Fraud in Sales / Lack of Accountability
This is NOT just another Timeshare whine. I am not upset that my weeks aren't worth much on the trade market, or that the maintenance fee is too high. I love the idea of timeshare, and understand the concept.
When we moved to Northern Arizona, we were solicited to visit the Los Abrigados Resort and Spa in Sedona, an ILX Resorts / Premiere Vacation Club property. We listened to the pitch, went on the tour, then sat down across from a pushy salesman.
Naturally, we were offered a deal that was good right now only. If we got up and walked away took the time to do more research we would have to pay twice as much when we purchased.
So we asked him some very specific questions. Putting a positive spin on things is part of the sales game, but making outright false statements is simply unethical. A lie is a lie is a lie.
We didn't have the cash to pay in full upfront. The interest rate they offered to finance was outrageous, but the salesman assured us that we could turn right around and refinance it (since of course we couldn't go obtain a loan and come back, or we'd lose our right now only' offer). He specifically and concretely explained that a timeshare WAS Real Property, and we could go get a standard Real Estate home mortgage on our timeshare as you would on any vacation home.
You've probably already guessed the sad end of this portion of my tale. We signed on the dotted line. Then we started calling around, and were told in no uncertain terms, by dozens of different brokers, agents, and banks, that a timeshare is NOT Real Estate, and you absolutely CANNOT get a mortgage on it.
We called ILX back immediately to cancel the deal, but were told that was impossible. When we pointed out the salesmans fraud, they essentially said 'so what' and 'prove it'! Since I didn't happen to record the conversation, or have him sign an affidavit, I of course have no 'proof' that he ever said that.
Fast forward two years. Our retail business in a nearby small town fails. We are on the verge of bankruptcy. Obviously, one of the first things to go is the ridiculous timeshare loan. (I would have tried to sell it, but on the open market it is worth less than half of what I still owe).
One of the biggest problems was even figuring out who to talk to. ILX Resorts owns the property, but insists that Concord Financial Services has bought the loan, and they have nothing at all to do with it. Concord, meanwhile, says that they are merely a company contracted to collect payments for ILX, and they have no authority to do anything with the accounts.
I assume that since it is a collateralized loan, they will at some point repossess the timeshare. I offered to sign it back over to them voluntarily, rather than forcing them to track me down and go through the time and expense of the whole collections process. But they refused!
So we sent a formal notice, pursuant to the Fair Debt Reporting and Collection Act (15 U.S.C. 1692c(c)), to both ILX and Concord, requesting that they stop contacting us. This Federal Law requires that if you send such a notice, they MUST STOP the letters and phone calls, and can only contact you for a few specifically enumerated reasons. Yet despite sending the letter once, and sending a second request via Certified Mail, the harassment continues.
This abysmal behavior has nothing to do with the fact that it is a timeshare, but everything to do with fraud and injustice, not to mention violation of Federal Law.
If you are another victim, file a complaint with the Arizona Department of Real Estate in Phoenix and the Arizona Attoney General's Office - consumer fraud division.