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Polo Towers- 2006 Main. Fees 13-Days Late & Being Charged $139.11!!!

lizfox

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I purchased two timeshares at Polo Towers a few months ago and my recorded deeds were mailed to the resort so they could list me as the new owner in the middle of November 2005. I never received anything from the resort regarding my new ownership and I read on TUG that they were backlogged updating the new owners of their computer. Today, I was more than shocked to receive the two maintenance fee bills from Polo Towers with total late fees in the amount of $139.11 PER TIMESHARE! This bill was printed on January 13, so god only knows how much I owe in late fees now. Is this legal? The statement says interest is accruing at 18% per annum, but my math must be off because these fees seem WAY higher than they should be. I'm planning on calling Polo Towers first thing tomorrow morning to ask them to remove the late fees. Any help/input from anyone who has dealt with this situation before would be greatly appreciated because I'm definitely seeing red at this point!
 

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Late fee's are $50 plus 10% collection fee and that's before the 18% interest. Since MF's are in the $700 range, that would be $120 for openers.
 

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I'd call the management company to see if someone can help you clear this up. If they are late to notify new owners, it is not the new owner's fault, is it?
 

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Here's an update: I called the number on my bills and spoke to a customer service rep this morning. He said he had no authority to waive the fees, but I should mail a letter to the HOA President asking him to waive the fees due to my situation. I thought it was ridiculous to have to write a letter to get these fees waived since this was the resort's fault in the first place, so my husband called the HOA President's office and the person he spoke to (secretary of the HOA President), was very rude and said they have never waived any late fees for any reason. My husband requested that the HOA President call him back ASAP so he can explain our situation. The Polo Towers HOA is obviously rude and unreasonable, and the amount of late fees they charge after being only 13 days late should be illegal! I'm absolutely furious right now :mad:
 

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lizfox said:
Here's an update: I called the number on my bills and spoke to a customer service rep this morning. He said he had no authority to waive the fees, but I should mail a letter to the HOA President asking him to waive the fees due to my situation. I thought it was ridiculous to have to write a letter to get these fees waived since this was the resort's fault in the first place, so my husband called the HOA President's office and the person he spoke to (secretary of the HOA President), was very rude and said they have never waived any late fees for any reason. My husband requested that the HOA President call him back ASAP so he can explain our situation. The Polo Towers HOA is obviously rude and unreasonable, and the amount of late fees they charge after being only 13 days late should be illegal! I'm absolutely furious right now :mad:
Welcome to Polo Towers. The resort itself is actually pretty nice but I've had my share of issues with management/HOA. My bet is they are stinging a little from not getting the >$1,000 special assessment passed (again), but it's not excuse for being rude. I'm assuming the SA didn't pass as there has been no official word about it (not surprising).

While I never thought I'd sell a TS, selling my PT's units has crossed my mind more than once. They still exchange fairly well and PT's has a great location so I'm still hanging onto them.
 

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Sorry, but there has to be a line drawn on fees.

As I sit in the same position as the HOA President at PT I have to jump in with a strong defense.

In most Association documents, and it sounds like PT's are the same, the obiligation to pay is absolute. In theory the Association wouldn't even have to send out bills just post the fees and the owners are obiligated to pay them. It is not the responsibility of the resort to know if your address has changed or if the unit was sold. They make the best effort to get the bills out and set a deadline for payment. As long as that deadline is fairly enforced - ie it applies equally to all - they are on very solid ground.

I always have to smile when I hear that people are "only" 15 or even 1 day late therefore the fee should be waived. Would your bank credit card waive it? The Association is a business and they need to act like one. If one owner gets a 15 day additional grace period then ALL owners should get that benefit and effectively the actual due date just moved 15 days later in the process.

As tough as it is the best response is exactly what the HOA President has said. The date is set in stone and anyone who misses gets charged the fees. Those fees cover the extra work involved in handling late payments. Why should the majority of owners who paid on time have to foot those costs?
 

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timeos2 said:
As I sit in the same position as the HOA President at PT I have to jump in with a strong defense.

In most Association documents, and it sounds like PT's are the same, the obiligation to pay is absolute. In theory the Association wouldn't even have to send out bills just post the fees and the owners are obiligated to pay them. It is not the responsibility of the resort to know if your address has changed or if the unit was sold. They make the best effort to get the bills out and set a deadline for payment. As long as that deadline is fairly enforced - ie it applies equally to all - they are on very solid ground.

