Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Celebration/Festiva/RCI Continued

Well, it seems that the previous blog has received so many replies and updates, that some browsers, mine included, were not showing all the updates.

If you are not able to see all the comments, try clicking "Load More."  If that does not work (and it didn't work for me), try another browser.

Once I switched from Internet Explorer to Safari, I was able to click on the "Load More" link and everything showed up.

Feel free to comment either on the old thread or on this one...I'm monitoring both closely.

219 comments:

  1. Hi Lisa,
    I need to know if you going to the annual meeting next week?

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  2. UPDATE: I'll be posting this both on this thread and on the original thread which some people, including myself, have had difficulty accessing due to the length of the thread.

    I had a meeting with Festiva yesterday. I was told that this meeting was held despite the fact that Festiva's legal department was against it.

    In any event...I did not receive written answers to the questions that I had sumbitted. I did receive some answers to some questions that have been brought up here on the blog:

    1) Yes, the Celebration World Resort HOA is still in existance,albeit with different members serving.

    2) I was told that the issues with the RCI point "upgrades" which really turned out to be downgrades was not discovered until after Festiva officially took the resort over.

    3) No one, including people at Festiva are really sure how many owners are affected by this.

    4) It was brought up several times that Festiva wants to make things right with the owners and that the company is still formulating one or more methods of attempting to do this.

    5) I was told that I would be provided a form from Festiva to post on the blog and other avenues as I see fit. This form would serve as an information gathering tool for Festiva. They said that they were interested in finding out what owners had prior to this "upgrade" and also how current owners wished to use their ownership. Once I receive this form, I will post it on the blog.

    6) The people that I met with wanted to insure that I both saw and understood the improvements that had been made to the resort. I told them that while this was in fact good news, it made little difference to the many owners that now find themselves in the sad situation of not having sufficient RCI points to even come back to the resort for a full week. However, I do believe that some good news is worth reporting, so the improvements that have been made at the resort did not result in increased annual fees and were done at Festiva's cost.

    7) I made it clear that I and several owners would be attending the annual HOA meeting scheduled for the 27th.

    My takeaway from this meeting is that these "issues" took Festiva by surprise. Whether the surprise was finding out about these issues only after completing the purchase of the resort or the surprise was finding out that this blog existed in part to give voice to the owners...my mind is not made up...I think it was a bit of both. My gut tells me that the powers that be did not realize how large of a situation this is.

    I have been told by people in and around the industry that this thread and the entire blog is being very closely watched by Festiva, by ARDA and by other companies.

    With that understanding,let me take a minute to restate the entire reason Timeshare Insights and this blog exists:

    I strongly believe that timeshare is a good product for some people. There are many aspects of the industry and the business practices that need to change and change quickly if the industry is to thrive. Unlike some other public forums out there, I am not pro-consumer and anti-developer. I am pro-consumer and pro-developer. WITH THE FIRM UNDERSTANDING THAT THE PEOPLE WHO PREY ON AND BENEFIT FROM SCREWING THE CONSUMER MUST BE BROUGHT TO LIGHT, DEALT WITH BOTH IN THE COURT OF PUBLIC OPINION AND IN THE LEGAL COURT AND BE BARRED FROM ANY ACTIVITY IN THE INDUSTRY.

    I thank all of you who have come forward with this issue. It is not over and updates will continue to be posted.

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    Replies
    1. hi lisa its good to no that there are people out there like your self that is helping others in this terrible and unjust situation i to have joined the club since yesterday with my pointsreduced and never got any letters or emails about the festiva reducing or taking points away from owners i live in the uk and i have emailed you about our situation pretty much the same as others thank you

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    2. hi Lisa Anne , my name is Stephen bakewell me and family live in the uk , I to am a owner at celebration world resort and 1st purchased in 2005 I had 120300 rci points every yr , we liked the points system and used our points well went back to cwr in 2009 and upgraded as like everyone else I have read about now , low maintenance and more points 320000 every other yr and got them allocated me until today 28-03-2014 called rci to renew my member ship and asked when my points will be allocated they said your 31000 points will allocated next month , in my astonishment I said you what can you repeat that please again they said 31000 points I said I don't think so I have 320000 points they said there's a note here to contact festiva so they transferred me and was waiting ages so cut off and phoned a different number as I have upgraded in 2009 I'm still paying it off so called them any way after an eternity to get through had to call someone else at the corporate office so called there again transferred waiting transferred waiting and transferred and then hit the jackpot a manager I asked all the questions could not answer any of them I told them I have all paper work and deeds etc she did not want to no all she kept saying was about my deed only having 8500 shares that equates to 31000 points I could not believe it so kept saying about my paper work etc anyway she starting talking over me when I was talking she was very rude and abrupt ,, then I started challenging her about if my contract means nothing are saying its void then and means nothing as you would be in breach of the contract given to me by celebration she said I'm not saying that as people misrepresented them selves when giving the information and selling me the time share she could not answer that question neither I asked if I could speak to a manager she said she was I said id like to speak to some one above you as she isn't giving me any information I am a owner so thought you would be able to help and go forward in way to tell me how to get my points back as I've spent in total approx $26000 at cwr and still paying and you are not empathetic at all she said there isn't nothing she can do that's the deed and that what we go on I said sarcastically are sure you are a manger I thought you could answer all the questions how did you get this job, and I said festive are trying to push all there other schemes they have on to there owners and doing this with the points anyway she put the phone down and called back and wife called and asked the same questions to the same person Anne her name was anyway she was just abrupt again and my wife got no where neither is there a loop hole in the system with the deeds is this why they are going via that route and using that as its down right disgraceful allot of people have spent allot of money what they are telling me that my $26000 is worth 31000 points if I look on eBay now I can find 120000 point for £3350 ,, I am frustrated as I new nothing about this until I started googling today and found all these other people I new festiva had bought it out but I had no letters about the points being taken away at some stage never been invited to a meeting at all my family vacations now are none existent now the 31000 points would not even get me shed ,, and also I'm still paying can I ask as I have threatened not to pay the payments and I don't want to because I'm here in the uk can they legally do anything to me as I have no usa s s number ?? and what is the happening is there any legal person we should be talking to surely they cant get away with it it day light robbery and it seems legal who is the owner of festiva dick turpin ? , also I did ask rci if they have a legal department for rci members they said they cant help the resort allocate the points I said even if I have a contract signed with you ?

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    3. they said nothing they can do so another company that takes money but does not want to help there members that pays a fee every year and a fee for booking a holiday per week , I also asked them have they had anymore like me calling up and they did say a few yes I'm not the only one and after seeing your blog there's a hole lot more its do frustrating as I was only in Florida xmas for a month used 319000 points never again it seems and I staid at summer bay resort and joined the crown club as you can use all you r points that you have and now I don't have to get credits so it was a win win but not no more I am gutted I have been on the phone today 3hrs phoning different people and holding and got no where what can we do I have no faith in time share or rci and if new xmas what I new now I would not have bought at summer bay resort I may as well burned my hard earned cash that me and my wife have saved thank you for reading Steve and Teresa bakewell

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    4. hi there again just to add to my previous blogs i received a letter today saturday 29th march 2014 in the uk to tell me theres a meeting yesterday 28th march 2014 what good is that im 5000 miles infact i could collect air miles there worth more than my 31000 lousey points reduced from 320000 these people of got to be in breach of there contracts and found to be miss selling and miss representing the time share organisation or is that crime share now ,, and they probably are still working some where totally disgraceful steve bakewell

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  3. Lisa, your efforts are to be commended. I, like most, have been following this thread from the beginning. I am also willing to do whatever I can to help us, as a group, make this right. The kicker is, nobody here is looking for a free lunch/hand out. We paid for something, we got it, then they took it away. I know this is repetitive of most of the posts. I just wanted to add myself to the list(in case Festiva is counting). Any more talk of a class action?

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  4. Would anyone who is attending the 2/27 meeting be able to video record it and post the video to Youtube? I think there are a lot of members who would like to attend the meeting but are unable to do so with the very little notice we received.

    I'd also like to comment on bullet point #3 - "No one, including people at Festiva are really sure how many owners are affected by this."

    Festiva can very easily see how many people are affected, they identified each of us when they had RCI reduce our points.

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  5. Do they really think we buy the fact that they don't don who is affected by this. Come on they contacted RCI to give them the points for the year. Who are they kidding. All I know is that I purchased 133,500 points on my first visit for over 16,000 dollars. My daughter on the same day received appox 65,000 points for less than half of what I paid. How can this possibly be legal. We did not go back to puchase more this was what we were given on our orginal visit there.

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  6. I will be attending the annual meeting tomorrow and hope to meet as many of you as I can.

    As of today, I do not have the form that Festiva spoke of last Thursday. If I do receive it, I will post it on the blog, as promised.

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  7. I attended the HOA meeting, serving as proxy for two owners. I'll have more to report tomorrow, as I'm putting things together.

    The meeting was called to order at 10:00 and adjourned at 10:01 because there was not a quorum present. According to the HOA, they needed 3,198 (present and through proxies) to hold a meeting and all they had was 72.

    The General Manager gave a brief update on the upgrades and improvements that have been done at the resort. After that they solicited questions...and boy did they get questions.

    More tomorrow.

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  8. keep me advisited of their trying to steal my savings and downgrades. pclausse6@hotmail.com. from 81,000 to 31,00 is a rbbery and they knew what it was

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  9. It took me a week before I found you again, Lisa. Thanks for attending the meeting with Festiva and the HOA meeting and providing us feedback. We really appreciate your help.

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  10. I received my response from the Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares and Mobile Homes - they aren't going to help us.


    Dear Mr. Plevrakis,

    Thank you for contacting us here at the Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares and Mobile Homes concerning your complaint about the lowered value of your RCI points. As you now know, Celebration World Resort went into bankruptcy and was acquired by Festiva. There is evidence of possible fraudulent transactions by the former developer B.L. Vacation Ownership Company, Inc. in that existing owners were solicited and sold either upgraded or downgraded timeshare interests with an adjustment to their annual maintenance fees. This also included assignment to such owners of grossly inflated RCI point values beyond the actual value of the shares purchased.


    Festiva cannot honor inflated points as, in most cases, they represent more than 10 times the exchange potential of actual timeshare interests at the resort and violate the one-to-one ratio of Florida timeshare law. As a result, the inflated points are worthless but the original point values (per shares) are still in place and your account may be adjusted by Festiva to reflect that.

    The actions of the former developer and managing entity controlled by the former developer are unfortunate and some timeshare owners were taken advantage of and lost considerable money which will not be recovered. This is the situation as it exists and the Division has been working to ensure compliance by Festiva as they work towards remedying the financial and physical condition of the resort. I hope this gives you some assurance that we did not take your complaint lightly. However, at this time we cannot address your complaint further for the issue of the allocation of points is a private contractual matter not addressed by the statutes. Any resolution must be between the effected owners, Festiva, and RCI. You may want to seek legal counsel to determine what, if any, recourses may be legally available to you.


    The Division’s review of your complaint is finished and we will close the file on this matter. However, please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

    Sincerely,

    Paula Hamilton - Investigator
    (fax) 407-481-5651 | (Tel) 407-650-4072
    Email | paula.hamilton@dbpr.state.fl.us
    Dept. | Business & Professional Regulation

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    Replies
    1. Paula Hamilton - I shouldn't even dignify your response with my comments - because you don't know what the hell you are talking about!

      #1 Celebration World Resort never declared bankruptcy!

      #2 You imply that Festiva bought CWR out of bankruptcy - malarkey! - They were given CWR by Capital Source - on a consignment deal - read their agreement

      #3 Possible fraud transactions by B.L. Vacation Company? They had nothing to do with this nightmare! they were long gone!! Left in 2004. Call their law firm Greenspoon and Marder and talk to Len Lubart and tell him what you wrote! And you call yourself an investigator? Wow - boy are we in trouble.!

