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Kenneth McKelvey

The Tuesday Slot

Welcome to another edition of The Tuesday Slot, following on from last Friday’s Letter from America on Wyndham’s Canadian Resorts Carriage Hills and Carriage Ridge, Irene Parker highlights the first 30 complaints received by Inside Timeshare. So far we have received 110 which we expect to rise as more and more owners find these articles, one thing is certain they are all telling a very familiar story, deceptive practices by the sales agents.

Wyndham’s Canadian Carriage Hills and Carriage Ridge Unfair and Deceptive Business Practices

An Open Letter to:

Jason Gamel, Wyndham Sr. VP, Legal, and ARDA President  

By Irene Parker and 30 of 110 + Carriage Resorts Victims of Unfair Practices

August 20, 2019

After publishing our August 8 article challenging ARDA’s Coalition for Responsible Exit program, I reached out to a Canadian friend asking about Canadian Legacy owner Simon D’s Carriage Resort complaint. The article described six out of eight fully paid Legacy owners not allowed out of their contracts. A seventh, homebound, contacted us, so seven resorts out of nine single-site resorts in the U.S. are not being allowed voluntary surrenders. Lawmakers are not hearing the whole story. Shockingly, in the case of Wyndham’s Carriage Resorts, owners are required to pay maintenance fees or be sued.  

While the Canadian Consumer Product Safety Act may seem more geared towards manufacturing, those who take the time to read 110 reports of those held hostage in a timeshare trap, will understand Wyndham and Carriage’s draconian and predatory policies can cause adverse health effects too. Seniors in their 70s and 80s, and even their heirs if deceased are being sued for maintenance fees. These fully-paid owners have watched their maintenance fees double over the years, while their income in retirement decreased.  

Carriage Resorts may be domiciled in Canada, but U.S. based Wyndham acquired Carriage Resorts from Shell Vacation Club several years ago. Despite Wyndham promoting their Ovations voluntary surrender program, Carriage owners are held in a predatory grip even when they can no longer travel. 

Please take the time to read through over 110 complaints submitted by Carriage Resorts owners, beginning with complaints 1 through 30. Reports 31 thru 60 we will publish Friday. Timeshare buyers were routinely told their timeshare would be easy to sell because the timeshare is real estate.

August 8 article:  

ARDA”s Coalition for Responsible Exit Fails Legacy Owners

https://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-from-america-62/

August 16 article:

Simon’s complaint prompts “Two Carriage Resort Owners Describe Unfair Practices” https://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-from-america-63/

Mr. Kenneth McKelvey, founder of Defender Resorts and Chairman of the timeshare PAC ARDA ROC, testified at a legislative workshop held in Tallahassee Florida March 12, 2019, that attorneys and timeshare exit providers are not needed.

“Most of the developers I know, and certainly most of the timeshare managers I know, and I managed timeshare properties for thirty years… every single resort had a dissolution policy, every single one! There was a way to get out. You had to come to your management company, and based on what the board of directors instructed us to do in the terms if they had to pay a fee or if they had to be current, whatever those situations were, we did not have one that did not have a dissolution policy and a hardship policy …”

ARDA’s position is that the problem of the lack of a secondary market has been solved. A quote from an ARDA lobbyist:

“Their value comes from using it,” the timeshare industry’s top lobbyist told ConsumerAffairs in January, admitting that points have no resale value while claiming that consumers don’t mind this because the value comes from the experience.

The first 30 of 80 complaints:

Any delinquent owners are being sued for unpaid maintenance fees. Many of the aged owners are finding themselves in a real bind with health problems and limited from travelling anymore. The last thing they need is to be sued. Don and JoAnne  

Over the last 10 years, we have approached and been approached by several companies offering to transfer our units. We have probably lost about $30,000 trying to exit. Colin and Mimi

While Wyndham’s CEO Michael Brown is bragging about putting $1 Billion into expanding their timeshare business. If that is not the epitome of corporate greed, I don’t know what is! Cheryl

I wrote and told them they were heartless.  I have to take my blood pressure daily and my Family Physician asked why it fluctuates so much, as high as 160/80 recently, I told him the financial burden this timeshare is and the nightmare it has become. He has warned me the next stroke might be fatal. This timeshare is like having a noose around my neck. No one in my family wants it.  Jeanne

#1 Doug M

Twenty plus years ago we bought into what seemed to be an exciting package of vacation opportunities. Through the years, our maintenance fees kept climbing and climbing. Now our fees have climbed so high it’s no longer a viable option as they (Shell and Wyndham) have adjusted and changed the rules giving us less and less time with our timeshare. 

I am now retired with failing health. I just had open heart surgery and my kidneys have stopped working. I’m on home dialysis.  With this, my wife and I have lost the desire to travel. I can no longer swim or use many of the facilities. It is almost impossible to sell.  It seems I have to pay someone to take it. Thank you for representing our views.

#2 Greg and Christiana

Hi Irene,

My wife and I have been owners at Carriage Hills Owner since 1999 and have enjoyed many vacations that we shared with friends and family. A few years ago we moved to British Columbia. We can no longer use the resort with any frequency so looked into selling. Much to my surprise, I came to the realization that there are zero markets for these timeshares. There are 100s listed for sale! Some are even willing to pay a lawyer’s fees for the transfer and others offer a year or more paid maintenance fees. People are willing to walk away from their investment, in my case, around $17,000. We are willing to pay lawyer’s fees and also pay a few thousand in maintenance fees just to walk away. Very few owners have been able to get out of this. I have spoken to the Board of Directors, people at Shell Resorts and Wyndham without any solution.

