I married my husband in 1996, we had both been married before.  We lived in Chandler, Arizona and bought a one week timeshare in Sedona, AZ in 1997.  We initially bought it so we could trade for other places that we wanted to visit. We were happy with it and the maintenance fees were low.  Fast forward many years to 2007 when my husband passed away.  Somewhere during that time ******** International bought out the first company we had purchased with.  Our timeshare was transferred to Scottsdale, AZ and now everything was in points rather than weeks.  I was told that I only had 5,000 points and if I really wanted to use them I needed to add more points.  Thinking it was a necessity, I purchased 5,000 points at a time until I had up to 20,0000.   This was a comfortable amount for me as a widow, but the maintenance fees were growing and I found myself staying closer to home most of the time, because I couldn’t afford airfare and regular vacation expenses.
This past March (2014), I took my sister and her kids to Sedona and stayed a week. While there I was told that I could take a tour to the Grand Canyon for five people and it would cost nothing if I sat though another timeshare presentation.  During that presentation, I was told that I could give them a timeshare I owned in Mexico and they would give me another 10,000 points. This sounded good to me as I didn’t really want to go to Mexico anymore anyways.  When I got home, I started getting all these bills and demands for the Mexico timeshare and I got the feeling that they wanted me to send my title papers, but still pay them $23,000 more.  I didn’t get that resolved in a timely manner.  Then it was the time for the Hawaii trip I promised my sister.  I had to pay them the maintenance fees for the extra 10,000 points before they would allow us to go on the trip that I had set up at the beginning of the year.  Before we were about to go on the trip, ******** called me at home and offered a “Once in a Lifetime Event” that I paid $149.00 for on a credit card.  It was a sailing trip on a catamaran, a luau, and a breakfast at Duke’s. A three day event with travel and a guide that took care of everything.  We had a great time, but at the breakfast, we sat with a salesman who would go over any questions we might have about the timeshare.  This was a small group of only five couples total, so we got to know everyone in the group.  On the third day, we were separated from the others at the breakfast so Mr. ***** could try to establish our trust.  I told him I was unhappy with the extra points from the Sedona trip and that I really couldn’t afford them.  He then made a point of looking up my past dealings and came up with this amazing deal that I couldn’t let go.  He acted like the management was trying to pull something over on me that wasn’t fair.  By this time I did trust him, which was the whole point to begin with.  He told me I could go online and sell a few weeks and get enough money to pay for my monthly payments and the yearly maintenance fees as well.  I believed him and went along with what he was doing.  It seemed we were all offered the same “amazing” deal because we had something in our past dealings that allowed a “one time” chance to get points for only $3.00 a point instead of the going rate of $9.00 a point.  If we didn’t buy more right then it wouldn’t ever be offered again.
In the past, I never bought more than 5,000 points at a time, but in this year alone I managed to get charged with 30,000 points.  I don’t know how I let this happen and as a result I now need to stop all of it.  I never really sat down and figured how much money had gone into this, but I know I can’t afford this anymore.  I am a retired widow on a  fixed income.  I was struggling to pay $328.67 and now they want $1,325.11 for my payments.  My maintenance fees for 20,000 points was $3,244.80 for 2014 and another $2,237.99 for the additional 10,000 points.  Obviously, it will be even more outrageous in 2015 with 20,000 more points.  So the moral of my story is, if you can help make this stop, I will forever be grateful and I will never sit through, let alone buy, another timeshare again.  Thanks for your time and also your help in this matter.
-Jeanie
Chandler, Arizona