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Smugglers' summer pass for RCI exchangers

nimrod

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Just noticed on Smugglers' Notch website, they have posted their 2006 fees for RCI summer exchangers wishing to purchase the Recreational Facilities Pass. This fee of $275, plus tax, allows the exchanging guests to have access to most of their pools, waterslides, and activities. I believe last years' fee of $250 did not receive positive comments from those that paid the fee. Any thoughts or comments?
 

ctreelmom

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I'm a Smuggs owner, so I am of course biased :) . While I agree with you that $275 seems like a lot, OTOH, I will say that I would have gladly paid a fee at other resorts we've exchanged into to have a fraction of the choices of things to do at Smuggs.

This was discussed to death here last year, but you also have to remember that Smuggs owners pay too, in the form of the activities package we purchase IN ADDITION TO the cost of our condos and the maintenance fees.

One last point. As an owner, I've been waiting for almost a year for a summer exchange back in, so apparently, the fees aren't making the resort any less popular.
 

STEVIE

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We paid the $250.00 rec. fee last Aug. What a ripoff!!! If I hadn't paid it my two sons would not have been able to use two of the three pools. Of course, I wanted my family to have access to the entire resort, but if it had been just my husband and me, there is no way it is worth it. Also, there is a small exercise room, and we had to pay an additional fee to use it. It wasn't alot, but still. It should of been included in the rec. fee!! I think they just don't care for exchangers.
 

chris1gill

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We paid it a couple of times last summer & it was a total ripoff to be honest. I do have kids, and I won't pay it again.... With just three of us, it's not at all worth it. I put the kids in day camp & you do get a discount, but the discount for the two of them combined didn't make up for the 250 that I paid... Additionally, when you pay to put the kids in the camp, they get to go to the extra pools anyways.... won't pay that fee again this summer, that's for sure.
 

TMTIP

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We have an exchange into Smuggs this summer and we are trying to decide whether to keep it or not because of these fees. It just seems like a lot of extra money to pay for pools.
 

JoyC

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I had been to Smugglers for a couple of summer. Last year, we had a plan change and could not go, so a friend of ours went with her family. I was told that the summer camp is getting really expensive and the fee was a total ripoff.

With this kind of price (fees + kids camp), I think one can find a lot of nice and affordable places to go. Needless to say, we are not planning to go back to Smuug again this summer.

JoyC
 

3kids4me

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Of course I love Smuggs and we spend every summer there. I'm not sure yet how I feel about the fee being charged to exchangers. On the one hand, I certainly paid a lot to have the benefits but on the other hand, I would like people to like my resort and feel as happy there as I do. I guess the only thing I can say is that, at least it's optional!

Also, as another poster mentioned, it isn't making Smuggs any easier to exchange into during the peak summer (July/August). In fact, they seem to book up so fast that they are now offering summer owners the ability to turn their unit back into Smuggs to rent (rather than trying to rent ourselves) because they are always sold out. (The only units that Smuggs normally rents directly are the fully owned ones unless a timeshare unit hasn't yet been sold.) So I don't see the fee going away in the near future. There are so many owners that can't even get back in during the summer!!

Sharon
 

STEVIE

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I feel that the fee I paid last year was outragious. This resort is just mediocre, in my opinion. Even if we were not charged the extra fee, we would absolutely not return. The unit was very worn, with absolutey nothing that stood out, a bathroom that we could hardly turn around in, and no, we are not big people. Having said that, I know there are alot of owners that return year after year, because they have seasonal friends they have made over the years, and look forword to seeing every year. This is not a resort I would ever recommend, but I understand the friendships that have evolved with the owners. This resort is great for owners, but exchangers would do much better elswhere.
 

KenK

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Heres the discussion from the old BBS

Its not a new issue....but some info was good here:

eudell

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From: los angeles, CA USA own: SoCal Beach, Big Bear, Palm Springs
Registered: Jan 2003

posted 02-21-2005 20:29
I posted the question on Ask Madge, but just wanted to give people a head's up. There was discussion earlier about new Smuggler's Notch winter fees. Now it looks like they are adding summer fees. Their site shows pool use fees at $40 per adult per day, $30 per child per day. EEK!
The website doesn't specify the fees for RCI exchangers.

