Friday, December 18, 2015

Important Update Regarding Celebration/Festiva/RCI Case

The Class Action suit involving the old Celebration World Resort, Festiva (who took it over) and RCI has been going on for a very long time.

This week, Finn Law Group provided us with this update which I am reprinting in its entirety:

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

On December 15, 2015 the parties agreed to settle the proposed class action lawsuit and filed a motion with the court to preliminarily approve the class action settlement.  Attorneys for the parties are scheduled to attend a court hearing on January 25, 2016 regarding the motion to preliminarily approve the proposed settlement.  The link below provides you access to the Motion for Preliminary Approval (without Exhibits), the Proposed Notice, and the Settlement Agreement.  All of these documents are available to the public.

If the judge preliminarily approves the settlement, a notice will be mailed to all class members and there will be an administration process.  As part of the administration process, attorneys with the Finn Law Group, P.A. will be available to answer questions the class members may have regarding the settlement.

Please be advised that the judge has not decided whether to preliminarily approve the settlement.  Therefore, we are unable to answer questions regarding the terms of the proposed settlement until the proposed settlement is preliminarily approved.  Please know that at this time, as a potential class member, Finn Law Group is not your legal counsel.  As such, its attorneys cannot impart legal advice to non-clients.  You have the right to obtain your own attorney at your own expense.

The below link has the above referenced documents and additional information regarding the case. 


Friday, December 11, 2015

Show Me Your Numbers

ARDA, the American Resort Development Association, has come out with its latest finding showing that a family of four saves $18,160 over the cost of 18 years by purchasing a timeshare over using a hotel room.

Here's the link to the infographic:

Here's the numbers they used:

Average Hotel Stay
$3,000 annually for 18 years
Total Cost $54,000

Assuming a 7 night stay, that comes to $428.57 per night

Average Timeshare
$20,000 cost of purchase
$15,840 average maintenance fee ($880 per year)
Total Cost $35,840

Showing a cost savings of $18,160 over an 18 year period.

I'm throwing it open here...agree, disagree?

Show me your numbers.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Looking to Purchase a "Red" Timeshare Week? Read This

Ah, the “good old days” of categorizing timeshare weeks by color.  Remember hearing “Orlando is all red, all the time” or “the reason you can’t trade your week is that you own a green week”?

If you’ve owned a timeshare for any length of time, you may yearn for these times, or worse, not know that neither RCI nor II uses color codes anymore.

RCI used to use a red/white/blue system, where red weeks were the highest in demand.  Interval International used red/yellow/green, where again, red weeks were the highest in demand.

While color codes were simple, the truth of the matter is that they were far from accurate.  Resorts located in Orlando, Florida and in the Bahamas for instance, all used to be “all red, all the time” when anyone who has been to Orlando in September or Las Vegas in July clearly knew that was not the case.  In reality, Orlando in September was white or yellow at best, while the Bahamas in August may have really been a blue or green week.

Interval International was the first to stop using their red/yellow/green designations in favor of their vastly improved Travel Demand Index.  Now, weeks are rated on a numerical scale where 100 means “average demand”, so that week 51 in Orlando is rated a 150, while week 39 in September is rated a 80.  Similarly, the Bahamas range from a 70 during weeks 37 and 38 to 150 weeks 9 through 14.

Several years ago, RCI discarded their red/white/blue weeks classification system in exchange for their TPU (Trading Power Unit) system which assigns a numerical value to each week based on several criteria including; the classification, demand, supply and use for your specific week, the resort and the region it’s located in, the size of the specific timeshare unit and how far in advance of the usage week you have deposited it.

NOTE:  The numerical “point” value assigned by RCI applies only to week-based timeshare and must not be confused with the “points” assigned to RCI point-based timeshare.  They are two completely different systems and TPUs do not apply to point-based timeshare.

All of these changes are crucial to both getting the most out of your timeshare and when considering a timeshare purchase on the secondary market.

If you’re confused about timeshare weeks, talk to your exchange company and don't forget to investigate the "other" exchange companies that your home resort never mentioned. 

