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Friday’s Letter from America

Welcome this week’s edition of Letter from America, in fact, it is a Letter from Canada as we welcome a new contributor Stephanie, with her Grandparents “Nightmare on Timeshare Street” story with Wyndham Carriage Hills and Carriage Ridge Resorts. The title of this story is “Why is this not Elder Abuse?” Inside Timeshare has published many articles on this subject yet we still receive many reports from concerned members and their families, so why are the timeshare companies not taking any notice?

The Carriage Hills and Carriage Ridge annual meetings are October 21 and October 22. While an exit strategy will be discussed at the meetings, any HOA board should be able to allow an exit on severe medical and financial hardship, especially given the severity of Gary and Sandra’s situation. Of note is the marketing flyer presented at time of purchase to Carriage buyers stating, “Freeze the cost of vacations.”

Please remember to donate to the Irene Parker GoFundMe campaign to raise $25,000 for legal fees, in just two weeks over $8,000 has already been raised so thank you to all those who have already contributed.

https://www.gofundme.com/f/irene-parker-diamond-resort-legal-defense-fund?fbclid=IwAR1wj_cAkvvWXcUHXrC1zkDJtSZrlx9j_3RJKE5L7J0bUW7SM1rSwCFvFHY

Why is this not Elder Abuse?

Wyndham Carriage Hills and Carriage Ridge Resort

Grandparents Gary and Sandra Held Timeshare Hostage

By Stephanie

October 11, 2019

My grandparents Sandra and Gary have been owners at Carriage Hills & Carriage Ridge since the 90’s. In 2014 the determination was made that Gary would require more comprehensive care. He 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.

Note from Irene

Mr. Jason Gamel is currently the president of the timeshare lobby ARDA.

He testified at a Florida legislative workshop March 12, 2019:

Wyndham Sr. VP Legal Jason Gamel provided testimony at the Florida HB 435 Workshop held in Tallahassee March 12. In response to Representative Newton’s question about Wyndham’s dissolution policies. Mr. Gamel explained that there was no need for owners to contract with an exit service provider because members seeking a loan cancellation due to hardship can apply for a hardship release through Wyndham.

https://insidetimeshare.com/http-insidetimeshare-com-p5261/

ARDA’s Coalition for Responsible Exit

Of 16 boxes pictured on the website, four are Wyndham

1) Club Wyndham 2) Margaritaville Vacation Club by Wyndham

3) Shell Vacations Club (acquired by Wyndham) 4) Worldmark by Wyndham

https://responsibleexit.com/#getting-started

Gary and Sandra

My grandparents, YRDSB teachers with summers off, purchased their Carriage timeshares with the intent to travel. The location of Carriage Hills and Carriage Resorts was convenient. Initially, the value was found in the timeshare. Annual fees were $650 per unit, but by 2019 fees rose to approximately $1500 per unit. This maintenance fee is no longer affordable.

Gary was the breadwinner of the family. Being a pensioned teacher, he supported the household. When he was moved to a 24-hour care facility, his insurance only covered a portion. His pension had to cover the remaining nursing home expense. What remains in his pension goes to Sandra, who does not receive a pension. Sandra is a retired substitute teacher. Sandra resides in their home with an adult son, who is not employed. She is expected to pay for their home, bills, and Carriage maintenance expenses in addition to food, medication, personal needs. There is nothing frivolous about her life. Her joy comes in the form of making beautiful, handmade quilts.

Sandra has long struggled with depression, which until recently had been managed by lifestyle and medication. However, in the last four years, there has been deterioration in her health, and in August 2018 she spent a week in the hospital after an episode.

On June 30, 2019, they reached 53 years married. Sandra sees Gary once a week, but leaving the house even for routine tasks is not easy. Imagine being married for 53 years, and then having so much stress that you can’t make it out to visit your husband. Sandra recently spent eight days in the hospital due to a change in medication and a depression spell. A Carriage Hills and Carriage Resorts exit strategy would be life-changing for her. 