      #4 Festiva can't honor inflated points? It is incumbent for Festiva to honor the existing agreements between CWR and its owners if it can and it CERTAINLY can! See you don't even understand where those points were coming from - oh boy ... and to think you work for the DBPR as an investigator - maybe you should be deposed and that would help explain why asking you people to get involved is a complete waste of time. The "Division" should first try to understand what actually happened instead of defending Festiva and Capital Source who are the real culprits in this criminal act.

      Of course you are going to close the file, but then first you would have to find it, to close it, wouldn't you Paula?

      Shame on you!

      Delete
  11. Allison,
    I am very sorry to read this because it's clear there is nothing FDBPR can do. I may be by myself on this one, but I truly believe Festiva did their due diligence on this property and discovered this. They continually insist that we talk with FDBPR just as they did previously. I think the one of the ways to make this right is to restore owners to pre-upgrade levels when maintenance fees were sky high and then work from there. To charge $11,000 plus in many cases to upgrade to Festiva's program is like pouring lemon juice on a paper cut; they certainly aren't trying to help us regardless of what they say.

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  12. Allison,
    I am truly upset after reading FDBPR's response since it is also the answer to all of us in the same mess.
    The only way to deal with our situation is to get LEGAL advice for a CLASS ACTION SUIT. My husband and I went to the annual meeting yesterday... USELESS... to say the least. Do not count on FESTIVA helping us. They would not or could not answer questions. It was shameful .

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  13. My goal in writing this blog has been to be fair, give timeshare owners a voice, celebrate the good about timeshare and yes, bring the bad guys to light and hopefully to justice.

    Having said that, I'm actually pretty stunned at the way this entire story is unfolding.

    Festiva has had a very long time indeed to get to the bottom of the situation and either do at minimum some damage control and at best offer some remedy to Celebration's owners. I'm not sure if they thought that potentially thousands of owners would just accept the situation, pay more money to change over to Festiva and go quietly into the night or not.

    The meeting on Wednesday illustrated this and actually opened up the door on potential additional "issues" such as the resort being oversold, the mysterious letter that couldn't be shared with anyone and the admission that "we didn't take into account the overseas owners" in attempting to explain the fact that the announcement of the annual meeting hadn't yet arrived for many owners.

    As much sympathy as I continue to have for the owners of Celebration/Festiva, I'm convinced that this is a much larger issue...one that could potentially affect hundreds of thousands of owners. The next five years will see more and more acquisitions in timeshare and as this happens, there is greater need for due diligence and awareness.

    There is also the issue of who exactly represents and stands up for the timeshare consumer? The letters that you all have shared from the DBPR and your findings that the Attorney General does not represent individuals are both shameful and sad.

    If the timeshare contracts that individuals sign at great cost are not worth the paper that they are printed on and there is no recourse...what does that say about the industry?

    It was a pleasure meeting some of you at the annual meeting. I understand your frustration and I promise you that I will not let this matter die.

    Please continue to spread the word to other owners, share your stories and stay tuned to this blog.

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    Replies
    1. Why do you think the letter from Festiva directs you to the DBPR site! They're in cahoots.

      Delete
  14. I just would like to know if we can just turn over the timeshare to Festiva and walk away What good is the 37,000 points I have gotten WHere do they think we can stay for that amout of points???
    Can someone answer this.

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  15. Carolyn: Festiva has made no mention of this option. As of now, they have not really made any mention of any options that they may offer to owners.

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  16. Carolyn, I will answer your question. You can stay .....NOWHERE....
    But you are doing a BIG favor to both FESTIVA & RCI

    You are giving them extra inventory. The way I see it they would make more money on your back!!!

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  17. Carolyn I have been following the blog and sent emails which have not appeared on it?

    I would like to point out I visted the resort last year in October as I purchased from an owner I was shown a really nice apartment which I was impressed with but I said to my husband we were the only car in the car park in the front at least it was like a ghost town no one in the swimming pool what is going on we drove around the site and dident see a soul not even a security guard how can they be making money.
    When I went back to the office I was told to contact the main office of Festiva for answers to my question.
    Alarm bells rang after dozen of emails calls to rci ect I never got anywhere (join the club I here you all saying)
    So what next time will tel..
    they obviously want us all to give them our inventory so they can con and lie to someother poor suckers
    So lets shout it from the rooftops dont let them.
    Thankyou Lisa for all your time spent on ou behalf at least there are SOME decent human beings left
    May I end on a positive note we have been timeshare owners for 26 years and have enjoyed thousands of happy hours in lovely places all around the globe and hope to do so again soon
    We wont let Festiva spoil our lovely mempries.
    Hooe you all share the same view
    June

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  18. Hi Lisa & owners,

    We need a CLASS ACTION SUIT. Sooner the better.
    The meeting on February 27th was a total disaster...an insult...shameful. Questions were not answered. No information given.The great majority of owners had not received invites and others who did received them late.
    FESTIVA is simply dragging things out with a hope that this will discourage owners into giving up intentions to pursue.

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  19. Hi Lisa & Owners,

    It is time for a COMMON CLASS ACTION SUIT.We must not allow this messy situation to STAGNATE any further.Presently we cannot travel since FESTIVA reduced our points drastically although we all have legal registered contracts. As for the meeting of February27th there was no quorum attained . During the question period FESTIVA did not want to answer questions nor give out information. A most useless and frustrating encounter .WE MUST FIND AN ATTORNEY OR ALL WILL BE LOST!!!

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  20. Lisa, speaking of upcoming buyouts and consolidations, Pacific Monarch Resorts was taken over by Diamond a month or two ago.

    I haven't heard anything about it on your blog or elsewhere as to how that's working out for their owners.

    Maybe no news is good news?

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  21. Don't stop posting. Things are being looked into. It's a messy situation with lots of twists and turns.

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  22. Hi Lisa and members, I posted the following comment on 3rd March which is not showing on here,

    Hi Lisa, further to Reg and Donna's blog I have too noticed that the last entry on your blog is for 19th Feb from Carolyn @ 7:47pm. I know I have been receiving notifications of other entries on the blog by members including myself but for some reason these are not showing on your main blog. Is someone trying to intercept and break this up?! Whats going on? Can you please look into this asap? Thank you

    Lisa can you please look into why this blog hasn't shown up earlier. Thank you

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  23. Anisa and other recent posters...everything is being posted. In the entire history of this blog, I have posted everything except for posts which were advertisements.

    I've attempted to answer the issue about posts not showing up three times now...here and on the original thread. Due to an issue with the software hosting the blog, some browsers (including mine) were having problems showing anything after 200 comments. When I switched to Safari, I was able to then click on "load more" and the entire thread showed up.

    For that reason, I started this "Continued" thread.

    EVERYTHING is being posted. No one has intercepted anything, although many companies, including Festiva are watching it.

    I allow both individuals and companies to post as "Anonymous" in the interest of a free discourse.

    Additionally, I answer every single e-mail that comes my way outside of the blog. I'm not complaning here, but realize that this issue alone has become tantamount to a full time job. I'm happy to provide the forum to all of you deserving owners.

    In addition to the blog, Timeshare Insights has a Facebook page where I post information about other timeshare issues as well as a Twitter feed.

    I have put the word out on TUG in an attempt to find other CWR owners who have been affected by these actions.

    Festiva promised me a form from their legal department outlining what information they were looking for. This form has yet to arrive.

    For all of you clamoring for a class action lawsuit, let me reinterate again that I am NOT an attorney and can not offer any legal advice at all. Also, while I understand that the actions of CWR/Festiva/RCI means that many of you will not be able to vacation this year, please understand that these actions were taken over a LONG period of time and involve lots of people, companies, and legal entities.

    A class action lawsuit is not something to be taken lightly, nor is it something that can be entered into quickly.

    It is my sincere hope that you are all treated fairly and receive fair compensation for what you have been through.

    Please continue to read, share and post. I will NOT let this die!

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  24. I was at the meeting last Wednesday in Kissimee. We were around 15 owners and representative with proxy. Lisa was there to (the Board of Directors). They were 3 from Patton hospitality management, the group that manages the resort. There was Robert Fisher, general manager of the resort, Jason Buchanan, regional director of resort operation, and another guy I don’t remember his name. They began by explaining what had been done to the resort in this previous year, renovation of two buildings, landscaping, seeling the driveway, painting the buildings (it took 5 minutes). After that, they told us that no meeting would be held because they needed around 30 % of the 9500 - 10000 owners (they didn’t know exactly) being there or by proxy. So they needed over 3000 owners (present and through proxies) for the meeting to be held. After that, they sollicited questions, with of course no real answers for us.

    They told us that Robert Fisher would discuss each case one by one, if we took an appointement with him at the resort and that they would give us there a copy of the letter they had written for the owners (and not mailed yet) explaining what they had done and found while studying that big problem. I was there the next day at 9:30 a.m. He gave me copy of my 3 warranty Deeds. One of 2006 with my 15300 shares of CWR with B.L. vacation ownership inc., and two of 2011 when I sold my 15300 shares to CWR Marketing Ltd and when I bought the new 8400 shares from CWR Marketing Ltd. He also gave me the 3 pages letter. He told me that for the meeting, the Florida law didn’t allow them to send the notice of the Annual Meeting sooner then 14 days prior to the meeting date. I just found out that a written notice of an Annual Members Meeting would be mailed to each Member no less than 14 days, no more than 40 days, prior to the date of a meeting. He told me that he never heard of those “upgrade” because he was managing the resort and he was not working in the sales department. I signed my papers in 2011 in Helen Morello’s office, 20 feet away from his office. He asked me from where I knew Lisa Ann Schreier. Told him from the blog. He said that she worked in the sales dept. and that she probably wrote some of those contracts. Found that pretty heavy after what she did for us, so I quit!!!!! I hope that some of the owners that were at the meeting or met R. Fisher will post on the blog there experience and impressions.

    I finally received the meeting notice yesterday!!!!!

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    Replies
    1. Why was the "fraud" not discovered until after we paid our 2013 maint. fees.

      Delete
  25. How very nice to hear that Robert Fisher is attempting to throw me under the bus. No one at Festiva or Patton is willing to answer direct questions from owners so instead, let's blame the person responsible for giving a voice to the owners who were ripped off and the ONE person who is trying to clean up the mess and bring a better timeshare system to consumers.

    NICE job!

    So now the General Manager of the resort both during Celebration's reign and now Festiva's claims not to have known what was going on? And who believes this?

    I've been nice up until now, not naming names, trying to be both patient and fair with Festiva and with Patton but this is really unacceptable.

    Did I work at Celebration World Resort? Yes. Did I work in the sales department? Yes, for a very short time. Did I work on the "upgrade" team? No, I did not.

    Did Robert Fisher know what was going on in the "upgrade" department? YOU CAN BET ON IT.

    Own the problem Robert Fisher, Patton Hospitality and Festiva...stop trying to dump it on me and stop trying to screw owners.

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  26. Festiva acquired CWR in October 2011; our latest Maint. fees were due by Jan.1,2013, AFTER all this time was the fraud with RCI points discovered? Does anyone believe this?

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  27. A law firm is now involved in this issue. On March 1st, a Class Action Law Suit was filed in Florida on behalf of two owners and those similarly situated for the reduction and deletion of their RCI Points.

    The suit alleges ten counts, including breach of contract, unjust enrichment, violations of Florida’s Timeshare Act, Declaration violations, and breach of fiduciary duty. The named Defendants are (1) Zealandia Holding Company, Inc., f/k/a Festiva Hospitality Group, Inc., (2) Festiva’s Orlando Resort Owners Association, Inc., f/k/a Celebration World Resort Owners Association, Inc., (3)RCI, LLC, and (4) B.L. Vacation Ownership, Inc.

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    Replies
    1. What is the name of the law firm? And only two owner in a "class action", really? We all may have to try small claims court, only to tie them up but we'ld only receive a portion of our money.

