Archive for the 'Timeshare Fraud' Category

Resort Equity Marketing Complaint

Sunday, February 8th, 2009

Stay away from this company and please do your homework before giving any timeshare marketing company your money! You need to read the Better Business Bureau of Central Florida’s report on these guys. We signed up with REM 1/05 to sell our timeshare condominium. This was over the phone and the sales pitch and guarantee seemed reasonable.

However, in thinking it over and doing some additional research (BBB of Central Florida, etc.), we discovered that this was not the upstanding company that we were led to believe. Given the fact that we were told we had 7 days to cancel the contract, we figured we had an out without any issues. Only one problem, we were not given a contact number to reach this company by the phone sales person. Only told that our contract would arrive in a few days and that we had time to cancel once we received it. Attempting to reach these people at numbers listed on the Better Business Bureau’s website were futile. We received our contract on the 8th day after we had agreed to sign up with them over the phone. How convenient?! We were now past the contractual 7 day limit for cancelling!!!!

We have attempted to cancel with them via phone, mail, etc. and asked for a refund since that time, but they say they cannot do that because they have already started marketing our timeshare. Yet, when we have asked for proof of the services they are providing, they cannot provide us any. The only thing that has been done is that our condo is listed on their website (along with hundreds of others). No other marketing has been done, contrary to what they led us to believe (i.e., conventions, other sales literature, etc.). To test their marketing and follow thru on potential sales offers they are supposed to notify us of, we have put several offers out on the online system for our own condo


Summit Resort Marketing – Beware

Saturday, February 7th, 2009

Two weeks ago I was contacted by Summit Resort Marketing & Financing (now known as Summit Resort Marketing Group, Inc). I was told that they had a buyer for my two timeshare properties and they would close the deal, but they needed my checking account information so the escrow company could deposit the $57,800 selling price. I would not have to pay anything up front, but the would be charging my account $9,000+ when the buyers completed their end of the deal.


Attorney General Bill McCollum of Florida Warns Consumers

Friday, January 30th, 2009

Attorney General Bill McCollum
News Release
July 13, 2007

Media Contact: Sandi Copes

Phone: (850) 245-0150

Attorney General: Beware Foreign Timeshare Investments

~ Advisory follows increase in number of complaints reported to the Attorney General’s Office ~

TALLAHASSEE, FL – Attorney General Bill McCollum today issued a consumer advisory, encouraging Floridians to be cautious when booking timeshare reservations or vacation memberships in foreign countries, particularly Mexico. The Attorney General noted that his office has received an influx of complaints from citizens who have been scammed by less than reputable travel companies offering ideal vacations to these locations but often falling far short of operating under fair business practices.

( Click Here to READ FULL ARTICLE )


Thursday, January 29th, 2009

Cape Timeshare Becomes Nightmare
Team 5 Investigates uncovered a timeshare nightmare on the Cape and one man who, owners said, owed them thousands. Now they’ve uncovered a whole new nightmare development — traced to the same financially troubled developer.

CALL 3 Investigation of Free Prizes with Holiday Travel of America

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

Video: Is Promise Of Tropical Vacation Worth It?

Hawaii For $100? BBB Logs Trail Of Complaints

Travelers Face Many Restrictions
POSTED: 8:06 pm PDT May 5, 2008

NAPA, Calif. — Sitting through a sales pitch in return for a $100 trip to Hawaii sounds like an easy deal.
The company behind a mailer sells vacation club memberships. To get the free trip — including airfare and accommodations for two — you have to sit through a 90-minute sales pitch.
At a business park in Napa, KCRA 3 listened to the presentation, declined the vacation club offer, but then asked for the free trip.

The travel club company delivered, and KCRA 3 walked away with a VIP Hawaiian Holiday certificate, good for two round-trip coach tickets and two nights in economy accommodations.
The certificate had to be completed and mailed in within 45 days or it would be void.
Next came a letter requesting travel dates — Tuesdays through Thursdays only — plus an airline and hotel tax deposit of $100.