Not offering a voluntary surrender program to Canadians is unfair enough, but will Wyndham not even consider a medical and financial hardship release for a fully paid for timeshare member? Without question, the stress of this timeshare has been a catalyst for Sandra’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 is going to happen when she and Gary have passed on. She worries about the maintenance fees passed on to my children and me.

Sandra was not the person in the marriage who handled the finances or day to day needs. Gary has a very small life insurance plan and Sandra has no life insurance. She cancelled her insurance plan as it was too much to carry financially. 

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

There is no way out of this timeshare. In the unlikely event, a buyer is found, the fee to sell to another is substantial and the lawyers’ fees even higher. 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 contracts totalling $7,500 is exorbitant. Her wish is to stop worrying about choosing these fees over her needs. She found hope in the Ovation Program offer, only to learn that Wyndham is not offering a responsible exit to Carriage Hills and Carriage Ridge owners. Couple this with the cuts to health and social programs Ontario is experiencing. It is a crisis.

Why is this not elder abuse? 

Carriage Marketing Flyer stated: “Freeze cost of future vacations” 

Prior Carriage Hills and Carriage Ridge reports: 

Carriage Owners 115 – 128

https://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-from-america-67/

Carriage Owners 91 – 114

https://insidetimeshare.com/the-tuesday-slot-47/

Carriage Owners 61 – 90

https://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-from-america-66/

Elizabeth’s Analysis

https://insidetimeshare.com/the-tuesday-slot-46/

Jeannie’s Medical Hardship Dismissed

https://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-from-america-65/

Carriage Owners 31 – 60

https://insidetimeshare.com/the-tuesday-slot-45/

David’s Medical and Financial Hardship Dismissed

https://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-from-america-64/

Carriage Owners 1 – 30

https://insidetimeshare.com/the-tuesday-slot-44/

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 Timeshare Support Course offered by Straight-A-Guide

https://www.udprep.info/june

Bluegreen Facebook

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

Wyndham Facebook

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

Wyndham Carriage Resorts Facebook

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

Sapphire Starpoint  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/insidetimeshare/

Inside Timeshare Facebook Group

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

Thank you Stephanie for your contribution, we hope that this article will help to change the way timeshare companies view their members.

As we stated at the beginning the Carriage Hills and Carriage Ridge Resorts AGM are being held on 21 & 22 October, Inside Timeshare is hoping to bring you a full report soon after.

Well, that is all for this week Inside Timeshare wishes you all a great weekend and join us next week for more news and information on the world of timeshare.

El Diario Publishes Another Article on Silverpoint

Last week Inside Timeshare published the article “Timeshare Companies Highlighted in Spanish News”, which featured links to two Spanish Newspapers, El Diario and El Dia. Today we publish another from El Diario (7 October 19), which highlights the Prosecutor’s Office investigating the massive sale of properties by Silverpoint. It all centres around the decapitalization to avoid paying the mounting awards the courts have imposed. See link to last weeks article.

https://insidetimeshare.com/timeshare-companies-highlighted-in-spanish-news/

In this week’s El Diario they report on information from Canarian Legal Alliance that Silverpoint has stripped 52 of its 76 properties, but retains ownership of them through other means. This is through the “Company Participation Scheme”, where the properties are registered as SL companies, with “participations or shares” being sold to unsuspecting clients. These clients believe they are buying into “real estate” when in reality they are purchasing a “reinvented timeshare product”.

With this product which has cost many people thousands of euros, they are promised a return via rental agreements which since 2017 have not been paid as promised in the agreements. The administrators of these “companies” are listed on Spanish Company Records as Silverpoint Vacations and Excel Hotels and Resorts. Which confirms that they still have full control of the properties.

CLA confirmed to El Diario that they define this as a “rough manoeuvre” by creating an “ad hoc society” so that in appearance at least the property changes hands. (See link on the company participations).

The El Diario article also goes on to explain that the companies involved are diverting capital to other companies in the group, again to avoid the judicial enforcement of sentences.

