Welcome to this weeks edition of The Tuesday Slot, we continue with the complaints received by Inside Timeshare from Wyndham Carriage Hills and Carriage Ridge owners edited and compiled by our very own Irene Parker. This week we publish complaints 91 to 114, these complaints again show how the elderly are being treated by this timeshare company, being denied a way out and their heirs being forced to take over the membership. The Canadian authorities must act to rectify this situation and protect these owners from this type of behaviour. Inside Timeshare will continue to publish these “Nightmare on Timeshare Street” stories.
Why Not to Buy a Timeshare in Canada – Unless Change Happens
Privileges that Fell Flat:
Equity $ position,
Freeze costs of future vacations,
By Irene Parker and Wyndham Carriage Resorts Owners 91 – 114
September 10, 2019
PARSIPPANY, N.J., July 25, 2019, /PRNewswire/ — Wyndham Hotels & Resorts (NYSE: WH) today announced results for the three months ended June 30, 2019. Highlights include:
- Revenues increased 23% compared with second-quarter 2018, to $533 million.
- Net income was $26 million for the second quarter, a 24% increase over the prior-year quarter; adjusted net income was $82 million, a 12% increase over the prior-year quarter.
- Adjusted EBITDA increased 27% compared with the prior-year quarter, to $159 million.
It is unfathomable that any executive could think holding the aged, the ill, and the disabled liable for maintenance fees for a fully paid for timeshares is healthy, especially when lobbyists have testified at legislative workshops to lawmakers that all is well in the timeshare secondary market because of hardship departments and dissolution policies – unless unfortunate enough to have purchased a timeshare in Canada.
A quote from an ARDA lobbyist:
“Their value comes from using it,” the timeshare industry’s top lobbyist told ConsumerAffairs in January, admitting that points have no resale value while claiming that consumers don’t mind this because the value comes from the experience.
Quebec Backs Consumers
Among other provisions, Quebec Bill 178 defines a timeshare contract as a service contract. This could have lasting consequences for Canadian timeshare buyers who have felt trapped by the perpetual timeshare product. Many timeshare members are saddled with high-interest rate loans and some with higher interest rate credit cards issued by timeshare companies. (Quebec Bill 178 defining timeshare as a service contract was passed into law on June 6, 2018)
Comments from Wyndham Carriage Resorts Owner 91 – 120
Interestingly, I believe that some courts in Europe have declared that contracts ‘in perpetuity’ are in fact illegal. It’s a pity that the courts in Canada are not so progressive. Our maintenance fees have increased horrendously, from an initial amount of $526 to $1351 in 2018. We are both retired and we really struggle to find this money. We know it will only get worse. Lesley F
It was sold as an enticing vacation ownership opportunity that gave me 5250 points annually with Shell Vacations, with the tangible benefit of a deeded portion of a physical property to own – sounded like a good investment –
“A deeded property and something that could be sold anytime, at what would certainly be a profit.”(Their words) The reality is that rather than an asset, this purchase has taken the form of something of a junk bond
– worthless as an asset. Not only worthless but with additional costs annually with no end in sight and no way out. Elaine
We wanted to get rid of it a few years after we bought. The same sales team took $700 upfront to list it for a potential sale which never materialized. My husband is a kidney transplant patient who had to stop working and has had no income for the past 5 years. We cannot travel anymore. We would love to see a legitimate exit strategy. I called Wyndham a few months ago and was told that my only option is to sell it via a legitimate real estate broker in Canada. That is impossible. The Timeshare Agreement is a serious attack on consumer rights in Canada. No owner knew what they were signing at the time of purchase. Amra
As it stands now, the owner who needs to exit only has one option, and that is to find a willing buyer. This is virtually impossible as there is no sales office on-site and virtually no assistance from Wyndham assisting with any sale. In fact, they make it very difficult, even if you were fortunate to find a willing buyer. John L
The most concerning is the way that the owners are currently being treated. The owners that can’t afford the maintenance fees due to health reasons, financial problems, and life changes – for these people not to have a way out is just unethical! Mike B
We continue with reports from Wyndham’s Carriage Hills and Carriage Ridge owners #91 – 120. Prior reports:
Carriage Owners 61 – 90
Jeannie’s Medical Hardship Dismissed
Carriage Owners 31 – 60
David’s Medical and Financial Hardship Dismissed
Carriage Owners 1 – 30
#91 Kayleigh W
I own at Carriage Hills resort. I bought as a newlywed 10 years ago as an investment and a way to travel. Since then, I’ve divorced with two children and no way out of the ever-increasing maintenance fees. Our maintenance fees have doubled since I’ve purchased. My parents also own. Does that mean one day I will have two deeds?
