Our Long-Term Weather Forecast
Updated: Jul 11, 2020
By Karen Levins
(NOTE: The following is the 3 Amigos' personal opinions and observations arising from the Court Hearing and should not be relied upon as legal advice.)
STEP 1: Locate this link for Madam Justice Conway's written report that explains her endorsement of the Court Orders for Carriage Hills (link) and Carriage Ridge (link) that she signed and issued shortly after today's Court Hearing.
STEP 2: Find the YouTube streaming video of the Court Proceeding available at this (link), which will be available for viewing until July 31st.(now extended until September 1st)
STEP 3: Please watch the 2-hour YouTube video, which will be available only until August 1st.
Step 4: Please read the 3 Court documents linked above.
STEP 5: Visit https://www.bdo.ca/en-ca/extranets/carriage/and read the June 25th FAQ document.
If you follow the 5 steps above, we predict that they will likely answer 90% of your questions. If this whole situation is new to you, read the last 3 weeks of blogs that have been posted in our chcrowners.org website before you start reading the attached documents or watching the YouTube video.
If you’ve done your homework, then you will extract the greatest value from the following 3 Amigos "weather report", which has been written based on our personal observations and layman’s predictions of the next few weeks.
TODAY: Grey clouds, with silver linings. Chance of Confusion.
In Court today, Madam Justice Conway ruled in favour of BDO's request that an Owner's choice to declare "exit" in the upcoming "exit"/"stay" timeshare ownership Survey will be a BINDING declaration, and will, under Court Order require payment of the applicable exit fee. (The "stay" choice on the survey is not binding). Fortunately, BDO has now provided answers to many questions as part of their Jun 29th Supplemental Response, which was issued a few days after the 3 Amigos' legal counsel submitted its litany of questions and concerns about the Proposed Survey. It was also helpful that BDO and the Boards' legal counsel also provided further information and clarification in response to questions and concerns that were posed by Madam Justice Conway, as well as several lawyers who were representing various parties during today's Court Hearing.
Despite the abundant information that has finally been provided from BDO in the past few days, there are still some unanswered questions regarding:
... any protection of banked points for folks who exit?
... can prepaid 2021 maintenance fees by EOY Owners be credited to exit fees?
... at what point does the Owner receive final Court-Ordered release of all obligations and responsibilities associated with their name being on a deed (especially since the Court has not struck down the in-perpetuity clause of the Time Sharing contract that Owners have with their Owners Association, but rather has relied on BDO's claim that the promise of an ever-available, presumably fixed-amount, exit fee will magically open the perpetuity handcuffs)?
Madam Justice Conway also endorsed the requirement for exit fees to be paid by Owners wishing to exit their timeshare. At Justice Conway's pressing, BDO clarified item #11 of the FAQ, which reads: "in the event that you decide to exit after the restructuring plan is presented, any 2021 maintenance fees will either be useable for 2021 attendance at the resort or may be credited toward the exit fee." BDO elaborated in Court today that this maintenance fee "credit" toward the exit fee would only be applied if the resort was sold. The 3 Amigos think this is unfair since by not crediting maintenance fees against the exit fee, the Owners' Association is being paid twice for the duplicate upkeep of the resort over the same overlapping period of time. Furthermore, it has not been made clear if those "Every Other Year" (EOY) Owners who prepaid their 2021 maintenance fees in November of 2019 will see a refund of those fees if they declare their interest to exit, either as part of the initial Survey or after the restructuring proposal.
Since the FAQ, which contains much of the "binding" terms and conditions, is not part of the Court Order, it will be left to the Owners to navigate this uncertainty and hopefully receive further advice and clarification from BDO before the Survey period ends on August 31, 2020.
10-Day Forecast: High-Pressure System. Partly Sunny. Uncertain future.
