Tuesday, April 19, 2016

New E-Mails Targetting Timeshare Owners

In the past two weeks, I have received an alarming number of SPAM e-mails from companies offering to "help" timeshare owners.

The e-mails contain language such as:

Are You Paying for a Timeshare You Don't Use?

Turn Your Timeshare into Cash! Selling your timeshare is easy.

Receive a risk-free, no obligation quote and find out how much you your timeshare is worth.


Do You Own A Timeshare You Don't Use Or Just Need Financial Help?

If so, you need to consider selling.

Today, you can receive a no obligation, risk-free quote, and find out how much you can receive.

All of these types of unsolicited e-mails should be treated as SPAM.


Friday, April 15, 2016

How to Insure Someone Will Never Buy a Timeshare From You

This came to me via my Facebook page.  It is redacted, meaning I took off the name of the resort, but unedited.

STAY AWAY FROM ____________________ timeshare!!!
Who do I message about the ____________________ timeshare? I had an awful experience yesterday with my husband and our 1.5 year old son. I've never in my life been spoken to with horrible respect!

We were approached by a guy at the visitor desk at Kroger in Hilton Head. I said to the guy we were fine and the guy said "please if you come I'll give you one hundred dollar Visa card and a 7 day week long trip to our resort for 38.00 dollars a night! He said he will get paid sending us. I still wasn't buying it but my husband has done this before and thought why not?

So we went yesterday. We didn't wait long and the guy came out and walked us to your room where we discussed prices and such. He then took us on a tour of the resort, which we thought was fabulous and he treated us kind (but we knew he was trying to sell us). We went back to the room to discuss numbers and we told him it was not in our budget right now with a child. He stood up and got really defensive with me. He stated do you not see the price I'm giving you is low? Do you not see this? Since you can't see this maybe I don't need your business. I told the guy " please don't get loud and defensive. " he said he wasn't when my husband and I were witnessing him become really angry.

At this point we got up to check out , receive the items that were promised and he took us to another room where more bullying continues! This lady I believe had glasses, was very hateful in her presentation. Our baby boy was getting restless and teething badly. He started to cry more when I told my husband I'm stepping out because this is rediculous we don't have to take this and Caleb is upset. The lady was very hostile and rude and said "ma'am you need to stay here !" I thought excuse me? I'm sure it's in their policy but to tell me what I can't do with my child to calm him down was very alarming. She began to pick and bully at my husband and I. I told her the young man was nice until we said no, and he became hostile! Then she began to say so the reason you are saying no is your blaming it on you having a child? And you don't see we were making a deal for you? Do you not comprehend the numbers? I said ma'am we do we are not ignorant and we came because we were offered a card and stay! She then got more hostile! and I walked off in tears!

I said have a blessed day and reported her to the front desk - I'm missing a lot of what he and she said but you get the just. They were bullying us !!!!! Please stay away from ________________ and their timeshare! They are horrible and bullies!!!!! We will not be using our 7 day vacation voucher because we found out it's all scam! The desk at Kroger is SCAM!!!!!

Do I believe this?  Sadly, I do.  Is this anyway to treat consumers?  Absolutely not.

Lisa Teaches Timeshare

Here's an interview I did with the National Timeshare Owners Association.

