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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!.

Friday’s Letter from America

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

Bluegreen offers new Pilot Program to Donate Points to Charities 

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

Bass Pro Lawsuit v Bluegreen

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

July 10, 2019

By Diane Smith

Introductory comments by Irene Parker

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

Christel DeHaan, Founder and Chairman of the Board

Co-Founded and sold RCI for $825 million

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

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

Olivier Chavy, President, RCI Exchanges

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ARDA’s Coalition for Responsible Exit

https://responsibleexit.com/

Diane’s Response to “Who’s the Fish?”

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

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

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

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

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

We experienced the following:

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

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

Bluegreen responded to our concerns as follows:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Charitable Giving Program – Donation Options 

Junior Achievement of South Florida (JA)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Petition to Reform Timeshare:

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

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

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

https://tug2.com/Home.aspx

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

Free at Last Facebook

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

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

https://www.udprep.info/june

Bluegreen Facebook

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

Wyndham Facebook

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

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

Diamond Resort Facebook

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

Gold Key Facebook

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

Inside Timeshare Facebook 

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

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

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

The Tuesday Slot

Welcome to The Tuesday Slot, this week we welcome another new contributor Theresa Taylor, with her experience of attending a presentation. As you will see from her story, it is one that is very familiar to every reader of these pages, high-pressure sales tactics with plenty of ways to get around a problem of affordability. One of the most disturbing facts of this story is the fact the sales agents found a way to get Theresa finance despite being in the middle of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. As we already know from other stories, sales agents will do and say anything to get the deal, yet the timeshare companies still allow this to continue.

Part I: I Explain to Wyndham CFO Michael Hug:

Why Wyndham’s Default Rate is higher than he would like

By Theresa Taylor

June 18, 2019

Timeshare Tussle, by Jason Garcia at Florida Trend

There was a cloud over the results, however. During the call, Wyndham also revealed that the number of owners defaulting on their timeshare mortgages climbed during the second quarter, extending what has become a multiyear increase in defaults. The company says the rate of increase in its provision for loan losses has slowed to “under 5%” in the second half of 2018, but in the earnings call Brown said defaults remain “higher than we would like,” seconded by CFO Michael Hug, who added that “loan loss remains a central area of focus.”

Of the company’s nearly 900,000 owners, only 200,000 have loans. However, the company expects to set aside 21% of its gross sales to cover losses in 2018 — meaning it expects not to collect $21 of every $100 it’s loaned.

https://www.floridatrend.com/article/25726/timeshare-tussle

Part II Friday: Timeshare Reinvents Subprime Mortgages by Ron

My friend Ron reached out to Wyndham’s hardship department. He was turned away. Wyndham’s reaction to my friend explains why timeshare members reach out to timeshare exit companies for help. Going through a foreclosure process is not something a timeshare member wants to go through alone.

If Ron doesn’t qualify for hardship, I don’t know who would. Ron is an 11-year veteran. His wife died two years ago after his timeshare was purchased in 2016. His annual income is less than $12,000. He is self-employed.

I decided to attend a Wyndham timeshare presentation. My experience will explain why so many are defaulting on timeshare loans. I don’t think Wyndham is the only company providing loans to buyers who should not be buying, lending through high-interest rate loans and even higher interest rate Barclay credit cards. Undeterred by my bankruptcy, Wyndham’s sales agents explained how they could list me as a foreigner to circumvent the obstacle.

Here’s what happened at Wyndham Grand Desert Resort in Las Vegas:       

It was a family celebration for my son’s 21st birthday. After arriving late, I awoke the next morning to find a card slid under my door instructing me to see Amelia to receive a Welcome Packet. I proceeded to check-in to get my welcome package and before I knew it, I was informed that I had to attend a timeshare presentation the next morning.

Lauren informed me that I qualified for a “no-high-pressure card” to take with me to the presentation. I had to give them a $20.00 refundable fee to hold my spot.  She then discussed income requirements. They required a minimum household income of $75,000. She assumed that my friend Ron was my partner. We explained that he was not, and even if we were together, Ron currently has no income. I told Lauren my income was only $60,000. Lauren kept insisting that Ron was part of my household income.

Once we finally convinced Lauren that Ron should not be involved, she decided I could proceed with $65,000 per year household income. She changed the form from $75,000 to $65,000. When I reiterated that I only made $60,000 Lauren stated that they can actually work with that. She offered me show tickets or a $100 American Express gift card as my reward after I completed the presentation. I elected the gift card.

Red Flag #1 Falsified Income

The next morning I got up to attend the presentation. Ron decided to go with me. They showed us a video of all the places you can stay if you join Wyndham Vacation Resorts. We learned Wyndham owns RCI which is why there are so many places to stay. There are fees involved to use RCI.

Our presenter Eddie did a breakdown of the cost to vacation, explaining the value in buying into Wyndham Vacation Resorts. After the video, Judy took us on a tour of the Grand Desert, showing me the presidential suite. Next, we went to a room where tables were set up with other salespeople talking to other potential customers about the cost to vacation.

Judy showed us a price sheet. After she went over the costs, I asked for a moment to think about it. Visions of beautiful resorts momentarily left my head. I talked to Ron because it dawned on me that I am currently in a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. I shouldn’t be able to buy anything.

We flagged Judy down to explain that I forgot to mention I was in the midst of a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. She said she would go talk to her manager.  To be honest, I thought my time there was done. Nope, Judy came back and stated that the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy wasn’t a problem and that they could get me into a program that did not require a credit check or my social security number. Judy indicated that it was their international/foreign (non-US resident) program.   

Red Flag #2 Suitability

I told Judy thanks but no thanks. I thought it best to wait until I am through with the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. She said fine, gathered up all the paperwork and advised that someone would be over with my gift card.

After about 15 minutes a woman named Sophie came to the table. She stated that she was doing a survey of my experience. She asked me how I liked Judy, how was the presentation. She asked if this was a program that I would enjoy given different circumstances. Trying to be pleasant, I explained that I don’t think the program is right for me at this time given I am in the middle of a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. Undeterred, she flipped over some paperwork to show me another offer to buy into Wyndham Vacation Resorts.

Red Flag #3 High Pressure

I couldn’t believe it. Here I’m trying to get my financial head above water, and Sophie is convinced I need to buy a luxury item so that I can be driven deeper into debt. This go-round they offered me a “trial period” program which involved 400,000 points for use over two years at a cost of $3,548. She explained I could put down approximately $400 and make monthly payments.

At this point, I remembered my “no-high-pressure card” Lauren was supposed to give me, which seemed like ages ago. I said to Sophie, “Lauren said I was supposed to experience a no high-pressure presentation. She even said she would give me a “no-high-pressure card” (which Lauren forgot to give me), so I would not be pressured into buying something.  Sophie said “A what”?

Red Flag #4 Unfair and Deceptive Sales Practice

There obviously is no such thing as a “no-high-pressure card” so this was unfair and deceptive. First, my income was falsified to qualify, I am in debt up to my ears, I told them no, they will not take no for an answer, and they want to add another layer of monthly payments on top of my bankruptcy payments. Maybe it’s just me, but I think this is high pressure. Note the 6th line down on the left indicating 120 payments at 17.99%. What a great way to start life after bankruptcy.

