Thursday, May 30, 2013

Can RTX Supercede RCI-Even When An RCI Membership Is Paid For?

It is times like this that I'm really glad I don't own a timeshare.

I received an e-mail a few days ago from one of my regular readers asking how/why she was receiving a letter regarding her RTX membership when shenever purchased a membership into RTX furthermore, her RCI membership is paid in full through 2016!

Here's the letter from RXT:

Hi _____,

With the busy summer travel upon us, we wanted to reach out to let you know that we are available to answer any questions you may have to get you to your vacation destination. We also would like to make you aware of a change to the RTX Basic membership that will take effect June 01, 2013. From that point forward, the "Search First" option will no longer be available to RTX Basic members.

This simply means that you will deposit your home resort week or points allotment prior to RTX conducting a search for an exchange reservation. This is standard practice among exchange companies, and we feel that this change will help all RTX members in the long term by making searches more efficient and providing a quicker turnaround for members seeking reservations through RTX.

With your RTX Basic membership you have the ability to exchange your timeshare with us to fantastic destinations around the world for our low $117 exchange fee. We are here to help, so give us a call if we can assist with your vacation planning.

To initiate your exchange process, log in to and click on the My Account link located in the top menu bar. Within the My Account page you can click on the Your Weeks/Points tab and then choose the Add to Your Deposits button. Once your week is deposited you can contact one of our Travel Consultants for personal help with your exchange.

If you are interested in learning more about the benefits you have as an RTX Basic member or the benefits offered to our Premium and Premium Plus members, please visit or contact us at (888) 988-4RTX or

Thank you for your time and please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

Kind Regards, 

RTX Member Services Team 

(888) 988-4RTX
So what exactly is going on here?  Why is RTX contacting timeshare owners about a change to how they can use their membership when these owners are not RTX members, but RCI members?  is their RCI membership still valid?  How can RTX 'take over" the RCI membership without the owner's knowledge and/or permission?

RCI is not providing any answers to this owner, nor is the team at RTX Member Services, so again, I'm hopeful that providing this issue with a larger forum will assist.  I'm positive that other owners have been affected, so I'd like to hear from you. 

Any help RCi and/or RTX can provide would also be welcome.

This is yet another example of even with all the talk about timeshare being "such an easy choice for consumers" and how everything is above board and all the call for transparancy...things are NOT what they seem to be and a timeshare purchase should not be entered into lightly.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Meet Steve Burton, Our Guest Timeshare Blogger

At Timeshare Insights, we like to hear from owners and report on their timeshare experiences.  Today's guest blogger is Steve Burton, who has a wealth of experiences to share.

I have been asked by Lisa to be a guest blogger for Timeshare Insights due to my extensive experience of the timeshare industry. I have owned timeshare since 1980 at the Osborne Torquay which is the first timeshare development in England and during that time I have made over five hundred and fifty exchanges with RCI to around one hundred different resorts.

I would like to devote my first blog to a resort in Florida called Lehigh resort club (RCI resort ID 0101 ) I feel before I do that I should tell you what I prefer in terms of timeshare vacations because we all have different tastes. My preference is for quiet scenic locations preferably near the sea or a golf course. It is not my scene to stay at large impersonal resorts with hundreds of guests and numerous sales staff ringing you to arrange a sales presentation.

I would like to tell you what Lehigh Resort club is not which is firstly not timeshare accommodation that has the wow factor as some resorts I could mention. The units are comfortable but not top of the range in terms of luxury not least because this is a timeshare resort that dates back to the late 1970's. The resort is also not located in a up market area such as resorts located on Sanibel or Captiva Islands. It is also located thirty miles from the nearest beach which is a draw back to some people.

