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A Timeshare HOA Collections Agent Shares her Experience

By Irene Parker, March 13, 2017

Hair pull

Inside Timeshare has written many articles about timeshare transfer agents, but not often does a timeshare developer offer insights from their perspective. Kristie works in HOA Collections at a west coast legacy resort. Her job can’t be easy, so we appreciate Kristie taking the time to answer our questions.  

The timeshare resort asked not to be identified. Attorney Mitchell Reed Sussman’s response to the interview is posted at the end. We reached out to Timeshare Exit Team but they have not responded.

Irene: We are grateful that you have come forward to offer a developer’s point of view. Tell us your biggest concerns.

Kristie: I am excited to have been asked to offer my thoughts concerning this difficult topic and happy to provide any assistance you may need in the future. The biggest problem we see is that only the seller has to sign the deed. One thing that might help alleviate transfer scams is if both the timeshare owner and the resort representative had to sign to sell and receive property. Year to date I have tracked 85 individuals, representing $352,000 in uncollected dues because of what we consider to be fraudulent activity.

We have been able to address many fraudulent practices by working closely with the National Timeshare Owners Association (NTOA). Our establishment met CEO Greg Crist at the TBMA Orlando Conference a few years ago. Since then, we have worked together to stop some of the seemingly never ending fraudulent activity. Greg and his team have always provided positive outcomes. I would encourage every timeshare establishment to reach out to NTOA. They are the best in the industry.

Owners pay transfer companies thousands of dollars to be relieved of their timeshare which in the end often does not relieve them. This negatively affects the current dues paying owner with Maintenance Dues increases due to “Viking ships” that have no intention of paying dues. The term Viking Ships refers to Vikings who put their dead on ships and then shipped them out to sea.

We also work with Dave Heine @ requestmyestoppel.com. His program was set up to try to assist timeshare companies in an effort to stop fraudulent transfer activities by having a place for the purchaser & seller to sign as well as the estoppel & account information pages. His program can be built into any resorts policies. This saves all parties time and money.

Real Life Examples

The following article is about a Waunakee Wisconsin businessman who took over unused timeshares for a fee and will have to refund money to owners and return the timeshares to resorts, according to a consent judgment.

Jail

http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/state-gets-judgment-against-waunakee-time-share-wholesaler/article_11d2cf8b-f2d9-5cdb-86d3-054e9148e417.html

NTOA works behind the scenes in their effort to stop fraudulent transfers.

https://www.ntoassoc.com/

“Most NTOA members are timeshare owners, but twelve HOAs have joined NTOA as non-profit Associate Members. We assist HOA members when an HOA suspects fraudulent activity by working cohesively with the resort under attack while cooperating with and coordinating regulatory and law enforcement agency efforts,” Greg explained.

“Our HOA members agree to abide by NTOA’s Timeshare Owner’s Bill of Rights and Best Practices Agreement. Most if not all legacy resorts, meaning sold out traditional timeshare resorts, fight fraudulent practices on a daily basis. When a deeded timeshare is not properly transferred, the resort must hire a lawyer to resolve “clouded title” issues. This costs a resort from $200 to $2500,” he added.

Our interview continues:

Irene: Question 1 – Have you seen a dramatic increase in owners seeking release or more children and heirs taking over their week?

Kristie: We have seen both. Individuals seek a release because either they don’t want to burden their children or they have stated the kids don’t have the money or the time. Our resort and our owners have matured.  Other reasons for release include age, health, finances or are not able to travel like they used to.

If they do transfer the timeshare to the kids, they have stated it’s because they don’t want to give up the property and because of the wonderful memories. They want to keep the family tradition going.

Question 2 – Have your owners been successful selling their weeks and does your resort maintain a resale department or refer to Licensed Timeshare Resale Brokers?

Some of our owners have had great success selling their week and some have had difficulties. Based on feedback, it seems that it is about 50/50, with half selling on their own and half having a licensed resale company sell it.

When a customer calls we strive to give them all the information they need to make an educated decision. We advise customers about the many frauds and guarantees and to stay away from timeshare attorneys. We advise them of the transfer costs and re recording fees and even provide the paperwork they will need.

Question 3 – What are the some of the problems you have encountered when owners seek release through transfer agents?

We see fraud and incorrect deeds being prepared and recorded.  It seems that nine out of ten transfer companies are fraud and when one gets shut down 20 more open up. We have seen timeshares that have been transferred to individuals and companies that keep buying them but then never pay dues.

We have new transfer policies in place for all resale companies. All companies requesting a transfer must provide their company information so we can make sure they are a legitimate company.  We also cross reference addresses and phone numbers and if we find that the customer has chosen a resale company that is not legitimate we immediately advise the customer.

Question 4 – Are you familiar with Resort Release, endorsed by FOX celebrities Laura Ingraham and Dave Ramsey? If so, what is your opinion?

I am not familiar with Resort Release but I am familiar with radio hosts Laura Ingraham and Dave Ramsey and how they have endorsed certain resale companies. Unfortunately they are endorsing the wrong companies giving false information to clients. They both get paid to endorse companies to make it sound good regardless of the outcome. They are in advertising.

Most resale companies promise to get an owner out of their timeshare, but if it’s a deeded property they have to transfer the deed. The resale company might be able to get someone out of a contract, but they can’t get our customers out of a deed. The deed must be transferred to a legitimate party and all of our transfer procedures must be met for a transfer to be valid.

Question 5 – Are you familiar with Timeshare Exit Team? One of their agents contacted me and asked me to review their program. What is your opinion of this firm?

I would never endorse or advise anyone to use their services ever!! They specialize and advertise “Cancellation of Timeshare Contracts” but we don’t have contracts. We have deeds. We have chosen not to do business with Timeshare Exit Team because of their inability to follow our procedures and because of the quality of work previously sent to us.

Timeshare Exit Team has been involved with two other timeshare resale companies and/or timeshare attorneys that were involved with transferring 18 of our deeds since 2014 to four individuals that have never paid the dues and are delinquent in the amount of over $18,000. Out of the four individuals we were able to track, we learned that they are all associated with each other thru business dealings, contract employees or registered agents. They must assume that the association will eventually foreclose or take the property back but it is very costly to foreclose and we do not accept property back. It seems as long as they get their money they will make an effort, but if it doesn’t work out in their favor they just transfer the deed to anyone without making sure of whom they are selling it to.

Our newest issue is with the US Consumer Attorneys. They also specialize in Timeshare contract cancellations. They have transferred deeds to the same individuals as stated above that have never paid, and seem affiliated with timeshare Attorney Mitchell Reed Sussman.

We were never notified of the transfers and none of the procedures were followed. This seems to be a repeat of the Timeshare Exit Team accounts all over again. We would be happy to work with any timeshare resale company as long as the procedures were followed.

Question 6 – When you deny someone a release, and they foreclose, with no loan, do you or the collection agency file a lien or report this to credit reporting agencies?

The account is considered delinquent 30 days after the due date. We send a few letters before filing a lien on the property. Once the lien is recorded and the customer has received the final notice we send the account to a 3rd party collection agency. They will report the account to the credit bureau. They work the account and report it negatively for a year. After the year we pull the account out of collections and evaluate the account for litigation.

Question 7 – Are there any transfer agencies you feel are appropriate for owners denied surrenders or are they better seeking help from a timeshare attorney?

We refer our clients to a company called The Timeshare Guys @ 877-987-4897. This is a legitimate resale company that we use all the time.

http://www.timeshareguys.com/

We never refer our clients to a timeshare attorney. Everyone we have dealt with has taken money from our owners and not been able to perform the work they promised they would do. The timeshare attorneys send us letters telling us that their clients will no longer pay the dues and we need to transfer the deed back to the association. That is not our policy and unfortunately our customer paid thousands for something an attorney cannot do. In this situation we refer our customer to the Secretary of State, or State Bar Association to file complaints to try to get their money back.

