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Big Problem Help Please!!!!

Brenda47

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I purchased a EOY point based week at Hot Springs Village, a Cooper Resort. This was done through an auction. The auction listed the normal info, maintenance fees, etc. I called Cooper Resorts to make sure there were no outstanding maintenance fees, etc. They would give me NO info what-so-ever due to a PRIVACY issue. It was like trying to get info from the CIA. I called the company that was auctioning the points, telling them I was concerned about past due maintenance fees, etc. They said that would fall back on them if there was any problem.
Well, the transaction went smooth, got the deed. Last week I got a bill for $149.00 from Cooper for managing my points and a required membership to II. I was not happy about it but since I am a member of II and my membership is up for renewal I figured what the heck. I called II and thought I was going to be able to arrange a combined membership into one. NO Way. The membership that Cooper requires is only for THEIR week. You can do nothing with it but use it for trading their points.
I am furious. There was no disclosure in the auction ad about this mandatory additional money on top of the annual maintenace fee.
I contacted the auction site, they said they were sorry I did not investigate this further before buying the week. Cooper said it is in their contract. I have SIGNED NO CONTRACT with Cooper.
What is my choice in this matter. What would happen if I just choose to not pay this required amount?
Thanks
 
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Keitht

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By purchasing the unit you have in effect agreed to the terms and conditions of ownership with the developer or managing company. You DO have a contract with Cooper by default.
You may have some comeback against the vendor if they didn't disclose all relevant information before you signed the contract.
If you fail to pay the $149 I suspect Cooper will prevent you occupying or exchanging the unit. Have you actually spoken direct with Cooper about the situation?
 

DeniseM

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The situation with the Cooper Resorts membership is not unique. With Starwood for instance, we pay for a yearly membership that includes a II Acct. that you can only use for your Starwood weeks. Just like your situation, we can't put non-Starwood weeks in the II Acct. This membership fee is included for resorts that are in the network, whether you use it or not.

When you buy into a new system it's really important that you have a good understanding of the system's rules and fees. Even if the resort isn't helpful, you can do you due diligence by doing research online and asking question on TUG.

If the membership fee is standard with all Cooper Resort memberships, I am afraid that you will just have to pay it. I suspect that if you don't pay the membership, you won't be able to use your points.

How much are your total yearly fees? What was listed in the auction as the total?

Good luck!
 
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UWSurfer

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Likewise, the HGVC system has it's annual club dues which includes an RCI account only useable with HGVC units/points. It's independent of any of my other RCI membership I may have.

The explanation which makes the most sense to me is the account (RCI, II...) lie with the resort system...not the member. Your fee is part of the arrangment to acess it, whether YOU actually use or not. It's not really your account, but the resort system's.

I agree with you though, membership in the properties resort system apart from the MF's should be included in the disclosures. That it exists though is not unique for your property.
 

Brenda47

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Thanks Everyone!!

The fees listed in the auction were only for the eoy maintenance fees of 440. Nothing at all was mentioned about the additional management fees. We own four other ts, so I do know about due diligence. BUT, as I said, Cooper was like trying to get a state secret out of them. I should have followed my instincts and not bid on the auction, just because of the way I had to pull info from them and then, never really got what I needed to know. I was not comfortable with the converstation, and I should have forgotten it. But, I didn't. Now, I have this mess. The auction never stated these fees and the people running the auction are not returning emails. Any email I have received from them has been a smart tone. They are SumDay Vacations and the person is Jeff Brown. It was a person named Dave that told me if there were any problems with past due maintenance fees etc, they would be responsible. That has not been the case. Any other suggestions out there?
I just don't want to end up being sued by Cooper should I not pay these fees.
 

DeniseM

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I just don't want to end up being sued by Cooper should I not pay these fees.

It's unlikely that they will sue you, but they may turn you over to collections, and they won't let you make a reservation until you pay the fee, although they will keep sending your the MF bills. The resort really is not at fault here, and they have to follow their normal collection procedures.

In the big scheme of things a total fee of $549 is not terrible.

How much usage will you get out of these points EOY? In other words, is it still a good value for the amount of yearly fees?

If you had known about the yearly membership fee, would that have stopped you from buying at this resort?