I always have to smile when I hear that people are "only" 15 or even 1 day late therefore the fee should be waived. Would your bank credit card waive it? The Association is a business and they need to act like one. If one owner gets a 15 day additional grace period then ALL owners should get that benefit and effectively the actual due date just moved 15 days later in the process.

As tough as it is the best response is exactly what the HOA President has said. The date is set in stone and anyone who misses gets charged the fees. Those fees cover the extra work involved in handling late payments. Why should the majority of owners who paid on time have to foot those costs?
John,

I don't think too many timeshare owners would agree with your position...

If my credit card company sends me a bill on 1/13 and says the payment date is 1/01, do you really think that would hold up?

IMO, Polo Towers had the obligation to get new information into their computer system as soon as possible. Sending out a bill after the fact is a joke.

By the way, most credit card companies will waive a late fee one time . Since this isn't just an owner trying to come up with a lame excuse for a late payment, Polo towers should be waiving it..
 

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Tough love?

GeorgeJ. said:
John,

I don't think too many timeshare owners would agree with your position...

If my credit card company sends me a bill on 1/13 and says the payment date is 1/01, do you really think that would hold up?

IMO, Polo Towers had the obligation to get new information into their computer system as soon as possible. Sending out a bill after the fact is a joke.

By the way, most credit card companies will waive a late fee one time . Since this isn't just an owner trying to come up with a lame excuse for a late payment, Polo towers should be waiving it..
George -

Believe me I know what you are saying and the tempation is certainly there to let a case slide. But when the credit card company lets it go one time they are trying to keep a customer that always has an option to go to another provider. Plus they consider such things a cost of doing business and acceptable to the stockholders. But an Association is like Government. They live off your taxes (or in this case annual fees). Every dollar needed comes directly from the other owners pockets. When the benefit goes to only a select few it simply isn't fair. Of course there is also the argument that if you did add that extra 15 days grace on - lets say you even applied it to all accounts - what about the few that then paid a day or 2 or 15 past that? They also are sure to have a good reason so it should be extended again? For them? For all? Where is the final line drawn?

Unfortunately it is experience with that type of "good guy" approach that left my Association with less than 50% collections, a massive debt and the need for a large special assessment just to get things back on track in 2001. At that time we made a commitment to a new management and a strict collection procedure that has turned things around. We now collect over 94% and gaining and every owner knows no one gets special treatment. If someone does get hit with the late fee you can be sure it doesn't happen a second time. While it is tough being part of that enforcement I cannot argue with the success or the learning experience it provides. The majority of our owners have fully embraced it as it works.

Edited to add:

GeorgeJ. said:
I don't think too many timeshare owners would agree with your position...

If my credit card company sends me a bill on 1/13 and says the payment date is 1/01, do you really think that would hold up?

IMO, Polo Towers had the obligation to get new information into their computer system as soon as possible. Sending out a bill after the fact is a joke.
The bill was sent out on time but to the owner of record. Again it is not the resorts responsibility to know that the unit was transferred during the billing cycle. The old owner or the closing company should have made sure the payment was made on time and/or that you knew of the due date. It wasn't you that didn't pay it and I understand that but your argument should be with the seller not the resort. They did what they had to do and followed up with a notice when the first was ignored. Be thankful they didn't wait 3 months and let the interest build up before sending that second bill. I still have to be on the side of the Association and I'll bet the majority of owners would be as well if they knew about it. Pay it and know going forward you have a well run and fair collection procedure.
 
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Dave M

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Although I don't like this answer, I really have to agree with John. The documents of most resorts are pretty clear that the owner has an obligation to pay MFs timely. Period. Thus, each time I have purchased a timeshare, one of my first questions has been when are fees due and what procedure should I follow if I don't get a bill for them.

No different from buying a new home and asking about property tax responsibilities, since the bill might have already been sent to the old owner when I move in, particularly in states like Massachusetts where multiple bills are sent to an owner each year.

It's easy to push blame on someone else. However, I believe I need to protect myself by asking questions. If I follow that practice diligently, I'm less likely to have a problem of this type.
 

