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.
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.
A Petition to Reform Timeshare
Free at Last Timeshare Support Course offered by Straight-A-Guide
Diamond Resort Facebook
Gold Key Facebook
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.