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MetaFilter Founder Says Vacation Firm Forged Court Docs To Scotch Review

timothy posted about three weeks ago | from the but-such-a-nice-film-festival dept.

Censorship 116

IonOtter (629215) writes Matt Haughey, founder of MetaFilter, has challenged a Cease & Desist letter from Sundance Vacations, a seller of time-shares with a reputation for aggressive sales tactics and suppression of criticism. Only this time, it seems that the plaintiff may have forged court documents ordering Mr. Haughey, Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Bing and other search engines to remove any and all mentions of the links and posts in question. Legal blog Popehat has picked this up as well, prompting Ken White to wryly note, "...Sundance Vacations is about to learn about the Streisand Effect." The story is gaining traction, and being picked up by Boing-Boing, as well as hitting the first page of search results on Google.

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wrong problem... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47818443)

The real problem is that, for some reason, a court DID order that entity A
"who was no longer allowed to speak negatively about the company online".

How exactly we've created a judicial system with arbitrary power like that is the problem.

Now the uberpower judicial system will (rightfully) attack Sundance Vacations, and we can all rejoice. Rejoice in the power we've given dudes in robes to declare "i am the law!".

Re:wrong problem... (1)

CaptSlaq (1491233) | about three weeks ago | (#47818639)

The real problem is that, for some reason, a court DID order that entity A "who was no longer allowed to speak negatively about the company online".

How exactly we've created a judicial system with arbitrary power like that is the problem.

Now the uberpower judicial system will (rightfully) attack Sundance Vacations, and we can all rejoice. Rejoice in the power we've given dudes in robes to declare "i am the law!".

Paging Judge Dredd...

Re:wrong problem... (2)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about three weeks ago | (#47818821)

In cases like these regular old judges can dish out the hurt just fine.

If theres anyone you really really do not want to get on the bad side of, its a judge (or the courts).

Re:wrong problem... (1)

Megol (3135005) | about three weeks ago | (#47819037)

He is already resident.

Re:wrong problem... (1)

jythie (914043) | about three weeks ago | (#47818671)

Well, there are anti-libel and slander laws which could legitimately be brought to bare on one company speaking negatively about another.

Re:wrong problem... (2)

bugnuts (94678) | about three weeks ago | (#47819935)

Libelous statements are made every day, designed to harm. Harming someone by lying is blatantly illegal. Sure it happens on teen TV shows and IRL often enough, but consider a systematic system of making false bad reviews about a company. It will harm them financially, and the perp should be held liable, and the courts should have the power to stop them.

And once found out and served an injunction, if the court order is violated they will rightfully be jailed since they clearly can't be trusted to not break the law out in public. Sundance was obviously trying to claim libel for protected speech, and not getting very far.

But an order like this basically raises the consequences for lying, once you're shown to be a liar.

At this point, Sundance Vacations could be in a heap of legal trouble if the courts or Metafilter want to go after them. There's interference with Metafilter, forgery, possibly impersonating an official, and potentially other big problems they brought on themselves. I suspect Metafilter's harm is minimal and this exposure (also protected speech) should be punishment enough.

Re:wrong problem... (1)

CauseBy (3029989) | about three weeks ago | (#47820595)

"How exactly we've created a judicial system with arbitrary power like that is the problem."

It's not arbitrary, and we did it with democracy.

Screw the Streisand Effect (4, Interesting)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about three weeks ago | (#47818461)

SV is not going to care about the Streisand Effect if they are in prison for the next 40 years, which is something that happens when you forge court documents.

Re:Screw the Streisand Effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47818535)

SV is not going to care about the Streisand Effect if they are in prison for the next 40 years, which is something that happens when you forge court documents.

I bet you a free Jennifer Lawrence nude that nothing happens to Sundance or their lawyers. They will claim that unicorn sent those forged documents, or perhaps it was communists.

Commie Unicorns? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47818643)

hey will claim that unicorn sent those forged documents, or perhaps it was communists.

A Commie Unicorn? Is that like a Pink Pony [imgur.com] with a spiked head?

Re:Screw the Streisand Effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47818673)

SV is not going to care about the Streisand Effect if they are in prison for the next 40 years, which is something that happens when you forge court documents.

I bet you a free Jennifer Lawrence nude that nothing happens to Sundance or their lawyers. They will claim that unicorn sent those forged documents, or perhaps it was communists.

I have a court order here requiring you to provide me with all of your Jennifer Lawrence nudes. Failure to comply may result in civil or criminal penalties, such as fines, jail time, or both.

Re:Screw the Streisand Effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47819209)

prove your not a federal employee with prosecution powers and you can have them

Re:Screw the Streisand Effect (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about three weeks ago | (#47818847)

Trite comments, but not terribly accurate. Judges and courts in general do not take kindly to being screwed with.

I recall an instance where Microsoft stated an intention to ignore a court order because "what are you gonna do", and the court responded with a ~$2 million per day fine. I dont care who you are, that starts to hurt very quickly.

