Press Releases

Consumers Should Report Timeshare Exit Scams

September 13, 2018 – WASHINGTON, D.C. – The timeshare industry, the American Resort Development Association (ARDA) and ARDA Resort Owners’ Coalition (ARDA-ROC), have united to stop the misconduct of those deceiving timeshare owners into paying for illusory timeshare exit services through fraudulent means. Recently, the Supreme Court of Tennessee disbarred attorney Judson Wheeler Phillips, founder of the Castle Law Group, on a myriad of charges relating to consumer fraud complaints. In the past few weeks, Castle Law Group has ceased business operations following federal lawsuits brought by developers against Castle Law Group and those acting in concert with the firm. In another matter prosecuted by Wyndham Destinations (NYSE:WYND) against American Consumer Credit (ACC), among the largest timeshare exit companies, the pursuit of ACC, its principal, Dana Micaleff and its attorney, Michael Saracco, Esq. resulted in ACC filing bankruptcy on September 7, 2018.

In Phillips’ case, the Tennessee Supreme Court disbarred Phillips after reviewing upwards of 18 client complaints, many of which made similar allegations of fraud, highlighting a pattern and practice of misconduct. In its ruling, the Tennessee Supreme Court found that Phillips “poses a threat of substantial harm to the public.” Central to the series of complaints were allegations that Phillips and his business partners misled and/or defrauded consumers by taking exorbitant fees from timeshare owners for purported timeshare exit or cancellation services based upon fraudulent and misleading representations.

The ACC case is based on various legal theories, some of which are founded in federal law, known as the “Lanham Act.” The case remains pending against Micaleff, individually, and Saracco, individually, although an automatic stay has been issued relative to ACC in the U.S. District Court action as a result of the bankruptcy filing. That, however, has not deterred the prosecution of the case. As of today, there is a motion pending against Micaleff and Saracco to punish them for, among other things, failing to appear for a deposition.

“The constant pressure that our member companies, owners and federal and state agencies are putting on disreputable timeshare exit companies has again produced a positive result for the consumer,” said Robert Clements, ARDA Vice President of Regulatory Affairs. “Seeing two significant actions against these companies sends a very clear message to others trying to take advantage of timeshare owners: You won’t get away with it.” Clements continued, “If you feel you have been unfairly taken advantage of or defrauded by a timeshare exit company, please contact your state Attorney General, local law enforcement or the ARDA-ROC Consumer Support Team at 1-855-939-1515.”

In addition to ARDA’s advocacy efforts that support stricter laws, enforcement measures and tougher penalties on offenders, ARDA created a Joint Investigative / Enforcement Taskforce last fall to minimize fraud in the secondary market.

“A top priority for our industry and owners, and for law enforcement and other agencies, is to protect consumers from dishonest individuals or companies trying to take advantage of them,” said ARDA-ROC Chairman Ken McKelvey. “These actions send a strong signal to criminals that fraud and deceptive activities will not be tolerated by our industry and it tells consumers that we take the actions of these individuals very seriously.”

“We are committed to protecting our owners to ensure they aren’t taken advantage of,” said Michael Brown, President and CEO of Wyndham Destinations. “Through our partnership with ARDA, ARDA-ROC and regulatory and enforcement agencies, we support consumer protection legislation and law enforcement’s efforts in cases like these. We encourage our owners to reach out to us or ARDA for participation in legitimate available programs in order to avoid becoming victims of timeshare exit company scams.”

Nearly two years ago, Diamond Resorts implemented an aggressive litigation strategy in pursuit of third party exit companies for their nefarious and unlawful conduct in an effort to protect the interest of their members who were promised outcomes that could not be legally accomplished. In tandem, Diamond Resorts also pursued those unethical law firms, such as Castle Law Group, which were assisting these timeshare exit companies in their illegal business practices. To date, these efforts culminated in approximately 12 lawsuits prosecuted by Diamond Resorts throughout the country, six of which have already resulted in broad injunctions against the defendants, while the others remain pending.

Senior litigation counsel, Bud Bennington, of the law firm Shutts & Bowen LLP, counsel for Diamond Resorts in the Castle Law Group litigation in the U.S. District Court in Nashville, Tennessee, and, counsel for Wyndham Destinations in the ACC matter pending in the U.S. District Court, for the Southern District of Florida, commented that “the various timeshare companies, their law firms, ARDA and ARDA-ROC have undertaken a relentless effort to arrest the nefarious and unlawful conduct of the multiple timeshare exit companies around the world and the unethical lawyers that assist them in the perpetration of their deceptive practices.”

