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Owners of Fairmont timeshares face dilemma
Published Monday, June 10, 2013 5:33PM MDT
Last Updated Tuesday, June 11, 2013 12:26PM MDT
More than 15,000 timeshare holders are being asked to pay thousands of dollars to either renovate the complex or vacate their timeshares in Fairmont, British Columbia.
Tina and Matt Balsom say they were never thrilled with the ‘Sunchaser Vacation Villa’ they purchased in Fairmont four years ago for $11,000.
Now, the Balsom’s have grown to hate the property because of the bind it has left them in.
Northwynd, the resort owner, sent all timeshare owners a letter stating they either had to pay $4,000 to help renovate the resort or $3,000 to get out of their timeshare contract and the decision needed to be made in only a matter of weeks. Owners who failed to make their choice would be considered in default as of June 1, 2013.
The Balsom’s and many Calgary-based owners have asked CTV Calgary Consumer Specialist Lea Williams-Doherty to help them understand their options.
Lea investigated the property and learned the timeshare has had its share of problems.
Fairmont, the company that built the resort, went into bankruptcy in 2008. Fairmont's creditors then took over the resort and became Northwynd, the current owner and management company.
Northwynd says it inherited two major problems: leaky plastic pipes throughout the resort and neglected maintenance.
The estimated repair cost is $40 million and Northwynd came up with the idea of a ‘pay to stay, pay to go’ program.
Several timeshare owners have hired lawyers to challenge whether Worthwynd has the legal authority to charge them a $3,000 cancellation fee.
Other timeshare owners, wanting to keep their timeshares, are challenging Northwynd's right to charge for the renovations.
There are concerns amongst the owners that Northwynd will make similar calls for cash down the road.
“I can't guarantee it'll never come again,” says Northwynd’s Doug Frey, “but I can tell you that never again will there be a deferred maintenance problem of the scope we're dealing with right now.”
Timeshare owners have several options to dispute Northwynd’s demands:
- Choosing one of Northwynd's provided options
- Hiring legal representation and waiting on the outcome of the case
- Submitting a letter to the B.C. court hearing the case stating that you don’t believe Northwynd has the right to require a choice, and will wait for the court to determine the parties rights
BC Court Address:
- Supreme Court of British Columbia
- 800 Smithe Street, Vancouver BC V6Z 2E1
- Phone: 604-660-2847
- Case Number: S132760
There are several lawyers in B.C. and Alberta representing timeshare owners in the B.C. court action:
- Docken Klym www.docken.com (403) 269-3612
- Lindsay LeBlancLeblanc@coxtaylor.ca (250) 388-4457
- Kellie Hamilton Kh@kelliehamilton.com(604) 685-7111
With files from Lea Williams-Doherty