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June 2021

Friday’s Letter from America: Timeshare Tipping Point

Welcome to another article in our Letter from America series, once again Inside Timeshare would like to thank our stalwart contributor Irene Parker for organizing this week’s article and those who have helped. This week we look at Timeshare Talks, which can be found on YouTube, but we will let Irene explain.

Timeshare Talks Guests – Past, Present and Future

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Hosts John Raymond, Resort Reseller

Wayne Robinson, Everything About Timeshares 

Irene Parker, TIMESHARE TALKS Coordinator 

June 25, 2021

TIMESHARE TALKS Library and Schedule

Goals: #1: To Educate and promote a viable secondary market 

#2: To be a bridge between developers and timeshare members and owners

Please subscribe to our YouTube Channel as that helps our efforts and might help someone buy a timeshare that is just perfect for their family! 

Our most recent guest was Ron Roberts of Legacy Solutions International. Ron talked about the reluctance of some HOAs to allow a responsible timeshare exit and how onsite or offsite sales centers can reverse negative trends. 

https://tarda.org/f/what%E2%80%99s-a-legacy-resort-and-why-are-they-struggling

Next week Jake Bercu, a Tahoe Beach and Ski Club HOA Board Member, will talk about an HOA board that is doing things right. 

Our guest this week was Inside Timeshare Contributor Tiffany Renee who talked about proposed timeshare changes and how her family was affected by unfair and deceptive practices. The proposed changes are being presented to lawmakers, regulators and the Federal Trade Commission. Timeshare Sales are #7 on the FTC’s Top Ten Scams list this year and Timeshare Resales (Fake buyers) #10.

Tiffany’s parents were convinced to give up their two deeded timeshare weeks that they loved for years, and buy points believing they would transfer the timeshare liability to their children if they didn’t convert to points, and that maintenance fees could increase from $2,000 a year to over $6,000. They agreed after 11 hours. The result – fees increased to $6,000 and they were forced to default on their two deeded weeks and lost $34,000 buying points they didn’t need and could not afford.    

Proposed changes and in red how Tiffany’s parents experienced this: 

1.   Consumers are routinely told they will not be attending a sales session and/or that the meeting is mandatory when it is not. Tiffany’s parents were told they would be charged $400 if they did not attend. It was a timeshare exchange, so the meeting was not mandatory, 

2.    A disclosure warns the buyer that they are not allowed to show a proposal to anyone outside the company. This is unfair, especially for those who may be of diminished capacity. Tiffany’s parents do not read well. The contract was read to them. 

“Distribution of this information to unauthorized persons, including but not limited to persons not employed by agents of the company, or to persons not listed on this option, is strictly prohibited and subject to penalty.” 

3.    A recorded closing (signing) session is used against the buyer. Tiffany’s parents were told they sounded fine on the recorded QA (after 11 hours). Tiffany researched her parents’ QA agent and learned that he had spent four years in jail after burglarizing seven homes, some while occupied. 

4.    If the recorded closing can be used against the buyer, the buyer should be allowed the opportunity to record the sales session. Tiffany’s parents would not have known how to do this. The buyer must check to make sure recording without the other party aware being is legal. It is not legal in Florida. https://www.justia.com/50-state-surveys/recording-phone-calls-and-conversations/

5.    If disputing a contract, the buyer should be allowed to listen to the entire recorded closing without obtaining a subpoena. Tiffany was offered the opportunity to listen to “snippets” of the recording, which is like listening to Dr. Fauci say on a snippet that it’s not necessary for people to wear masks.  

6.    It should be disclosed if the QA agent is incentivized. (Not applicable to Tiffany’s parents)

7.    An additional purchase should be identified on the contract as an “Incremental Purchase” instead of “Additional Equity” as use of the word equity is misleading. (Not applicable to Tiffany’s parents) 

It was explained that we could reduce our monthly payments by getting a HELOC through US Bank using our “additional point equity” of $240,040 which the agent highlighted in green. He provided an ad and assured us a rep from U S Bank would call us after five days (the contract cancellation period). We would only have to pay $1,349 for January and thereafter $649. The purchase price was $288,300 less “additional equity” of $240,040 = $48,260 for 7,000 points.