This desperation has fueled scam agencies that are willing to take our money with false promises that they can get rid of it. People are getting scammed out of $1,000s of dollars.

It seems that no one is willing or able to help owners. Couple this with the rising maintenance fees and, to my horror, the knowledge that our Board, overseen by Wyndham, is actively suing elderly owners in arrears on fees who cannot use the resort due to health or sell due to no market. They can’t give it back to Wyndham because they don’t want it.

Please, we need help. This is a major crisis just waiting to explode.

Sincerely,

Greg and Christina

#3 Stefan J

I have been a Carriage Resorts owner for 20+ years. We converted our weeks to points a few years ago. At first, the annual fees were quite reasonable. We used the weeks yearly as our boys grew up. I have divorced and can’t use the points anymore. I am 68 years old and about to retire. The maintenance fees are $1,500 a year. It seems impossible to exit. I don’t want my boys (who did not even sign the contract!) to worry about this liability. I don’t mind spending some $$ to get out but I have heard all exit companies are scams.

#4 Lori and Roy

My husband and I bought our timeshare at the beginning of our relationship seeing it as a great investment. Our situations changed when I went back to school and became a teacher.  I now do not travel very much as I don’t enjoy travelling on the March or Christmas break. I need that downtime for sanity. We were also given my uncle’s timeshare so we now own two.

Last year we were in arrears.  I called the resort to ask about selling. In the past, at Carriage timeshare presentations, we were offered timeshares that were ‘returned’ so I assumed they would help me get rid of the timeshare.

I do not have the money to travel or pay my dues. Wyndham and Carriage have made it impossible. That just seems crazy.  “We have a great option for you, but you cannot know what it is or how much it costs unless you spend some money to come and hear us tell you about it.” I am not spending more money. That is insane.

I followed all of the information on their site about resale but did not find any help. Lots of organizations offered to help if I gave them a couple of thousand dollars upfront – really?! I have listed everywhere and tried to give it away and I still can’t get rid of it. I have no idea what to do.  I borrowed the money to pay off the dues for this year, but still have not paid that loan back. By the time I do, the next dues will be due!

#5 Mel and Anth

Good afternoon Irene!

My husband and I own at Carriage Hills. We bought an every other week (red) November 2000. While we did have some really nice vacations we haven’t been happy with our exchanges in close to a decade. We’ve listed it with timeshare exit sales companies and lost money. We’ve purchased another timeshare with the promise (in writing) that they would take Carriage Hills off our hands. Later we found out that Carriage Hills could not be sold to a Corporation and we were still on the hook and now we have another timeshare to boot!

We’re frustrated and at a loss. We thought about walking away but learned that it affects the rest of the owners and our credit, so we know that’s not an option. We reluctantly pay our dues and exchange for a place that is worth far less.

We dread the idea of passing this burden onto anyone else. If it wasn’t a lifetime (and beyond) deed, it may be worth owning, but as a lifetime deed, it’s a curse.

Thank you for listening. I pray that you’re able to help us all find a way out.

Melissa

#6 Don BG

We bought a timeshare from Carriage Hills. We have a liability, not an assist.  We can’t give the timeshare away or sell it because Wyndham will not approve any transfers.  It is taking up to six months to make a decision. No other business in the world is this slow.  As we age we would like to get rid of this liability we paid big bucks for. Wyndham could resell but instead insists on sending collection agencies to older people who no longer use the resort or can afford it, yet they rent it out to non-owners telling us that it is all sold out. 

In the US some resorts take back timeshares or resell. We just get grief.  I buy a car and yes I take a loss when I resell it but I can still resell. A timeshare is worth nothing the moment you buy it because no one wants to deal with these crooks.  How this is allowed to happen in Canada is beyond me. Where are the people who will stop this evil? 

Any help you can give is greatly appreciated. 

#7 Lillian

Hello Irene – my husband and I own at Carriage Hills and at Carriage Ridge.  We had the opportunity to use the facilities from time to time but that has changed since we now live in Prince Edward Island, a 19-hour drive.

What I am learning is frightening.

When we bought in 2001 we were assured that when we no longer were able to use our timeshare, there would be no problem – the company would purchase the unit back from us at fair market price – which was predicted to skyrocket – and we would have had all the travels we wanted in the interim.

Exchanging is getting more difficult.

The maintenance fees have skyrocketed to the point where it is cheaper to stay in a hotel or Airbnb. Communication from the resort has been spotty at best and basically non -existent from Wyndham.  

We would feel much more comfortable not to have to worry about our children, upon our death, being responsible for our purchase made so many years ago, sold to us as being a wise, wonderful investment.  

It does not feel like an investment with the maintenance fees that are now well over $1,000 per year plus additional SVC/RCI required membership.  We set aside money every month so we aren’t hit with the huge maintenance payments due in November – just short of Christmas.  

I believe the timeshare owners are entitled to an exit strategy as a first step in making the situation not so worrisome for owners who want to move on or whose travelling days are over.

Thank you.

Lillian L

#8 Leslie W

Good Day Irene

We purchased our unit back in 2000 and have had some nice vacations.

We were advised by the salesperson that this was just like investing in real estate. We could sell our unit at any time (and the implication was that it would be at a profit).

