RCI Hit With Class Action Suits

RCI Hit With Class Action Suits
The Trusted Independent Voice of Vacation Ownership since 1991
Issue #87
May/Jun, 2006
RCI Hit With Class Action Suits
Complaints filed same day allege improper rentals, fraud
Two separate class action Complaints, co-incidentally both filed on March 14, 2006 in New
Jersey, charge RCI with fraudulently marketing its exchange programs because weeks that are
spacebanked or converted to points by its members are rented to the general public instead of
remaining available for exchange by Weeks and Points members. The suits allege that RCI
makes more money from renting the weeks than it makes from the exchange fees, and that
rentals of prime weeks are made to non-members through a variety of websites having secret
agreements with RCI.
One Complaint, Murillo v. Resort Condominiums International, filed in the United States District Court for New Jersey, includes an
introduction summarizing the allegations as follows:
“As RCI tells it, each member can deposit his or her timeshare with RCI - thereby making it available for other members of
the program - and can then withdraw a timeshare [that] another
member has deposited. A key selling point is that only members
of the program can access the deposited timeshares. This concept of a one-for-one exchange exclusively among RCI members
is RCI’s bedrock marketing principle. Unfortunately, RCI creates
this image of its program through a uniform fraudulent, deceptive
and unconscionable marketing scheme.
“In practice, the RCI members are not the only persons with
access to the timeshares. While RCI members deposit their
timeshares into the system, RCI does not make all these timeshare available for exchange. Instead, RCI skims a large percentage of the timeshares from the system, including many prime
A portion of RCI booth at recent ARDA show
timeshares, and rents these out to the general public for profit.
RCI also uses these timeshares for promotional purposes and as
The Murillo Complaint further alleges that, despite RCI’s
fringe benefits for its employees, further depleting the number of
that the timeshares rented to the general public are weeks
timeshare availavle for member exchanges.
members historically do not want or use, many prime
“Through these and other business practices, RCI converts
are being rented.
many of the prime timeshare deposits into cash, leaving much
to explain these rentals of prime weeks, accordless desireable timeshares in the system for member exchanges.
with a “cover story” that the prime weeks
As a result of these fraudulent practices, the actual experiences
for a cruise or plane ticket and thus
of many RCI members is that no matter how meticulously they
exchange inventory. However,
follow RCI’s rules and procedures, no matter how far in advance
majority of these prime weeks
they begin looking for an exchange, they simply cannot find any
in good faith to support the
comparable exchanges. RCI profits by these practices at the
expense of its members, whose timeshares and RCI “benefits”
The allegations of the Murillo Complaint include claims that
are rendered vitually worthless.”
(Continued on page 11)
TimeSharing Today
Page 3
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May/Jun, 2006
Timeshare Consumerism
Ours is a dynamic industry. Things are always changing as developers
work out new variations of vacation interval ownership and methods of marketing them. Changes are also taking place on the consumer side. Where
timeshare purchasers once stood for abusive sales presentations, their increasing
resistance to these practices forced many forward thinking companies to modify
their marketing methods to be more consumer friendly. Increasing difficulties
in securing reasonable exchanges has moved from passive acceptance to frequent discourse in this magazine to the court system, where owners are airing
their complaints in the form of class action litigation.
The recent lawsuits filed against RCI and Fairfield Resorts may only be
symptomatic of larger problems that might emerge. Owners want to be treated
in an fair and equitable way. They want their expectations to be met, relative
to promises implied or stated.
Class action attorneys need to invest substantial amounts, sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars, in hopes of securing a large fee when the case is
settled or won. As a result, these attorneys will usually only take on cases
where there is potential for a positive outcome for their clients and for themselves. It’s money related and the settlements or awards can be substantial.
No one can say how these cases will be resolved, but the fact that they exist
reminds us of the old movie “Network,” with people yelling out their windows, “I’m mad as hell and I won’t take it anymore!” In this age of consumerism, when owners feel mistreated, they will no longer merely accept the
abuse, but will join together to find ways of gaining equitable relief. For many
years, timesharing had a poor public image. Over time, a lot was done to
improve that image. Now, the question is whether enough has really been
accomplished relative to consumer confidence and trust?
Great Expectations
It seems quite reasonable that when people buy a timeshare, join a vacation club or utilize the services of an exchange company, they should get what
they pay for. Companies that market these vacations must put the expectations of the timeshare consumer at the top of their list; they should be upfront,
open and honest in every aspect of their dealings. The exciting and positive
aspects about vacation ownership can be overshadowed by intentional misstatements that go far beyond sales puffery.
In this age of intense communications, bad news will spread at a rapid
speed. We know that many articles published in TimeSharing Today are quoted
and discussed in Internet forums, so that the impact of articles and letters
complaining about some marketing misrepresentation spreads far beyond our
subscriber circulation. TimeSharing Today is committed to the consumer of
timeshares. We are consumers ourselves, and we get tremendous pleasure
from our own timeshare vacations. We will continue to happily report the
positive side of the industry. But we are also convinced that, only by revealing
and discussing problems and issues that concern timeshare owners, can these
matters be corrected. Some are within the power of owners (see the article
on page 23 about getting involved); others lie within the control of developers.
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TimeSharing Today
Page 4
May/Jun, 2006
Letters to the Editor
Pets not friendly
Many people (my wife included) are
allergic to pet dander. Additionally, I would
prefer my timeshare holiday to be free of
barking and running dogs and their leavings on the grass and playgrounds.
I know, I know, responsible pet owners ensure that their pets don’t do these
things; but alas, experience dictates there
are many less than considerate owners out
So, please leave Fido at home so that
we can all enjoy our vacations.
Brian Bennett, Toronto, ON
My husband and I are owners at three
different timeshare resorts. I am sympathetic to all the pet owners who want to
bring their animals along on their timeshare
vacations. However, I am very opposed
to allowing pets in any of these units.
Many people have severe allergies to
pet fur and dander. A very close friend died
at the age of forty-one from heart failure
brought on by an asthma attack. He and
his wife, a nurse, had bought a camper
that previously belonged to a dog owner.
Although the sellers and my friends
cleaned and sanitized the camper thoroughly, my friend had such a severe
asthma attack that it led to cardiac arrest
and death. This could happen to anyone
with similar allergies. I love animals, but
not everyone can tolerate them.
Helen Bodurtha
RCI directories
Yesterday I called RCI concerning an
upcoming trade. While waiting to speak
with a counselor, the recording stated that
new Community Guide Directories were in
the process of being sent out. My current
directory is dated 2003. When I mentioned
this to the counselor, he checked to see
when our new directory would be mailed.
Guess what? We weren’t even on the list
to receive a new directory. Brian did not
know why, but he did offer to send me one
if I would pay $6.95 in shipping and handling. My membership is paid through
2009 and I feel that I should not have to
“buy” a directory that comes with the
membership dues. The amount is not the
problem, it is the principle of the matter.
Are other RCI members running into this?
Shelly Bock
We asked RCI about this issue, and
Natalie Kandik from RCI provided this
“RCI has a schedule of directory delivery dates for its more than two million
members and the delivery date varies by
member. Ms. Bock is scheduled to receive
an issue in 2007.
“If a member requests a directory for
a year in which they are not currently
scheduled to receive one, we are happy
to send them a copy for just the cost of
shipping and handling.
“In the coming months, RCI plans to
upgrade the online version of the global
directory on www.rci.com. This online resource gives members access to an up-todate listing of RCI affiliated resorts as
well as resort descriptions and images.”
Alert owners
The day after I got issue #86, I received a solicitation from “Solutions in
Time” about a meeting where they are offering to buy timeshares. Having just read
the article regarding fraud, alarms went off
in my head. When I called the 800 number, the phone was answered with “Timeshare Solutions.” In reply to my repeated
requests for information, they said they
do no business over the phone, only faceto-face.
I thought you would like to know that
“Timeshare Solutions” and “Solutions in
Time” are one and the same.
Thanks you for your magazine. I look
forward to every issue and read it cover to
Larry Hinton
I recently received several “super”
deals I turned down. For only $499, Preferred Marketing Group will get me $1,800
rent for my studio in New Orleans (which
won’t even be re-opened until September
if we are lucky.)
I can’t believe people still fall for this.
©The New Yorker Collection 2003 Lee Lorenz from cartoonbank.com. All Rights Reserved.
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TimeSharing Today
Page 5
I would have loved to have gone to
the “Solutions in Time” pitch just for fun,
but am too busy. Thanks to TimeSharing
Today, we are kept well informed.
The O’Malleys, CA
We have owned a two-bedroom timeshare at Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort in
Florida for the last 2 years, and have enjoyed using it. But, now we wonder if it
was a mistake to buy it. We just received a
payment book in the mail for a renovation
assessment. Either we can pay $1,292.81
all at once, or pay in monthly installments
for a total of $1,461.92. They say that it
will cost almost $30,000.00 to refurbish the
unit. By my calculations they will be collecting $67,226.12 from all the owners of
each two-bedroom unit. I wonder where
the other $37,226.12 that they collect will
go? I wrote to them with that question,
but so far have not received an answer.
We would like to warn people that
might be thinking of buying a timeshare at
this resort to look into this assessment
before signing the dotted line. We feel like
we have been royally ripped off. By the
way, we just love your magazine.
John and Gail Doyle, New York
A tough trade
Has anybody, anywhere, EVER been
able to trade through RCI for the Manhattan Club in NYC? As I have been trying to
trade for it to no avail for the last 5 years
with no luck. Question: is it a ruse being in
the RCI directory of resorts?
Larry Foster
Repossessed weeks
I’m hoping that there are Florida attorneys within the TimeSharing Today
membership that could enlighten the rest
of us concerning bankruptcy.
I received the 2006 budget from a
Florida timeshare resort we recently purchased. The Bad Debt line item was extremely high. I called the resort and spoke
to the Accounting office. I was told that
many people were taking advantage of the
bankruptcy laws before the laws changed.
The Bad Debt line item included maintenance only on the repossessed units
within our resort.
I questioned why the rest of the
homeowners had to underwrite mainte-
nance on these units. If there are repossessed weeks, they aren’t being used. I
did not receive a straight answer. Is it legal for the management to obligate the
condo association to assume any expenses related to an individual’s bankruptcy?
Elizabeth Brilliant, San Diego, CA
Editors reply: This really has nothing to do with bankruptcy laws. When a
sold out resort re-acquires weeks by foreclosure, through a surrender of the week
or otherwise, such weeks are a burden
on the resort unless it has an active resale or rental program that can generate
income from these resort-owned weeks.
Maintenance fees are used to pay for
insurance, office administration and
grounds maintenance, which are unaffected by whether the unit is vacant or
occupied. While accountants may differ
in how they reflect the cost of carrying
these resort-owned weeks, the bottom
line is the same: it is the resort (and ultimately the other owners) that bear the
burden of these costs.
Resorts sometimes offer their weeks
for free to owners at the resort, so there
will be someone to pay the maintenance
fees. And resorts and homeowners associations frequently run display or classified ads in this magazine offering these
weeks for sale at bargain prices for the
same reason - get them into the hands of
maintenance fee-paying owners.
In defense of
Capistrano Surfside
I am responding to the comments of
“No Name Provided” in the last issue concerning resort ratings.
Yes, there are 2 resorts in Capistrano,
CA listed as 5 stars. It is obvious you could
not be speaking of Capistrano Surfside
Inn, which by the way is also rated Gold
Crown by RCI! You are correct, there is a
highway and railroad tracks between the
resort and the beach; however, directly in
front of the resort there is a bridge so that
you can safely cross the highway and the
railroad tracks to get to the beach. II offers 2 weeks for one summer exchange
from this resort and Trading Places (on
the premises) will give you a bonus trade
week for a summer week or Christmas or
New Years! Non-prime time always trades
as prime time.
May/Jun, 2006
Surfside was not built to be a
“Marriott;” however, your comments
about the small bedroom are incorrect.
How many resorts do you know where
you have your own personal BBQ on your
deck and you can watch the fireworks on
the 4th of July in the ocean in front of you?
The resort has bikes available for people
to check out; also, all sorts of beach toys
and chairs, books, video’s, and games you
can take to your room. Of course, it also
has a pool table, exercise room, pool and
jacuzzi and the friendliest staffs any where;
the management is wonderful!
If you are like most of the people submitting articles to Time Sharing Today
(such as the one on page 33 of Issue 86)
who go to a resort and then go to all the
places around there, you should love Capo
Beach. It is less than 2 miles from Dana
Point with all its wonderful restaurants,
about 20 miles from Laguna Beach, less
than 8 miles from San Clemente and is between Disney Land and San Diego!!!
I admit I may be prejudiced. At the
present time I own 32 weeks of time share,
spend at least one month at Capistrano
Surfside—and it is my favorite place of all
(including all the exchanges we have made
over the past 25+ years).
Maureen C. Gotthard, San Bernardino, CA
Aruba boycott
After reading the article in the last issue about an Aruba boycott because of
the Holloway case, I can’t believe that
there are people who think that the Aruban
government covered up anything and that
they do not care about Americans. Having traveled there for the past 15 years or
so, these people couldn’t be more accommodating. After all, we are their main industry.
You people that will never go there
just don’t get it and you probably never
will. For instance, did you know that the
Aruban government gave workers the day
off to search? Granted, they are limited in
their resources, but they did allow other
sources to come and help search. If you
think they aren’t fair enough to prosecute
suspects, you have no idea how many
prisoners there are in Aruba. If you still
feel the same way, please stay home. Aruba
will not suffer economically because of
you. Airline flights for top weeks are still
booked way in advance.
L.J., NY
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TimeSharing Today
Page 6
May/Jun, 2006
Buying from a developer:
some differing experiences
Before I purchase a timeshare, there
are several questions I would want to have
answered, other than buying where I already own.
• Location, Location. Is it somewhere
I would want to go back to?
• Is it tradeable in an exchange system, and at what level?
• Is it resalable today and tomorrow,
in a demand area growing in timesharing?
• Is it a single property or part of a
system and does that system have flexibility; ie Marriott, Fairfield, etc?
• Does it fit my portfolio of
I am sure that others can add to the
list, but it’s important to consider these
things before buying, even if its a great
I have purchased generally from the
developers themselves, and while not al-
ways buying at a discount, many of my
properties where purchased well below the
first offering price. Its a little like buying a
car, with some definite differences.
My first purchase in 1986 was a normal week and at the normal sales pricing.
My next purchase at that resort was a real
eye opener. We returned to the resort
about 6 months after our initial purchase
and met with a young lady for an update.
The thing about updates is learning
what’s new at your resort, and they do
want to sell you more weeks. After a little
discussion, I said that right now I couldn’t
afford anything; and that’s when it got
She proceeded to offer me a week that
had come back and at a significant discount over my original purchase price, and
she also educated me about holiday
weeks, since this was a week 47, Thanksgiving. Once again, though, I hemmed and
hawed. What then ensued was that I
traded my original July week for that week
and added a week 51, Christmas, for the
same price on another week which had
come back, thus sweetening my deal.
From this valuable lesson, I learned
about the developers returns of
timeshares and the pricing, which is a great
savings over the market pricing which can
be from 40 to 60% higher. About 35% of
our timeshares are at developer’s pricing
since they fit what we wanted, and about
65% have been bought directly from the
developer on returned weeks. The last one,
which was over a year ago, was a week
purchased for $22,000 and discounted for
cash at about $18,000 on a $49,000
developer’s priced week for a two-bedroom with a one week two-bedroom bonus week each year. Also I received all the
first time perks, which didn’t hurt.
