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Wyndham Whistleblower: Update

Following on from the article published on 1 December titled: Whistleblowers Expose Timeshare Sales Tactics, Inside Timeshare was sent an an article written by Gretchen Morgenson of The New York Times. It is an interview with Patricia Williams, who recently won her case against Wyndham for unfair dismissal, the San Francisco jury awarded her $20 million for lost earnings, emotional distress and punitive damages.

patricia-williams

In the interview which was conducted by telephone, Patricia explained how she was branded a “troublemaker”, because she pointed out and complained about inappropriate sales techniques she and other sales staff had to employ. The constant high pressure selling especially to the elderly, with upgrades along with loans or mortgages, in some cases credit card accounts were also opened for purchasers without their knowledge or permission.

Patricia had worked in the timeshare industry for over 15 years, she was also, as all timeshare sales agents in the US, a licenced real estate agent, so it is not hard to see the dilemma she was in. It is about personal integrity.

This trial has caused her considerable stress, she was unable to find work as a sales representative in any field, it also had a severe effect on the relationship with her longterm fiancé, resulting in a break up. She also admitted that it had caused her to start drinking heavily, and at times she had to “raid” her parents kitchen for food. The only work she could get was low paid, with the most recent being a hostess at a restaurant for only $9 an hour.

Patricia was finally asked if she would do the same again, even with the knowledge of the consequences of being a “whistleblower”, her answer was definitely, “Protecting these vulnerable elderly owners,” she added. “That was the main reason I was able to continue.”

It is such a shame that this case had to be brought, if Wyndham had listened in the first place, changing how their product is sold and the way sales agent are made to lie, timeshare would have a better reputation. This is not just the case in the US, Europe has also seen the same tactics employed. Sales staff saying anything to get the sale, the oral representation clause, if it was not written down it didn’t happen.

For the full interview and article see the link below.

nytimes

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/25/business/my-soul-feels-taller-a-whistle-blowers-20-million-vindication.html?_r=1

If you have any comments or questions about this or any article published, use the comments section to contact us. If you need any information on any company or want to know how to find it, Inside Timeshare will be pleased to help.

News on Friday

We ended November with news of another Supreme Court ruling for clients of Canarian Legal Alliance. Just after publishing (30 November) it was announced that the High Court N2 of las Palmas had found in favour of Norwegian clients of CLA against Palm Oasis /Tasolan.

In this ruling, which followed all the judgements of previous Supreme Court decisions, the contracts were declared null & void, due to the contract being over 50 years and the taking of deposits within the 14 day cooling off period.

The clients in this case have been awarded 448,000 Norwegian Crowns or 49,334€, this also includes legal interest and the return of all legal fees.

Then to start the month of December, it was announced that a British family have just received an early Christmas present, 49,888€. This money is now in their bank account, and was awarded against Anfi several weeks ago, they have still yet to be paid the legal interest and the return of legal fees.

This once again shows that the Supreme Court is having a profound effect on these cases, with payouts coming a lot faster. So it is congratulations to all at CLA and especially their clients.

truth1

Yesterday 1 December, Andrew Penman of the Daily Mirror published an article on The Timeshare Consumer Association. Inside Timeshare has been following this story for some time and has published articles on this subject.

His article titled “The Timeshares Consumer Association claims to be an independent consumer champion, but is it”? Tried to find an answer to this question, unfortunately he did not.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/timeshare-consumer-association-claims-independent-9367808

Mark Rowe denied owning or running the TCA, yet all company records show that he is the director and was appointed in place of William Aspinall on 8 July 2016. It must also be noted that since that date all posts on the TCA website and its sister site timesharetalk, about Monster Travel and Sellmytimeshare.tv have been removed. Readers of this site have also commented that they have placed posts about them and they have been removed within hours.

It was also reported by one of our readers back in September that they had contacted TCA for advice, this is her message to Inside Timeshare:

“We bought our floating week timeshare before 1999. We decided to contact the TCA to see if they could explain how the new Spanish laws affect or don’t affect our week. Had read somewhere about a Deed of Adaptation and were just curious to see if they could shed any light. A very nice young lady answered. Said she would find out and call us back at 11a.m. the next day, which she did. She explained what we could do told us that the TCA recommend Sell my Timeshare. We explained why we would not be happy to do that and she replied that the TCA found them to be a very reputable company. As Kevin said in an earlier post, It is a sad state of affairs.

