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Wyndham’s Ovation

Friday’s Letter from America

Welcome to this weeks edition of our Letter from America, today Inside Timeshare highlights another Wyndham Carriage HillsNightmare on Timeshare Street” story. Carriage Owner Jeannie is not the only senior suffering severe hardship, held hostage in an eternal timeshare contract. Wyndham’s Carriage Resorts even holds heirs that did not sign the contract liable for their parent’s timeshare. Timeshare owners worldwide were told timeshares are easy to sell since they are deeded real estate. Given this false promise, holding seniors hostage is not only unfair and deceptive, it is also cruel. Wyndham can certainly afford to treat these owners fairly. Stock investors surely cannot feel good about tactics employed to please Wall Street. Canada is not only America’s neighbour, but Canada is also part of North America.  

PARSIPPANY, N.J., February 13, 2019Wyndham Hotels & Resorts (NYSE: WH) today announced results for the three months and year ended December 31, 2018. Highlights include:

  • Revenues increased 69% compared with fourth-quarter 2017, to $527 million.
  • Net income was $43 million for the quarter; adjusted net income was $57 million, a 50% increase over the prior-year quarter.

The Tragedy of Wyndham’s Carriage Hills and Carriage Ridge Resort

A NOOSE AROUND MY NECK!

By Jeannie, a Carriage Owner

Ending comments by Irene: My two favorite timeshares!

August 30, 2019

Dear Irene,

Please forward my letter to CVOA, the Canadian timeshare advocates, and to Mr. Jason Gamel, Senior Vice President of Legal at Wyndham, due to our medical hardship. The harm that Wyndham and Carriage Resorts are causing families is unforgivable, especially for those of us experiencing medical hardships. To think we are treated as such, just because we happened to purchase a Wyndham timeshare in Canada, is appalling. 

I want to share how desperate my husband and I have been to get rid of our Carriage Ridge timeshare. Purchasing Carriage Ridge led to many unwise decisions that took place before and after my stroke in our attempt to get out from underneath this impossible financial burden. We bought at Carriage Ridge in October of 2003 for $13,326. We should have cancelled the contract the day after we signed, but we were dealing with my husband’s heart condition. My husband was admitted to the hospital with Cardiomyopathy Stage 4, just after we agreed to purchase.

On December 26, 2004, we used Carriage facilities to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. We attended a meeting where we were introduced to Shell Vacation Club. We paid $13,620 to convert to points.

By 2014, I was desperate to exit the timeshare. In January of 2014, I paid a timeshare exit company $1,198 in the U.S. to help us. I cannot be specific with the name, as eventually, they refunded my money after I complained to the U.S. Better Business Bureau.

On October 15, 2016, I suffered a Thalamic Stroke. I am in constant pain on my right side and my blood pressure has been as high as 195/100. My memory has been greatly affected, from spelling, completing tasks, anxiety, depression, etc. I had to leave work in July 2017. Now the only income I have is CPP Disability and my husband is on CPP and OAS.

In October 2017 I went to a Sheraton Flex Vacation presentation. I was assured that I would be better off getting rid of Carriage Ridge by buying into Flex Timeshare. They told me about Wyndham’s Ovation program and gave me papers explaining how to apply. I gave Flex Vacation a deposit of $1,147.50 U.S.

As soon as we arrived home, we had no peace about this purchase. My husband was experiencing pain which required a hernia operation. We wrote immediately to both our sales reps and to the head office asking to terminate the sale. I was a few days late. They refused. The sales team didn’t explain all the fees, and they were not educated about Wyndham’s Ovation program not being available to Canadians.

I wrote to the Better Business Bureau about Flex Vacation, to no avail. Sheraton Flex Vacation then offered a way out, so six months later I completed the paperwork. I had a lawyer in Canada witness our signature, but Sheraton said I needed to go to the U.S. Consulate or to a U.S. lawyer to have them witness my signature. How ridiculous. I had been out enough money. I continued to receive monthly invoices, threatening letters and phone calls. That stopped after they foreclosed. It took from November 2017 to March 2019 to end that nightmare. They were liars or uninformed about Ovations.

Okay, so still desperate to be rid of my Carriage Ridge timeshare, I went to Mexico in February 2018 and ended up buying into a Vacation Plan that would require only paying maintenance fees when we used their facilities. I’m not at liberty to say which company, as they returned half our money, after I complained on Facebook and other places. Part of the issue was that they had put me in touch with TRM, assuring me of the sale of Carriage Ridge. I even received the paperwork. I contacted Carriage Ridge for my deeds and explained what was happening, only to be informed the sale wouldn’t be granted by our Board of Directors/Wyndham Club, as it was a company buying, not a person. How discouraging. 