The key is to learn to play the sales
process as a buyer. Get interested; show
them you like what they have, but wait for
the last offer, which is just before you get
up and walk out for the 5th or 6th time.
I will add that I have been on many
timeshare presentations, including ones
at our own resorts where I did not buy,
there are limits on what I want to own. We
have 24 weeks, and purchased these over
20 years.
P.S. I plan to use my timeshares over
the next several years, and will look to sell
some in the future as our life style changes.
My feeling is we should be able to get a
nice price depending on the market, as all
our timeshares our in areas of demand and
growth for the timeshare industy. This
means we will have had years of
wonderfull vacations at good prices, since
we shop the market in all areas of travel,
and a little bonus at the end when we sell.
John Beyer
I read your article on Coral Resorts,
and it brought back memories on how we
were treated.
My wife and I purchased a Coral Resorts timeshare on October 28, 2003, that
coincidentally is our wedding anniversary.
I was motivated at that time to get a points
resort to supplement my other two resorts
that were weeks resorts. We never experienced such a hard sell before. My nature
is not to get pushed around. Basically, we
were worn out by the end of the ordeal. It
lasted from 9:00 A.M. to 3:30 P.M. We
couldn’t take a break for lunch. I should
not have allowed that to happen. I have
sales experience, I should have been more
savvy. They played good cop bad cop
with us. The yound lady whom we first
met, was a nice lady. The manager/closer
was tough as nails. He had us convinced
that we could sell one of our timeshares to
pay for the Coral Sands purchase.
Needless to say, it didn’t work out
the way we were told by the sales closer.
In fact, I doubt we could get half of what
we paid for at the Cancun unit.
After the experience with Coral Resorts, I will never go through another timeshare presentation. When we check in a
resort, we now beeline to our unit bypass
the hospitality desk, and we do not make
ourselves available.
As the saying goes, burn me once
and its your fault, burn me twice, its my
fault. I am sorry for those who are marketing timeshares in an honest way, but one
bad apple can make it difficult for others.
William Foisy, Asheville, NC
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TimeSharing Today
Page 7
May/Jun, 2006
Can your resort withstand
natural disasters?
By Rosalie E. Leposky
When you’re shopping for a timeshare, look beyond the
lush landscaping and shiny new designer interiors. Ask some
basic questions about the resort’s architectural design and construction.
You don’t need to become a licensed building inspector, but
sensitivity to such issues will help you buy at a property designed to withstand natural disasters – and help you avoid buying at a property designed so that severe damage or destruction
is all but inevitable if a natural disaster should strike.
Although much of this article deals with beachfront resorts
in hurricane-prone regions, these issues are relevant anywhere a
blizzard, earthquake, flood, or tornado could strike. That covers a
lot of territory. No place on earth is immune from some sort of
Here are some questions you want to ask:
• Does the building meet or exceed the South Florida
Building Code (the most stringent code for protection against
hurricane winds)?
• For beachfront property, how far landward of the mean
high tide line are the buildings constructed?
• For beachfront property and property in a flood zone,
does the ground floor have “breakaway construction” and are all
living quarters on or above the second floor?
• Does the resort have a disaster plan and provide it to
you on request?
• Does the resort have emergency contact numbers you
can call at any time of day or night?
• Do the buildings have hurricane shutters?
• What kinds of windows are installed?
• Is the building’s envelope protected from flying debris?
• If the property withstood previous natural events, will
the resort share with you the details of damage and reconstruction?
Code questions
Ask your sales representative for proof that the resort’s construction complies with the latest building code, and ask which
code was used.
The South Florida Building Code was rewritten after Hurricane Andrew blasted across southern Florida on August 24, 1992,
with peak gusts in excess of 164 mph. This code remains among
the most stringent to be adopted anywhere in the United States.
It applies to new buildings and to renovations.
The South Florida Building Code is increasingly popular
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TimeSharing Today
Page 8
May/Jun, 2006
inland from the beach and from existing sand dunes.
Mangrove trees are now protected in most areas where they
still exist. If the resort is surrounded by mangroves, ask if such
trees were removed to build the resort.
Look for a resort that brags about what it has done to follow
local, state, and national coastal-zone protection rules. Such a
resort will strive to educate owners on the importance of building
well back from the beaches, sand dunes, and mangrove areas.
Some resorts even construct boardwalks and footbridges through
the mangroves and over the dunes to protect these sensitive
If these coastal-zone protection rules and practices aren’t
being followed, buy elsewhere.
Plywood sheathing and weather wrapped window
installation during construction of Cibola Vista Resort in AZ
along the Gulf Coast and in the Caribbean. Communities now
rebuilding after Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma struck the
Gulf Coast in 2005 should be using it – or something even stronger.
The extra costs involved in following the South Florida Building Code or the slightly newer Florida Building Code (which is
based on the South Florida Building Code) will increase the cost
of the timeshare unit you purchase, but consider that you’ve
buying extra value.
“The fairly high comprehensive standards of the South
Florida Building Code are strong on building openings, debris,
flooding and wind issues,” says Joseph Andriola, principal vice
president for design in the Miami office of San Francisco-based
SB Architects. The firm has 23 years of Florida design experience.
One of its recent Florida timeshare projects is the 333-unit
Marriott’s Ocean Pointe Resort in Palm Beach Shores.
“The South Florida Building Code is one of the country’s
strictest building codes. Developers like to complain about it,”
Andriola says.
If the resort wasn’t built to the South Florida Building Code
or a similar code that incorporates hurricane protection, don’t
buy there.
Coastal-zone protection
All new resorts in the United States must be built landward
of the local Coastal Construction Control Line – which means
Breakaway ground floor
The ground floor of a beachfront property no longer may
include living quarters, and whatever is located there must be
considered expendible. Any walls and windows on the ground
floor should be designed so they don’t present a barrier to the
flow of water through the interior space.
“One component of the South Florida Building Code deals
with flooding,” says Andriola. “National FEMA [Federal Emergency Management Agency] regulations state that buildings need
to be built at a habitat level above a 50-year storm, and the design
must allow for a storm surge to run under a building.
“Below the habitable parts of the building, the building walls
must be designed with breakaway construction to allow water to
flow through, allowing the structure and the living units to survive.”
If the resort lacks such design characteristics, buy elsewhere.
Wind protection
“The South Florida Building Code provides protection for
the building envelope and structure by designing stronger doors
and windows to withstand pressure and keep water and airborne
items out,” Andriola says. “Wind blowing through breached exterior doors and windows will cause terrible building damage.
Codes require special safety design requirement for openings 60
feet above grade [ground level].”
The code requires all buildings to have an in-place windowprotection system or one that can be put into place. Choices
include shutters of various styles or laminated window glass –
but experts are rethinking these requirements after Hurricane
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TimeSharing Today
Page 9
Wilma blew out or shattered hundreds of supposedly hurricane-proof windows in highrise buildings in Miami’s Brickell
Avenue financial district.
The South Florida Building Code requires that building be
designed with to withstand a category 5 storm with winds exceeding 145 mph.
Roof building codes changed after Hurricane Andrew. The
new design requirements prevent roofs from delaminating and
sending debris flying everywhere. Traditional asphalt roofing
shingles failed. Stronger shingles that pass a wind-resistance
test are required – and instead of staples, they need to be held in
place with a specific kind of nail. Tile roof installations require
increased adhesion, and gravel roofs must be designed to keep
gravel from flying around and breaking windows.
All building supplies used in Miami-Dade County and other
jurisdictions that adopt the South Florida Building Code must
have the Miami-Dade County Product Approval seal. The Miami-Dade Product Approval Program applies to everything used
to build a structure, including plywood and screws. Engineering
solutions no longer are an acceptable alternative.
Florida’s wind zone map, and those in other states, generally
assume that the wind velocity will decrease as the distance from
the coast increases, allowing for progressively less rigorous
building requirements in locations farther inland. This, however,
is not a guarantee if an inland location receives the brunt of
hurricane-force winds in the center of a powerful storm.
A survivor
Marriott Ocean Point in Palm Beach Shores occupies a 21-
May/Jun, 2006
acre site. Its five buildings stand 160 feet from the mean high tide
line, separated from the water by an 80-foot-wide beach and an
80-foot-wide swath of dunes. The resort is built inland of 80 foot
beach front behind 80 feet of dunes.
The resort has four seven-story buildings and one five-story
building. The first floor of each building is grade-level parking.
The first habitable floor rises above the flood plain and the wavecrest level.
“Marriott Ocean Point survived four major hurricanes
in a 20-month period,” says Kevin P. Dunn, AIA, partner and vice
president of SB Architects’ Miami office. “In the fall of 2004, it
survived three weeks of successive storms with virtually no damage except to the landscaping. Older buildings north of ours were
severely damaged. Hurricane Wilma in October of 2005, with a
large eye that covered most of Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm
Beach counties, did some damage to the roof of the phase four
building, which may have been weakened by the earlier storms.”
Marriott Ocean Point’s buildings were constructed following the Florida Building Code, using hurricane-resistant materials including laminated break-resistant windows and exterior
perimeter walls of reinforced concrete blocks. It was built on auger-cast piles to resist undermining due to storm wave action.
The roof system is designed to resist 110 mph winds.
Roof tiles are attached to resist wind uplift by two means of
attachment. The tiles are set in a bed of foam adhesive, and also
are fastened to the subroof with a stainless steel screw. The roof
truss system is strapped and bolted to the building’s concrete
roof slab.
TimeSharing Today
Page 10
for water stains, soft or rotting
wood, rusty rebar exposed
through broken concrete, peeling paint, salt crystals, water
leaks, and termites or other
insect infestations that might
weaken the structure?
Architectural design
Veteran timeshare architect
Margit Whitlock-Espinosa, founder of
Architectural Concepts, Inc., in San Diego, California, says gabled roofs are beautiful but hipped roofs perform better in
hurricanes. “All four corners of a hipped
roof come together at a point above the
roof, creating a sloping roof that makes a
perfect square or rectangle,” she explains.
“Gabled roofs that point towards the front
of a building offer hurricane winds more
surface area for lifting. Hipped roofs have
less vertical surface area and make warding off hurricane winds easier for buildings.”
Many areas now require roofs to withstand a specified wind speed. Broward
County, Florida, expects new buildings to
withstand 110 mph winds.
Whitlock-Espinosa advises timeshare
buyers to select a unit in a concrete building with smaller windows that are located
away from the building’s edge. Big glass
doors don’t do well, she says.
California concerns
Like Florida, California
has strict regulations for
coastal construction with respect to the distance to mean
high tide, dune protection, and the elevation of finished floors above the height of
the storm surge of the century.
“Ask if the building in which you’re
interested is built on filled land or bedrock,” advises Whitlock-Espinosa. “Building on filled land requires very expensive
structural systems, for earthquake protection. States and local communities have
regulations for low-rise and high-rise buildings built on filled soil that often includes
how much of the filled soil has to be replaced.
“In California, owners of unreinforced
masonry buildings, which are mostly commercial structures, now are required to
have retrofitted their buildings. Many
states require the builders of concrete
buildings to include additives in their concrete, but some additives can leach out if
they aren’t cured properly, creating a different problem.”
A building’s shape, length, and
height are important in designing it to withstand hurricanes and earthquakes,
Whitlock-Espinosa says, but flooding is
hard to prepare for. “One way to avoid
flooding is to never build in flood plains,”
she notes. When buildings are built in
flood plains, they should be raised on stilts
Maintenance issues
Even a well-built resort can succumb
to a hurricane or other natural disaster if
the protective materials and systems used
in its construction aren’t maintained.
When you shop for a timeshare, ask about
the resort’s maintenance program. Specific
maintenance questions include:
• How often do the buildings, no matter what their age, receive basic inspections of roofs, gutters, downspouts, and
surface-drainage systems for problems
related to water intrusion?
• How often are these systems
• How often is the resort inspected
Timeshare Title, Inc.
Closing’s Starting at...
May/Jun, 2006
timeshare closing
Cibola Vista resort builiding completed
above the hundred-year flood line.
Buildings are designed to meet a variety of load-factor requirements, including building footings, snow, and wind loading. Don’t be surprised if the salesperson
doesn’t what you’re talking about, and
don’t let yourself be sidetracked. The
salesperson should be proud of the quality of the resort’s construction. If he or
she can’t answer your questions or try to
find an answer, visit the building department in the city or county responsible for
the timeshare resort you’re considering
and ask department officials about what
building codes that jurisdiction uses.
Some jurisdictions use the Uniform
Building Code (UBC); others use the International Building Code (IBC). Much of
southern Florida uses the post-Hurricane
Andrew codes. Southern California uses
local regulations in addition to the UBC.
“On renovations, unless dramatic
changes are made to a building, developers generally are not required to meet new
building codes,” says Whitlock-Espinosa.
“If they pull permits, they may be required
to retrofit the building to meet the newer
Ask if the building where you are considering a purchase has been through a
recent natural disaster, what the damages
were, and how they were repaired. Ask for
an explanation of improvements if the building was severely damaged and significantly rebuilt, and whether the reconstruction took place in compliance with the current codes.
In areas where earthquakes, flooding,
or hurricanes occur, buy in buildings that
are proud to meet the newest codes.
“HOAs are responsible to bring older
buildings up to codes,” says WhitlockEspinosa. “However, most HOAs don’t
have reserve funds for this.”
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TimeSharing Today
Page 11
RCI Class Action Suits
(Continued from front page.)
RCI secretly enters into agreements
with third-party vendors who purchase
high-demand timeshare weeks which had
been deposited by members and resell
them to the general public through various Websites, while concealing any relationship with RCI. The prime weeks available for exchange are further diminished,
according to the Complaint, by RCI’s practice of giving its employees free use of
these weeks, and using such prime weeks
for the promotion of other products sold
by RCI affiliates.
The class action filed in New Jersey
Superior Court, Chace v. Resort Condominiums International, makes the same
basic allegations: RCI, despite its public
pronouncements to the contrary, uses
weeks deposited by members to provide
inventory for its various affiliated rental
Both the Murillo and Chace Complaints include a count that RCI’s misrepresentations about its rental programs
constitute a violation of New Jersey’s
Consumer Fraud Act, entitling the Plaintiffs to triple damages. The relief sought
by the Plaintiffs is a refund of all moneys
received by RCI and “other appropriatele
legal and equitable relief,” which would
presumably include an order barring RCI
from continuing to rent prime weeks out
of the exchange inventory if Plaintiffs are
able to prove their allegations.
RCI’s attorneys, Pitney Hardin, have
filed a motion to remove the New Jersey
case from the state to the Federal Court.
Both suits have been assigned to the same
Judge and it is likely that they will be consolidated into one case, since they involve
similar allegations.
When contacted for comment about
these lawsuits, RCI’s Ray Shepherd stated:
“RCI’s policy is to not comment on matters in litigation.”
The Plaintiff’s attorney in Chace v.
RCI is David C. Berman of Morristown,
NJ. In Murillo v. RCI, Plaintiff’s local counsel is Christopher M. Placitella of Red
Bank, NJ, backed by law firms in New
York, Washington, DC and Illinois. For
further information, send an email to
[email protected]
Owners comment on
lawsuits against RCI
It is welcome news that RCI’s practices are being challanged. As a member
since 1978 with resort weeks located in
Hawaii with excellent trading power, I
found it harder and harder to exchange
once the weeks were deposited. In fact,
last year I had been searching for two
weeks in Myrtle Beach for almost a year
until at the end, I had to forego the search
and rented the weeks from RCI instead. It
seems their are so many weeks available
on there rental program and very little
when it comes to exchanging weeks. It’s
amazing to see the deals sometimes on extra
vacations and all the availability and no
match when it comes to exchanging.
