Archive for the 'Investigation on Wyndham' Category

Endless Vacations – Vacation Rentals?

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

ENDLESS VACATION RENTALS BY WYNDHAM WORLDWIDE –

- Value.

For the cost of a long weekend at a hotel, Endless Vacation Rentals offers travelers accommodations for a whole week in a vacation rental. Plus, there is no extra charge for additional guests up to the selected accommodations’ maximum occupancy – representing a significant per person cost savings.

Independence and Flexibility – Accommodation options available at Endless Vacation Rentals cater to different needs so everyone is able to do what he/she enjoys most. Dad and the guys can watch the game in the living room; cartoons entertain the young ones in a bedroom; while the gals lounge by the pool; and grandpa enjoys an afternoon snooze on the patio/balcony…all before they re-group for an evening grill-out right on-site.

Established & Reliable Part of Group RCISM, Endless Vacation Rentals is backed by a leader in hospitality founded in 1974. Group RCISM is a subsidiary of Wyndham Worldwide Corporation, one of the world’s largest hospitality companies.

Wyndham Worldwide offers individual consumers and business-to-business customers a broad suite of hospitality products and services across various accommodation alternatives and price ranges through its premier portfolio of world-renowned brands in hotel franchising, vacation rental and exchange and vacation ownership. For more about us, please see the about us page.

(READ FULL ARTICLE ON ENDLESS VACATIONS / WYNDHAM)


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Wyndham Worldwide – Cendant Spin Off – RCI Branch

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009


Here is the presentation about the new company that contains the hotel business, RCI and vacation rental branch, and TS branch (FF& TW). It was post in FF’s Yahoo group by Glenn first.

It is for investor, so it contains a lot of interest numbers.

If look from RCI, renting earns about the same as exchange. So in any forseeable future, RCI will not go away from rent unless it loss in the on-going legal fight.

Their TS selling expense is 50%, I though I saw Perry’s post about 35% to 40% for WM. Guess FF’s selling cost is too high. Consider there is close to 50 years of history on TS, it is sad. The real cost is only 25%. Unfortuantely, FF resell can not even make the real cost, probably because people don’t have good trust on that branch. Majority of the revenue is coming from selling, so they need to expand more.

They report total 18,000+ units in TS, and 750,000+ owners. Which means if each owner owns one week, it is 41+ week. And FF suppose hold 20% inventories in the trust, assume it is true for WM, so each owner will own less than a week on avg, which is not matched what I read, I believe avg. each owner actaully owns more than 1.5 weeks. They probably oversell if the number in that report is right.

Using their hotel number, it is $61+ expected cash flow per room per night. Which means if you have more than $420 per week (60* 7) for 1 BR in MF, that will be too much. But most of their hotel are in low end.

Jya-Ning

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Entanglements Sows Seeds of Confusion – Bluebeard’s Castle / Wyndham ?

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009


Entanglements Sows Seeds of Confusion

To confuse federal and state authorities about the affiliations between the entities that develop the interval time-share properties and the actual companies that manage the properties, and the various subsidiaries, it is common within the time-share industry to create companies with similar names, and shuffle subsidiaries like dominoes or playing cards. When heat is pressed against one-card, the shuffler simply rotates (changes the company name and owner) to another hand. It is this technique that keeps law enforcement agencies and consumers from investigating the fraudulent patterns of ownership.

Consider these facts with respect to BlueBeard’s Castle Hilltop Villas III. As of January 1st, 2007, Fairfield Resorts, Inc. has been listed as the owner/developer of BlueBeards Castle Hilltop Villas III. In the spring of 2007, this same company purchased Wyndham Vacation Resorts, Inc. Wyndham Vacation Resorts, Inc has a principal address of 8427 South Park Circle, Orlando, FL 32819. In fact, Fairfield Resorts, Inc. also has a principal business address of 8427 SouthPark Circle, Suite 500, Orlando, FL 32819. The company that issues the deeds to purported owners of the time-share units has the same address as the purported developer.

However, instead of retiring the Wyndham Vacation Resorts name as is typical when a majority owner takes control, and desires to spread the successor’s brand name, the old and subdued Wyndham Vacation Resorts, Inc is still prevalent upon the fairfieldresorts.com website, and most stationery.

