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The Tuesday Slot

Welcome to this edition of The Tuesday Slot, this week Inside Timeshare publishes one of the last articles from Irene Parker due to the subpoena from Diamond Resorts in their case against Finn Law Group. Irene will, however, be submitting the progress of her GoFundMe campaign to raise the funds for legal representation.

Before we go on with Irene’s article, Inside Timeshare has received the following information from one of our readers regarding SG Abogados, the “FAKE” law firm which is part of the Litigious Abogados Family.

Our reader has been receiving numerous telephone calls regarding Diamond Resorts and Royal Oasis Club along with a Mr Barras (possibly the name they are using as “director”) being taken to court in Santa Cruz, Tenerife. According to the information given Diamond, Royal Oasis and Mr Barras are being taken to court for various reasons including fraud.

Some new names have now also come to light, they are supposedly the UK associates using the email address @sg-ukclaims, they are Andrew Hartley and Richard Lamont.

SG Abogados now claim that they cannot lose the case and will be working on a “no win no fee” basis, however, a fee, the amount is not yet given needs to be paid to the “Procurator” to file with the court. Once the case is lodged with the court all official court papers (FORGED) with be forthcoming.

Our Reader contacted Diamond Resorts and was told that there were no court cases being launched against them by this “law firm”. Inside Timeshare is in agreement as we already know that this “law firm” is fake and nothing but a fraud. More on this story as and when new information comes in.

Now for today’s article.

Diamond Resort’s Subpoena to Irene Parker

My $25,000 GoFundMe Launches Friday

September 24, 2019

By Irene Parker

I will not be publishing my regular articles for Inside Timeshare due to a subpoena I received from Diamond Resorts. Instead, I will publish my progress towards my $25,000 Legal Defense GoFundMe goal. My original goal was $50,000, but after discussion with the two law firms I have retained, and given that I really am a volunteer with no gold coins buried in my backyard, it is anticipated there may even be funds left to donate to a consumer protection organization.

I am not being sued by Diamond, but have become centre stage in what seems a strange lawsuit Diamond Resorts filed against Finn Law Group in 2015, especially since I’m playing such an important role.   

My Timeline

I met attorney Mike Finn late January 2016 after reading Gretchen Morgenson’s New York Times article, The Hard Sell Timeshare Comes Roaring Back. (Highlight the link and right click to open).

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/24/business/diamond-resorts-accused-of-using-hard-sell-to-push-time-shares.html

I contacted California attorney Eric Ridley March of 2016 after reading how Mr. Ridley sued Diamond Resorts, accusing the company of Elder Abuse. Louis Wolff was 81 years at the time of this lawsuit.

Louis Wolff claims Diamond Resorts International Club and six affiliates used high-pressure sales tactics to open credit cards in his name, run up bills on them “before plaintiff even realized the cards existed,” and charged him more than $50,000 for “membership ‘services’ in DRI entities.”

https://www.ridleylawoffices.com/blog/diamond-resorts-timeshare-accused-elder-abuse/

In January of 2017, I contacted Albright Stoddard Warnick and Albright to learn more about a billion lawsuit filed against Diamond Resorts. The judge ruled in favour of the arbitration clause, so the class action did not go forward.

https://insidetimeshare.com/1billion-law-suit-diamond-resorts-international/

Later in 2017, I contacted the law office of Amir Goldstein after finding this lawsuit filed against Diamond on behalf of Fe Jocson. I referred Fe to Amir.  

https://www.classaction.org/media/jocson-v-diamond-resorts-international-club-et-al.pdf

I could go on, but suffice to say the reason for my research was because in 2015 I was invited to be interviewed by the late Las Vegas attorney, Bob Massi, host of the popular FOX television show called Property Man. After a horrific timeshare presentation experience at Grand Beach Resort in Orlando, I saw Bob’s segment about a 90,000 square foot home being built in Orlando by Westgate owners. My husband and I were on our way to Venice, Florida, moving from Kentucky, when we attended the presentation. I wrote a sort of Fairy Tale about it:

“The Queen of Versailles and the peasant of Venice”

https://insidetimeshare.com/peasant-venice-queen-versailles/

I even had business cards made

Sometime in the fall of 2016, the Saldana family reached out to me, referred by a licensed broker who felt awful after telling the family Diamond points have no secondary market value. I reached out to a Diamond attorney on the family’s behalf, an attorney I actually liked. I referred the Saldana family to Eric Ridley when Sylvia asked me a legal question I could not answer. Diamond’s attorney resolved the matter, so Sylvia did not retain Mr. Ridley.        

https://insidetimeshare.com/irene-parker-write-barclay-card-usa/

I referred Diamond members to Finn Law Group and will continue to do so. Now, however, we have a list of seven law firms we know and trust. I have met face to face with five of them. I have heard from over 1,000 timeshare members, spanning the globe. There were a few from as far away as Australia and Malaysia. I receive timeshare complaints from timeshare members concerning a variety of timeshare companies.  https://www.finnlawgroup.com/

Sometimes members ask to speak to an attorney or ask me a legal question I can’t answer. Often they are at the end of their rope. We promote self-advocacy, but not everyone has the time or temperament to self-advocate.

The lawsuit Diamond v Finn Law Group as reported by the Orlando Sentinel:

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

It says in its latest lawsuit documents that the contract required them to cancel a number of contracts for Finn’s clients, while Finn agreed to stop reaching out to Diamond timeshare owners.

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

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

Based on the account above, it sounded like lawyers squabbling. I never dreamed I would become the centre of the lawsuit! I’ve retained two law firms. One would have been enough, but I retained the second to help with future plans.

Indirectly, these attorneys are representing you – anyone who has experienced unfair and deceptive sales practices.    