I brought up the “no-pressure card” again to Sophie and that Lauren had said I was entitled to a “no-pressure card” because I was somewhat related to the person who booked my stay with them. Sophie confirmed my suspicion that there is no such thing as a “no-high-pressure card” by saying she had no idea what I was talking about.  I told Sophie (pretty sternly) that I WAS NOT INTERESTED. She asked if I felt I was being pressured.

This all occurred over  2 ½ hours and I think it ended only because I got stern with her and used the words “high pressure” hoping it would register.

On Friday Ron will explain why he feels the ARDA Code of Ethics doesn’t exist and Wyndham’s hardship department is fictional. I sent Wyndham a draft of this article for comment, but they did not respond. I can put them in touch with Ron if they would like to review his case.

I encourage those who feel they have experienced unfair and deceptive sales practices to join one of the self-help support groups listed below. There’s a new Wyndham Facebook page which is member/sponsored.

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

A Petition to Reform Timeshare

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

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

https://tug2.com/Home.aspx

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

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

https://www.udprep.info/june

Bluegreen Facebook

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

Wyndham Facebook

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

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

Diamond Resort Facebook

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

Gold Key Facebook

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

Thank you, Theresa, for your contribution, it is a story that I would think is familiar to all our readers and one that we at Inside Timeshare have highlighted on many occasions. Once again we see sales agents using practices which can only be described as despicable and underhand, yet what does senior management do? Allows them to continue.

That is all for today, join us tomorrow for Part Five of our continuing “saga” of Silverpoint exposed.

The Tuesday Slot

Welcome to The Tuesday Slot, today we welcome another new contribution from the Valdibieso Family, with their “Nightmare on Timeshare Street”. These features are becoming all too commonplace, so it does beg the question, When will the industry take note and change?

Our very own Irene Parker has reported that the Platinum Protestors, protesting out front of Diamond Resorts Cypress Pointe Resort in Orlando over the weekend, especially on Sunday, had a steady stream of horn honks, thumb’s up, and members who talked about their experiences, and many who asked questions about their concerns. On Friday, May 17, they protested outside the Florida Timeshare Division. One person who works inside the state facility, who asked not to be identified, suggested they protest every Friday. Unfortunately, since the protestors live in NY and AZ, it would be difficult to commute. All in all, it was a major success. A full report will be presented in Friday’s Letter From America.

Don’t Buy a Timeshare Without Checking Good and Bad Reviews

By the Valdibieso Family

May 21, 2019

Our nightmare began after we purchased a Sapphire Resort timeshare in Las Vegas in October 2017.  From the start, our timeshare experience has been one of anger and frustration.

We have joined efforts with Vanessa Hernandez who purchased a Sapphire timeshare the day of the Las Vegas mass murder. Her article is linked below. Vanessa was uncomfortable after signing her contract, so planned to review her contract that evening, but attended the concert that devastated her life. She could not even get out of bed for a long time due to the trauma. Even a horror like witnessing a mass murder did not move Starpoint Sapphire to cancel her contract, despite reported misrepresentations.  

I found 221 Starpoint Sapphire complaints on file with the Better Business Bureau, in addition to a host of complaints on other complaints sites. Starpoint has an A+ BBB rating. The BBB basically assigns a rating on how efficiently a company handles complaints. As you can see, Starpoint Sapphire is quick to respond that you signed a contract so you’re stuck.  

https://www.bbb.org/us/nv/las-vegas/profile/resort/starpoint-resort-group-inc-1086-66568/complaints#176983305

Vanessa and I have joined forces to get the word out to let others know the timeshare you buy is worthless if you need to sell it. Not only is it worthless, it is accompanied by rising maintenance fees. I know of no other product that holds the buyer hostage, making sure they stay vacationed or else.

This is the link to our Facebook:

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

Join our consumer protection efforts. If you bought a timeshare and are happy with it, we understand. Not all sales agents are deceptive. We intend, like so many other timeshare buyers who feel they experienced unfair and deceptive sales practices, to build our Facebook group and start a RedWeek and Timeshare Users Group thread.

Until the timeshare industry wakes up to the fact that they are financially destroying family after family by allowing unfair and deceptive sales practices, and restricting the secondary market to the extent you can’t dispose of it, consumers will be harmed. Publicly traded timeshare companies even warn their stock investors that a secondary market is a risk to THEM. What about us?

Our Timeshare Nightmare

Our Sapphire sales presentation dragged on for hours. To seal the deal they offered us a free trip to Hawaii or Cancun but said we had to sign quickly because they were only giving one free trip to our group.

After we signed a contract, something didn’t feel right. We decided to cancel the contract. When we talked to them about cancelling, we asked how the timeshare could be transferred to someone else and – boom! That’s when we found out about maintenance fees and all the fees that would be needed if we wanted to sell the timeshare. They also informed us that if we could not sell it, we did not have the right to cancel. None of this was mentioned in the presentation. A company representative suggested we put it on Craigslist and hung up. We have tried to contact Sapphire, to no avail. They could care less about misrepresentations.

We were told we would be allotted 5,000 points annually that would allow us to go anywhere. This was not the case. The Sapphire points are not good everywhere. They can only be used at certain places and then only thru RCI. This was crazy because I did not even sign up for RCI. When we attempted to reserve a stay, we were informed that our points would expire on July 10, 2018. We could roll them over, but we could only roll them over one time. The points eventually expired.

All the locations listed in a book that was given to us required over 5000 points. We were also informed we could purchase trips for only $269. That was not the case, because again, we could only book through RCI and they have different rules. This had not been explained.

The free trip to Hawaii turned out not to be free. The sales agent failed to mention all the fees that we would have to pay, or that we would have to fly out from a specific airport, one we did not have easy access to. We would have to pay for plane tickets to the required airport and back. The free trip to Hawaii was what eventually sold us. If we knew about the costs associated with the “free” trip, we would not have signed the contract.

We have never used our timeshare.

This has literally been one of the worst experiences we have ever had in terms of deception and aggressive sales tactics that seem geared to wear you down. They brainwashed us and have caused our marriage to fall apart due to the stress of this purchase.

Only false promises accompanied our purchase.

Excerpt from Vanessa’s Starpoint Sapphire Resort article

October 30, 2018

To be honest, I don’t remember as much as I’d like about the purchase of our Starpoint timeshare October 1 of last year. That night Rogelio and I went to the concert that flipped Vegas upside down. We hid and ran for our lives, hoping to make it out alive. Thankfully we did. We cut our trip short, so I didn’t look over the paperwork as I told myself I would. I couldn’t get out of bed or eat for a month.

I remember feeling pressured and pushed into buying the timeshare, which was why I told myself I needed to look over the paperwork as soon as I got home. The reasons I felt uncomfortable with my decision:

  • They said the timeshare was prime real estate,
  • I was not aware the credit check was being run,
  • They told me to wait 30 days before booking,
  • They promised a free trip (which never materialized).