      Delete
  28. What a sly , underhanded & dishonest being you are Robert Fisher.SHAME ON YOU.!!!! .Speaking to us about sealing the driveway...painting etc. Do you think for one minute in that tiny pea brain of yours THAT is what we wanted to hear at the meeting? We wanted to have pertinent questions answered. It was our right to have them answered and you as General Manager refused to do so. The ISSUE IS THAT OUR POINTS WERE STOLEN FROM US..honest and unsuspecting humans. We were robbed!!!! The culprits have to be held accountable.

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  29. While I understand how upset everyone is, I do NOT condone name calling on the blog.

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  30. Hi Lisa

    Do you think we can join this class action or we have to start everything from the beginning?.
    Not easy when we are out of the country.

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    Replies
    1. You will have plenty of time to join the class Action. It is at its very early stages. The Amended filing hasn't even occurred yet. Let this thing develop. You have time. You might want to contact them just to let them you you will be wanting to join.

      Delete
  31. Hello Philippe and everyone else. I don't know anything more about this class action lawsuit than you do at this point.

    I assume that more information will follow. If I hear anything before it's posted, I will advise.

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  32. Timeshare consumer advocates everywhere have reason to applaud Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon, who won a lawsuit against the North Carolina company Festiva Resorts, LLC. Festiva had allegedly used false and misleading sales tactics to sell timeshares at the Cabins at Green Mountain near Branson, Missouri. A voluntary compliance assurance was also signed stipulating that the business halt violations of state consumer protection laws.

    According to the lawsuit, Festiva Resorts had promised the following without ever delivering the services in question:

    * Promised to help customers sell other timeshares they owned.
    * Promised to help customers rent out timeshares they bought from Festiva.
    * Promised to help customers get good deals on condo rentals in attractive locations.
    * Promised to help customers get good deals on vacation packages.
    * Promised to give refunds to those dissatisfied with their purchase.

    The lawsuit also claimed that Festiva did not provide consumer with the typical "cooling off" period that is now legally associated with the timeshare industry. Instead, the company created a high pressure sales environment.

    According to the current agreement, Festiva will additionally be required to pay a total of $324,393 in restitution to consumers, including $106,885 to consumers who have unresolved complaints on file with the Attorney General's Office and who have used their timeshare at least once. Payments to consumers who have unresolved complaints on file with the Attorney General's Office prior to June 25 and who have never used their timeshare equal $217,508.

    Festiva will also pay a civil penalty of $5,000 as part of today's agreement, and $10,000 to the state to pay for the costs of the investigation and enforcement of the case.

    If you believe you may be a victim of Festiva fraud, we urge you to contact the BBB and the appropriate authorities.

    Please visit the Missouri Attorney General's Office here, or call below.

    Inquiries from consumers should be directed to consumer@ago.mo.gov or 1-800-392-8222 (from within Missouri) or 573-751-3321 (outside Missouri).

    Its been done so how do we do it for kissimmee?

    ReplyDelete
  33. We, elderly (80 year old) Canadians, paid $23,500 for 8,400 shares in CWR, with written clarification that 8,400 shares represented 164,000 RCI points, just as our ‘notarized’ agreement clearly states. We have never received any formal notification from anyone, but recently – after checking our RCI account – found out that now our 164,000 RCI points have been reduced down to 31,000 points. To date, no one has formally told us.

    In America or should I say Florida, can anyone, 4 years after having signed a notarized contract, without both parties consent, simply change the agreement? Is it normal for the Florida/American authorities to say, in effect ‘You’re on your own, we can’t help you, this is the price of doing business in our country’? That’s exactly what is happening!

    I ask you, ‘If I bought a house from ‘you’ in America/Florida, can you, four years later, call me up and tell me that “You didn’t pay enough for the house and that now I want more money or else you can only have the basement and I’ll take back the rest of the house! You have no say in this/my decision”? Honestly, this absolutely couldn’t happen in Canada or Britain. It’s really too ridiculous for words. It begs the question, ‘Are corrupt, forces at work here?’

    When someone (Festiva) buys a property or in our case ‘our timeshare agreement’, isn’t the purchaser required to have their legal advisor/s do their ‘Due diligence’ to see that the property is free of any encumbrances prior to the purchaser buying the property?

    I don’t doubt for a moment, that Festiva’s legal advisors did do their Due Diligence and having done so, bought our agreements, with full intent to defraud us, knowing that in America/Florida they can get away with it.

    After the contract/agreement is signed and sealed by both parties and notarized, the person or persons who now own the property must accept all liabilities, no matter what the pain.

    On 4 March 2013 we received notification from Festiva, inviting us to attend (or delegate a proxy vote,) a scheduled ‘owner’ meeting to take place on Wednesday, February 27, 2013. (5 days later) Much like the rest of the shenanigans showing up in Festiva’s dealings with us, isn’t this simply more shenanigans?

    It’s no good so many of us talking about a Class Action suit. Talk is just talk. Doesn’t someone know how to go about initiating a Class Action suit?

    Perhaps one of you computer savvy people can formulate a list which we can all sign-up to, then we could see about engaging a Florida lawyer to register and pursue justice for us!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree with you 100% and I think there are lawyers working on this.

      Delete
    2. Oh you can be sure that there are many lawyers working on this! And Festiva is going to have more trouble than they are ready to deal with. That is a fact. Keep the faith - and stay tuned in.

      Delete
  34. This is like a game of snap we all have snap I cant believe that the florida law would let festiva get away with this.
    I am in the postion that I bought a resale from an owner the sales was for I week 85,000 RCI points.
    RCI wont let me change to a points account as festiva said my contract is not for RCI points. Festiva say I can only have 5 days not one week at the resort. (sound familar)


    I too received meeting notification in March (we live in uk) you can just hear their excuse it the postal services fault.

    I have plenty of time and am fairly good with computers (my past occupation)

    I am prepared to compile a list but I have no legal knowledge but more than happy to work with anyone who wants to take this further

    One other point I would like to make there are possible 11,000 unhappy owners who will be reluctant to return to Festiva,
    I wonder how the State of Florida and Disney feel about the revenue they will lose.
    June

    ReplyDelete
  35. Good Morning.

    Three things I'd like to say this morning:

    1) While I share your frustration at these events and I was stunned by the comments that the General Manager made about me personally, I can not allow this blog to deteriorate into name calling...at least on a personal basis. One, I think it's wrong and two (more importantly), I am not about to let that comment drag me and everyone else on the blog down to that level. Please refrain from nasty name comments. Thank you.

    2) I reiterate that I am NOT an attorney and can not offer legal council or advice.

    3) However, to the person that commented anonymously that a Class Action Lawsuit had in fact been filed, we would all appreciate details. You stated that it had been filed on March 1st. Today is March 11th. If something has been filed, it should not be up to individuals to go searching for hours on the Osceola Courthouse site to find this. People have lives and as important and serious as this issue is, they can't be expected to drop everything and search for information when most of them don't possess the legal knowledge.

    So, what is the information?

    ReplyDelete
  36. Hello All. I'm copying a portion of a comment that was posted on the original thread this afternoon.

    "Our tale of woe: We purchased Christmas week at CWR in the early 90's - the largest 3 bedroom lockout. A few years later, in order to participate in RCI Points, we spent another $5,000 or so for another small unit. Then our MF started to rachet up. We were over $2400 a year when we were solicited by CWR with this offer: 1) deed over to CWR our 2 timeshares and 2) purchase another timeshare for $5460. In exchange CWR guaranteed 400,000 RCI points. We agreed, but asked for and received a letter stating "This Letter will guarantee that you will receive 400,000 RCI Global Points every other year from RCI for the duration of the ownership of your timeshare ownership here at Celebration World resort in Florida. If you were to sell this would be transferable as well." It was signed by Mike Sills, salesman, Verification Officer: Al Roman and the manager's name is indeciperable. This was all done by phone."

    I'm just curious if anyone else has a similar letter, signed by anyone from CWR.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mike Sills is an absolute snake and I am quite sure did that without the developer - Joseph Dahruj knowing it. Having said that, it still falls back to him and of course CWR.
      Non of this ever had to happen. CWR DID NOT go into Bankruptcy. Capital Source decided to just give CWR to Festiva when their were many companies, good companies (like the Berkley Group) out there that would have honored the agreements. That's a fact. So CS can be sure that they will have the opportunity to join the class action - this time as a defendant!

      Delete
  37. We dont have a letter . We just have a paper signed by Mike Sills showing how many points we would have. Since the DBPR deals with real estate licenses could Mike Sills & Helen Morellas possible have their licenses taken away for being involved with this ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mike Sills possibly, Helen probably not.

      Delete
  38. Hi all. I must admit to being so confused about contacting all of these organizations in Florida about this mess. I filed with the Attorney General's office and they acknowledged my filing. They also instructed me to contact Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services. So I filed with them online. I got a letter from them stating that they don't have jurisdiction over the subject area referenced in my complaint, so they have forwarded my complaint to the Department of Business & Professional Regulation on my behalf. Was anyone else's filing to the Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services forwarded?

    I feel like I'm getting the "corporate (aka government) run around"!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes you are, but the class Action is addressing that as well

      Delete
  39. I agree Marianne that the affected owners have really been given the run-around from the various Florida governmental and legal departments. Part of it is that no one quite knows what to do about timeshare, as you can see by the fact that it's lumped in with "Agriculture and Consumer Services."

    ReplyDelete
  40. After a lengthy search, I was able to find a Press Release about the class action lawsuit.

    Here it is:

    http://www.marketwatch.com/story/finn-law-group-announces-class-action-suit-on-behalf-of-timeshare-owners-2013-03-13

    Two things:

    1) I will state for the record again, that I am not an attorney and therefore can not render any legal opinion on this matter. I can not and will not counsel people one way or another about joining or not joining this lawsuit, although at the very least, I would read the press release and contact the firm in question and ask some serious questions.

    2) This thread and the original thread will continue to be moderated. We want to hear from you.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Lisa, thank you for sharing this important news about the lawsuit. Do you have any idea how to be part of this lawsuit or is in behalf of all CWR owners?

    ReplyDelete
  42. My husband and I spoke with the lawsuit lawyer today. He asked us to email him what we would like to get out of this lawsuit. What we want is different than what the people who contacted him want so he is going to present our ideas to them. Everyone pretty much has to want the same things or else we may have to file ours separately. What do most of you hope to get out of this lawsuit?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Damages, and have their original positions restored.

      Delete
  43. Does anyone have the name of the lawyer that has filed the lawsuit. I have tried the website with no luck.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Carolyn: It's The Finn Law Group. If you scroll up a few comments, you'll see the link to the Press Release.

    ReplyDelete
  45. I would just like my mom to have the points back to vacation with her family. Funny, that is what she got sold on is the idea to be able to vacation with her kids and grand kids and have something to pass on to them. Thanks to the fraudulent upgrade, she doesn't really have either and is now out another 5000.00-It breaks my heart.

    ReplyDelete
  46. I am pleased to say that with DBPR's help, I was able to gain all my points back.

    My points were reduced by 40% from my deed. I have sent emails to Festiva Members Services, asking them to check my deed but they told me that I was only entitled to the reduced points without any other support.

    I filed my case with DBPR and sent it by regular mail. A month later, the investigator at DBPR spoke with Festiva to re-instate the original points registered in the deed. Festiva said they will correct it and also correct RCI points.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ????? What??? And did they?

      Delete
    2. That's funny because they got back to me and said they couldn't help me. They said I should look into getting a lawyer.

      Delete
    3. Can you explain to us what is your case exactly? Did you buy the upgrade?

      Delete
    4. Hi Philippe,
      We had weeks initially in 2000 and traded our weeks to points around 2004. We did not buy any other upgraded points.

