Delaware Sues Serenity Travel Destination Vacations
State says travel clubs defrauded consumers
The Delaware Attorney Generals Office says it is movingforward with lawsuits against two travel companies that allegedlydefrauded dozens of Delawareans. According to complaints fromconsumers, Serenity Travel and Destination Vacation Internationalfailed to provide promised discounts and incentives to consumerswho joined their travel clubs, and failed to pay refunds toconsumers and change their business practices under a binding May2010 agreement with the office.
Delawareans deserve to be treated with fairness by thecompanies they do business with, said Timothy Mullaney, Sr.,Director of the Attorney Generals Fraud and ConsumerProtection Division. Were taking action in court toensure that customers receive the refunds they deserve and toprotect all consumers from deceptive and misleading marketingpractices.
The Attorney Generals Office received more than 70consumer complaints between June 2009 and May 2010 alleging thetravel companies offered discounts on cruises, lodging and othertravel products if they attended the companies marketingpresentations, but then either failed to provide promisedincentives or required customers to pay previously undisclosedfees.
Check Your Timeshare Contract
Many timeshare contracts contain a retraction or rescission period. This can be called a cooling off period. Its a period of time after you signed the timeshare agreement in which you can cancel. No questions asked.
The cooling off time period is typically just a few days long. In some states, certain requirements must be met before the time period begins.
This can also be referred to as a deed-back clause where you are allowed to give the timeshare back to a resort in a specified period of time.
Check with your state laws if your contract is unclear. But check the rescission terms on the contract first.
If your timeshare purchase is recent, you may be covered. You may be able to annul the contract.
Note that official timeshare cancellations usually require written notice. So, plan on writing the timeshare company a letter. Sign it and keep a copy for yourself.
Note the date of mailing as well. Send it registered mail for extra protection. Your attorney generals office can help you with the details.
If You Just Bought A Timeshare Can You Cancel Maybe But You’ll Have To Act Quickly
By Amy Loftsgordon, Attorney
If you recently bought a timeshare and regret that decision, you might be able to cancel the contract. But you’ll need to act quickly. The amount of time you have to cancel the purchasecalled the “rescission period”depends on state law. Usually, you have only a few days.
Read on to learn more about the right to cancel a timeshare purchase and how to back out of a timeshare deal.
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Can You Cancel A Contract
If you have just recently purchased a timeshare and are having second thoughts, we recommend reviewing your timeshare contract. Timeshare contracts have a recission period, where you can cancel your purchase. In Florida, the recission period ends ten days after your purchase. Be sure to check with your developer to see when yours ends.
Each developer and contract will lay out different rules for recission, so its worth looking into. Most often, timeshare resales are a great way to purchase a week or points for less money than if you buy directly. If you are past the recission period with your current timeshare, unfortunately, you most likely will not be able to cancel your contract easily. You should, however, take a look at other common options available to you.
They Dont Appreciate In Value
Unlike most real estate, timeshare dont appreciate. The value of the building is irrelevant to timeshare owners. Youre buying the time, not a piece of the building.
Its kind of like buying a new car. The timeshare resale value decreases as soon as you leave the lot. Or in this case, sign the contract. Plus, the maintenance fee will go up.
Therefore your investment wont increase in value. This is different than if you bought a vacation home outright.
Those buying timeshares from sellers get a much better deal. Resale prices on timeshares are significantly lower than the original sale prices. If you insist on owning a timeshare, buy used.
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List Your Timeshare For $1 Or Give It Away
If you cant sell your timeshare for any appreciable amount and you are unable to do a Timeshare Deedback, you may be able to find someone to take over your timeshare for you. Obviously, youll lose money on this deal, but at least you wont have to pay taxes and fees on the timeshare going forward.
The TUGBBS Bargain Bin is a forum set up specifically for people who are looking to give their timeshares away and for people who might be willing to take them.
State Law Says How Long You Get To Cancel A Timeshare Purchase
The vast majority of timeshare purchasers get the right to rescind the contract within a specific amount of time. Most states have laws giving timeshare buyers at least a few daysusually between three and fifteento cancel the agreement.
In Colorado, for instance, a purchaser has up to five calendar days after the sale to rescind a timeshare contract. . Under Nevada law, timeshare purchasers get the right to cancel a timeshare contract until midnight of the fifth calendar day following the date the contract was executed. .
State law also often requires that information about the right to cancel be included in the contract. The right to cancel is typically nonwaivable, which means that the seller can’t ask or require you to give up this right.
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Vacation Greatness Begins Here
We created a timeshare ownership and exchange program that helps you make the most of every precious vacation moment. As a Marriott Vacation Club® Owner, you have access to a vast and diverse collection of resorts, properties and experiences, including cruises, adventure travel, guided tours and more. Plus, when you explore the world with Marriott Vacation Club, you get all the standards of excellence you expect from Marriott® the most trusted brand in hospitality.