8.    The state-mandated Public Offering Statement (POS) (Disclosure Statement) should be presented by the closing agent during the recorded closing, not by the sales agent. Tiffany’s parents could not have comprehended a POS and didn’t know about contract rescission periods.   

9.      The buyer should be allowed 24 hours to consider their purchase. Tiffany’s parents were demanded to buy the same day after 11 hours.  

10.    The buyer should be provided access to the booking site prior to the end of the contract rescission period. Buyers don’t even know what they bought because availability is not part of the contract. (Not applicable to Tiffany’s parents)

Upcoming Scheduled TIMESHARE TALKS Guests 

(Subject to change)

July 1: John Kushman, with Timeshare Specialists, gathered the names of more than 117 Timeshare Exit Scams. Retired Canadian Police Officer and timeshare Volunteer Earl Sharpe, Faith and Raven join the talk. Scam Hotline: 

https://timesharespecialists.com/

https://timesharespecialists.com/timeshare-scam-database/

July 8: Jessica Burke Crosby, a Virginia timeshare broker associated with Timesharing 2000 talks about the benefits of renting timeshares

http://timeshares247.com/TheIndustry/AllIndustryCompanies/IndustryCompanyDetails/tabid/125/ItemId/1508/Timesharing-2000.aspx

July 15: Irene Robert, TARDA board member, talks about the Public Offering Statement and why buyers need to review this state-mandated document before they buy a timeshare    

https://tarda.org/f/what-is-a-public-offering-statement-is-it-important

July 22: Mike Kennedy and James Burbridge, KOALA, an alternative to II and RCI, talks about their rental platform. 

https://www.go-koala.com/

YouTube #12, July 29 Karen Levins, of Ontario, Canada talks about how their group of determined volunteers, raised funds to retain an attorney, to challenge  Wyndham’s Carriage Hill and Carriage Ridge Resort that did not allow a responsible exit under any circumstances. Less than 13% voting to keep the resorts a timeshare prompting the sale of both resorts.

https://tarda.org/f/survey-recommends-wyndham%E2%80%99s-carriage-resorts-be-sold

YouTube #13 August 5 Bernadette in Oklahoma her Change.org petition hoping developers will acknowledge deceptive timeshare sales are part of the problem so they must be part of the solution. 

https://www.change.org/Michael-Flaskey-MO-WA-AG-take-down-YouTube

Frank and Betty Lusk were sold $150,000 in timeshare points at ages 88 and 89 

August 12: Guy Hart Protecting our Elders

The Rachel Ramos YouTube illustrates how easy it is to be scammed. Guy will talk about fake arbitration and other arbitration pitfalls 

https://protectingourelders.com/

August 19: Beth Roller, who worked as a front-line Covid nurse at the height of the pandemic talks about how believing a timeshare sales agent negatively impacted her life. 

https://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-from-america-covid-nursing-and-timeshare/

Archived Guests and Articles 

May 27, 2021 – John and Irene Introduces TIMESHARE TALKS 

Why is the resale value for timeshares so low? 

May 28, 2021: Wayne Robinson, author and former timeshare executive 

https://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-from-america-77/

Everything About Timeshare, Before, During and After the Sale  

Listing companies often inflate the price of the listing. There are no “comps” which is the first thing a traditional real estate agent shows you when you list a house. Check out the secondary market before committing to a same-day sale.  

June 2, 2021 – Earl, Faith and Raven, CRIMESHARE – “Your New Tennessee” Resale Scam caused by a Mexico timeshare scam 

https://tarda.org/f/crimeshare-%E2%80%93-a-sophisticated-timeshare-resale-scam

https://tarda.org/f/memorial-day-honors-all-who-died-serving-our-country

June 9, 2021 – Air Force Veteran Adam Siler June 9, 2021

Why Veterans and Active Duty Service Members Support Resellers

Adam’s ID: [email protected]

https://tarda.org/f/a-veteran-and-active-duty-military-timeshare-outreach

Adam talked about veteran outreach & active duty service member concerns, #2 of 3 FTC factors defining a “deceptive practice” of the Act is that the actions “cannot be reasonably avoided by the consumer.” Given Adam was given a written illustration of 7% financing, and an assurance from the sales agent that he had the means to assist in refinancing, it would have been difficult for Adam to have avoided the deception. 

