Welcome to The Tuesday Slot, today Irene Parker tells the story of Joseph, a Welk Resorts Owner, unlike many of the stories in the “Nightmare on Timeshare Street” series, this one does have a happy ending. Joseph is now free of his timeshare and has saved a small fortune in “exit” fees, so commendations to Welk Resorts for their effort in helping to free Joseph. Just a shame others do not take a leaf out of Welk’s response.
A Real Responsible Exit for Joseph, a Welk Resort Owner
Volunteers Needed! Apply Within
Why Volunteers Do What They Do – Brittany Garvin
Hurricane Relief for the Bahamas
Brittany Garvin spends most of her time (14 hours a day) in front of her computer or on her cellphone. Garvin is connecting family members with their loved ones in the Bahamas. She is a volunteer with the nonprofit organization CrowdSource Rescue.
By Irene Parker
September 17, 2019
A firestorm of emails was prompted by our August 9th article concerning the lack of responsible exit for six Legacy resort owners. Out of six resorts, only one resort told the owner they would take back the timeshare. While some developers maintain a sales office, the glut of unwanted timeshares, especially among the baby boomer population, continues to flood the market. Since publishing the August 9th article, several more resorts have been added to the list.
Some resorts are willing to work with Legacy owners who no longer want their timeshare. Navy veteran Joseph, age 89, was able to deed his timeshare back to Welk Resorts. After two attempts to reach someone at Welk, in frustration, Joseph gave up and reached out to timeshare exit companies. One quoted him a price of $4,500. Joseph said he attended their presentation at a chicken dinner at Disney. “Something didn’t feel right so I left,” Joseph explained. Ultimately, Joseph was referred to me. I reached out to Welk on Joseph’s behalf, putting him in touch with the right person. A representative from Welk contacted Joseph immediately.
The five of six resorts that would not take back a timeshare:
The Seasons in Vermont
Eagle Crest in Oregon
Broadway Plantation in Myrtle Beach
Lehigh Resorts (from a BBB complaint: We were offered a deed back option, but it was $3000 to cover fees and a title search. This amount seemed absolutely excessive.)
Remarkably, Melissa received an emailed response (unedited) from a Sugarbush manager at The Seasons Resort stating:
- Our current owners are renting for premium dollars and receiving a very high rate of return on their investment, because of supply and demand.
- If you rent your unit for less than 15 days/year, the rental income will not be includible in income–thus the income is tax-free and you would still be able to deduct your interest payments.
- The timeshare won’t be difficult to resell due to the lack of accommodations in the Sugarbush area (supply and demand).
We have also published several articles submitted by frustrated Americano ARC Resort owners. For many seniors, what the developer may consider a responsible exit is not. ARC is demanding those seeking exit purchase a Freedom 365 Travel Club. I think I speak on behalf of my generation when I say the last thing a senior seeking release from a timeshare needs is a $5,000 travel club.
Joseph was referred to me because Joseph does not have a computer. When I called Welk Resort, it did take a try or two. I waited on hold as caller #1 for 15 minutes before reaching a company representative. I explained that one of their owners had been quoted $4,500 to be released from his timeshare, so I was checking to see if they might work with Joseph. She referred me to the department that takes care of deed-backs. The person I spoke with said they would forward the message to a representative. I explained that I am not an attorney, so don’t represent anyone, but I was researching timeshare’s secondary market and would like to know Welk’s dissolution policy. That same day I was contacted by a Welk representative who explained they would work with Joseph and quoted me the reasonable fee they charge to deed-back, in the case of someone like Joseph.
Exit companies would argue that they would be justified in charging Joseph $4,500 because they have to pay for the leads. I don’t agree. With a little persistence and detective work, finding the right department and the right person, members or owners can save themselves thousands of dollars by doing their own research and making their own contacts.
We are looking for volunteers to assist those who do not have a computer or computer skills due to a variety of reasons. In the last 24 hours, I have been contacted by two owners battling cancer and one with MS. It’s not fair for them to have to battle their timeshare too, given the lack of a secondary market.
Inside Timeshare can simply refer the owner inquiring to you, and you can assist and follow along with owners who need this type of assistance. You would help only those with fully paid for timeshares, those seeking release, by helping to point the member or owner in the right direction. We have many members helping members resolve disputes, but we could use a few more good soldiers. This is a way we can serve those who served us, like Calvin.
On Friday we will publish Calvin’s story about how Nationwide Transfer strung Calvin along for two years, demanding over $20,000 from him. Calvin was part of a military police unit that managed a prison camp of 27,000 Iraq soldiers. Nationwide, instead of asking Calvin for medical documentation concerning his PTSD, that required a two-month hospital stay, wrote Vacation Village a letter telling them Calvin has Parkinson’s disease. Calvin does not have Parkinson’s.
I reached out to Vacation Village and put them in touch with Calvin. Calvin paid $6,000 for the Vacation Village timeshare ten years ago. When his health deteriorated, he spoke with a sales agent who advised Calving to convert to points to reduce maintenance fees. Instead, maintenance fees increased. With the unnecessary upgrade, Calvin paid approximately $12,500 for the timeshare and over $20,000 to Nationwide Transfer.
Elder Veteran Fraud is one of the most despicable forms of fraud.
On a side note, I highly recommend Welk Resort. It was one of the first exchanges we made many years ago. For our younger readers, you can learn something about Hollywood memorabilia at Welk Resorts. Our generation grew up listening to Welshman Lawrence Welk and his Champagne Orchestra.
Timeshare provided my family and countless others, generations of wonderful memories. For others, it has caused financial ruin, bankruptcy and the loss of security clearances for active duty service members. “Pitching Heat” is what the industry itself calls the employment of unfair and deceptive sales practices. There have been many lawsuits filed describing the practice.
I listened to an interview with Brittany Garvin on the Weather Channel over the weekend. She was asked what made her volunteer so much of her time. “With my skills, I could not just sit back and do nothing,” Brittany explained. Timeshare has deceived many who possess valuable skills, including a detective who works economic crimes undercover. If you have skills, or just time, to aid with our self-advocacy efforts, contact Inside Timeshare. Join our growing networks of volunteers. As happened for Joseph, one person can make a difference.
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.
Free at Last Facebook Straight-A Guide
Free at Last Timeshare Support Course offered by Straight-A-Guide
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Inside Timeshare Facebook
Thank you Irene for all the help you gave Joseph, it is great when we can publish a story with a happy ending and a timeshare company willing to help, so we must say a very big thank you to Welk Resorts.