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Silverpoint Consumer Frauds “Supreme Court Ruling”

Inspired by the article written by Mr J Correa-lawyer, (a Spanish Lawyer operating in Spain), I feel it necessary to add to his work regarding and the kind summery he made available to the consumer world at large. Mr Correa synopsis details the fraudulent unlawfulness, of some Silverpoint contracts sold via “Club Paradiso” and other Silverpoint Timeshare resorts on the Canary Islands.

Silverpoint is a main player in the European world of Timeshare, retains focal membership in the Resort Development (RDO) and was a platinum member of TATOC (the self-claiming, yet dubious Timeshare association operating in the UK). Silverpoint has paid many 10’s of thousands of pounds in support of the RDO and TATOC over the years, therefore, cannot claim they were unaware of the LAWS they were required to abide by.

Unlike mind-timeshare who does (in part) dispense consumer information with regards to scams perpetrated against the UK and European consumers, TATOC (in the main) prefers to support the timeshare industry, does dispense praise on resorts (who sponsor it), “particular Silverpoint” who are themselves no stranger to tumultuous consumer complaints. It has been reported that TATOC Consumer helpline was financially supported by the RDO and that Silverpoint were dispensing they own advice (under the guise of TATOC) and about the lawfulness of its own products. This was done under the management of Mark Caldicott and the Directorship of Mr Harry Taylor. Signposted by the Citizens Advice (CAB) many, have held [for years] that the twinning of the CAB and TATOC is/was perverse, yet it continues unabated.

Silverpoint’s appearance in timeshare was out of the collapse of “Resort Properties headed by Mr Robert (Bob) Trotter, another heavily criticised timeshare developer operating in Spain and Malta. Like others, he was consistently admonished by many consumers and the focus of the attention of the “crime-share” websites from which he came “top of the rogue’s gallery” each year and for many years.

Many will recall that the maverick “Sandy Grey” was not enamoured by the practices of Resort Properties and when Silverpoint was born, the same resorts, people and governance appeared to exist in it. The Courts upon investigating the relationship between “Resort Properties” and “Silverpoint” came to the conclusion that they were the same entity, (Silverpoint just donning a different dress, masking the armpit type sale and corporate antics of the other). What the court ruled was (in Spain) each is, joint and responsibility for the actions of the other.

Silverpoint is owned by Mark Cushway all be it linked to Resort properties and Bob Trotter. Born out of Silverpoint are the 4 horsemen of the timeshare apocalypse Trotter and Cushway 

When Mark Cushway was impeached in Spain and for alleged unlawful acts, he found great support in the claimed “canary in the mine” TATOC, who liked to comment and add its weight in support of the Mr Cushway Defence. That all said, Silverpoint has now been exposed as the seller of “unlawful contracts”, have been taken to court many times and many supreme and High Court ruling have slapped them in the face. Dumb with suffocation TATOC and the toxic gas which lurks in timeshare the “canary in the mine” TATOC is quite silent and DO NOT explain these ruling in respect to Silverpoint, however other consumer champions do. Should the “canary” in the timeshare mine, be squawking to warn, or stay silent letting the consumers perish?

 In respect to Silverpoint and the recent Supreme Court rulings. Nº 16/17 (I) STS no. 16 of 16-01-2017. Appeal no. 2718-2014, on “Club Paradiso” and investment schemes. Mr Correa Says: –

“The first judgement of the Supreme Court has proved to be a real surprise for many, although expected by others (among which I include myself)”. He explains that “There have been many proceedings before the Courts of First Instance and the Provincial Court of Santa Cruz de Tenerife and now the Court of Appeal (CoA) have waded in against, the group of companies constructed and headed by the infamous “Silverpoint Vacations”, S.L.

Initially (he states) “the lower court judges started deciding in favour of consumers, declaring the contracts null and void, however, the issue radically changed when the CoA started to review the lower courts judgements. The first decision was no. 26/2014 on July 4, 2014. This judgement reviewed the case of a customer who had purchased at “Club Paradiso” and considered this to be a “Holiday Club”. Holiday clubs as such were not included in Law 42/98, however, are in with Law 4/12, so they to declared that it was not applicable to Law 42/98 and the in respect to the application and interpretation of the Law”.

Two and a half years later the CoA has issued more than one hundred sentences, not all pertinent to “Club Paradiso” but also other clubs such as “Beverly Hills Club”, “Beverly Hills Heights”, “Hollywood Mirage” and “Palm Beach Club” (All managed by Silverpoint). In addition, it also resolved issues in which the clients had bought many weeks with the idea to resell them with a profit (Investments). This is now a known sales strategy that Silverpoint used to get consumers to buy the Non-Investment Product. The pitch was that customers who were not interested in buying “timeshare” could be captured by the term Investment and the contractual promises and warranties that when acquire Silverpoint would after a short term of ownership” put them into their network of sales and resales”. When these cases went to the CoA, they ruled that these buyers were “investors”, not consumers, so Law 42/98 was not applicable as it is reserved for consumers only. As the aim of the purchase was the resale, not its use, these contracts in the opinion of the CoA could not be considered as consumer contracts.

Faced with this ruling, the filing a lawsuit against Silverpoint (when the contract was about “Club Paradiso” and an investment scheme featured) was a lost cause.

That said, until last January 16. This was the date when the Supreme Court issued the first ruling that Silverpoint featured in. So far, another 4 more rulings have been issued and as soon as Mr Correa can read them, he explains he will comment again.

With respect to ruling No. 16/17, this comes to say that,

1) “Club Paradiso” is a holiday product that has been sold trying to avoid the application of the Law that regulates this type of products, in clear consumer fraud, so that, by not applying the Law to which it was obligated, is why the Contract must be declared void. The Supreme Court makes a more extensive interpretation of the Law and protects the interests of consumers and users”.

2) “Buyers do have to be considered as consumers because, although the purpose is not the use, the fact is that this act of buying and selling is not usual in them, it is not their business, and therefore must be considered consumers. The Supreme Court has considered rather the ambit or scope, private or professional, in which the buyer operates to consider it or not a consumer”.

Initially, this sole decision does not create jurisprudence, although it leaves clear the way the highest court in Spain thinks. In any case, I am sure that within these 4 published rulings, there will be some more that confirms what this initial ruling has declared, creating the necessary and expected case law.

Posted on: 6th February 2017