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Mon, Mar 04 2024, 8:59:09Login ] [ Contact Forum Admin ] [ Main index ] [ Post a new message ] [ Search | Check update time | Archives: 1234[5]678910 ]
Subject: My story


Author:
David
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Date Posted: Fri, Feb 25 2005, 2:38:23

Hello to everyone,

My name is David, and I am another victim of these companies. I will explain my history and many things that I have learned by investigating these companies.

My wife and I purchased a MTC (Multiple Travel Club) membership from IRN in July 1999. Our membership was a one bedroomed unit, to be used on even years for 30 years, starting in the year 2000. I'm sad to say that we paid in full 14,000 on the same day we signed up. We were offered free maintenance fee for the first year, free RCI membership and a bonus week of vacation. We were impressed by the saleslady, and impressed by the large number of destinations available through RCI.

We fell for the sales pitch- hook line and sinker. I'm sure we were the kind of client the salespeople dream about. I thought we were making a good purchase, since my brother and sister in law had purchased timeshare at a resort in Florida for a similar amount in US dollars. They had good things to say about the Florida resort and RCI membership.

In the following weeks we received many items in the post. RCI membership card and information, and certificate of ownership from Hutchinson & Co. trust company. Everything was happening as promised.

In February of 2000 we were ready to book our first vacation. We had always wanted to take our son to Disney world. My company has an office in Bangkok, and I spend a lot of time there. I went to the MTC office near the airport in Bangkok. The office was modern and clean, and had many Thai staff who were very helpful. We were introduced to an American foreigner who explained everything to us. He explained that the resorts in US were not directly part of MTC, and that we would have to use our RCI membership to visit a resort there. MTC needed to deposit time into our RCI account, and then we could contact RCI directly to make the booking. We were also told at that time that we would need to pay a fee to RCI for this service. He was able to accept the bonus week given to us as well as our member week for the RCI deposit.

During this same visit to MTC I learned that Hutchinson & Co. Trust Company Asia Pacific office was in the same building. I visited this office, interested to learn more about the certificate that they sent me. They explained how IRN buys a condominium in a resort for every 52 weeks that are sold by them, and that the deed to the real estate is held by the trust company. This ensures that the membership will be available for the full 30 year term. IRN could not cancel my membership, go bankrupt, or have any other problem that would keep us from using our membership with MTC. They were even kind enough to look up my certificate number and told me that my home resort was Pattaya Hills Resort, which I had seen listed in RCI. All of this made me feel very confident.

MTC contacted us about 2 weeks later to tell us that everything was set with RCI and we could make a booking. RCI was helpful- confirmed us at Orange Lake Country Club in Orlando for 2 weeks as promised by MTC. We paid the fee for the two weeks, and visited Florida in September of 2000. We had an excellent vacation. Orange Lake Country Club was a new and impressive resort with many facilities. Those two weeks were the best vacation we ever had in our life.

In Late 2001 we received the maintenance fee invoice from MTC, which was for a slightly higher amount than we agreed in 1999. We called IRN, and were reminded about the small print on the agreement telling us that MTC had the right to increase the maintenance fee, the rate on our contract was current at the time of signing in 1999. We accepted this and promptly paid, and started to think about another vacation.

In May of 2002, we were contacted by IRN with regard to upgrading our membership to Asian Travel Club. We went down to their office on Orchard Road to discuss this. Up to this point we were still pleased with our purchase, and willingly listened to the option they were offering us. Asian Travel Club seemed like a great plan. The Portfolio of many resorts that we could use without paying extra fees to RCI caught our attention, as well as their claims that our maintenance fees would keep on increasing with MTC. I was concerned about the maintenance fee that we had already paid to MTC for 2002. IRN assured us that the maintenance fee was transferable to the new ATC membership, and we could book our vacation for 2002 through ATC. They offered us another bonus week of vacation, that we could use at any of the ATC portfolio resorts. Needless to say we went for the deal, and paid another $4000 to IRN. They asked us to return all of the MTC paperwork and certificate from Hutchinson & Co. Trust Company to complete the cancellation, and told us that we would be receiving a new certificate by post.

