SUBMIT A COMPLAINT

RaintreeTrying to charge a &Special Assessment&

1
M Review updated:

Got a letter in the mail today from Raintree Vacation Club of which we have been members for 6 years. They are whining about not being able to meet all the "upgrades" their members want, so they now have to charge an $820 "Special Assessment". This company is a joke. Every time we have tried to book a timeshare vacation with them we have either been unable to or have had to jump through major hurdles to do so. Now because they are affliated with RCI, everytime I try to book, they want to push me off onto RCI's resorts, not Raintree's.
I urge all Raintree members to join together and file a class action lawsuit against this scam company.

Responses

  • M
      Jun 07, 2009

    I checked my documents (joined in 1998) and could not find a single reference giving Raintree the right to levy a Special Assessment. In his letter, Doug Bech says this special assessment includes "normal maintenance items ... and updating furnishings, bedding and kitchenware." What have they been doing all these years with the maintenance fees while they permit their units to fall in disrepair? They should have been making the needed repairs each year, instead of letting things get to such an extent they have to resort to this crap. And then part of the special assessment is to upgrade their IT system so everyone can have online booking access. What, Raintree can't pay for their own computer systems?

    Maintenance fees are a cash cow to these groups and are are huge source of profit they never reveal. And when was the last time anyone received financial statements, audited or otherwise? Or have the maintenance fees been used in part for Raintree to go on an acquisition spree? The bottom line is this group is poorly managed and most all of the so-called new resorts they add are old "has beens" which they attempt to refurbish. Judging by the way they let Cancun, PV and Cabo go down the toilet, don't expect anything positive.

    Today I spoke with a Raintree representative, who really is an RCI staffer. She told me today was the first day the Special Assessment letters were received, and they already have heard an earful. They are bracing themselves for next week when they expect to hear from a bunch of angry members. She also told me the number of members who have defaulted in paying their maintenance fees was simply huge and continuing to rise. And when Raintree first told them they were going to levy a Special Assessment, they were just stunned. People are losing their jobs, their homes, their savings have been depleted, and now Bech wants a Special Assessment. Is he kidding, or taking a page out of Obama's playbook? Raise taxes during a recession --- you can't be serious.

    Maybe this Special Assessment is a giant ruse to cover the loss of revenues from those not paying their maintenance fees. If so, then it's a Barney Frank tactic where those who play by the rules have to cover for the deadbeats. You know, collectivism.

    I personally think Raintree, like many others, is in financial trouble with a large debt burden to service. And they probably can't tap into any credit facilities at this time because who would lend to these organizations where their principal source of revenue is from the discretionary income of their members, which is shrinking nationwide. For those who are financially hurting, this is the last bill to be paid, if it is paid at all.

    My advice on the Special Assessment. First, complain like hell, and make certain you call their Houston office (Sharon Racine) and tell them you never voted or approved of this, nor does Raintree have the right to charge these outrageous fees unless they can show it in your contract. And second, simply don't pay the damn thing with the objective being to force these clowns to withdraw or rework it. You might also ask for a copy of Raintree's financials. The thinking being that you don't want to pay the Special Assessment only to learn that Raintree later files for Chapter 11 and you are an unsecured creditor.

    Really a poor decision by Doug Bech, and that's being charitable. No, a really stupid decision that carries with it a PR disaster for years to come.

    Moe

    +3 Votes
  • B
      Jun 07, 2009

    I sent them an email asking for a copy of my original contract. I want to read through it and determine if I should seek legal help.

    Since joining they have raised my fees from $850 to now $1, 350, and now they want $1, 350 in addition and they are asking for the payment by July this year!

    I guess the question is can they legally do this.

    Bob

    -1 Votes
  • M
      Jun 07, 2009

    Bob:

    You have to read your contract to determine whether they have the authority to levy a Special Assessment and under what conditions. Their contracts have changed over the years, so it really depends on which contract you have; you also have to read the Regulations they usually make reference to. In my case, the contract goes back some time and includes several references to maintenance fees, but not Special Assessments. It also is subject to Mexican law (it was Club Regina) and appears to have a mediation clause in it before one can file a judicial claim, which must be brought in the Mexican Federal District (Mexico City). Contesting or litigating these things in Mexico is a waste of time and takes forever; besides, any member seeking redress down there will most certainly lose because Raintree is a big employer.

    If your contract actually makes reference to or gives Raintree the right to collect Special Assessments, you then need to determine whether they have defined this term in the papers. Special Assessments normally are levied for unusual, catastrophic or non-recurring events which are not reasonably foreseeable, such as hurricanes and the like, in addition to capital improvements. The problem with the Raintree Special Assessment is that it covers many items that are normal or routine in the maintenance of the properties. The replacement of bedding is just one example. Items such as these should be covered under the annual assessment, but too often these resort owners suck out as much cash as they can and let the properties deteriorate to the point where there is no other choice. And the general overhead for which a part of the annual maintenance is paid is loaded with all sort of goodies, like social security, health care and year end bonuses for staff and workers (Mexico specific), plus a handsome profit to Raintree itself as a management fee.

    In short, all these timeshare groups will simply do what they can get away with because they know members have little or no recourse. It's not a democracy, but a dictatorship where they set the fee and are accountable to no one. And if you tell them they can have their membership back, they will tell you they won't take it and you are bound for the life of the contract to pay them whatever they say is owed. Finally, they attempt to put the fear into people by saying that if you don't pay, they will report the default to the credit agencies and will turn the account over for collection. But the last time I checked, a membership is a voluntary association and you should be able to quit at any time. If failure to pay a membership fee does show up on your credit report, it usually is flagged as such and discounted in importance in arriving at the credit score. Not paying either an annual maintenance fee or Special Assessment should be no big deal. For it to have any teeth, Raintree would have to file a legal action and obtain a judgment, and that requires legal fees which I know they don't have the money to cover. They will just keep hasseling everyone through the collection process.

