Important Update Affecting Resale Purchasers

Forum: Sheraton Vistana Resort

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Message Author

By Hazel M.

Important Update Affecting Resale Purchasers

We live in Scotland and received a demand letter for what they are now calling maintenance. We paid 834 dollars in March per week owned in the courts and have always paid our maintenance on time since we bought in 1981. What was called The Refurbishment Fee has now been changed to Maintenance and I have questioned this and it is like hitting a brick wall. I think the more people who refuse to pay this the better. I am writing them today too say this is not Maintenance and a dispute is ongoing. I just wish we could get to know all the members names and addresses who are in the same situation. BUT PLEASE EVERYONE DO NOT PAY THIS as I can only see something not right about this as well and if we pay it will not stop here. They will make any demands they want in the future and this has to be stopped now. Is there perhaps a register of owners in Florida perhaps held at the County Buildings which the public have assess to. In Scotland we have a Freedom of Information Act and can ask many questions which organisations cannot withhold.

Avatar for Hazel M. Hazel M.

9 years ago
Aug 14, 2009

By Jeffrey C.

Hazel, Your wasting your time for when I refused to pay for the refurbishment they started sending it as maintanence and taxes and ofcourse I knew better and still wouldn't pay it. So now there trying to take it back. They offered me a whole 200.00 dollars and you can only imagine what I told them!!!!!

Avatar for Jeffrey C. Jeffrey C.

9 years ago
Aug 14, 2009

By John M.

Hazel I have not paid either. Vistana sent me a letter informing me that they will rent the apartment out to recover costs. I have no intention of paying.

john_masterman@hotmail.co.uk

Jeffrey If they offered me $200 they can have it. (2 bedroom lock off sleeps 8).

Avatar for John M. John M.

9 years ago
Aug 22, 2009

By Bonnie A.

Hi

If they offer you $200 take it all I got for my 2 bedroom courts when I sold it was $100.00. Let the Vistana have it and then they can pay all the refurbishment costs. You can just get any week on Redweek cheaper than you can own a timeshare for. I have come to realize that. By the time you pay your maintence fees annually you can get lots of weeks cheaper and not have to worry about any additional annual costs. I will be selling all of mine except one in 2011 and only renting from Redweek its much easier . The fees most likely will be increased as when owners don't pay they will take what is owed and spread them out over the ones that have. So just sell them for what you can and rent from Redweek. You will have no stress that way.

Avatar for Bonnie A. Bonnie A.

9 years ago
Aug 22, 2009

By Sharon K.

Hi Guys, We had a call with Ty The Board customer relations manager (a lawyer) on Thursday and discussed our concerns. It seems that the 25% contingency takes into account those who are not expected to pay their "maintenance" for the refurb. So the contractor will take the weeks off their hands but everyone else has an extra payment to make as a result. also the contracts are not signed with the building contractor. There is time to review this situation. The board who voted for this 3 votes to 2 have taken no pole of what us the other owners want so let's all write to them to express our opinions and at the AGM lets vote them out before we are commited to anything financially. The board are representating us owners but not very well. Tell me what you think. Sharon & David

Avatar for Sharon K. Sharon K.

9 years ago
Aug 23, 2009

By Hazel M.

Vistana are panicking now. I wrote a letter to them saying we were getting in touch with the media in the U.S.A National newspapers etc. and they immediately phoned me to ask if I just want them to take our two weeks back but for nothing. " I thought they said Florida law would not let them do this". We are delighted with this just to get rid of it but we are awaiting the paperwork from them. I know in the future they are going to take a huge maintenance fee when they build in reserves so we would rather not have this. We have had our money out of this as we bought in 1981. We could never trust people like this again when they have tried so hard to get our money. Our maintenance fee always depends on the state of the exchange rate at the time so we never know what it is going to be.

Avatar for Hazel M. Hazel M.

9 years ago
Aug 24, 2009

By Jeffrey C.

Its just to bad that this has taken so long to catch fire with everyone.I/we started bitching 2 years ago and just now Vistana is starting to pretend to listen. I like you Hazel have been an owner for a long time (since 90) and feel as you do. They were great when we bought but as time has moved on we see all these places like vistana rent weeks and have specials where its just as cheap not to own. Sad but true!!!!!!