If you would like to join Mari and Vanessa’s Advocacy Facebook, contact Inside Timeshare and we will put you in touch with two more timeshare regret consumers dedicated to warning the public about the negatives of timeshare, to counterbalance timeshare developers and lobbyists insisting few regret their purchase.

Self-help groups we feel are not industry influenced:

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

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

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

https://tug2.com/Home.aspx

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

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

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

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

https://www.facebook.com/groups/465692163568779/

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

That’s all for today, thank you to our latest contributors for their story, if you have a story that you would like to share, whether it be a “Nightmare on Timeshare Street” or a positive experience (which we would love to hear about just to make a change), use our contact page and get in touch.

Friday’s Letter from America

Welcome to our Friday’s Letter from America, this week Wayne Robinson explains why it is often very difficult to cancel after purchasing a timeshare, but first a quick look at Europe.

Earlier this week it came to our attention that one of the largest tour operators TUI had been advertising weeks at Anfi Emerald for 1000€ p.p.p week, this was for a 1 bed deluxe apartment and included flights, transfers and breakfast. Now when we consider that members have paid thousands for their floating weeks along with the annual maintenance fees, yet we constantly hear from them that there is no availability, it makes you wonder what is going on?

This is not just a problem with Anfi, we have heard from many timeshare members that they are constantly having trouble booking, yet they see their own resorts being advertised on the various booking websites. Is it fair that these people pay thousands for what they are told is exclusive to members and find they can in many cases book cheaper than their maintenance fees, without having to pay the initial purchase extortionate price.

In another twist, mindtimeshare which formerly under the now discredited Alberto Garcia, was funded by the RDO (Resorts Development Organisation), has just published what can only be described as a rebuke of their former paymasters.

It revolves around the liquidation of Enduria Travel, also known as the Travel Shop and was based in Gran Canaria, they were also affiliate members of the RDO. In their article, mindtimeshare explained that they actually expressed concerns to the RDO about this company, but the RDO still accepted their membership. All we can say is how things have changed.

Today is what everyone is calling Black Friday, but at the start of the week it was for Anfi BLACK MONDAY!

Canarian Legal Alliance received on that day alone 12, yes 12 sentences against Anfi in favour of their clients, with over 900,000€ awarded, plus all contracts were declared null and void. They also received another sentence from the High Court in Tenerife against Silverpoint. In all this year CLA have secured over 11 million euros in awarded claims.

Now for this weeks article.

5 Strategies Timeshare Resorts Use To Prevent Cancellations

By Wayne Robinson

Black Friday November 23, 2018

Today is Black Friday in America, celebrated by standing in long lines at shopping malls to be followed by Cyber Monday, when stay at home shoppers shop the internet. I hope you will add my book Everything About Timeshares: Before, During and After the Sale onto your Cyber Monday shopping list.

Available through Barnes and Noble:

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

Many timeshare buyers do not even think about the contract they signed until after the rescission period has passed. Given that buyers are often not allowed onto the booking site until after the rescission period, the product the consumer bought is for the most part bought sight unseen and untried. Anything we can do shed light on these important rescission days could save the timeshare buyer untold grief and money, should they come to regret their purchase.

The Rescission Period     

The rescission period is the time allotted by local governments for consumers to review their purchase and legally cancel their timeshare. The length of time varies by state, but is typically three to ten days. In Aruba, and in some American states, there is no rescission period.

If the timeshare buyer cancels their purchase during the rescission period, the government requires timeshare companies to give purchasers a full refund of any monies they have received. There is nothing more frustrating for a sales team than to spend 6-8 hours making a sale that later cancels. Sales agents and their managers will do everything they can to prevent new owners from cancelling their timeshare purchase during the rescission period.

Here are 5 strategies that many timeshare resorts use to prevent new timeshare owners from cancelling during the rescission period.

  1.      Sales agents will avoid the rescission clause that is included in the documents.

Although the rescission clause is clearly written in the documents, many timeshare agents or Legal Verification Officers (VLO) will avoid mentioning this very important item. Many reps will discuss other matters to avoid the clause that outlines the rescission.

The resort’s management will not allow sales reps to mention the rescission period during the sale presentation.  Mentioning it could lead to disciplinary action or being fired.

This is how many timeshare sales reps avoid having their sales cancelled.

Most timeshare buyers will not review the paperwork during the rescission period. After a 6-8 hour grueling sales presentation, the last thing the new owner wants to do is review all the legal jargon included in the documents.  If the rescission period is not mentioned by the staff, too often the buyer is not even aware of it. In some states trial products have no rescission period.

Each state rescission period is listed in this chart provided by ARDA, the American Resort Development Association.  There have been more than a few complaints from timeshare members who were denied release, despite being only a half day late. Instructions on how to rescind are buried deep within the contract, and sometimes instructions are vague.

http://arda.org/uploadedFiles/ARDA/Government_Affairs/Government_Affairs_Call_Out_Boxes/RescissionPeriodsDec2012.pdf

  1.      They will follow-up to overcome Buyer’s Remorse

Photo by Samantha Hurley by Burst

It is important for the timeshare sales staff to keep in touch with their new clients shortly after the sale to prevent them from cancelling.  Most clients will have buyer’s remorse and reconsider their purchase after the buyer has taken the time to think about their purchase, research the company that they just spent $21,000 on (on average), to ensure that they did the right thing. For this reason, sales reps need to be available just in case the client wants to cancel. After all, it might have been a very expensive and unexpected purchase that was sold on emotion

According to a Redweek article, Dr. Amy Gregory, assistant professor at the University of Florida has been studying the impact of buyer regret and remorse and rescission decisions. She says that most timeshare buyers regret their decisions.

A whopping 85 percent of all buyers regret their purchase (for money, fear, confusion, intimidation, distrust and other reasons).”

Dr. Gregory’s findings are as follows:

  • The average rescission rate is 15% – essentially identical to the daily average percentage of people who buy a timeshare following a sales presentation.
  • 85% of all buyers regret their purchase, citing reasons including money, fear, confusion, intimidation, and distrust.
  • 41% of buyers never thought they would regret their purchase but ended up doing so; 30% were neutral prior to buying, but came to regret their decision.
  • 95% of all buyers go back to their resort and sales team for more information after the sale, usually within one to three days, seeking more information about maintenance fees, resale options, and pricing alternatives.

Some sales reps will treat their new owners out for a nice dinner to help “bond the relationship.”  This tactic works well as the new owners are getting to know the sales agent on a personal basis rather than as a sales person.  After all, the salesperson used their own money and time to take the new owners out for dinner. Why would they consider canceling with “their new friend?”

  1.      They will follow-up by phone.

If the new timeshare owners are on vacation some resorts will require the sale staff that made the sale to meet with the new clients the next day, or call them within 24 hours. This is to overcome buyer’s remorse, and to answer any questions or provide clarifications.  Often, the new owners forget the verbiage made during the presentation.

  1.      The resort may reduce the sales price.

If the new timeshare owners decide that they want to cancel, the resort can offer to reduce the price. Often this “second round” rendezvous could require another 2-3 hours of negotiations. Many take the bait and purchase at the lower price, or some keep the original agreement.  Unfortunately, the timeshare company may not change the original rescission period, and the new owners now have less time to reconsider their purchase.