    Under these circumstances, what is one to do? As I previously said, the most effective way of contesting this is for members to collectively refuse to pay and see what then happens. If during this period you are unable to use your time, it hurts Raintree more than it does you.

    I have met Doug Bech on several occasions and he is a nice guy and a former partner at the law firm of Akin Gump (Houston) where he practiced in the field of securities and mergers and acquisitions. Bech knows the firestorm this Special Assessment will trigger, and for him to g down this path given the current economic conditions indicates to me Raintree is in financial difficulty. Everyone should hold firm on this one and send a message.

    Fractional ownership with full equity participation is the trend of the future, not timeshares. I cam across an excellent website for a fractional that really tells the hidden truth about maintenance fees and the scams that they are. See, www.cabofractionalproperties.com.

    Moe

    0 Votes
  • B
      Jun 08, 2009

    Moe,
    Thank you for your detailed email.

    I read through my contract dated March, 2000. Not anywhere does it state that they are allowed to charge an assessment fee.

    My maintenance has increased from $700 to $1, 350 over a nine year period (a warning for potential future buyers), 51% which is nuts. It seems that because I am a long term client who has one of their original memberships they unfairly try to force me not pay fees and therefore end my contract. Which would allow them to resell.

    I have sent them an email asking for their legal language and to indentify where it states that they are allowed to charge such a fee.

    My original contract was with RCI and it does look like it is under Mexican law.

    Regards

    +1 Votes
  • M
      Jun 08, 2009

    Bob:

    Your are on the right course because if your Raintree contract has no provision giving them the right to levy a Special Assessment, they have none and are confined to collecting just the annual maintenance. Ask them to specifically show you where their authority lies. You might also ask whether they would accept a termination of your membership if you so chose. That would be an interesting one. My guess is they would say no, and then state you are bound for the life of the contract. My rejoinder would be they don't have to accept, but rather I simply quit and here is the certified letter saying so.

    Aside from what may be Raintree's questionable authority to charge these Special Assessments, to do what they have without prior or advance notice to members is pretty outrageous. Since I have been a member, I have never once seen a financial or other statement showing how the annual maintenance fees are used or allocated. A few years back, members were told Club Regina Cancun was in the process of a major refurbishing. I guess that never happened because Cancun is on their list of targeted improvements.

    Believe me, Raintree doesn't want to actually litigate a collection claim, whether in Mexico or the US. Through pre-trial discovery, a member-defendant presumably would be in a position to not only depose Raintree executives, but also access their financial and other records. With such disclosures, I believe a strong case could be made for the misappropriation and/or misapplication of funds received from annual maintenance fees. Such fees are represented to members as necessary to keep the existing resort properties in a satisfactory state of repair, including general and administrative overhead. But if any of these fees are diverted for other purposes, such as acquiring new properties, there could be major problems for Raintree.

    Like you, I have looked at the historical record of Raintree's annual maintenance fees. In my case, they increased 24.1% between 2005 and 2006. For the years 2005 through 2009, they have increased at an annual equivalent rate of 13%, way beyond the rate of inflation. This is not only unsustainable for members, but it also suggests something is not right.

    For your information, Raintree Resorts International, which I believe is the parent organization, is located at 10000 Memorial Drive, Houston, Texas 77024, [protected]. If I have any further information about this debacle, I will post it on this site. Best of luck.

    Moe

    +1 Votes
  • M
      Jun 08, 2009

    Well we've begun by filing a complaint with the Houston BBB. This is just the beginning.

    The BBB that will handle your complaint is:

    BBB of Metropolitan Houston
    (Houston, TX)
    1333 W. Loop South, Ste. 1200
    Houston, TX 77027
    Phone: [protected]
    Fax: [protected]
    Email: [protected]@bbbhou.org
    Web: http://www.bbbhou.org

    +2 Votes
  • M
      Jun 08, 2009

    There is power in numbers. We need a way to gather member names and contact info. Does nayone have some ideas on the best way to do this?

    +1 Votes
  • O
      Sep 06, 2019

    @MrD I am one

    0 Votes
  • A
      Jun 08, 2009

    We are members as well and received our letter today. I completely agree with your take on the situation Moe. We will definitely refuse to pay! Greed, greed and more greed!

    0 Votes
  • M
      Jun 08, 2009

    I agree with the majority... this fee was never part of my original contract. We never had a chance to vote on it as fractional owners. It's bogus. Everybody needs to refuse payment. When I can, I'm getting out of this stupid timeshare business. Staying in the USA at La Quinta or somewhere seems to be a better option.

