Archive for the 'Timeshares' Category

Westgate Resorts – Where does the money go that you invested in your Westgate Property ?

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

click on picture to watch the video

David A. Siegel

Founder, President, and CEO

Westgate Resorts Founder

Special Video that Features David Siegel’s
Older Smaller Home.

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NEWSWEEK – The Trap in Time Shares

Saturday, January 17th, 2009

The Trap In Time Shares

Warning to all vacationers who-on impulse let a sales agent talk them into buying a share. It’s easy to love these holiday , but only as long as their pleasures suit style of life. If your taste ever changes, a time share can hang around your neck like an albatross. In most cases, there’s no certain way of pulling free.

One reason time shares are so popular is their close fit with the baby boomers, who want a family vacation spot but can’t afford a home of their own. Instead they buy a slice of a home-say, a single week at a summer resort. Led by luxury offerings from such brand-name hoteliers as Disney, Marriott and Hilton, U.S. sales this year are expected to reach a record $2.5 billion.

Price tags on new time shares are not low. Two-bedroom units average $9,500, up to a top of $18,000. Annual fees (for maintenance and taxes) average $350 and can reach $770. But you’re not locked into the place you buy. Swaps can be had for a similar week at a unit somewhere else.


So what’s not to like about this deal? Mainly, its perpetuity. At some point in the future you may not want this holiday anymore-because your children are grown or your spouse has died. But you can’t store a time share down in the basement next to your dusty exercise bike. Annual maintenance fees continue. To escape them you have to sell-and that’s when you learn that a time-share resort is easy to join but tough to leave.

_B_A glut:_b_At many resorts, “used” time-share weeks are a glut on the market. In almost all cases, they can’t be resold for anything close to what you paid. You’re doing well if you get even half the original price. Where there aren’t a lot of weeks for sale, you might luck into 80 percent or more. But time shares in older, less spiffy resorts, or in undesirable weeks of the year, often draw no bids at all.

That stands in sharp contrast to the pitch of many sales agents, who lead you to think that resales are easy. Officially, the industry deplores that line. “Time shares should not be purchased for investment or resale,” says Tom Franks, president of the American Resort Development Association (ARDA). Developers who permit salesroom hype are playing a hypocritical game: tsk-tsking the deceptions in public while privately hauling money to the bank.

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AG Announces Lawsuit Against Florida Timeshare and Vacation Companies

Saturday, January 17th, 2009

LOCAL NEWS:

AG Announces Lawsuit Against Florida Timeshare and Vacation Companies

October 14, 2008

Attorney General Corbett announces lawsuits against Florida timeshare & vacation companies accused of advertising, real estate, and telemarketing violations

Bluegreen1-250x275HARRISBURG – Attorney General Tom Corbett today announced lawsuits today against four Florida-based companies accused of illegally marketing vacation packages, using “free” airline ticket offers and other worthless prizes to lure consumers into aggressive and deceptive timeshare presentations.

Corbett said consumer protection lawsuits were filed against Bluegreen Corporation, Bluegreen Resorts, Bluegreen Vacations Unlimited, Inc. and Great Vacations Destinations, Inc., all of Boca Raton, Florida. Bluegreen contacted consumers by phone and through kiosks at shopping malls, fairs, and festivals throughout Pennsylvania, and also operates full-time sales facilities in Hershey and King of Prussia.

“Virtually any consumer with a checkbook and a pulse allegedly qualified as a ‘winner’ in these promotions,” Corbett said. “Unsuspecting consumers who believed they were contest winners were actually drawn into a high pressure bait-and-switch campaign designed to push timeshare vacation packages costing thousands of dollars.”

Corbett said more than 5,700 Pennsylvania residents purchased Bluegreen timeshares, with many paying $20,000 to $40,000 or more for packages that violated Pennsylvania’s Consumer Protection Law, the Real Estate Licensing and Registration Act, the Telemarketer Registration Act and other consumer regulations.

Phony Prizes
Corbett said that Bluegreen representatives allegedly called consumers who believed they were entering contests and other promotions promising cars, cash and vacations.

According to the lawsuit, consumers were told that they had not won the “grand prize,” but had been selected to receive other items, like free airline tickets. Consumers were also promised free gasoline and meals when they collected their prize, if they attended a 90 minute timeshare presentation.