The subpoena I received from the law firm of Baker Hostetler below is nothing short of bizarre. I attended the Whistleblowers Summit this past July and even participated as a panel member in a discussion on ethics and resiliency. I’ve learned any whistleblower worth his or her salt should expect retaliation.  

When I hear from a timeshare member, I direct them to contact their resort instead of contacting an exit company. I provide contacts for the appropriate department and explain the pathway to file regulatory complaints if the member reports unfair and deceptive practices. It is every consumer’s right to file regulatory complaints.  

What Happened to Us 

We purchased Diamond timeshare points, in 2012, only to learn it would cost approximately $8,000 to stay in New York hotels using Diamond points, compared to about $3,000 for the same hotel, same week booked online. I checked year-round. We purchased these points because our daughter lives in New York City. Eventually, after filing complaints with the Arizona and New York Attorneys general, I was offered my money back. I refused to sign the NDA.

I contacted Diamond’s Member Services about the extreme disparity in value. The agent I spoke with explained that those types of properties are for people who bought so many points they don’t know what to do with them all. Having garnered complaints from over 100 Diamond Platinum members who say they mistakenly bought points told they would be relieved of maintenance fees, I understand. 

My daughter Michelle has experience fundraising. I’m hoping she will start a jar: “My Mom’s Legal Defense Fund for Helping Timeshare Hostages” at Daredevil. Michelle raised $30,000 on Kickstarter to launch DareDevil Tattoo Museum. A lot of people seeking tattoos find DareDevil. Over 200 lineup every Friday the 13th as documented by Forbes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TpHYJCmDJjM

The CEO of Airbnb personally helped launch Michelle’s Airbnb “Experience,” a tour of the Bowery. Michelle is the only NY tattooist also a licensed tour guide.   http://insidetimeshare.com/tuesday-slot-airbnb-v-timeshare/

Michelle’s tattoo was featured in a New York Times article when her artefacts were displayed at the New York Historical Society a while back.

Thanks to Diamond, I inadvertently became a contributor for Jim Cramer of Mad Money, Cramer’s investment news service TheStreet.   https://www.thestreet.com/story/13624491/1/is-apollo-returning-to-its-junk-roots-with-its-acquisition-of-diamond-resorts.html

Employing the skills I learned as a CASA supervisor, which included writing and editing court reports on behalf of children in foster care, I started interviewing timeshare members the way I was trained to interview biological parents and their kids. CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates. Our court reports helped judges make a determination as to the best outcome for a child in state care. Listening to a timeshare member is a lot like listening to a mom whose child has been placed in state care. You can substitute “timeshare member” for “child”, Give a Timeshare Member Hope.

Baker Hostetler, the law firm that sent the following subpoena, is closely associated with the timeshare lobby ARDA. This is #1 of 13 demands imposed by the subpoena. Next Tuesday I will publish #2 of 13.   

Subpoena demand #1 of 13

Diamond has demanded the following documents (edited for brevity).  

The first subpoena demanded the history of my life since I was old enough to talk. The judge ordered a “narrower in scope” subpoena so that I only have to produce documents that pertain to the Diamond v Finn Law Group lawsuit.

Definitions and Questions pertaining to #1 of 13    

Correspondence – Letters? I have no telegrams, cables, telexes, facsimiles.

Emails: I’m happy to provide emails, but we have a dilapidated HP printer that gasps when I print five pages. I’m told you can hire a company to help with discovery, so I’ll need to raise money for that too. 

Text messages: I thought they disappeared after a while. I can provide many text messages, but I don’t even know how to do a Facebook screenshot. I will need technological support for this one.

Contracts and Proposals and Agreements: That’s an easy one. I don’t have any.

Minutes: I don’t have any of those either.

Acknowledgements:  noun: acknowledgement

  1. acceptance of the truth or existence of something. “there was no acknowledgement of the family’s trauma”
  2. an author’s or publisher’s statement of indebtedness to others, typically one printed at the beginning of a book.

I ask Mike to review an article if I think I might have written something defamatory. For example, I once used the term Ponzi scheme. Mike said that was defamatory, so suggested Monopoly Money.

Notes: I jot down notes like when I reach out to an expert to ask something like, “What the hell is a Travel Club anyway?”

Memoranda: Definition: I had to look this one up.

Analysis: I have analyzed and tracked Diamond sales agents repeat offenders since 2016. I’m more than happy to provide that information as for years I have been trying to get anyone to listen to me.  

Projections: I don’t have any formal projections, but unfair and deceptive sales practices are on the upswing, based on my research.

Work Papers: I have a spiral bound notebook when someone calls. Is that a work paper or a note? 

Books: I edited All about Timeshares: Before During and After the Sale. The book was authored by a former Navy Journalist, timeshare sales agent and executive, Wayne Robinson. I received no compensation or royalties. I highly recommend this book which can be purchased through Barnes and Noble.

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/everything-about-timeshares-wayne-c-robinson/1129749757

Forecasts or Appraisals: Nope

Papers:  Like a White Paper? What’s the difference between a note, a work paper and a paper? 

Records: I kept a record of the first 1000 families to contact me, but I stopped counting after 1,000 because I feel I have enough data. The volume of disgruntled members has increased to the point I can’t keep up.

Reports: What’s the difference between an analysis and a report? Doesn’t a report contain the analysis of DATA?

Diaries: It’s called Inside Timeshare and is available online.  

Statements: I’m more than happy to produce my bank statements. This timeshare ministry is costing me $400 a month in lost piano student revenue.

Questionnaires:  I surveyed the members of the Licensed Timeshare Resale Broker Association because I wanted to know why they would accept a listing for any major timeshare except Diamond. Most would not say anything in fear of being sued, so I must redact this report. They said Diamond has draconian restrictions on the use of points acquired on the secondary market.   

Schedules: I’m retired. I have no schedule.

Computer programs or data: I will have to ask my husband. He does all that.