Avatar for Jeffrey C. Jeffrey C.

9 years ago
Aug 25, 2009

By Joseph B.

Hazel, Jeffrey, I agree. Keep your money! It's the ONLY means you have of getting their attention. They are currently dunning me for maintenance and upgrade fees. I want to see where this goes. I've been an owner since 1986.

joedeboer at yahoo.com

Avatar for Joseph B. Joseph B.

9 years ago
Aug 25, 2009

By Jeffrey C.

So, what did everyone think about vistana crying poverty and cutting services to us in there last letter we recieved last week. And to top it off asking us to keep quite about it for it would hurt our trade value.They should have thought about this before they started the refurbishment project that has all but crippled them and therefore us!!!!!

Avatar for Jeffrey C. Jeffrey C.

9 years ago
Sep 16, 2009

By Brett W.

So, what is a Timeshare, Hotel, etc supposed to do when their property is worn out and not as nice to stay at as other properties around? I just don't understand all of the BMW (B'ing, Moaning and Whining), the Falls have NOT been refurbed and they are doing it now and thank goodness. It's what has to happen in order to remain in competition. Unfortunately it came at a bad time, just happens. The Springs have had their refurb, so we must all of them that have not been done for the last couple of years. I guess my question to some of you is how are you going to better the situation by not paying the refurb fee? What is it going to get anyone of us that have paid or are paying? Do anyone of you have a better plan in managing a multi-million $ enterprise such as this, if you do I am listening. What will end up happening is that Vistana will lose its trading power and will suffer as the condo's degrade over time (hence some of the specials for Vistana weeks being less than the maintenance fees). As for the one who says the contracts are not signed as of yet, think again, the refurbishments have started and are well underway. My Brother-in-Law was down there end of August and has pictures at least in the Falls where they were already working and finished on some. Everyone is crying poverty, you can see it at the Marriott Resort's, Hilton's, Hyatt's, etc they are all cutting services to keep up. Cut the BMW, pay the fees and get on with life or if you wish give the property back to Starwood and they will get what they want in the end, to build their bigger buildings with more units.

Avatar for Brett W. Brett W.

9 years ago
Sep 24, 2009

By Joseph B.

You sound like a shill for the timeshares. If Vistana would take back their week, I would GLADLY give it back. But they won't take it. All they do is threaten me and increase the penalties and fees. They KNOW the properties are worthless without the fees they generate. I've paid for my unit ten times over in annual fees since 1987. They claim my unit needs $250,000 in refurbishment ($5,000 cost x 50 weeks)--for a SINGLE unit. That's more than it cost to BUlLD the thing. And BTW, they were refurbished about five years ago, and didn't NEED refurbishing. They were FINE as they were. I was there.

Avatar for Joseph B. Joseph B.

9 years ago
Sep 24, 2009

By John M.

jeffreyc81 wrote:
So, what did everyone think about vistana crying poverty and cutting services to us in there last letter we recieved last week. And to top it off asking us to keep quite about it for it would hurt our trade value.They should have thought about this before they started the refurbishment project that has all but crippled them and therefore us!!!!!

What letter? I didn't receive one.

Avatar for John M. John M.

9 years ago
Sep 24, 2009

By John M.

brettw24 wrote:
So, what is a Timeshare, Hotel, etc supposed to do when their property is worn out and not as nice to stay at as other properties around? I just don't understand all of the BMW (B'ing, Moaning and Whining), the Falls have NOT been refurbed and they are doing it now and thank goodness. It's what has to happen in order to remain in competition. Unfortunately it came at a bad time, just happens. The Springs have had their refurb, so we must all of them that have not been done for the last couple of years. I guess my question to some of you is how are you going to better the situation by not paying the refurb fee? What is it going to get anyone of us that have paid or are paying? Do anyone of you have a better plan in managing a multi-million $ enterprise such as this, if you do I am listening. What will end up happening is that Vistana will lose its trading power and will suffer as the condo's degrade over time (hence some of the specials for Vistana weeks being less than the maintenance fees). As for the one who says the contracts are not signed as of yet, think again, the refurbishments have started and are well underway. My Brother-in-Law was down there end of August and has pictures at least in the Falls where they were already working and finished on some. Everyone is crying poverty, you can see it at the Marriott Resort's, Hilton's, Hyatt's, etc they are all cutting services to keep up. Cut the BMW, pay the fees and get on with life or if you wish give the property back to Starwood and they will get what they want in the end, to build their bigger buildings with more units.