And just because I could, I wrote about this on Timeshare Talk in response to another post relating to SellmyTimeshare.tv. (Only last night 22nd Sept)

Yep, you guessed it. The fairies have been busy in the night again and both posts gone this morning. You have to laugh!”

So the question is what is the truth?

It seems that even the intrepid Andrew Penman is having difficulty in answering this one, see the link below for the above comment and others.

http://insidetimeshare.com/monster-credits-associated-companies-summary/

If you have any comments or questions about any article published, Inside Timeshare will do its best to answer, if we don´t know the answer we will find it for you.

Have a good weekend.   friday-again

Tauro Beach Project: Canarian Government Revoke Anfi Concession.

The newspaper La Provincia on 27 November 2016 has published news on the ongoing problems with the Tauro Beach Project, it has been announced that the Canary Island Government is to revoke the concessions awarded to Anfi for the development of this area.

la-provincia

This comes after the investigation started by SEPRONA, the Guardia Civil  Nature Protection Service into irregularities into the licences and permissions that were granted. We have already seen the head of the Coastal Authority, Jose Maria Hernandez, dismissed from his post and facing charges for “Breach of Trust” and Forgery of documents. This case has been declared admissible by Court No3 of San Bartolome de Tirajana. Also an investigation is underway into the Mayor of Mogan, over her involvement.

It transpires that Anfi are being stripped of the concession and being accused of starting the work without providing the correct paperwork. They have also been accused of encroaching on land that was not part of the original project and not completing the project correctly. It appears that they have only laid sand on a fraction of the beach, 1300 sq meters and not the 3811 sq meters as agreed. Environmentalist are also up in arms as the 70,000tonnes of sand imported from the Sahara has not been treated. This according to them means it could contain “invasive species”, which could have a detrimental effect on the local environment.

Playa-Anfi-Tauro-Canarias-Ahora_EDIIMA20160716_0223_18

The current permits allow Anfi to develop the beach area, building hotels, commercial center and beach services for profit, with the concession running for 50 years. Because of the infractions uncovered, the licences and permits will be revoked, with initial proceedings being heard at the local court of San Bartolome de Tirajana.

This is certainly a huge blow for the Anfi Group and the new 50% owners Lopesan. The financial consequences of this could be huge, it may mean that Anfi will have to spend to put things right, but it also means they have lost the huge investments already made in the project.

It now remains to be seen what will happen next, will there be more charges as the investigation continues?

How is this all going to affect Anfi as a whole, will it mean an increase in maintenance to help cover the losses incurred in the project?

As the investigation goes on, Inside Timeshare will bring you the news as it comes out.

Click on the PDF links for the La Provincia article:

costas-abre-expediente-al-grupo-anfi-para-revocarle-la-concesion-de-tauro-la-provincia-diario-de-las-palmas

costas-open-file-to-the-anfi-group-to-revoke-the-granting-of-taurus-the-province-diario-de-las-palmas

Follow these links for more information:

https://m.facebook.com/notes/gran-canaria/surprise-tauro-beach-so-dodgy-the-government-is-taking-it-away/1664104110273792

https://youtu.be/txEIuzIT7M4

http://insidetimeshare.com/first-prosecution-tauro-beach-project-filed/

http://insidetimeshare.com/mayor-mogan-investigation-anfi-tauro-beach-project/

http://insidetimeshare.com/tauro-beach-project-latest-news/

http://insidetimeshare.com/anfi-tauro-beach-project-people-flooded/

If you have any questions about this story, contact Inside Timeshare and we will be pleased to answer them. If you have any information about this or any other subject Inside Timeshare would like to hear from you.

MacDonald Resorts and Reasonable Recompense for Relinquishing.

Inside Timeshare has run several article on the difficulty many people have in “getting out” of their timeshares, not just in Europe but also in the USA.

Recently one of our regular readers Alan Stewart sent in some information which to say the least was staggering, this involved one company that we have written about in the past, MacDonald Resorts.

As we know they have put into place a relinquishment programme, which they believe is fair, most would not agree. Under their system a limited number of people can apply to hand back their membership, this is on a first come first served basis. It is also only offered every other year with limited numbers. Another aspect is the amount of maintenance they require in order to hand back, four years worth. For many that could be a huge amount.