Bottom line: DON’T TRUST ANYONE WHO SAYS THEY CAN SELL CARRIAGE HILLS/RIDGE.

I contacted the Wyndham staff at Carriage Ridge, as well as our Board of Directors saying we are not able to continue paying the increased fees. I was told I will be sued if I stop paying. I received a letter from Derek Beaudoin, Canadian ICR Ltd, a collection agency. Finally, I paid $1,325.11 and was hit with an additional fee. I asked if this could be waived. This was the reply I received from Derek.

Mrs. B,

The resort has received your e-mail (below) and forwarded it to us to respond.  The Home Owners Association will not be waiving any of the remaining balance, $341.26.

Please be aware your arrears continue to accrue interest at $0.28/day.

I wrote again, explaining my health and financial situation. Below is the email I received from Nanci Shepard, Chairman of our Board of Directors on February 22, 2019. The least Nanci could have done was not say they were very sorry for my health. If they were sorry they would not continue this financial elder abuse, especially since buyers were told they were buying deeded real estate, so no problem selling. 

Hi Jeannie,

After a lengthy discussion with my fellow board members, we have unanimously decided to NOT waive your late fees. We are very sorry for your health and personal issues but as you state you have been an owner for 15 years so you are well aware that we put these policies in place for a reason.

We are responsible to make sure the resort runs to above industry standard and we count on every owner to pay their maintenance fees in a timely manner in order for us to do just that.

There will be no further discussions on this matter and we will wait until Derek advises us you are paid and back in good standing.

Nanci

I wrote and told them they were heartless. I have to take my blood pressure daily. My family physician asked why it fluctuates so much, as high as 160/80 recently. I told him it was because of the financial burden and nightmare this timeshare has become. He has warned me the next stroke might be fatal. This timeshare is like having a noose around my neck. No one in my family wants it. My adopted son suffers from mental illness and lives on ODSP so he can never afford this.

Wyndham and our Board of Directors have really messed us up.

We believed false promises. Ongoing yearly increases for Maintenance Fees, Member Fees, Exchange fees, on top of our original investment, have really added up throughout the years. We were never told how much we would be out of pocket. We were told we owned Gold weeks, and if I return to weeks, it would be Red (whatever that means). I haven’t been able to book around our December 28 wedding anniversary the last couple of years through Shell Vacation Club. For the first time ever, I didn’t pay our Shell Vacation Club fees, so had to pay late fees. Membership fees don’t cover much.  

There have been so many changes that our heads are spinning. To sum this up, there is no longer a sales office, our maintenance fees more than doubled in 15 years, late fees 30% in my case, suing delinquent owners, there is no Ovation program, non-owners pay less to rent units, rules change without our knowledge, we pay the Wyndham staff, they make it hard to sell, our kids are being forced to inherit a timeshare, and leadership changed. NOOSE AROUND MY NECK.

Wyndham should offer all of us that need out release if we have no mortgage. We want out. I don’t want my executor having to deal with this when I pass away.

Sincerely,

Jeannie B

Comments by Irene

Thank you to Jeannie for her story. Jeannie is one of 127 Carriage Hills and Carriage Ridge owners to reach out to Inside Timeshare, expressing alarm over unreasonable and irresponsible corporate behaviour. It is our hope Wyndham and Carriage will work with these owners to salvage a resort that by all accounts could be a nice place. 

My husband and I just returned from a timeshare we purchased in 1983. Maui Hill at Maui Lea has a resale department. Hoping to get a better price, I listed it with Tom Tubbs at Island Consulting Realty, a member of the Licensed Timeshare Resale Broker Association. LTRBA members charge nothing upfront to sell timeshares that are blessed with a glimmer of a resale market. Our daughter expressed alarm, explaining that having moved so often, Maui Hill offered the only stability in her life. She graciously gave us this past week in appreciation.

We also purchased at a timeshare at Osage Beach in the Missouri Ozarks in 1984. I called Port Elsewhere and talked to the manager I had gotten to know over the years about taking the timeshare back. We are getting up in age as well. She responded, “Yeah, we had a board meeting. We decided we can’t hold hostage, loyal owners who have faithfully paid maintenance fees for decades. I’ll send you something to sign.” It was one page. We are out after warehousing decades of wonderful Ozark memories. To avoid a special assessment one year, owners donated vacuum cleaners.


Port Elsewhere

The Wyndham Carriage debacle should not be unsolvable.  