    +1 Votes
  • C
      Jun 08, 2009

    I just received my $820.00 special assessment and agree with many of the perspectives expressed above. While the Raintree facilities have been pleasant to stay at in the past, the economics of the RVC/Club Regina relationship are making it less and less attractive.
    In my mind, there are three options on the table that can be taken to respond to the special assessment:
    1. Check your contract to see about RVC's right to assess...and in any case complain
    2. Consider your investment in the Club Regina/RVC a sunk cost and walk away. They can take your "asset" back and cancel your membership. It is hard to imagine they would have any recourse to one's credit rating given that the time share has been fully paid for. If they do pursue you...ignore the collection phone calls and rest assured that the potential remark in your credit file will be discounted due to its nature.
    3. We should encourage every Club Regina/RVC member to register their thoughts and feelings about the special assessment on thiswebsite and http://tugbbs.com/forums, and invite RVC/Regina "leadership" to review the comments and reconsider their decision and seek other sources of funding.
    4. Pursue the class action lawsuit avenue...long and arduous, but perhaps the best way to recoup some of our investment.
    One gets the sense that this organization is going down...and in my mind it would be foolish to, in all probability, throw good money after bad

    +1 Votes
  • O
      Sep 06, 2019

    @CBear Yes please where do I tegister

    0 Votes
  • C
      Jun 08, 2009

    Any ideas as to how to get a plan of action (i.e. refuse to pay) out to all RVC/Regina members?

    0 Votes
  • S
      Jun 08, 2009

    We also recived ours today and are outraged to say the least. We tried to call as soon as we go the mail but the office was already closed. My husband will be calling tomorrow to share our complaints as well!

    0 Votes
  • D
      Jun 08, 2009

    I am very interested in a filing a class action lawsuit. Please count me in

    0 Votes
  • J
      Jun 09, 2009

    I have points with Raintree also. Got my assessment notice today also. I thought it was a reminder of my annual dues that are due next month, I wish. Count me on on a the class action suit.

    0 Votes
  • J
      Jun 09, 2009

    I might also suggest that we all send emails expressing our outrage to the letter's author, Douglas Y Bech via the Frontier Oil website, of which he is one Board of Directors. Maybe a barrage of emails to this company embarrassing him in front of his peers might have an impact into his succumbing to our demand to rescind the "Special Assessment."
    The web address is:
    http://www.frontieroil.com/contact/
    Be sure to mention his name specifically.

    0 Votes
  • G
      Jun 09, 2009

    THESE "SPECIAL ASSESSMENTS" ARE OUTRAGEOUS !!! IT HAS BEEN BAD ENOUGH THAT THE ANNUAL MAINT FEES HAVE INCREASED SO ROUTINELY ! I'd like definitive ways to cut my ties to this organization totally.

    0 Votes
  • T
      Jun 09, 2009

    I want to join in and file a complaint against Raintree, I just received the SA today and says it's due JULY 15 this year, but what will it mean if I don't pay it? I have a reservation already paid for in late August with plane tickets already paid for and unfortunately not refundable. Can Club Regina cancel my reservation and take my money?

    I want to fight this, my contact email is [protected]@gmail.com and I'm in CA.

    I appreciate any help to get this going and for any other help with how to deal with this. I am new owner and the original contract was purchased by someone else in 1991 and when last year was my first time at the resort and I became ill from their A/C and had to stay inside for a week of my time there.

    Do I have any recourse?

    +1 Votes
  • M
      Jun 09, 2009

    Mr. D:

    Good idea on the BBB because any negative PR hurts them.

    I also agree there is power in numbers. If just 30% of the members refuse to pay, that most certainly will affect their plans. It also would send them a message forcing them to rethink Special Assessments in the future and how to make the most out of the annual maintenance.

    I want to be clear that I am not against Special Assessements in general, as there are unforeseen circumstances which occur that require such collections. Hurricane damage not compensated by insurance would be an example, including severe beach erosion. I can also envision Special Assessments for certain capital improvements, as opposed to normal or recurring repairs. If justifiable, I can support these charges if there is adequate planning and advance notice to the members, and provided the amount in question is reasonable. This assumes, of course, that Raintree has the authority to collect these amounts in the contracts with their members.

    But the arrogance of this group is really astounding. This took everyone by surprise with the justification being the responses from member surveys. That's not persuasive for me because if members knew in advance what they were looking at, especially the amount and time within which to pay, I am almost certain there would have been a different result and a corresponding downsizing of the overall program.

    My other complaint is that many of the targeted expenditures should be covered by the annual maintenance fee. If you peruse their list, you will see several items that could be categorized as normal or recurring, or repair related, not to mention those that are foreseeable in the resort business. Changing out ceiling fans, new bedding and linens, and the refinishing, renovation or refurbishing of several items they describe are customary and normal in this business. They also are foreseeable, or the result of ordinary wear and tear or usage. Please note their frequent use of the term "replace" in an attempt to somehow convert these foreseeable items into what they hope will be viewed as capital expenditures that are usually the basis for collecting Special Assessments . That's a slight of hand with which I am quite familiar. And I am sorry, upgrading their website to provide online booking doesn't cut it.

    Raintree has permitted their properties to fall into state of disrepair that really is inexcusable. This often occurs when there has been mismanagement of the annual maintenance fees, or a diversion of such fees for purposes other than maintaining the properties. Finally, these fees are routinely used as a source of profit, which may then be moved upstream to a parent organization for corporate staff or debt service. As their inventory of available space shrinks (i.e., they sell out a resort), the annual maintenance fees then become a static source of revenue in a universe of rising costs. To squeeze every last dollar out of a property, these timeshare groups sometime oversell their inventory (selling more than 52 weeks per unit) knowing that some members may not use their weeks during a given year. And there is absolutely no regulation of the industry or protection for members in places like Mexico. In short, these groups are really free to do as they please, and Raintree seems to be no exception with the lip service they give to member services. The truth behind this Special Assessment may be multi-faceted and probably will never be known by members, but I think it's clear they have not planned this well.