Mike and Sandy Carson, of Novato, went through a similar process and opted to pay more to extend their trip.
“We put in certain dates, but if you look on the card, there’s a lot of dates blacked out,” Mike Carson said.
KCRA 3 chose two sets of dates, but the redemption company said neither was available.
A third and fourth set of dates were also declined, as were the fifth and sixth sets of dates in March and April 2008 — even though KCRA 3 received its travel certificate in August 2007, and the redemption company cashed the deposit check a month later.
After rejecting all six travel dates, KCRA 3 called the redemption company, Holiday Travel of America, to complain.
Customer service said it could confirm Sept. 9 to 11, but that those dates had to be booked right then and there — and KCRA 3 had to fax back a confirmation letter with a credit card number. The company would charge $75 to $150 if the reservation was cancelled or if no one showed up.
The Better Business Bureau of San Diego said other people have had trouble, too: Holiday Travel of America has an unsatisfactory record because of a pattern of complaints.
People said they can’t get valid travel dates, and when they give up and try to get their deposit back, refunds are delayed.
Holiday Travel of America’s owner said over the phone that the company handles 30,000 to 40,000 transactions each year and has thousands of happy travelers. Customers have to read terms and conditions and disclosures and understand that promotional travel is all on space available.
He said his company makes mistakes but tries to fix them.
The company did confirm the travel dates in September, but no one could give a specific airlne or hotel.
But the Carsons gave up on their trip and asked for a refund, which they got. But Sandy Carson said she thinks most people give up before getting their money back.
“You get $100 from everybody, and they don’t pursue it — probably 80 percent don’t pursue it — and they make a bundle,” she said..
SEE ARTICLE : ( click here )

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 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 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 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 instead of, the website of the alleged purchaser.

In clicking on websites that Wyndham Worldwide claims to be official affiliates, the 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.


Vacations for Life – To Good To Be True – Royal Holiday Vacation Club

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

HERE TO WATCH INSIDE 20/20 Investigation on Royal Holiday

Vacations for Life:

Too Good to Be True?

Royal Holiday Vacation Club Subject of Numerous Customer Complaints

If you think buying a timeshare in Mexico sounds like more trouble than it’s worth, the Royal Holiday Vacation Club has a deal for you. It offers something completely different — let’s call it the un-timeshare.

The Royal Holiday Vacation Club offers members points to be used to book hotel stays.

More Photos

A promotional video produced by the company says, “Welcome to the exciting world of Royal Holiday … a great way to have luxury vacations without breaking the bank.”

Based in Mexico, Royal Holiday is doing a booming business signing up vacationers at busy sales offices around the Caribbean. It isn’t selling property; it’s selling points and promises. A typical member pays roughly $11,000 to join the club, plus a yearly fee of about $465. For that, a member gets points that the club says can be used to book luxury vacations.


Royal Holiday calls its Vacations for Life plan an alternative to the complaint-riddled timeshare business. But a “20/20″ hidden camera investigation inside the club’s sales operation in Cancun raised troubling questions about how Royal Holiday sells memberships and delivers on its promises. According to angry complaints placed both in the United States and in Mexico, hundreds upon hundreds of the club’s members wish they weren’t.

“We love to travel,” says Natasha Rajtar of Albany, N.Y., who signed up with her husband, Jason. “And we thought how cool over the next 30 years to be able to travel the world with our children.”

A Royal Holiday promotional video says, “Today we can share a secret with you, one that guarantees luxury vacations in first class hotels around the world.”

What is Royal Holiday’s real “secret”?

“20/20″ interviewed a cross-section of the growing number of members who say Royal Holiday misled them about how the club operates, and the availability of vacations they’d want. They say the only thing royal about their membership was the way they were ripped off.