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Dave M said:
No different from buying a new home and asking about property tax responsibilities, since the bill might have already been sent to the old owner when I move in, particularly in states like Massachusetts where multiple bills are sent to an owner each year.
Usually for home sales the title company makes sure that the taxes are current, and the county computers would be updated after the sale was recorded, so you would soon get a bill at whatever mailing address you registered for the house. The county's really good about sending out bills you know!
;)
 

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timeos2 said:
Would your bank credit card waive it?
Bad example. Yes, they would and yes they have waived it. One time a couple of years ago, I didn't get my bill on time. When I called them about it, they didn't question who's fault it was, the late fee was waived.

It is upon the HOA's shoulders to get the bills out to the last available address. If ownership has changed, it is the HOA's responsiblity to log the new ownership in it's roster. If the address given is wrong, then the HOA has a leg to stand on. If not, then the HOA is somewhat responsible.
 

dougp26364

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John,

Deadbeat collections are another thing entirely. An HOA collecting less than 50% of it's MF's is not doing it's job either. Somehow I can't believe that >50% of the MF bills were going out to the wrong address. If they were, then either there were a lot of not so smart owners for not getting a change of address in or there was someone asleep at the wheel in the HOA for not getting the new address's on the books.

I'm fighting this right now with the HOA of a new timeshare I purchased resale. They have my name, have my contract number, have my address, yet they are NOT compititent enough to get me a bill. Is this MY fault somehow? I've only called them half a dozen times to attempt to get them to send me the bills and information I need as an owner. I suspect this HOA may have issues collecting MF's on time as well, but I don't see that as the owners fault entirely.
 

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dougp26364 said:
Bad example. Yes, they would and yes they have waived it. One time a couple of years ago, I didn't get my bill on time. When I called them about it, they didn't question who's fault it was, the late fee was waived.

It is upon the HOA's shoulders to get the bills out to the last available address. If ownership has changed, it is the HOA's responsiblity to log the new ownership in it's roster. If the address given is wrong, then the HOA has a leg to stand on. If not, then the HOA is somewhat responsible.
Doug - I agree the resort has to make the effort to bill in a timely way and use the most current address. But if they did - and there is no reason from the posts so far to think they didn't - then the responsibility shifts to the owner. If the sale was recent and hadn't been filed prior to the billing then how would the resort know that? Plus it tskes time to generate the owners list & get the mail sent out - what date was used as the cut off for mailing? Was it before or after the change in ownership?

It comes down to who has the better chance of knowing things have changed. The resort with thousands of owners or the individual with a week or two? The resort isn't moving or changing addresses or ownership. The owners know how to reach them. The owners may have moved, traveled, forwarded mail, sold, willed, placed in trust, declared bankruptcy or any number of things with their time. Is the resort supposed to know that? They do the billing, send it to the address of record and that is that. Unless the owner has proof they notified the resort of a change in address or ownership prior to the original billing date they do not have a valid complaint IMHO.

Specifically with the <50% collection rate absolutely the management was at fault. They did not do the proper job of collecting. But part of the reason was they did not want to anger owners as they were in sales and always tried to be "nice" an sell more. Thats why there is a new management and no moe Mr Nice Guy when it comes to collections at that resort.
 

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Ask Polo if they sent their owners a late refund check, when the SA for a childrens water park was 2 + years late getting built?
 

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The new owner did not receive any maintenance fee bill untill it was printed on Jan 13 and then mailed.
The HOA could have updated there records quicker and the New owner could have called the HOA and asked about there new account status and the maintenance fee billing. Both have to take some level of responsibility for the mixup.
A reasonable HOA would give the new owner the benefit of the doubt and waive the late fee based on this situation.

In most walks of life however you will always run up against the Cold Calculating business types that belive all rules should be set in stone.
All you can do is make your Case and if they refuse to waive the late fee then pay the maintenance fee and penalty under protest to avoid any additional intrest or penalty.
 

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I'm kind of on the fence with this one. I think it was definately the OP's responsibility to call the resort. I have paid under the previosu owners names on many occasions when I knew it was going to be close.

I think the fees are excessive.. especially within the first month.
A $25 late fee for a month, would suffice. Then start adding the interest.

Mortgage companies will on occasion waive you late fees, its a similar concept.

Polo Towers was notified in the Middle of November, that should be enough time to get the ownership transfered. At one of my resorts its $150 transfer fee. For that much $$, they better not wait until 2 months later to transfer ownership.

