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My resort wants to switch my ownership-or is this a scam?

Luvstotravel

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We own week 51 at a ski area in Vermont. When Christmas falls in that week, we get a lot of exchange points from RCI, and have had some great trades. It’s a studio that only sleeps 2, and that’s the only problem. When we use it, the resort always upgrades us to a bigger unit, because we’re owners. But there’s no doubt that if it were a 1- or 2-bedroom, it would be even more points, if we wish to exchange.

We recently got emails and paper mail from the resort. It’s on the resort letterhead, with the resort’s address and phone number and email address. They say they want to regain ownership of every week associated with the studios. They have two 2-bedroom units in the same week, and upgrading would at no cost, other than paying ~$16 more per year in maintenance fees yearly. We could instead get a different week, if we’d rather. We could even give back our ownership. (We paid $1 for it, almost 8 years ago!)

What do you all think? I’m very tempted, but have read so many horror stories. This does not seem to be a scam. Thanks for advice!
 

Egret1986

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We own week 51 at a ski area in Vermont. When Christmas falls in that week, we get a lot of exchange points from RCI, and have had some great trades. It’s a studio that only sleeps 2, and that’s the only problem. When we use it, the resort always upgrades us to a bigger unit, because we’re owners. But there’s no doubt that if it were a 1- or 2-bedroom, it would be even more points, if we wish to exchange.

We recently got emails and paper mail from the resort. It’s on the resort letterhead, with the resort’s address and phone number and email address. They say they want to regain ownership of every week associated with the studios. They have two 2-bedroom units in the same week, and upgrading would at no cost, other than paying ~$16 more per year in maintenance fees yearly. We could instead get a different week, if we’d rather. We could even give back our ownership. (We paid $1 for it, almost 8 years ago!)

What do you all think? I’m very tempted, but have read so many horror stories. This does not seem to be a scam. Thanks for advice!
Although it seems "too good to be true," a simple call to the resort's contact info in the email could alleviate any concerns about a scam. It would also give you a chance to find out why the resort wants to regain ownership of all the studios. But to have the opportunities that they are offering seems like a great time to upgrade to a larger unit for a minimal increase in maintenance fees, secure a different week that you may prefer or relinquish your ownership altogether. It seems like a win-win to me.
 

Marathoner

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"Hope for the best, plan for the worst" as Reacher says. Call the resort and ask the material questions with regards to transaction details, hidden fees, and the timeline/milestones that you need to abide by.
 

Tank

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Sounds to good to be true ,,,,,,,,

Caution !!!

Good luck !
 

Mosescan

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When you contact the resort DO NOT use the contact information on the correspondence that you have received with this offer. All of the letter head etc can be faked and they could have their own phone line. Use your own resort website or paperwork to contact the resort.

If it all checks out then you have an interesting decision to make. If you can keep the same week with a larger unit you may have got a win.

Good luck and I hope it checks out.
 

Luvstotravel

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When you contact the resort DO NOT use the contact information on the correspondence that you have received with this offer. All of the letter head etc can be faked and they could have their own phone line. Use your own resort website or paperwork to contact the resort.

If it all checks out then you have an interesting decision to make. If you can keep the same week with a larger unit you may have got a win.

Good luck and I hope it checks out.

Good point. Thanks.
 

theo

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When you contact the resort DO NOT use the contact information on the correspondence that you have received with this offer. All of the letter head etc can be faked and they could have their own phone line. Use your own resort website or paperwork to contact the resort.

If it all checks out then you have an interesting decision to make. If you can keep the same week with a larger unit you may have got a win.

Good luck and I hope it checks out.
Sound advice.

If the offer is legit, I would first want to ascertain that OP would be getting the same fixed week (assuming that's what OP wants) --- not a larger unit but with a floating week instead, a change which would introduce new reservation hoops and hurdles for the OP (and maybe some unwelcome restrictions on the range of weeks that can even be reserved at all). :shrug:
 
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Luvstotravel

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It’s the same phone number on the mail they sent, the same as what I’ve used in the past to get in touch with the resort directly.

They’ve offered us a choice of two 2-bedroom units, the same week, week 51. Due to work schedules, we are thinking of possibly asking if they have a week in February. We usually end up having to work around week 51, and our anniversary is in early February. (Traded it this past year- went to south Florida, and will go to Breckinridge in August. That’s from the points we got from our deposit into RCI.)

