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Time-Shares/non-payment of maint fees

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QUESTION: We are being sued by Meridian Financial Services (Asheville, NC) for a timeshare we purchased in Mexico.  We have paid for the timeshare completely, but have not paid the maintenance fees for the past 4 years.  We bought the timeshare because we were told that we could rent our weeks through Sabra for $2100 a week.  We called Sabra and they said sure, all you can give us.  So we bought 25 non deeded weeks.  As soon as we returned to the US, we put two timeshare weeks up for rent.  We could not rent it for $2100, $1600, or $1300.  We wound up using those 2 weeks so that they wouldn't be lost.

We paid the yearly maintenance fees for 7 years, and then had a lot of medical problems and realized that we would never be able to use any of the weeks.  We called the manager of the Puerto Vallarta timeshare and he said, "no problem, we will just deduct your week for each year you do not pay."  Wow, we were delighted
We had tried selling the weeks, but with no success.  So we just figured that we had had a very expensive 2 week vacation.

A week ago we received a bill for $12,460.00. (have no idea where this amount came from.)  This collection agency wrote," unless you notify this office within 30 days after receiving this notice that you dispute the validity of this debt or any portion thereof, this office will obtain verification of the debt or obtain a copy of a judgment and mail you a copy of same.  


My husband and I cannot afford this.  We are both elderly and live on Social Security.  What can they do to us?

Please give us advice on this as soon as possible, we have only 10 days in which to answer the notice.  Should I write to them and tell them we are looking into it?

Thank you for anything you can tell us.

Sincerely,
Margaret

ANSWER: Thanks for writing Margaret.

Before I can assist you, I'd like to know the following:

1)  the name of the timeshare in Puerto Vallarta
2)  the full name of this Sabra company
3)  a copy of the maintenance fee bill from Meridian

Is this the first maintenance fee bill that you have received?  Was there a breakdown of exactly what the fees were for?

Don't answer anyone yet until I hear back from you.



---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: The name of the timeshare is Club Velas Vallarta.  Acct. 7210
They had a California address: Mr. Alford Daley, Desarrollos Turisticos de la Costa, S.A. de C.V.  8525 Sunset Blvd. West Hollywood, CA 90069

The Sabra is the name that the salesman (Dan Sauer) told us would be requesting the weeks for rent.  The company that dealt with them was Vacation Network, Inc. (VNI)  3400 Northeast 34th Street, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308.  Telephone number: .  (I do not know if these are still good)
Mr. Peter Dunn was the gentleman we dealt with.  VNI charged us $529.00 to be our brokers.  We paid him by credit card.

The maintenance fee bill from Meridian was a letter with a tear-off bottom.  They have not detailed the amount, only put $12459.40 in the total due.

We have only until April 28th to respond to their letter of collection.   
Meridian Financial Services, Inc.  1636 Hendersonville Rd Ste 135, Asheville, North Carolina  28803.  Telephone  or  x 6703.  Acct. Mgr: K. Guzman.


We will wait to hear from you.  Thank you very much.

Margaret

Answer
Thanks.

I have a call into Meridian Financial on your behalf, but as I suspected they would do, they are ignoring me.

This is a serious situation and you need to contact an attorney in your state...begin with a real estate attorney.  Feel free to put your attorney in touch with me directly at lisa (at) timeshareinsights (dot) com.

I will continue to see if I can get an answer from Meridian on this.

Please keep me in the loop.

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Lisa Ann Schreier

Expertise

Timeshare: Buying both on primary and secondary market, using, timeshare owners rights, exchanging, selling. I can not nor will I give legal advice nor will I endorse products. I do not buy, sell, rent, list, transfer any timeshare nor am I affiliated with any timeshare.

Experience

I have been writing about the timeshare industry since 2005. Author of two consumer books and co-author of college level text. Blogger, speaker, consumer advocate. I wrote the Timeshare Owners Bill of Rights and the Resorts' Best Practices currently being used by the National Timeshare Owners Association.

Organizations
North American Travel Journalists Association

Publications
Resort Trades, Sharetime, RCI Ventures, TimeSharing Today, Timeshare Beat, Ladies Home Journal, Wall Street Journal, my own blog.

Education/Credentials
Bachelor of Science-Business and Management Northeastern Illinois University

Past/Present Clients
Former Executive Director of National Timeshare Owners Association

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