When I purchased, I was told we could use the facilities anytime. Since then, they’ve changed it so you can only use the facilities during specific times. We were also told that we could use three rooms upstairs for family parties. That has changed as well. Now there are more exclusions than inclusions. They sold us the timeshare as a second home.
I’m supposed to remove my ex-husband’s name from the deed. I’ve tried for two years. To have one name removed from the deed it costs the same as selling to a new party! Thousands of dollars! That makes no sense. Please help us find answers. The only one winning here is Wyndham and we are paying for it.
#92 Lynn A
I inherited a unit from my dad in 2006 and have been paying increasing maintenance and RCI/II Membership fees ever since. I was hoping for some great exchanges now that I have retired, but with the advent of Airbnb and VRBO, etc., I don’t see timeshare as viable in perpetuity. We are looking for an exit strategy when we are ready because I don’t want to burden my daughter.
#93 Lynda R
We need an eventual exit that does not burden our children.
Steve and Lynda R
#94 Michael C
I purchased in 2009 and have used the exchange program. The maintenance fees have risen by exorbitant percentages each year. I am now retired and do not wish to travel to timeshare properties. The maintenance fees and membership fees are burdensome. I do not want to continue paying for the timeshare. I do not want to use it and cannot imagine inflicting this situation on my children. They have no interest in it and did not sign a contract agreeing to the terms. They lack the financial capability to sustain it. I need an Exit Plan.
#95 Rebekah D
My husband and I bought into Carriage Hills in 1997. Living in Toronto, we enjoyed our white week, but are now scared and unhappy about the future. My husband is 71 and I am 70. We are pensioners. We need an exit strategy. This is the only viable solution, not only for us, but for the health of Carriage Resorts. We don’t want our children to be burdened. They are not on the deed.
Thank you, Irene,
#96 Lesley F
In 1997 my husband and I bought at the inception of Carriage Hills.
We bought after being assured that our investment would keep its value and that we would be able to sell at any time.
We were also assured that if we wanted to deposit our weeks to exchange, our ‘floating weeks’ would always be ‘red’ (the highest). It now seems that the investment is of no value at all and we cannot sell it as no one wants it. The exchange value seems to fluctuate when translated into points by the exchange company (RCI).
Our maintenance fees have increased horrendously, from an initial amount of $526 to $1351 in 2018. We are both retired and we really struggle to find this money. We know it will only get worse over time.
We have no children, but if we did, would not wish to burden them with this White Elephant. Unless we can get rid of the timeshare, will it fall to our siblings and their children to bear the burden? We have seriously considered defaulting, but understand that Wyndham will pursue us in the courts. Ultimately, our estate will have to deal with this.
Frankly, Irene, it makes me feel sick with worry about the future – how will we be able to afford to pay the ever-increasing fees? Worse, the thought that our families will be burdened with the problem after we die is troublesome.
Interestingly, I believe that some courts in Europe have declared that contracts ‘in perpetuity’ are in fact illegal. It’s a pity that the courts in Canada are not so progressive.
We are very grateful to you for taking an interest in the situation.
Lesley F and Ron K
#97 Roger S
I own at both resorts. I still use my time there, as well as trade. I do not plan to have my kids inherit the units, thus a viable exit strategy is needed in my future.
