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Memorial Day Weekend

According to a survey conducted by AAA, almost all highways in the Los Angeles area will be jam-packed with vacationers this Memorial Day weekend. The survey showed that nearly 30.7 million Americans plan to drive to their destination this upcoming weekend. Compared to last year, the high ways will have 500,000 more travelers on the road. However, people will not be traveling far this year due to gas prices and budgets. Many people are rethinking their trips and looking towards finding a closer vacation spot that won’t exceed their budgets.

AAA President and CEO Robert Darbelnet commented, “Steadily increasing gas prices throughout the spring significantly squeezed many household budgets.”

The survey results showed that the average distance expected per traveler is around 642, which is 150 miles less compared to last year. While most surveyors stated that gas prices won’t change their destination, they will cut other costs to make up the difference.

To those who wish to travel this Memorial Day weekend but can’t due to a timeshare, contact Transfer Smart today and see how they can help you live again.

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Merger Between United and American?

Since America Airlines filed for chapter 13 last year, many are unsure of what the airline plans to do to bounce back. There have been many discussions about merging with US Airways but sources state the merger has been ‘greatly exaggerated’.

A consultant of R.W. Mann & Co., Robert Mann, commented, “Independent of whether they merge or not, you’re going to see higher prices because the airlines have figured out that there’s no point in competing for unprofitable business but if a merger does occur, you’ll see an acceleration of that increase.”

American Airline’s parent company, AMR, posted a staggering $1.7 billion loss during the first quarter. CEO of US Airways, Doug Parker, stated that “the carrier had signed agreements with three unions representing nearly 55,000 American employees”. He reassured his employees by saying, “Today’s news does not mean we have agreed to merge with American Airlines.” Though a merger is still up in the air, many have started wondering what the outcome would be if US Airways and American actually decide to merge.

Mann commented, “Historically, mergers have been an opportunity for Southwest to enter markets and provide [pricing] discipline. But their costs aren’t that much lower than the network carriers anymore so it’s not as if they can suddenly find new pockets of revenue.”

A merger would also mean more labor unrest. Since the merger with America West Airlines seven years ago, US Airways is still trying to integrate the two work forces. Adding a third workforce to that equation might complicate the situation further. In addition by merging the two companies would be able to create a better network for their passengers.

Joe Brancatelli, the publisher of JoeSentme.com, commented, “No carrier that has gone into bankruptcy since 2000 has survived without a merger. United went into bankruptcy, came out and merged with Continental. US Airways went into bankruptcy twice and merged with America West. And Delta and Northwest both went into bankruptcy on the same day, came out and merged with each other.”

To those who wish to get out of a timeshare, contact Transfer Smart today.

Nine Arrested in New Jersey

Transfer Smart reports on nine citizens who have been arrested for being involved in a timeshare mortgage scheme. Apparently, these people preyed on the elderly by offering to pay off their mortgages at reduced amounts. Once the property owners sent in their payments, the individuals would then use it to purchase personal items or buy a timeshare in another persons name. They took nearly $2.4 million from unsuspecting owners.

Those charged will be facing mail fraud conspiracy and if convicted faces a minimum of twenty years in prison.

The ‘New’ European Timeshare Directive

The Plaza Mayor in Barcelona.

The Resort Development Organization (RDO) is an association that consists of and regulates fractional-ownership resorts across the nations of the European Commission. They enact and enforce laws on behalf of resort and timeshare users and work with different national governments to ensure all timeshare owners in Europe are treated fairly by their resorts. They work in conjunction with the English timeshare association, TATOC, as well as many other European timeshare groups.

On March 16th the Spanish government signed the new European Timeshare Directive (ETD) into law. It carries several tenets that strengthen the rights of the consumer and make clear definitions whereas before there were many grey areas that timeshare-shelling companies took advantage of.

The European market has created the same type of monsters that are dogging American consumers. Worthless contracts that are written in perpetuity (forever), unavailable/worthless weeks “owned,” and fraudulent “companies” that promise to get people out of their timeshare contracts, but in reality offer nothing.

With this in mind comes the passing of the ETD. Member nations that use the ETD ensure these rules on behalf of their people:

• A 14 day period where the consumer can still get out of the timeshare without penalty

• The contract’s language will be in the language of the purchaser, as long as it is a language of the EU

• Detailed information on the purchase in the language of the purchaser, as long as it is a language of the EU

• A total ban on deposits

• Contracts as short as one year long are covered by ETD laws (previously it was three years or more)

The inclusion of such provisions makes a statement on how lawless the European timeshare sales industry is. Even in the United States and Mexico, where timeshares are already considered a big scam or at least a poor investment, buyers were able to get contracts in English. Not so in Spain and Portugal, where English and Irish timeshare buyers were buying perpetual contracts in languages they didn’t understand. The ban on deposits and the 14 day grace period encourages the potential contract holder to think over their purchase away from the high-pressure sales pitches used by timeshare salesmen, also similar to tactics used by timeshare salesmen in the United States. Just like in the United States, this new law was enacted by sheer force of the public making complaints about timeshare ownership and sales to their local governments.

