The Tuesday Slot

Welcome to another Tuesday Slot, today we welcome another contributor, Elizabeth, to the ongoing saga which Inside Timeshare calls “Nightmare on Timeshare Street” revolving around the Wyndham Carriage Hills and Carriage Ridge Resorts in Canada. Inside Timeshare has been receiving many complaints on this subject and it does appear to be one of the worst cases we have encountered over the years. It is not only from the US and Canada that Inside Timeshare is receiving complaints but we have now started to receive them from Australia, this is certainly becoming a global problem.

An Analysis of Wyndham’s Canadian Carriage Resorts

In 2017 the Board reported they had 600 intervals in arrears. In 2018 there were 800 in arrears and in 2019, year-to-date 1,740, more than double. The Board further advised that it was higher in 2018, but due to an error, was incorrectly reported.  

A Wake-up Call for Carriage buyers – The Contract is Eternal   

By Elizabeth, a Carriage Owner

September 3, 2019

Our Carriage Hills Resort ‘wake-up’ started just a few months ago…

Wyndham’s Carriage Resorts owners are being held as timeshare hostages in an ironclad contract. Buyers unwittingly have ended up owning a timeshare that is not a marketable product. Policies that are so restrictive require swift and prudent actions, which may very well be a vote and sale. Buyers were routinely told they were purchasing deeded real estate, hence there would be no problem selling the timeshare – and for a profit!  

The elderly and their heirs are being pursued for delinquent maintenance fees. A policy so unfair and restrictive; it cannot be in Wyndham’s best interest. In America, Wyndham, in good faith, offers their voluntary surrender program Ovation to American timeshare holders who wish to exit for a variety of reasons.

Ovation by Wyndham

We understand that your situation may have changed since you purchased your timeshare with us and now you’re unable to use it the way you planned.

Whether it’s a change in marital status, family needs or vacation preferences, these events impact how and when you choose to travel.

https://www.myclubwyndham.com/mycw/happening/news/ovation-by-wyndham.page?

I recently asked the Carriage Board President about exiting our timeshare. In response, he stated that the number of votes to support an exit would not be possible, as only about 10-15% of owners show up to the Annual General Meeting. However, no multi-channel contact strategy has ever been attempted to encourage a vote.

There has been success selling other luxury properties. My husband’s golf course recently sold. The owners voted and made $125K per person. My parents RV fractional ownership sold 20 years ago. Each owner made $15K. On the Carriage webpage, an owner posted an MCAP assessment for part of Carriage Ridge for $30MM, for just one of three parcels of land.

My father ‘gifted’ my husband and me our Carriage Hill timeshare about seven years ago. We signed a three-page deed. At the time, I asked my father what happens when I want to get rid of the timeshare. His response was simply, “Sell it.” Unbeknownst to us, the $10K “value” on the deed was not an assessed value. Rather, it was what my father had paid for it in 2001. The timeshare is worth less than nothing. It is a liability due to ever-increasing maintenance fees.

We ‘woke-up’ a few months ago when we attempted to exit. We learned we can’t even pay someone to take our Carriage Hills timeshare and it follows your estate. This means that when you die your children remain responsible for the ongoing maintenance fees. This is contrary to American timeshares. Heirs in American rarely must assume a timeshare when parents pass. You can never exit Wyndham’s Carriage Resorts!? The contract is eternal?

When I asked my father if he knew the contract had no exit clause, he explained that he was 80 years old, had lost most of his retirement money in 2007, and could not deal with the stress of collections. He felt my husband and I were in a much better position to deal with this. He went on to tell me that he had tried to sell, but was not able to find ‘any takers’ [in his words] and that maintenance fees had skyrocketed [from a historical 3% annual increase to 10%]. So he “gifted”….

The relationship with my dad has been very negatively impacted by this situation – as I try and understand his actions.

I investigated exit options, only to discover exiting is nearly impossible. I called Wyndham about Ovation. Supervisor Erica advised that Wyndham’s Ovation program is not offered to Carriage Resorts owners. She said to call a timeshare exit company called Fidelity, approved by Wyndham. Erica also recommended I gift the timeshare to family. “REALLY, and have a family member experience this? Gift what seems like a Ponzi scheme to someone who trusts you?” I replied.

Fidelity’s Jacob advised that he could not remember ever selling a Carriage Hills unit, as “it’s old and no one wants it”. He suggested I list it on EBay with a $400 gift card. I looked at sellmytimeshare.com. They wanted $4,500 USD to list with no guarantee of a sale. Recently, I paid Secondary Ownership $1,000 CAD in Ontario, but despite researching as best I could, have since found out through our Carriage Resorts owners’ Facebook page, This will not be effective. In June I listed the timeshare on Kijiji offering to pay any buyer $2200 PLUS pay the $1500 legal transfer fees. There has been no serious interest.

There are hundreds of Carriage Hills properties listed for sale (over 319 are listed with a resale company and about the same on Secondary Ownership). Owners end up throwing good money after bad, paying exorbitant listing fees to sell a product widely reported to have no secondary market. Who would want it if you can’t get out? Furthermore, Carriage Hills has $11MM in uncollected maintenance fees.

Recently a new owner joined our Carriage Hills Facebook page. The seller covered all legal fees and, as recommended by the Carriage Hills Owners Association, used a Carriage Hills preferred lawyer. I’m uncertain that they are able to adequately represent both buyer and seller. 

Carriage Resorts and Wyndham’s Financial Challenges:

In my investigation of the available financial information I discovered the following:

  • Wyndham Vacations purchased Shell Vacations Club [including Carriage Hills] in 2012. The property is located in Barrie’s Horse Shoe Valley and has 172 Units, 51 weeks, 8772 intervals [~9200 owners].
  • In 2016 Wyndham acquired ownership of 772 units in arrears [8.8%].
  • In 2017 Wyndham had title ownership of 831 units [9.5%].
  •  Even after Wyndham had acquired about 10% of intervals, it was reported in Board Q&A in 2018 that another 10% were in arrears [maintenance fee’s not paid].
  • Maintenance fees are currently $1350 up from $1006 in 2013, a 34% increase from 5 years prior. Owners on fixed incomes have no ability to surrender their units without the threat of collections and legal action.
  • There are $11 million dollars accrued in unpaid debt on the 2017 Financial Statements.
  •  In 2017 the Board reported they had 600 intervals in arrears. In 2018 there were 800 in arrears and in 2019, year-to-date 1,740, more than double. The Board further advised that it was higher in 2018, but due to an error, was incorrectly reported.
  • A 3rd party collection agency is paid 25 cents for every dollar collected.
  • Budget items that are increasing at the fastest pace include legal fees [+200% between 2018/19], Bad Debt expense [+14.7%] and collection fees [+7.5%].
  • The Carriage Hills model has shifted from a fractional ownership management firm to a collections management model to remain solvent.

Interestingly in the 2018/19 Budget, there are no 5 and 10-year financial projections to provide owners an outlook on maintenance fees and the impact of increasing arrears. A budget is shared with owners [with a Wyndham disclaimer at the bottom], but not the actual spend.

Large investments decisions are made, including Wyndham as the management company, without transparency on the request for proposal process, list of bidders and the results.

In 2018 records show that $2MM was spent on upgrading units to Wyndham standard door locks. Given the close relationship Wyndham has with Carriage Hills, arm’s length auditing and oversight should be required over the procurement process to ensure that financial decisions made are sound, free of conflict of interest, and not biased towards Wyndham’s preferred contractors.

Rental Rates:

Wyndham can advertise their units for rental rates that are lower than the maintenance fees, while owners are not allowed to do the same. In essence, they have de-valued ownership because it is often cheaper to rent a unit from Expedia.

Board of Directors:

Condominium boards carry a very strong fiduciary mandate to represent their owners’ best interests. That means all owners. Given the 10% ownership of Wyndham, their 4x’s voting power, plus their Property Management fees and strong direction on budget/maintenance spend, it is unclear if this is possible with this Board. Clearly, Wyndham has a stronghold and benefits from continuing to force owners to remain on the title for their units.

Board minutes show owners requesting for an exit strategy years ago. Only recently a Transition Committee was approved by the board, including two board members. While the meetings were supposed to be minuted, nothing has been posted and to date, no known actions have been taken.

The Board has approved a 3-year trial of an on-site sales office. However, a Wyndham employee [VP Operations] recently stated in minutes, Wyndham marketed, but no one is biting to buy in Canada.’ If there was a sales opportunity Wyndham would be on it…it’s the bad debt being high, Ontario taxes are not favourable and the products integrity.  Based on this, how does a sales office help?

Owners have asked to allow for a phone line so they can call into the Barrie Board meetings. This was refused. In the February 4th, 2019 board minutes under 2019 Venue & Video broadcast Wyndham’s Administrative Assistant advised why video broadcast is not available and states that owners MUST attend board meetings in person for verification. Carriage Hills elected board member [Director] simply complies without any alternatives being vetted, stating his fiduciary duties to owners at the outset of the meeting recommends and approves commencement of collections against estates.

A recent owner poll showed that most preferred to hold Board meetings on a weekend. Not only is the next Board meeting scheduled on Monday, October 21st but on Canada’s Federal election night, making attendance even less likely. Efforts to seek owner participation are minimal. It appears the Board has lost touch with their owners.