ARDA and ARDA-ROC continue to pursue and support appropriate timeshare resale and transfer legislation in an effort to protect owners against fraudulent timeshare schemes. For more information about the timeshare secondary market including resales, visit the ARDA-ROC Timeshare Resale Resource Center at www.arda-roc.org/resales.

fitness on vacation

Survey shows 90% of timeshare owners enjoy exercise while on vacation

WASHINGTON, February 15, 2018 – A recent survey from the American Resort Development Association (ARDA) and conducted by research group Leger, found that more than half (54%) of Americans enjoy fitness activities while on vacation, and timeshare owners are leading this group with nine out of 10 stating they perform fitness activities on vacation.

“Timeshare owners drive this preference because they know that they have more opportunities to take part in fitness activities while on vacation,” said Peter Roth, Vice President of Marketing, Communications and Industry Relations at ARDA. “Owners know that exercising while on vacation allows you to relax much deeper, which makes for an overall better vacation experience. Whether you want to enjoy exclusive local fitness and recreational activities, or prepare healthier meals in the in-unit kitchen, timeshare owners have these options.”

Respondents didn’t just perform these activities once, 52 percent stated that they enjoy partaking in fitness activities at least once every three days of their vacation. Timeshare provides longer vacation stays, allowing for more opportunities to take in a variety of new, or different fitness and recreational activities. Many timeshare resorts provide group fitness activities and some offer excursions to new places and adventures that tend to be off the “beaten” tourist path.

Timeshare owners also have plenty of extra living spaces in their unit to fit in that quick, convenient exercise routine. The average timeshare unit in the U.S. is 1,050 square feet and most units have multiple rooms, allowing vacationers to exercise without disturbing their travel companions.

“Owners can also maintain a healthy lifestyle while away from their normal routine with a fully-equipped kitchen in their unit. Having a refrigerator and essential amenities in the kitchen, allows travelers to buy, store and cook with local, fresh and healthy ingredients,” said Roth.

For more details, see the infographic below on how timeshare provides more opportunities for vacationers to enjoy fitness activities and ultimately have happier, healthier vacations.

VacationBetter_Fitness-on-Vacation

Survey Shows an Overwhelming Majority of Respondents Think So

WASHINGTON, July 11, 2017 – A recent survey from the American Resort Development Association (ARDA) and conducted by research group Leger, found that 89 percent of respondents who had a kitchen on their last vacation said it improved their vacation experience, and 87 percent said that having a separate living area also led to a better vacation.

Respondents didn’t just like the idea of having this extra space, they actually used it. Fifty percent said that they used their kitchen every day during their trip, which helped traveling families create a better, stress-free vacation.

“Having extra living space can turn a regular vacation into an exceptional one—especially with a kitchen,” said Peter Roth, Vice President of Marketing, Communications and Industry Relations at ARDA. “Timeshare owners have known about these benefits for years. Whether you want to be able to eat together as a family or have the kids watch television while you and your spouse dine, in-unit kitchens and an extra living space take away the frustrations vacationers encounter in small, cramped quarters.”

Extra living areas and a kitchen are ideal for families, especially for those with young children. The living room and/or extra bedrooms, enables vacationers to spread out and have space to be together, and alone. Respondents noted that the kitchen is great for those who love cooking, or for saving money from not eating out for every meal. Kitchens also help vacationers maintain a healthy lifestyle while away from their normal routine, as well as give them the opportunity to try local dishes. Having a refrigerator and essential amenities in the kitchen, travelers can buy, store and cook with local, fresh ingredients.

For more, see the full infographic on why kitchens are the key to a happier vacation.

CONTACTS:

Peter Roth, ARDA
202-207-1156, proth@arda.org

Christy Moran, Weber Merritt
703-299-2602, cmoran@webermerritt.com

New Infographic Shows Timeshare Vacation as ‘World of Options’

WASHINGTON – December 7, 2015 – A new infographic from the American Resort Development Association (ARDA) shows that experiencing a timeshare vacation is about vacationing on your terms.  The graphic depicts the endless options of choosing when you want, where you want and how you want to vacation as the differentiating value of timeshare vacations.

According to research commissioned by the ARDA International Foundation over the past decade surveying owners why they value their timeshare, respondents consistently cite the flexibility of product types and global locations as a resounding benefit of ownership.  “Everyone wants to vacation on their own terms,” said ARDA’s president and CEO Howard Nusbaum.  “But it’s the flexibility and variety of ownership options that timeshare lets you truly create a vacation experience based on how you like to travel.”

