Category Archives: consumer-awareness

How Are Hurricane Categories Determined? What Do They Mean?

The strength of hurricanes is rated using the Saffir/Simpson scale in the United States. This scale assigns a storm to one of five categories based on its wind speed. Category one is a minimal hurricane and category five is the strongest. Using this scale helps estimate the potential property damage and expected coastal flooding from a hurricane.

Categories are determined by Maximum Sustained Winds as follows:

  • Category 1. 74-95 mph
  • Category 2. 96-110 mph
  • Category 3. 111-130 mph
  • Category 4. 131-155 mph
  • Category 5. 156+ mph

What is a tropical disturbance?
A tropical disturbance is an organized system of clouds and thunderstorms without a defined circulation.

What is a tropical depression?
A tropical depression is an organized system of clouds and thunderstorms with a circular wind circulation and maximum sustained winds less than 39 mph.

What is a tropical storm?

A tropical storm is an organized system of strong thunderstorms with defined circulation and maximum sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph.

What regions around the globe have hurricanes?
Hurricanes develop over tropical or subtropical waters around the world. There are seven tropical cyclone areas (basins) where storms occur:

  • Atlantic basin (North Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea)
  • Northeast Pacific basin (from Mexico to the dateline)
  • Northwest Pacific basin (from the dateline to Asia)
  • North Indian basin (including the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea)
  • Southwest India basin (Africa)
  • Southeast Indian/Australian basin
  • Australian/Southwest Pacific basin

What is the “eye” of the storm? What are rain bands?
The hurricane’s core is called the “eye.” The winds closest to the eye, typically averaging about 60 miles from the center of the storm, are the strongest and bring the most potential for damage. Rain bands, or outer spiral bands, are the bands of clouds and thunderstorms that trail away from the eye wall in a spiral fashion and are capable of producing heavy bursts of rain and wind. The spiral bands also make hurricanes appear to cover a much larger area with damaging winds than they really do. This is the reason why damage during strong storms does not cover the entire area the storm passes over.

Why are hurricanes named? Who names them?

The National Hurricane Center is responsible for naming tropical cyclones in the Atlantic basin. Hurricanes are named to provide ease of communication and reduce confusion between forecasters and the general public regarding forecasts, watches and warnings.

 

Hawaii timeshare associations win tax case

By Kristina Payne

Maui County has been ordered to return $10.7 million to Ocean Resort Villas and Ocean Resort Villas North.

Maui Now and The Maui News reported that the litigation began after the county assessed additional taxes for the timeshare properties, claiming that they owed a total of $10 million in property taxes for 2006, 2007, and 2008.

The timeshare associations claimed that this additional tax was imposed in response to another lawsuit that started in 2013 and is still pending.

Judge Peter Cahill sided with the timeshare associations because of the way the county reassessed the property tax. This sets a precedent in favor of timeshare buyers. The judge was worried that future buyers would not fulfill their tax obligations if the tax can change at any time.

The county is appealing the decision.

What does this case mean for the timeshare industry? Tell us what you think on our Facebook or Twitter page.

For more information, Visit Maui Now and The Maui News.

Identity-Protection Tips

By Kristina Payne

In this new age of fast-paced technology, keeping track of the best ways to protect your information from thieves and criminals is becoming increasingly difficult.

A lot of online articles will give you quick tips on how to protect your identity while you’re on vacation, but protecting your information isn’t that simple any more.

Most websites, online retailers, and even walk-in stores keep your credit-card information on their corporate servers. Web browsers such as Internet Explorer and Google Chrome have options to save your credit-card information for easier checkout. This seems pretty convenient, until you think about recent news of hacking and website outages all over the internet.

This is scary and seems to be out of hand, with corporations collecting personal information without regulation.  Although major hackings are hard to control and predict, you can take three main steps to help protect some of your information.

  • Never input or post your Social Security number anywhere on the internet. No website should ever ask for that information, and no bank will ever ask for that information over the phone or in an email. If someone asks you for that information, hang up the phone or delete the email right away. If a website asks you that information when you’re checking out after some online shopping, do not make a purchase and leave the website. Your SSN is just as unique as you are. It’s the number-one way a thief can steal your identity.

 

  • Use gift cards and cash while on vacation. Going to a nice resort for your vacation can be a great time, but do you know how safe that resort is keeping your information? A risk is associated with using your credit card when purchasing and planning that vacation online. Many companies, including like Visa and MasterCard, have gift cards that look and act just like a debit account, to which you can add money as you go. Using one of those while on vacation can help you protect your information as well as stick to a budget. In a foreign country, using cash is always better than anything else.