The information Alan has supplied, apparently from the AGM documents is as follows:

From the Villacana Club;

36 apartments have been removed from the club and transferred to MRL. (MacDonald Resorts Ltd)

939 Holiday Certificates have been given back to MRL.

Also that £417,163 went into the Clubs Sinking Funds because of the money paid by owners to get out, but what it doesn’t say is that £1,251,489 went into MRL’s own pocket because of this.

I have just found out that they have also got from Elmers Court £1,091,985 that’s £2,343,474 so far from just two clubs.

I wonder just how much they received altogether from all the Clubs for their so called “REASONABLE RECOMPENSE”

In his message Alan uses the term from MacDonalds themselves “REASONABLE RECOMPENSE”. What is reasonable about taking these amounts from members who have paid their maintenance bills for years?

Why do they still pursue old ladies such as Mrs B for non payment, even though they paid for 10 years without using due to illness? (see link below)

http://insidetimeshare.com/illness-not-reason-surrender-timeshare/

It is well known that for these companies to continue to operate they need the maintenance / management fee from you their members. With an ageing membership and the lack of “new blood” buying into these clubs, they have dwindling finances, as they tell you themselves, the cost will be passed to remaining members. That is the excuse they use for “Reasonable Recompense” from those wanting to leave.

The question is why are people not wanting to buy in?

The simple answer is the internet now offers a bigger choice, without the problem of maintenance, another reason is probably down to the industry itself. Many may have seen the problems associated with timeshare from their own parents and family, this would obviously put them off. So again the industry has only itself to blame. Unfortunately it will be the remaining owners who will have to stump up the money to keep these clubs going, after all someone has to pay and it will not be the company.

Thank you to Alan for the information, it is through people like yourself that we can share with and inform others of what is going on.

Illness: Is not a Reason to Surrender Your Timeshare!

Today’s article is one many European owners will identify with, getting out of your timeshare when no longer being able to use or travel due to illness. Yet they are expected to continue to pay the yearly and often risings maintenance fees regardless, Mrs B a MacDonalds owner that Inside Timeshare has been working with for around 6 months is a classic case. She and her sister owned at the Dona Lola Club, they purchased around 15 years ago, due to illness both of them were unable to use or travel, even to the resorts in the UK for the past 11 years. Yet they continued to pay the maintenance year on year.

MacDonalds would not let them surrender, despite their ages (both over 80) and the fact they are both unable to travel. Eventually they signed up with a company to get rid of the timeshare, this was duly done and recorded by a notary, (we have the documentation). Unfortunately MacDonalds do not recognise the transfer and have sent in a debt collection agency to recover the unpaid maintenance. (The case is with the Financial Ombudsman).

Is it fair that people such as Mrs B and Ralph Marble should be tied into something they can no longer use or even afford?

Once again Irene Parker has sent the following article on the case of Ralph Marble and his Diamond Resorts membership.

Should those with Debilitating Medical Issues be required to pay Vacation Maintenance Fees until they Die or until the end of their Descendant Lineage?

image03       By Irene Parker        November 14, 2016

Mae West, German Immigrant turned Vaudeville and then Hollywood star famously said, “Less is more.”

image00

Today, we ask timeshare developers, ARDA, TATOC, RDO this simple question:

Is what happened to Ralph Marble alright with you?

http://www.clickorlando.com/news/investigators/timeshare-woes-for-one-man-who-tried-to-cancel-after-an-illness

Surely not even Wall Street, venture capitalists and private equity investors think the situation that exists, requiring those with serious illnesses to pay maintenance fees for vacations they can’t take, is all right? If they do, there is something deeply wrong with our society.

According to the interview,

Marble told Washington that he tried to cancel his timeshare membership several times to no avail. Marble was told they couldn’t let him out of his membership, even though he disclosed to them that he had a medical condition.

Diamond Resorts International responded with a letter stating, “We are unable to grant your request, a surrender of ownership.”

Statements from Marble’s membership show that maintenance fees have gone up every year.

The first initial payment was $200 a year, but the last bill he received was for $684.

Michael Finn of the Finn Law Group only handles timeshare cases, and he says Marble’s story is not uncommon.  “It’s not intended to let anybody out and it’s intended to be a lifetime obligation.”

The timeshare industry is a billion-dollar industry, and once you join many say you can’t get out.

