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“Nightmare on Timeshare Street”

The Tuesday Slot

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

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

Privileges that Fell Flat: 

Equity $ position, 

Freeze costs of future vacations, 

Worry-free vacations

By Irene Parker and Wyndham Carriage Resorts Owners 91 – 114

September 10, 2019

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

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

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

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

Doublespeak

A quote from an ARDA lobbyist:

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

Quebec Backs Consumers

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

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

Comments from Wyndham Carriage Resorts Owner 91 – 120

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Carriage Owners 61 – 90

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

Elizabeth’s Analysis

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

Jeannie’s Medical Hardship Dismissed

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

Carriage Owners 31 – 60

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

David’s Medical and Financial Hardship Dismissed

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

Carriage Owners 1 – 30

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

#91 Kayleigh W

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

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

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

#92 Lynn A

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

#93 Lynda R

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

Steve and Lynda R

#94 Michael C

Dear Irene

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

Regards,

Michael C

#95 Rebekah D

Dear Irene,


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

Thank you, Irene,

Blessings

#96 Lesley F

Hello Irene,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kind regards

Lesley F and Ron K

#97 Roger S

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

#98 Valerie S

Hi Irene,

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

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

Thank you so much!

God bless

Valerie & Benjamin S

#99 Cathy S

Exit strategy? Count me in please!

#100 Diane L

Hi Irene,

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you again,

Sincerely,

Dianne L

#101 Annette D

Hello Irene

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

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

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

Thanks,

Annette D 

#102 Eduard and O N

Hi Irene, 

Exit Strategy: Count me in! 

#103 Edda G

Hello Irene

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

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

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

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

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

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

Many thanks for all your help.

#104 Malini S

Hi there Irene, 

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

Thanks for your support. 

Mr and Ms M

#105 Elaine S

Hi Irene,

Our unified voices need to be heard.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you,

Elaine S

#106 Rick C

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

Thanks again for any help you can give.

Sincerely

Richard C

#107 Amra

Hello Irene,

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

(Note from Irene about the license to lie: 

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

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


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

Thank you for your efforts.

Amra & Dimitrije

#108 Tony V

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for your ear.

Sincerely,

Tony V

#109 Susan S

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

#110

John L

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kindest Regards  John L

#111 Steve K

Hello Irene,


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

Thank you.


Stephen K

#112

Mike B

Hi Irene,

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

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

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

Thank you for your time and interest in this matter!

Best regards,
Mike & Alaina

#113 Anonymous

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

#114 Joanne H

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

Joanne H

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

https://tug2.com/Home.aspx

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

Free at Last Facebook Straight-A Guide

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

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

https://www.udprep.info/june

Bluegreen Facebook

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

Wyndham Facebook

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

Wyndham Carriage Resorts Facebook

https://m.facebook.com/groups/152117225452689

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

Diamond Resort Facebook

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

Gold Key Facebook

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

Inside Timeshare Facebook

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

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


Start the Week

Welcome to the start of another week with Inside Timeshare, today we address a question which is the subject of many enquiries received over the past few months. Many timeshare owners are receiving cold calls from various “claims” and supposed “legal” companies giving them false information regarding making claims for “compensation”. In this article, we explain the facts on claims and cancellation of contracts.

Many owners are signing up with companies who promise to get them “compensation” for a mis-sold timeshare, but first, they must have their contract relinquished or cancelled, once this is done then the “company” will put forward a claim. The facts are that once a contract has been terminated then no case can ever be taken to court, the contract must be live and all maintenance must be paid up to date.

The whole reason for this “pitch” is very simple, they are not in the business of pursuing claims through the courts, they are in the “exit” business as this is quick and easy money. It is also very unlikely that they will even do the “exit” for the owner. In the vast majority of the cases that Inside Timeshare has been asked about, the owner has been told that they should stop paying their maintenance and if they receive any demands then to send it to the company to deal with it.

What has then happened as in the case of RSB Legal and ABC Lawyers along with many others is that the relinquishment has never been done, in many cases, the owner has received a letter from the company stating that they are now “out” of their contract. The next thing is the owner is now receiving demands from a debt collecting agency for the arrears.

When the owner tries to contact the company they are either given false information or the company is no longer in operation, usually closed down and reopened under another name. The owner has now lost a substantial amount of money for a service that was a “scam” and is now in debt for a timeshare they believed had been cancelled.

There are some cases where the owner may be able to get money back after cancellation, but only if they have a finance agreement such as Barclays Partner Finance which was brokered by the timeshare company. Even this requires a case to be taken to court and that must be in the UK.

There is one provision for this and it is Sections 140A & 140B of The Credit Consumer Act 1974, but it is by no means a cut and dried process. There are also time limits to this, just as with Section 75 claims against credit card providers, there is a 6-year limitation on cases being brought.

So if you are told that you have a case but you need to first have your contract cancelled, then you are never going to get any money back for the mis-sold timeshare no matter how “nice” the caller is. NO RUNNING CONTRACT, NO CASE IS ACCEPTED BY ANY COURT!

Join us again tomorrow for our Tuesday Slot with another round of “Nightmare on Timeshare Street” stories from Wyndham Carriage Hills and Carriage Ridge owners.

Friday’s Letter from America

Welcome to the end of the week and another edition of our Letter from America, we continue our “Nightmare on Timeshare Street” stories on the Canadian resorts Carriage Hills and Carriage Ridge, two Wyndham owned resorts. In this weeks edition, Irene Parker highlights complaints 61 to 90 which have been received by Inside Timeshare, all within the space of a few weeks. There is obviously a very serious situation as all complaints are very similar in nature, surely, the Wyndham management should be taking notice and resolve these complaints immediately?