If you are considering buying a timeshare on the resale market, and the company/broker/individual/platform advertises a “red week”, this should be considered a warning flag that the seller is not operating with the most recent information.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Missed The Broadcast? Listen Here

Delighted to have had the opportunity to discuss timeshare issues and answer listener questions on KIRO-AM a few weeks ago.

In case you missed the broadcast, here's the link:

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Guest Blog Post From Michael Finn

As anyone who has read this blog knows, the ongoing issues with Festiva Orlando (formerly Celebration World Resort) and RCI and the ensuing Class Action lawsuit have been going on for several years.

Understandably, frustration has set in among many owners of the resort that are or may be affected.

Sadly, this frustration has taken a nasty turn...I've been accused of being a shill for Festiva...NOT TRUE.  The Finn Law Group has been accused of not being a real law firm...NOT TRUE.  And so on.

What follows is an unedited response from Michael Finn of the Finn Law Group:

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

Monday, October 26, 2015

Thinking About A Vacation Club? READ THIS

Day in and day out I receive e-mails from consumers who either are thinking that a vacation club is a great alternative to a timeshare, or have spent thousands of dollars on a vacation club and now that they are faced with the truth, want my help in getting their money back.

Sorry no can do.

Before you even think of spending a dime on a vacation club, READ THIS taken directly from our friends at Inside The Gate:

Global Vacation Ventures has entered into an agreement with the Florida Attorney General’s Office following accusations of fraud. An Assurance of Voluntary Compliance for Global Connections Inc. also known as Global Discovery Vacations, Premium Destinations, LLC, GVV, Florida Inc. doing business Global Vacation Network and Global Vacation Ventures was filed earlier this month.

Through 2013 the AG’s office received at least 51 complaints, most of them from people over 55, citing high pressure sales tactics and bait-and-switch, among other things. For instance, one couple booked a cruise through Global, but found their promised ocean view room turned out to be a view of a lifeboat. Others reported they could not reach the company within the three days required when they tried to cancel their membership.

Global Vacations is a distributorship/sales agent for Kansas-based Global Connections, Inc., the company that fulfills the travel club members’ vacation requests. Global has agreed to pay $5,000 towards attorneys’ and investigative fees and agreed to comply with a number of requirements, such as not using the word “free” in offering incentives to consumers to attend its sales presentations.

And of course Global denies it engaged in any wrongful or unlawful conduct and contends that its business practices were and are consistent with industry best practices and that fair and adequate disclosures were and are made to consumers. But just to resolve the complaints, the company agreed to the following requirements, among others:

• It cannot distribute any advertisements or offerings to the public using the following words: free, awarded, prize, absolutely without charge, free of charge, and words or groups of words of similar intent which reasonably lead consumers to believe they may receive something of value without payment, unless the item or a portion of it is free.

• It cannot make any statements to the public which offer items as free with conditions such as having to travel to a pickup location unless that is clearly and conspicuously disclosed.

• It must make an effort to ensure that at least 90 percent of all consumers who are offered and accept a marketing incentive for attending a sales presentation utilize it within one year. For example if 100 consumers are offered a free cruise, attend a presentation and seek to attend the free cruise within one year, at least 90 of those consumers must be able to book the cruise within a year.

• It must not make any misrepresentations to consumers with respect to the identity of the company selling the vacation club and travel services products, the identity of the company which is the actual fulfillment center for the products, which company’s Better Business Bureau ratings are being displayed or provided, the number of consumers served or a particular period of time and the length of time Global has been in the business of selling the product.

• It must provide consumers attending sales presentations with access to view a date-specific list of destination -based properties currently available for reservations through the travel club program during the succeeding 12 months via a web page or print-out hard copy of the webpage.

• It must not make false or misleading statements of fact concerning the reasons for, existence of, or amounts of price reductions as it relates to the sales of vacation club and travel services products.

• During sales presentations, it must accurately present the vacation club and travel services products and membership uses and benefits and fully describe the membership’s pricing and options.

Aw rats! A vacation/travel club distributor forced to sell a clean product in a clean manner? What’s next? Politicians forced to tell the truth?