The hard truth is that there are no new owners buying at a rate to sustain the model and generate future income. If the sales model is broken then the model itself is broken – as the financial reports show. And those owners who are in a favourable financial position will pay more and more as those on a fixed income or changed financial realities continue to default. This is at a time when Canada’s unemployment rate is at all-time lows – it is only going to get worse. Those who need to exit their timeshare agreement have few options:

  • Sell to a buyer who may not understand the inherent liability of the Carriage Hills model. While not illegal or fraudulent, certainly rife with moral issues given perpetual liability. 
  • Stop payments and go into arrears for a $1350 maintenance fee, then endure collections calls, Carriage Hills lawyers, and a long term negative impact or your credit rating.
  • Gifting the deed to family and friends simply passes on the inherent liability and debt.
  • Surrendering is not an option and is shamefully not supported by the Carriage Hills board.

Thank you to Elizabeth and others for bringing to light a situation few will find responsible on the part of Carriage Resorts and Wyndham.

PARSIPPANY, N.J., February 13, 2019Wyndham Hotels & Resorts (NYSE: WH) today announced results for the three months and year ended December 31, 2018. Highlights include:

  • Revenues increased 69% compared with fourth-quarter 2017, to $527 million.
  • Net income was $43 million for the quarter; adjusted net income was $57 million, a 50% increase over the prior-year quarter.
https://corporate.wyndhamhotels.com/news-releases/wyndham-hotels-resorts-reports-fourth-quarter-and-full-year-2018-results/

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

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

Wyndham Carriage Resorts Facebook

https://m.facebook.com/groups/152117225452689

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 Elizabeth for your report and thank you to Irene Parker for the editing, as many of you will have heard Hurricane Dorian is set to hit the Florida coast, Irene and Don have evacuated and Inside Timeshare along with all our readers will be thinking about you. We hope that all affected by this are kept safe and well.

Yesterday, CLA International published an article on this subject with a link to Niagara this Week by Paul Forsyth. It covers the story of Mr & Mrs Game, Carriage Hills owners in their 80’s who are now trapped into their membership with no way out. You can find the story and link to the original article on the link below.

https://clainternational.ae/2019/09/02/elderly-couple-trapped-in-timeshare-at-carriage-hills-resort/

Friday’s Letter from America

Welcome to this weeks edition of our Letter from America, today Inside Timeshare highlights another Wyndham Carriage HillsNightmare on Timeshare Street” story. Carriage Owner Jeannie is not the only senior suffering severe hardship, held hostage in an eternal timeshare contract. Wyndham’s Carriage Resorts even holds heirs that did not sign the contract liable for their parent’s timeshare. Timeshare owners worldwide were told timeshares are easy to sell since they are deeded real estate. Given this false promise, holding seniors hostage is not only unfair and deceptive, it is also cruel. Wyndham can certainly afford to treat these owners fairly. Stock investors surely cannot feel good about tactics employed to please Wall Street. Canada is not only America’s neighbour, but Canada is also part of North America.  

PARSIPPANY, N.J., February 13, 2019Wyndham Hotels & Resorts (NYSE: WH) today announced results for the three months and year ended December 31, 2018. Highlights include:

  • Revenues increased 69% compared with fourth-quarter 2017, to $527 million.
  • Net income was $43 million for the quarter; adjusted net income was $57 million, a 50% increase over the prior-year quarter.

The Tragedy of Wyndham’s Carriage Hills and Carriage Ridge Resort

A NOOSE AROUND MY NECK!

By Jeannie, a Carriage Owner

Ending comments by Irene: My two favorite timeshares!

August 30, 2019

Dear Irene,

Please forward my letter to CVOA, the Canadian timeshare advocates, and to Mr. Jason Gamel, Senior Vice President of Legal at Wyndham, due to our medical hardship. The harm that Wyndham and Carriage Resorts are causing families is unforgivable, especially for those of us experiencing medical hardships. To think we are treated as such, just because we happened to purchase a Wyndham timeshare in Canada, is appalling. 

I want to share how desperate my husband and I have been to get rid of our Carriage Ridge timeshare. Purchasing Carriage Ridge led to many unwise decisions that took place before and after my stroke in our attempt to get out from underneath this impossible financial burden. We bought at Carriage Ridge in October of 2003 for $13,326. We should have cancelled the contract the day after we signed, but we were dealing with my husband’s heart condition. My husband was admitted to the hospital with Cardiomyopathy Stage 4, just after we agreed to purchase.

On December 26, 2004, we used Carriage facilities to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. We attended a meeting where we were introduced to Shell Vacation Club. We paid $13,620 to convert to points.

By 2014, I was desperate to exit the timeshare. In January of 2014, I paid a timeshare exit company $1,198 in the U.S. to help us. I cannot be specific with the name, as eventually, they refunded my money after I complained to the U.S. Better Business Bureau.

On October 15, 2016, I suffered a Thalamic Stroke. I am in constant pain on my right side and my blood pressure has been as high as 195/100. My memory has been greatly affected, from spelling, completing tasks, anxiety, depression, etc. I had to leave work in July 2017. Now the only income I have is CPP Disability and my husband is on CPP and OAS.

In October 2017 I went to a Sheraton Flex Vacation presentation. I was assured that I would be better off getting rid of Carriage Ridge by buying into Flex Timeshare. They told me about Wyndham’s Ovation program and gave me papers explaining how to apply. I gave Flex Vacation a deposit of $1,147.50 U.S.

As soon as we arrived home, we had no peace about this purchase. My husband was experiencing pain which required a hernia operation. We wrote immediately to both our sales reps and to the head office asking to terminate the sale. I was a few days late. They refused. The sales team didn’t explain all the fees, and they were not educated about Wyndham’s Ovation program not being available to Canadians.

I wrote to the Better Business Bureau about Flex Vacation, to no avail. Sheraton Flex Vacation then offered a way out, so six months later I completed the paperwork. I had a lawyer in Canada witness our signature, but Sheraton said I needed to go to the U.S. Consulate or to a U.S. lawyer to have them witness my signature. How ridiculous. I had been out enough money. I continued to receive monthly invoices, threatening letters and phone calls. That stopped after they foreclosed. It took from November 2017 to March 2019 to end that nightmare. They were liars or uninformed about Ovations.

Okay, so still desperate to be rid of my Carriage Ridge timeshare, I went to Mexico in February 2018 and ended up buying into a Vacation Plan that would require only paying maintenance fees when we used their facilities. I’m not at liberty to say which company, as they returned half our money, after I complained on Facebook and other places. Part of the issue was that they had put me in touch with TRM, assuring me of the sale of Carriage Ridge. I even received the paperwork. I contacted Carriage Ridge for my deeds and explained what was happening, only to be informed the sale wouldn’t be granted by our Board of Directors/Wyndham Club, as it was a company buying, not a person. How discouraging. 

Bottom line: DON’T TRUST ANYONE WHO SAYS THEY CAN SELL CARRIAGE HILLS/RIDGE.

I contacted the Wyndham staff at Carriage Ridge, as well as our Board of Directors saying we are not able to continue paying the increased fees. I was told I will be sued if I stop paying. I received a letter from Derek Beaudoin, Canadian ICR Ltd, a collection agency. Finally, I paid $1,325.11 and was hit with an additional fee. I asked if this could be waived. This was the reply I received from Derek.

Mrs. B,

The resort has received your e-mail (below) and forwarded it to us to respond.  The Home Owners Association will not be waiving any of the remaining balance, $341.26.

Please be aware your arrears continue to accrue interest at $0.28/day.

I wrote again, explaining my health and financial situation. Below is the email I received from Nanci Shepard, Chairman of our Board of Directors on February 22, 2019. The least Nanci could have done was not say they were very sorry for my health. If they were sorry they would not continue this financial elder abuse, especially since buyers were told they were buying deeded real estate, so no problem selling. 

Hi Jeannie,

After a lengthy discussion with my fellow board members, we have unanimously decided to NOT waive your late fees. We are very sorry for your health and personal issues but as you state you have been an owner for 15 years so you are well aware that we put these policies in place for a reason.

We are responsible to make sure the resort runs to above industry standard and we count on every owner to pay their maintenance fees in a timely manner in order for us to do just that.

There will be no further discussions on this matter and we will wait until Derek advises us you are paid and back in good standing.

Nanci

I wrote and told them they were heartless. I have to take my blood pressure daily. My family physician asked why it fluctuates so much, as high as 160/80 recently. I told him it was because of the financial burden and nightmare this timeshare has become. He has warned me the next stroke might be fatal. This timeshare is like having a noose around my neck. No one in my family wants it. My adopted son suffers from mental illness and lives on ODSP so he can never afford this.

Wyndham and our Board of Directors have really messed us up.

We believed false promises. Ongoing yearly increases for Maintenance Fees, Member Fees, Exchange fees, on top of our original investment, have really added up throughout the years. We were never told how much we would be out of pocket. We were told we owned Gold weeks, and if I return to weeks, it would be Red (whatever that means). I haven’t been able to book around our December 28 wedding anniversary the last couple of years through Shell Vacation Club. For the first time ever, I didn’t pay our Shell Vacation Club fees, so had to pay late fees. Membership fees don’t cover much.  

There have been so many changes that our heads are spinning. To sum this up, there is no longer a sales office, our maintenance fees more than doubled in 15 years, late fees 30% in my case, suing delinquent owners, there is no Ovation program, non-owners pay less to rent units, rules change without our knowledge, we pay the Wyndham staff, they make it hard to sell, our kids are being forced to inherit a timeshare, and leadership changed. NOOSE AROUND MY NECK.