Read Owner Reports before Buying a Timeshare in Canada

Wyndham’s Carriage Hills and Carriage Ridge’s Eternal Contract

“Wyndham Cares About Your Timeshare”

https://www.myclubwyndham.com/mycw/owner-101/wyndham-cares.page?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIidm886Kt5AIVyP_jBx22WQlLEAAYASABEgLDyvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

Explore options if you’re experiencing life-changing financial issues.

(Unless you own in Canada should be added)

·  Ovation by Wyndham

Safe timeshare exit solutions if your loan is paid off and dues are current.

·  Financial Hardship 

Carriage owner Donna C:

The story about the ailing 80 year old owner – how she is being viciously and mercilessly harassed and hounded makes me sick to my stomach and fills me with terror and dread as this could easily become our fate, and the fate of hundreds of owners at Carriage Hills. Wyndham holds all the cards in this distressing situation, and their refusal to provide a ‘way out’ for owners is a blatant and egregious act of corporate greed and abuse of power.

A key element is in regard to the high-pressure ‘sales pitch’ we were subjected to when we visited the Sales Office over 20 years ago. We were told that this timeshare was unique in that it was a real estate purchase, with a property deed that ‘could’ be passed down to others, IF WE CHOSE TO. And we were told that, as a property asset, it could be sold in the future to another buyer. There was never any indication that this deeded real estate transaction could not be sold, or that our children would automatically inherit the liability for this so-called asset. Not only was this sales pitch unscrupulous, it was false advertising and completely fraudulent.

By Irene Parker and Carriage Owners 61-90

September 6, 2019

According to over 100 families, for those who own at Wyndham’s Carriage Hills and Carriage Resorts, there is no safe timeshare exit solution, except to die childless. There is also no medical or financial hardship. If anyone deserves medical hardship consideration, it is Jeannie, David and others who have reached out to Inside Timeshare to make the public aware of the danger of buying a timeshare in Canada. I’m told Carriage is not the only Canadian timeshare trap.

Jeannie’s Medical Hardship Dismissed

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

David’s Medical and Financial Hardship Dismissed

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

Timeshares in the U.S. and Canada were routinely sold as easy to sell because, after all, your timeshare is deeded real estate. There are few takers for a timeshare that follows your heirs once you pass on.

At a legislative workshop March 12, 2019, in Tallahassee, Florida, Mr. Jason Gamel, Sr. VP Legal at Wyndham and now president of the timeshare lobby ARDA, testified that exit providers were not necessary because of Wyndham’s hardship department.

Mr. Kenneth McKelvey, founder of Defender Resorts and Chairman of the timeshare PAC ARDA ROC, testified:

“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 …”

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.

Carriage Owners 31 – 60

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

Carriage Owners 1 – 30

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

Elizabeth’s Analysis

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

Carriage Resort Owners 61 thru 90

#61 Lori S

Hi Irene,

I bought at Carriage Hill in 1999. I loved the concept, but what we signed up for is not what we actually got down the road. My husband got cancer in 2008. We tried to dump both units. I hired a company to sell one or both. Laughingly, I gave them $1,500 US. We should have just rolled it up and burnt it.  There were over 300 people trying to sell and or give away the timeshares. A few years later another company said they were bigger and better and could unload my units if I gave them $1,000 U.S. We were desperate to get rid of them so tried again. Guess what, just another scam. Later, my second husband and I purchased at Carriage Ridge. We were stuck with Carriage Hills so decided to go for the point version to recoup the maintenance fees at least, and travel.

For the last five years, I’ve basically given up and paid maintenance fees, kicking myself for getting involved in the first place. I realize I’m not the only one. We need to find an exit from this sham of ownership. I can’t even give it away, even if I pay the legal fees. We were told it was a great investment – low maintenance fees.

I think it was RCI and Wyndham’s plan to get us to buy and then run it like a hotel. We lose because we can’t compete against their lower rental rates vs us trying to break even charging what it costs us. I could go on and on.  The older we get, we don’t always remember details.

#62 Gina D

Hi Irene,

My husband and I have been owners of a 2 bedroom red week at Carriage Hills Resort since 2011.  My Uncle was an original owner but wasn’t using it. At the time, the maintenance fees were a little over $900 a year. We intended to use it to exchange.  After increasing yearly maintenance fees, along with increasing RCI exchange fees, we found that exchanging no longer made financial sense. Although Carriage Hills is a lovely resort, we would never pay the price we are now paying (almost $1400 a year) to stay there, if we had a choice.

Our other big concern is the lack of an exit strategy.  Although we are a young family and can afford the maintenance fees, there will come a day when we no longer will be able to use it. Our children will likely not want to take it over, given the cost of living in Ontario.

We do not agree with our current Board’s strategy of going after elderly people who can no longer use their timeshare. We certainly do not agree with going after estates or beneficiaries that do not want to inherit the burden. Honestly, if we had known what we were getting into, we would have never taken the timeshare.

Thank you for bringing attention to the difficulties owners at Carriage Hills are having due to the lack of an exit strategy since Wyndham refuses to bring their Ovation program to Canada.

Kind regards,

Gina D

#63 Tony P

Hi, Irene

My wife, Louise, and I are owners at Carriage Hills, having purchased a 2 bedroom unit back in 2002.