Friday, October 23, 2015

The Timeshare Crusader Returns To The Airwaves

I'm delighted to announce that I return to the radio airwaves, this Sunday, October 25th.  From 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm, I'll be talking timeshare with Tom Kelly on KIRO in Seattle.

You can listen live and call in as well.

Here's the link:

Hope to hear from you!

Monday, September 28, 2015

News Related To Bluegreen

This story may be of interest to any current or future Bluegreen owners.  Or not, it's up to you to decide.

Thanks to our friends at Inside the Gate for this story which I am passing on unedited.

In a decision that has been anticipated for quite some time, U.S. District Judge Darrin Gayles has given Alan B. Levan 90 days to step down as chairman and CEO of both BBX Capital Corp. and BFC Financial Corp. following a civil fraud judgment. The decision follows a jury trial verdict of securities fraud and accounting fraud against Levan and BBX involving misleading statements made by Levan about the health of development loans at former BBX subsidiary BankAtlantic during an investor conference call in 2007. The judge also hit BBX with a $4.55 million penalty and Levan with a $1.3 million penalty. Once the judge confirmed the verdict, the SEC, which had asked for a permanent ban against Levan, instead won a two-year ban against him serving as an officer or director of a public company. Levan is appealing.

And why should we care? What does it have to do with us here in timeshare land? Because BFC and BBX Capital own 54% and 46% of Woodbridge Holdings, respectively, and Woodbridge owns 100% of Bluegreen Corp., aka Bluegreen Resorts/Bluegreen Vacations.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

What You Need To Know When Buying A Timeshare-Part 4

Ah yes, apologies...between too many days in the mid 90s with 80% humidity and a full e-mail box every day from confused new timeshare owners who didn't do any homework prior to plopping down their credit card for $15,000 and just today $22,000...I've neglected this important thread.

So I've given you some information on terms /conditions, maintenance fees and assessments.

Today the multi-part question you need to ask is:

Is the resort under developer control or HOA control and if HOA control, who is on the board, can an individual owner be on the board and what has the board done lately?

If you are unsure about why these are important questions to ask, what an HOA is and what does it do and why it's important to ask before you may want to hang unto the credit card until you get those answers.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Ever Wanted To Travel To Portugal? You Will After This.

Today in the timeshare blog, we're delighted to reprint this wonderful review of 10 Great Portuguese Treasures directly from our friends at Worldwide Timeshare Hypermarket ( a wonderful resale company based in the UK.  Give them a look!

You don’t have to fly half-way round the world to find some truely awe-inspiring beaches and costal curiosities that make for stunning holiday snaps. Perhaps the most beautiful coastline in Europe, the Algarve is awash with beauty spots that perhaps don’t always get the fame they deserve.
Here’s our ten favourite sights along this impressive coast along with links to some great 360 degree panoramas on Google Maps to whet your appetite. We’ve also included the exact coordinates for each listing to help you locate them whether you’re there on holiday or armchair exploring. But, don’t forget! Nothing beats seeing these sights for yourself!
Please Note: The panoramas work best on up-to-date desktop internet browsers


Praia Dona Ana
Click on the image above to see a 360 degree panorama on Google Maps of Praia Don Ana
The “Best Beach in Portugal” according to TripAdvisor’s Travellers Choice Awards (2015) the Praia Dona Ana in Lagos is definitely worth its title! This outstanding beach is popular with families, in particular local Portuguese families who flock here for its unique rocky formations and calm bathing waters. Backed by orange cliff-tops this beach is known as one of the more sheltered stretches in Lagos making it perfect to escape the winds on a blustery afternoon. Geo Coordinates: 37.091620, -8.669186


Praia de Benagil Cave
Click on the image above for a full 360 panorama of the fantastic Benagil Cave
Awarded TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence (2015) this stunning beach is located close by to the bustling harbour town of Carvoeiro and RCI Gold Crown Pestana Palm Gardens. Praia de Benagil’s typically golden sands are joined by an intriguing sea cave, only accessible by sea, which provides one of the most beautiful locations on this gorgeous coastline. Geo Coordiantes: 37.087428, -8.426299


