January 10, 2121
Needless to say, things have changed in our society, and around the globe, in the past year or so. Every aspect of life has been affected, including in the hospitality industry.
With severe restrictions on travel, this sector has been hit especially hard. This of course applies to the timeshare sub-sector, which is controlled, collusively, by a consortium called ARDA – American Resort Developers Association. If the name sounds benign, don’t be misled. ARDA is actually little more than a cadre of overweight, middle-aged oligarchs, huddled up in a proverbial back room, wreaking of cigar smoke. Think of Don Corleone and the five ‘families’ dividing up their turf.
Collectively, ARDA constituents have managed to gain control over a number of marquis hospitality brands, leveraging it to maximum financial advantage. And they have apparently determined that no timeshare developers will respond to those who represent disaffected timeshare owners. This applies even to legitimate law firms representing clients with compelling grievances.
The economic and health-related impact of COVID-19 has accentuated this disturbing turn of events. The respective legal departments of these companies tended to be understaffed even before the pandemic. Now, the lack of personnel there virtually guarantees that even the most compelling issues will go unaddressed, and that even dire consumer complaints will fall on deaf ears.
There’s a silver lining to all this, however. Licensed, qualified attorneys will issue position letters to the office of general counsel for the timeshare developer. This correspondence must articulate a viable legal position, correctly invoking applicable law to address actionable facts and circumstances. Thereafter, the lack of a meaningful response from the timeshare developer may bind them legally – a principal in the law known as ‘estoppel by silence’. Clearly then, it is critically important that one retain an actual law firm in order to address these issues.
In cases involving consumers that hire non-law firms to ‘represent’ them, they may be setting themselves up for collection activity and formal enforcement actions in many instances. Realizing that the consumer is vulnerable for lack of competent, licensed legal representation, the timeshare developer is more likely to proactively sue on a defaulted account. In effect, the timeshare owner is flagging the account for collection activity.