At the time of purchase, we were told that we could sell, or sell back our ownership since it was deeded property.

We are now retired and on fixed income. Maintenance fees are far too high for our income. One potential Kijiji purchaser laughed and said that the maintenance fees were double what he would pay to buy the timeshare.  For about seven years we attempted to sell for $1, via Kijiji and the Carriage Hill website. We have been pestered by robocalls from Timeshare resale companies. Like many others at Carriage Hills, we want out.

#64 Candis

Good day Irene,

I purchased an every other year red unit in 2001.  I realized pretty quickly that this decision was a mistake. I’ve tried selling numerous times over the years without success. I’ve rarely used it. 

I’m incensed over the maintenance fees and the inability to offload.  When I first bought, the fees were around $500. They have skyrocketed to over $1300. I wouldn’t be so fussed about the ownership if the fees hadn’t escalated. The idea that I have purchased something that will outlive me and seemingly has no end is outrageous.  I’m divorced. Even bad relationships can end. However, Carriage Hills is forever and beyond. I had no idea that I was locking myself in.  I was clearly told I could sell, which obviously isn’t true.  I was told I was locking in the cost of future vacations … which also is not true.  

I called Wyndham in November 2018 and was plainly told we don’t qualify for their Ovation program.  If I recall correctly, they told me that our board decided against this program. The whole thing is unpleasant and stressful. 

I hope one day we will find a solution to this appalling situation. 

Thanks

Candis

#65 Stacy B

Hi Irene,

I have owned a floating red week with Carriage Hills since 2003. I have enjoyed my ownership and I still use it. My maintenance fees have doubled since I bought it. I feel it is time there is an exit strategy for those in a different situation.

Some owners were fooled into “upgrading” to points. They tried to upgrade us. To be honest, I almost fell for it because the idea of four-day trips sounded great, but my husband was outraged. He believed it was a big scam as the value of points is not set and can eventually be worth nothing. This is what is happening to point owners. I am glad we didn’t switch.

There are some owners that can’t afford the maintenance fees. They can’t sell their units and they can’t even give them away. They are stuck. Some of them just don’t pay and then our maintenance fees are used to pursue legal action. How is that a good use of our money? 

There are many “businesses” offering exit solutions (for upfront money), and then these poor owners get ripped off. Why can’t Wyndham offer these poor people an exit strategy? I am sure they would be happy to pay fees for an exit. The fees could go into a fund for the timeshare and then the units can be rented or resold.

I fail to see how forcing these owners to pay, or spending money on suing them, is a sound financial business decision. This is costing these owners money they can’t afford and it is costing other owners money in higher maintenance fees because of those that are delinquent. 

We need some innovative thinking. If a committee was assigned to come up a solution, I’m sure one could be found that would benefit everyone. The deeded ownership model is outdated. It’s time for Wyndham to evolve. 

#66 Jim

My big fear is lack of an exit strategy. At this time we can handle the cost, but with the number of delinquencies we are worried about costs becoming unmanageable. Also, at some point we will ourselves not be able to pay on a senior’s income.  Our kids want no part of it.

#67 Marion K

Good Morning

We purchased an every other year red week18 years ago. There is no mortgage. It’s a wonderful resort and we enjoy visiting in the fall, but we have a grave concern about the lack of exit, and how this will affect our heirs – namely our children. It appears our children have two choices:

1.      Accept the ownership and take on something they have no desire to own or can afford, and then pass the financial burden on to their children…ad infinitum. Our children never agreed to be part of this. Are our children to be punished?

2.      Or they can refuse to accept this and then our estate will be responsible for maintenance fees until our estate is bled dry? I am uncertain if this means the estate could not be dispersed at all?

This actually frightens me of late…I can’t sleep for worrying. There is a need for a proper exit – whether by sale, a reasonable fee, according to need, etc. Reading the stories shows a desperate need by so many. We just cannot leave this unwanted financial burden for our children and their children. 

Thank you for listening

Marion

Marion’s husband David:

Our Sales Agent Cory Stegemann is now owner /CEO of Cornerstone Vacation Ownership!!

We are 84 and 77 years old respectively. This year we felt it was time to exit as we are incurring more health issues etc. We wanted to ensure all was in good order before we could no longer cope. We have learned that selling (even for Free) is nigh impossible.

We learned those in financial crisis due to old age, illness, unable to pay maintenance are being taken to courts even upon death – of heirs forced to pay the maintenance when they can’t afford to. The heirs are being taken to court – horror stories!!  It seems that Wyndham/ARDA/ OVATION do not appear to live up to their words/promise.

It fills us with a feeling of hopelessness and despair. We had hoped to have exited our timeshare by the time my wife, Marion, turned 80, in 2020 or before.

Please note: We appreciate all that  the Carriage Hills /Ridge Facebook has done to keep owners  fully informed of everything (especially Cheryl in particular.. she has been so kind in helping us understand)

Sincerely

David and Marion K

#68 Gabe

My wife and have been owners at both Carriage Hills and Carriage Ridge for quite a few years. At first, we found it to be a good way to travel. We often traveled to various SVC (Shell Vacation Club) resorts across North America or traded for other destinations using RCI or II.

Unfortunately, my wife was recently diagnosed with ALS. She is immobile and we are no longer able to travel. We will no longer be able to use our timeshares, but there seems to be no way out.

We have looked to Wyndham to find a way out, but there is no exit strategy. What is worse is that the maintenance fees have to be paid in perpetuity and our children can be stuck with paying the fees after we pass.