Wyndham should offer all of us that need out release if we have no mortgage. We want out. I don’t want my executor having to deal with this when I pass away.

Sincerely,

Jeannie B

Comments by Irene

Thank you to Jeannie for her story. Jeannie is one of 127 Carriage Hills and Carriage Ridge owners to reach out to Inside Timeshare, expressing alarm over unreasonable and irresponsible corporate behaviour. It is our hope Wyndham and Carriage will work with these owners to salvage a resort that by all accounts could be a nice place. 

My husband and I just returned from a timeshare we purchased in 1983. Maui Hill at Maui Lea has a resale department. Hoping to get a better price, I listed it with Tom Tubbs at Island Consulting Realty, a member of the Licensed Timeshare Resale Broker Association. LTRBA members charge nothing upfront to sell timeshares that are blessed with a glimmer of a resale market. Our daughter expressed alarm, explaining that having moved so often, Maui Hill offered the only stability in her life. She graciously gave us this past week in appreciation.

We also purchased at a timeshare at Osage Beach in the Missouri Ozarks in 1984. I called Port Elsewhere and talked to the manager I had gotten to know over the years about taking the timeshare back. We are getting up in age as well. She responded, “Yeah, we had a board meeting. We decided we can’t hold hostage, loyal owners who have faithfully paid maintenance fees for decades. I’ll send you something to sign.” It was one page. We are out after warehousing decades of wonderful Ozark memories. To avoid a special assessment one year, owners donated vacuum cleaners.


Port Elsewhere

The Wyndham Carriage debacle should not be unsolvable.  

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/  

Wyndham Carriage Resorts Facebook

https://m.facebook.com/groups/152117225452689

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 Jeannie for your contibution and also thanks to Irene for your ending comments. These stories are becoming all to commonplace, not just for Wyndham but many other timeshare companies. The perpetual contracts being referred to are illegal in Spain, contracts must be no longer than 50 years in duration and even if the members pass away their children are not obliged to take them over. Spain recognised that it would be inherently unfair to burden the children with a contract which they had no part in signing.

If you have a story of your own and would like to share this with others, then Inside Timeshare would like to hear from you. Use our contact page and get in touch.

Have a great weekend and join us again next week.

SG Abogados Another Fake Law Firm from Tenerife

Yesterday we published a warning about a new “FAKE” law firm operating out of Tenerife, today we continue with this story and give you the timeshare owner or their “target” more information. We have now managed to identify a further two of the “lawyers” which they have shown on their website, you will be very surprised to learn who one of them really is!

SG Abogados is another incarnation of the family of “FAKE” law firms that we have identified over the past 3 years, Inside Timeshare, has nicknamed them the Litigious Abogados Family after one of the first which was highlighted. The total number of “fake” law firms and Procurators now stands at over 87. (see link below)

https://insidetimeshare.com/litigious-abogados-family-new-names-added/

All have the same thing in common, the websites have always been almost identical in layout but the text has always been the same, the home page always starts with the exact day and date the “firm” was founded, yet all websites had only recently been registered. They also show images of “their” lawyers which in most cases have been identified as lawyers from as far afield as Australia. Although one of the best finds was the image of Agustin Bigote Pringata who actually turned out to be Azerbaijan Ambassador to Argentina Rashad Aslanov handing his credentials to the President of Argentina who had been cropped from the image used. (See link below)

https://insidetimeshare.com/more-photographs-identified/

The website https://sg-abogados.org/ was registered on 19 July 2019, and at first sight, it does look as though it may just be a genuine law firm. It explains their “expertise” in various fields of law from contracts, property criminal to name just a few.

The contact page begins with

“We take your privacy seriously, and will only use personal information that you supply to us in accordance with:- The General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).”

Well, that is very reassuring considering this lot are only interested in getting your money and disappearing.

Now on with the photographs they are using on the website to show who their lawyers are.

The first is the founder of the law firm, Ernesto Lamangra Sorpeney, this is the S in the firm’s name, yesterday we identified him as  José Antonio Olaechea who is the managing partner of the law firm Estudio Olaechea of Lima Peru.

The second to be identified is Raul Degelis Grinudos the G in the firm’s name, he is in fact Rafael Caldera, the 39th President of Venezuela who passed away in 2009.

https://www.wikizero.com/en/Presidents_of_Venezuela

The third to be identified is Emilio Goya Zerramu, he is actually David Pacheco, another lawyer of the law firm Estudio Olaecha of Lima Peru.

http://www.esola.com.pe/abogados_en_main.php#

The other two lawyers not identified yet are Francisco Daliber Tiontela and Manuel Jalvo Liorenta and then the young lady again not yet identified who is probably your contact person Carlota Rahita Ampalada. As with all the past incarnations, all the names do appear to be made up as they are not really recognisable as Spanish. 

Now on with the scenario of the sting.

If the past incarnations are anything to go by they will be using “FAKE” court documents, “FAKE” Procurators and even more “FAKE” promises. They will be explaining that your timeshare company is due in court within the next few weeks and that as you have a claim you can be part of the case, for a fee off course!

As before they claim it will be on a no win no fee basis, but then you will have to pay the “FAKE” procurator a fee to lodge the case with the court. After a few weeks, you will probably receive a letter from SG Abogados explaining that the “Director” of your timeshare company pleaded guilty and the court has awarded you a substantial sum of money. This will be backed up by a “FAKE” court document (in Spanish).

Now comes the second part of the sting, to get this money released from the court there will be taxes to pay, you will be given an account to transfer the money into, usually in the name of a private individual and not a company. It may very well be the procurator that you paid the fee to.

If the past formula is going to be followed, you will then receive an envelope which will be open, inside will be a letter with details on the attached cheque. Problem is there is no cheque, there is a staple in one corner with a small piece of paper, it looks as though someone has stolen it.

Next part is that another company contacts you and says that the cheque was cashed by a gang of foreign criminals, this company has also been appointed by the court to recover the money, but again to do this a fee needs to be paid. Well we know what will happen next, you will never hear from them again and you have lost a lot of money.

So if you receive a call from SG Abogados telling you the great news that your timeshare company is in court just tell them where to go and hang up, do not under any circumstances pay them any money as you will only lose it.

If you have already been taken in by this gang of despicable criminals contact Inside Timeshare and let us know what happened, it will help us to warn others.

Consumer Warning: SG Abogados Tenerife

Today Inside Timeshare has received an enquiry from a concerned timeshare owner who was contacted by SG Abogados. They have told him that he has a claim and that they will represent him on a no win no fee basis. This looks like another incarnation of the fake law firms Inside Timeshare has dubbed Litigious Abogados family.

The website is:

https://sg-abogados.org/

This was registered on 19 July 2019 and is set to expire on 19 July 2020, so only registered for one year. The registrant is hidden by privacy protection, so it is not possible to find out who is behind the website.

According to the Home page, the law firm was instituted on Thursday 4th March 1993 by Ernesto Lamangra Sorpeney, it shows the CIF number A33572896 which does not show up on any searches so is fake.

The address they give is Edificio Elvira, Callejon Del Combate 4, 38002 Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

Telephone Number 0800 8620751

Email: [email protected]

The photograph of Ernesto Lamangra Sorpeney has been identified as José Antonio Olaechea who is the managing partner of the law firm

Estudio Olaechea, Bernardo Monteagudo 201, San Isidro, Lima, 27 Peru

This can be found at the following link

https://www.lexmundi.com/assnfe/cv.asp?ID=4551

A full report will be published tomorrow with pictures of all the “lawyers” shown on the website, which we hope to be able to identify to the original people whose images have been used.

Needless to say, do not engage with this “FAKE LAW FIRM” and always do your homework before engaging with any company.

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.

Start the Week: New Website Warning

Welcome to the start of another week at Inside Timeshare, today we highlight another new website that has been detected, Anfi-Illegal-Contracts. It is a very strange one indeed, having only just been registered on 17 August 2019, it does make some very extravagant claims, regarding the number of clients it has with cases in court and also the number of Supreme Court rulings made against timeshare companies, it also seems to focus purely on Anfi.

Anfi-Illegal-Contracts website:

http://anfi-illegal-contracts-news.com/

Registered on 17 August 2019, it is due to expire on 17 August 2020, so straight away it does not build any feeling of confidence that this is genuine.

The registrar is Muhammad Rohail Hassan and is based in Pakistan and may only be the person contracted to build and register the website, not the actual person behind a dubious company.

While scrolling through the website there is a contact form which keeps appearing, it asks for your name, email address, telephone number and when you purchased your Anfi timeshare. There is also no reference to any company name or registration or even who the lawyers are supposed to be. The website itself looks as though it is purely a contact page which is phishing for your data and information, where it will end up at the moment no one knows!

According to the website they claim there have been 404 rulings made by the Supreme Court of Spain, which is a very far fetched claim as we know there are only 129, all brought by one law firm, Canarian Legal Alliance.

They also claim to have between 3 and 7 cases in court each week and have over 5500 clients going through the courts. This along with their claim that they have over 120 million euros worth of claims so far is what we would call a little bit of an over-exaggeration!

There are also three “client” reviews, one from the UK, one German and one Norwegian, all three mention the Anfi-Illegal-Timeshare-Contracts Lawyer Office, with the UK client saying they visited the office. Yet when we search for any company or office using this name, yes you guessed it, nothing shows up!