 

  • Keep a close eye on your bank account. Sometimes you need to input your credit-card information on a website, or maybe a store that you’ve recently visited reported the theft of some credit-card information. To help protect yourself in such situations, check the amount of money in your bank account daily, and keep a close eye on your credit score. Most banks will deactivate a debit or credit card when you alert them to suspicious activity on your account. Fixing issues with your credit score can be more complicated, but the sooner you find a problem, the sooner you can work toward a solution

To prevent massive damage to your identity and credit, keep track of when and where you use your credit-card accounts and provide personal information. With proper planning and simple precautions, you can enjoy a worry-free vacation.

Kristina Payne is the social-media coordinator for TimeSharing Today.

Viewing The Solar Eclipse

By Kristina Payne

On August 21, 2017, everyone in the continental United States will be able to see the first solar eclipse since 1979. The next one that will encompass the entire U.S. won’t be until 2024.

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the earth and the sun, blocking the sun’s light and casting a shadow over the earth. It will not be as dark as nighttime because the eclipse emits light just as the sun does.

Looking directly at the eclipse isn’t safe. To view it safely, either buy special solar-viewing glasses, or create a projector for it. To create a projector, poke a small hole in a piece of white cardboard, and hold it over a piece of white paper so it creates a shadow. The hole will mimic the sun and show you the progress of the eclipse.

The total eclipse will be visible in 14 states. Moving from west to east, it will cross Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. The rest of the U.S. will be able to see the moon cover most of the sun.

More information on the eclipse is on NASA’s website: https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/eclipse-who-what-where-when-and-how. Mark your calendar with the time the eclipse will occur in your location.

Kristina Payne is the social-media coordinator for TimeSharing Today.

RCI to acquire DAE

RCI, part of the Wyndham Worldwide family of brands (NYSE: WYN), has reached an agreement with vacation group Beneficium to acquire DAE Global Pty Ltd. (DAE), operator of Dial An Exchange, a leading timeshare exchange company headquartered in Australia, and @Work International, a software company also based in Australia. The deal is subject to customary conditions precedent, including receipt of applicable regulatory approval.  DAE’s offices in Australia, New Zealand, US and Egypt will become part of RCI upon completion of the acquisition. The addition of DAE will complement RCI’s existing business, broaden its appeal to a new base of travelers and strengthen its position as a leader within the global alternative holiday accommodation sector.

As part of the RCI family of brands, DAE will benefit from the core competencies RCI has developed over the past four decades as the leader in vacation exchange, including inventory management, member marketing and analytics. The company will also enjoy the added resources that come with being part of a global hospitality leader.  DAE, which has established a strong loyal consumer base, will continue to run as an independent brand and be marketed separately from RCI. However, the similarities among these exchange-oriented businesses will allow for greater collaboration between the companies to foster growth.

Massive Power Outage Impacts Outer Banks – State of Emergency Declared.

The Governor of North Carolina, Roy Cooper, declared a State of Emergency and is urging authorities to work as quickly as possible to restore power to Hatteras Island in Dare County and Ocracoke Island in Hyde County.

The outages happened on July 27th, possibly due to construction being done on Bonner Bridge. The damage is to a transmission line that’s underwater, so officials are working to safely evaluate the damage. Until the damage is evaluated, officials cannot determine how long it will take to resort power to the affected areas.

Officials from Dare County and Hyde County orders a mandatory evacuation of all visitors from the affected areas. So far, the state government is reporting that about 3,782 people and 1,485 cars have been evacuated as of July 29th.

What to do if your power cuts out while on vacation.

If you ever experience something like this, make sure to contact your resort, exchange or rental company to keep updated about the situation.

Update yourself on what rights you have as a timeshare owner or vacation renter. For example, in North Carolina, you are entitled to a refund for the nights you couldn’t stay in your vacation rental, unless you were given the chance to purchase insurance. Keeping up to date on the laws in the state you’re vacationing in can help you in case disaster hits. Check with the State Attorney General’s office about your rights.

Read more about the situation: Governor’s call for repairs.

If you’ve ever experienced a power outage or disaster while on Vacation, we’d love to hear your story. Come and leave a comment on our Facebook Page or Twitter, or email your story to Kristina Payne, TSToday social media coordinator.  kristina@tstoday.com

NOTICE TO: OLYMPIC VILLAGE INN OWNERS

The Board of Directors’ Election at OVI will be held prior to the October 7, 2017 Annual Meeting of Members.  OVI owners should receive their ballots in September 2017.  The current Board of Directors continues to withhold the List of Candidates from the individuals who have requested that they be included on the ballot.  We must win this election and force the incumbents out of office.