Antonia Del Gaudio
I defintely agree that RCI weeks members should join together to sue RCI. I have
had requests in for two years for a dozen
different resorts in Florida in the winter
and never got them. That is after depositing my resort two years in advance. I also
am a member of Interval International and
they have found me great resorts also. For
two years, I wondered why there was such
a difference.
Annette Thompson
May/Jun, 2006
While on a traded week at the EL
Nakuti resort in Costa Rica, I talked with a
retired federal employee. I did not get any
personal information from him, so can not
validate the following:
However, he stated that he would
never buy a timeshare. He does ALL his
travel using the Federal Travel Agency.
They always have plenty of timeshare
weeks available for his use at around $248
a week. Therefore, he sees no reason to
spend the amount of money necessary for
purchase and maintenance of a timeshare.
May I be included in the complaint,
residing in Maryland?
Robert Stern
I am very pleased to see a lawsuit filed
against RCI on behalf of the Weeks Owners. It is pretty obvious that RCI has been
pulling out good weeks for their own selfish financial gain. All you have to do is go
to their website and compare the few measly weeks on their “Last Call” option to
the preponderance of many good weeks
on their “Extra Vacation” option.
Three cheers for the lawsuit.
John C. Paisley
We’ve been timeshare owners and
members of RCI since 1996. We have made
five or six weeks exchanges and have never
felt we received equal value for what we
traded. Our most recent experience is typical. So, we ended up trading a Gold Crown
Hawaii two-bedroom week for a Silver
Crown Arizona one-bedroom week - not
an equal trade.
Marion E. Haynes, Kerrville, Texas
I’m brand new to RCI; I deposited a
week and when I looked for an exchange,
I was very limited. But if Isearched for an
extra week during the same time period,
there was a lot more choice. So I agree
with the lawsuit that exchanges get
pushed to the bottom of the barrel.
Alan Householder
I have suspected precisely what is
being alleged against RCI. I hope someone nails them good.
R Bartruff
Home of the
& Vacation Gallery
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TimeSharing Today
Page 12
May/Jun, 2006
Ratings are based on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the
Report Card ratings for each resort are
averages based on a significant number
of reports received from readers.
Crown Point, Tabago
Gatlinburg, TN
Amenities and activities at resort: Beach, pool, hot tubs,
library, laundry, sauna, playground, exercise room, auto
rental, planned trips, bingo, BBQ area, dive shop, child care.
Amenities and activities at resort: Pools, golf course,
exercise equipment, movie rentals, playground, hot tub, BBQ
grills, basketball, game room. Washer/dryer in units.
Amenities and activities nearby: Beach, dive sites, boating, craft markets, airport, water sports, fishing, tennis, golf,
restaurants, rainforest, bird watching, museums.
Amenities and activities nearby: Theater, shopping, restaurants, horseback riding, fishing, hiking, golf, Dollywood,
Great Smokey Mountains National Park, Dixie Stampede,
Vanderbilt Estate, museums, skiing, rafting, canoeing.
Unit: Furnishings: 8.2
Cleanliness: 8.9
Kitchen inventory/appliances: 9.0
Maintenance: 8.8
Construction quality: 8.7
Amenities and activities: At resort: 8.1
Nearby: 8.3
Suitable for: Young children: 7.6
Pre-teens: 7.6
Seniors: 7.6
Teenagers: 7.1
Handicapped: 7.0
Resort: Restaurant facilities: 6.4
Convenience store: 8.3
Grounds and maintenance: 8.9
Security: 8.9
Staff: 9.1
General hospitality: 9.1
Exchange affiliation: RCI
Comments: Small resort with very social atmosphere. Staff
is laid back, yet pleasant. Walking distance to beach, stores,
and restaurants.
Unit: Furnishings: 7.5
Cleanliness: 8.6
Kitchen inventory/appliances: 7.6
Maintenance: 8.3
Construction quality: 8.8
Amenities and activities: At resort: 6.7
Nearby: 9.1
Suitable for: Young children: 6.6
Pre-teens: 6.7
Seniors: 7.6
Teenagers: 6.2
Handicapped: 7.5
Resort: Restaurant facilities: NA
Convenience store: 4.6
Grounds and maintenance: 8.6
Security: 6.1
Staff: 8.2
General hospitality: 8.2
Exchange affiliation: RCI, II
Comments: Well maintained resort located outside of town;
car is needed. No activities or tours; you are on your own.
Sedona, AZ
Cancun, MX
Amenities and activities at resort: Spa, concierge, health
club, tennis, miniature golf, sauna, playground, horseshoes,
laundry facility, pools, tennis, hot tub, volleyball.
Amenities and activities at resort: Pools, bikes, beauty
parlor, game room, beach, tennis, boating, sailing, shuttle
bus, organized activities, volleyball, daily maid service.
Amenities and activities nearby: Jeep tours, Grand Canyon, shopping, golf, restaurants, fishing, hiking, galleries.
Amenities and activities nearby: Night life, golf, golf course
and school, shopping, car rental, deep sea fishing, water
sports, restaurants, beach, fishing, Mayan ruins, boating.
Unit: Furnishings: 7.7
Cleanliness: 8.7
Kitchen inventory/appliances: 6.6
Maintenance: 8.3
Construction quality: 8.1
Amenities and activities: At resort: 8.6
Nearby: 8.8
Suitable for: Young children: 6.1
Pre-teens: 6.7
Seniors: 7.7
Teenagers: 6.9
Handicapped: 7.1
Resort: Restaurant facilities: 9.1
Convenience store: NA
Grounds and maintenance: 9.3
Security: 8.9
Staff: 8.9
General hospitality: 9.1
Exchange affiliation:RCI
Comments: Adjacent to a charming area of galleries, boutiques, and restaurants. Interesting architecture and well
kept grounds. Excellent staff and service.
Unit: Furnishings: 7.8
Cleanliness: 9.3
Kitchen inventory/appliances: 8.0
Maintenance: 9.5
Construction quality: 9.2
Amenities and activities: At resort: 8.6
Nearby: 8.8
Suitable for: Young children: 7.8
Pre-teens: 8.0
Seniors: 8.6
Teenagers: 7.8
Handicapped: 7.6
Resort: Restaurant facilities: 7.9
Convenience store: 7.8
Grounds and maintenance: 9.5
Security: 8.9
Staff: 9.5
General hospitality: 9.5
Exchange affiliation: RCI, II
Comments: Staff is exceptional. Use of amenities at all
Royal Resorts. Water is always calm at this part of the
beach. Full recovery from 2005 hurricane.
TimeSharing Today
Page 13
May/Jun, 2006
Ratings are based on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the best.
Report Card ratings for each resort are
averages based on a significant number
of reports received from readers.
Las Vegas, NV
Snowbird, UT
Amenities and activities at resort: Pools, hot tubs, exercise room, activities program, valet parking, tennis, pool table.
Amenities and activities at resort: Child and adult pools,
sauna, hot tub, fitness center, skiing, tennis, hiking, wildlife
viewing, alpine slide, fishing, daily activities, shuffleboard.
Amenities and activities nearby: Casinos, amusement
parks, arcades, hiking, shows, buffets, elegant dining, Lake
Meade, shopping, golf, Hoover Dam, museums, Red Rock
Canyon, Mt. Charleston, supermarkets.
Amenities and activities nearby: Hiking, skiing, ice skating, snowboarding, Great Salt Lake, fishing, golfing, horseback riding, triple A baseball, restaurants, rock climbing.
Unit: Furnishings: 9.5
Cleanliness: 9.1
Kitchen inventory/appliances: 8.7
Maintenance: 9.5
Construction quality: 9.3
Amenities and activities: At resort: 8.1
Nearby: 9.4
Suitable for: Young children: 6.5
Pre-teens: 6.3
Seniors: 9.3
Teenagers: 6.7
Handicapped: 9.1
Resort: Restaurant facilities: 8.0
Convenience store: 8.6
Grounds and maintenance: 9.6
Security: 9.3
Staff: 9.0
General hospitality: 9.2
Exchange affiliation: RCI
Unit: Furnishings: 8.1
Cleanliness: 8.8
Kitchen inventory/appliances: 8.7
Maintenance: 8.4
Construction quality: 9.0
Amenities and activities: At resort: 8.9
Nearby: 8.4
Suitable for: Young children: 7.4
Pre-teens: 7.9
Seniors: 7.4
Teenagers: 8.3
Handicapped: 5.3
Resort: Restaurant facilities: 7.3
Convenience store: 6.3
Grounds and maintenance: 8.2
Security: 8.2
Staff: 8.8
General hospitality: 8.9
Exchange affiliation: RCI, II
Comments: Located at the far north end of the strip, away
from the hustle and bustle. Guests have access to the
amenities of the Hilton next door. Staff is kind and helpful.
Comments: Great for outdoor enthusiasts. Large rooms
with beautiful mountain views from every balcony. Lift tickets available at front desk.
Kapolei, HI
Carolina Beach, NC
Amenities and activities at resort: Pool, bar, beach, organized activities, maid service, hot tub, golf, health club, game
room, tours, BBQs, water sports, internet access, golf, concierge, valet parking, kayaking.
Amenities and activities at resort: Fishing, video rental,
beach, pool, gas grills, elevator, dishwasher, washer/dryer.
Amenities and activities nearby: Restaurants, Pearl Harbor, shopping, water park, boat rentals, water sports, cruises,
tennis, golf, fishing, tours.
Unit: Furnishings: 9.7
Cleanliness: 9.8
Kitchen inventory/appliances: 8.8
Maintenance: 9.9
Construction quality: 9.8
Amenities and activities: At resort: 9.1
Nearby: 9.6
Suitable for: Young children: 9.2
Pre-teens: 9.2
Seniors: 9.8
Teenagers: 8.5
Handicapped: 9.4
Resort: Restaurant facilities: 8.5
Convenience store: 8.9
Grounds and maintenance: 9.8
Security: 9.8
Staff: 9.8
General hospitality: 9.8
Exchange affiliation: II
Comments: Organized activities for all ages. Units are upscale. Wonderful location away from busy Waikiki area.
Amenities and activities nearby: State parks, museums,
fishing, tennis, golf, restaurant, shopping, boating, beach.
Unit: Furnishings: 7.0
Cleanliness: 7.2
Kitchen inventory/appliances: 7.6
Maintenance: 7.0
Construction quality: 6.8
Amenities and activities: At resort: 5.4
Nearby: 7.2
Suitable for: Young children: 5.2
Pre-teens: 5.6
Seniors: 7.1
Teenagers: 6.0
Handicapped: 5.1
Resort: Restaurant facilities: NA
Convenience store: NA
Grounds and maintenance: 6.0
Security: 6.0
Staff: 8.8
General hospitality: 8.8
Exchange affiliation: RCI
Comments: Both the staff and the residents of the area are
very friendly. Beach and fishing are the main attractions of
this resort.
TimeSharing Today
Page 14
May/Jun, 2006
Our week at Williamsburg Plantation
By Debra Dichiera, Visalia, CA
Our young son is a history buff who
just finished 5th grade US Colonial History,
so it seemed like an ideal time to visit
Williamsburg Plantation in Virginia. We
booked it through Interval International’s
website, and received a confirmation with
very accurate and helpful information.
We flew into Dulles early on a Sunday morning, and drove approximately 3
hours south to Williamsburg, stopping in
Fredericksburg, an interesting town itself
– perfect for Civil War buffs. We arrived
in Williamsburg at 2:00 p.m.; our room
wasn’t ready because check-in time
wasn’t until 4:00 p.m.
We checked into our “four-bedroom”
unit, which actually ended up being two
full two-bedroom units, one above the
other. We used the upstairs one only, as it
had the laundry right outside the door.
The unit was tastefully decorated in “modern colonial,” with deep shades of burgundy and dark faux cherry furnishings.
There was a small balcony with two plastic chairs and tables overlooking a forested
area. The gas fireplace had a large television mounted above it. There was comfortable sofa bed and two armchairs, and
ample lighting. The kitchen was goodsized and fully stocked with dishwashing
liquid and powdered dishwasher detergent
and two boxes of laundry detergent, but
no coffee filters. There was no oven or
stove, but there was a portable two-burner
unit and a microwave. We noticed ashtrays, but there was absolutely no smell
of smoke.
The “master bedroom” was a little
cramped, with a queen bed (too hard), a
TV in the armoire, small
clothes closet with a
safe, and very small
bathroom. The “second bedroom” was
spacious and airy with
two comfortable twin
beds, a TV in the
armoire, a larger closet
and a huge bathroom
with a double sink and
Jacuzzi bathtub. It
seemed more like the
“master bedroom.” The
bathrooms weren’t as
well stocked as the kitchen – there was
one small bottle of shampoo for the twobedroom unit, plus one bar of soap for
each bathroom. The hall closet was
stocked with iron and ironing board, laundry baskets, plus linens for the sofa bed.
Midweek cleaning was only available at
an additional fee, and you had to take your
own trash out to the dumpster – I guess
that’s how they keep the maintenance fees
We attended the “welcome breakfast”
in the main building Monday morning,
with the typical Costco mini-muffins, orange juice and coffee. We especially enjoyed the presentation by “Miss Muriel,”
a retired history teacher, about the Historic Triangle of Williamsburg-JamestownYorktown. We also heard from the activities director and a presenter from a local
winery. We found the presentation to be
very informative about local attractions
and no “hard-sell” on expensive activities.
It was simple, brief, entertaining, and to
the point. One of the best we’ve ever at-
Celebrating 10 Years of Professional Timeshare Closing Services
(954) 718-7076
Since we were still pretty jet-lagged,
we weren’t in a big hurry to start sightseeing, so we signed up to participate in a
“survey” (timeshare sales presentation).
It started with a free lunch at a restaurant
in a nearby strip mall. They’d sized us up
pretty well ahead of time as experienced
timesharers, and only tried to sell us a fairly
reasonable priced resale unit, but the salesman just rattled through the pitch with the
usual exaggerations and half-truths and
seemed pretty disgusted with us when we
repeatedly turned him down. They handed
us off to another salesman for one final
(unsuccessful) attempt at selling us an
“every third year” deal. Frankly, if we lived
on the East Coast, we would consider a
purchase at the Plantation, but we’ve been
doing this long enough to know that any
additional purchase of weeks for us would
need to be closer to home than what we
already have, because we want something
we can use, not just something to trade.
We got a pair of tickets to Busch Gardens
and a pair of tickets to Colonial
Williamsburg, so it was worth listening to
the presentation.
Monday night, we decided to scope
out Colonial Williamsburg prior to starting the use of our 3-day passes. We made
the mistake of walking from the Visitor’s
Center to town instead of paying the fairly
modest parking fees ($1/hour and free after 6 p.m.). We picked up a map and event
calendar to decide what three consecutive days that week we wanted to attend.
This proved to be a good plan.
Tuesday we went to Jamestown, first
to the original 1607 site where we observed
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TimeSharing Today
Page 15
an interesting demonstration of the
colonial glassblowing industry and second to the Visitor’s Center. The Visitor’s
Center is owned by a non-profit foundation and is one of the most beautiful I’ve
ever seen. We purchased a combination
Jamestown/Yorktown ticket. We saw impressive reproductions of the three ships
that landed at Jamestown. There were
people in period costumes demonstrating
early colonial life.
