Shirley Sprinks (Sales Completion) and expressed our concerns to her who agreed to pass them on to Paul Salih, but still no feed back.
Visited Tenerife between 9 & 16 Dec 05 on a free week, which was part of the original deal.
Had long meeting with Paul Salih and his boss Peter who were most apologetic and did accept that they had let us down very badly. Our immediate reaction was to ask for all our money back even without profit and to be released from our contract. They then explained that for a number of legal reasons this would not be possible. However, our Maintenance Fees could be recovered very quickly by drastically reducing the original sale prices, and by way of compensation for our losses (which eventually worked out at £13,377) we would be offered the opportunity to embark in their exciting new venture called Club Paradiso i.e. in The Paramount (also on a resale basis), but this would require a further input of £18,900 from us. This would be for one week per year in a two bedroom apartment called an Island, which would also attract maintenance fees but since this would just be until the resale took place it would not be too arduous and we would be entitled to use it in the meantime.
Completely stunned, we spent some hours trying to come to terms with our new situation. Paul Salih was at pains to point out that failure to agree to this offer could result in a reoccurrence of the same situation in Dec 2006 thus increasing our current losses even further, as there could be no guarantees of the resale’s being any more successful at their current prices within that time scale. Also investing in Club Paradiso would not only recover our current losses but give us a substantial return on the other £18,900. Feeling completely trapped by our predicament and after long deliberations we finally accepted their offer. Pointing out that we had never intended to take our investment this far.
When asked if we could ‘sleep on it’, their reply was that failure to sign during this session would be taken as a refusal, with the consequences already outlined. We could conceivably have lost the whole of our £21,177.
Nervously, we then signed an Amendment Form to reduce all eight original resale prices (document available), from which 25% would be taken as commission on each resale, but we would recover most if not all our Maintenance Fees wherever possible.
Club Paradiso / Paramount
Regarding the new Club Paradiso venture, My wife and I were at pains to point out that all we were interested in was recovering all our monies as quickly as possible, even without profit if necessary. Both Paul and Peter assured us that we could look forward to a substantial return in approximately “twelve to eighteen months’ time”, when the resales in Paradiso were expected to take place. Also pointing out that under the circumstances we were being treated extremely fairly by them (R Ps), as we were being giving the opportunity to purchase an Island apartment week at a very a low price simply because they had let us down.
Total Net Investment £32,277
Expected return — As this was a brand new venture it was too early to give an accurate figure, but a net profit in the region of £16K could be expected.
16 to 30 June 2006 We again visited Tenerife, utilising the remaining unsold Beverly Hills apartment, anxious to keep abreast of our latest investment in Paradiso.
A Mr Carl Jenkins appeared on the scene announcing that he was senior to Paul Safih and had personally taken charge of our portfolio with the express purpose of finding a more satisfactory way out of our predicament, which he was keen to discuss with us; we then joined him in the sales office. Again we were subjected to a familiarisation exercise similar to the one with Paul. Carl was anxious to earn our trust in him also. But we could rely on him somewhat better since he was more experienced in the timeshare business and carried more authority than Paul.
He had studied our portfolio and was fully aware that we were anxious for a speedy resale on our Island apartment. He then went on to advise us that the quickest way out would be to upgrade our Island two bed apartment to an Ocean three bed as there were only two of these in The Paramount and would therefore have a much better chance of a quick resale. However, this would require a further input of £6,250 from us, but we could expect the resale to take place in about ‘two years’ time. When challenged about this revised time scale he explained that the previous ‘one year to eighteen months’ had been just a rough estimate, but now he was in a better position to give a more positive time scale, although this could not be given in writing he felt fairly confident that this would be the case.
After another session of clever sales talk from Carl we reluctantly agreed to the upgrade, on the basis that it might be in our best interests to go along with his proposals, as he appeared to be very much on our side.
Club Paradiso / Paramount — upgrade to ‘Ocean’ three bed Apartment
Total Net Investment = £32, 2779 (Island) + £6,250 = £38,527
May 2007 Again we visited Tenerife on what was becoming an annual event, ever anxious to
keep a check on our investment, and agreed to a further meeting with Carl Jenkins.
This time I had the unpleasant task of informing Carl (who by now is greeting us like family friends) that My wife had recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, and might not be able to follow every part of our conversation fully, which he accepted and offered his sympathy.
Following a long cosy chat about his own family etc (have since learned that this was part of his very skillful sales technique designed to earn our trust in him as the ‘well-meaning decent family man’ with our best interests at heart) he then proceeded to outline a brand new deal aimed specifically at his many clients like us who had been so badly let down on previous deals.