In July of 2002 I was back in Thailand, and visited the Asian Travel Club office to book a holiday. The tiny one room office was located in a dirty, unmaintained building that was difficult to find. Furthermore, all of the office was being packed into boxes when I was there. There were only two staff, a foreign man and a Thai woman. I started to panic when I saw this. The staff at ATC were actually quite nice- told me that they were moving to a new and modern building at the end of the month, and how this office had served its purpose as a way to keep costs low when the company was starting. I told them that I was a new member who had switched from MTC, and wanted to travel to Taupo, New Zealand in December. They told me that this would be no problem as they had recently made an agreement with several resorts. I had wanted to go at Christmas time, but they told me that demand for resorts was extremely high at Christmas, which is the start of tourist season there, that the resorts would be taking care of their own members and would be difficult to get for me. They also explained that I should use my 2002 entitlement instead of my bonus week in order to conclude the business with MTC. The ATC bonus week could be used at any time in the future. All of this made sense. They convinced me to request the week before Christmas, and sent the request to Australia while I was there. I got the confirmation from ATC and their partner company Dial An Exchange to Taupo Ika Nui resort in my email the next day. My fears were gone and I was very impressed with ATC. Taupo Ika Nui was a nice resort, and we enjoyed our stay in New Zealand. The weather was perfect and the New Zealand people were very friendly.

In April 2003 we received our new certificate of ownership from ATC / Mitre Developments. This was almost one year after changing our membership. Quite frankly we had forgotten all about it and were pleased to get it.

In November 2003 we got our membership fee invoice. This invoice was higher than the amount we agreed one year earlier, but found the same small print on the agreement and transferred the money to a UOB account in Singapore.

In January 2004 we were ready to book our vacation for the year. We were interested in traveling to England, and sent an email to ATC requesting Hever Golf And Country Club from their portfolio list, told them the dates we wanted, and asked if it was possible to use our bonus week that we had received when we joined ATC to enjoy two weeks in England. They sent us an email back the same day saying that they had received our request and would be in touch with us soon to provide confirmation details. We were very excited about the thought of spending two weeks in England for a family vacation.

We checked the email every day waiting for the confirmation, but nothing ever came from ATC. Weeks went by. In March we sent a reminder to them, and provided our request details again. They sent back a simple reply saying that our requested resort was not available, and asking us to choose another destination.

We were a little disappointed, after having set our sights on Hever, reserving airfares, and researching the resort and area on the internet for many evenings. We in turn emailed back and asked them to book us for St. Mellion Golf And Country Club in Cornwall for the same dates as we had already reserved air tickets. We got the exact same NO AVAILABILITY reply as before about 10 days later. We went back and forth by email requesting each of the resorts in Portfolio for the United Kingdom.

We replied asking for any two weeks in July or August at either resort. We received no reply to this. No acknowledgement, no confirmation, nothing. We called ATC and learned that the foreign man who had helped us before was not there anymore. We spoke to a Chinese woman who spoke English and asked her about the status of our request. She was very short with me, and told me that there are no availabilities at any resort during summer months in England. She suggested that I consider a different destination, one in Asia in order to find availability at the dates we wanted.

My wife and I talked about it, and decided to scrap our plans for England and take a trip somewhere closer to home. We emailed a request to ATC for Thara Patong Beach Resort in Phuket, Thailand. We got the usual NO AVAILABILITY reply. I couldnít believe that Phuket was full in July and called Thara Patong. They told me that they did indeed have lots of rooms available. I told them I was an ATC member and wanted to book using my membership. The pleasant person on the phone told me that I had to book through ATC. I told him that I had tried and been told that here is no availability. He told me that ATC only has access to a small number of rooms at the resort.

I called RCI and asked them about using my membership to go to England. They told me that my membership with them that was made through MTC was expired, and that Asian Travel Club had not renewed my membership. RCI explained that ATC was apart of RCI, and I could renew my membership at my own expense to use my ATC week in their system.

I became paranoid and suspicious at this point, and tried calling the resorts in England as requested, and found out that many of them had availability, and that they had never heard of Asian Travel Club.

I went back to Thailand and the new ATC office, and asking them to find me anything in Asia during July or August. Once again- NO AVAILABILITY. I asked them about my home resort, and if I could use the time there. The Chinese woman (from HK or Taiwan- sure not Síporean) told me that I have no home resort- Asian Travel Club doesnít work that way.

This made me angry and confused, and started me searching on the net for more information about ATC. I was shocked beyond belief to find Crimeshare Singapore Scams and a lot of other bad things about ATC on mailing lists and action groups. I really freaked out.

I started researching a lot of things after this. I called Hutchinson & Co Trust Company (who are featured on the Crimeshare Website themselves) and learned that Asian Travel Club does not have any real estate in trust with them. The certificate issued to me was from Mitre Developments Ltd, which is not a trust company at all, but an offshore British Virgin Islands ďshelfĒ company. There is no office, directors or employees in the British Virgin Islands. The certificate is worthless. There is absolutely no protection or legal recourse against a fictional British Virgin Islands company. It would be difficult, expensive and pointless.