Inside Timeshare is making further enquiries into who might be behind this website and where your information will end up, but needless to say caution should be employed if you decide to fill in the contact form.

As and when more information comes to light we will publish it on Inside Timeshare. Tomorrow we publish yet another “Nightmare on Timeshare Street” story from Wyndhams Carriage Hill Resort in Canada.

So to all our UK readers have a wonderful Bank Holiday Monday and enjoy your heatwave.

Friday’s Letter from America

Welcome to this weeks edition of our Letter from America, today we welcome a new contributor, David M, with his “Nightmare on Timeshare Street” experience with his purchase of Carriage Hills Resort. The introduction is by our very own Irene Parker. This is the second article in a series highlighting the problems received by Inside Timeshare from some very concerned and in some cases elderly owners. So far we have received around 124 emails all telling a very similar story. The question is how do these timeshare operators get away with this despicable behaviour? Well, the answer to that is SIMPLE GREED!

As we were about to publish we received a response on behalf of Carriage Owner David from the CanadianVOA. It is their intention to investigate David’s complaint. It is our hope this horrific timeshare tragedy can be resolved, and that the burdensome plight of all Carriage Resorts owners, taken to court for past due maintenance fees, can be resolved for the betterment of all

The Tragedy for Wyndham’s Carriage Hills Resorts Owners, their

Children and Grandchildren held Timeshare Hostage

By David M, a Carriage Hills Owner

August 23, 2019

Introduction by Irene Parker

Over 1,000 families have contacted me through Inside Timeshare, expressing their frustration over predatory, unfair and deceptive timeshare sales practices. Foreclosure is demoralizing, especially for seniors in their 60s, 70s and 80s with high credit scores. By far, Wyndham’s Carriage Hills and Carriage Ridge delinquency policy, taking owners and their heirs to court over past due maintenance fees, surpasses any timeshare tragedy we have encountered thus far. Buyers report being told the timeshare was like real estate, therefore easy to sell.

Imagine what would happen to the primary housing market, if we learned the house we live in could not be sold. Especially a house we were told we had to buy the same day we looked at it, not allowed even 24 hours to consider a major purchase. Some timeshares cost as much as a primary residence. 

Last Friday we published a follow-up article to an article I wrote about Legacy Resort owners not being allowed out of fully paid for timeshares. Legacy resorts are single-site timeshares. One of the Legacy owners mentioned in the article is Simon, a Canadian resident who purchased at Wyndham’s Carriage Hills resort in Ontario. After the article was published, I received over 124 emails from other Wyndham Carriage Hills and Carriage Ridge owners, astonished by Wyndham and Carriage Resorts draconian policy of taking owners delinquent on maintenance fees to court, suing not only ageing parents but their children and grandchildren as well.

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

Inside Timeshare prides itself on being the voice for the voiceless, competing against timeshare lobbyists and developers who proclaim there are no problems with timeshare today. On Tuesday we published the first 30 of over 124 Wyndham Carriage Hills and Carriage Ridge complaints.

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

Today, Carriage owner David presents his story describing anger and grief, protesting unfair debt collection practices. I don’t understand Canadian estate law, but in the U.S., rarely is an heir required to take on the burden of a parent’s unwanted timeshare. I’m not an estate planning lawyer, but I found this RedWeek post from a practising estates lawyer:

To all those inquiring about your heirs being saddled with this albatross: I have been a practising estates lawyer in NY for nearly 50 years. The information given to you by Laura (I believe her name was) was basically correct: your beneficiary cannot be “forced” to inherit (and therefore have to pay for maintenance etc.) for the timeshare. The legal route is to execute a disclaimer within 9 months after death, and make sure that you do NOT accept the timeshare by using it or otherwise indicating acceptance (e.g., trying to sell it as if you own it). However, each state has its own laws as to how one disclaims. ……Note though: the (resort) can then also disclaim it, so there are some further fine points legal steps that must be implemented in your Will or trust to deal with that possibility. But most definitely your heirs are NOT bound to accept the timeshare and make the payments if a proper disclaimer strategy is included in your estate planning documents.

Steven W on May 02, 2017 06:01 PM.

The Heir Scare published Halloween 2018

https://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-from-america-27/

Our Wyndham Carriage Hills Experience by David M

Our nightmare was and continues to be just that. We purchased one week in the early 2000s and we were told, like so many others, 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. We later learned this was not true.  

Five or 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 spoke to the then president of our HOA to find out the consequences of not paying maintenance fees. I was told calls from Shell Collections would occur. Next, our files would be sent to outside collections, followed by foreclosure. They said the process would take about eight months. We also called Shell Vacation Club as they had acquired Carriage Hills. All said this would be the process followed.

After a great deal of thought and worry, we had no choice but to become delinquent and have our credit rating ruined. All the processes described by the Carriage Hill’s 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 saying we owed 10,000 in fees and penalties. 

We were devastated, to say the least. I called SVC managers and everyone I could think of. I was told that never, never, never, would there be hard collections, court proceeding, 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. 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 Wyndham Ovations (voluntary surrender program), but were told Carriage Hills and Carriage Ridge did not qualify for voluntary surrender. They could not say why. 

I sent two emails with copies of all my conversations with everyone I spoke to – Wyndham’s president, and Carriage Hill’s 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 Hill truly believe ruining everyone’s retirement years with worry and 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 to 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

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 David for your contribution and also a very big thank you to Irene, who although on vacation has continued to work on these articles and answering questions from those who have contacted Inside Timeshare.

What is so sad is that timeshare is suppossed to provide memorable experiences and wonderful holidays, but all we seem to be finding is that it is turning into nothing more than a “Nightmare on Timeshare Street”.

Have a great weekend and join us again next week.

Viking Real Estate & Nordic Consulting

Over the past few months Inside Timeshare has been receiving many enquiries about two companies based in Tenerife and operated by names well known to Silverpoint clients. We refer to the Farhoud Brothers, along with their respective companies, Viking Real Estates & Consultants and Nordic Consulting Canary Islands. One thing that is common to all the enquiries is that the clients were originally sold their “timeshare products” by the Farhoud Brothers or ex-Silverpoint salesman who now work for them. So what are they now offering their “old clients”?

Firstly let’s look at Viking Real Estates & Consultants, this company was founded by Mike Farhoud around one year ago and is based at C.C. Palm Beach Local 19 Avda Rafael Puig LLuvina 38660 Playa de las Americas Tenerife. According to the website they have the CIF number B76689603.

Mike Farhoud

When checking company records originally, that CIF number brought up the record for a company called Tuscan Garden SL, located at a different address, but the Administrator is one Mike Farhoud. So it looked like he was using another company to operate Viking Real Estates, although recent checks do now show the record for Tuscan Garden SL has now been amended through a change of company name to Viking Real Estates & Consultant.

No problem there, but it is when you look at the sector the company is registered to operate in is where it gets interesting. According to the records, the sector of trade is Restaurants and Food Stalls, nothing to do with Real Estate or even timeshare claims.


Surely, when a company is formed and its purpose is registered in a particular sector, it should be working in that sector, not doing something which it is not registered as doing. The question is, why is the original purpose of the company still restaurants and food stalls yet not being changed to the purpose now, real estate and timeshare claims, is there something to hide?

Let us now move on to Nordic Consulting Canary Islands SL, this company was registered on 17 October 2018, so is only just under one year old. The registered administrator is Ali Farhoud, another ex-Silverpoint salesman, who is now contacting Silverpoint clients with the promise of the return of double their money and cancellation of contracts. All for products he originally sold with his brother Alex Farhoud who is one of Nordics consultants.

Ali Farhoud

One email we have received tells us the clients story, it begins in October 2017,

“when we received a letter under the door from Alex Farhoud (at that time he was working for Silverpoint), that he wanted to see us the next day”.

The purpose to sell them an apartment, or so they thought. What they had actually purchased was the “Company Participation Scheme”.

At the Silverpoint office, Alex probed the couple about their finances and told them he thought there would be no problem for them to afford the purchase. They looked at two apartments and decided on the one being refurbished.

Going back to the office with Alex, he explained all the possibilities open to them, that they would receive 4.5% interest until they were given the title deed, this could take around 3 years before it was ready. But once they received the deed the apartment would be rented out for them with a return of 47.5% of the rental income. Doesn’t sound too bad really!

The cost was over 240,000€, no cooling off period and a down payment of around 5,000€ with the balance to be paid as soon as possible. This was paid within a couple of months.

The next part of the story is where it now gets interesting, in around May 2018 Alex contacts the clients and informs them that Silverpoint was facing “financial problems” but there was a solution.

Alex Farhoud

If they paid Alex 10,000€ he would help to get their money out, they duly paid. They were also told that if Silverpoint called:

“We must not say that he (Alex) called us, but we called him”.

This couple then became very suspicious indeed, well I think most of us would with a response like that.

It must also be pointed out that the 4.5% they were to receive for 2017 due in 2018 was not forthcoming, they eventually received it at the end of 2018 after a lot of pressure on their part.

At the end of 2018, they received another call from Alex who told them:

“That they would not be getting the title deed because what they bought was (hidden?) TIMESHARE”.

But low and behold there was a great solution in the wings, Alex’s brother Ali could help them to get all their money back double plus all expenses. All they needed to do was pay over 29,000€ to Nordic Consulting, Ali’s company and all would be well.