Edye

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charford

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From:
Registered: Dec 2001

posted 02-22-2005 06:57
Looking at your ask RCI posting, I see that you got this info from the regular (not RCI exchanger) Smuggs website. Smuggs has always charged people who are not staying at Smuggs for pool use.
Smuggs has quite a range of water activities and so they've always checked that people who use the main pool complex are actually staying at Smuggs (owners, renters, exchangers). There is currently no charge for summer RCI exchangers to use the pool complexes.

Cathy

edited to reflect where on Smuggs website OP got info

[This message has been edited by charford (edited 02-22-2005).]

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eudell

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From: los angeles, CA USA own: SoCal Beach, Big Bear, Palm Springs
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posted 02-22-2005 17:41
I hope this is the case. (No pool fee for RCI guests) When the posts appeared a few months ago about the new $150 fee to get certain "perks" during the winter season at Smuggs (that's posted on the smuggs website now) there was discussion that smuggs would start a summer fee and that they were currently determining what that would like look. It all sounded like hearsay, so when I noticed the pool fee I got concerned.
Edye

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usualsus

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From:
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posted 03-26-2005 08:57
I think there will likely be a $250 mandatory fee as outlined in the memo below:

Dear Club Owners,

I'm pleased to announce that we have developed the summer program for those owners who would like to rent out their Club homes to Non-Owners for summer of 2005. As most of you know, we have been discussing this issue with both summer and winter
Owners for over a year and gathered information from many of you. We appreciate the participation of so many interested Owners. The program outlined here is an introductory
program and may be changed for future seasons.

Background:
Smugglers' offers a wide array of family programs, amenities, organized activities, water slides, pools and other facilities. Many other timeshare resorts choose to charge their
owners, via the maintenance fees, for the costs of programming and facilities like pools and tennis courts. At Smugglers' these offerings are totally funded by the resort, with the
exception of the facilities owned by the Owners such as the West Hill Community Center or Mountain Laurels Pool. Owners pay no fees for the operation, staffing or maintenance of
any of these programs or facilities.

Summer 2005 Program:
This summer we will require Non-Owners to pay a Recreational Facilities Fee to use these extensive summer activities and facilities. Non-Owners renting from Club Owners and those using the RCI exchange program will pay this fee. Owners will continue to have complimentary access to all of these facilities and programs as you have in the past.

When discussing the rental of your Club home to Non-Owners, please make your renters aware that the following costs will apply to their stay:

A Recreational Facilities Fee of $250 per family per week. Payment of this fee entitles everyone in the party to a Recreation Pass that allows access to the following activities and facilities*:

Stretch & Go, Welcome Party, Teen Karaoke, Notch Ready for Prime Time Players, Sterling Pond Hike, Marko's Magic, Funtastic Family Challenge, Mini-Golf, Bird's and Bloomers
Walk, Rum Runners' Hideaway, Family Splashdown, Smuggs' All Star Band, Bootleggers' Basin Wike, Night Moves – Live Acoustic, Mountainside Water Playground, Bonfire Sing-Along, Adult Basketball, Creative Corner Puppets, Forest Heritage Wike, Giant Rapid River Ride, Brewster River Gorge Hike, Entertainment with Goodtime Charlie, Funmeister's Clubhouse Family Ties – I-Did-A-Cart, Notchville Park, Woodland Wildlife Wike,Bigger is Better, Discovery Walk, River Walk, Nature Center, Village Garden Tour, Outer Limits Liquid Courage Karaoke, Bingo Blast, Explore Morse Mountain, Teen Alley, Elephant Head Hike, Aqua Jump, Junk Yard Band, Mount Mansfield Hikes, Bears and Berries Wike, Little Smugglers' Lagoon, Twister Waterslide, Volleyball, Live Jam Band, Croquet, Sock Hop, Lily Pad walk, Nightspiker DJ Dance Party, Saturday Cinema, Golf Tips, No-Strings Marionettes, Omni Ball Challenge

Payment of the Recreational Facilities fee also entitles a non-owner to these
discounts:

? 10% off the daily childcare rate at Treasures
? 20% off the purchase of non-sale items at Three Mountain Outfitters.
? $45 per day per child for participation in our Discovery, Adventure, Notch Squad and Explorer camp programs. This rate represents 30% discount off our 2005 regular rate of
$65 per day per child. (Includes lunch)

