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I am writing on behalf on an organized group of over 700 people, who own timeshare intervals at Carriage Resorts in Oro-Medonte, near Barrie, ON.
The ability to divest ourselves from our ownership is so complicated, that we have recently had a volunteer advocate, Irene Parker, who is familiar with our type of problem, travel from Florida to attend our annual meetings which were held on Oct. 21st and Oct. 22nd . Why must a person from another country come to our aid? Because we are not protected here in Canada at the provincial nor federal levels! Why did the federal government recently issue a warning to Canadians about high pressure timeshare sales in Mexico, but there is no warning here in Canada?
Salespeople, even in Canada have used and continue to use, extremely high-pressure tactics to sell timeshares. I have links to publications that Irene Parker has written on our behalf, which include 130 documented complaints from owners of our group (Carriage Hills/Carriage Ridge Owners) regarding our timeshares near Barrie, ON. Many people in our group are elderly and/or ill and not able to pay their fees, as a result they are being threatened with being taken to court if they do not pay all outstanding annual fees. If we must sue the sick and elderly to continue to operate our timeshare, then it is a failed business model.
Some of these people’s income have been reduced to pensions, or have been hit with serious illness, and can no longer afford these timeshares and/or can no longer use them. Some others of these people have put good money into these timeshares for over 20 years. Their loans on their units are typically paid off and maintenance fees up to date.
Our sales office was closed by Wyndham, with what appears to have been no notice given to the board or unit owners. Wyndham rents out our units for less than what our annual maintenance fees are, making it virtually impossible to rent or sell our own units. Death is not even an answer for us, because they are going after the estates and our heirs. We are basically held hostage. One owner has attempted suicide twice over this, as it has been causing her severe depression, and many of the elderly and younger are highly stressed out about the situation. People who can no longer afford the maintenance fees and have stopped paying, which means, their credit ratings are being destroyed. Our timeshare laws need changing! When a timeshare developer has rules/regulations that are so biased and so against the consumer, the only recourse is legislative action and media outreach. If the buyer knew there was no exit, even for heirs, it is doubtful anyone would buy the timeshare, especially with maintenance fees increasing from around $500 to $1,500, as the incomes of owners drops in retirement. It is unfair for the buyer to be tied to a contract that is eternal. Perpetuity Contracts in the timeshare industry in Canada and around the world should and needs to be abolished. The Carriage marketing materials stated, “Equity Position” and “Worry Free Vacation”. Nothing turned out to be further from the truth. Irene Parker, a volunteer advocate that came from Florida to Barrie, ON to attend our meetings to try to help us, has been appalled, like many of us of the situation. Our Annual Meeting on Oct. 21st was attended by more than 1,000 people, leaving 500 people out in the cold because our board did not foresee how many people are concerned and want/need out. The meeting has been rescheduled to Nov. 19, 2019.