    An effective means for members to communicate with each other and obtain information probably is to direct them to a central website, such as this one, which I came across by chance after seeing your initial entry on June 6th. To this end, I plan to periodically review as many other websites as possible with the aim of doing just that. Having members flood their corporate offices with phone calls also would send a powerful message.

    The rapid escalation of Raintree maintenance fees leads one to seriously question whether owning a membership is truly worth it. Add items such as this Special Assessment and I think the conclusion is negative. I just wonder what they will be two or three years from now.

    Moe

    +5 Votes
  • J
      Jun 09, 2009

    I'm in. Just a short time ago RVC announced that they had renovated their Culb Regina resorts and now these same resorts are on the Special Assesssment list! I want to fight these crooks. Let me know how I can help. I'll start with the BBB as listed above. Send me any other websites that may help. I'm calling them tomorrow to register my displeasure.

    Contact me at [protected]@aol.com.

    +1 Votes
  • J
      Jun 09, 2009

    I just sent to the BBB and to Douglas Bech, at frontier oil, my thoughts on this outrageous special assessment. Everyone reading these complaints againt Raintree should do the same and if possible do it more than once. Let these people know that we're not going to take it.

    If you don't know what to say, just copy and paste some of the great points of view in this blog and send them off. Tomorrow, I'm going to call them every chance I get to tell them what I think. They are threatening to hold my timeshare as a hostage if I do not pay. Nice people, right?

    Their "Regulations" state that they are required to have a simple majority vote from their members to pass any large increases in the maintenance fees. I did not receive a ballot, has any other legitimate member? not that I know of.

    They have 21 resorts with over 50, 000 members. Do the math, with an average assessment of $900 per membership that's $45 MILLION! The curious thing is that Raintree, a few months ago, announced that they had renovated several of the Club Regina Resorts, but, these are also on their "Special Assessment" list of resorts. Does that make sense??

    Raintree should rescind the Special Assessment, NOW!

    [protected]@aol.com
    Member Club Regina Los Cobos since 2003.

    +1 Votes
  • M
      Jun 09, 2009

    To All Concerned:

    Today was the second time I spoke with a RCI representative who is handling Raintree accounts. She said their office has been inundated with complaints from members and it is creating a quasi-chaotic climate within their offices. Members keep it up because we are just starting to have an effect.

    On other related topics:

    1. In addition to lodging a complaint with member services, call the Raintree corporate offices in Houston, which is listed on this site. They have a small staff so lets burn the telephone lines. Ask to speak with Doug Bech, Sharon Racine or John Berger.

    2. Under no circumstances return the Debit Authorization form. Our biggest weapon is to starve them of revenues. Don't even acknowledge receiving their notice.

    3. As for reservations this year, I have confirmed space at two of their resorts for early July and September. When I spoke with the RCI representative today, I pointed out the rather ambiguous language in paragraph 4 of the Debit Authorization form. I asked whether my reservations were in jeopardy if I refused to pay the Special Assessment. She wasn't sure and then checked with a supervisor, who said the reservations were fine because they were confirmed before I received the Raintree letter. I then asked the RCI representative to send an email note stating such, which I received within minutes. I then asked a hypothetical: What if I don't pay the Special Assessment by July 15th and then call in August to make a reservation for October? Her response was stunning: "We are not sure and there could be a problem." I find it hard to believe they will refuse a reservation request, but that's what was said. The last thing you want is to arrive at the resort where they then inform you the room is unavailable unless you pay the Special Assessment immediately. Raintree will have to clarify this and inform RCI accordingly. This is another example of Raintree arrogance and poor planning. They don't even read their own materials. On the other hand, and in an attempt to strong arm members, their intent may be to indeed suspend reservation requests until the Special Assessment is paid. When you call RCI or Raintree, complain about this as well.

    4. If a member does not pay annual maintenance fees when due, including the current Special Assessment, Raintree will assess a penalty and start to accrue interest on the delinquent amount. After two years, it is their policy to turn the account over for collection. Whether they also inform the credit agencies is unknown, but I think one should assume they will do exactly that. I know of an individual who had such an entry on her credit report filed by Hacienda del Mar in Cabo. See my comments above on this issue.

    5. RCI has informed me it is the position of Raintree that one cannot terminate or cancel a membership until the contract term runs its course. You can sell it or give it away, but you can't voluntarily quit. I don't think this would hold in any US court that thinks rationally given the fact a membership is usually a voluntary association, and especially so if the membership has been paid in full and is currently in good standing, except for the accrual of future fees. I mention this for those who may be contemplating a termination of their relationship with Raintree. Many of the older contracts don't even touch upon this subject, so the issue really is open ended. But if you do decide to quit, make certain you do it in writing and obtain a receipt documenting delivery. Finally, be certain to send it to the proper address usually listed in the contract for the delivery of notices. Many of the old Club Regina memberships have a Mexican address, which has since changed.

    6. As for me, I am not going to pay or acknowledge receipt of the Special Assessment letter. If Raintree does nothing to reverse or materially modify this travesty, I plan to terminate my membership in the manner just described and send a copy of my letter to any of the agencies which include this on the credit report. Selling one of these things on the secondary market is a waste of time. In the interim, I encourage all members to hold their ground and raise hell with the hope we can retain our membership, but under conditions which are more reasonable and responsive to our basic and humble requests.

    Moe

    0 Votes
  • H
      Jun 09, 2009

    THIS IS EXTORTION. I AM REFUSING TO PAY IT. I WOULD LOVE TO FILE A LAWSUIT AGAINST RVC. THERE HAS GOT TO BE SOMETHING WE CAN DO TO SHUT THEM DOWN - TO KEEP THEM FROM SCAMMING OTHERS. THE COMPANY IS COMPLETELY UNETHICAL. I CAN NOT BELIVE THIS SORT OF THING IS LEGAL.

