Spain has been at the forefront of enforcing timeshare laws in Europe, so far the Supreme Court has made 42 judgements in favour of the consumer, these are now part of law and all courts must abide by them.
It has cost the industry millions of euros in payouts with many more in the pipeline. All this because for years they have ignored the laws put into place in 1999, which are there to protect the consumer.
But this now pales into insignificance with the latest lawsuit in America.
In a class action filed in Las Vegas, Diamond are being sued for $1billion. Yes, that is correct a whopping $1billion!
Irene Parker has sent in this report on what this lawsuit is all about. According to this document a trial by jury has been demanded, along with the law firm leading the action who have a very good reputation, it has the hallmarks of a long and fierce battle.
According to our sources this lawsuit is not just for those in the US, but it could possibly be left open for Europeans who purchased in the US to join the action, especially any purchaser who was 60 years or over when signing. We are waiting confirmation of this as there may just be statute of limitations in place.
But this could be good news for many.
Billion Dollar Lawsuit Filed against Diamond Resorts International
Law Firm: Albright Stoddard Warnick & Albright
Case No. 2:17-CV-00248
Filed in Las Vegas Federal District Court
By Irene Parker: February 1, 2017
The law firm of Stoddard Warnick & Albright filed a billion dollar lawsuit against Diamond Resorts International January 29, 2017. The lawsuit alleges Diamond Resorts (DRI) ensnared thousands of elderly consumers in its deceptive and fraudulent scheme to sell points-based timeshare memberships.
According to the complaint, which was filed on behalf of lead plaintiffs Ilona and Lester Harding, along with thousands of other elderly consumers, buyers typically spent tens of thousands of dollars or more for upfront Membership fees and upsold Membership levels. Memberships were accompanied by hefty annual assessments that continue in perpetuity.
Several plaintiffs were named in the lawsuit. Among those named:
- Diamond Resorts Holding, LLC a Nevada LLC
- Diamond Resorts International, Inc., a Delaware corporation
- Diamond Resorts International Marketing, Inc., a California corporation
- Diamond Resorts International Club, Inc., a Florida corporation
- Diamond Resorts Management, Inc., an Arizona corporation
- Diamond Resorts U.S. Collection Members Association, a Delaware corporation
- Diamond Resorts Financial Services, Inc., a California corporation
Of particular note to Diamond Resort Owners is the absence of any “collection” except the US collection. Other Diamond Resort collections not named in the lawsuit include Hawaii, Premier Vacation Club, California and Monarch Grand Vacations Collections.
Former CEO David Palmer served as President and/or Director (and sometimes as both) for at least six of the Defendant entities; Jared Finkelstein serves as Secretary and/or Director (and often both) for at least six of the Defendant entities; and Lilian Luu serves as Treasurer and/or Director (and sometimes both) for at least six of the Defendant entities.
The law firm Albright Stoddard Warnick & Albright is one of the oldest law firms in Nevada, in existence for 40 years. According to the firm’s website, they have represented clients in many high profile and complex bench and jury trials in Southern Nevada, in both state and federal court, representing contractors, lenders, and owners on large commercial projects. The firm successfully defended a general contractor in a bench trial, which lasted intermittently for well over a year, arising out of the construction of a major Strip hotel. At the time, it was the longest bench trial in Clark County history. Included among the firm’s numerous institutional clients are American Express, Wells Fargo and Hard Rock Café International.
According to the complaint, the lawsuit alleges the elderly were targeted because of their vulnerability and time available to travel. Elderly is defined as anyone 60 years or older at the time of purchase. The elderly were induced to purchase vacation memberships in a same day sale without being advised as to the lack of a secondary market by intentional design. Memberships were accompanied by, at times, dramatically escalating maintenance fees.
Inside Timeshare has written numerous articles supporting such claims.
Mr. Ralph Marbles, an elderly buyer diagnosed with a medical condition shortly after purchase, but denied a surrender until the television reporter contacted the company. Mr. Marbles’ maintenance fees increased from $200 a year to $684.
While Diamond Resorts boasts that 70% of sales come from existing owners, there are thousands of complaints filed by existing owners, as detailed in previous Inside Timeshare articles. In addition, existing owners are often encouraged to purchase additional points as a way to reduce maintenance fees through a non-existent buy-back program and are not told points are worth only pennies on the dollar when used to pay maintenance fees. The Saldana and Olds families are cases in point.
I have intervened on behalf of several families whose financial lives and retirement savings were decimated by their Diamond Resorts vacation plan. The Hurleys are a retired Canadian army family currently working with Diamond Resorts Consumer Advocacy in the hope of saving 40 years of retirement savings representing their entire life savings.
As a result of the Arizona Attorney General’s $800000 settlement and “Assurance of Discontinuance”, Diamond is rolling out a new Clarity (™) program that seeks to address deceptive and fraudulent business practices that the Arizona Attorney General alleges violated the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act.
It’s not all doom and gloom though!
I have recruited, well drafted, several of those I have helped to pay it forward by becoming Appointed Special Timeshare Advocates (™) as a bridge between their vacation nightmare and resolution. We are working with the newly formed Diamond employed Consumer Advocates. Already, we have achieved positive outcomes, or at least provided straight answers, for what an owner can and cannot expect.
Not resolved are the plight of high volume owners whose accounts have been suspended or issued a “cease and desist”. For years these owners were encouraged to buy upwards of 100000 to 200000 vacation points in order to be able to rent out enough points to cover maintenance fees. In recent years points have sold from $2 to $4 per point. Changing rules and regulations and acknowledgement forms signed in an upsell have eliminated rights contained in their original contracts. Irina tells of her vacation nightmare:
That about covers the first 20 pages of the 55 page complaint. There’s only so much vacation burden a writer and reader can handle at once.
Contact Inside Timeshare if you’ve had a positive or negative vacation experience you would like to share.
Would love to hear from you!
So there we have it, a huge battle is about to take place in the world of timeshare. This is one story we will be keeping a very close watch on, although it may be some time before the trial actually takes place. The wheels of justice are slow to turn.
NEWS JUST IN!!!
Canarian Legal Alliance has just informed Inside Timeshare of yet another Supreme Court judgement, this is against Silverpoint / Resort Properties. That makes 5, yes 5 rulings in against this company in under 2 weeks.
The British client has been awarded over £62,000 including legal fees and legal interest. We believe this ruling covers lack of information in the contract, perpetuity and once again the client is recognised as a consumer not an investor.
If you have any questions regarding any article published or about any company you may not be sure about, contact Inside Timeshare and we will be please help.