Consumers need to be aware that the “today only” price will always be available the next day, week, month or maybe even years later.

  1.      The resort may offer more gifts.

If the resort offered gifts, there are hundreds or thousands of additional monies that was left on the table because the sale did not exceed their “bottom line” price.

If the new owners want to cancel, the management can offer more gifts to “sweeten the deal.”  These free gifts might include free accommodations, free meals, free activities, free or discounted RCI weeks or other options.

New owners must be aware of the new terms that might have entered the contract.  These terms could include paying rack rates for the free accommodations or paying the highest advertised prices for any gifts just in case they decide to cancel the deal. This action could add into the thousands of dollars if they decide to cancel.

Timeshare resorts will use every strategy that they can, including embarrassment and condescendence to keep the sale, but it’s the consumer’s final decision to end the relationship or move forward. Therefore, it is imperative to read all the documents thoroughly before signing, or present it to an attorney during the rescission period.

Wayne C. Robinson is the author of Everything About Timeshares:  Before, During and After The Sale. He is a former timeshare executive who is advocating with consumers to assist them their timeshares problems, and to help consumers better understand the timeshare business from an “insider’s” perspective.

For more information, visit his website at www.everythingabouttimeshares.com

Related article: About Wayne Robinson

http://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-from-america-21/

Self-help groups we feel are not industry influenced:

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

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

https://tug2.com/Home.aspx

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

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

https://www.facebook.com/groups/465692163568779/

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

Thank you Wayne for your contribution this week, it is certainly an eye opener.

If you have any questions or comments about this or any other article, then Inside Timeshare would love to hear from you. We hope that you have a great weekend and join us again next week.

The Tuesday Slot with Irene

Welcome to The Tuesday Slot, this week we publish another Veterans “Nightmare on Timeshare Street”, with the introduction by Irene Parker. As with many of the other articles published on Inside Timeshare this is a story from the Veterans own personal experience, these stories have become all too familiar with us at Inside Timeshare, not just from Veterans but also serving members of the armed forces and law enforcement. But first some other news.

It looks like Diamond Resort International have yet another legal action filed against them, this was filed by Labaton Sucharow LLP, on 23 July 2018, on behalf of their clients Local 705 International Brotherhood of Teamsters Pension Fund, under the Securities Exchange Act 1934.

Once again this is a Class Action lawsuit, which others who may be affected being invited to join, further details can be obtained from: www.labaton.com. (See link below).

https://globenewswire.com/news-release/2018/07/25/1542302/0/en/Labaton-Sucharow-LLP-Files-Securities-Class-Action-Lawsuit-on-Behalf-of-Diamond-Resorts-International-Inc-Investors.html

There is another new name has come up on the radar, Martinez Notarias with lady called Victoria Holmes contacting consumers who had dealings in the past with our old friends Ramirez and Ramirez. She claims that they can recover along with compensation what the consumer paid, now the worrying aspect is she knows exactly how much was paid, which only leads us to conclude that she is either working with Ramirez or has managed to get hold of all his old records. We actually believe that she is working with Ramirez.

She sends out to those interested Non Spanish residents tax exemption form, which is downloaded from the internet, once the form is completed it then has to be faxed not posted back. There is no website but there is an email [email protected] which is just a normal Gmail free account,  the telephone numbers being used are:

(+34) 603208693 Spanish mobile

Fax: 070 1197 2107 The code 070 is a personal number.

Personal numbers allow a person or businesses to give out a single phone number, then redirect their incoming calls to different locations as and when they choose. 070 numbers can also be used as temporary numbers. For example, somebody selling a car through classified adverts could set up an 070 number to receive enquiries then disable the number after the car has been sold, rather than publishing their real home or mobile number. So this is not a very good sign!

Another new “fake” Procurador has also been flagged, CARLOS RIHOM IGRAIM, with the website:

http://procuradores-igraim.com

The website was only registered on 25 June 2018 so is only just over a month old, yet according to the website they have been established since 1973 and have over 40 years experience. The email they use is [email protected] which again is not linked to the website but is another free email provider such as gmail or yahoo.

The address they give  Calle Yamun 23, Edif. Ifuami, Oficina 328D, Santa Cruz, 38009, Tenerife, when checking this address on google maps, guess what, nothing comes up!

It appears that this “Procurador” is also part of the Legalidades Abogados setup, (Litigious Abogados family). Remember unless you have instigated any legal action, any call to tell you that your timeshare company is about to be taken to court and you will be in for substantial compensation, it is all a lie, they are after your money and that is all.

Now for this weeks article.

Timeshares Affecting the Lives of our Veterans

Another Veteran Family

A Tahiti Village Timeshare Experience

July 31, 2017

Introduction by Irene Parker

Inside Timeshare reached out to Tahiti Village. I talked to a Tahiti reservation agent. He was very nice, explained Consolidated was bankrupt, and that we would need to contact Soleil Management as to their response to this article submitted by a Tahiti owner, who wishes to remain anonymous. The Tahiti agent took my information and said he would forward to Soleil.  We did not hear back.

By a Discouraged Tahiti Village Member

Inside Timeshare can forward comments to this Tahiti member requesting anonymity.

Nevada and the businesses and agencies operating within it have no intention to do anything about timeshare fraud, so I hope the court of public opinion will be more effective. Please Share my article on your Facebooks to let people know about timeshare business practices and to seek answers to questions you should ask before signing any timeshare contract. If you don’t, you may find yourself stuck in a timeshare trap as we are.

I am writing this article to let people know about our Tahiti Village timeshare experience. I hope to warn other people to ask the right questions, so they don’t find themselves saddled with a timeshare they can’t get rid of. We made our last payment December 2017. I last heard from Tahiti Village in April. We have always had good credit, but now, as seniors, we face foreclosure.

I retired from a ATT & T, so I understand customer service. Our experience with Tahiti customer service has been disappointing. When I wrote good comment cards, Tahiti would respond, but when I submitted our concerns, Tahiti ignored those comments.  

When searching the internet, I found this email address from a member seeking other members who wish to pursue a class action lawsuit against Tahiti Village:  [email protected]

https://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/tahiti-village-scam/las-vegas-nevada-89119/tahiti-village-scam-shannon-deceptive-sales-lies-and-misrepresentation-of-facts-l-1432118

Tahiti Village has a Better Business Rating of A+ despite two of two negative reviews.

https://www.bbb.org/southern-nevada/business-reviews/resort/tahiti-village-vacation-club-in-las-vegas-nv-77371/reviews-and-complaints?section=reviews&reviewtype=negative

We have been Tahiti Village timeshare members since 2008. We enjoyed our Tahiti experience for several years until 2015 when we were steamrolled into purchasing an upgrade. By 2012, things had changed. Once when we checked in, we discovered our unit was nasty, the carpets were worn, the couches ripped. One year there was a bad smell in the master room. They just sprayed deodorizer, which did not help. The next year the microwave did not work. As we were checking out they brought the microwave. This is what our maintenance fees are supposed to cover.