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

New: 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 Jeannie for your contibution and also thanks to Irene for your ending comments. These stories are becoming all to commonplace, not just for Wyndham but many other timeshare companies. The perpetual contracts being referred to are illegal in Spain, contracts must be no longer than 50 years in duration and even if the members pass away their children are not obliged to take them over. Spain recognised that it would be inherently unfair to burden the children with a contract which they had no part in signing.

If you have a story of your own and would like to share this with others, then Inside Timeshare would like to hear from you. Use our contact page and get in touch.

Have a great weekend and join us again next week.

Friday’s Letter from America on Thursday

Welcome to Friday’s Letter from America on Thursday, yes that is correct, we are publishing a day early as we are travelling to the US on Friday.

Inside Timeshare is visiting our American colleagues, with Irene and Don meeting me at Orlando airport, while there we have arranged to meet with several attorneys including America’s very own Timeshare Crusader Lisa Ann SchreierWe will also be meeting many other people and hopefully having a few cold beers.

beer

Inside Timeshare is also pleased to announce a new collaboration, for sometime CLA International based in Dubai, has been getting their website up and running. They have been following the articles published on Inside Timeshare and have asked if we would run their news section.

They wanted an independent voice rather than their own take on things, Inside Timeshare has agreed to supply those articles, so many of the articles regarding international timeshare news we publish will be posted on their website. These will be from the many contributors who are now writing for Inside Timeshare. We also hope to add more from the following areas:

India (Goa), Thailand and the surrounding Asian area, Australia, Mexico, Central and South America, we welcome any contributor who would like to publish their experiences, news and views on the world of timeshare. You can contact us via our contact page or direct to [email protected]

contribute

Update from Europe

Once again, Inside Timeshare has heard from another reader who found our articles on the Litigious Abogados family, namely Amador Galeca Abogados.

The reader had a call regarding their timeshare at Royal Sunset Beach, with  Mr X again being named as the director being taken to court with all his personal property and assets being seized. For a sum of just under 1000€ they could be part of the case.

The reader then made a bank transfer, but then decided to check out the name of Mr X, finding our previous article. When the reader contacted us we explained how the scam operates, they immediately informed their bank and the bank is now trying to stop the transaction.

The reader explained that when her husband became too ill to travel Royal Sunset actually took back the timeshare, so they no longer owned. Because of this there would not be any basis for a claim in any court.

This story just goes to show once again, before you pay any money, check who you are dealing with. Hopefully the readers bank was informed in time to stop the money being transferred.

stop think proceed

We started the week with verdict from the courts against Palm Oasis (Tasolan), the following day the Supreme Court ruled on another case against Silverpoint in Tenerife, that made 64 rulings from this court on timeshare. In this case the court again declared the contract null and void, awarding over £99,000 plus a double deposit of £6,082 including legal fees and legal interest.

Then yesterday Wednesday 4 October the High Court in Tenerife ruled once again against Silverpoint and awarded over 67,000€ plus legal fees and interest to the client. This was then followed by the news the Supreme Court had just issued another sentence against Silverpoint, bringing the total number of cases won at this court by Canarian Legal Alliance to 65.

Now on with Irene’s article where she recounts our first meeting and her visit and interview with Canarian Legal Alliance. We have certainly moved on since that first meeting.

Canarian Legal Alliance and Inside Timeshare

The meeting of minds

Irene with CLA
Irene Meeting with CLA Staff Sept 2016

By Irene Parker

October 5, 2017

We are judged by the company we keep, so shortly after submitting my first article to Inside Timeshare my husband and I flew to Gran Canaria, Canary Islands to meet Charles Thomas and his Canarian Legal Alliance friends. It was not an easy trip since we boarded the wrong plane in Madrid and ended up in AMSTERDAM!

We stayed at Diamond Resorts Cala Blanca resort on Mogan. A Diamond sales agent in the US actually introduced me to Charles by sending me one of his articles. The staff at Cala Blanca could not have been nicer. I talked quite a while with the manager as he was the head of a resort employee union of sorts advocating on behalf of refugees he felt were being treated unfairly at a resort on the other side of the bay. One of the sales agents working at Cala Blanca and a friend of Charles is one of my Facebook friends.

