The Missouri, Florida and Washington State Attorneys General have taken pride in pursuing exit companies that exhibit signs of unfair and deceptive practices, but investigating Timeshare Developers, not so much. KIRO 7 Washington State television reporter, Amy Clancy, read more than 1,000 pages of Worldmark by Wyndham complaints after filing a Public Records Request with the Washington State Attorney General’s office, while investigating why senior Mary Gronlund was pursued by Wyndham in their attempts to have her deceased son’s estate pay for his timeshare.
A frequent complaint, especially reported by those who hold a timeshare deed, is that your heirs will be responsible for your timeshare if your deed is not converted to points. Not only is this not true, but typically the conversion to points results in a timeshare loan, thus creating an estate liability when in fact, none existed. As we have reported in the past, all states have laws that allow heirs to disavow an inheritance. Requirements vary by state. Those who have inherited an unwanted timeshare should contact their estate attorney.
Two collection agencies retained by Worldmark by Wyndham relentlessly pursued Mary Gronlund for over four months in an attempt to collect a timeshare debt balance that had grown to $12,809, including late fees, that Wyndham said was owed by her deceased son, David Gronlund. Mary had contacted Wyndham after her son died and was told to send a death certificate, which she did. A few months later she started receiving past-due notices.
Wyndham’s response to Ms Clancy was that Wyndham experienced a “system error” in that the contract states all that was required was a death certificate. The debt was cancelled because Ms Clancy contacted Wyndham.
Mary Gronlund’s interview with Ms Clancy:
Was this really a “system error” – or a bold attempt to pressure a grieving mother to pay up? Our timeshare contract from 2012 states that “heirs, successor trustees and personal representatives” are bound by the contract, but when I questioned a Florida Attorney General’s office reviewer, she said that heirs are not responsible because they did not sign the contract. However, as warned above, you must file a disclaimer disavowing the unwanted inheritance within a required period of time.
So as not to give legal advice, I saved this RedWeek post from 2017, found online.
To all those inquiring about your heirs being saddled with this albatross: I have been a practising estates lawyer in NY for nearly 50 years. The information given to you was basically correct: your beneficiary cannot be “forced” to inherit (and therefore have to pay for maintenance etc.) for the timeshare. The legal route is to execute a disclaimer within 9 months after death, and make sure that you do NOT accept the timeshare by using it or otherwise indicating acceptance (e.g., trying to sell it as if you own it). However, each state has its own laws as to how one disclaims. ……Note though: the (resort) can then also disclaim it, so there are some further fine points and legal steps that must be implemented in your Will or trust to deal with that possibility. But most definitely your heirs are NOT bound to accept the timeshare and make the payments if a proper disclaimer strategy is included in your estate planning documents.
steven on May 02, 2017, 06:01 PM.
The following YouTube video, produced by Timeshare Specialists, further explains the steps needed to disclaim an unwanted inherited timeshare. Owner John Kushman advises, “Each individual’s case is different, so members or owners should check with their resort for specific requirements. John’s interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1CU_bK6d2w
In one of our Crimeshare reports, John explained his timeshare wire fraud database, launched after timeshare exit criminals stole his business identity. https://tarda.org/f/timeshare-specialists%E2%80%99-timeshare-exit-scam-hotline
Our ongoing message is that there are problems on both sides of the timeshare transaction – the purchase and the exit. Bernadette launched a Change.org petition asking the Missouri, Washington State and former Arizona Attorneys General to take down a YouTube video produced by former Diamond Resorts CEO Michael Flaskey, due to hypocrisy. In 2016 and 2017 over 500 Diamond members filed complaints with the office of the current Arizona Attorney General. https://tarda.org/f/my-oral-representation-clause-warning
Mr and Mrs Lusk, ages 88 and 89, as reported by USA Today and azcentral, were sold more than $60,000 in timeshare points, up-selling them to a $197,000 timeshare loan. When asked about this in court, the attorney representing the developer replied, “Aren’t old people allowed to take a vacation?” In their YouTube video, Mr and Mrs Lusk talk about how their health was affected by this transaction, which they believed were purchased as an annuity to protect their heirs from the burden of having to inherit their timeshare:
Has there ever been a more buyer-beware product? As Ms Clancy advised, ask questions before buying a timeshare and get the answers in writing. The oral representation clause contained in timeshare contracts requires that you initial that you did not rely on anything a sales agent said to make your purchase. This begs the question – why attend a presentation if you can’t believe anything a sales agent says?
Thank you, Irene, this is a problem shared by timeshare owners on both sides of the Great Lake, for years it has been used a scare tactic to sway owners into “exit & claims” services, and we all know where most of those lead to. The view of the Spanish Courts was made clear in the first cases on the perpetuity clause, which implied that it was then inherited by any heirs. They believed that it is “inherently unfair” to saddle anyone with a “debt” to which they were not a signatory. In other words, if you didn’t sign the contract you are not responsible for any debts.
In a way, it is the same as the old tradition of a debt dying with the debtor, once gone it cannot be collected.
That is all for this week, Baby Dog is giving his look again, so I seems I’m about to go out for a walk. Have a great weekend and join us again next week.