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KASS: An emotional animal story

Q:   I just recently lost my husband and we have a time share unit which I no longer want or need. Do you have any recommendations of what steps I need to take to get rid of it.

I did go on the internet but a lot want up-front fees or it is a electronic. I would prefer to talk to a real person. I just don’t want to be scammed. Your help will be greatly appreciated. David.

A:     David. My condolences on your loss. While I know getting rid of time share units is a major consumer problem, I haven’t had this question in several months.

It is not easy. First, do not under any circumstances give anyone any who promises to sell your time share any upfront money. You are correct; there are a lot of scammers out there who prey on vulnerable people – people like yourself who are facing a death or an illness or an old age problem.

I have had limited success by going to the time share property management and offering (1) to pay a year’s assessment in advance and (2) giving back the shares. In some associations – especially in great locations – this works.

I used to suggest giving the time share to your local religious organization, but I received a number of emails from priests and rabbis telling me not to make that recommendation because they did not want the burden and the expense.

Many readers have suggested they should just stop paying the yearly assessment, but in most cases that’s not a good idea. The time share management will sue you –probably in the jurisdiction where the time share is located – and will get a judgment against you. That clearly will impact your credit rating.

Once again, I am stumped, and call on my readers to tell me any success stories they have – as well as negative ones.

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I continue to be amazed at the creativity of man and woman. A condominium association in Clearwater, Florida, has a rule that only allows dogs and cats. They want to evict an owner because his pet violates that rule. Why? Because his pet is a female squirrel named Brutis.

Apparently, the owner rescued Brutis who was trapped under a car. The owner himself was injured in a car accident and suffers from anxiety, herniated discs in his back and PTSD. He claims that Brutis is just like an indoor cat: “she just walks around, hides pecans and hazelnuts” and that relaxes him.

According to newspaper accounts, a doctor wrote a prescription for Brutis. (Caution: while I make no allegations against that doctor, since I don’t know the facts, I have written in previous columns that there are many “phony” doctors willing to write a prescription – sight unseen – for a couple hundred dollars).

In any event, the owner filed a complaint with the local Office of Human Rights, claiming discrimination under the Fair Housing Act. That office advised the condo not to evict under the circumstances.

Stay tuned. It ain’t over yet. More and more people are claiming animals –of all sorts – as comfort animals. Noah must have been extremely relaxed in his Ark during the flood!


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