The Tuesday Slot

Welcome to the first Tuesday Slot of 2019, first thank you to Irene Parker for taking the time to get this weeks article to us, all our readers thoughts are with you at this time. As the planet rotated and the New Year dawned across the globe, the messages wishing Inside Timeshare a Happy New Year never stopped, so thank you to all our readers for your thoughts and Inside Timeshare also wishes you a very happy and prosperous New Year.

Timeshare Accountability Group™

A New Name – a New Year

By Irene Parker

New Year’s Day 2019

TAG begins the New Year with a new name. Accountability is a better word than advocacy so now we are Timeshare Accountability Group™   as we shift our focus more towards media, legislative and regulatory outreach. We will maintain our teams consisting of 44 supporters to answer questions about regulatory and law enforcement filings. Some websites are not that easy to navigate and some members express technological challenges.

We changed to Accountability for four reasons:

As mentioned, we will focus more on media, legislative and regulatory outreach.

Second, some outfit is using our key words running internet ads charging upfront money to get you out of your timeshare.

Third, a number of individuals and organizations that use the words advocate and consumer have nothing to do with advocating for a consumer. A lot of the criminals on this 15 page Department of Justice Report timeshare scam report called themselves advocates. We don’t want to be lumped in with those masquerading as advocates.

https://search.justice.gov/search?query=timeshare+scam+report&op=Search&affiliate=justice

Fourth, I’m tired of being described by Diamond Resorts as a “self-styled, ‘advocate’ a third party, not a lawyer, not a professional journalist.” I have never described myself as a professional journalist. I describe myself as an amateur scribbler. Diamond’s point I believe is that I don’t have the liability protection afforded professional journalists.

I was a professional court report writer. As a CASA supervisor (Court Appointed Special Advocates), I wrote court reports for Family Court judges and interested parties in an effort to determine the best outcome for a child or children in foster care. The despair in the voices of some angry timeshare members is similar to the despair of a parent whose child has been removed from their home.    

“Irene Parker purports to get her ‘clients’ out of their legally binding contracts,” Diamond explains. I have readers. The definition of purport: “appear or claim to be or do something, especially falsely” What our team members do is empower the timeshare member with the support needed to file regulatory and, if necessary, law enforcement complaints. It is every citizen’s right to file complaints if they feel they have been harmed.

The foreclosure process can be demeaning and demoralizing. It means a lot to know you are not alone. It is especially difficult for seniors who may have lost a spouse, or for those with 800 or better credit scores, left with no choice but to foreclose due to little or no secondary market. Timeshares are not like a house that can be easily sold with a loan outstanding, yet we are greeted “Welcome Home!” when we check in and we are told to think of our timeshare as a second home.             

Last year we reported Timeshare Accountability Group™ ended 2017 with a total of 207 timeshare members reaching out to us for help, all but a handful contacting us about unfair and deceptive timeshare sales practices.       

We ended 2018 with 432 members contacting us. More than double!

Our goals for 2019 remain the same:   

⦁ Boost our media outreach group

⦁ Boost our legislative outreach

⦁ Boost our active duty and veteran/retired military outreach

Timeshare developers are beginning to listen. A few timeshare companies have listened to the merits of a complaint and responded when we send a draft of a member submitted article. At times I have agreed with the company.

Members appreciate voluntary surrender programs. Unfortunately, the majority of our readers are not eligible for voluntary surrender programs because they are saddled with high interest rate loans and higher interest rate credit cards. A credit card company, like a home equity loan, doesn’t care what you charged. You owe the balance. It’s important to remember – transferring to a lower interest rate loan through a third party lender is not advised. Transferring to any third party lender, including a credit card, means you are asking the timeshare company for a refund as opposed to a loan cancellation. As timeshare attorney Mike Finn advised in a previously published article,

I think the one major, major admonition I have for anyone, client or not, who has purchased a timeshare with developer financing and may want to reconsider the merits of the purchase (and, of course, assuming the rescission period has passed), do not, I repeat, do not under any circumstances, attempt to re-finance the purchase via a home equity line or a transfer to a lower interest credit card, or, for that matter any other methodology that has as its objective, re-paying the developer with other third party money.

http://insidetimeshare.com/the-tuesday-slot-2/

It’s easy to get discouraged, but Inside Timeshare and self-help member groups have made remarkable progress since our twelve founders launched our volunteer effort February of 2017. We soldier on into 2019.

As always, contact Inside Timeshare or one of these U.S. member supported self-help groups if you have a timeshare concern. We’re here to listen and act, going a step beyond helpful posts.   