We purchased our timeshares in good faith based on sales presentations which made claims about the benefits of being owners but said absolutely nothing about the downside. At the time, we were convinced that this was a great opportunity for us to vacation. It was for a while, but times have changed. The maintenance fees have escalated enormously over the years and we now pay about $5000 in maintenance fees every year. Timeshares are no longer an economical way for people to travel.

There are two types of owners at CR/CH: those who want to exit and those who will want to exit at some point. This is a non-sustainable situation. More and more owners will default on their maintenance fees forcing the already unacceptable maintenance fees ever higher until the whole thing comes crashing down. This is a no-win situation for Wyndham. They need to find an exit strategy that is a win-win for everyone, and the board needs to empower the Wyndham management team to come up with this strategy.

#69 Heather C

Hi Irene,

We purchased an every year, floating red week in 1998 after foolishly falling victim to high pressure tactics while on a getaway promo. We had two young boys, and were working a lot of hours, plus running a farm. We had only taken two vacations since our honeymoon in 1987 so we thought ‘investing’ in a local deeded property with ski and golf, plus exchange options, would be a good incentive to take vacations more often.  

We were told that Carriage Resorts were not like other timeshares that everyone is afraid of. These were deeded properties with real value that could be resold on the open market if we no longer wanted it, or, the resort would also have a program to take it back.

We fell for their lines. A champagne cork popped (like many others in the room that day), we signed and our lives apparently changed forever, unbeknownst to us at the time.

At the time, maintenance fees were reasonable as were the exchange fees. We enjoyed many wonderful exchanges to Hawaii, Arizona, Mexico, and other locales in Switzerland, France and others. We enjoyed family vacations over the years as our boys grew. We are skiers/boarders and so are they. It was fantastic, plus we were told we would get 50% discount on all lift tickets and ski memberships at Horseshoe, along with discounts at the restaurants, etc. That ended. The discounts under our original ‘gold membership’ seem to have disappeared.  Now we just get the same VIP card/discounts that any Joe Blow off the street gets.

We were called by the developer in 2004 to attend an update where they pitched switching to Shell Vacation Club points, offering more flexibility. We switched. We were still pretty happy.  Maintenance fees were rising, but still manageable.

Around 2012 or 2013 maybe, it seemed like fees were getting more costly, plus our family was grown. Our travel preferences were beginning to change as we wanted to go to destinations not offered through the exchange company. Rarely have exchanges been available, not like in the original days. I never forfeit points, but they were certainly getting expensive and not a good value for other uses like gift cards or other services.

I noticed around 2016 or so, on occasional weekend stays, we no longer got sales calls. Initially, I thought ‘thank God!’ but then last fall, when I wanted to organize things to sell out two deeds, the REAL story started to unfold. I learned our deeds were not eligible for Wyndham’s Ovations program. Our deeds were worthless ‘assets’, and there was a perpetuity clause buried into both agreements we had signed! I felt ill and still do.

Our family experienced a serious health crisis as we approached the first phase of retirement our transition.

I’m terrified of the drain these timeshares will make. This has been a devastating realization.  We own a large family farm that has been in the family for generations. I shudder to think that the farm could be at risk.

We understand that our sons could get strapped with this mess. They had nothing to do with these contracts. They were children!!  I’m mortified! I’m likely going to start doing more digging with accountants and lawyers ($$$) to get better informed on how we can realign our estate and assets to try and protect them from these spineless vultures and also try to ensure our sons and their families will not get strapped with these ridiculous contract obligations that go beyond the grave!!

#70 Clarissa C

In an industry where you would hope senior executives would be transparent and seek to promote confidence in their users for a healthy and long pipeline of success, we have experienced nothing but false hope. Vacations have been nice, but not luxury. Fees are excessive, not reasonable, and vacations are not simplified. We distrust our Board of Directors. Accountability at the senior level is just not there.

We were led to believe that we had a deeded share of property – we were led to believe that we could sell back – we purchased a resale from Carriage Ridge, and we were led to believe maintenance fees would be reasonable. Wyndham is a fraud. We want out.

#71 Darleen and John C

As a very young couple in our 20’s, my husband and I purchased two timeshare properties. We spent over 50,000! That was 14 years ago when we had great jobs, no children, and no mortgage to worry about. We had no idea it was a lifetime commitment. Today it has become a burden. We now have two children, a mortgage, and only one person working. We struggle every year to make our payments, we definitely need a way out, and we definitely need Help!!

Thank you

Darlene and John

#72 Scott H

Hello Irene,

I’d like to introduce myself to you as a recent board member, a past president of the Carriage Hill’s Owner Association from 2013 thru to 2018. I still have hundreds of emails from owners during my time on the board.

Regards

#73 Melissa L

Hello Irene!!

Here is our story in a nutshell:

We purchased at Carriage Hills in April 1998 just two months before our wedding. We are an every-other-year owner. We enjoyed the property with three kids for 21 years, sometimes at the resort and sometimes trading with RCI to travel North America.  We went in eyes wide open. 

Originally, there were no rental units available to the public.  The resort was ONLY for owners. Given the exclusivity, we expected the units to maintain their value so we would be able to sell them in the future.  Like a car, we never thought we’d sell for a profit, but we thought we’d at least be able to sell it when the time came to move on.  We cannot even give our ownership away! Our biggest problem is that Wyndham has changed the use of the property and thus negatively affected its values AND eliminated the resale market. 

