Important Update Affecting Resale Purchasers

Forum: Sheraton Vistana Resort

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By Jeffrey C.

Important Update Affecting Resale Purchasers

John, What they have done with me for I have been fighting this for 2 years now. I own in the fountains. If you go back a few postings on this blog you will see they offered me 200 bucks american to sign a warrenty deed giving them back my property which I have owned since 91. I said no way. Spend the money in legal fees. You surely know it will cost them more than 200 bucks to foreclose.

Avatar for Jeffrey C. Jeffrey C.

9 years ago
Jul 05, 2009

By Hazel M.

I also live in the UK and have told them just to foreclose on it. i have been told by my insurance for our credit card that there is no way they can give you a bad debt in the Uk if the debt occurs in the U.S.A. I have never had bad credit and do not want this but it is the only way. If everyone decided to foreclose Vistana would be in a total mess and I think this is why an estimated figure has been given for the refurbishment because the people who pay this will end up with a massive refurbishment fee if we all foreclose. Vistana know that they have no chance in getting this refurbishment money from 100% or the people and have left the estimate open.

Avatar for Hazel M. Hazel M.

9 years ago
Jul 05, 2009

By Hazel M.

We live in the UK and are with you 100% of the way. Could we perhaps get a mention in some of the American papers and perhaps the UK papaers as well and that way we may get some response regarding other owners. i think to publise the fact we are wanting as many owners as possible to come forward this would be the best way as I know there will be thousands out there and I do know a few from the UK who own. I would appreciate your comments because there is no way we are paying this and if we can get behind the majority who are not paying that is the way to go because it will then be too costly for Vistana to do thousands of foreclosures.

Avatar for Hazel M. Hazel M.

9 years ago
Jul 07, 2009

By Peter

SVO has a pretty strong sales team, for the cost of foreclosure SVo can sell the units in direct sales environments and do just fine turning a profit. And good luck garnering sufficient owner cooperation to not pay maintenance so their units are at risk of foreclosure. It would be easier, less risky, and more efficient to cooperate to vote all the board members off the board and vote in owners who will not spend your money. Since the owners can't even do that, you have a strong challenge ahead of you.

May I suggest: 1) collect a team who will work to secure the phone and address of as many owners as possible. This includes speaking to owners while staying at your resort during your vacation. 2) Educate owners that even when they vote, their vote is by proxy. In most cases when an owner votes and does not name an owner attending the annual meeting, the Board votes the proxy and if the Board chooses to change the proxy vote, they can. thus, it is critical to have owners vote AND name your representative as proxy so your representative has the voting power to vote Board memebrs in, and vote them out. 3) Be realistic. I agree the method most boards use to decide about special assessments is less than optimal. Owners should be notified as far in advance as possible, not a few months before a bill is due. But it costs money to notify all the owners. It also costs money to ensure your timeshare is beautiful. By refusing to pay for special assessments your resort will lose its attractiveness an also amenities/activities on site. 4) It is my opinion the money spent on refurbishments could be accomplished for less. THIS is probably where your best focus is. Also, is SVO surcharging the refurbishment with management fees and or special relationships with the vendors? I have been watching a Diamond Resorts property in Orlando called Cypress Pointe. Phase I has an owner controlled board and Phase II is a developer controlled board. Guess who has larger assessments?

Avatar for Peter Peter

9 years ago
Jul 07, 2009

By John M.

At last....The suggestion from PeterP is one we should seriously consider. I was sure that we, as owners, have the right to choose a new management company or board members if we think it is in our best interests. I am not sure how what the regulations in Florida are relating to board meetings, but owners normally have the right to call a meeting with the management company/board members if enough owners request it. We can then put our case forward with the threat of removing the board members if we see fit. If not immediately, then at the next annual meeting.

I am sure by now that most of you have done the maths. Work out what you have been asked to pay per week for a unit and multiply by 52. It is a significant amount of money for each unit. The cost is way too high as PeterP points out. I don't have a good feeling that we are going to get value for money.

We do need a volunteer to act as a focal point and collect names and email addresses. I would think someone the lives in Florida would be ideal. I would be happy to act as a focal point for people from the UK if required.

Avatar for John M. John M.

9 years ago
Jul 07, 2009

By Hazel M.

Please get in touch with me if you go ahead and collect names from the Uk as I know a few poeple already that has timeshare at Vistana.

Avatar for Hazel M. Hazel M.

9 years ago
Jul 08, 2009

By Joseph B.