Re:Screw the Streisand Effect (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about three weeks ago | (#47819535)

SV is not going to care about the Streisand Effect if they are in prison for the next 40 years, which is something that happens when you forge court documents.

Not to corporate entities it doesn't. If they can pin the forged document to a single person, then maybe, but the way these things usually shake out they never do, the company pays a tiny fine and on they go.

Re:Screw the Streisand Effect (2)

barc0001 (173002) | about three weeks ago | (#47820299)

No, I don't think you understand how this goes. A corporation normally breaks the law and shows up in court will pin it on procedure or some scapegoat and mainly get off with a fine and that's that. This on the other hand is not breaking a law and ending up in court, it's pretending to issue documents on behalf of said court. That is a challenge to their authority that the courts will not let stand. Even the scummiest of RIAA lawyer is not stupid enough to do something like this because they know that their life would turn into a shitticane if they were caught. It seems there's enough traction on this that the baleful eye of that court will turn to Sundance Vacations shortly, and whoever is an officer of that company on paper is about to be very very sorry.

Re:Screw the Streisand Effect (0)

Darinbob (1142669) | about three weeks ago | (#47820135)

Is this really a forgery of a court document? It's only a forgery of a facsimile of a court document, with no possibility whatsoever of it being confused by anyone of being a real piece of paper from a court. Likewise, you're not forging money if you have a GIF of a dollar bill.

Re:Screw the Streisand Effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47821577)

That's right, The entire company is going to jail over this.

(insert eye-roll where appropriate)

when are court orders served by email? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47818501)

Since when do people serve court orders by email...?

Re:when are court orders served by email? (2)

roc97007 (608802) | about three weeks ago | (#47818973)

Since when do people serve court orders by email...?

In the same world where an Nigerian official needs your help to spirit US $10M out of the country...

Re:when are court orders served by email? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47819157)

"an Nigerian". Is that like "an hero" as well?

Re:when are court orders served by email? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47819251)

The US Government has a docketing system called ECF/PACER that pretty much all Federal courts use at this point. It will *notify* you that you've been served a document, but you have to actually go to their server and pull down the copy yourself. Nobody serves directly by email, though technically you could with the agreement of all parties and the court. Good luck getting that though. You also have to return to the court a signed affidavit of service...read: fraud, forgery and loss of your bar card, not to mention sanctions if you try that kind of crap.

Re:when are court orders served by email? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47819295)

It's also the most poorly coded piece of crap I've ever had to use, and fails at consistency between courts. Someone here should get a contract to fix it so I don't have to look at that steaming pile of shit any more.

Re:when are court orders served by email? (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about three weeks ago | (#47819651)

It's also the most poorly coded piece of crap I've ever had to use, and fails at consistency between courts. Someone here should get a contract to fix it so I don't have to look at that steaming pile of shit any more.

But it'll cost in nine digits and never go live.

"high pressure sales tactics" should be illegal (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47818587)

Imagine a world where it was legal to run up to people on the street, punch them in the face and take their money, and it was illegal to fight back.

Most "normal" people wouldn't do that because they know inflicting pain on random people for personal gain is wrong. But a subset of society would become muggers because it would be an easy way to make money.

Now punching wouldn't work on everyone because some people are big, some people are tough, some people are immune to pain, and some wannabe punchers aren't very good at punching. But it would work often enough that a group of amoral people would make a living by causing strangers harm.

Back in the real world "high pressure sales tactics" are completely legal. But instead of inflicting physical pain, they inflict psychological and emotional pain in order to achieve the desired results. Just because some people are immune to these techniques doesn't mean we should allow the most vulnerable among us to fall victim to them. And we shouldn't allow those who willingly employ these tactics to walk around freely, flaunting the fruits of their misdeeds.

Sadly US courts have deemed "puffery" to be legal when there is no fundamental difference between most advertising, high pressure sales tactics, and outright fraud.

What, no Wikipedia article? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47818593)

Deleted in 2008 [wikipedia.org] :

Current article is a POV rant that lacks notability and the article has historically swung from a POV rant to a POV brochure, mainly edited by single purpose accounts. Despite repeated requests, sourcing is from poor or primary sources. The lack of good, reliable secondary sources means there is no way to produce an article with appropriate balance and suggests the company is not notable enough for an article in the first place. Recommend deletion.SiobhanHansa 14:41, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

Not re-created since???

Do not ever (5, Insightful)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about three weeks ago | (#47818601)

talk or deal with a time share seller. I'm surprised they don't hold guns to people's heads.

A few years back, my better half and I got snookered into one of these meetings with a time share outfit - Do not remember who. They managed to disguise themselves as a "Vacation club" with "special deals".

When we got there ,it was apparent in a New York city minute that it was a time share. But we decided it might be fun to sit in on. Big Mistake.

So we listened to the spiel from the salesman about the place, looked at the sample apartment setup, and then asked about the price.