Books of account: My chequebook?

Calendars: I have one of those! 

Graphs, Charts, transcripts: I have none of those, although a Diamond member emailed me transcripts of a deceptive presentation. 

Tapes or Recordings: I recorded Irene and Dale, a Bronze Star Veteran, who has been financially devastated because of their last Diamond purchase. We received 21 complaints against their agent who reported earning over $2 million a year.  

Photographs: One of Diamond’s Platinum members wondered if they could find a courtroom big enough to hold us all.

Pictures or films: Films? We may have one in 2020 suggested by a timeshare buyer whose son is a director.  

Videos and audio recordings: I thought that was tapes and recordings.

“And all other information where data can be obtained, including all underlying, supporting or preparatory material now in your possession, custody or control.”

The term “documents” specifically includes documents kept by individuals in their desk, at home or elsewhere.  

In conclusion:

Those so motivated by greed cannot be expected to understand someone motivated by compassion. These big outside counsel law firms can bury a small law firm, much less a 68 year old lady who has been working for you for free, now at 52 volunteer hours per week. It’s a labour of love. I’m not complaining.  

#1 of 13 – How’s this for a run-on sentence: 

1. Any printed, written, taped, recorded, graphic, electronic, computer materials, from whatever source, whether in draft or otherwise, whether sent or received, or neither, which contains of from which information can be obtained and which is in Your possession, custody or control, including, but not limited to, the original, a copy, and all non-identical copies whether different from the original because of notes made on or attached to such copy or otherwise of any and all writing, correspondence, letters, telegrams, cables, telexes, facsimiles, emails, text messages, contracts, proposals, agreements, minutes, acknowledgments, notes, memoranda, analyses, projections, work papers, forecasts or appraisals, papers, records, reports, diaries, statements, questionnaires, schedules, computer programs or data, books or account, calendars, graphs, charts, transcripts, tapes, or recordings, photographs, pictures or films, ledgers, registers, work sheets, summaries, digests, financial statements, pictures, videos, audio recordings, audio recordings, and all other information where data, records, or compilations can be obtained, including all underlying, supporting or preparatory material now in Your possession, custody or control. The term “document” or “documents” specifically includes documents by individuals in their desk, at home or elsewhere.

To be continued  

Posted on RedWeek by “Janet” on a thread about Finn Law Group followed by Irene’s response:

https://www.redweek.com/forums/messages?thread_id=19198;page=last

This place (Finn Law Group) is a real law firm but shady. If you look at their BBB all the reviews are in 2019 and roughly a week apart. Also, a lady by the name of Irene Parker (diamond advocate FB forum) was referring all the people on her site to him. She claims her process is free knowing she’s not getting anyone out so after they realize this, she sends them to Finn and he charges thousands of dollars. Well, now it’s claimed that he was giving her kickbacks, commissions, and a finders fee. See, lawyers are not allowed to call or use any form of phone solicitation. How perfect was this set up. He probably contacted her to make a deal. You send them my way and I will take care of you. Ie cash money. Problem is, lawyers can’t split legal fees so I’m sure it’s all under the table.

Diamond is suing him and it looks like she is in hot water too. Diamond is shady yes, but so is Finn law group and Irene Parker. She now Is forming a go fund me page to help pay her legal fees. Why not use the free lawyer she claims will help and she is so tight with. Her quote. Last story. I had a diamond timeshare and went through her form to fill out. It’s a joke. I could tell it wasn’t going to work and asked many people if they had results. No responses, but she also chimed in with how many people she helped. Well, I found a local law firm and was able to get out of mine. It took 9 months but I was out. So I go to her forum to share my experience and got blasted by her and was asked to delete my post. She told me that the law group I used wasn’t approved by her. Well hell,I. never mentioned who it was. She knew it wasn’t Finn because she knows every client she refers. Anyway, I left her fb group. I knew right then she didn’t want any of her thousands of followers to maybe ask me who I used. It would have put a damper on her little side hustle. It’s fine if you want to help people and refer them to a law firm, just be straight up and tell what you’re really doing. Truth always comes out and will eventually. Thanks

Last edit by julieb989 on Sep 20, 2019, 07:24 PM.

My Response to this loon: (#1 a positive outcome requires an NDA)

Janet,

Thank you for posting false and defamatory statements. I have forwarded them to Finn Law Group. #1 the FB is not my site. It is a Facebook launched by an economics professor. It has grown to 3600 members. https://www.facebook.com/groups/DiamondResortsOwnersAdvocacy/

I do this because of symptoms of PTSD. My best friend Jayme Simmons lived with me the last two months of her life, in fear of her husband. He shot her in the face three times in front of her two-year-old. I was to testify premeditation but John switched his plea to guilty. He got 7 years. This is not the first time I worked full time for free. I worked for a year for free to raise money to fund my position at CASA, Court Appointed Special Advocates for children in foster care. With the proceeds, I raised from car shows, and a grant, I launched Fostering Futures, a program to aid teens ageing out of foster care, one of our nation’s high-risk populations. I also designed the volunteer program working for two years for free for the Diocese of Newark, at the Aids Drop-In Center.

I don’t get anyone out of their timeshare. I read their complaint, direct them to contact their resort, and if dismissed with “you didn’t say anything on the recorded QA,” we direct them to file regulatory complaints. I have several who have been through our process of helping other members, answering questions about regulatory filings. As a consequence, hundreds of disputes have been resolved.

Your comments don’t bother me. I consider the source. Here’s a testimony from one of the over 1000 families who have contacted me. Over 100 Diamond Platinum members have contacted me. One of them said she hoped they could find a courthouse big enough to hold all of us. About 90 of the Platinum complaints have resolved.