#98 Valerie S
My husband and I bought our timeshare in 2000. We used it for several years but have not used it since 2008 when we moved out west. The maintenance fees have gone up tremendously and we still have to pay even though we have not been able to use the resort for 11 years. We want to get out of this timeshare as we are no longer able to pay the annual maintenance fee.
Please help us create awareness of the predicament many owners are currently stuck in.
Thank you so much!
Valerie & Benjamin S
#99 Cathy S
Exit strategy? Count me in please!
#100 Diane L
My story is the same as many. We joined in 2000 when we bought an every other year red week. I thought it would be a great way to ensure we had a vacation every year while the kids were young. Little did we know, what had we had really gotten into?
We always exchanged thru RCI. However, as the maintenance fees continued to climb, I became nervous. At one point, in desperation, I signed up with one of the companies that promise to sell your timeshare for several hundred dollars in advance. I don’t recall which company it was, but something like sellymytimeshare.com. I never heard from them after they got our money.
I thought about leaving our timeshare to someone other than our kids, but I know that no one is going to want it. It is far cheaper to just buy your own All-Inclusive vacation.
I feel so badly for the elderly people who are unable to use their time and have collection agencies chasing them for maintenance fees. My concern is that one day we may be in the same situation. I would NEVER recommend anyone buy a timeshare after the experience we have had.
I send in my votes every year to the AGM in hopes that at some point we will have a board of Directors that acts in our best interest, but the maintenance fees continue to rise and an exit strategy not available. It seems obvious that the percentage of unhappy owners continues to grow every day.
Thank you again,
#101 Annette D
I am one of many owners at Carriage Ridge who wishes to sell or give away my timeshare. We have owned for 22 years and have mostly exchanged.
We, like all, have been advised that our timeshare would grow in value.
Our kids do not want this liability. We do not want the expense in retirement. More and more is being taken from us, whether it be an increase in maintenance fees or an increase in exchange fees. It is plain and simple – Corporate Greed.
#102 Eduard and O N
Exit Strategy: Count me in!
#103 Edda G
My husband and I purchased a red week at Carriage Hill approximately 15 years ago.
We realized our error after a few years when trying to make travel work. Having to purchase a membership with RCI, pay for a flight and “All Inclusive” charges at resorts, made it an expensive and complicated venture that neither my husband nor I had time to research and plan. We realized we were really screwed when choices with RCI dwindled to almost nothing. Then the pressure to switch to points. We thankfully never fell for this. We told them that they wouldn’t get another cent out of us.
We weren’t skiers or golfers, so Carriage Hills was not that appealing. We have three boys. It was the same for them. They skied through their University years on occasion, but it was hard to nail them down to book time at the resort.
I have used the resort several times with girlfriends, but in the past few years I was very disappointed in the state of the units. They were very dirty, outdated and shabby. Sometimes the TV or stove didn’t work. There was dust everywhere, cracked tiles and dirty grout in bathrooms. The sheets never quite fit around the mattress. I wondered how often the old comforter was washed. Whoever pulled the short straw got the pull-out couch, which was horribly uncomfortable.
It was embarrassing, to say the least, to admit that we paid $1300 a year for this? It was never made clear to us that the timeshare was going to be a ball and chain for the rest of our lives and the lives of our children. That should be illegal.
We are intelligent people. My husband is very careful about what he signs, and yet we fell for it. It is definitely a burden to us now as we are retired. We want out!
Many thanks for all your help.
#104 Malini S
Hi there Irene,
We are very much interested in pursuing an exit strategy. Although we used our timeshare early on, lately we have found we’ve been unable to use it.
Thanks for your support.
Mr and Ms M
#105 Elaine S
Our unified voices need to be heard.
I purchased at Carriage Ridge in May 2004 under much pressure. At the time it was presented as the second stage of the “very successful” Carriage Hills and affiliate to Horseshoe Valley. It was sold as an enticing vacation ownership opportunity that gave me 5250 points annually with Shell Vacations, with the tangible benefit of a deeded portion of a physical property to own – sounded like a good investment – “A deeded piece of something that could be sold anytime at what would certainly be a profit.” (their words).
