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Irene Parker

Friday’s Letter from America

Welcome to another Letter from America, this week we welcome another new contributor Diane Smith with an introduction by our very own Irene Parker. This article looks at Bluegreen and their suggestion that Diane donates her points to one of four selected charities. Have we not heard of a scheme like this before?

Bluegreen offers new Pilot Program to Donate Points to Charities 

Diane Smith Responds to “Who’s the Fish?”

Bass Pro Lawsuit v Bluegreen

https://insidetimeshare.com/the-tuesday-slot-38/

July 10, 2019

By Diane Smith

Introductory comments by Irene Parker

I was alarmed when Diane reported that Bluegreen suggested she donate her 5,000 points to one of four select charities. Charities don’t need the liability of a perpetual contract and ongoing maintenance fees. After learning one of the charities was founded by the co-founder of RCI, and other timeshare executives are members of the 18 member Board of Directors, I reached out to industry insiders, puzzled.  

Christel DeHaan, Founder and Chairman of the Board

Co-Founded and sold RCI for $825 million

https://www.forbes.com/profile/christel-dehaan/?fbclid=IwAR3Qn-QE_uDsHYPVo0b9yuh3qb4Y4opDRT7zAiC0wk97D_n0H19_bD7re7k#6d7903079fd0

https://christelhouse.org/our-people/

Olivier Chavy, President, RCI Exchanges

Gordon S. Gurnik Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Hilton Grand Vacations

Don Harrill, Vice Chairman of Board of Directors, Orange Lake

According to an industry source, who wishes to remain anonymous, the charities will not be liable for maintenance fees or the perpetual contract. If Diane were to donate her 5,000 Bluegreen points, it would prompt a paper transaction known throughout the industry as a “Press and Clean” that will ultimately transfer the points back to Bluegreen. While transferring timeshares is perfectly legal, legal point laundering does not solve the problem when timeshare buyers experience unfair and deceptive sales practices.  

If my source is correct, in this scheme, Bluegreen controls who gets referred to the charity, so you can’t just call up one of the charities and ask them to take your Bluegreen points. Bluegreen benefits because they are not as bothered by calls from people wanting to get rid of their points, as they can refer the member to the charities if there is no loan outstanding.

It is ironic Christel House works with those in poverty, considering Inside Timeshare has heard from 894 timeshare members and more than a few driven into poverty because of unfair and deceptive sales practices that are accompanied by rising maintenance fees and no secondary market.

So why is being allowed to donate timeshare points to a charity, not a good idea? When sold by deceit, the charity becomes a link in the progression described by one former sales agent as a hamster wheel: deceive, force insolvency, take-back, resell – with the charity brokering the points back to the timeshare company.

We hope this isn’t the timeshare lobby ARDA’s idea of a Responsible Exit.

ARDA’s Coalition for Responsible Exit

https://responsibleexit.com/

Diane’s Response to “Who’s the Fish?”

I read Inside Timeshare’s article about the lawsuit filed on behalf of nearly 36 Bluegreen plaintiffs against Bass Pro Shops and Bluegreen with great interest after I received Bluegreen’s response to my complaint. My reports of deception are similar to identical to those listed in the lawsuit complaint.

My concerns were not even addressed. Instead, I received an email suggesting I donate our points to a charity. Given an attorney I contacted was going to charge me $5,000 to get us out of this financial trap, I questioned why a nonprofit would want to accept timeshares.  

Bluegreen responded to my complaint saying that they have no provision to take back a timeshare (even when deceived?), but I could contact one of four selected charities to donate our 5,000 points. The four select charities are listed below. While I applaud any assistance is to a charity, I don’t feel this is appropriate. 

Our family purchased our points in 2011 after we had endured the Joplin, Missouri EF5 tornado that killed approximately 160 people. My father broke his back and ribs, his home was destroyed, and we endured over $40,000 in damages to our home. Shortly after the tornado, we took a trip to Branson to get away for a breather. At Bass Pro Shops we were approached by a Bluegreen representative. The resulting consequences I would describe as a financial tornado.

In the lawsuit Bass Pro Shops filed against Bluegreen, they were concerned about commissions they had not been paid. Bass Pro Shops will be rewarded $40 million, but there is little concern as to the deception described by Plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed on behalf of Bluegreen members. In the lawsuit complaint, Bass Pro Shops mentioned aggressive sales practices that were offensive to their customers, but I’m sure the reason for the lawsuit was to sue for commissions. It’s all about the money with timeshares – our money.

We experienced the following:

  1. The meeting promised to last no more than an hour, lasted for hours,
  2. They explained how we would save money on vacations by buying points. In actuality, most of the places we attempted to book were either not available when we were able to use them, or we couldn’t book them at the time we wanted to book (not in the booking window). We have never been able to vacation anywhere using Bluegreen points but Branson, except for one Florida trip.
  3. We were told we were not buying a timeshare! They provided us with a “deed” explaining that we were purchasing real estate.
  4.  We were told we could sell Bluegreen points at any time and that points would appreciate in value like our home. There is no resale value as evidenced by their suggestion we donate points to a charity.
  5. A credit card was opened to make the purchase and we were advised to transfer the purchase price to a home equity loan.
  6. They explained the benefit of being able to transfer the points to our heirs. We now know what is passed down is a financial liability.

The few trips we did take were a disappointment due to high-pressure sales tactics that made us feel like we could not leave unless we purchased additional points. We have no desire to stay at another Branson property due to our last stay when we experienced soft spots on the bathroom floors, roaches, and the same furniture as 2011. The pool looked nasty, cloudy and full of algae. 

Bluegreen responded to our concerns as follows:

We are sorry to hear that you wish to cancel your ownership. Unfortunately, there are no provisions for you to cancel your contract at this time.

However, we would like to offer you the opportunity to participate in a pilot program we have developed to assist owners like you who have no outstanding loan but would like to separate from the Bluegreen Vacation Club. The program is outlined below:

1.     Donate your timeshare interest benefiting a charitable organization. Please see the attached document regarding worthy organizations.

2.     You will be provided with a donation letter from the charity based on the current third party comparable selling price. With respect to your ownership, this is estimated to be $745. Please note that this letter does not represent proper documentation to support a deduction on your tax return nor is it a substitution for any third-party valuation that may be required by the IRS. We recommend that you consult with a tax advisor regarding requirements for claiming non-cash charitable donations.

3.     You will have the option to utilize one-year’s allotment of (5,000) Vacation Points for up to two years (at no cost to you).

4.     You will be released from any future obligations to the Bluegreen Vacation Club.

Charitable Giving Program – Donation Options 

Junior Achievement of South Florida (JA)

SOS Children’s Villages – Florida is a foster care neighbourhood in Coconut Creek.

Christel House Some things should be handed down from one generation to the next. A life of poverty isn’t one of them.

JDRF is the leading global research organization accelerating medical breakthroughs to cure, prevent and treat Type 1 Diabetes (T1D).

I imagine waves of baby boomers, with children and grandchildren, have experienced the same. We will teach the next generations to avoid timeshares and travel clubs. The existence of unfair and deceptive timeshare sales practices is apparent. See the lawsuits and Attorneys General investigations below.  

Thank you to Diane for informing us of this remarkable timeshare development. Our readers are not just a disgruntled few:

The NY Attorney General investigation into the Manhattan Club resulted in a $6.5 million settlement. https://www.amny.com/real-estate/the-manhattan-club-settlement-includes-6-5-million-in-restitution-ag-says-1.14048559

Colorado Attorney General sued Highlands Resort, Sedona Pines and twelve other defendants for deceptive trade practices. https://businessden.com/2016/12/07/ag-sues-timeshare-firm-for-deceptive-tactics/

Missourians sometimes are targeted by real estate developers and resort communities to buy vacation timeshares. https://ago.mo.gov/civil-division/consumer/consumer-topics/vacation-timeshares

Arizona Attorney General received hundreds of complaints against Diamond Resorts, fined the company $800,000 and issued an Assurance of Discontinuance. https://azag.gov/press-release/attorney-general-brnovich-announces-800000-settlement-diamond-resorts

Tennessee Attorney General announced a $3 million settlement with Festiva, a network of vacation and timeshare companies, for alleged violations of the federal Telemarketing Act, federal Telemarketing Sales Rule, and the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act. https://www.tn.gov/attorneygeneral/news/2016/2/24/pr16-04.html

Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen says his office received 58 timeshare complaints in 2018, including concerns about pressure sales tactics, exorbitant fees, and difficulty reselling. https://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/local/Timeshare-Troubles–What-To-Do-Before-You-Buy-and-Sell-504017151.html

A Florida Whistleblower lawsuit filed on behalf of ten former Wyndham employees, including eight former sales agents. Plaintiffs allege that they objected to and refused to participate in illegal timeshare sales practices.  https://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-from-america-42/

Former Wyndham sales agent Trish Williams, a jury awarded an initial $20 million. https://dolanlawfirm.com/2016/11/wyndham-timeshare-whistleblower-lawsuit/

Candace Czarny v Hyatt and Kent and Allison Drysdale – Former Hyatt timeshare sales allege that they were instructed to make certain false statements and omit certain facts when communicating to Hyatt owners and potential clientele in order to make more sales. https://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-from-america-57/

Petition to Reform Timeshare:

https://www.change.org/p/state-legislators-in-arizona-florida-and-nevada-demand-reform-of-the-timeshare-industry-s-unfair-and-deceptive-practices

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

Free at Last Facebook

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 Diane and Irene, this certainly looks like one of those schemes which only benefits the timeshare company, if you have any views, comments or questions on this article please use our contact page and get in touch.

That is all for this week, we hope that you all have a great weekend and join us again next week.

The Tuesday Slot

Welcome to another edition of The Tuesday Slot, This week Irene Parker looks at the Bass Pro Shops and Bluegreen who are both locked in a legal dispute not only with each other but also their own clients. It would look like there is no end to the deceptions, misleading and bad practices that the timeshare industry thrives by. This brings us to ask yet again, when will the industry change its ways and sell a fair and useful product without the bad practices that we see on these pages day after day week after week? Somehow I don’t think we will get an answer any time soon.

Bass Pro Shops v Bluegreen $40 million Settlement

A Separate Lawsuit of Nearly Three Dozen Bluegreen Member Plaintiffs

As reported by The Palm Beach Post June 14, 2019

Boca Raton-based Bluegreen Vacations will pay Bass Pro more than $40 million to continue operating sales kiosks in its stores.

In a separate lawsuit filed this year, nearly three dozen timeshare buyers from around the country sued Bluegreen and Bass Pro Shops. The consumers said they were lured into high-pressure sales pitches, then sold expensive shares in units that they claimed were overpriced or in poor repair.

https://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/20190614/bluegreen-vacations-bass-pro-shops-settle-dispute-over-timeshare-sales-tactics?fbclid=IwAR2T5UbBR9fHwDbyhHIJk0HqhhHqgHYec8Npi2QpcrgE0ufBSEWIkIarxWk

Who’s the Fish?

By Irene Parker

July 9, 2019

Civil Action No. 3:19-cv-54

Excerpts from the Civil Action complaint (my comments highlighted in blue)

In the U. S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee at Knoxville, a third amended complaint was filed April 8, 2019 against defendant Bluegreen Vacation Unlimited, Inc. in Gatlinburg, Tennessee and BPS Direct, LLC dba Bass Pro Shops (BPS), seeking contract rescission and damages on behalf of 16 co-plaintiffs (as of the April 8 filing) for alleged illegal, deceptive and misleading business and sales practices, statutory violations and fraudulent conduct.   

Such practices as described pertain to the Bluegreen Vacations Mountain Loft, Ascend Resort Collection Resort at Gatlinburg. Relevant to this lawsuit, Bass Pro Shop, partially in conjunction with Bluegreen, operated its retail business at its Tennessee-based facilities in Kodak and Nashville, along with 67 other locations across the United States.

According to the lawsuit, Defendant Bass Pro Shops were involved in the offering of a promotion for attending a timeshare presentation, which was solicited through representations made from within Bass Pro Shops, through BPS agents, or at least individuals who appeared to consumers to be acting as agents of BPS, and thus, such actions are attributable to Defendant BPS. The lawsuit Bass Pro Shops filed against Bluegreen seemed to focus on commissions not being paid on any “sampler package” and the “clawing back” of commissions not paid when a member defaulted or cancelled years after the sale.

The lawsuit alleges Plaintiffs were induced to purchase a timeshare interest from Bluegreen by fraud, without knowing the true nature of the presentation, because material information was either intentionally or negligently concealed. Defendants did not disclose material facts concerning the use of points and availability caused by overselling interests, and the right to the Public Offering Statement disclosures, which included rescission rights.

