Today’s article just happens to coincide with a rather important day in the USA, it is the inauguration of Donald Trump as President of the United States of America, so what has this to do with timeshare?
Well it is actually quite simple for those in Scotland, back in 2008 there were some very heated debates over Mr Trump’s plan to build an 18 hole golf course and resort in Balmedie Aberdeenshire. This met with considerable resistance from the local people, but eventually Trump won through.
The original plan was to build a 450-room hotel, a second golf course, 500 luxury homes and 900 timeshare apartments along with a second 18 hole golf course. In a recent article in The Guardian newspaper these plans now intend to double the number of homes and timeshare apartments.
According to The Independent Newspaper there appears to be a conflict of interest, although Mr Trump or should we say President Trump, has stated that his company will do “no new foreign deals” during his presidency. But as The Independent puts it he has left this “new” and “deals” open to interpretation.
The Independent article goes even further, it also brings in the fact this proposed expansion coincides with the need for the UK to negotiate a trade deal with the US after the Brexit vote. As The Independent puts it “who would deny a permit to the President of the United States?”
Well, we in the UK and especially those people in Aberdeenshire will just have to wait and see.
In Irene Parker´s article she explains the US side to the question what will happen under the Trump Presidency and the effect to owners.
Links to the Independent and The Guardian articles.
Attorneys General and Timeshare under Trump
By Irene Parker
January 17, 2017
There are a couple of movements under way in America, so why should Timeshare be different? Timeshare owners who have been victimized by rogue sales agents are as far apart from the actions of timeshare developers and lobbyists as Trump is from Bernie. Through covert action, timeshare owners have circumvented laws developers supported to jokingly protect our privacy, and began to contact each other. What we have learned from each other’s experiences is shocking.
Four Attorneys General have taken action to protect timeshare consumers and prospective buyers. Noticeably absent from this list is Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, considering Florida is a timeshare mecca center. The timeshare developer lobby organization ARDA will be quick to point out Bondi’s effort to shut down fraudulent timeshare resale scams – vibrant due to little or no secondary market for owners seeking to sell their timeshare. Bondi explains on a FOX Bob Massi Property Man segment:
Resale scam artists are like squirrels. Take out two and four more will arise tomorrow. I received two calls just this week. Of course shutting down 41 fraudulent resellers is a good thing, but did this just clear out the clutter for developers to have a clear path to “legitimate” transfer agents.
When a timeshare company refuses a request to surrender a timeshare contract, never fear! The beleaguered owner can go to a transfer agency with good names but questionable business practices like Redemption and Release and Resort Release. For sometimes as much as $5000 or more, transfer agents will offer a guaranteed “deed-back”, if legitimate, then bundle 25 to 50 contracts and sell back to the developer. Sound similar to the sub-prime mortgage business? It is.
So what does this have to do with Politics?
Pam Bondi made headlines with her handling of the Trump University investigation after asking and receiving a $25,000 donation.
There has been a noticeable shift in lobby efforts. Extravagant events designed to curry favor for legislative efforts used to be directed towards politicians and lawmakers. That’s changed. More and more, campaign contributions, lobby sponsored conferences and events are aimed at Attorneys General like Pam Bondi, as pictured, and reported by the New York Times:
However, efforts to influence politicians have not gone unrewarded. Timeshare owners and advocates were outraged over timeshare laws passed in 2015 making it more difficult for timeshare owners to be released from contracts.
Attorneys General working for us:
Other Attorneys General have come down on the side of timeshare owners, including:
Diamond Resorts default rate is the highest in the industry. The rate has increased to 19% over 13% from the prior year, according to National Mortgage News. Diamond credits this to lawyers targeting owners. I like to think of it being caused by owners talking to other owners.
So what side of the political fence stands the timeshare developer? Pictured to the left of our new President, the King of Versailles and owner of Westgate timeshare David Siegel:
Thank you to Inside Timeshare for providing a forum that now reaches from England to Australia and to our Diamond member sponsored Facebook page:
Inside Timeshare hope that this article has explained to our European readers the problems that US timeshare owners face, and what it may mean to them in the future. Your comments to this article are more than welcome.
If you have any questions about any company that you may be thinking of dealing with or have been contacted by, contact Inside Timeshare and we will find the answers for you.