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Old February 24, 2012, 12:21 PM   #1
Skatduder
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Lowveld & Seapointer & RCI

I was talking to RCI the other day and the rep said: You know we can't accept deposits from your resorts anymore..

Will miss them. SA

My RCI is paid till 2015 and will do getaways till the membership expires. Then go to plan B....

Does SA still offer long term RCI membership ?
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Old February 24, 2012, 01:11 PM   #2
AwayWeGo
 
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Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time -- & Worked OK For Several Years.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skatduder View Post
Lowveld & Seapointer & RCI
I have no 1 to blame but myself for buying into a South African timeshare strictly for advantageous RCI exchanges into nice USA timeshares. The fact that the idea came from TUG in no way makes TUG responsible, nor does it take me off the hook for buying into the idea.

At the time (2003), USA money had a nice exchange-rate advantage. Plus, South African timeshares back then not only were cheap, but also were good for "tiger" trades into USA timeshares via RCI.

That made paying $750 or so for a standard-grade 2BR Lowveld Lodge pretty much a no-brainer. Six years of paid-ahead RCI membership that came with the purchase only sweetened the deal.

Our bottom-line thinking was that if we got 3 RCI trades into nice USA timeshares, we would break even -- & anything more than that would be gravy. We did not think ahead about what to do if currency exchange rates or RCI trade advantages, etc., changed drastically.

We got our 3 nice exchanges, & then some -- more like 5 good week-for-week trades, plus a couple of years' worth of Points For Deposit, all for not much money by USA timeshare standards.

During all that time, up to the present (i.e., right now), we never received a bill for maintenance fees ("levies," as they call'm in that part of the timeshare world). Instead, we arranged via E-Mail to pay ahead so we could deposit early for maximum trade power. Back then, exact TPU values were concealed from RCI members & known only to the back-room Gnomes Of RCI. Lowveld Lodge might not have traded exactly like a tiger, but it came through OK anyhow -- more like a puma or maybe a mountain lion. We were satisfied.

In recent months we have received communications from the management company to the effect that changes are under consideration, or possibly actually underway. Going ahead, Lowveld Lodge might not continue as a timeshare resort, operating instead on the basis of straight rentals. In that case, I don't know what good our Share Block ownership will be, or whether it will be of any practical value at all. Some savvy TUG-BBS folks have suggested that, among other things, current machinations are aimed at getting USA owners to abandon their shares preparatory to takeover of the property by some shrewd operator over there.

By me, the ball is in their court. The plan at this end is to do nothing, just waiting to see what happens, if anything.

-- Alan Cole, McLean (Fairfax County), Virginia, USA.
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Old February 24, 2012, 06:14 PM   #3
mawaga
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Lowveld Lodge not affiliated with RCI

I haven't been on this forum for a while but saw a posting tha Lowveld Lodge was no longer affiliated with RCI. I called RCI today and they did confirm this. I also sent an email to Lowveld Lodge asking them why this has happened and who they are now affiliated with. Guess I will hold off paying the 2012 levy they sent me until I know what my options are.
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Old February 24, 2012, 08:39 PM   #4
cedars
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Question Loweld Lodge

I wonder what RCI is doing aboiut exchanges already made using Lowveld Lodge!!!
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Old February 24, 2012, 10:15 PM   #5
Dori
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Yikes! I have a 2012 week sitting in my account! I just combined a bunch of other weeks, but left that one alone. Hopefully, because RCI has had it on deposit for nearly a year, it will still be exchangeable.

Dori
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Old February 25, 2012, 09:36 PM   #6
MuranoJo
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I would expect that if your week(s) have already been deposited to RCI, that RCI would honor them.
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Old February 26, 2012, 09:23 PM   #7
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''Shrewd operator''? I think most would consider Stuart ''The Bullfrog'' Lamont to be one of the biggest conmen in the timeshare industry in SA.

And destroying relationships with exchange companies is one of the techniques that The Bullfrog uses to run off members so he can appropriate the property for himself. Lowveld is not the first resort where he has done that.
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Old February 26, 2012, 09:34 PM   #8
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Ribbit. Ribbit. Knee Deep. Ribbit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carolinian View Post
''Shrewd operator''? I think most would consider Stuart ''The Bullfrog'' Lamont to be one of the biggest conmen in the timeshare industry in SA.

And destroying relationships with exchange companies is one of the techniques that The Bullfrog uses to run off members so he can appropriate the property for himself. Lowveld is not the first resort where he has done that.
I am too much a newcomer to timeshares & timesharing & TUG & TUG-BBS to know about Froggy Lamont -- in fact, I never heard of him other than brief in disparaging comments like the 1 quoted.

Some background & context might be helpful -- or if not exactly helpful, then possibly semi-interesting or semi-amusing or both.

-- Alan Cole, McLean (Fairfax County), Virginia, USA.
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Old February 29, 2012, 12:57 AM   #9
dundey
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Alan a newbi! I think not!!!