With escalating Maintenance Fees and changes in life conditions, we no longer wish to own this. None of our children would be interested in it, nor could they afford it.

I have had many sleepless nights trying to figure out how we can get out of this. I and many others are willing to WALK AWAY. We certainly DO NOT want to burden our heirs with this ridiculous responsibility. I only hope we can find a resolution.

Best Regards,

Leslie W

#9 June R

Hello Irene. I want to support your advocating for a timeshare exit plan.  I have been a deeded owner since 2002. I enjoyed my experiences but I am significantly older and my circumstances won’t enable me to continue paying maintenance fees into infinity. I have paid my fees every year without fail.

Thank you.

#10 Bill S 

I have two deeds. I would like to get rid of one of my years.

#11Natasha C

My husband (at the time) and I purchased our first deed at Carriage Hills back in the late 90’s. We were told it was an investment that could be willed, resold or deeded back if we no longer wanted or needed it. 

After a couple of years, we received a call to come to the resort for a sales presentation of the points program.  We attended with the idea of selling it back because we were under the impression we could. Our maintenance fees increased yearly. 

In 2011 we had our first child. Our priorities changed. I started to feel that we should consider deeding it back. We divorced in 2019. I am now desperately trying to get out of my deed.

I called Wyndham when I learned of the Ovation Program. I was informed by the Representative that Wyndham was not taking back Carriage Hill deeds but I could look at posting the deed for sale as a listing on Kijiji or our Carriage Hills Home Owners Association Website. The majority of the postings were for $1. I was gobsmacked with the sudden reality of my situation.

I believe that Wyndham must be renting Carriage Hills units out on various external travel websites and at a fraction of the cost, it would be for me to list to rent or sell my unit.  I also now start to question that if my timeshare is not-for-profit but owned and managed by Wyndham, is that not a conflict of interest? 

I’ve tried reading and understanding the Time Share Agreement and other contracts that hold me bound in perpetuity to this fractional ownership but that honestly make my eyes crossed.  Delinquent accounts are taken to court and then not only have to pay the fee but also the costs to have the litigation due to delinquency. I’m considering bankruptcy but being self- supported and with an 8-year-old daughter, I simply do not want to go that route. Some members have written local MPs but it seems to go nowhere.

I’m thankful that I’ve found an ear to listen to my situation.  This timeshare is literally the first thing on my mind when I wake and the last thing on my mind before I go to sleep.  I feel ill that I’ll need to go another $1300 in debt just before Christmas so I don’t get myself in “trouble” with Wyndham. The hardest part is that I know they are a huge entity and could take my deed back and benefit from it more than the trouble it causes me.

Thank you for your time,

#12 Natalyn

What do we need to do?

#13 Irene B

Hello Irene, My Carriage Hills Deed I purchased in May 2002.  I was so very proud of this purchase, but now very upset, sad and anxious. I don’t know what I own, except a piece of junk no one wants. I wanted to sell as my life has changed as is the case with many. In the past year, I have seen people giving them away or paying to give them away. Our maintenance fees have increased from $568 to $1368.  

I’m worried for my daughter who has to take on this burden. I feel I was very misled by the sales team back in 2002. So much has changed and not for the better. I just want help to exit my timeshare.  This is creating lots of anxiety for me.  

Irene B

#14 Anne C

Dear Irene

The Carriage Hills/Ridge exit situation for our family is terrible. My husband suddenly became extremely ill in 2005 and has been living in a nursing home ever since.

The purpose of purchasing the 3 timeshares was mainly for vacations in retirement. Now that we are senior citizens, we are unable to fulfil this dream because he is unable to travel. He was unable to work from the time he was age 60. We could not save money for retirement. Once he got sick we had to pay the nursing home fees in addition to my living expenses. Therefore we cannot afford the maintenance fees which have increased drastically. We need to exit from the timeshares immediately to avoid having to pay maintenance fees.

Is there a way to give away the timeshares and not have to pay any more fees?

Sincerely,

Anne C

#15 Sharon H

Hi Irene,

I read your article on the non-existent exit strategies at our resort. We bought into Carriage Hills over 20 years ago. We were told that as deeded owners, the property would increase in value as we would OWN the property. We paid our maintenance fees but rarely used it.

My husband has been diagnosed with cancer and we are just realizing there is no way to get out of this mess. Our children don’t want anything to do with it but they will be saddled with the payments. How can this be? I thought that when we died, that would be the end of it. I am worried about the future and how I will manage the maintenance fees, especially for something we don’t use. I have tried to rent it out at prime time but was unable to do so.

Thank you so much for raising this issue. There has to be a solution out there. How can the law allow you to own something in perpetuity (with no secondary market)??

Sharon H

#16 Liz A

I bought at SVC Carriage Ridge in 2003 when I was close to retirement & able to travel. Now I am 77 years old, single, disabled – cane, walker, wheelchair in airports, on pension.  I know that EXIT is a must in the next 5 years. 

Systematically, unit value has been eroded.  Terms have been changed without consultation or notification. Access to available exchanges has been poorly served by SVC web & RCI & II.  Calling to book always involved up-selling. Stays at resorts often involved “updates” & the agents clearly are trained to focus on SALES & Up-Selling. My experience at Wyndham Panama City reached a new LOW – check-in delayed & parking tag withheld until we agreed to attend when we clearly stated that we would NOT buy anything new.