Who’s Next?

If you have something you would like to talk about, or share an experience, good or bad about timeshares, contact John at Resort Resellers. The best defense against an albatross timeshare is consumer education and an informed buyer. Developers and members alike should support raising awareness about the oral representations clause and expectations about what to expect if the need comes up to sell or dispose of a timeshare. 

That is all for this week, at present no date can be set for the full return of Inside Timeshare, it is hoped that a partial return will begin in the next week or so. In the meantime, have a great weekend.

Friday’s Letter from America: Timeshare Fraud

Welcome to the latest edition of Letter from America, again Inside Timeshare thanks Irene for her time in preparing this week’s Letter and also all those that contributed with information and proofreading. Today’s article follows on from previous ones which focus on the industry and the related scams. Timeshare owners from both sides of the pond and indeed the world are all familiar with the tactics that have been employed to fleece them of their hard-earned cash. These articles are to highlight this ongoing problem and make the industry change of its own volition, failing that, then governments need to step in and legislate as they have in Spain. The ball is squarely in the court of the industry.

CRIMESHARE: Anatomy of an Ongoing Timeshare Resale Scam

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In representation of XYZ Properties and Mr. ABC, we are thrilled to inform you that your membership has been appraised and has obtained an offer to be purchased (for $300,000). Please find attached to this email our statement of intent. 

Email from a wire fraud expert 

By Irene Parker

June 18, 2021 

Retired Canadian Military Armed Forces Police Officer Earl Sharpe was concerned enough to share on TIMESHARE TALKS about how he and his wife Faith were scammed by a resort in Mexico, and by a sophisticated ring of timeshare exit criminals. Those defrauded by a dark web exit scam or a dishonest timeshare sales agent have long memories. Earl volunteers to help research scams for those who have been contacted with bogus offers to buy or sell their timeshare. 

Earl told me about Timeshare Specialists, Inc., an honest timeshare resale company that has gathered the names of over 100 resale and transfer scams to try to prevent scams before they happen. I have my own shorter list. It is alarming to me that I did not recognize any of the names. One of the entities actually went by the name Just Fly Corp! (Claiming to be part of the legitimate company/website)   

https://timesharespecialists.com/timeshare-scam-database/

As explained by Timeshare Specialist’s website: 

Most timeshare owners never see it coming. They think they’ve just closed a deal to sell their property when in reality they’ve just been scammed out of thousands, sometimes tens of thousands of dollars!

Also alarming is the orchestrated level of sophistication. When I attempted to insert the statement of intent mentioned in the email above into this article, it would not allow the offer to be displayed. That’s never happened to me before. 

Earl is not ready to disclose the real name of XYZ Properties because he has not yet finished researching the scam. It would be amusing, if not so tragic, this disclaimer appearing at the bottom of the email Earl received:  

Disclaimer: The information in this e-mail and any documents and files transmitted with it are confidential and for the use of the intended recipient only. If you are not the intended recipient, please delete the message and statements immediately and notify the sender. Alternatively, please contact XYZ Properties on telephone 877 xxx xxxx. Any unauthorized dissemination or copying of this E-mail, or any misuse or wrongful disclosure of the information contained in it, is strictly prohibited and may be considered illegal.

What’s the problem? What’s the solution?