Two other companies are also now mentioned, Signallia Marketing Distribution, formerly Silverpoint Vacation Solutions and Excel Hotels and Resorts. Signallia being responsible for reservations and Excel for managing the resorts and the billing of maintenance fees. Again it would appear that they are also responsible for diverting funds to other companies and also abroad. According to their financial report, there has been a significant decrease in the balances of their current accounts. The whereabouts of these funds are unknown.

The El Diario article finishes by explaining that one of the Silverpoint representatives must respond to the Judge in Arona on the accusation of the Crime of Obstruction of Justice and Frustration of Execution of Sentences. With another court ordering an embargo on three properties in order to settle a debt of just over 62,000€ for one of CLA’s clients.

This will be an ongoing story and Inside Timeshare will be monitoring the situation as it unfolds. So watch this space for more articles and reports on this intriguing story.

El Diario article 7/10/19

https://www.eldiario.es/canariasahora/tenerifeahora/tribunales/Fiscalia-venta-propiedades-timesharing-sur-Tenerife-turismo_0_950155565.html

El Diario English version

https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=es&tl=en&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.eldiario.es%2Fcanariasahora%2Ftenerifeahora%2Ftribunales%2FFiscalia-venta-propiedades-timesharing-sur-Tenerife-turismo_0_950155565.html

Swedish

https://translate.google.es/translate?hl=en-GB&tab=rT&authuser=0&sl=es&tl=sv&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.eldiario.es%2Fcanariasahora%2Ftenerifeahora%2Ftribunales%2FFiscalia-venta-propiedades-timesharing-sur-Tenerife-turismo_0_950155565.html

Norwegian

https://translate.google.es/translate?hl=en-GB&tab=rT&authuser=0&sl=es&tl=no&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.eldiario.es%2Fcanariasahora%2Ftenerifeahora%2Ftribunales%2FFiscalia-venta-propiedades-timesharing-sur-Tenerife-turismo_0_950155565.html

German

https://translate.google.es/translate?hl=en-GB&tab=rT&authuser=0&sl=es&tl=de&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.eldiario.es%2Fcanariasahora%2Ftenerifeahora%2Ftribunales%2FFiscalia-venta-propiedades-timesharing-sur-Tenerife-turismo_0_950155565.html

Below are links to previous articles published by Inside Timeshare Including translations.

English

https://insidetimeshare.com/silverpoint-company-participations-is-timeshare/

German

https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=en&tl=de&u=https%3A%2F%2Finsidetimeshare.com%2Fsilverpoint-company-participations-is-timeshare%2F

Norwegian

https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=en&tl=no&u=https%3A%2F%2Finsidetimeshare.com%2Fsilverpoint-company-participations-is-timeshare%2F

Swedish

https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=en&tl=sv&u=https%3A%2F%2Finsidetimeshare.com%2Fsilverpoint-company-participations-is-timeshare%2F

English

https://insidetimeshare.com/?s=exclusive+breaking+news

German

https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=en&tl=de&u=https%3A%2F%2Finsidetimeshare.com%2F%3Fs%3Dexclusive%2Bbreaking%2Bnews

Norwegian

https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=en&tl=no&u=https%3A%2F%2Finsidetimeshare.com%2F%3Fs%3Dexclusive%2Bbreaking%2Bnews

Swedish

https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=en&tl=sv&u=https%3A%2F%2Finsidetimeshare.com%2F%3Fs%3Dexclusive%2Bbreaking%2Bnews

Translation of this article

German Version

https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=en&tl=de&u=https%3A%2F%2Finsidetimeshare.com%2Fel-diario-publishes-another-article-on-silverpoint%2F

Norwegian Version

https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=en&tl=no&u=https%3A%2F%2Finsidetimeshare.com%2Fel-diario-publishes-another-article-on-silverpoint%2F

Swedish Version

https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=en&tl=sv&u=https%3A%2F%2Finsidetimeshare.com%2Fel-diario-publishes-another-article-on-silverpoint%2F

If you have purchased any product from Silverpoint and would like to know what your legal position is and what options are open to you then use our contact page and we will point you in the right direction.


