Westgate Resorts January 5th 2023 Protest Report

Pictured from left, Jackie Moldau, Lori Kelso, Carl Staples

A group of protesters held up signs in front of Westgate Lakes Resort on January 5th. The protest extended through January 6th, coinciding with Westgate’s Annual Meeting that took place on January 5th. The first question one owner raised at the meeting was why Westgate would not address the concerns of the protesters, standing in the rain while the grass and sidewalk were watered, for the three hours that I observed the protest. The protesters were the voice of over 1,600 members of a Facebook Group launched in December of 2021 called Westgate Timeshare Hostages.   https://www.facebook.com/groups/westgatehostages/members  

The title of today’s article could be Hug Your Haters. The book’s author, Jay Baer, was a speaker at a timeshare industry conference some years back. Mr Baer’s advice:

Haters are not your problem. . . .

Ignoring them is. 

January 12 note: I reached out to the hostage protestors on January 11 to see if there were further developments. They could not comment because they are in discussions with Westgate. Likely this will require a non-disclosure agreement (NDA), timeshare’s version of a gag order, used to silence and isolate truthtellers. In 2016 I was offered a refund from another developer but refused to sign an NDA. As a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) supervisor, my volunteers and I were the voice in court for a child in foster care. I could not bring myself to sign an agreement stating I would never say anything disparaging about the company, plus we were not that negatively impacted. My complaint was that it would cost $10,000 to use my timeshare points, compared to $3,000 booked online for the same property, the same time. The response from the company to the New York Attorney General was a list of all the times I had used my points. This had nothing to do with the recent purchase, specifically purchased to book New York properties. The word “affiliate property” was not mentioned in the contract. Affiliate properties required an inordinate amount of points because the property was not owned or managed by the timeshare company.  In any event, as far as Westgate, Bluegreen, Wyndham, Hilton, or Vacation Village hostages are concerned, the hostage protesters should be motivation to those who have been similarly harmed – that accompanied by the tools of wisdom, truth, determination and perseverance, change happens, at least for the few brave souls possessing the commitment required. 

Protestor Jackie published an article, linked below, on June 10, 2022. Living in the vicinity of Westgate Lakes, she had no reason to buy a timeshare. According to Jackie, her sales agent suggested she combine her T-Shirt business in Massachusetts with a Westgate timeshare rental business. Jackie said he even came up with a company name – Jackie’s Vacays!


Westgate is not the only developer to have members complain about being pitched the ability to rent to cover costs. We have heard from members of ten resort developers who report that they were sold a timeshare as a rental investment opportunity. Such a strategy is unfeasible for the average timeshare member or owner. A recent complaint was submitted by a timeshare buyer who provided us with an hour-long video presentation in which a rental scammer worked in collaboration with one of the developer’s sales agents to sell points to rent for profit. Their contract clearly states renting is not allowed. It is believed over 40 people fell for the scam, given the number of people who attended the online meeting.

We recommend leaving timeshare renting to professionals. Rental professionals Koala and Timeshare Rental Pros have been featured in earlier articles, but members and owners should check with their resort first to make sure renting is allowed. When developers like Vacation Village and Westgate state in their contracts that renting is allowed, reading the contract will not protect the consumer who counts on the ability to rent, as advised by their sales agent. There is no reason to question the sales agent.

In response to the protest, a spokesperson for the Florida Atty General commented, as reported by Trevor Fraser at the Orlando Sentinel, that they could not confirm that they received 584 Westgate complaints. That’s odd because the complaints were obtained by filing a Public Records Request with the Florida Timeshare Division. Nearly half of the 584 complaints complained of being assured it would be easy to rent out the timeshare to cover costs. A breakdown of Florida AG complaints is included in this article penned by Larry Lobbyist, the alter ego of one of our protesters:


Remarkably, also reported by the Orlando Sentinel, Westgate COO Mark Waltrip’s response to complaints was a reference to a shooting that took place on December 14th. This obviously had absolutely nothing to do with the protest, announced on December 9th. Certainly, our protesters are peaceful people.

Protestor Jackie’s response to COO Mark Waltrip 

Shame on you, Mr Waltrip. 

You completely missed the critical point, in that you have a group of extremely unhappy owners who feel manipulated and lied to by your inept sales reps. 

So much so, that we took time out of our lives in order to attempt to be heard by your corporation, whose every phone call to your “Correspondence Team” is met with the same:

 “Unfortunately you signed a (convoluted) contract”, cop-out. 

To have the audacity to blame our frustrations on a completely unrelated, tragic incident at your resort, highlights the lack of compassion within your entire organization. 