Agree with your comments in your first post completely!
We started with SA around 2002 and got great trades for a long time. As the years wore on and that power started to erode, we sold 2 of the 4 that we had.
Now we're down to 2 and considering eliminating them.

Levies are still low - about $360 each last year, but at about 11 or 12 TPU's they no longer make much sense.

It was a good run!

We thought about getting into RCI points to use PFD but never did. We instead bought a couple timesahres that we will use each and every year. That combined with the fact that 2 of our units also trade with II gives us what we need. I think that strategy is best given the current state of the industry.

But who knows what the future will hold!
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Old March 4, 2012, 12:17 PM   #10
mawaga
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Update on Lowveld

With regard to my concern that Lowveld Lodge is no longer affiliated with RCI, I initially heard back from Marinda Barbosa <Marinda.Barbosa@rci.com> (on behalf of "RCI Specialists" <specialists@rci.com>) and she stated that First Resorts has turned the resort into a residential building and that I would have to follow up with First Resorts on that. She also stated Simone Sammons no longer works for First Resorts.

I then heard from Saroj Govender of First Resorts <sarojg@firstresorts.co.za> who stated that Lowveld Lodge owner's will not be able to space bank or occupy week as resort is now on permenant rental and that letters will be sent to the owners shortly.

I sent a response to Saroj today asking when the letters will go out and stating that I will hold off paying my 2012 Levy bill that I received earlier this year until I understand what my options are.

If anyone has received that "letter", please post the contents so that we can get a heads up on what our options are. Thanks!
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Old March 4, 2012, 12:55 PM   #11
Carolinian
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From the way the Bullfrog operates, you can expect his organization to try to buy you off with some worthless points in one of his collection of sleazy points clubs, which are awful for South Africans and even worse for anyone outside SA. Or he will want you to deed back your week. Or there will be some financially unviable option to hang on. In short, you are about to get screwed.
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Old March 5, 2012, 09:21 PM   #12
bdemerchant
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mawaga View Post
With regard to my concern that Lowveld Lodge is no longer affiliated with RCI, I initially heard back from Marinda Barbosa <Marinda.Barbosa@rci.com> (on behalf of "RCI Specialists" <specialists@rci.com>) and she stated that First Resorts has turned the resort into a residential building and that I would have to follow up with First Resorts on that. She also stated Simone Sammons no longer works for First Resorts.

I then heard from Saroj Govender of First Resorts <sarojg@firstresorts.co.za> who stated that Lowveld Lodge owner's will not be able to space bank or occupy week as resort is now on permenant rental and that letters will be sent to the owners shortly.

I sent a response to Saroj today asking when the letters will go out and stating that I will hold off paying my 2012 Levy bill that I received earlier this year until I understand what my options are.

If anyone has received that "letter", please post the contents so that we can get a heads up on what our options are. Thanks!
Thank you for posting this information-you know- if this happened at any of my other timeshares I'd probably be jumping for joy to have them off my hands for free but for some reasons this just burns the heck out of me. We really had some excellent trades with Lowveld and now the jig is up- I'll let you know when I get a letter.
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Old March 7, 2012, 04:31 PM   #13
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The Oceanic = now rental!

Is this case the same as the Loeveld Lodge
I have a friend who owns at The Oceanic in Durban which is managed by First Resorts. Although he has always paid his levies he has been told that he can no longer use his timeshare as they are being converted to rental accommodation. First resorts are asking for money to upgrade the units and he still has to pay the levies. They say that any profit from rentals will be given to the owners.
He just wants to walk away and have no interest in The Oceanic any more, as he lives in the UK I assume that if he does this there is nothing they can do e.g. black listing him or giving him a bad credit rating.
Does anyone know of other Oceanic owners
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Old March 7, 2012, 05:33 PM   #14
rhonda
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Resorts: Worldmark, DVC @ SSR, Grand Pacific Palisades, WinPointVIP; GONE: Seapointer (SA), Warner Springs Ranch (CA)
Quote:
Originally Posted by pat.uk View Post
Is this case the same as the Loeveld Lodge
I have a friend who owns at The Oceanic in Durban which is managed by First Resorts. Although he has always paid his levies he has been told that he can no longer use his timeshare as they are being converted to rental accommodation. First resorts are asking for money to upgrade the units and he still has to pay the levies. They say that any profit from rentals will be given to the owners.
He just wants to walk away and have no interest in The Oceanic any more, as he lives in the UK I assume that if he does this there is nothing they can do e.g. black listing him or giving him a bad credit rating.
Does anyone know of other Oceanic owners
Sounds closely related! Your friend might want to contact the resort to initiate the paperwork to 'abandon' the resort. This was a very specific course of action offered to Seapointer owners. I paid 500.00 ZAR (South African Rand) to officially abandon my Seapointer week.

