Candace in Michigan shares her Westgate Resorts timeshare experience today. Florida House Bill 869 was signed into law last month. The new law expands the ability to have documents provided electronically and eases disclosures concerning incidental benefits. In the case of Candace, her family had to fight for towels and breathable air!
Incidental benefits can be of poor value, changed, or eliminated, so timeshare consumers should do their timeshare math and calculate the true value of any incidental benefit considered important. Candace learned this the hard way.
Developer-friendly provisions for the reporting and disclosure of incidental benefits include:
Eliminates certain requirements for the offering of incidental benefits in the sale of a timeshare plan, including repealing the 15 per cent of the purchase price limitation on the aggregate represented value of all incidental benefits offered by the developer, the requirement that an acknowledgement and disclosure statement indicates the source of the services, points, or other products that constitute the incidental benefit, and the requirement that the developer promptly notify the Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes of the DBPR upon learning of the unavailability of any incidental benefit
Many of our readers have reported that the electronic device provided to sign contracts, that is supposed to contain the purchase contract and Public Offering Statement, either doesn’t have documents on it, or the device doesn’t work. While on vacation, it is nearly impossible to order a hard copy of the contract or replace a broken device.
By Candace in Michigan
We could not access our documents because the tablet we were provided didn’t work. When we signed our contract on December 27, 2016, to purchase a 2 BR unit at Westgate Town Center Resort, they gave us a cheap tablet and a CD that they said had the contract on it. I was not aware of the contract rescission period so I did not attempt to get another tablet within the rescission period. My computer at home did not have a CD player. I did not obtain a copy of our contract until January of 2023. This was a minor annoyance compared to what else happened.
We based our decision to purchase on the attraction of an incidental benefit, but we had to fight to obtain what was promised. We first stayed at Westgate Resorts using our daughter’s week. We were assigned to a very nice unit near their water park. Based on the desirability of that location, we bought a week 52 unit for $18,309. When we stayed as owners in 2017, it felt like we had been baited and switched, given the mold and the unwillingness to move us to a healthy environment.
The unit we were assigned to in 2017, our first stay as owners, was uninhabitable because of the mold. When we looked under the couch for our grandson’s truck, the whole wall was moldy. My daughter has allergies. She was sick the entire time. They put us into another room only for one night. They told us that mold was not a reason to move us.
We encountered other obstacles and concerns. We wanted to use our banked 2019 week in 2021 so we could stay two weeks. They argued with us saying they did not want us to stay two weeks back-to-back.
In 2019 we found a large butcher knife in the bushes right outside our door. I wanted to call 911 but they said we should call security. When we attempted to cancel our involvement with Westgate, they said they had no record of our complaints. We complained.
Incidental Benefits Misrepresentation
Our sales agent, Kelly, said we could always stay near the water park, but that wasn’t the case. The water park was important because we vacationed with our grandchild. On New Year’s Day, 2021 we could not even get into the water park. We told them that we were owners. They responded, “David Siegel owns the resort and you can use the water park if he wants to allow you to use it.” He said they were short-staffed. Another time we were placed outside of the whole complex! If we wanted to use the amenities at our resort, we had to go through the visitor entrance. We had to argue with them to be placed inside the complex, but we were nowhere near the water park.
You wouldn’t consider towels a benefit you have to fight for, but we did! There are six of us who vacation together, including our two grandbabies. On our first stay, we were only provided four towels. We called for more but they said they could only provide these in the middle of the week and we would have to call ahead. This towel shortage happened every time we stayed at Westgate. It is shameful that David Siegel makes his money this way.
One of David Siegel’s houses
The Queen of Versailles Netflix trailer
Kelly told us we could bank our week for up to 10 years. I asked her, “You mean, if we don’t use our week for ten years we could stay for ten weeks?” She said yes, we could bank as much as we want as long as we pay maintenance fees. That was not true. She also told us that a program called Cruise and Travel (C & T) was part of our package. IT IS NOT. You have to pay for it. Kelly and another sales agent both said that any year we used Cruise & Travel, it would be like not paying maintenance fees because we would pay the maintenance fee, book through C & T, and get that money back. That’s not how it works. I paid a year’s fee to use it and tried to book a cruise, but it would have cost approximately $300 more using C & T than it would have if we had booked the same cruise online.
Kelly used this example: If your maintenance fees are $1,500, call Cruise & Travel and if, for example, the cruise costs $2500, they will take $1,500 off that price so you will only pay $1000 for the cruise. This wasn’t true. Whatever the price of the cruise is what is listed on the C & T website.
We have stopped making loan payments and did not pay 2023 maintenance fees. We have always had good credit, but we will not pay for something that has given us nothing but grief every time we attempt to use it – EVERY TIME! We tried to sell the week through Timeshare Liberty Towers LLC, 6500 W. Colonial Dr Suite B-2, Orlando FL, 32818, 855-892-3871. We paid $899 for a listing over two years ago. They said it would sell within two years. We have learned it is impossible to sell a timeshare with a loan outstanding, unlike a primary residence.
I’m aware that there are those who have purchased at Westgate and enjoy their experiences. There are, however, plenty of complaints that the Florida Attorney General seems to ignore.
For those who need a safe place for support, join the Westgate Timeshare Hostages Facebook Group.
Results of a Florida Attorney General Westgate Resorts Public Records Request
Florida House Bill 869
Become a Secret Agent = Hunt for the Public Offering Statement
Westgate Sues Former Owners
Westgate January 2023 Protest
Thank you Candace for your “review” and to Irene for editing, It never ceases to amaze me how these companies who are in the business of “hospitality”, not that you can call timeshare “hospitality”, behave towards those who keep their business going with the mandatory annual fees. Sorry, I also forgot the extortionate sums they took in advance and the constant “upgrades”. If any non-timeshare hotel or resort treated their guests with the contempt that timeshare does toward its members, they would soon be out of business.
The picture the sales agents paint on the presentation shows nothing but the best, how you as members are a “special” part of the “timeshare vacation family”, and where would you get service like that? We know that is part and parcel of marketing, but at least deliver what you promise. This is the problem with the timeshare industry, it’s all about size, (no pun intended), “Look at me, I have more members than you.” Well, all I can say to the gentlemen who run the timeshare industry, it has nothing to do with size, it’s how you deliver that counts.
That is all for this week, We hope you all have a great weekend, Baby Dog has almost destroyed his new toy, in record time I must add. Well, at least he’s happy.