We seek to provide timeshare members a way to proactively address membership concerns; to advocate for timeshare reform; to obtain greater disclosure from the company; to advocate for a viable secondary market; and to educate prospective buyers.

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

https://everythingabouttimeshares.com/consider-exchange-options/

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

https://tug2.com/Home.aspx

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

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

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

Once again thank you Irene for you efforts over the past year, there are many out there who have been helped by the efforts of yourself and all our volunteer advocates, let us hope that this year will be the one that the industry takes notice and changes its approach to how it operates.

Inside Timeshare is not here to destroy the industry, it is here to give consumers the facts of what is going on. To highlight the rogue operators, be they timeshare sales, resale companies or bogus law firms, we will publish your antics no matter who you think you are, no threats will stop the truth from being published. As the old saying goes

“THE PEN IS MIGHTIER THAN THE SWORD”.

 

Friday’s Letter from America

Welcome to the last Letter from America of 2018, we hope that you all had a very good Christmas and are looking forward to the New Year. For this last Letter from America, Irene Parker had to make a last minute change, once again a timeshare company responded before publication.

The Satisfaction of a Dispute Resolved

By Irene Parker

December 28, 2018

The article originally scheduled for today was pulled because the dispute was resolved. The timeshare company listened to a well written complaint and followed the above circle of resolution.

Like most of the timeshare members reaching out to Inside Timeshare, the family featured in the original article is struggling with a medical crisis. I spent this Christmas in Houston at the MD Anderson cancer center dealing with our own family crisis. As our family begins our stages of grief, I thought about all the timeshare families that we have talked to over the last two years that have experienced the same. I can’t imagine receiving debt collection calls in the middle of our personal medical crisis. Making matters worse, all but a handful of the 646 families that have contacted us describe unfair and deceptive sales practices.  

According to cancer.gov, approximately 38.4% of men and women will be diagnosed with cancer at some point during their lifetimes (based on 2013-2015 data). I estimate about 60% of our readers have experienced some form of debilitating illness. This is when they learn the timeshare they were told would be easy to sell, is not. Often there is a loan outstanding, so a voluntary surrender program is not an option. https://www.cancer.gov/

I will never forget the 100% disabled Agent Orange veteran who was up-sold into an unnecessary loan. The sales agent was aware this double Purple Heart veteran had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Due to the circumstances, there was no question he experienced unfair and deceptive sales practices. He contacted me six times the last month of his life. His wife contacted me with just hours left to live because the credit card company was hounding them for the down payment. The timeshare company did resolve the dispute, but how unfair this decorated veteran had to spend his last days battling his timeshare company.

A recent caller was told she should pay an exit company $6,000 because she would be responsible for her father’s timeshare after her father’s passing. This was not true. In the case of this member, the company offers a voluntary surrender program and would have easily taken back the timeshare. Their contract even states heirs are not responsible for the timeshare.   

Contact Inside Timeshare if you receive a call from someone employing scare tactics to get you to sign up with their exit company or give up your deeded timeshare.  

How Timeshare Companies have dealt with complaints:              

According to all but a handful of our readers, timeshare companies have responded to their complaints with:

  • We are not responsible for what our sales agents say,
  • You signed a contract,
  • It sounds like he said, she said,
  • You have no proof,
  • If this was important to you, you should have asked for it to have been added to the contract,
  • All that matters is what is in the contract.     

How complaints should be dealt with according to thebalancesmallbusiness:

No one likes hearing complaints, and many of us have developed a reflex shrug, saying, “You can’t please all the people all the time”. Maybe not, but if you give the complaint your attention, you may be able to please this one person this one time – and position your business to reap the benefits of good customer service. Properly dealt with, complaints can become opportunities. They give you the chance to discover issues and correct them, thereby improving your customer service. Market research has found that customers who have complained about a product or service and had that complaint successfully dealt with are 70 percent likely to order from the vendor again.  

https://www.thebalancesmb.com/rules-for-good-customer-service-2948079

Sun Trust Bank offers these words of hope and encouragement  

http://www.bankrate.com/finance/real-estate/debt-collector-demands-huge-fees-on-past-due-time-share.aspx

“Now, if you were deceived or otherwise legally abused in the purchase, you can file a complaint against the seller. Each state has a different process so you’ll have to contact your state’s attorney general to determine the jurisdiction. Have a narrative of your complaint and a copy of your contract when filing. The agency will contact you if it finds a valid violation of real estate statutes (or sometimes banking statutes), especially if it involves deceptive sales practices. Collectors must legally back off in such under-dispute cases, though many don’t.”