Liz, do you have anything showing the date your paperwork was sent to Polo Towers? I typically get a letter from the escrow company saying that all paperwork has been sent to the resort.

I guess this is a good lesson for all..
Polo towers is large and I can understand the HOA president standing firm with the policy. However I think he should listen to owners and get on management to be more efficient in the future.
 

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I purchased a timeshare last year from a reseller who had purchased at the end of 2004. For whatever reason, the resort had in its records that he 2005 maintenance had been paid, when they had not. I even had an estoppel letter from the resort management to that effect. They waived any late fees when the error was discovered, which was nearly 9 months later. My reseller, who is a TUG regular, promptly refunded me the 2005 maintenance fees that I had reimbursed him for at closing.
 

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Hate to be defending Polo Towers, but...

If you make an estimate of 20,000 owners at Polo Towers, and a turnover rate of 5 years on timeshares, that means that 4,000 units change hands every year. If they are spread out evenly, (which is doubtful, as I imagine many rush to close before paying mf's, as such was the case here), then you are looking at 325 closings per month for October, November and December, or 1,000 end of year transactions.

Should Polo Towers allow waiving late fees for all sales transactions in the months of October, November and December? What about time delivery differences in the US mail? What about overseas owners? What about transactions that arrive on their doorstep on December 22nd? December 31st?

In my opinion the seller was avoiding the issue, as they did not want to pay the mf's, so they swept this issue under the rug. By not communicating with the buyer, they put their buyer into a bad situation. Then the buyer made an error in assuming that if she contacted PT's for a bill, she was covered. Polo Towers may have been late adjusting their owners' lists, but with end of year transactions, this is a possibility.

I have read alot of unfavorable things about the board at Polo Towers, and I'm sure most, if not all of it is true. However, I don't think you can come to the conclusion that PT's has an obligation to waive late fees in this case.

It is the responsibility of the buyer or seller to pay the assessment on time. Polo Towers doesn't care if the new or old owners pay the assessments, just that they are paid on time.

Sincerely, I would ask anyone who supports waiving the fees to explain to me where they would draw a consistent line on this issue if they were on the board.
 

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I have to side with PT as well. I look at it in similar way that I pay my property taxes on my home. I know they are due in January. If I dont receive a bill that doesnt mean that I dont have to pay them. If I am even one day late I will get a penalty. It is my responsibility to know that the taxes are due.

The late fees may seem excessive but if it is in the HOA rules then they should apply to everyone.
 

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cluemeister said:
Sincerely, I would ask anyone who supports waiving the fees to explain to me where they would draw a consistent line on this issue if they were on the board.

I would check the records and see when the resort first sent the new owner the maintenance fee bill and then add a 30 days grace period so they could respond and pay.
IF it was a big problem for the resort I would recommend a new resort ownership transfer rule the requires the next years maintenance fee be paid inadvance on all 4th quarter closings to avoid this type of situation altogether.

I agree people who don't pay the maintenance fee need to be punished
but does it really make sense to punish a new owner who was not billed untill Jan 13 by the resorts own mangement?

Someone else said that late payments cause extra expense to the resort that must be paid by the other owners so its not fair to waive the late fee.
Does anyone really belive it costs the resort the added expense of $139.11 for each week of ownership for a total of $278.22 in this situation?
Im really surprised so many have defended the resorts policy.
 
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What's a transfer fee for

If PT wants to charge a $150 transfer fee then they have a responsibility to act promptly on an ownership change and notification of a new owner. If they got the notice in mid November and didn't get the bill out for 60 days, that is totally too long. Someone spoke of 1000 transfers a year, well if they can't hire good help with $150,000 they have a problem. I agree every resort should have a policy of next year MF's paid before transfer in 4th quarter but that's not the buyers fault. If PT doesn't have that policy, they need to bear most of he responsibility.

Unfortunately John, you have the attitude of too many HOA's. The "My way or the Highway" attitude doesn't speak well for HOA's that truly want to respresent the owners. HOA's aren't God, even though some think and act like they are.