Corbett said the lawsuit alleges that consumers who were contacted by Bluegreen were not actually randomly selected prize winners. Instead, virtually everyone who entered the contests was contacted and falsely told that they were a prize winner.

In one case, Corbett said a consumer informed a Bluegreen representative that the person they were trying to reach did not live at that address. The consumer was told that it wasn’t a problem – they would give her a prize too.

Bluegreen-Airfare1-366x244High Pressure Sales and False Advertising
Corbett said that in order to collect their “prizes,” consumers were required to schedule an appointment with a Bluegreen sales representative. In some cases, consumers who believed they would be attending a 90 minute timeshare presentation were actually subjected to relentless marketing pitches that lasted five hours or more.

According to the lawsuit, numerous deceptive statements were made to consumers during these presentations in an effort to get them to sign contracts immediately, including phony claims that prices would increase the next day, misrepresentations about when and where consumers could travel if they made a purchase and false statements about certain fees being waived.

Corbett said that some consumers bought vacation programs because they were told they were entitled to a one-week stay in Hawaii, only to learn afterward that the program they purchased could not be used in Hawaii.

According to the lawsuit, consumers who sat through the timeshare presentations received “prizes” that were nothing like what they had been promised. The “four free airline tickets” were actually booklets that offered two airline tickets with each hotel room reserved, at high prices, in a limited number of cities. In some situations, consumers were required to commit to a 10 night stay at overpriced hotel rates before being able to select a local airport for their flight.

Corbett said “free” gasoline and meals that consumers were promised turned out to be coupons or certificates with lengthy terms and conditions. For instance, consumers who were promised $40 in free gas were required to submit written requests to obtain a series of gas coupons. The coupons required consumers to pay for their gas first and then mail a receipt for reimbursement, with each coupon limited to a $5 purchase, with no more than one purchase per month.

Illegal Contracts
Corbett’s said contracts used by Bluegreen failed to properly inform consumers of their right to cancel their purchase. Pennsylvania law requires that consumers have five days to cancel any timeshare or campground purchase. Bluegreen is also accused of violating a state law that requires all consumer contracts to be written in easy-to-understand terms.

Bluegreen-Hershey-366x244Do Not Call Violations
According to the lawsuit, Bluegreen made numerous calls to consumers who were on Pennsylvania’s Do Not Call list, allegedly basing those calls on referrals from other customers. Additionally, the companies are accused of making repeated calls to consumers who clearly told them not to call again.

“Bluegreen took advantage of hardworking Pennsylvania residents eager to find an affordable getaway,” Corbett said. “Using deceptive contests, relentless sales presentations and misleading contracts, consumers were pressured into paying thousands of dollars for vacation packages that don’t meet their needs or their budgets.”

Corbett said the lawsuits seek restitution for consumers who suffered financial losses because of these deceptive or illegal practices.

Additionally, Corbett says the lawsuit asks the court to void all illegal consumer contracts and give consumers the right to cancel any agreement that did not include the state-required notice of cancellation.

The lawsuit also seeks up to $1,000 in civil penalties for each violation of the Consumer Protection Law, or up to $3,000 for each violation involving a senior citizen.

The lawsuits were filed in Commonwealth Court, in Harrisburg, by Senior Deputy Attorney General David Sumner of the Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.

Corbett says the investigation began after consumers contacted his office to report these practices. He encouraged other consumers who have problems with Bluegreen to file a complaint by calling the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-441-2555 or submit an online consumer complaint.

Corbett offered the following tips to consumers considering a timeshare:

  • Take your time.
    Treat a timeshare purchase like the purchase of a home or any other significant commitment. Don’t let high pressure sales tactics and long presentations force you into a hasty decision.
  • Do your research.
    Check the market and the value of the vacation property before you buy and investigate the seller, the developer and the management company. Ask for references and contact current owners to verify their satisfaction with the property.
  • Know the cancellation period.
    Pennsylvania provides a five-day cooling off period for buyers to change their mind and cancel a timeshare contract. Consumers must notify the seller in writing via certified mail or return receipt mail.
  • Recognize that timeshares can be difficult to resell.
    Buy a timeshare only if you plan to use it. It is an option for future vacations, not an investment.
  • Consider extra costs.
    Most timeshares require consumers to pay annual assessment fees, maintenance fees and taxes, closing and broker commissions, and finance charges. Some fees can rise dramatically in the future so it’s important to ask if there is cap on future fees.
  • Beware of scams.
    If you are offered a prize as an incentive to attend a timeshare presentation, ask for details and watch out for hidden conditions and fine print. Keep in mind that the value of promotional gifts may be low in comparison to the fees and charges associated with a timeshare purchase. Any ‘free’ travel or vacations you are offered may have blackout dates and other restrictions.
  • Read everything before you sign.
    Carefully review contracts and all other paperwork before you sign anything, and get all special promises about discounts, waived fees or other promotions in writing.

