Wade Capital Management, of Des Moines, Iowa, has been labeled a libelous business by the BBB. Their purpose was to hold money in escrow for timeshare owners who wanted to sell their timeshare through a listing agency. The Iowa Secretary of State has said they have no listing of this company either. The BBB went to their “address” at 668 19th Street in Des Moines and found a three-story apartment building there. The manager of that building stated he had no idea what Wade Capital Management was and that no business by that name was at that location.
The company claimed to work with a “vacation ownership closing company.” They utilized the common scam of calling up prospective victims from a list of timeshare owners. Once on the phone, they promised they could have the timeshare sold at a profit, but in order to do so would need money upfront. They did not offer a written contract of services, and asked for the money to be wired to them. Wiring money is like handing over cash; once the transaction is made, that money is irretrievable. At the conclusion of their investigation, the BBB immediately took away Wade Capital Management’s rating.
They have absolutely NO value. A search on Ebay for “timeshare” yielded many results of a single dollar, in places like the Caribbean and Mexico.
Timeshares are sold by scam artists, and then resold by… scam artists. If you own a timeshare, chances were you were given free stuff and wined and dined like a celebrity. Then you were verbally assaulted by a group or chain (or both) of timeshare salespeople who only had one goal in mind: get you to sign a timeshare contract. More free gifts were offered. Prices were cut. Grandiose promises were made. Even more free gifts were offered. And you were forced to deal with anger or an imposed guilt trip by one of the sales people if you didn’t sign.
They are a black hole for money. Rising HOA fees, maintenance fees and mysterious “Special Assessment” fees and, they cost money whether you use them or not!
In most cases, you can’t change your weeks. Everything in your life changes, including schedules, jobs, where you want to vacation, and of course, your financial situation. Most timeshares are sold as value purchases because you “would save money” over the course of your lifetime by buying into one. But who wants to vacation in the exact same spot every year? Cancun is great once or twice, but every year for the rest of your life? Orlando, Aspen are the same way. Even the world’s most exotic vacations like Paris and Moscow aren’t worth a visit every year.
You can never get out of them – wait, this one is incorrect! Only Transfer Smart gets you OUT OF YOUR TIMESHARE guaranteed. That’s right; we’re the only ones with an IN-WRITING GUARANTEE! Go to one of our presentations to learn more, we travel ALL OVER THE COUNTRY! We will discuss with you ALL of the options: timeshare sales, donation, and transfer. I think you can tell what we think the best choice is by our name.
The California Department of Real Estate (DRE) has issued a consumer alert about the rise of timeshare resale sales fraud in California.
“Given the economic strain many families are facing, timeshare ownership is a luxury some families can no longer afford”, DRE Acting Commissioner Barbara Bigby said. “And with so many owners wanting to divest themselves of their timeshares, it has created an opportunity for fraudsters.”
According to the DRE, these are the top three timeshare scams in California:
All of these con-artists ask for money up front and once payment is secured, the victim never hears from them again.
The DRE has several tips for timeshare contract holders to avoid being a victim of a resale telemarketing scam.
Visit their website if you feel you’ve been a victim of a timeshare resale scam or for a copy of the Consumer Alert.
Turning the Priceline/Orbitz model on its head, Backbid.com allows hotels to bid on you.
Priceline.com was the name-your-own-price innovator, launching in 1998. Many travel agents have said it changed the very nature of travel, taking the personal trip advisor and cutting them out, offering bare-bones deals for the consumer. The role of travel agent has greatly decreased, something I wrote about here. It’s one of the top ten “Dying Professions,” decreasing in number by 41% over the last six years. Unfortunately, this doesn’t also apply to timeshare sales.
It also changed the industry by sheer amount of information offered alone. The casual traveler didn’t know what the rates were for different hotels, especially upscale ones. Priceline not only made the consumer knowledgeable but expanded their options with everything from car rentals to the flights themselves.