First Basis: Concealment of Rescission Rights and Public Offering Statement

The lawsuit alleges POS disclosures were avoided and/or intentionally hid, including material information about the rescission period. Despite Bluegreen’s legal duty to provide a copy of its POS, not one Plaintiff recalls receiving a copy of such a document. The lawsuit further alleges Bluegreen representatives had a strong incentive to conceal Plaintiffs’ rescission rights and limit access to the information contained in the Public Offering Statement. Plaintiffs were not aware they had a right of rescission or that they were entitled to review the POS before entering the contract.

Violations of the Tennessee Timeshare Act of 1981 include:

  • Public Offering Statement disclosure – The POS must be provided to purchasers “before the transfer of the timeshare and no later than the date of any sales contract,” and that the contract is voidable until the purchaser has received the POS.

Since late 2016, Inside Timeshare has heard from 890 timeshare members reporting unfair and deceptive timeshare sales practices, including 113 veterans and active duty service members. Only in the last six months have I started asking the members about the Public Offering Statement to which the members reply, “A what?” Digging through past paperwork, they find it to exclaim, “It says,” READ THIS DISCLOSURE STATEMENT BEFORE SIGNING ANYTHING!”  The timeshare customer service representative, also a fine print detective, responds to the member with their initials agreeing that they read and reviewed the document. If the closing is recorded, the presentation of the POS should be recorded.

According to the lawsuit, after often five to eight hours of mentally and physically wearing the consumer down, there is a rapid signing of many documents that lasts only about ten to fifteen minutes. The Closer or Quality Assurance Specialist controls the entire process. Consumers are not permitted to read the contract, leave the room, discuss the contract alone, are not permitted to review the contract with an attorney.

Consumers are not permitted to take the contract and come back the next day. 

The lawsuit alleges this constitutes unlawful practice of law, overlaid with fraud and deceit with no meaningful disclosure of contract terms.  

If you think this is unfair, sign the Petition to Reform Timeshare, which seeks a 24-hour “cooling-off” period before signing a contract. This proposed 24 hour cooling off period was hotly contested by timeshare industry lobbyists during the 2019 legislative sessions.

https://www.change.org/p/state-legislators-in-arizona-florida-and-nevada-demand-reform-of-the-timeshare-industry-s-unfair-and-deceptive-practices

Of note is mention of Unauthorized Practice of Law (UPL) in that consumers are told about how they can plan their Estate with the new “asset” to leave a “legacy” to their child or children using a Will while fraudulently concealing a known “successor” clause that forces obligations upon future generations who are all jointly and severally liable for ever-rising debt.

Inside Timeshare has received numerous complaints from consumers falsely told they must convert a deeded timeshare to a point-based timeshare or their heirs will be liable. It is also my belief this constitutes the unauthorized practice of law.

I asked timeshare attorney Mike Finn about this, as I understand it, rarely is an heir forced to assume a timeshare liability. According to Mike, “Although I haven’t studied the so-called “successor clause” I am of the firm belief that unless the children were listed on the original sales contract as co-owners and signed the contract as same (assuming of course that they were of the age of majority on the date the contract was executed), that they cannot be bound by any third-party, to the contract, including their parents. Again, in my opinion, I believe this would be a violation of the “due process rights” of the children.”

How Can I Eliminate my Timeshare Liability for my Heirs?

https://www.finnlawgroup.com/eliminate-timeshare-liability-for-heirs/

Bluegreen is the sole owner of a subsidiary corporation housed within its corporate headquarters in Boca Raton, Florida called “Pinnacle” and the lawsuit alleges Pinnacle is devoted to exclusively keeping Bluegreen owners trapped in the resale market void.

Second Basis: Intentional Misrepresentation: Buy-Back Program

Bluegreen has never operated a program that buys back unwanted VOIs. Pinnacle sells services to VOI owners which purports to help owners sell unwanted VOIs when in actuality there is no viable resale market.

“Owners Meetings” or “Owner Classes” air to sell existing owners additional timeshare interests. Owners are told such meetings are mandatory to teach Bluegreen members how to navigate Bluegreen’s reservation system. In reality, such meetings are an attempt to sell existing Bluegreen members more points. Reported disappointments with the product can be resolved by buying additional points, but the lawsuit alleges promised benefits are rarely if ever, realized.   

Plaintiffs’ Common Factual Allegations

Promised 90-minute presentations lasted typically four to eight hours. Some presentations are timed with the presentation beginning only after completion of a known driving tour that lasts at least three hours, and for two Plaintiffs, the drive lasted eight or nine hours.

After long sales sessions, only 10 to 15 minutes was spent, on average, for the entire contract signing process, which harboured unknown obligations and lacked the use rights, amenities and features that were promised.

Plaintiffs allege they were told:

(a) Bluegreen timeshares are good investments and will always go up in value.

(b) Bluegreen timeshare is a long-term asset that can be resold at a profit.

(c) Maintenance fees do not exist, do not go up, or only go up very little.

(d) Bluegreen timeshares are a valuable asset and “a legacy” to pass on to children.

(d-f) Plaintiffs did not know that, despite any possible future contract to make a Will or Codicil, contracts executed that day would bind all children as “successors’ that are jointly and severally liable for the inter-generational debt.

(g) Plaintiffs have anytime, anywhere “easy booking.”

(h) Rental income can pay the mortgage, fees and sometimes earn a profit. Rental is impossible as represented.

(i) Promises that an “Upgrade” will resolve deficiencies, but were never fixed.

All Plaintiffs have a strong correlation regarding these four rescission-based commonalities:

(a) Plaintiffs did not receive Public Offering Statement prior to signing.

(b) Plaintiffs did not receive proper Statutory Rescission notice.

(c) Plaintiffs were deceived about a Will Asset (vs Successor Liability).

(d) Plaintiffs spend up to $21,000 for a one-week vacation, representing over 1000% of the timeshare’s online market value, accompanied by rising fees.

Third Basis: Intentional Misrepresentation: Points Value Representation

No Plaintiff had access to Bluegreen’s inventory system until after they were contractually-bound as Bluegreen owners for life. Upon access, they discovered availability constraints, insufficient point values, or other cost prohibitions they were not made aware of.

This is another source of a multitude of complaints. Members complain of having been sold too few points to book their desired locations, but they were not allowed access to the booking site until the next year.

In spite of this lawsuit and so many others, the timeshare developers and their lobbyists insist all is well and we are just a disgruntled few. In addition to member complaints, former timeshare sales agents have joined efforts to expose unfair and deceptive sales practices. Our Friday, July 5 article describes former Hyatt Sales Executive Candace Czarny v Hyatt wrongful termination/whistleblower lawsuit and our February 2019 article about a Wyndham Florida Whistleblower lawsuit:

https://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-from-america-57/

http://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-from-america-42/

It is in everyone’s interest to drain the swamp of perpetrators.  

Join one of the self-help groups, organize, and get involved:

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://tug2.com/Home.aspx

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

Free at Last Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/groups/314773876071616/members/

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 for this weeks article, If you have any questions or comments on this or any article published, then use our contact page and get in touch, we would love to hear from you.

Friday’s Letter from America

Welcome to this week’s edition of Letter from America, today Irene Parker reports on the start of the jury trial between Candace Czarny v Hyatt Residential Marketing Corporation. Irene first published news of the pending legal action back in 2017, so this has been a long wait. We hope to bring you news of the result in a later edition.

Former Hyatt Timeshare Sales Executive Candace Czarny v Hyatt Residential Marketing Corporation and Kent and Allison R. Drysdale

CASE NO.  CV2013-006230

By Irene Parker

July 5, 2019

The jury trial of former Hyatt Sales Executive Candace Czarny v Hyatt Residential Marketing Corporation, a Florida corporation, and Kent and Allison R. Drysdale began this week. The trial is expected to last seven days. The Joshua Carden Law Firm, P.C. filed on July 6, 2019, a second amended complaint on behalf of plaintiff Candace Czarny, in Maricopa County, Arizona Superior Court.

The lawsuit is a wrongful termination lawsuit. It is unlawful for an employer to retaliate against any employee because the employee refuses to participate in and/or properly disclosed illegal activities, according to Arizona statutes, including “fraud, false pretense, false promise, misrepresentation, or concealment, suppression or omission, in connection with the sale or advertisement of any merchandise whether or not any person has in fact been misled, deceived or damaged thereby….” 

The lawsuit alleges Hyatt defendants fired Candace after she refused to commit such acts or omissions that would violate Arizona statutes. Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages.

Candace was employed by Hyatt on or about January 1, 2011, as a Sales Executive at Hyatt’s Piñion Pointe timeshare resort in Sedona, Arizona. Defendant Kent Drysdale was her supervisor. Candace alleges she was instructed by Drysdale to make certain false statements and omissions when communicating to Hyatt timeshare owners and potential clients in order to make sales. 

Inside Timeshare has heard from 887 families. The majority have reported unfair and deceptive timeshare sales practices. Some just can’t afford the timeshare and didn’t know when they purchased there was no secondary market. If they have a loan outstanding, the only option may be foreclosure, especially if there is no evidence of deception. Most complaints are dismissed with, “You signed a contract.” General allegations from this lawsuit, that are similar or identical to our readers’ complaints, include: 

·        9. (a) Owners were told that if they did not add to their portfolio on the day of their tour they would give up rights to upgrade in the future and would forfeit special pricing.

·        9. (i) Owners were told that Hyatt would leave two agents on the property that would resell their ownership for them in the future and implied that they would be getting a minimum of original purchase price.

·        12. Some potential buyers that had paid cash or lived in a more expensive zip code (referred to as PG or Preferred Guests) were given prices that were inflated more than other potential buyers, that had either never made a payment, had financed a payment or lived in a less desirable zip code. Plaintiff and other Sales Executives were instructed, at various times, to mislead PG clients into believing they were getting special consideration when in fact they were not.

·        20. Plaintiff and other Sales Executives were instructed to bring a manager to the table when attempting to close deals, so that the manager could make certain false statements and omit certain facts when communicating to potential clients. False statements made by Drysdale and other Hyatt managers include:

a. Telling owners that they had given up their rights to upgrade, looked in their files, and if not finding the disclosure, would say that he might be able to get corporate to allow them to upgrade if they would write a letter supporting their request. He would then tell them that if they did not purchase that day they would forfeit their right in the future.

b. Telling owners that Hyatt had sent a letter to them telling them to upgrade or sign off on the ability to do so in the future. He told owners that this letter stated that Hyatt would deny an upgrade in the future.

c. Telling owners that unless they owned a “platinum” or “diamond” week they would not be able to access new Hyatt timeshare properties.

I have heard many accounts from former sales agents, of a manager’s ability to “starve out” an agent who was not a team player, meaning the sales agent refused to employ unfair and deceptive practices.  It is known, prior to a tour, who is likely to buy and who is likely not to buy. The lawsuit alleges such actions were taken against Candace. In addition, Candace alleges manager Drysdale would only allow agents of his choosing special incentives to offer potential clients and he would refuse to release certain more desirable inventory to sales agents who did not play by his rules.  

Candace was terminated despite high overall job ratings, but others who had performance numbers similar to Candace were not terminated. Upon information and belief, such Sales Executives had either not announced opposition to Drysdale’s sales methods and tactics, or had expressly agreed to cooperate with them.  

It’s a modern day David & Goliath story. Timeshare companies employ armies of attorneys in their effort to suppress the seedy side of timeshare. While many owners use and enjoy their timeshare year after year, others, as our readers have reported, fall into deceptive and fraudulent sales presentations, ending up with a vacation dream that turns into a financial trap.

Some lawmakers have sided with the timeshare consumer in an effort to expose selling strategies that incorporate psychological manipulation, omissions, deceptions, and fraud. Others blame the victim, maintaining the “You signed a contract” mantra.

Candace Czarny is a former Hyatt and Diamond Resorts sales agent. While at Hyatt, Candace said was advised by management to order a copy of the CIA Guide to Interrogation and Human Manipulation. According to numerous Attorneys General investigations and lawsuits, some timeshare companies employ strategies designed to intimidate and confuse hardworking consumers worldwide in order to generate profits and earn wildly inflated commissions and compensation. Honest sales agents, previously able to earn a good living, find themselves subtly maneuvered out of this new, more sinister timeshare business.  

