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Raintree / Letter to Doug Bech

1 United States Review updated:

Mr. Doug Bech,

I am a member, in good standing, at the Club Regina Resort Los Cabos. I have left several messages with Sharon Racine about some questions regarding the Special Assessment notice that the membership recently received, and also about next year’s regular maintenance fees. I have not received a return phone call. I am distinctly under the impression that this Special Assessment has not been well received. I can understand why.

Let me first transgress a bit, I just reviewed my account on the Raintree Vacation Club website. I see that next year our regular maintenance fees are going up, again, like they have every year since I joined.

I am a Vice President in charge of real estate, construction and facilities management for JPMorgan Chase. I manage over 4 million square feet of buildings. For the past year, because of this world-wide crises in the economy, I have been seeing costs declining significantly (10-25%), for labor, materials, and services. Our general administrative costs have also reduced somewhat (5%), but overall, our RE, construction and management services are well below what we budgeted last year.

The increase in our regular resort maintenance fees does not make any sense, unless your organization is grossly mismanaging these facilities. The money that you should be saving from this year’s reduction in costs should be accrued for future expenses so that Raintree does NOT have to raise maintenance fees. I would like to see how my resort maintenance fees are being allocated. Any good steward would strive to keep costs down and membership happy for potential sales in the future.

Please send me a breakdown of the increase in costs that would substantiate this increase in fees. I’d like to see an income and expense statement as well as a detailed breakdown of those items that are to be covered by the regular maintenance fees.

We received the Special Assessment (SA) letter recently. We’re not going to pay it. There is no legal substantiation for this SA. You made the rules and you have failed to follow them, but you expect members to follow those same rules. Read your contract. No formal vote was ever taken (surveys and verbal communication with staff are not votes). I never received a ballot and neither did any of the members. You have unilaterally taken it upon yourselves to initiate a special assessment without any formal input from members. You have breached the contract with the members by not following the protocol outlined in your contract.

You have also made offers, in writing, to other dissatisfied members to extend their special assessment payment up to 24 months. I and other members have not received any communication that there wer e other payment plans available. How can you do this and not extend it to the entire membership community as a whole? You do recognize that by offering other payment plans to only certain individuals, you have forfeited the right to collect ANY fees from ANY member, as outlined in your SA letter. If you continue to collect SA fees without all the members having the benefit of other payment options, you are in breach of the contract.

You have threatened to block reservations for those members that have not paid or committed to pay by July 15th. As I have stated, the SA is NOT valid. If you block or restrict any member from freely enjoying their rights to any resort, you will be in breach of the contract.

I will be more that glad to pay any SA, if it is first identified, with detailed cost estimates, which are shared with the membership, and the membership majority formally votes on an increase. I would suggest that you have a committee comprised of active members to oversee the ballot counting. I have to tell you that your credibility has substantially diminished and I would not trust anything coming from Raintree without a member oversight committee involved.

Furthermore, the second that you block or restrict me from using any resort, I will be filing a suit against you, the Raintree Vacation Club, Club Regina, the Boards of Directors and all senior managers of Raintree Vacation Club. And furthermore, the second that you block any other member, and I hear about it, and I will, I will file a suit against you, the Raintree Vacation Club, Club Regina, the Boards of Directors and all senior managers of Raintree. I’m sure that thousands of other members will follow suit, (no pun intended).

I don’t doubt that you understand the severity of the actions that the Raintree Vacation Club has initiated by imposing this SA and the threats that accompanied it. Instead of collecting over $40, 000, 000, the possibility of you having to defend against lawsuits, far exceeding that amount, is very real.

I suggest that you rescind the SA, immediately, return any money you have collected from=2 0members, and if you still feel that the SA is necessary, begin the process of asking the members for a vote to establish a Special Assessment for valid items needed at the different resorts. That is the way to handle it legally and morally. This will go a long way in making many members very happy. To the point that they will not malign Raintree or their resorts and you can continue to sell profitable memberships. Word of mouth is very powerful and at this point, I can certainly understand if members vilify The Raintree Vacation Club to anyone who will listen.

Sincerely,

Jose M. Hernandez

Club Regina Los Cabos Member

josemhern@aol.com

Jo
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Comments

  • Il
      25th of Jun, 2009
    +1 Votes

    It's really easy to explain.

    Just like the banks, they went on a decade long spree of signing contract after contract with people who really shouldn't have bought them, as they either didn't make enough money to be part of a long-term commitment or had such bad credit, they shouldn't have even been offered their services.

    Unfortunately, the chickens have come home to roost in the form of an extremely high delinquency rate. This cost cannot be recovered, so they pass the costs on to the existing customer base in the form of bogus fees and special 'assessments'.

    They gambled too high though; a one or two hundred assessment would be annoying, but alot of their customers would pay it. with this $800-900 "fee", they run the very real risk of pissing people off so much they spend the remainder of their time with Raintree desperately trying to get out of their contracts. The fee being so high is suspicious.. is this their one last money grab before they go belly up and disappear?

  • Mr
      25th of Jun, 2009
    0 Votes

    Jose, GREAT letter. If this doesn't get Bech's attention he truly does have nothing but ice in his veins.