Such power in the hands of the consumer is borderline dangerous to the hotel industry. “What if every time you bought an item from the grocery store, an article of clothing or a piece of furniture, once you got home you had competing stores offering to sell you the same item for a cheaper price?” asks Jason Q Freed, editor of Hotelnewsnow.com.
Backbid.com works like this. Tell the site you are going to a certain locale, and name your dates and price range. You have to have an existing hotel reservation. This is why hoteliers don’t like it. You have to break your reservation with one hotel, and accept a reservation from a new hotel. In many cases, you can get a room that’s nicer and less expensive than what you originally found.
This business model can extend to everything travel related, from car rental to flights as well. The industry may turn back the tide by not offering refunds on reservations. This in turn can lead to consumers only using hotels that offer the ability to break reservations, increasing their business but also potentially damaging it- after all, if they offer a hotel for $200 and get out-bid post-reservation for $199 every time, and the consumer must take the cheapest price, it can be damaging for all hotels.
The only cure would be for businesses to all agree not to use Backbid. This is a nearly impossible task. Businesses will do anything to make money, especially hotels and timeshare resorts in a down economy that has seen the vacation industry tank over the last five years. Oddly enough, one consumer actually got a Backbid discount bid from the hotel he had actually made the reservation with and saved $39.
The DoubleTree Hotel in Maine’s biggest city will offer timeshare suites as part of their renovations. While Maine isn’t usually looked at as a hotbed of tourist activity, and therefore usually passed over by timeshare shelling resorts, the head of Hilton sees potential in the market.
“DoubleTree by Hilton now welcomes our loyal business and leisure customers to stay with us in Maine, with the opening of the newly renovated DoubleTree by Hilton Portland Maine. This newest New England DoubleTree by Hilton hotel location extends our commitment to welcoming the world’s travelers in key destinations and providing a comfortable, amenity-rich hotel experience for visitors and residents alike to work and play,” says Rob Palleschi, spokesman for DoubleTree by Hilton.
The New England DoubleTree has upgraded its restaurants, amount of rooms, and expanded its offered services in order to make the place more of a resort and less of a hotel. It already had a premium location, two miles from the Portland Airport and directly across the street from the Maine Mall.
While we at Transfer Smart never recommend timeshares, but Argentina is such a beautiful place it may be one where a traveler could get swept up in the moment and purchase one. Yikes! After doing careful research, I’ve found what I think are the best beach, restaurant, nightclub and nature sighting. Because we all like specifics, right?
For beach choice go to the Mar Del Plata. It’s called “Argentina’s Miami.” A massive, vibrant, sexy crowd, world-class shopping and even some nature (seal sightings!) make this a can’t-miss.
Argentina’s most famous food product is its steak, or bife. They cook it with coarse salt and fire. That’s all. Pair a parilla completa with a red Gestos wine and you’ll be in heaven. Visit the world-renowned El Viejo Almacenz in Rio for five star dining and authentic live musica.
The tango is the first drink that comes to mind when you think of Argentina, Not the samba. That would be that rival country to the north that speaks Portuguese. Its passion hasn’t escaped the youth culture, and can be found in the biggest nightclubs of Buenos Aires. According to the Buenos Airés Nightlife Guide, the best nightclub is the Fiesta Bubamara. Locals, students and foreigners enjoy electronic music influenced by European DJ’s. The crowd is friendly and it stays open till 6AM on the weekends.
The nature sighting is a pretty easy one. The Foz do Iguacu, or Iguazu Falls, is one of the world’s longest and most spectacular waterfalls. On the Argentinian side, you can touch the water; on the Brazilian side you get the better view. If you’re in the far south of the country, check out the glaciers. People forget that the southernmost part of Argentina is less than 100 miles from Antartica!
With the recent release of Mitt Romney’s tax information, the disclosure that he has $100 million available in his Individual Retirement Account (IRA) was surprising to some. But prodigious investors saving for the future are looking at IRA’s in a whole new light and exploring the many options they offer.