I have told you what Lehigh resort club is not so please let me tell you what it is which is a very special place for a vacation for those in the know!!!!!!! I first visited this resort back in March 1994 and since that time I have spent over one hundred weeks at the resort. I could have vacationed at any of the four thousand plus resorts in RCI but I choose to spend more time here than at any other resort and the reasons are as follows. The resort has a welcoming feel to it both in terms of the staff and other owners and guests. Everybody is friendly and says hello to each other even if they are new to the resort. The resort is located in a peaceful location with the majority of units located either on a golf course or by a small lake. There is never a shortage of things to do as there is a fantastic activities program both during the day and during the evening where new movies are shown several times a week. The swimming pool is large and the temperature of the water is just perfect. It is also one of these resorts where there is plenty of sun loungers to go around unlike some resorts I could mention where guests feel they have to be out at 8am to reserve their lounger. You never have to worry about noisy neighbours as the guests are courteous to each other and in any event there is good sound insulation in the buildings unlike a timeshare I could mention in Spain where I had to stay up until 2am each morning because of every sound being heard from other apartments. The timeshare has its own pleasant nine hole golf course with very reasonable rates which include the cart hire. Other golf courses are located within a five mile radius. We also have our own tennis courts and you don't have to book times to use them. I don't know about you but one of my biggest turn offs when staying at a timeshare is to receive regular phone calls from 'customer services' trying to sell you more timeshare. This will never happen at Lehigh resort club as at our sunday welcome meeting you will hear a two minute sales pitch from our relator and then you will be left alone to enjoy your vacation. You will need to make first contact with our on site realtor if you are interested in joining me and many others as owners here.

I should perhaps tell you a little about the apartments at the resort the majority are one bedroom sleeping up to four or five people. We also have a number of large and small studios the later should probably be avoided due to their small size. There is also a handful of two bedroom and lock out units.

Perhaps one of the best and surprising issues related to my favourite resort in the RCI system is that apart from the period between Christmas and Easter RCI nearly always has availability so why not read other reviews about this resort on the RCI website and book a week. I feel sure you wont be disappointed with your choice of vacation and just for the record I think the best time to visit the resort and area is between October and mid December when the weather is great and the resort and area is quieter than the peak months between Christmas and Easter. I hope to see you there one day in the future!!!!!!!!!!

P.S.  I have passed on my blog to a number of owners at Lehigh resort club and one of them Dr Terry Brown has written to me reminding me of nearby attractions which include the Edison Ford museum, the baseball spring training grounds for the Boston Red Sox and the Minnesota Twins, plus the Everglades and the Seminole casino

If you have a timeshare story you would like to share,e-mail me at

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Yet Another Group of Timeshare Owners In Need of a Platform-The Manhattan Club Saga

About a month ago, I received an e-mail about the alledged wrongdoings at The Manhattan Club.  As I do not own, nor have ever owned a timeshare there, and since the e-mail seemed to be addressed to about 200 or so owners, I briefly read the e-mail and filed it.  That was the first of about 100 or so e-mails I've received since then.  It seems that owners at The Manhattan Club are very, very angry.

So, I decided to open up this blog again to these owners to give them a platform and hopefully gain some traction and attract some attention.


The Manhattan Club TimeShare is a scam.  They have 286 rooms and “14,000+ plus plus owners”.  They keep selling the same 286 rooms to more and more people.  I paid $20,000 to purchase an ownership in the Manhattan Club. The maintenance fees have more than doubled.  I paid $2,000 in maintenance fees for my 1 week time share this year alone. During the sales presentation I was told that the maintenance fee increase would be no more than 10% a year. There is no limit on how high the Manhattan Club maintenance fees can go.  When I come to New York I have to stay in another hotel because I can’t get a room at the Manhattan Club were I am an “owner”.  You have to book your room 9 months to a year in advance to guarantee you can stay there. They do not tell you that in their sales presentations. Sometimes even that does not work. 

This is not listed in any of their printed material, the contract, or their website.  You also are not told that they have 286 rooms and 14,000+ owners. The Manhattan Club never tells how many "Owners" they have.  And, they are constantly soliciting new “Owners”.  I get mailings each month and phone calls asking me to refer people as possible owners.   If an owner can’t book a room then the owner pays for nothing. You lose your money.  How many thousands of times can you legally resell and slice and dice the same 286 rooms?

The Manhattan Club aggressively works to collect their maintenance fees.  Even if "owners" are not able to book a room.  They threaten you with legal action if you do not pay them. Manhattan Club owners are duped into signing a deed that gives that ownership of nothing.  In reality the Manhattan Club owns you.  You have to pay their fees and may get nothing in return.