Praia do Camilo
Google Maps is a great way to find your perfect beach in Portugal. Click on the image above to see more.
This idyllic secluded cove near Lagos in the West of the Algarve boasts a wonderful restaurant on its clifftop serving locally caught seafood dishes to complement its stunning sea views. This TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence (2015) winning beach can be accessed via a wooden spiral staircase that guides visitors down onto the golden sands and crystal clear waters. Geo Coordinates: 37.087307, -8.668444


Praia da Rocha
Take a tour of Praia da Rocha by clicking on the image above!
Regarded as the main beach in Portimao the Praia da Rocha was voted in the Top 10 in Portugal from TripAdvisor’s Travellers Choice Awards (2015). Boasting plenty of space this vast beach is lined by the Avenue Tomás Cabreira, which is full of restaurants, bars and shops bringing the area to life. Standing proudly at the end of the avenue is the Fortress of Santa Catarina de Ribamar once helping to defend Portimao from pirates it now gifts holidaymakers with wonderful views of the beach and marina. Geo Coordintes: 37.118526, -8.532662


Anchors on beach at Praia do Barril
Anchors on the beach at Praia do Barill. Click on the image above to see more great images and photo spheres on Google Maps
Translated as Barrel Beach this narrow strip of white sand also features in the Portugal’s Top 10 beaches from TripAdvisor and is a haven for those looking to soak up the sunshine. Enjoy the walk to the beach by crossing a narrow footbridge over the Ria Formosa about 4-5km from the town of Santa Luzia or catch the miniature train from Pedras d’El Rei resort to this Blue Flag beach. Nestled amongst the dunes at Praia do Barril you will also find a rather mysterious sight, The Cemitério das Âncoras (Anchor Graveyard, hundreds of rows of anchors commemorating the once thriving tuna fishing industry. Geo Coordinates: 37.085927, -7.661886


Click the image above to see more landscapes and photo spheres of Praia do Submarino on Google Maps.
Located in Alvor in Western Algarve the Praia do Submarino offers a calm retreat from Portugal’s windswept Atlantic coastline. Protected by Ponta de Joao de Arens the crystal clear waters of this beach are ideal for families wishing to cool off from the warm embrace of the Portuguese sunshine. Geo Coordinates: 37.116522, -8.570489


Praia da Marinha
Praia da Marinha offers some great elevated views. See more on Google Maps by clikcing the image above.
Voted as the 3rd best beach in all of Portugal by TripAdvisor’s Travellers Choice Awards (2015) the Praia da Marinha, known as Navy Beach, is a real hit with families. A wide array of intriguing rock formations and caves are great to explore and the numerous rock pools are home to an interesting collection of marine life. Swim a little further out from the beach and you’ll discover a wealth of underwater interests hiding out in the clear waters below. Geo Coordinates: 37.089768, -8.412543


Praia dos Tres Irmaos
As great as the photo spheres and images of Praia dos Tres Irmaos are, they won’t spoil your enjoyment! Click on the image above to see more.
Praia dos Tres Irmaos, Three Brothers Beach, is another of the popular family beaches in Portimao and boasts a characteristic cave for the children to play within. The emerald waters lapping the shore are bursting with interesting marine life that must be explored, remember to bring your snorkel for this one! The RCI Gold Crown Pestana Alvor Park is located just a 10-minute drive away and offers a truly wonderful holiday experience for families in Portimao. Geo Coordinates: 37.117958, -8.577757


Praia de Arrifes
The image above links through to a photo sphere of Praia de Arrifes.
Referred to locally as the Praia dos Tres Penecos, beach of triple rocks, the golden sands provide a wonderful location to relax close by to the lively town of Albufeira and Pine Cliffs Resort. Another ideal snorkel spot, the rocky formations off the shoreline are home to some intriguing local wildlife. A lovely local restaurant is nestled on the rocks overlooking the beach offering the ideal spot to relax with a chilled drink and admire the inspiring views. Geo Coordinates: 37.076079, -8.276768