Question 8 – If an owner is denied a release, how likely is it a transfer agent will be able to release the owner, as some transfer agents guarantee a release and others offer money back guarantees? Is there such a thing as a guaranteed transfer agent?

If our owner is denied a release, a transfer agent will certainly not be able to get the owner released. If they offer a guarantee and money back they are only deceiving the customer. The board members are the only ones that have the authority to release a client and there are policies that must be followed for that to happen and it does not happen often.

Question 9 – What do you charge an owner for a one week deed-back if your resort accepts the transfer?

Usually we charge two times the amount of the dues plus hard costs.  Each owner’s request is reviewed by the board and our owner’s situation is taken into consideration. The board will never agree to transfer the deed just because the owner is tired of paying. This is deeded property like a home and is treated as such.   

Question 10 – Are transfer agents necessary? If an owner is denied a release, ads say the owner can get released through a transfer agent. The deed goes back to the developer anyway and the owner can be charged $5000 or more.

Our association would rather deal directly with our owners to avoid the transfer agent fee but it seems the customer reaches out to transfer agent first. If the transfer agents were legitimate they would be helpful because they can prepare & file any paperwork.

Question 11 – Are there any other specific company names you can provide that timeshare owners should watch out for?

 

Kristie: There are so many timeshare resale companies that just pop-up and think they know what to do. I am not sure how they get lists of owners but they get the names and prey like wolves on consumers. Some of companies we have had the most problems with and would advise owner to stay away from are: Tek Solutions, Vacation Ventures, Resort Access, Tanya’s Timeshare, Superhealth Technologies, Sunshine Groves, Sunshine Clearing, Starla Missions, and Fireside Registry, just to name a few. Then we have the deliberate scams that timeshare attorneys and resale companies transfer to – individuals that never pay and never notify us. We usually find out about things like that when the customer gets the bill or we stumble upon it in the recorder’s office.

Irene: Thank you Kristie for answering my questions. It sounds like the popular timeshare slogan “Vacation Planning Simplified” does not apply to vacation un-planning. I learned a lot from Kristie’s answers. It will take some time to digest. Inside Timeshare will continue to unravel the mysteries of our timeshare world.

think box

Mr. Sussman responded as follows:

While I understand their position, the simple fact is that if the timeshare had any value at all….the resort should be thrilled to take it back so that they can resell it for a profit.

Of course, since the timeshare is a liability and not an asset, the resorts refuse to take back what is essentially a lifetime financial obligation.

Senior citizens are especially vulnerable.  When for health reasons or simply lack of income they are unable to utilize the timeshare the resorts have zero sympathy, refuse to take back the timeshare and then report the owner as a deadbeat to the credit reporting agencies.

Shame on them and bravo to any attorney, willing to sue or otherwise punish the resorts for taking advantage of the weak and infirm.

If a resort wants attorney’s in the field of timeshare cancellation to not feel as I do, they should simply agree to take back their timeshare when asked by their owner. Not by the attorney. Why should there have to even be attorneys in this field?

If timeshare resorts maintained a policy that would allow owners who are no longer willing and able to travel out of their timeshare, there would be no need for timeshare attorneys or timeshare transfer companies.

Mitchell Reed Sussman

Attorney at Law

The views expressed in this article are the views of the interviewee. Timeshare transfer agents and the problems resulting from fraudulent transfers – as evidenced by the Department of Justice timeshare scam report linked in our article below – is a subject Inside Timeshare will be closely following.

http://insidetimeshare.com/consumer-protection-week-usa/

 

Inside Timeshare would like to thank Kristie for her time and insight, it gives owners / members more information on this mysterious world called timeshare. Also a big thank you to Attorney Mitchell Reed Sussman, his views on owners being able to hand back without the need of an attorney will, we believe, be welcomed by many on both sides of the pond.

 

We welcome your comments and stories, contact Inside Timeshare if you have something you would like to share. It you the reader who provides the information which will help others.

 

The Tuesday Slot with Irene

In this weeks Tuesday Slot we welcome a new contributor, Haley Saldana, who shares her experience with Resort Relief and Castle Law, the introduction is by Inside Timeshare’s very own Irene Parker.

But first, yesterday it was announced by Canarian Legal Alliance that they have secured a Court of First Instance sentence against Club la Costa, in the number 4 court of Fuengirola.

The case was brought against Club la Costa Leisure Limited by CLA on behalf of their English clients. The main basis for the judgement was the contract did not have an end date, which made it a perpetuity one, this has been declared illegal under Spanish Timeshare Law 42/98, which states that contracts have a duration of between 3 and 50 years.

In this case the contract has been declared null and void, with the clients being refunded a total of £19,442 plus all their legal fees and legal interest.

It is quite clear that the lower courts are following the now 115 rulings made by the Supreme Court, which is good news for all clients who have cases pending or are considering filing claims.

Now for today’s article.

Resort Relief and Castle Law Group’s Tangled Web

Part I: How Haley Saldana Lost $3,495 retaining Resort Relief

Part II June 1: Declarations of former employees of Castle Law Group, P.C. and Castle Marketing Group, LLC

Haley Saldana shares her Castle Law and Resort Relief experience

Introduction by Irene Parker

May 29, 2018

Former Silverleaf member Haley Saldana relates her frustration over a cycle of hopeful vacation promises that ended with a desperate need to get out. More consumer awareness is needed, so Haley has shared her story today hoping people ask the right questions before buying a timeshare or signing up to get out of one. It’s important to examine the reasons why people reach out to a timeshare exit company in the first place.   

Inside Timeshare has heard from 431 mostly angry, overwhelmed, desperate timeshare members. They don’t know where to turn for straight timeshare answers. Most allege that they either bought or upgraded a timeshare from sales agents employing bait and switch tactics. If deceived, or just not understanding the nature of the product they purchased, they soon learn the challenges one faces attempting to be released from a timeshare contract, especially if there is an outstanding loan. The contract is perpetual, and the resort usually dismisses the member with a “You signed a contract.” Some state regulators second that response. With no other way out, the buyer seeks legal or third party assistance, or gets foreclosed. In Haley’s case, seeking third party assistance cost her $3,495 and she still got foreclosed!

Haley explains why she feels she was deceived into purchasing a Silverleaf upgrade. Unable to get help from Silverleaf, she contacted Resort Relief. Haley is 31 years old and her husband Louis, 34. Haley and Louis went from Silverleaf timeshare owner, to Resort Relief, to Castle Law, and ultimately to foreclosure.

Through public filings, we obtained depositions from two former Castle Law Group, P.C. employees. Their descriptions of what it was like to work for Castle Law will be the subject of Friday’s Letter from America.      

By Haley Saldana

I contacted Resort Relief in 2016 after being convinced to make a second Silverleaf timeshare purchase. In 2014 we had paid approximately $11,000 for our first Silverleaf timeshare. We had no problem affording this purchase.

We feel we were deceived into making the second Silverleaf purchase. We could not use the bonus time that went with the original purchase. At a members’ meeting we were told a second purchase or upgrade would give us more availability, but it did not. I contacted Resort Relief. Resort Relief set us up with Castle Law Group. We were charged $3,495 February 2016.

Castle Law Group told us if we talked to Silverleaf they would drop us and keep our money. I heard nothing until I talked to a guy at Castle in 2017. He said to keep not paying and again told us not to talk to Silverleaf. We had gotten a letter from Silverleaf that said we should contact them. We received a second letter from Silverleaf June 23, 2017 that said if we do not pay them what we owed them, it would go against our credit, but we had been instructed not to talk to Silverleaf. By this time it had been well over a year since we had originally contacted Resort Relief February 2016.