      Delete
  47. Joyce The first thing I would want is to have the points that I purchased in good faith to be applied to my deed. I purchased those points in order to vacation with my family more often. If that is an unrealistic request then I would ask that the points we had prior to the "upgrade" be reinsated and that we be refunded the money we spent on the "upgrade". I think that the second option is the most fair!!!

    Thanks Michael for taking this on. I emailed you today if there is anything you need please let me and everyone else on here know!

    Martin

    ReplyDelete
  48. We wrote a letter to the Florida - ‘Office of the Attorney General’ – Pam Bondi, on 4 February 2013. We sent her all of our pertinent information including a copy of our Timeshare Agreement as well as the clearly documented agreement that we will receive 164,000 RCI points.
    Today, we received a reply to our letter from Pam Bondi’s office, only to inform us of the following:
    “The Attorney General is concerned about all potentially unfair and deceptive trade practices that have the tendency or capacity to mislead consumers. Our office uses complaints to identify patterns of questionable business activities. We will retain your information in our consumer files. However, our office does not mediate individual complaints.”
    With little more said, she concludes: “While I hope this proves helpful, please consult a private attorney if you need any legal guidance. An attorney can give you the legal advice which our office is not permitted by law to provide to private individuals.”
    It seems the governing authorities in Florida are not about to assist us in regards to our having been cheated by Festiva/Celebration World.
    Reg and Donna

    ReplyDelete
  49. HAS ANYONE CONCIDERED SENDING OUR CONCERNS TO RICK SNYDER GOV? in this great state of florida,
    timeshare is regulated? not! internet cafe games were ok until the greesing stopped. once this scandel comes to light it will look alot like the festiva/florida brotherhood that we are experiencing here. we are also being screwed by this timeshare brotherhood scandel.
    $28,000 for 31,000 rci. isn't florida law great? joke! festiva/celebration developers
    for years did business togather selling celebration world resort as there own long before this scam of issues came to light.
    can anyone say premedatational buyout? or
    pre-plan sales for us all at the top? NICE PLAN.
    AND THE STATE WINS ON EVERY SALE. HOW SWEET IT IS......... FINN LAW GROUP YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Grace, I'd love to hear more about your particular issue. If the DBPR is intervening on one or two complaints and not the rest, this brings up yet another set of issues.

    The whole thing is being dealt with in a disgusting manner from all sides.

    Has anyone else had their points reinstated?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Lisa,

      We bought a week with CWR and later CWR bought our week back and we paid to convert to points. In later years, we did attend upgraded points meeting but did not buy into it because our points were sufficient for us.

      Early this year after paying our dues, our points were reduced. We felt robbed. We called Festiva many times and we were told we had inflated points. We asked that they review our warranty deed which stated our points and wanted to know how they arrived at the reduced points. We filed with DBPR - Florida Business & Professional Regulations, which deals with timeshare - that the Festiva letter had advised us to do to resolve this issue.

      The DBPR was a short 2-page form. We gave our details. The investigator checked our deed and called us to inform us our original points were legitimate. The investigator called Festiva member services to inform them to re-instate our original points. We have received notification from Festiva member services that they have corrected our account. Festiva said it will take about 2 weeks for RCI points to be corrected. We are still waiting.

      Delete
  51. Festiva-are you listening to this? Please make things right and give our points back to us! If you can do it for one, you can do it for all.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Hey Grace,
    Obviously you did not upgrade to points at the meeting as the rest of us bloggers did. I'm sure you got the form letter but had bought enough CWR points to convert to RCI and Festiva made a mistake. Don't get everyone's hopes up. Please post the points on the deed and multiply by 3.6 for RCI points. And I'm not on the Festiva's side, just another fool that feel into the trap. Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  53. In case anyone has NOT seen it, here is another article on the Class Action Lawsuit that has been filed.

    http://www.lawyersandsettlements.com/articles/consumer_fraud/interview-consumer-financial-fraud-title-loans-7-18581.html

    ReplyDelete
  54. Does anyone know if the law firm will be contacting us or do we have to contact them. Also has anyone else joined this class action lawsuit?

    ReplyDelete
  55. Carolyn: You have to contact them.

    I would also be curious to hear from anyone who has contacted the law firm. You do not have to post on the blog if you don't feel comfortable doing so.

    I'm also very interested to hear if more people have gotten their RCI Points reinstated...some have said that they have.

    VERY curious to hear how/why the DBPR and/or Festiva and/or RCI made this happen.

    ReplyDelete
  56. I emailed the Finn law group via their web site. They were quick to respond and actually requested more info from me. To be considered in the suit, you must have a deed, which I do and sent them a copy plus the RCI points participation agreement. If everyone would go to the Finn law group web site, it's very user friendly.
    Also, regarding points being reinstated. Please see my reply to GRACE posted March 29, 2013. And do not get everyone's hopes up because it won't happen. One thing I do not understand: how could RCI accept more aggregate points that CWR owned. They have to share some of the blame.

    ReplyDelete
  57. Lisa
    We contacted the Finn Law Group giving them our email address and all pertinent information regarding our purchase of shares and the information regarding the RCI points. The Finn Law Group have replied advising that it will probably be around 6/7 months for the Class Action to be heard. But of course everyone interested must sign-up! Just email as much information as possible to: Mr. Michael D. Finn - michaeldfinn@finnlawgroup.com
    Reg and Donna

    ReplyDelete
  58. Important message for all UK owners who may be affected by this: Please send me your contact information via e-mail to lisa@timeshareinsights.com.

    I have contacted TATOC on your behalf so that they will be able to assist you in the best way for you to move forward with this issue.

    ReplyDelete
  59. Mike Sills , what is his connection to the RCI scam and is he with Celebration World ?

    ReplyDelete
  60. Mike Sills was the salesman responsible for many of these "upgrades."

    I'd like to reach out to any and all owners who have been treated "special" due to any actions they might have taken to share their experiences with us here on the blog, even if you choose to do so without revealing any personal information.

    I've also heard from a number of owners who feel that they were "disrespected" by Festiva sales staff when they rejected the opportunity to switch over to Festiva and RTX. There have been a number of implied threats that these owners will no longer be able to utilize RCI and be "stuck with" CWR as their only vacation choice.

    Lastly, I've received a ton of e-mails from owners asking me if they should join the Class Action lawsuit that has been filed. I am not an attorney, so I cannot and will not give legaal opinion. I will say however, that you should contact The Finn Law Group to at least discuss the situation and find out options.

    ReplyDelete
  61. I forgot to add something...at the annual meeting that some of you attended back in February, there was some talk of another letter from Festiva that was about to go out, but "could not be revealed" at the meeting.

    Have any or all of you received another letter from Festiva?

    ReplyDelete
  62. Received a letter (e-mail) from Festiva yesterday. Titled "Important information regarding your vacation week" stating that they've changed their name to Patton hospitality management. They then say they're changing and offering new programs including a rental program for your useless week. Naturally this cost money and you must enroll by the end of the month. I won't fall for another of their scams and am seriously thinking of not paying any more maintenance or special assessments that may be looming.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. got the same. anybody check this out and sign up on new scam?

      Delete
  63. OK - let get ALL of you on the right path ok?
    First - BL has not had anything to do with any of this! They were - WERE the sales and marketing company contracted by CWR to sell out the property. They did a fantastic job! Their contract expired in 2004 and they left the property. They did everything the right way, never EVER selling one RCI point! Everything they did what 100% ethical, honorable and done right. They have SINCE been DROPPED from the Case Action lawsuit last week.

    CWR did not declare bankruptcy - actually had turned the resort in the right direction when Capital Source forced the new marketing and sales company to stop sales. Cap Source then put the resort up for sale. They could do this because CWR was in default on their loan. Many good companies came to their door and offered CASH buyouts. Great companies like the Berkley Group and others. CS decided instead just to give the resort to Festiva on consignment. Had Berkley gotten the deal, ALL of you would be using everything CWR gave you albeit Berkley probably would not have continued the practice.

    RCI doesn't look at anything other than the enrollment agreement where the developer tells them how many points to give to each of you and can lock you out of your points if you don't pay your maintenance fees and Taxes. It will be shown in court that CWR had more than enough points to fulfill all of the points you were given!

    Festiva is a 29 resort property that has no affiliation with RCI. They did what they did because if they would have left things as they were they couldn't have sold any of you ANYTHING else! Look up their history and how many times they were sued for essentially doing the same thing they did to you at other resorts in other states.

    So who now who do you think conspired to defraud all of you?

    Maybe CS, and Festiva? I can tell you that the chief architect "BR" of Cap Source isn't there anymore - but that's not going to save anybody!

    The State of Florida really dropped the ball on this and they know it. But sit tight, its all going to come out and I believe at the end of the day - things will be different and BETTER!

    The amended complaint (class action) will be a matter of public record. I will let you know when it is filed. At that time I will give email a copy of it to Ms Schreier by email and maybe she would be willing to post it for all of you to read! Then all of you will know as Paul Harvey would say:"the rest of the story!"

    Keep the faith, the Calvary has been called in.

    ReplyDelete
  64. received the same thing. anyone out there have info on this. any thing from this group can not be good.

    ReplyDelete
  65. Anyone who has not contacted Finn Law Group needs to do that. Let them know you are out there. Contacting them does not mean you are joining the class action suit. It's just making them aware that you are there and what your story is with this entire mess.

    I was truly surprised at how responsive they were.

    One thing that Mike Finn said in an email to me was that the A.G. in Florida is an elected position and most of us who have been screwed in this deal live outside the state and don't have the opportunity to vote for or against her. If Florida does nothing about this like other states have (i.e. North Carolina, Missouri, etc) then shame on them. I wonder how interested 60 Minutes would be in this story. I'm sure that would tarnish Florida's (the timeshare capital!) image.

    ReplyDelete
  66. So I don't know who Deepthroat is but in my opinion he actually knows what he is talking about! I say that because I was involved in all of this, and Lisa knows that's a fact. Hi Lisa! Lisa, if you know, can you share with us who he is?

    ReplyDelete
  67. No Joe, I have no idea who Deep Throat is, nor anyone who submits as Anonymous.

    Thanks Marianne for your comments...it is imperative that as many owners as possible who have been affected at least contact the law firm.

    ReplyDelete
  68. We just met with Festiva in Branson, Mo. They claim that when we changed to points, Celebration World took our 3 bedroom unit with 27,000, that could be used anytime, and gave us a Jr. 1-bedroom for 9900 points in the very limited time period. When we did this in 2005,our understanding was that we were purchasing additional points on top of that alloted for our original purchase in 2000, as we wanted an additional week of vacation. Our points allocated by RCI, 133,500, was just about exactly what we should have been getting for the 2 units. Now Festiva thinks all we should have is 36,300!!!

    I still think we have the two units, but how do we go about checking to see if our names are still registered on the deeds or if they have been transferred to someone else? I'm not sure who the ripp-off artists are....Celebration or Festiva!!! OR both.

    ReplyDelete
  69. Yesterday, I receive a letter from Festiva , the letter goes. Congratulation! Your purchase (upgrade ) is now paid in full. May you enjoy many years of vacation enjoyment utilizing your club membership. I am so glad to have not enough points to go on vacation now!!!! Thanks Festiva !!!

    ReplyDelete
  70. I was told today that the class action case has been moved to Federal court and should be settled within a year or less.

    ReplyDelete
  71. I just got a email from vacationcondo.com telling me that they would be able to rent for me my week . I just have to call them to approve the transaction what is that?

    ReplyDelete
  72. I have contacted the Finn law group and they gave us a choice of three options. I was wondering what if anything those who contacted them have decided to do. Option one was to wait and see and they will let us know what happens. Option two is to send a retainer fee and either way they will represent us. Option three is a walk away option I would really appreciate it if anyone could advise me on what they have decided to do.

    ReplyDelete
  73. Carolyn and everyone else...while I can appreciate everyone wanting to know what the best course of action is, I would HIGHLY ADVISE AGAINST SHARING THIS INFORMATION ON THIS BLOG.

