Welcome to this weeks Letter from America, the last one for January, hard to believe that the first month of the year is almost over.
We started the week with a report about disgruntled members being unable to book weeks they want, even 10 months in advance, despite just having paid the maintenance / management fees for 2018!
In this case the culprit is Anfi, but we have also heard from other “points and floating week” members that they also have trouble booking, Diamond owners from both side of the Great Lake are having the same problem. Well we all know what the reason is, more members than weeks available.
Sticking with Diamond for a moment, they are in the process of sending a letter out to their members, (just like Anfi has) regarding making claims against them for illegal contracts. In their letter however they point to a website to get information on companies that their members have had contact with. This is timeshare business check, an arm of Kiwkchex alon with Timeshare Taskforce and financed by the RDO and the industry in place of mindtimeshare and the enforcement program.
This company is directed by Chris Emmins, who is what can only be described as a serial failed director. (See the link below). This company purports to be a leading investigation and verification service which provides “accurate” information about online businesses. They contact businesses and ask questions, these businesses have no legal obligation to respond, as Kwikchex and timeshare business check have no legal mandate to demand any answers.
Obviously if a business fails to respond an inference is then made on the website which is negative, especially if the business in not a member of the RDO! We leave it for you to decide how accurate they are.
This then brings us on to Thursday’s article, regarding “Trade Bodies”, although it started with a little bit of a “mickey take”, it was however a very serious article with information timeshare consumers need to know. Timeshare is built on deceit, just think of what you were told when on the presentation, being bamboozled for several hours with promises which in the end never materialised. So is it any wonder the industry is still trying to pull the wool over your eyes?
So now on with our Letter from America by Irene Parker.
32 Reader Timeshare Complaints Received in 2018
By Irene Parker
Friday January 26, 2018
No one is disputing there are many who use and enjoy their timeshare. It’s true those that do are not the timeshare members that contact us. However, the number of timeshare complaints Inside Timeshare has received is alarming and the nature of most allegations criminal. Of the 32 complaints received as of January 25, six would be eligible to be a Nightmare on Timeshare Street article.
On a positive note, those working in law enforcement, especially those who have timeshare complaints, have been helpful. One member of the military was able to record their fraudulent sales presentation. This past Tuesday’s article described nine Timeshare Advocacy Group™ teams and those teams have been hard at work.
One of the teams is working on technological support, as I am technologically challenged, and the other is our timeshare exit scams team that has been in overdrive as they learned two out of five “let us get you out of your timeshare” entities reported this week exhibit criminal tendencies. Two others are suspect, but the team could find no concrete evidence of criminality.
32 Reader Complaints received
- Complaints #1, #3, #10, #12, #15, and #20 were against the same sales center. This makes 40 complaints received against the sales center,
- Five are active duty military, retired or served in the military,
- Four are disabled,
- Three are in, or were, in law enforcement,
- #6 is the fourth member to direct a complaint against the same sales agent.
- #1, #2, #3, #6, #10, and #11 meet the criteria for Nightmares on Timeshare Street.
Due to the increasing number of complaints, we request you schedule a call at either: 1, 2, 3, or 4 PM EST rather than just call between the hours of 1 to 4 EST if you have questions about our complaint form.
The Cliff Notes version of the complaint process.
- Write out your complaint and send to the timeshare company.
- If you are denied, write a rebuttal and file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau if you feel services provided were not as described, or have a complaint about sales and marketing practices.
- File complaints with the Attorneys General of the state where you live, where you signed, and the headquarter state of the timeshare company.
- Although weakened, complaints can still be filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
- If you feel you meet the definition of white-collar crime defined as “deceit concealment, violation of trust and bait and switch”, file with the FBI orally by calling your local field office through the FBI public access line, and with IC3.gov online. “They promised me a cruise but it cost $1000” is not enough of a crime to report to the FBI. Any of our Nightmares on Timeshare Street members would qualify. Scroll through those articles for examples.
- File a complaint with the state real estate division against the agent, if you complaint is directed against an individual agent.
Thank you to our 46 core advocates (two more have been added since we published Tuesday) as we stick together and work together to be made whole again. Too many families contacting us are financially devastated, some taken advantage of because of their disability, as in the case of parents caring for a three year old diagnosed with cerebral palsy, on a feeding tube, a little guy that earned the privilege to be a case study at Stanford.
There is no federal enforcement, state enforcement is spotty, and so the hamster wheel of recycled inventory, as one former sales agent describes it, rolls on. Sometimes it does feel hopeless, but like #metoo, also silenced and isolated by non-disclosure agreements, we will fight around it and we will not stop. Thank you to the members of the armed forces and law enforcement who have my back.
Charles Thomas, also a veteran, over a beer with one of our readers, said Irene sounds angry. While the soon to reach 300 complaints I have heard doesn’t seem to bother customer service representatives, our advocates and I are astonished at the frequency and level of deceit. Repeat offenders continue to flourish. Pay the fine and move on. I haven’t been quite the same since I learned of a Marine who lost not only his security clearance, but his air unit command as the result of a timeshare foreclosure due to his allegations of fraud.
As always, contact Inside Timeshare or a member of a member sponsored US support group, if you have a question or concern about your timeshare.
We seek to provide timeshare members a way to proactively address membership concerns; to advocate for timeshare reform; to obtain greater disclosure from the company; to advocate for a viable secondary market; and to educate prospective buyers.
Thank you Irene for that report, it is actually quite staggering that we are only at the start of the year and yet there have been that many complaints received. It certainly prove a point that the industry does need a major shake up.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding your timeshare or need information on any company that you may intend doing business with, Inside Timeshare is here to help.
Friday is here so have a good weekend.