Wyndham offers a “give back” program called Ovations for their US owners “Ready to Move On” but Canadian owners are excluded from the Ovation program. Why? We don’t know. Add to that: the seemingly shady business practices… Wyndham employees are on the Carriage Hill Board of Directors. Not cool.

In the 80’s, the big scary stories about timeshares were when they went out of business and left all the owners with nothing.  Now 21 years later, that is what we wish for.

Thank you for helping us to shed light on this issue

Melissa & Jeff L

#74 David S

I’ve had this timeshare for approximately 10 years. I can no longer afford to pay the maintenance fees. It has become a real burden and increasingly stressful. I’m trying to find the money to pay for something we consider has no value. We never used it a lot. We paid $11,000 for it. I would like out of this timeshare for what I paid.

#75 Henry L

Hi Irene,

I have called Ovations to try to exit my timeshares. I was told that the properties I own are not eligible for this program. I even offered to give it back to them just to get out but they will do nothing for me.

#76 Maria

Hello Irene,

We have been owners at Carriage Hills Timeshare Resort in Oro-Medonte, Ontario since 1997. We have been extremely disappointed with the increases in maintenance fees, particularly over the past few years. Here are the numbers over the year, and the percentage increases.

Year Fees % increase

—- —– ———

2018 $1351 4%

2017 $1299 7%

2016 $1214 4.63%

2015 $1160 10.10%

2014 $1054 4.70%

2013 $1006 3.97%

2012 $968   3.85%

2011 $932   2.59%

2010 $909   7.71%

2009 $844   7.93%

2008 $782 10.45%

2007 $708  

1997 $526

Like others Carriage Hill owners, we are very concerned and worried about how there is no market to sell our timeshare. We will be burdening the rising costs of this property. We are close to retirement. The maintenance fees are going to be a huge portion of our retirement income.

When we originally bought back in 1997 we were sold on the fact that it would be a deeded ownership, but now it just means that we will be passing on the burden to our adult children when we pass on.

There is no longer a market for our timeshares and no sales office anymore. People off the street are able to rent our units at a rate that is cheaper than our maintenance fees, thanks to Wyndham taking over 10% of our units, renting out units at discount rate, yet we aren’t allowed to market and promote our own private rental to the public.

I could go on, but much of this will have already been mentioned to you by many others.

Thank you for taking time to read and I hope there is a way for us to improve our ownership/sales at Carriage Hills Resort.

#77 Julianne M

Hi Irene,

My husband and I purchased 10,500 Shell Vacation Club points in 2005, as a result of many false and misleading statements. We were led to believe that owning these points would lead to a less expensive way of vacationing and money well spent on a good financial investment.

However, in time it became clear that we could often book a vacation for the same properties through the internet for less money than we were paying in maintenance fees, let alone our initial investment of over $30,000. We have tried to make the best of our purchase over the years by exchanging our points or using them at Shell or Shell affiliated properties.

None of our children are interested in owning something that costs more than they could vacation booking online. My husband and I are 66 and 67 years old. We know the time will come when we can no longer afford these fees. 

If what was told to us during the sale presentation was true, we would have no problem selling a “great investment.”  How sad that there seems to be no repercussion for those who mislead and the people who suffer are the ones who believed them.

My husband and I would strongly advocate for the Wyndham executives to take action to rectify the lack of an exit strategy both for the loyal owners and for the reputation of the vacation club/timeshare division of the company. 

#78 Anne D

We have owned at Carriage Ridge and Carriage Hills for 20 years. Although we still enjoy our time and don’t wish an exit, we can see that sometime in the near future we would. Our children are spread across Canada and have no interest in carrying on with our ownerships. It is not right or fair that those who no longer can afford or wish to own the timeshare cannot get out of their ownership.

It is also unfair that Wyndham is able to take our maintenance fees (which have been increasing too quickly) to make many improvements so that they benefit by renting out units. Why are they not selling the benefits of ownership by keeping a healthy and happy turnover of owners who want to be at CH and CR?

We are upset that there are renters when we were sold on the idea that CH and CR were places for owners. Also upset when we hear that other owners cannot get availability when there are listings on rental sites for the same time periods.

Why is there so much secrecy about owners’ lists? Why is there not honesty about plans for CH and CR? Why not make CH and CR great destinations and have happy owners? Why not tap into the pool of people living in the Greater Toronto Area for prospects for owners, once Wyndham cleans up their act and acts with honesty and integrity!!!?

Anne D

#79 Kathie R

We still occasionally use our timeshare but as we are now in our 70’s. It’s becoming a financial burden for us and one that our children cannot afford. We are ready to sell.

We had a horrible experience a couple of years ago after a presentation in Las Vegas about the “newest upgrades” and how to book your vacation etc. After sitting thru and saying “no” to the ever-increasing levels of tough closers, managers and all the strong-arm tactics, we finally got up and said we had had enough and were leaving. The woman who was our first level contact berated us for not knowing what we were doing and said – how dare we waste her valuable time! She continued to follow us out of the presentation room hurling insults at our back. It was unprofessional and frightening. We want out.

Ron and Katharyn R

#80 Lynda K

Dear Irene,

As an owner of a Red week two-bed unit at Carriage Hills since 2006, I would like to transfer my timeshare on. I am now a widow, retired on a limited pension, no children (my dear son passed away a few years ago) and my life has changed, evolved as life does.  I did enjoy my time but that cycle of life is over for me. I have been trying to pass on my unit for over a year now. It is a wonderful place and would be enjoyed by the next generation, but there is no easy venue to allow this. I am not a real estate person or a salesperson, but I would be willing to pay a price to give this to someone.