    As you all know, the blog is being very carefully monitored by the defendants in the lawsuit as well as other entities in the timeshare industry.

    I don't think it's a wise idea to let them (and the world) know where everyone is leaning.

    Thoughts?

    ReplyDelete
  74. I strongly urge all member of the Celebrations World Resort Timeshare to contact the Finn Group and let them know we are interested in filing a class action suit. I currently have done so and also I am having my contracts being reviewed by my attorney. This will require particpation by all owners to get the leverage needed to make a difference

    ReplyDelete
  75. I strongly recommend that all owners of Celebrations World Resort contact the the Finn Law Group and let them know you are willing to participate in a class action suit. We will only get this done if we stick together. I have done so and also I am having my contracts reviewed by a local attorney.

    ReplyDelete
  76. We see in reading Lisa’s blog, that there are several people/entries recommending that we all sign up to The Finn Law Groups’ class action suit. Great idea! However, who knows what exactly is going on and what is the point in doing so? We have informed Finn Law that we would like sign up to the Class Action Suit (CAS) more than a couple of months ago and provided The Finn Law Group with all of the details regarding our agreements with Celebration World / Festiva and RCI. But today there has been no acknowledgement to us from The Finn Law Group whatsoever, indicating that in fact, such a suit is actually being pursued.
    Our concern is: If we believe that there really is a CAS being pursued and if in fact there is, then we should be formally advised by The Finn Law Group and advised that we are formally included in/on a registry. If there aren’t enough of us signed up, then we should or could be advised through Lisa’s blog, so that through the blog, we could rally support for the CAS.
    On the other hand, if unknown to any of us that The Finn Law Group are not in fact pursuing a CAS due to a lack of support for such an action – NOW THINK ABOUT IT – which is quite possible, then we are all banking on a CAS which may not actually come about. Ask yourselves and don’t laugh, ‘is there really a FINN LAW GROUP working for us?’ Remember all of you reading this have been duped before!!!
    Assuming The Finn Law Group are sincere, can’t they solicit those who have been cheated out of their RCI points, to sign up and as well, keep us informed as to what is going on?
    Festiva may of course recognise and bank on the fact that we are a confused, frustrated, but more important, a fragmented group who can’t get our act together.
    ANONYMOUS

    ReplyDelete
  77. This is the information that I have about the suit:

    The class action lawsuit, Reeves, et al. v. Zealandia Holding Company Inc., et al., cause no. 13-CA-866-MF, was filed March 1 in the 9th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida, in Osceola County.

    I would like to hear from The Finn Law Group as to the status of this suit. Anyone?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Received an email from another attorney, knowing that I contacted the Finn Law Group. The email seems to indicate that unless we finance our "upgrade" to RCI points and continued to pay the note to Festiva, we would not be included in the class action suit. But the bottom of the email states that they are debt collectors. Anyone else get this email?

      Delete
  78. I agree. We need to get a status report from Michael Finn. The blog is a good place for them to update us.

    ReplyDelete
  79. In my limited knowledge of the legal industry, a law firm or an attorney may NOT solicit business. Let's wait a bit and I'd like to hear from others.

    ReplyDelete
  80. 84.000 points now worth 31,000 points. what is best action now everyone.

    ReplyDelete
  81. Lisa, Lisa, Lisa. Went to a owner update at Blue Heron. They definitely follow this blog and know you. Went as far to say that you went with at least two CWR owners that had their RCI points reduced and advised them to join the Festiva upgrade. Is this true? More info, about 900 of the 10,000 owners were taken by the previous owners of CWR and 70% are converting to Festiva. Another scam? For another $10,000 to say at a Festiva resort for maybe 40 years, not worth it.

    ReplyDelete
  82. Oh they definitely read the blog and they most definitely know me! I did in fact attend the "update" with two CWR owners who invited me along. One did switch over to Festiva and one did not.

    I will say that the one owner who did switch over was charged considerably less than $10,000. Another one of those deals where they start at some inflated figure and drop down repeatedly, thereby wasting time and diminishing any price integrity.

    As far as the number of people who have switched to the Festiva system, I have no way of verifying that (nor do you) and of course, that's what they (and every other timeshare developer) plays on.

    I only wish that every single CWR owner that has been wronged knew about the blog, knew that there were resources available to them and above all, knew that a quick decision was not necessary and that far more questions need to be asked.

    Education and a platform are sorely needed among timeshare owners everywhere. I urge everyone to stay tuned to this blog and invite other timeshare owners everywhere to do so. All is not lost and timeshare owners have not been forgotten!

    It will be good, I can promise you that!

    On a personal note, a sincere THANK YOU to everyone who entrusted me to share their stories on this blog. Your trust, your updates and your comments are much appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Actually, they started at $7700 plus our useless week for 6000 Festiva points EOY. Then after wasting another hour, lowered it to $5100 for 4800 points. My wife thought it was a good deal (as the RCI points upgrade did) and we went for it. Upon closely reading the contract, it sounded too good to be true. None of the promesses were in writing and they even state that RTX may not succeed. We're within the 10 days to rescind and will. We can still join RTX and pay an annual fee just to see if it works. We'll let you know. Thanks for this blog.

      Delete
  83. Has anyone received an update as to where we stand with Finn Law Group? I have not seen to much activity on the internet lately. Any suggestions on getting updates?

    ReplyDelete
  84. i have recieved updates from the finn law group as recently as june 5. you should contact them if interested in how the lawsuit is progressing. i wouldn't post any specifics on this blog, not with festiva monitoring it!

    ReplyDelete
  85. Good Morning. I wanted to share two updates with all of you this morning.

    Firstly, to any UK residents who may be involved in this situation, I've contacted TATOC on your behalf and as of next week, they will be up to date with the situation and be able to take your inquiries about it.

    Let me stress again, that I am not an attorney, so I am not offering any legal advise. Since I can't do that, I can not speak with any authority about Class Action lawsuits filed in a different country than your residence. TATOC can speak with authority on this issue. Their website, with their contact information is http://www.tatoc.com/.

    Additionally, I believe that the Class Action suit has been amended earlier this week. As I receive information, I will post it.

    MANY of you have been e-mailing me asking why the thread has gone quiet. My best guess is that individuals don't want to publically share any legal updates on this blog, as they know that many in the timeshare industry are carefully monitoring it. I can say with a fair amount of certainty, that this issue is NOT going away

    ReplyDelete
  86. I have also been concerned with the lack of "chatter". Your comment gives me hope.

    ReplyDelete
  87. For all of us who have been scammed. Please read the following and consider joining the growing numbers of us who will be reprented by this firm. The phone# is included in the release.
    PRESS RELEASE

    Finn Law Group Announces Class Action Suit on Behalf of Timeshare Owners



    Wed Mar 13, 2013

    Florida lawsuit alleges unfair and deceptive practices in the sale of timeshare upgrades

    ORLANDO, Fla.
    The Finn Law Group P. A. has filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of timeshare owners at Festiva`s Orlando Resort, formerly known as Celebration World Resort, alleging that the resort`s developers and managers have engaged in unfair and deceptive practices in the sale of timeshare upgrades and reservation point allocation.

    The class action lawsuit, Reeves, et al. v. Zealandia Holding Company Inc., et al., case no. 2013 CA 000886 MF, was filed March 1 in the 9th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida, in Osceola County.

    The suit alleges that, beginning in 2004, approximately 900 parties purchased timeshare interests in Celebration World Resort Owners Association, located in Kissimmee, Fla., from B. L. Vacation Ownership Inc. Between 2008 and 2011, representatives of B. L. Vacation Ownership sold upgrades to existing timeshare owners that would increase the number of points they had to apply to timeshare reservations.

    After the homeowners purchased the upgrades, B.L. Vacations sold the resort to Festiva Hospitality Group, now known as Zealandia Holding Co., and the resort`s name was changed to Festiva`s Orlando Resort. After the sale, the lawsuit alleges, the reservation point system was changed and the upgrades that had been purchased by the timeshare owners were not honored.

    The suit names the Orlando Homeowners Association, B.L. Vacation Ownership Inc., Zealandia Holding Co. and its subsidiary and affiliate companies, and RCI LLC as defendants. The suit alleges that one or more of the defendants:

    * Violated the resort`s declaration of covenants by improperly reallocating reservation points
    * Violated the resort`s declaration of covenants for failing to give proper notice of the reallocation
    * Breached the fiduciary duty owed to the timeshare owners * Violated Section 721.18(5) of Florida`s timeshare law

    The timeshare owners seek a refund, rescission of the upgrade sales contracts, attorneys` fees and other relief the court deems proper.

    The Finn Law Group, which has offices in Florida and Michigan, represents consumers in timeshare and fractional real estate matters. For more information, contact Michael D. Finn by calling 855-346-6529 or michaeldfinn@finnlawgroup.com.

    Legal Media Matters
    Geri L. Dreiling, 3

    ReplyDelete
  88. Has everyone crossed over to the other side? Or are they afraid to talk?

    ReplyDelete
  89. I don't think either is the case. As this blog is being carefully monitored by many in the timeshare world, including some named in the suit, I have advised everyone to not make their decisions as they relate to the lawsuit public.

    It is the only prudent thing to do at this point. As I receive information on the suit, I will publish it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've been told by a Festiva salesperson that they've been dropped from the suit and the only people responsible for the rip off are the previous owners that have fled to Brazil. Good luck getting a penny.

      Besides, why would owners be quiet about a lawsuit that common knowledge? It has no outcome on the facts of law.

      Most class action suits result in attorney's making all the money anyway. Most of the litigants would be money ahead by not paying anymore maintenance fees and forget about this place. Just my opinion!

      Delete
  90. Thanks for the laugh...you would believe a Festiva salesperson for what reason?

    As for owners keeping quiet on a public blog that everyone knows is monitored by companies both directly involved and not directly involved in the suit...while comments may not have any direct outcome on the facts of the law, I for one would not want to be contacted by anyone about the suit.

    It is never a good idea to stop paying fees. One of the worst things a timeshare owner can do.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As you have stated before, you cannot give legal advice and lawyer are prohibited from soliciting. However, the Finn Law Group would like to get an idea how much of a settlement would be fair. There is a court conference set for Sept. and they need some way to contact anyone that has been swindled by CWI and Festiva.
      If no one reads this blog and haven't contacted Finn Law Group, they may be left in the cold. Lisa, let concerned parties know about this, even if Festiva reads your blog. Don't be scared!!!

      Delete
    2. I understand in a way about what Lisa says about not stopping paying fees. However I am edging towards retirement and feel that I will pay my fees for about the next 2 years when I will be 66. After that I feel that my wife and I will not be able to afford these fees when retired. I would then want to walk away at this point because we would not be receiving our entitlement of points which we paid for and secondly would not be taking overseas holidays which would be too expensive. Also I have no intention of saddling my children with RCI or Festiva. Any advice on what is likely to happen if I just tell them to stuff the 36000 and walk away.

      Delete
    3. They would just ding your credit, but at your (and my) age, who cares.

      Delete
  91. Thanks. I'm not at all scared...but as you stated, I can not give legal advice.

    Happy to pass along the information though.

    Thanks for the update.

    ReplyDelete
  92. If we allow Festiva to wipe out are points and do nothing, we are opening doors to allow more people to be scammed. I believe we must stand together and get this resolved in court. I urge anyone who has not contacted the Finn Law group to do so. We need to show strenght and determination for are selfs and others. We have someone who is willing to put the effort in to help us, they need our support.

    ReplyDelete
  93. No one talking in over a month! Has everyone that has been taken by Festiva rolled over? They have either gone for another "upgrade" to the Adventure Club or just given up. Fools!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  94. Yeah, I don't think that everyone has "rolled over." I think that the lawsuit is progressing. I have personally advised owners to NOT talk about what is happening on this public blog because as we all know, it is being very carefully monitored by the timeshare industry.