“My dad has had the contract he was upset with rescinded leaving him with his original contract, as he wanted. I was the one who did all the contracting and emailing for him and I truly do not know if that was responsible, the notification came through his attorney. Whether it was the attorney or the emailing, etc., I have no doubt at all that your efforts have changed the climate of the topic and the industry, and in some way affected the positive outcome for my father. Txxx and I will continue to support your efforts and hope that you also find some satisfaction in definitely being the person who interjected hope for a 90-year-old person who was despondent and really disappointed in himself.

I’ve suggested Inside Timeshare publish your comments, Janet.

Irene Parker

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

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

https://tug2.com/Home.aspx

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/everything-about-timeshares-wayne-c-robinson/1129749757?ean=2940161600962

Free at Last Timeshare Support Course offered by Straight-A-Guide

https://www.udprep.info/june

Bluegreen Facebook

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

Wyndham Facebook

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

Wyndham Carriage Resorts Facebook

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

Sapphire Starpoint  

https://www.facebook.com/login/?next=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fgroups%2F292083584642570%2F%3Fref%3Dshare

Diamond Resort Facebook

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

Gold Key Facebook

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

Inside Timeshare Facebook Group

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

Thank you Irene, Inside Timeshare will be following this case closely and along with all our readers wish you and Mike all the very best.

To all our readers please support Irene with her GoFundMe campaign, she has given so much and she now needs our support.

The Tuesday Slot

Welcome to The Tuesday Slot, today Irene Parker tells the story of Joseph, a Welk Resorts Owner, unlike many of the stories in the “Nightmare on Timeshare Street” series, this one does have a happy ending. Joseph is now free of his timeshare and has saved a small fortune in “exit” fees, so commendations to Welk Resorts for their effort in helping to free Joseph. Just a shame others do not take a leaf out of Welk’s response.

A Real Responsible Exit for Joseph, a Welk Resort Owner

Volunteers Needed! Apply Within

Why Volunteers Do What They Do – Brittany Garvin

Hurricane Relief for the Bahamas

Brittany Garvin spends most of her time (14 hours a day) in front of her computer or on her cellphone. Garvin is connecting family members with their loved ones in the Bahamas. She is a volunteer with the nonprofit organization CrowdSource Rescue.

https://www.live5news.com/2019/09/10/adams-run-woman-helping-reunite-hurricane-victims-with-family-members/

By Irene Parker

September 17, 2019

A firestorm of emails was prompted by our August 9th article concerning the lack of responsible exit for six Legacy resort owners. Out of six resorts, only one resort told the owner they would take back the timeshare. While some developers maintain a sales office, the glut of unwanted timeshares, especially among the baby boomer population, continues to flood the market. Since publishing the August 9th article, several more resorts have been added to the list. 

Some resorts are willing to work with Legacy owners who no longer want their timeshare. Navy veteran Joseph, age 89, was able to deed his timeshare back to Welk Resorts. After two attempts to reach someone at Welk, in frustration, Joseph gave up and reached out to timeshare exit companies. One quoted him a price of $4,500. Joseph said he attended their presentation at a chicken dinner at Disney. “Something didn’t feel right so I left,” Joseph explained. Ultimately, Joseph was referred to me. I reached out to Welk on Joseph’s behalf, putting him in touch with the right person. A representative from Welk contacted Joseph immediately.      

The five of six resorts that would not take back a timeshare:

The Seasons in Vermont

Eagle Crest in Oregon

Broadway Plantation in Myrtle Beach

Lehigh Resorts (from a BBB complaint: We were offered a deed back option, but it was $3000 to cover fees and a title search. This amount seemed absolutely excessive.)

Wyndham Carriage Ridge and Carriage Hills Resorts

Remarkably, Melissa received an emailed response (unedited) from a Sugarbush manager at The Seasons Resort stating:

  • Our current owners are renting for premium dollars and receiving a very high rate of return on their investment, because of supply and demand. 
  • If you rent your unit for less than 15 days/year, the rental income will not be includible in income–thus the income is tax-free and you would still be able to deduct your interest payments. 
  • The timeshare won’t be difficult to resell due to the lack of accommodations in the Sugarbush area (supply and demand).

We have also published several articles submitted by frustrated Americano ARC Resort owners. For many seniors, what the developer may consider a responsible exit is not. ARC is demanding those seeking exit purchase a Freedom 365 Travel Club. I think I speak on behalf of my generation when I say the last thing a senior seeking release from a timeshare needs is a $5,000 travel club. 

When a member or owner contacts me, the first thing I do is tell the member to reach out to ARDA’s Coalition for Responsible Exit. They report back their findings. https://responsibleexit.com/

Disney and Marriott are on Shep’s List

https://hyken.com/

Joseph was referred to me because Joseph does not have a computer. When I called Welk Resort, it did take a try or two. I waited on hold as caller #1 for 15 minutes before reaching a company representative. I explained that one of their owners had been quoted $4,500 to be released from his timeshare, so I was checking to see if they might work with Joseph. She referred me to the department that takes care of deed-backs. The person I spoke with said they would forward the message to a representative. I explained that I am not an attorney, so don’t represent anyone, but I was researching timeshare’s secondary market and would like to know Welk’s dissolution policy. That same day I was contacted by a Welk representative who explained they would work with Joseph and quoted me the reasonable fee they charge to deed-back, in the case of someone like Joseph. 

Exit companies would argue that they would be justified in charging Joseph $4,500 because they have to pay for the leads. I don’t agree. With a little persistence and detective work, finding the right department and the right person, members or owners can save themselves thousands of dollars by doing their own research and making their own contacts. 

We are looking for volunteers to assist those who do not have a computer or computer skills due to a variety of reasons. In the last 24 hours, I have been contacted by two owners battling cancer and one with MS. It’s not fair for them to have to battle their timeshare too, given the lack of a secondary market. 