Any purchaser of a European timeshare who would like to get out of their contract should transfer their title with Transfer Smart. Transfer Smart does NOT sell timeshares, but is the United States’ leader in timeshare contract transfer and cancellation. We can get you out of that ‘perpetual’ contract. Contact us today.

Wyndham Worldwide Earns Accolades, Praise

RCI/Wyndham Worldwide has won the Socially Responsible Company award for a second time. The award, bestowed by the Mexican Philanthropy Center (CEMEFI), judges companies that operate in Mexico on several tenets. They include community outreach, environmentalism, corporate ethics and quality of life provided to their workers.

RCI encourages their workers to do community service by giving them incentives for time completed. They give annually to Christel House Mexico, a charity that provides inner-city Mexican children with quality schools and education.

Newsweek ranked them the world’s 73rd most “Green” company for their environmental practices in 2009. Their “Green Initiative Team” markets ways that RCI has gone on environmentally sound policies, and the importance of preserving our planet.

Corporate ethics includes being transparent about their finances. RCI has a healthy track record of developing employees from the ground-level up by focusing on their development, education, welfare and safety. This is the second consecutive year RCI/Wyndham Worldwide Mexico has won the award.

Wyndham has had a run of good press recently. They won Fortune Magazine’s World’s Most Admired Companies 2012 in the Hotels, Casino’s and Resorts category.

Wyndham is the world’s number one seller of timeshares. If you’re enjoying your timeshare, you’re in the minority. If you want to get out of it, Transfer Smart is the world’s number one timeshare transfer service.

Americans Don’t Like To Commit To Timeshares

When the housing market was strong, American’s believed in a future full of commitment. Buy one car and keep it for 20 years, save and buy a house, marry one person for life.

But the housing crash and ‘foreclosure nation’ we live in now is a reflection of how commitment-phobic people are these days. Cars are being leased instead of bought. When cars are bought, they’re being traded in after just a few years. The average age of people getting married is steadily rising. It now stands at 29, whereas it was 26.4 in 2000.

The X Generation has seen their parents go through hard times, with divorce and unemployment rates climbing steadily over the last 10 years. That has led to a young group of people that are very hesitant to commit to anything.

There is a scarcity in buyers at both the home and automotive levels. With jobs that were solid just 20 years ago (like those in the Post Office or Government) now seemingly tenuous, it’s easy to understand why 30-and-unders don’t want to commit to long-term deals. Even pre-paid phone ownership is on the rise, as discount dealers such as Metro PCS and Virgin have seen great rises in their cellular business. Gyms, viewed by most as expendable income, have stopped offering 48 and 36-month long contracts, and increasinging amounts are offering month-to-month deals.

Timeshare sales are a common impulse buy that has seen a number of factors in its decline. First, people don’t have expendable money to go on yearly vacations to the same place anymore, so they don’t want timeshares. They also come with lifetime commitments, or perpetual contracts that even extend to the children of the buyer. The yearly financial burden of something that is rarely used is the first cut in a budget-conscious family (this is often why cable TV service is being discontinued by many).

These conservative leaning practices are leading towards a decreasing national credit debt. The Federal Reserve said total consumer credit in November 2010 was $2.48 trillion, down 3.3% from 2008.

March Financial Madness

Louisville Cards

Proudly wearing the No. 1 spot.

March Madness is here, the commercial term for the 68-team playoff of Division-1 basketball. The top four seeds, according to the NCAA selection committee, are Kentucky, Michigan State, Syracuse and the University of North Carolina (UNC).

Forbes.com has ranked the 20 most financially valuable teams in college basketball. The biggest names are all there, such as Duke, UNC and Arizona. What may shock you is the order in which they came, or who is No. 1.

They used the amount of money generated through clothing, ticket and concession stand sales; basketball scholarships and academic contributions from basketball related money; and payouts from TV revenue.

The top five are the Louisville Cardinals, the UNC Tar Heels, the Kansas Jayhawks, the Duke Blue Devils and the Kentucky Wildcats.

The Cardinals are worth a whopping $36.1 million, and their coach, Rick Pitino, gets a better paycheck than some NBA coaches. Since 2010, the team has made an almost 40% increase in value, and a profit of over $23 million in 2011 alone.

UNC basketball was the top dog in 2010, and still generates a lot of money for their school and the Atlantic Coast Conference. In 2011 their profit was almost $18 million, and they generated $5 million for the ACC. They lost ACC Championship to the Florida State Seminoles on Sunday, March 11th.

The Kansas Jayhawks have made the Big Dance 23 times in a row and won the 2008 National Title game. They pulled in almost $18 million in basketball profit and are worth an estimated $28.2 million.

The Duke Blue Devils won the Madness in 2010, and have seen their value rise by over 50% since 2010.

The Kentucky Wildcats round out Forbes’ top five. The overall No. 1 seed in this year’s tournament, they actually lost 7% of their value since 2010. They still had a basketball profit of $15.4 million in 2011 and a home attendance of 24,000 per home game. They also paid their coach the best, as John Calipari makes $6 million per year before bonuses.