Welcome this week’s edition of Letter from America, in fact, it is a Letter from Canada as we welcome a new contributor Stephanie, with her Grandparents “Nightmare on Timeshare Street” story with Wyndham Carriage Hills and Carriage Ridge Resorts. The title of this story is “Why is this not Elder Abuse?” Inside Timeshare has published many articles on this subject yet we still receive many reports from concerned members and their families, so why are the timeshare companies not taking any notice?
The Carriage Hills and Carriage Ridge annual meetings are October 21 and October 22. While an exit strategy will be discussed at the meetings, any HOA board should be able to allow an exit on severe medical and financial hardship, especially given the severity of Gary and Sandra’s situation. Of note is the marketing flyer presented at time of purchase to Carriage buyers stating, “Freeze the cost of vacations.”
Please remember to donate to the Irene Parker GoFundMe campaign to raise $25,000 for legal fees, in just two weeks over $8,000 has already been raised so thank you to all those who have already contributed.
Why is this not Elder Abuse?
Wyndham Carriage Hills and Carriage Ridge Resort
Grandparents Gary and Sandra Held Timeshare Hostage
October 11, 2019
My grandparents Sandra and Gary have been owners at Carriage Hills & Carriage Ridge since the 90’s. In 2014 the determination was made that Gary would require more comprehensive care. He was relocated to a 24-hour care unit in a nursing home. He is wheelchair-bound and requires assistance with bathing, eating, washroom & mobility concerns. At the onset, his health deteriorated quickly and continues on that path. He communicates verbally, but he is unable to make decisions or advocate for himself.
Note from Irene
He testified at a Florida legislative workshop March 12, 2019:
Wyndham Sr. VP Legal Jason Gamel provided testimony at the Florida HB 435 Workshop held in Tallahassee March 12. In response to Representative Newton’s question about Wyndham’s dissolution policies. Mr. Gamel explained that there was no need for owners to contract with an exit service provider because members seeking a loan cancellation due to hardship can apply for a hardship release through Wyndham.
ARDA’s Coalition for Responsible Exit
Of 16 boxes pictured on the website, four are Wyndham
1) Club Wyndham 2) Margaritaville Vacation Club by Wyndham
3) Shell Vacations Club (acquired by Wyndham) 4) Worldmark by Wyndham
Gary and Sandra
My grandparents, YRDSB teachers with summers off, purchased their Carriage timeshares with the intent to travel. The location of Carriage Hills and Carriage Resorts was convenient. Initially, the value was found in the timeshare. Annual fees were $650 per unit, but by 2019 fees rose to approximately $1500 per unit. This maintenance fee is no longer affordable.
Gary was the breadwinner of the family. Being a pensioned teacher, he supported the household. When he was moved to a 24-hour care facility, his insurance only covered a portion. His pension had to cover the remaining nursing home expense. What remains in his pension goes to Sandra, who does not receive a pension. Sandra is a retired substitute teacher. Sandra resides in their home with an adult son, who is not employed. She is expected to pay for their home, bills, and Carriage maintenance expenses in addition to food, medication, personal needs. There is nothing frivolous about her life. Her joy comes in the form of making beautiful, handmade quilts.
Sandra has long struggled with depression, which until recently had been managed by lifestyle and medication. However, in the last four years, there has been deterioration in her health, and in August 2018 she spent a week in the hospital after an episode.
On June 30, 2019, they reached 53 years married. Sandra sees Gary once a week, but leaving the house even for routine tasks is not easy. Imagine being married for 53 years, and then having so much stress that you can’t make it out to visit your husband. Sandra recently spent eight days in the hospital due to a change in medication and a depression spell. A Carriage Hills and Carriage Resorts exit strategy would be life-changing for her.
Not offering a voluntary surrender program to Canadians is unfair enough, but will Wyndham not even consider a medical and financial hardship release for a fully paid for timeshare member? Without question, the stress of this timeshare has been a catalyst for Sandra’s emotional and mental state. In regular conversations with family, she shares her worry about being able to afford the fees, and in more recent months, what is going to happen when she and Gary have passed on. She worries about the maintenance fees passed on to my children and me.
Sandra was not the person in the marriage who handled the finances or day to day needs. Gary has a very small life insurance plan and Sandra has no life insurance. She cancelled her insurance plan as it was too much to carry financially.
Obviously, they are not able to use the timeshare. Gary has no ability to travel and Sandra cannot travel alone or long distances. She is able to get up once in a while to Carriage Hill to use the pool with a friend. Shell Vacation has a portal for online, but at 75 years old, Sandra is not internet savvy. She relies on the help of family to do simple things with the timeshare.
There is no way out of this timeshare. In the unlikely event, a buyer is found, the fee to sell to another is substantial and the lawyers’ fees even higher. Sandra’s wish is to be able to sell back or return the timeshares to Wyndham… even to transfer to a relative is a 1500$ fee and 1500$ x 5 contracts totalling $7,500 is exorbitant. Her wish is to stop worrying about choosing these fees over her needs. She found hope in the Ovation Program offer, only to learn that Wyndham is not offering a responsible exit to Carriage Hills and Carriage Ridge owners. Couple this with the cuts to health and social programs Ontario is experiencing. It is a crisis.
Why is this not elder abuse?
Carriage Marketing Flyer stated: “Freeze cost of future vacations”
Prior Carriage Hills and Carriage Ridge reports:
Carriage Owners 115 – 128
Carriage Owners 91 – 114
Carriage Owners 61 – 90
Jeannie’s Medical Hardship Dismissed
Carriage Owners 31 – 60
David’s Medical and Financial Hardship Dismissed
Carriage Owners 1 – 30
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.
Free at Last Timeshare Support Course offered by Straight-A-Guide
Wyndham Carriage Resorts Facebook
Diamond Resort Facebook
Gold Key Facebook
Inside Timeshare Facebook
Inside Timeshare Facebook Group
Thank you Stephanie for your contribution, we hope that this article will help to change the way timeshare companies view their members.
As we stated at the beginning the Carriage Hills and Carriage Ridge Resorts AGM are being held on 21 & 22 October, Inside Timeshare is hoping to bring you a full report soon after.
Well, that is all for this week Inside Timeshare wishes you all a great weekend and join us next week for more news and information on the world of timeshare.