I emailed Barb Holland from Castle Law the Silverleaf letter June 23, 2017.

Next, now almost two years later, we got a letter from Silverleaf January 26, 2018 saying that they were proceeding with foreclosure.

We notified Castle Law. Castle responded by letter informing us they no longer represent us because of a serious legal conflict with the organization that referred us to Castle Law Group (Resort Relief).

We contacted Resort Relief. Resort Relief owner Kevin Hanson told us, “I’m sorry, I lost $2 million because of Castle Law. He said that Castle Law Group came back to Resort Relief and said “Here are your clients. Castle Law Group is no longer representing Resort Relief clients.”

You would think Resort Relief would make things right since they were the ones that set us up with Castle Law. Instead, Mr. Hanson said if we pay Resort Relief $750 they will transfer our case to a local attorney. We lost the timeshare through foreclosure, and the $3,495 paid to Resort Relief/Castle Law. I have all the emails confirming this disaster.

Mr. Hanson said Baker & Britt is the local (Conroe Texas) law firm that is representing him (Resort Relief) against Castle Law Group.

On the creditor’s side of the fence, back in March 2017, I interviewed Kristie, an HOA collections agent. Kristie expressed her discomfort with Timeshare Exit Team and timeshare attorney Mitchell Reed Sussman. Countering Kristie’s comments, timeshare attorney Mitchell Sussman Reed responded:  

While I understand their position, the simple fact is that if the timeshare had any value at all….the resort should be thrilled to take it back so that they can resell it for a profit. Of course, since the timeshare is a liability and not an asset; the resorts refuse to take back what is essentially a lifetime financial obligation.

Senior citizens are especially vulnerable. When for health reasons or simply lack of income they are unable to utilize the timeshare the resorts have zero sympathy, refuse to take back the timeshare and then report the owner as a dead beat to the credit reporting agencies.

Shame on them, and bravo to any attorney willing to sue or otherwise punish the resort for taking advantage of the weak and infirm.

If a resort wants attorney’s in the field of timeshare cancellation to not feel as I do, they should simply agree to take back their timeshare when asked by their owner. Not by the attorney. Why should there have to even be attorneys in this field?

If timeshare resorts maintained a policy that would allow owners who are no longer willing and able to travel out of their timeshare, there would be no need for timeshare attorneys or timeshare transfer companies.

Mitchell Reed Sussman

Attorney at Law

http://insidetimeshare.com/timeshare-hoa-collections-agent-shares-experience/

Resort Relief has an A BBB rating! As explained on a TUG post below, an F rating may be more credible than an A+ rating.  

https://www.bbb.org/houston/business-reviews/timeshare-advocates/resort-relief-llc-in-conroe-tx-90046035/reviews-and-complaints?section=complaints

Here’s a complaint almost identical to Haley’s complaint!

Complaint

We were sent a letter from Resort Relief where we were talked to about getting timeshare relief for the Timeshare we have through Silverleaf Resorts and was told that this service was a money back guarantee and that we were going to be able to get out of our timeshare once we paid the $4050.00. We… paid the monies and was referred to Castle Law Group who took the information and received all of our documents for them to proceed. I had no heard from the in sometime so I contacted Castle Law Group for a follow up. I was informed on September 11th that the law firm could no longer represent us due to a conflict of interest and referred me back to Resort Relief. I have been calling nonstop and no one is available to give me information or anything. I have stressed that I want my money back and I am getting tossed back and forth from Resort Relief back to Castle Law Group and back to Resort Relief. This has been stressful and I am not getting anything but a Reba will bet back to me and I haven’t heard anything and the worker that answers the phone Tyler doesn’t either and he knows its stuff going on and can’t tell me.

Thank you, Haley for sharing your disappointing experience after responding to a “Get you out of your timeshare or your money back” ad, powered by massive search engines seeking desperate timeshare members. It’s very difficult to reach Castle Law and when I tried calling Resort Relief I kept getting the busy signal.   

Maybe it’s just me, but I find today’s timeshare product one of the most flawed products in history. First, members contacting us allege they were deceived into buying or upgrading a timeshare. When they complained to the resort, the resort dismissed them with, “You signed a contract.” The member is then driven into the net of a search engine, and contacted by someone that often is a former timeshare sales agent or executive. When we researched one questionable timeshare sales agent, we learned he had several open and closed LLCs with names like Vacation Planning. Hence, the sales agent dangled the bait, made the sale, the timeshare buyer victimized, the exit company next deceived them, and possibly by the very person who sold them the timeshare in the first place! Worse, one snoop removed from our advocacy Facebook, had in his background a company called, Timeshare Fraud Recovery. No question this meets the definition of racketing. The member is defrauded by an exit company and then contacted by the same people offering fraud recovery!     

We’re not lawyers, so Haley and Louis would need to contact a reputable lawyer for an opinion as to where to go from here. Given what money has already gone down the drain, I can understand her reluctance to pursue this further. It’s a mess.  

When a reader asks about an exit company, keeping an open mind, I contact the company, explaining one of our readers asked us whether we would recommend them. Often they hang up the phone after a few questions. Once I received a threat accompanied by a string of expletives. Three timeshare exit companies I contacted I feel are reputable and we have maintained communication in an effort to better understand this murky world of timeshare exits and transfers.   

One timeshare insider provided us with this Timeshare User Group forum (beginning November 2016). I can vouch for one of the licensed brokers mentioned, Judi Kozlowski. Judi has helped us out with a few of our articles.

(Brokers recommended) Fred Messreni

www.timeshare-gallery.com

Seth Nock

www.sellingtimeshares.net

Judi Kozlowski

www.timeshareresalepros.com

Tug review crew comment November 16, 2016

I’m adding one more voice strongly recommending that you steer clear of any and every “exit / release / escape” entity — and to ignore meaningless BBB ratings.

 

You might consider “sweetening” the TUGgiveaway” by now additionally offering to pay the transfer fees — and maybe even the next maintenance fee bill as well (…said bill is likely already in hand at this time of year, or very soon en route to you). You’d still be mathematically “ahead” compared to paying any shaky upfront fee parasite, whoever they may be.

Finding a valid new recipient is infinitely more “clean” and legally conclusive than getting involved with (and/or paying) any upfront fee “exit / release/ escape” entity. Bear in mind that some of these entities are actually committing outright fraud by design …which could boomerang back around to you in the future.

Good luck, but do yourself a big favor and stay away from any and all of these alleged “escape artists”.

TUG Admin February 23, 2018

Looking at your ad, we see you are still asking for money for your Festiva timeshare.

You also don’t appear to be offering to pay closing costs as the seller.

Both of these factors are the reason you are having no success in selling your timeshare…not that fixing them will guarantee a buyer…but having them is certainly guaranteeing that the only folks interested in your ad…are upfront fee scammers.

(You are welcome; we just saved you thousands of dollars being thrown away for an upfront fee company)

Contact any of these independent self-help groups 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.

https://www.facebook.com/timeshareadvocategroup/

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

https://tug2.com/Home.aspx

https://www.facebook.com/groups/180578055325962/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/465692163568779/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1639958046252175/

Thank you Irene and Haley, this industry is in dire need of a major shake up and regulation, the periphery companies such as resale, terminations and claims are a product of the greed of the major developers, with the lack of a resale market and the inability to terminate membership.

If you have any questions or comments regarding this or any other article published on Inside Timeshare, use our contact page and we will get back to you.

Have you been contacted by a termination or claims company, or have found one on the internet and are not sure if they are genuine, then contact Inside Timeshare and we will help you to check them.

Remember, by doing your due diligence and your homework, you will save thousands in the end.