He must have figured he had us on the hook at that point. But my wife and I then whipped out the calculators. Given that the time-share was essentially a mortgage grade loan, It was pretty easy to see that it would cost us about 7Kilobucks a year for one week we couldn't control, just for the roof over our heads. Not travel, not food, notthing but a condo type apartment. And that their mortgage setup would take us into our 80's. And that we'd end up billed for repairs as in a condo association.

After we pointed that out, things got weird pretty quickly. Dude would not stop, despite us telling him we just weren't interested. We even told him that we didn't care about the "free weekends" at their other resorts, and didn't even want them, because we would probably have to listen to another sales pitch.

Dude even blocked the doorway after we got up and tried to leave. I eventually threatened to call the police, and he finally gave up.

Re:Do not ever (5, Informative)

radtea (464814) | about three weeks ago | (#47818651)

Dude even blocked the doorway after we got up and tried to leave. I eventually threatened to call the police, and he finally gave up.

I was at a home show a while back and talked to a guy whose entire business was "getting people out of timeshare agreements".

That's how awful time-shares are, and how effective they are at bullying people into bad decisions: breaking time-share agreements is a viable business model!

Re:Do not ever (3, Interesting)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | about three weeks ago | (#47818735)

The sad part is, they don't. There is no method to break a time share agreement. So I'm trying something new: I got out of the mortgage by defaulting on the loan, and then with that paper in my possession, which destroyed my credit rating anyway, I stopped paying maintenance fees entirely on the grounds that I did not own the condo and the damn condo association could take me to court over it.

They never did. My credit recovered after 10 years. New maintenance fees come on every year, I don't pay a penny of them, the ones that are 7 years old get dropped. They can sue my estate after I die, but I have the full amount in savings to pay them off at that point. The company itself has changed hands so often that I could probably make a good case in court for bad recordkeeping. I get 4 letters a year from them- one inviting me to vote in the condo association, three trying to get me to make good on the debt.

Re:Do not ever (1)

thaylin (555395) | about three weeks ago | (#47818783)

debt over 4 years like that in most places cannot be collected, and over 7 years cannot be put on your credit report. If they are sending you notices after all this time you should contact a consumer lawyer, they can be forced to stop, and to pay you several thousand per violation.

Re:Do not ever (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47819103)

The issue is that the charges are annual, so the old years drop off at the time limit but new years are added on. They're probably ignoring the fact that he no longer owns the condo just to keep billing him for this purpose.

Re:Do not ever (2)

gurps_npc (621217) | about three weeks ago | (#47819105)

They are sending him a notice on the yearly fees, which is not old. It is new debt, created each year.

He would need a court order declaring who the new owner and force them to correct their records.

Re:Do not ever (1)

ewieling (90662) | about three weeks ago | (#47819493)

At far as I can tell the clock starts ticking on the 7 year statute of limitations when the debt is written off, NOT when it was incurred.

Re:Do not ever (2)

dunkindave (1801608) | about three weeks ago | (#47820027)

You are mostly correct. While the 2 or 4 year limit to collect on a debt is based on a statute of limitations from the last account activity by the consumer (not when it was incurred), the 7 year credit report limit is based on the last time the credit status was reported to the agency, and the creditors are not allowed to report after the debt is written off. Each report on the same account is independent, so as the 7 year timeframe approaches, the 7+ year old reports disappear leaving only those less than 7 years old. If he can claim the reports were inaccurate, due to factors such as he was no longer the condo owner so it was not legally his debt, then he could challenge them and potentially get them removed or corrected. If they fail to investigate and correct, they can be liable under FDCPA, FCRA, and various state laws.

Scammer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47818843)

Dude even blocked the doorway after we got up and tried to leave. I eventually threatened to call the police, and he finally gave up.

I was at a home show a while back and talked to a guy whose entire business was "getting people out of timeshare agreements".

That's how awful time-shares are, and how effective they are at bullying people into bad decisions: breaking time-share agreements is a viable business model!

That guy was probably a scammer. There are tons of scams out there that "guarantee" to sell your timeshare or get rid of them for you for several hundred dollars or more up front. And what always happens is that you never hear from them again.

And that's the thing with timeshares is all the hidden fees and they jack up the fees every year and you can't get out of it. Some folks are so desperate that they will GIVE you their timeshare. I even once had someone offer to pay ME to take it off of their hands because the annual maintenance fees were killing them.

My wife once paid $99 for a cheap room in Orlando but we would have had to listen to a 2 hour sales pitch for a timeshare. I said, I have no desire to visit Orlando. There is nothing there of interest for me. And if someone blocked the exit on me, I'd punch their lights out after kicking them in the balls and then I'd call the cops and then sue. She was able to get the $99 back because it was a timeshare offered by some big hotel chain.

Timeshares, extended warranties, variable and index annuities are all products that let me know that no one ever went poor underestimating the stupidity of people.

Re:Do not ever (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47819893)

Dude even blocked the doorway after we got up and tried to leave. I eventually threatened to call the police, and he finally gave up.

I was at a home show a while back and talked to a guy whose entire business was "getting people out of timeshare agreements".

That's how awful time-shares are, and how effective they are at bullying people into bad decisions: breaking time-share agreements is a viable business model!