Things would be very different this time as he was anxious to rebuild our trust in both him and Resort Properties. He would personally ensure that nothing like the previous 2005 disaster would happen this time. Also the Company had now gone over to selling ‘points attached weeks’ which were proving very popular and were selling like ‘hot cakes’. They (R Ps) incidentally were enjoying a bumper year and were already set to exceed the whole of the previous year’s sales targets.
The new package was by way of compensation and would be a quick and less painful way to recover some of our previous losses. This would involve the purchase of just four hand picked apartments – one in the Beverly Hills and three in Hollywood Mirage – on a six month buy now pay later (BNPL) basis involving a linked loan through BPF (made great play about the new arrangements recently acquired through BPF as further proof of R P’s integrity). He was also prepared to waive a large part of his own commission, would ensure that these apartments be placed in the best possible position for a quick resale, and could practically guarantee that most if not all four apartments would be sold within the six months of the BNPL period. The cost would be £15,000 (excluding any interest if the loan was finally taken up).
Decision time — with the previous fiasco still very much in our minds, we spent the whole afternoon trying to decide. As had now become custom, we also receive a visit from another
senior member of the sales force to try to help us make the right decision — but if Carl was telling the truth it would be nice to recover some of our previous losses, also it would be an ideal opportunity to test out his self proclaimed integrity.
Finally, we agreed to proceed with the new deal. Surely they would not let us down a second time, especially after all his reassurances.
Four Apartments for resale £15,000 on BNPL basis Expected net Return £17,000 in about six months time
November / December 2007
None of the four apartments had been sold, yes! We have been let down yet again.
Six months BNPL due to end on 30 Nov 07, was contacted by HMC Funding for them to arrange a loan with Halifax, who would in turn pay Clydesdale (now BPF) the £15,000 owing.
Unhappy with their terms I declined their offer, but with no other option I now have to pay back the whole £15,000 to BPF in cash directly from our own funds.
Received bill for Maintenance Fees for the four apartments totaling £1,324,
Furious that we had been so badly let down for a second time, despite the assurances given by Carl Jenkins & Co, we try desperately to contact him by phone and Emails but without success, same reasons as before. Finally through Beverly Church (Completions Department) we were informed that Carl had been moved on promotion to the Palm Beach Holiday Club (PBHC) in Tenerife, that our portfolio would now be looked after by a Mr Mark Borrows who as we were to discover was now a member of Carl’s new team.
May 2008 Trying our best to stay calm (although by now My wife is finding it difficult to keep
abreast of things), we finally catch up with Messrs Jenkins & Borrows at the Palm Beach Holiday Club. This time, with no apologies or explanations offered for letting us down last year, yet another damage limitation deal is conjured up between them and duly placed in front of us.
Again I inform / remind Carl & Mark of My wife’s Alzheimer’s condition which has by now started to deteriorate further.
This time the deal on offer is as follows:
We could not be released from our contract on the four apartments for “legal reasons,” but by way of compensation they were prepared to offer us a deal that would enable us to a) maintain our Paradiso membership for a bit longer in the event of the Ocean Apt being resold, since it would likely sell faster, and b) enable us to earn back some monies in the meantime:
The new package would include a City one bed apartment in the Paramount (again on a resale basis as with the Ocean Apt) along with two Palm Beach Apartments, which quote ‘would be easier to resell’. They would in addition endeavour to speed up sales on the remaining four apartments.
However, this would require some additional funds, to the tune of £25,000, but to relieve us from having to use more of our funds (which we had already said we would definitely not consider, especially after the most recent fiasco) they could arrange a linked loan with BPF.
On the plus side however they would pay back a lump sum of money which coupled with PBHC resales would provide sufficient funds to cover at least two years payments on the loan. This would bridge the gap from now until Paradiso resales would start in ‘two years’ time. Yes! A further two years.
Feeling hopelessly trapped just as before, I eventually gave in. I did express my severe misgivings about the Linked Loan with BPF but the only option left to me would be the removal of yet another lump sum from our savings, which was definitely out of the question. Their advice was that we should pay the loan back as soon as the resales occurred in
about ‘two years’ time.
Total Monies Invested = £25,000 (BPF Loan) + £9,824 (calculated losses from previous package) = £34,824
March 2009 This time we were invited to join Mark Borrows at the PBHC, Carl Jenkins had for personal reasons been moved back to the other R Ps sales office at the Beverly Heights.