There is no doubt that a new individual would be more inclined to purchase a unit if they knew that there was a reasonable transfer process in place to expedite a sale/ transfer of their unit in the future when it no longer met their needs.

Nothing lasts forever as they say. 

Thank you, Lynda K

#81 Donna C

Hello Irene

I am writing to provide you with my experience and perspectives on fractional ownership at Carriage Hills. I’ve been a ‘weeks’ owner for over 20 years. I am dismayed and appalled at the current situation regarding the inability to exit from the ownership.

We purchased this timeshare in order to have the opportunity for affordable family vacations in places around the world, places that we could never afford to travel using hotel accommodations. That decision has turned into a nightmare, and we are filled with remorse at the prospect of forcing our children to assume the responsibility and escalating expenses.

The story about the ailing 80 year old owner – how she is being viciously and mercilessly harassed and hounded makes me sick to my stomach and fills me with terror and dread as this could easily become our fate, and the fate of hundreds of owners at Carriage Hills. Wyndham holds all the cards in this distressing situation, and their refusal to provide a ‘way out’ for owners is a blatant and egregious act of corporate greed and abuse of power.

It is a highly distressing situation and causes me many sleepless nights worrying about this ‘trap’ that we find ourselves in and that we are unable to escape. Your article will be immensely helpful in raising awareness of this serious issue which can lead to massive damage to the financial, emotional and physical well-being of countless families.

A key element is in regard to the high-pressure ‘sales pitch’ we were subjected to when we visited the Sales Office over 20 years ago. We were told that this timeshare was unique in that it was a real estate purchase, with a property deed that ‘could’ be passed down to others in our will, IF WE CHOSE TO. And we were told that, as a property asset, it could be sold in the future.

There was never any indication that this deeded real estate transaction could not be sold, or that our children would automatically inherit the liability for this so-called asset. Not only was this sales pitch unscrupulous, it was false advertising and completely fraudulent. It would be extremely enlightening if a former salesperson would agree to speak with you confidentially and anonymously to reveal the false messages that were communicated to buyers during these high-pressure sales pitches.

Donna C.

#82 Lisa and Wayne A

Thank you for taking the time to hear our concerns.

My husband and I are annual Red week owners for well over 20 years.

Failing health (now on CPP Disability) limits our ability to travel AND pay the huge maintenance fees.  These fees are almost triple what we started paying.

So many options that we were guaranteed when we purchased are closed. There is no buyback. There is no sales office. Wyndham rents the units cheaper than our fees.

We stayed at the resort two years ago – left early because the room was filthy, the furniture broken, TV signal issues and the pool was scummy. We called the front desk several times for help before we finally left after a couple of days. Owners are not supported – we simply are the bankroll for Wyndham to offer “our” rooms at discount prices.

When we tried calling to book our time (to rent it out privately) – it seems like the rules always change.  Sometimes we can split our 2 bedroom into separate units – or even separate 3 and 4 day stays. Other years when we call we are told different. The staff that handles these calls definitely does not have the best interest of the owners.   

We just want out.

Thank you

Lisa and W A

#83 Trish C

Good Morning Irene

Sadly, the timeshare model of ownership is no longer suitable for many, yet we are stuck paying increasing fees forever……and forever is a long time. 

We purchased our timeshare in 2011 for $300 from a widower. We bought because our home backed onto the property and we intended to use it as a gym/pool with the ability to trade it for vacations. Our maintenance fees in 2011 were $932 but have risen to $1350 in eight years, a whopping 45% increase! 

We have moved from the area and would like to exit the timeshare. The main reason is that we abhor the fact that we are suing owners for defaulted maintenance fees, especially the elderly. 

We do believe that the property has great worth, possibly as a condo development as it can easily be converted. We wonder if this isn’t the end game for Wyndham. A similar situation occurred just down the hill at Horseshoe Resort. Timeshares there were eventually taken over because of a maintenance fee squeeze and have now been converted to pricey condos. 

Again, thank you for taking an interest in many of our owners’ plight. Something that was sold as a dream vacation for many has turned into an ugly nightmare. 

Best regards,

Trish/Rob C

#84 Nicki C

Irene,

First and foremost I want to thank you for taking an interest in what has become a bitter legacy. When my husband and I purchased our red week every other year over 20 years ago we weren’t thinking about how we could get out of it! We had a young family and dreamed of fabulous vacations in beautiful two bedroom condos. I want to say that we have had fantastic vacations. I still remember our first exchange to Powhatan Plantation in Williamsburg that began our 20 plus year love of timeshare vacations.

While we have made poor decisions over the years, we truly don’t count this as one of them. We are still healthy enough to travel and take advantage of all the great resorts available to us. What does concern us, as we age, is we don’t want the decision we made all those years ago to affect our children. That is why we believe it’s important to have an exit strategy. While it is not something we are looking for immediately, we support those desperate to find a way out.

Thank you again, 

Nicki and Bernie C 

#85 Elizabeth B

Hi Irene,

I live in Leaside, Toronto Canada. This started for me just a few months ago. My dad ‘gifted’ me a timeshare about seven years ago [on the agreement $1 for natural love and affection]. We signed a three-page deed, no other agreement details.

When I asked my dad what happens when I want to get rid of it, he said simply, “Sell it.” Unbeknownst to my husband and me, the $10K value on the agreement was not an assessed value, but what my father purchased it for. And we were unaware that he had tried to sell it but could not find ‘any takers’ his words [for even $1]. And we were unaware that maintenance fees had skyrocketed [from a historical 3% annual increase to 10% that year and are now at a 7% annual average].

