Friday, March 28, 2014

Five and Almost 10 With Wes Kogelman

Today we meet Wes Kogelman, President of  For more about Wes, check out his personal site at

1)      What was your first job in timeshare?

While I was studying at the University of Tampa for my undergraduate degree, I worked for a resale company called Timeshares Direct in 1999 for six months. At the time, if you had a website then you were the most innovative company in the world. I soon realized I could do a better job myself driving traffic to a website and finding buyers, sellers and renters. In January, 2000, I created and embarked on a journey of a lifetime filled with excitement, roadblocks, surprises, opportunity and success.

2)     What was the greatest lesson you’ve ever been taught?

My father, Jack Kogelman, who was a Navy pilot and a professional airline pilot with amazing skills in building anything, always preached "attention to detail." This has rang in my head since I was a boy. It has served me well throughout the years, as when I get distracted the unintended consequences have proven to be costly which, again, has reinforced his message.  

3)     Where is your favorite vacation spot?

Anywhere that allows me to face my fears; scuba diving with sharks in Australia, running as fast as I can to not get hit by a bull in Pamplona, Spain, white water rafting for five days down the Middle Fork Salmon River in Idaho. Possibly climbing Elbrus in Russia in the near future. It's about the story, the adventure of doing something invigorating, something that probably makes no sense to most people. I find that these special moments test who you are and these have certainly prepared me for the battles of finding the very best solution to the secondary market. Finding success is about being willing to fail and continue trying.

4)     If you could change one thing about timeshare, what would it be?

Establishing a reliable exit strategy for owners, which should have been a part of the original business plan and is what I’m working tirelessly to achieve.  

5)    What is your favorite color?

Sunrise orange. To me, it means a brand new opportunity to get it right ;)
Thanks Wes!  If you would like to be included in this series or know someone who you think people should know about, drop me a line!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Why Did You Buy Your First Timeshare?

Why did you?

Little research project I'm doing.

As always, you can use your real name or remain anonymous.


Five and Almost 10 With...Sue Couture

 Sue Couture, Resort Manager, Lake Forest Resort
1)  What was your first job in timeshare?
Front Office
2)  What was the greatest lesson you've ever been taught?
Trust your instincts.
3)  Where is your favorite vacation spot?
Chicago, Illinois.  (The greatest city in the world.)
4)  if you could change one thing about timeshare what would it be?
Change the dirty implications of the word "timeshare."
5)  What is your favorite color?
Thanks so much Sue for taking part!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Timeshare Insights Issues Consumer Advisory

This story was brought to my attention by one of Timeshare Insights long time supporters.

She received a call (red flag number one) saying that she and her husband could list five (5) of their RCI Last Call Vacations for rental for up to $1,100 each.  The company kept using the RCI name, but after repeated inquiries revealed that they were in fact SMA Timeshare Rental.

This is a very smart timeshare owner, so she asked me if I had heard of them.  I hadn’t and decided to call SMA back on her behalf.

·        I asked where they got her name from and was told that it was public record (This is in fact true.  All recorded timeshare purchases are a matter of public record.  Whether or not this data was gleaned from Public Record cannot be verified.)

·        I asked how it works and was told that any RCI timeshare owner could rent out their Last Call Weeks (I checked with two separate RCI sources and was told that RCI Last Call Weeks were for the personal use of the timeshare owner and could not be used as a commercial venture.)

·        I asked if there was a fee to do so and was told that the owners had signed up for the “no fee” plan (More on this later)

·        I asked how much they could rent these weeks out for and was told that each week would rent for $1,100 and that the owner would receive a Cashier’s Check from SMA upon rental and that the party renting the week would have no contact with the owner.

So in order to get more information, I asked my reader to call SMA Timeshare back and ask them some exact questions.  Which she did.  I’m quoting her answers verbatim.  Here’s how that went:

Question #1

How did you get my contact information?

Answer #1

“He said he / they get the names from the presentations that we take when go to the resorts; that the presentation information goes to SMA.”

Question #2

Can I rent more than just five Last Call Weeks?

Answer #2

“He said legally we get up to 8 weeks that we can sell a year or rent out.... that we can have as many a year as we want to use personally but to rent out only 8 but I've used some so we only have 5 right now.   And when someone rents them they get access to all resorts that are affiliated with RCI.  And we would agree to $1,100 per week or a total of $5,500 for the 5 we have available.”

Question #3

How exactly does this program work?

Answer #3

“He said when we first purchased the timeshare we should have been offered a chance to purchase a ownership registration for lifetime that allows us to do this and it is also able to be passed down when we pass on the timeshare to another family member.