In 2017, Red Week reported that at least 1.15 million timeshare owners want out of their timeshares. The California Real Estate Commissioner’s warning from 2017 holds true today: “The glut of properties and owners desperate to get rid of them has created easy prey for unscrupulous timeshare exit companies.”

http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2017/07/07/questionable-timeshare-exit-companies-profit-off-desperation/

The article mentions that the trade association for the timeshare industry (ARDA) advises owners who want to get rid of their timeshares to contact the resort directly to see if they can work out an exit solution. It also advised that timeshare owners not pay an upfront fee to anyone offering help getting rid of a timeshare. However, ARDA-ROC advised one timeshare member to contact an ARDA member to list their points (that have no resale value) – and pay an upfront fee. Such listings quickly grow cold. 

It was a pleasure speaking with you today.  I am sorry to hear about your experience.  I would recommend calling their customer service department and file a formal complaint…… 

ARDA has a list of timeshare advertising and resale companies. Please click here to access the list of ARDA members specializing in timeshare advertising and resale. Please note: there is an up-front fee for these advertising services and that fee varies by company and advertising package selected. We always recommend using an ARDA-member company for your resale needs to avoid being the victim of a scam, however, you can also list your timeshare “for sale by owner” on websites such The Timeshare Users Group or eBay, just note these groups are not affiliated with ARDA

Thank you again for contacting ARDA-ROC. If you have any additional questions, please let me know.  

Sincerely,

B G

ARDA-ROC Consumer Support

TIMESHARE TALKS

If you would be interested in sharing your timeshare experience, bad or good, contact host John Raymond, founder, and owner of Resort Reseller. We thank Earl, our first official guest, his wife Faith, and Service Dog Raven, who has been drafted as our official Timeshare Talks mascot. Earl’s interview, linked in this article, includes good advice from former timeshare executive Wayne C. Robinson, author of Everything About Timeshares

https://tarda.org/f/crimeshare-%E2%80%93-a-sophisticated-timeshare-resale-scam

Wayne worked at many resorts throughout Mexico and the Caribbean and is well aware of the tactics Earl and his wife Faith experienced. Consider subscribing to Timeshare Talks to help us spread the words: 

Buyers Beware!

The Canadian Government issued a warning about Mexico timeshares (surprising published by Yucatan Times), and the Canada travel advisory for Mexico  provided tips on their website on what you should do before purchasing a timeshare:

  • gather as much information as possible
  • review carefully the contract; anything not included in the contract will not be honored
  • provide your credit card only if you are sure you want to make the purchase
  • keep copies of all correspondence

At some resorts, the presentation won’t happen if you don’t provide your credit card in advance. There are many reports of people who could not leave a presentation because the sales agents refused to return their credit card and driver’s license. 

I would add to the due diligence list what consumer advocates advise – never buy the same day an offer is presented. One wonders if this industry would survive if that rule were to be applied. 

Related articles: 

The Solution: What’s a Legacy Resort and Why are they Struggling?  

https://tarda.org/f/what%E2%80%99s-a-legacy-resort-and-why-are-they-struggling

TOWB is about Transparency in Timeshare:

https://tarda.org/f/towb-is-about-transparency-in-timeshare

Earl and Faith’s Mexico timeshare experience: 

https://tarda.org/f/memorial-day-honors-all-who-died-serving-our-country

Thank you all again for your contributions, Inside Timeshare wishes you all a very happy weekend. 

Friday’s Letter from America: Covid Nursing and Timeshare

Welcome to this week’s Letter from America and the return of Beth whose story we highlighted some time ago. Once again Inside Timeshare would like to thank our friends from across the pond who have helped to prepare and edit this article.

Today Beth warns younger people to think carefully before buying a timeshare. She was convinced to upgrade after her parents gave her their timeshare points. This happened at the height of the Covid pandemic while Beth worked as a front-line Covid nurse. The consequence was being left with no choice but to default. 

TIMESHARE TALKS is a new initiative, a YouTube forum hosted by John Raymond, owner of Resort Reseller, Wayne C. Robinson, author of Everything About Timeshares and a former timeshare executive, and Irene, a timeshare owner for over 35 years. The two goals are to promote the secondary market and call attention to the oral representation clause that has been a source of tragedy for many families who have reached out to Inside Timeshare over the years. Contact John if you are interested in being a guest. 

