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The “Highlands Resorts” of Christie Lodge crashed onto the legal news feeds having sold rights to occupy timeshare properties in downtown Avon They face massive claims from consumers as the timeshare consumer war continues in the USA. The wars surrounding timeshare results in “most” developed industry as the product is not bought but sold which results is confusion distress and litigation.

The high-pressure caldron rooms of this timeshare business, have been “slapped” with a legal action by “The Colorado Attorney General which accuses the resort of “luring” customers with phoney discounts and travel deals packed with hidden fees. A similar sales model features in the European Model of selling timeshare

“Highlands Resorts” at Christie Lodge, lured 2,500 customers over the course of two and a half years to attend sales pitches in Denver, sometimes those pitches were held at affiliated resorts and when consumers were in attendance, the state claims “deceptive” trade practices took place, so as to obtain a sales of these erroneous products. That being the allegation and the alleged practices, a legal case was filed in Denver County Court.

Lisa Siegert the Christie Lodge General manager, explained the 280-unit complex did hire “Highlands Resorts” to market timeshares in 2013 and they sold around 1,300 timeshares over the next two years.

In December 2015 the “Highlands Resorts” closed its doors on the Colorado operations.The state says “Highlands Resorts” and its owner, Telluride resident Todd Herrick, “intentionally-deceived-misled, and financially injured many consumers” and unfairly undercut competitors that play by the rules. The state is also “suing” salesperson Greg Penrod and other vendors.

According to the lawsuit, “Highlands Resorts” hired third parties to conduct “Cold Calling” and postcard campaigns, informing would-be buyers they could redeem “free travel packages” by attending sales seminars.

But after enduring a 90-minute pitch, the state alleges, customers received Leisure Credit certificates for their “free” airline tickets and cruises which included deposits as high as $200 and only applied to trips at predetermined times and in predetermined places.

“Highlands Resorts,” told customers the leisure Credit travel packages were worth $1,900, but each certificate only cost them $40 to buy, the complaint claims.

“Highlands Resorts” salespeople also offered attendees a discounted deal “if they bought a timeshare that day”. This introduced urgency into the mind which clearly was not there. According to the complaint, the “discount” was really a ploy to pressure consumers, was fictitious and fanciful.

Highlands Resorts like other roguish Timeshare Resorts told customers that the price for a timeshare package would go up to $25,000 should they not acquire that day. The sales pitch claimed to cover one week in the summer at Christie Lodge and the consumer would receive 32,800 “points” at a timeshare exchange brokerage named as RCI.

RCI is no stranger to its own litigation and in the UK, the courts blasted them for their treatment of consumer’s members. That same court levelled the allegation that despite the memberships entitled to rely upon the contracts RCI breached them. Apart from RCI membership the claimed costs of buying the timeshare also covered other fees as well. The pitch was those other fees were capable of being wavered if customers jumped in, on a same-day and at the end of the arduous sales presentation.

But the state says “the same-day the discount” never expired” and “customers on average paid $7,000 for the package supposedly valued at $25,000”.

With alleged lies, innuendoes, misrepresentations and added speed, many sales were concluded wrongly.

The submissions in the legal complaint claim “Highlands Resorts” feared that if a consumer left the sales presentation without making a purchase, they would never return.” This is quite true in the USA and Europe as if consumers are given time, are told the truth and are fed honesty timeshare sales would plummet.

All over the world consumers are being “ripped off” daily, money is being obtained under false pretences and financial punishments and pain are being dished out, so the miserable meal of the day still run on. Fortunately for the citizens of the USA, they are backed up occasionally by the government’s, whereas in Europe those same governmental bodies remain idle and generally are unsupportive of those who elected them.

The state also claims “Highlands Resorts” was not a registered “Cold Caller” in Colorado for most of the time it marketed Christie Lodge properties. The company did at some time later registered itself however that registration was because of a notification by the state Attorney General.

“Highlands Resorts” and its vendors also contacted Colorado residents on the state’s own no-call list, the complaint says.

Todd Herrick, the owner of “Highlands Resorts”, is a full-time resident of Telluride who also owns local “heli-skiing” operator Helitrax and Gunnison fly fishing and white water rafting outfitter and Black Canyon Anglers, according to the “Telluride Venture” Accelerator. Herrick is also bizarrely listed as a mentor to start-ups. Herrick did not return a message seeking comment to the investigative journalist.

“Highlands Resorts” is listed as one of a larger group of timeshare companies controlled by a resort called “Sedona Pines” in Arizona. On its website, “Highlands Resorts” says it operates one resort in “Durango” and two resorts in Arizona. Sedona Pines is also affiliated with infamous RCI.

Greg Penrod, a “Highlands Resorts” sales manager who also works at Sedona Pines, did not return messages seeking comment.

Highlands Resorts at Christie Lodge, Sedona Pines, Greg Penrod and Todd Herrick are being represented by John A. Chanin of Lindquist & Vennum in Denver. The law firm Chanin also did not respond to a message seeking comment.

The state, which is represented by the office of Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, is seeking payments of $325,000 from those four defendants and a “permanent” injunction that would stop them from, among other things, “advertising timeshares without displaying fees and conditions”. A spokesperson did not respond to a message seeking comment.


Posted on: 8th December 2016