Later, we took a drive around the
beautiful grounds and then drove back to
Colonial Williamsburg for an excellent dinner on the patio at “The Fat Canary.” The
interior of the restaurant has the same
kitchen, different menu, more expensive,
but takes reservations, unlike the patio.
We poked around the shops at the
quaint Merchants’ Square, adjacent to
Colonial Williamsburg, bought tickets for
a Friday night concert at the nearby
Kimball Theater, and had a terrific caramel
apple at the Wythe Candy Store.
Wednesday, we fast-forwarded 174
years from Colonial Williamsburg of 1607
to Yorktown of 1781. The walking tour of
the battlegrounds was fascinating to us.
We saw how the Americans and French
cooperated to defeat Cornwallis. I had read
in school about of the Battle of Yorktown,
but it was purely academic knowledge until
I saw the geography and heard about the
logistics. Our son, Stephen, enjoyed being part of a team of young volunteers
who learned to load and “shoot” a cannon. It was a fun presentation for both
the children and the audience – the ranger
was quite good.
That night, we returned to Yorktown
for a “Ghost Story” tour, which included a
boat ride and a walking tour in the dark. It
was campy and fun. Our son especially
enjoyed it – it was just scary enough, but
not too much so. We booked it through
the concierge at the timeshare, and
thought it well worth the money for people
who enjoy that sort of thing.
Thursday, turned out to be the only
day with really nice weather – not rainy,
not too hot, so it was the best day for an
amusement park. Busch Gardens –
Williamsburg has a European theme – a
little like EPCOT with roller coasters, although not as big. It has a beautiful setting on both sides of a large waterway.
Oktoberfest restaurant was our favorite
place to eat in the park. It was huge, air-
conditioned, with German folk entertainers (including an Oompah band) and pretty
good food. It was the only indoor eating
area, as far as we could determine, and we
ended up there for both lunch and dinner
because we didn’t want to sit outside.
We’d decided to save our Colonial
Williamsburg passes for the last three
days because the schedule looked more
interesting. So, Friday, we got there in
time to watch “Colonel Tarleton” come in
and take over the city. (Viewers of “The
Patriot” will recall that he was the villain.)
We enjoyed joining in with the “colonials”
and other tourists in booing the various
British troops and their allies including the
Hessians. The redcoats in turned harassed the colonials. We bought box
lunches and sat on the lawn opposite
Market Square to enjoy the activities.
Saturday, we returned to Colonial
Williamsburg for the “march and drill”
demonstration. We took a picnic lunch to
sit and watch the festivities. In the afternoon, we checked at the Plantation to see
if we could extend our stay, because we
were enjoying ourselves so much, but
they were booked.
May/Jun, 2006
Sunday, we went to a brief church
service being held for the “occupying
troops” in Williamsburg. The weather
started out hot and steamy. Then the deluge began – and went for almost the entire day. We put on our ponchos and made
the best of it, because the rain was at least
cooler than the heat. We took a carriage
ride, and then had a terrific brunch at “Seasons” in Merchant Square.
We really enjoyed our stay at the
Williamsburg Plantation. Our unit was
spacious, nicely decorated, and comfortable, except for the bed in the master bedroom. We didn’t avail ourselves much of
the other facilities or activities, but it made
a great home base for the numerous activities in the area. Busch Gardens was a
nice break when we started getting overdosed on history. If you enjoy history
yourself, or have children who are studying it in school, we highly recommend the
area and the resort. And Virginia is a fascinating state, with many areas of breathtaking scenery. It was our first visit, and
we would like to return in a few years to
see the other areas of the state.
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Page 16
May/Jun, 2006
FOCUS ON: La Logerie, Maupevoir, France
By Michael & Ann Frost,
East Greenwich, RI
While scanning through the Dial An Exchange web site
looking for availability in Europe, I found a listing for a small
resort in rural France 300 kilometers southwest of Paris. After
reading about this resort and discussing the possibility of
visiting France for the first time, my wife and I decided to
book the first week of September at “La Logerie” in
Maupevoir, a village so small that it didn’t appear on any
maps that we could find.
In order to get to Maupevoir, we flew on Air France
from Boston on a Friday night arriving at De Gaulle airport
outside Paris early Saturday morning and connecting to the
TGV high speed train at the airport. The train was listed on
our tickets as an Air France flight and this helped us avoid long ticketing lines as the
train system had special ticketing windows solely for Air France customers both coming
and going. We even got our airline boarding passes at the train station in Poitiers for the
return trip.
The TGV train was comfortable; it took about two hours to travel from the airport to
Poitiers on the line that goes to Bordeaux. At Poitiers, we rented a car for the remaining
30 kilometers to La Logerie at Maupevoir. The staff in the rental office initially didn’t
speak English. It took us only a short time to expand our high school French so that we
could make ourselves understood. It was amazing that people who claimed not to know
English suddenly remembered some after you began a conversation in halting French.
We found that language was not a problem, as our French got better as the week went on
and more and more people revealed that
they could speak some English.
Rental cars in France are all standard
shift with diesel engines. Diesel fuel is
called Gas-oil in France and costs about
1.09 Euro per liter which is about $6.00 per
gallon at the exchange rate in September
2005. Gasoline was more expensive.
We had a good AAA road map of
France and found our way to La Logerie
without too much trouble. Maupevoir
turned out to be a charming tiny rural village with old stone buildings and the ever
present church and chateau. The village,
as all villages in France, has a Boulangerie
for excellent bread and a Patisserie for
pastry. Fuel was also available in the village but was about .20 Euro per liter more
than in larger towns or cities.
When you travel in France remember
that most rural shops and services close
from noon to 2:30 PM every day, and nothing is open on Sunday except the
Boulangerie and Patisserie. You must allow for the midday closing in your
sightseeing planning. If you arrive at a
[email protected]
place you want to visit at 12:15 PM you
might have to sit in a local bar/restaurant
and drink wine until 2:30 PM when every-
thing reopens. If you are beginning a visit
in rural France on a Saturday you should
acquire enough supplies that day to get
you through the weekend.
Larger towns and cities have supermarkets often called Intermarche or Casino
(no gambling), and a mini-Casino is like a
7-11 store (still no gambling). If the city is
big enough, it will also have a Logimarche
(the French version of Wal-Mart only
smaller.) I never encountered a shopping
mall in southwestern France.
In rural areas services are pretty much
limited to Boulangerie/Patisserie/Pharmacy/Fuel/Tabac (a lot of people still
smoke) stores. There are farmers’ markets
on almost every weekday in different villages, where you can buy all kinds of groceries, cheeses, meats, poultry, fish etc.
There are many restaurants, even in out
of the way places, with excellent food. Just
remember that dinner is not served until
7:30PM, and you probably should make a
reservation although tourist areas are more
accommodating to drop in diners.
I took my own advice and we stopped
at an Intermarche in Gencay, the nearest
large town to Maupevoir, to pick up a few
days’ supplies before proceeding to La
La Logerie is two kilometers outside
Maupevoir village. When we arrived at La
TimeSharing Today
Logerie, we were greeted by the owners, Doug and Sue Toll, given a quick tour,
shown to our unit and left alone to enjoy
what I considered one of the best features
at La Logerie - a kitchen stocked with
cheese, excellent bread, butter, jam, bottled
water, wine, coffee, tea and condiments,
all complimentary as a welcome gift. This
set the tone for our visit and we really enjoyed our stay.
We had intended this to be a relaxing
vacation with very little to do. We ended
up doing a lot and driving a lot over the
excellent French rural roads. There are villages every few kilometers. What looks
like a two hour drive to a historic site can
easily take four due to the constant slowing to pass through a town or village.
There are interstate type highways in
France; there just weren’t any in the areas
we wanted to go to.
The La Logerie resort itself is a sixteen acre slice out of a local chateau’s land.
The current owners have restored the farm
buildings on the acreage into their retirement home and three cottages of various
sizes that are complete vacation homes.
They recently added a large swimming
pool and recreation area. You can also
fish in a stream that runs through their
The unit we stayed in was a three
bedroom with 1.5 baths, a living/dining
area and a small but complete, kitchen.
There was even a patio with a grill if you
wanted to cook outdoors. All linens were
supplied. There was one television in the
living area which received about 20 satellite channels in English or French. The unit
was very comfortably furnished and had
many homey touches. The kitchen was adequately stocked for cooking and serving
for six. I was intrigued by the cook top/
broiler oven/dishwasher all in one appliance - a unique French touch.
Apparently guests leave brochures
and maps from places visited and you find
these when opening furniture drawers.
This was a nice touch and helped us plan
a lot of our activities. It was a refreshing
change from the antiseptic scouring that
you find at most timeshares. Before we
even arrived at La Logerie we were sent a
information brochure that provided lots
of resort information and write-ups about
the local attractions and short reviews of
restaurants in the area. This brochure was
very helpful for sampling the local cuisine.
Page 17
May/Jun, 2006
Our unit had a large supply of books
and more were available in the recreation
area. You could spend a relaxing week just
lounging around and reading here.
A French clothes washing machine
was available at no charge. There was no
clothes dryer but drying racks were provided for all units. I did not go into the
other units, but was told that one was
larger and the other was smaller than ours.
The smallest unit could be entered in a
wheelchair but was not totally handicap
accessible. Our unit featured many exposed barn beams and you soon learned
to duck when near a beam. If you would
like to explore the La Logerie experience
yourself, the website is LaLogerie.com.
We enjoyed a very comfortable vacation
at La Logerie and would definitely go back.
One of the attractions of the southwest area of France is the wine. We tasted
as much as we could and bought the local
brand everywhere we went. It was all
good. It would take too long to describe
all the places we visited. A few highlights
are the elegant chateaus at Chenonceau
and Chaumont. On another day we visited the abbey at Fontevraud that contains
the remains of Henry II, Eleanor of
Aquitaine, and Richard the Lionhearted
among others. We also stopped at the ruined abbey at Charroux, where
Charlemagne’s tower, built in the 900s, still
stands behind the local farmers market. We
visited the small town of Brux that had a
church built in the 1100s still in regular
use today. We also visited Cardinal
Richelieu’s large estates, bigger than the
local walled town that supports the estate.
We also managed to get to Limoge to
see the painted porcelain and enameling
on copper that makes the area famous. It
was beautiful but very expensive. On the
way back from Limoge, we managed to
stumble on what I found to be the only
bargain in France. Near Bressac, we found
a store named Magasin which offered 30
per cent off all purchases. We stopped to
investigate and found a warehouse that
was selling odd lots and overstocks. We
found some nice crystal and lace for curtains at the best prices I saw in France.
There is so much more to see and do
in southwest France that we will have to
go back again. Maybe we will make it to
Bordeaux for more wine or to La Rochelle
on the Atlantic on the next trip.
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TimeSharing Today
Page 18
May/Jun, 2006
Mail Order Bride
By Don Thompson, Long Beach, CA
Ever since we purchased our first timeshare some twenty years ago, I have been
pining to go to Washington state. Persistence finally paid off and we got a week at
World Mark Discovery Bay, located between the small towns of Port Angeles and
Port Townsend, and very near Olympic
National Park.
We had a picture of the place we
would be staying in the Interval International “wish book.” But like a mail
order bride we wouldn’t really know
whether we had a “winner” until we
could see it ill person.
Yes! The bride was beautiful! She
had it all: two bedrooms, two balconies( one with a barbeque), two bathrooms plus a Jacuzzi tub, fireplace,
entertainment center, comfy living
room, dining area, kitchen, washer/
dryer and lots of closet space. The
views from the balconies were of the
bay and mountains. This was a marriage made in heaven!
Albertson’s market was happy to see
tourists who were staying for a week. We
loaded our groceries, including a couple
of chocolate Easter eggs with our names
on them, into our rented “carriage” and
returned to our “castle.”
The next day was Easter, so we went
to church in Sequim -pronounced without
the “e.” Say swim, then replace the “w”
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Read. Review.
A heavily visited Web site = lots of
exposure & connections.
How much is a week at your resort going for?
Connect with a community of owners and travelers in a fair
and honest marketplace. It takes a great working Web site
with plenty of traffic to help make your timeshare experience
the best it can be. Post your timeshare for rent or sale.
Make a RedWish. Connect today.
Connecting travelers and the timeshare community.
with a “q” and say it again. We finally got
it. The priest was a widower with six children. WHEW!
We spent the rest of the day in Port
Townsend, certainly the most charming
town we saw on this trip. It is one of only
three Victorian seaports in the United
States. Downtown, handsome 19th century buildings stretch along a quiet waterfront. Uptown, Victorian mansions, some
of them housing bed and breakfast inns,
perch on bluffs overlooking Port
Townsend Bay. White-capped Cascade
and Olympic mountains punctuate the
The next day, we drove to Lake Crescent, a picturesque glacier-carved body
of water. No power boats are allowed on
the lake, but we could rent a rowboat or
canoe. Nearby, we caught the trailhead for
a mile hike to the 90-foot Marymere Falls.
It was an easy walk, a stroll through the
forest and it whetted our appetites for
A little further west took us to the turn
off to Sol Duc Hot Springs. We wished we
had brought our swim suits because the
steaming, bubbling pools of mineral water
looked inviting. We could have rented
suits, but decided to take a 1.6 mile hike to
the Sol Duc Falls instead. We were quite
pleased with our choice, as were the hot
springs bathers, I bet!
We got back to our unit in time for
cocktails on the balcony and to start the
evening blaze in the fireplace.
We were off to Victoria, Canada the
following day. We boarded the ferry at Port
Angeles. The view from the stern was stunning, two American flags snapping in the
breeze, and in the background a view of
snow capped Mt. Olympus. The harbor at
Victoria was busy, and the buildings surrounding it were worthy of an artist, with
the famous Empress Hotel to our left and
the Parliament buildings straight ahead.
We found the public bus that took us
to the Butchart Gardens. The cost was reasonable, at $2.85 US for the round trip.
The gardens are hauntingly beautiful.
From the sunken gardens to the Japanese,
Italian and hanging gardens, the senses
are dazzled by the flower displays. We
were there during the “spring spectacu
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TimeSharing Today
Page 19
lar” and bulbs, which had been
planted by the hundred thousand, were
out in a riot of colors. Then it was back
on the bus to enjoy a stroll through the
Empress Hotel, a grand old lady with a
first class reputation. The staff was
dressed in livery that would have put
the Vatican Swiss guard to shame.
We paid another visit to
Albertsons and bought some local
salmon, which we grilled on our patio
barbecue. We watched the night slip
its black cloak over the nearby mountains and watched a few lights, like fireflies, come alive on the far shore of the
We left the unit early the next day
to visit Dungeness National Wildlife
Refuge. We drove by numerous nurseries
and lavender farms, the fields of purple a
pleasant variation on the vast vista of
green we normally saw. We parked at the
Refuge and walked through a patch of
woods and eventually reached a viewing
platform. There, we had a fine view of the
63-foot high New Dungeness Lighthouse
located at the end of a spit.
We spent the next day exploring the
quaint Scandinavian town of Poulsbo.
Many of the buildings are decorated in
traditional old country motifs. Our last
stop on this peninsula was at Port Gamble.
In 1853, a group of Maine lumbermen
founded a sawmill here. The village is now
a historic district with Victorian frame
houses and street corners lit by gas lamps.