According to Candace, “It was only after working in the industry as a sales agent that I came to see and understand the complicated strategy of greed from the inside. Like Trish Williams, awarded $20 million in a Wyndham Whistleblower case, I am one of the individuals not willing to be a pawn perpetuating a scam against hard working people trying to create a happy life for their families.”

The lawsuit began six years ago with three plaintiffs, former Hyatt sales agents. One plaintiff settled, but the other’s case did not move forward.

Some timeshare companies hide behind carefully and strategically worded contracts intended to shield them from responsibility and litigation. Arbitration is private and binding. If you lose, you may be ordered to pay arbitration fees. Timeshare attorneys I have asked about arbitration feel arbitration is a kangaroo court.

This leaves the timeshare member, sold by unfair and deceptive timeshare sales practices, feeling hopeless and angry, with no recourse. Timeshare companies rely on the burdened member not being able to withstand a costly and lengthy legal battle. If the member resolves a dispute, they are often required to sign a non-disclosure agreement, agreeing not to say anything disparaging about the company, another effort to silence and isolate victims. I was offered my money back in 2016 for the purchase of additional points in response to my complaint. I refused to sign the NDA.

Social Media is here to stay. Members sharing reports of deceit with other members have created a clearinghouse of information and a means to track complaints against timeshare sales with repeated complaints against them.

While New York, Missouri, Colorado, Tennessee and Arizona Attorneys General have made some progress protecting consumers, more needs to be done. There has been a notable lack of concern from some state and federal regulatory agencies.

Lawmakers responding with “Well, they signed a contract” have no concept of the depth of deception some timeshare agents employ to sell points. Many things, like promised availability, cannot be determined by reading the contract, and state contract rescission periods can be artfully dodged.  

Based on the timeshare lobby ARDA’s estimates, there are over 9,500,000 timeshare units in the United States.  To give you an idea of how profound this corporate culture of greed is and how the courage and bravery of single individuals are making a difference in the name of what is right, listed below are just some of the settlements, judgements and lawsuits against these timeshare giants.

Members can do their part by joining forces with others seeking to reform timeshare. Sign this petition to let your voice be heard, and join one of these self-help groups. If none are appropriate, start one!

https://www.change.org/p/state-legislators-in-arizona-florida-and-nevada-demand-reform-of-the-timeshare-industry-s-unfair-and-deceptive-practices

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

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://tug2.com/Home.aspx

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

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/?source_id=1677690672490888

Have a safe 4th of July weekend.

That is it for this week, Inside Timeshare would like to thank Irene for all her hard work in preparing these articles, all the volunteers of the Advocacy Group and of course all our Secret Shoppers, who we hope will be bringing us another of their wonderful reports very soon.

It just leaves Inside Timeshare to wish all our American readers a very Happy 4th July Weekend, join us again next week for more revelations on the murky world of timeshare.

The Tuesday Slot

Welcome to The Tuesday Slot, today we welcome another new contributor John Collick, who is seeking the Republican nomination for Congress. We begin with a short biography of John and his military career, then John explains his views on protecting not only military personnel but all consumers from unscrupulous timeshare sales agents.

Inside Timeshare also asks all our readers to sign this petition on change.org demanding reform of the timeshare industry. So far there have been 2,700 signatures and we are working to achieve 100,000 by next legislative sessions in 2021. Click on the link below and sign.

https://www.change.org/p/state-legislators-in-arizona-florida-and-nevada-demand-reform-of-the-timeshare-industry-s-unfair-and-deceptive-practices

Why Military Families Need Greater Timeshare Disclosure

https://www.valoans.com/articles/va-loans-escape-clause/

By John Collick

July 2, 2019

https://www.collick4congress.com/?fbclid=IwAR2JoSF5-2j3HM7wgR_Y5LBab112dzCj8qyR6PmiZsUJDFE1Q9sL1eIl4sY

It’s Time for a Military Vet to Represent a Military Community

After a distinguished military career, John knows how to listen and act. As a timeshare owner himself, John understands the concerns of timeshare buyers that may have experienced unfair and deceptive timeshare sales practices. Inside Timeshare has heard from 112 veterans and active duty service members harmed by timeshare. Of particular concern are our active duty service members who can lose their security clearance over a timeshare foreclosure. Some companies target veterans, particularly disabled veterans, such as John. John would not meet George Bernard Shaw’s definition of a politician. Irene Parker, Inside Timeshare

“He knows nothing and thinks he knows everything. That points clearly to a political career.” George Bernard Shaw.

Suffolk resident John Collick is seeking the Republican nomination for Virginia’s 3rd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. Mr Collick served our nation for over 35 years combined – in the Marine Corps, as a contractor, and as a government employee. He served as an Intelligence Specialist during his entire adult life, working at all levels of the Intelligence Community.

As an Intelligence Specialist, he worked on high priority missions, including the International Port Security Program for the U.S. Coast Guard; the Syrian Refugee Vetting Process for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services; and an Asymmetrical Threat Methodology for the United States Standing Joint Forces Headquarters, Homeland Security, in Norfolk. With extensive knowledge of the Middle East, he was recruited into the private sector to work on a Defense Intelligence Agency Contract as the HUMINT Issues Manager for Yemen. These projects are in addition to his Marine Corps career as a Signals Intelligence Collector, Linguist, and Analyst.

If elected, several of Mr Collick’s priorities for the families of Virginia’s 3rd Congressional District include:

  • Providing the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security with the resources necessary to protect the United States at home and our interests abroad.
  • Working with area educators, employers, and local leaders to reduce the unemployment rate in the 3rd Congressional District from 7%, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, to the national rate of 3.8%.
  • Ensuring the rights and freedoms identified in the Constitution can be enjoyed by all Americans, without abridgement by any state, local, or municipal government.
  • Enacting a school voucher program for children in underperforming schools and school districts, particularly in low-income and inner-city neighborhoods.
  • Propose term limits so that no legislator can serve more than six terms in the House of Representatives and two terms in the Senate.

Mr Collick will serve no more than 3 terms if elected.

Propose significant changes to the Timeshare Industry, including:

  1. A 24 hour “cooling off” period offered before signing a timeshare contract. Timeshare sales presentations can last six hours or more. The buyer is told they must buy the same day. A rescission period is the time a buyer has to rescind a contract after signing. The rescission period varies by state.
  2. If the signing of a timeshare contract is recorded, there needs to be a mandatory recording of the sales presentation, with copies provided to the customer. Sales agents often coach buyers on how to “pass” the closing session.
  3. Eliminate perpetual contracts – no person should be allowed, wittingly or unwittingly, to agree to a perpetual contract with no secondary market.
  4. Buyer to be provided with a single complete and understandable summary disclosure document and the reviewing of the document should be on the recording. Presentation of the Public Offering Statement should also be presented on the audio recording so that it is not buried in a stack of documents with the dismissal, “You can review these when you get home” or “No one reads this.” Despite initials acknowledging receipt and review, given the high pressure and long sales presentation, adequate time to review complex and lengthy documents is not provided. Buyers unknowingly initial that they have read and reviewed the POS when they have not. Most consumers don’t know of its existence until asked to look for it. 
  5. To alleviate buyers of timeshare paying more than those booking the same property at the same time online, units available for rent at timeshare properties should not be rented below 5% of the cost of the highest amount paid for timeshare ownership plus applicable maintenance fees. E.g. Week at Fun Times Timeshare cost $22,000 for 1 week of annual usage and maintenance fees are $1,000 per year, the cost per week is $1,100 + $1,000 for a total of $2,200 per week. This will encourage Timeshare Developers to ensure there are ample units available for members and an incentive to keep maintenance fees as low as possible. 

For more information about John Collick and the campaign, visit 

www.collick4congress.com

John Collick on Timeshare

The more I became involved with those who have purchased timeshares, the more I learned about veterans and active duty service members reporting unfair and deceptive sales practices. Given an active duty service member can lose their security clearance over a timeshare foreclosure, I agree this could present a threat to our national security. The bar to get hired to sell timeshare points is pretty low, and in a state like Virginia, which is home to many military personnel, those with ill intent could seek to jeopardize security clearances.  

If an American citizen, military or civilian, has a security clearance and they default on a loan, their clearance will normally be suspended and often revoked. The consequence can be loss of job, career, and even bankruptcy.  This could mean discharge from the military. 

Most of these folks are upstanding Americans who want to continue in their careers but are prime targets for an unscrupulous timeshare salesperson. If an active duty service member buys into a timeshare, they’ll do everything they can to prevent foreclosure. I expect there are many who have no idea what they can do to save their clearances and/or careers.

The advice I give, especially to military personnel, is to NOT purchase a timeshare on the day of a timeshare presentation. The price WILL NOT CHANGE. Do your research. Talk to other members, check with the Better Business Bureau, and have an attorney review the contract. Any honest businessman or woman would give you 24 hours to think about making a sizeable purchase, especially one accompanied by rising annual maintenance fees and no secondary market.

The lack of a secondary market is even more of a risk for active duty service members, due to the mobility of service life. Decisions can be made on a moment’s notice, making the disposition of timeshare even more cumbersome.

Let’s say that you’re interested in purchasing a timeshare. If the first thing you’re told is the company’s motto: “We will say whatever it takes to make a sale” and then you look up and see a poster illustrating the Timeshare Consumer Lifecycle stating, “From initial contact through debt collection $$,” would you stick around for the presentation or simply get up and walk away? Of course, you would walk away. Well, this Timeshare Consumer Lifecycle was presented during a timeshare industry conference in Las Vegas, Nevada last year.

We all know that salespeople may exaggerate, but in general, consumers depend on salespeople to provide us with correct information on which to base our decisions. Based on timeshare encounters with other members of the military, I have found a high number of timeshare members and former members that have purchased timeshare points – not deeded timeshares – based their decision to buy by listening to salespeople who provided inaccurate, misleading, and sometimes complete fabrications to make a sale. 

My family’s first purchase of a “perpetual” vacation was a camping membership over three decades ago at Wilderness Resorts Campground in Spotsylvania, Virginia. I was on active duty in the Marine Corps and we didn’t have much money, so this ensured that we had a vacation almost every year. 

We often visited the same location every year but about a decade ago, we decided we wanted something different; camping had become difficult, so we decided to buy a timeshare. We purchased a 2-bedroom timeshare at The Colonies of Williamsburg, the week before the 4th of July. The cost was about $40,000 and maintenance fees $750 a year. Over a decade maintenance fees only increased by about $125. We had great experiences with both memberships. Our vacations were perfect. 

Others were not so lucky. Some have experienced maintenance fees that escalated dramatically – and they have no deeded interest in any property, just points that they might be able to use somewhere, sometime. Timeshare problems are not isolated to just one company. Complaints of existing members being presented maintenance fee relief programs that do not exist exacerbate the problem. You need to attend a meeting this week.  It’s not an invitation but a demand. Some don’t even know it’s a sales presentation. Those attending presentations are sometimes held “captive” for several hours waiting for “gifts.” This is not fair to soldiers suffering symptoms of PTSD.

Veterans have reported being told of special programs for veterans (that do not exist) or eligible for, in my case, a disabled veteran program, eligible to receive a lower price. Later I learned there was no “special price” for disabled veterans. 

The standard response to complaints is typically, “it doesn’t matter what the salesperson told you or wrote down…. You signed the contract.” “You have no proof” is often seconded by some state timeshare divisions. Timeshare contracts are not contracts that can be signed in good faith, believing the information provided by the sales staff. Think how many times you purchased a car or home, relying on the ethics of the real estate professional.

Heavily discounted promotional trips typically mean a conversely high-pressure sales session. Unlimited entertainment, food, and drinks often mean unlimited high pressure. A 60 to a 90-minute presentation which you are told emphatically is NOT a sales presentation, will often turn into a tag team of three against two that can last for hours. Promises are scribbled on paper, but the paper disappears.

Anyone buying a timeshare should research the company, the industry and any points-based product. This is something I should have done. I found over 200 people across the United States, including other Disabled Combat Veterans and active duty service members, who described unfair and deceptive timeshare sales practices.

There are also complaints describing credit card fraud. Members did not know until they returned home that a card had been opened and charged. Several hours before the transaction, they were told to fill out a form to see if they qualify for a down payment. In addition, members report being told they will be able to pay maintenance fees by using a timeshare company sponsored credit card, unaware this will offset only 1% or 2% of the maintenance fees bill.

A lifetime is a long time to bet nothing will happen to make the timeshare unaffordable. There is no secondary market for timeshare.

Recently, when my wife and I were told of an update we needed to attend, I politely asked the clerk to mail us any pertinent information – she understood that we weren’t interested in attending any more timeshare sales presentations.