Needless to say, the couple’s suspicions were again aroused,

“first Alex sells to us” (this “dodgy” product), “then his brother Ali will help us to get back our money”.

Well, this couple did not fall for it, they are now waiting for their court dates to be announced being represented by an experienced law firm in this field.

It must also be noted that both companies are using court documents especially the Supreme Court Rulings giving the impression that they are theirs, having seen the documents and made the relevant checks they belong to another law firm. This law firm is also the only one to have had any rulings from the Supreme Court.

This story based on email testimony is just one of around eleven received so far.

After much research in the Spanish Courts Inside Timeshare has not yet found any cases related to these companies in either the High Court or the Supreme Court. So the question is do they actually have any cases and doing what they have been promising their clients?

Do you want to know where you stand legally with any timeshare product purchased in Spain, if so use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will point you in the right direction.

The Tuesday Slot

Welcome to another edition of The Tuesday Slot, following on from last Friday’s Letter from America on Wyndham’s Canadian Resorts Carriage Hills and Carriage Ridge, Irene Parker highlights the first 30 complaints received by Inside Timeshare. So far we have received 110 which we expect to rise as more and more owners find these articles, one thing is certain they are all telling a very familiar story, deceptive practices by the sales agents.

Wyndham’s Canadian Carriage Hills and Carriage Ridge Unfair and Deceptive Business Practices

An Open Letter to:

Jason Gamel, Wyndham Sr. VP, Legal, and ARDA President  

By Irene Parker and 30 of 110 + Carriage Resorts Victims of Unfair Practices

August 20, 2019

After publishing our August 8 article challenging ARDA’s Coalition for Responsible Exit program, I reached out to a Canadian friend asking about Canadian Legacy owner Simon D’s Carriage Resort complaint. The article described six out of eight fully paid Legacy owners not allowed out of their contracts. A seventh, homebound, contacted us, so seven resorts out of nine single-site resorts in the U.S. are not being allowed voluntary surrenders. Lawmakers are not hearing the whole story. Shockingly, in the case of Wyndham’s Carriage Resorts, owners are required to pay maintenance fees or be sued.  

While the Canadian Consumer Product Safety Act may seem more geared towards manufacturing, those who take the time to read 110 reports of those held hostage in a timeshare trap, will understand Wyndham and Carriage’s draconian and predatory policies can cause adverse health effects too. Seniors in their 70s and 80s, and even their heirs if deceased are being sued for maintenance fees. These fully-paid owners have watched their maintenance fees double over the years, while their income in retirement decreased.  

Carriage Resorts may be domiciled in Canada, but U.S. based Wyndham acquired Carriage Resorts from Shell Vacation Club several years ago. Despite Wyndham promoting their Ovations voluntary surrender program, Carriage owners are held in a predatory grip even when they can no longer travel. 

Please take the time to read through over 110 complaints submitted by Carriage Resorts owners, beginning with complaints 1 through 30. Reports 31 thru 60 we will publish Friday. Timeshare buyers were routinely told their timeshare would be easy to sell because the timeshare is real estate.

August 8 article:  

ARDA”s Coalition for Responsible Exit Fails Legacy Owners

https://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-from-america-62/

August 16 article:

Simon’s complaint prompts “Two Carriage Resort Owners Describe Unfair Practices” https://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-from-america-63/

Mr. Kenneth McKelvey, founder of Defender Resorts and Chairman of the timeshare PAC ARDA ROC, testified at a legislative workshop held in Tallahassee Florida March 12, 2019, that attorneys and timeshare exit providers are not needed.

“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 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 one that did not have a dissolution policy and a hardship policy …”

ARDA’s position is that the problem of the lack of a secondary market has been solved. A quote from an ARDA lobbyist:

“Their value comes from using it,” the timeshare industry’s top lobbyist told ConsumerAffairs in January, admitting that points have no resale value while claiming that consumers don’t mind this because the value comes from the experience.

The first 30 of 80 complaints:

Any delinquent owners are being sued for unpaid maintenance fees. Many of the aged owners are finding themselves in a real bind with health problems and limited from travelling anymore. The last thing they need is to be sued. Don and JoAnne  

Over the last 10 years, we have approached and been approached by several companies offering to transfer our units. We have probably lost about $30,000 trying to exit. Colin and Mimi

While Wyndham’s CEO Michael Brown is bragging about putting $1 Billion into expanding their timeshare business. If that is not the epitome of corporate greed, I don’t know what is! Cheryl

I wrote and told them they were heartless.  I have to take my blood pressure daily and my Family Physician asked why it fluctuates so much, as high as 160/80 recently, I told him the financial burden this timeshare is and the nightmare it has become. He has warned me the next stroke might be fatal. This timeshare is like having a noose around my neck. No one in my family wants it.  Jeanne

#1 Doug M

Twenty plus years ago we bought into what seemed to be an exciting package of vacation opportunities. Through the years, our maintenance fees kept climbing and climbing. Now our fees have climbed so high it’s no longer a viable option as they (Shell and Wyndham) have adjusted and changed the rules giving us less and less time with our timeshare. 

I am now retired with failing health. I just had open heart surgery and my kidneys have stopped working. I’m on home dialysis.  With this, my wife and I have lost the desire to travel. I can no longer swim or use many of the facilities. It is almost impossible to sell.  It seems I have to pay someone to take it. Thank you for representing our views.

#2 Greg and Christiana

Hi Irene,

My wife and I have been owners at Carriage Hills Owner since 1999 and have enjoyed many vacations that we shared with friends and family. A few years ago we moved to British Columbia. We can no longer use the resort with any frequency so looked into selling. Much to my surprise, I came to the realization that there are zero markets for these timeshares. There are 100s listed for sale! Some are even willing to pay a lawyer’s fees for the transfer and others offer a year or more paid maintenance fees. People are willing to walk away from their investment, in my case, around $17,000. We are willing to pay lawyer’s fees and also pay a few thousand in maintenance fees just to walk away. Very few owners have been able to get out of this. I have spoken to the Board of Directors, people at Shell Resorts and Wyndham without any solution.

This desperation has fueled scam agencies that are willing to take our money with false promises that they can get rid of it. People are getting scammed out of $1,000s of dollars.

It seems that no one is willing or able to help owners. Couple this with the rising maintenance fees and, to my horror, the knowledge that our Board, overseen by Wyndham, is actively suing elderly owners in arrears on fees who cannot use the resort due to health or sell due to no market. They can’t give it back to Wyndham because they don’t want it.

Please, we need help. This is a major crisis just waiting to explode.

Sincerely,

Greg and Christina

#3 Stefan J

I have been a Carriage Resorts owner for 20+ years. We converted our weeks to points a few years ago. At first, the annual fees were quite reasonable. We used the weeks yearly as our boys grew up. I have divorced and can’t use the points anymore. I am 68 years old and about to retire. The maintenance fees are $1,500 a year. It seems impossible to exit. I don’t want my boys (who did not even sign the contract!) to worry about this liability. I don’t mind spending some $$ to get out but I have heard all exit companies are scams.

#4 Lori and Roy

My husband and I bought our timeshare at the beginning of our relationship seeing it as a great investment. Our situations changed when I went back to school and became a teacher.  I now do not travel very much as I don’t enjoy travelling on the March or Christmas break. I need that downtime for sanity. We were also given my uncle’s timeshare so we now own two.

Last year we were in arrears.  I called the resort to ask about selling. In the past, at Carriage timeshare presentations, we were offered timeshares that were ‘returned’ so I assumed they would help me get rid of the timeshare.

I do not have the money to travel or pay my dues. Wyndham and Carriage have made it impossible. That just seems crazy.  “We have a great option for you, but you cannot know what it is or how much it costs unless you spend some money to come and hear us tell you about it.” I am not spending more money. That is insane.

I followed all of the information on their site about resale but did not find any help. Lots of organizations offered to help if I gave them a couple of thousand dollars upfront – really?! I have listed everywhere and tried to give it away and I still can’t get rid of it. I have no idea what to do.  I borrowed the money to pay off the dues for this year, but still have not paid that loan back. By the time I do, the next dues will be due!

#5 Mel and Anth

Good afternoon Irene!

My husband and I own at Carriage Hills. We bought an every other week (red) November 2000. While we did have some really nice vacations we haven’t been happy with our exchanges in close to a decade. We’ve listed it with timeshare exit sales companies and lost money. We’ve purchased another timeshare with the promise (in writing) that they would take Carriage Hills off our hands. Later we found out that Carriage Hills could not be sold to a Corporation and we were still on the hook and now we have another timeshare to boot!

We’re frustrated and at a loss. We thought about walking away but learned that it affects the rest of the owners and our credit, so we know that’s not an option. We reluctantly pay our dues and exchange for a place that is worth far less.

We dread the idea of passing this burden onto anyone else. If it wasn’t a lifetime (and beyond) deed, it may be worth owning, but as a lifetime deed, it’s a curse.

Thank you for listening. I pray that you’re able to help us all find a way out.

Melissa

#6 Don BG

We bought a timeshare from Carriage Hills. We have a liability, not an assist.  We can’t give the timeshare away or sell it because Wyndham will not approve any transfers.  It is taking up to six months to make a decision. No other business in the world is this slow.  As we age we would like to get rid of this liability we paid big bucks for. Wyndham could resell but instead insists on sending collection agencies to older people who no longer use the resort or can afford it, yet they rent it out to non-owners telling us that it is all sold out. 