Timeshare vacations mean there are endless possibilities:

  • More than 5,300 timeshare resorts located in 100 countries to choose from.
  • Destinations everywhere – from the beach or desert, to the mountains or country, to urban cities.
  • New places to explore, revisit favorite spots, or reconnect with loved ones.
  • A vacation experience with luxury resort accommodations and the comforts of home with elbow space for everyone to relax.

For more information and to learn why timeshare vacations make for better vacations, visit www.VacationBetter.org.

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The American Resort Development Association (ARDA) is the Washington D.C.-based professional association representing the vacation ownership and resort development industries. Established in 1969, ARDA today has almost 1,000 members ranging from privately held firms to publicly traded companies and international corporations with expertise in shared ownership interests in leisure real estate. The membership also includes timeshare owner associations (HOAs), resort management companies, and owners through the ARDA Resort Owners Coalition (ARDA-ROC). For more information, visit www.arda.org or ARDA’s consumer website at www.VacationBetter.org.

Peter Roth, ARDA
202-207-1156, proth@arda.org

Christy Moran, Weber Merritt
703-299-2602, cmoran@webermerritt.com

New infographic depicts timeshare vacation as recipe for happiness

WASHINGTON – September 15, 2015 – If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a new infographic from the American Resort Development Association (ARDA) showing the lasting benefits a vacation has on one’s health and life should leave an impression beyond the length of your next trip.  The graphic also shows the long-term savings of $18,160 over 18 years of vacationing with timeshare, compared to an average hotel vacation over the same time period—as an additional metric of measuring vacation value.

Over the past decade, metrics for evaluating the value of vacationing have evolved as research continues to show the positive effects of vacation on health, wellness, job performance, relationships and lifestyle.  “There is finally a large body of evidence that supports why taking time away from the stresses of daily life and spending time creating memories with family and loved ones is good for you,” said ARDA’s president and CEO Howard Nusbaum.

For instance, the on-going Framingham Heart Study, found that men who didn’t take a vacation for several years were 30 percent more likely to have heart attacks compared to men who did take time off.  And women who took a vacation only once every six years or less were almost eight times more likely to develop coronary heart disease or have a heart attack compared to women who vacationed at least twice a year.

Further research from the Harvard Business Review analyzed the effects an engaged brain has on job performance and that to be truly engaged at work, your brain needs periodic breaks to gain fresh perspective and energy.

And approximately 169 million Americans still did not take all of their earned vacations days last year—a sure recipe for burnout, as the infographic shows!

To underscore the inherent value of vacations, the timeshare industry promotes taking regular time off with loved ones and family.  Having the space to spread out but privacy to unwind is what makes vacation ownership the antidote to burnout—plus, you have thousands of resort-options all over the world.  “Vacation ownership guarantees that you will vacation at least once a year and ensures you take future vacations – all at a substantial savings over regular hotel vacations,” said Nusbaum.  “Timeshare owners tend to think of vacationing as a necessity not a luxury, as a recipe for happiness.  How do you place a value on that?”

For more information and to learn why timeshare vacations make for better vacations, visit www.VacationBetter.org.

________________________________________________________________________

The American Resort Development Association (ARDA) is the Washington D.C.-based professional association representing the vacation ownership and resort development industries. Established in 1969, ARDA today has almost 1,000 members ranging from privately held firms to publicly traded companies and international corporations with expertise in shared ownership interests in leisure real estate. The membership also includes timeshare owner associations (HOAs), resort management companies, and owners through the ARDA Resort Owners Coalition (ARDA-ROC). For more information, visit www.arda.org or ARDA’s consumer website at www.VacationBetter.org.

Peter Roth, ARDA
202-207-1156, proth@arda.org

Christy Moran, Weber Merritt
703-299-2602, cmoran@webermerritt.com

Do Timeshares Lead to More Frequent, Happier Vacations?
Survey Shows That Respondents Believe So

WASHINGTON – June 15, 2015 – A recent survey of over 1,000 vacationers conducted for the American Resort Development Association (ARDA) by research group Leger shows that an impressive one third of timeshare owners took four or more vacations in the last three years, compared to only 18 percent of non-owners.  And vacationers that have taken more than four vacations in the past three years are more likely to be traveling with family and friends.

“When the cover story in Time Magazine asks ‘Who Killed the Summer Vacation,’ our answer has to be ‘it sure wasn’t the timeshare owner’,” said Howard Nusbaum, president and CEO of the American Resort Development Association (ARDA).  “Not only do timeshare owners vacation more, they also experience a happier, more relaxing vacation time, usually spent with their loved ones—which we all know is tough to come by with today’s hectic lifestyles.”

Happiness in a vacation can be measured through seven distinct vacation lifecycle phases, from planning the vacation to the first day all the way to the afterglow that the vacation leaves when it’s over.  In each of the seven phases, timeshare owners expressed higher satisfaction than those who do not own a timeshare.