And if you think that you can sell your timeshare, Finn says think again. “The resale market for timeshares is nearly non-existent. Your timeshare must be paid off, and most are completely worthless.”

Marble said he attempted to sell his timeshare twice. “They turned out to be bogus, they went off with our money,” he told reporter Washington.

The good news for Marble was that Diamond Resorts International did let him out of his contract after we (the reporter) contacted them.

Is the media our only hope?

Diamond Resorts International released the following statement:

“At Diamond Resorts International, we regularly work with our owners who find themselves in difficult health, financial or other circumstances and are seeking to relinquish their ownership. These requests are considered on a case-by-case basis. In addition, earlier this year we announced a program called Transitions by Diamond Resorts that will launch in the coming months. It is intended to formalize the process for owners in good standing who wish to relinquish their ownership without having to resort to third party timeshare relief companies.”

Mae West also said, “Your line isn’t low enough to trip me.”

image02    Public awareness is our goal. Prospective timeshare buyers should ask:

  1. May I take the unsigned contract and have a timeshare lawyer review it?
  2. May I see a five year history of maintenance fee increases?
  3. Please provide details of a secondary market. In the US, owners can call a member of the Licensed Timeshare Resale Broker Association to ask, in advance of signing a contract, whether a secondary market exists for the timeshare you are considering.

http://www.licensedtimeshareresalebrokers.org/

To find out what your timeshare is worth, check Sharket: https://sharket.com/

For those Diamond Resorts owners in Europe, there is at least a ray of hope, Diamond are putting into place ways that people can surrender their membership. They already have a programme whereby those over 75 can be released.

They also allow for those where a partner has died and the remaining member can surrender, there is also provision for those in financial difficulty and illness to also hand back. Much of this may be due to the changes in the timeshare laws within Europe, which have strengthened legislation in favour of the consumer.

Inside Timeshare also asks the same question as Irene, is it right that people such as Ralph Marble and Mrs B be locked into paying for something they no longer have any use for, especially when maintenance has been paid when never used?

I think we all know the answer to that question.

It now remains to be seen what the trade bodies ARDA, RDO and TATOC have to say about this, after all it is their own members who are making life difficult for owners such as these. Surely, there must be a way forward, it does the industry no good when matters like this get into the news, giving the impression that it is an industry solely interested in getting your money. At least for Ralph his nightmare is over, thanks mainly to the publicity and help from News 6 and the story from Eryka Washington.

Inside Timeshare would like to thank Irene for another insight into the world of timeshare in the USA. If you have any questions or comments about this or any other article, Inside Timeshare would like to hear from you.

Dialogue: The Way Forward!

Today Inside Timeshare publishes another article submitted by Irene Parker, with the end of the election in the USA, Irene looks at the divide in the nation and how this also equates to the divide in the timeshare world. In this article she looks at the great gap between owners and developers, using a video from Parker J. Palmer titled Stand in the Tragic Gap, showing how there are two sides to any controversial issue.

Again Irene calls on developers to join with owners to find a solution which will benefit both parties, it has been said before in previous articles, until both parties work together then there is little hope for this industry. There are many owners who love what they have, but there are also many who feel they have been let down, either with the “resale” or “secondary” market, or down to the problem of handing back when no longer being able to use either from illness, financial changes or just old age. This is also a problem for many owners in Europe, some developers have put in place exit strategies, some are fair, others are downright greedy with up to 4 years maintenance payments and only limited numbers being allowed to exit on a first come first served basis. In other words you need the luck of a lottery win.

Inside Timeshare hopes this article will explain the problem and how it can be solved, enjoy.

 

How Will the Outcome of the US Presidential Election Affect Timeshare?

c1By Irene Parker, November 9, 2016

Like the Clinton and Trump camps, timeshare owners and developers cannot heal until the two sides listen to each other. If we continue to

“Stand in the Tragic Gap”

Timeshare will continue to be a battlefield with timeshare owners at odds with timeshare developers. True and meaningful dialogue could heal an election or timeshare. Sometimes timeshare and elections overlap, as in the case of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi:

http://insidetimeshare.com/news-across-pond/

According to the Tragic Gap, creator Parker J. Palmer says there are two sides to any controversial issue. One side Parker Palmer calls “corrosive cynicism” – “greed is how this works, I take mine, run and forget these other people and their needs.” The other side is “irrelevant idealism”. Parker Palmer claims both sides cause a functional disconnect that takes us out of action.