He explained that he was 80 years old and had lost much of his retirement investments in 2007 explaining that my husband and I were in a much better position to deal with this. He could not deal with the stress of collections. Our relationship has been very negatively impacted by this – as I try and understand his desperate need.

When I simply wanted to give the timeshare away I learned that you can’t even pay someone to take them and that as it’s deeded it follows your estate. When you die it would go to your kids. You can never exit.

I called Wyndham and escalated my call to Ovations Supervisor Erica. She advised that their Ovation program could not be offered to Carriage Hills owners. She advised of an Exit company [so many are crooked] that is approved by them named Fidelity. I had already tried them and was told by Fidelity’s Jacob Jones that he doesn’t remember ever selling Carriage Hills, as it’s old and no one wants it.

He suggested I list on eBay with a $400 gift card [Sell my Timeshare Now wanted USD$4500 to list, so I just paid someone CAD$1000 in Staynor ON and have since found out through our Facebook page I’ve basically been scammed]. SO, Erica recommended I gift it to family. REALLY? Like what happened to me? More like a Ponzi scheme. Gift it to someone who trusts you?

I have listed my timeshare on Kijiji and will pay someone $2200 PLUS pay the $1500 legal transfer fees. No serious interest. Every once in a while a new owner pops up on our Facebook page. The seller uses a Carriage Hills approved lawyer and I’m uncertain that they are able to adequately represent both buyer and seller, particularly to highlight Carriage Hills has $11MM in uncollected maintenance fees and, nor we believe, an adequate reserve fund. 

Hundreds of Carriage Hills properties are listed for the most part $1 [over 319 on sellmytimesharenow.com and about same on Secondary Ownership, the one I listed with – who took $1000 up front]. There are certainly many who suggest misleading sales practice, told they could give the deed back at any time, which is not true. Sell it yourself [no market] or it goes with your estate.

More background…..Wyndham Vacations purchased Shell Vacations Club [and Carriage Hills] in 2012, located in Barrie, Horseshoe Valley, and 172 Units. 51 weeks, 8772 intervals [~9200 owners].

2016 Wyndham ‘took’ ownership of 772 units in arrears [8.8%]

2017 Wyndham had ownership of 831 units [9.5%] + 109 units, although owners have been told there is no way out. It appears Wyndham is backdooring some. I’ve been told you hire a lawyer, they don’t want the noise. So some suffer, some win.

2018 Accountant Reviewed financials should be out shortly with another update.

Even after Wyndham has ‘taken’ about 10% of intervals there are currently another 10% in arrears [maintenance fee’s not paid]. And it’s increasing at a rate of 30% YoY. And $11MM [yes million] dollars has been accrued in unpaid debt. Although the accounting records show that ~3.5MM is recoverable, that doesn’t make any sense, as a 3rd party collection agency, who is paid 25 cents for every dollar collected, is expected to recover ~$600K in 2019

There are no future financial projections. A budget is shared, but the actuals are not on the owners’ webpage. The Carriage Hills Board is not transparent. And the Board President, in an email to me, stated that the number of votes to support an exit would not be possible, as only about 10-15% of owners show up to the annual meeting, a bizarre statement…with telephone, email, etc., why would we believe, if the model is collapsing, that getting 66% of owners to support a sale would not be achievable?

My husband’s golf course [York Down’s] recently sold. The owners had to vote. They made $125K per person. My parents RV fractional ownership sold 20 years ago and owners made $15K per person. On the webpage, someone posted an MCAP assessment for part of Carriage Ridge for $30MM [possibly $90MM?].

Some have questioned the integrity of the Board Chair. For example, $2MM was spent on Wyndham standard door locks. It is unknown if there was a request for proposals. Wyndham earns $1MM a year to maintain the property [they are not the majority owner, yet it appears by defacto they are the preferred firm]. Wyndham can advertise their units for fees that are lower than the maintenance fees while owners are not allowed to do the same. In essence, this de-values the ownership because it’s cheaper to grab a unit from Expedia.

Maintenance fees are currently $1350 up from $1006 in 2013, 5 years prior. People on fixed incomes have no way to walk away without collections and legal action.

As you are aware, condominium boards carry a very strong fiduciary mandate to represent their owners’ best interests, and that means all the owners. And there is a question if Carriage Hills Board is acting on behalf of Wyndham, who own 10%, or the majority of owners [I understand the board president was given his timeshare by Wyndham + points].

Board minutes show people asking for an exit strategy years ago. Only recently a team was ‘allowed’ by the board to take a member survey and have adding a sales office discussed.

A board member recently reported in minutes, stating ‘Wyndham marketed but no one is biting to buy in Canada.’ If there was a sales opportunity Wyndham would be on it…it’s the bad debt being high, Ontario taxes are not favourable or the products integrity.

If the Board stated and believes the above, then how does a sales office help? Why is the inevitable collapse of this model [look at the mounting arrears] not being initiated with a sale?

Also over the last several years, owners have asked to get a quote on the property. The Board refused. Owners have asked to allow for a phone line so owners can call into the Barrie Board meetings. This was refused.

Owners have asked for a mailing list or any mailing to communicate with owners to advise that there is no exit and vote on options [change term or sell Carriage Hills]. This was refused. Sixty-six per cent of owners must agree to change the deeded agreement from lifetime to 5 or 10 year durations, for example, or to sell the property. Still, the Board has not acted.