    ReplyDelete
  95. Does anyone even read this blog? Obviously they don't leave any remarks or info. Nothing on the law suit or other remedies.

    ReplyDelete
  96. Since you chose to remain anonymous, I can't tell if you are a timeshare owner actually looking for information, or someone in the industry looking to discredit this blog.

    The short answer is "yes, people are reading the blog."

    The longer answer is that I have repeatedly advised people both here on the blog and via e-mail to NOT comment on what is going on in the Class Action lawsuit so as to not do anything to negatively influence any outcome.

    Do you have a specific question?

    ReplyDelete
  97. Yes, we are still reading this blog...

    ReplyDelete
  98. I've received a number of e-mails from owners who are not aware of this blog nor about the Class Action lawsuit. One of these owners contacted me, was referred to The Finn Law Group and received this from the law firm which I am posting here for your benefit.

    AGAIN...THIS IS A RESPONSE TO AN OWNER FROM THE LAW FIRM AND IS NOT MY RESPONSE.

    RE: Class Action Law Suit Concerning Festiva / Celebration World Resorts / RCI

    Thank you for your inquiry to Finn Law Group regarding your claim against one or more of the above referenced defendants.

    If your claim involves a significant reduction of your allotted RCI points after Festiva took over management of the Celebration World Resort in Orlando, Florida, you are a potential member of a class that has yet to be certified as a class by the Federal Court that has jurisdiction of this pending case filed by our clients' who have alleged similar facts against these defendants.

    You may review and monitor the pending case file on an ongoing basis by following the HTML link that is posted on http://www.finnlawgroup.com/news-room/Celebration-World-Resort-Litigation/ or by directly accessing the court's website at http://www.flmd.uscourts.gov/ (Orlando Division, Case No. 6:13-cv-597-GKS-TBS).

    If the Court certifies the class you will be notified of your right to either participate as a member of the class or "opt-out" and pursue a remedy on your own. You do not need to be concerned about being contacted timely as the Court will oversee the notification process and we will have access to the resort records to determine who is a potential class member. If you would like to supply us with your contact information (through carmela@finnlawgroup.com), we will be happy to retain that information and notify you at the appropriate time.

    I am sorry to advise you that because of our own administrative limitations we cannot provide updates or individual responses to you due to the extensive estimated class size

    ReplyDelete
  99. FROSTING ON THE CAKE
    I see that nobody contributes to this blog anymore. Hopefully some still read. Lisa, I know that you have stated "not to post on this blog", so what purpose does it serve?

    Received the maint. fee for Celebration World. It has increased due to the law-suit. We are paying Festiva to litigate a suit brought by disenchanted owners. Sounds like a losing situation to me. Maybe join all the owner's that quit paying and went into default with their useless weeks.

    ReplyDelete
  100. Hello. Trust me, the blog is well read. I advised people to not post anything that was personal as it pertained to specific details.

    I am well aware that the bills were finally sent out and that there was a hefty increase in the annual fees.

    This situation is NOT resolved. Stay tuned. Stay strong.

    ReplyDelete
  101. We also received our maintenance fee and property tax for Celebration World Resort.A considerable increase compared to last year.NOW the question is .....do we pay the fees seeing as we cannot make use of our Timeshare because of the drastic reduction of points. We cannot even stay one week. We were reduced from 122000 pts to 31000pts. It costs 41000 pts. for a one week stay at OUR resort....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Same situation, just don't know if we have any recourse if we quit paying the maint. fee. Don't appreciate paying Festiva to defend their position in the law-suit against them. Totally agree, the points they have left us with are useless.

      Delete
    2. Why are people still paying these sharks. I have refused to pay Maintenance Fees and Membership Fees to RCI until this is resolved. I have emailed Festiva 5 times, written to them twice, but no reply. Crass bad manners. I live in Northern Ireland so I assume they think I am not important. However they have sent me a bill threatening Debt Collectors. Good luck with that I say, answer my correspondence thats what I say. At present I am not paying anything and I wish all so called "owners" would do the same, an individual is weak but the masses are strong. People should band together and fight these morons.

      Delete
  102. Same here do not feel it is legal to have to pay for the legal fees. Especially since they are being sued by their members who have lost a considerable amt of points that cannot be used. It does not seem fair that two people paid totally different amounts for the timeshare, but end up with the same amt of points. They should be giving back the difference in money or extra points.

    ReplyDelete
  103. Hi Lisa:
    We too have lost our points from 133,500 down to 31,000 without being informed by Festiva. We only found out recently when trying to book a trip to Florida for this month. It took me over 4 weeks to even get someone to talk to me to then be told "Well if you really did have that many points then your maintenance and taxes would be over $1,000 per year. What the H.. can you do with 31,000 points NOTHING !! In reading your blog I will be calling the Finn Law Group and finding out how to go about placing our name in this CAS. Being Canadian I have no idea how the US Law works and would so be happy to get a bit of advice from you.
    Thank you Lisa and look forward to some advise.
    Regards, Judy (Canadian)

    ReplyDelete
  104. Hi we are from Venezuela and have a similar case. Aparently owners not living in the state aren't worth a call, letter or email. Only my fee's invoice +letter explaining the raise of the fees..(the lawsuit)that was the first communication I ever received from Festiva. And my first realization that I could do something. This blog helped me finding Finns law and they contacted me.With 31000 pts international travels became almost impossible for us

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Anonymous
      Yes, you are right, if you dont live in the States they will not even answer emails or letters. I live in Northern Ireland and have emailed them 5 times and written twice, no reply.
      Patrick

      Delete
  105. Hello Lisa
    Festiva have reduced our 133500 RCI points to 36000.
    We have received the 15 % increased maintenance fees of $631-92 and very concerned. Do we need to register with Finn to join the mass legal action of ex CWR against Festiva /RCI ? It is worth travelling from England with this reduced RCI points.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, please contact the Finn Law Group as I am unable to give any legal advice. I urge you to contact them quickly.

      Delete
  106. Has anyone even tried to pay this years maintenance and taxes? I have tried but the useless web page does not let me log in to pay and i have sent several emails to festiva and no-one has bothered to reply.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is disheartening to hear. Anyone else have this issue?

      Delete
  107. An update they finally got their web page sorted and i could log in to pay not sure if they did before but they now charge $4.95 convenience charge on top of the bill even though i have no other way to pay securely from the UK. Thats now $541.13 and the annual RCI fee for 31,000 points sure where else would you get a bargain like that? he says sarcastically.. at least i can carry these over to next year and then use 2016's points and i will have 93,000 points and i might get a couple of weeks for only £1350!!!! pounds, i can rent a detached villa for £500 a week
    Hope this class action comes up with something.

    ReplyDelete
  108. Hi Lisa, this makes for some very interesting reading. We bought in to Celebration World almost 10 years ago and were sold on how clean the property was and on how the next two phases of construction would increase the value of the property. We became RCI members and we got the floating week (I guess that’s what it's called) Well a couple years later I lost my job and we stopped purchasing the RCI points. So all I have is the deed to the property. We have continued to pay our maintenance fees and taxes hoping to one day reestablish our points system. Last year we bought into the RTX with their promo offer at $67.00 (I think that was the amount) for a year. We did spend a long weekend at the resort. I was surprised at the condition. There is much that needs doing. Although the rooms were clean and the pool area was nice the grounds around the buildings looked bad. Plus there is still no WIFI in the rooms. My wife and I do also feel cheated that the improvement that were promised were never fulfilled and that the value of the property has decreased a ton. Please continue to update this blog with info. I know because we don’t have point we aren’t affected and we can’t join the LS, but I hope everyone gets what is owed to them. Good luck everyone!!!

    ReplyDelete
  109. Thanks. Appreciate the comment. You should check what you have. $67.00 sounds like an odd amount. And once you convert to RCI points, you do not have to keep purchasing them.

    ReplyDelete
  110. i attempted to read court carse web site but it said not found Another red herring Surprise Surprise

    In the uk we contact our member of parliament if we have a problem

    Who can we contact in the state of Florida that represent the government

    Has anyone made any attempt to contact a government official

    Im just a silly old lady with a problem
    Perhaps if I contact Barack Obama lol

    Perhaps not he has to run the country

    I first visted and lived for a short time in1965
    My love for this wonderful country has been a very HUGE
    part of my life every since

    Thanks Festiva for tarnishing so many lovely times and dreams the disservice the crooks in your organisation have done is criminal
    so sad the american dream has come to an end
    perhaps on day all you crooks will be old and have time to reflect and live with what you have done for money.
    In the twilight years dreams and memories are everything
    I hope yours will be worthwhile I doubt it
    Forgive the ramblings of an old lady festiva owners
    Im sad that my memories are tarnshed BUT SO VERY VERY SORRY FOR THE DREAMS THAT YOU ALL HAD THAT will never come true thanks to a hanful of greedy greedy men and women that take the easy route to make a quick buck



    ReplyDelete
  111. Really sorry to hear this June. Please believe me that there are plenty of really nice people and companies in this country. I believe that you can still join the Class Action lawsuit.

    ReplyDelete
  112. Dear Lisa
    I really do agree I would not have spent so much time in your fine country I was just aiming my comments at the Festiva people.

    Im hoping if the site as you seem to think someone may
    have even a slight twing of the harm they have done to the country from other countries point of view
    As ive said before Disney and Florida State must be unhappy that so many people through word of mouth may give the wrong view because of a few crooks
    thankyou again for your work lets hope something will be resolved soon

    ReplyDelete
  113. Update to pending case:

    The parties anticipate resolving the
    class claims by April 11, 2014, (delayed from the initial target date
    in January 2014).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Any update post April 11?

      Delete
    2. It seems it now has a 60 day delay as at least one of the parties asked for more time. Sigh.

      Delete
  114. Any indication what the delay is for and when a resolution will be forthcoming? I sure would like to be rid of this timeshare.

    ReplyDelete
  115. I am also waiting for the outcome. I have not paid my maintenance fee and the bill being sent to me keeps growing. I would think the timeshare industry would be concerned that this company is ruining the business. Everyone I know no looks at timeshare as a bad investment. I m sure the number of people who are involved has spread the word. I am looking forward to a class action day in court with a jury trial.

    ReplyDelete
  116. Thomas you make a valid point about how the majority of timeshare companies allow the entire industry to be painted as "bad guys" by the actions of a few. I find this sad and more than a bit frustrating.

    ReplyDelete
  117. Received the following correspondence today:

    To all prospective class members of the Festiva/Celebration World/RCI litigation:

    I know it's frustrating to not have sufficient information to help you understand your options. The following represents everything I can supply to you at this time.

    1. Although no class has been determined by the court, it's safe to state that if you had a certain, to be determined, number of RCI Points that were stripped from you when Festiva took over the resort, you will be a class member.

    2. Per prior updates, the parties hoped to resolve the class claims by April 11, 2014. The court ordered that the parties file a status report with the court by April 11, 2014. The parties were given additional time to continue negotiations and filed another Status Report on June 13, 2014. Though the process has continued, the parties once again requested additional time to continue negotiations.

    3. The parties filed a joint status report as required by the court and requested additional time preferably to continue negotiations. The Status report is available to the public and attached for your convenience. We are hopeful for a resolution in the near future with some or all of the parties involved. Regardless of whether there is a resolution in the near future, we will likely be filing a status report with the Court no later than July 30, 2014. (Per the attached Order entered by the Court on June 16, 2014).



    4. Please know that at this time, as a potential class member, Finn Law Group is not your legal counsel. As such, I cannot impart legal advice to non-clients. The most pressing question that has been repeatedly addressed to me has been whether it will be required to be fully paid up regarding maintenance fees to be eligible to participate in any resolution. Although this matter has not been resolved at this time, I think it's fair to state that there is a good possibility that settlement will be weighed more heavily in favor of non-defaulting parties. I can only state further that we are aware that potential class members who have suffered damages have made the decision to stop paying their maintenance fees. Know that your sentiments are represented during the negotiations. Know further that you will be able to "opt-out" of any proposed settlement agreement that is presented, meaning your rights will not be impacted by the resolution, and you'll be able to pursue your own independent legal remedies for claims. We are hopeful, however, that any settlement reached will be one you are pleased with and will choose to be a part of.