Alternative offer for Non-owner Renters:
If you have potential renters who have not visited Smugglers' before and who would like to stay in your home for your week, we can make a special offer available. Your friends may
reserve your home and week through our reservations department on our discounted promotional package. We will then collect the rental from your guests and compensate you with a check for 2 maintenance fees. The rate your renters would pay is 40% off
our regular Club Smugglers' rate for a 7 night stay and includes camp for the kids as well as recreation passes for the family. Your renters are required to attend a Vacation Ownership
Tour in order to take advantage of this package. For more information on how to book this for your guests, please call our Owner Services Department.

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TMTIP

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From: Yorktown, VA
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posted 03-30-2005 14:13
Looks like we will be cancelling our RCI exchange.
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markel

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From: USA
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posted 03-30-2005 14:27
Are you serious??? In addition to the exchange fee, an additional $250 per unit, I assume. I've never been to Smuggs, but were planning to exchange into there next year. Not sure now. By the way, what about the units on bonus vacations or last call. Will the same fee (or more) apply??
Mark

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pjjs

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From: Berwyn,IL,USA Umhlanga Sands, SA
Registered: Sep 2002

posted 06-01-2005 20:34
I got suckered. I leave in one week with an RCI exchange. Can I swing a deal to get the $250 and back and free camps for my kids if I go to their sales presentation?
$250 + $90*5 days for 2 kid camps = $700!!! We could have gone to Disney for that price.

Any ideas on alternatives? Can I get out of this exchange?

------------------
Looking to buy low MF resorts.

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KenK
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From: Nep.City, NJ/Hlwd,Fl
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posted 06-01-2005 21:04
Do the owners get to pay less maintance fees if they rent and the resort charges the renter?
Do the owners already pay this fee with their maintance? And then they fee is paid again with the renter/exchanger???

How could the resort operate the extras if none of the owners pay the fees to operate these extras? What I mean is, if no one ever rents a unit, and only owners stay for their time....how are the activities the renters & exchangers would have paid for be continued? Is the manager (ment) double dipping?

------------------
Ken K
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timeos2
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Registered: Dec 2000

posted 06-02-2005 05:07
Any type of additional fee helps ruin trade value. In this case it appears they will effectively kill any trade value whatsoever and owners had better plan on using or renting their weeks. Word is already getting out as you can see here on TUG.
------------------
John Chase
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Patri

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posted 06-02-2005 05:27
Does an exchanger even have access to any pool without paying a fee? Incredible!
------------------
Patri
Mother of the groom on June 11
Visit my website

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KenK
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From: Nep.City, NJ/Hlwd,Fl
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posted 06-02-2005 06:35
Says here pool yes (or at least some pool. You need to check out the website. This is a section for RCI exchange. Not sure if it includes rentals to Smuggs from other RCI outlets like www.afvclub.com or the public rental sites:
http://www.smuggs.com/pages/summer/rci/summerBenefits.php
"...2005 RCI SUMMER BENEFITS:

We look forward to hosting you this summer for an exciting week of fun for the whole family! SmugglersÕ offers a wide array of family programs, amenities, organized activities, water slides, pools and other facilities. Your luxurious resort accommodations and the use of our Courtside Pool and Waterslide are included with your RCI exchange. Please click on Summer to view our summer program offerings.

In order to fully enjoy your vacation week we recommend that you consider purchasing our optional Recreational Facilities Pass. The cost of the pass is $250 (plus tax) per RCI unit per week. The Recreation Facilities Pass entitles everyone in your party access to the following activities and facilities*:..." Con't on website...

Not sure if anything under the $250 can be bought alacart

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KenK

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Part 2

3kids4me

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From: Fairfield County, CT --Owner - Smugglers' Notch - 2 bedroom, week 33 plus float-- --- I remember PJ ---
Registered: Dec 2000

posted 06-02-2005 07:17
quote:
Originally posted by timeos2:
Any type of additional fee helps ruin trade value. In this case it appears they will effectively kill any trade value whatsoever and owners had better plan on using or renting their weeks. Word is already getting out as you can see here on TUG.

While I can't say that I'm in agreement with the additional fees Smuggs is charging (and I told them so), I have to say that the majority of prime season owners don't trade their week...it was just too expensive to trade. (Owners get the camps and most activities for free so they don't pay any fees.)