We were home in time for another
barbeque. While I stood with spatula in
one hand - and a beer in the other - I
reflected on some of the things we’ve had
seen so far. Lots of tiny, independent
espresso stands, many in the middle of
nowhere, and very few Starbucks; huge
logging trucks grinding up the highways;
an abundance of nurseries and an astonishing amount of flowers, especially tulips. No graffiti and few billboards. Lots of
recycle bins, lots of lavender farms with
their incongruous palette of purple set
against the blue sky and green fields.
We still had to explore Port Angeles,
and that’s where we headed the next morning. We parked near the city pier and
headed east on the waterfront trail. This
portion of the trail is about a mile long and
has numerous benches and a few tables,
all of which are sponsored by individuals
or families in memory of loved ones. Most
have flowers of the season now. We
stopped to read the inscriptions on the
benches, some of which are touching and
poignant. “My morning sun/my drum and
fife/ my evening star/ my loving wife/
Agnes.” “Gone fishing.” “Killed by a
drunk driver. “
We returned downtown and marveled
at several large murals, recreating a visual
history of Port Angeles, painted on the
May/Jun, 2006
sides of commercial buildings. We
worked our way through a couple of thrift
stores and wound our way up a road
until we reached one of the more whimsical museums we have ever seen.
The Port Angeles Fine Arts Center
and Sculpture Park is one os a kind. It
sits on five acres of landscaped nature
trails and affords sweeping views of the
city, the mountains and the Strait. It is
the heavily wooded sculpture gardens
that are the “piece de resistance” of this
place. Imagine rounding a bend in the
trail and seeing a large, level canoe hanging 30 feet up in the air, with the head of
a lion peering over the side. Or rough
hewn tree limbs placed together to form
a Rumba line. There must have been 15
or 20 such items tucked away and we
found them all.
That evening we used the “en suite”
washer/dryer to clean our duds. We ate as
much of the left over food from the refrigerator as we could stomach, then stood
on the balcony to have a last view of Discovery Bay. It was the end of the ‘’honeymoon,” but the memories of our “Mail Order Bride” will endure.
Tammac Financial Corp.’s resale financing program will
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or refinancing a timeshare week.
Some of our Happy Clients Include:
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• Owners who buy more weeks
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TimeSharing Today
Page 20
Local Dining Guide
May/Jun, 2006
TSToday Anywhere
Subscriber Nancy
Coutu of Dayville, CT,
is reading her magazine
while a guest at Minerals Resort in the Great
Gorge Ski area of
Vernon, NJ. The Appalachian Mountains are
in the background.
Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, TN:
Bennett’s Bar-B-Que, with locations in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, TN, is one of our favorite places to enjoy a good
sandwich and salad bar for lunch or dinner while in the Smokies.
Lunch for two is about $15 and dinner about $20 - $25. Their
Breakfast Buffet is also good for about $15.00 for two people. Our
all time favorite Breakfast Bar is served at Eleanor’s Restaurant,
at the Park Vista Hotel, above Gatlinburg, TN. For $15.00 for two
people you get several choices of eggs, meats, potatoes, cereals,
breads, biscuits and gravy, and cooked to order omelets. Their
weekend Seafood Buffet is excellent for about $40, for two. At the
beginning of our stays in the Smokies we always find coupons
good for discounts at area restaurants and attractions.
Carolyn Hawkins, WV
St. Martin, FWI:
We have vacationed here for over 20 years, and the island,
especially the French side, is a gourmet’s dream! Dining at restaurants that will give you an exchange rate of $1 Euro for $1
Dollar will save you over 20%....the following have that policy.
Paying in cash (US $ are accepted) is advisable, as well, to avoid
a surcharge on your credit card. No matter what you are told,
gratuities ARE included in the price of the meal on the French
side....tip a small additional amount for exceptional service.
Although not directly on the water, Le Pressior, in Grand
Case next to the “Lolos” (local food vendors, which are also
great for an “island experience”). It is our # 1 pick for food, service, presentation and decor. Lovely Antillian house, excellent
wines by the glass. Dinner $100- $150 per couple.
L’California in Grand Case directly on the beach...we always like to go 1/2 hour before the sun sets & generally can get
a table by the water in the off season (make reservations in the
high season at all popular restaurants). Great atmosphere and
food equal to many of the pricier Grand Case restaurants, good
for families, as they offer reasonably priced pizza, salads and full
dinners. Dinner for two would range from $40- to $75-.
L’Tropicana in Marina Port Royale, small & popular, make a
reservation, even in the off season & ask to sit overlooking the
marina to “people watch.” Three-course
prix fixe dinner for $25 is a bargain; huge
portion of escargot in puff pastry and
creme brulee - both to “die for!”
Elaine Lefebvre, Bonita Springs, FL
Kauai, HI:
Casa di Amici is our favorite restaurant on the island - a little hard to find in a
residential neighborhood, but once you’re
there you’ll be happy you made the effort.
Quiet, romantic, tables not crowded together so you can ha`ve a feeling of privacy, dine inside or on the lanai (outside
The menu is cross-cultural, Mediterranean and Pacific - saltimboca, satay, New
Zealand lamb loin, shrimp and ahi with
wasabi aioli, and risotto with Kalua pork
and cabbage are examples of the imaginative entrees you’ll find in the $15-25 range.
Nothing from a can or the freezer - all fresh
ingredients. Extensive wine list, mainland
West Coast to Australia mostly, plus full
bar. Make reservations. Crowded on weekends. Try going when owner, Chef Randall
Yates, is working. Located at 2301 Nalo
Rd., Poipu - Dinner Nightly 6:00 PM (808)
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TimeSharing Today
Page 21
Catching Colorado’s Colors at
Steamboat Springs
By William Burgess, Westminster, CO
The sun was just touching the western horizon when we
checked in at the Sunburst Condominiums’ main desk on October 1st around 7:00 p.m. Mike, the desk clerk, had everything
ready, handed over two keys, a map, the local newspaper, a calendar of events and had us on the way to our unit in only a few
The second floor unit was reached by a flight of steel, opentread steps. A ski storage area outside the main door and a small
vestibule with a large coat rack just inside the door indicated the
ski sport function of these condominiums and let us know why
there were hundreds of other similarly designed units in this area
of town. As it was now off-season, only four of the units in our
building were taken.
Sunburst Condominiums appear to be a bit older, possibly
early 80’s designs. We had stayed in the same general area of
Steamboat Springs in the 90’s and it was well covered by timeshare facilities then.
Our unit was a two-bedroom with loft, living room, dining
area, and three bathrooms. The master bedroom and the loft each
had queen-sized beds and the second bedroom had twin beds.
The large sectional sofa in the living room was also a hide-a-bed,
so the unit could comfortably sleep 8 person. My wife and I had
plenty of room.
The interior was all cherry wood paneling (carved!) which
intensified the warm feeling of a mountain lodge. The dining table
and bedroom furniture was also built of cherry to carry the lodgelike theme throughout, but it also made the rooms appear dark. A
gas fireplace kept the warm feeling intact. The kitchen cabinets
were of cherry finish and so was the well-used and scarred counter
top. A full-size refrigerator, stove, oven, microwave, and dishwasher filled the small galley kitchen, making close quarters for
two people at the same time.
As the unit could be occupied by up to eight people at a
time, there was plenty of tableware and glassware. The cookware
was copper-bottomed stainless steel—no Teflon pots or utensils.
Outside was a sauna which could be entered by using the
unit’s door keys.
A barbecue grill, quite a large one, stood outside at the end
of the building, but when I tried to grill some burgers on it, it
failed to heat up beyond 100 degrees, so it must have been very
low on propane.
There is no pool and no air conditioning, but at 6,700 feet
above sea level, there’s not much call for either, especially since
skiing is what brings people to Steamboat Springs. No pets and
no RV’s are allowed on the property.
Our timing was perfect for a visit to Steamboat Springs to
see fall color. At the very highest elevations, the Aspens had lost
their leaves already, but at the middle and lower levels on the
slopes and on the valley floor there were still some green leaves
on the trees. Coupled with the dazzling sunlight of the first two
days, the bright yellow leaves of the Quaking Aspens on the
mountains and the darker gold of the Cottonwoods along the
May/Jun, 2006
E=E:[email protected]>==K
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TimeSharing Today
Page 22
streams contrasted vividly with the
deep green of the Spruce and Fir trees and
made our daily treks a “leaf-peepers” delight.
For our first day’s driving tour we
headed north out of town along the Elk
River to Steamboat Lake, a distance of 17
miles. The roadway is paved, slightly hilly
with some rather sharp curves, so the
speed limit is 45 mph in most places, making a slower sightseeing drive very comfortable. At the lake, there is a marina, several guest ranches, plus an inn at Hahn’s
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Peak Village. The main attractions for us
this day were the wide expanses of the
mountainsides covered with “quakies” in
full color, their white trunks and yellow
crowns standing out clearly against the
blue sky—an absolutely gorgeous view
from our top-down Mustang convertible.
A mid-afternoon snack at a Forest
Service picnic area in a spruce grove alongside Elk Creek broke the meandering drive
until it was time to retrace our route. We
were joined at times by anglers, bicyclists,
horseback riders, and hikers. Lots of
people were outdoors enjoying a fine fall
Sunday that afternoon. At one point, a
mule deer doe jumped out of the brush by
the side of the road and we missed her
only by inches. It’s a good thing we were
taking it easy.
Our Monday morning tour took us to
Fish Creek Falls, four miles northeast of
town. Here, after paying a $5.00 Forest
Service entry fee (no charge with Golden
Age Passport or other Golden Eagle documents), you follow a short paved hiking
trail from the parking lot to the falls. The
water drops in free fall about 40 feet, then
cascades for another 150 feet to the creek.
It’s about 1/4. mile to the overlook, another 1/4. mile down to the footbridge
across the creek at the base of the falls,
then, thanks to a shortcut, only another 1/
4 mile back up the trail through yellow Aspens and red Mountain Ash bushes
loaded with berries to the parking lot once
more. At the creek level, though, there are
several other trails of varying difficulty
leading further into the mountains.
This was a really nice place to get out
into the forest for a couple of hours. Easy
access, lots of variety, and informational
signs along the way describing the terrain, the wildlife, and the ecology of the
May/Jun, 2006
The next day, we drove eastward up
US 40 to re-cross Rabbit Ears Pass. This is
an area of large meadows which are filled
with snowmobiles in winter but empty this
day and also void of Aspens. The feature
attraction here is a rock outcrop on the
nearby mountain that displays two large
towers that, with a little imagination, can
be seen to resemble a large rabbit crouched
atop the peak. A few clumps of Aspen set
it off against the evergreens, but on the
eastern (drier) slope the Aspen leaves were
almost entirely gone.
Wednesday morning was cloudy. After a late breakfast, we stepped outside
into 40-degree weather and a coating of
fresh snow on all the surrounding peaks.
The ski runs on Mt. Werner really stood
out. We drove west on US 40 to Hayden,
stopping at the Yampa River Nature Preserve to visit some native stands of Narrow-Leaf Cottonwood, Red Ozier Dogwood, and River Hawthorn shrubs that
were showing good autumn color.
Back in town, we visited the Sulfur
Spring and photographed the bronze
sculpture of a bull elk entitled “Autumn
Majesty.” South of this city park and
alongside the Yampa River that flows
through Steamboat Springs, we found the
Yampa River Botanical Park with many
specimens of trees, shrubs, and perennial
flowering plants on display. Asters, Autumn Crocus, Chokecherry, and Phlox were
among the most colorful.
Downtown Steamboat Springs is a
ten-block long strip of US 40 for the commercial center and maybe two blocks on
either side for a few public buildings and
minor businesses. It is a real downtown,
though, with department stores (locally
owned—no big chain stores), furniture
stores, art galleries, gas stations, and antique shops, plus a movie theater and several fine restaurants.
The Dining Guide lists 32 places to
eat, all sit-down with a fascinating variety
of cuisines. We had dinner at “Antares.”
The food was great and they also have an
extensive wine list. It was superb. On a
second evening, out we enjoyed the Yacht
Club’s view along the river for a short while
before Amtrak came roaring past.
Steamboat Springs is often listed as
one of the top ten places to live in the
United States and after our fourth visit here
on a timeshare exchange, we couldn’t
agree more. We’ll be back!
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TimeSharing Today
Page 23
By Byron Wiegand,
Timeshare Resale Alliance, La Jolla, CA
The acceptance of timesharing as a desirable alternate to
“paying through the nose” for a vacation is widely endorsed by
the public. So what’s the problem with timesharing? The very
real problem is the one of management of the Timeshare Association by the Owners themselves.
Most states have required that these Associations, toward
the end of the initial selling phase by the deveoper, become selfgoverning - and with good
reason. They don’t want the
Association to become a permanent hostage of the Developer. So state laws insist that
the operations power be
transferred from the Developer to the Owners themselves. The
problem arises when the Owners do not take over control of the
property, but abdicate that power back to the developer or to a
management company that then takes over the Board of Directors of the Association by causing the Owners to vote in a majority of the management company’s own people. This puts the
weasel firmly in charge of guarding the henhouse.
Picture this: The management company (by virtue of controlling the Owner’s Association Board) now controls its own
customer! There is no more perfect example of a total conflict of
interest. How do you suppose this works? How about if the
management company really makes a major mistake? Does the
Board censure the management company when it is really them-
May/Jun, 2006
selves? Yeah! Sure! Right! How about when it is time to review
the yearly budget? Do you think they might be inclined to give
the management company a big raise? Can you picture them in a
Board meeting saying, “Should we give us, er…the management
company a big raise? Nah, they are already making too much.”
Not too likely. The chance that a management company-controlled Board will “do the right thing” is non-existent. They will
do what is in their own best interest every time (or at least almost
every time.)
If you have an entrenched Board of Directors where the
management company is in
control, your Association is in
serious trouble. The State did
not set it up for Owners to take
control, only to have you give
it back to the people they were
trying to protect you against. If your Association is full of
“Sheeple,” you will get fleeced every year as long as you own. It
is your property! You must take control! Do you really know
who is in charge of your Association? You better. A great help is
Board Member term limits. It at least allows for someone new to
be taking a look every so often.
How about when the Developer is gone, a good arm’s length
management company is in place and does not attempt to pack
the Board? Are you completely out of trouble? Not necessarily.
An unknowledgeable Board or even a single Board Member can
also cause problems. How can you protect against that?
Well, you know how once a year you get a ballot that looks
a little bit like this:
It’s YOUR property;
get involved!
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TimeSharing Today
Page 24
Vote for three candidates only.
Everett Esquire, Esq. (Incumbent) –
Retired Attorney; specialized in Criminal
Heather Homemaker – Wife; mother
of four grown children
Sam Mallton (Incumbent) – Retired
Corporate CEO of Mall-Mart
Keller Seller – Part of the original sales
team during the developer sales
Sally Sincere – Retired grammar
school teacher. Active in the Garden Club.
Running on a platform of reducing the dues
and championing for “the little people.”
Sherry Shopkeeper (Incumbent) Operates a small gift shop in Sawyersville
So whom are you going to vote for?
Many Owners are likely to say, “Who
cares?” but that is a huge, huge mistake.
As a timeshare Owner, you are a relatively
large stockholder of a medium to large
sized corporation (even though it is a nonprofit one). The budget for such an organization is invariably over a million dollars
a year and the cash-in-the-bank reserves
can add up to hundreds of thousands of
dollars. You don’t care to whom you entrust that responsibility? You are going
to hand that money and responsibility over
to someone you don’t even know? You
must agree that this makes no sense.