In addition, Wyndham competes with Owners underselling rental opportunities on the open market because they have marketing access; pockets revenues and bypasses accounting for local revenues & is not held accountable by our Boards.  They avoided “late payment” fees when maintenance fees on the units they hold missed the payment deadline – paid a single $100 late fee when they should have paid $100/unit. The By-law has been changed to % late fee which harms all the other owners.  Their reps at AGM glibly stated that “if there was money to be made they would have maintained the Sales Office.”  

The Ovation (exit) available to other owner groups has been withheld to CR & CH Owners.  They bought back defaulted deeds at the time of the purchase of SVC to increase their holdings from 4% to 10% & assure “control” AND they (in theory) claim “developer” 4x voting power although they claim they do not exercise that option.  How can a secondary owner claim developer: status when all developer units had been sold? It seems they may have been selling points & other locations memberships from our sales centre and closed quickly – No notice to local members. 

* SVC (Shell) abandoned owners at CR & CH to Wyndham’s cavalier attitude & exploitation of OUR resorts.  Yes, they bring management expertise, but they have used their access to line their own pockets; they do not serve local Owner Member interests. 

Our local Boards have taken the position that they only “manage” the resorts on behalf of Member-Owners.  They have done very little to defend Owner interests in relation to the parent companies – SVC & now Wyndham.  Customer/Owner Services is a farce; all the reps are Wyndham employees defending Wyndham interests.

#17 Julie S

Owner, Purchased: July 2004, Mortgage:  $14,931.00 at 13.65% interest is paid in full 

My complaints are numerous.  The inept team at Carriage Hills couldn’t coordinate anything with Shell Vacations Club for years. The last time we used ours was 2010 because it was no longer worth it. We started to sell it back but got vague messages about lawyers’ fees etc., and more invitations to come to sales presentations.  We were warned by others it was another sales pitch.  

We’ve been “upgraded” to Interval but could never book anything. The cost to work through RCI was more than $200 Canadian, making it more costly.  My husband called the office and spoke to someone about the Ovation program – Carriage Hills was not invited to participate.)

The original Purchase was to include a yearly fee of $619 for Annual Basic charge due to the association.  Yearly fees are up close to $2000 with both “membership” and “maintenance”.  

I looked on websites to book our White Week:

Expedia: Dec 7 – Dec 14, 2019 

Studio / no kitchen:  $105 per night / $735 week (1250 points)

One Bedroom w kitchen:  $153 / $1073 (2300 points)

Two-Bedroom w kitchen: $206 / $1443 (3550 points)

If I didn’t have a $15K investment in Carriage Ridge, I could spend only $1443 Canadian for a 2 bedroom instead of just shy of $2000 each year. There are many parts to why this doesn’t work but it boils down to an “investment” that costs us more per year than someone who didn’t invest.  

This was bought with the idea that it could be traded for a vacation anywhere at a great price.  The $619 per year “Membership Fee” was going to allow a trade to the equivalent of a two-bedroom in Hawaii.

We haven’t pursued selling after learning how many want to sell. 

Thanks for listening.

#18 Don A

Hi Irene,

My wife and I own at the Carriage Hills and Carriage Ridge Resorts near Barrie, Ontario for about 20 years. We have enjoyed our ownership and travelled to many destinations but we are now both seniors. I am 74 and my wife is 67.  

When we purchased we were told that these resorts were special in that we would have titled deeds and as such, they could be passed on to our children or could be sold for a profit since they would surely appreciate in value.

Our children have no interest in them.  There was a sales office on-site up until about 3 years ago. Apparently, these units have no value to Wyndham so we are stuck. Most units are being sold for as little as $1.00. Our maintenance fees have increased by about $1,000. Delinquent owners are being sued for unpaid maintenance fees. Many of the aged owners are finding themselves in a real bind with health problems. The last thing they need is to be sued. 

Wyndham had an Ovation program available to owners of the US timeshare properties, but we seem to not be eligible. We are hopeful that you can bring attention to this dilemma, and that a resolution can be found. Thank you so much for taking up the cause to right this wrong. 

Respectfully yours,

Don and Jo-Anne A

#19 Colin and Mimi S

Hello Irene,

My wife Mimi and I have been owners at Carriage Hills for about 15 to 20 years. We have never been satisfied with it because we were given incorrect information when we joined and despite many efforts have never been able to exit.

Over the last 10 years, we have approached and been approached by several companies offering to transfer our units. We have probably lost about $30,000 trying to exit.  Carriage Hills management has been unhelpful, even when we showed letters about the miss-information we were given when we first signed up.

We are retiring next year and the exorbitant maintenance fees are just too much.

Hopefully, this can be of help to you and to us.

Thank you so much,

Colin and Mimi

#20 Cheryl C

Good afternoon,

Thank you for hearing our voices! I am a 20+ year owner. We enjoy, use and can afford our timeshare. Over the years the fees rose way more than we wanted and exchanging got harder.

For the first time ever, I attended an AGM in 2017. WOW! What an eye-opener! I had no idea that Wyndham had so much power and we had so little.  Wyndham closing the sales office rang some alarm bells as well as owners selling (giving) away for free.

As we became more informed about our situation, I became desperate to find a way out for myself, but especially the elderly owners, those who’ve become sick and those who’ve had financial hardships. It was apparent that not only was it near impossible to give these away but that many owners were falling prey to exit teams who essentially stole their money.