Do the maths......we are being charged far too much....and not even consulted in advance. I would love to give my property back to Vistana, but they will not accept it. This is not the way to manage a resort on behalf of the owners.

Avatar for John M. John M.

9 years ago
Sep 24, 2009

By Brett W.

No shill, I work as a Technical Product Manager in the plastics industry. Nothing great. My wife and I have owned for 14 yrs in the Falls and my Brother-in-law and his wife have owned since 1979 (or 1980), in the Spas I believe. My wife and I decided to honor our commitment and payed the fee. The notices for this remodel were sent out back in 2007 and we were told to expect the remodel to happen when we stayed there in 2005. I take the family to Orlando about 1X per year. I was there last year, year before (2007), year before (2006), all the way back to 2004. 2008 we stayed at the Marriott Grand Vista and was blown away by the condos. 2007 stayed at Vistana. 2006 stayed at the Parc Corniche. Parc Corniche was horrible in its condition of the condos, we said we never want to stay there again. When we stayed at Vistana in 2007 (in the Falls)we were surprised that the condo was practically in the same shape as the Parc Corniche condos. The Marriott was a whole different story, unbelievable in the decor and appliances in the condo. I don't know where the math is coming from but, at $1,682 per week (50 weeks) per unit, that is $84K, or $87K if they were able to get a couple of floats into the mix. For a total refurb that is not bad at all, especially with the code upgrades they will have to do included. Vistana has a total of 1008 units to refurb, not a small job and not cheap (as with any remodel job). It is unfortunate if you own multiple units and that Starwood is NOT helping out with a payment plan or anything like that for the multiple week owners. But to expect to own in a timeshare and not have a remodel or not to pay for it is just not realistic. It could have happened at a better time though, but that was not under Vistana's control either.

Avatar for Brett W. Brett W.

9 years ago
Sep 24, 2009

By Jeffrey C.

John, Recieved the letter 2 weeks ago. A standard form letter of crying and moaning about the bad economy and how its hurting them and what they are going to do. Put all staff on a reduced work schedule. The mid-week cleaning will now be a tidy up service. No more free coffee and tea to get us started. (available at the general store for a reasonable cost. LOL!!!! Is anything in the general store reasonable.) Placemats and napkins to be discontinued. liquid soap to be reduced. Trash liners to also be reduced and a 5 dollar fee for the rollaway bed if required. At the end of this letter it says and I quote " We ask that you be mindful not to share your displeasure, should you have any, regarding service level changes by rating the resort low on your comment card. Giving the resort a reduced or low rating for these changes will only result in affecting your trading power to other resorts in the exchange network." What do you think about that??? Were going to screw you alittle more but don't tell anyone!!!!! Joseph you are right. Brett does sound alittle like a timeshare schill. And no it was not part of our contract to pay an extra refubishment fee. Vistana just got to big for there britches and now we all have to pay. John if you want to see the letter for yourself send me your fax number and I will fax it to you. jeffcreighton13@yahoo.com

Avatar for Jeffrey C. Jeffrey C.

9 years ago
Sep 25, 2009

By Joseph B.

The "math" is this: Vistana said each unit had $5,000 in refurbishments per owner week. 50 weeks of ownership times $5,000 = $250,000 to refurbish a condo. That's about $200.00 per square foot. Modern houses can be BUILT FROM SCRATCH for about $125-$150 per SF, (not including the land or foundation). So why that kind of expense? A reasonable question, I think.

Avatar for Joseph B. Joseph B.

9 years ago
Sep 25, 2009

By Brett W.

josephb172 wrote:
The "math" is this: Vistana said each unit had $5,000 in refurbishments per owner week. 50 weeks of ownership times $5,000 = $250,000 to refurbish a condo. That's about $200.00 per square foot. Modern houses can be BUILT FROM SCRATCH for about $125-$150 per SF, (not including the land or foundation). So why that kind of expense? A reasonable question, I think.

