Welcome to this week’s Letter from America and the story of Marcy, this story also goes to answer an often asked question “What happens if I just stop paying maintenance fees?” This is Marcy’s experience on this subject.
Marcy in California was left with little choice but to stop paying maintenance fees for two timeshares. Her never-ending struggles began in 2015. She had no outstanding loan with either timeshare. One of her timeshare companies now has a voluntary surrender program, but the liquidity problem is far from solved.
Inside Timeshare first heard from Marcy in 2017. She contacted us terrified after receiving a threatening call from someone claiming to be an attorney from U.S. Consumer Attorneys.
Several lawsuits were filed against U.S. Consumer Attorneys. We heard they filed for bankruptcy. A marketer for an exit company informed us that they heard they were not taking new clients and then operated for a while under another name. The firm’s website was not accessible.
Westgate filed a lawsuit against U.S. Consumer Attorneys in 2018
Wyndham filed a lawsuit against U.S. Consumer Attorneys in 2018
Diamond Resorts filed a lawsuit against U.S. Consumer Attorneys in 2018
What Happened When I Stopped Paying Maintenance Fees
By Marcy in California
April 23, 2021
I have been reading many Facebook post comments from timeshare members asking what happens when you stop paying maintenance fees. I had no choice but to stop paying maintenance fees on one timeshare in 2015 and now have decided to stop paying maintenance fees on my remaining timeshare. I share my experience to support others like me – those who paid their bills on time all life long, but were left with little choice but to default.
I think I am over and done with the timeshare from 2015. I sought release because of financial and medical hardship. I suffer from serious and chronic medical conditions. I am a widow, age 73.
I contacted Irene Parker in the spring of 2017 after receiving a call from Louis. He said he was an attorney with U.S. Consumer Attorneys. Phyllis in California contacted Irene the same day. We both stated that we were having a panic stress attack over our timeshare. To support and warn other seniors, Phyllis, Shirley, and I all shared our experience in May of 2018 in this Inside Timeshare article.
Louis knew I owned a Diamond Resort timeshare at Ka’anapali Beach Resort in Hawaii and that I was two years behind on maintenance fees. He said I would have to pay him $2,900 to be released from the Diamond contract or they would take my home and could even take my children’s home should something happen to me. He further explained that my family would be responsible for paying our portion of all Diamond’s debts. They could even attach my wages if I was working, or my Social Security income. This man was horrible and I was terrified. I didn’t know what to do. I did not know if he was telling the truth. I was advised to inform Diamond Resorts and to inform Louis of this the next time he called. That ended that at least.
Diamond Resorts now has a voluntary surrender program but they didn’t in 2015. When I contacted them in 2015 they would not take my week back. I was current on my maintenance fees when I inquired. I stopped paying maintenance fees. Three years passed without hearing anything. There was little to no effect on my credit score. Then, in 2018 I received a bill for $9,000 – three years of maintenance fees in arrears. I have not paid that amount and have not experienced any negative consequences, but it still kind of hangs over you.
I reached out to Inside Timeshare once again this year about my Grand Palisades timeshare in California. We reached out to Grand Palisades in January to ask about their dissolution policy. I was current on maintenance fees, but after speaking with them I ceased making payments.
I tried to sell this timeshare but no one wanted it. I had it posted on Marketplace for over a year and also tried to sell it on Craigslist. I called a licensed timeshare broker in California. He said that while Grand Palisades is one of the better timeshares, they felt there was no market for it.
I spoke to a representative at the Grand Palisades HOA Loyalty Department. They said I would have to pay all of 2021 maintenance fees and then submit a request for medical hardship. The HOA would consider the request but there was no guarantee my request would be honoured.
I’m tired of fighting timeshares. I was current on fees in January, but after all that I’ve been through, it didn’t make sense to me to pay all of 2021 maintenance on the chance that I might be allowed a release. I pay quarterly so I would have to pay for the whole year. I am now two quarters behind. I offered $1,000 to take it back.
Why can’t the HOA evaluate a person’s medical condition and then have the owner pay the fees, especially if there is a termination fee added to the 2021 maintenance fees? The representative from Grand Palisades said that if I defaulted, there would be no consequences. At least that provides some comfort.
Timeshares can be expensive and anyone’s life can change in an instant. One thing for sure – I needed help and from what I’m reading, so do many people. I don’t think the exit companies will disappear until the timeshare companies become more flexible with exit options. You don’t have to prove medical or financial hardship to sell a house. Inside Timeshare was there for me. Now I want to support others.
Related article: Senior Defaults
Once again Inside Timeshare would like to thank Marcy for her contribution this week, Inside Timeshare believes that these stories contributed by timeshare owners sharing their own experiences do help others. They help to answer the many questions that Inside Timeshare and our associated Fb groups receive on an almost daily basis.
If you have any questions or comments on this or any other article please use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get back to you.
Have a great weekend and join us again next week for more on the murky world of timeshare.