“By the way, consumer complaints about abusive debt collectors have nearly tripled in less than a decade, according to the Federal Trade Commission. They’re exceeded only by identity-theft cases, says the FTC, which has sued about 200 collection companies since 2010. Many have been banned from doing business.”

We are primarily members helping members, providing straight answers on how to file regulatory and, if necessary, law enforcement complaints. It is our hope lawmakers and regulators will take note of our efforts to stop the financial harm caused by timeshare sales agents and companies that hide behind the oral representation clause.

A significant percentage of our readers are in their 60s and 70s, some in their 80s, with high US credit scores around 800, suddenly faced with timeshare foreclosure. About a third is younger. The youngest was 19 and pregnant when she signed a perpetual timeshare contract after a six hour presentation.

Contact Inside Timeshare or one of the following self-help groups if you have a concern about your timeshare.

We seek to provide timeshare members a way to proactively address membership concerns; to advocate for timeshare reform; to obtain greater disclosure from the company; to advocate for a viable secondary market; and to educate prospective buyers.

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

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

https://tug2.com/Home.aspx

https://everythingabouttimeshares.com/consider-exchange-options/

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

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

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

So that’s it for 2018, it has certainly been a roller coaster year, so many complaints, many of them veterans, many have been resolved, to the timeshare companies that did take notice, well done and thank you. All we can hope for is that 2019 will see many more start to change their ways.

From Inside Timeshare, we wish you all a happy and prosperous New Year.

Christmas Greetings

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day 2018 from Across the Miles

By Irene Parker

The holidays provide an opportunity for better communication, but better communication should be a year round opportunity.

Article Title: Christmas Truce of 1914

Author: History.com Editors

During World War I, on and around Christmas Day 1914, the sounds of rifles firing and shells exploding faded in a number of places along the Western Front in favor of holiday celebrations in the trenches and gestures of goodwill between enemies.

Did you know? On December 7, 1914, Pope Benedict XV suggested a temporary hiatus of the war for the celebration of Christmas. The warring countries refused to create any official cease-fire, but on Christmas the soldiers in the trenches declared their own unofficial truce.

Starting on Christmas Eve, many German and British troops sang Christmas carols to each other across the lines, and at certain points the Allied soldiers even heard brass bands joining the Germans in their joyous singing.

At the first light of dawn on Christmas Day, some German soldiers emerged from their trenches and approached the Allied lines across no-man’s-land, calling out “Merry Christmas” in their enemies’ native tongues. At first, the Allied soldiers feared it was a trick, but seeing the Germans unarmed they climbed out of their trenches and shook hands with the enemy soldiers. The men exchanged presents of cigarettes and plum puddings and sang carols and songs. There was even a documented case of soldiers from opposing sides playing a good-natured game of soccer.

The so-called Christmas Truce of 1914 came only five months after the outbreak of war in Europe and was one of the last examples of the outdated notion of chivalry between enemies in warfare. It was never repeated—future attempts at holiday ceasefires were quashed by officers’ threats of disciplinary action—but it served as heartening proof, however brief, that beneath the brutal clash of weapons, the soldiers’ essential humanity endured.

https://www.history.com/topics/world-war-i/christmas-truce-of-1914

Our 2017 Christmas Wish (I don’t feel I need to improve upon)

December 22, 2017 restated December 24, 2018

I wish to thank all our readers and supporters as we journey down the path towards resolution of conflict whether with our timeshare, or with our world. The relationships that have blossomed and grown are precious to me. The few I have had the opportunity to meet face to face solidifies and takes our relationship to a new level. I look forward to more of those experiences in the New Year.

There are no words to express the love and support I’ve felt from my band of brothers and sisters seeking to reform timeshare for the better, and we know there are honest timeshare sales agents and even some executives who feel the same.

Here’s hoping 2018 (19) will bring communication, resolution and relief to those who have laughed and cried with me over life’s ups and down. I also want to wish the best to those who may not like us very much, but know in their heart we only wish for better accountability, transparency and respect.

Thank you Charles Thomas, our Facebook admins, those supporting timeshare members working behind the scenes, our past and future Inside Timeshare contributors and to all our Facebook members, Inside Timeshare readers, Timeshare Accountability Group™  followers as we change our name to reflect our mission:

We seek to provide timeshare members a way to proactively address membership concerns; to advocate for timeshare reform; to obtain greater disclosure from the company; to advocate for a viable secondary market; and to educate prospective buyers.

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

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

https://tug2.com/Home.aspx

https://everythingabouttimeshares.com/consider-exchange-options/

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

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

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