You might say, “I don’t have the time
to get involved in this,” but the fact is that
you don’t have the option if you want to
protect your investment. Don’t just figure that “everything will turn out all right.”
If too many Owners at your resort do that,
you are in deep trouble. After thirty-five
years, I have seen the creation of a number of unnecessary Association problems.
Not many, but even one is too many.
So what’s the answer? You must get
involved, even if on a casual basis. This
doesn’t have to require much of your time.
You do need to follow the newsletters,
even though many make the big mistake
of throwing them out with the junk mail
without even opening them. Attend some
meetings, at least the Owner’s General
Meeting. You can learn a lot just from the
other Owners. Meet the Board Members.
What do you think of them? Would you
hire them to run your own corporation?
Ask questions. How do they see the future for your property? Is the budget being met? Who would they prefer to see
May/Jun, 2006
on the Board? If a professional Property
Manager is a part of your management
team, you are normally better off. At least
you have a potential check and balance
system in place. Although that manager
must report to the Board, he can answer
your questions directly and is likely to tip
you off to any problems. So let’s say that
you will plan to get involved and oversee
your investment better than you have in
the past, but your ballot is due now. How
will you vote for the above slate today?
Keep in mind that the minute you
change one Board Member, you change
the dynamics of the whole group. You
don’t have to throw out the whole existing Board and ,generally speaking .that is
a bad idea anyway unless it is controlled
by the Developer or Management Company. If the resort has been running
smoothly and most everyone (you won’t
get ‘em all) is pleased, you should keep
most of those responsible. I think making
some changes on a regular basis is a good
idea, although you run the risk of eliminating one of the “spark plugs.” You also
eliminate the potential formation of a “dynasty” that can cause problems in the other
direction. Term limits are always a good
idea, even in a stabilized environment with
a permanent Property Manager.
Professional and business people are
generally good to have. The attorney, the
former CFO and the small business Owner
(Esquire, Mallton and Shopkeeper) bring
a wealth of knowledge and business ability, even though the attorney’s experience
is in the criminal rather than civil sector.
He still knows the law and if the Association has been running smoothly he is still
a good bet. In fact, all of these incumbents are good bets and if you kept them
all you would probably be all right provided they hadn’t been there forever. A
phone call to the Property Manager for an
opinion would be a good idea. Maybe
one of them is causing chaos within the
group and would best be eliminated. The
on-site Manager (who you should know
anyway) could also provide some insight.
So what about the three non-incumbents? Who would be the best from this
group? Heather Homemaker is not a bad
choice as she has probably had her hands
on the affairs of the family for many years
and may have even had charge of the family checkbook. If there were no women on
the Board, I would definitely choose her.
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TimeSharing Today
Page 25
My experience (being the President
of one Timeshare Association or another
for over 22 years) would be to have at least
one woman on the Board. Their insight
and sensitivity is an absolute plus. Why
not pick up the phone and call her? See
why she wants to run. Without the kids at
home, she no doubt has the time. What
about Keller Seller? If the property has
been sold out for a while, he probably is a
great believer in it and could provide more
insight and sound judgment. He would
likely be O.K.
That brings us to Sally Sincere and
her giant red flag. Her background probably doesn’t provide a good basis for running a medium sized corporation unless
she had a small business going on the side.
And her proposal to reduce the dues is
really scary. Where will she reduce them?
Is she going to cut back on services?
Which ones? Is she going to ignore repairs, creating a huge deferred maintenance situation, substandard resort and
huge future problem for you until she is
kicked out? Or is she planning on just
using up the reserves to provide a temporary relief to the dues bills? (Illegal by the
May/Jun, 2006
way.) I would run like crazy from this one;
she could cause some serious problems.
So what are some of these serious
problems? There is one going on right
now in a major property in the Southeast.
The Developer is still the President of the
Association years after selling most of the
weeks and benevolent he isn’t. The conflict of interest is huge and absolutely
against the best interests of the Owners.
It is going to take a major revolt to fix this,
potentially a class-action suit or an injunction by the State Department of Real Estate and/or Corporations. This doesn’t
have to be the case.
In another case, the Board would not
open the books to the Owners (probably
against the law, but if no one calls them on
it, they can slide by), would not divulge
the results of any voting or allow inspectors of the election or even provide a list
of the other Owners (definitely against the
law). They merely sent out frequent special assessments. Most probably they are
stealing the Owners’ funds in a criminal
activity that has continued for many years.
Although these situations are is rare,
it is a lot easier to avoid such problems
than it is to fix them. One thing I have
always incorporated into the Associations
I have chaired is a prohibition of any compensation to the Board Members. The
minute you do that, you have set up a
political system that is almost certain to
cause you problems later. The exception
to that is compensation for travel expenses
to Board Members that live a long distance from the Board Meetings. Recently
an Owner from across the country was
elected to a Board. Her first act with the
Association was to save them over
$80,000 in unnecessary furnishing expense
by virtue of her practical common sense
and knowledge of interior design. Was
that worth the four $300 airplane tickets a
year for two years?
Most Associations do have a wealth
of talent. Just make sure you elect those
instead of the ones that will cause problems. Better yet, if you have the time and
background, why don’t you put your hat
in the ring as a potential Board Member?
The insight you will gain into your property will be immense and you can make a
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TimeSharing Today
Page 26
May/Jun, 2006
Fairfield to convert industrial building
This Franklin Printing building,
located in New Orleans’ warehouse
district has been acquired by Fairfield
The company will renovate the
building and convert it to a timeshare
resort to be called Fairfield New Orleans at la Belle Maison.
and three-bedroom units. Amenities include a swimming pool, recreation facility
and garden.
Golf course at resort
is changed
Orange Lake Resort and Country Club
in Kissimmee, FL, the world’s largest timeshare resort, has renovated and redesigned
two of its existing nines into a new 18hole, par 71 course, giving the resort a total of 54 holes. A new practice facility,
with a lighted driving range and putting
green is also opening this year.
The resort now has approximately
2,100 units open and 250 more under construction.
Fairfield starts sales
for Waikiki Beach
Hyatt resort adds
Hyatt Vacation Ownership will be
adding a timeshare component of 121 units
to the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort. The
12-story building will include 97 two-bedroom and 24 three-bedroom units, fitness
center and convenience store.
The resort is on 37 acres of oceanfront land on Ka’anapali Beach.
Divi doubles in size
Divi Resorts has started construction
to add 140 units to the existing 101 units
at the Divi Aruba Phoenix Beach resort in
Aruba. The new units will be in four eightstory buildings with one-, two- and threebedroom units and studios.
Trendwest opens in
Solvang, CA
Trendwest Resorts, has opened
WorldMark Solvang, located approximately 40 miles north of Santa Barbara.
The 76-unit resort becomes WorldMark’s
12th resort in California.
The resort is walking distance to many
of the town’s shops, restaurants and attractions.
Decorated to reflect the town’s European flavor, the resort has studio, one, two,
Fairfield Resorts has begun selling
timeshares at Fairfield Hawaii at Waikiki
Beach Walk, which is scheduled to open
at the end of this year. The resort will
have 195 units, with 95 one-bedroom units,
83 two-bedroom units and 17 presidentail
The timeshare resort is being developed as a renovation of the Reef Towers
Hotel and as part of the Waikiki Beach
Walk project, which will feature more than
40 specialty retailers, restaurants, outdoor
entertainments, timeshares and hotels.
Cibola Vista expands
Construction has started on an additional 64 two-bedroom lockoff units at the
Cibola Vista resort in Peoria, AZ. In addition to the units, the expansion will include
a lazy river pool and expanded equestrian
Westgate breaks
ground in Las Vegas
Planet Hollywood Towers by
Westgate is under construction in Las
Vegas. The resort will be in a 50-story
tower that will contain more than 1,200
units and be connected to the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino on the Strip.
The Planet Hollywood Resort will
have 12 restaurants and a shopping mall
with over 140 stores.
TimeSharing Today
Page 29
May/Jun, 2006
FOCUS ON: Fairway Forest, Cashiers, NC
By Frances Armstrong, Pleasant Hill, MO
In April, my husband and I spent a
week at Fairway Forest in Sapphire Valley,
Cashiers, North Carolina. Spring is a beautiful time to visit the mountains of western
North Carolina. Dogwoods, both pink and
white, were in full bloom throughout the
forested slopes, and other trees were
sprouting new leaves. I don’t believe I
have ever seen so many shades of green!
And the azaleas were in their glory.
Fairway Forest is part of a huge golfand-ski-resort covering approximately
5,000 acres. In addition to the golf courses
and ski runs there are hiking trails, a lake
with a marina, riding stables, and even a
gem-mining opportunity on the property.
The recreation center offers indoor and
outdoor pools, hot tubs, exercise equipment, tennis courts, miniature golf, horseshoes, and probably other activities I
didn’t learn about.
The indoor pool was larger than many
outdoor pools, and heated. Showers, lockers, and towels were provided. Video rentals and books were also available. There
was a wonderful massage therapist on
staff, with very reasonable rates. A car is
necessary—the recreation center was 2
miles from our unit. But the information
sheet from RCI made that clear.
We were assigned to a 2-bedroom
townhouse unit which could accommodate up to 6 people, with a king bed in the
lower level master bedroom, twin beds in
the second bedroom on the main level, and
a sleeper sofa.in the living room. The unit
was beautifully decorated with predominating shades of hunter green and russet.
There was a full kitchen with dishwasher, microwave, and trash compactor
in addition to the full-size range and refrigerator with icemaker. Other appliances
included a blender, coffee maker, toaster
oven, and can opener. Paper towels and
coffee filters were provided, along with
detergent for both hand-washing of
dishes and for the dishwasher. An iron,
ironing board, vacuum, broom, and dustpan were in a utility closet on the main
floor; and in a downstairs closet were a
stacked washer and dryer and a packet of
laundry detergent.
TVs with cable access were in the
master bedroom and living room,
as well as a VCR in the living
room. The kitchen was stocked
with dishes, glassware, and cookware (even a cake pan and cookie
sheet!) enough for six. The only
deficiencies I noted were no bacon-cooking rack for the microwave (I have learned to bring my
own) and the skillet was one of
those stainless steel ones on which
scrambled eggs stick like glue—but a
scrubber pad was provided. The eating
area had a large table with six chairs; however the only living room seating was the
sofa and two armchairs. I think six people
would have been stumbling over each
other. A large, attractive stone fireplace
was in the living room.
There were no grills available at the
townhouses. Because of fire code restrictions, all the grills were located at the recreation center.
Spanning the back of the unit was a
large deck furnished with six chairs, a dining table, and a small cocktail table. Beyond a wooded area which featured a large
dogwood right next to our deck, we had a
pleasant view of a portion of the golf
course. Highway 64 was just past the golf
course, but the building was so well insulated that traffic noise never bothered us.
We enjoyed morning coffee on the deck,
and were visited one morning by a bold
little squirrel who seemed to be accustomed to getting handouts whenever humans were in residence. A smaller deck was
downstairs off the master bedroom, with
two chairs and another cocktail table.
The master suite featured a spacious
bathroom with one of the largest whirlpool tubs I’ve ever seen. A family of four
could have soaked in that tub, if the kids’
legs weren’t too long. It was one of my
favorite features! There was a separate
shower, but I never used it. The towels
were nice and thick and the beds were comfortable, with adequately thick pillows.
Housekeeping was immaculate. I discovered a crack in the coffee carafe (which
caused a slow leak) on Saturday morning.
I didn’t think that was problematic enough
to bother anyone over the weekend, so
called the housekeeping extension Sunday afternoon and left a message on the
voice mail. By the time we returned from
an orientation meeting on Monday morning the carafe had been replaced.
The orientation meeting was strictly
informative, describing the activities available during the week—no sales pitch at
all. Various staff members were introduced,
who then told about the different activities. The young man who was in charge of
the marina even volunteered to change the
hours it would be open on one day when
a conflict with another activity was
pointed out by someone in the audience.
TimeSharing Today
The resort has a van which offers
transportation to area attractions, including the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, a ride
on the Great Smoky Mountains Railway
in Dillsboro, and a trip to view the waterfalls west of Highlands. Discounted tickets to Biltmore were available for those
who wished to drive and set their own timetable, as we did.
We bought tickets to a planetarium
show scheduled for Monday evening. The
planetarium show comprised two presentations—one on the planets and another
on locating constellations visible in the
springtime sky. Both were extremely interesting and enjoyable.
There were three restaurants on the
resort property. We found Micah’s first
after checking in Friday evening, and enjoyed a delicious meal. We went back a
couple of days later just for dessert—Irish
cream pie, which was scrumptious. The
other restaurants were The Library, described as more upscale, and a grill/pizza
place—I’ve forgotten its name, but good
aromas emanated from it.
The town of Cashiers is 3 miles from
the resort. It has a large supermarket (but
Page 30
May/Jun, 2006
TSToday Anywhere
Long-time subscriber
Alfred “Jack” Anderson,
Palmyra, VA, is shown relaxing at poolside with his favorite magazine at Celebrity
World Resorts in Kissimmee,
no liquor department—it’s in a dry county)
drug store, craft and antique stores, and
several other restaurants.
Registration and checkout were
quickly accomplished. Office personnel
were friendly and efficient and provided
detailed maps of the townhouse and amenity locations. Someone from “guest relations” called on Monday to make an appointment to bring us a “welcome kit” and
do a survey about our registration, etc.
The young man arrived promptly at the
scheduled time, gave us our welcome kit—
brochures and a book of discount coupons for various businesses in the area—
completed his survey, and finished his
business in 30 minutes. I half expected this
to be a sales pitch, and he did offer to take
us on a tour of the resort accommodations,
but when we said we were not interested
in buying there, he wasn’t at all pushy.
We appreciated that.
This resort is a Fairfield property, and
seems to be better run than other Fairfield
properties I have seen or read about. Perhaps the mild weather and natural beauty
of the area predisposed me to favorable
judgment, but I thoroughly enjoyed my
week there, and would love to return in a
few years.
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TimeSharing Today
Page 31
May/Jun, 2006
Happy Fairfield owner
It seems that with increasing frequency, we hear horror stories about bad
exchanges, cancelled exchanges, or other
unpleasant experiences from owners who
don’t believe that the timeshare companies are looking out for the owners’ best
interests. I’d like to give credit where
credit is due and tell you about a very
positive experience I just had. This could
have turned into a nightmare except for
the customer service extended by my timeshare company.
I own points with Fairfield Resorts.
While my points are deeded at Alexandria
VA, I have used those points to stay at
several Fairfield properties, always without incident. This year, my wife and I decided to take an Alaskan Cruise with another couple and, as luck would have it, I
had enough “left over” points to get a
two-bedroom unit in Vancouver for three
nights just before the cruise embarked.
We thought it would be fun to drive the
1600 miles to Vancouver over four days,
stopping at several Oregon wineries along
the way, and then have three nights to
experience Vancouver before we left.
The only Fairfield property in
Vancouver is what is called an Associate
Property. These properties have limited
availability, and reservations can only be
made up to 10 months in advance. I called
300 days before our arrival date, and was
told that Fairfield had not yet received any
inventory from the Vancouver property. I
called back on day 299 and received the
same story, and again on days 298, 297,
296, etc. The daily calls soon turned into
weekly calls, and they soon became bimonthly. Always, I received the same
story, “There is no inventory available.”
We finally decided that our best bet
would be to just make some motel reservations. Before doing so, I made one last
call to Fairfield and was pleasantly surprised when I was told, “Yes, I can make
that reservation for you. A two-bedroom,
on your dates, is available!”