The Tuesday Slot

Welcome to another edition of The Tuesday Slot, this week Irene Parker continues her series of articles on complaints received by 126 Wyndham Carriage Hills and Carriage Ridge Resorts owners. Today Irene highlights complaints 31 through to 60, all these complaints are some of the very worst “Nightmare on Timeshare Street” stories that Inside Timeshare has ever received.

Following on from yesterdays article on the new website Anfi-Illegal-Contracts, it has now come to our attention that emails are now being received by Anfi owners. These are unsolicited emails and are in breach of the current Data Protection Regulations. Inside Timeshare would like to ask any Anfi owner who has received one of these emails to contact us and give us whatever information you have. This way we can publish further warnings.

Now to go on with our “Nightmare on Timeshare Street” stories.

126 Wyndham Carriage Hills and Carriage Ridge Resorts Owners Report Unfair and Deceptive Business Practices

The only responsible exit is to die childless? 

“The knowledge that these timeshares are to be burdens to our children after death is just beyond words. What a hellish thing to get stuck with after you have said your goodbyes to your parents. The children of today are not like ‘’us’’’…… busy lives with not the greatest of jobs if you can’t afford a house or even save for a house.” Rit

“Without question, the stress of the timeshares has been a catalyst for her (grandmother’s) emotional and mental state. In regular conversations with family, she shares her worry about being able to afford the fees, and in more recent months, what will happen to them when she and Gary have passed on.” Stephanie

“I have been responsible with my timeshare and feel now Wyndham should be responsible on their end. The resort is beautiful, but if Wyndham cannot figure a way to take back intervals people do not want or cannot afford, and resell them, then they need to take the option of selling the whole resort.  Quit putting guns to people’s head who can no longer afford their Wyndham Timeshare.” Rebecca

“My grandmother, 75, has her story in this 31-60. Today she attempted suicide for the second time this month. She is once again in hospital. This weighs so heavy on my heart.” 

By Irene Parker and Carriage Owners 31 thru 60 of 126 (continued)

August 27, 2019

False and deceptive advertising: There is no secondary market for Carriage Resorts timeshares, due to what owners feel is an onerous and predatory business practice. In the U.S. and Canada, timeshare buyers were routinely told timeshares are easy to sell, as they were buying deeded real estate. Who would buy a timeshare that pursues even heirs for delinquent maintenance fees, despite heirs not having signed the contract?

Our first article that prompted 126 emailed responses described Legacy timeshare owners not allowed a responsible exit. Six out of eight Legacy Resort owners reported that they had no responsible timeshare exit. One of the eight owners was Simon, who purchased a Wyndham Carriage Resort. https://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-from-america-64/

ARDA’s Coalition for Responsible Exit https://responsibleexit.com/

Article 2: I reached out to a Canadian friend who, by coincidence, owned at Carriage. I was informed that Carriage Hills and Carriage Ridge owners are taken to court for past due maintenance fees. The elderly, often suffering medical hardship, are sued, and if deceased, their heirs are responsible for maintenance fees. https://insidetimeshare.com/the-tuesday-slot-44/

Article 3: Carriage Hill owner David reports a violation of trust; in that, he was assured his timeshare would be foreclosed. David followed all instructions and received notification he had been foreclosed. Fourteen months later, David has learned he is being pursued for $10,000 in past due maintenance fees.

https://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-from-america-63/

Article drafts were sent to Wyndham media, and Mr. Jason Gamel, Sr. VP Legal at Wyndham, and president of ARDA. Mr. Gamel testified at a Florida legislative workshop on March 12, 2019, that exit companies are not needed because Wyndham has a hardship department. A draft was also sent to Canadian Vacation Owners Association (CVOA). CVOA did respond and have said they will look into this.

(CVOA) Mission Statement

  1. To promote high standards of ethical conduct and professionalism throughout the industry. 
  2. To assist in resolving consumer complaints that involve CVOA Members. 
  3. To consult with all levels of the Canadian Government to ensure fair and equitable operational, taxation and industry advancement policies that govern both our Members and consumers. 
  4. To work on behalf of CVOA Members to promote a better understanding of Vacation Ownership by the public, the media and governments; 
  5. To encourage the beneficial expansion of the Vacation Ownership industry.

http://www.canadianvoa.org/

Carriage Resorts Complaints #31 thru 60

#31 Mary

Hello Irene,

Thank you for taking an interest in the owners of the Carriage Hills and Carriage Ridge timeshares.  My husband and I bought Carriage Hills about 20 years ago when we had two young children and could use our timeshare or easily exchange with RCI.

The resort was taken over by Wyndham. We were encouraged to switch to points, but our exchange company changed, making it almost impossible to exchange. When we attended a session at Carriage Hills to ‘help’ us use our points more effectively, we were basically told that we should pay $16,000 to upgrade to a higher level of service. That was a no go for us!

We realize that we cannot sell our units or even give them away. We did not want our children to be burdened after our death. Apparently, the timeshare becomes part of our estate and our heirs cannot decline to take the timeshare!

We were promised upon purchase that this investment would increase in value.

About a year and a half ago, we were contacted by a Canadian exit company. We attended an information session (I’m not using their name…but their office is in Collingwood). They agreed to take over our two timeshares within one year, for a considerable sum upfront, for their online holiday rental company (Travel Club). There was a money-back guarantee. While we were concerned about the upfront fees, we agreed to use their services. Even before the year was up, they said they could not get us out of our timeshare. They passed us on to an American company who wanted more money. We were told to write letters to Wyndham.

We did not use the American company and told the Canadian company we wanted our money back, as they had not fulfilled their part of the contract. They ignored us. A lawyer is involved. So, we are back to paying fees, trying to find ways to use our points.

Thank you for taking an interest in this situation.

#32 Rebecca R

Dear Ms. Parker, 

I own at both Carriage Hill and Carriage Ridge Resort. I originally purchased Carriage Hill in 2010. In 2012 the sales staff offered a program to switch to points, which I paid for. If I try to sell the timeshare, which is virtually impossible, the points switch back to a deeded week. I was unaware of that. Rising maintenance fees and other fees make selling almost impossible. Maintenance fees in 2010 went up from $844 per year to $1,352, per interval. There is also a club fee of around $400 per year.   

I have contacted Wyndham regarding their exit strategy. I do not wish to own this forever and do not want to will it or gift it to a family member. Owners at Carriage Resorts do not qualify for Wyndham’s Ovation program. This is a shame. 

I have enjoyed Carriage Resorts and exchanging for other resorts, but exchange fees also keep going up. I have stayed at some nice resorts in the US, but think some of these exchanges could have been rented cheaper than what I am paying in yearly fees. 

I have three children. They would never be able to afford these fees.  I am starting to find it a burden myself.

When you have children with schizophrenia and learning disabilities, things get very expensive and I worry that this timeshare will be forced on them and forced on me, as years go on.  This will truly be unfair and unrealistic for them and for me. I will fight tooth and nail before I allow this to happen to my children.

I have been responsible with my timeshare and feel now Wyndham should be responsible on their end.

The resort is beautiful, but if Wyndham cannot figure a way to take back intervals people do not want or cannot afford, and resell them, then they need to take the option of selling the whole resort. Quit putting guns to people’s head who can no longer afford the timeshare. 

There are many options that could be looked at:

  • Let people out after 15, 20 or 30 years, even if there is some kind of reasonable fee to do this. Don’t hold them forever!  That is not doable. 
  • Seriously reach out to people that own, and I mean make a huge effort, to get a vote from people to sell the whole resort if that is what it takes.
  • The area where the resort is located is becoming popular.  It’s a nice area. I repeat, do something to resell the units of people who want out or sell the resort. Good gracious, get creative!