Inside Timeshare can simply refer the owner inquiring to you, and you can assist and follow along with owners who need this type of assistance. You would help only those with fully paid for timeshares, those seeking release, by helping to point the member or owner in the right direction. We have many members helping members resolve disputes, but we could use a few more good soldiers. This is a way we can serve those who served us, like Calvin. 

On Friday we will publish Calvin’s story about how Nationwide Transfer strung Calvin along for two years, demanding over $20,000 from him. Calvin was part of a military police unit that managed a prison camp of 27,000 Iraq soldiers. Nationwide, instead of asking Calvin for medical documentation concerning his PTSD, that required a two-month hospital stay, wrote Vacation Village a letter telling them Calvin has Parkinson’s disease. Calvin does not have Parkinson’s. 

I reached out to Vacation Village and put them in touch with Calvin. Calvin paid $6,000 for the Vacation Village timeshare ten years ago. When his health deteriorated, he spoke with a sales agent who advised Calving to convert to points to reduce maintenance fees. Instead, maintenance fees increased. With the unnecessary upgrade, Calvin paid approximately $12,500 for the timeshare and over $20,000 to Nationwide Transfer. 

Elder Veteran Fraud is one of the most despicable forms of fraud.  

On a side note, I highly recommend Welk Resort. It was one of the first exchanges we made many years ago. For our younger readers, you can learn something about Hollywood memorabilia at Welk Resorts. Our generation grew up listening to Welshman Lawrence Welk and his Champagne Orchestra.

Timeshare provided my family and countless others, generations of wonderful memories. For others, it has caused financial ruin, bankruptcy and the loss of security clearances for active duty service members. “Pitching Heat” is what the industry itself calls the employment of unfair and deceptive sales practices. There have been many lawsuits filed describing the practice. 

I listened to an interview with Brittany Garvin on the Weather Channel over the weekend. She was asked what made her volunteer so much of her time. “With my skills, I could not just sit back and do nothing,” Brittany explained. Timeshare has deceived many who possess valuable skills, including a detective who works economic crimes undercover. If you have skills, or just time, to aid with our self-advocacy efforts, contact Inside Timeshare. Join our growing networks of volunteers. As happened for Joseph, one person can make a difference.  

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 Irene for all the help you gave Joseph, it is great when we can publish a story with a happy ending and a timeshare company willing to help, so we must say a very big thank you to Welk Resorts.

The Tuesday Slot

Welcome to this weeks edition of The Tuesday Slot, we continue with the complaints received by Inside Timeshare from Wyndham Carriage Hills and Carriage Ridge owners edited and compiled by our very own Irene Parker. This week we publish complaints 91 to 114, these complaints again show how the elderly are being treated by this timeshare company, being denied a way out and their heirs being forced to take over the membership. The Canadian authorities must act to rectify this situation and protect these owners from this type of behaviour. Inside Timeshare will continue to publish these “Nightmare on Timeshare Street” stories.

Why Not to Buy a Timeshare in Canada – Unless Change Happens 

Privileges that Fell Flat: 

Equity $ position, 

Freeze costs of future vacations, 

Worry-free vacations

By Irene Parker and Wyndham Carriage Resorts Owners 91 – 114

September 10, 2019

PARSIPPANY, N.J., July 25, 2019, /PRNewswire/ — Wyndham Hotels & Resorts (NYSE: WH) today announced results for the three months ended June 30, 2019. Highlights include: 

  • Revenues increased 23% compared with second-quarter 2018, to $533 million. 
  • Net income was $26 million for the second quarter, a 24% increase over the prior-year quarter; adjusted net income was $82 million, a 12% increase over the prior-year quarter. 
  • Adjusted EBITDA increased 27% compared with the prior-year quarter, to $159 million. 

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/wyndham-hotels–resorts-reports-second-quarter-2019-results-300890701.html

It is unfathomable that any executive could think holding the aged, the ill, and the disabled liable for maintenance fees for a fully paid for timeshares is healthy, especially when lobbyists have testified at legislative workshops to lawmakers that all is well in the timeshare secondary market because of hardship departments and dissolution policies – unless unfortunate enough to have purchased a timeshare in Canada.  

Doublespeak

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.

Quebec Backs Consumers

Among other provisions, Quebec Bill 178 defines a timeshare contract as a service contract. This could have lasting consequences for Canadian timeshare buyers who have felt trapped by the perpetual timeshare product. Many timeshare members are saddled with high-interest rate loans and some with higher interest rate credit cards issued by timeshare companies. (Quebec Bill 178 defining timeshare as a service contract was passed into law on June 6, 2018)      

http://www2.publicationsduquebec.gouv.qc.ca/dynamicSearch/telecharge.php?type=5&file=2018C14A.PDF

Comments from Wyndham Carriage Resorts Owner 91 – 120

Interestingly, I believe that some courts in Europe have declared that contracts ‘in perpetuity’ are in fact illegal. It’s a pity that the courts in Canada are not so progressive. Our maintenance fees have increased horrendously, from an initial amount of $526 to $1351 in 2018. We are both retired and we really struggle to find this money. We know it will only get worse. Lesley F 

It was sold as an enticing vacation ownership opportunity that gave me 5250 points annually with Shell Vacations, with the tangible benefit of a deeded portion of a physical property to own – sounded like a good investment –

“A deeded property and something that could be sold anytime, at what would certainly be a profit.”(Their words) The reality is that rather than an asset, this purchase has taken the form of something of a junk bond

– worthless as an asset. Not only worthless but with additional costs annually with no end in sight and no way out. Elaine

We wanted to get rid of it a few years after we bought. The same sales team took $700 upfront to list it for a potential sale which never materialized. My husband is a kidney transplant patient who had to stop working and has had no income for the past 5 years. We cannot travel anymore. We would love to see a legitimate exit strategy. I called Wyndham a few months ago and was told that my only option is to sell it via a legitimate real estate broker in Canada. That is impossible. The Timeshare Agreement is a serious attack on consumer rights in Canada. No owner knew what they were signing at the time of purchase. Amra

