Welcome to this weeks edition of our Letter from America, today we welcome a new contributor, David M, with his “Nightmare on Timeshare Street” experience with his purchase of Carriage Hills Resort. The introduction is by our very own Irene Parker. This is the second article in a series highlighting the problems received by Inside Timeshare from some very concerned and in some cases elderly owners. So far we have received around 124 emails all telling a very similar story. The question is how do these timeshare operators get away with this despicable behaviour? Well, the answer to that is SIMPLE GREED!
As we were about to publish we received a response on behalf of Carriage Owner David from the CanadianVOA. It is their intention to investigate David’s complaint. It is our hope this horrific timeshare tragedy can be resolved, and that the burdensome plight of all Carriage Resorts owners, taken to court for past due maintenance fees, can be resolved for the betterment of all
The Tragedy for Wyndham’s Carriage Hills Resorts Owners, their
Children and Grandchildren held Timeshare Hostage
By David M, a Carriage Hills Owner
August 23, 2019
Introduction by Irene Parker
Over 1,000 families have contacted me through Inside Timeshare, expressing their frustration over predatory, unfair and deceptive timeshare sales practices. Foreclosure is demoralizing, especially for seniors in their 60s, 70s and 80s with high credit scores. By far, Wyndham’s Carriage Hills and Carriage Ridge delinquency policy, taking owners and their heirs to court over past due maintenance fees, surpasses any timeshare tragedy we have encountered thus far. Buyers report being told the timeshare was like real estate, therefore easy to sell.
Imagine what would happen to the primary housing market, if we learned the house we live in could not be sold. Especially a house we were told we had to buy the same day we looked at it, not allowed even 24 hours to consider a major purchase. Some timeshares cost as much as a primary residence.
Last Friday we published a follow-up article to an article I wrote about Legacy Resort owners not being allowed out of fully paid for timeshares. Legacy resorts are single-site timeshares. One of the Legacy owners mentioned in the article is Simon, a Canadian resident who purchased at Wyndham’s Carriage Hills resort in Ontario. After the article was published, I received over 124 emails from other Wyndham Carriage Hills and Carriage Ridge owners, astonished by Wyndham and Carriage Resorts draconian policy of taking owners delinquent on maintenance fees to court, suing not only ageing parents but their children and grandchildren as well.
Inside Timeshare prides itself on being the voice for the voiceless, competing against timeshare lobbyists and developers who proclaim there are no problems with timeshare today. On Tuesday we published the first 30 of over 124 Wyndham Carriage Hills and Carriage Ridge complaints.
Today, Carriage owner David presents his story describing anger and grief, protesting unfair debt collection practices. I don’t understand Canadian estate law, but in the U.S., rarely is an heir required to take on the burden of a parent’s unwanted timeshare. I’m not an estate planning lawyer, but I found this RedWeek post from a practising estates lawyer:
To all those inquiring about your heirs being saddled with this albatross: I have been a practising estates lawyer in NY for nearly 50 years. The information given to you by Laura (I believe her name was) was basically correct: your beneficiary cannot be “forced” to inherit (and therefore have to pay for maintenance etc.) for the timeshare. The legal route is to execute a disclaimer within 9 months after death, and make sure that you do NOT accept the timeshare by using it or otherwise indicating acceptance (e.g., trying to sell it as if you own it). However, each state has its own laws as to how one disclaims. ……Note though: the (resort) can then also disclaim it, so there are some further fine points legal steps that must be implemented in your Will or trust to deal with that possibility. But most definitely your heirs are NOT bound to accept the timeshare and make the payments if a proper disclaimer strategy is included in your estate planning documents.
Steven W on May 02, 2017 06:01 PM.
The Heir Scare published Halloween 2018
Our Wyndham Carriage Hills Experience by David M
Our nightmare was and continues to be just that. We purchased one week in the early 2000s and we were told, like so many others, resale would be no problem. We were forced to buy a second unit because they said things were changing, and if we didn’t have two weeks, we wouldn’t be able to exchange into other resorts. We later learned this was not true.
Five or six years ago our daughter came into financial ruin after a divorce. She had two young children. We had no choice but to support her. This went on for years and nearly ruined us. I spoke to the then president of our HOA to find out the consequences of not paying maintenance fees. I was told calls from Shell Collections would occur. Next, our files would be sent to outside collections, followed by foreclosure. They said the process would take about eight months. We also called Shell Vacation Club as they had acquired Carriage Hills. All said this would be the process followed.
After a great deal of thought and worry, we had no choice but to become delinquent and have our credit rating ruined. All the processes described by the Carriage Hill’s Association President and managers from Shell were followed. We received numerous calls. Everyone understood our financial issues. I returned every call I received. After seven months we received letters from the outside collection company saying that because of no payment arrangements, the files would be closed and sent to foreclosure. I have those letters in my notes and file.
We never heard anything for 14 months – no calls, no letters. Then, all of a sudden, after 14 months, we received a notice threatening court saying we owed 10,000 in fees and penalties.
We were devastated, to say the least. I called SVC managers and everyone I could think of. I was told that never, never, never, would there be hard collections, court proceeding, no garnish of wages, just foreclosure. This is what I had been told, but no. Carriage Hills changed their bylaws after we believed our accounts had been closed. We had lived believing it was over for almost two years. We couldn’t afford maintenance fees, let alone courts costs, so we had no choice but to try to come up with the money. We called Wyndham Ovations (voluntary surrender program), but were told Carriage Hills and Carriage Ridge did not qualify for voluntary surrender. They could not say why.
I sent two emails with copies of all my conversations with everyone I spoke to – Wyndham’s president, and Carriage Hill’s president, stressing fairness principles being broken. No one cared. The Wyndham president never even acknowledged my emails.
The perpetuities issue, given there is no secondary market, is ruining ageing owners who were told resale would not be an issue. Does Wyndham and Carriage Hill truly believe ruining everyone’s retirement years with worry and creating nightmares for executors trying to close the estates of Shell Owners, is the way to treat people?!
In addition to all this heartache, my wife, 74 years old, fell two years ago and broke her pelvis. She is learning to walk again. She uses a cane, can’t walk any distance, can’t carry anything while she walks, and certainly can’t travel any distance without great agony.
All Wyndham and Carriage have to do are to take back the ones who need out, resell, and make a bunch of new cash, but no, messing with old people’s lives seems to be their goal.
Again, I have notes from every person I spoke to since we decided to not to pay fees, as well as letters from collections saying files would be closed.
I have so much more to include but I have been trying to keep it short.
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Thank you David for your contribution and also a very big thank you to Irene, who although on vacation has continued to work on these articles and answering questions from those who have contacted Inside Timeshare.
What is so sad is that timeshare is suppossed to provide memorable experiences and wonderful holidays, but all we seem to be finding is that it is turning into nothing more than a “Nightmare on Timeshare Street”.
Have a great weekend and join us again next week.