Protestors outside the Florida Attorney General’s timeshare division office, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) 2019
A Combat Army Veteran battles Westgate Resorts
After Inside Timeshare published six reports submitted by active duty service members who found their security clearances in jeopardy because of a timeshare loan default, or even failure to pay maintenance fees. All reported unfair and deceptive sales and marketing practices. Today’s report was submitted by a disabled veteran whose security clearance is in jeopardy. Many veterans work for government agencies that require a security clearance. Today’s veteran works for the Pentagon.
We talk a lot about deceptive practices in “unfair and deceptive practices” as defined by the Federal Trade Commission, but we should not ignore unfair practices. Timeshares were routinely sold as being just like real estate, easy to sell. However, unlike a residential home, it is all but impossible to sell a timeshare with a loan outstanding. For active duty service members, the consequences of a loan default can be devastating in that a loan default can ultimately lead to involuntary separation from service.
Today’s Army veteran is 64, and 100% disabled. He served our country for 24 years, including deployments to Iraq, Bosnia, and Afghanistan. Despite an incurable lung condition, Westgate Resorts will not allow him a hardship release. We reached out to Westgate for comment on August 6th through their Legacy Department. They said Westgate does not have a media department.
The documentary The Queen of Versailles, portrays the lifestyle of Westgate owners David and Jackie Siegel.
My wife and I bought a fixed week/float Westgate Resorts Vacation Villas timeshare unit in Orlando on November 13, 2021, for $20,000. Our down payment was $2,000. We financed $19,305. Since our purchase, my incurable, combat-related medical condition has worsened. My lung capacity is at 73%. I have idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), a fatal lung disease where the additional presence of pulmonary hypertension (PH) reduces survival. In particular, the presence of coexistent pulmonary vascular disease in patients with advanced lung parenchymal disease results in worse outcomes than either diagnosis alone. My only option is a lung transplant, but in order to be moved up on the wait list, I have to be on a ventilator. This means I must be bedridden before I would be eligible for a transplant. It has become increasingly difficult to travel. I also have been diagnosed with degenerative disc disease.
Our Westgate agents promised us that if we did not want to continue with the property, we could request to get out of the timeshare loan with no penalty and Westgate would retain the property without further financial charges. Our agents also said we could offset the cost of the property by renting the timeshare out and that Westgate would assist us with the rental process. The promised 90-minute presentation turned into six hours. I suffer from PTSD and TBI.
We reached out to Westgate to seek release. They were of no help. On April 1, 2022, we filed a complaint with the Florida Attorney General through the Military and Veterans Assistance Program. Westgate answered the Attorney General on April 4, acknowledging the complaint. After their review, they responded by stating that there was no misrepresentation. After two payments, in March of 2022, we stopped making loan payments.
I served in Iraq and Afghanistan. I worked in Military Intelligence. I have not lived in the US for 24 years. Since my return, I have experienced more stress being home in the US than being in war.
Why Timeshare Lending Poses a Risk to National Security
We want to thank all who served here and abroad for their sacrifice and to thank those in the military aiding our efforts to stop, or at least reduce, the harm described by today’s veteran, and the following active duty service members. We are proud to call them After Inside Timeshare contributors. We will be reaching out to base commanders to explain why timeshare lending is worse than Payday loan lending, which is already off-limits. At least Payday loan borrowers know why they are borrowing. Timeshare borrowers constantly report being sold or up-sold based on reasons they later learn do not exist. We will continue to plead with regulators and lawmakers asking them to take note and act.
If the developer really wanted you to know you should not believe anything a salesperson says, it would be disclosed prior to the sales presentation – not buried in the fine print of a voluminous contract.
Six Active Duty Navy, Marines, Air Force Member Reports:
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
Report 5: Husband & Wife, both Active Duty Air Force 10, 9 years
Report 6: Active Duty Air National Guard, 8 1/2 years served
Once again we must thank our latest contributor, not just for their story but also for 24 years of loyal service, something that doesn’t seem to count with Westgate. AIT has received many “Nightmares on Timeshare Street”, but our recent series highlighting Serving Military and especially Veterans has sickened all involved in the editing to the core, making it difficult to be objective and not let emotions take hold. But sometimes that is nigh on impossible.
The time has come for all Lawmakers, and Attornies General to bring these “criminals” to justice, the developers allow their sales agents to lie, cheat and swindle countless consumers for greed, the developers take no responsibility for these actions, the simple answer is they now have more income from new members. Why “rock the boat?”
As was suggested in the title banner, “Timeshare Sales The Enemy Within”, is very apt, the sales agents lies and deceit all we might add with the connivance of their employer puts at risk the security clearance of serving military, therefore it also puts the security of the country at risk. These security clearances are not just given, they are earned, it will take many years of dedicated service to get there, yet the sales agents are free to destroy that in moments. In my book that makes them all “Enemies Within”.
That is all for this week, please leave any comments on the relevant article and if you have any questions please use the details on our contact page. We hope that you all have a good weekend, Baby Dog has decided he wants to put aside the “Undercover Watchdog” and turn to become “Enforcer Dog”, the problem is he just hasn’t got the face!