Doing nothing or suing people is not sustainable and gives Wyndham and the resort a bad name. It puts extreme stress on people who cannot afford it. At some point, I would like to exit and not burden my family. Wyndham needs to take some necessary steps.

I would also like to see some legislation put in place that better protects the consumer. This is so, so important for the timeshare industry.

Sincerely,

#33 Linda B

Hello Irene,

We too have been trying to exit our timeshare. I have been taken in twice by companies claiming to be able to re-sell our timeshare. Wyndham says we need to find our own buyer. We have used and enjoyed it regularly, but age has caught up with us. We can no longer spend as we used to. Our children are adamant about not inheriting this burden, yet there is no way out. People who might be interested in purchasing bow out when they hear the fees. It is discouraging to hear that others can get rooms cheaper using Expedia than what members pay.

We worry about delinquency rates climbing. This is not sustainable. We need help to convince our Board, SVC, and Wyndham that members need to be able to surrender deeds back when the time comes. 

Thank you.

Linda B

#34 Suzanne T

Irene,

We have owned our CH timeshare for many years and have looked into getting out. When we investigated, we saw that many people were giving away their timeshares for $1 or had them listed on various sites for months. Very few were able to sell even for $1. Our maintenance fees are over $1000 yearly. It is getting harder to pay these fees now that we are retired. RCI exchange fees keep going up as well.

We contacted our attorney here in Michigan. He informed us that not only would it be a problem for us if we stopped paying our maintenance fees, but that our children will inherit this headache once we die!! This is insane! Please help us share this information with the public to help convince Wyndham to give us a “true” exit strategy!

Sincerely,

Fred and Suzanne T

#35 Adele C

Hello Ms. Parker,

We were given this timeshare in 2014. We only paid lawyer’s fees. As we have small children, we thought it was a great idea. After two visits, we decided that Carriage Hills was not ideal for us. With much difficulty, we managed to exchange our week via RCI. Owning weeks, not points, made exchanging our timeshare nearly impossible.

This year we attempted to sublet our week but were unable to find an interested party for March break OR for the first week of July (which coincided with a nearby Rolling Stones concert). We ended up grudgingly using the week ourselves. We found the staff unfriendly and the resort in dire need of upkeep.

We sat through a timeshare presentation but were not interested in spending thousands of dollars to switch to points, which they touted as superior in flexibility and convenience. The annual maintenance fee is an obligation we no longer wish to continue. When we spoke to the Carriage Hills staff about giving our share back, they informed us that there was no mechanism to release us from this obligation. Considering there are dozens of listings on the owner’s association web site, people trying to give away their timeshares, I don’t see a feasible exit. We don’t want this to affect our credit rating. As a young family, this could have a major impact.

#36 Ehab J

Dear Irene,

I have been an owner at Carriage Hills since 2002. I am shocked at what I am witnessing:

1.  There is no exit plan. We thought this was an asset. How can this be legal? Why, as owners, can we not change this?  What owner in their right mind would not want an exit plan? It doesn’t make any sense.

2.  Communication from Wyndham is abysmal, to say the least. I have contacted Wyndham numerous times over the last few years asking them why I don’t get any email updates. Their response is always the same: I am on a “do not contact” list. How could I possibly be on a “do not contact” list when I never requested to be on one? And why can’t they just remove me off the do not contact list? Once again, it makes no sense.

3.  Maintenance fees keep going up to a ridiculous amount. How much further will they go up? My timeshare has become of less value (it’s beyond worthless). The public can rent for less than what I pay in maintenance fees. This is simply theft in my opinion.

Given the above, this timeshare is not sustainable. So my question is:  What happens now?

How can the biggest timeshare company in the world allow this? How can they treat owners like us with such disrespect, lack of communication and transparency, holding us hostage?

Shame on them

#37 Cindy B

Hello Irene, 

Thank you for taking the time to listen to our sad dilemmas. My late husband and I bought at Carriage Hills over 20 years ago. We enjoyed the resort for many years until our maintenance fees increased at an alarming rate. My late husband took care of the timeshare. Now I am left to pick up the pieces. I am finding out that our vacation spot is worth absolutely nothing. As a widow, this was a devastating blow.  Wyndham closed its sales office. Carriage Hills resort owners are trying to give away their timeshares, some with huge incentives.

Wyndham offered an exit program for some, but it seems Wyndham has left us out in the cold. After reading how they are sending collections after seniors, it is so sad. Something has to be done. We are an ageing population and will find ourselves in the same situation. 

Thank you and appreciate anything that can be done to raise awareness.

#38 Pat S

Hello Irene.

My husband and I bought a red week Carriage Hills timeshare in 1999.

We were told at the time we were buying a piece of real estate which would increase in value.

We soon found out when we tried to sell it that this was untrue. It has no resale value.

Last year my husband passed away and I contacted Wyndham to find out if they would please take back the timeshare as I no longer have the income to keep paying maintenance fees. I was told they are not taking any deeds back and my only way out was to sell the timeshare. I told them we tried several times to sell but we’re unable to do so.

I was told there was nothing Wyndham could do.

Thank you for taking an interest in our problem.

Patricia S

#39 Chuck L

Hi Irene 

My wife and I own 1 week of timeshare at the Hills and 3 weeks at the Ridge. When we purchased at Carriage Hills in 2007, annual maintenance fee was $668. Last year (2018) the annual maintenance fee was $1351. That means the annual fee has more than doubled in 11 years. The 3 weeks at the Ridge were purchased in 2008. Annual maintenance fee at the time was $759 and in 2018 was $1325, slightly less than double in the 10 year period. 

When we purchased, we were led to believe that we could enjoy the benefits of the ownership and should we choose to do differently years later, we would be able to sell the timeshare.

The ability to sell appears to be nil, and worse, many owners are now trapped into paying increasing annual maintenance fees as their ability to pay those fees become more difficult as they age. Wyndham represents that they have a way out for owners through their Ovation program, but Carriage Hills and Ridge owners are unable to access this program.

In my case, my wife was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s in 2013, and she now requires 24-hour care. I am her caregiver.

The ability to sell our ownership, or even give it away appears to be non-existent.  I believe that Wyndham has created a situation that traps owners for their own benefit. There is no reasonable way out, so I have no choice but to continue to pay the ever-increasing annual maintenance fees.

I hope this helps you understand the difficult situation I find myself in, as well as many other Hills and Ridge owners.

Thanks for taking the time to look into our predicament. 

Charles (Chuck) L

#40 Kate

Hi, Irene,

I’m an owner of the above-mentioned resort since 2000, 

I’m interested to find a way to sell the timeshare. 

Sincerely, 

Kate 

#41 Ali N

 Hello. 

We would like to add our voices loud and clear to the exit movement … I sincerely believe the sales tactics were not fair for they were loaded with empty promises. Try booking an overseas vacation, it never materializes.  It’s always been cheaper and convenient with other providers. My whole family of 5 is currently touring the UK. Try booking a 2-night stay in Paris France….. It’s outrageously difficult and damn expensive. We want out! We own 2 “deeds”

#42 Marg M

Hi Irene 

Brandi Hope at Wyndham Carriage Hills and Carriage Resorts is our Administrative Assistant.  We were instructed to send our first document for transfer approval to her. I can honestly say she is wonderful and got back to me in a timely manner.

Original report:

Good morning Irene

My husband David and I have been owners at Carriage Hills since approximately 1998. We were promised that we could sell it without a problem and that it would go up in value (we realize things can go down but not to $0!).

We were told by our salesperson that they would be building a gondola from Carriage Hills to get to Horseshoe, but this never materialized. There is no exit option via the Ovation programme that Wyndham touts.