John and Robin Chomko, who are from the St Louis area, joined in the Dominican Republic in 2006. “They’ll tell you anything,” John says of the Royal Holiday salespeople. “They’ll lie, I mean, they lied completely to us.”


Friday, January 16th, 2009


Published: September 27, 1981

Time-sharing, the new rage in vacation real estate, has attracted thousands of satisfied customers across the country. But left strand ed on the beaches and slopes are some unhappy buyers, who in the worst cases, lost all their money.

Some 300,000 families, mostly middle and upper income people, have bought time-shares since the concept of purchasing rights to a hotel or apartment unit at a resort for a specific week or two each year was introduced in this country in the late 1960’s. After a slow start, the industry began to expand dramatically in the mid-1970’s.

In the last six years, the number of time-share resorts in the United States has grown from 45 to about 550, according to Carl Burlingame, author of a magazine on time-shares and a book on the subject.

Industry surveys show a high satisfaction rate among time-share owners – 82 percent. A major attraction is the inflation protection that comes from locking in a portion of the family’s vacation costs for the next 20, 30, 40 or more years.

Moreover, as the industry has grown in size and sophistication, it has attracted major institutional lenders as well as first-class developers.

The industry’s success, however, has not been accomplished without charges of fraud and deception. The most well-known incident in the industry involved the old Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colo., where 2,100 people bought time-shares before the developers went bankrupt in 1979. At an average price of $5,000, the purchasers were buying rights to new, luxurious condominium units around the old hotel. The units were never built. however. A court appointed trustee has tried to find another developer to take over the project.

In July, New York Attorney General Robert Abrams sought to bar sales in New York of time-shares from Tree Tops, Inc. in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania because of the company’s failure to register in New York. As part of the consent judgment in the case, about 550 New Yorkers who bought time-shares at Tree Tops will have the opportunity to get their money back. Units at the resort sold at prices ranging from $3,500 to more than $8,200.

Harry F. Lee, Tree Tops’ Pennsylvania attorney, said the company plans to properly register in New York. He said Tree Tops had written to Mr. Abrams’s office asking about requirements in New York, but never received an answer.

After consulting with New York lawyers, Tree Tops took the position that it was not selling real estate, but pre-paid vacations and it need not register in New York. Like some other time-shares, Tree Tops owners do not take title to a deed.

Mr. Lee said Tree Tops decided against time-consuming litigation and chose instead to agree to stop sales to New Yorkers and offer refunds.

Earlier this year Mr. Abrams’s office got the court to bar the sale of time-shares on the cruise ship ”Romance.” The attorney general contended that Little Cruise Ship Ltd., based in San Diego, and the company’s agent, Carlino & Phillips Advertising Inc, of Plainview, N.Y., misled buyers about the size and capabilities of the ship and failed to register properly.

Robert S. Robbin, assistant attorney general in charge of the Bureau of Real Estate Finance, said that complaints about time-shares are growing, reflecting in part the recent change in law allowing time-share sales in New York.

”The sales procedures are aggressive and that’s going to generate complaints,” he said. Time-sharing is ”still in the early stages and we’re trying to avoid problems by stopping problem practices early.”

Last month, a Federal judge in South Carolina sentenced John G. Mitchell, a Nashville lawyer, and Harry Morgan, a Tennessee businessman, to 15 years in prison for their roles in a time-share scheme. The men are appealing their convictions on conspiracy and mail fraud charges stemming from the sale of time-shares for a resort in Myrtle Beach that was never built.

John Clifford Ryan, an assistant U.S. Attorney in South Carolina, said investigators found about 127 people who had purchased timeshares in the promised project, which was called Resort Club Vacation Inc. Units sold for about $4,600.


SMART MONEY’S ARTICLE – Escape from Timeshare Hell "

Thursday, January 15th, 2009

Escape From Timeshare Hell

Updated on November 5, 2007.