IRAs began in 1974 as an act of Congress. There are several different types all with different tax benefits. For example, the SIMPLE IRA requires an employer to match employee contributions dollar for dollar, similar to a 401K. The Roth IRA, started in 1997, will have no tax impact on the user. All monies invested here will not be subject to taxes.
IRAs can have a diversified portfolio. Investments in land, business or charities can all be a part. What is illegal is using your IRA before it matures or before you turn 59.5 years old. For example, using a timeshare that’s in your IRA; using a hotel room that your IRA has stock in; or taking a vacation in a rental car from a company that’s listed in your IRA. Financial advisors issue these warnings to prospective buyers:
Keep your paper work. There are articles of organization, investor agreements and a secretary of state certificate. The IRS audits IRA’s once a year, and the custodian keeps these audits on file.
Learn your tax rules. Any prohibited transaction can render your entire IRA taxable and also subject you to a 10% penalty if you’re under 59.5 years old. As I wrote earlier, don’t self-deal, which includes buying, selling or leasing an asset to or from your IRA, such as a timeshare.
Know your providers. There are the state-regulated banks and private ones. They also tend to charge higher fees than 401K providers.
The asset-backed securities index for national timeshares reported a rise in delinquent timeshare debt over the last six months of fiscal year 2011. Total delinquencies in third quarter 2011 were 3.56% and rose to 3.82. Defaults in third quarter 2011 were at 0.62% and rose to 0.75% during the fall.
This information is courtesy of Fitchratings.com. They say despite these declines in the market, timeshare resorts are still sound investments and remain stable. Delinquencies and defaults were similar to fiscal year 2010. Timeshare loan delinquencies are at their historical norms. They had reached all-time highs during 2008 and 2009, mostly due to the economic and housing recession cutting into the vacation budgets of many families.
The world’s largest Legoland, LEGOLAND Florida, is offering new deals and promotions to entice people to visit them this summer. At 150 acres, it is the world’s largest Legoland, and since it opened in October of last year it’s also the newest. As 2012 will be their first full summer, they want to make a big splash for their inaugural busy season.
Much like a G-rated movie, the park is marketed to kids and their families. On May 26th they will open their Water Park, and new rollercoasters will also open over the summer. There are 50 rides already, with different ones aimed at adults, big kids and small children. The Duplo brand is obviously aimed at the smallest children.
Adults will like the “Island in the Sky” ride, where a rotating platform rises 150 feet into the air and gives you a view of central Florida from 15 stories up. They should also enjoy much of Florida’s first theme park, Cypress Gardens, as many acres of it were preserved. The teenage crowd may enjoy videogames at home however, as very few rides are aimed towards them. Of course the big draw for all is all the inspired ideas one can do with Legos. The Studio City store has a life-sized Lego Darth Vader in front of it, and there are Lego recreations of Tampa and New York’s skylines. There aren’t any plans for a Legoland Resort or Timeshare business yet but we’ll keep you updated.
One-Day adult passes are $75 and kids/seniors are $65, but buying online will take $7 off those prices. Further discounts can be found by buying in groups of 15 or annually.
1 Legoland Way,
Winter Haven, Florida 33884
OwnAmerica, a collection of real estate experts, has launched an ongoing online survey asking people about their experiences investing, which investments are the smartest, and which ones yield the highest returns.
81.6% of respondents who have invested in real estate said they made money, and the same amount expect real estate values will “definitely” appreciate over the next 10 years.
The survey represents a trend that investors are fed up with Wall Street stocks and now believe in something much more tangible. Their past experience and future outlook backs up their claims. One thing proposed as an investment but is actually a huge waste of money are timeshares. Here at Transfer Smart, we believe people should spend their money the way they want to, and not continue to waste money on poor investments like timeshares.
“The unique nature of this market today has created a perfect scenario for investors — dropping prices and rising rents,” says Gregory Rand, OwnAmerica CEO. “As a result, there are hundreds of cities and towns across the U.S. that have become positive cash flow markets, meaning the rents exceed the costs to own. Investors can buy, earn double digit returns just on the rent and gain the appreciation when it comes.”
As of this writing the survey was still open and can be found here.