In recent times, there are numerous instances when a consumer has contacted Fairfield but instead they are told that the company has been sold to or bought by Wyndham Vacation Resorts. Consumers with unsettled complaints are referred to either the “new” company or some company claiming to be an affiliate of the “new” company.

At the same time that fairfieldresorts.com is displaying images and symbols that suggests the website is owned and operated by Wyndham, an affiliate of Wyndham Worldwide Corporation, called Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, LLC, operates a nearly identical website at http://www.wyndham.com/main. This website makes no mention as to whether or not it is owned by or associated with Fairfield Resorts, Inc. no exact street address is listed, however when one attempts to contact the company, the website refers a reader to http://www.wyndhamworldwide.com/ instead of fairfieldresorts.com, the website of the alleged purchaser.

In clicking on websites that Wyndham Worldwide claims to be official affiliates, the fairfieldresorts.com is not amongst the ones listed.

Equivest St. Thomas, Inc. is a subsidiary of Fairfield Resorts, Inc., claims a telephone operator employed by Fairfield. Fairfield Resorts, Inc. also operates its own title and recording business at the same address used by its other subsidiaries.

Despite its questionable customer service record, SPM Resorts, Inc. has been expanding its business partnerships. The Timeshare Beat, an online research website featuring timeshare news, claims that SPM Resort, Inc. has taken over management responsibilities for The Blue Tree Resort at Lake Buena Vista in Orlando, Peppertree By The Sea in Myrtle Beach, SC, and Outer Banks Beach Clubs I and II at Outer Banks, NC.

Aside from commentary from numerous consumer-oriented websites, public files from a Consumer Proctection Agency paint an unflattering image of SPM Resorts, Inc., and its executive officers, as well as details of alleged unsavory and/or illegal acts that the company is apparently willing to do collect upon a perceived or fabricated debt.

Consumer Allegations of Fraud, Deception, and Identity-theft Unanswered
According to public records, at least one consumer has alleged a billing and identity-theft scheme against persons associated with SPM Resorts,Inc. On or about JULY 19TH, 2006, public records indicate that a consumer sent a certified letter to SPM RESORT MANAGEMENT, 1051 SHINE AVE, MYRTLE BEACH SC 29577 to the attention of “Tom Anderson”, an alleged Executive Vice-President of the company. The consumer demanded documentation that evidenced the legality of the billing practices of SPM Resorts, Inc. In other words, why was SPM Resorts, Inc. sending invoices to persons who claimed they had no relationship with the company, who claimed they did not own or buy any time-shares associated with the company, who claimed they had no outstanding loans with the company or their affiliates, and who stated they did not wish to be associated with SPM Resorts, Inc? None of the questions were answered or responded to by Mr. Anderson or SPM Resorts, Inc.

CLICK HERE FOR FULL STORY * * *

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ABC 7 News Report on Trendwest / Worldmark / Wyndham

Monday, January 26th, 2009

Trendwest Reservations Tough To Get

Tuesday, February 27, 2007 7:21 PM
Feb. 27 – KGO (KGO) — Trendwest is one of the largest timeshare companies in the world, with about a quarter-of-a-million owners. But has it become too much of a good thing? 7 On Your Side’s Michael Finney has the results of a year-long investigation.
Trendwest bills itself as an affordable way to gain access to more than 60 vacation resorts, mostly in the western U.S. The company is undergoing a name change and is also known as WorldMark by Wyndham. But as our 7 On Your Side investigation reveals, reservations at many of the most popular resorts can be nearly impossible to get.

Images of coastal beauty, mountain settings and peaceful surroundings dominate a DVD given to perspective Trendwest owners.

Here’s how the program works: Trendwest owners buy credits or points. The credits are automatically renewed on the owner’s anniversary date at no additional cost. Those credits are used to redeem stays at any one of Trendwest resorts, or can be traded outside the networks through Resort Condominiums International (RCI) — that’s a vacation condo exchange service. Owners must also pay maintenance fees, which average $400-$500-dollars each year.

Recruiters sit in a booth right outside the company’s office in San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf. Tourists agree to attend a 90-minute presentation in exchange for a free or heavily-discounted tour of the city.

On one day in December 2005, two ABC7 News employees with a hidden camera are the ones being recruited by Trendwest.