Your defamatory statement towards our private group allegedly harassing your resort is completely unfounded. 

Our protest was planned the day that we got the annual owners’ meeting letter on December 9, prior to that despicable incident. 

Westgate Resorts seems to pride itself on “stellar” customer service, yet allowed the group to stand outside in the rain, without feeling any sense of responsibility for having been the vehicle that drove us to that act of desperation. 

Nobody came out front to check on the group, nor to hear our concerns. 

This act depicts the opposite of a hospitable corporation.


Active Duty Service Members with Security Clearances in Jeopardy

Of particular concern are active duty service members who find their security clearances in jeopardy because of a timeshare default. Westgate has been sued, and accused of violating the Military Lending Act (MLA). One of the lead plaintiffs in the lawsuit complained of being promised the timeshare would serve as a profitable rental investment opportunity. Counting on the ability to rent, he was forced to default on his Westgate timeshare loan. Timeshares are financed at 12 to 19.99%. Loss of a security clearance can lead to involuntary separation from service.

In another lawsuit, Bluegreen was accused of violating the Military Lending Act. There have been multiple complaints from Bluegreen members who found their accounts suspended “suspected” of commercial activity. Bluegreen members have reported being presented a survey at check-in with “maintenance assistance” listed on the survey. According to one Bluegreen member, their sales agent zeroed in on this when checked, suggesting more points be purchased to rent.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), as well as several military and veteran organizations, weighed in about the harm timeshare has caused some active duty service members:


Let’s hope 2023 rings in with more accountability concerning timeshares sales and lending practices. One of our goals is to see the oral representation clause disclosed prior to the sales presentation rather than buried in the electronic fine print. Knowing you cannot rely on claims made by a timeshare sales agent is not fair to honest agents, but unfortunately, it’s impossible to tell the difference between a bad actor and an honest one.

Related articles, including 30 families forced to default, or consider a default, unable to rent for profit

MSN – Westgate Protest


Local Today – Westgate Protest


Finger Lakes Times – Westgate Protest


Westgate Arbitration and the Military Lending Act Lawsuit June 17, 2021


Westgate Resorts Case PDF Link: Westgate Case No 8;22CV-0028-CEH-JSS

Are my Consumer Rights being eroded? February 25, 2022


Other Rental complaints:

Westgate (13), Bluegreen (1), Exploria (2), Vacation Village (3), Branson’s Nantucket (3), Hilton Grand Vacation (3), Wyndham (2), Diamond Resorts (3)

Bluegreen Account Suspension for Renting, Angela, October 7, 2022


Wyndham Sues Their Agent for Renting September 23, 2022


Nine Westgate Families (2 – 10) March 4, 2022


Exploria v Austin Aaronson (1) March 11, 2022


Sheri (Vacation Village) March 18, 2022


Ashley Vacation Village (2)


Karen, Vacation Village (3) July 1, 2022


Westgate by Abdur Rashid (11) April 22, 2022


Branson’s Nantucket (3) May 13, 2022


Veteran Westgate (13) Ed Wilson, August 22, 2022


Veteran David Young (3) August 26, 2022


Comments by Charles Thomas

Thank you, Irene and all those who attended, shame about the weather but it doesn’t appear to have dampened your spirits. Reading all the posts and the links to the media was very interesting, especially the report in the Orlando Sentinel:


In a statement when asked about the protest, Mark Waltrip, the Cheif Operating Officer for Westgate, has made, probably, the biggest Faux Pas* of his career, I use the word Faux Pas quite simply because it is the mildest thing I can use, my other reaction is unprintable.

Rather than rewrite the Sentinel’s report it has been reproduced below:

“Asked about the protests, Mark Waltrip, Westgate’s chief operating officer, referenced a shooting at Orlando Westgate locations in December. The 19-year-old suspect in the shooting, which wounded two people, said he felt “scammed” when a Westgate hotel wouldn’t let him check in for being under 21 (a company policy), and told detectives he felt “a sense of relief” after the shooting.”

“Unfortunately, an isolated group of individuals are leveraging the shooter’s actions to harass the resort with comments on social media wishing that our CEO had been shot, as well as staging a protest at our resort owners’ meeting,” Waltrip wrote in an email.”

The definition of a Faux Pas is

a significant or embarrassing error or mistake: Blunder

especially: a socially awkward or improper act or remark

One thing is for sure we cannot call it a mistake, an enormous error maybe, embarrassing for him and Westgate, yes, and most definitely an improper remark. For an observer from across the Great Lake, it is the most insensitive and downright scandalous comment that could have been made. To state that a totally unrelated incident is being used by the very people his company is exploiting is the kind of “propaganda” that we saw during the fascist era of Europe. Did he take lessons from Joseph Goebbels?