I have simply abandoned my timeshare at Vistana, and am currently being dunned by a collection agency for my past due fee. Plus, I've ignored the special assessment upgrade for my unit. I don't know what will happen, and I am waiting to see. I've told them to just take the unit back, but they want my MONEY instead. They know the unit is worthless unless we keep paying for maintenance and "renovations." I am hoping that a uniform "strike" against Vistana will get them to see reason. We will see.....

joedeboer@yahoo.co

Last edit by josephb172 on Jul 08, 2009 05:16 PM.

Avatar for Joseph B. Joseph B.

9 years ago
Jul 08, 2009

By John M.

Joe, I am in exactly the same position as you. I haven't paid my maintenance fee or the renovation fee and told Vistana to keep the unit. I received a letter from them stating they were going to rent my unit out to recover costs. I have not heard anything since. I will keep you posted of any developments. Regards.

Avatar for John M. John M.

9 years ago
Jul 08, 2009

By Paul S.

Hi everyone,

I was a finalist for the board. The members have all been there for a long time. They interview and select their candidates. They never get a quorum, so they are free to vote however they wish. It would be next to impossible to ever get a quorum. Vistana's records are very inaccurate.

I am involved in a lawsuit against the Atrium in St. Maarten for doing the same thing. However there the increase is specified in our contracts. We also have no HOA Board so it is owners against Festiva Resorts. We are in our 3rd year of court battles. The situations are very different and can't be compared.

I have found no way to fight them. I made a deal and got one week for my two plus some payments. Florida is pro-business and there is a law which says that the timeshare company cannot take back a week.

Hope that this helps. I can highly recommend Orange Lake Country Club for rehabbing at no cost to the owners. Some companies have better management than others, and management companies come and go which makes timeshare ownership difficult.

Ann

Avatar for Paul S. Paul S.

9 years ago
Jul 09, 2009

By Jeffrey C.

When I first bought my timeshare the was a computer in what is now the rec room pool entrance to the fountains 2 pool or cascades (not really sure of the name) where you could look up every owner that owns vistana units. When this all started a couple of years back I asked where that info went and was told people complained about having there information so out there for everyone to see. Right of privacy you know. Would have been a great tool for us!!!

Avatar for Jeffrey C. Jeffrey C.

9 years ago
Jul 09, 2009

By Hazel M.

Hello Joe We are doing exactly that and not paying. I just hope more and more members opt not to pay and just say goodbye to their timeshare because if we pay this there is then no stopping Vistana from asking whatever they like in the coming years.

Avatar for Hazel M. Hazel M.

9 years ago
Jul 09, 2009

By Joseph B.

well, good! I'm hoping there are enough of us to effect a change in the way things are done. Nothing gets their attention like money, or the lack of it. I have tried many time to sell, and even to GIVE, my unit away, but no one wants it. That, to me, says the timeshare has no value, at least as it is currently set up. I've owned for 25 years there, paid my fees, and enjoyed the vacations, but now I NEED to be rid of it, and it's stuck to me like a tar baby.

Joe

Avatar for Joseph B. Joseph B.

9 years ago
Jul 09, 2009

By Peter

It is easy to stop paying your maintenance, especially if you are not concerned about your credit rating. But try as you might to believe Vistana will foreclose on a worthless timeshare, you are simply mistaken. You might not be able to sell it, but they will sell it at a profit.

josephb172, if you want to give away your unit, please contact me at Redweek ad R416945 and let me know how far behind you are in paying your maintenance and special assessments (or if you are current) so we may discuss transferring it.

askelly, you say you were a finalist for "the board". Which board? You also say "They interview and select their candidates. They never get a quorum, so they are free to vote however they wish." Without a quorum all actions requiring owner votes can't be acted upon. If you have evidence the board is taking actions without a quorum that is something you should provide specific evidence for. If you mean there is never a quorum so the board has no concerns about being voted out, please be more precise.

Avatar for Peter Peter

9 years ago
Jul 13, 2009

By Joseph B.

how would I go about finding this ad (Redweek #R416945)?

Avatar for Joseph B. Joseph B.

9 years ago
Jul 14, 2009

By Joseph B.

Peterp, I found the ad! I don't want to rent a timeshare out west. I tried to "contact" you but I'm not a member, so they won't let me. Perhaps you can email me at joedeboer@yahoo....? And we can discuss it.

Joe

Avatar for Joseph B. Joseph B.

9 years ago
Jul 14, 2009

By Paul S.

Hi Joe, The newsletter from Vistana announced an opening for the board about a year ago. I have good credentials and am on the board on my condo (in Florida).

I made it to the finals in the Courts section and had a telephone interview by the four board members. I learned that they nominate who will be candidates on the election list. I was obviously not selected with my MBA and management experience since I stated that I was opposed to the rehab fees.

I learned that there are never enough votes to get a quorum for the meeting. The board closes the meeting, opens and has another meeting where they vote in whomever they please, themselves obviously.