That would normally be the end of
the story, but in this case I received a call
from Fairfield 6 weeks later and was told
that they made a mistake. While they had
always in the past received two-bedroom
units, this year they only received onebedrooms, and the strictly-enforced occupancy limit for a one-bedroom was only
2 people. They had requested a two bedroom from Vancouver, but had not received
that inventory. If it came through, though,
I was first on the waiting list. What would
I like to do? Since the cruise was still some
TimeSharing Today
5 months distant, I didn’t see any
option other than to keep the 1-bedroom
and see if the 2-bedroom came through. If
it didn’t, we could still get a motel, right?
Another month passed, and Fairfield
called me back. The two-bedroom unit
never came through, but since I had 4
people in my party, they were giving me
two 1-bedroom units instead of a two-bedroom unit. Further, since there had been
so much trouble, they were only charging
me the points for a single one-bedroom
unit and depositing the difference in points
between a 1 and 2 bedroom unit back into
my account.
I never asked for this courtesy, but
you can imagine my elation! Fairfield’s
customer service in this matter has only
strengthened my impression of them as a
top-notch timeshare company. They
turned what could have been an ugly situation into one that exceeded my expectations. When it’s time to increase my timeshare ownership, they will be first on my
Dan Wenker, Santa Maria CA
Page 32
May/Jun, 2006
TSToday Anywhere
Subscriber Anita Jarboe,
Adrian, MI, is shown enjoying
her magazine at the London
Bridge Resort in Lake Havasu,
Additional fees
Last fall we confirmed an exchange
with RCI for this coming summer at the
Manhattan Club. We just received notice
from RCI that the resort is adding a $25/
night charge to our stay. This additional
$175 fee was imposed 4 months after the
exchange was confirmed. While RCI has
offered to help us reschedule our confirmed exchange, we have invited guests
to join us and they have made travel arrangements, making rescheduling of this
exchange difficult. Being made aware of
any resort fee prior to an exchange is fair,
but have it imposed with no warning after
the exchange is confirmed should be a violation of the Weeks exchange policy.
This appears to be an unfair way for
resorts to get additional money from customers in the Weeks program. Why can’t
RCI refuse to modify the terms of a confirmed exchange?
Is this a new trend with RCI? Can we
expect to see more of this?
What can we do to avoid these additional fees in future exchanges with RCI?
Charles McKinney, Baltimore, MD
A note on RCI Points
I have recently found out that they
have added a fee for putting points from
another owned timeshare into one's Points
account; $26 each as of January 1. The
charge for a short term stay per day has
gone up from $19 to $46 for a one or two
day stay and, on top of that, the "house
cleaning" fee for a timeshare in Orlando I
inquired about was $55 per day even
though the website stated $15 per day. Obviously, I did not make the trade since i
can probably find a hotel for less for one
day. These are just two more examples of
how RCI and the Points system has gone
down hill since Cendant bought them.
I bought the Points system based on
the rules they sold it on. Now, almost all
the fees and rules have changed to our
detriment. Can we start a class action suit
based on bad faith representation? (I
know the "contract" says the rules can be
changed at any time.)
When we bought our first time share
in 1982, the system worked pretty well, but
in the last five or so years (again, pretty
much coinciding with the Cendant purchase) it has deteriorated a great deal.
Wally Jenning
TimeSharing Today
Page 33
May/Jun, 2006
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly a report on Oceancliff
By Joyce Bennett
The day after Thanksgiving found us
bound for Providence, Rhode Island,
where our niece awaited us at the car rental
facility. After loading the car, we were
quickly on our way to Newport to enjoy a
week overlooking the ocean and exploring the mansions from the Gilded Age in
Newport as well as some historical sites.
Directions were easy to follow; in less than
an hour we were pulling into a driveway
flanked by a gorgeous brick gate house
with tiled roof and a larger copy visible at
the end of the driveway. However, that
was the Ocean Cliff Hotel; we were
shunted off to a wooden building over the
left. OK? Well, not quite.
Unit 22 looked so small; I couldn’t
find the couch, the kitchen, the dining room
table - only a bed and carpeting with a
musty, damp odor. I found a phone, which
I used immediately to call the office; they
fortunately told us there was a connecting door to all of the above from the closet
area. Of course, it wouldn’t open for me,
but my husband used strong arm tactics
and popped it open to reveal a large, pleasant room with many view windows. The
unit had two complete bathrooms, two
TSToday Anywhere
Subscriber Carol Kemp of Holiday,
FL is shown with her magazine while on
a timesharing vacation in Ireland.
separate sleeping areas, TV, microwave,
refrigerator, coffee pot and some cutlery,
glassware and dishes, but no toaster. The
refrigerator was in effect a total freezer;
everything froze in it.
A plus: coffee was provided. A minus: extremely cold winds blew in from
under the heating/air conditioning units
in both rooms. A plus: Repairmen were out
to weatherstrip the next morning. A minus:
Blanket for sofa bed was thin, full of stains
and holes. A Plus: We were in the country
with gorgeous stone walls and rolling
fields and woodlands yet only minutes
from downtown Newport The grounds of
the resort front and rear were exceptionally spacious with regulation size tennis
courts and volleyball set up. The views
were lovely. A Minus: No DVD player, no
radio, no floor moldings, not much decor they really needed 6-8 prints on the white
walls. None of the dresser drawers pulled
out properly; they just clunked and fell
down a few inches. All furniture was 20-30
years old. A plus: tons of storage and
closet space. Bathroom showers were excellent and the Jacuzzi tub was pure bliss.
A minus: no computer outlets available in
room or at resort lobby.
Did we enjoy our week? Yes, absolutely. It was a bonus week exchange so
the price was right. We had good beds for
sleeping and phoned in problems that
needed to be corrected. On the last day,
we found out that the entire building will
be renovated next year.
The mansions of Bellvue Avenue are
not to be missed. Spectacular homes equal
to many of Europe’s finest. Ballrooms that
would have 200 spare square feet were our
entire house placed inside! Rooms totally
imported from England: walls, ceilings,
furnishings, complete collections of art
works, tapestries, etc. Landscaping was
never ignored, and I can’t wait to return in
springtime for the daffodils, tulips, flowers shrubs and trees. Rose gardens
abound, as well as hydrangeas and 101
other flowering wonders.
I had no idea a state could hold so
much water, marshland, woodland, bog
and ocean front. Bill and I want to return
to walk, do more tours, visit more historical sites, take in some of the flourishing
art, drama and other cultural offerings, explore graveyards from the early 1700’s,
drive inland, seeing more villages and,
perhaps, viewing one of their vineyards.
We expected to wear our gloves and
hats or earmuffs each day, but that didn’t
happen, as the weather warmed up to the
low 50’s and only froze hard one night.
Everyone we met was friendly, very
helpful, and we look forward to a return
visit to this tiny state.
YOUR Vacation . . .
a . . . WAY™ to
There is a . . . WAY to Exchange your Week!
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NO Annual Dues
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TimeSharing Today
Page 34
Toronto Group Sets meeting location
Roy Martin, organizer of the new Toronto area timeshare
owners group has announced that meeting will be held at the
York Reception Centre in toronto, near Don Mills and Eglinton, at
1100 Millwood Rd, Toronto, Ontario. for information about the
next meeting, contact Roy by email at [email protected] or
[email protected]
May/Jun, 2006
TimeSharing Today at ARDA Convention
A number of astute readers called to our attention that the
photograph illustrating the Sedona resort article in the last issue
was actually a picture of Monument Valley, several hundred miles
northeast of Sedona. Allan Briney has supplied of photograph
of Cathedral Rocks in Sedona. Here it is:
Publisher Shep Altshuler (left) and Editor Ray Jacobs
attending the annual convention of the American Resort
Development Association held in Las Vegas at the end of
March. Many industry leaders complimented TimeSharing
Today for its even-handed and objective coverage of
industry issues, while at the same time seeking to represent
the voice of timeshare owners.
TimeSharing Today Owners Groups
Baltimore, MD area - Contact Ed and Mary Lou Hastry, 2003 Fernglen Way, Baltimore, MD 21228 Phone 410/719-0064 [email protected]
Northern California - Contact Jess Centeno, 2257 Southwood Dr., Pittsburg, CA 94565. Telephone 925/709-1739. Email [email protected]
Southern California - Contact Glenn Bailey, 5926 Hesperia Avenue, Encino, CA 91316. Telephone - 818/585-2212. Email
[email protected]
Cape Cod - Contact W. R. Chandler, 790 Old Fall River Rd., North Dartmouth, MA 02747. Telephone - 508/676-0693.
Cayman Islands - Contact Carol Blair - 6879 Mossvine Circle, Dallas, Texas 75254 972-661-9119 or 214-533-9945 email [email protected]
Chicago, IL - Contact Joe Tragesser, 1057 Partridge lane, Lake Zurich, IL 60047. Phone 847/438-6795. Email [email protected]
Columbia, MO - Wayne Behymer, 3201 Rolling Hills Rd, Columbia, MO 65201. 573/442-6783.
Denver, CO - Contact Melvin & Betty Adams, 71 S. Grandbay St., Aurora, CO 80018. Telephone 303/341-7147.
Email [email protected]
Georgia, North and South Carolina - Contact Jack English, P.O. Box 2121, Acworth, GA 30102-2121. Telephone - 678/445-6761. Email
[email protected]
Mid-Atlantic - DE, DC, MD, PA, VA, WV - Contact Bill and Marty Giggard, 410/437-8377. Email [email protected]
Midwest - Contact Nancy and Jake Seth, 28306 290th St, Henderson, MN 56044. Phone 507/665-6358. Email [email protected]
New York Metro Area - Contact Amy Sien, 71-17 Manse St., Forest Hills, NY 11375, 718/261-7677, email [email protected] or
Caroline Lindholm, Scarsdale, NY 10533, 914/723-5657, email [email protected] or Ben and Dorothy Catanese, Hicksville, NY,
516/822-5912, Email: [email protected] optonline.net or Betsy Hurley, Hoboken, NJ email [email protected]
Philadelphia, Mongomery and Bucks Counties - Contact Robert Fishback, 2031A Jason Dr., Huntington Valley, PA 19006. Telephone
215/364-8978. Email [email protected]
Portland, ME - Contact David and Alison Bjork, PO Box 499, Old Orchard Beach, ME 04064. Email [email protected]
San Diego - Contact Bill Cranna, 10411 Oroxco Rd., San Diego CA 92124, Telephone 858/565-0500
Tampa Bay/Sarasota/Ft. Meyers, FL Area - Contact Frank Debar, 7339 Kensington Ct., University Park, FL 34201 941/351-1384. Email
[email protected] Online at tsownersgroup.com
Toronto, Ontario area - Contact Roy Martin, 651 Cognac Crescent, Pickering, Ontario L1X 1M1. Email [email protected]
TimeSharing Today
Page 35
May/Jun, 2006
FOCUS ON: San Diego Country Estates, Ramona, CA
By Carolyn Schmigiel, Portage, IN
Through Interval International, I
made an exchange for San Diego Country
Estates, about 2 1/2 hours south of Los
Angeles. The directions to the timeshare
were quite complicated with many route
changes and winding roads up through
the Sierra Foothills. When we finally arrived at the reservation office, the clerk
was very helpful.
The one bedroom unit was large and
spacious with a very welli stocked galley
kitchen. The living/dining room had an Lshaped sectional sofa that makes into a
queen size bed. The formal dining table
was set with two place settings with mats,
wine glasses, cloth napkins, and silver. We
thought that this might be their model unit,
but it wasn’t. There is also a fireplace in
the living room. The large bedroom has a
king-size bed; and lots of drawer space.
Two huge closets with sliding glass doors
are on both sides of the room. A small patio accessible from both the living room
and bedroom has a table, 4 chairs, and an
electlic grill.
This timeshare is the best supplied
unit we have ever stayed in. Kleenex, shampoo, soap, hand cream , hair dryer, cotton
swabs and pool towels. are in the bathroom. The kitchen is supplied with salt and
pepper, instant coffee, paper towels, sugar
packets, tea, creamer and hot chocolate.
The utility room had matches, candles,
flashlight, paper napkins, and aluminum
foil. In short, the units were big, beautiful,
extremely well-supplied and very comfortable. Daily maid servi!e is also available
and an envelope for the maid’s tip is provided.
The downside of the timeshare is its
remoteness from restaurants, shopping,
and other attractions. There is a small convenience store about two miles away and
a golf-course restaurant about the same
distance. The nearest supermarket is 11
miles down a twisting two lane road. The
other attractions in the area, except for the
San Diego Wild Aninmal Park, are at least
45 minutes away through mountainous
twisting roads.
The clubhouse called Riviera Oaks
Racquet Club, as the name implies, is a
tennis club. The timeshare units are set
up around an area of four tennis courts, a
volleyball court and basketball court. The
club, pool and activities center is almost a
block away from the units. Checking over
the activities schedule we noticed very
few activIties tor older adults. Most tree
activIties and games were for children and
teens, even though this was late :March
when most children are still in school.
We had expected that in Southern
California in late March, the weather would
be warm enough to go swimming, but we
were only
able to swim two days when the temperature got up into the 80's, actually unusually warm for that area, The heated
swimming pool was quite small, about half
olympic size. A Jacuzzi is located near the
The activities center does have a pool
table, usually being used by teens, a computer for guest use, a small library, board
games, and a fairly good-sized video library for free loans. Also, a giant screen
TV is at the far end of the activities room.
A full-service spa is located next to
the activities center and a well equipped
gym is located on the lower level.
A playground, picnic area, and another larger swimming pool under renovation is located across a busy road from
the clubhouse. Parents would always have
to accompany young children to these
areas. A riding stable is located about two
blocks from the clubhouse.
We had planned to go golfing one
day at the course that was connected with
the timeshare. The late afternoon fee was
$20 for 18 holes, but to rent clubs would
have been another $2,0 so we decided
against it.
Except for a day trip to the San Diego
Wild Animal Park, which I highly recommend, we stuck pretty close to the
tImeshare, mostly watching TV, takling an
occasional walk, and playing Bingo the
two times a week it was offered. A continental Breakfast and Orientation session
is also offered with no sales pitch.
My impression of the San Diego
Country Estates is that the accommodations are exceptional, beautiful and well
equipped, but more activities aimed at
older adults would help make this timeshare interesting.
Specializing in
Timeshare Resales
& Rentals
Prime Locations Worldwide
Licensed Professional Agents
TST Anywhere
M.B. Rodbell generously shares his
TimeSharing Today magazine with a
“friend” at the Sands Ocean Club in
Myrtle Beach, SC.
email: [email protected]
TimeSharing Today
Page 36
May/Jun, 2006
C.A.R.E. Forms Industry Vacation Travel Club Task Force
A non-profit trade association founded over 20
years ago has recently
formed a task force to establish a code of ethics for
the vacation travel club industry.
C.A.R.E. (Cooperative
Association of Resort Exchangers) was originally
formed by representatives
from timeshare resorts who
found that by exchanging
vacation inventory among themselves,
they were better able to satisfy their owners with increased vacation opportunities.
Today, the C.A.R.E. member base of approximately 175 companies is comprised
of resort developers, management firms,
exchange organizations, travel clubs and
resort service providers.
Initially considered at the ARDA conference last year, the Travel Club Task
Force (TCTF) was formed at the C.A.R.E.