I again took the precaution of reminding him about My wife’s Alzheimer’s condition (still getting worse), to which he was most sympathetic.
Mark who had now taken sole charge of our portfolio had been studying it at length and had come to the conclusion that we had been treated very badly by past events, and now as his new clients, he wished to make amends. This time he would set us up with a deal which had the potential to earn us substantial income whilst waiting for the Paradiso resales to take place (no mention of time scales this time).
He was prepared to relieve us from the remaining three 2007/8 apartments (one having been sold in the meantime) in exchange for us agreeing to —
Upgrade our City Apartment to City Platinum membership: a brand new concept involving luxury sports cruisers, as an extension to normal Paradiso membership. Incomes of between €2,000 and €6,000 per annum could be earned from potential new owners wishing to sample the new ‘Platinum Experience’. Any fees earned would be passed directly to us, subject to our placing our week on the Charter Release list. A scheme being operated by Club Paradiso.
Purchase a further three PBHC apartments in place of the three from 2007/8 (with better sales potential). This would help with our payments on any loans whilst allowing Mark to earn a modest amount of commission in the meantime.
However, the new deal would require yet further funds to the tune of £17,350. The eventual return on this new deal would of course be greatly increased above that of the-standard City membership.
Paradiso City Apt 459 upgraded to City Platinum (CITP-154) + PBHC Apts
Amount paid £17,350 (£3,500 from Linked BPF loan, remainder from personal funds)
Total Monies invested = £34,824 + £17,350 = £52.174
City Platinum placed on Charter Release for Wk 33 in 2010. We wait and see.
During this particular session with Mark Borrows I took the opportunity to enquire about the likely returns we could now expect from resales in Paradiso (since things had obviously moved on since 2005/6). He then gave a rough outline of current prices which according to him was being increased by 10% every six months e.g. at its current value our one week Ocean Apartment could now expect to sell for a much higher price giving us a net profit of around £60K. However, he was not in a position to say if or when this would happen as Resort Properties was in the process of increasing its number of sites world wide.
Our last visit to Resort Properties was on Monday 09 February 2010, had meeting with Mark Borrows, and was also introduced to the New Head of Club Paradiso.
I then spelled out my own current position very clearly to both parties i.e. I am now 74 years old, my wife was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease back in March 2007 (which Mark was already aware of) and continues to deteriorate at a pace, our investments with Resort Properties (mainly in Club Paradiso) has now reached
the staggering sum of £90,700.
Now faced with the very real prospect of My wife having to eventually go into care, which I will have to pay for out of our limited savings, I was starting to have sleepless nights worrying about how we can recover our £90,700 a bit sooner and was now appealing for their assistance.
Both agreed that we had been model clients and that my money breakdown figures tallied with theirs. I made it abundantly clear that no new deals requiring additional finance would be acceptable as we had now reached our limit I was becoming tired of being fobbed off with unrealistic time scales for resale’s in Club Paradiso (albeit these were never given in writing) and was now looking for more positive truthful answers. Also that if I were to die in the meantime my family would be unable to pay these high Maintenance Fees in addition to paying off the linked loans with BPF (which I had never asked for in the first place), since any inheritance which they may have received would have been swallowed up in My wife’s care costs.
I was then astonished to be told that I should consider exchanging our week in the Ocean Apt for two weeks in an Island two bed, as this would have greater resales potential, but would require yet a further £10,000 (plus the additional Maint Fees). My immediate response was to totally reject this, for the first time I was not going to be pressured into any further deals involving additional funds.Then broaching the matter of time scales, the new Head of Club Paradiso refused to be drawn, but pressed even harder (muttering that he had to be extremely careful in what he said) he did finally admit that we could be looking at around 36 months at least before a Resale’s-Office could be set up for Club Paradiso, as there had been problems with the new Palmyra in Jamaica due to the recession.
Realising that even if the 36 months became a reality we could not realistically expect any returns inside say 5 years from now. My response was that I could not wait that long and needed to know where I stood, so why not simply find a way to release me from my contracts and return my £90,700 without profit. Their reply was categorical in that it would be wholly illegal, and besides if they were to do this and other clients in similar circumstances to me found out, Resort
Properties could go bankrupt in no time.
Finally, I experience for the very first time, that to reject any of R Ps damage limitation “deals” is to do so at one’s peril. The friendly smiles, the reassuring promises, the warm handshakes, the caring family men, suddenly were all gone, just a couple of ‘get rid of him quickly’ handshakes to see me on my way