Ironically, my name is Parker and the CEO of Diamond Resorts is David Palmer.

Take a listen:

http://www.couragerenewal.org/723/

Next consider:

Timeshare owners of the Diamond Resorts Grand Beach Resort, a 192-unit property in Orlando, Fla. … learned in a letter in September that their annual maintenance fee would rise 14.9 percent this year.

But here’s how the CEO, David Palmer, described it to investors in 2014, per a NY Times article written by Pulitzer winner Gretchen Morganson

“Anything that is put in the budget that gets expended on an annual basis, we get our 15 percent fee,” Mr. Palmer explained to investors at a September 2014 conference, according to a transcript. “That is basically a 100 percent profit business.”

Many remember the junk bond debacle and subprime mortgage issues that drove unsuspecting homeowners into foreclosure, while unscrupulous lenders like Drexel Burnham Lambert made billions.

Keep Reading

Owners Data: A Battle for Control.

Inside Timeshare is publishing the following article from one of our readers. Edward has been following Inside Timeshare for some time and regularly contributes information he has found while researching his own timeshare problems. This piece was prompted by previous articles on Wyndham and also the article submitted by Greg Crist of the NTOA, in the latter article Greg spoke of the Senator who stopped a bill which would have prevented HOA members from having access to the members database, this was for contact purposes about the issues which would affect the owners. The industry was against this, after all they do not want owners to band together and becoming stronger through knowledge. (see pdf at the end).

guest-contributor

Here is Edward´s post:

My resorts Committee, has been trying to get the members database from Wimpen for nearly 2 years to no avail. Even the Spanish Data Protection Agency’s own 2009 consultation into the Data relationship between Administrator, Community of Owners and third parties concluded that the administrator was merely a user and custodian of the members database on behalf of the Community of Owners who it says are the true owner and data controller.

Wyndham

However, our efforts pale in comparison to Worldmark Resorts owners in the USA. As you probably know, Worldmark are part of Wyndham as are RCI.

Some years ago, Worldmark owners began a lengthy battle to gain access to the members database (register). Worldmark Resorts repeatedly refused to comply with successive California court orders to hand over the database to the members community. It went right up to the California Supreme Court who also ordered them to handover the database. Apparently, Wyndham are now sponsoring a bill in the California State Government that would in essence overturn the Court’s ruling.

Many years ago, Worldmark owners set up a very informative website and forum which is very scathing of Worldmark and Wyndham and details their battles which are still on-going

http://www.wmowners.com/forum/index.php?sid=f157827b2e092f5f1970da40bc056582.

Wyndham, I have read, consolidate all their groups’ members details into one database.

In 2008 and 2009, Wyndham’s database was hacked resulting in thousands of personal details being stolen, (which probably explains why, in 2010, I started to receive numerous suspicious telephone calls about my timeshare, which is information only Wimpen and RCI were party to and which both denied being the source of, but said it was a scam). The USA Federal Trade Commission investigated and found that Wyndham had very little in the way of security to their systems, their database wasn’t even encrypted.

http://scarincihollenbeck.com/law-firm-insights/litigation/cyber-security/wyndhams-data-breach-settlement-shakes-up-privacy-law/

I have also read that Wyndham have consolidated their timeshare owners points system with the RCI points system which some owners have claimed has diluted the value of their timeshare ownership.

Wyndham may have launched Ovation, their surrender programme, but as many Worldmark owners say ‘ Wyndham only do anything that benefits Wyndham’.

Personally, I would certainly be very wary of anything Wyndham do, in fact I am wary of anything timeshare related nowadays.

Diamond Resorts International

Another resort that has battled to get their members register is Poipu Point in Hawaii,

http://www.poipuowners.org/Home_Page.php.

The court papers makes very interesting reading

http://www.poipuowners.org/uploads/Lawsuit.pdf

as it sets out on pages 11 & 12, through CBS television’sUndercover Boss”, how DRI came about and their plans involving the acquisition/merger with Sunterra.

Thank you Edward, this will certainly get the debate going again.

discus

Data protection is a very serious matter, but when access to these members lists is required for a legitimate purpose, such as contacting fellow members about changes which will affect their ownership, surely bodies such as HOA and owners committees have a right to use them.