If you can't afford a lawyer for that, just go to the timeshare place during their sales pitches and offer to sell yours for "free" to anyone willing to take over the maintenance. That will either 1) Get you bought out right away or 2) End any other sales they might have lined up, which should lead to #1 pretty quick.

Re:Do not ever (1)

barc0001 (173002) | about three weeks ago | (#47820339)

> breaking time-share agreements is a viable business model!

There's also a secondary market for purchasing other peoples' bad timeshare investments at a loss. So if you are for some crazy reason interested in the idea of a timeshare, DO NOT buy from the company outright. Shop the reseller market to see what kind of a deal you can get.

Re:Do not ever (4, Interesting)

taustin (171655) | about three weeks ago | (#47818679)

Dude even blocked the doorway after we got up and tried to leave. I eventually threatened to call the police, and he finally gave up.

Do not threaten to call the police. Just pull out your phone and call 911. Unlawful imprisonment is a crime everywhere in the civilized world. Look him right in the eye as you dial 911, then tell him (before you talk to the dispatcher) "The police are already on their way, and there's nothing you can do to stop that. If I don't talk to the dispatcher before they get here, they'll be that much more likely to tase somebody. Who do you think that will be? The guy who called them, or the sleazy sales douche they'll probably recognize from previous complaints?"

Or just make a citizen's arrest, then call 911.

(And if he touches you, especially in attempt to stop you from talking to the police, it's a felony.)

If someone is with you, with their own smart phone, have them video the entire confrontation. Prosecutors love videos of crimes being committed.

Re:Do not ever (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47819479)

Yes, because that is so much more convenient that just walking out and getting on with your day.

If you do call the police it will wind up being your word against his, with no assault or evidence thereof and no weapons or confinement devices anywhere. The case will not be prosecuted and no one will even be arrested, so in the end you would be wasting your time for nothing.

Yes, time share salesmen can be super sleazy and un-ethical, however the internet tough guy stance you project is not actually realistic or in anyones benefit.

Re:Do not ever (0)

taustin (171655) | about three weeks ago | (#47819691)

Yes, because that is so much more convenient that just walking out and getting on with your day.

I guess you missed the part about the guy blocking his exit.

If you do call the police it will wind up being your word against his,

And his wife's, and whatever was recorded by the 911 operator.

with no assault or evidence thereof and no weapons or confinement devices anywhere. The case will not be prosecuted and no one will even be arrested,

But a police report will be filed, and the guy identified, and about the third or fourth time that happens, a case will be prosecuted. And perhaps this was the third or fourth time.

so in the end you would be wasting your time for nothing.

Yes, time share salesmen can be super sleazy and un-ethical, however the internet tough guy stance you project is not actually realistic or in anyones benefit.

Unless, of course, you choose to confront criminals when they commit crimes against you. When it's borderline like that, it takes multiple complaints to get the prosecutors to act, but they will, eventually. The personal benefit is that after a couple of these companies get prosecuted (and it will be the entire company, when it finally happens), it will get the rest to lay low for a while. And that assumes you just don't give a damn about other people they might victimize in the meantime, which, obviously, you don't.

Re:Do not ever (1)

mmell (832646) | about three weeks ago | (#47819621)

Gee, you've missed the opportunity to consider it assault (which doesn't require physical contact, incidentally). I wonder how that dude would take to a mouth full of bloody Chicklets?

Re:Do not ever (4, Informative)

taustin (171655) | about three weeks ago | (#47819707)

As described, it wasn't assault, as no explicit threats were made. (Generally speaking, most states, assault is the threat, battery is the attack.) But if the guy blocked the exit, you tell him once that you're leaving, and either he gets out of the way, or it's unlawful imprisonment. Which is what I said. Unlikely any arrest will be made, or charges brought if it is, but it gets a police report filed on the guy, and that's a step towards convincing him that other crimes are less hazardous to his well being.

Re: Do not ever (1)

mmell (832646) | about three weeks ago | (#47819823)

I still like the thought of thrashing dufus severely about the head and shoulders.

Re: Do not ever (1)

taustin (171655) | about three weeks ago | (#47820077)

Then provoke them in to committing a felony against you. Most states, that gives you a wide range of responses, especially if you're making a citizen's arrest at the time.

Re: Do not ever (2)

Yakasha (42321) | about three weeks ago | (#47821777)

Then provoke them in to committing a felony against you. Most states, that gives you a wide range of responses, especially if you're making a citizen's arrest at the time.

In most states, provocation gives you a wide range of sentences, not responses.

George Zimmerman was acquitted because he did not provoke Martin.
Trevor Dooley was convicted because he did provoke David James.

Re: Do not ever (1)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about three weeks ago | (#47821671)

I still like the thought of thrashing dufus severely about the head and shoulders.

Oh yeah! In any event, the situation was defused without violence. But yeah, the thought of latin him one upside the head. was tempting. But as I say, we were on vacation, and that would have really complicated things.