Name withheld, ABC7 News undercover: “Which cities are hot?”
Name withheld, Trendwest representative: “Monterey, Carmel, Napa is a real hot place to go.”
Name withheld, ABC7 News undercover: “Yeah.”
Name withheld, Trendwest representative: “Tahoe.”
The places mentioned are some of Trendwest’s most popular resorts. They come up again once the actual presentation begins. So does Hawaii.
Name withheld, Trendwest representative: “Next week, December 28-January 4, I’m going to Maui, okay? I book my vacation in advance with my credits.”

We talked to many people happy with the program.

Jack Crandall, Billingham, WA: “Trendwest Resorts for us have worked out really well.”
Stephon Joseph, El Cerrito: “We stayed in a very nice place, very exclusive — big two-bedroom in Orlando.” But we also found plenty of dissatisfied customers, too. Manuela Milavici of San Francisco was a former Trendwest owner. She says she decided to sell her ownership at a loss because the resorts she wanted to book were usually unavailable.

In her nine-years of ownership, she said she typically ended up going to the company’s less-popular resorts, like Clear Lake, because those were the only condos that had openings. She did, however, go to Hawaii once.

Manuela Milavici, San Francisco: “It was not worth it for me. I don’t know. It’s a harsh word to say cheated, but in a way it might be true.”

Theresa Farrell had a similar experience trying to book a trip to Disneyland.
Theresa Farrell: “I think what it is, they sell so many memberships, there’s just not the opportunity that they say you’re going to have.”

Steve Wiley worked for Trendwest for 13 years. He’s suing Trendwest for wrongful termination and age discrimination.
Steve Wiley, former Trendwest employee: “They’re selling more time than they have available to sell. Their selling more points than can possibly be in the system.”

If that were true, Trendwest would be in violation of state law.

Using public records filed with the Department of Real Estate, we broke down the numbers, figuring out the amount of Trendwest units available for use by its owners. We then asked statistician and Laney College professor Bill Lepowsky to analyze the data.

Bill Lepowsky, statistician and Laney College professor: “If you were to buy into Trendwest, you can certainly expect to book some resort, somewhere during some time of the year. As to whether you can book the resort that you want during the season that you want, during the month that you want, that’s not necessarily the case.”

There are only 33 units in Monterey. Lepowsky says less than one-percent of Trendwest’s quarter million owners would be able to book a week there in any given year.

In Pismo Beach, it’s also less than one-percent; in Orlando, it’s just one-percent; in Hawaii, about seven-percent; in Las Vegas, nearly eight-and-a-half-percent.

In all, there are more than 250,000 owners competing for time at about 5,300 condominium units. None of this is ever mentioned in the presentation.

Teri Lee of San Leandro sold her ownership at a loss a few years after she bought it. She says the sale’s pressure to buy was intense.
Teri Lee, San Leandro: “At our age, we shouldn’t had been taking on debt at that point. We were trying to get out of debt.”

Trendwest tells its employees only to market to those with a minimum of $50,000-dollars in income. But some may slip through the cracks.

Name withheld, Trendwest: “You guys combined make $50,000 or more?”
Name withheld, ABC7 News undercover: “Combined? Not really.”
Name withheld, Trendwest: “Yes, you do.”
Name withheld, ABC7 News undercover: “Okay.”

Back in 2003, the state attorney general’s office fined Trendwest $800,000-dollars and ordered it to refund an estimated $2-million-dollars. The state accused Trendwest of deceptive sale practices and illegally denying consumers the ability to cancel their contracts.

The owners of Trendwest declined an opportunity to respond to this story in an on-camera interview, but in a written statement, Wyndham Worldwide said it offers “A flexible product with a wide variety of accommodations and vacation options.” It says its reservations are available on a “first-come, first serve basis.”

The company says all “owners are provided all financial information” about the sale, and that its employees are held to the highest ethical standards.

Bill Lepowsky: “The people that Trendwest would be right for are the people who, first of all, have a certain degree of flexibility in their vacation plans, are not dead set on one particular place. They don’t buy Trendwest saying, ‘I know I want to go to Hawaii during the month of July, and that’s what I’m going to do,’ because that might not happen.”

The Department of Real Estate says such sale tactics are common but unethical. Meantime, a timeshare reseller tells us if you ever do buy a timeshare and then try to sell it, you can expect an average loss of about 50 percent.
(Copyright ©2009 KGO-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)
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