Before I close there are some other disturbing things. The owners are at odds with those who don’t pay. The elderly on fixed incomes are unable to escape the fees. They go in arrears. And Carriage Hills Board decided to hire a collection agency and lawyer. So, although we mostly agree there needs to be an exit strategy, the owners are going after those that are not able to pay.

There are stories here as well. Sad stories you will see. What these owners don’t understand is that they are paying for nothing. There is no future annuity stream in this model. No new blood -just the slow stop payment of those left to pay. And they don’t even know how to manage collections or understand that after three years of not paying in BC, you can’t continue to go after the person, or that two years in Ontario after the last payment, if legal action wasn’t already taken, there is no future legal recourse [hence the need for a 5 year financial outlook].

Wyndham has lost class action suits in the US but nothing in Canada has started. The scam Exit Strategies [desperate people are paying 1000’s – you can google a Hamilton Spectator Joe and Rita F].

Let me know how I or my Carriage Hills contacts can assist.

Liz

#86 Dee C

Good morning…

I have been a timeshare owner at Carriage Hills since 1997 in good standing. I have enjoyed it, but now circumstances have changed. We are in our 70’s and need an exit.

When Wyndham took over we saw Ovations. We called immediately. We were told Carriage Hills was not in and we were told only a select few places are in it…not all Wyndham!

We contacted our government consumer protection with another owner and were told that they are not going to amend timeshares at this time. Selling on our own is next to impossible. Hopefully, with this exposure an exit will be forthcoming.

Thank you for your time.

#87 Barbara H

Dear Irene,

If a timeshare salesperson’s lips are moving, they’re lying. I think we were all told so many lies it makes you wonder how these people sleep at night. My husband and I purchased many years ago and have enjoyed some great vacations.

At the time of purchase, we were told that selling would be no problem, the investment would hold its value and many other falsehoods. 

Everyone needs to be able to see an end to this.  Wyndham should at least take back these units so people have a way out and not sue them into bankruptcy.

I was at Carriage Hills two weeks ago. The place was full and everyone loved it. There is a market for these resorts.

Thank you, Irene.

B. H.

#88 Binh C

Dear Irene,

In 1999, when I was just one year out of university, 24 years old, my boyfriend and I were given the hard sales pitch. We purchased a week. As young people just starting out in life, we feel like we were taken advantage of. At the time, we barely had jobs! This seemed to NOT be a concern for the sales staff (we remember her name was Tracy). She was on a mission to make sales. For 20 years we paid our fees which have DOUBLED – despite the promise of staying stable and not growing with inflation.

The other notable problem with our ownership is that it has lost its trade value with RCI. The first 10 years we were able to exchange week to week – direct value. Now, the points that we receive for our Carriage Hills deposit gets us NOWHERE. We are unable to use RCI. We have had to use our home resort.

We have done our best to pay for our mistake and use the resort, but we are very concerned that the cost of maintenance is going up and there is no market to resell. Moreover, we own the deed in perpetuity (unlike many timeshares that expire in 99 years). Passing this problem onto my children is not ideal and certainly NOT what my 24-year-old self had thought of when I was scammed into purchasing. With no new owners and the burden of maintenance fees on the shoulders of paying owners, I just don’t think the current model is sustainable.

There needs to be an exit developed for owners wishing to leave. We would like to sell/exit from Carriage Hills.

Sincerely,

Binh C & Ramon C

#89 Michele H

Hello Irene

We have been owners at Carriage Hills since 1996. We love it and have our family reunion there each year. We have travelled well by RCI trading. We have wonderful memories and appreciate having had the opportunity to travel around the world at amazing RCI resorts.

But, as we are entering our senior years, going to a very minimal income, having more medical issues starting to arise, we are very concerned at the amount the maintenance fees are and increasing. We are still happy with our timeshare as we can still use it, but it is scary to think what will happen in the future if we cannot pay maintenance fees or sell. We have worked hard to have great credit, but not being able to pay maintenance fees can ruin a person and their credit.

Something needs to be done to give people an exit when they need it. Thank you for doing what you can to bring this to full attention.

Sincerely 

#90 Dan and Ellen M

Good. Morning Irene,

We are another retired couple who were duped into purchasing a two bedroom timeshare for one week at CH in 2001. We used our timeshare for a number of years, but then when our grandkids got older we no longer wanted the timeshare. We learned the hard way that there is no exit strategy other than finding your own buyer and going through all of the legal ramifications.

For the last five years or so we have taken a fairly big hit with maintenance fees, now around $1350. We advertised on Kijiji with limited results to the point where we gave one week away for $300 as no other takers. We could go on and on with our story, but the reality is, we want out.

Sincerely,

Dan & Ellen M

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

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

https://tug2.com/Home.aspx

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

Free at Last Facebook Straight-A Guide

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

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

https://www.udprep.info/june

Bluegreen Facebook

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

Wyndham Facebook

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

Wyndham Carriage Resorts Facebook

https://m.facebook.com/groups/152117225452689

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

Diamond Resort Facebook

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

Gold Key Facebook

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

Inside Timeshare Facebook

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

Thank you, Irene, for your hard work in compiling these complaints for publication, all we can do is hope that Wyndham takes notice and resolves the serious issues which these elderly owners are having to deal with. Inside Timeshare will continue to be their voice.

That is all for this week, join us again next week for more on the murky world of Timeshare. Have a great weekend I certainly will!.