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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 

See the source image

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.

Friday’s Letter from America

Welcome to this week’s Letter from America, once again our thanks to Irene and our US contributors for preparing this article for publication. 

TIMESHARE TALKS with John, Wayne and Irene 

A YouTube Forum for Timeshare Members, Owners, and Industry Observers   

See the source image

By Irene Parker

June 4, 2021 

Here are some questions and answers we’re working on:

  • How do you compare timeshares? 
  • How do I do timeshare math to determine if buying a timeshare makes economic sense, considering my age and the cost?
  • How much do yearly maintenance fees increase?
  • Am I better off renting someone else’s timeshare?
  • Why is there little to no resale value? 
  • Why are there closing costs involved in the sale?
  • What’s the difference buying from the resort or from the secondary market?

TIMESHARE TALKS allows timeshare members or owners to interact with other members and owners, and with industry insiders, to make sure that buying a timeshare results in an experience that will provide your family with decades of vacation memories. It is our goal to enhance consumer awareness to prevent two consequences of product misinformation or misunderstanding:  

  • The buyer often makes a decision without adequate information. 
  • The wrong timeshare decision can be financially devastating. 

Timeshare sales and marketing costs can be 50% or more of the purchase price. This is one reason why the resale value is so much less for a timeshare than it is for a primary residence, where commissions run about 7% on average. Anyone’s life can change in an instant, so careful consideration should be given to spending large sums of money on something you may not be able to easily sell or dispose of. 

Our first Timeshare Talks discussions:  

YouTube #1 John and Irene – Introduction and Resale Market

YouTube #2 Wayne Robinson, author of Everything About Timeshares

We talked recently with Canadian residents Earl and Faith, accompanied by Earl’s Service Dog Raven. We appreciated Earl and Faith sharing their experience to warn about the pitfalls of buying a timeshare in Mexico, and also about how their loss was doubled by falling victim to an international timeshare crime ring. Earl spent 18+ years in the service of his county, serving as a Canadian Armed Forces Military Police Officer. No one is immune from deception, as volunteer Tiffany reported this past April. She reviewed AARP staff writer Doug Shadel’s book, Outsmarting the Scam Artist. Mr. Shadel explains why no one is “smart” enough to outsmart a con artist. 

Our TIMESHARE TALKS team  

John Raymond is founder and owner of Resort Reseller. His team has over 40 years of combined experience. John and his team can help you buy a timeshare or sell a timeshare, if your timeshare has value.  

https://resortreseller.com/our-team/

In addition to writing Everything About Timeshares, Before, During and After the Sale, Wayne C. Robinson wrote other self-improvement books.

Author Wayne C. Robinson

Wayne was raised an army dependent on military bases in the United States and Europe. He graduated from the Munich American High School in Germany. He has served as a U.S. Navy journalist. Wayne holds a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications, and a Master’s degree in Tourism. He is an alumnus of the International Tour Management Institute (ITMI) in San Francisco, California. Wayne authored The African American Travel Guide; How To Work in Vacation Hot Spots, Change Your Thoughts Change Your Destiny and Job Hunting Secrets They Don’t Tell You About. Wayne produced and directed the documentary The DREAMS LIVE ON THE SECRET IS OUT. Wayne has worked for some of the most popular resorts in the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean, including The Holiday Inn Club Vacations, Wyndham, The Manhattan Club, Royal Resorts, and more. 

Everything About Timeshares provides a level playing field for consumers. The book should be read BEFORE attending a sales presentation. He doesn’t discourage consumers from buying a timeshare, but advises they research the timeshare and the timeshare company before signing a long term contract that may have little to no resale value.  

 “I recommend that consumers, particularly minorities and seniors, make sure that everything stated in the sales presentation is in writing. Sales teams are professionally trained to execute powerful strategies to make same day sales.”  

One of Wayne’s concerns is the plethora of travel club memberships. According to Wayne, many of these travel clubs hide behind brand name resorts.  

“Many of the companies don’t even own resorts.  They simply rent out rooms from brand name resorts and list them into exchange directories.”

Irene Parker, I’m simply someone who loved our timeshares for over 35 years until I experienced a predatory and deceptive sales presentation in 2015. Getting up in age, we no longer want to be burdened with the requirements of timeshare membership, but will continue to rely on our friends to provide us with more memories by renting their units or calling on John or my other timeshare broker friends to find us great destinations. 

If you would like to share your timeshare experience to learn more, or help others, let us know. You can talk to us about your experience, or ask questions that other timeshare members or industry experts can answer back. If we can’t answer your questions, we’ll find someone who can!

  Related article: 

April 2, 2021 Why the Buyer is Blamed 

https://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-from-america-74/

CONTACT INFO for Wayne C. Robinson

[email protected]

+016 17 411 9684 (Malaysia) 

Have a great weekend.

