Report 5: A Husband and Wife, both Active Duty Air Force, 10, 9 years served
We are hoping that the accounts of active duty service members who find their security clearances and military careers in jeopardy, because of timeshare lending, will reach the eyes and ears of someone who will understand how timeshare lending can be more harmful than Payday loan lending. Payday lending has been deemed off-limits for members of the military. Payday loan borrowers know why they are borrowing, but in all the following accounts, service members report that they purchased or upgraded a timeshare for reasons they later learned did not exist. A timeshare loan default can put a security clearance in jeopardy and can lead to involuntary separation from service.
Today’s active duty Air Force family made several Orange Lake/Holiday Inn Club Vacations (HICV) timeshare purchases over a period of five years. In 2019, Orange Lake Country Club changed their corporate name to Holiday Inn Club Vacations.
A husband and wife, both active duty serving in the Air Force, owe approximately $75,000 for an accumulated 425,000 HICV standard points and $50,000 for a 200,000 HICV Signature Point Collection contract. Signature annual maintenance fees increased to $1,639. The family reported that they were told fees would decrease if they bought additional points. Maintenance fees for the Standard Point Collection were $4,111 for 2021. The family had no choice but to stop making loan payments. Timeshares are financed at between 12% to 19%.
Prior Reports submitted by Navy, Marines, Air Force, Active Duty Service Members:
Report 1 of 6: Active Duty Navy, Chief Petty Officer, 14 years served
Report 2: Marine Veteran, 26 years served, security clearance
Report 3: Active Duty Navy, 12 years served
Report 4, Active Duty Navy, 18 years served
Maury in Mississippi, age 75, an Air Force veteran
Maury called as I was preparing this report. Report 5 features an Air Force couple, so I include an update on Maury, an Air Force veteran. Maury and I have talked once or twice a month since 2019. We don’t always talk about timeshare. Maury bought a Crown Resorts at Hickory Hills timeshare in 1985 that he only used once. To deed back the owner must be: 1) Bedridden 2) Diagnosed with a terminal disease, or 3) Living in a nursing home. In 2019, Maury needed a special van just to get to the grocery store, yet Crown Resorts would not take the timeshare back. Maury is bedridden now, but so far behind on maintenance fees he would not be able to catch up. Maury lost money to resellers.
From December 29, 2021
Orange Lake/Holiday Inn Owner Resolution,
My husband and I purchased Orange Lake Holiday Inn Club Vacation points several times over five years. We were always told we could easily sell the timeshare back to Orange Lake because we are military. We’ve made purchases because they would keep saying that we would lose our point freeze if we didn’t purchase something. We used to use our points two or three times a year, but due to deployments, we can only book trips about once a year. We counted on being able to sell the timeshare if we had to.
I spoke with someone at Orange Lake on March 9, 2022, after noticing that our account had been frozen. They said they could not speak with us because someone was representing us. I guess that’s because we filed a complaint with the Florida Attorney General. On top of everything else, we can’t even use our points. When I spoke with an Orange Lake representative before, they said we could 1) pay off our loans and then ask Orange Lake to take them back, 2) take out a personal loan, or 3) foreclose. He said because the amount is over $100,000, it’s possible that Orange Lake could take us to court.
- First purchase November 2016:
- O A was the first salesperson that told us we could sell the timeshare back to Orange Lake at any time since we’re military.
- August 2017:
- Sales agent Daniel upgraded our timeshare when Orange Lake moved from fixed weeks to points. We asked about exit options. Daniel confirmed that we could sell back to Orange Lake anytime since we’re military and that there were other exit options.
- August 2018:
- Daniel was our sales person again. I purchased 50,000 Signature points to have access to luxury rooms.
- September 2020:
- Salesperson Taylour in Vegas said our contracts were a mess. Taylour confirmed that since we’re military Orange Lake would work with us to sell the timeshare back to them at any time. We upgraded to 425,000 standard points.
- April 2021:
- I was deployed. My husband went and bought 30,000 more points from Lindsay who said that we didn’t have the Registry Collection. We later learned we did. He asked about being able to get out and she said we could sell back since we’re military.
- August 2021:
- We went on a family vacation in Tennessee and were told we had to do a meeting. Salesperson Kim looked over our contract saying our three contracts were a mess. We told her we wanted to get out because maintenance fees were getting too high and that ALL our sales agents said we could sell back. Kim said she had never heard of that, but she could lower maintenance fees until we could figure out a way to get out. She said we would have to hire lawyers. Kim said the only way to lower maintenance fees was to combine our contracts and convert to one 200,000 Signature points package. The purchase price was around $54,000. We were drained and felt pressured, believing we were trapped. We were there for more than six hours away from our families. Kim said I wouldn’t have to put the 5K down payment on my credit card because I could apply for a zero-interest RCI credit card. After filling out the application online, she said the website went down so I would have to charge the down payment on my personal credit card. I asked her to cancel the RCI credit card since we didn’t need it. She said okay. Weeks later I got a card in the mail with my credit run for an RCI card. I called Orange Lake to complain that my social security number was used after telling them not to open the RCI card. They said they would handle it, but I never heard back.
Orange Lake lost our trust. I know I am not alone. Nearly 1,000 Better Business Bureau complaints have been filed over the last three years.
In 2020, Orange Lake was required to take back nearly 1,300 timeshares from customers who retained an exit company. The exit company ceased operations:
Thank you both for your contribution to this series of articles, this is certainly an issue which needs to be addressed at the highest level. For too long we have seen sales agents getting away with everything and the Developers just turn a blind eye, “NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR WHAT OUR SALES AGENTS SAY“. Hogwash, pure and simple.
Ever since Irene and I teamed up in 2016, we have received a never-ending stream of complaints, all telling the same story. The vast majority of these were from seniors who fell for the “pitch” when either retired or just coming up to the great event, easy prey for the vultures. These stories were dubbed “Nightmare on Timeshare Street“, but the testimonies we have received from Serving Military and Veterans are beginning to deserve an even more gruesome title. What they have been subjected to was bad enough for our “civilian victims”, but having their whole Military careers put into jeopardy, all because of a sales agent’s actions, is unacceptable!
On that note, we wish you a very happy weekend, Baby Dog as you can see is ready for a few days off.