This is one veteran’s story. After 9/11 Terry volunteered to go to Iraq. He was close to retirement so he felt it was the last thing he would be able to do for his country. After he got in country, he again volunteered with six other guys to be on a team deployed to Basra where the British had a FOB.

A forward operating base (FOB) is any secured forward military position, commonly a military base used to support tactical operations. (Wikipedia)

Terry was diagnosed with blood cancer after living next to a burn pit is Basra.

Terry was the lead man for the C-RAM program.

C-RAM: Counter Rocket, Artillery, and Mortar abbreviated C-RAM or Counter-RAM, is a set of systems used to detect and/or destroy incoming artillery, rockets and mortar rounds in the air before they hit their ground targets, or simply provide early warning. (Wikipedia)

Terry and his guys would monitor incoming fire. Basra was one of those places where they were the only Americans so it was hard to get medicine and supplies. Terry and the guys lived in tents next to burn pits where the British burned anything that could be burned. Then there was Afghan. Terry was there for eighteen months until he was sent home after a diagnosis of blood cancer. He also served twenty years in the National Guard. He is 55 years old.

I really don’t know what else to say – he lived army ‘til he couldn’t anymore.

Our timeshare experience November 16, 2017

We were told in Gatlinburg at a group presentation that points were an investment and could be sold for a profit. My husbands diagnose of blood cancer was in 2014. We could no longer afford the timeshare. We know the agent lied about being able to sell timeshare points. We are not concerned that we cannot make a profit as the agent claimed, but are concerned that timeshare points are worthless should a member need to sell. Sales agents should not sell points based on the points being an investment. There were several in the room who heard this claim as it was made in the group presentation and in our individual meeting. Also, Cammie said all we had to do is when we got back home was go to our bank as we wouldn’t have a problem getting a lower interest rate. This was not true. Banks will not finance timeshare.

It’s not right. Our veterans deserve better.

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

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, John, for your wonderful contribution, we and all our readers at Inside Timeshare wish you all the best in your campaign, also a very big thank you to Irene for her time editing the Tuesday Slot and Friday’s Letter from America articles.

If you have any comments or question on this or any article published, please use our contact page, we would love to hear from you.

Friday’s Letter from America

Welcome to another Letter from America, today Irene Parker takes a look at the “scare tactics” being used in order to convince owners to give up their deeded timeshare and convert to points. We all know one of the main points in the selling of timeshare was that we would be able to leave it to our children when we finally pop our clogs, now this is being used in reverse and is known as the “heir scare”. After all who in their right mind would want to leave a burden such as annual management fees to their children, unless you hated them!

On another note, Inside Timeshare is once again asking for your help, on several occasions we have published the link below, it is a petition demanding reform of the timeshare industries unfair and deceptive practices. Please take the time to visit the link and sign this very important petition.

https://www.change.org/p/state-legislators-in-arizona-florida-and-nevada-demand-reform-of-the-timeshare-industry-s-unfair-and-deceptive-practices?fbclid=IwAR28bzypeqV-1JaoVCoa5vL7edl27hWYme4yyIQzx54pBG6xvZHLDeef7tA

Scare Tactics Used to Convince Deeded Timeshare Members to Give up their Deeded Timeshare and Convert to Points  

By Irene Parker

June 28, 2019

Inside Timeshare first published “Heir Scare” October 26, 2018. We continue to receive complaints from members who ask if they have to give up a deeded timeshare and convert to points so that their heirs will not be responsible for the timeshare.

The deed is usually paid in full, so by financing points, the sales agent has created an estate liability when in all likelihood, none existed. I’m not a lawyer, but this estate planning lawyer posted good advice on RedWeek. Timeshare sales agents who offer estate planning advice are practising law without a law license.  

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. stevenw on May 02, 2017 06:01 PM.

Yes, points offer greater flexibility, but often fully paid deeded timeshare shares are forfeited for reasons that do not exist. If the deeded week is in a desirable location, like Virginia Beach in summer, those who did give up their deed often complain that they were not able to access even the resort after they forfeited their deed and bought points. Many of our complaints begin with this broken record:   

“The sales agent said we had to give up our deeded week and buy points.”

The member is told they have to give up their timeshare deed or they will be the last man standing, left holding the maintenance fee bag. An ocean engineer who had contacted me about deceptive timeshare sales happened to call when I was reading a RedWeek post about a looming beach erosion fee, expected to occur only for deeded week owners. Our ocean engineer explains why beach erosion problems are typically the responsibility of state and local governments.    

https://insidetimeshare.com/the-tuesday-slot-17/

Timeshare sales agents are not the only ones to use scare tactics. Below is a pitch delivered by U.S. Consumer Attorneys that Marcy S submitted to Inside Timeshare. They used the same scare tactics. Wyndham has filed a lawsuit against U.S. Consumer Attorneys.  

https://dockets.justia.com/docket/florida/flsdce/9:2018cv81251/535273

Marcy called me saying she was having a panic attack over the result of their timeshare debacle. U.S. Consumer Attorneys threatened Marcy as follows:

Louis S called me and said he was with US Consumer Attorneys Group and that he was calling about my timeshare. He was aware that I was a Diamond owner and that I owned at Ka’anapali Resort. He sent me a copy of their contract and said I needed to pay him $2900 to get out of the contract.  He said he is an attorney with US Consumer Attorneys Group. He said Diamond was going to take my house and my children would be responsible for paying all Diamond debts and that they would even attach my wages. He said Diamond would also take my Social Security payments and my retirement.

George Yamada paid U.S. Consumer Attorneys $6,000 to seek release from his timeshare. After 21 months he contacted Inside Timeshare. By filing regulatory complaints, George resolved his dispute through self-advocacy. George is a pension administrator, an Army veteran 70% Agent Orange disabled.

https://www.opednews.com/articles/Let-s-Honor-our-Veterans–by-Irene-Parker-Fraud-180908-59.html

An excerpt from A Second Warning We Wish We Did Not Have to Give

By Tom Tubbs at Island Consulting Realty

Tom Tubbs, Broker, R.N.G.

Island Consulting Realty

800-809-6020 or 941-922-3808  www.TimeSharesToGo.com

Senior Licensed Real Estate Specialist

Co-Founder: Licensed Timeshare Resale Brokers Association

Board Member: Florida Timeshare Owners Group

Doctor of Funology

Well, these are the folks who “create” a problem that does not exist. This is a very common sales tactic with just about anything out there for sale or service. With timeshares, these companies create a VERY false impression that your timeshare is actually a burden instead of an asset. They give you the VERY false impression that you can’t sell it (although that’s what we’ve been doing for folks for the past 33 years….) and that when you die your kids will then be strapped with it (also false). Then they have a solution! (Of course!). Give them $3500 plus the deed to your timeshare and they’ll get you out of it. What great guys!

So in a nutshell what you have here is a company creating a problem for you that minutes earlier you did not know you had and then solving that problem for you by you giving away your timeshare and your money! Problem is, for many of these companies it’s all one big fat lie; as the following story will tell…

Orlando woman says timeshare exit plan was all a lie

American Consumer LLC charged thousands then filed 

Chapter 11 bankruptcy

ORLANDO, Fla. – Lisa Eller, a timeshare resort customer for 18 years, is convinced American Consumer LLC never intended to negotiate an exit from her resort contract despite promises from then Chief Operations Officer Cory “Hubb” Hubbell, that he could get it done.

“He’s a smooth salesman; he seemed like he knew what he was doing,” Eller said. “He said, ‘It takes us about 12 months to work the program.'”

Eller and her husband agreed to pay $2,350 for the program but just this week discovered no one from the company, aka A Consumer LLC, ever contacted her resort.

“They present themselves as people who have contacts at these resorts,” Eller said. “Our contract was paid in full; we were just paying maintenance.”

The last time Hubbell spoke to Eller was in March, according to Hubbell’s Facebook account, he left the company in May. Eller’s attorney, Jennifer Beaman Clark, told News 6 that when she advised the resort representative that her clients had been trying to resolve this for a year she was told, “It was the first time they had been contacted about the account.”

According to records obtained by News 6, American filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Sept. 9. The registered agent, Brevard County attorney Michael Sarocco, said he would try to help consumers who wanted to get their money back but that he had no official ties to the company. In an email to News 6, Sarocco wrote, “I no longer represent the company and do not have the authorization to make any statements on their behalf.”

A review of state records shows Saracco was the registered agent for American Consumer Credit LLC along with another 12 companies all linked to the same manager: Dana Micallef. Micallef started the company in 2011 and, according to state records, lives in Daytona Beach. Still, it appears he has been calling customers from a New York area code.

Rebekah Nelson hired the company last September and agreed to pay $2,800 to get a release from a timeshare in Vista, California. Nelson told News 6 a man she believes to be Micallef, asked her to wire $700 to continue the contract. “They block the consumer from talking to the timeshare so you don’t know (American) is not doing their job,” she said.

Nelson is convinced there are dozens of victims who fell for the same scheme.

News 6 found a website that explained how the company claimed to complete the exit:

“When you enter into the contract termination process with Aconsumercredit™, we start to permanently remove your timeshare contract burden. No more fees. No more payments.” Nelson said she was told to stop paying her timeshare fees and that is when her credit was ruined.

If you believe you are a victim of this company, contact Mike Holfeld at [email protected]

For more information, contact attorney Saracco: [email protected]

Related articles:

By Mike Finn of Finn Law Group:

How Can I Eliminate my Timeshare Liability for my Heirs?

https://www.finnlawgroup.com/eliminate-timeshare-liability-for-heirs/
https://www.finnlawgroup.com/eliminate-timeshare-liability-for-heirs/

Inside Timeshare is swamped on both sides of the Pacific Pond. If you have skills you feel will help consumers who fell for unfair and deceptive sales practices on both ends of the timeshare sale, buying and/or trying to get out, contact Charles Thomas on the EU side or me in the USA. Weekends are fine. 

Irene, the Peasant of Venice

Timeshare self-help groups:

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

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 you highlight the lengths sales people will go to just to get another sale under their belts, or rather more $$$ in their pockets. In the end, it is the timeshare companies themselves who must take the blame for these “deceptive” practises, they are the ones who allow the sales agents to say what they like. The one phrase we are very used to hearing is “we are not responsible for what our sales agent says”. Sorry, but you are!

News from Tenerife.

National Police have arrested and dismantled a gang defrauding timeshare owners, using fake court documents and posing as lawyers. The scam involved contacting timeshare owners and convincing them that their timeshare company was being taken to court, with the payment of a fee the owner could be part of the case and be reimbursed with all their money and compensation.

The investigation started in February 2018 and is still underway, so at present we do not know which “fake lawyers” they are, as news comes in we will publish it here.

https://www.eldia.es/sucesos/2019/06/26/policia-nacional-desarticula-organizacion-criminal/987664.html?fbclid=IwAR3HnsZ6-SgAmdIrvw1jM7ysAkyiDrBTGzsGlU9Al0SsNihztsK87SSBLwI

That is all for this week, join us again on Monday when Inside Timeshare brings you more news and stories about the murky world of timeshare.


The Tuesday Slot

Welcome to The Tuesday Slot with Part III of our series on the abuse of Veterans and the elderly with Irene Parker and Eddie Rodriguez. This article is just another in the series Inside Timeshare has dubbed “Nightmare on Timeshare Street”, which at the last count numbered 111 complaints from veterans alone. All we can ask is when will the industry take notice and stop these predatory practices by sales agents which are destroying lives.

Inside Timeshare has been informed of the following post by this company:

Timeshare Cancellation Guaranteed | ITT Exit – Call Toll-Free 1-800 …

https://www.ittexit.com/

At ITT EXIT, we know that when you purchased your Timeshare, it seemed like a great idea at …. these stories, Inside Timeshare has received around 111 complaints from Veterans and how … The AP news staff was not involved in its creation.

Inside Timeshare does not endorse this company, we are however happy for them to publish links to our articles. Inside Timeshare will not endorse or recommend any Exit company as we have in place a tried and tested formula for US owners/members to self-advocate.

Irene reached out to ITT Exit. They said it was not their intention to mislead and they would have their IT person change the description. We always appreciate a good line of communication with any exit company or developer.

Now for this weeks article.