In one of the posts in this site, someone explains that timeshare works by a developer buying real estate and selling it as timeshare. ATC is not timeshare- only members club and doesnít buy any real estate. They only take the same kind of membership fees as timeshare and pocket it. Very lucrative. Since there is no real estate actually purchased and owned by ATC to back up our membership, I now understand why we are always told NO AVAILABILITY. The sad truth is that if Mr. Simon Cook and foreigner partners decide to retire tomorrow and close up ATC, there is nothing anyone can do to stop him. We will all lose out.

Someone was kind enough to post the information about the IRN company directors from the RCB on the VOY web forum. Mr Simon Cook is listed as a Singapore PR living at 109 Siglap Road. I drove by this address on Siglap Road which is close to my own home. I found a huge landed house with a Mercedes Benz in the driveway. Living very well. I went back another time when the Mercedes was gone, made up a story (Is Mr. Tan at home?), and went to knock on the door and have a look inside. The Filipina maid who answered the door told me that Mr. Tan doesnít live there. Living very well with swimming pool indeed.

My wife and son were with me in Bangkok late last year, and we were walking near World Trade Center. A young man approached us with the all too familiar invitation to a vacation presentation. We learned that he was from a company called Asian Alliance Group, and wanted us to go with him right away to an Asian Travel Club presentation. I was shocked and amazed to learn that they are scamming the Thai people same as Singaporeans. I had the employees of my office check out the Thailand Register of Companies for me, and Mr. Simon Cook is a major shareholder of Asian Travel Club and Asian Alliance Group as well as IRN in Singapore.

We were never contacted about the ďDestinationsĒ upgrade many are speaking about. If I understand correctly, many are being asked to pay another upgrade fee for a package that has no membership fees. (In the days of MTC / Timeshare, they were called maintenance fees- to maintain the real estate) This sounds attractive if you consider the 480+ SGD membership fee going up every year for 30 years. But- it makes me think that Mr. Simon Cook and foreigner partners are going to retire before long before 30 years and wants to squeeze out all of the money first.

Iíve noticed in the most recent posts to atcsingapore that Thara Patong Beach Resort has been removed from the ATC Portfolio website. Another subscriber suggested that there is Tsunami damage to renovate. Iíve personally been to Phuket since the Tsunami, and visited Thara Patong to look. The damage was limited to the restaurant close to the Beach Road. The resort and buildings across the road took most of the impact. The rooms are undamaged, and the resort never closed. There must be another reason for Thara Patong and ATC going separate ways. Obviously ATC no longer has ďaccess to a small number of unitsĒ. Maybe another clandestine phone call is in order.

We have still never had my 2004 vacation from ATC, and have tried to file a complaint with CASE about not receiving services as promised, but was told that they are powerless over ATC which is a Thai company. I tried disagreeing with them since we paid our membership fee to an account for Asian Travel Club Pte. Ltd, to no avail. Iíve also talked to a friend who is a lawyer, and he has examined our agreement and everything in our case. Ultimately, we have no real case because we did sign everything freely, paid in full, and have used the membership. All we can do is keep trying to use the membership, and wait for the day they cease to exist so that we can try to sue a British Virgin Islands company.

Even though there isnít much I can do, Iím hoping my story will give ideas to those of you who havenít finished paying or havenít used your membership. There may be some recourse. CASE needs to be aware that the product sold by IRN is unsecured garbage- there is no guarantee ATC will be around in 30 years providing what has been promised to all of us. I believe this is the weak point that really demands attention, combined with the hard-sell tactics many have endured.

Iíve tried sending more requests to ATC- and always NO AVAILABILITY. Iím not sure whether or not to pay the maintenance fee invoice this year when it arrives, as it surely will for my 2006 vacation. I wish I had never given up my MTC membership and trustee certificate. Iím sorely tempted to give up on it all- stop paying the fees, use my membership certificate like the toilet paper it is and kiss my investment goodbye. The worst part will be never living down the comments from my wifeís sister and husband who are enjoying their timeshare and RCI membership year after year.

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Replies:
[> Subject: My Story


Author:
George
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Date Posted: Sun, Feb 27 2005, 13:02:16

If Simon Cook can cheat his own staff (who worked for him for years) of his commissions what about u? Well these Ang Mos have no compunction. They are just out to make a quick buck. And when they find they had enough and there are too many complains they pack up and leave. Then they come back and open a new company with a new name......

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[> Subject: Trustee


Author:
Stephen
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Date Posted: Fri, Mar 11 2005, 11:20:50

If Mitre Development issue the Cert instead of Hutchinson; are they lying to all of us? If they didn't follow the agreement as instructed, we can void it?

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