Beth decided to share her story after Earl, Faith and Service Dog Raven shared their Mexico timeshare and organized timeshare crime resale disaster in last week’s interview, CRIMESHARE. 

A Warning to Younger People Buying a Timeshare 

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June 11, 2021

By Beth, a Tennessee Timeshare Purchaser

I watched a TIMESHARE TALKS interview with Earl, Faith and Raven. The interview hit home especially for me since I bought a timeshare in Tennessee. Earl mentioned in his interview that he had been scammed by Your New Tennessee. It was brave of Earl to share his story and brave of Wayne to talk about how sales agents lie. I think Raven is a natural mascot for the episodes.  

I was forced to default on a timeshare I purchased after learning that a $4,500 purchase was really $40,340. The $4,500 was just the down payment that was charged to a Barclaycard provided by the resort. 

Wayne talked about the importance of reading the contract. I did not do that due to being in the midst of a whirlwind crisis. I thought I had not been given the contract, but when I searched through my papers I found it. 

I attended the presentation to learn how to use 10,000 resort points my parents had given me. The sales agent told me that the points I had would not get me very far and were in fact worthless. He talked about the benefits of achieving a loyalty level which required 15,000 points. He explained that he could get me 5,000 more points for $4,500. The contract was signed on a small tablet. He went through the contract quickly saying I should not worry because the contract would be sent in a few days. I was surrounded by salespeople who kept telling me how they wished that they had this opportunity at such a young age. I’m 24.

The actual signing was recorded. I never heard $40,340. I would have never purchased if I had heard this amount. That’s more than I owe on student loans and my loan balance which will reach $80,000 by the time I finish graduate school. 

The resort used the recording against me. I asked if I could listen to it because I have no recollection of the closing agent disclosing the purchase price. I was told I could only listen to the recording if I retained a lawyer who would need to issue a subpoena. I was prepared to do this, despite the stress of working as a front-line Covid nurse. A lawyer said that in order to issue a subpoena he would have to file an arbitration case. The demands of my work would not allow me time to do this and the case would be my word against the agent. I have no choice but to default. I wanted to buy a car and a house but now may have to wait.  

The company provided a portion of the recording’s transcript. I have to take their word for it that the figure of $40,340 was mentioned. I clearly remember $4,500 explained by the agent as being the cost to obtain 5,000 additional points.  

My warning is to never buy anything in the middle of a crisis. After listening to Earl and Wayne, I learned I should not blame myself for being younger. When we took a break from the hard-sell sales session, I called the hospital to check on my primary patient. I was informed that she was being taken off life-support. She was six months old and I had cared for her for four months. To make matters worse, the next day Nashville had one of those really bad tornadoes and power was lost. I was scheduled to move out of my apartment and into a new apartment the day after I signed the contract. Due to the loss of power, I could not move into the new apartment, but had to vacate the one I was living in.        

My mother is horrified. She thought giving me their timeshare points would provide relief from the stress of nursing. The stress of caring for Covid patients was overwhelming. I caught Covid twice. 

When something like this happens, you need support. You feel violated and alone. There are member-sponsored Facebook pages that provide support and straight answers. My mother reached out to Irene, one of our Facebook volunteers. I was able to get straight answers. I was advised to work directly with the resort. I learned that what I had before was 10000 Liki Tiki resort points that converted to 9000 Diamond points and that I had bought 6000 Diamond points for $40,340. I paid $6.72 per point. I’ve learned this is a high price. I didn’t read the contract until it was too late.   

I read about how some call me gullible. The phrase “pouring salt into a wound” evolved as a form of torture employed by pirates. It makes the wound worse and is designed to add to the pain. It doesn’t help the patient. 

Thank you to Earl and Faith, Raven, John, Irene and Wayne. I subscribed to TIMESHARE TALKS YouTube channel and hope you do too. The only defense from timeshare harm that I know of is consumer education and awareness.      

Diamond Resort Member-sponsored Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/groups/DiamondResortsOwnersAdvocacy/

Thank you Beth for your contribution and all those who have had a hand in this article. Have a great weekend.

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