    ReplyDelete
  118. An update to the last posting. Note the August date.


    To all prospective class members of the Festiva/Celebration World/RCI litigation:



    I know it's frustrating to not have sufficient information to help you understand your options. The following represents everything I can supply to you at this time.


    1. Although no class has been determined by the court, it's safe to state that if you had a certain, to be determined, number of RCI Points that were stripped from you when Festiva took over the resort, you will be a class member.


    2. Per prior updates, the parties hoped to resolve the class claims by this past April and July 31. The court ordered that the parties file a status report with the court by April 11, 2014. The parties were given additional time to continue negotiations and filed another Status Report on June 13, 2014 and again on July 31, 2014. Though the process has continued, the parties once again requested additional time to continue negotiations.


    3. The parties filed a joint status report as required by the court and requested additional time preferably to continue negotiations. The Status report is available to the public and attached for your convenience. We are hopeful for a resolution in the near future with some or all of the parties involved. Regardless of whether there is a resolution in the near future, we will likely be filing a status report with the Court no later than August 29, 2014. (Per the attached Order entered by the Court on June 16, 2014).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anything new? Tried looking up the court case in Osceola Co. Not much there except it appears that this case (#CA 000886 MF) is CLOSED. Finn law group isn't forthcoming with any information.

      Delete
    2. See above. I think the firm has been as forthcoming as they can be.

      Delete
  119. So I suppose, no more class action ???

    ReplyDelete
  120. Estelle, where did you read that? I have not seen nor published anything that says that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Seems as the Finn Law Group's web site is showing the State law suit as being closed. But they do not show the federal class action case number. Does anyone know the case number?

      Delete
  121. I suspect than when the action goes to the federal level, the state action gets closed. The last update was due on Aug 29 and Finn has been sending out updates as they are received,.Should expect something soon. Lisa Ann will know.

    ReplyDelete
  122. How do I get Finn updates?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. While I can certainly appreciate everryone's interest in finding out more about this case, please understand that I, not FLG am the sole administrator of this blog and I am not employed nor affiliated with FLG.

      They may from time to time post on this blog as they are well aware of its existence (as are many in the timeshare community.)

      The best place to get updates is from FLG themselves.

      Delete
  123. Another delay. Received from Finn Group today.

    ..Ray

    To all prospective class members of the Festiva/Celebration World/RCI litigation:

    I know it's frustrating to not have sufficient information to help you understand your options. The following represents everything I can supply to you at this time.

    1. Although no class has been determined by the court, it's safe to state that if you had a certain, to be determined, number of RCI Points that were stripped from you when Festiva took over the resort, you will be a class member.

    2. Per prior updates, the parties hoped to resolve the class claims by this past April, July, and August. The court ordered that the parties file a status report with the court by April 11, 2014. The parties were given additional time to continue negotiations and filed another Status Report on June 13, 2014 and again on July 31, 2014 and August 29, 2014. Though the process has continued, the parties once again requested additional time to continue negotiations.

    3. The parties filed a joint status report as required by the court and requested additional time preferably to continue negotiations. The Status report is available to the public and attached for your convenience. We are hopeful for a resolution in the near future with some or all of the parties involved. Regardless of whether there is a resolution in the near future, we will likely be filing a status report with the Court no later than September 29, 2014. (Per the attached Order entered by the Court on September 3, 2014).



    4. Please know that at this time, as a potential class member, Finn Law Group is not your legal counsel. As such, I cannot impart legal advice to non-clients. The most pressing question that has been repeatedly addressed to me has been whether it will be required to be fully paid up regarding maintenance fees to be eligible to participate in any resolution. Although this matter has not been resolved at this time, I think it's fair to state that there is a good possibility that settlement will be weighed more heavily in favor of non-defaulting parties. I can only state further that we are aware that potential class members who have suffered damages have made the decision to stop paying their maintenance fees. Know that your sentiments are represented during the negotiations. Know further that you will be able to "opt-out" of any proposed settlement agreement that is presented, meaning your rights will not be impacted by the resolution, and you'll be able to pursue your own independent legal remedies for claims. We are hopeful, however, that any settlement reached will be one you are pleased with and will choose to be a part of.



    Thank you.



    Sincerely,

    Carmela M. Febo

    Carmela M. Febo

    Executive Legal Assistant to

    Michael D. Finn, Esq.

    FINN LAW GROUP, P.A.

    10720 72nd Street, Suite 305

    Largo, FL 33777

    ReplyDelete
  124. Anybody heard anything on the suit recently?

    ReplyDelete
  125. I'd like to see this get resolved I hope to defend law group is realizing that the people are still heavily interested in seeing this brought to a head we are still waiting for then log road to give us a good

    ReplyDelete
  126. We have found this site regarding CWR/Festiva Orlando Before we have been in contact with DFCTMH Timesharecomplaint - investigator Paula Hamilton. This was in february 2013. She said: The Division’s review of your complaint is finished and we will close the file on this matter. However, please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions. They could not help us, and we live in Norway and don`t understand that much to proceed. We have bought shares/RCI points in 2005, upgraded in 2007 and 2009 totally 614.000 /biennial RCIpoints. In january 2013 the Festiva Group downgraded our points to 31.000points/biennial . We are still paying MF and Property Tax, and that`s because we don`t know what will happen if we stop paying. As we think that we won`t get anything out of this since we`ve been told so (we have understood it like that) we would like to get out of this, it`s more a problem to us than a pleasure.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for writing. If you read both the comments that I've posted as well as the comments from other CWR/Festiva owners you will see what is going on.

      I am merely a writer and an observer, NOT a lawyer. The Finn Law Group in Largo, Florida has been handling this case for several years now. I suggest you contact them directly to see if they can assist you. I believe that a Class Action suit has already been filed, so I would think it best for you to contact them as soon as possible.

      Delete
  127. ORDER: the parties shall file their motion for preliminary approval of the settlement agreement by August 7, 2015; in the event this matter has not been fully resolved by August 7, 2015, the parties shall appear in person for a status conference on Friday, August 14, 2015 at 1:30 p.m. Signed by Judge John Antoon II on 7/8/2015.

    ReplyDelete
  128. To all prospective class members of the Festiva/Celebration World/RCI litigation:

    Lawyers for all parties attended a status conference in person with the judge on August 14, 2015. The parties advised that though an agreement in principle has been reached for a proposed settlement, several administrative issues relating to implementing the terms of the proposed settlement require additional time to be resolved. The Judge entered the following order after the status conference:



    Minute Entry. Proceedings held before Judge John Antoon II: STATUS CONFERENCE held on 8/14/2015. Court inquires as to joint approval of settlement and orders the parties to file a status report by October 14, 2015. If an agreement has not been reached, the Court will refer the case to Jeffrey Fleming for an in-person meeting.



    Please be advised that the substance of the negotiations is confidential and our attorneys cannot divulge certain information that you may want. However, for more information you may contact the attorneys primarily handling the case: Tyson Pulsifer at tpulsifer@wwz-law.com and Shannon Zetrouer at szetrouer@wwz-law.com

    Thank you.



    Best Regards,



    Erin Cross

    Executive Legal Assistant to

    Michael D. Finn, Esq.

    Finn Law Group

    ReplyDelete
  129. I tend to communicate with Michael Finn for updates which have been posted in the blog. He made an interesting comment last year and said the banks that lent us the money thru finance would not have done so if they had known of the fraudulent transaction and that once I stopped paying the loan then the bank would redress and get there money back and therefore the loan evaporates. I have recently challenged my bank in England and also contacted the Financial Ombudsman. I will update you on progress. Has anyone challenged there bank to get there money back?

    ReplyDelete
  130. No offence intended, but why does anyone sign ‘anonymous’ there’s no added percentage of privacy added by doing this, no one really cares who you are even though we appreciate your otherwise interesting comments.
    Regardless, my unqualified advice would be, don’t invest any further monies into this venture, including; mortgage payments, maintenance fees or RCI fees although of course one would have to pay any bank loans back. Finn Law (if they really do exist) have promised ‘next month’ so many times it must be a ‘robo’ system they are using for everyone they deal with.
    All I believe we will ever get out of this will be; the knowledge not to trust anything to do with Timeshares, not to trust the Florida legal system, it has to be corrupt and having been fraudulently treated by Celebration World, Festiva and others in Florida don’t be fooled again.
    Good luck everyone
    Reg and Donna

    ReplyDelete
  131. Reg and Donna. If you are questioning if the Finn Law Group "exists" you must not be part of the Class Action Suit, nor have done any diligence. They do in fact exist and have built a fine reputation.

    As to your allegations that the legal system in Florida is corrupt, I'll simply say that all timeshare legislation in the United States was drafted by the industry.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Lisa, further to your posting of October 19/15

      Again please don’t anyone take exception to what I am about to write, no offence is intended. However, based on the performance of The Finn Law Group with their ‘Next month’, ‘Next month,’ ‘Next month,’ and so on for well over 18 months, and with so many let downs and disappointments, what should one believe.

      You correctly ask Lisa, ‘did I do due diligence in regards to The Finn Law Group’s credibility? ‘ Like anyone else, of course I didn’t and won’t.

      In the same vein perhaps you should ask, did I or any others of our group do a credibility/due diligence evaluation in regards to ‘Celebration World’ prior to our buying our timeshares or in due course ‘Festiva’ after they took over our timeshare? Of course not, just like most of us didn’t/wouldn’t, (even though being shareholders in Celebration World) we had no say in our being taken over.

      We put our trust in one of Florida’s legally qualified and licenced Notary Public, (available in Celebration Worlds office at the time of our signing our Agreement and purchasing our Timeshare), whose notarization served no purpose or is evidently not supported by Florida’s Attorney General’s Office. Absolutely crazy!

      But just think for a moment, if, hypothetically speaking, Festiva actually have Finn Law on their team to string us along, what a masterpiece move in regards to perpetuating the fraud and thereby causing us to become apathetic and believing someone is working for us. Bear in mind we put our trust in the understanding that we were being protected by the Florida Attorney General’s Office against this blatantly fraudulent and almost laughable fraud. Sorry if I’m repeating myself, but it is rather frustrating.

      Second. In regards to your comment Lisa, suggesting that I/we’re probably not part of the Class Action Suit. Even though we provided Finn Law with copies of all of our documents showing proof of ownership etc. some 18 months ago, you must be aware that currently there is no class action suit in regards to our grievance. As it is, the Finn Law Group, (assuming they perhaps really do exist,) refer to a ‘potential’ class action suit and clearly state that they are “not your/our legal advisors!”

      In actual fact there is no class action suit determined by the courts as of this time, (unless something has changed quite recently.)
      Currently, there is a suit being pursued by ‘The Finn Law Group’ on behalf of Reeves, et al against Zealander Holding Company Inc., which if not satisfactorily settled by all parties, could result in a Class Action Suit if the Florida courts so determine..
      It is my understanding, that failing a settlement, the courts will (providing there are enough plaintiffs) allow Finn Law to apply for a Class Action Suit. At that point Finn Law will contact all of us and allow us to join the class action claim.

      Therefore let’s hope a settlement is reached and that we are all satisfied with the outcome. I for one won’t hold my breath.

      Again what I have written should not be considered as being fact but only my opinion and an unprofessional understanding of what is going on.

      The figmented philosopher Silas Ratslinger once said;
      “You have the right to be wrong about your opinion, but no right to be wrong about your facts!”