So far there seems to be no apology from Waltrip, published or otherwise.

At the same time as all this was happening, Facebook banned Benn Dover, ironically from Benn’s own Facebook group, Westgate Timeshare Hostages. There appears to be no actual reason for the ban, which as usual will never be revealed apart from some vague reference to “Community Standards”. The ban can only have resulted in “someone” (a Westgate employee perhaps) making numerous complaints and the only reason I can think of is the name. Being a Brit, it is right up our street as far as humour goes, it is the classical “Double Entendre”, with the “smutty” meaning being very appropriate to the predicament of the hostages.

Long Live BENN DOVER. You will never be forgotten.

That is it for this week, join us for Part Three of the Anfi story on Monday, and this is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Baby Dog is getting impatient for his walk and the look says it all. Have a great weekend.




  1. Adam Magwood

    I have filed complaints with the AG, BBB, FTC, ARdOC and I’m sure there are a few I have left out. this company pretty much robbed me. their sales Rep told us nothing but lies then when I tried to contact him.he was nowhere to be found. the tell you to wait 6 weeks before trying to book. only so the 10 day recession period elapses. this company should be investigated, when you have so many people saying the same thing there’s probably some truth to it

    1. Irene Parker

      Adam, Go to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s “Tell Your Story” tab, as this governmental agency investigated Westgate for two years. The CFPB, along with the Federal Trade Commission, have recently filed two Amicus Briefs asking an appellate court to reverse a lower court’s decision, in support of the timeshare plaintiffs. Despite timeshare being a massive lending machine, consumers can’t even file a complaint because a timeshare is not considered a lender. Thank you for your efforts to create positive change.

  2. Chris B.

    This shows the level of corruption in our government. When fraudsters pay so-called “public servants” to look the other way while Americans are scammed, we have the “fox guarding the henhouse.” Remember, when you vote for crooks you get a crooked government. Notice who your crooks are and vote them out asap.

  3. Cindy K

    If FL AG cannot confirm the 584 complains from public record, what do they do with those complains? As they always claim in each of their response that they cannot intervene or give legal advice for a private dispute. 584 common complain against WG with their high pitch sales is no longer considered a private issue. If they turn a blind eye with this issue who else can enforce consumer protection law?. They seems to forget their roles and responsibilities to execute their duty to protect the consumer when timeshare is the source. We hope someone in the government to get involved and investigate all complaints filed in FL AG against Westgate.

    1. Irene Parker

      Cindy, An Attorney General cannot represent a timeshare member like an attorney. What they can do is launch an investigation, given a volume of complaints, as have other Attorneys General. To my knowledge, it has been a long while since the Florida Attorney General launched an investigation against a timeshare developer. I know that 584 complaints is enough to launch an investigation. The VA AG told a former sales agent they have received thousands of timeshare complaints, but have not investigated any, to my knowledge. This leaves no protection for the consumer. The California AG investigated and settled with Welk Resorts, now owned by Marriott, for $5.5 million, for example, just a year or two ago.

    2. Chris B.

      LOL of course the FL AG “can” confirm the complaints. It appears they just don’t want to acknowledge it. I discovered relationships between the AG’s office and timeshare legal, so this strongly suggests yet another “Fox guarding the henhouse” form of corruption.

  4. Chris B.

    While voting is still legal at this time, pay attention to who in your government is engaging in corrupted activities, and make sure to vote them out, regardless of political party.

  5. Heather

    We have filed complaints with the FTC and BBB so far…
    We are disputing a Wyndham contract after being tricked into signing by a TN agent. We were told the timeshare was a rental opportunity investment. He said that with Wyndham’s “Last Call” program, we could use the timeshare as an investment and rent it out every month as many times as we like to earn income. He said we could rent out a 2-to-4-bedroom unit for up to $379 cash and charge double or triple that to offset our monthly payment and maintenance fees. He said we can’t tell Wyndham that because Wyndham has their own rental program, but he does this all the time. He said we can’t advertise it as renting as Wyndham. If we rent through Wyndham, they split it 60/40 with us retaining 60% and they send us a check.
    Our sales agent was someone that we went to high school with so I had faith that he was telling us the truth.
    Also, We stressed that there were only two times a year my husband could go on leave, which is Christmas in December and July. He said there was availability in July anywhere we wanted to go. Clearly everything he said was a lie. Why do our lawmakers and government allow this when it so obviously is harmful to the military????

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