The reality is that rather than an asset, this purchase has taken the form of something of a junk bond – worthless as an asset. Not only worthless, but with additional costs annually with no end in sight and no way out. Over the years I have seen our maintenance fees sky rocket, and with no viable way to exit, should I no longer use it or, if at some point, I am unable to afford the fees. I am very troubled.
To make matters worse, I have been told that although I pay my membership to RCI (previously Interval), that should I give/sell it to someone else they would get weeks at the home resort only.
That is a simply unfair, and this is not what I purchased. It needs to be addressed. People feeling they have no other option but to try to give it away with no success is sad. This continues to devalue our already worthless ownership. There is no way at this point in the current structure to try to build some of the value back into our ownership. This needs to change.
We own at a beautiful resort that is being well maintained, so why are we trapped?
Others would certainly see value in owning these timeshares if they had reasonable maintenance fees, and an exit option (or a true resale market) – which ironically is what was falsely presented to us when we all bought.
The reality is that none of us purchased this to be a forever thing. At some point, every single owner will want/need to exit, every single one of us.
So an exit strategy is important to every owner. It certainly makes good business sense for all parties to have the choice and ability to sell.
#106 Rick C
I will not bore you with wild sad tales. Bought my timeshare in a moment of weakness, not clearly paying attention to a large serving of high pressure baloney. I have tried to make the best of my mistake but have been sorely disappointed and paid for many years. Now retired and not having the income I once had it’s time to get out. Paying fees for no return must stop. Any way possible at almost any loss.
Thanks again for any help you can give.
My husband and I have been owners at Carriage Hills for almost 20 years. It was a bad decision – we feel we have been forced into it, clueless newcomers to Canada. The sales people were basically given a license to lie. They told us a very different story when they sold the timeshare.
(Note from Irene about the license to lie:
We wanted to get rid of it a few years after we bought. The same sales team took $700 upfront to list it for a potential sale which never materialized.
My husband is a kidney transplant patient who had to stop working and has had no income for the past 5 years. We cannot travel anymore. We would love to see a legitimate exit strategy offered. I called Wyndham a few months ago and was told that my only option is to sell it via a legitimate real estate broker in Canada. That is impossible. The Timeshare Agreement is a serious attack on consumer rights in Canada. No owner knew what they were signing at the time of purchase.
Thank you for your efforts.
Amra & Dimitrije
#108 Tony V
Irene, My name is Tony Varao and my former spouse and I own at both resorts (almost a 50/50 split). We own 4 full weeks and one of each the even and odd years (5 weeks per year). That equates to $6,678.33 in maintenance fees plus $565.98 for the Shell Vacation Club fees.
Eight years ago my wife and I divorced. At the time I tried contacting the resort and was told they do not assist in selling and are not interested in taking the units back. I contacted one of the exit strategy companies that were being advertised on the radio, they wanted the equivalent of 3 years maintenance fees up front to work on my case. That was over $17,000!
I have been paying annual fees. Since we converted to points several years back (because we were told it was better), I have been banking the points we have not been able to use and converting to credit cards (SVC Playdeck), using it for restaurants and the odd hotel, but the cash value I get is only a fraction of the money I pay annually, about 50%. By the way we were told if we bought another week we would be in the ELITE bracket with more perks, so we did.
This year I was eligible for early retirement, but could not because of the monthly expense of paying for these maintenance fees (over $600 per month).
This year I took all my points ($6,678.33 + $565.98) and went to Hawaii for a week. Please tell me if I was to have gone onto Expedia or Travelocity how much that trip would have cost, probably half.
My ex-wife and I bought into this wonderful concept of vacationing cheaper and better with this program, but it has not worked out that way.
The investment we were told we were buying into is not an investment. It is a perpetual black hole.
For now I will try to make the best of it by taking $7,000 vacations that are only worth half of that or less on the market. There will come a day that I cannot travel, and this will become an even larger burden affecting my quality of life.
Thank you for your ear.
#109 Susan S
EXIT STRATEGY: COUNT US IN PLEASE !!!!!