When we try to contact our committee or Wyndham about exiting, the responses are always negative. They suggest we get in touch with an exit company. They want an extortionate amount of money upfront.

From stories we have heard they are pretty much a scam.  As we get older we can no longer afford escalating maintenance fees. Our children do not want to inherit this burden. We desperately need an exit. 

As people default on maintenance fees, they are taken to claims court and apparently money is recouped, BUT part of our maintenance fees is supposedly paying towards the defaulters’ maintenance fees. I have asked if this is true. If so, then why are we still paying towards that and why have we not been reimbursed or our maintenance fees reduced as fees are recouped?

We actually have a person interested in taking over our week, after advertising for years. We are going to pay the $1500 lawyer’s fee and give the buyer a gift card. After I contacted the lawyer, I find I don’t even have the correct paperwork to do this. Until I do, they won’t even take on the sale. I have contacted Brandi at the resort to get the needed paperwork. She said she would have part of it forwarded to the lawyer, but the original contract has to come from corporate in Florida. I am currently trying to find a number to contact. This is proving very difficult as no one seems to be able to help. 

Sorry for the long-winded. I understand you have been looking into the timeshare industry. We thank you for that; finally, someone is trying to help us. 

Margaret and David M

#43 Lynn H

Hi Irene,

We own at Carriage Ridge resorts. We are desperate for an exit strategy. We try to use our time every year but it is not easy. We no longer ski as we are getting older and our kids are not interested in using the resort.

We are one of the lucky ones, I say loosely, as we were able to find a buyer for a couple of weeks we owned. By saying buyer I mean “We gave them our paid-up 2019 weeks and also paid the lawyer fees,” so to transfer over these weeks cost us $4,150.22.

Our buyer wanted to buy our points.

Since Wyndham reverts points back to weeks when you sell, our buyer decided they wouldn’t take one of our weeks.

Now we have a white week left.  We will never be able to find a buyer. It’s only good for booking during 10 off-season weeks of the year. The only way we will be able to get out is through an exit program.

Personally, I think that there may be some buyers out there, but Wyndham’s policies make it difficult. Renters (through Expedia) get a much better deal. We need an Ovations program.

Thank you for your interest!

Lynn and Brian H

#44 Stephanie C

Irene, 

Thank you for taking up this cause. I write to you on behalf of my grandparents. I have been working with my grandmother to handle this timeshare for the last few years. 

Sandra and Gary have been owners at Carriage Hills & Carriage Ridge since the 90’s, and are of the Elite designation. The initial purchase was made with the intent to travel, as YRDSB teachers with summers off. The location of CH and CR was convenient, bringing friends, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Value was found in the timeshare, based on the information provided by the sales representatives.

Initially, annual fees were approximately $ 650 per unit, but 2019 fees were approximately $1500 per unit. Despite this substantial increase, there has been little to no change or improvement to CH and CR. This fee is not affordable.

In 2014 the determination was made that Gary would require more comprehensive care, and was relocated to a 24-hour care unit in a nursing home. He is wheelchair-bound and requires assistance with bathing, eating, washroom & mobility concerns. At the onset, his health deteriorated quickly and continues on that path. He communicates verbally, but he is unable to make decisions or advocate for himself.

Gary was the breadwinner, being a pensioned teacher, he supported the household. When he was moved to 24-hour care, his insurance only covered a portion. Sandra resides in their home with an adult son, who is not employed. There is nothing frivolous about her life, and her joy comes in the form of making beautiful, handmade quilts.

Sandra has long struggled with depression. In the last 4 years, there has been deterioration in her health. She sees Gary once a week. On June 30 2019, they reached 53 years married. Imagine being married for 53 years, and then having so much stress that you can’t make it out to visit.

Without question, the stress of the timeshares has been a catalyst for her emotional and mental state. In regular conversations with family, she shares her worry about being able to afford the fees, and in more recent months what will happen them when she and Gary have passed on.

They are not able to use the timeshares. Gary has no ability to travel and Sandra cannot travel alone, or long distances. She is able to get up once and a while to CH to use the pool with a friend. Shell Vacation has an online portal, but at 75 years old Sandra is not internet savvy and relies on the help of family to do simple things with the timeshare.

There is no way out of the timeshare, the fee to sell to another is substantial, the lawyer’s fees even higher. Couple this timeshare with the cuts to health and social programs that Ontario is seeing. It is really a crisis.

 Sandra’s wish is to be able to sell back or return the timeshares to Wyndham… even to transfer to a relative is a 1500$ fee and 1500$ x 5 is exorbitant. Her wish is to stop worrying about choosing these fees over her needs. She found hope in the exit program Wyndham offers, only to learn that they are not extended to CH and CR owners.

As of today, Saturday, Aug 17, my grandmother is arriving shortly at my home as she cannot be left alone. She spent the last 8 days in the hospital due to a change in medication and a depression spell. An exit strategy would be life-changing for her. 

#45 Rita D

I owned at Carriage. Hills and Carriage Ridge for 20 years, but have not stayed at the

Resort much. I used it for exchange. The time has come to EXIT. 

Many owners wish for a smooth exit. Maintenance and exchange fees are high. Being on pension and not getting any younger. Soon there will be no travelling.  In fact, it has already begun with my husband needing surgery soon.

The knowledge that these timeshares are to be burdens to our children after death is just

beyond words. What a hellish thing to get stuck with after you have said your goodbyes to your parents. The children of today are not like ‘’us’’’…… busy lives with not the greatest of jobs if you can’t afford a house or even save for a house.

Our generation has this BURDEN because of pushy misleading salespeople.

I don’t want the next generation to suffer and HATE their parents for their unfortunate mistake.

We, owners, are praying for an EXIT solution. We are very frustrated that there is NO answer or help.

Thank you for your interest in reading the Emails.

Rita D

#46 David M

Hi Irene

Our nightmare was and continues to be just that. We purchased one week in the early 2000s and we were told like others that resale would be no problem.  We were forced to buy a second unit because they said things were changing, and if we didn’t have two weeks, we wouldn’t be able to exchange into other resorts – lies, lies and more lies.

Five/six years ago our daughter came into financial ruin after a divorce. She had two young children. We had no choice but to support her. This went on for years and nearly ruined us.

I actually spoke to the President of our HOA at the time to find out the consequences of not paying maintenance fees. I was told calls from Shell Collections would occur, then files sent to outside collections, then foreclosure after no payment and after about eight months. We also called SVC. They said the same process would be followed.

After a great deal of thought and worry, we had no choice but to become delinquent ruining our credit rating. All the processes told to us by the Carriage Hills Association President and managers from Shell were followed. We received numerous calls. Everyone understood our financial issues. I returned every call I received. 

After seven months we received letters from the outside collection company saying that because of no payment arrangements, the files would be closed and sent to foreclosure. I have those letters in my notes and file. 

We never heard anything for 14 months – no calls, no letters. Then, all of a sudden, after 14 months, we received a notice threatening court and that we owed 10,000.00 in fees and penalties. 

We were devastated, to say the least. I called SVC managers and everyone I could. I was told that never, never, never, and absolutely no hard collections, no court, no garnish of wages, just foreclosure. This is what I had been told, but no. Carriage Hills changed their bylaws after we believed our accounts had been closed. Our credit rating was ruined and we had lived believing it was over for almost two years. We couldn’t afford maintenance fees, let alone courts costs, so we had no choice but to try to come up with the money. We called Ovation and were told Carriage Hills and Ridge did not qualify for voluntary surrender, but they could not say why. 

I have sent two emails with copies of all my conversations with everyone I spoke to – Wyndham President, Carriage Hills president, stressing fairness principles being broken. No one cared. The Wyndham President never even acknowledged my emails.

