Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Never Ending Saga of La Costa Resort and Spa

Those who are my friends on Facebook know of my continuing fight over being turned over to a collection agency after not ever receiving for a "special" assessment bill nor a notice I was being turned over to the collection agency. My mistake was paying the fines the year before thinking maybe I had overlooked the bill or something similar. However, in 2013/14 George took over getting the mail and we would go through it together. No bills were ever received and after several communications with the management with an equal number of claims of when and how the bill was sent it became more than obvious, there never had been a bill and on a $395.00 assessment, they were demanding a $128.00 late fee or $250.00 late fee depending on whether the La Costa Resort and Spa or Pinnacle Collections was talking to me. However, the cherry went on this rancid sundae when Pinnacle accidentally slipped and said La Costa had paid them the $395.00. Now why would you hire a collection agency to collect a debt and pay them the entire bill unless the two of you are connected in some way?
I began researching La Costa Resort and Spa in Pompano Beach and much to my shock, I discovered there wasn't an Internet advertising service for hotels that they didn't have plenty of glowing reviews and listings on. Now this is kind of strange for a timeshare. They would have to have one heck of a lot of empty rooms to warrant that kind of effort in advertising. And those glowing reviews sure didn't sound like the La Costa I know, so I got out the shovel and dug deeper.
That was when I found the complaints and some were about the billing issue I have. But then came the ones about the place being dirty. Then there was the live mouse and boy are they lucky that is all they found. I know Northerners freak out when they see out "Palmetto Bugs" which are really huge cockroaches but the tourist agency doesn't want you to know that. We grow them big down here. The front desk actually loaned the complainant a can of bug spray. When a spider the size of a small rodent and of a species I've never seen before, and I live here, threatened me, they told me where I could walk to and buy a fly swatter. Trust me, they don't make a fly swatter with a handle long enough for me to approach that thing! I left the next day because thankfully I only live a few miles away and anyway, as one complainant pointed out, they turn the lights out and lock up the jacuzzi and one pool as soon as it gets dark. That means you even need your own light for the center open pool. They really don't want you using any facilities after dark and your access to the beach is also locked.
Then there was the complaint that the people had finally checked in and were warned not to forget their keys. Unfortunately, since it takes a lot of time to check you in, count the silverware ((I was short on something every check-in and you will be billed (you won't get it, of course and they'll turn you over to the collection agency) for anything missing)) because you have to get the replacement before the desk closes at sundown or earlier. It would be a really good idea to make certain everything works, too. Well, these poor people didn't have time to check the keys and discovered the hard way they were locked out of the resort (not their room) and others were helplessly staring at them from the other side as they were locked in the resort. Sadly, once the desk closes for the day, there are no emergency personnel to help you.
Now that was sounding more like the FU La Costa we all met the month after we bought the timeshares.
Seems they still have the couple of days the linen exchange is open for a few hours and you get in line to get clean sheets, towels and a hard time. Best not have an accident on the days it is closed. Yup, this is the FU La Costa I remember so well and why I have been there exactly two times since I bought it.
Seems everyone was shocked to discover there is no maid service except at the end of the week when you leave and if you buy two weeks, everything you have will be tossed in the garbage if you don't stay there on turn-over day and protect it. The complainants were lucky it was just food. It could have been your clothes. Of course since their clothes and everything else was in the room, it really is hard to say the maids didn't know they were staying another week unless they really do much, much less cleaning than anyone imagines. What they didn't find out is you can buy your own broom, vacuum and mop and cleaning supplies but whatever you do, don't use that precious clean towel to clean up an accidental spill. It might not be exchange day the next morning. Oh, did you enjoy the patched sheets and towels. Nice and rough weren't they?
People were shocked to find where the only elevator was and I can't help but wonder if it still smells the way it used to. Funky doesn't begin to describe that odor and slow doesn't describe its speed.
I kept skipping a really long article in the Timeshare magazine because it had a lot of technical ownership information but finally I decided they must have had a darned good reason to publish this and just maybe I should read it.
Oh, boy are my eyes wide open! Seems in the original sales contract there is a clause that every so many years the board votes on whether to remain a timeshare or become a hotel. To hold this as an open vote among the owners, there must be a quorum present as in the room. There has never in 20 years been a quorum of owners present for a meeting. If there isn't a quorum, the board can make the timeshare a hotel and guess what happens to your investment? I'll give you hint: FLUSH. The date is coming up around the time all the improvements are finished and paid for by the owners of the weeks.
I think I know why all the effort is being put into marketing La Costa Resort and Spa as a hotel instead of a Timeshare.
Oh, and the more owners they lock out of the timeshares the more rooms they have to rent and the rental comes to about same amount as the "late fee" for your taxes and maintenance that the collection agency charges..... coincidence? It could all be a coincidence if you really expect to see a unicorn on your next stay.
Oh and if you are still thinking about renting or buying, there is a big difference between the two bedroom and the sort of two bedroom studio although they will tell you there isn't. It's called an entire room!
Oh, the missing elevator used to be at the very back of the resort far from about every room and if you don't get your car parked before 4 PM, good luck getting a space anywhere but down the street if they still have that lot. Last time I tried to use it I was told it actually belonged to the timeshare it is across the street from and that isn't La Costa.
If you are thinking about buying a timeshare in Florida I have one suggestion: DON'T. You have no legal protection. The day after you buy it, they can change the rules, the fees, everything. Buy in another state and trade your weeks to come down here but do not buy in Florida. For one thing, the ownerships are so tangled that you would have better luck winning the LOTTO than getting a clear title according to one lawyer. If the timeshare is destroyed like one was in the last hurricane years ago, you will still be paying the taxes on that property and not be getting a penny out of it. Nope, nothing you can do about it, you are still paying taxes and they are not low even on empty property in Florida. You will never sell it for a fraction of what you paid for it. You will be able to find cheaper hotels with maid service, a desk that has people manning it most of the time and sheets without huge patches sewn on them.
If you are still masochistic enough to want to buy one, you can have mine: cheap. Email me. I actually have a clean title as I am the only owner from day one.