We know that there are some very unscrupulous people out there, from bogus resale, transfer and claims companies, but it must be remembered that the biggest source of data for these companies tends to be from disgruntled or ex-employees. It is not difficult to see the ease with which a disgruntled employee can obtain the data, it is then a valuable commodity and can earn them a small fortune.

This has been going on for many years, how many companies have been set up by ex-timeshare people, where did they obtain their data?

A recent manifestation of this problem has occurred concerning DRI members, they have been receiving text messages and calls from a new “claims” company. It is believed that they are ex-Diamond employees, even Diamond believe this to be true, they issued a warning letter recently to their members, Inside Timeshare checked on this and published the following article back in September.

http://insidetimeshare.com/diamond-owners-receive-text-messages/

Below is an extract from the Diamond letter:

“A number of ex-Diamond employees are claiming to have left the employment of Diamond when “it came to their attention that Diamond had mis-sold fractional points”, asserting that they can’t work for an unethical company. They are now offering a reclaim service, suggesting that they will secure a refund of the purchase price paid for points in Diamond Resorts European Collection Limited (DRECL) and the Diamond Resorts Fractional Owners Club”.

So is denying owners access a legitimate data protection concern from the industry, Greg Crist of NTOA said the following in the Redweek article. (Link follows the quote).

“When people need answers to questions about what’s happening at their resort, they deserve to get them,” said Greg Crist, CEO of the National Timeshare Owners Association, based in Florida. “I am sensitive to the fact that there are bad operators out there seeking to take advantage of consumers by obtaining board data records, but there are legitimate reasons why members should be able to circumvent their boards and communicate independently.”

http://www.redweek.com/resources/ask-redweek/timeshares-refuse-to-share-owner-lists

Inside Timeshare also published the following from Greg Crist on this subject in October:

http://insidetimeshare.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/More-from-Greg-Crist-at-the-NTOA.pdf

http://thetimesharecrusader.blogspot.co.uk/2016_10_01_archive.html

This is obviously an ongoing debate, which will see a polarising of views, that of the industry versus that of the owners. Owners want a say in how their clubs are run and work, the industry it seems want to control, there must be a way for them to work together and turn what has become a tarnished product into something better. Once again only time will tell.

Inside Timeshare would like to thank Edward, Greg and Irene for their contributions, Irene has been a great source for many links in this and previous articles, look out for more from across “The Great Lake”. 

The Peasant of Venice and the Queen of Versailles.

Irene Parker, has once again sent in an article with references to what in the US are important talking points. In this piece Irene gives her own experiences of a timeshare presentation, she also highlights  the plight of an 81 year old doing battle with Westgate, this was even highlighted in the UK press by the Daily Mail. (see link daily mail)

We have once before mentioned the owner and wife of Westgate and the house they are building, which defies all imagination. This has also been featured on television and was called “The Queen of Versailles”. (Link below)

European link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ipYpHC1rxoY

US Link (copy and paste into browser)

http://video.foxnews.com/v/4668383262001/?#sp=show-clips

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3691048/Florida-widow-81-topples-timeshare-resort-planned-Queen-Versailles-husband-bringing-24m-project-halt-begin-building-condo-refused-payout.html

The Peasant of Venice is what Irene calls herself in relation to Jackie Siegel, she is a tireless campaigner for the rights of owners and a prolific writer come researcher, contributing many articles,comments and information to Inside Timeshare. Hope you enjoy the first of her Peasant of Venice articles.

The Peasant of Venice and the Queen of Versailles

By Irene Parker

November 6, 2016

I have been longing for a reason to write an article with this title. I wanted to explain how I went from being a 25 plus year timeshare owner without a complaint, question or post; to being the other half of an international timeshare investigative journalism team.

This link pictures the home of an 81 year old protestor refusing to sell her home to Westgate timeshare. As mentioned in the story, the home was featured in the Disney promotion for the movie Up. Please pay no attention to the transfer agent advertisement. The lack of a secondary market breeds predators.  

http://www.mysuncoast.com/news/state/orlando-woman-refuses-to-sell-home-to-timeshare-giant/article_2d420330-a27d-11e6-8b4e-8b161951edfc.html?utm_medium=social&utm_source=email&utm_campaign=user-share

This next link features the flip side of the story – Westgate owners, Jackie and David Siegel’s 90,000 square foot home featuring 30 bathrooms and a 20 car garage.  

http://www.realtor.com/news/trends/queen-of-versailles-q-and-a/

Westgate timeshare is a fixed week timeshare predominantly in Florida. Like most timeshares, Westgate timeshares have little or no resale value.  

