Thursday, April 20, 2017

Big Changes

As most of you know, I started Timeshare Insights and the blog “The Word From The Timeshare Crusader” with one goal:  to be a catalyst for positive change within the timeshare industry.

I’m pleased to say that I’ve helped a lot of timeshare owners and prospective timeshare owners.  While I’ve garnered some terrific media coverage from such outlets as CNBC, The Chicago Tribune, Senior.com and WGN-TV, it’s not about the media coverage, it was always about helping consumers and attempting to move the timeshare industry forward despite its stubborn intentions to stay stuck in the 1970s.

Today, in 2017 consumers are being ripped off in record numbers, there’s a never ending array of so-called “experts” who are hawking their latest company designed to prey upon unsuspecting timeshare owners and the industry has taken little or no steps to change an outdated marketing and sales structure which continues to foster a sense of distrust with consumers.

Despite that, I believe that timeshare has great potential.

So, it’s time for some changes.

Effective Tuesday, April 25th, Timeshare Insights will change to a new company.  I’ll have more information on their important services to assist the timeshare owner on my new blog.

Simultaneously, The Word From The Timeshare Crusader will be redesigned and relaunched as The Timeshare Crusader Blog and can be accessed directly on http://www.thetimesharecrusader.com and on Twitter at @TheTSCrusader.  It will have more news, more guest bloggers, more features and will of course; maintain my own independent voice as the main blogger.

I continue to tweet at @LisaLooksAt and will remain as the timeshare contributor at Senior.com.

Additionally, I continue my important work with the National Timeshare Owners Association which is celebrating 20 years of educating, advocating and encouraging responsible timeshare management and ownership.  Check them out at http://www.ntoassoc.com.

In conclusion for today:  If you like what I’ve been doing for the past 12 years or so, stay tuned, it’s going to get better and more positive changes are just around the corner.  If you don’t like what I’ve been doing for the past 12 years or so, here’s a quote from Star Wars to get you thinking; “You can't win, Darth. If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.”

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Underhanded? You Ain't Seen Underhanded Until Now

I've been advising prospective timeshare purchasers for a LONG time on the questions that they need to ask before jumping in.

Those questions involve such things as:

*  what is the five year history of the annual maintenance fees
*  how sold out is the development
*  how is the HOA structured

Now however, I find out that there is another question that needs to be asked.  This question is so unexpected that I admit that I was shocked.

Here it is:

"If I purchase this timeshare, am I waiving my rights to enter into a Class Action lawsuit against the developer?"

Yes, you read that right.  It seems that a certain timeshare developer includes that somewhere in the morass of 974+ pages of documents that no one (other than themselves) ever reads.

How underhanded do you have to be to know how underhanded your business practices are and prohibit owners from suing you in a Class Action lawsuit?

It's a new low as far as I'm concerned.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Weeks, Points and Remaining Timeshare Inventory

If you're thinking of purchasing a house in a development, it's quite simple to figure out how sold out they are,

If you're thinking of purchasing a week-based timeshare, it's a bit more difficult to figure it out, but it can be done.  Find out how many units there are, multiply by 50 (leaving two weeks per year for maintenance) to find out how many total weeks there are, and then either ask the question or get the information from the county.

Not so with point-based timeshare.  How do you get the total number of points that have been allocated to a project?  I can pretty much guarantee that your salesperson has no clue.  It's not real estate, so the county records won't have it.

There are small resorts that I am quite familiar with in the Orlando area that have been in actives sales for years and years...what are they selling?

It's imperative for prospective owners to know how sold out any resort is.  Why?  It affects how and when control reverts back to the owners or the HOA.  It affects the legality of selling something that may or may not exist.  It affects the owners' ability to use what they paid for.

Do you know how sold out your resort is?  Did you ask before buying?  How did you verify the information?  Can you verify the information?

We want to hear your experiences.  Call your resort and ask the question.  We'll print all your responses.

Friday, March 24, 2017

What Is ARDA-ROC?

Some timeshare owners are still not familiar with ARDA-ROC and may be unknowingly making voluntary contributions each year through your annual fees accessed by your resort.

I'm not here to tell you if you should continue to make contributions or not...that's up to you.

You can read all about ARDA-ROC here:  http://www.ardaroc.org/roc/home.aspx

You should also read this from Irene Parker writing for Inside Timeshare:

http://insidetimeshare.com/friday-letter-america/

Irene kindly credits me with providing some information.  This information is not my opinion...this information was easily found online.

Personally, I invite Mr. Thomassen, listed as the sole "Owner Representative" on the board to contribute a Guest Post.

The more we know, the more we can grow.


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

A Timeshare Collector Speaks

Here's a guest blog that you'll find interesting.  A view from the other side so to speak:

http://insidetimeshare.com/timeshare-hoa-collections-agent-shares-experience/

Manhattan Club Update

Important update on the ongoing Manhattan Club issues:


In the upcoming hearing on 3/31, Judge Rakower' Court Room in NYC, the TMC defendants' motion seeks release of monies from frozen accounts to pay legal fees.  They are also seeking to use maintenance fees from TMC owners to pay their legal fees.

 

Item #10 Schedule B on the new 2018 TMC budget provides for $2.6 million for administrative costs and this include legal fees.  However, the Timeshare Association is not a defendant in the NYAG's case.  We need a more detailed breakdown of the $2.6 million.    It's vague and ambiguous. We need to see a breakdown.  For all we know they could be budgeting for legal fees.

 

It is also important to note that they are also budgeting $7,000,000 for a reserve for bad debts! Guess who pays that!  The unit owners are subsidizing the consequences of  sponsor malfeasance.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

5 Myths About Timeshare

Whether you own a timeshare, are thinking of purchasing a timeshare, used to own timeshare or find yourself in front of a timeshare salesperson, you're bound to come across some timeshare myths.  Here are the Top 5 I run into:

1)  Timeshare is a less costly vacation alternative to renting hotels.

In rare cases and when purchasing on the secondary market, this may be true.  For the majority of owners, you'll be paying more when you factor in the purchase price, annual fees and exchange/usage fees.  That's not necessarily a bad thing.

2)  Real estate based timeshare is an investment and will appreciate in value.

NO, NO, NO, NO.  A million times no,

3)  You can hire a company to get you "out" of your timeshare because the sales presentation took more than the agreed to 90 minutes.

The length of the sales presentation has nothing to do with the legality or enforceability of the contract.

4)  Brand name timeshares are better than others.

"Better" for who?  Based on what?  Each person has different needs.  Don't fall for generalizations.

I've purposely left off Number 5 on this list.  What's the biggest timeshare myth you've encountered?