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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 62904
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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Sirs, I purchased a timeshare in Orlando, Florida in 1997.

Customer Question

Sirs,

I purchased a timeshare in Orlando, Florida in 1997. Since then, I and my family have enjoyed a number of excellent holidays at the resort and also by trading through RCI.

The management changed ownership in 2003 and the new owners seemed a little more agressive in chasing maintenance fees etc. However we continued as we were satisfied at that time.

However, 2 years ago my cicumstances took a downward turn in that I was made redundant and even to the present day I am just managing to get back on my feet again.

Eighteen months ago I contacted the resort management owners to explain the situation and if necessary I was willing to relinquish my ownership as I had been unable to sell and I am well aware that I would be very unlikely to sell at any time. Needless to say, they were very unsympathetic to my situation and simply put me in touch with an American re-sale company. Further investigation revealed this company to be closely linked to the owners and their success rate was virtually nil. I would add at this point that when I purchased in 1997 the then owners stated that if at any time I wished to sell in the future to contact themselves as they did have a resale policy and did not want my ownership going on the open market. Needless to say this fell on deaf ears with the present owners.

It was at this point that I contacted the Timeshare Consumers Association administered by Mr. Sandy Grey who has sadly recently passed away. Mr. Grey proceeded to advise me to write and explain to the management company that I was cancelling my contract giving the reasons why as above and also exorbitant maintenance fees, mis-selling, etc.
He then advised me to TOTALLY ignore all attempts to contact me. He did say that in his experience he has never known a U.S. company to pursue a U.K. owner through the UK courts.

I followed his advice through the next 18 months with the events going exactly as predicted, i.e. deadline dates passed and gone, threat of debt collectors,etc.After a number of discussions with Mr. Grey he stated that they would attempt to intimidate me into paying.

I am contacting yourselves as the latest correspondence is giving me 30 days to pay or else they put the matter into the hands of an outside collection agency, i.e. debt collectors.

My resolve inthis matter remains firm as I have no intention of paying. I am simply looking for further reassurance that I continue onthis path as the sad passing of Mr. Grey has left me without a trusted advisor and the TCA website has temporarily closed.
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: UK Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 11 months ago.
Hi

Thank you for your question and welcome to Just Answer. My name is XXXXX XXXXX X will try to help with this.

In order to give you answer tailored to your circumstances I will need to ask you some preliminary questions so that I can consider your position from all angles.

What was it your wanted to know about this time share exactly?
Customer: replied 11 months ago.


Simply that I continue to ignore all attempts to contact me so that I can basically walk away having cancelled my contract

Expert:  Jo C. replied 11 months ago.
Thanks

Are you asking whether you can be assured that nothing would happen if you did that?
Customer: replied 11 months ago.

Basically yes. This was the advice I was following by the TCA. I am looking for some peace of mind that I continue with this course of action, my advisor having passed away.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 11 months ago.
Obviously there are never any guarantees. Sometimes they do sue. Sometimes they are unreasonable and militant.

It is unlikely that they would but nobody can guarantee that its impossible.

Passing this matter onto debt collectors tends to suggest that they do not immediately propose to sue. All debt collectors do is write and phone debtors in order to put pressure on them to pay. They are not usually used to sue. If that were their intention you would be dealing with their solicitors.

Of course, its not impossible that they could get their solicitors to sue. They do have jurisdictional issues to get around. It is possible that they could do that but its things of that nature that make these suits cost ineffective and for that reason they tend not to sue. since this is Florida they cannot even get European orders to enforce in the UK.

Also there might be misrepresentation issues arising from the original contract. Most people who are locked into time share could argue there has been misrepresentation basically because time share has changed so dramatically from the time when it was a good deal to the current day.

Further there might well have been exit programme offers made at the time of sale. There often used to be

The chances are very high that you will just get some nasty letters without any real substance.

That said, there are very rarely any cast iron guarantees in the course of any dispute. Risk free options are a bit like unicorns. What you do though is balance the risks and choose what is overall the safest option. Overall, the safest course of action here is to do as you've been doing.

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.

Many thanks. It was simply a 'peace of mind' issue regarding myself. Your response has been encouraging.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 11 months ago.
Yes, I understand.

I really don't think you need to worry about this.

Obviously it would be irresponsible of me not to point out risk to you but its not a high one.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 62904
Experience: Over 5 years in practice.
Jo C. and other UK Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 days ago.

It is some 10 months since I last contacted yourselves regarding the above issue. I am assuming the correspondence at the time is attached to prevent me having to give the details again.


 


The procedure has continued in the same vein with statement of account, deadline dates being passed, threat of outside collection agency, etc. But the botXXX XXne is that nothing has happened. No debt collectors or threat of court action etc.


 


I am probably being naïve and paranoid - but again for my own peace of mind - later this year I am planning a city visit to New York with my family. My question is - if the management company are able to determine I am visiting the States - is there any possibility that I could be denied entry to the U.S.A. due to my unpaid maintenance fees?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 days ago.

I'm not an immigration lawyer and I don't practice in the States. However, as far as I know, you cannot be denied entry for debt.

You might want to ask another question on that point though as its not really my area.

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