40th semi-annual conference in Daytona
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Beach, FL and has recently
announced its strategic plan
for adopting a code of standards and ethics.
Melanie Gring, Immediate Past President of
C.A.R.E., is Chair of the Task
Force. Members of the task
force include representatives from C.A.R.E. member
companies and its Board of
Directors, led by Bonnie
Kosco, Board President.
Explains Gring, “C.A.R.E. member
companies and their representatives adhere to a stringent Code of Ethics. To protect the vacation experience for owners
and the entire vacation industry, the
C.A.R.E. Board of Directors agreed that it
was important to establish a code of ethics for the travel club industry. We recognize that by ‘self-regulating’ this important segment of our industry, we will have
a more vocal voice with ARDA as well as
state regulators. We also recognize that
this segment of our industry may be regulated in the near future and we want to
play a role in this process.”
Gring adds that establishing a code
of ethics for the vacation travel club industry will go a long way in promoting
ethical sales and business practices. “We
believe this will ultimately result in generating industry, consumer and legislative
As the vacation industry evolved,
C.A.R.E. developed programs to assist diverse entities to increase revenue, fully
utilize inventory and enhance owner/member vacation experiences. C.A.R.E. is an
international organization with members
in the US, Canada, Mexico, Europe and
Australia offering over 2,500 vacation
properties and service to over a million
vacation owners and members.
Owners Share Vacation Club Experiences
My family belongs to Disney’s Vacation Club (DVC). It was our first foray into
timesharing and remains our favorite in
many ways. While not cheap, it is far
cheaper than many think, if used correctly.
DVC is extremely flexible and high quality,, and staying on property at Walt
Disney World is important to us. We normally go Sunday to Friday to take advantage of the lower weekday points, which
are common to points based timeshare
systems. Like most points based systems,
there is also low value alternatives. With
DVC, this includes any stays outside the
DVC resorts. But it is nice to have options
like Disney Cruises, other Disney hotels,
II exchanges and the Concierge Collection,
a group of world class hotels and inns.
Dean Dalrymple,
We belong to Fairfield Vacation
Club, which is points based. We have
been on a lot of vacations with it. They
have NYC getaways and other getaway
programs for points members.
All units are very nice and the amenities are excellent. We are very pleased
with Fairfield.
James Barry, Whiting, NJ
We belonged to Travel Service Network (TSN) out of Bativia, Illinois, and
paid close to $5,000, which we just let go.
They were no cheaper than going to
Orbitz, Travelocity or a good travel agent.
It was difficult to get a hold of anyone or
have calls returned. There was no newsletter or monthly e-mails as to what the
specials were. My wife and I went to a
couple of other presentations with other
travel clubs in the area and they wouldn’t
use TSN as a trade in.
Than later we spent close to $3,500
for Grand Getaways Vacation which is a
subsidiary of Mini Vacations out of Miami, Florida. The dues are $160 per year.
They do have a web site. There again, no
newsletters to update you or monthly emails of specials. When you call, you have
to give all your info to the person answering the phone and then someone calls you
back, maybe that same day or in a couple
of days. There again, the prices are no
cheaper than Orbitz or Travelocity.
There again, with both travel clubs
you have to be pro active in getting anything done, except paying your annual
Of course, their salesmen’s make it
sound as though it’s the next best thing
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TimeSharing Today
Page 37
to going to heaven.
If you are retired and can go at the
drop of a hat and don’t care where you are
going, maybe this is the group that should
be buying this.
My wife and I are tempted to bite the
bullet and drop Grand Getaways Vacation
and chalk it up to life’s learning experience. I should give a couple of timeshare
weeks to these salesman; they could sell
fly spray in the dead of winter.
Steve & Faye Heffele
We belong to Shell Vacation Clubs.
We love it. We have always been happy
with the resorts they have. And almost
always can get into the resort we want
and in the time frame we need to go. We
started as weeks owners at Orange Tree
Resort in Scottsdale, AZ, then converted
to points when they went to points and
we have never regretted it. We have since
then purchased additional points. We are
members in both the Southwest Club and
the Hawaii Club. Last year when they
added the SVC Elite membership, we opted
to sign up for that too.
We have had lots of nice vacations in
their Arizona and Hawaii resorts and have
used our points for airfare too.
We have an ownership at another resort through RCI, but always have trouble
trading to go when and where we want.
Susan Quaale
We bought a vacation club, Royal
Aloha Vacation Club (RAVC), as a resale
from a newspaper ad in San Diego in February, 1991. We had other timeshares, but
this was our first resale, and first vacation
club. It came with 6 weeks banked which
we immediately put in our RCI account.
Through the years, RAVC suffered
various losses and problems, but the
Board of Directors (timeshare owners)
have worked hard to pull the club together
and improve it. The maintenance fees have
increased, but not by leaps and bounds
like many other resorts. The weeks have
been great trading weeks through RCI.
All in all we have been very happy
with the Vacation Club and think it is a
success story.
K. Smart
May/Jun, 2006
because it is during the winter in a ski area.
RCI has given us some very good trades
over the years but they are definitely not
the same company as they used to be.
We purchased Worldmark credits as
a resale two years ago. Since we are retired, we have lots of flexibility as to travel
and the credits have been a good choice.
Worldmark has lots of bonus time and inventory specials at 4 cents a credit. These
have been great for short trips on short
Most of the Worldmark properties are
Gold Crown and are well maintained. I like
the fact that booking takes place 13
months ahead without any booking fee. A
week can be split between more than one
property, so that you can be at more than
one resort within driving distance.
Carole Cohen
We belong to two:
Marriott: Love the top quality resorts
and the 21 days window to trade within
the Marriott system before other II members get the opportunity. They are adding
more resorts every year. The downside is
getting through to make your next year’s
reservation at popular resorts like Newport Coast in July. Nearly impossible to
get connected with a Marriott reservation
Starwood: They have top locations
like St. John and Atlantis/Nassau and are
We have used our Vacation Club
membership for 6 years in Cozumel,
Mexico. For the first year, it worked very
well; we were able to use facilities throughout the Caribbean and Florida with deep
discount airfare, etc. The next 5 years, the
service diminished with only discounted
hotels, and “free booze/sodas” when we
went to Cozumel.
The original Club was to have timeshare week facilities at a local hotel. The
deal fell through and the owners have had
difficulty acquiring a new site. Last year,
we simply used the discount hotel rate and
coupons for discounted dinners, etc. on
the island. We are not unhappy, as we have
gotten our money back in services, but
the project seems to be going NOWHERE!
Carolyn and August Fischer
Timeshare Resales
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Buyers 800-832-7995
Sellers 800-489-4144
We have one of the largest inventories of
timeshares in the United States at the best prices.
Visit us at www.resortmart.com
We have had a timeshare in Park City
Utah for 20 years. It is in high demand
Resort Mart Real Estate
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TimeSharing Today
Page 38
adding a bunch more. Downside is
that they are making tiers within the timeshare groups, so what was once an even
trade within Starwood has now become
the elite and non-elite groups. Their
Starwood Preferred Guest program for
hotels works smoother than Marriott’s.
We recently joined Worldmark which
is sort of a vacation club. So far, it has
been real easy to get anything we want.
Cathy and Bruce Broker
Our first experience with purchasing
a time share was in 1995 and we purchased
through the Marriott Vacation Club program in Palm Springs (Marriott Dessert
Springs). We have only praise for the quality of their program. The properties exchange exceptionally well and we have
never had a problem with Marriott. Our
annual fees are roughly $600 which I believe is in line with other timeshare programs.
We have had a chance to stay at several of the Marriott Vacation Club properties (II gives us priority if we exchange
into another Marriott - which is a definite
plus) and they have all been high quality
May/Jun, 2006
We live in Hawaii now, but like to vacation on neighbor islands in December
or January. We have been able to exchange
to the Kauai Vacation Club property two
years in a row (on very short notice). This
feature with II is extremely valuable.
We own a two-bedroom lock-off unit
and the ability to make this into two weeks
a year is a very nice feature. We also have
the option of giving up the week everyother year in exchange for Marriott points.
We do this regularly, as the points give us
options for air fare and hotel nights in exchange for our timeshare unit. Even the
small studio lock-off exchanges very well
in II.
The quality of the Marriott properties has always impressed us, and obviously impresses II as well. We have never
had a problem exchanging our unit.
Toni Lathrop-Lee
I am a timeshare owner at Club Cala
de Palmas at Palmas del Mar in Puerto Rico.
I have been going to the resort for more
than thirty years and have owned four
2 bedrooms
from just
per night
1 bedroom
from just
per night
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weeks for the last twelve. Over this period
of time, my wife and I have met some great
people, made great friendships, and developed some strong relationships. We
have never exchanged our weeks, and we
look forward to returning to our friends
every year.
Last year, the property (which has
fallen into disrepair) was purchased by
Royal Holidays, a Vacation Club company
with several properties in Mexico. This
purchase was to be their expansion into
the Caribbean.
During our annual visit to Club Cala,
those of us who own timeshare weeks at
Club Cala were invited to attend a “sales
pitch” extolling the benefits of converting
our timeshare ownership into vacation
points. The “deal” was not good, particularly to an audience that basically looks
forward to returning to the same resort and
their friends every year.
As timeshare owners, we were told
that there might not be room for us during
the weeks we owned. Or that we would be
put into the un-renovated units, because
the renovated ones would be reserved for
the vacation club members. To the best of
my knowledge, there were no conversions
while I was there.
Dan Heist, Club Cala Property Owners Association
We have been a member of Perennial Vacation Club (it use to be World Class
Vacation Club) since 1990 and we have
been very happy with it. We now have
four weeks and have never had a problem
with them. They have about the same maintenance fees as other timeshares, with a
wider selection of resorts than some of
our timeshares, and it did not cost as much
as our other timeshares. The one downside is that we have not been able to sell it
as quickly as other timeshares.
Gordon Burton
I belong to a Vacation Club,
Marriott, I own seven full weeks plus an
Every Other Year and travel the world. The
business and first class seats on airlines,
the wonderful hotel stays, and of course
the approximate 65 or 70 exchange weeks
I’ve done is a travel retirement plan come
true. (Well, I’m not retired yet, but when I
do, I’m, set.)
I’ve owned other timeshares in the
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TimeSharing Today
Page 39
past and they could not hold a candle
to the program that Marriott has put together. I have been one of their points
members for over 20 years and always
loved that program, trusted and stayed in
as many Marriott hotels as possible for
business and personal travel, so when I
got the invitation to a sales presentation
from Marriott, I was the easiest sale my
salesgirl had ever made. It is really a no
brainer, and a real money saver.
Over the twelve years I have been an
owner, I have travelled to over 45 countries, stayed in approximately 75 Marriott
hotel properties on points, lots of air fares
and about 65 exchanges through Interval
and a few with RCI. My first timeshare (not
Marriott) was purchased in 1978, but my
ex-husband has been enjoying them since
the late 80’s. After you have vacationed
on timeshare, and you figure out how to
use it, you really don’t want to travel any
other way. There is truly a FANTASTIC
value and cost savings there, even after
all the maintenance fees are paid.
Like I mentioned earlier, my ownership is a segment of my Retirement Account (My Travel 401). Try it, I bet you
like it too.
Kathy Werness, Irvine, CA
I have been a member of America
Travel and Vacation Club for 4 years and
have been to Kauai, Gatlinburg, Bahamas
(twice), Kissimmee, South Carolina and
have scheduled Palm Desert in October.
Their resorts are located in Kauai, Cancun,
Palm Dessert, Calif, Gatlin-burg,TN, Great
Barrington, MA, Myrtle Beach, SC, Park
City, Utah, Kissimmee and Cocoa Beach,
Florida. If your desire is Mountains, Snow,
Desert or Ocean, it is all available or you
can exchange for another resort for a minimum fee.
It is a deeded ownership with no assigned week that can be booked up to
twelve months or as little as 45 days. You
can plan ahead and not be pressured to
make a decision within 24 hours after your
request as been met. When making a reservation you talk to the same person each
time, therefore you are on a personal level
and not a number. America Travel and
Vacation Club is equal to owning nine
timeshares in one. I also am a member of
RCI and Shell vacations..
Jerri Vegyelek
May/Jun, 2006
Spotlight on Questionable Deals
Jane Brown, Oakland, CA
First, I need to say that the
Timeshare Liquidators from California that advertises in this
magazine (see page 32) is NOT
the Timeshare Liquidators that
I am writing about. .
Back in November of
2005, I received call from a
Mr. Jeremy Hilton of Timeshare Liquidators who inquired if I wanted
to sell my timeshare. Having been “taken”
once already I was very dubious about
this call. However, he told me that he was
a member of the new sales staff at my resort. They were beginning a sales program
to help owners who wanted to sell their
timeshares. They would only accept seven
owners at a time, so that each could be
assured of offers for their timeshares. They
would forward each offer to you and you
would receive your sale money quickly.
Of course, they wanted only $499 up
front to cover expenses. This would be all
you would pay. They would get their commission from the buyers. When someone
calls you from your resort, there is a tendency to believe him. Most timeshare
owners would love to have someone at
their resort sell their timeshare for them.
They asked for your bank routing
number so that they could deposit your
money quickly into your account without
a lot of paperwork. If you did not receive
any offers within six months, all your
money would be returned. Also, if within
three weeks of receiving their literature you
changed your mind, you would get a full
refund of your money.
Very stupidly, I agreed. They immediately deducted the $499 from my account,
which is $1 less than the amount for which
the bank calls to verify the withdrawal .
Naturally, the company disappeared.
The telephone number that you are given
is just an answering machine and no one
ever calls back. The phone number they
give you is 1-800-442-1157; the literature
which they sent me consisted of a few flyers, no business letter included, no signatures, no names and no phone numbers. I
realized then that this was another scam.
So I immediately wrote them a letter requesting a return of my money. I did not
hear a word from them even though I sent
my letter by certified mail. Hence, I
know that they received it.
I then wrote to the BBB in
Phoenix, AZ where they were located. The BBB informed me that
they could not locate them, nor
get in touch with them. They
only got the same answering
machine message
That is when I decided to
write to the Attorney General in Phoenix
explaining how I thought this was just
another scam,, probably cheating many
other people as well, and that I had not
received any satisfaction from this company.
Within about three weeks, I suddenly
received a telephone call from a Mr. Steven
Hohn, who told me that he was the “quality assignment manager” at Timeshare
Liquidators. The reason he called me was
that he had just received a letter from the
Attorney General’s office about my complaint. He was so sorry, but my letter must
have just “fallen through the cracks”. He
told me he would send me a cashier’s check
(which I requested) the next business day.
Needless to say, he did not send the check
and I never heard anything more from
Timeshare Liquidators.
About three weeks later ,the Attorney General’s office in Phoenix mailed me
a copy of a letter that they had received
from Timeshare Liquidators. The letter
stated that they had, indeed, sent me a
check for the return of my money and that
they had resolved all problems with me.
Infuriated, I called and wrote to the Attorney General’s office, explained that I had
not received a check for the return of my
money, nor had I received any communication from Timeshare Liquidators.
The Attorney General’s office agreed
to reopen the case. I am sure they were
not too pleased with the fact that not only
had Timeshare Liquidators lied to me, but
also to the Attorney General’s office.
Within two weeks, I received a cashier’s
check for the return of my money from
Timeshare Liquidators. Kudos to the Attorney General’s office.
Moral: Don’t believe anyone, even if
they say they are at your resort. Ask them
some question about a little known detail
of your resort to verify their legitimacy.
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