Thanks, I’ll keep you all posted as to what we do.
 

Egret1986

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:D

Not sure, but I think it would be a first to hear that there are scammers out there trying to "take" timeshares from owners, going to the extent of tracking the owners down, producing fake letterhead, sending emails, mailing paperwork, with no cost to the owners. However, I don't have the mind of a scammer, so maybe I'm missing the angle.

It must be rough out there in the scamming world if they are now making such efforts to take on timeshares "at no cost" to the owners. Hmmmm. :ponder:

It would be interesting to find out as to why the resort is offering this incentive. Perhaps they will be making the studio units into combined larger units.

I think the OP has been given a potential great opportunity to enjoy an ownership that works better for future vacations.
 

TUGBrian

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id certainly dig more into the "no cost to you" part to verify that.

a large portion of the bitter pill of "converting" is that most resorts tend to try to make the owner pay a hefty fee for the conversion itself.

it may not be an utterly terrible idea if it were completely free (and you were interested in any of the benefits that having points would provide you over your fixed week)
 

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I'd definitely invest between $300 to $500 to have an attorney from Vermont review any documents you are sent. Quiet honestly, I dont think what you have explained to us is what you'd be getting.
First, it doesnt make sense for the resort to give you a bigger unit and charge the same MFs. Second, it doesnt make sense for the resort to acquire studio units only to give owners bigger units.
I hope you keep us up-to-date on this story.
 

Luvstotravel

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My husband called the number we’ve used in the past to speak with the front desk people. They knew about it. Sounds good. He wanted to ask the woman who explained it all to him, to ask more questions today and she’s now on vacation. We’ll have to sit on this for a few days at least.

It makes sense that they want the studios back. They’re super tiny. When we went, we spent a lot of time out and about, so were never put off by it. But I can understand people trading in being dismayed at getting what was basically a motel room with a tiny kitchenette.
 

Luvstotravel

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I'd definitely invest between $300 to $500 to have an attorney from Vermont review any documents you are sent. Quiet honestly, I dont think what you have explained to us is what you'd be getting.
First, it doesnt make sense for the resort to give you a bigger unit and charge the same MFs. Second, it doesnt make sense for the resort to acquire studio units only to give owners bigger units.
I hope you keep us up-to-date on this story.
First, the maintenance fees would increase very slightly with a bigger unit. They told us that.

Second, I think it's possible that they're losing money on the studios. I can imagine that they'd like to maybe convert the two of them into one larger unit. That's just one possibility.

The letter says, in part: "We are trying to regain ownership of every week in the year associated with our two studios but there are a few remaining owners left including yourself. With this information, I am writing in regards to the possibility of upgrading your unit for no cost to you or even taking back ownership and waiving any fees you may have."
 

bizaro86

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If the maintenance fees are similar for very different unit sizes, probably a lot of studios (especially off season) default. If they get them all back, maybe they can sell as a whole ownership unit, use as staff housing, etc.

This seems like potentially an opportunity get a desirable upgrade. Depending on how many they have left and what their plans are, they may be willing to pay a small sum for your deed if pressed.
 

WackyLucy

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It makes sense that they want the studios back. They’re super tiny. When we went, we spent a lot of time out and about, so were never put off by it. But I can understand people trading in being dismayed at getting what was basically a motel room with a tiny kitchenette.
I am admittedly something of a novice, but I fail to see how it "makes sense" at all from the resort perspective to "take back" studios and provide a 2BR unit instead, at no additional cost to the owner except slightly higher maintenance fees. I have difficulty making sense at all out of that proposal.

The only reason I can think of off the top of my head is that they could rent them out to the general public on a nightly basis at top dollar during ski season, but certainly not in mud season. Fall "leaf peeper" season is also popular in Vermont and another market for top dollar nightly rentals.

I don't see why the resort would care about "dismayed" exchangers, who should know before arrival that they were getting a studio with kitchenette.
 
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vacationhopeful

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OP posted that the resort has ONLY 2 studio units... buried in the quote from the letter from the HOA.