Our Board of Directors has very little power as the cards are stacked in Wyndham’s favour. That situation only seems to get worse every AM as they put their 10% concentrated vote on the candidate of their choice while we scatter our votes among candidates.

Last AGM we were proudly told that we regained our Gold Crown Status with RCI and the next representative from SVC said there is “no market for CH/CR and if there was they’d be selling!”

The attached article is about an 80-year-old couple from Wainfleet, ON. It is almost unbelievable, but this is one of many, many sad stories. We are all in a scheme that means if one owner doesn’t pay, we all foot their bill so we have no option but to send owners to collections for something they cannot use or sell while Wyndham’s CEO Michael Brown brags about putting $1 Billion into expansion. If that is not the epitome of corporate greed, I don’t know what is!

We have pleaded for Ovation but are told it is not available. They referred us to Fidelity (which does not take an upfront fee), but they haven’t sold one of our units in years. 

We are desperate and angry and need a solution. 

#21 Laura F

Hi Irene,

There needs to be an exit available as circumstances change. There should be some method to sell or turn back the property. We were not advised of this.

How I can support efforts to address this issue?

Regards

#22 Jeanne B

My husband and I bought October 2003 for just over $13,000 at Carriage Ridge. At a meeting, the sales team was excited to tell us that if we bought an opposite year for another $13,000+ we could automatically become Shell Vacation Owners and could change from weeks to points. For ten years it was great even though maintenance fees increased as well as Shell membership yearly fees and exchange fees. We all get older and there comes a time to retire and live on pensions. In the last 15 years, Maintenance Fees have doubled to about $1,200 a year. 

I suffered a Thalamic Stroke over two years ago. I am in constant pain on my right side and my blood pressure has been as high as 195/100. My memory has been greatly affected, from spelling, completing tasks, anxiety, depression, etc. I had to leave work. The only income I have is CPP Disability and my husband is on CPP and OAS.

I contacted Wyndham about Ovation. I was passed from one person to the next. Finally, I was told that our Board of Directors does not allow us to use this program. Our Board of Directors denied it and said that it was Wyndham’s decision. I don’t know who to believe. This year someone was interested in buying my timeshare. The buyer wanted to join Shell Vacation and have points instead of weeks but that is no longer an option.   

I have been communicating for 8 months now with Wyndham Staff at Carriage Ridge as well as our Board of Directors. I told them I really can’t afford to pay the maintenance fee. I was told I would be sued. The fees were $1,325.11 and it was not in my budget. I wasn’t able to pay. I received a letter from Derek Beaudoin, Canadian ICR Ltd, a collection agency. Finally, I saved up enough money to pay it and was hit with an additional fee. I asked if this could be waived this was the reply I received from Derek.

Mrs. Boisvenue,

The resort has received your e-mail (below) and forwarded it to us to respond.  The Home Owners Association will not be waiving any of the remaining balance, $341.26.

Please be aware your arrears continue to accrue interest at $0.28/day.

I wrote again explaining my health and financial situation and this is the email I received from Nanci Shepard, Chairman of our Board of Directors on February 22, 2019,

Hi Jeannie,

After lengthy discussion with my fellow board members, we have unanimously decided to NOT waive your late fees. We are very sorry for your health and personal issues but as you state you have been an owner for 15 years so you are well aware that we put these policies in place for a reason. 

We are responsible to make sure the resort runs to above industry standard and we count on every owner to pay their maintenance fees in a timely manner in order for us to do just that.

There will be no further discussions on this matter and we will wait until Derek advises us you are paid and back in good standing.

Nanci 

I wrote and told them they were heartless.  I have to take my blood pressure daily and my Family Physician asked why it fluctuates so much, as high as 160/80 recently, I told him the financial burden this timeshare is and the nightmare it has become. He has warned me the next stroke might be fatal.

This timeshare is like having a noose around my neck. No one in my family wants it. My adopted son suffers from mental illness and lives on ODSP so he can never afford this.

To sum this up, there is no longer a sales office, our maintenance fees more than double in 15 years, late fees 30% in my case, suing delinquent owners, there is no Ovation program, non-owners pay less, rules change without our knowledge, we pay the Wyndham staff, they make it hard to sell, our kids are being forced to inherit a timeshare, ownership/leadership changed, NOOSE AROUND MY NECK.

#23 Trish M

Good evening

I like many others have been an owner at both Carriage Hills and Ridge for 20 plus years. 

The stories we started to hear about people desperate to get out of their timeshare were heartbreaking – the elderly, the sick, the unemployed. And we as owners were suing them for their maintenance fees through the office.

The rates have soared, we paid a huge investment in the beginning and continue to pay maintenance fees – there just isn’t any value in it anymore. Anyone can book off the street while we pay for the upkeep!!  Those who cannot afford the fees are being sued!! It is atrocious in my opinion. Our children do not want it left to them. What young person could afford it?

Many thanks!

#24 Jeff M

Hi Irene 

My wife and I purchased our timeshare in 2008 at 24 and 23 years old. We were basically sold on the premise that we could “get out of it” at any moment. We are stuck paying over 1000 $ annually for something that has no value. This has been the worst financial decision we have made in our lives.

Thank you,

Jeff M

#25 Wenda M

My husband and I purchased at Carriage Hills Resort in January 2000. We were told that we could sell the units when it became the time that we could no longer utilize it. Now as we age and have developed health issues our travel time has been curtailed. We need a viable exit plan. Our costs of annual maintenance fees and membership fee in 2018-19 amounts to almost $5600. This is not sustainable. No way is our son interested in inheriting our mistake. Our debit is ours not his and he is not on the deed.  