Are you mad enough that you want out of the deal, knowing that if you buy a week there in the future, you will still have to pay the monthly fee, regardless of who you buy it from?
 

Brenda47

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Yes, I am mad enough to want out of the deal and I would not have bought it if I had known about the additional money. I just don't know how to get out of the it. I did not intend to trade the week, we intended to use it. I figure if it is 149 this year on top of the annual maintance, what will it be next year? I have had on of my resorts, Villas de Santa Fe go from 463 to 640 this year. These mainteance fees are really getting out of hand but that is a whole other can of worms.
 

Dave M

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Since you already have your deed, it's likely that the only way out is to try to resell it, something that won't be easy these days. You'll likely be better off deciding how to enjoy the vacations you thought you would get when you bid on it.

There's no practical way to cancel unless the seller decides to be a nice guy and take it back. I wouldn't hold ny breath hoping that would happen.
 

Tia

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Sorry to read about your situation. Glad I did as had no clue certain systems including II/RCI memberships were limited like this.
 

Dave H

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They would give me NO info what-so-ever due to a PRIVACY issue. It was like trying to get info from the CIA.

I own a closing company and this is an every day issue. Understand YOU or I are asking about someones personal financial information. ie is the account behind?

Under the Gramm Leach Bliley Financial Modernization Act of 1999, they are prohibited from tallking about their clients account with anyone unless you have a signed release from the account owner.

The sad part is that many times, people will fill out the account holders name and forge a signature to gain the information. Now many of the resorts are requiring the form to be notarized as a safeguard that someone actually looked at the person signing it and they showed some kind of identification.

I have sellers all the time complaining that they have to have it notarized, but then I have to tell them I don't make the rules. Everyone looks at the rules in a different light.

Here is the reason you just can not call the resort and ask if the holder is behind:

Pretexting Protection
(Subtitle B: Fraudulent Access to Financial Information, codified at 15 U.S.C. § 6821–6827)

Pretexting (sometimes referred to as "social engineering") occurs when someone tries to gain access to personal nonpublic information without proper authority to do so. This may entail requesting private information while impersonating the account holder, by phone, by mail, by email, or even by "phishing" (i.e., using a "phony" website or email to collect data). The GLBA encourages the organizations covered by the GLBA to implement safeguards against pretexting. For example, a well-written plan designed to meet GLBA's Safeguards Rule ("develop, monitor, and test a program to secure the information") ought[citation needed] to include a section on training employees to recognize and deflect inquiries made under pretext. In fact, the evaluation of the effectiveness of such employee training probably should include a follow-up program of random spot-checks, "outside the classroom", after completion of the [initial] employee training, in order to check on the resistance of a given (randomly chosen) student to various types of "social engineering" -- perhaps even designed to focus attention on any new wrinkle that might have arisen after the [initial] effort to "develop" the curriculum for such employee training. Under United States law, pretexting by individuals is punishable as a common law crime of False Pretenses.



Hope that helps


Dave
 

Talent312

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I completely understand and appreciate that they would not tell the OP anything specific about the status of the TS being sold, absent a release signed by the seller. I would hate to think that the management would be willing to fork over such information to any "Joe" who calls them on the phone.

I'm not clear on how much due diligence the buyer did with respect to the "program" generally. Yeah, it would have been better had the seller disclosed this fee; however, buyers have a responsibilty to know what they are buying. As Jim Cramer likes to say on CNBC with respect to stocks, "Know what you own -- not just the name, but what it does and how it does it."
 
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Dave*H

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In my experience, most resorts are fairly forthcoming with information as long as you can give them enough information to show that you have inside information and am not just a random stranger, owner name, unit number, week, etc. However, the resort is justified in not being forthcoming without owner permission. In this case, you can typically find out most of what you need to know simply by asking general information questions that are not specific to the unit owned. Sometimes if you are rebuffed on specific owner questions and then try to switch to general questions, the person on the phone may feel like you are trying to make an end run around them and may not be helpful. In that case, hang up and call back in a day or two. The second time you call, explain that you are considering buying at the resort and have some general questions.

If you can't get access to owner information prior to the end of the auction, you should insist on it prior to sending any money. Better to back out of the auction then to buy something you didn't bargain for.
 