The Manhattan Club also offers their rooms on the internet on and other sites to the general public.  

The Manhattan Club takes money knowing full well they do not have the capacity to provide rooms to all the people they promise rooms to as owners.  Looking at their website I saw at least 3 promotional offers inviting people to stay at the Manhattan Club.

Today I received an email asking me to refer more people to the Manhattan Club.

I invite other owners to post on the blog and of course, I hope that managment at The Manhattan Club does as well.

Monday, May 20, 2013

A "Lost" Italian Timeshare Vacation-What's Up RCI?

Last week, I publically lauded RCI for responding quickly to consumer issues via Twitter.

In the "no good deed goes unpunished" book of karma, I received a tweet from an RCI member who had his confirmed RCI exchange cancelled by RCI and was in danger of losing his entire vacation.

I'm reprinting his e-mail here, without any personal information, in the hopes that:

a)  Someone in charge at RCI will step in and assist
b)  I hear from anyone else who has encountered a similar situation

Many thanks for your interest regarding RCI’s cancellation of my timeshare week in Italy which I posted on the @RCI_Timeshare twitter account on 17 May 2013.

Firstly, my name is ______, an Australian resident. I have been an RCI member since 1989.

Here are the details regarding the issue I have with RCI.

My wife and I have planned a round  the world trip, commencing 1 June 2013 that is, there are only 2 weeks until we leave, as from today.

On 1 May 2013, we booked 3 timeshare weeks through RCI. All 3 resorts had availability for the required periods.

Availability was a critical dependency on our travel dates and arrangements, as to be expected.

One of the resorts is Perugia, Italy, was available from 6 July until 13 July 2013. This was booked and confirmed by RCI, of which I have a copy of the confirmation. On confirmation, we arranged our return flights to Rome from London 6th July and 13th July and train travel from Rome to Perugia. All travel arrangements were completed and fully paid.

On 9 May 2013, I received a call from out local timeshare group, Holiday Concepts, through which we deposit our timeshare weeks with RCI. A local RCI consultant, Courtney, working with the local timeshare group, discovered from their daily allocation reports that our week had been deleted. They were not officially informed and neither was I  informed nor contacted by the RCI person who actually deleted the week to discuss the matter. Fortunately, the local RCI consultant detected the deletion and contacted me, after trying to determine who deleted the confirmed week and the reason. Apparently the week was deleted by a RCI person in Ireland, and no reason was given by the Irish person and neither their name.

This local RCI consultant informed me that the matter has been escalated to management within RCI and the matter will be resolved. He said he’d call me back with an update. I am still waiting to hear from him.

After speaking with the RCI consultant I check my RCI account – two resorts remain confirmed yet one had now been placed on Hold. A resort in the middle of nowhere and not acceptable to me. Once again, the resort allocated, was NOT discussed with me.

13 May I called the RCI consultant, Courtney, at Holiday Concepts, for an update but was advised there was none as yet, He could not provide a timeframe for a resolution. I logged into my RCI account to check whether the resort might have been added back to the “confirmed” resorts, yet it hadn’t. In fact, I noticed a different resort had been placed on hold on my account, #6924 La Casella – Halfboard. Once again, this resort was NOT discussed with me and is far from Rome, into which we will be flying. It is in the south of Italy, hundreds of miles away

14 May I called  RCI Weeks on 1300 368 800 and spoke with a Marvin, based in Singapore. I advised him of the situation. He said he would look into the matter and call me back by close of business. I am yet to be called by Marvin!!

16 May I called RCI Weeks on 1300 368 800 and spoke with a Iskemdar, also based in Singapore. He apologised for the situation  yet apologies doesn’t resolve the matter. He advised me Customer Services will call me by close of business. Once again, I am yet to receive their call!!

17 May I posted on the @RCI_Timeshare twitter account a series of posts to which a reponse was received from RCI. Hi ______we would like to look into this further. Can you please email us at” I emailed the situation to RCI to which I was informed a response will be received from RCI within in 24 hours.