The Tuesday Slot

Welcome to The Tuesday Slot, we begin with news from Irene Parker and her Legal Defense Fund in the Diamond Resorts v Finn Law Group case, as of last night (after today’s article was submitted) it is now standing at $3,999. What a great start, keep the donations coming in. Here is a fine example of the work Irene has undertaken, we are also more than grateful to timeshare resorts who have been working with the elderly and the infirm to voluntarily take back timeshares. Irene reported that in just the last few weeks, by making sure timeshare owners who don’t know where to turn, or who to call, get pointed in the right direction. Irene has been doing a little detective work for them to make sure the timeshare member or owner has the right department or person to talk. You would think this would be an easy task, but due to age-related concerns or disability, small tasks can become mammoth in size.

Yesterday a struggling elderly couple in their 80s stayed on the line while Irene was able to put them in touch with a company that really does have a responsible exit. The company representative walked the couple through the process while Irene stayed on the phone. Maybe there is hope that we can turn Timeshare Wars into Timeshare Cooperation by having exit companies refer timeshare members and owners with fully paid for timeshares to Inside Timeshare and we will do what we can to keep up the pace of our readers seeking release.

Irene Parker’s $25,000 Legal Defense Go Fund Me Campaign

Launched: September 26, 2019

A Progress Report:  Diamond Resorts v Finn Law Group 

October 1 Update: Over $3,000 donated since Friday Towards $25,000 Goal!

Please donate $10 (or more) to my GoFundMe and let your voice be heard!

https://www.gofundme.com/f/irene-parker-diamond-resort-legal-defense-fund?utm_medium=email&utm_source=product&utm_campaign=p_email%2B2300-co-team-welcome

By Irene Parker

Borrowing a page from NPR, America’s version of the BBC, we are interrupting our regularly scheduled articles to meet our fundraising goal of $25,000.

My GoFundMe is a Legal Defense Fund to cover legal expenses concerning a lawsuit Diamond Resorts filed against Finn Law Group in 2015. I received a subpoena to produce documents it would be humanly impossible, as an individual, to produce without technological and legal support. 

#2 of 13 subpoenaed demands: The term “computer materials” shall mean any and all files from any personal computer, notebook or laptop computer, (we gave one old laptop to a Wisconsin Diamond member when he was here in Florida. He asked if he could stop by my house for help with regulatory filings. Diamond called him before we finished the third regulatory filing. He resolved his dispute after he returned home and was able to get the deception he recorded out of his phone. He mentioned his son’s computer broke down, so my husband gave him my old laptop he had been tinkering with.) To continue: file server (This is what got Hillary in trouble), minicomputer, main-frame computer, or other storage devices, including, but not limited to, hard drive disk drives or backup or retrieved electronic information, including, but not limited to e-mail. All relevant files that are still on the storage media, but are identified as “erased but recoverable,” are to be included. 

This is one of those, “Honey, can you help me with this?” My husband Don is pretty good with computers.

It is ironic that hundreds of Diamond members have sent hundreds of complaints to Diamond and to the timeshare lobby ARDA and ARDA ROC, a Political Action Committee, and it is no secret I review members’ reports of unfair and deceptive sales practices. ARDA and ARDA ROC have ignored all complaints. (ARDA is closely related to the law firm Baker Hostetler that deposed me for six hours and issued the subpoena). Diamond CEO Michael Flaskey sits on ARDA’s board and has oft-quoted his concern over unfair and deceptive sales practices perpetrated by timeshare exit company providers.       

I am humbled and grateful, having received over $3,000 in GoFundMe contributions since Friday. GoFundMe has accomplished much good for so many. 

My Inside Timeshare September 24, 2019 article explains the subpoena.

https://insidetimeshare.com/the-tuesday-slot-49/

Rather than an article today, I offer two highlights from this past week. Resorts tell me they are inundated with owners calling seeking timeshare release.