Pressure to upgrade ensued. After one presentation, we felt like we had been held hostage after a four hour sales. We ended up upgrading from a fixed to a floating week with RCI. Since then, many things have happened that have turned what was a bearable irritation into an unbearable nightmare. In addition to seeing the fees rise, we now realize we were pressured into purchasing a timeshare product that we never really wanted in the first place. It is a timeshare product not worthy of what we are paying.

My husband, a Navy veteran, served his country for 20 years. Our Armed Forces Vacation Club benefits far exceed this timeshare. We paid Tahiti our hard-earned money for a product that has never lived up to its billing and has been a source of much stress.

As we explored ways of getting rid of our timeshare, it became apparent that many things we were told were not true, including

  1.    The timeshare is an investment that would appreciate in value,
  2.    We would be entitled to tax breaks,
  3.    We could rent the timeshare to pay maintenance fees,
  4.    The timeshare would be easy to resell, assisted by Tahiti.

So, after 10 years of paying for a timeshare that we were told would appreciate in value, could be rented and could be sold for a profit, we are left disappointed and angry. You can sell a house, even with a mortgage, but it seems there is no way out of a timeshare trap.

At times I stayed at Tahiti without my husband. If he was not with me I was treated markedly poorer. I felt that this is because they would always try to upgrade us if we were staying there together. When my husband was not with me, the customer service was worse, and the rooms were of a lesser quality. If we had a problem, even when staying together, reception would tell us they would look into our concern without ever doing so. One time,I asked for a first floor room because my daughter was on crutches and we ended up with the furthest room on the fifth floor. It seemed the only time we were treated with respect was when they wanted more money. This has been a source of irritation through the years, but not enough to warrant action.

When I wrote directly to Tahiti Village Resort asking to be released from this timeshare, I received no reply. I wrote to Soleil Management. They told me that they were not responsible for any misrepresentations that may have happened at the presentations because they were carried out by Tahiti Village Resort and they were merely the managing agent. Tahiti Village Vacation Club also said they were not responsible for any wrongdoing.

I wrote to ASNY, who claimed to be the developer and seller of the resort, as well as the managing agent for Tahiti Village Vacation Club. They said they were not responsible for any complaints about the quality of our stay and we should contact Soleil Management. They then proceeded to give me the usual spiel about how I signed the contract and they were innocent of any wrongdoing perpetrated by the sales staff. They also said that because we had been customers for 10 years, we had no case so would no longer correspond with us. (Inside Timeshare comment: Where have we heard this before?)

According to Ripoff Report, Tahiti is also known as Consolidated Resorts but have learned Consolidated filed for bankruptcy protection:

https://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/tahiti-village-consolidated-resorts-soleil-llc/las-vegas-california-89145/tahiti-village-consolidated-resorts-soleil-llc-tahiti-village-soleil-management-awsuit-479999

Why is the length of time we owned the timeshare be relevant if we always believed our timeshare was an investment that could be sold if need be? It wasn’t until we wanted to get rid of the timeshare did we learn we had been lied to. If you are in a dead-end relationship and your partner decides to go one step further and punch you in the face after 10 years, should you have no recourse?

So far, we have filed a complaint with the BBB and had our complaint dismissed before any real dialog took place. The Nevada AG referred us to the Real Estate Division. We filed with the Real Estate Division, who said they could not help.

In my opinion, Nevada, and the businesses and agencies operating within it, have no intention to do anything about this so I’m hoping the court of public opinion will be more effective. Please share my article on Facebook to let people know about our Tahiti Village experience and to warn potential buyers to do their homework before buying any timeshare.

Comments from Irene

The public, especially the military, need to be aware that a decision to sign a timeshare contract means signing a contract in perpetuity, often with no secondary market. Maintenance fees have a tendency to increase, so the timeshare can easily become cost prohibitive, even when there is no loan outstanding. Attorneys General investigations and settlements are appreciated, but seem to be only financial speed bumps in the life of a timeshare company. There has been no federal enforcement.

When a timeshare has little to no secondary market, even if you spend $100,000 or more, there is a good chance you might not be able to sell it or even give it back. Scams abound, promising to get you out of your timeshare or your money back. A few of these companies are legitimate, but several readers have reported they did not receive their money back, even when the timeshare returned to the developer due to foreclosure.    

Inside Timeshare has received timeshare complaints from 63 active duty and retired military and law enforcement personnel. Some of the active duty members are concerned about losing their security clearance due to timeshare foreclosure.   

Whistleblowers of America is an organization dedicated to seeking justice for veterans and Active Duty military. WoA presented a Timeshare Advocacy Group™ report to a Joint Committee on Veterans Affairs March 14, 2018. We hope lawmakers will wake up and do something about this. If a timeshare member is helped by our efforts, we encourage a donation to Whistleblowers of America.

www.whistleblowersofamerica.org @whistleP2P

601 Pennsylvania Ave, Washington, D,C.

Statement of

Ms. Jacqueline Garrick, LCSW-C

Executive Director

Whistleblowers of America

Before the

Committees on Veterans’ Affairs

U.S. Senate

U.S. House of Representatives

March 14, 2018

Fraud and Scams Against Veterans:

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

Thank you to our Veteran for their story, they also wished to remain anonymous, also thanks to Irene for the hard work you put in to edit and write the introductions for many of these articles. In Friday’s Letter from America we will be publishing the Better Business Bureau Timeshare Report, which also has some very interesting recommendations to the industry.

If you have any questions, comments or even would like to have your experiences shared with others, then contact Inside Timeshare using our contact page.

Have you been cold called by a company offering any service from resale, claims or relinquishment, or even found one on the internet and want to know if they are genuine, then use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will point you in the right direction.

Remember doing you due diligence and homework will save you your hard earned cash.

Friday’s Letter from America

In this week’s Letter from America we welcome the first article from Ken Silva, with his Nightmare on Timeshare Street story. This is also made more complicated due to the involvement of Barclays, as this is considered as a separate agreement to the timeshare. But first we look at the news from Europe.

It has now been confirmed that the enterprises owned by Mark Rowe, are being investigated by South West Police, this follows the report at the beginning of January of the raids conducted by Trading Standards at several premises used by these companies. This followed after an investigation by the “Scambuster Team”.

The Police are contacting clients who either have lodged complaints with Trading Standards and the Police in the past, or from records seized in the raids. If you have had any dealings with any of his companies (a full list can be found at the link below), then contact:

South West Police ROCU. DC 4624 Katie Andrews. PO Box 37, Valley Rd, Portishead,Bristol. BS20 8QJ

Police ROCU UK

http://insidetimeshare.com/monster-credits-associated-companies-summary/

Could this now be the end to the Mark Rowe Enterprises?

If we thought that things could not get any stranger in the world of timeshare, then you would be wrong.

For now on with today’s Letter from America.

A Warning to Anyone Thinking About Buying a Timeshare

Our Diamond Resorts International nightmare

Fri Doh!

By Ken Silva

February 2, 2018

Timeshare Consumers, take my advice and do due diligence before buying a timeshare.