18 May an email was received from Jeff S, eCommerce Specialist, RCI North America advising “Olivia from the Australia office has been alerted and is currently working on your issue.  She will contact you as soon as additional information is available.” I replied to Jeff’s email enquiring what does he mean by working on your issue”  as the he confirmed week needs to be re-instated and what does he mean by “as soon as additional information is available” – we will be departing in 2 weeks, a resolution is required immediatlely, which is re-instatement of the confirmed week. All our travel arrangements have been made and paid. I have not received a response from  Jeff S yet.

I am now extremely furious with RCI and yesterday, 19 May I called RCI Weeks again on 1300 368 800 and spoke with a Rommel, also based in Singapore. After a discussion with him, he advised me that the resort, Domus Volumnia Residence, had withdrawn the week from the RCI timeshare system. This to me is a breach of contract by the resort , considering the week had been confirmed for the period requested. RCI should not have permitted the withdrawal! I suspect the withdrawal was made for financial reasons, that being the resort will receive more than a timeshare fee, or have rented the week out at a higher fee. This is my assumption. I have repeatedly insisted RCI ensure the confirmed week be re-instated – all my travel is arranged and paid. However Rommel would not give that guarantee. He advised he’d call me back but, the usual story, he hasn’t called back. It is now Sunday morning. I did suggest I’d “consider” a replacement timeshare in Rome, CBD, not elsewhere and the resort must be of a decent standard, not substandard, as some certainly have been.

I have posted the situation on RCI’s Facebook page however have not received any response from anyone who manages the page. I have tweeted the situation and your’s is the only response I have received, and I thank you for that very much.

I have informed RCI that if the matter is not resolved Monday, I will take the matter to the media and RCI will be held responsible for my travel costs to and from Rom and accommodation in Rome. They provided the confirmation on which our travel is based and add to that, their lack of courtesy contacting me. I have had to call them on every occasion.  I have friends and colleagues, locally and internationally, who are RCI members and have been informed of RCI’s lack of responsibility and extremely poor customer service.

Lisa, I will be most appreciative if you can assist in any way to have RCI re-instated the week they confirmed.

So much for the timeshare community to use social media to resolve issues, huh?  I am particularly troubled by the fact this timeshare owner posted the situation on RCI's Facebook page, yet received no response.

Can anyone at RCI reach out to this timeshare owner and explain exactly what is going on?  And what is to be done about the upcoming vacation?  Who is in control here?

Monday, May 13, 2013

Does The Timeshare Industry Love Ignorant Consumers? Chris Elliott's Newest Article

While there are things in here that are the classic example of "if it sounds too good to be true, it is", the story does bring up issues that I founded Timeshare Insights on.

Read the comments...lots of under educated people out there.  Help spread the word about Timeshare Insights and this blog in particular...we can change the a matter of fact, we're the only ones who can...

Friday, May 10, 2013

Timeshare Needs To Focus On Timeshare

You wouldn't think this would be necessary to say, but the timeshare industry needs to regain their focus on timeshare and stop wasting time and energy on other things.

What other things?  Travel/vacation clubs for one.

It always struck me (in my overly simplistic thinking) that the very notion of travel/vacation clubs flew squarely in the face of timeshares.  For years, timeshare developers, salespeople and organizations touted themain benefit of timeshare was ownership.  And that does continue to hold a great deal of interest for many people.

But lately, I've noticed a proliferation in the number of various sorts of travel/vacation clubs that are regularly attending and exhibiting at major timeshare conferences.  To further cloud matters, some of the executives of these clubs are speaking at these conferences.

Trade publications are full of ads and editorial features on travel/vacation clubs.  Writers who "specialize" in timeshare are now reporting on them.  PR professionals who represent various timeshare developers are also taking these clubs on as clients.

Timeshare is at a scary point right now.  It can go either way.  I'm trying to figure out what these clubs have to do with the future of timeshare.  Or, are they the future?

Thursday, May 9, 2013

New Interview Published

Thought I'd take brief respite from reporting on the world of timeshare issues to reporting on the newest interview I've been featured in.  Enjoy!