Re:Do not ever (1)

Yakasha (42321) | about three weeks ago | (#47821735)

Generally speaking, most states, assault is the threat, battery is the attack.

Assault is an attempt to, or threat to, strike somebody.
Battery is successfully striking somebody.

To put it another way, assault is defined as attempted battery.

Re:Do not ever (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about three weeks ago | (#47819957)

Ya, Totally waste the rest of your day talking to the police so you can have the police give the sales person a talking to.

Re:Do not ever (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | about three weeks ago | (#47821393)

Too many words. Start recording, announce that he's holding you against your will, then barge out. If you make it out the door, you're done. If you don't, then whatever he did to stop you just got you a free timeshare for life and a nice side settlement to cover the travel.

Re:Do not ever (1)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about three weeks ago | (#47821595)

If someone is with you, with their own smart phone, have them video the entire confrontation. Prosecutors love videos of crimes being committed.

I understand th esentiment, but that would have made fo a heck of a vacation, plus travel for a court case. Guy just needed to let us get on with our life.

Now on the other hand, if he had laid a hand on me? I'm an ex Ice Hockey player, and well shucks - that would have been a mistake on his part.

Re:Do not ever (2)

ArhcAngel (247594) | about three weeks ago | (#47818739)

Have you seen the South Park episode Asspen? [wikipedia.org]

Re:Do not ever (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47818925)

Shut up, darsh!

Re:Do not ever (1)

BigT (70780) | about three weeks ago | (#47819071)

If you french fry when you're supposed to pizza, you're gonna have a bad time.

Re:Do not ever (2)

roc97007 (608802) | about three weeks ago | (#47819007)

In the SF bay area, back when trendy upscale (expensive) gyms were happening, salescreatures would use such tactics. Usually an overmuscled "coach" blocking the door. It could get tense if the rube wanted out.

Re:Do not ever (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about three weeks ago | (#47819187)

In the SF bay area, back when trendy upscale (expensive) gyms were happening, salescreatures would use such tactics. Usually an overmuscled "coach" blocking the door. It could get tense if the rube wanted out.

I presume that tends to occur only in states with strict laws on who can carry a concealed weapon.

Re:Do not ever (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about three weeks ago | (#47819665)

In the SF bay area, back when trendy upscale (expensive) gyms were happening, salescreatures would use such tactics. Usually an overmuscled "coach" blocking the door. It could get tense if the rube wanted out.

I presume that tends to occur only in states with strict laws on who can carry a concealed weapon.

Yes. California, specifically.

Re:Do not ever (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about three weeks ago | (#47820029)

Color me unsurprised.

Re:Do not ever (1)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about three weeks ago | (#47821667)

In the SF bay area, back when trendy upscale (expensive) gyms were happening, salescreatures would use such tactics. Usually an overmuscled "coach" blocking the door. It could get tense if the rube wanted out.

I presume that tends to occur only in states with strict laws on who can carry a concealed weapon.

Despite the presumend good manners in states witout any particular gun laws, I was taught do not show the weapon unless I was going to use it.

Re:Do not ever (1)

Nonesuch (90847) | about three weeks ago | (#47821801)

Despite the presumend good manners in states witout any particular gun laws, I was taught do not show the weapon unless I was going to use it.

Good manners agree with you, but the "brandishing" law varies by state. If they're not directly threatening violence, easiest to just pick up the phone in the room, dial 9-911, and let the situation resolve itself without violence.

Re:Do not ever (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about three weeks ago | (#47819613)

Dude even blocked the doorway after we got up and tried to leave. I eventually threatened to call the police, and he finally gave up.

Happened to me to, I literally walked into a timeshare sales pitch like that... I walked in, thinking it was a gift shop and got trapped as the sale guy blocked the exit and put both hands in the door way so we couldn't leave and had to listen to his sale pitch. Within about 10 seconds I realized what was going on and tried to leave but the guy wouldn't let me through the doorway. I threw a punch, he moved so as not to get a broken nose. You try to prevent me from leaving a room, you're getting hit, I'm more than willing to spend the night in jail over that. Depending on the state, you might even get shot.

Do not ever (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47819739)

You might enjoy this documentary -- http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2125666/

Re:Do not ever (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about three weeks ago | (#47820211)

I did one of these talks once, in my twenties. Just put a business card in a bowl at a restaurant that advertised "win a free vacation" or such. But it was a time share talk, I just had to listen to a spiel, then spin the wheel and see what prize I got. The sales guy was doing the hard sell, telling me how much money I'd save if I did this now. But it was a for a one or two week a year time share for a cabin in the hills near Gilroy (not well know for being a vacation area). I said it didn't seem like the thing I wanted, as I'd like a choice of places to go when I went on vacation, but he kept pushing the idea of what a great investment value it was and that I could always sell it in the future. But I didn't even have my own home yet, why should I get a mortgage on a time share?

After awhile the sales guy went to get his manager. The manager took a look at me, the kid, and said "are you interested?" I said "no". The manager said "ok". Then I got the spin the wheel and I don't even remember what I got (something insignificant).