Dear Irene….I am writing on behalf of the Owners at Carriage Hills and Carriage Ridge. As you have heard, we desperately need an exit strategy for owners who are encountering financial hardship or health issues and can no longer use their timeshare.
As it stands now, the owner who needs to exit only has one option, and that is to find a willing buyer on their own. This is virtually impossible as there is no sales office on site and virtually no assistance from Wyndham assisting with any sale. In fact, they make it very difficult, even if you were fortunate to find a willing buyer.
Also, with the very high maintenance fees it is cheaper to rent through Expedia or booking.com. You are not locked into any particular week or time.
In addition, I could not in good conscience sell my unit to anyone, knowing that not only are they virtually locked into this during the rest of their lifetime, and the obligation is then passed on to your estate and heirs.
Is it fair to stick them for the maintenance fees as most young families these days are living from pay-check to paycheck? Surely, with the cooperation of Wyndham and the management team at Carriage Hills, a resolution to this problem could be found?
Many of our owners are desperate and need help. Putting them into the hands of a collection agency is not the answer. We need your help.
Kindest Regards John L
#111 Steve K
My wife and I are new owners, we were lucky enough to buy on a resale, so we didn’t pay the exorbitant amount some owners did. We do live close enough to be able to utilize day usage, however, we are concerned that in the future if maintenance fees continue to climb the way they have, we may not be able to afford to continue. I think a proper exit needs to be developed for all involved.
My wife and I are owners at Carriage Hills Resort and have been for the last couple of years. We currently enjoy our timeshare and have exchanged through RCI every year. We have also spent time at our home resort. As of right now, we’re not looking to exit our timeshare, but it’s quite concerning that there is no way to exit if we wanted to. We don’t want our kids to have to inherit these either.
The most concerning is the way that the owners are currently being treated. The ones that can’t afford the maintenance fees due to health reasons, financial problems, life changes, not to have a way out is just unethical!
The lack of transparency to the owners between our BOD and Wyndham is just despicable!
Thank you for your time and interest in this matter!
Mike & Alaina
Hi, Irene, I spoke with someone who said Ont. Gov’t consumer services and the Minister of Consumer Protection for T-shares is interested. Keep working.
#114 Joanne H
I have owned at Carriage Hills for about 25 years. I never dreamed I would not be able to give the unit away. Our kids don’t want it. I have amassed so many points with RCI that are useless to me, but I keep paying and paying. My husband and I are retired now and don’t have money to waste. There has to be something we can do. We only own every other year. My heart goes out to those who own every year or more.
How can this be right? Let’s hope Carriage owners can find Ontario lawmakers, journalists, and reporters sympathetic to the unfairness of this predatory and unfair timeshare trap.
Timeshare members are always grateful when a member, who has been through the complaint or foreclosure process, thinks beyond their own Nightmare on Timeshare Street to support others. There seems to be a lot of talent among Carriage owners who were sold an asset converted to a liability by unfair, weaponized contract law (to borrow a phrase from a U.S. member battling a U.S. timeshare company on behalf of his mother).
I’m told Wyndham is not the only timeshare company in Canada with such unfair tactics. This means a concerted effort needs to happen to inform the general public about the pitfalls that come with this overbearing, ironclad, outdated contract, give today’s Airbnb, Booking.com and Expedia’s economical and instant bookings.
Public awareness is the first step towards affecting change. We don’t want to destroy the timeshare industry. We want to save it. Ironclad contracts, benefitting stock investors, are not the answer.
Thank you to Carriage Owners for sharing their stories. Let’s hope media and legislative outreach committees develop to inspire public awareness and outcry, for the good of the owners, and the good of the industry.
We seek to provide timeshare members with a way to proactively address membership concerns; to advocate for timeshare reform; to obtain greater disclosure from the company; to advocate for a viable secondary market, and to educate prospective buyers.
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Thank You, Irene and all who contributed to this article, we at Inside Timeshare hope that the Canadaian Authorities take note and that Wyndham will come around and give these people what they deserve, justice. Somehow I don’t think that Wyndham’s greed will allow them to do anything.