I asked licensed timeshare resale broker Judi Kozlowski how Westgate’s secondary market stacks up. “Westgate has destroyed the resale market for Westgate owners. When a resale broker sells a Westgate unit, the Broker is entitled to 100% of their commission.  In the fine print of Westgate’s documents it states that Florida Ranchlands Real Estate gets 50% of the Brokers commission.  No other Developer does that. Few licensed real estate brokers will list Westgate properties.” LIKE MOST TIMESHARES, Westgate has little or no secondary market.

Westgate also changes the rules,” Judi added, “If you buy a Westgate property on the resale market, and you purchased after a certain date and your reservation window was one year, they condensed it to 60 days. If you buy a Westgate on the resale market and you wanted to exchange your unit within your home resort, you would normally pay a $139 exchange fee but if you bought resale you would pay the $139.00 plus $500.00.”

But back to the peasant and the Queen:

peasantqueen

Keep Reading

TCA: What are They Doing?

Following on from yesterday’s article 1 November, on the TCA appearing to take credit for another company’s actions, today they posted a rather scathing report on Anfi.

Although Inside Timeshare agrees with the content of the post, that Anfi and other companies sales tactics can be on the aggressive side, it does make you wonder what their game is.

Much of the article explains sales tactics that were used in the past, from what Inside Timeshare has found out many have changed their style. Somehow, this article feels like it came from the past, with all that is going on with timeshare especially at Anfi, would Anfi allow their sales staff to act in this manner today?

So again the question is what is the TCA up to?

Could it be that the managing company under Mark Rowe is changing direction, after all just recently two of his companies have received not very favourable reports in the press. Most recently the BBC Scotland program aired on Monday 24 October, where the BBC sent an undercover reporter, Fergus Muirhead to investigate and record the meeting to sell his mother’s timeshare, set up by Sellmytimeshare.tv where at the meeting he was offered the chance to hand the timeshare over and also pay for Monster Credits. (see link below)

Is the TCA going to be used for a new business model by the Monster Group?

Could it be they are using the past good name of this organisation to lure clients to a new claims company, getting on the band wagon so to speak. It does bare consideration, timeshare and timeshare resales have got into a state of decline, the number of companies offering claims for mis-selling are on the rise, especially in light of the Supreme Court rulings.

It must also be remembered that for any claim to go ahead in Spain, it must be conducted by a Spanish Law firm, that there is no such thing as “no win no fee” or class actions.

If this is indeed the case, the TCA will lose even more credibility, after all it was once a very trusted and influential association among timeshare owners. It was once the only source of credible and trustworthy information, but since the new owners, who have had years of bad press, this is sadly no longer the case. As usual only time will tell and Inside Timeshare will be watching for any new developments.

http://insidetimeshare.com/bbc-scotland-investigates-problems-timeshare-contracts/

 

http://insidetimeshare.com/monster-credits-associated-companies-summary/

News From America: Wyndham Launches New Surrender Program.

Carrying on with our theme of news from across the “Great Lake”, Irene Parker has again sent her article which will be of interest to timeshare owners in Europe, especially those who own in the USA.

This article focuses on a new initiative by one of the largest timeshare concerns in the USA, Wyndham, which is based in Parsippanny New Jersey. It seems the company is going to be leading the way in providing a more accessible relinquishment program for owners. This could also pave the way for the demise of those unscrupulous companies that offer relinquishment or “guaranteed deed-back” and resale scams, which many owners in Europe are familiar with. These scams cost timeshare owners all over the world thousands of dollars, pounds and euros in upfront fees, these fees are being charged to beleaguered timeshare owners who are unable to keep up with the rapidly rising maintenance fees and assessments.

Unfortunately a relinquishment or “voluntary surrender” program does not help those owners who have outstanding loans or finance agreements, usually having succumbed to high interest payments on these loans, typically 14% to 18%. Inside Timeshare has published articles on these loans and the predatory practices of UK bank lending.