  • Jo
      25th of Jun, 2009
    0 Votes

    Great Letter Jose,
    Let me know if you what I can do to help. My email is nujoe@runbox.com (Club Regina member since 2002). I would rather send the special assessment money ($820 in my case) to a lawyer who will take this case in a lawsuit filed against Raintree rather than send it to them, primarily since I believe the company will be filing Chapter 13 within a couple of years anyway.

  • Or
      26th of Jun, 2009
    0 Votes

    Great letter Jose. Please send to Texas Attorney General as well:
    www.oag.state.tx.us/consumer/complain.shtml and by mail

    We are trying to consolidate all postings under Raintree Vacation Club blogs. Yes, there are a few.

    There is 1 group name: Raintree Vacation Club also.

    ARDA - is the organization that issues standards of excellence for the timeshare industry. Not sure of the address. Please send cc of your letter to them.
    o
    oregano7@yahoo.com

  • Ji
      26th of Jun, 2009
    0 Votes

    We have compiled a list in excess of 100 members that are communicating and strategizing with a goal of contacting the attorney general in multiple states, especially Texas and AG Andrew Cuomo in New York. If you want to be a part of the combined effort, please send your email address to Ogden1995@aol.com.

    The longest and most thorough thread of complaints and comments is at https://www.complaintsboard.com/complaints/raintree-c210535.html?sort=datea&page=13. The title of this complaint is “Trying to charge a ‘Special Assessment.’"

    For the convenience of the authorities who might want to read members postings and for future reference, it seems it would be best to accumulate all comments under the above thread. There are already 13 pages on the thread.

    Thank you.

  • Mr
      30th of Jun, 2009
    0 Votes

    Below is an email that a member sent around to other members. It pretty much sums up why RVC is charging this SA: They are in dire straights, with no money and are on the hook for $25M for another failed fiasco:

    "Haven't talked to you in a while...2006 to be exact. That was the year we made the fatal decision to trade our Club Regina for Grand Regina Villas, another RVC ripoff. Turns out, Raintree never built the Villas, sold the project to Starwood, who never did anything either. There is now a group of 154 Villas owners that have put up money and retained an attorney to fight/sue Raintree & Starwood in an attempt to get our money back.


    I noticed your name floating around some of the emails from disgruntled Club Regina owners over the "special assessment". I'm sure I'd be furious over something like that, too. To put it mildly, Doug Bech is pretty much of a slime-ball. I'm one of a 6-member owners committee that met with our attorney, Doug Bech and his attorney and Starwood attorneys in Chicago a couple of weeks ago. We spent most of the time listening to "we just don't have the money to return everything". By his own admission, RVC had sold around $25M worth of weeks, yet didn't put the money into an escrow fund pending construction. Supposedly, he only has around $5M to return. They made one offer after the meeting, but it was piss-poor. Supposedly, another offer will be sent on Monday. If it's not, or if it's not any better, a lawsuit will be filed in federal court on Wed.


    I had a thought that maybe this special assessment was an attempt to raise money to pay us back, then figure out how to deal with all of the irate Club Regina owners. Do you have a copy of the special assessment letter you could email or fax me? I think we might be able to use it as ammunition in the lawsuit. Oh, did you know that Doug spent $4.5M buying another resort in Puerta Vallarta right across the street from Club Regina, I believe it was last Sept. We figure he used some of our money to buy that. All I know is that we have a bunch of owners in our legal group that want to see him in jail, and he knows it.


    I've been getting copied on emails from your group. All I can say is, good luck! You'll need it. Might as well get ready for a fight. We've pretty much figured out that he uses maintenance fee income to buy more properties, instead of using it for maintenance of the existing ones. They probably all do to some extent."

  • Rg
      3rd of Jul, 2009
    0 Votes

    I'm also a member of RVC and Club Regina. I'm in Mexico and also file a complaint through mexican proper authorities and apparently because all of us are in disagree with this special assesment they backed out "until the end of year". The maintance have raised up every year as someone said. What we ought to do is try to get all members togheter in a website were we can share our thoughts and information of what they are doing and charging to us and about service and conditions of the hotels. I learnt that this SA fee they are trying to charge was not sent to all of the members since I know another member that did not received the letter and I beleive is because they are still paying their membership and I beleive that they might have charge it only to member who have fully paid their membership. The other thing is the conditions of the hotels that are getting over the years where do our maintance fee go? For all of you that read spanish go to the following website coment and see the coments of Club Regina PV and they are not mistaken a bit. http://www.apestan.com/cases/club-regina-vallarta-puerto-vallarta-jalisco-mexico_16255.html

  • Ed
      25th of Nov, 2010
    0 Votes

    I would be interested to join any class action suit against Regina. I bought Regina in 1996, when it was Hilton and since then, things have change a lot, as they've taken every single change in ownership as a way to reduce the value of old members. As a result, what I bought is not even close to what I am getting from them today, the cost has gone up, options reduced, time to use it reduced as well, etc. Almost every single item has been changed so they can sell more property to new owners without benefiting old ones. When I bought in 1996, the exchange value in RCI was supposed to be great. Now I can hardly can get availability where I want to go or get something of a much lower value. I would assume RCI is also part of this. In sum, I have so many issues and horror stories that I would gladly join any class action lawsuit against them.
    email enieto777@gmail.com

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