      Reg and Donna

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    2. Reg and Donna: Please see and read this comment DIRECT FROM MICHAEL FINN OF THE FINN LAW GROUP. Again, this is from Mr. Finn, not from me and will be published as a separate Guest Blog later today:

      Of course it's disheartening to hear that Finn Law Group is being characterized as being part of the problem and maybe even being controlled by the Defendants. It's further a frustration that I cannot divulge the status of the settlement negotiations because of the imposition of confidentiality that governs all settlements activities, this one being no exception. There are some statements I can make that shouldn't impact the settlement discussions, and I do feel compelled to defend my firm's efforts to obtain some recompense for the injured owners.

      First, know that I believe the settlement negotiations have been mostly successful and we well should have a proposed resolution prior to the court ordered mediation date of Dec 16th, 2015. We have the framework of a potential resolution already in place, and, as they say, the devil has been in the details.

      More importantly perhaps, at least to me, is addressing the insinuation that I've somehow, after 45 unblemished years of law practice, fallen in with the very industry I've been battling over the past 5 years. Believe me folks, no one on the timeshare developer/operator side of the equation is inclined to even speak to me, and selling out my clients after all these years is not even possible. They can't print that much money.

      Please do recall that Celebration World, a defunct company did not sell or transfer the subject resort to Festiva. Festiva purchased the assets from a third party who obtained the Celebration assets after Celebration defaulted on their secured debt to this third party. Neither Festiva nor RCI, the prominent defendants in our litigation, were directly involved in either the default nor the repossession of Celebration Word assets. Many of you received notice from the State of Florida's DBPR (Department of Professional Regulation) that they had investigated the complaints of Celebration World owners, and in their opinion, nothing inappropriate occurred and further that they planned to take no action against any of the players, including our named Defendants.

      Finn Law Group saw things differently and with the involvement and direction of the class representatives, brought suit on their behalf. Class action litigation is costly and time consuming with no guarantees of a win. We've invested a lot of time and money in this, and owe a duty of loyalty to our clients, the class representatives. We have yet to receive a penny on this matter and are therefore perhaps the most unhappy participants in this oft delayed ordeal.

      I can deal with all of the above, but what is a bitter pill for me to swallow after taking the risks I've taken, is being accused of being the reason for the delays in the proceedings, when exactly the opposite is accurate. I know you folks are looking for the source of delay to blame but to castigate the only law firm who's tried on their own dime to make some of this right, is simply inaccurate, and a tad hurtful!

      I can't offer more than this at this time but I do hope the coming holiday season will be good to all of us similarly situated participants in this sad clean up of what should have been far better handled by the regulatory agencies who sat back and did nothing. Perhaps if you're looking for someone to be upset with, that might be a better place to start.

      Mike Finn

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  132. (Please note: Due to the size of this entry, my response has been divided into two parts.)

    Hello Lisa, in reading what Mike Finn wrote in response to our entry into your blog, I (Reg), must confess that both Donna and I actually do believe Mike Finn and his firm are working ‘on our behalf’ and that the delays are in all probability beyond his control. I must say as well, that we give him a great deal credit for being civil in his response to our comments, it also shows character, whereas he could have been quite incensed, which of course would serve no purpose.

    However with months, even years of corresponding on your blog Lisa, I believe that Mike Finn’s comments have done something to reassure us (if anyone is reading your blog now) that there may be an end to our problem in sight.

    Even so, believing and accepting that Celebration World is the primary villain in this fraud then surely Festiva are equally to blame. When ultimately Festiva bought our collective investments in Celebration World, presumably like any business would, they did their due diligence, paid the asking price and by doing so reaped their anticipated profits and assumed all risks, just like any business venture does.

    We believe, like most of us do, that Festiva knew exactly what they were doing because following their ‘take-over,’ Festiva did not even attempt to notify us, their shareholders timely, regarding the annual ‘Shareholders Meetings’, many of us living in Canada, England, New Zealand and Australia, with most of us receiving our mailed notification days after the scheduled meeting dates.

    In many instances some if not most of the Festiva agents when contacted and asked pertinent, obvious questions regarding – Festiva drastically reducing or otherwise not honoring our contractually agreed RCI points – would not answer the questions and did in fact treat many of us with hostility and contempt.

    One only needs to simply read Lisa’s Blog and one will see that there are those with 96,000 and others with over 600,000 RCI points all of us being reduced ‘with the slash of the pen’ to 31,000 points, which are not enough points for just 1 week in our own timeshare property. We paid $23,000. What on earth is Festiva thinking.

    Surely, if Festiva feel that we, the Timeshare owners, own too much equity in the property for the price we paid, then in all fairness they could make us an offer:

    1. To restore all of our RCI points (and bite the bullet) or perhaps make a minor adjustment with the aid of a legally appointed arbitrator who has a recognised legal background.

    2. Review each individual’s usage of our respective Timeshares (bearing in mind costs paid) and then offer us the balance of our money back in respect to what we paid. This of course would require careful study. We used our Timeshare a total of 4 times a couple of them being over rated.
    (continued in part two)

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  133. (PART TWO)

    On a lighter note when we booked a timeshare called ‘The Driftwood’ in Vero Beach, Florida we couldn’t see the sea at all from our unit. In fact all we could see outside of our timeshare unit were parking lots front and back so we wrote a little song, sung to the same tune as ‘Popeye The Sailor Man’ It goes like this:

    “We went to a holiday spot,
    We had fun and we liked it and travelled a lot.
    We looked all around and guess what we found,
    We lived on a parking lot.
    Toot, toot.”

    Michael’s explanation though credible, I nevertheless find it difficult not to find Festiva primarily responsible for the dilemma we’re in. It’s much like saying that – we bought a two storey house for the full price asked for and then after 4 years, being informed that we didn’t pay enough for the entire house and so now we can only have a portion of the ground floor. Utterly ridiculous. People we tell do not believe our story!

    I must tell you all to please understand, that although I’m not looking for sympathy, I am 82 and suffering from the incurable disease ALS or otherwise known as Lou Gehrig ’s disease and I’m currently confined to my bed with a short time left to live.
    We would have been able to use our timeshare a couple of times a year for the past 2 or 3 years had our RCI points not been reduced from 164,000 to just 31,000. However I would like my wife to be able to see a resolution to our mutual problem before it’s too late for her too.

    Thanks for your indulgence everyone and particularly Lisa S. and Michael F.

    Reg and Donna

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    1. Thank you for your well-stated response. I assure you that all who are affected by this situation as well as myself hope for a equitable and quick resolution.

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  134. It is unfortunate that Reg and Donna have had to lose their time and memories because of "Business decisions" that excluded honor. I hope that Mr. Finn can make a lot of money and settle this matter so we, the owners, get some salvation for what was at the time a "contract." I thank everyone who is working for us and know that this is an uphill battle because Florida has not supporting us. In the end, I believe the timeshare industry will be the biggest loser. In Florida the word "Contract" has no meaning.

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  135. Does anyone know what, if anything, happened at the court ordered mediation date of Dec 16th, 2015?

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  136. Ray here! There is a proposed settlement coming. Stay tuned!

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  137. Hi Anne,
    I saw the proposed settlement documents here
    http://www.finnlawgroup.com/festiva-documents/

    can you simplify the settlement options for us at your convenience please.

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  138. Hi , any developments from today's court hearing? The documents on the Finn Law Link is no longer assessable Thanks. Maxine

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  139. I received the proposed settlement today. I have sent an email to Finn to try and get it explained. If I am reading this right we will each have to pay $1,000 to the lawyer. Has anyone else received this.

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  140. Hello no we are still waiting. What did Michael Finn say about the fees. I am slightly confused as I was led to believe that Finn Law was not our legal rep. Anne can you enlighten us please

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  141. From what I interpret, when you submit your claim you will have several options: deedback or continue with some incentives. The lawyer is paid from a separate fund, defined by the court and paid by Festiva. An additional amount of $1000 will be paid to the original claimants by Festiva. This is also paid by
    Festiva. The only thing you need to do is submit your claim. You do not incur any financial cost other than the stamp on your letter. ...Ray

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  142. We received an offer to its seems there is a pot of ten thousand dollars to be split between each class action member but how many class action members are there? Then 2 bonus weeks from Rci and then the choice of either hand the deeds back and be finished or accept certificates for annual weekly stays , I will be handing back the deeds and won't use the bonus weeks and maybe take the 2 dollars cash if I'm lucky and putting the whole thing down as a bad job

    Keith from Ireland

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  143. Google Festiva Settlement the latest update is on the web dated 29 Feb 2016. I guess we won't know the true amount until later in the year. Posted my claim form today and I do not intend keeping this waste of a timeshare. All maintenance fees however need to be up to date.

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  144. Just found out there are approx 1800 class members, class member can be 2 people on the same contract , if all take the offer the cash amount will be approx $5.55 per class member , all approx figures from Finn law Keith

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  145. Attorneys for all parties attended a hearing with the magistrate judge on July 7, 2016 and requested that the court finally approve the settlement. At the hearing, the magistrate judge told the attorneys that he expects to issue a report and recommendation for the judge to finally approve the settlement. Once the judge receives the magistrate’s report and recommendation, he will then decide whether to finally approve the settlement. We do not have a timeframe on when the magistrate judge will issue his report or how long the judge will consider the report prior to issuing an order. Any additional information regarding the settlement can be found on the Class Notice that was previously mailed to all class members and the documents found herein.

    ...Ray

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  146. Information recvd today:

    Attorneys for all parties attended a hearing with the magistrate judge on July 7, 2016 and requested that the court finally approve the settlement. On August 1, 2016 the magistrate judge issued a report and recommendation to the United State District Judge that the settlement be finally approved. The District Judge will now decide whether to finally approve the settlement.

    We do not have a timeframe on how long the District Judge will consider the report prior to issuing an order. ...Ray

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  147. District Judge Antoon approved the settlement agreement on October 25, 2016.  The “Effective Date” of the Settlement will be December 1, 2016.

     

    The claims administrator and/or settling defendants will be mailing you the documents and information necessary for you to receive the class benefits by the end of the first quarter of 2017. 

     

    For the terms of the settlement please refer to the Class Notice and Settlement Agreement previously mailed to all class members and available for your convenience at the below webpage.

     

    http://www.finnlawgroup.com/festivaclassactionsettlement

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  148. With the effective date December 1 2016 does this mean we do not have to pay 2017 fees?

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  149. Hi, we received our whopping 2017 maintenance invoice. I immediately rang Festiva. After being passed from pillar to post I eventually managed to speak to a lady who was able to advise me. I mentioned that I had no intention paying the fee as I was part of the class action and that I am relinquishing the deeds. She made a note on my account and confirmed that we should all be receiving a letter in the post and that we have to call the number on the letter. Today we received our settlement which is a joke !!! No letter was attached just a cheque. When I last corresponded with Michael Finn I was led to believe that the next steps was to sue Festiva. Is anyone aware of this?

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  150. Hello we received our settlement cheque today, what a joke. We also received our 2017 maintenance invoice, it's x3 times the normal amount. After speaking to around three members of staff from Festiva I eventually spoke to a lady who was able to speak about the class action. I advised her that I would be handing back the deeds and would not be paying the maintenance fees. She advised me that a letter has been sent to all members and that I should call the number on the letter. Has anyone received this letter?

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  151. I have not received a letter just the outrageous maintenance fee. Who were you talking to in Festiva in relation to this?

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  152. We received our cheque for $14.82 and as i live in the UK the bank charges me £15.00 to cash it. In other words its only use is to light the fire. We never received any letter but Rci did contact us to say the points were frozen by the resort and we can no longer borrow for 2017 onwards so we wont be paying any further maintainances or taxes.

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    1. Hi Keith. I too received my whopping cheque for same amount. I will not be cashing it. I have not paid Maintenance or Membership Fees for 4 years. I wish people would just stop paying these scumbags but they won't. I wonder what people are afraid of, maybe their credit score being damaged. I don't care, I don't need credit. Good luck to you and no more money to this scum. Patrick

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