    -1 Votes
  • A
      Jun 09, 2009

    I'm furious over this assessment. There is no language in my contract requiring me to pay a 'special assessment'. NOTHING. My annual maintenance fee has not been kept low and has increased in huge leaps over the last few years. What did they do with all my extra money?

    How is replacing tile in the bathrooms with marble necessary? How is adding a marble top to the nightstands necessary? How is purchasing flat panel tvs necessary? How is purchasing LARGER flat screen tvs necessary? How is curved shower rods in the bathrooms necessary? Should I continue? Are you serious?

    I'm filing a complaint with the Houston BBB as soon as I am done with this email.

    -1 Votes
  • M
      Jun 09, 2009

    FYI- There is another thread on this forum discussing the same thing:
    Raintree Vacation Club — fraud

    As I mentioned in that thread, we have forwarded our contract and the special assessment documents to a lawyer for review. Will post feedback when we get it.

    -1 Votes
  • D
      Jun 09, 2009

    I just submitted my complaint to Houston's BBB and complained to RVC. I am waiting to hear back from those of you that are contacting a lawyer.

    0 Votes
  • D
      Jun 09, 2009

    We've been Raintree members since early 2007. We also just received the "Special Assessment" and agree with all of your comments posted above. We are furious with the company's actions and believe the properties have been grossly mismanaged to the point of negligence. As we have never seen the company's financials, we are not familiar with the current financial status of the company itself. We don't know the contents of the budgets and strategic plans for each of the properties, but most of the items on their list should have been budgeted for on an annual basis as operating expenses or projected through a long-term capex plan instead of reaching this tipping point. If Raintree actually misused the maintenance fees, this should count as fraud.

    We are assuming here that the company has property-level debt that is coming due and it is having a hard time refinancing it, hence this request for additional member capital disguised as the "Special Assessment." In this recession, commercial real estate (especially resort properties) is suffering from hugely declining valuations, which in turn is negatively impacting loan-to-value convenants. Moreover, commercial real estate lenders are being VERY conservative in their lending, and will likely lend only at greatly reduced LTVs on properties that are suffering from lower valuations already. Any way you look at this situation, even if Raintree was able to refinance its properties, it would have to put up more capital or risk defaulting on its existing loans. Raintree may very well be in danger of losing some properties to foreclosure and potentially going out of business. There is no use throwing good money after bad, so we agree that the members should not pay this Special Assessment. If this money is actually meant to fulfill existing loan obligations instead of being used for repairs/replacements, the physical status of the properties will continue to deteriorate and that will devalue our membership. The above is just speculation on our part, but is based on what we're really seeing in the commercial real estate world right now. Raintree should just tell its members what is really going on.

    We need to get to the bottom of this situation in any case, fast. We would consider a class action suit.

    DM/JM

    0 Votes
  • T
      Jun 09, 2009

    I've tried calling raintree, the customer service number to book vacations and get a number or somehow get a copy of the contract and am constantly being told to call Mexico but I have no international. When I asked to get the number for Douglas Bech I also wasn't allowed, she said most of them work from home and cannot get a direct number to them, but offered an email address to member services.

    I'd like to know how to get a copy of my contract since I purchased resale and the original owners purchased this in 1991 and I have nothing other than I am to pay maintenance from timeshare closings.

    I also want to join in fighting this because I just barely got the timeshare, have only been once and the fee has already gone up by $100 since I purchased. Please let me know the steps to take other than BBB complaint because I can't even start a complaint since I don't have the address. If someone can email the information I'd appreciate it. My email is [protected]@gmail.com

    0 Votes
  • M
      Jun 09, 2009

    Here is the info for filing a complaint against Raintreee International Resorts:

    BBB of Metropolitan Houston
    (Houston, TX)
    1333 W. Loop South, Ste. 1200
    Houston, TX 77027
    Phone: [protected]
    Fax: [protected]
    Email: [protected]@bbbhou.org
    Web: http://www.bbbhou.org

    -1 Votes
  • D
      Jun 09, 2009

    first to Moe and the others providing great information and leadership:
    THANK YOU. i am learning a lot here.

    My story is like everyone else's: and I would like to join any class action suit or help in any way i can. i just don't know what to do.
    my email is: [protected]@me.com

    something interesting of note. Three weeks ago i was in Cabo. i have been a member since 2003 and have seen my membership rates rise 40% which i find exorbitant.

    for this trip, i requested on several occasions that i receive the "new" "remodeled" units that i had been promised were coming since my last trip there in 2007. needless to say, this project was abandoned and only two such units were made. the units they showed everyone were great, and i showed photos of them to everyone obviously!

    i know for a fact that hundreds of buyers bought at Cabo expecting those units: i can't imagine their disappointment when the saw the same old units.

    of course i complained on the spot to our member services guy: he let me know that the man responsible for those units was fired and that capital was being redirected to acquiring new properties.

    i sent a long letter of grievance to John Berger at raintree from my vacation. it took two weeks to get any response and i found it funny that this is what they sent:


    "Good Afternoon Mr. Woodcroft- I understand that you were inquiring about the renovations that were done at our Club Regina Los Cabos resort. I have included a list of the improvements that were done:

    Refinished wood furniture/cabinets
    Painted walls and ceilings
    Recovered living room chairs
    Recovered dining room chairs
    New living room sofa bed
    New mattresses
    New mattress pads and bedding
    Refinished and recovered the headboard
    Replaced draperies
    New flat screen tvs and mounts
    Repaired pool decks
    The only thing that could have happened to make someone tell you that work was stopped was that for a while the weather was too humid and the varnish was not drying fast enough so we had to wait which threw off our schedule. We hired an additional crew to speed up when the weather changed so we still finished on our revised schedule."
    Signed, Sharon Racine


    Can you believe this? i sent a note back asking her if she had even read my letter: i had asked in my letter for a reason why Raintree had deceived clients and were dishonest in promising those remodeled units. that was the answer i got back. i have yet to hear from her and still have not heard from john berger.

    anyway, please post anything on this site and let's organize. i am sure we can collectively pay for an attorney to start some work.

    sincerely,

    todd woodcroft
    [protected]@me.com

    0 Votes
  • H
      Jun 09, 2009

    We had the same experience - as far as BEING SHOWN A ROOM, DURING THE PRESENTATION, WHICH WAS ULTIMATELY NOTHING LIKE WHAT YOU ACTUALLY STAY IN!! They show you this great room with a huge flat screen TV (which was a big deal in 2004, when we purchased), jacuzzi in front of seamless glass picture window, overlooking the ocean, top-of-the-line stereo system and all brand new linens, draperies and decor ... Each time we booked our stay, I would request one of the "renovated rooms." Each time, I was told they were all booked. I eventually came to realize they likely didn't exist - these beautiful, renovated rooms. Isn't this somehow illegal? I would never have purchased if they'd shown me what the real rooms look like. This is fraud. High pressure sales (down-right harassment) and misrepresentation. If anyone can organize a lawsuit, I'm in. I'll contribute my "special assessment fee" to the cause!

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  • C
      Jun 10, 2009

    Moe..I appreciate your involvement and the information you have provided relative to this unfortunate Raintree "Special Assessment." If you feel comfortable in doing this...I would appreciate your posting the e-mail you received from RVC assuring you that your existing reservations would not be in jeopardy as a result of your (justifed) unwillingness to pay the Special Assessment.
    Thanks from all of us. I am coninuing to learn what I can at my end and will keep all posted.

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  • M
      Jun 10, 2009

    TO ALL CONCERNED:

    EMAIL YOUR COMPLAINTS DIRECTLY TO DOUG BECH AT: [protected]@raintreeresorts.com. Please don't ask me how I obtained his personal email, which I believe is still goood.

    Updates and more to follow later.

    Moe

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  • M
      Jun 10, 2009

    TO CBEAR:

    I spoke with one Terri McCormick at the RCI offices in Indiana. Her email note reads as follows:

    "Per our conversation earlier concerning your current reservations booked with Raintree, the reservations will not be cancelled if Special Assessment is not paid by July 15th."

    Hope this is of assistance.

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  • L
      Jun 10, 2009

    I just read our contract, signed in Cabo in Feb. 2004. Article 2.3 says to have your rights in force as a club member, you "must be up to date in the payment of the Maintenance Fee, which should be paid annually, independently of the fact that the Lodging Rights are exercised. In the event that the Member should fail to pay the corresponding Maintenance Fee during two consecutive years, he shall lose his faculty to exercise the Loding Rights, under the terms established hereunder, causing the cancellation of the Contract."

    Also, Article 4.4 says "non-payment of the Maintenance Fee during two consecutive years shall imply rescission of the contract."

    If we wanted to simply walk away from this company, it does not sound like we have any commitment to pay our maintenance fees or continue our membership until 2046, the term of our contract.

    Given the terms of our contract above, if we notified RVC of our intention not to pay our maintenance fees and to end our contract, could they still turn us over to a collections agency or attempt to damage our credit?

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  • M
      Jun 10, 2009

    1. I am greatly encouraged by the passion and determination exhibited by this group as I sense we are gaining meaningful momentum and solidarity. We need to remain resolute and firm in opposing this Special Assessment by continuing to write, call and email both RCI and Raintree. I believe it’s almost universal among all who have commented that Raintree’s action borders on the unconscionable without any consideration or compassion for the undue hardship this will cause members. They simply don’t care and apparently believe they are too big and immune from any serious challenge. In my estimation, Raintree has clearly violated any remaining vestiges of trust because it’s crystal they have neither been truthful nor forthcoming in seeking these funds, and have deliberately withheld material information that is crucial for each member to make an informed decision. But we should not be discouraged because we do have weapons to combat this rapacious money grab so long as we remain united in objective. Any reasonable person visiting this site can feel the pain they have inflicted on their own members and the determination by these same members to strike back, not out of retribution, but out of a sense of fairness and basic decency. If numbers represent power, we can effectively disrupt their agenda with the aim of having them withdraw, modify or change this outrageous demand. I am fully prepared to put my membership on the block and cross this Rubicon.