What If I Don’t Want To Just Give It Away For Free
While most Shell Timeshares have little to no resale value, Alternatively it could be offered up on the resale market to net some money to you as an owner if you chose to sell it vs give it back to Wyndham/Shell! If you wish to investigate this route, we would suggest starting with our How to Sell your Timeshare Guide for more details on how to sell your Timeshare yourself without paying large upfront fees and without being scammed! This article however was expressly written to let more owners know about this program as a legitimate option to get out of a Shell ownership!
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How To Cancel Royal Holiday Club Timeshare / Vacation Club
Royal Holiday Club is a vacation club membership program based in Mexico. Customers that sign up to become members of the club are supposedly given exclusive access to special offers at more than 180 resort properties in the USA, Mexico and Caribbean. The company may have as many as 80,000 members in its club.
This particular timeshare / vacation club company has an interesting backstory. Back in 2008, ABC News did an investigation into the companys sales practices. According to the ABCnews investigation, Royal Holiday began offering customers free meals and special offers at the airport to reel customers in to the timeshare presentations at the resorts. When at the timeshare presentation, some customers were told they only had one day to sign up for the program before the offer wouldnt be available tomorrow. One couple that purchased the vacation club membership, Doug and Karin LaClair, said they were shown a beautiful suite in the presentation, but when they went to use their membership for the first time, they only received a regular Motel 6 kind of room.
Although the company has more than 90 complaints on the BBB, it somehow holds a B+ rating. The consumer protection agency in Mexico similar to the BBB, Profeco, reported more than 1,800 complaints back in 2008.
How To Protect Yourself In A Timeshare Deal
It’s critical to understand all of your rights when purchasing a timeshare. If you sign a timeshare contract early in your vacation, the rescission period could very well expire before you even get home. To avoid missing the window of opportunity for cancelling the contract, be sure to read all of the terms of the contract at the time you purchase the timeshare. Most timeshare laws require the seller to include information in the contract about how long you have to cancel the deal, as well as the procedures for delivering a cancellation letter. But a timeshare seller might bury these details in the paperwork or the instructions might be confusing. To protect yourself, you should be familiar with timeshare laws before you sign the agreement.
To verify how much time you have to cancel a timeshare contractand the specific procedures you need to followconsider talking to a consumer protection attorney or timeshare attorney in the state where the timeshare is located. If you buy a timeshare abroad and want to learn about your cancellation rights, consult with an attorney or consumer protection agency in that country.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Timeshare Cancellation
How can I detect fraudulent activity when attempting to sell or cancel my timeshare?
There are many fraudulent timeshare exit companies in the marketplace who constantly solicit timeshare owners with false information. Here are a few red flags that reflect techniques they typically use:
- Attempting to discredit your timeshare product
- Requests to complete fill-in-the-blank questionnaires that presume negative allegations against your resort
- Invitations to off-property meetings
- Scare tactics about legal claims against your resort
- Warnings of forced payment of maintenance fees through inheritance
Be aware that third-party companies promising to get you out of your obligations rarely, if ever, have any legal basis to do so. Rather, they write baseless complaints on behalf of owners in an effort to put pressure on developers. In the end, the developers foreclose on those owners, who then end up with damaged credit.Despite the harm to owners, many third-party scammers count such foreclosures as successful exits from timeshare. And they craft owner agreements that allow them to retain their upfront fees despite the foreclosure results.Horizons can accomplish the same results promised by the exit company scammers, and without the danger to your credit.
What promises should I be aware of when I look for companies to get me out of my timeshare?
What guarantees should I be cautious about when Im confronted by another company promising to cancel my timeshare?
Can I sell my timeshare?
Failed To Fulfill Promises
The six-count complaint filed this week charges Turner,individually and d/b/a Reservations, his wife Robyn B. Bernstein,and their Marlton-based company, Travel Deals Limited LiabilityCompany, as well as VIP Executives, LLC, with violating the NewJersey Consumer Fraud Act and Advertising Regulations, by failingto fulfill promises of complimentary cruises and airfare used toinduce attendance at sales presentations, and failing to providethe luxury vacation packages at discounted prices representedduring the sales presentations.
At the same time, the New Jersey attorney general is takingTurner back to court on the state’s allegation that he is inviolation of the recently agreed-to settlement.
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Beware Of Spring Break Travel Scams
Shady operators often promise free travel as inducements
“Some unscrupulous companies take advantage of consumers’ desires to get a good deal on travel,” said Ohio Attorney General Cordray. “They offer ‘free’ vacations, cheap flights and other perks, but when consumers try to cash in, the companies invalidate the offers or simply stop responding. It is important to watch out for these deceptive bait-and-switch tactics.”
