Saturday, July 20, 2013

What Does Timeshare have In Common With Kryptonite?

Several years ago, the Kryptonite company had a problem.  It seems that someone discovered that one of their decidedly high quality locks could be very easily "picked" by using nothing more complicated than a pen.

The company refused to comment on this, even after hundreds, even thousands of comments and videos were posted online.

They stuck to their guns and repeated..."Our bike locks are the best" whenever anyone posted or commented about the pen incident.

According to the book "The Brand Bubble", the public conversation went something like this:

Day One

Kryptonite:     "Our bike locks are the best."
The Market:    "Yes, your bike locks are the best."

Day Two

Kryptonite:     "Our bike locks are the best."
The Market:   "Yes, your bike locks are still the best."

Day Three

Kryptonite:     "Our bike locks are the best."
The Market:   "Ummmm, yeah, I'm sure they are, but what's all this about some recent video on the net that's supposed to show you how you can crack your locks in 10 seconds using a Bic pen?"

Day Four

Kryptonite:     "Our bike locks are the best."
The Market:   "Hey, I just saw that video on a friend's Web site and I'm kinda ticked off because I just paid $60 for one of your new locks three weeks ago, and I'm wondering if a Bic pen can crack my lock or not...does the pen crack all Kryptonite locks or just one or two models?"

Day Five

Kryptonite:     "Our bike locks are the best."
The Market:   "Hey, I just visited your website and saw no mention of the Bic pen problem.  What are you doing about it?  Are you going to fix the locks?  Are you going to give me a refund?"

Day Six

Kryptonite:     "Our bike locks are the best."
The Market:   "No, they're not.  My bike just got stolen!  A whole bunch of my friends are going to hear about this."

Isn't this exactly what most in the timeshare community do?  The old adage of "Timeshare is a great value.  There are no surprises and it takes the stress out of planning a vacation.  And everyone has a place to relax and unwind', gets repeated over and over again no matter what questions or concerns are raised.

To wit:

"What do you mean no surprises?  My maintenance fees go up 20% each year."

"I paid $19,000 for my timeshare and now I see identical units for sale for $3,000.  How is this a great value?"

"I was told that because this was deeded real estate, I would be able to sell it at any time, to whomever I wanted.  Now, the resort prevents me from doing this."

"It's hard to relax and unwind when the resort rents out larger units than mine to anyone off the street who doesn't own for only $299 and that's much less than my annual fees of $750."

In my opinion, we're way past Day Six.  Time to rethink and address some serious issues.



Friday, July 12, 2013

How Much Has Changed From 2005? Absolutely NOTHING

I found this article while doing some research for a future article.  Although this particular suit was brought against Festiva...I'm NOT aiming this post at Festiva, because as we all know, this happens all the time at practically every single timeshare resort in the country.

According to an article published by the Springfield, Missouri News-Leader, Festiva timeshare resorts will pay $339,000 to the State of Missouri and to Festiva timeshare owners participating in the lawsuit, for using what was determined to be, “false and misleading sales tactics while selling timeshares at a Branson resort.” The action specifically refers to timeshare sales at the Cabins at Green Mountain near Branson, Missouri, which are owned and marketed by Festiva Resorts, an Ashville, North Carolina company.

Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon’s office originally brought suit against Festiva timeshares in 2005. In the Attorney General’s news release, issued at that time, the lawsuit alleged that, “Festiva lured consumers by falsely promising to:
  • Help them sell other timeshares they owned.
  • Help them rent out timeshares they bought from Festiva.
  • Help them get good deals on condo rentals in attractive locations.
  • Help them get good deals on vacation packages.
  • Give refunds to those dissatisfied with their purchase.

Nixon also says Festiva didn’t give consumers enough time to make decisions, creating a sense of urgency and a high-pressure sales environment.”

An unidentified number of consumers will receive a total of just over $324,000 collectively, and the state will receive $15,000 for civil penalties and costs. Of the settlement to consumers, $106,885 will go to customers who complained to the attorney general’s office before June 25, 2005, and use their timeshare at least once. The balance, $217,508, will be distributed to consumers who filed their complaints before June 25 and never used their timeshares.