In the US some resorts take back timeshares or resell. We just get grief.  I buy a car and yes I take a loss when I resell it but I can still resell. A timeshare is worth nothing the moment you buy it because no one wants to deal with these crooks.  How this is allowed to happen in Canada is beyond me. Where are the people who will stop this evil? 

Any help you can give is greatly appreciated. 

#7 Lillian

Hello Irene – my husband and I own at Carriage Hills and at Carriage Ridge.  We had the opportunity to use the facilities from time to time but that has changed since we now live in Prince Edward Island, a 19-hour drive.

What I am learning is frightening.

When we bought in 2001 we were assured that when we no longer were able to use our timeshare, there would be no problem – the company would purchase the unit back from us at fair market price – which was predicted to skyrocket – and we would have had all the travels we wanted in the interim.

Exchanging is getting more difficult.

The maintenance fees have skyrocketed to the point where it is cheaper to stay in a hotel or Airbnb. Communication from the resort has been spotty at best and basically non -existent from Wyndham.  

We would feel much more comfortable not to have to worry about our children, upon our death, being responsible for our purchase made so many years ago, sold to us as being a wise, wonderful investment.  

It does not feel like an investment with the maintenance fees that are now well over $1,000 per year plus additional SVC/RCI required membership.  We set aside money every month so we aren’t hit with the huge maintenance payments due in November – just short of Christmas.  

I believe the timeshare owners are entitled to an exit strategy as a first step in making the situation not so worrisome for owners who want to move on or whose travelling days are over.

Thank you.

Lillian L

#8 Leslie W

Good Day Irene

We purchased our unit back in 2000 and have had some nice vacations.

We were advised by the salesperson that this was just like investing in real estate. We could sell our unit at any time (and the implication was that it would be at a profit).

With escalating Maintenance Fees and changes in life conditions, we no longer wish to own this. None of our children would be interested in it, nor could they afford it.

I have had many sleepless nights trying to figure out how we can get out of this. I and many others are willing to WALK AWAY. We certainly DO NOT want to burden our heirs with this ridiculous responsibility. I only hope we can find a resolution.

Best Regards,

Leslie W

#9 June R

Hello Irene. I want to support your advocating for a timeshare exit plan.  I have been a deeded owner since 2002. I enjoyed my experiences but I am significantly older and my circumstances won’t enable me to continue paying maintenance fees into infinity. I have paid my fees every year without fail.

Thank you.

#10 Bill S 

I have two deeds. I would like to get rid of one of my years.

#11Natasha C

My husband (at the time) and I purchased our first deed at Carriage Hills back in the late 90’s. We were told it was an investment that could be willed, resold or deeded back if we no longer wanted or needed it. 

After a couple of years, we received a call to come to the resort for a sales presentation of the points program.  We attended with the idea of selling it back because we were under the impression we could. Our maintenance fees increased yearly. 

In 2011 we had our first child. Our priorities changed. I started to feel that we should consider deeding it back. We divorced in 2019. I am now desperately trying to get out of my deed.

I called Wyndham when I learned of the Ovation Program. I was informed by the Representative that Wyndham was not taking back Carriage Hill deeds but I could look at posting the deed for sale as a listing on Kijiji or our Carriage Hills Home Owners Association Website. The majority of the postings were for $1. I was gobsmacked with the sudden reality of my situation.

I believe that Wyndham must be renting Carriage Hills units out on various external travel websites and at a fraction of the cost, it would be for me to list to rent or sell my unit.  I also now start to question that if my timeshare is not-for-profit but owned and managed by Wyndham, is that not a conflict of interest? 

I’ve tried reading and understanding the Time Share Agreement and other contracts that hold me bound in perpetuity to this fractional ownership but that honestly make my eyes crossed.  Delinquent accounts are taken to court and then not only have to pay the fee but also the costs to have the litigation due to delinquency. I’m considering bankruptcy but being self- supported and with an 8-year-old daughter, I simply do not want to go that route. Some members have written local MPs but it seems to go nowhere.

I’m thankful that I’ve found an ear to listen to my situation.  This timeshare is literally the first thing on my mind when I wake and the last thing on my mind before I go to sleep.  I feel ill that I’ll need to go another $1300 in debt just before Christmas so I don’t get myself in “trouble” with Wyndham. The hardest part is that I know they are a huge entity and could take my deed back and benefit from it more than the trouble it causes me.

Thank you for your time,

#12 Natalyn

What do we need to do?

#13 Irene B

Hello Irene, My Carriage Hills Deed I purchased in May 2002.  I was so very proud of this purchase, but now very upset, sad and anxious. I don’t know what I own, except a piece of junk no one wants. I wanted to sell as my life has changed as is the case with many. In the past year, I have seen people giving them away or paying to give them away. Our maintenance fees have increased from $568 to $1368.  

I’m worried for my daughter who has to take on this burden. I feel I was very misled by the sales team back in 2002. So much has changed and not for the better. I just want help to exit my timeshare.  This is creating lots of anxiety for me.  

Irene B

#14 Anne C

Dear Irene

The Carriage Hills/Ridge exit situation for our family is terrible. My husband suddenly became extremely ill in 2005 and has been living in a nursing home ever since.

The purpose of purchasing the 3 timeshares was mainly for vacations in retirement. Now that we are senior citizens, we are unable to fulfil this dream because he is unable to travel. He was unable to work from the time he was age 60. We could not save money for retirement. Once he got sick we had to pay the nursing home fees in addition to my living expenses. Therefore we cannot afford the maintenance fees which have increased drastically. We need to exit from the timeshares immediately to avoid having to pay maintenance fees.

Is there a way to give away the timeshares and not have to pay any more fees?

Sincerely,

Anne C

#15 Sharon H

Hi Irene,

I read your article on the non-existent exit strategies at our resort. We bought into Carriage Hills over 20 years ago. We were told that as deeded owners, the property would increase in value as we would OWN the property. We paid our maintenance fees but rarely used it.

My husband has been diagnosed with cancer and we are just realizing there is no way to get out of this mess. Our children don’t want anything to do with it but they will be saddled with the payments. How can this be? I thought that when we died, that would be the end of it. I am worried about the future and how I will manage the maintenance fees, especially for something we don’t use. I have tried to rent it out at prime time but was unable to do so.

Thank you so much for raising this issue. There has to be a solution out there. How can the law allow you to own something in perpetuity (with no secondary market)??

Sharon H

#16 Liz A

I bought at SVC Carriage Ridge in 2003 when I was close to retirement & able to travel. Now I am 77 years old, single, disabled – cane, walker, wheelchair in airports, on pension.  I know that EXIT is a must in the next 5 years. 

Systematically, unit value has been eroded.  Terms have been changed without consultation or notification. Access to available exchanges has been poorly served by SVC web & RCI & II.  Calling to book always involved up-selling. Stays at resorts often involved “updates” & the agents clearly are trained to focus on SALES & Up-Selling. My experience at Wyndham Panama City reached a new LOW – check-in delayed & parking tag withheld until we agreed to attend when we clearly stated that we would NOT buy anything new.

In addition, Wyndham competes with Owners underselling rental opportunities on the open market because they have marketing access; pockets revenues and bypasses accounting for local revenues & is not held accountable by our Boards.  They avoided “late payment” fees when maintenance fees on the units they hold missed the payment deadline – paid a single $100 late fee when they should have paid $100/unit. The By-law has been changed to % late fee which harms all the other owners.  Their reps at AGM glibly stated that “if there was money to be made they would have maintained the Sales Office.”  

The Ovation (exit) available to other owner groups has been withheld to CR & CH Owners.  They bought back defaulted deeds at the time of the purchase of SVC to increase their holdings from 4% to 10% & assure “control” AND they (in theory) claim “developer” 4x voting power although they claim they do not exercise that option.  How can a secondary owner claim developer: status when all developer units had been sold? It seems they may have been selling points & other locations memberships from our sales centre and closed quickly – No notice to local members. 

* SVC (Shell) abandoned owners at CR & CH to Wyndham’s cavalier attitude & exploitation of OUR resorts.  Yes, they bring management expertise, but they have used their access to line their own pockets; they do not serve local Owner Member interests. 

Our local Boards have taken the position that they only “manage” the resorts on behalf of Member-Owners.  They have done very little to defend Owner interests in relation to the parent companies – SVC & now Wyndham.  Customer/Owner Services is a farce; all the reps are Wyndham employees defending Wyndham interests.

#17 Julie S

Owner, Purchased: July 2004, Mortgage:  $14,931.00 at 13.65% interest is paid in full 

My complaints are numerous.  The inept team at Carriage Hills couldn’t coordinate anything with Shell Vacations Club for years. The last time we used ours was 2010 because it was no longer worth it. We started to sell it back but got vague messages about lawyers’ fees etc., and more invitations to come to sales presentations.  We were warned by others it was another sales pitch.  

We’ve been “upgraded” to Interval but could never book anything. The cost to work through RCI was more than $200 Canadian, making it more costly.  My husband called the office and spoke to someone about the Ovation program – Carriage Hills was not invited to participate.)

The original Purchase was to include a yearly fee of $619 for Annual Basic charge due to the association.  Yearly fees are up close to $2000 with both “membership” and “maintenance”.  