Friday’s Letter from America: Consumers being Blamed

Welcome to this week’s edition of Letter from America, since we first published on the subject of timeshare purchases and the consumer labeled as “gullible” and is to blame for their own woes, it has sparked quite a debate on various forums. Today we welcome another old contributor back to Inside Timeshare, Sheilah Brust, who is also a Tarda Board Member and her own take on this subject.

Why the Consumer Should not be Blamed

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By Sheilah Brust, a TARDA Board Member

May 28, 2021 

I have been following ARDA and the Timeshare Crusader’s comments about people like me being gullible, versus Inside Timeshare explaining why the consumer should not be blamed. I read about the non-reliance clause, sometimes called the oral representation clause. I won’t rehash what that’s all about, but being called gullible prompted me to share my experience to explain why my timeshare experience led me to join efforts to form the timeshare consumers’ voice in Washington D.C. 

One of the reasons why the timeshare exit industry is out of hand is because timeshare developers and timeshare industry lobbyists refuse to acknowledge the role that timeshare sales agents play that prompts thousands of timeshare members to contact exit companies or an attorney. My experience serves as a good example. 

I have personally communicated back and forth with Florida’s timeshare division, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) and reached out to ARDA-ROC, along with hundreds of other members who feel they experienced unfair and deceptive sales practices. I won’t go into all the reasons why my reviewer at DBPR, and even the DBPR supervisor blamed me, but I am encouraging the reviewers at DBPR and ARDA to read the book Not Today Buster! Author Vern Thornton, and founder of Senior Vs Crime, explains why the consumer should not be blamed.

Glendora Goodwin, known as “GG” to her friends, is pictured on the cover of Not Today Buster! GG was a “Super Sleuth” in that she worked undercover. She wrote a “Snooper” column for a Florida newspaper. One of her three primary warnings was, “Never buy on the same day an offer is presented.” If consumers followed that advice, it would stop a lot of timeshare complaints.  

I did not think my complaint would be dismissed because I had written proof of deception. Moreover, four others had the same “pencil pitch” in their possession. Only the numbers differed, depending on the points purchased. Note “8631 – 8631 = 0” is written on the left. That was the amount of maintenance fees for that year. The Florida sales agent, writing upside down, explained in great detail how I could be relieved of all maintenance fees.  

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/8hytFMWae3yvjKgo0-ALQBAc6GVKJ1LhhVtS9GQhix6Z_s5bH2XihgWWpQvfrfeklyfD4_EAFyy9br3kAV_k8Uq8fclDtyPcF-Pi71GGjt-VV4RcWgtsQkOXE_gZ-wrSOc6dr52m

Dismissed by the resort, and DBPR, and no response from ARDA-ROC, I reached out to Seniors Vs Crime (SVC), a Special Project of the Office of the Florida Attorney General. I learned that DBPR is not a consumer protection agency. They cannot mediate a dispute or compel a company to cancel a contract. In contrast, Seniors Vs Crime is a consumer protection agency, and can mediate a dispute. ARDA doesn’t mediate disputes, but they have a Code of Ethics that their members are supposed to abide by. The ROC in ARDA-ROC stands for Resort Owners Coalition, the timeshare members’ arm of the Political Action Committee (PAC). 

I reached out to Seniors Vs Crime and met with a “Senior Sleuth” volunteer at her Florida Delray office. They were understanding and so moved that they looked into other complaints I forwarded to them. They seemed shocked that there is nothing to stop deceptive statements, thanks to the non-reliance clause.  

TARDA stands for Timeshare and Resort Developer Accountability, Inc. A few hundred of us are raising funds to engage a lobbyist organization so that real timeshare consumers can be the voice for timeshare consumers, who at present feel they have no voice. TARDA is an all-volunteer 501c4 nonprofit.  

But back to my being gullible, the purpose of this article. I was a Platinum timeshare member. That means that over the years my husband and I purchased points costing our family over $200,000. Having purchased a few times, and used to relying on the ethics of real estate agents, the sales agent’s written illustration convinced us our agent was being truthful. He provided plausible explanations why this new program to relieve us of maintenance fees had not yet been announced so would not be part of the contract. He said the website would be updated shortly. 

Had I recorded the presentation, which is not legal in Florida without the other party aware, I’m not sure if even that would have been enough to cancel our contract. The non-reliance clause gives a green light for sales agents to say anything to make a sale. Even with proof, that one sentence in a stack of documents that says I did not rely on oral statements, legalizes deception. 

Given no harm befell the agent – he is free to continue to promote the ability to be relieved of maintenance fees. The resort responded that while they could understand his explanation to be confusing, it was not illegal. They would take steps to make sure it would be better clarified in the future. Six months later a fifth member complained, providing the same pencil pitch and the same explanation. Their dispute was resolved. Maybe I paved the way.  

All the complaints sent to ARDA ROC that I am aware of were ignored. 

Thank you Sheilah and those who have helped to edit and proofread the article, it has certainly been a great help at the moment. Hopefully, Inside Timeshare will be back next week with a few more articles. In the meantime have a great weekend.