I know there are owners that rent their weeks, and they are the ones who will have to reduce their rental price by the activity fee of $250. (I don't think camps were ever included in rentals from owners.) They will probably still make a good amount on their rental.

Non-prime weeks, including things like fall foliage weeks, will probably retain the same trade value since one doesn't have to pay the fee when visiting during that time.

Sharon

[This message has been edited by 3kids4me (edited 06-02-2005).]

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charford

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posted 06-02-2005 07:38
pjjs,
If you take the timeshare tour, they will refund the $250.


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ctreelmom

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From: New Fairfield, CT; Smuggler's Notch, VT
Registered: Nov 2003

posted 06-02-2005 11:26
quote:
Originally posted by KenK:

Do the owners already pay this fee with their maintance? And then they fee is paid again with the renter/exchanger???
How could the resort operate the extras if none of the owners pay the fees to operate these extras?

Like Sharon, I have shared my feelings about these fees with Smuggs management. However, here is one important point that often isn't clear to those who don't own at Smuggs and sometimes even to those who do . Our M/Fs do NOT cover the activities and amentities like the pools and waterslides, guided hikes, country fair, bonfire nights, etc.

When you buy a T/S at Smuggs, you also purchase (or choose not to purchase) an amenities package that is priced according to the occupancy of your unit. THIS is what covers things beyond basic infrastucture and facilities managment.

I understand the double-dipping theory, but the other side of that issue is that an exchanger would be receiving, for free, something extra that M/Fs don't cover, that the Smuggs owner sitting next to him at the pool has paid for, separately from, and in addition to, the M/Fs. While the vast majority of Smuggs owners do buy the benefits, some don't, and those that don't have a package will have to pay the activity fee too, if I understand it all correctly.

When questioned about how this might affect trading power, Smuggs' management replies that in a given summer, only about 10 units are "awarded" (my word, not theirs) to outside exchangers; the rest go to Smuggs owners who trade back in. Management feels that even if all 10 of those exchanges were to go away, Smuggs owners waiting to trade back in would snap them right up. I have to think that this is at least partially true, as many of us actually buy extra banked weeks from Smuggs solely to use to trade back in during prime summer (and I'd have to assume, winter) time.

------------------
we are all angels with one wing. It is when we help each other that we truly fly.

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SBK

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posted 06-02-2005 15:23
quote:
Originally posted by ctreelmom:
Like Sharon, I have shared my feelings about these fees with Smuggs management. However, here is one important point that often isn't clear to those who don't own at Smuggs and sometimes even to those who do . Our M/Fs do NOT cover the activities and amentities like the pools and waterslides, guided hikes, country fair, bonfire nights, etc.
When you buy a T/S at Smuggs, you also purchase (or choose not to purchase) an amenities package that is priced according to the occupancy of your unit. THIS is what covers things beyond basic infrastucture and facilities managment.

I understand the double-dipping theory, but the other side of that issue is that an exchanger would be receiving, for free, something extra that M/Fs don't cover, that the Smuggs owner sitting next to him at the pool has paid for, separately from, and in addition to, the M/Fs. While the vast majority of Smuggs owners do buy the benefits, some don't, and those that don't have a package will have to pay the activity fee too, if I understand it all correctly.

When questioned about how this might affect trading power, Smuggs' management replies that in a given summer, only about 10 units are "awarded" (my word, not theirs) to outside exchangers; the rest go to Smuggs owners who trade back in. Management feels that even if all 10 of those exchanges were to go away, Smuggs owners waiting to trade back in would snap them right up. I have to think that this is at least partially true, as many of us actually buy extra banked weeks from Smuggs solely to use to trade back in during prime summer (and I'd have to assume, winter) time.


I can understand what you are saying -- but why doesn't the amenities package transfer to the RCI exchanger if the unit owner has already paid for it?

If it does not transfer, then it is double charging.

------------------
Susan

KenK
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From: Nep.City, NJ/Hlwd,Fl
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posted 06-02-2005 16:04
Maybe its a developers gimmick? I seem to remember something about people who buy directly from Smuggs will pay a fee (once??) and recieve the package.
If you buy resale not via the management company, there was no way you could get this package...and would have to pay? Could that be it?