Submarine Rock Portugal
Finally the Submarine Rock! You know what to do to see some more!
Hidden close by to the Armacao de Pera is this beautiful isolated beach which gifts you with moments of peace and tranquillity nearby to lively Albufeira. The centre-piece to this beach is a submarine shaped rock offering a truly unique photo opportunity to capture. Swim out around the corner and you’ll discover another inviting cave perfect to explore the secrets held within. Geo Coordinates: 37.092948, -8.394174

Thursday, September 3, 2015

What You Need To Known When Buying A Timeshare-Part 3

Well, we've talked briefly about understanding all the terms and conditions as well as those pesky annual fees.

Today, it's Special Assessments.

Are there any special assessments, and if so, what are they, and what are they for?

Although the developer or the HOA does have the right to levy special assessments, individual owners are entitled to know what the assessment is for.  If the resort has levied multiple special assessments throughout the years, it might be an indication of financial instability.

This thread will resume on Monday.  Tomorrow we take a break as we'll have a Guest Blog from our friends at Worldwide Timeshare Hypermarket on The Algarve in Portugal!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

What You Need To Know When Buying A Timeshare-Part 2

Yesterday's tip was to be certain you fully understood all the terms and conditions of the contract.

Today's tip:

Be certain to ask what the current maintenance fees are, what is the five (5) year history of those fees and what do they cover?

In 2014, the average maintenance fees for a US based timeshare was $845.  Anything 25% higher or lower than that warrants some additional questions on your part. If the fees have risen annual for the past five years anything more than 10% per year, again, stop and ask some more questions.  If you don't get an answer in writing to either of those questions, WALK AWAY.


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

What You Need To Know When Buying A Timeshare

New month.  New start.

For the next two weeks, I'll be sharing vital information about what you need to know when buying a timeshare.

Each day I'll share a tip and then recap with the entire list.  Ready?  Good.

Number 1

Do you understand all the terms and conditions of the contract?

In particular, the financial terms should be clearly discernible as well as when you will be able to use the timeshare.

If you don't understand, or something seems not proceed. 

Thursday, August 27, 2015


Back in July, this is what I heard:

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.

Yesterday, this:

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.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

News About Festiva


Festiva has been selected for the 2015 Best of Orlando Award in the Hospitality Services category by the Orlando Award Program.

Each year, the Orlando Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Orlando area a great place to live, work and play.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2015 Orlando Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Orlando Award Program and data provided by third parties.

About Orlando Award Program
The Orlando Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Orlando area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.
The Orlando Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community’s contributions to the U.S. economy.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

In The Market for a Timeshare? Read This

There's still plenty of summer vacation left and plenty of opportunities to be solicited to purchase a timeshare.  If you find yourself across the table from a salesperson after a 90 minute---OK, 4 hour sales pitch, stop and breathe for a minute.

While it is true that timeshare can be a terrific way to vacation for many people, there are important things to understand that the salesperson may not cover or that they may "gloss over"...I should know...I spent 6 years on various sales floors in the Orlando area.
Here are some questions that you had better get full and complete answers to:
1)    Do you understand all the terms and conditions of the contract?

2)    What are the current maintenance fees?

3)    What is the five (5) year history of those fees?

4)    Are there any special assessments and if so, what are they and what are they for?

5)    Is the HOA (Home Owners Association) under developer control or owner control? 

6)    How much of the resort is sold out?

7)    What is the current delinquency rate among owners?
Remember also to avoid anyone using the words “free”, “perfect”, “always” and :never.”  Free and perfect don’t exist and always and never are exceeding long periods of time.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Update On The Manhattan Club Meeting

A meeting was held on August 2nd in New York City for owners of The Manhattan Club.  Here, Jeff Weir provides a recap of this meeting.

We'll post updates as they become available.

If you attended, we'd like to hear from you.

If there's another topic that you feel warrants a meeting, let us know as well.