It was clear from Madam Justice Conway's closing comments in Court today that she places greatest importance on meeting the needs of those Owners "who want out, no matter what". Despite our legal counsel's efforts to explain that we were not “opposing BDO’s Survey per se” but rather we were offering an Alternative Survey and supporting documents that we believed offered solutions that would resolve the concerns of many 100s of Owners and address their needs for clarity without delaying the exit process, it appeared to the 3 Amigos that Justice Conway was willing to put the matter wholly into the hands of her Administrator and rely solely on their assurance alone that what they intend to do, will indeed meet those most urgent needs. Hopefully her trust is well placed. Thus far, the lack of transparency, the scattered sources of sometimes conflicting and oftentimes poorly described advice, has been most frustrating to Owners who have been burned in the past when trusting timeshare-related contracts and placating promises. That said, we are where we are, and it is what it is, so we'll just have to move forward and hope for the best.
The Court Order signed today requires that within the next 10 days, BDO must issue the Court-approved Survey to all Owners in good standing, who are present in BDO's Member Contact List. The deadline for responding to the Survey is August 31 2020. The Survey will be managed by BDO's chosen third-party provider (US-based Votenet) who will collect survey responses via an electronic ballot system. Each Owner will be asked to complete one ballot for each interval that they own. Every Year (EY) owners will be entitled to a full vote for each EY interval, and Every Other Year (EOY) owners will be entitled to a half vote for each EOY interval. Owners with multiple intervals will be able, if they so choose, to vote differently for the different intervals as they wish. For Owners without valid email addresses, paper ballots will be mailed and these Owners will be able to submit paper returns for manual processing. Any owner not responding to the Survey will be assigned to the "stay" category. Delinquent owners will be denied voting rights (and automatically assigned to the "exit" category) unless they bring their accounts up-to-date before the end of the Survey period. A further penalty fee of $1000 will be levied if delinquent accounts are not brought up to date before October 1 2020.
Details of the Notice to Delinquents are available in Schedule "B" of the signed Orders.
Long-term Forecast: Rainbows and Blue Skies?
The 3 Amigos predict that there will be a flurry of activity as soon as the emailed survey starts to hit people's inboxes. There will be owners surfacing for the first time, who will ask "what's this all about". Hopefully they won't simply be redirected to wade on their own through the plethora of Court documents and supporting materials that are populating BDO's website.
What the 3 Amigos want to see is a clearly written, reliable, consolidated guidance document that contains all the information that will enable Owners to make informed decisions about their commitment to the future of Carriage Hills or Carriage Ridge.
The FAQ is certainly a good start for this information, but it should be updated to include the information that was discussed in today's Court Hearing, the information that has been provided in BDO's emailed replies to individual Owners inquiries, and an updated account of the financial health of the resorts. Hopefully there will also be sufficient levels of knowledgeable staff who will be available to serve the needs of respondents, especially those who are not e-savvy, those who are elderly and don't have access to family/friend support, and those who find the whole situation overwhelming. Respondents who are financially stable, comfortable trusting BDO and the Boards, and who are crying to get out of their timeshare "no matter what", will likely see the Survey as a great source of relief and they will likely pounce at any suggestion that this opportunity will free them from their perpetual obligations to this timeshare. The fact that this process is backed by the Owners' Associations, will provide greater reassurance to owners that this Survey is not an offer from a potential timeshare exit company scammers. Certainly, the members in the CHCROwners.org Facebook group will continue to be available to provide support wherever possible. Why would we stop now? :-)
So there you have it. Our predicted weather forecast for the near, and longer terms as we continue along this timeshare exit journey for Carriage Hills and Carriage Ridge Owners. As the days poke along, and as new information surfaces, we will share what we see and what we think. But please know this. We cannot make decisions for you about how you should vote and when. You need to do your homework. Read the Court Orders, watch the Court Hearing, read the FAQ and supporting documents. Register on the BDO website if you haven't already. Email your questions to BDO. Post your respectful comments and questions on our website or in our Facebook group.
We're here to help!
Amigo Karen (on behalf of myself, Amigo Lori, and Amigo Bruce)
To discuss these issues with fellow owners and to get up to the minute information about developments as we learn about them, join us in our Facebook group at: https://facebook.com/groups/chcrowners