As it stands now, the owner who needs to exit only has one option, and that is to find a willing buyer. This is virtually impossible as there is no sales office on-site and virtually no assistance from Wyndham assisting with any sale. In fact, they make it very difficult, even if you were fortunate to find a willing buyer. John L

The most concerning is the way that the owners are currently being treated.  The owners that can’t afford the maintenance fees due to health reasons, financial problems, and life changes – for these people not to have a way out is just unethical! Mike B

We continue with reports from Wyndham’s Carriage Hills and Carriage Ridge owners #91 – 120. Prior reports: 

Carriage Owners 61 – 90

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

Elizabeth’s Analysis

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

Jeannie’s Medical Hardship Dismissed

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

Carriage Owners 31 – 60

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

David’s Medical and Financial Hardship Dismissed

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

Carriage Owners 1 – 30

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

#91 Kayleigh W

I own at Carriage Hills resort. I bought as a newlywed 10 years ago as an investment and a way to travel. Since then, I’ve divorced with two children and no way out of the ever-increasing maintenance fees. Our maintenance fees have doubled since I’ve purchased. My parents also own. Does that mean one day I will have two deeds? 

When I purchased, I was told we could use the facilities anytime. Since then, they’ve changed it so you can only use the facilities during specific times. We were also told that we could use three rooms upstairs for family parties. That has changed as well. Now there are more exclusions than inclusions. They sold us the timeshare as a second home.

I’m supposed to remove my ex-husband’s name from the deed. I’ve tried for two years. To have one name removed from the deed it costs the same as selling to a new party! Thousands of dollars! That makes no sense. Please help us find answers. The only one winning here is Wyndham and we are paying for it.

#92 Lynn A

I inherited a unit from my dad in 2006 and have been paying increasing maintenance and RCI/II Membership fees ever since. I was hoping for some great exchanges now that I have retired, but with the advent of Airbnb and VRBO, etc., I don’t see timeshare as viable in perpetuity.  We are looking for an exit strategy when we are ready because I don’t want to burden my daughter.

#93 Lynda R

We need an eventual exit that does not burden our children. 

Steve and Lynda R

#94 Michael C

Dear Irene

I purchased in 2009 and have used the exchange program. The maintenance fees have risen by exorbitant percentages each year. I am now retired and do not wish to travel to timeshare properties. The maintenance fees and membership fees are burdensome. I do not want to continue paying for the timeshare. I do not want to use it and cannot imagine inflicting this situation on my children. They have no interest in it and did not sign a contract agreeing to the terms. They lack the financial capability to sustain it. I need an Exit Plan. 

Regards,

Michael C

#95 Rebekah D

Dear Irene,


My husband and I bought into Carriage Hills in 1997. Living in Toronto, we enjoyed our white week, but are now scared and unhappy about the future. My husband is 71 and I am 70. We are pensioners. We need an exit strategy. This is the only viable solution, not only for us, but for the health of Carriage Resorts. We don’t want our children to be burdened. They are not on the deed.

Thank you, Irene,

Blessings

#96 Lesley F

Hello Irene,

In 1997 my husband and I bought at the inception of Carriage Hills.

We bought after being assured that our investment would keep its value and that we would be able to sell at any time.

We were also assured that if we wanted to deposit our weeks to exchange, our ‘floating weeks’ would always be ‘red’ (the highest). It now seems that the investment is of no value at all and we cannot sell it as no one wants it. The exchange value seems to fluctuate when translated into points by the exchange company (RCI).

Our maintenance fees have increased horrendously, from an initial amount of $526 to $1351 in 2018. We are both retired and we really struggle to find this money. We know it will only get worse over time. 

We have no children, but if we did, would not wish to burden them with this White Elephant. Unless we can get rid of the timeshare, will it fall to our siblings and their children to bear the burden? We have seriously considered defaulting, but understand that Wyndham will pursue us in the courts. Ultimately, our estate will have to deal with this.

Frankly, Irene, it makes me feel sick with worry about the future – how will we be able to afford to pay the ever-increasing fees? Worse, the thought that our families will be burdened with the problem after we die is troublesome.

Interestingly, I believe that some courts in Europe have declared that contracts ‘in perpetuity’ are in fact illegal. It’s a pity that the courts in Canada are not so progressive.

We are very grateful to you for taking an interest in the situation.

Kind regards

Lesley F and Ron K

#97 Roger S

I own at both resorts. I still use my time there, as well as trade. I do not plan to have my kids inherit the units, thus a viable exit strategy is needed in my future. 

#98 Valerie S

Hi Irene,

My husband and I bought our timeshare in 2000. We used it for several years but have not used it since 2008 when we moved out west. The maintenance fees have gone up tremendously and we still have to pay even though we have not been able to use the resort for 11 years. We want to get out of this timeshare as we are no longer able to pay the annual maintenance fee.

Please help us create awareness of the predicament many owners are currently stuck in.

Thank you so much!

God bless

Valerie & Benjamin S

#99 Cathy S

Exit strategy? Count me in please!

#100 Diane L

Hi Irene,

My story is the same as many. We joined in 2000 when we bought an every other year red week. I thought it would be a great way to ensure we had a vacation every year while the kids were young. Little did we know, what had we had really gotten into? 

We always exchanged thru RCI. However, as the maintenance fees continued to climb, I became nervous. At one point, in desperation, I signed up with one of the companies that promise to sell your timeshare for several hundred dollars in advance. I don’t recall which company it was, but something like sellymytimeshare.com. I never heard from them after they got our money. 