How to Reform Timeshare to Protect Veterans

By Irene Parker and Eddie Rodriguez

June 25, 2019

Part I Theresa Taylor Provides Insights into Timeshare Defaults

https://insidetimeshare.com/the-tuesday-slot-35/

Part II Ron Tzinski Timeshare Lending Compared to Subprime

https://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-from-america-55/

Part III Why the Center of Excellence on Elder Abuse & Neglect Suggestions Offer Little Help

Army veteran Eddie Rodriguez called me after reading veteran Ron Tzinski’s article and the timeshare complaint disabled Marine veteran Richard Valdez provided. Eddie wanted to reach out to these veterans and also explain to me why the suggestions offered by the Center Of Excellence on Elder Abuse & Neglect in all likelihood won’t work for veterans or our non-military readers harmed by timeshare.

For veterans, Eddie suggests time would be better spent working directly with veteran organizations like the DAV, VA, and VFW. Eddied managed U S Post Offices and is a former lobbyist. He was vice president of the Postal Union NAPS, Branch 164. The following disabled veteran’s complaint infuriated Eddie and me. 

Given the service Richard Valdez gave to his country, the extent of his injuries, and the report the VA provided, as to the reasons why this veteran should be released from his timeshare loan, we question the timeshare lobby ARDA’s assertion that timeshare members don’t need to contact an attorney or a timeshare exit provider. ARDA and industry executives insist their companies have hardship departments. We identify Richard, but not the timeshare company, because when we sent the report to the company, we heard back that they had assigned someone to investigate. We are grateful, despite being a bit late.

I spoke with Richard by phone. He lives in Honolulu. Richard retired from the Marine Corps as a Corporal IE 4. He earned a Purple Heart. During combat, Richard encountered explosive rounds in contact with his platoon. They had to shoot flares to see the enemy because there was no light. The 60 mortar rounds backfired. Fighting mountain to mountain, he was exposed to Agent Orange. He had a golf ball size growth in his head, maybe a little smaller. It took him a long time to get to reality. Richard says is often confused. He can’t comprehend when reading, so he just signed the timeshare contract.

Richard is the 6th Agent Orange exposed Vietnam veteran to contact us. Inside Timeshare has heard reports of unfair and deceptive timeshare sales practices from 111 veterans/active duty service members, and a total of 864 families. This report, by Richard’s son, explains our outrage.  Richard is 100% disabled. This is how he was treated by his timeshare company.     

I am writing this on behalf of my father. He sustained significant brain trauma due to intense fighting in the Vietnam War and is not capable of understanding difficult concepts or following complicated instructions so I am doing this for him. He purchased a timeshare for $23,800 in 2016. My father obviously does not have the capacity to understand what was happening or the details of the contract. After he used it the first time in Las Vegas and realized what it was we sent a letter from the VA outlining my father’s condition as the reason for him misunderstanding the product, but it has been ignored. I think it is disgusting that my father is being treated this way after serving our country at such a cost to his own life. My father is 100% disabled and incapable of understanding complex concepts.

The company has now passed him to a collections company who are harassing and stressing him out with threats to his possessions. Please look into this and help in any way you can. If you can talk to him, you will see he was taken advantage of badly.

Four out of the six organizations the Center Of Excellence on Elder Abuse & Neglect suggested have not helped any our readers resolve timeshare disputes. We had provided the link to this resource in Ron Tzinski’s article. Two of the organizations mentioned I had not heard of. We’ll try them next.  

http://www.centeronelderabuse.org/veterans.asp

The six organizations

1) The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has been all but dismantled. Even in its heyday, it was usually impossible to file a timeshare lending complaint because timeshare companies were not an option from their drop-down menu. Timeshare loan payments are often made to timeshare financial departments. Borrowers didn’t know the identity of their lender. A credit card lender, selected by default, rationalized that they did not sell the timeshare or open the credit card. https://splinternews.com/mick-mulvaneys-complete-dismantling-of-the-consumer-fin-1826649324

2) Task Force on Market Integrity and Consumer Fraud is to be explored.

On July 11, 2018, President Trump signed Executive Order 13844, establishing the Task Force on Market Integrity and Consumer Fraud and identifying the Deputy Attorney General as its chair. The Task Force is part of a government-wide initiative to combat fraud against consumers – particularly the elderly, service members, and veterans – and corporate fraud that victimizes the general public and the government. https://www.justice.gov/fraudtaskforce

3) Consumer Federation of America is to be explored.

https://consumerfed.org/issues/consumer-protection/

The Consumer Federation of America provides a summary of protections against predatory lending for servicemembers

4) The FTC Consumer Sentinel Military Network (Military page not found)

https://www.ftc.gov/enforcement/consumer-sentinel-network

All of our readers are directed to file complaints with the Federal Trade Commission. While a spokesperson for the organization expressed sympathy and passed along information to FTC attorneys before leaving the FTC, we are not aware of any action taken by the FTC to reduce timeshare fraud. It can take thousands of complaints to get a lawmaker, law enforcement, or a federal regulator to act, so we encourage our readers to file. It’s hard to even find the timeshare tab on the FTC complaint site. Instructions are in this article.

https://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-from-america-47/

5) The Better Business Bureau

Two of our readers, out of 864, reported being helped by the BBB. The BBB evaluates how efficient a company is in responding to complaints. Given timeshare companies are quick to respond, “You signed a contract” and “We are not responsible for what our sales agents say,” some have high ratings. It is important to file because bad timeshare companies have over 1,000 complaints or more on file over a three year period, while better timeshare companies only have a few hundred complaints.

6) AARP We learned AARP had been linking an article suggesting timeshare members contact a listing service to sell timeshares. This company not only stole our keywords, using search words “Inside Timeshare Sales and Rentals,” they routinely accept timeshare listings, charging timeshare members $1,500 to $1,700 to list timeshares known to be worthless. We were able to convince AARP to stop linking the article that would cause timeshare members to throw good money after bad. It is helpful AARP suggests members file with the FTC and BBB.      

I had a difficult time talking to Richard because he sounded just like Leo Gomez. Leo passed away last year from pancreatic cancer. Leo was 100% disabled, Agent Orange exposed. I link Leo’s article every chance I get, because Leo’s last words to me were, “I want my story told.”

https://www.opednews.com/articles/A-Fourth-Agent-Orange-Vete-by-Irene-Parker-Fraud-180917-513.html

One of the first 100% Agent Orange veterans to contact us incurred a $170,000 1099c tax liability for a timeshare loan cancellation. We directed him to an expert who could help dispute the tax bill as he certainly gained nothing in exchange for the cancelled loan. This veteran was one of 20 complaints against the same Las Vegas sales agent.

Eddie Rodriguez is a veteran himself. A native New Yorker from Brooklyn, Eddie had the basic ability to fight for the rights of post office employees as a union representative. A Westgate and High Point timeshare owner, unable to dispose of the timeshares, Eddie has taken up our cause, lobbying to provide more disclosure to veterans buying timeshares. In the primary housing market, this is already required.

A Coalition to Reform Timeshare (CRT) was launched to advocate for the rights of more than 9 million timeshare owners in the U.S.  

Our volunteer Supporters at Timeshare Accountability Group™ (TAG) feel both ends of the timeshare sale need some reform. The Change.org petition has already received over 1,300 signatures.  Sign our petition today to show lawmakers and the Timeshare Industry at large that there is a need for change.

Inside Timeshare supports John Collick for Congress, (VA-3). John is a friend of mine who understands our concerns. I’ve read comments from members who say Republicans are not interested in consumers. At the Florida legislative workshop I attended in Tallahassee March 12 of this year, it was Republican representatives who spoke up for the consumer. Florida Representative Newton shared how he had to file for bankruptcy in the 90s to get out of his timeshare. 

https://www.collick4congress.com/?fbclid=IwAR2JoSF5-2j3HM7wgR_Y5LBab112dzCj8qyR6PmiZsUJDFE1Q9sL1eIl4sY

Let’s hope level heads on both sides of the aisle recognize the need for change. We owe that to our veterans and to our active duty service members. Too many families have been harmed.  

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

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 to Irene, Eddie and all the other contributors to this three-part series, these are only the tip of the proverbial iceberg, Inside Timeshare receives a what can only be described as a never-ending stream of emails looking for help. It is a story that unfortunately will not be going away until the industry changes its ways.

Anfi Tauro Beach Project

The story of the Anfi Tauro Beach Project which we have been following over the past few years has now seen the ex-head of the Coastal Authority José Maria Hernández de León finally found guilty of falsification in an official document and administrative prevarication.


José Maria Hernández de León

As we already know he allowed the work on the beach by Anfi to go ahead even before all the licenses and official documentation was in place, then signed the documents months after the work started.

The court has sentenced him to 3 years in prison, nine years of disqualification from public office and a fine of 3,900€. This sentence is not final as the parties may appeal in the Civil and Criminal Chamber of the Superior Court of Justice of the Canary islands.

We will bring you more on this as it happens.

See link below for the full La provincia story.

https://www.laprovincia.es/gran-canaria/2019/06/20/condenan-ex-jefe-costas-canarias/1186170.html

Friday’s Letter from America

Welcome to this week’s Letter from America, we today publish yet another “Nightmare on Timeshare Street” from yet another Veteran, Ron Tzinski. Since we began highlighting these stories, Inside Timeshare has received around 111 complaints from Veterans and how they have been targeted and lied to by unscrupulous sales agents, yet the timeshare companies still allow the deceptions and lies to continue. These are men and women who have given their lives to the service and defence of the country and this is the thanks they receive! Despicable is the only word I can use without the use of profanities.

Part II Timeshare Reinvents Subprime Mortgages

What Wyndham Timeshare Hardship Department?

Veterans Speak Out

Part I Theresa Provides Insights into Wyndham’s Defaults

https://insidetimeshare.com/the-tuesday-slot-35/

http://www.centeronelderabuse.org/veterans.asp

Part III Why centeroneelderabuse.org Suggestions Offer no Help

On July 11, 2018, President Trump signed Executive Order 13844, establishing the Task Force on Market Integrity and Consumer Fraud and identifying the Deputy Attorney General as its chair. The Task Force is part of a government-wide initiative to combat fraud against consumers – particularly the elderly, service members, and veterans – and corporate fraud that victimizes the general public and the government. https://www.justice.gov/fraudtaskforce

By Ron Tzinski, an Army Veteran

June 21, 2019

I am an eleven year Army veteran, retired. I became inactive after Desert Storm when President Clinton decided to reduce the military. I have been inactive since 1993. I have an Honorable Discharge.

I would not be in a dispute with Wyndham had I been told about Wyndham’s Veterans Holidays program. I could have taken advantage of their “Always Low Fees” instead of being driven to foreclosure. I have not made a payment in eight months.  


Always Low Fees, Never Any Pressure

While accommodations are mostly at timeshare resorts, you will not be required to attend a timeshare presentation. Some resorts are already sold out and do not have active sales centers on-site. If the resort is still in sales, at some time during your stay, you will probably be given an opportunity to attend a presentation in exchange for a premium or gift (free dinner, theater/show tickets, amusement/theme park tickets, etc.). Everyone at these resorts is given this same opportunity. If you like the incentive gift and want to attend the presentation, you are welcome to do so. But you are under no obligation and can simply say, “No, thanks.”

Veterans Holidays is a part of Wyndham Worldwide, one of the world’s largest hospitality companies.  https://www.veteransholidays.com/about-us

I bought my Wyndham timeshare in Tennessee October 2016.  October 2017, I talked to someone at the Wyndham Grand Desert about getting out of my timeshare. Instead of getting out, I got talked into buying additional points. They promised that if this purchase was a problem, Wyndham would buy-back the timeshare. They explained the reason for this convenience was because Wyndham self-finances loans. And I was buying a trial product. This made perfect sense.

I am a small business owner on the verge of bankruptcy due to massively decreased income. I have the tax returns to prove it. My family needs dictate that I provide the basic day-to-day necessities for my families now, over a timeshare

I never should have been sold a timeshare in the first place. Even when I bought the timeshare, I made less than $12,000 a year. I’m self-employed. When I bought the timeshare, I wasn’t asked about my income. As Theresa mentioned in her article, she was told a minimum of $75,000 was required to make a timeshare purchase. Also, my wife passed away two years ago, after we had purchased the timeshare. I never even used the points.

I applied for a hardship release. Wyndham started three files on me, but ultimately denied a release. Inside Timeshare sent a draft of this article to Mr Jason Gamel, Sr. VP Legal at Wyndham, and to another Wyndham representative, asking why an annual income of $12,000 a year and death of a spouse would not qualify for hardship. Mr Gamel said at a Florida legislative workshop that Wyndham members need not seek timeshare exit provider services because of Wyndham’s hardship department. You must have to be on welfare to qualify.   

Wyndham does have a release program called Ovations for those without loans:

‘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.’