I never saw that number. Where was it stated? In what letter was it sent? The letter sent to us was that it would cost $1682 per owner week. This includes the code concessions that they would have to do in the condos themselves. So, per condo it will run $84K, now some of the condo buildings Original Vistana, Spas, Springs and Falls will have a bit more in expense to get them up to code than the newer buildings. Now there might be an additional number as you have to remember that Starwood is shoving some cash into this refurb too. They are not going to cut corners, especially on codes (when they are required). Now with the cash they are infusing (which should be in their annual report) there might be a $5000 total charge per condo owner week on some of the condos, but that does not mean that the owners are going to be charged that amount. You have to remember if there are some major code issues to be resolved on these older buildings this could mean that the water systems, drainage systems, sewage systems or even electrical systems may have to be revamped. This means walls torn down and rebuilt, etc. There are a total of 1008 condos being done at $84K each that is a basic budget of $84 million dollars. Double it and add 25%, your at a total of $210 million dollars. If you take the $5000 per unit week, your at $262 million dollars, total budget should fall in to this range if the $5000 is correct. Starwood is getting 30% from the owners.

Avatar for Brett W. Brett W.

9 years ago
Sep 25, 2009

By Joseph B.

Man, do you ever sound like a plant from Sheraton....

My letter from Sheraton Vistana, for my unit (older, two-level unit in the Courts) said $5,000 per unit week. Granted, half was supposedly being paid from annual reserves, but the other half ($2,500) was to come from ME, over and above that I've paid them for 25+ years. Your numbers are cute, but mean nothing to me. They could burn the place down and re-build from scratch for $200 a square foot. Can't cut corners? That's EXACTLY what they'll do wherever they can. Like I said, they were refurbished 5-6 years ago, and are fine as they are; new counters, appliances, carpets, furniture, TV's, etc. etc. Can't you SEE that we are hostages here, and Sheraton is a huge corporation, ready and willing to fleece us for any and every thing they can? Have you EVER known them to be benevolent, or even reasonable? I haven't.

Last edit by josephb172 on Sep 26, 2009 04:56 PM.

Avatar for Joseph B. Joseph B.

9 years ago
Sep 26, 2009

By Brett W.

josephb172 wrote:
Man, do you ever sound like a plant from Sheraton....

My letter from Sheraton Vistana, for my unit (older, two-level unit in the Courts) said $5,000 per unit week. Granted, half was supposedly being paid from annual reserves, but the other half ($2,500) was to come from ME, over and above that I've paid them for 25+ years. Your numbers are cute, but mean nothing to me. They could burn the place down and re-build from scratch for $200 a square foot. Can't cut corners? That's EXACTLY what they'll do wherever they can. Like I said, they were refurbished 5-6 years ago, and are fine as they are; new counters, appliances, carpets, furniture, TV's, etc. etc. Can't you SEE that we are hostages here, and Sheraton is a huge corporation, ready and willing to fleece us for any and every thing they can? Have you EVER known them to be benevolent, or even reasonable? I haven't.

No plant, it's funny how folks who can reason are called plants. I do not believe it is fair that you are charged $2500 when the rest of the Falls (all non-2 story) are charged the $1682. I stayed in a Falls two story in 2004, it was not renovated and did not have new appliances, so maybe they missed the one I was in. I do know that Starwood is a large corporation, and I did state that they would cut corners where they can. But they could not build for $200 / sq ft. Normal residential houses possibly, but not multi-story units, can't be done at that cost. You are NOT a hostage, just get rid of the property, there are quite a few posts where folks have sold or even sold back to Starwood. It is your decision on how to handle the situation. BMW does not get anyone anything though. You either pay, get on the board and change things, or get out those are the options, its not a hostage situation.

Avatar for Brett W. Brett W.

9 years ago
Sep 26, 2009

By John M.

It's not easy to get out Joseph. I have tried. I even told Vistana that they can have my unit for free. I have owned for about 15 years. I am not a happy time share owner.

Avatar for John M. John M.

9 years ago
Sep 26, 2009

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