On Wednesday, April 13h, our Director of Member Services Lisa Ann Schreier was invited to guest lecture at a timeshare class at the University of Central Florida.  Lisa is the author of two consumer books and the co-author of the college text “Timeshare Management-The Key Issues for Hospitality Managers” which is schedule for a revision and 2nd edition later this year.
We asked Lisa to share some of her thoughts about the class, the students’ view of timeshare and what the future may hold.
Q. I didn’t know that there even were college level classes in timeshare.  How interesting!
A.  Yes I’ve been working with professors at several universities ever since my first book came out.  Hospitality is a growing field and timeshare classes give students access to a topic that they might not even be aware of.
Q. Do the students you’ve spoken with have an understanding of timeshare?
A.  Yes, in so much that they have a basic knowledge of the product either through work experience or staying at a timeshare with their parents.  The biggest misconception they have is that the only jobs in timeshare are marketing and sales.  I tell them that almost any job that a hotel or resort has can be found at a timeshare.
Q. Would you say that they have generally positive impressions of timeshare?
A. They, like most consumers, have generally positive impressions of the timeshare resorts that they have seen and experienced.  The negativity comes in when we discuss the marketing and sales practices. They just do not comprehend why timeshare resorts continue to “gift” prospective consumers and settle for a 15% or lower closing ratio.  They are continually amazed that people would give up 2+ hours of their vacation time to listen to a sales pitch and be forced to make a purchasing decision right then and there.  It’s completely out of their frame of reference.
Q. You’ve been doing this for several years as you’ve mentioned; are there questions that come up time after time?
A. The most often asked questions have to do with how I got into timeshare, how did I deal with consumers coming to the sales presentation just for the gift while I was a salesperson and what changes would I make to the industry.  And oh yes, how much does a salesperson make!
Q. All good questions!  So let me ask you; how did you deal with the fact that as a salesperson, you have to deal with people showing up at the sales presentation just for the gift?
A. You have to understand that from the get go and just go out and do your job which is to show them what they could have instead of what they do have when it comes to vacation accommodations.  You can’t take it personally if they say “no” and you have to believe in the product yourself. Consumers see through lies rather quickly.
Q. Anything that surprises you in the classes?
A. I’m always amazed at the very apparent dichotomy in the makeup.  80% of the students are very engaged, eager to ask questions and stick around after class to ask more questions.  And then there’s the 20% of them who are exactly the opposite.  I’ve had more than a few instances where I had to stop what I was doing to ask students to leave because they were doing something that was obviously not related to the class and one memorable incident where I had to wake a student up from his nap.  Luckily the professor told me it had nothing to do with my presentation; the student did it all the time.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about the revise of the college text you’re working on?
A. Yes, I’m very excited about it.  My co-authors are Dr, Tammie Kaufman and Conrad Lashley.  In addition to revising the existing material to reflect the changes that have taken place in the timeshare industry these past few years, we’re adding a few chapters.  There’s going to be one new chapter devoted to HOA issues and I’m writing a brand new chapter covering the rise of owner advocacy issues and direct consumer involvement.
Q. Last question…you’re in a unique position having worked directly in the industry and now as an author, blogger and Director of Member Services at the NTOA…in speaking with the potential future customers of the industry and future leaders of the industry what do you see in the future?
A. I’m quite positive about the industry.  There are some bumps in the road and some issues that need to be addressed, but with the younger generation who not only understand where the industry has been, but with a well-rounded perspective on hospitality, has both the desire and the tools to take it to places that us veterans may not be able to even imagine!  At the end of the day, it’s vacation…who can’t be positive about that?    


Monday, April 11, 2016

New Consumer Alert

From our friends at Inside the Gate:

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services issued a consumer alert warning Floridians and visitors of an ongoing scam offering fraudulent promotional vacation packages. Following the travel industry reporting a sharp increase in the number of complaints related to fraudulent Florida vacation packages, the department advises consumers to be wary of robocalls, emails or faxes offering promotional vacation packages purported to have been offered by legitimate travel agencies, such as Expedia, Travelocity, TripAdvisor and more.

Unfortunately no names of the alleged offenders were released along with the alert, but perhaps that is still to come. In the meantime, consumers can protect themselves against travel/vacation scams with the following tips: Find out if the seller of travel is registered with the department and if any complaints have been filed against it. Never give out credit card or checking account numbers over the phone unless the consumer initiated the call and is certain of the company’s credentials. Read the entire contract thoroughly, ask questions and do not sign it if there is any doubt. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Go directly to the legitimate travel booking company website, such as Expedia.com or Travelocity.com, and contact the company’s customer service department to confirm the promotion.

Consumers who believe fraud has taken place can contact the department’s consumer protection and information hotline at 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352) or, for Spanish speakers, 1-800-FL-AYUDA (352-9832). - See more at: http://insidethegate.com/gatehouse/#sthash.RYKR4Lfa.dpuf

Or you could just hang up on cold callers.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Manhattan Club Update

Here's the latest on this important case:

The lead attorney from the New York Attorney General's office on The Manhattan Club investigation, Serwat Farooq, is asking for any documents TMC owners can provide concerning experiences with the MC such as : Documents received when purchased ownership interest, Advertisements, solicitations or brochures, Notices received after the date of purchase relating to the purchase, Notices invoices or other documents concerning the financing obtained in connection with the purchase, Notices and/or invoices relating to mortgage obligations Notices and/or invoices relating to the MC’s yearly operating budget Correspondence to and/or from the TMC owner and the MC relating to reservations, maintenance fees or mortgages Documents relating to the resale of ownership interest, Documents demonstrating who was contacted to make reservations, Documents demonstrating unsuccessful attempts to making reservations, documents on RCI conversions MC pitch, Any other documents relating to the MC.  The Offering documents are very important.  Any one with a CD TMC Offering make a copy and send.  For telephone book Offering documents copy the important pages and send. Her address is:


Atty. Serwat Farooq, Asst. Attorney General

New York Attorney General’s Office

Re: The Manhattan Club Investigation

120 Broadway, 23rd Floor

New York, NY  10271