We need an EXIT – not just words but an actual plan. 

Wenda M

#26 Sue R

Hello

We own 6 deeds at Carriage Ridge and Carriage Hills Resorts. We purchased our units so that we could travel when retired. We use our points well, able to vacation about 10 weeks a year!  Our maintenance fees for both the Ridge and Hills are approximately 8,000.00 yearly, plus our SVC club fees at approximately 800.00. Now, knowing we may never be able to “get out” makes our stomachs turn! Never, ever, did we think our children could end up carrying our burden! We are not ready to sell but want to know how we can eventually get out of our commitments without having to go bankrupt. 

We would appreciate an acknowledgement that you received our email. Thank you.

Sincerely

Sue R

#27 Tom K

To be provided

#28 Ana N

Good Evening, 

I, too, am a long-time owner (15+ yrs) who was swindled into this so-called investment. We were sold this timeshare that was supposed to be something that could give joy to our family. Instead, it has caused us grief and stress when maintenance fees have doubled. This is not something that we would like our children to inherit and they have made it clear that they don’t want it.  

In addition, it is not something that I can continuously sustain with my husband who was diagnosed with advanced-stage cancer last year and has been in treatment since.

It seems impossible to sell or even give away.  I’ve been looking into selling or disposing of these and reached out to a member of the board who did not even bother responding to me.

We need a solution.  We need an exit plan.  We need help.

Thank you.

Ana N

#29 Jill M

Irene, I am writing to you with regard to my ‘ownership’ at Carriage Hills. I recently purchased resale time – what a horrible mistake! Not only was I completely misinformed by the seller and lawyer, but Wyndham provided zero information or assistance. My greatest concerns are the heavily increasing maintenance fees and the lack of an exit plan. I cannot and will not pass this disaster on to my executors or trustees.

If there is anything that can be done to assist the owners, we need to know now. Ownership falling into default is only going to continue to harm those of us that can’t get rid of our shares.

Thank you for your time,

Jill

#30 Rocky P

Hello Irene, my wife and I purchased a timeshare 20 years ago at Carriage Ridge thorough Shell Vacation Club. Over the years we have had great use but over the last few years have not been able to use it for financial reasons. We are both almost 70 with no pensions. We contacted the new owners Wyndham regarding an exit and we’re told of the Ovation program but have since found out that we are not eligible. We are also told that our children will inherit this increasing debt. This just can’t be right we can’t even give it away. We are lost at to what we can do. 

Anthony and MaryAnn P

In America, parents were paying $600 for an Epi-pen, a life-saving device for children who experience acute asthma. Public outcry resulted in a $200 generic version almost overnight. The draconian policy Carriage Resorts has imposed on loyal customers, who faithfully paid maintenance fees for decades, suing seniors experiencing the stress that comes with ageing, is predatory and unfair. Who would not agree with my statement? Let’s hope lawmakers come to this realization.

Thank you to Carriage owners for speaking up and speaking out. Inside Timeshare will do all in our power to keep this out front to support advocacy efforts.

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

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

https://tug2.com/Home.aspx

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

Free at Last Facebook Straight-A Guide

https://www.facebook.com/groups/623703881470577/?ref=share

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

https://www.udprep.info/june

Bluegreen Facebook

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

Wyndham Facebook

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 we witness disgusting practices by sales agents and the timeshare company fails to recognise that they have a severe problem. It is not just the deceptive practices it is also the age of many of these victims, as we have seen in many cases highlighted by our US colleagues as well as with many of the clients of Silverpoint’s “investments and company participation schemes” this can be clearly defined as “Elder Abuse”. If the timeshare companies are unable to change their practices then is it not time that the law is changed to force them to improve and protect consumers, especially the elderly.

If you have a timeshare problem and would like to know what options are open to you, then use our contact page and get in touch, Inside Timeshare will point you in the right direction.

Friday’s Letter from America

Welcome to this week’s edition of Letter from America, but first some breaking news from Tenerife. As we already know several companies owned and operated by Mark Rowe, are under investigation in the UK by the Regional Organised Crime Unit, Somerset & Avon Police following raids in the UK and Tenerife. We also know that his company ABC Lawyers Ltd is also in liquidation, now Inside Timeshare has heard that the authorities in Tenerife have now raided his offices in Fanabe. One of the companies based there is Timeshare.Lawyer under the umbrella of Advanced Business Consultants Legal SL. It certainly looks like time is running out for Mark Rowe.

Now for today’s Letter from America, this is not the article we had scheduled as we have delayed publishing the subpoena Diamond Resorts attempted to issue Irene until Tuesday. As you will read in today’s article, Howard Nusbaum, the former president of ARDA, is also a former senior partner at Baker Hostetler, Diamond’s outside counsel in their case against a Florida law firm. This gave us pause. Irene will be doing a little more digging as this adds support to our belief this subpoena is a less than subtle form of harassment. Today’s article offers proof that there is no responsible exit for many fully paid timeshare owners.  Baker Hostetler explains why.

When ARDA’s Coalition for Responsible Timeshare Exit Fails:

What Happens Next?