(later my parents sat on a spiel and got a 4 inch portable black and white television out of it, which I used in grad school)

Re:Do not ever (1)

DrXym (126579) | about three weeks ago | (#47821097)

I can't see why anyone would agree to timeshare or possibly contemplate it representing good value. It's easy to book a hotel or rent apartments virtually anywhere in the world, usually from private owners for reasonable fees according to time of year and location.

All these timeshare deals involve a very large lump sum down up front and then resort management fees and other hidden charges. And I'm sure they'd be pushing to loan this lump sum for usurious rates. By the time it's all added up it's probably far more expensive than booking somewhere and that's before considering the lump sum is in the bank or there is no debt to furnish.

It's a scam pure and simple. Even "reputable" timeshare companies are pushing a bad value product. I don't quite understand why the rules governing it aren't stricter or the practice outright banned.

Re:Do not ever (1)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about three weeks ago | (#47821743)

I can't see why anyone would agree to timeshare or possibly contemplate it representing good value. It's easy to book a hotel or rent apartments virtually anywhere in the world, usually from private owners for reasonable fees according to time of year and location.

And how! If I want to spend 7K for the place ot stay for a week, I can get some really nice digs.

No loan, on my schedule, and much superior experience.

All these timeshare deals involve a very large lump sum down up front and then resort management fees and other hidden charges. And I'm sure they'd be pushing to loan this lump sum for usurious rates. By the time it's all added up it's probably far more expensive than booking somewhere and that's before considering the lump sum is in the bank or there is no debt to furnish.

Definitely is. My better half, who is ht emost amazing money manager I've ever seen (has helped friends and relaives out of nasty money situations without going bankrupt, blw the salesman's pitch and assessment out of the water immediately. It was weird though, it was like he was a machine, and couldn't parse her cold hard math.

It's a scam pure and simple. Even "reputable" timeshare companies are pushing a bad value product. I don't quite understand why the rules governing it aren't stricter or the practice outright banned.

And that is the weird part. Everything about these scams is exceptionally shakey at best. It's the equivalent of a person paying higher than retail price for a car, but only allowed to drive it for one week a year. The other 51 weeks the car is driven by 51 other people who paid higher than retail price for the same vehicle.

Removing content (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47818731)

I recall that only copyright infringments can be enforced in this way, and in no way does this constitute a copyright infringement.

The challange against Sundance Vacations is the right move to make. If Sundance Vacations ever contact me in any form, I will consider such contact to be harassment and a response will follow. Including a response on the Sr. partners of the law firm representing them.

Laws be damned.

0o0o0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47818795)

Forged court documents....from a lawyer's office....and now we're talking about being a lawyer being disbarred.

Re:0o0o0 (1)

tibit (1762298) | about three weeks ago | (#47818851)

They don't come from a lawyers office just because there's a lawyer's signature on them. The entire fucking document is forged, how hard is that to see? The legal firm had as much to do with them as the court did. It's entirely a fabrication, using some real names.

Re:0o0o0 (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about three weeks ago | (#47818869)

Now you're talking about a felony with jail time.

Coral cache for Ken's site (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47818837)

It appears that we've Slashdotted popehat.com. After a number of tries I managed to get the page into the Coral cache [nyud.net] . You'll still have to wait for the browser to timeout on its attempts to load images from the source.

scotch? (-1)

whistlingtony (691548) | about three weeks ago | (#47818867)

What does it mean to "Scotch" a review? Is that just a really stupid and completely unneeded racial slur against the Scots, or..... Couldn't the summary have just said "bury"? Uhm... WTH?

Re:scotch? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47819043)

OK, so you learned a new vocabulary word today. Don't make it the other person's problem.

Re:scotch? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47819119)

What does it mean to "Scotch" a review? Is that just a really stupid and completely unneeded racial slur against the Scots, or...

You should pick up a dictionary some time. They're full of interesting words.

Merriam Webster [merriam-webster.com]
transitive verb
2: to put an end to scotched rumors of a military takeover>

First Known Use of SCOTCH
15th century

Oxford [oxforddictionaries.com]
verb
1 [with object] Decisively put an end to: a spokesman has scotched the rumours

Origin

early 17th century (as a noun): of unknown origin; perhaps related to skate1. The sense 'render temporarily harmless' is based on an emendation of Shakespeare's Macbeth iii. ii. 13 as ‘We have scotch'd the snake, not kill'd it’, originally understood as a use of scotch2; the sense 'put an end to' (early 19th century) results from the influence on this of the notion of wedging or blocking something so as to render it inoperative.

Re:scotch? (1)

JLavezzo (161308) | about three weeks ago | (#47820685)

The headline is ambiguous. You can 'defend' it with snark and a dictionary citation, but that doesn't change the ambiguity.

"Vacation Firm Forged Court Docs To a Scotch Review" is just as likely an initial interpretation as "Vacation Firm Forged Court Docs To Scotch a Review"

"To take down" is a much more accurate and less ambiguous verb to have used in this headline.