In today’s timeshare world you can’t be too careful. Attorneys come in all ethical shapes and sizes. In addition to meeting Charles, I was able to meet with the CLA office manager Csilla, named business person of the year for Gran Canaria, several intake workers showing sincere compassion as they listened to timeshare accounts over the phone, and a few CLA lawyers. Since this July 2016 video clip CLA has achieved several more victories for EU timeshare clients – 65 Supreme Court victories to be exact as of October 4, 2017. Watching this video for the first time, I remember thinking if Cristina ever decides she doesn’t like law, she could find a job in the motion picture industry.

http://www.canarianlegalalliance.com/cla-latest-updates-video/

Timeshare today seems to have lost all sense of direction. True, we hear primarily from the disgruntled, but developer lawsuits flying back and forth between timeshare developers and transfer agents has left many timeshare members in a state of confusion. Who do you trust?

I trust CLA and am honored to have been asked to have my Inside Timeshare articles featured on the new CLA International website with Charles webmaster of the news tab. Our Diamond Resorts member sponsored Advocacy Facebook administrator and Economics Professor Michael Nuwer and Australian Contributor Justin Morgan submitted their comments for this article about the Apollo Global Management buyout of Diamond Resorts.

http://clainternational.ae/2017/09/28/who-is-apollo-what-is-apollo-two-diamond-member-consumer-advocates-offer-their-opinion/

Timeshare members need help. It has been widely reported many aging baby boomers (like me) are desperate to be released from timeshare. Some timeshare companies have launched surrender programs, like Wyndham’s Ovation program, but the vast majority of members contacting Inside Timeshare succumbed to high interest rate loans and credit cards. Thus, they are not eligible for voluntary surrender programs. Often they are forced into foreclosure. The problem is exacerbated when the member alleges they were deceived into buying a timeshare or upgraded for maintenance fees relief or buy-back programs that do not exist. Out of 157 complaints received (as of October 4), 143 allege deceit on the front end of the sale. The others can’t afford rising maintenance fees.

From our humble beginnings, as more members started helping other members, we called ourselves Timeshare Advocacy Group™ as members turned anger and disbelief into action and advocacy. Timeshare Advocacy Group™ started as an afterthought. A former timeshare sales agent contacted me and said they wanted to do a press release in Arizona. We needed a place where readers could respond.

Irina Allen stepped up to the plate. She is our Facebook page administrator.

admin lady new

Irina (Irene) Allen purchased over $500,000 worth of timeshare points to share with family, friends and clients. On the advice of a sales agent, Irene opened a RedWeek account and posted one ad to rent some of her points. She gave up this idea after she never got paid for the rental. Rentals are not allowed, according to company rules, but there are hundreds of rental ads anyway. She also was accused of opening an Airbnb account. Irene says she has never had an Airbnb account. She was expected to pay $2,400 per month in mortgage payments and $29,000 in maintenance fees for a year while her account was suspended. Resorts are exempt from the rule for promotional purposes. Thus, the resort was able to rent out Irene’s points at Irene’s expense.

At Timeshare Advocacy Group™ members also help members with regulatory filings and media outreach. We have Wyndham, Bluegreen and Diamond members working alongside former Hyatt, Westgate, and Diamond timeshare sales agents in an effort to reform an industry badly in need of reform. In addition to timeshare members, other Advocates, like blogger Lisa Ann Schreier, lend their support. Lisa Ann and Charles are both former timeshare sales agents.

In America, it’s not easy these days for opposing sides to talk to each other, but every once in awhile there is a glance of a Republican sticking their toe over to the Democratic side of the aisle. It is our hope there will be a day when developers will take the time to listen to what critics have to say instead of only focusing on ambulance chasing unscrupulous transfer and listing agents. It is my belief, until the deception on the front end of the timeshare sale is acknowledged and addressed, the court of public opinion is the only court open for the beleaguered and often financially devastated timeshare member learning their contract is perpetual and the secondary market limited at best. For some timeshare companies, there is no secondary market. What other investment or product exists that holds the buyer of a product hostage?

Charles Irene

Charles is winging his way to America tomorrow, so let us know if you will be in the Orlando area October 8 – 12. Or, let Charles know the next times you happen to be on Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands.

I am a former stockbroker and financial planner. After I retired from the brokerage business, I became a CASA Supervisor, writing court reports for Family Court on behalf of children in foster care. I have always had a problem turning my back on anyone who considers themselves a victim. There are many ways to volunteer time in retirement. Join us in our efforts to enhance timeshare accountability and transparency.

http://insidetimeshare.com/what-a-volunteer-does-for-nothing/

globe

That’s it for this week, tomorrow will be a long day as it is Gran Canaria, Madrid, Miami then to Orlando. I know Irene and Don have set aside a couple of days to show me some of the sights, so it will not be all work and no play!

We will however be trying to publish some articles while over there, so keep an eye on these pages.

Have a great weekend

cartoon-airplane