I looked on websites to book our White Week:

Expedia: Dec 7 – Dec 14, 2019 

Studio / no kitchen:  $105 per night / $735 week (1250 points)

One Bedroom w kitchen:  $153 / $1073 (2300 points)

Two-Bedroom w kitchen: $206 / $1443 (3550 points)

If I didn’t have a $15K investment in Carriage Ridge, I could spend only $1443 Canadian for a 2 bedroom instead of just shy of $2000 each year. There are many parts to why this doesn’t work but it boils down to an “investment” that costs us more per year than someone who didn’t invest.  

This was bought with the idea that it could be traded for a vacation anywhere at a great price.  The $619 per year “Membership Fee” was going to allow a trade to the equivalent of a two-bedroom in Hawaii.

We haven’t pursued selling after learning how many want to sell. 

Thanks for listening.

#18 Don A

Hi Irene,

My wife and I own at the Carriage Hills and Carriage Ridge Resorts near Barrie, Ontario for about 20 years. We have enjoyed our ownership and travelled to many destinations but we are now both seniors. I am 74 and my wife is 67.  

When we purchased we were told that these resorts were special in that we would have titled deeds and as such, they could be passed on to our children or could be sold for a profit since they would surely appreciate in value.

Our children have no interest in them.  There was a sales office on-site up until about 3 years ago. Apparently, these units have no value to Wyndham so we are stuck. Most units are being sold for as little as $1.00. Our maintenance fees have increased by about $1,000. Delinquent owners are being sued for unpaid maintenance fees. Many of the aged owners are finding themselves in a real bind with health problems. The last thing they need is to be sued. 

Wyndham had an Ovation program available to owners of the US timeshare properties, but we seem to not be eligible. We are hopeful that you can bring attention to this dilemma, and that a resolution can be found. Thank you so much for taking up the cause to right this wrong. 

Respectfully yours,

Don and Jo-Anne A

#19 Colin and Mimi S

Hello Irene,

My wife Mimi and I have been owners at Carriage Hills for about 15 to 20 years. We have never been satisfied with it because we were given incorrect information when we joined and despite many efforts have never been able to exit.

Over the last 10 years, we have approached and been approached by several companies offering to transfer our units. We have probably lost about $30,000 trying to exit.  Carriage Hills management has been unhelpful, even when we showed letters about the miss-information we were given when we first signed up.

We are retiring next year and the exorbitant maintenance fees are just too much.

Hopefully, this can be of help to you and to us.

Thank you so much,

Colin and Mimi

#20 Cheryl C

Good afternoon,

Thank you for hearing our voices! I am a 20+ year owner. We enjoy, use and can afford our timeshare. Over the years the fees rose way more than we wanted and exchanging got harder.

For the first time ever, I attended an AGM in 2017. WOW! What an eye-opener! I had no idea that Wyndham had so much power and we had so little.  Wyndham closing the sales office rang some alarm bells as well as owners selling (giving) away for free.

As we became more informed about our situation, I became desperate to find a way out for myself, but especially the elderly owners, those who’ve become sick and those who’ve had financial hardships. It was apparent that not only was it near impossible to give these away but that many owners were falling prey to exit teams who essentially stole their money.

Our Board of Directors has very little power as the cards are stacked in Wyndham’s favour. That situation only seems to get worse every AM as they put their 10% concentrated vote on the candidate of their choice while we scatter our votes among candidates.

Last AGM we were proudly told that we regained our Gold Crown Status with RCI and the next representative from SVC said there is “no market for CH/CR and if there was they’d be selling!”

The attached article is about an 80-year-old couple from Wainfleet, ON. It is almost unbelievable, but this is one of many, many sad stories. We are all in a scheme that means if one owner doesn’t pay, we all foot their bill so we have no option but to send owners to collections for something they cannot use or sell while Wyndham’s CEO Michael Brown brags about putting $1 Billion into expansion. If that is not the epitome of corporate greed, I don’t know what is!

We have pleaded for Ovation but are told it is not available. They referred us to Fidelity (which does not take an upfront fee), but they haven’t sold one of our units in years. 

We are desperate and angry and need a solution. 

#21 Laura F

Hi Irene,

There needs to be an exit available as circumstances change. There should be some method to sell or turn back the property. We were not advised of this.

How I can support efforts to address this issue?

Regards

#22 Jeanne B

My husband and I bought October 2003 for just over $13,000 at Carriage Ridge. At a meeting, the sales team was excited to tell us that if we bought an opposite year for another $13,000+ we could automatically become Shell Vacation Owners and could change from weeks to points. For ten years it was great even though maintenance fees increased as well as Shell membership yearly fees and exchange fees. We all get older and there comes a time to retire and live on pensions. In the last 15 years, Maintenance Fees have doubled to about $1,200 a year. 

I suffered a Thalamic Stroke over two years ago. I am in constant pain on my right side and my blood pressure has been as high as 195/100. My memory has been greatly affected, from spelling, completing tasks, anxiety, depression, etc. I had to leave work. The only income I have is CPP Disability and my husband is on CPP and OAS.

I contacted Wyndham about Ovation. I was passed from one person to the next. Finally, I was told that our Board of Directors does not allow us to use this program. Our Board of Directors denied it and said that it was Wyndham’s decision. I don’t know who to believe. This year someone was interested in buying my timeshare. The buyer wanted to join Shell Vacation and have points instead of weeks but that is no longer an option.   

I have been communicating for 8 months now with Wyndham Staff at Carriage Ridge as well as our Board of Directors. I told them I really can’t afford to pay the maintenance fee. I was told I would be sued. The fees were $1,325.11 and it was not in my budget. I wasn’t able to pay. I received a letter from Derek Beaudoin, Canadian ICR Ltd, a collection agency. Finally, I saved up enough money to pay it and was hit with an additional fee. I asked if this could be waived this was the reply I received from Derek.

Mrs. Boisvenue,

The resort has received your e-mail (below) and forwarded it to us to respond.  The Home Owners Association will not be waiving any of the remaining balance, $341.26.

Please be aware your arrears continue to accrue interest at $0.28/day.

I wrote again explaining my health and financial situation and this is the email I received from Nanci Shepard, Chairman of our Board of Directors on February 22, 2019,

Hi Jeannie,

After lengthy discussion with my fellow board members, we have unanimously decided to NOT waive your late fees. We are very sorry for your health and personal issues but as you state you have been an owner for 15 years so you are well aware that we put these policies in place for a reason. 

We are responsible to make sure the resort runs to above industry standard and we count on every owner to pay their maintenance fees in a timely manner in order for us to do just that.

There will be no further discussions on this matter and we will wait until Derek advises us you are paid and back in good standing.

Nanci 

I wrote and told them they were heartless.  I have to take my blood pressure daily and my Family Physician asked why it fluctuates so much, as high as 160/80 recently, I told him the financial burden this timeshare is and the nightmare it has become. He has warned me the next stroke might be fatal.

This timeshare is like having a noose around my neck. No one in my family wants it. My adopted son suffers from mental illness and lives on ODSP so he can never afford this.

To sum this up, there is no longer a sales office, our maintenance fees more than double in 15 years, late fees 30% in my case, suing delinquent owners, there is no Ovation program, non-owners pay less, rules change without our knowledge, we pay the Wyndham staff, they make it hard to sell, our kids are being forced to inherit a timeshare, ownership/leadership changed, NOOSE AROUND MY NECK.

#23 Trish M

Good evening

I like many others have been an owner at both Carriage Hills and Ridge for 20 plus years. 

The stories we started to hear about people desperate to get out of their timeshare were heartbreaking – the elderly, the sick, the unemployed. And we as owners were suing them for their maintenance fees through the office.

The rates have soared, we paid a huge investment in the beginning and continue to pay maintenance fees – there just isn’t any value in it anymore. Anyone can book off the street while we pay for the upkeep!!  Those who cannot afford the fees are being sued!! It is atrocious in my opinion. Our children do not want it left to them. What young person could afford it?

Many thanks!

#24 Jeff M

Hi Irene 

My wife and I purchased our timeshare in 2008 at 24 and 23 years old. We were basically sold on the premise that we could “get out of it” at any moment. We are stuck paying over 1000 $ annually for something that has no value. This has been the worst financial decision we have made in our lives.

Thank you,

Jeff M

#25 Wenda M

My husband and I purchased at Carriage Hills Resort in January 2000. We were told that we could sell the units when it became the time that we could no longer utilize it. Now as we age and have developed health issues our travel time has been curtailed. We need a viable exit plan. Our costs of annual maintenance fees and membership fee in 2018-19 amounts to almost $5600. This is not sustainable. No way is our son interested in inheriting our mistake. Our debit is ours not his and he is not on the deed.  

We need an EXIT – not just words but an actual plan. 

Wenda M

#26 Sue R

Hello

We own 6 deeds at Carriage Ridge and Carriage Hills Resorts. We purchased our units so that we could travel when retired. We use our points well, able to vacation about 10 weeks a year!  Our maintenance fees for both the Ridge and Hills are approximately 8,000.00 yearly, plus our SVC club fees at approximately 800.00. Now, knowing we may never be able to “get out” makes our stomachs turn! Never, ever, did we think our children could end up carrying our burden! We are not ready to sell but want to know how we can eventually get out of our commitments without having to go bankrupt. 

We would appreciate an acknowledgement that you received our email. Thank you.

Sincerely

Sue R

#27 Tom K

To be provided

#28 Ana N

Good Evening, 

I, too, am a long-time owner (15+ yrs) who was swindled into this so-called investment. We were sold this timeshare that was supposed to be something that could give joy to our family. Instead, it has caused us grief and stress when maintenance fees have doubled. This is not something that we would like our children to inherit and they have made it clear that they don’t want it.  