Brenda47

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Thanks everyone. I do appreciate all your info. As I stated, we do own other t/s and I always called the resorts, asking whether maintenace fees were current, etc and never had a problem getting the info. I do understand limiting access to this info, etc. I guess this was really a surprise when I was presented with this additional fee and still feel it should have been disclosed by SOMEONE before purchasing. I still feel the mistake was on the part of Sumday Vacations.
 

JeffBrown

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Refund Issued on 1/23/09

Just to clarify, the Escapes membership billing of $140 is not standard on all Escapes properties and is something that we were not able to find out in our investigation of the property prior to auction/ownership change. There were no delinquent fees at the time of the transfer which is information we are able to find out.

As far as usage goes, BrendaF can still use her ownership at that resort every year and by owning the points does have the flexiblity to move within the 7 or 8 Escapes properties with the points.

The buyer BrendaF (full name left off out of respect) did receive a full refund of the purchase price and closing fees, a total of $332.95 which is not intended to be a concilation but will atleast offset the additional expense for over 2 years. I do not agree with all of her statements on this thread but that is something that should not be rehashed in an open thread and therefore will not address them here.
Sincerely,
Jeff Brown
 

richardm

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Escapes! resorts...

All Escapes! ownerships receive access to the internal points program, and thus- are responsible for the required club fee. They are not difficult to work with on closings, and have always been very willing to provide a written estoppels with a signed release. (Remember, however- that the answers shown on an estoppels are always dependent upon the form ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS!)

The only issues I've ever dealt with that can be frustrating on an Escapes! resale is that some of the resorts themselves during development never purchased or generated a master title policy- so for those, title insurance is realistically not available for an individual interval buyer. (DaveH- please correct me if I'm spouting gibberish!)..

IMHO- fault is shared by both parties.. The reseller should have either been more careful or more knowledgeable about the resort program, and the buyer should have completed their own due diligence more fully. Bottom line, when you buy from eBay- be ready for the possibility of a surprise!

Looks like the eBay seller gave back the purchase price (chances are they collected big money upfront so just needed someone to assign the title to anyway!) so at least you'll now have a cushion to try and put the ad back up on eBay again and sell to the next guy for $1.
 

Dave H

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All Escapes! ownerships receive access to the internal points program, and thus- are responsible for the required club fee. They are not difficult to work with on closings, and have always been very willing to provide a written estoppels with a signed release. (Remember, however- that the answers shown on an estoppels are always dependent upon the form ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS!)

The only issues I've ever dealt with that can be frustrating on an Escapes! resale is that some of the resorts themselves during development never purchased or generated a master title policy- so for those, title insurance is realistically not available for an individual interval buyer. (DaveH- please correct me if I'm spouting gibberish!)..

IMHO- fault is shared by both parties.. The reseller should have either been more careful or more knowledgeable about the resort program, and the buyer should have completed their own due diligence more fully. Bottom line, when you buy from eBay- be ready for the possibility of a surprise!

Looks like the eBay seller gave back the purchase price (chances are they collected big money upfront so just needed someone to assign the title to anyway!) so at least you'll now have a cushion to try and put the ad back up on eBay again and sell to the next guy for $1.

Rich:

It is harder to get title insurance on a resort that does not have a master policy, but a good search back to the state required period 30 to 60 years back can give a good enough chain of title to determine if title insurance can be written. The problem is if it is more points based than a deeded unit/week, it limits title insurance in most cases, unless you can write a eagle 9 policy, but not all states allow that policy.

Dave
 

Garnet

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Brenda, don't beat yourself up...SumDays..did good.

Brenda-

I don't have much sympathy for those that state...I won this auction...did I get a good deal? or should I look for a way out? how can I capitalize on a listing mistake? Do you think I can get the seller to lower the price? Should I just walk away from my impulse buy and leave the seller with paying the listing fees? (These make me so mad, I can't possibly respond politely, so I don't.)

You sound experienced-you made the calls (doing a HUGE part of the right thing before buying)...information wasn't given to you. I know, only so much info is given.. It is certainly NOT personal info that you would have to pay this fee for an extra II acct. (And yes, paying this fee for an EOY resort is a huge bummer.)

However, I think that SumDays did a fair thing. They (likely due to this posting...) offered what sounds like fair compensation. I hope you agree, don't beat yourself up, and enjoy your purchase.
 
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