If the Wyndham model proves to be successful, could it pave the way for other timeshare companies to copy, saving  the industry from the bad image of holding prisoner elderly owners and those who can no longer afford the maintenance fees. Only time will tell.

Wyndham Launches “Ovation” Timeshare Surrender Program

By Irene Parker, October 27, 2016

Wyndham Vacation Ownership has been among timeshare industry pioneers in providing owners with comprehensive information about reselling and helping them exit timeshare units they no longer want to use.

The company’s exit program differs from many competitors in its detail and helpfulness. Many timeshare companies do not offer well-articulated policies. A number of them make it difficult to resell timeshare properties. That is reflected in the high number of units that timeshare owners continue to relinquish because of age or an inability to carry maintenance fee costs.

Wyndham Worldwide has been operating for 50 years. The company’s well-established names include Club Wyndham, WorldMark and Shell Vacations. In addition to timeshares, Wyndham Worldwide Corporation offers lodging and vacation exchange and rentals through RCI.

The company’s timeshare exit program, Ovation, offers a number of options for relinquishing a Wyndham timeshare with no fees, hidden costs or additional purchases required to participate. That differs from a number of timeshare companies and also from transfer and cancellation companies.

“Our goal is to help owners transition to the next phase of their life and reach as many owners as possible, before they are contacted by fraudulent companies,” said media contact Lori Ford. “The program offers various options based on individual ownership, eligibility and circumstance and we continue to see a strong owner response, with over 47,000 owner inquiries since its introduction.”

The timeshare industry has improved its reputation, but is still struggling to overcome years of questionable practices by a number of major operators, and some companies continue to make it difficult for timeshare owners to relinquish their shares in properties. The industry also continues to include unsavory practices among operators and companies that provide supporting services. Among the major issues:

Transfer agents offering beleaguered timeshare owners “guaranteed deed-backs” at a cost averaging $3,500 to $7,000, fraudulent listing agents offering to list your timeshare for an upfront ad fee only to disappear, callers claiming to have someone interested in your timeshare, bogus timeshare “renters” claiming to represent the timeshare developer.

Wyndham Vacation Ownership even offers their members a “Scambusters Hotline” providing owners with informational scam reports and updates along with a hotline to call if an owner suspects suspicious activity or feels they are being targeted.

Wyndham’s first buyback program, known as “Pathways“, came under intense scrutiny in that it was accused of being a scheme designed to get owners to buy more points. The one-sided contract, signed only by the timeshare owner, promised an “opportunity” to sell a timeshare back to Wyndham, if the owner purchased an additional 20% of the points they already owned.

Clearly, the “cottage industry” of timeshare scams developed because or the lack of a secondary market. The industry in general has been reluctant to face the issue of unwanted timeshares. I asked Gregory Crist, President of the National Timeshare Owners Association (NTOA) why is there such a disparity of opinion when it comes to consumer reviews of timeshare companies and especially timeshare resale programs.

“Until the timeshare industry supports a robust secondary timeshare market, we will continue to see an increase in predatory timeshare exit companies clamoring to take thousands of dollars from timeshare owners to get them released from their timeshare obligations. Until now, it has been difficult to get anyone’s attention,” said Crist.

Voluntary surrender programs leave owners with nothing. While no one should expect a timeshare to be a lucrative investment, legitimate resale programs do allow an owner to recoup, at best, fifteen percent of an owner’s overall investment. At least a secondary market allows a nominal dollar amount back to the timeshare share owner in an age where affordable vacation options abound outside of timeshare.

https://www.clubwyndham.com/cw/discover/scambusters-wyndham.page

https://www.clubwyndham.com/cw/discover/ovationbywyndham.page

http://www.thestate.com/news/business/article13846319.html

http://www.ntoassoc.com/

Inside Timeshare would like to thank Irene Parker for her article, it is very enlightening and will show owners here in Europe that there are some companies out there who are at least making a sensible effort. Inside Timeshare has published articles on one company which is renowned for not letting people out of there contracts, or if it does charges a hefty price for doing so.

http://insidetimeshare.com/mcdonald-resorts-no-stranger-bad-press/

http://insidetimeshare.com/bbc-scotland-investigates-problems-timeshare-contracts/

If you have any questions about this or any other article,  contact Inside Timeshare and we will be pleased to help. If you require any information about any company you may be thinking of dealing with or just want to know how to find it, Contact us through the comments section, we will then contact you via personal email.