DESPITE THEIR UNWILLINGNESS to travel just weeks after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Dowell Multer and his wife made the trip to their mid-October timeshare at the LaCabana Beach and Racquet Club in Aruba. “Things had changed a lot,” Multer says. “It was a much quieter place.” The couple vacationed there for two more years before deciding they did not want to return.

But after three years on the market, Multer, who is now 73 years old, still hasn’t found a buyer. Granted, there was interest from companies that specialize in timeshare resales, but they all demanded hefty upfront fees. “One person wanted $1,500 upfront and swore up and down it’s a great market,” Multer says. Another asked for $599, promising to advertise the property world-wide. A third wanted $300. Multer politely declined. Yet, with the $900 maintenance fee due each year, he’s desperate to sell. “Right now, we would be very happy if we could just give it away to somebody,” he says.

The Multers aren’t alone. While there are no official statistics on the number of timeshare owners looking to unload their investment, the sheer size of the marketplace suggests there are thousands — if not hundreds of thousands — of unhappy timeshare owners looking to get out.

With timeshares, you typically buy the right to stay at a resort for a week each year, as long as you live. (And because this is a deeded property, your timeshare will be passed over to your heirs after you die.) That may sound great at the developer’s presentation: Buying a timeshare from the developer directly usually comes with incentives like discounted weeks at the resort or free lunches, and is often something of an impulse purchase. But it also means you’ve bound yourself to an annual maintenance fee, which can run as high as $1,500 and can increase if the timeshare management decides to do improvements upgrades on the property.

Needless to say, life doesn’t always agree with such arrangements. People’s circumstances change and, for one reason or another, they can no longer use their timeshares. That’s where reality kicks in: Selling the timeshare is tough. Unfortunately, recouping your original costs — especially if purchased from the developer — is next to impossible.

Successfully unloading your property is a matter of adjusting your expectations and knowing what your options are when it comes to the sale. Here’s some advice:

Start with your resort
When trying to sell your timeshare, going to your resort is a logical first step: Some resorts have buy-back programs, where they will offer to buy your timeshare week or points at a certain price. The practice, known as “right to first refusal,” is meant to help preserve the value of timeshare properties, explains George Marine, a real-estate investor and timeshare owner from Long Island, N.Y. What it basically means is that if you want to sell your timeshare, the resort will offer to buy it back at a certain price, typically lower than the purchase price but still higher than what the owner may get at the resale market. While most brand-name resorts — such as Disney and Marriott Vacation Clubs — have right of first refusal clauses in their contracts, how often they exercise it will vary by resort.

If your resort doesn’t have a right of first refusal or any other resale program, they may at least refer a reputable broker or resale agent.

Find the right marketplace
However you approach the resale of your timeshare, one thing’s for sure: Never pay an upfront fee to a broker. “This is a wide-scale scam,” says Caroline Lindholm, president of the Greater New York Timeshare Owners’ Group (GNYTOG). “There are so many agencies out there that will take $395 or so, and promise you the moon. And the prices [they say you can get for your listing] are totally unrealistic.”

Pat Teal, a 72-year-old timeshare owner from Myrtle Beach, S.C., learned that the hard way. Back in 2003, she contacted several resale companies about selling her timeshare at the Fairfield Beach Ocean Ridge in South Carolina. She was quoted a $300 upfront fee, which she paid using a credit card, and a $200 commission after the sale was complete. But two months later she called to inquire about any interest in her property, and the company had disappeared. “I kept calling and calling, but I couldn’t get a hold of them,” she says. (According to Better Business Bureau records, the company — Freedom Resorts International in Hudson, Fla. — has gone out of business.) Teal figured out her $300 fee was a lost cause, but imagine her dismay when her credit card was charged another $200. She appealed the charge with the credit-card company and her $200 was refunded, but still, the experience was sobering. “I would be more than happy to pay a commission, once the timeshare sold, but I hesitate to pay money upfront again,” she says.

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 !!