The perpetuities issue, given there is no secondary market, is ruining ageing owners who were told resale would not be an issue. Does Wyndham and Carriage Hills truly believe ruining everyone’s retirement years with worry creating nightmares for executors trying to close the estates of Shell Owners, is the way to treat people!  In addition to all this heartache, my wife, 74 years old, fell two years ago and broke her pelvis. She is learning to walk again. She uses a cane, can’t walk any distance, can’t carry anything while she walks, and certainly can’t travel any distance without great agony. 

All Wyndham and Carriage have to do are take back the ones who need out, resell, and make a bunch of new cash, but no, messing with old people’s lives seems to be their goal.

Again, I have notes from every person I spoke to since we decided to not to pay fees, as well as letters from collections saying files would be closed.

I have so much more to include but I have been trying to keep it short.

David M

Ontario

#47 Marg K

We have been owners at Carriage Hills Timeshare since our purchase in 1999.  I don’t believe I need to recount the process used to reel us in as it is no different than everyone else.  Free weekend but spent in the grip of charming, fast-talking and manipulative salesmen. They talked nonstop during the signing process, skimming over the contract in summary fashion, asking for initials at critical statements, and was done over a fancy breakfast with no opportunity to take it away to review, as we had to check out by 10:00.  Never did they state this ownership was a life sentence for us and our children and grandchildren.

We were told of the advantage of deeded ownership is the ability to sell, and like real estate, would only increase in value.

In the fall of 2017, we were desperate to unload this timeshare. We fell prey to the second layer of deceit and spent at least $8,000 in a tiered resale scheme with Genesky, Cyria who supposedly worked with Timeshare Exit in the US to sell back our unit. They said they had great success in doing this for Carriage Hills units, as they were hot on the market, given the strength of the US dollar. We got a few emails, excuses of people who had left, and a new caseworker assigned to one that claimed a key person to our case had died. 

We are seniors on fixed incomes who have also found ourselves sadly in a late-life divorce.

Our children are not in a position to assume this ownership and unless one of them signs off to take it, the last surviving spouse’s estate can’t be settled and costs will continue to accrue. 

Wyndham is not running this resort as a timeshare, but bleeding us to pay for their investment and vacation club.  They have bullied us in board elections and even if we got more members voting, they would exercise their ability to have more voting power. We will never win.

They have shut us out of a voice on site to advertise units. And why, unless for self-serving reasons? They do this while plastering their posters everywhere. Wyndham knows that as individuals, we can’t fight them and win, nor do we have the financial resources.  If they have been so callous in dealing with senior hardship cases, you are already aware we have no hope. 

I don’t know what you can do to help us, but it does appear other provinces and counties have recognized this is a serious issue – taking advantage of seniors and vulnerable others of all ages, with no exit plan to ever escape and yes, we feel in prison.

Feel free to contact me if you want and thanks for highlighting our resort and sad situation.

Marg

#48 Heather T

Good morning, 

We purchased back in 2000. It was a foolish decision. Our plans were to exchange and use it for our honeymoon, somewhere tropical.  We quickly found out that it wasn’t quite as valuable as was indicated and booked something else through a travel agent. Well, you can’t go back in time. Today we are more financially stable and we do enjoy our time at Carriage Hills and exchanges through RCI.  

Our concern is when we get older or pass on, this will need to go to someone and we have no choice. Yes, we are using it trying to make the best of it, but we don’t want to put that on someone else, especially not our kids.

I see stories of people who need out and feel so bad for them, but also realize we will be there sooner than we think. We need a viable exit plan or even a rental system so people can make their fees back so won’t need to default. 

That’s all, thanks for your time!

#49 A & Mellissa S

Hello Irene,

I am a fairly new owner. My husband and I purchased a resale week just last year. Now if I had known how owners were being treated by Wyndham, I would have never purchased. We live close to the resort and bought there so that we could use the facilities regularly for day use, as well as enjoying our allotted time.

We did not know how high the maintenance fees would be or that we could stay cheaper without being owners. We are a young family and look forward to using our time. But what happens when we can’t use this anymore? We can’t burden our kids with this. There needs to be a fair exit. I worry how we will pay maintenance fees if they continue to rise at such an alarming rate. 

I know other families who would love to purchase for the same reasons my husband and I have… but I won’t allow my friends or family to be suckered into this until there is a safe way to get out and some kinda cap on the rising cost.

Thank you for your time and hoping all will be heard. 

#50 Linda D

Hi Irene,

We wish to add our voices to the many other owners who are looking for an exit strategy. We have owned since 2002. We believed the sales pitch and purchased another biyearly week to convert to Shells Vacations in 2003.

The ramifications of “in perpetuity” were not explained.

We were told this timeshare was an investment and an asset that COULD be passed to our heirs, not forced upon them.

To be fair, we have actually used and continue to use the timeshare to exchange and obtain prepaid debit cards. We are, however, getting older and our travelling style has changed over the years. This timeshare really no longer works for us.

We have made the foolish mistake of paying Secondary Ownership upfront to “sell” our timeshare to no avail. They called the fee an advertising fee. This company also called to offer us an exit if we would pay thousands of more dollars for them to facilitate an exit which fortunately we did not fall for.

I have no idea if any other people have had any success with this strategy. We also attempted to use Wyndham Ovations program but were told our resort was ineligible because it was an affiliate. Our attempts to sell or give away have not been successful.

We do believe that one should live up to their financial commitments, but we also believe that people who can no longer travel for health reasons, age, and changed financial circumstances, should have a viable strategy.

There are way too many stories of owners being prosecuted over unpaid maintenance fees. In some cases, the lawsuit may be justified, however, in many, many cases people are elderly, in frail health and have limited financial resources. These people should have a case for an exit for compassionate reasons.

As seniors, we now live on a fixed income and the ever-increasing maintenance fees are becoming a burden. As we age we will not be able to travel as we currently do.  We do not wish to find ourselves in the position of being unable to use the timeshare but still having to pay the maintenance fees. More disturbing though, is that we can’t seem to even give these timeshares away.  Our children have no interest in them.

Suing heirs is a completely unacceptable practice since they had no say in the original purchase.

We would be happy to give our timeshare away or have the options such as a deed back program or the ability to let it go into foreclosure. We just want out!

George and Linda D

#51 Arlene S

I own an every other year white week at each of these resorts, purchased when it was still under Shell Vacations. We bought these properties because they were close to home and easily accessible to take the grandkids skiing.

Three years ago my husband died, and since I cannot drive, it became a problem to get to the resort. I was coerced into converting to points when I bought the Ridge week.

I decided to exchange to other Shell properties. To date I have made two trips to Kona with family, mostly just to use the points I paid for. I enjoyed both vacations but believe I could have found cheaper accommodations booking online.

When we made our original purchase, the maintenance fee was about $500 per year and easily affordable. It has now tripled. In addition, we also have to pay a membership fee to RCI even though it is doubtful we would ever exchange.

We bought from Shell Vacations Club, not Wyndham, and their properties are the ones I wish to visit. For now, I have no major complaints with our timeshare, but I foresee problems soon. I am approaching 80 and not as mobile as I once was. I was considering naming my daughter as a co-owner but am having second thoughts, considering the problems other owners are having disposing of their obligations. I calculate I have spent about $100,000 in capital costs and maintenance fees. Surely the property should have some value. I am sure if Wyndham decided to sell off these properties, located in a prime vacation area, and well maintained by the fees paid by the owners, they would make a huge profit.

Timeshare properties were once a good idea, but with all the options available now, such as Airbnb, Expedia, Trivago, to name a few, they are no longer a good investment. The sales pitch when we bought was since this was a deeded property, we could always sell. From the complaints, I realize that I would have to pay to have someone take it off my hands. I hope that with all the owners banding together and with some legal intervention, we can force Wyndham to honour our legal deeds and provide an exit strategy when I can no longer use this property.