In fact, the word “free” is often a tip-off that the item being pitched isn’t quite on the up and up. No matter what they tell you, marketers don’t make any money when they give something away free, which is why they hardly ever do it.
Cordray says that in the last two years he has received nearly 300 complaints about travel clubs and travel agencies. One consumer said she attended a sales presentation from a vacation company that promised her three days to cancel. She paid $2,500, but when she tried to cancel, she said the company ignored her calls and never refunded her money.
Another consumer said he signed a two-year membership with a travel club that promised travel amenities, including lodging, food, gas and entertainment. Despite paying $2,900 and following all the rules, the consumer said he never received the promised benefits.
Here are some suggestions that will help you stay out of trouble when booking travel:
How Can I Purchase Ownership With Bluegreen Vacation Club
Visit a sales center at one of our resorts to get a clear, simple overview of our program. Well answer all of your questions and guide you through vacation options based on your preferences and needs.You can also gain firsthand experience of everything Bluegreen Vacations offers by purchasing a greatly discounted vacation to one of our exciting vacation destinations. During your getaway, youll take a tour and discover the many benefits of vacation ownership. You will also have the opportunity to purchase ownership with Bluegreen Vacation Club at that time. Find out more on how to get started, or call us toll-free at .
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This Seems Too Good To Be True Whats The Catch
While there is no “catch”, there are two requirements for an owner to be eligible to use this program
- Your ownership must be paid off
- You cannot be delinquent in your maintenance fees
Thats it! no special fees, no secrets, no hidden agendas! If you have a Shell Timeshare or points you wish to get rid of, you can simply call the number on the website above and begin the quick and easy process of giving or selling your Timeshare back to Shell/Wyndham
Can’t You Just Walk Away
We talked to legal experts about the defensibility of timeshare contracts with no exit option that purportedly pass into a member’s estate and on to their children. After all, the members don’t actually own the property. Is it really legal for a business to force you to keep paying for its services when you want out?
Shaky legal ground
Professor Jeannie Paterson of the University of Melbourne Law School, whose own parents are caught in a Classic Holidays scheme, says the timeshare operator’s threat that the obligation to keep paying for the timeshare will pass to their children may be on shaky ground.
Classic Holidays tried one of its standard tactics on Paterson’s parents. The company pressured them to sign up to its Aspire scheme and pay a hefty upfront fee as a condition for leaving their long-term scheme, ostensibly to avoid burdening their children with years of ongoing fees.
But the professor is sceptical about the basis of such tactics. “Children are not automatically or necessarily liable for their parents’ debts,” Paterson says. “A debt doesn’t transfer to children on the death of a parent. The executor is responsible for the debts of the estate.
Children are not automatically or necessarily liable for their parents’ debts
Jeannie Paterson, University of Melbourne Law School
The right to pay out of the contract?
Paterson says refusing to let members leave their schemes by paying out any debts is unfair and an overreach.
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Sea To Ski Vacations Ordered To Pay $7 Million In Penalties Restitution
“Free airline ticket” offers were used to rope in customers
Travel club memberships can be great when they work. But when they don’t, they can be a major source of frustration and monetary distress.
Take Sea to Ski Vacations. It’s been ordered to pay $7 million in fines and consumer restitution for violating the Colorado Consumer Protection Act.
Denver District Court Judge Robert McGahey also prohibited the club’s owners from owning, managing, or operating travel-related businesses again because of their deceptive business practices.
Consumers complained that they were told membership in the travel club would entitle them to deep discounts on condos and cruises, said Attorney General John Suthers. Yet, after paying as much as $9,000 for a membership, the Sea to Ski deals were no better than what the consumer could purchase on popular internet travel sites.”
According to testimony from ex-employee witnesses, Sea to Ski employees regularly used Expedia and Priceline to book travel while pretending to be working with an exclusive provider of travel services.
Sea to Ski attracted its customers by mailing postcards claiming that the recipient had won two free airline tickets. The free airline ticket offers often require substantial up-front fees, and such onerous travel restrictions that consumers are unable to redeem the travel vouchers. American Airlines sued the club for copyright infringement for the unlawful use of their logo.
Hill Country Resort At Canyon Lake Advisory
The Texas winter storm caused significant damages to certain building exteriors and guest villas at our Hill Country Resort at Canyon Lake. As a result, availability has been reduced and owners visiting this resort may experience construction and restoration work taking place on-property during their stay. Please be advised that these changes will be in effect over the next several months.
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Common Scams To Avoid
Oftentimes these exit companies will take your money and not help you at all. If you suspect youve been introduced to a timeshare scam, call your developer or ARDA and let them know. They will be able to guide you in the right direction and vet any third-party companies.
Learn About Finding A Legitimate Timeshare Resale Company