Protect your family. Do not get your family into the mess we are in. Do your research. There’s a reason there are so many timeshare members on Facebook and websites seeking to dump their timeshares. I’m sure there are sales agents selling the product honestly, but you decide about our sales agent after reading what happened to us. All you have to do to prove we are telling the truth is to get on our booking site and try to find a vacation based on what we were sold.

Attorneys General, please, do not dismiss our experience. We are fighting to get our money back, as we still owe $10,000 on a Diamond Resorts Barclaycard credit card. We hope to escape the “ironclad” STAY VACATIONED contract.  

Here’s what happened

saleman

In May of 2016 my wife and I purchased a Diamond Resorts International (DRI) Sampler (trial) package for $2,995 in Las Vegas.

Using our Sampler points we booked a stay at Diamond’s Ka’anapali Resort. We purchased 2,500 Hawaii Collection Diamond points for $13,000. Our sales agent was Karen Cossettee. Ms. Cossette told us we would be able to book one to three weeks of vacation anywhere. Our son Jacob, age 3, has a serious medical condition so we need to vacation close to home as we have to be near medical facilities. We had to cut both our Hawaii and Las Vegas trip short because our son experienced a medical emergency back home.

After we returned home, we got on the booking site, but found no locations meeting our requirements. About the only bookings you can get with 2,500 points are for places like Branson Missouri or Gatlinburg, maybe a one bedroom in Orlando. It is impossible to stay one to three weeks in a one bedroom in California near a major medical facility.  

Jacob has cerebral palsy. He has been diagnosed failure to thrive and is on a feeding tube. He requires 24/7 care and he is a case study at Stanford University Medical School. We cannot fly because of his condition. We booked Tahoe recently, but cancelled that trip because even Tahoe is too far.  

Using our Sampler points requires a sales presentation, so we booked a trip to

Las Vegas November, 2017. We stayed at DRI’s Cancun resort. There the Diamond sales agent, Davia Hunsicker said, “Hawaii lied to you! You can’t go anywhere on 2,500 points.” We were told Hawaii Collection points are expected to be slammed with assessments and 10-14% increases in maintenance fees because Hawaii is so expensive and subject to weather damages. However, in Hawaii they told us maintenance fees increase only 6%. They went on to explain that Hawaii was going to have a $1,000 plus assessment for damage to shores.  Ms. Hunsicker told us U S Collection maintenance fees increase only 2% on average.   

The Vegas agents told us the only way out of this situation was to move our Hawaii points to the US Collection and to do that we had to buy 4,500 points for $18,000 to own 7,000 U S Collection.

Like in Hawaii, we were shown several places we could stay that met Jacob’s needs. Again, when allowed on our booking site (again after the rescission period), it was a different inventory. I called DRI and reached a Platinum agent who said, “I’m with the Platinum desk. I can pull strings.” She found a desirable option, Pacific Grove in California. This was one of the locations we were shown in Vegas, only in our inventory it would require 22,000 points.

Timeshare companies can dodge the rescission period by not allowing access to the booking site until after the rescission period. In our case, I tried to log on two days after signing but was told my account was in escrow. The rescind period is seven to ten days, but it takes nearly 30 days before you can access the booking site.

DRI sales agents are so good at having all the answers and they will promise you the moon. Ms. Hunsicker also said we could get an extra 8500 “ghost” points that would upgrade us to Silver by saying we owned an RCI week. She instructed us to just nod to the QA person when they ask about RCI and we would be able to get the extra points, but not to say she told us because, “You might get me fired if they find out, but that way you’ll get another 8500 points.” She advised us to purchase an RCI week at Sam’s Club for $500 – $600 and then trade it in to Diamond for 8,500 points. She said with Silver benefits we could have food stocked and luggage forwarded. This was a tremendous benefit because of Jacob’s needs. However, when I read about these benefits the luggage benefit costs additional funds and the food service was not available at the Silver level.  

We asked about what would happen if we could no longer use the points and were told DRI will work something out and were informed DRI has a website where you can sell points. DRI points are virtually worthless on the secondary market.

We would have rescinded our contract immediately if I had been able to see that we could not use our points as promised. Diamond salespeople will offer their cell and promise to be available and act like they genuinely care about you (like ours did concerning Jacob), but then disappear after a few days of friendly texts.

I work for a faith based non-profit. We teach anti-bullying and leadership skills. Our credit score is over 800. I am 33 years old and my wife is 31, caring for our son’s severe medical issues. To think that timeshare companies allow these practices and hides behind the fine print is astonishing.

I published a review on Trust Pilot.

Reply from Diamond Resorts International

Published Monday, January 15, 2018

We regret to hear of your experience as we are known in being forthright and delivering top notch service. Please email us at [email protected] for further assistance.

My response to Diamond’s response

Edit: Diamond Resorts reached out, as seen below, however, they have not responded to my email to them as of 1/25/18. Also, they are not known for their top notch service. In fact, look on Facebook for the various groups of people who are in positions like mine, or the many other reviews on Trust Pilot. It often takes DRI 45 or more days to get back to you and many are ignored. When you call customer service, they tell you there’s not much they can do to help.

If Diamond was forthright and delivering top notch service, they would refund victims their money. I’m glad I have a background in Social Justice and Social Media.

I hope our pain will save others.

Notes from Irene

Since Ken submitted this article a week ago, Inside Timeshare received five more complaints directed against this same sales center, one against the same agent Ken complained about.  Especially in California, there have been complaints from Monarch owners of deeded weeks, coerced into giving up their deed and buy points, only to find out they did not have access to the week they had used and enjoyed for years.

http://www.monarchowner.com/p/opt-out.html

https://monarch-grand-vacations.pissedconsumer.com/lawsuit-against-monarch-grand-and-diamond-resorts-20150428628300.html

All timeshare resorts have non-member inventory that always guarantee non-members can spend the money but members often cannot find availability. Diamond is not the only resort with complaints like this. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman settled with The Manhattan Club for $6.5 million. Clearly, there is a problem industry wide.

https://ag.ny.gov/press-release/ag-schneiderman-announces-65-million-settlement-midtown-manhattan-timeshare-scammed

Timeshare deception and “bait and switch” is not a practice limited to Diamond, but in the case of DRI, licensed resale brokers will not even accept a Diamond listing. It’s bad enough if you can sell a timeshare if you were lied to, (often a timeshare is worth only pennies on the dollar), but with Diamond it is worse because it has been widely reported Diamond has virtually no secondary market. Try calling some of the members of the Licensed Timeshare Resale Brokers Association and see what they have to say.

http://www.licensedtimeshareresalebrokers.org/

ethics scale

We really do hope timeshare developers will work with us to stop predatory timeshare sales.

Thank you Ken and Irene for today’s article, it is with these stories that everyone becomes aware of what is happening, including the developers. Let us hope that they take note and start to change how they operate.