I thought about leaving our timeshare to someone other than our kids, but I know that no one is going to want it. It is far cheaper to just buy your own All-Inclusive vacation.

I feel so badly for the elderly people who are unable to use their time and have collection agencies chasing them for maintenance fees. My concern is that one day we may be in the same situation. I would NEVER recommend anyone buy a timeshare after the experience we have had.

I send in my votes every year to the AGM in hopes that at some point we will have a board of Directors that acts in our best interest, but the maintenance fees continue to rise and an exit strategy not available.  It seems obvious that the percentage of unhappy owners continues to grow every day.  

Thank you again,

Sincerely,

Dianne L

#101 Annette D

Hello Irene

I am one of many owners at Carriage Ridge who wishes to sell or give away my timeshare. We have owned for 22 years and have mostly exchanged. 

We, like all, have been advised that our timeshare would grow in value.

Our kids do not want this liability. We do not want the expense in retirement. More and more is being taken from us, whether it be an increase in maintenance fees or an increase in exchange fees. It is plain and simple – Corporate Greed. 

Thanks,

Annette D 

#102 Eduard and O N

Hi Irene, 

Exit Strategy: Count me in! 

#103 Edda G

Hello Irene

My husband and I purchased a red week at Carriage Hill approximately 15 years ago. 

We realized our error after a few years when trying to make travel work. Having to purchase a membership with RCI, pay for a flight and “All Inclusive” charges at resorts, made it an expensive and complicated venture that neither my husband nor I had time to research and plan. We realized we were really screwed when choices with RCI dwindled to almost nothing. Then the pressure to switch to points. We thankfully never fell for this. We told them that they wouldn’t get another cent out of us.

We weren’t skiers or golfers, so Carriage Hills was not that appealing. We have three boys. It was the same for them. They skied through their University years on occasion, but it was hard to nail them down to book time at the resort. 

I have used the resort several times with girlfriends, but in the past few years I was very disappointed in the state of the units. They were very dirty, outdated and shabby. Sometimes the TV or stove didn’t work. There was dust everywhere, cracked tiles and dirty grout in bathrooms. The sheets never quite fit around the mattress. I wondered how often the old comforter was washed. Whoever pulled the short straw got the pull-out couch, which was horribly uncomfortable.

It was embarrassing, to say the least, to admit that we paid $1300 a year for this? It was never made clear to us that the timeshare was going to be a ball and chain for the rest of our lives and the lives of our children. That should be illegal. 

We are intelligent people. My husband is very careful about what he signs, and yet we fell for it. It is definitely a burden to us now as we are retired. We want out!

Many thanks for all your help.

#104 Malini S

Hi there Irene, 

We are very much interested in pursuing an exit strategy. Although we used our timeshare early on, lately we have found we’ve been unable to use it.  

Thanks for your support. 

Mr and Ms M

#105 Elaine S

Hi Irene,

Our unified voices need to be heard.

I purchased at Carriage Ridge in May 2004 under much pressure. At the time it was presented as the second stage of the “very successful” Carriage Hills and affiliate to Horseshoe Valley. It was sold as an enticing vacation ownership opportunity that gave me 5250 points annually with Shell Vacations, with the tangible benefit of a deeded portion of a physical property to own – sounded like a good investment – “A deeded piece of something that could be sold anytime at what would certainly be a profit.” (their words).

The reality is that rather than an asset, this purchase has taken the form of something of a junk bond – worthless as an asset.   Not only worthless, but with additional costs annually with no end in sight and no way out.  Over the years I have seen our maintenance fees sky rocket, and with no viable way to exit, should I no longer use it or, if at some point, I am unable to afford the fees. I am very troubled.

To make matters worse, I have been told that although I pay my membership to RCI (previously Interval), that should I give/sell it to someone else they would get weeks at the home resort only. 

That is a simply unfair, and this is not what I purchased.  It needs to be addressed.  People feeling they have no other option but to try to give it away with no success is sad. This continues to devalue our already worthless ownership. There is no way at this point in the current structure to try to build some of the value back into our ownership.  This needs to change.  

We own at a beautiful resort that is being well maintained, so why are we trapped?

Others would certainly see value in owning these timeshares if they had reasonable maintenance fees, and an exit option (or a true resale market) – which ironically is what was falsely presented to us when we all bought.

The reality is that none of us purchased this to be a forever thing.  At some point, every single owner will want/need to exit, every single one of us.

So an exit strategy is important to every owner.  It certainly makes good business sense for all parties to have the choice and ability to sell.

Thank you,

Elaine S

#106 Rick C

I will not bore you with wild sad tales. Bought my timeshare in a moment of weakness, not clearly paying attention to a large serving of high pressure baloney.  I have tried to make the best of my mistake but have been sorely disappointed and paid for many years. Now retired and not having the income I once had it’s time to get out. Paying fees for no return must stop. Any way possible at almost any loss.

Thanks again for any help you can give.

Sincerely

Richard C

#107 Amra

Hello Irene,

My husband and I have been owners at Carriage Hills for almost 20 years. It was a bad decision – we feel we have been forced into it, clueless newcomers to Canada. The sales people were basically given a license to lie. They told us a very different story when they sold the timeshare.

(Note from Irene about the license to lie: 

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/24/business/diamond-resorts-accused-of-using-hard-sell-to-push-time-shares.html

We wanted to get rid of it a few years after we bought. The same sales team took $700 upfront to list it for a potential sale which never materialized. 


My husband is a kidney transplant patient who had to stop working and has had no income for the past 5 years. We cannot travel anymore. We would love to see a legitimate exit strategy offered. I called Wyndham a few months ago and was told that my only option is to sell it via a legitimate real estate broker in Canada. That is impossible. The Timeshare Agreement is a serious attack on consumer rights in Canada. No owner knew what they were signing at the time of purchase.

Thank you for your efforts.