As they say:
Time flies like an arrow.
Fruit flies like a banana.

Re:scotch? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47821709)

The question posed was "What does it mean to "scotch" a review?". Check the definition of "reading comprehension" for more details.

Re:scotch? (1)

Solandri (704621) | about three weeks ago | (#47821017)

Merriam Webster
transitive verb
2: to put an end to scotched rumors of a military takeover>

Oxford
verb
1 [with object] Decisively put an end to: a spokesman has scotched the rumours

The problem is the way "Scotch" used in the headline, it can be either a verb or an adjective. This is compounded by "Court" also working as either a verb or an adjective. I was scratching my head for a minute trying to figure out why it was worth forging documents intended to court a review of an alcoholic drink.

Re:scotch? (2)

nedlohs (1335013) | about three weeks ago | (#47819475)

Where should all slashdot posts be sent so that you can check them for words you happen not to know so they can be replaced with words you do happen to know?

Re:scotch? (1)

mmell (832646) | about three weeks ago | (#47819649)

Archaic slang. Scotch, circular-file, 86, nix (as opposed to nichts) . . . pick one you like. I've got more.

This was not done by Sundance Vacations ... (4, Interesting)

Alain Williams (2972) | about three weeks ago | (#47819031)

Sundance Vacations is a company/corporation, as such it cannot do things. It is individuals who do things on behalf of company. This is important. The court is going to be very pissed off with forged court orders being used. They should prosecute the individuals who did this forgery and fine them personally and massively or even better put then in jail.

If Sundance Vacations is made to pay a fine, then this will be seen as part of the cost of doing business. The criminals who did this will not really suffer much and just be more careful the next time that they want to threaten someone. If the individuals have to pay the penalty then hopefully this will stop this ever hppening again - not only at Sundance Vacations but at other corporations that might think of doing this.

There is not enough personal liability within corporations for criminal actions with the result that crooks try all sorts of things knowing that at the very worst they could lose their job and have to find another. If individuals have to pay the penalty (money and/or jail) this sort of thing would be less likely and we would all be better off.

Re:This was not done by Sundance Vacations ... (2)

Translation Error (1176675) | about three weeks ago | (#47819413)

It is awfully entertaining to picture the entire company, from the CEO down to the poor bewildered intern frantically protesting that she's not even a real employee, being dragged off in handcuffs to jail, though...

Re:This was not done by Sundance Vacations ... (2)

AdamThor (995520) | about three weeks ago | (#47819565)

And yet, a corporation is a person.

Re:This was not done by Sundance Vacations ... (1)

Alain Williams (2972) | about three weeks ago | (#47819635)

And yet, a corporation is a person.

True, that is so that laws of property & similar can be made to apply to corporations, ie so that they can own things, pay taxes, .... However: a coproation does not have arms & legs so it cannot write documents, send emails, etc. These things have to be done by people on behalf of the company, typically these are employees. It is these people who should be made to be held responsible for what they have done with their arms & legs.

Re:This was not done by Sundance Vacations ... (1)

lgw (121541) | about three weeks ago | (#47820057)

Only in the sense that we're not going to write two entire legal codes, one that says "person" and one that says "corporation" in every law. And a good thing too, or our current zoo of congresscritters would "forget" to mirror laws saying that "a person or persons" can't do X with laws restricting corporations.

For criminal law individuals are usually still guilty of whatever act they did, regardless of employment. However, in cases where there's no individual equivalent (e.g., knowingly endangering people by policy-making), the corporate equivalent of the criminal justice system is massive court awards for gross negligence (or, more rarely, fines so large the shareholders say "ouch").

Re:This was not done by Sundance Vacations ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47821907)

But there is such a thing, there's laws that specify a person (real or corporation) and there's laws that specify a natural person (which means only real)

Re:This was not done by Sundance Vacations ... (1)

lgw (121541) | about three weeks ago | (#47821919)

Sure, or perhaps I should say "naturally". But I was just pointing out that the whole "corporations are people" thing is commonly misunderstood: it's just the idea that, by default, any law that applies to a person also applies to a corporation.

Re:This was not done by Sundance Vacations ... (1)

currently_awake (1248758) | about three weeks ago | (#47822199)

If a corporation is a person, then it should be possible to put it in jail for its crimes.

Re:This was not done by Sundance Vacations ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47820143)

Colour me unsurprised when nobody has any knowledge of anything, and is -shocked- to discover the forgery that some unknown employee sent, against all policy and acting entirely of their own volition.

Secondary market (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | about three weeks ago | (#47819065)

As badly as the 'originators' try to kill the secondary market by creating false problems, it still makes far more sense to buy timeshares on the secondary market.

All of the 'freebies' they offer never make up for the basic fact that sellers are desperate. The complex stuff they offer is only there to hide the fact that the primary market is a rip off in comparison.

Of course, you do need to accept the fact that you get less 'choice' on the secondary market. Still, it always makes more sense, if you can afford the time and effort to look and find a reputable website

Who wrote this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47819091)

I'm not sure who's suing whom. Or what they're suing about. Or if they're suing. Who's the plaintiff? What links? Is /. using bots to write articles now?