In addition, it is not something that I can continuously sustain with my husband who was diagnosed with advanced-stage cancer last year and has been in treatment since.

It seems impossible to sell or even give away.  I’ve been looking into selling or disposing of these and reached out to a member of the board who did not even bother responding to me.

We need a solution.  We need an exit plan.  We need help.

Thank you.

Ana N

#29 Jill M

Irene, I am writing to you with regard to my ‘ownership’ at Carriage Hills. I recently purchased resale time – what a horrible mistake! Not only was I completely misinformed by the seller and lawyer, but Wyndham provided zero information or assistance. My greatest concerns are the heavily increasing maintenance fees and the lack of an exit plan. I cannot and will not pass this disaster on to my executors or trustees.

If there is anything that can be done to assist the owners, we need to know now. Ownership falling into default is only going to continue to harm those of us that can’t get rid of our shares.

Thank you for your time,

Jill

#30 Rocky P

Hello Irene, my wife and I purchased a timeshare 20 years ago at Carriage Ridge thorough Shell Vacation Club. Over the years we have had great use but over the last few years have not been able to use it for financial reasons. We are both almost 70 with no pensions. We contacted the new owners Wyndham regarding an exit and we’re told of the Ovation program but have since found out that we are not eligible. We are also told that our children will inherit this increasing debt. This just can’t be right we can’t even give it away. We are lost at to what we can do. 

Anthony and MaryAnn P

In America, parents were paying $600 for an Epi-pen, a life-saving device for children who experience acute asthma. Public outcry resulted in a $200 generic version almost overnight. The draconian policy Carriage Resorts has imposed on loyal customers, who faithfully paid maintenance fees for decades, suing seniors experiencing the stress that comes with ageing, is predatory and unfair. Who would not agree with my statement? Let’s hope lawmakers come to this realization.

Thank you to Carriage owners for speaking up and speaking out. Inside Timeshare will do all in our power to keep this out front to support advocacy efforts.

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 Group

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

Thank you Irene, once again we witness disgusting practices by sales agents and the timeshare company fails to recognise that they have a severe problem. It is not just the deceptive practices it is also the age of many of these victims, as we have seen in many cases highlighted by our US colleagues as well as with many of the clients of Silverpoint’s “investments and company participation schemes” this can be clearly defined as “Elder Abuse”. If the timeshare companies are unable to change their practices then is it not time that the law is changed to force them to improve and protect consumers, especially the elderly.

If you have a timeshare problem and would like to know what options are open to you, then use our contact page and get in touch, Inside Timeshare will point you in the right direction.

Friday’s Letter from America

Welcome to another edition of our Letter from America, this week Irene Parker explores the problems surrounding some Canadian Timeshare owners at Resorts taken over by Wyndham. The article also looks at how Quebec is leading the way to protect consumers in Canada. Much of the legislation is very similar to that instituted in Spain, which as we already know has the strongest timeshare laws in favour of consumers in Europe. It does look as though lawmakers in other countries are looking at and using the Spanish model in their bid to protect consumers, this can only be for the best as the industry has failed miserably in this area.

The Hypocrisy of ARDA’s Coalition for Responsible Exit and Wyndham’s Ovation Program for Carriage Resorts Owners

Wyndham’s Carriage Hills and Carriage Ridge Canadian Resorts

By Irene Parker

August 16, 2019

A follow-up to Legacy Resort owners’ lack of a responsible exit

https://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-from-america-62/

It’s been over a year since Quebec passed a law in June of 2018 challenging the perpetual nature of non-deeded timeshare contracts. It is hoped Quebec’s model legislation will be expanded to include other Canadian provinces. The law does not apply to deeded intervals, which are considered real property in Canada.

Legislative Revision to Quebec Timeshares 

A contract related to timeshare accommodation rights is considered a service contract. You may resiliate your contract for other reasons, and you have other rights and recourses (187.13). The verb resiliation means “To draw back from a contract.” Cambridge dictionary (de résilier un contrat cancelling, termination)

Carriage’s draconian policy surpasses anything I have encountered in America. Wyndham acquired Carriage Resorts from Shell Vacation Club several years ago. Carriage Resorts lack of an exit policy is even more disturbing, considering the new president of the timeshare lobby ARDA, is Jason Gamel, Senior VP, Legal at Wyndham. ARDA’s position is that the problem of the lack of a secondary market has been solved by programs like Wyndham’s voluntary surrender program Ovations, and ARDA’s Coalition for Responsible Exit. A quote from an ARDA lobbyist:

“Their value comes from using it,” the timeshare industry’s top lobbyist told ConsumerAffairs in January, admitting that points have no resale value while claiming that consumers don’t mind this because the value comes from the experience.

A RedWeek post from a Carriage Resort owner found on the internet (unedited):

I was duped into a gifted timeshare from my father. The story is sad…he is retired and was desperate to get out as he lost most of his retirement money in 2007. So he misleads my husband and I. I contacted Ovation to take the deed back from Carriage Hills resort in Canada and they said NO. Referred to Fidelity who advised THEY HAVE NOT SOLD a Carriage Hills unit IN YEARS! 31 units are listed on Carriage Hills website for $1. Many owners are offering $400 gift certificates. Wyndham is the ring-leader. They should offer Ovation.

https://www.redweek.com/forums/messages?thread_id=20770&page=last

As reported by a Carriage Resort member to another Carriage member:   

By coincidence, I own at Carriage Hills which is the “sister” resort to Carriage Ridge (Simon’s resort) north of Toronto. Both these resorts are deeded timeshares (not points) and unless Wyndham changed their policy and allowed Ovations to take back Carriage deeds, the owners at both these resorts are “stuck” and obliged to pay their fees unless they manage to sell.

The board of Carriage Hills (and I believe Carriage Ridge as well) takes delinquent owners to court to oblige them to pay through a court ruling. The only way out currently is to sell. They are even taking “delinquent” heirs to court for payment of the late fees and say they have been successful. Simon will not be “foreclosed” – they don’t take back any timeshares at all. The owners’ associations at both timeshares cannot “own” any units and Wyndham is uncooperative. 

Wyndham took over these resorts from Shell Vacation Club several years ago and at that time also closed the sales office because they alleged they could not sell the units. Since that time they also have stopped taking back units from owners wanting out. This is a Facebook group which could be helpful (https://m.facebook.com/groups/152117225452689) for Ridge and Hills owners. They discuss “exit” strategies and appeals to the board to find a solution for owners who want to exit, amongst other topics. 

Unfortunately, I don’t have a good answer for you – at Embarc, because it is points and we are members who own no “real estate”, and because Diamond still takes back points to resell, a member has the choice of 1) Selling at around $10 per point (a fraction of the purchase price), 2) asking Diamond to take back the points or, 3) If they refuse, simply not pay one’s fees and points will be eventually forfeited. 

Carriage Hills/Ridge has no such choices – right now, the only thing one can do is attempt to sell to someone else – on Redweek.com, tug2.com or local Kijiji pages. I myself have listed my unit on the Carriage Hills website and am attempting to sell… There doesn’t however, appear to be a similar website for Carriage Ridge owners. 

Excerpt of email to Irene Parker at Inside Timeshare from Simon

August 5, 2019

I reached out to Ovations as you suggested. Wyndham Ovations will not accept our Carriage Ridge Resort in Canada. We purchased this floating week timeshare May 2004 for approximately $13,750. We were told at purchase there would be no problem reselling the timeshare. 

I will be contacting the Canadian Vacation Ownership Association as you suggested. They should know that many Canadians are being harmed. http://www.canadianvoa.org/ 

Simon D

Quebec Bill 178

Under Quebec Bill 178, a service contract can be cancelled under liberal conditions if the purchaser is not getting the benefits of ownership due to medical conditions, availability, or a host of other reasons.  

Introduced 18 April 2018 Quebec National Assembly

Passed 6 June 2018

Excerpt from the bill: “You may resiliate your contract for other reasons, and you have other rights and recourses.”

187.13 A contract relating to timeshare accommodation rights is deemed to be a service contract

http://www.assnat.qc.ca/en/travaux-parlementaires/projets-loi/projet-loi-178-41-1.html

Quebec’s consumer protection act is not the first time Canada has ruled on the definition of a timeshare. According to a 2017 ruling, the Canadian Court of Appeals defined a timeshare more like a country club than real property.

http://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-canada/

Spain ended perpetual timeshare contracts.

Spain was the first country to rule that perpetual timeshare contracts are illegal. In Spain timeshare contracts purchased in perpetuity, floating weeks, and points-based timeshares have been deemed unlawful by the Supreme Court.

I attended a Florida legislative workshop in Tallahassee March 12 of this year. Hearing lobbyists explain responsible exits and hardship departments, I learned of two parallel timeshare universes – what lobbyists and developers portray to lawmakers – and what over 900 families report is really happening.

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 Group

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

Thank you Irene, one thing this article does show is at least some lawmakers are taking an active interest in curbing the excesses of the timeshare industry and giving them some rights under law. I don’t know of any other industry where the consumer has no protection with the laws in favour of the industry, this must change and we are slowly seeing that happen.

Inside Timeshare would also like to apologise for the lack of articles over the past few weeks, August is usually rather quiet so Inside Timeshare has taken the time to have a well earned rest. All will be back to normal in the next week or so.

Have a great weekend.