Amra & Dimitrije

#108 Tony V

Irene, My name is Tony Varao and my former spouse and I own at both resorts (almost a 50/50 split). We own 4 full weeks and one of each the even and odd years (5 weeks per year). That equates to $6,678.33 in maintenance fees plus $565.98 for the Shell Vacation Club fees.‬‬‬‬‬

Eight years ago my wife and I divorced. At the time I tried contacting the resort and was told they do not assist in selling and are not interested in taking the units back. I contacted one of the exit strategy companies that were being advertised on the radio, they wanted the equivalent of 3 years maintenance fees up front to work on my case. That was over $17,000!

I have been paying annual fees. Since we converted to points several years back (because we were told it was better), I have been banking the points we have not been able to use and converting to credit cards (SVC Playdeck), using it for restaurants and the odd hotel, but the cash value I get is only a fraction of the money I pay annually, about 50%. By the way we were told if we bought another week we would be in the ELITE bracket with more perks, so we did.

This year I was eligible for early retirement, but could not because of the monthly expense of paying for these maintenance fees (over $600 per month).

This year I took all my points ($6,678.33 + $565.98) and went to Hawaii for a week. Please tell me if I was to have gone onto Expedia or Travelocity how much that trip would have cost, probably half.

My ex-wife and I bought into this wonderful concept of vacationing cheaper and better with this program, but it has not worked out that way.

The investment we were told we were buying into is not an investment. It is a perpetual black hole.

For now I will try to make the best of it by taking $7,000 vacations that are only worth half of that or less on the market. There will come a day that I cannot travel, and this will become an even larger burden affecting my quality of life.

Thank you for your ear.

Sincerely,

Tony V

#109 Susan S

EXIT STRATEGY: COUNT US IN PLEASE !!!!!

#110

John L

Dear Irene….I am writing on behalf of the Owners at Carriage Hills and Carriage Ridge.  As you have heard, we desperately need an exit strategy for owners who are encountering financial hardship or health issues and can no longer use their timeshare.  

As it stands now, the owner who needs to exit only has one option, and that is to find a willing buyer on their own. This is virtually impossible as there is no sales office on site and virtually no assistance from Wyndham assisting with any sale. In fact, they make it very difficult, even if you were fortunate to find a willing buyer.  

Also, with the very high maintenance fees it is cheaper to rent through Expedia or booking.com. You are not locked into any particular week or time.  

In addition, I could not in good conscience sell my unit to anyone, knowing that not only are they virtually locked into this during the rest of their lifetime, and the obligation is then passed on to your estate and heirs. 

Is it fair to stick them for the maintenance fees as most young families these days are living from pay-check to paycheck? Surely, with the cooperation of Wyndham and the management team at Carriage Hills, a resolution to this problem could be found?

Many of our owners are desperate and need help. Putting them into the hands of a collection agency is not the answer.  We need your help.   

Kindest Regards  John L

#111 Steve K

Hello Irene,


My wife and I are new owners, we were lucky enough to buy on a resale, so we didn’t pay the exorbitant amount some owners did. We do live close enough to be able to utilize day usage, however, we are concerned that in the future if maintenance fees continue to climb the way they have, we may not be able to afford to continue. I think a proper exit needs to be developed for all involved.

Thank you.


Stephen K

#112

Mike B

Hi Irene,

My wife and I are owners at Carriage Hills Resort and have been for the last couple of years. We currently enjoy our timeshare and have exchanged through RCI every year. We have also spent time at our home resort. As of right now, we’re not looking to exit our timeshare, but it’s quite concerning that there is no way to exit if we wanted to. We don’t want our kids to have to inherit these either.

The most concerning is the way that the owners are currently being treated.  The ones that can’t afford the maintenance fees due to health reasons, financial problems, life changes, not to have a way out is just unethical!

The lack of transparency to the owners between our BOD and Wyndham is just despicable!

Thank you for your time and interest in this matter!

Best regards,
Mike & Alaina

#113 Anonymous

Hi, Irene,   I spoke with someone who said Ont. Gov’t consumer services and the Minister of Consumer Protection for T-shares is interested. Keep working. 

#114 Joanne H

I have owned at Carriage Hills for about 25 years. I never dreamed I would not be able to give the unit away. Our kids don’t want it. I have amassed so many points with RCI that are useless to me, but I keep paying and paying. My husband and I are retired now and don’t have money to waste. There has to be something we can do. We only own every other year. My heart goes out to those who own every year or more.

Joanne H

How can this be right? Let’s hope Carriage owners can find Ontario lawmakers, journalists, and reporters sympathetic to the unfairness of this predatory and unfair timeshare trap.

Timeshare members are always grateful when a member, who has been through the complaint or foreclosure process, thinks beyond their own Nightmare on Timeshare Street to support others. There seems to be a lot of talent among Carriage owners who were sold an asset converted to a liability by unfair, weaponized contract law (to borrow a phrase from a U.S. member battling a U.S. timeshare company on behalf of his mother).

I’m told Wyndham is not the only timeshare company in Canada with such unfair tactics. This means a concerted effort needs to happen to inform the general public about the pitfalls that come with this overbearing, ironclad, outdated contract, give today’s Airbnb, Booking.com and Expedia’s economical and instant bookings.

Public awareness is the first step towards affecting change. We don’t want to destroy the timeshare industry. We want to save it. Ironclad contracts, benefitting stock investors, are not the answer.

Thank you to Carriage Owners for sharing their stories. Let’s hope media and legislative outreach committees develop to inspire public awareness and outcry, for the good of the owners, and the good of the industry.

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, Irene and all who contributed to this article, we at Inside Timeshare hope that the Canadaian Authorities take note and that Wyndham will come around and give these people what they deserve, justice. Somehow I don’t think that Wyndham’s greed will allow them to do anything.