#52 Cindy L

Hello Irene,

My husband and I have been owners at CH/CR for many years.  We have not used the CH/CR location in many years but have exchanged our timeshare thru RCI.  

We have many concerns with the CH/CR timeshare as we age and eventually will not be able to use it. We do not want to burden our children with maintenance fees on a timeshare they will not use. We are very concerned about the dollars in arrears due to timeshare owners not being able to pay the escalating maintenance fees for various reasons. Lastly, we are concerned about the lack of an exit strategy. These issues need to be addressed and solutions in place sooner rather than later. Owners are not getting younger and can’t seem to give away their timeshare, let alone sell.

Thank you for your time.

Cindy and Jeff L

#53 Pamela R

Hello Irene and thank you for taking the time to hear our stories.

My husband and I purchased every other year at carriage hills around 2000. A few years later we purchased Carriage Ridge every other year in order to enter the points system.

My husband has multiple sclerosis and has become wheelchair-bound. He doesn’t accompany me on my timeshare trips anymore, but my mom does. The future for me is that my mom is ageing and my husband can’t be left by himself, so I hire people to come in. It won’t be long before we will want to exit.

It worked for us for 19 years so why can’t it work for someone else? Maintenance fees and the ability to get good rental rates and the threat of forever with no exit – that’s why. Please help us to make Wyndham aware that their product must be appealing. Help us make them realize they need to revamp the product to bring in new owners through resale and added perks etc.

Thank you ahead of time for your interest and help.

Pamela R

#54 Desiree S

Hi Irene

Please add my name to the list of people looking for an exit. I bought many years ago when my children were young. I was divorced with 3 kids. I started with the bi-annual contract for a relatively small amount of points. Over the years I added more points and therefore more contracts. Maintenance fees have steadily increased. I don’t understand why my first contract, which doesn’t have as many points, has a Maintenance Fee as expensive as the others. With these price increases, it’s become exceedingly difficult to keep up payments. I have also heard about people being taken to court if they default on their maintenance fees. In fact, I think I know the paralegal who is handling this, just coincidentally. I’m trying to use my points as much as possible but I most definitely want to have an exit strategy.

Désirée S

#55 Adam P

Irene,

My wife and I are in our early 40’s and have owned at Ridge since before Shell bought the resort. We’ve never been a part of Shell Vacation Club, and have always either used it or exchanged through RCI. We love going up, and do make great use of our ownership, but the ever-increasing maintenance fees, ageing ownership, and Wyndham’s apparent lack of desire to keep the resort functioning as a timeshare make it increasingly important that there be a viable exit, so that we can get owners in that actually can and want to use the resort.

Without a way for that to happen, what happened with the Lodges at Horseshoe Resort will happen with Ridge and Hills (rising maintenance causes defaults, which raises maintenance fees, repeat till resort dies. That’s an oversimplification, but not unique)

We don’t want out now, but we will eventually. I don’t want our daughter or our estate to have to deal with all this if something were to happen to us.

#56 Josh J

Hi Irene,

I bought two weeks at Carriage Hills 16 years ago and I wish to sell. The fact that there is no exit strategy is beyond comprehension. My financial situation has changed dramatically and I need an exit strategy. I would have never purchased this timeshare had I known this.   

Thanking you in advance, 

#57 Anne & John G

In March 1998 my husband John and I purchased a week timeshare at Carriage Hills.  In October 2010, in order to have our weeks changed to points, we also purchased an every odd year ownership with Shell Vacations Club. We took early retirement in 2008 and unfortunately, our pensions are now almost depleted.  We are going to have to sell our house, pay off the mortgage and use the balance to cover us for the rest of our lives.

Obviously, we are looking at ways to save money. When we bought, we were given the impression that we would be able to sell the timeshares and make a profit. Now we can’t give them away. It has been suggested to sell/give to a friend. I cannot in good conscience do that! Although we have enjoyed having the timeshares over the years it is essential to get an exit.

Ann & John G

#58 Charles H

Hi Irene,

You don’t know me nor I you. My story goes, I was only a very young man, 19 years old I believe, and I went away with my then-girlfriend. They convinced me to buy this luxurious vacation. Now I didn’t have a lot of money then so it was clear it would have been a struggle for me to pay, but here we are. Obviously, I was qualified and able to pay for my timeshare. Years went by and by now the ex and I have split. We try and split our weeks Monday to Thursday and Friday – Sunday, basically? But we’ve been trying to sell this timeshare for over 7 years to no prevail. We paid an online company to market and sell and still no buyers. I’m convinced I’ll be paying for this for the rest of my life

Please help. I owe nothing as I paid for my timeshare in full, why on earth can I not get OUT!!!!!

#59 Lois B

I am an owner for 19 years. I now live at the Resort area so use it all the time. The fees are too high and with our current set up, fees will only go higher as owners sell or try to sell. It is hard to sell to others, due to the locked-in financial setup. We will go the way of the timeshare at Horseshoe Resort…owners forced out or paying exorbitantly to stay (Now turned into condos selling for $450 000 to high $500 000 and almost all sold out). They have lots of value now and selling well, located three minutes from Carriage Hills.

We need an exit option and we need it ASAP. 

I never voted on taking people to court, but I also do not want to pay their fees from my pocket. We need a creative win-win situation. Our CARRIAGE Hills Resort is valuable and on prime land in a great recreational destination area. We are on a gem. 

Thank you for what you do. 

Lois B

#60 Karen D

Hi Irene,

Thanks for your interest in our stories!

We bought in the ’90s and have many fond memories with our two daughters of trips to Carriage Hills and Ridge and at traded locations. First grandchild coming soon and can’t wait to have a grandparent week there every year with grandchildren for probably 15 more years!

But then…..who knows what position this beautiful place will be in!

I’m not proud to be part of a group that is treating our older generation so poorly. And it needs to change quickly. Yet there really is no interest in change, just profit.

I feel sure Owner unification will help the owners and the corporation find common interests and agreeable solutions that all can live with. Technology can be used to get a lot of owners and their authorized representatives (beneficiaries) together-physically and remotely, and find solutions.

I really hope you are able to help in any way.

Sincerely,

Bernard and Karen D

How can any company in good conscience operate in this fashion? Thank you to Carriage Owners who responded to Simon’s original complaint reported August 8 and August 16.

Who would ever buy a timeshare if they understood the perpetual contract had no secondary market, holding heirs who did not agree or sign a contract responsible? At least CVOA is listening, and according to their mission statement, will see the futility in this stay vacationed or else demand.

We seek to provide timeshare members with 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.

https://www.facebook.com/timeshareadvocategroup/

https://tug2.com/Home.aspx

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/everything-about-timeshares-wayne-c-robinson/1129749757?ean=2940161600962

Free at Last Facebook Straight-A Guide

https://www.facebook.com/groups/623703881470577/?ref=share

Free at Last Timeshare Support Course offered by Straight-A-Guide

https://www.udprep.info/june

Bluegreen Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/groups/180578055325962/

Wyndham Facebook

New: https://www.facebook.com/groups/376743609795740/  

Sapphire Starpoint New: https://www.facebook.com/login/?next=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fgroups%2F292083584642570%2F%3Fref%3Dshare

Diamond Resort Facebook

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

Gold Key Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1639958046252175/

Inside Timeshare Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/groups/2213231165610648/

Thank you Irene and thank you to all who have contacted Inside Timeshare with their “Nightmare on Timeshare Street” stories. We will continue to highlight these and hopefully the industry will eventually take notice and change the way they work, Inside Timeshare knows this is a long shot, but remember that coming together makes everyone stronger.