It would MAKE sense to NOT deal with a marginal product over the years ... just 2 OFFSIZE/SMALL/MARGINAL rooms each week. As to what the resort plans to do with the 2 rooms of space ... depending on the location of these rooms in the resort .. could be office space, activities room, added on to adjoining units or just plain storage space.

Go for the deal ... ask for your Febraury weeks (President's B-day timeframe?).
 

Luvstotravel

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I am admittedly something of a novice, but I fail to see how it "makes sense" at all from the resort perspective to "take back" studios.

The only reason I can think of off the top of my head is that they could then rent them out to the general public at top dollar during ski season, but don't know about the demand in other seasons, although fall "leaf peeper" season is also popular in Vermont. I don't see why the resort would particularly care about "dismayed" exchangers, who would have known before arrival that they had booked a studio with a kitchenette.
“SHOULD” have known. I have read many stories of people checking into hotels, knowing what they booked, but expecting to be able to sweet-talk their way into a bigger unit. I’ve even witnessed them- I’ve worked at ski resorts. People think they can tolerate it for a few nights, but after one or two, check out. Or find out that no, there is nothing else and they cannot be upgraded at arrival. I was, because as they told us- we’re owners. They always try to upgrade owners, if it’s ok.

Our studio has only a bed, and a tiny table with 2 hard chairs. No couch, nothing else. I’ve stayed in studios that still had a tiny living room area. Not ours. And yes, the resort does mostly use the 2studios to put up local workers for a night when the weather is bad.
 

bogey21

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We recently got emails and paper mail from the resort. It’s on the resort letterhead, with the resort’s address and phone number and email address. They say they want to regain ownership of every week associated with the studios. They have two 2-bedroom units in the same week, and upgrading would at no cost, other than paying ~$16 more per year in maintenance fees yearly. We could instead get a different week, if we’d rather. We could even give back our ownership. (We paid $1 for it, almost 8 years ago!).
I'd pursue this with vigor. If you find out the offer is legitimate, you will have a lot of options. If you procrastinate, someone else might beat you to the same Week 2 bedroom Week. You can always say "No Thanks" if that is your choice.

George
 

vacationhopeful

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I am admittedly something of a novice, .....

I don't see why the resort would care about "dismayed" exchangers, who should know before arrival that they were getting a studio with kitchenette.
My principal resort has such a STUDIO .. just as descriped above. Bed, 2 wooden chairs and a 24" round table. No soft chair. No balcony (big double window). Kitchenette with a microwave plus 2 burner cooktop and undercounter refrigerator. There are 60 of those units in the resort. And the reviews we get from people who exchange into the resort is just BAD about these Studios. Most seem to THINK if they complain, they will get upgraded. Some people show up with EXTRA people (over 2 persons unit limit) who assume there will be a sofabed. Or two people who did NOT expect to share a bed together. WARNINGS in the reviews to NEVER exchange into this resort... posted by guests.

My resort has a total of 15 floors with 10 units per floor. 60 of those units are corner LOCKOFF units with means 60 Studio units plus the 1bdr side ... those Studio reviews DO HURT the ratings. I warn my renters who WANT the Studio unit ... there is some noise transfer between the units. It is a GREAT rental price for a week in South Florida ... but there is some noise transfer. And I have regular renters who DEMAND not to be in a unit which is part of the lockoff unit. And I am thankful, these are deeded fixed weeks. I caution my renters ... but bargain prices sometimes win over caution and rational decision making.

And yes, I have stayed in my Studio myself ... just as early this month for 5 nights. I heard some minor noise but it could have been way worse. Of course, they might have heard my TV also.

And like wise in past years, I heard some noise transfer FROM the studio into the 1bdr side ... I particularly remember, the couple who were into 'spanking' their mate. It took me a few minutes to figure out that noise .... then I just stood by the door and faked a good belly rolling laughing & giggling session. No need for me to whine to the Front Desk.
 

theo

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deleted post; misunderstood an important detail posted by OP
 
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silentg

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Can I ask the name of the resort?
 

silentg

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Thank you, I’ve heard of it but never visited.
 

silentg

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I just went to Mountainside’s webpage. They have lots of weeks for sale. I noticed they list the number of steps it takes to get into each unit. Is yours one that has 77 steps?
This would not be a good place for us to visit, unless we got one of the units with 2-4 steps.
I hope you get the unit that you want in February.
Silentg
 
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