It would be impossible to get a quorum in any election that Vistana holds. I can personally verify that their record keeping is atrocious and the members come from all over the world.

I am willing to fight an injustice, but I also realize that this is an impossible situation.

Ann

Avatar for Paul S. Paul S.

9 years ago
Jul 15, 2009

By Darryl M.

I have paid my maintenance, including the assessment in full as of May2009. I have subsequently received monthly statements showing increasing interest charges for late fees, etc. although I was told all that was taken care of back in May and that I should disregard any future mailings requesting payment. I've called and have spoken to representatives regarding the fees and each one has told me that it will 'take time' for the fees to be removed from my account. I wish I would have told them that it would 'take time' for me to pay the invoice!! It is impossible to speak to anyone in authority although I have requested to speak to the accounting dept. at least six times! Today, I was told that a "special message" was being sent to accounting, requesting a clearing of my account. I have a confirmation # for my payments but that seems to be of no use. This is supposed to be a professionally run organization???? Not by my standards!!!! Does anyone have any suggestions for my being able to contact the accounting department directly? I have 'googled' it and have come up with the Bd. of Directors and nothing else. No contact information for them, either. It is a crying shame that they take our money and then hide!!!!1

Avatar for Darryl M. Darryl M.

9 years ago
Jul 27, 2009

By Brett W.

To all, I own in the Falls, been an owner since 1995. My brother-in-law has been an owner since 1978 or 79. Refurbishment is how things are updated to keep current. This the second refurbishment he has had to pay for in his unit. They are not included in the maintenance fees and this is stated in all the original paperwork I have (I had them give me copies of everything even things that they made statements on and I wanted it writing). Now that being said, it just so happens it is poor timing with the economy, but the economy did not take the dive until 2008 (mid year), all of decisions were made in 2007 and I am sure contracts signed. The machine marches on. Of course Starwood is not going to let folks out of this they are a major corporation (owns Sheraton Hotels, etc). They are going to get paid whether we like it or not and they are going to make it hard on anyone who does not pay. Not nice but that is the way of the corporate world. Another point is that they are going to play hardball and through attrition drive some of the folks out who own in the older units, I am sure they are working at buying up whole buildings as best they can, as our units sit on prime real estate that can house 6 story buildings instead of 2 and 3 story buildings. Refurbishment is just a way to keep up appearances and not let the resort go down in looks and keep exchanges up. It is going to be a huge balancing act. The last thing to top it off is the Falls are changing when the maintenance fee is going to be due, they have not stated the date but have stated early in the year and it is going to start in January 2010. No more staggered due dates for the fees, everyone in the Falls in 2010 is going to have the same due date and I expect it is going to be in January, which means right after Christmas (hopefully not but I am betting), no more using tax returns to pay the fees. It is going to be interesting how many folks this affects and how many will leave with this change. Believe me, I did not want to pay this but there is nothing that can be done that I can see and with Jeffrey's reply that says it.

Avatar for Brett W. Brett W.

9 years ago
Jul 28, 2009

By Darryl M.

Yes....but.....!!!

All my fees, etc. have been PAID!!!! HOW do I get them to stop sending me late charges??? Speaking to the membership staff is liking talking to the wall!!! Is there no way to get to the accounting department so that they can take care my account 'on the spot'?? That's all I'm asking!!!!

Avatar for Darryl M. Darryl M.

9 years ago
Jul 29, 2009

By Sharon K.

We too are trying to fight the decision to go with such an expensive refurbishment with 2 weeks of townhouse to pay for I got hold of minutes of meetings from June 2008 of the board. From what i can gather the discussions have been going on for some time but the costs and contracts were not signed until October last year.Mrs Diane Hodge addressed the board about her positive experience of reburbishment at Lakes but strange that noone with a negative opinion was invited to present to the board. Seems that Mr Lesick & Mr Andrade voted in favour of the refurbishment and Mr Wasserman & Mr Hanousek voted against it so 75 minutes after the meeting began Mr Falatek joins by conference call just to vote the refurbishment through then he left the meeting. We are astounded that these guys are representing us. I'm wondering which planet they are living on where they can spend that amount of money without consulting with any other owners. There is definately something amiss here. We have asked to speak to the association member next thursday evening as we have paid fees but no refurb so received letter to inform us that we cannot use our weeks next year. To be honest will we afford it if we have so much to pay to them when we have flights from UK to pay too. We are paying this money upfront and not when the refurb has to be paid. Anything could happen to that money in the meantime. Also there is 25% contingency $2.5Million mmmmmmmm.Sharon & David

Avatar for Sharon K. Sharon K.

9 years ago
Aug 13, 2009

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