Screw the Streisand effect (1)

Hotawa Hawk-eye (976755) | about three weeks ago | (#47819117)

I want to see them subjected to the Hood effect [state.ms.us] , named for the Attorney General of Mississippi.

As a coincidence, the headline of the current most recent "Latest News" item on the Attorney General's website is "Pontotoc Woman Going to Prison for Forgery."

Forgery (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47819145)

Is it me, or does "Sundance Vacations" and "Eric Morgan" on the second document (a consent order it seems) look like its signed by the same person? Obviously, "Sundance Vacations" can't sign a legal document as a company (unless corporations are officially people now).

Re:Forgery (4, Insightful)

ShaunC (203807) | about three weeks ago | (#47819727)

Is it me, or does "Sundance Vacations" and "Eric Morgan" on the second document (a consent order it seems) look like its signed by the same person?

Same person? Worse, those were both signed by the same font [imgur.com] , nobody's signature is involved. The Eric Morgan "signature" uses a slightly larger point size. The lowercase a and n characters are a clear giveaway, I did a comparison of parts of the "Sundance Vacations" text which was all in one point size. The characters are a dead even match.

I wonder if the attempt to "sign" the document using a font was just dumb forgery, or a clever attempt to avoid culpability. After all, there's no actual handwriting on either of these supposed signatures, so QD can't compare the text to anyone's handwriting to prove who did this.

Re:Forgery (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47819919)

Person you're replying to:

It definitely the same font. I would think it could be a an attempt to avoid culpability, with the message coming from vacmail.com, which is owned by Sundance Vacations, likely hoping nobody would know how to use 'whois'. If they were wise, they could have just use yahoo mail or gmail, although if someone saw such a message from those sites, it would likely get ignored quickly.

Eric Morgan, however, is a real person, in dispute with the company. Hopefully, Matt (the author) kept the message since it appears Sundance is pretending the most recent court order wasn't from them.

Yawn, already debunked (4, Funny)

sideslash (1865434) | about three weeks ago | (#47819289)

This whole thing was just a big prank, and there was no crime involved.

Sincerely,
Sundance Vacations

Re:Yawn, already debunked (4, Funny)

Nyder (754090) | about three weeks ago | (#47819525)

This whole thing was just a big prank, and there was no crime involved.

Sincerely,
Sundance Vacations

Are you sure? I have this time sharing lawyer I can let you in on. Yep, your very own lawyer* to use.

Sincerely, Sundance Lawfirm.

* Lawyer is only good for 1 week out of the year. That week will be assigned to you. Lawyer isn't certified in the state you live in. Chances are, it's still a law student. No refunds.

Re:Yawn, already debunked (1)

CauseBy (3029989) | about three weeks ago | (#47820681)

That exists. [legalshield.com]

No, a degree is a much better route... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47819653)

I would of never learned about algorithm complexity (Big O notation), the cpu pipeline (The dream of computer science), or data structures (lots of pointers ewww) on my own. Maybe some people could do this but definelty not me and I came into college with 2 years of java and basic. College made me confront these corner stone aspects of computer science and conquer them. Even after being out of college for two years they affect the way I code everyday. Sure you dont need a degree if you want to be a dime a dozen web app program for some CRUD website but if you are doing. Even as I write this I can already see the commits comming in from non-degree people that have horrible runtime complexity code.

Plaintiff and Defendant have the same handwriting (1)

BenderTheRobot (3767099) | about three weeks ago | (#47820091)

LOL Plaintiff and Defendant have the same handwriting in the PDF Look at handwriting for Sundance Vacations and Eric Morgan on the dubious court document. The "N"s are identical. Other characteristics are similar as well.

Simple Way to Deal with TimeShares (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47820627)

Explain to the salesperson you've seen far better (or the same)) timeshares for much less on the resale market.

Lots of sites with resales including Ebay. Usually I can find the exact timeshare, at the same location for 10 - 20% of the "new" price. Not that I'm buying that either.

Re:Simple Way to Deal with TimeShares (1)

DrXym (126579) | about three weeks ago | (#47821255)

A better reaction - state you are not interested. Don't explain or elaborate, state. Don't give reasons that will be turned against you "Too expensive? Well what about if we...". Just say not interested and prepare to wrap it up. Better yet, don't go to a sales pitch in the first place. Anything that involves attending a "free seminar" or a "presentation" to collect some cold called prize is probably a scam.

I'm not even sure why anyone thinks the resale market is any better either. Yeah you avoid paying a full lump sum but you're still whacked with fees and hidden charges and have to deal with shysters. What's the point?

Hope they enjoy the publicity (1)

DrXym (126579) | about three weeks ago | (#47820671)

I suspect it will be enough for them to rebrand themselves. They probably run several brands already. The sad part is the way they are allowed to operate that way at all.

I just have to say, (1)

CaptainDork (3678879) | about three weeks ago | (#47821761)

I never MetaFilter I didn't like.

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