The Page 1 headline (Feb. 24) "Resort Time-Share Owners 'Take a Bath' at Auction" deserves a view from the perspective of hundreds of thousands of satisfied time-share owners, responsible developers of well-located, quality time-share resorts, and major financial institutions which have provided the funding for the development and purchase of those resorts.
It is my belief that if those segments of the time-share resort industry were interviewed in conjunction with your "auction" article, a very different story would have resulted, and surely a much more accurate headline would have been used.
Your reporter correctly states that "the owner of a time-share wanting to get rid of it . . . has very few options." The reasons are simple. The market is new, it is highly fractionalized, the product is many times difficult to view, and the financial motivation for a broker to become interested is almost nonexistent. Since the above is true, the door was opened for an auction. However, notwithstanding the disenchanted few who have little or no use for their time-share due to either a change in life style, circumstance or poor purchase judgment, and who then turn to the auction, there are many buyers who are not only happy about their purchase but who have purchased a second and third week at their resort, and many times have bought additional weeks at second, third and fourth resorts.
The question of why people are unhappy (an infinitesimal percentage of buyers) revolves around the same reason that the majority of purchasers are happy. The reason is use.
A responsible developer sells use. Not investment, not trading to 1,000 places around the world, but use. If Mr. Collura's listing was examined closely, it may be found that the bulk of the weeks for auction were at places that the owner may not be inclined to go to four out of every five years, i.e. it may be thrilling to look at the beach in Cancun on the first visit but, if you live in Los Angeles, do you really want to take that 10-to-12-hour hard trip every year? Do you really want to spend the money to go every year?
Particularly, if the time is off-season or a fixed week without flexibility etc., if it is hard to rent a hotel room off-season in Palm Springs or Tahoe, why should it be smart to buy an off-season time-share week in those locations and think it is a good investment? If you can't use it, why can anyone else? These people didn't "take a bath" at the auction any more than the owners of all of the equipment that is listed in your weekly auction advertising page do when their assets are auctioned.
Responsibly, we do not see headlines stating that "equipment owners take a bath" at auction. The reason being is that it is understood that when you buy a use product and, for whatever reason, you cannot use that product and wish to dispose of it, you may not recover all of your purchase price. Obviously, the more demand there is for your product (in time-share this means location, management and facilities), the more chance there is of resale.
Interestingly, two projects in California had the distinction of no owners listing their weeks for auction--Laguna Shores and San Diego County Estates. Recently, over 40 time-share resales were made in a one-week period by the developer at prices approximating the original purchase. If our information is correct, that is more units than Mr. Collura sold during the actual auction at cut-rate prices.
In conclusion, the reporter would have been much more responsible if he had interviewed sources such as the California Time-Share Owners Foundation which represents over 35,000 California owners, Security Pacific Finance Corp., which has financed millions of dollars of time-share purchases, responsible developers such as Watt & Friery of the Tennis Club, myself, Laguna Surf, or William Canepa of Wave Crest in Del Mar.
The story would then have had merit and integrity. As it stands, your sensationalized headline and one-sided approach is misleading the public and damaging the responsible people in the industry that have provided full value for payment received and who take pride in a well-located, tastefully designed and responsibly sold project.
R. J. THORMAN
Kaplan Action Criticized
Re: Sunday Real Estate section and the article (Feb. 17) by Sam Kaplan, I feel that he was not correct in his action against the Porsche car in the incident at the Santa Monica location. I feel that he should have exercised a little more control. Our strength is determined by the numbers of times we are knocked down but get up again.
We all encounter situations such as he did in our daily lives. Los Angeles is an overcrowded city and in some cases a poorly laid out city.
We cannot, however, take out our aggressions on a person's car or his person. The fact that Mr. Kaplan did it with delight (in his words) does not say very much for his self control.
I believe that many accidents and shootings are caused by people who are taking their aggressiveness out on other unsuspecting people.
Mr. Kaplan got off easy with not having to pay for the repair to the car in question; he may not be that lucky next time.
CECELIA K. WAESCHLE
Marina del Rey
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