    2. I repeat my call to action by encouraging all members to withhold payment and refuse to return the Debit Authorization Form. The most effective means of combating Raintree’s blatant attempt to appropriate these monies is for all of us to sever their access to a revenue stream on which they are addicted. Think of the basics in this way. For those who already have paid their 2009 maintenance fee, Raintree is now asking us to pay at least double this amount to access our time in 2010. For members, this is neither wise nor prudent, and it puts us all in a position of questioning the economic viability of our membership. Raintree had no trouble issuing a call for a Special Assessment without prior or advance notice, while at the same time they hide behind stealth in refusing to reveal what the 2010 assessment will be, estimated or otherwise. If they fail to reach their goal with this Special Assessment, it’s almost a certainty they will attempt to make up the difference on the back end by hosing members with yet another increase in the maintenance fee. And through all of this, members haven’t a clue whether this same organization is even solvent, or whether our funds will disappear in a black hole without a proper accounting. We clearly have reached a tipping point where a line must be drawn, notwithstanding the financial and emotional stakes which all of us have invested. We cannot permit them to pick our wallets again. Let’s stand firm and send them a powerful message that it’s no longer business as usual. And if Raintree refuses to address these legitimate concerns, let them see the light of their own Waterloo.

    3. I have spent quite some time reviewing several SEC documents which were filed by Raintree well over seven years ago. Although much of the information is dated and no longer relevant, it does reveal some interesting features. Raintree Resorts International, Inc. now appears to be private and, as such, is not subject to the disclosure requirements otherwise applicable to publicly traded companies. That means they don’t have to reveal any information to anyone other than their own equity owners, and that whatever information is in the public domain is extremely limited. A timeshare is a right to use program and, hence, members do not qualify as equity owners. Raintree also has operated all of their resort properties through various US and foreign subsidiaries, each of which have different financial, organizational and corporate structures through which timeshare sales have been made. Raintree’s history has been tumultuous as these same SEC documents reveal numerous refinancings, private placements, mergers that have gone bust, and a management structure that could properly be characterized as a revolving door (other than Doug Bech). At several times, it appears the company was on the precipice of failing, but somehow managed to recover.

    4. I have read several entries which have advocated the filing of a class action against Raintree, which is understandable given the frustration and anger expressed by several members. To file such an action and retain counsel on a contingency basis simply will not happen based on the limited information which is available. That’s truly unfortunate because I believe there is something much larger here which, if all the facts were revealed, might result in the filing of claims for breach of contract, misrepresentation, fraud and the misappropriation and misapplication of member funds. Even if such information were available, the filing of a class action presents many logistical challenges that would have to be overcome. As previously stated, Raintree’s corporate structure makes use of several subsidiary organizations which generally insulate the parent. Although there might be room for filing a class action against any one of these subsidiaries by member plaintiffs similarly situated (i.e., those who have purchased timeshares from this entity), it would be a rather arduous task to consolidate all actions under one proceeding, to have the class certified as such, and then to bring in the parent (Raintree) as a named defendant. A further complicating factor appears to be the existence of multiple contract forms which all of these organizations have used to sell timeshares. There are separate contract forms for Club Regina Cancun, PV, Cabo, Villa Vera and Whistler, to name just a few, and these same contracts have been modified, updated and revised throughout the years. For all of these stated reasons, I don’t think a class action is either viable or economic under present circumstances.

    5. I neglected to mention in prior entries that when I first spoke with the RCI representative in connection with the Special Assessment, she revealed that her group had to attend three separate meetings with Sharon Racine (Raintree corporate) where they were prepared on what to say and how to react to member complaints. This occurred prior to the mailing of the Special Assessment letters. In case some of you don’t know, RCI receives a rather handsome fee in its capacity to act as Raintree’s member services arm. But it does reveal how important Raintree apparently views this quest to exact further monetary concessions from its members. It also shows that Raintree has prepared for member backlash. In light of current economic conditions, and what many at RCI view as a rather audacious move on the part of Raintree to request additional funds at this time, is this compelling evidence to suggest Raintree really is in financial straits? In the absence of having access to Raintree’s financials, I conclude this is indeed the case.

    6. Yesterday I spoke with one of the RCI representatives and asked if she could point to any provision or clause in my contract which shows that I am obligated to pay a Special Assessment. I also asked her to please show me where in this same contract Raintree has the right to levy this fee. My contract was executed with CR Resorts Los Cabos, and not Raintree, and I have never been formally notified this contract has been assigned to the latter. She said that all timeshares have the authority to levy Special Assessments, but after I informed her there was not a single reference in my contract, she was both surprised and then retreated from her statement by saying she “just assumed this to be the case”. She then transferred me to Mexico City to specifically discuss this and other issues with the guru of contract administration for Raintree. It was a girl who spoke broken English who also couldn’t understand what I was asking. She placed me on hold to talk with someone else, and I remained on hold for ten minutes after which I simply hung up. This is Raintree’s Achilles heal. Their contractual authority to collect Special Assessments has never been placed in question or challenged, and despite their rather robust efforts to prepare RCI, they cannot effectively respond to specific questions on certain provisions in different contractual forms. If we continue our efforts along these lines, we might be successful in having Raintree rethink the viability of their cash demand. And please keep in mind that Raintree corporate is most likely in daily contact with RCI and receiving feedback on member comments and complaints.

    7. Finally, I wish to point out a rather neglected feature in the Special Assessment letter and, specifically, the so-called matching points credit promotion that can be redeemed for an External Exchange. Aside from the joke this truly represents (the 50% equivalent of a RCI Bonus Week), Raintree fails to say whether the normal RCI exchange fee will be assessed if any member avails itself of this option. Once again, more concealment. If Raintree were not so greedy, and to help make the Special Assessment more palatable, one would think Raintree would offer a free week to any of their Internal Resorts for those who pay the Special Assessment, whether immediately or over time. But this is probably asking too much from an organization that has and continues to demand money from its members.

    8. Can we turn this ship around, or cause it to make a mid-course correction? Let’s certainly hope so. Don’t lose faith of spirit for we all need to stick together on this one. Keep making those phone calls and emails. Call once, twice or three times a day and please share any information on this site. There is no doubt in my mind that we are right in principle and cause.

