Timeshare News and Lawsuits
In 2015, Disney Vacation Club (DVC) and some of their resale partners voiced that the default rates they experience are far less than the rest of the industry. What’s interesting is they didn’t exactly refute this with actual data. Out of Disney’s 200K+ owners, they say only 0.5% are involved with foreclosure auctions.
In the past, timeshare companies have been able to keep concerns regarding special assessments under wraps. But in recent years, a number of stories with vague insight have surfaced. One of them involved Bluegreen Vacations’ swift notice of foreclosure to hundreds of their owners in Louisa County, Virginia.
After investigating consumer complaints from Harbor Hill timeshare owners, the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) found that Donna Zoppi had been manipulating the resort to her advantage from the late 2000’s all the way until 2015. While the criminal actions of Zoppi were definitely disturbing, what she did wasn’t a simple case of stealing.
Devastating financial blows, like special assessments, can really leave fractional owners reeling. This partly due to laws that limit the their ability to challenge unexpected costs. So today, we wanted to highlight a Florida bill from 2015 that enabled resorts to charge more for assessment costs while limiting the buyer’s ability to cancel timeshare contracts.
Up to this point, all has worked out in the fractional owner’s favor as they weren’t exactly liable for the unexpected fees. However, future assessments are pretty much guaranteed to be on the horizon. Random expenses like these are eventually passed down to the owners who are perpetually obligated to pay their share on the vacation property. The lack of clarity amongst these mandatory costs is disappointing to say the least.
Annual timeshare fees for maintenance and special assessments can really add to the constrained burden of fractional ownership. Receiving unforeseen charges that weren’t even included in the contract can be maddening. Especially when these invoices arrive in owner’s mailboxes during the holiday season.
Earlier this year, the Massanutten Property Owners Association was notified by the Great Eastern Resort Management team that weekly intervals would be terminated by the end of 2019. Since the MPOA expects revenue loss, property owners of the small tourist town in Virginia are worried about being forced to cover unpaid special assessments.
The Canadian Government has taken notice of the deceit during sales presentations and has issued timeshare travel warnings for those considering a property in Mexico. Apparently, certain resorts have been asking buyers to sign an additional contract that permits them from ever terminating the purchase.
Although many buyers fail to properly document the transaction, the Overtons did not. After getting everything in writing, they felt pretty good about the purchase. The problem was, the contract they signed wasn’t for a fixed week, it was for a floating unit.
While a majority of timeshare grievances pertain to unethical advertising and sales tactics, the experience itself has been in question. Hundreds of buyers have consistently complained about the timeshare product while some feel they’ve been harassed to pay an amount they never agreed to.
Fractional owners are commonly blamed for their own financial hardships. But the resort should better prepare them for these situations. Many buyers can’t really afford the travel purchase to begin with. When interest and extra fees overwhelm them, they normally believe they’ve made a huge mistake.
After getting his identity stolen by a timeshare relief scam, attorney David Eaton began receiving strange complaints regarding timeshare resale services. Callers were demanding a refund and claimed that Mr. Eaton had defrauded them. Initially, he labeled the occurrences as misunderstandings, but he quickly realized a bigger problem was at hand.
What usually comes as a surprise to owners is the timeshare’s unwillingness to help them without additional costs. This naturally causes disgruntled owners to look elsewhere for relief. But in most instances, what ends up happening is their desperation gets taken advantage of by third party exit scams. Once they realize they’ve wasted even more capital, they’re not too happy with the resort – and rightfully so.
Nazret Gebremeskel, Michael and AnnaMarie Deneen, and Erin and Paul Munoz are pursuing the hospitality giant for multiple misrepresentations. They claim that some of the features of Wyndham’s timeshare program weren’t available. Whether it was availability, point values, cleaning services or parking options, each owner didn’t receive what they were promised.
The FTC has been on a mission to put an end to timeshare donation scams over the years. Help the Vets, Inc. was shut down after becoming a major player as they collected over $20 million dollars from victims between 2013 and 2017. Travis Deloy Peterson was also charged for his attempt to target innocent timeshare owners with a military ploy.
By 2012, Information Management Forum Inc. (IMF) had deceived thousands of vacation owners by manipulating them to consider recouping portions of their purchase. Some were even led to believe they could remove their financial obligation by selling their timeshare quickly.
Apparently, hundreds of timeshare owners initially invested in what was once called Sand Castle South, only to simply lose interest. Although the property management company purchased two full floors at the popular Sandcastle Oceanfront Resort in one of the most popular tourist cities in America, they weren’t able to keep buyers engaged.
After telling the timeshare, “No,” Sims started to notice the aggressive nature of the sale. The high pressure tactics continued even after he told them he couldn’t afford it. Sims started to realize that the only way he and his wife would get any alone time was if he were to say, “Yes.”
The BBB officially categorized M&T Property Management as an operational timeshare scam in Portland, Oregon. They determined M&T is simply acting as a timeshare property resale company and there is no evidence showing the company actually knows how to help timeshare owners sell their property or offload their contract.
After receiving over a dozen complaints regarding failed cancellation services, the Arkansas Attorney General believes Real Travel duped their customers out of nearly $140K by using aggressive sales tactics and disturbing levels of deception. Her conclusion alleges they, “Preyed on consumers who were desperate to get rid of timeshares that they no longer wanted or could not afford.” Learn more..