I just don’t understand the high bar obstacles for release, given Wyndham can take back the timeshare today and sell it to someone else tomorrow for full price. A member can’t even sell the timeshare on eBay for a dollar. Wyndham already has the money I paid until I could no longer afford to make payments. I understand that money is gone. Wyndham is in a win-win proposition, and with no secondary market, the consumer loses.   

‘With Ovation by Wyndham, owners receive the peace of mind that their best interest is being protected, something fraudulent timeshare resale, transfer and cancellation companies cannot offer.’

At least a cancellation company can support you during the demoralizing foreclosure process. Therein lays the rub. You can exit as long as you are paid up. So, what if you are only 2 ½ years into a 10-year loan when your situation changes? And we were told Wyndham self-finances so can easily take back the timeshare. We have no option but foreclosure.

Based on the response we received, Wyndham does not care about me or my situation. I know I am not alone. This Facebook page was started because we need support. At least members deceived can support each other. How sad.

Link to our Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/376743609795740/

I feel that all timeshare companies care about is the money they feel they are entitled to. They care about keeping as many people on the hook as possible. I am sure the units, weeks, and points that everyone is ‘timesharing’ exceed the available inventory. I’m sure that most of the money goes to pay sales presentation incentives and sales staff wages.

We pay a ‘voluntary’ donation to the timeshare PAC ARDA ROC to be our voice, yet ARDA ignores us when we call them out on a violation in their Code of Ethics. Wyndham describes its Ovations program as an award-winning” program. An award was presented to Wyndham by the timeshare lobby ARDA. The president of ARDA is a Wyndham executive.   

I have connected with other veterans. We are now veterans in a different kind of war. The lack of a timeshare secondary market is even more harmful to active duty service members who could lose their security clearances over a foreclosure. Something needs to change, beginning with the non-existent secondary market. It’s a recipe for financial disaster, much like the subprime mortgage crisis.

Afterthoughts by Irene

After reading about Ron’s disappointment with Wyndham’s hardship department, I thought of the legislative workshop I attended in Tallahassee on March 12, 2019. ARDA had proposed a Florida bill that included a provision whereby timeshare exit providers must allow potential customers a 24-hour cooling-off period before signing a contract with an exit company. ARDA and Wyndham were concerned about unfair and deceptive sales practices, yet Ron was told it would be easy to have Wyndham take back the timeshare.

Exit providers and timeshare members wholeheartedly agreed with the cooling-off period as long as timeshare buyers would be allowed 24 hours to consider their decision. This would eliminate the high-pressure “today only or the deal is off” hard sell. The bill ultimately died in committee surely to resurface in 2021.

We are one hundred per cent in agreement that there are many timeshare exit scams, but I’ve been in contact with a few exit service providers who are as sincerely concerned about unfair and deceptive sales practices as we are. “We” are our volunteer Supporters who answer questions for timeshare members filing regulatory and law enforcement complaints for members who feel they experienced unfair and deceptive timeshare sales practices.

Sign this Petition for Timeshare Reform. We are working towards 100,000 signatures by 2021. Over 1,200 have signed. You don’t have to be a timeshare member to sign.

https://www.change.org/p/state-legislators-in-arizona-florida-and-nevada-demand-reform-of-the-timeshare-industry-s-unfair-and-deceptive-practices

Marine veteran Jim Sherwood is a 100% disabled Marine Corp Master Sergeant. Wyndham did resolve Jim Sherwood’s request for hardship, so there is a legitimate hardship department. Mr Sherwood’s article was published on March 8 of this year. We appreciate Wyndham’s response to Jim Sherwood’s request for hardship, but Mr Sherwood was at his wit’s end when he contacted Inside Timeshare, after denials following the VA’s report that he and his wife were unable to travel.   

Thank you to Ron for sharing his experience. Our standard disclosure is that we know there are many happy with their timeshare purchase. That doesn’t make up for thousands of families reporting deceptive and unfair timeshare sales practices. We have organized an outreach committee to seek more disclosure for veterans buying timeshares.

Related article: A Legislative Scoreboard

https://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-from-america-45/

Whistleblowers of America is a nonprofit organization assisting whistleblowers who have suffered retaliation after having identified harm to individuals or the public. Together, we can speak truth to power.

https://whistleblowersofamerica.org/

Self-advocacy groups 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://tug2.com/Home.aspx

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

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, Ron, and also to Irene Parker for her contribution to this article, we would also like to thank all the volunteers who are helping with the advocacy efforts and giving others some hope.

It is such a shame that the timeshare companies act the way they do, they allow their own sales agents to destroy the lives of those who have served, all for what? There is only one word and that is GREED!

Inside Timeshare welcomes your comments and views on this article and any others published, just use our contact page and get in touch with us.

That is all for this week, join us on Monday for Part Six of our exclusive story on Silverpoint Exposed. Have a great weekend.

Friday’s Letter from America

Welcome to another Letter from America, today Irene Parker has a look at the Coalition to Reform Timeshare and the petition which needs your signatures. This has been a recurring theme on our pages, the timeshare industry needs to change how it works, it is in dire need of reform, yet it seems they are not listening to the hundreds of complaints which are hitting not just forums like Inside Timeshare but many other forums, websites and FB groups that you will find on the internet. Inside Timeshare has received hundreds of emails asking for help, yet that is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

The industry needs to change if it is to survive, it has created the problems yet it does not even acknowledge them or admits that there is a problem. It is responsible for the myriad of scam exit and resale companies that exist, all because it fails to police how its own sales force operates. The time for change is here, it is in your own interest to be part of this and sign this petition.

Timeshare Wars Continued

Has Diamond Resorts Offered a Compromise through Transitions?

A Petition and a Coalition to Reform Timeshare

By Irene Parker

June 14, 2019

A Coalition to Reform Timeshare (CRT) was launched to advocate for the rights of more than 9 million timeshare owners in the U.S. CRT is made up of individuals and organizations dedicated to reforming the timeshare industry.

Timeshare developers feel the industry is just fine and doesn’t need reforming. Where do you start when two sides are so opposed? How do you narrow the gap?

Our volunteer Supporters at Timeshare Accountability Group™ (TAG) feel both ends of the timeshare sale need some reform. The Change.org petition already received over 800 signatures.  Sign our petition today to show lawmakers and the Timeshare Industry at large that there is a need for change.

https://www.change.org/p/state-legislators-in-arizona-florida-and-nevada-demand-reform-of-the-timeshare-industry-s-unfair-and-deceptive-practices

After signing the petition, a prompt appears asking for a donation. I questioned how donations are spent. One of our Supporters received this answer from Change.org:

Similar to boosted posts on Facebook or sponsored tweets on Twitter, promoted petitions let you pay to show any petition (including your own) to other potential supporters on Change.org or our distribution which supports our platform as well.

Has Diamond Resorts provided a bridge between members and exit providers?

I’ve heard timeshare exit service providers say, “If the developers would just take back the timeshare, there would be no need for timeshare lawyers or exit service providers!”

Well, Diamond Resorts is taking back timeshares at a record pace. One member reported that she had to wait on hold for five hours at year end. I can’t speak for the entire universe of Diamond Resorts members, but I can speak for the Diamond members on our over 3,000 member-sponsored Facebook page.  I can’t recall one post from a member who applied for Transitions and was not accepted. Many members who successfully exited their timeshare via Transitions remain on our Facebook to advise others.

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

I posted asking members to share their Transitions experience. Six members responded, all positive. Veteran family Cathy McDyer posted, “We applied & were accepted when the fee was only $250. We had points & a deeded week.” One member reminded me that points or weeks purchased on the secondary market are not eligible.  

Diamond Resorts launched their Transitions voluntary surrender program late 2017. Members with no outstanding loan and current on maintenance fees can deed back their timeshare by clicking “Transitions” on their member dashboard.

Inside Timeshare has received complaints from Diamond members who say they paid an exit company to get out of a fully paid Diamond timeshare. Not only did they pay more money than the $1,000 Diamond now charges, the process will likely take longer and some exit companies require the member continue to pay maintenance fees while they try to get you out. To make matters worse, the member is no longer eligible for Transitions if they contract with an exit provider.   

I contacted the Newton Group to ask if they would consider directing their fully paid Diamond member callers to our Facebook. The first representative hung up quickly when I asked. I called back and spoke with JoAnn, who also hung up on me as soon as I asked the question.

In 2018 Wyndham filed a lawsuit listing the Newton Group as one of the defendants. DC Capital Law is also listed as a defendant. DC Capital has filed a lawsuit against the timeshare developer ARC Americano.

https://dockets.justia.com/docket/florida/flsdce/9:2018cv81251/535273\https://insidetimeshare.com/tag/americano-beach-resort/

If Diamond is accepting their timeshare points and weeks back (at least according to our Facebook members), why are some exit providers charging $3,000 or more to get a member out of a fully paid Diamond timeshare rendering them ineligible for the program?

I’ve asked exit providers to test my proposition by referring a few callers to our Facebook page. They would not need to convince the member. It could be a suggestion after, “Have you reached out to the company?” If the member would be denied, it would strengthen the argument as to why timeshare exit service providers are needed. Can you imagine the good will that would ensue if this were to happen?  It would be one baby step to solve this nightmare without dueling lawsuits.

Signing our Change.org petition will also support the establishment of a Timeshare Bill of Rights. My comments are highlighted in red.

1) The right to a 24-hour cooling-off period prior to signing a timeshare contract to allow for the review of all sales and contract information including, but not limited to, other governing documents, public offering statements and covenants that run with the land.

Timeshare buyers also need time to recover after sales sessions that last more than six hours. There have been many reports of driver’s licenses and credit cards confiscated to prevent leaving a presentation, along with other creative techniques. I would add that the buyer could waive this offer if they wished.

In debates over timeshare bills proposed this year, the timeshare lobbyists for ARDA in Arizona strongly objected to allowing timeshare buyers 24 hours to review their decision to sign a perpetual timeshare contract, despite lobbying for a 24-hour cooling-off period in Florida and Nevada when it comes to signing a timeshare exit contract.

There is no other industry that would disintegrate if the buyer were allowed 24 hours to think about signing a contract. It’s because timeshare contracts are perpetual, accompanied by rising maintenance fees, and has no secondary market. Complaints about deceptive sales abound.

2) The right to receive complete disclosure of the true market value of the timeshare, prior to the timeshare being purchased.  

Some timeshare companies do disclose this, but the buyer doesn’t read the contract. The consumer does need to do their part by reading the contract.

A major concern is the lack of a secondary market. If the primary housing market placed restrictions on the ability to sell homes, think of the effect this would have on the housing market. Some timeshare companies list in their annual reports that a viable secondary market is a risk to investors. One private equity firm even described the lack of a secondary market as a reason to buy the stock!

In summary, customers experience a reasonable value proposition tempered by the lack of a secondary market. The secondary market has undoubtedly had its growth stunted because the absence of the market creates an opportunity for the imeshare companies.

Scott Miller, Founder of Greenhaven Road Capital, Latticework

3) The right to be free of any high-pressure sales techniques and verbal misrepresentations intended to circumvent the assessment period. For example, “Today Only” offers or the requirement of any form of advance payment to attend a timeshare presentation. Developers would be prohibited from collecting and withholding a credit card, driver’s license or other items before or during the timeshare presentation.

The verbal representation clause appears in many other contracts but widely reported to be abused and overused by unscrupulous timeshare sales agents.  Three against two tag-teams are skilled at holding attendees hostage. Is the gift worth this?

4) The right to record the entire sales presentation or to require the developer to record the entire sales presentation, including the closing of the sale, and to retain the recording for a period of 24 months with no waiver.

My biggest beef is timeshare companies that record the closing session, and then hold that recording against the member, but do not allow the member to record the sales session. Some states, like Nevada and Arizona, allow recording, but the consumer on vacation mode never thinks to do so. After all, they were told they were just required to hear about a new resort.

5) The right to full transparency during the sales presentation without any waiver of verbal representations during the closing of the sale. This right also prevents owners from being required to attend “update meetings” or similar meetings if a sales presentation is conducted during this meeting.

6) The right to full disclosure of the resort owners’ association financials, as well as disclosure of any and all HOA fees, including indirect resort costs imposed on owners which may increase maintenance fees and special assessments. This right also includes yearly owner roster notifications that disclose the number of weeks or points under developer control with the HOA, not excluding resale and rentals the HOA has control over.

7) The right to have the rescission period for a contract extended to one week after a person returns from their vacation to allow appropriate family and/or legal counsel review. The rescission date would be clearly noted in the contract based on input from the consumer on when they return home.