Inside Timeshare has just been informed from one of our German readers that Marriott is sending out emails to clients with the following statement (part of email translated from German):

An important commentary has been published in the press regarding letting restrictions on tourists (especially in the Balearics and in Catalonia) in 2017.
We would like to point out that MVCI Management, S.L. the only licensed company that has the right to rent properties in MVCI Resorts in Spain for themselves or their owners.
Weekly owners who rent their time-share weeks either by themselves or through third parties face fines of up to € 400,000.
Due to the complex nature of the legislation in question in Spain, we recommend that you obtain legal advice on your individual circumstances before renting your weeks outside the MVCI rental program.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call us or send an e-mail to [email protected]com.
Best regards,
Marriott Vacation Club
We will obviously bring you more on this as we get more information as and when we get it.

If you have any questions or require any information on this or any other article published, contact Inside Timeshare, we will be pleased to help and point you in the right direction.

So that is it for another week, Friday is upon us and the weekend beckons, have a good one.

friday-again

End of January Review

So that is the end of the first month of this year and what a month it has been, if this one is anything to go by then we are going to be in for a busy year. So let’s have a quick look at some of the main events.

We start with two stories published this week, the first is a quick update on the website of Worldwide Timeshares Unlimited.

Yesterday RCI thanked Inside Timeshare for reporting the use of their logo, they confirmed that it is being used illegally and their legal department had been informed. Today when checking the website the RDO and Expectations Holidays logo’s had been removed, unfortunately the Canarian Legal Alliance logo and copied news section are still showing. CLA have been informed.

It has also come to our attention that Antoni “Toni” Muldoon also has another website:

http://www.scam-busters.co.uk/

Supposedly to help people being scammed by the likes of him, one does have ask the question, is he the reformed character he makes out to be or is this just another way of getting your money?

spots

Regarding the Anfi letter to UK members and the use of the BBC program Rip Off Britain, we had the opportunity to see the program for ourselves, the “lawyer” named on the program was one Emilio Leyes Catillianos at the address Calle Duque de la Torre 29, 114, Santa Cruz, Tenerife, is the very same one that Inside Timeshare first reported back in July and September 2016.

That address is actually for the Oficina del Servicio de Atención Ciudadana, similar to the Citizens Advice Bureau.

CAB Arona

This particular “lawyer” was part of the Litigious Abogados setup, which is one of those Inside Timeshare provided evidence to CLA for their denuncia to the Guardia Civil in February 2017, (see link to CLA website to view a copy of the denuncia):

https://www.canarianlegalalliance.com/fraud-alert/

The sad thing is the program is too late to highlight this as the website has already gone and been replaced with many new names, the latest was published here on 8 January, Abogados Canarias, with the main “lawyer” named as one Manuel Cilavoz Varintos. I would say that their research team has a lot to learn or is the program just there for entertainment purposes?

Since the start of this year the US articles many written by Irene parker, has resulted in 38 complaints received by Inside Timeshare and dealt with by our US team (all volunteers). Since we began actually counting the number of complaints received at the end of 2016, the US team led by Irene has dealt with 291 complaints. Again what does the rest of the year hold in store?

Also at the beginning of the month we reported that Trading Standards had raided several offices of the Mark Rowe owned companies which include Sellmytimeshare.tv ABC Lawyers and his Monster Credits enterprise. We have now been informed that South West Police are contacting clients of his various companies, so it certainly looks like a major criminal investigation is taking place.

We are also still waiting to hear about the sentencing of Dominic and Stephanie O’Reilly of EZE Group, this was supposed to take place this month at Birmingham Crown Court.

Another article published this month was Spanish Timeshare Laws Simply Explained. This was in response to many enquiries from timeshare owners who had been contacted by various firms stating they had a claim, or their timeshare company was being taken to court and they could join in the case. The main point of the article was unless your timeshare was purchased in Spain you will not have any claim, it also pointed out that even if you did purchase in Spain your particular contract may be legal and therefore there is no claim.

Inside Timeshare also welcomed Lisa Ann Schreier with her first article. Lisa is a well known figure in the US, she is also the author of the book Timeshare for Dummies, we look forward to more contributions in the future.

lisa ann

These are just some of the stories published this month, we end with news just in from Canarian Legal Alliance.

It looks like they have had a tremendous start to the year as they announced that they have received favourable judgements in 14 cases against these resorts:

Anfi, Silverpoint, Puerto Calma, Palm Oasis and Diamond International.

These cases have been heard in various courts around Spain, ranging from First Instance, High Courts and Supreme Court. The latest being a Supreme Court ruling against Palm Oasis making the total figure for rulings from Spain’s highest court to 86!

The total amount awarded by the courts in these cases is staggering 267,224.25€ so there are some very happy ex-timeshare owners.

Inside Timeshare would like to thank all those who have contributed to all the articles this month and all the readers who have supplied some of the information which has helped in the research.

Again if you have any questions about any of the articles published or need any help in determining if the company you may be thinking of doing business with is legit, contact Inside Timeshare and we will point you in the right direction.

The Tuesday Slot with Irene

Welcome to another Tuesday Slot with Irene, this weeks article is the first of a series which will cover some useful tips on how and who to file a complaint with, but as usual a quick look at Europe.

beware

Yesterday Inside Timeshare published an article about Worldwide Timeshares Unlimited based in Lowestoft Suffolk, with the website

https://www.timeshares-unlimited.com/

Registered to the “infamous” Antoni “Toni” Muldoon.

On the website they show 4 logo’s, RDO, RCI, Expectations Holidays and Canarian Legal Alliance, according to the website they claim to work closely with CLA, even having “cut & paste” copies directly from the CLA news section.

Inside Timeshare has had confirmation from the RDO, Expectations Holidays and Canarian Legal Alliance that they have no knowledge or ties with the said company or website. RCI have also been informed, but as yet no reply has been received, but it is safe to assume that they have not given any permission for their logo to be used.

This just goes to show that you cannot believe what you see or read on the internet, just because a website shows a logo or states they work closely with a company or organisation that it is true. Always do your homework, check any company fully before engaging in business, check that their claims to work with or are affiliated with others is genuine.

It would also appear that Anfi is once again on the offensive, this time they have been sending out emails to UK members regarding a recent BBC TV program Rip Off Britain. In this program they travelled to Tenerife to investigate a “fake” law firm, one that Inside Timeshare has been investigating and reporting about for the past 2 years.

Although this is laudable, it is the tone of the email that is the problem, rather than actually naming the “fake” law firm, it has been left open and vague, giving the impression that all law firms dealing with timeshare claims are not genuine.

It is obvious from past emails from the CEO José Luis Trujillo, that the aim is to discredit the Arguineguin law firm Canarian Legal Alliance. These lawyers have been instrumental in securing 84 Supreme Court rulings against various timeshare companies, with 39 against Anfi alone.

On the point of the “fake” law firm in Tenerife, Inside Timeshare was asked to provide CLA with any evidence it possessed, to augment their own, as some of their clients had been contacted by this Tenerife outfit. Our evidence along with that from CLA was then handed to the Guardia Civil along with a denuncia, this is now under investigation.

It has also been a little quiet at the courts so far with only one sentence being reported, once again Anfi are the culprits.

The Court of First Instance in Maspalomas declared another Anfi members contract null and void, ordering that over 55,000€ which also includes a double deposit be returned to the client, the court also awarded legal interest.