Six out of Eight Legacy Resorts have no Responsible Exit, according to eight “Free at Last” participants, reporting what happened when they sought a responsible exit

August 9, 2019

This is the first of four articles summarizing 21 timeshare members piloting the Free at Last Online Timeshare Support Course, sponsored by the nonprofit Straight-A Guide. The next three articles will report on Travel Clubs, timeshares purchased in foreign countries, and point-based timeshares.

I direct callers seeking timeshare release to reach out first to ARDA’s Coalition for Responsible Exit, or to the timeshare company if the timeshare company does not participate in ARDA’s responsible exit coalition.

Straight-A Guide helps 100,000 prisoners a year transition back to society through self-advocacy. Their customers are prisons. Our Free at Last participants learn how to self-advocate.

Legacy Resorts are single-site, older resorts. Of our eight Legacy owner participants, so far only two were able to work with their resort to take back their unwanted timeshare. One owner was able to deed back to Colorado River Adventures and one owner was able to deed back to Festiva.

There is no responsible exit for Legacy Resorts owners at Eagle Crest, Broadway Plantation, Lehigh Resort Club, and Wyndham Carriage Ridge in Canada, The Seasons in Vermont, or Bellavista. Six out of the eight Legacy resorts have no responsible exit! The only choice for these owners is foreclosure if the resorts will not provide a responsible exit. Three of the owners are over 80 years old and have been paying maintenance fees for decades, two only using the timeshare once or twice over the decades. 

Mr. Kenneth McKelvey, founder of Defender Resorts and Chairman of the timeshare PAC ARDA ROC, testified at a legislative workshop held in Tallahassee Florida March 12, 2019, that attorneys and timeshare exit providers are not needed. He made these comments at the Florida legislative workshop:

“Most of the developers I know, and certainly most of the timeshare managers I know, and I managed timeshare properties for thirty years… every single resort had a dissolution policy, every single one! There was a way to get out. You had to come to your management company, and based on what the board of directors instructed us to do in the terms if they had to pay a fee or if they had to be current, whatever those situations were, we did not have one that did not have a dissolution policy and a hardship policy …”

We hear from many seniors forced to endure the demeaning foreclosure process, despite maintaining a high credit score their whole life. Lately, there have been complaints from millennial buyers, as the industry is targeting that demographic. Some seniors tell me they don’t care anymore about a drop in their credit score as they are set, but those in their 30s see their credit score ruined along with their chances to buy a home. The foreclosure process can be overwhelming without support.  

The industry calls the vehicle used when a timeshare contract is transferred to fictitious individuals or a fictitious LLC a “Viking Ship,” so-named because Vikings used to stack their dead on a ship, set it on fire, and send it out to sea.

ARDA and the law firm Baker Hostetler published these comments about Legacy Resorts:  

COVER STORY • Many legacy timeshare resorts are struggling to survive: why?

Vacation Ownership WORLD contacted some of vacation ownership’s leading figures, as well as experts on the subject, and asked them about a much-discussed matter within the industry: why are so many legacy timeshare resorts having such a tough time and what can be done about it? Many of these resorts are failing due to an assortment of problems that include: a lack of professional management; a lack of adequate reserves; a resistance by the HOA board of directors to impose an adequate assessment for operating expenses; an underperforming or non-existent external exchange relationship; an aging owner base that no longer uses the resort or that wants to exit ownership but is generally unable to; and, diminishing resort maintenance standards. ARDA President and CEO Howard Nusbaum and senior partner in the Orlando office of Baker & Hostetler and ARDA treasurer and Board member Rob Webb offer their viewpoints on this issue. This is the first of a two-part story; the second article on the subject will appear in the next issue.

https://www.bakerlaw.com/files/uploads/Documents/News/Articles/BUSINESS/2014/January2014VacationOwnershipWorldWebbArticle.pdf

A quote from an ARDA lobbyist:

“Their value comes from using it,” the timeshare industry’s top lobbyist told ConsumerAffairs in January, admitting that points have no resale value, while claiming that consumers don’t mind this because the value comes from the experience.

Based on complaints from over 900 families, this lobbyist is out of touch with reality. Just two exit companies I spoke with received 3,000 to 3,500 calls per month from desperate timeshare members seeking release.

Legacy Owner reports by Free at Last participants 

#1 Unresolved – Robert Kennedy is 81 years old. He seeks release from Eagle Crest in Oregon. In 2017 I published an article in which I interviewed an Eagle Crest collection agent. The interview was in regard to problems Eagle Crest owners experienced when they contacted a fraudulent timeshare transfer company. It’s no wonder Eagle Crest owners are going through this.

At age 81, I have a credit score of 819 but now must face a foreclosure.  At our age, we no longer are able to travel as we once could. We will not continue to pay maintenance fees for something we no longer want or need.

Robert sent his request for release to the following individuals:

To: Jerry E Andres, CEO Eagle Crest

https://www.bbb.org/us/or/redmond/profile/resort/eagle-crest-resort-1296-50002619

Jason Gamel, ARDA President

[email protected]

Ken McKelvey, CPA, ARDA ROC President

[email protected]

https://www.defenderresorts.com/contact-us/

Greg Crist, Association of Vacation Owners

[email protected]

Mr. Andres

After Eagle Crest said they would not help me, I contacted Irene Parker at Inside Timeshare. Ms. Parker told me to contact ARDA’s Responsible Exit program.  I went to ARDA’s Responsible Exit Website, but Eagle Crest does not participate. We purchased a floating week 33 years ago and have faithfully paid maintenance fees for 33 years.  https://responsibleexit.com/

I would like to ask Mr. Andres why Eagle Crest does not have a responsible exit program. I have grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren. As a result of my experience, they have learned not to get involved with timeshare. 

