The Sunchaser Vacation Villas in Fairmont Hot Springs have been under legal action since 2013.
Timeshare owners and management have been in and out of court multiple times since the takeover by Northwynd Resort Propeties Ltd.
The timeshares were managed by Fairmont Resort Properties Ltd., which became insolvent in 2009 and was subsequently purchased by Sunchaser Vacation Villas shortly after. Northwynd told owners massive upgrades were required, obliging each owner to pay thousands of dollars in addition to their maintenance fees. They were then given a choice to pay to stay, or pay to leave. Some chose to stay, some to leave, and some to fight.
Timeshare owners lost a class action lawsuit on the matter and have been fighting ever since.
The latest ruling to come down was January 31st of this year. In the Supreme Court of British Columbia, Justice Branch sided with Northmont Resort Properties Ltd., citing the plaintiff is entitled to judgement plus interest, special costs, and disbursements.
In an effort to do a story on the latest ruling, the Pioneer reached out to Northmont, to timeshare owners, and to lawyers. It was not a successful round of calls.
The Sunchaser issue is a massive mess to wade through. There are multiple named companies involved. There are thousands of timeshare owners, with different contracts, opt-out options, and no one entity in charge of representing them. There are multiple blogs for timeshare owners, with accusations of ‘wolves in sheep’s clothing’ invading the space. A lawyer who represented timeshare owners in a class action lawsuit opted not to call us back. Meanwhile, some owners did reach out to speak but then backed down, or wanted to speak off the record, because they had either signed a gag order or they feared retribution. Those that did speak to the Pioneer off-record cited documents we were not privy to see. Northmont’s president and CEO Kirk Wankal declined to comment either, only saying the company was happy with the most recent ruling.
So, after all the work of digging, researching, reading, and interviewing, we came up empty for a news story.
Regardless of which side of the Sunchaser story you fall on, it is a mess for all involved. It seems the law is not always on the side of right, and what is fair and what is legal can be vastly different.
The takeaway from all this, in my opinion, is know exactly what you’re getting into before you sign a document. No matter what. Or, like several timeshare owners I talked to this week, you could be in debt for tens of thousands of dollars. It is not a sunny future for these timeshare owners; hopefully we learn from their mistakes.