Timeshare owners of property in Fairmont, B.C. face massive bills that will skyrocket in a matter of weeks
Following an unsuccessful legal battle with the company that acquired their resort in the Columbia Valley, hundreds of people who purchased a timeshare prior to the change of ownership find themselves facing thousands of dollars in repair bills and interest.
Nearly five years ago, the company that owned the buildings in Fairmont, B.C. declared bankruptcy. Northwynd Sunchaser acquired the property and determined the structures required significant maintenance including a plumbing overhaul.
At the time, the 14,000 owners of the timeshares, including Calgarian Tom Zarokostas, were informed they would need to pay approximately $4,000 each to cover repair costs or they could elect to pay $3,000 to terminate their contract.
More than 1,000 people took Northwynd Sunchaser to court saying the scenario was unfair but the court ruled the company had the right to add the repair charges. The timeshare owners have until February 15 to pay their share that now includes accrued interest. Many owners had withheld payment of their annual maintenance fees during the legal dispute.
Zarokostas says he is now facing bills, including legal fees, totaling in excess of $30,000. When the Zarokostas family purchased the 40 year timeshare over a decade ago, the negotiated price of the timeshare sale was $30,000 and they were told to expect to pay approximately $500 each year in maintenance fees.
“A lot of people are seniors who are on pensions and have limited funds,” said Zarokostas. “This is going to bankrupt a lot of people. It’s caused hardship in relationships, failure of relationships, as a result of this.”
“I have a son who is starting university. Heck, $35,000 that would be money better spent to give to his education. It's just a nightmare.”
Zarokostas says the total he owes will skyrocket if he doesn’t pay by mid-February. He says 126 per cent interest will be added at that time and he will then be on the hook for more than $80,000.
Officials with Northwynd Sunchaser say the contracts the timeshare owners signed at the time of purchase indicate that the timeshare owner would be responsible for the cost of necessary repairs. According to the representatives, the full cost of the necessary repairs was not known when the company acquired the property.
With files from CTV’s Chris Epp