I contacted members of the Licensed Timeshare Resale Broker Association. They said they were not interested in helping us.  Others need to be warned about the dangers of becoming involved with timeshare.

Robert Kennedy

#2 Unresolved Simon D, Canada

Carriage Ridge Wyndham 

To Irene Parker at Inside Timeshare

August 5, 2019

I reached out to Ovations as you suggested. Wyndham Ovations will not accept our Carriage Ridge Resort in Canada. We purchased this floating week timeshare May 2004 for approximately $13,750. We have no loan.

We were told at purchase there would be no problem reselling the timeshare. Ovations will not take it back so isn’t it false advertising to say that they have a program for fully paid members when they don’t? I tried selling the timeshare. No one wants it. Availability has been an issue.

Why are consumers put in the position of being held hostage with no choice but to foreclose? Who, understanding that buying a timeshare is something you can’t get out of unless foreclosed, would buy one?  Especially when the buyer is told, like we were, it would be easy to sell.

I will no longer pay maintenance fees. I will be contacting the Canadian Vacation Ownership Association as you suggested. They should know that many Canadians are being harmed and Wyndham should not falsely advertise that the problem of no secondary market for timeshares has been solved. It’s not true. Thank you for the websites you provided. At least I know others are experiencing the same.  

http://www.canadianvoa.org/

https://www.shellhospitality.com/hotels/carriage-ridge-resort-and-carriage-hills-resort

https://www.myclubwyndham.com/mycw/happening/news/ovation-by-wyndham.page?

This comment was posted on RedWeek:

I was duped into a gifted timeshare from my father. The story is sad…he is retired and was desperate to get out as he lost most of his retirement money in 2007. So he misleads my husband and I. I contacted Ovation to take the deed back from Carriage Hills resort in Canada and they said NO. Referred to Fidelity who advised THEY HAVE NOT SOLD a Carriage Hills unit IN YEARS! 31 units are listed on Carriage Hills website for $1. Many owners are offering $400 gift certificates. Wyndham is the ring-leader. They should offer Ovation. https://www.redweek.com/forums/messages?thread_id=20770&page=last

#3 unresolved – a Medical Doctor

We purchased a Broadway Plantation timeshare in Myrtle Beach, a floating week, a long time ago for about $17,000. I have never used it. I have paid maintenance fees for many years. We were told the timeshare would be easy to sell.

I reached out to ARDA as they say timeshare now has a Responsible Exit program. When I contacted Broadway Plantation they said they do not take back timeshares. If there is a responsible exit, why doesn’t Broadway Plantation have one?

I feel defrauded, cheated and abused by the timeshare industry. Having an every other year timeshare for a single week has been a waste of money.  When I tried to use it, there was no availability. I have no intention of ever paying you any more money. I am 70 years old.   

#4 Unresolved S E

July 20, 2019

I am helping my father. He is age 83. Bellavista was purchased six or seven years ago. We are current with maintenance fees, no loan. He was delinquent with maintenance fees, he settled for about half what he owed..

#5 Inez

At age 87, I have been paying maintenance fees since 1991. I only used the timeshare a couple of times. We purchased Lehigh Resorts in 1991 in Florida. We have no loan. I’ve only used it twice since 1991. When I first bought it the maintenance fees were $300. Now they are $670. They said they would not take it back.

#6 Melissa

I purchased a timeshare a long time ago at The Seasons in Vermont. They will not take back the timeshare. I have filed a complaint with the Vermont Attorney General.

Melissa was provided with the following in writing at the time of purchase, statements in printed literature and in an email Melissa received from a Sugarbush manager dismissing her complaint:

  1. Our current owners are renting for premium dollars and receiving a very high rate of return on their investment, because of supply and demand. 
  2. If you rent your unit for less than 15 days/year, the rental income will not be includible in income–thus the income is tax-free and you would still be able to deduct your interest payments.
  3. The timeshare won’t be difficult to resell due to the lack of accommodations in the Sugarbush area (supply and demand). 
  4. Don’t listen to family & friends because it is an investment and a guarantee that we would take a vacation every year.

In addition to our 21 Free at Last participants, Inside Timeshare has received many complaints from Americano ARC owners. They are required to spend $5,000 to $6,000 for an RCI points-based Travel Club called Freedom 365 in order to be released from their timeshare they bought decades ago. We will address their concerns on Friday when we look into Travel Clubs.

I have grouped our 21 callers into the following groups:

  1. (7)Legacy resorts (pre-dating points),
  2. (5)Travel Clubs,
  3. (2)Timeshares bought in foreign countries,
  4. (7)Points-based timeshare 

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

Free at Last Facebook Straight-A Guide

https://www.facebook.com/groups/623703881470577/?ref=share

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

https://www.udprep.info/june

Bluegreen Facebook

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

Wyndham Facebook

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/?ref=bookmarks

Well, that is all for this week, as you will have noticed Inside Timeshare has been a little sparse this week, August tends to be rather quiet as it is the main holiday month, very little news coming from the courts and elsewhere. But keep on checking, we never know when another story will break and as it does we will bring you the news right here.

Have a Great Weekend and join us again next week.