Edited to add link to earlier conversation with contact info for Ownership/Account Conversion:
http://tugbbs.com/forums/showthread.php?t=142291

Last edited by rhonda; March 7, 2012 at 05:35 PM.
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Old March 31, 2012, 09:37 PM   #15
loosefeet
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Resorts: WorldMark Louveld Lodge Castleburn
I received the letter that Louveld Lodge IS going to be only permanent rentals, NO longer a timeshare. Now, we are supposed to pay levies, and rent comes to us?? We pay but no week. Sounds like quite a business model. How are others going to del with this?
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Old March 31, 2012, 10:06 PM   #16
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We Will See What We Will See.

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Originally Posted by loosefeet View Post
How are others going to del with this?
Ball is in their court.

We have no interest in Lowveld Lodge other than the ability to bank weeks with RCI for advantageous trades into nice USA timeshares.

With that ability gone, Lowveld Lodge is of no further use to us.

As to what happens to our ownership going forward, the next move is up to the management company regarding possible buyout offers, deedbacks, forfeiture, etc.

We'll see, eh ?

-- Alan Cole, McLean (Fairfax County), Virginia, USA.
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Old April 1, 2012, 10:06 AM   #17
Dori
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I still haven't received the dreaded letter, but I'll be darned if I'll pay a cent to these crooks. Alan, have you received your letter yet?

Dori
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Old April 1, 2012, 01:11 PM   #18
AwayWeGo
 
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Form Letter Received.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dori View Post
Alan, have you received your letter yet?
Got it.

Just says it's no longer to be a timeshare resort.

No word yet on what the options are for us disgruntled USA owners.

-- Alan Cole, McLean (Fairfax County), Virginia, USA.
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Old April 1, 2012, 06:50 PM   #19
Liz Wolf-Spada
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I got the letter. First they call timeshares "a scheme". They want us to keep paying levy and get make extra profit (like that's going to happen). I'm just not going to pay and let them take back my unit, as it's no longer what I purchased, I feel I have no obligation to pay them.
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Old April 1, 2012, 09:12 PM   #20
bailey
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The last letter I received was asking me to pay my 2012 maint fee. I had tried several times previously and got no response from them. The letter states that they will have their attorneys take legal action and I will be responsible for the legal fees.

So how do we fight that? I'm not paying m/fees for a year I can't use nor deposit!!

Not sure what to do.
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Old April 2, 2012, 02:53 PM   #21
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Add Port Alfred Sands to the List

I received a similar letter from Port Alfred Sands about a month ago. Thankfully I had deeded my unit back to them last summer (although I feel bad because it probably gave the weasels another vote in their efforts to eventually and successully take over and dismantle the existing system).
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Old May 2, 2012, 05:43 PM   #22
guitarlars
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Brief Lamont Background

Quote:
Originally Posted by AwayWeGo View Post
I am too much a newcomer to timeshares & timesharing & TUG & TUG-BBS to know about Froggy Lamont -- in fact, I never heard of him other than brief in disparaging comments like the 1 quoted.

Some background & context might be helpful -- or if not exactly helpful, then possibly semi-interesting or semi-amusing or both.

-- Alan Cole, McLean (Fairfax County), Virginia, USA.
I suspect if you were to do a search on Lamont you would find great detail on Stuart Lamont and his doings, but here is the way it usually goes down:

Lamont gains control of a property by acquiring enough shareblocks to be able to vote him and his cohorts into controlling positions. They then retain Lamont's management company which takes over management of a resort.

The resort is not maintained and it begins to run down, the management company either keeps fees down so there is no money or siphons as much money as they can for management fees so that no repairs are done.

Traders begin complaining about the poor experience at the resort at which time RCI tells the property to bring up the standards or they will no longer accept units from the property.

Property is dropped by RCI and another Lamont company tries to get the owners to trade their ownership in the property for membership into a vacation club or highly questionable value (as in none).

Owners are told that they will need to pay a huge special assessment and that the property will no longer be a time share.

Lamont gains more control as owners stop paying or deed back their ownership. Lamont now owns the property with little or anything out of his pocket. Anyone that took the deal for the travel membership have nothing to show.

Owners just lost their investment and Lamont moves on to the next property.

This is what happened at the Seapointer, where I previously had two units. Luckily I sold mine as soon as I found out the management company was a "Froggy" company.

Lars
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Old July 7, 2012, 02:38 AM   #23
Skatduder
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Not trying to change the direction of this tread.
But since I started it, I thought I'd give you an up date what I did..

Before I bought SA I was looking at several other units in the US.
Since the economy has changed I was able to pick up a cheap So Cal studio.
Dues about the same as SA. It just closed and waiting to bank and check trading power. I have my fingers crossed my trading power will be good.

Hope the rest of you find a suitable SA replacements.
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Old August 23, 2012, 09:37 PM   #24
Skatduder
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My new unit got 25 for 2013 and 51 for 2014.. happy happy..
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Old August 24, 2012, 08:24 AM   #25
Dori
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Great job! Would you mind sharing which resort this is? I'm in a holding pattern with Lowveld. MF's are paid for 2012, but i refuse to pay for 2013, so we'll see what happens next April when they want their $.

My only other holding is 2 weeks at our beloved Harbour Inn in Ontario. The resort has been sold, so I'll have nothing after that.

Dori
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