Now his form shows that we weren't offered that registration but that is no problem.  They will get us one for $1,499 that goes thru them and they will walk us thru the whole ordeal because we need to transfer 3rd party legalization and they will check to make sure everything is legit. Once that is all finished they can then sell our weeks for us.   Usually the turnaround is 60-90 days and we would have a check for $5,500 and we'd never have to pay a maintenance fee again and get to take even more vacations.  Also in May we will have 3 more weeks available to us for an additional $3,300.”

Question #4

How are the prices determined?

Answer #4

“Ours are $1,100 a week and are a one bedroom one bath.”

Question #5

How quickly will I be paid?

           Answer #5

“After I have paid for the $1,499 register of ownership then the Cashier’s Check usually is to us within 60-90 days for $5,500.

Wait, it gets even better.”Then he said he is required to give me some information and asks me to write it down.  The registration # for RCI and SMA   TP41460.  His name is Cody Ferrill and his phone number is 855-602-7991 Extension 324 and also if I ever have any trouble booking where we want thru RCI to contact him and he will help us get what we want.”

"He also wanted to know if I wanted to pay for this thru our RCI account or a
 Visa card.  I told him I needed to wait and talk to my husband about it first.
 I asked him to please email it all to me to make sure that I was telling my
 husband everything correctly but I don't think he is going to do that.  He said
 they will do that once we make the decision."

Sounds very legit.  “Registration numbers."  ”Cashier’s Checks.”  “Information sent to them from the resort after the presentation.”  “Offered this at time of presentation.”

There is a Cody Ferrill with the Commercial Telephone License Salesperson License Number of TP41460 which I found on the State of Florida’s Department of Agriculture site.  The employer listed is Summit Marketing Associates, Inc,, at 416 Commerce Way, Suite 140 Longwood, FL  32750-6391.  This number has NOTHING to do with RCI though.

I wonder how many timeshare owners are shelling out $1,499 or more?  I wonder how many RCI Last Call Weeks are actually posted and rented?  I wonder how many unsuspecting RCI members lose their membership privileges because of this?

The advisories are as follows: 




RCI Subscribing Members who have questions can always check with them at

For additional information please follow Timeshare Insights on Facebook at, on Twitter at @timeshareauthor or on the blog at

Friday, March 7, 2014

3 Ways To Succeed In Business-And 3 Ways To Not

These words of wisdom come directly from Beth Rodenhurs, the Senior Vice President of Northwestern Mutual:

How To Succeed In Business

*  Adapt willingly to shifting market demand

*  Stay true to core values

*  Use information to gain an advantage

Here's what she didn't say:

* Ignore shifting market demand under the illusion that your product/service is "better"

*  Not understanding core values and slight the customers who have paid to enjoy "exclusive" benefits by allowing anyone with a couple of bucks to enjoy those benefits

*  Ignore information and churn out "stuff" that tries to shift attention away from reality

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Timeshare Owner Survey

I was going to do a Facebook survey, but quickly realized that people might not want to use their name.  So the blog it is!

Have you, as a timeshare owner, ever gone through a timeshare sales presentation JUST for the incentives, knowing full well that you were not going to buy anything?

I don't mean the first time you sat through one.  I mean after you already owned.

What kind of incentives did you want/get?

What kind of incentives would cause you to do it again?

Thanks as always for your input.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Timeshare Developers Have been "Hacked"

I am copying this vital article from Inside The Gate.  It is vital reading for any timeshare owner and needs to be shared with all timeshare owners you know.

Be aware of what is going on.  As I mentioned several weeks back, all timeshare owns need to ask some hard questions about your home resort's Privacy Policy.  If no one else is protecting you, then I'm happy to join with Inside The Gate and urge all of you to protect each other.

February 28, 2014 — A crisis has hit and it is time for all Timeshare Developers, ARDA, AMDETUR, CRDA as well as all HOA’s, all Exchange Companies and everyone else to take immediate action to end the biggest rip-off taking place in our industry – in real time – and stop the criminals who are causing irrefutable harm to TS developers, our industry and tens upon tens of thousands of timeshare owners each year.

So Here’s The Scoop: We at ITG (Inside the Gate) are being inundated with phone calls, tweets, text messages and e-mails – hundreds every month now – about criminal operations in Mexico (and other places) who’ve purchased or stolen timeshare owner lists – many illegally (hacking) directly from the developers systems, their 3rd party affiliates or obtaining the lists via a developer’s past or present ‘employee’ – and these TS owners are then being contacted and fleeced out of millions of dollars each month and tens of millions more each year!