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Confessions of a time-share salesperson from CNN.com

Thursday, January 15th, 2009

By Lisa Ann Schreier
Budget Travel

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(Budget Travel Onlineexternal link) — The slick, fast-talking time-share salesman still exists. He may no longer wear a lime-green leisure suit, but he’s solely focused on the sale — and he’s largely the reason the industry has a less-than-stellar reputation. Some salespeople talk, talk and talk, and never listen to the client. There’s no shortage of unseemly tactics, with questions like “Don’t you think your children deserve better?” I’ve seen a salesperson give a tour of one time-share and then at the last minute try to sell a property in another part of the country. To avoid falling for a trick, pay close attention and never let a salesperson tell you what you want.


A scripted pitch

Although time-shares each have their own phrases, and salespeople have leeway to improvise, there are certain steps all staffers are trained to follow. The script begins with a Greeting; moves on to the Intent, in which a client hears what’s going to happen during the presentation; and then gets to the Warm-up, which is basically small talk. At some point, the salesperson will steer the conversation to the Product, with an introduction to terms such as “fixed week” and “floating week,” before proposing a Vacation Problem Solution in the form of a time-share purchase. Depending on the salesperson, the steps might feel like natural conversation or an extremely awkward blind date.


The puke price

Asking the client to buy is the final step. The salesperson will show a price sheet, often with a figure known as the “puke price” because it’s so high, it’ll make a client feel sick. Shortly afterward, a sales manager — whom insiders call a T.O., as in Take Over — will come in and say something about how that’s the price for anyone who just walked in off the street. The T.O. may then say, “I’m not supposed to show you this . . .” or “We have a special inventory that’s going to sell fast . . .” and offer a much cheaper price — what we call the Nosebleed Drop. Personally, I hate the whole game. It’s a crock. If you want to avoid the gimmicks, insist up front that salespeople show you one price only. If they don’t deliver on this, walk away.


Fuzzy math

I remember how one salesperson used to describe hotel price inflation to an unsuspecting client. “If you pay $100 for a typical hotel room today,” he’d say, “and figure an annual inflation rate of 10 percent, that means that in 10 years, that same hotel room will cost you $1,000!” Actually, even if such inflation occurred, the amount would be $260 in 10 years. Be doubly sure to check the numbers when it comes to financing and monthly payments. In fact, avoid the developer’s financing, which is typically a rip-off. You’re better off finding financing on your own.


No means no

I sincerely believe that for the right people, buying a time-share is a legitimate alternative to paying for hotels year in, year out. But if you’re really not interested in investing in a time-share, don’t waste your time at a presentation. In my opinion, the discount you receive on lodging and entertainment is not worth the few hours of vacation you’re giving up to hear the sales pitch that goes along with the deal. That said, if you’re curious enough to listen to the pitch and decide a time-share isn’t for you, just tell the salesperson so as firmly and plainly as possible. But salespeople don’t give up easily: You may have to repeat yourself a half-dozen times before the message gets through.

Lisa Ann Schreier was a time-share salesperson and manager in Orlando for six years.

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ABC Special Nightline News Reports the TRUTH about timeshares !

Thursday, January 15th, 2009

Watch the ABC Special Nightline News Report Clip that explains from experts on what is happening in the timeshare industry. Pay attention to the TRUTH…..

(CLICK HERE TO WATCH VIDEO)


Find the perfect hotel for you

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The Timeshare Prizes

Thursday, January 15th, 2009

Piney Shores is part of a Dallas-based time-share outfit called Silverleaf mail fraud and conspiracy charges for the way it ran its time-share contests. looking for upper-income families to sign up for their time-share deals, The last thing they wanted was for anyone to spend time thinking about it. .. well take a look at what happened … at TIMESHARE PRIZE PROMISES !!

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