Unfortunately, even this extension doesn’t help when timeshare sales agents are skilled in dodging the rescission period as evidenced by Tuesday’s Inside Timeshare article in which the buyer was told to wait a few months until they had made a couple of months of loan payments before applying for an exit program. Many are told of maintenance fee relief programs that do not exist. They don’t discover they were lied to until they attempt to pay their maintenance fee invoice in December.  

https://insidetimeshare.com/the-tuesday-slot-34/

8) The right to be free of sales calls from the timeshare developer before or after the sale and the right to be free of attempts by the timeshare developer to have a consumer re-activate a previously rescinded sales contract.

I think this provision is a stretch. Most companies, especially cell phone companies, have customer retention departments.

9) The right to full disclosure of the entire cost of timeshare ownership, including available interest rates, before a consumer signs a contract. This would include projected increases in maintenance fees based on the average maintenance fee increase for the past five years for an individual property.

I think the buyer has the total cost including interest as stated on the purchase agreement.

10) The right to have sales agents and timeshare companies subscribe to an industry code of ethics.

There is an industry code of ethics, but it is ignored, based on hundreds of complaints sent to ARDA ROC which they ignored. The board of ARDA consists of timeshare executives, so the complaining member is complaining to the chief wolf guarding the chicken coop. If the industry doesn’t respond to over 200 timeshare members reporting unfair and deceptive practices, what good is a code of ethics?

11) The right as a timeshare owner or vacation club member to have priority booking of reservations over the general public.

A good idea, but I think it would be hard to prove a member does not have priority.

12) The right to unilaterally terminate an unencumbered, non-deeded timeshare interest with written notice to the developer upon making the current “use year” maintenance fee payment.

To join the Coalition or share your story, go to ReformTimeshare.org. Inside Timeshare also welcomes member submissions. Speak up and speak out. Right now the only enforcement seems to be via the media and the media seems reluctant to take on the mega-money associated with the front end of the timeshare sale, so join our efforts to reach sympathetic lawmakers and members of the media not afraid of big money.    

Other member sponsored advocacy groups:

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://tug2.com/Home.aspx

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

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/

Thank you Irene, let us hope that this petition really does take off, the industry is in need of reform, either they do or the lawmakers have to step in and do it for them just like in Spain.

So that is all for this week in the murky world of timeshare, join us again on Monday with Part Four of our exclusive on the truth behind Silverpoint.

The Tuesday Slot

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Tuesday Slot, once again Irene Parker highlights another complaint and explains how it should be written. This is just one in the hundreds that Inside Timeshare has been receiving, all have the same hallmarks, so it does make you wonder that if all these people are saying the same thing, yet none of them knows each other, something must be wrong. The Timeshare Industry needs to take note of these articles and ensure that their sales agents tell the truth. We can only live in hope.

How to Write a Clear and Concise Complaint

Lesson 39 from the Free at Last Timeshare Support Course

http://www.udprep.info/

All proceeds benefit the nonprofit Straight-A Guide

By Irene Parker

June 11, 2019

The first step in any complaint process is to prepare a clear and concise complaint. Complaints received by Inside Timeshare are almost always confusing, like someone describing a car accident they just witnessed. When a timeshare member contacts Inside Timeshare with a timeshare complaint, to understand the complaint, I frequently ask, “What do you mean by that?” or “Can you provide an example?”

I selected the complaint below as an example of a before and after complaint because the deception reported is brazen and easy to understand. The complaint is an actual complaint.

The member reported that they were told in order to be eligible for the company’s Voluntary Surrender program they would have to buy additional points. This was not true. Another member was told they would have to convert their deeded timeshare to points to be eligible. This was not true either.

A responsible exit program offered by the developer doesn’t help someone who learns they were duped just days or months after purchase.

Tina’s complaint is not resolved so we will not identify the member or the timeshare company. I have changed their names.

Tina said they were told they had to upgrade from one loyalty program to the next to be eligible for the company’s Voluntary Surrender program. They had been struggling to make the high interest rate loan payments. By selling them more points, the sales agent forced insolvency.

To prepare her complaint, I advised Tina not to use words like lie or scam. Put yourself in the reader’s perspective. Emotional words that cannot be proven will turn off your reader. Even if you were scammed, your mission is to write up what happened to explain why you feel you experienced unfair and deceptive sales practices. Highlighted in red are my suggestions and the reasons why I felt my suggestion would make the complaint more clear and concise.            

Tina and Tony’s complaint as prepared by Tina

Tina and Tony Smith

Our California address

Our Phone Number

June 5, 2019

To Customer Service, ARDA ROC, CEO, sales agent

Tina had started her complaint with “To whom it may concern.” Send your complaint to specific individuals or organizations. The timeshare PAC ARDA ROC does not mediate disputes but they have a code of ethics.

We are writing to demand that our last two contracts below be cancelled due to fraudulent and negligent misrepresentations that took place in Las Vegas.

Tina and Tony made four purchases. They were so angry they wanted all their contracts cancelled. It is unlikely a developer will cancel all contracts, especially those over a year old. However, if told the timeshare was like real estate and easy to sell, the member doesn’t know they were lied to until they try to sell the timeshare.   

We were deeded timeshare owners before we were falsely told we had to give up our deed and buy points. We were free and clear of any loans before buying points.

  1. In 2013 we purchased 15,000 points with sales agents N S in Las Vegas for $25,750.
  2. In 2014 we purchased 7,500 points for $24,630 in Las Vegas from Sales Agent J G.
  3. In 2016 (Contract #xxx) we purchased 7,500 points for $23,925 in Las Vegas for 7,500 points with the same Sales Agent J G.
  4. In 2018 (Contract #xxx) we purchased 8,500 points for $26,105 in Las Vegas from sales Agent R S and Manager M G (J. G’s brother.)

Our third purchase in 2016 was our second purchase from J G. The concierge said we had to attend a mandatory update meeting.

(They were not on a promotional trip. It was not mandatory to attend the meeting).

He told us if we declined the update they will be forced to have us pay for our stay even though we had booked our stay with points.

I suggested they delete “the meeting had lasted well over 1-hour” because all timeshare meetings are over one hour. Unless the meeting lasted five hours or more, it will have no bearing on a complaint.

We said that we were fine with what we had. We didn’t need any more points. J G said if we don’t upgrade now we will lose special pricing. We remembered he said the same thing in 2014, but the numbers he presented looked so good.  

We repeated ourselves and stated we are helping our daughter in college, and we don’t have extra cash. He said, “You can put the down payment on a credit card. This is a one-time deal. You will be losing thousands of dollars if you don’t accept today.”

We said over and over that we are not people who make that much money. I’m a stay at home mom who takes care of foster children and my own children. Our priority with our finances is to help our daughter with college. J G said our points will appreciate just like real estate and said that he uses the interest paid on the loan as a tax write-off.

Points do not appreciate and the interest cannot be written off. It was okay to say we are not people who make that much money in this context, but “I can’t afford it” is not a valid reason for release, any more than you can go to your home mortgage lender and say, “I can’t afford this.”

At our last Upgrade in 2018 in Las Vegas we purchased 8,500 points for $26,105 in from R S and manager M G. The accumulated loan balance is $80,117.99.

It’s best to isolate the numbers because when they get too mushed in a narration they lose meaning.

It was stated that if we pay in full over the course of the period our loan amount would increase to a total of $152,301.30. Our maintenance fees are $6,897.77. We pay our fees monthly with a credit card because it is too much for us.

The member here is referring, I think, to the total amount they would have to pay if the loan went to maturity. It’s not meaningful to mention this amount because the total amount of any loan with interest is staggering. In addition, it’s the buyer’s responsibility to read the purchase agreement. This information is clearly stated on that agreement.

I told them to delete mentioning maintenance fees.  Mentioning maintenance fees really has no bearing on anyone’s complaint unless it involves an allegation that the member was promised the maintenance fees would go down if they purchased additional points, but they went up.   

This upgrade was done with R S, and his supervisor M G. We again said we did not want to attend. We were on vacation and did not want to be bothered. Again, concierge told us we needed to attend or our stay will be charged.

R S proceeded to show us how much an upgrade would cost. I told him I wanted out of the timeshare. We had heard about and wanted to look into the company’s voluntary surrender program.

He told us that in order to be eligible for The Voluntary Surrender program we needed to upgrade to have enough points to be eligible.

This is real deceit. This voluntary surrender program does not require purchasing any additional points.

He showed us numbers on how much our timeshare company would pay us for our points if we become eligible for the Voluntary Surrender program. We asked why we needed to upgrade to be eligible. He said, “You have to be a Platinum member to be able to get out of our timeshare company.”

(In no way do you have to be a Platinum member to be eligible for this Voluntary Surrender program.)  

We stated we couldn’t afford this. We can barely afford to pay for our maintenance fees. He said “What’s another $300 more on your loan payment? That isn’t too much to upgrade in order to be able to get out.”

We repeatedly told the agents that we don’t even have the money for a down payment. He said we could look to see if there are credit cards available. I said, I don’t want to charge this, why do I have to put a down payment? He said, “We need a down payment because there is no other way to upgrade you guys without one.”  

He said once we upgraded, we would need to make a couple of payments before applying for the Voluntary Surrender program.

(The rescission period was dodged by telling them to wait a few months before applying.)

He came back and asked if we know anybody that has another timeshare we can put that on your file to become Platinum.

(This is in reference to a program that allows the member to include other timeshares. The points credited count towards Platinum status.)

I said my sister does. (Adding your sister’s timeshare does not qualify.) I asked him if this was normal. R said, yes of course and said to ask his manager M G. M G smiled and nodded when we asked as he was passing by, “Even if we don’t own the other timeshare?”

We made a few loan payments and then applied for the Voluntary Surrender program, per R’s instructions. We got denied because we had a loan. We were not informed the timeshare has to be paid in full to be eligible for the Voluntary Surrender program.

We called the company (on my advice) to ask why we are Platinum members if we only have 38,500 points. Platinum requires 50,000 timeshare points. The agents had said that we are Platinum because of adding my sister’s timeshare. They said it would be part of “Declared Inventory.” The company representative said that she never heard of this and would need to check into it. I was put on hold for so long, I hung up.

We thought and believed that we were signing a contract in good faith and that our agents were honest. They were not. We are a family of 6 with one income. We will no longer fight in silence and will do everything we can to help others in our situation by reaching out to the media and to Representative Katie Porter. I will be filing a complaint against R J G and M G with the Nevada real estate division, the Better Business Bureau, the Federal Trade Commission, the FBI, and others.

Please contact me if you wish to discuss our complaint,

Tina Smith

(The complaint should be signed by the family member best suited to deal with this mess)

Tina’s original complaint was one long paragraph. When you read published articles, paragraphs are usually short. When too many sentences run together you can lose your reader. I learned this from my editors at TheStreet, Jim Cramer’s investment news service. One editor often told me, “Don’t bury the lead!” meaning state up front what you want your reader to know. I still hear his voice in my ear when I have buried the lead.

I always suggest you have a friend or neighbor not familiar with your complaint read it to see if it makes sense. Only a handful of the 900 complaints I have read have made sense to me when I initially read them.

Thank you to Tina and Tony for sharing their timeshare financial disaster. We will follow along and let our readers’ know how this family fares.

Timeshare can be a great product for the right reasons and for the right family. When a timeshare member references a volume of online complaints, I tell the member that for every unhappy member, there are 100 who think the timeshare company is wonderful. They may not have been deceived. Just because there are honest agents, it doesn’t mean there are not dishonest agents that should be stopped. Those who have had a positive experience should not judge those who have experienced unfair and deceptive sales practices. There will always be those who blame the victim.  

Join one of the timeshare member support groups. If there are none suitable, consider starting one.

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://tug2.com/Home.aspx

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

Petition to reform timeshare

https://www.change.org/p/state-legislators-in-arizona-florida-and-nevada-demand-reform-of-the-timeshare-industry-s-unfair-and-deceptive-practices?fbclid=IwAR1n3m6kFW-xs6qtC4zKhHz1AC0gXWWDlBo2Ba6AWlXEPqlZsrIU2G-DU0A

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/

Related article: Complaint Instructions revised by a millennial member who resolved her timeshare dispute:

https://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-from-america-39/

Thank you Irene, all we can hope for is that this dispute is resolved and that Tina and Tony can enjoy a stress free life outside of timeshare.