If a Festiva resort timeshare owner, who is part of this lawsuit, used his timeshare at least one time, he is given the choice to: deed the timeshare unit back to Festiva and receive a partial refund; keep the timeshare and receive a small cash payment; or keep the timeshare and receive a free upgrade from the resort. If the timeshare owners who participated in this lawsuit have never used their timeshare, they have a choice to receive a portion of what they paid Festiva and then return their deed to the company.

What's of interest to me here is that all of these false promises are still being made on a daily basis all around the country and more importantly, that consumers are believing these false promises on a daily basis all around the country.

"Didn't give consumers enough time to make decisions, creating a sense of urgency and a high-pressure sales environment."  SOUND FAMILIAR?

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Oiur Guest Blogger Returns From Portugal-Welcome Steve Burton

I will with Lisa's agreement write an article each month about a resort in RCI that I would recommend you consider visiting. In the article last month I wrote about Lehigh Resort Club in Florida( RCI ID 0101)  I mentioned that Lehigh Resort Club was a great place to make friends in part because of the superb organised activities programme. I also mentioned that the apartments at that resort do not have the wow factor of some resorts I have visited.
The contrast between Lehigh Resort club and Elliott at Vale Do Lobo( RCI ID 0332) could not be more striking as the villa's at Vale Do Lobo do have the wow factor due to their size as they have thirty six three bedroom villas and just six two bedroom villas. All but four of them have their own small swimming pool and those that don't have a covered hot tub. The villa's have a maid service six days of the week which is appreciated by all who stay there.
What you probably will not find at Vale Do Lobo is the opportunity to make many friendships in the way that is quite common at other timeshare resorts this is because there is no organised activities programme and the villa's are very private due to their location. This is quite an unusual timeshare resort in the sense that the forty two villas are located in various parts of a much larger development.
The Vale Do Lobo resort has won awards as the best tourist development in Europe and if you are lucky enough to get an exchange here with RCI you will soon understand why. The resort has everything in my opinion superb villas, two eighteen hole golf courses on site and its proximity to a beautiful beach that runs for miles. Depending on the villa you are occupying you could be half a mile or more from the beach so please don't think that the villa's are located within yards of the beach as they are not in part because of the size of the Vale Do Lobo development. Most people would say that a car is necessary to fully enjoy a vacation at this resort and if you are wanting to go sight seeing in the Algarve region of Portugal that is probably true. However there is a grocery store on site although it is probably a mile or more from the timeshare villa's. There is also a resort circuit bus for which it costs twenty four pounds ie around thirty seven dollars for a weekly pass.
There is also a Vale Do Lobo club card for thirty nine pounds ie around sixty dollars that allows use on the bus and discount for golf etc. Unlike Lehigh resort club this is not a timeshare development where you will see lots of availability with RCI as the owners tend to come back year after year to what we as owners consider our own slice of paradise. Due to the shortage of spacebanks from this resort with RCI my advice would be to put on an on going search rather than hope to see availability by checking  periodically as such is the demand for this resort especially from April to October that you are very unlikely to see availability as any weeks deposited will be allocated to RCI members who already have an on going search for this resort.
In view of the fact that there is limited availability at Elliott at Vale Do Lobo and  because I will probably not write a further review involving a timeshare resort in Portugal. I think I should add some other resorts in Portugal that I would recommend to readers of Timeshare Insights. These resorts are the Alto Golf and Country club(RCI ID 1966) Quinta do Lago country club(RCI ID 1605) and to perhaps a lesser extent I would recommend Balaia Park(RCI ID 2731) and Balaia Village(RCI ID 2395) These resorts are well worth considering visiting on exchange with RCI but in my view there is no timeshare resort quite like Elliott at Vale Do Lobo and if you are lucky enough to get an exchange there you will soon understand why I believe this to be true.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Important Update on CWR/Festiva/RCI Issue

I have received MANY e-mails from concerned owners asking me what they should do about this case as well as asking me for updates as the thread seems to  have gone quiet.

First things first:

I am not an attorney, so I can not and will not give any advice to anyone regarding joining this Class Action lawsuit or not.

I'm providing a platform to share news and information about this issue and many others and while I oftentimes use this platform to share my opinions and thoughts, I can not on this legal matter.  The platform remains open for your use however.

Secondly, I have recently found out through my own research that the lawsuit hass been amended.

Here is the link to the latest news:

Thank you for sharing your experiences with me and with everyone is an honor that I do not take lightly.