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”
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
David’s Medical and Financial Hardship Dismissed
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.
“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
Carriage Owners 1 – 30
Carriage Resort Owners 61 thru 90
#61 Lori S
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
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.
#63 Tony P
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.
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.
#65 Stacy B
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.
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
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’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)
David and Marion K
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
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!!
Darlene and John
#72 Scott H
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.
#73 Melissa L
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
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.
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%
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
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!!!?
#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
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
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.
#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.
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.
#84 Nicki C
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
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.
#86 Dee C
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
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.
#88 Binh C
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.
Binh C & Ramon C
#89 Michele H
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.
#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.
Dan & Ellen M
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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!.