Nusbaum continues, “The ease of planning, spacious accommodations, and the ability to choose resorts all over the world all lead to a better overall vacation experience for timeshare owners.”

When it comes to making plans for a future vacation, respondents were asked which aspect of vacation would be the most critical for them.  Forty-five percent of timeshare owners cite “relaxation” as the most important.  The timeshare owners’ relaxation comes from the ease of planning their vacation, knowing that it is pre-paid as well as the wide variety of destinations and the roomy accommodations.

For more information and to learn why timeshare vacations make for better vacations, visit www.VacationBetter.org.

________________________________________________________________________

The American Resort Development Association (ARDA) is the Washington D.C.-based professional association representing the vacation ownership and resort development industries. Established in 1969, ARDA today has almost 1,000 members ranging from privately held firms to publicly traded companies and international corporations with expertise in shared ownership interests in leisure real estate. The membership also includes timeshare owner associations (HOAs), resort management companies, and owners through the ARDA Resort Owners Coalition (ARDA-ROC). For more information, visit www.arda.org or ARDA’s consumer website at www.VacationBetter.org.

CONTACTS: Peter Roth, ARDA
202-207-1156, proth@arda.org

Christy Moran, Weber Merritt
703-299-2602, cmoran@webermerritt.com

Timeshare Owners Enjoy More Sex on Vacation

Survey Uncovers Reasons Why

WASHINGTON – December 3, 2014 – A recent survey of vacationers conducted by research group, Leger, on behalf of the ARDA International Foundation (AIF) takes a peek into whether or not couples are rekindling their romantic spark while on vacation.  While time away may conjure up thoughts of greater intimacy, the survey found that more than half of the respondents were in fact not having more sex.  The primary reason for this is lack of privacy (60 percent). The one exception was the timeshare owner—71 percent claim to have more sex with their partner while on vacation (versus 31 percent of non-owners).

“When people are vacationing with the family, they often stay together in one hotel room, and that makes it pretty difficult to celebrate the intimate, romantic part of a relationship,” said Howard Nusbaum, president and CEO of the American Resort Development Association (ARDA). “Our owners don’t face this challenge, as one of the benefits of timeshare is the space it offers—separate bedrooms and plenty of private areas.  Timeshare owners love that they can create memories with their families/children and also have the space for romance while on vacation…the best of both worlds!”

When asked what would raise their intimacy levels while on vacation, a romantic setting/new environment was the number one reason cited (31 percent), while 29  percent felt that separate accommodations and greater privacy would enhance their experience.

Timeshare resorts are located in some of the most beautiful locations in the world, from exotic Hawaii to romantic Europe, and all places in between. For more on why timeshare vacations make for better—and sexier—vacations, visit www.VacationBetter.org.

The American Resort Development Association (ARDA) is the Washington D.C.-based professional association representing the vacation ownership and resort development industries. Established in 1969, ARDA today has almost 1,000 members ranging from privately held firms to publicly traded companies and international corporations with expertise in shared ownership interests in leisure real estate. The membership also includes timeshare owner associations (HOAs), resort management companies, and owners through the ARDA Resort Owners Coalition (ARDA-ROC). For more information, visit www.arda.org or ARDA’s consumer website at www.VacationBetter.org.

The ARDA International Foundation (AIF) is the timeshare industry’s leading source for market intelligence and career advancement resources. AIF, a 501(c) (3) organization, serves to enhance knowledge for the public and industry through its comprehensive timeshare research studies, and aims to enrich careers through ongoing training, learning and development. For more information, visit www.arda.org/foundation.

 

Peter Roth, ARDA
202-207-1156, proth@arda.org

Christy Moran, Weber Merritt
703-299-2602, cmoran@webermerritt.com

Today’s Timeshare Owner More Diverse, Younger

42% of New Owners Are African American or Hispanic; 10 Years Younger

WASHINGTON, November 4, 2014 – The timeshare industry has returned to growth mode, in part due to the influx of a new type of owner—one that will help to continue the trajectory of the industry.  According to the newly released Shared Vacation Ownership Study from the ARDA International Foundation (AIF), these new owners are younger, have higher incomes than current owners and represent a more culturally diverse cross-section of U.S. households.

“We’re excited not only about the fact that sales are up in our industry but also about why they are up,” says Howard Nusbaum, president and CEO of ARDA.  “While existing owners continue to enjoy the lifestyle and purchase more timeshare, it’s the new owners that are responsible for the majority of qualified new sales.”