It does make you wonder who is telling the truth, Inside Timeshare leaves you the reader to decide based on the evidence presented.

truth meter

Now on with this weeks article from Irene Parker.

Timeshare Tips

Due to an Escalation in Volume and Criminal Nature of Complaints

White collar

By Irene Parker

January 28, 2018

IT Timeshare Tips #1

Inside Timeshare has received an astonishing number of reader complaints. Since January 1, 38 timeshare members have contacted us. Since we began counting late 2016, 291 complaints. The majority voice allegations that clearly meet the FBI definition of white-collar crime, Financial Institution Fraud.

https://www.fbi.gov/investigate/white-collar-crime/mortgage-fraud

Timeshare members should only contact the FBI if the allegations are of a serious nature. For example, “They promised me a cruise, but when I went to book it, it cost $1,000” is not a serious enough allegation. A free cruise that turns out not to be free is a frequent complaint, but would be best reported to the Better Business Bureau in the form or a complaint or a review.

Here is an example of a complaint that has been reported to the FBI and to BBB:

We were sold vacation points fraudulently by XXX sales agent SXXX MXXX Jan 2017 at GBO Resort. We went to a sales presentation. We met with sales agent S M, and told him our biggest complaint was the maintenance fees. Mr. M told us if we bought 3000 more points, to get to 5000 points, we would become Highest Loyalty Level members and we would be able to sell back points to pay maintenance fees at $.50 per point.

Criminal Complaint #1: The Highest Loyalty Level requires 50,000 points

Criminal Complaint #2: There is no program to sell back points to pay maintenance fees

He said, “You do this at the end of the year”

Criminal Complaint #3: By telling the victim to wait until the end of the year, and by not allowing access to the booking site until after the contract rescission period, the agent and/or company can dodge the rescission period.

He said this would be enough to pay all our maintenance fees.

This was what really sold us on the program.

Mr. M also said beginning in January of 2018 there would be a “cash out” option where XXX Timeshare Company would offer to buy our timeshare if we were not happy, we would probably take a loss, but we would be free and clear.

Criminal Complaint #4: There is no buy-back program

Thank you for using the Better Business Bureau’s Online Complaint System.

busted

As this is an active complaint, we will not publish the name of the timeshare member, the timeshare company, or the sales agent, to give the company a chance to make this victim whole again.

Most importantly, do not respond to anyone who private messages you, calls or emails offering to help you get out of your timeshare. Contact Inside Timeshare or your Facebook admin if you are contacted. Teams have been established to gather information to make a determination as to whether the company is legit. Most are not.

There is no federal enforcement other than timeshare advocacy groups. State enforcement is spotty at best. Contact Inside Timeshare or one of these U S advocacy groups we know not to be industry influenced.

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

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

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

https://tug2.com/Home.aspx

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

https://www.facebook.com/groups/465692163568779/

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

Thank you to Irene and all those who proofread and edit the drafts, this article should prove to be very helpful to many of our US readers.

If you require any information about this or any article published, or just need help to decide who to trust and how to check them out, contact Inside Timeshare and we will point you in the right direction.

Remember to do your homework and stay safe.

calm homework

Start the Week: Important Consumer Warning

In May 2016, Inside Timeshare published a story about one of the most “Infamous” operators in the timeshare “Resale Scam” industry, Toni Muldoon.

Muldoon operated on the Costa del Sol for years with a number of companies mainly in the timeshare resales sector. One of these was Platinum Properties, which I have personal experience of, as this was the company which introduced myself to the murky world of timeshare.

toni muldoon

He was eventually jailed for 2 years by the Spanish authorities, this was eventually suspended, he was also ordered to repay the paltry sum of around £438,000. Whether this was paid no one knows.

Muldoon then ended up in the UK, operating in Suffolk, he set up an “Escort agency” fleecing girls to join. They apparently never got any work, around 14,000 fell for this scam.

At the same time he was operating a “debt” elimination scam, which for an upfront fee of around £2,000, with upwards of 3,000 people falling for it. According to Trading Standards around 92% of these never received any service whatsoever.

He was again investigated and charged and in 2013 he received a 7 and a half year prison term, with the order to return over £750,000 being given 6 months to pay or face a further 4 years.

Muldoon was due for release with parole at the end of 2016, so that now brings us to a very disturbing fact, it looks like he is back to his old ways.

 

Another company has just come to our attention, Worldwide Timeshares Unlimited, with the  website:

https://www.timeshares-unlimited.com

This website was registered on 19 February 2016 to Antoni Muldoon with an address in Croydon. So it would seem that this scheme was being hatched even before his release from jail.

There are no entries at Company House for either of the two names and the director check for Antoni Muldoon only brings up a defunct entry for a previous company.

The address for Worldwide Timeshares Unlimited is

11 Cornerways

12 Kensington Road

Lowerstoft

Suffolk

NR33 0HY 

 cbk

(The Spelling of Lowestoft in the address is not our spelling, that is taken directly from the website).

Telephone numbers are:

Buyers:       UK: 01502534622

Mon – Fri 9.30 – 20:00

Sellers :       UK: 07716737960

Mon – Fri 09:30 – 18:00

All other Enquiries :  UK: 07495309393

The websites home page starts with “Welcome to Worldwide Timeshares  Unlimited®- Europe’s leading timeshare resale company.”

So the main focus of the business is sales and resale, the worrying aspect is they show the Logos for the RDO, Canarian Legal Alliance, RCI and Expectations Holidays, which is a new RCI points club from Worldwide Timeshare Hypermarket.

According to the About Us section they state: “We work closely with Canarian Legal Alliance, Canarian Legal Alliance is a new innovative law firm which provides a comprehensive range of services to international clients wishing to pursue legal disputes in Spain.”

CLA Logo

The website also has a section dedicated to Canarian Legal Alliance, this is made up of  exact copies (cut and paste) of the entries that CLA have on their News section on their own website.

This only leads us to believe the sales and resale side is just a ruse to try and “cash in” on the growing claims market.

Inside Timeshare has spoken with Canarian Legal Alliance and they have stated they have no knowledge of this company and are most definitely not working with them. They have not given permission for their logo, news items or name to be used.

So if this is the case with CLA, what about the use of the logos for RDO, RCI and Expectaions Holidays, we can only assume at this point they also have not given any permission to use them. As for the RDO, they have been contacted and we are waiting a response. One thing is certain, unless you are a member of the RDO then no permission will have been given to use it.

Inside Timeshare warns all our readers to always check the validity of any company they intend to deal with, if they claim they are working with another firm especially a law firm check that fact as well.

If you have had any contact with or from this new “Muldoon” enterprise contact Inside Timeshare with your story. It will help to warn others.

Below are links to the original article and news items surrounding Toni Muldoon and his exploits:

http://insidetimeshare.com/toni-muldoon-duping-innocent/#more-545

http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/article-1387056/Timeshare-crookToni-Muldoon-pleads-guilty.html

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/bogus-dating-agency-gang-finally-2060931

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-suffolk-30554942

homework

Since publishing the RDO have confirmed that the use of their logo is illegal as no permission has been given.