IE= If you buy via the developer a new or resale week, it costs more because you get the package. (Maybe thats how they get the $$$?? Seems like a one time charge? Or is this 'fee' yearly. In any case...its not free to run, no matter where the $$$ comes from. Someone is paying.

------------------
Ken K
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ctreelmom

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Posts: 131
From: New Fairfield, CT; Smuggler's Notch, VT
Registered: Nov 2003

posted 06-03-2005 04:28
quote:
Originally posted by SBK:
I can understand what you are saying -- but why doesn't the amenities package transfer to the RCI exchanger if the unit owner has already paid for it?
If it does not transfer, then it is double charging.



Well, that is the part that I struggle with sometimes as well . But, if I look at it strictly from a business persective, we pay a premium price for our T/Ss there because of that activities package; if the activities were available for free to those exchanging in or renting, then why buy at Smuggs at all?

------------------
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ctreelmom

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From: New Fairfield, CT; Smuggler's Notch, VT
Registered: Nov 2003

posted 06-03-2005 04:38
quote:
Originally posted by KenK:
Maybe its a developers gimmick? I seem to remember something about people who buy directly from Smuggs will pay a fee (once??) and recieve the package.
If you buy resale not via the management company, there was no way you could get this package...and would have to pay? Could that be it?

IE= If you buy via the developer a new or resale week, it costs more because you get the package. (Maybe thats how they get the $$$?? Seems like a one time charge? Or is this 'fee' yearly. In any case...its not free to run, no matter where the $$$ comes from. Someone is paying.


No, not a gimmick. In fact, one of the reasons we bought at Smuggs was (besides the fact we loved the place so much)their sales presentation was the most straight-forward, no-pressure, plain English experience we had while shopping for a T/S. It's basically, "here's what we offer, this is what it costs, you know where to find me if you are interested, have a great day."

We bought our resale through Smuggs, but those who buy independently absolutely have the option to buy the package. Again, I believe most people do choose to buy it, but some do not. Perhaps someone who has gone that route can share how it works. No, it is only a one-time fee, not an annual charge.

------------------
we are all angels with one wing. It is when we help each other that we truly fly.

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charford

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From:
Registered: Dec 2001

posted 06-03-2005 07:40
The benefits package is sold to the family that buys the unit. It is based upon the number of people in the family and is for their personal use. It is attached to the owner, not the unit itself, so does not transfer to RCI exchangers or renters.
The price we paid for the 20 year benefits package several years ago is many many times greater than the $250 package that Smuggs is offering. Yes, almost 20 times greater - so as an owner, I wish that they would just charge me $250 a year - it would be a better deal.

[This message has been edited by charford (edited 06-03-2005).]

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KenK
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From: Nep.City, NJ/Hlwd,Fl
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posted 06-03-2005 07:58
So then a resale buyer not going through Smuggs Developer Realtor is able to buy the package after the deed (is it deeded?) is transfered?
Does anyone know how much the price to purchase the package is after the resale has been completed. This info might help other TUGGERS who might be interested in a unit.


Also, if someone buys a non developer resale mud weeks (when the activities are less, can the resale buyer also pay for this package in case they get a trade during the times the fee is imposed? (ie- quiet times like fall & spring)


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[This message has been edited by KenK (edited 06-03-2005).]

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geekette

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Posts: 291
From:
Registered: Sep 2004

posted 06-03-2005 10:08
I support the right for them to charge the fee to keep the stuff well maintained and am glad they are being upfront about it (I hate arriving at your destination only to be surprised by nickel and diming), but I would like to see them add a la carte or "adults only" choices. Or, shoot, even a daily rate. Yeah, what a pain to enforce!
Between the hubby and myself, $250 is too much for too little use on our part. for a family not leaving the grounds all week, that may beat the tar out of taking them to an amusement park for one day!

I'll be interested to know how it goes this summer. Given the great reputation this resort has, I'm sure there will be plenty of people paying the fee and not saying a word.