Manhattan Club owners rally in New York, seeking understanding of legal strategies and the AGs investigation

Some 120 timeshare owners at The Manhattan Club (TMC)—representing an estimated 14,000 to 18,000 frustrated buyers rallied in New York on Aug. 2, 2015, to discuss legal strategies and the practical problems of escalating maintenance fees, reservation hassles, and resale roadblocks. The meeting, hosted by, the National Timeshare Owners Association, and TimeSharing Today, was the first focused "take-action" meeting among Manhattan Club owners who are stuck in legal limbo while New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman battles TMC developer Ian Bruce Eichner over the fate of the club and its owners, most of whom paid $20,000 to $40,000—or more for timeshares they can rarely, if ever, use.

The gathering included presentations from a New York attorney, Douglas Wasser, who is very familiar with the AG's investigation, real-estate law, and similar litigation; and Bob Schmidt, chief data officer for, a timeshare resale research company based in Florida. 

Wasser informed owners about the legal issues in the AG's case, while Schmidt discussed the market values of TMC timeshares, based on resale and developer sales from 2012-2015

Highlights and consensus opinions released at the TMC owners meeting include:

• Future legal actions: Launching a new legal case against the club, at this stage, would probably serve no purpose, because the AG already has a year's worth of investigative data. Wasser urged owners to show patience and evaluate their options after the AG's case comes to a head.  Three previous class-action cases already were thrown out of court.  In its most recent court filing, the AG's office said, "Nearly every week the NYAG discovers new evidence of potential wrongdoing."

• Maintenance-fee issues: Owners who want to continue using their timeshares must continue paying maintenance fees, even if they don't like the cost ($2,500 to $3,000 a year).  Many other owners have already opted out, refusing to pay due to frustration or financial considerations.  According to the AG's office, 2,265 contracts were inactive or delinquent as of March, 2015.  The club has 14,147 active contracts. Those active payers must shoulder the costs of the inactive timeshares.

• Sharket's survey of TMC resales shows that Manhattan Club sales and prices plummeted in recent years—no surprise, given all of the negative publicity about the club.  From 2012-2015, Sharket traced 144 resales with an average selling price of $2,148.  Only nine resales have been recorded in New York property records in 2015 (when the club itself was barred from transferring, selling, or foreclosing on property).

• Also during 2012-2015, the Manhattan Club took back 1,554 timeshares through buybacks or foreclosures, paying an average price of $133 per unit.  Developer retail sales, in contrast, stayed strong until the AG closed down the sales operation.  From 2012 to July of 2014, the club notched 1,521 sales worth $86 million, with an average selling price of $21,000.  Many owners noted the striking similarity of the buyback/foreclosure numbers and the developer sales.  Overall, dating back to the inception of the club in 1997, TMC claims to have sold $400 million worth of timeshares.

• A key allegation in the AG's probe is that the club deliberately oversold timeshares and rented rooms to the public while denying consistent access to owners.  Proving that, however, is a major paper chase that continues to generate heated debate in court.  In its most recent court filing, the AG says:  "NYAG has sought and still seeks to determine not only whether Sponsor (Eichner and his operating companies) had oversold any units in the timeshare plan, at any time, but also whether anyone at The Manhattan Club was keeping accurate records as to the inventory that Sponsor has sold, has yet to sell, and has bought back and re-sold."

The next court date was set for Aug. 21, but could easily be postponed.  No formal or public hearings in the case have been held since the original 2014 court order. 

TimeSharing Today will continue to follow the situation as events unfold. 

Jeff Weir is Chief Correspondent for Redweek and a contributor TimeSharing Today.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Five and Almost 10 With...David DeShaw

Today we meet David DeShaw, CEO of Owners' Exchange (more on that soon) and Advisory Board Member of the National Timeshare Owners Association.

>What was your first job in timeshare?
Resort Manager 

>What was the greatest lesson you've ever been taught?
Honest communication is the key to having high owner satisfactio

>Where is your favorite vacation spot?
Cabo San Lucas

>If you could change one thing about timeshare, what would it be? 
Don’t pay retail! Get all owner’s and consumers to use Owner’s Exchange before purchasing from another resource.

>What is your favorite color?

Have you noticed just how popular the color BLUE is among people in timeshare?