One thing we must point out, we are not anti-timeshare, we do believe that for many it could be a good product, it is the greed of the sales agents with the blatant use of untruths that is the problem. A problem that can only be solved by the timeshare companies themselves.

Friday’s Letter from America

Welcome to this week’s Letter from America, today’s article by Irene Parker explores the Whistleblowers of America Code of Ethics. A Code of Ethics is meant to be lived by. In timeshare, a Code of Ethics has been something to write and post on your website, but never seem to be followed. It doesn’t help that 200 or so of our readers who have reported violations in ARDA‘s Code of Ethics have been dismissed by the very executives that sit on their board. We take our hats are off to Whistleblowers of America for taking a Code of Ethics seriously. But then Whistleblowers are not in it for the money.

Hollywood Mirage Club

Inside Timeshare has been asked by an independent member of the committee at Hollywood Mirage Club for members to make contact with him as soon as possible. He and one other will be standing for election to the full committee at the AGM at the end of June. The unfortunate thing is that they have been told that there is “no mechanism” for them to contact other members with the Secretary stating he will not allow it under the GDPR (The EU General Data Protection Regulation). A move obviously designed to control the voting, but Article 47 of the GDPR “fully considers the right of members of groups (clubs) to communicate with each other”.

To make contact directly with this member who is standing please use our contact page and we will send you his contact details privately. It is in your interest to get together and have your say.

Now for Irene’s article.

Whistleblowers of America Code of Ethics

As Applied to Timeshare Support Mentors

Information about the 8th Annual WhistleBlower Summit and Film Festival to be held in Washington D.C. July 28 – August 1:

http://whistleblowersummit.com/

By Irene Parker

Friday, June 7

A Whistleblower is normally a person associated with a corporation or government agency that blows the whistle on wrongdoing as it pertains to waste, fraud and abuse, medical errors and wrongful death. You would not think an old lady crying from the rooftops of Florida about vacation plans would qualify, yet the harm done to veterans and active duty service members on the receiving end of a fraudulent timeshare sale has financially, emotionally, and physically, harmed many. Of the 841 families who have reached out to us, 106 are veterans and active duty.

We are asking for your signature on this petition for reform. You don’t have to be a timeshare member to sign.

https://www.change.org/p/state-legislators-in-arizona-florida-and-nevada-demand-reform-of-the-timeshare-industry-s-unfair-and-deceptive-practices

A grown daughter contacted me on behalf of her Bronze Star recipient father. She could not answer all my questions about the timeshare, so I told her to ask her father about it. He had a heart attack when they were discussing it, and at the ER, the doctor noted he had a heart attack two years prior when asked about his timeshare. Her parents are the kind of people who saved up and paid cash for cars, He and his wife had been upsold to the point he had to take out a reverse mortgage because he could not afford the timeshare loan payments. He said every time he walked in the front door, he felt like he was losing his home. A Navy veteran declared bankruptcy. He had been upsold to $2,700 a month in timeshare loan payments, living on his letter carrier’s pension, charging to a number of credit cards before his grown daughter found out.

Whistleblowers of America’s Code of Ethics spoke to me. I thought to myself, “Guilty as charged!” as I read through them.

It’s not easy to live in a state of constant anger, moved by the voices of those desperate and deceived. The only thing that keeps me going is hearing the voice turn from a desperate voice to an empowered voice.

From the Whistleblowers of America Code of Ethics:

  • Counter-balancing dysfunction responses to wrongdoing with informed advocacy and resilience, skill building is the cornerstone of interactions,
  • Understand legal processes and procedures, a guide in problem solving and decision making to overcome toxic tactics.

I employ skills I learned at CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) writing court reports for Family Court judges and interested parties to make a determination as to the best outcome for a child in state care.

I learned an important lesson from my husband Don, a pharmaceutical researcher. The first thing a pharmaceutical company will do if they don’t like a lab’s answers, that would allow the launch of a billion dollar a year drug, is to blame the lab. Don told me to fight with data, not words.

A mentor needs to know their boundaries.

I don’t know if I speak for all whistleblowers, but I think there is a tendency to become over-involved, breaking through necessary boundaries. I will share an example of how I overstepped mine, but in the heat of the battle, we bend rules.

A Harvard graduate and fellow Rotarian turned out to be a brute holding a Korean lady hostage. Thankfully, another fellow Rotarian was our chief of police. He helped me rescue the mom and their toddler. Major Ganot of the Salvation Army was also in my Rotary Club. She could be a Major in anyone’s army after spending a couple decades in Haiti.

Mom and child stayed with us before we returned them both back to Korea. Mom had been a manager of Duty Free shops in Korea before coming to America. Her parents were math teachers at a university. The first night at our house I heard the child screaming. I went to ask mom what the child wanted. Mom replied, “Irene,” the child grabbed my neck and clung. Dad also had child porn on his computer. The police chief found THC in the refrigerator which mom said he used to put on his pancakes. He had DTs and once dropped the child at a Rotary function.

The advice Major Ganot gave to me is the advice all mentees and mentors should heed. “You are less effective if you become part of the storm.” Doctors call this intellectualization, in that if they went into a tailspin every time they lost a patient, they would lose effectiveness. This doesn’t mean the doctor doesn’t care. It means he or she must put their role is perspective.    

In psychology, intellectualization is a defense mechanism by which reasoning is used to block confrontation with an unconscious conflict and its associated emotional stress – where thinking is used to avoid feeling.[1] It involves removing one’s self, emotionally, from a stressful event.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intellectualization

Whistleblowers of America Code: Ethical Standard #2

Shared Experience Rapport

I appreciate more than ever the fidelity of “Semper fi” that exists among those battling a common enemy. Lifelong friendships have blossomed and grown. Once a timeshare dispute has been resolved, we encourage the person made whole, or as whole as possible, join our efforts to respond to others.

The moto of Whistleblowers of America is Speak Truth to Power. I would like to add to that the headline this reporter used in his investigative report about ALEC, a powerful lobby. The television reporter led with “Holding the powerful accountable” and I see “Holding the powerful accountable” as the next step after speaking truth to power.

Ethical Standard #5 Non-judgement A mentor needs to be reflective and inquisitive, but not judgmental. A mentor does not adjudicate. They facilitate problem solving rather than solve the problem.

An obstacle to resolving any dispute is getting your opponent to listen, as opposed to just hearing what the other person is attempting to communicate. Callous customer service representatives “hear” the complainant and respond, “You signed a contract.”

They don’t listen. Leadership coach Stephen R. Covey said it best:

11. Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”

https://www.inc.com/dave-kerpen/15-quotes-to-inspire-you-to-become-a-better-listener.html

My collaborator Michael Santos at Straight-A Guide, teaches how self-advocacy can overcome struggle. The outcome may not be what you expected. It may not be the outcome you wanted, but staying the course with determination, and making the most of available resources, is part and parcel of advocacy and self-advocacy. A Whistleblower needs both as they must advocate for their cause, and they must advocate for themselves.

Ethical Standard #11Self-care

The words “disengage when necessary” hit me like a dagger. I hear from one to five infuriated timeshare members a day, seven days a week. The unhappy emails outweigh the “we did it!” emails. Resiliency is a word often mentioned in whistleblowing. Hurtful potshots from our opponents can weigh us down or sharpen our sword. Author Carlos Castaneda, a student of Yaqui Indian Don Juan, described them as petty tyrants.

I have a friend in Sedona by the name of Pete Sanders, a Navy veteran. A technic I learned from Pete, during one of his Free Soul sessions, taught me how to find my brain’s Limbic Center and Joy Center. As I understood Pete’s lecture, you can shift your negative thoughts by employing Pete’s techniques.

The limbic center is somewhere behind the eyes and between the ears. It’s kind of a negative thought center. Think about a time you were so angry that you were acting out in front of your spouse and kids. All of a sudden the doorbell rings and you snap into normalcy. According to Pete, you have shifted negative thoughts from your Limbic Center, to somewhere in the frontal lobe of the cerebral cortex, the Joy Center, a compartment that holds positive thoughts. I took a class in head and neck anatomy and two semesters of A & P, but I’m getting out of my depth.  But trust me; even if I have botched the explanation, it works. I swear that I can feel the “half empty/half full” feeling before and after shifting the same thought.

Pete Sanders of Free Soul

Pete Sanders is an honors graduate of Massachusetts Institute of Technology with principle studies in BioMedical Chemistry and Brain Science. Accepted to Harvard Medical School, he chose instead to pursue independent mind/body potentials research. That quest led to a revolutionary discovery: how to directly stimulate the brain’s natural mood-elevation mechanisms.

This technique provides a natural alternative to using alcohol, nicotine, drugs, or overeating for coping with life’s challenges. It gives you a method to enhance your feeling of well-being without being dependent on achievement or relationship success.

I look forward to this year’s Whistleblower Summit. I didn’t attend the Whistleblower Summit last year because I thought I was a whistleblower. I attended on behalf of the veterans and active duty service members harmed by timeshare. An active duty service member can lose his security clearance and his career over a mortgage foreclosure, so don’t think timeshare is a silly topic. One Marine lost his air unit command over a timeshare loan foreclosure.

There are laws protecting traditional whistleblowers, but not individuals. I’m alone. But an individual is alone only if they don’t reach out to other whistleblowers for help and support. Rosa Parks was one person who committed a courageous and dangerous act. She sat in the front of the bus. It was a small act, but possibly inspired by the actions and words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King was not so naïve as to think he was going to resolve racial divide once and for all. He knew this problem would not likely be solved in his lifetime. That did not deter his efforts.

One financial journalist called me a gadfly. “You’re nothing but a gadfly to this timeshare company,” he sneered. I looked up the definition.  

The original definition was an insect that stings cattle. Somewhere around the Middle Ages, in England, the meaning of gadfly morphed into “an annoying person who spurs others to action.”

I’m okay with being a gadfly. When I told my Free Soul Florida mate, attorney Mike Finn, that the journalist called me a gadfly, Mr Finn suggested an adjective, “How about the Green Gadfly?” “Like the Green Hornet?” I responded.

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to explain to the attorneys who deposed me for six hours why Mr. Finn calls me gg. The deposition serves as an example of retaliation. I enjoyed explaining to my interrogator lawyer why I am called gg. Gallows Humor, or Humour, as my British collaborator would spell, should be included as a defense mechanism to Ethical Sandard  #11 Self-care . Humor really can be our best medicine.

Thank you to Whistleblowers of America for your support because this is not easy. My twilight years are anything but relaxing.       

https://whistleblowersofamerica.org/

Statement of

Ms. Jacqueline Garrick, LCSW-C

Executive Director

Whistleblowers of America

Before the

Committees on Veterans’ Affairs

U.S. Senate

U.S. House of Representatives

March 14, 2018

Excerpt from report:

Fraud and Scams Against Veterans:

Although WoA recognizes that it is not inherent within the VA mission to protect veterans from fraud and scams that could cost them their benefits, it suggests that it could be assistive in educating veterans against these unscrupulous tactics. For example, WoA has had multiple complaints from veterans related to timeshare deceit and bait and switch tactics, which are defined by the FBI as fraud for profit.  Often elderly veterans are mentioned as being targeted by the Timeshare Advocacy Group, TM which fights for active duty and retired military who fear losing their security clearance, career, homes or other assets.  Foreclosures and financial distress because of these misrepresented investments are happening every day to elderly disabled veterans and their families. In the past, VA has cooperated with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) over mortgage and other loan scams that caused financial hardships for veterans.  Home loans and timeshare loans are identical as both are reported as foreclosures. WoA asks that Congress consider a role for the VBA Employment and Economic Initiative (EEI) could play in cooperation with CFPB to educate and protect veterans from unscrupulous financial predators and fraudulent practices.

Thank you, Irene, for all your hard work in getting these articles ready, along with all the work you do helping those with problems, you are a thorn in the side of the timeshare industry, as well as a Green Gadfly, but you are our thorn and our Green Gadfly!

Paramount – Club Paradiso Tenerife

Information has been received by Inside Timeshare that the resort known as Paramount – Club Paradiso has closed. Those with bookings have been refused entry on arrival and moved to other resorts such as Hollywood Mirage and Beverly Hills Heights.

The telephone is on constant voicemail and the website is no longer working

Telephone: +34 922 787 650

https://www.clubparadiso.com

If you have purchased any product such as standard timeshare, investment packs, company participations or Keys Concierge use our contact page and get in touch. Inside Timeshare will explain your options and point you in the right direction.

That is all for this week, join us again on Monday for Part Two of Exclusive Breaking News: The Truth Behind Silverpoint Exposed.

Have a great weekend.

Wise old dog