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Jalexander

TUG Member
Posts: 216
From: New Jersey, USA
Registered: Dec 2000

posted 06-03-2005 12:04
So what happens if SMUGGS rents out the unit for the owner and takes their cut of the proceeds? Will they still charge the $250?
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pjjs

TUG Member
Posts: 57
From: Berwyn,IL,USA Umhlanga Sands, SA
Registered: Sep 2002

posted 06-03-2005 15:25
Someone mentioned that I can get the $250 package fee waived, if I do the sales presentation. Has anyone actually done this? Do I get it after the presentation or are we on our honor and get it at check-inn?
Any tips on how to pull this deal off? or is it a standard deal on check-inn?

------------------
Looking to buy low MF resorts.

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charford

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Posts: 134
From:
Registered: Dec 2001

posted 06-05-2005 06:53
Sorry I don't know how to do quotes So, I will cut and paste answers to some of the questions.
Posted by KenK "Also, if someone buys a non developer resale mud weeks (when the activities are less, can the resale buyer also pay for this package in case they get a trade during the times the fee is imposed? (ie- quiet times like fall & spring)"

Smuggs doesn't sell mud weeks by themselves (weeks 13-23 and 36-50). Owners buy one, or quite often, more than one prime weeks (when activities are in full swing). A float mud week for each prime week is included in the sale (there are a few exceptions).

Posted by Jalexander: "So what happens if SMUGGS rents out the unit for the owner and takes their cut of the proceeds? Will they still charge the $250?"

Smuggs doesn't rent out weeks for "normal" timeshare owners (people who own one or two week packages). As one of the previous Smuggs owners mentioned, the clubowners tend to use their weeks by a high percentage anyway. The units available for rent thru Smuggs are owned by full owners or people who own multi-week packages. Smuggs charges MUCH more than $250/week to these owners to broker the rental of their weeks.

Posted by pjjs: "Someone mentioned that I can get the $250 package fee waived, if I do the sales presentation. Has anyone actually done this? Do I get it after the presentation or are we on our honor and get it at check-inn? Any tips on how to pull this deal off? or is it a standard deal on check-inn?"

The program is brand new. I recommend that you call Smuggs front desk or the vacation sales department at Smuggs for details on how it would work..."

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SBK

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ctreelmom said:
I'm a Smuggs owner, so I am of course biased :) . While I agree with you that $275 seems like a lot, OTOH, I will say that I would have gladly paid a fee at other resorts we've exchanged into to have a fraction of the choices of things to do at Smuggs.

This was discussed to death here last year, but you also have to remember that Smuggs owners pay too, in the form of the activities package we purchase IN ADDITION TO the cost of our condos and the maintenance fees.

One last point. As an owner, I've been waiting for almost a year for a summer exchange back in, so apparently, the fees aren't making the resort any less popular.

The fact that you have purchased an activities package is exactly why it is wrong that exchangers are charged an extra fee.

When you exchange, you are exchanging the totality of what you own at Smuggs for that week. The exchanger should receive that. They have already charged you the activity fee, then they turn around and charge the exchangee for the exact same benefit. That is wrong.

If an owner had not purchased the package, then there would be no problem charging the exchanger for it. But if they owner has paid, the benefit should convey.

Please explain how this double-dipping is anything but a ripoff.
 

3kids4me

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Susgar--Curious...you said you exchanged in last August...which is a very difficult month in which to get an exchange. Which August week was it and what did you use to get the exchange? In which unit did you stay? I can't figure out which building would have older units and also an exercise room. There are still some old buildings there and the units are not as nice, but those used to mostly be rental units.... I haven't heard of anyone being charged to use the exercise room in their building, since your door key works in the exercise room door. I'd love to know which building this was so I can call owner services and talk to them about it. I like to know who is being charged for what at the resort!

At any rate, this thread seems to be mostly about the fairness of the fee, and a little bit about the resort itself. I love the resort because I am never bored there. There are tons of activities all day and evening. They have a special program where my daughter, who has health problems, can get a one-on-one counselor and be driven by golf cart to any activity that would require her to do a lot of walking. (That is truly priceless to me...I haven't been to one other resort anywhere that offers this kind of program.)

We do know people there now after years of going, but that's not what makes it special to me. I just love being there, and I practically cry when it's time to go home! Last summer I had the very good fortune to spend two weeks in a row there, and it was heaven. While I would like everyone to get the special feeling I do when I stay there, I realize that tastes are different. What can ya do...I guess you have to find the place that is right for you.

Sharon
 
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