Mike Smalley
 

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JEFF H said:
I would check the records and see when the resort first sent the new owner the maintenance fee bill and then add a 30 days grace period so they could respond and pay.
This scenario then changes the due dates for maintenance fees based on the date of a sale transaction. If I was on this board, and I knew owners knew their bill amounts 12 months in advance, I would think it unfair to grant certain members a grace period based on when they sell or buy. This would also have an impact on cash flow to the tune of $100,000 - $200,000.

In addition, I'm guessing the resort sent out bills based on the owners of record on a certain date. If the owner of record changes right after bills are sent out, whose responsibility is it? What if the property closed on December 31st? Under this scenario, the new owner could get about 60 days to pay the mf's, as the timeshare closing company still has to get the information to the the resort, and then the resort mails a bill, and then the new owner gets 30 days. What if the timeshare closing company delays getting the new owner information to the resort? What if a mf bill is sent out, and an owner has moved? What if the post office loses the bill in the mail?

I think it comes down to the fact that paying mf's are the sole responsibility of the owner, not the association.

I do think the homeowners' association made a mistake. They had a clear duty to tell the new owner (when she called in looking for the bill) that waiting for a bill did not excuse late fees, and explain to her how to pay the mf's by the due date with instructions on how to mark her check.

That's where a little customer service would have gone a long way!
 
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There are cutoff dates and due dates that must be met

michaelsmalley said:
If PT wants to charge a $150 transfer fee then they have a responsibility to act promptly on an ownership change and notification of a new owner. If they got the notice in mid November and didn't get the bill out for 60 days, that is totally too long. Someone spoke of 1000 transfers a year, well if they can't hire good help with $150,000 they have a problem. I agree every resort should have a policy of next year MF's paid before transfer in 4th quarter but that's not the buyers fault. If PT doesn't have that policy, they need to bear most of he responsibility.

Unfortunately John, you have the attitude of too many HOA's. The "My way or the Highway" attitude doesn't speak well for HOA's that truly want to respresent the owners. HOA's aren't God, even though some think and act like they are.

Mike Smalley
Mike - I am not the Association or HOA but I am a member of it. I serve on the Board to represent the over 10,000 individual owners that are the Association. Our Association members have embraced our strict policy on collections as shown by two measures. One that the collections improved from less than 50% to over 90%. Second that requests for exemptions or rebates of the fees charged have dropped from hundreds in 2002 (the 1st year they applied) to less than a dozen in 2006. We have made it clear why the Association needs to collect the full fee on time and the owners understand. It still seems some feel there is a pot of money out there that can be tapped that somehow doesn't come from the owners. Every dollar refunded, used for enforcement or not collected has to be made up by the majority that meet their obligations on time. Our Association will not penalize those that are timely to pay for the minority that fail to follow the rules.

cluemeister said:
In addition, I'm guessing the resort sent out bills based on the owners of record on a certain date. If the owner of record changes right after bills are sent out, whose responsibility is it? What if the property closed on December 31st? Under this scenario, the new owner could get about 60 days to pay the mf's, as the timeshare closing company still has to get the information to the the resort, and then the resort mails a bill, and then the new owner gets 30 days. What if the timeshare closing company delays getting the new owner information to the resort? What if a mf bill is sent out, and an owner has moved? What if the post office loses the bill in the mail?

I think it comes down to the fact that paying mf's are the sole responsibility of the owner, not the association.
Exactly. Those who want to play the system will always find reasons that the dates/rules/fees don't apply to them. The obiligation to pay comes with ownership and every buyer knows that. There is nothing unfair about needing to pick a date for mailing and a due date after which everyone is past due. It would be failing in our fiduciary duties as a Board to allow some owners breaks that we cannot give to all. It is a tough stance but a necessary one.
 
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[Edited to delete post that had enough sarcasm so as to run afoul of the BBS "Be Courteous" rule. Dave M, BBS Administrator
 
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The HOA operates the resort for the owners. They usually, but not always, hire a management firm for day to day operations which would include things like maintenance of the owners listing. I certainly agree that if it is taking 4 months to get a sale updated then that management is remiss and the HOA Board should do something about it. But many times the original developer has managed to hold on to the job of management and often act like they "still own tha place". FF is a great example of that as their owners services are about as bad as can be found yet the Board won't do anything about it as they are mostly FF employees! If you have an owner controlled Board and they allow that sort of poor management you have every right to get after them to improve performance or be replaced (both the Board and management). But the owners still owe the fees no matter how bad the management may be.
 
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