    Moe

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  • S
      Jun 10, 2009

    The 7th clause on my contract makes mention of maintenance fees not being paid for 2 years and alludes to cancellation in the event of such non-action. Nothing about special assessment however. I don't think they have any recourse other than to get us so mad that we forfeit our timeshares and then they resell them. The publicity
    from this is going to hurt them good before it's over. It was a good deal in the beginning, but now that we've all suffered the raising of maintenance fees at exorbitant percentage increases, who in their right mind would ever give a good report to a friend to buy one of these money sucking machines. My only concern is my credit rating. After I see an attorney today at noon I will hopefully have some answers.

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  • M
      Jun 10, 2009

    TO LINDA H:

    My contract has similar language, and if you read it carefully you will note it probably is a translation from an equivalent contract they use for their Mexican members. We don't say nonpayment "implies" a rescission of a contract.

    On this particular issue what they are saying is your right as a member has terminated through nonpayment, or is the equivalent of what is called an anticipatory repudiation. That, however, does not mean you are discharged from those fees which have then accrued, plus interest, nor future fees and assessments. It really depends on what the Mexican law says on contracts of this kind. Think of it as the repossession of your car. You owe $10, 000 and the bank resells the car for $2, 000 at auction. You are still obligated for the deficiency, plus interest and all costs of repossesion and resale.

    If you stop paying Raintree, it cost them virtualy nothing to turn the account over for collection to an agency that operates on a contingency. That's why I advocate terminating by letter and notice and by sending the letter to the proper address listed in the contract. That won't prevent or stop Raintree from seeking to collect, but it can be used to show the credit agencies that you have terminated your membership and are contesting the amount in question. No good options here as I am in the same predicament. Sorry for the bad news.

    Moe

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  • M
      Jun 10, 2009

    Moe,
    Thanks for the outstanding info and incite! If a class-action lawsuit does become out of the question, then it seems everyone's best best is to have a lawyer verify that your contact makes no stipulation for "Special Assessments" (which so far I have yet to read of ONE person having any such clause in any RVC related contact!), refuse to pay the special assessment, then let Raintree take an action against your account (such as suspending your membership. At that point I believe each individual member would have lawsuit potential against Raintree in the jurisdiction of where their contract is based (ours is Houston for example). However, for those who's membership is based in Mexico as mentioned earlier in this thread that's probably out of the question. Note: For those of you who did buy your membership in Mexico at say a Club Regina, read your contract closely. Buying in Mexico may not mean your contracts' jurisdiction is also in Mexico. It may very well be the U.S.
    On another note, I totally agree with all the posts about continued harassment (phone calls, emails, etc.) against Raintree. Additionally we need to utilize Social Media to spread the word, not only about this particular issue, but just the general deterioration of Raintree in general. Among other things these clowns apparently didn't learn in their MBA programs is that we live in the age of viral marketing. One well written, well placed letter within Facebook, or Linked-in or MySpace (yes, let's make sure the next generation coming up doesn't get trapped into the timeshare fiasco like we did) can do horrific damage to a company for years to come. A well crafted YouTube video that goes viral has the potential of being watched by hundreds of thousands of people within hours of its release!

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  • J
      Jun 10, 2009

    We too, just received our SA invoice for $820.00 I spoke with a representative at RTV and she was very honest with me that they haven't been able to find a clause in the contract that gives the company the right to arbitrarily issue a special assessment. Granted, this was just a travel/booking representative, but she said they have been fielding calls right and left and no one has been able to substantiate the action the company has taken. Not sure where we can go with it at this time, but I'd like to be kept in the loop as we WERE planning on booking a vacation at the Cancun resort for 2010 next week!
    [protected]@flinthills.com

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  • D
      Jun 10, 2009

    Absolute and total Bull _ _ _ _! I too, received this bogus "assessment fee" letter for things my annual and ever climbing -knowing no limits- "maintenance fee" is supposed to cover. Enough is enough! We may look like "checkbooks with legs" to these people but we are struggling for financial survival. They are "feeing" me out of my timeshare. The enjoyment it once was has become a stress monster. I do not have the money to pay this fee and even if I did I would not do it! Raintree/RCI or whoever they really are; are guilty of Breach of Contract...if you ever got an actual contract. They have changed the rewards/points/bonus programs so many times since I bought it doesn't even resemble the agreement made at the time. I purchased and paid-in-full my timeshare. I have seen my maintenance fees go from $465-$820 per year. I was misled and flat out lied to by the sales representative as well. I believe IF we pay this assessment fee then what is to stop them from doing it again...and often? There comes a time when we have to stop accepting that we have no recourse...what are we sheep? Prisoners? Stupid? No, we are not! I don't care if I did sign a contract, I signed it in good faith BELIEVING I would receive what was promised to me at the time. They have failed miserably in this area. That is breach of contract and that is my reason to NOT pay this or any other bogus assessment fee. I live in Texas and so does Doug Bech - he may have just incited another battle at the Alamo. We should sue him personally for mental stress and abuse!!! We should name Sharon Racine in the suit. I can not believe there are so many US citizens that would be happy to "gouge" us to further their greedy cause. I have never been late on a maintance fee payment or any other for that matter; my credit is impecable - but a threat to it won't stop me from taking up for myself and what is right. If enough of us refuse to pay it they may go broke trying to collect. The collection agencies may make out, but they won't. It serves everyone for them to rethink this unscrupulous tactic.

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