WE (ITG) have even been contacted as recently as last week with offers of the ‘Big Bucks’ if we’d sell any owners lists we have or can gain access to!
According to a February 20th article on, which is one of the premier hospitality news sources for the general lodging industry, a new hacking frontier is “lodging properties are equally vulnerable, maybe even more so than the retail industry.”

Hospitality, lodging, accommodations, etc. equals Timeshare Developers – as we all know many operate both as a ‘hotel’ and a ‘timeshare’ and these data breaches are growing like uncontrolled wildfires.

You can and should read (after you finish here) the full article here: “Unwelcomed Guests – Hackers are out there and they are targeting hotels.”
In The Land of Time it is a frickin’ epidemic in size and scope and it’s getting bigger by the day. And with millions of TS owners out there and all those names, etc. being ‘stored’ somewhere, unless it is stopped now the harm to our industry and the loss of revenue to TS developers will grow exponentially.

In our very popular Gatehouse Blog section we’ve been naming names, etc. about these criminals who, for now, are mostly operating illegally throughout Mexico (and other nations); from coast to coast and border to border they are making a ‘killing’.

And it also appears that some former timeshare sales reps down there are leaving those ‘little round tables’ in droves, buying or stealing a developer’s list locally (or from a ‘connection’ in the USA, Canada, etc.) – putting up a website – and then hitting the phones hard and heavy and as ‘smooth’ as they know how to be. They, too, are stealing from / ripping off TS Owners and developers left and right.

And they are not just going after owners who are actively seeking to get out of their TS interest.  They’re stealing from ‘happy owners’ too and when those owners hear that ‘…And Sally and Bob, that is why the Mexican Government has set aside $10 Million (U.S. Dollars) in a special escrow fund to…”; the ‘happy owners’ are taking the bait just like the owners wanting out of their timeshare(s).
We represent a corporate buyer who for tax purpose is acquiring large blocks of points (weeks, intervals) and because of those advantages our client wants to purchase your timeshare right now and will pay you $12,000 more than what you originally paid…”
Now Sally and Bob, here’s how it works.  The buyer has already deposited the full purchase price in an insured escrow account and under Mexico Law and as the registered owner all you need to do is deposit the Added Value Tax (IVA) of $1,800….”

Naturally, once the TS owners do so and the funds have been wired a second call will follow shortly thereafter seeking additional funds (for a host of ‘reasons’) including, but not limited to a U.S. IRS shticka special cost provisiona bogus transfer fee or government tax… and so forth.
Now that the developers’ owners have committed the first batch of moola, if they decline on the ‘second’ the owners are told that is fine – ‘…but under the law…’ they’ll lose the first bundle of money.  Long story short, they wire the next bundle of cash.
This continues – with yet a 3rd call (once the last batch was wired) and then a 4th, etc. and some TS owners have wired so much money to these crooks that if I published the highest amount (dollars) that we are aware of from just one owner you’d likely not believe anyone could be so gullible.
That said, on average and once the owner(s) is no longer willing to wire any more cash, the range of the swindle per ‘happy’ (or otherwise) owner is anywhere from $5,000 – $15,000!
This criminal activity has gone ‘viral’ in its scope and could be called syndicated or organized crime — whatever — and it is now including crooked politicians in Mexico who have their hands in the ‘kitty’ and are giving these thieves protection, advice and a free ride to do what it takes to get the money wired into Mexico (and beyond).
These thieves are making those ‘post-card’ companies look like featherweights!

The time to act is now – and every timeshare developer needs to upgrade their data security, etc. and protect their ‘owners’ lists (names, accounts, etc) and do it TODAY!

Developers also need to eblast a ‘Red Alert to their owners and advise them of these fraudsters’ activities.
Developers also need to post a ‘Red Alert’ on their websites; at least in the ‘owners only’ section.
Developers should also include this caveat in each new ‘owners’ packet when their new clients purchase.
And by all means Tweet it, Instagram it, Facebook it or send out via carrier pigeons and get the word out now.  I don’t care how you do it, just DO IT – DO IT – DO IT NOW – Pronto – Today!

The industry Associations, Exchange companies, HOA’s and all legitimate resale/rental companies, timeshare blogs, etc. also need to follow suit – get the word out TODAY – and stop these crooks dead in their tracks HERE AND NOW!

Mark my words folks. There is so much money being made! If you pile all this negativity on top of the standard TS rental scams, the TS resale scams, the TS post card scams, etc. then once the mainstream media runs with it – in the near future the only sales guests who will be ‘sold’ at the developer level will be non-owning prospects with an IQ below 60; and there are just not that many of these otherwise fine humans in that demographic to go around! Game Over!

Good luck out there!