The profile of the new owner has changed.  They are nearly 10 years younger than typical timeshare owners.  Thirty-nine percent are Gen Xers and thirty percent are Millennials, with the median age of thirty-nine.  Forty-two percent are African American or Hispanic.   They are also highly educated, with seventy-two percent being college graduates and twenty-three percent of those having graduate degrees.

Their median household income is $94,800 and they have plenty of disposable income—forty-seven percent of new owners made just a single payment to cover their purchase and fifty-seven percent spent $10,000 or more on their timeshare. In terms of financial commitment, the new timeshare owner values the long-term vacation savings and flexibility timeshare provides: thirty-six percent purchased timeshare to save money on future vacations and thirty-one percent bought for the flexibility the product offers.

The new owners are also savvy consumers, with seventy-five percent having had some form of interaction with a timeshare resort before purchasing.  Forty-four percent initially stayed at the resort where they bought as a guest of another owner and forty-two percent experienced timeshare vacations through renting first.  Thirty-five percent attended multiple sales presentations before buying.

And overall ownership has increased: U.S. households that own a timeshare rose from 7.2 percent in 2012 to 7.9 percent today, with the purchase price having risen to an average of nearly $20,000.  Among overall timeshare owners, timeshare vacations are fairly evenly spread between summer, fall and spring and forty percent are as likely to travel under 500 miles as they are to travel 1,000 miles or more (43%).  Seventy-five percent of owners vacationed at a timeshare resort while sixteen percent converted their timeshare to a different type of vacation or vacation-related purchase (cruises, airline tickets, car rentals, hotel stays etc.).

The report was conducted by HSR Associates and commissioned by the ARDA International Foundation.  For more details, see ARDA’s “Today’s Timeshare Owners: They’re Changing” infographic and for a copy of the full study, visit www.arda.org/foundation.

The American Resort Development Association (ARDA) is the Washington D.C.-based professional association representing the vacation ownership and resort development industries. Established in 1969, ARDA today has almost 1,000 members ranging from privately held firms to publicly traded companies and international corporations with expertise in shared ownership interests in leisure real estate.

The ARDA International Foundation (AIF) is the timeshare industry’s leading source for market intelligence and career advancement resources. AIF, a 501(c) (3) organization, serves to enhance knowledge for the public and industry through its comprehensive timeshare research studies, and aims to enrich careers through ongoing training, learning and development. For more information, visit www.arda.org/foundation.

Nearly 475,000 People Employed; $23.6 Billion in Total Income

WASHINGTON, August 6, 2014 – The U.S timeshare industry contributed an estimated $68.7 billion in consumer and business spending to the national economy in 2013, according to a study conducted by Ernst & Young for the American Resort Development Association (ARDA). That includes a total of 473,000 jobs with $23.6 billion in income.

“Timeshare makes a huge impact on local economies throughout the country,” says Howard Nusbaum, president and CEO of ARDA. “This industry fuels the economy through jobs, spending by vacationers, and taxes – and we are proud of this significant contribution.”

The impact of the timeshare industry on the U.S. economy extends beyond timeshare resorts, including the economic impacts of sales and marketing offices, corporate operations, the construction of new resorts, the renovation of existing resorts, and the significant impact of expenditures of vacationers during timeshare stays. This study estimates the comprehensive private and public sector benefits generated by the timeshare industry.

Combined direct, indirect, and fiscal impacts in 2013 by the U.S. timeshare industry included $68.7 billion in consumer and business spending, 473,000 full- and part-time jobs, $23.6 billion in salaries and wages, and $8.5 billion in tax revenue.

Spending by timeshare owners and guests during timeshare stays was estimated at $10 billion in 2013. About $2.1 billion was spent on-site at resorts, while $7.9 billion was spent off-site in the communities where the timeshare resorts are located.

In addition to private sector benefits, the timeshare industry contributes significantly more federal, state, and local tax revenue per employee than the average industry, totaling $8.5 billion in 2013.

The report was conducted by Ernst & Young and commissioned by the American Resort Development Association (ARDA) International Foundation. For more details, see ARDA’s “Timeshare Industry Fuels the U.S. Economy” infographic and for a copy of the full Economic Impact Study, visit www.arda.org/foundation.

The American Resort Development Association (ARDA) is the Washington D.C.-based professional association representing the vacation ownership and resort development industries. Established in 1969, ARDA today has almost 1,000 members ranging from privately held firms to publicly traded companies and international corporations with expertise in shared ownership interests in leisure real estate. The membership also includes timeshare owner associations (HOAs), resort management companies, and owners through the ARDA Resort Owners Coalition (ARDA-ROC). For more information, visit www.arda.org or ARDA’s consumer website at www.VacationBetter.org.