From Frank Hennessey, age 78 to XXX Resort

August 21, 2019

I purchased an XXX timeshare on Nov. 15, 2013, from XXX Resort for $7,900. After complaining about lack of availability, I was told the unit I had was not very desirable and I should upgrade to a better unit. On July 23, 2015, I purchased from XXX unit 202 at XXX sales price $15,900. 

As of September 2019, I have never been able to use this or any property I was promised. Not once.  Because of some medical problems I have experienced in the last few years – knee surgery (ACL repair) hip replacement, knee replacement, broken arm, 10 broken ribs with punctured lung (5 days in hospital) I do not wish to remain in this contract 

Please contact me. I reached out to ARDA’s Coalition for Responsible Exit, but xxx was not listed. The timeshare is fully paid. September 13, 2019, I E-mailed ARDA and informed them of my wish to cancel my contract with XXX and would appreciate their help. I’m waiting for a reply.

Frank Hennessey

ARDA Coalition for Responsible Exit

https://responsibleexit.com/

Frank did receive a release.

#2 Helene Broome (same resort)

Helene Broome, age 88

September 26, 2019

To Ms. Parker, (an excerpt) from the resort:

I wish that we could take back the units of every owner who calls us with a sad story.  Unfortunately, the condo association could not afford to pay all of their fees. We will make an exception for Mrs. xxx and send her a Quit Claim Deed to terminate her ownership. 

From Irene to Ms. xxx

Helene is 88 years old, she has just been denied (I later learned gave up) her driver’s license, she’s a widow, uses a walker. Do you have to be in a permanent coma? Holding people 88 years old hostage is not healthy for the industry. 

I am grateful you will make an exception in Helene’s case.

Thank you, Irene

Ricard is 89. An exit company was going to sign him up for $4,000, even took Richard to Disney for a chicken dinner. I made one call to Welk Resort to make sure Richard could easily reach the right person.  

https://insidetimeshare.com/the-tuesday-slot-48/

I have heard from about 60 Legacy owners in the last few months. Some resorts have worked with their owners. Some will not. Seniors are terrified of the foreclosure process. I am working on a good, bad, and ugly report of exact figures. 

Mr. Kenneth McKelvey, of Defender Resorts, Chairman of ARDA ROC, testified March 12, 2019, at a Tallahassee legislative workshop I attended:

“Most of the developers I know and certainly most of the timeshare managers I know, and I managed timeshare properties for thirty years… every single resort had a dissolution policy, every single one! There was a way to get out. You had to come to your management company, and based on what the board of directors instructed us (the management company) to do in the terms if they had to pay a fee or if they had to be current, whatever those situations were, we did not have a one that did not have a dissolution policy and a hardship policy….”

https://insidetimeshare.com/http-insidetimeshare-com-p5261/

The lawsuit Diamond Resorts filed against Finn Law Group      

Finn and Diamond signed a settlement agreement in 2015 because Finn was bringing so many cases against the company, according to Diamond’s lawsuit.

Diamond says Finn disclosed the contract to third parties, violating an agreement to keep it confidential. But Finn responded in court that Diamond failed to cancel some of the contracts it had promised to, while the timeshare company also violated the confidentiality agreement, rendering the contract void.

https://www.orlandosentinel.com/business/os-bz-orange-lake-timeshare-finn-20180404-story.html

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 Timeshare Support Course offered by Straight-A-Guide

https://www.udprep.info/june

Bluegreen Facebook

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

Wyndham Facebook

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

Wyndham Carriage Resorts Facebook

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

Sapphire Starpoint  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 for another report on the work that you and our other advocates do free of any charge, to all our readers Inside Timeshare asks that you help by making a donation to the Defense Fund. Only together can we beat the monster that is the timeshare developers.

Tomorrow Inside Timeshare will be publishing a report from El Diario a Spanish newspaper titled “A court seizes the first properties of the giant ‘timesharing’ in the south of Tenerife’. Inside Timeshare has already published on this subject but the El Diario report only goes to reinforce the fact.