If you know someone who you'd like to see featured here, or would like to be featured yourself, drop me a line at

Thursday, July 30, 2015

This Is Still Considered Marketing in 2015

This is an actual ad for an Assistant Director of Marketing for a major timeshare developer (company name and location redacted):


Are you a vacation ownership/timeshare superstar? Have you been in the business for a while but still waiting for your opportunity to run your own operation? The Assistant Director of Marketing position is an accelerated training program to get you there in less than 12 months! NAME REDACTED a leader in the vacation ownership industry is looking to fill this position in LOCATION REDACTED. This site has over 500 units and includes managing Inhouse, OPC, face to face package sales, lead generation, day drive tour production and welcome center management.

Position Summary:
Responsible for overseeing the day to day activities of the Marketing department. Must be able to drive production for all Marketing programs (OPC, vendors, owners, samplers, renters and exchangers). Main focus will be on creating new business for frontline tour flow and overall growth. Also responsible for ensuring compliance with established policies, procedures, and systems.

What jumps out to me and probably to you as well is that the very first "marketing program" they mention in the second paragraph is OPC.

It just boggles my mind that in 2015 a major timeshare developer...OK any timeshare developer would still think of OPCing as way of marketing their product.

Has NOTHING been learned from all the studies of the "cherished millennials"?

Friday, July 17, 2015

Five and Almost 10 With...Joe Nahman

Today we meet Joe Nahman, CEO of RMC Resort Management in South Carolina and an Advisory Board Member of the National Timeshare Owners Association.
1.  What was your first job in timeshare?
      Property Manager
2.  What was the greatest lesson you've ever been taught?
      People may forget what you say or what you do, but they will never forget how you make
      them feel.
3.  Where is your favorite vacation spot?
      Hilton Head Island
4.  If you could change one thing about timeshare, what would it be?
     Create an industry standard transfer process that made it virtually impossible for owners to
     be taken advantage of.
5.  What is your favorite color?
     Cobalt blue
If you'd like to be featured, drop me a line at

Monday, June 29, 2015

What Changes Can Starwood Timeshare Owners Expect?

You've probably heard the news that Starwood (HOT) expects to "spin-off" its timeshare division in the near future.

While this may have significant affect on the stock value of both Starwood and the new entity, to be called Vistana Signature Experiences, Inc., we here at the timeshare blog are more interested in the affects to individual timeshare owners.

We posed some questions to Starwood and received these answers from someone who wants to be identified as "a spokesperson for Starwood Vacation Ownership":

·         For an average SVO current owner, what changes can they expect?

o   For our average current SVO owner, the new standalone company will explore new development and growth opportunities to offer more options and flexibility to owners and enhance their vacation experiences.  We have a rich 35-year history in the vacation ownership industry and expect to bring new and exciting opportunities to our owners in the future.

·         Will there be changes in exchange company?

o   No, there will be no changes in the exchange company.

·         Will all of the existing resorts continue to operate under the new Vistana name or it is expected that some will leave?

o   From a naming convention, all resorts will continue to operate as they do today.

·         On the flip side, are there new timeshare resorts expected to join?

o   Yes, 5 assets will transfer to the new company.  Additionally, we could possibly add The Westin Nanea Ocean Villas, our newest purpose built resort on Maui which is opening in 2017.

·         I know that SVO owners have the option of using their ownership as SPG points on an every other basis.  Will this continue?

o   Yes, subject to the terms of our agreements with Starwood, all current and future owners will continue to enjoy privileged access to the SPG program. 

·         What changes will be made to the timeshare properties’ HOAs?

o   Our corporate identity may be evolving, but our vision will remain the same: to be the premier provider of outstanding personalized experiences, giving our vacation Owners, Members and Guests—a better way to see the world®. 

·         What impact will this have on expected annual fees at each of the resorts?

·         The annual maintenance fee assessments are already approved and billed to owners for 2015 and we expect there to be little to no change to our future budget processes.
Thoughts?  What do you foresee?  If you're a Marriott owner what changes did you encounter once they "spun-off"?