There are four candidates who form a coalition team dedicated to reversing the trend set by the current Board to deliver OVI to Wyndham Resort Development Corp.  These four candidates are Sandra Farrow, Greg Rankin, Julie Feldman and Robert Bone.  In order to accomplish the needed change on the Board of Directors there will need to be a change in the majority and these four candidates supply the necessary change.  All four offer unique expertise in their own professional background – Real Estate Management; Timeshare Sales/Management and Resort Development; Legal Expertise; Corporate HR and Operations.  This team of candidates built a website SAVEOVI.ORG and they would like you to see what is happening from their perspective.  Robert Bone is available for any questions or comments at Law Office of Robert M. Bone, 707-525-8999 or via email at robertbone@att.net.

Welk Resorts files racketeering lawsuit

By Kristina Payne

Welk Resorts recently filed a federal racketeering lawsuit against Reid Hein & Associates, operating as Timeshare Exit Team (TSET); and two law firms.

The suit was filed July 25. 2017, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.

Welk Resorts alleges that TSET representations are false, and that TSET purposely leads customers to break contracts with their timeshare resorts and destroy their credit. Welk Resorts says that the negotiation process is a one-page demand letter that claims to represent the owners. Welk Resorts also alleges that the fee, $5,000 or more, was spilt between the two law firms.

Timeshare Exit Team offers to help customers get out of their timeshare obligations forever. Its website claims to negotiate with timeshare resorts on the customer’s’ behalf, with a guarantee to either relieve them of the timeshare or return their money, with no effect on their credit scores. The website makes no mention of the price of this service, or how TSET negotiates with the timeshare resorts. TSET says it is endorsed by multiple radio stations and TV personality Steve Harvey, and is accredited by the Better Business Bureau. In a news release on July 27, Timeshare Exit Team called the lawsuit “meritless” and said it “intends to vigorously defend itself in court.”

Welk Resorts, started in 1964, is a family-vacation resort brand. Welk executives pride themselves on their family values and want to protect their owners from fraud. In a news release, Welk Resorts claims that TSET broke multiple California laws, including the California Vacation Ownership and Time-Share Act and the California False Advertising Law.

Kristina Payne is the social media coordinator for TimeSharing Today.

 

Marty Kandel

Understanding your right to cancel. Timing is everything!

By Marty Kandel for TimeSharing Today

Rescission or cancellation of a timeshare contract is a statutory right in almost every state, but the state where you purchase your timeshare interest is generally the law that applies. The amount of time you must cancel or rescind your contract varies from 3 to 15 days, and averages 7 days for purposes of this brief article.

The right to cancel is, in some ways, a legislative way of protecting timeshare buyers from themselves, (as well as the developer).  The provision is a tacit acknowledgment that consumers have endured a moderate to high pressure, one on one sales presentation, for a significant period.  The statutory cancellation right also recognizes that there is a great deal of information to absorb during a sales presentation, that the verbal assurances of the salesperson does not always”match” the language in the purchase agreement and public offering statement (POS), and that the consumer does not have an opportunity to review any agreement in a meaningful way until after the agreement is signed, the deposit money is paid over, and the new purchasers have left the sales office.

Often, timeshares are purchased while on vacation, when potential purchasers are relaxed, carefree, and in some cases, unprepared for the 90-minute presentation in exchange for show tickets or a tasty meal. If the timeshare is purchased at the front end of a vacation, the rescission clock is running and may run out by the time the new owner gets home.  At that point, you can no longer cancel!

Remember, a new purchaser has a legal right to cancel their contract within the statutory time. This right cannot be waived and a consumer need only follow the directions as to how to cancel found in the purchase agreement. Consumers are usually entitled to 100% of any money paid, but you may have to return the POS and owner’s kit or risk paying a fee for them. Generally, a cancellation should be short, to the point, and need not state a specific reason for wanting to cancel. Buyer’s remorse is not uncommon.

If being mailed, it is wise to send your letter and sales kit by certified or registered mail and be postmarked prior to the last day of the rescission period.  If a purchaser is hand-delivering the cancellation notice back and materials back in the sales center, get a signed receipt and try to steer away from long discussions with your salesperson, whose job it is to talk you back into the deal.  Generally, if your instinct is to cancel, follow through.  You can always go back at any other time and in most cases, get at least as good a deal as you received in the first place.

Finally, it is common that solicitors from one timeshare company will prey upon new owners of another. The second company will help you cancel your timeshare if only you purchase the better product from the second company.  Well, let the games begin!

Marty Kandel is a Principal and General Counsel of Timeshare Advisory and Resolutions Services, LLC. He can be contacted at: martykandel@tarserv.com

Send comments about this article to: staff@tstoday.com Subject: Rescission