We finished last week with the announcement of 6 sentences from the courts against Anfi, we start this week with news just in from our contact in Madrid. We also start this week with an article from Irina Allen, who has featured before. But first the Judgement.
The Supreme Court has made yet another ruling against Resort Properties / Silverpoint. In this ruling the court has awarded a british client a substantial amount, reportedly around £32,000. At the moment we are not sure what the ruling was comprised of, but going by previous ones it will probably be for the perpetuity contract. When the sentence document becomes available we will publish it here.
So we wonder what is in store for the rest of the week, now on to Irina’s article.
Diamond Resorts Suspended my Account worth over $500,000
For posting one RedWeek rental ad as my sales agent advised
By Irina Allen
July 17, 2017
Inside Timeshare first published my Diamond Resorts story January 2017 after Diamond suspended my 139,000 points, falsely accusing me of renting points for commercial purposes.
I was expected to make monthly mortgage payments of $2400 a month and pay $29,000 in maintenance fees during the one year suspension. Diamond is able to rent my points for promotional purposes during the suspension period.
Ironically, I replaced the points I had promised to friends and family by renting points on RedWeek. I also lost thousands of dollars on airfares that had already been booked as my account was suspended without warning. I am not the only member hurt by Diamond’s change in rental policy.
I was accused of opening an Airbnb account. I have never had an Airbnb account, but Diamond Resorts told me they were not required to provide any proof despite my common last name. My attorneys are working with Airbnb to prove I never had an Airbnb account. I have given Airbnb permission to share my story with their international news community.
I don’t want to get bogged down in details so suffice to estimate I paid $5 per point for my vacation points and with closing costs the figure is closer to $6 per point. According to our Facebook posts, a Diamond point sells for about $4 a point so I also feel I overpaid. At 139,000 points we are talking about a serious amount of money – over $500,000.
After contacting an attorney and filing complaints with the FTC, CFPB, AGs and the Real Estate Departments of AZ, HI, NV and CA, I found our Diamond member sponsored Advocacy Facebook. At least this provided some support as all the regulatory agencies ignored my complaint.
Alarmed that others could be victimized, I became an administrator for Timeshare Advocacy Group ™, hoping timeshare owners and members from other timeshare companies will reach out to us when facing problems or have concerns about their timeshare membership. I have learned Diamond Resorts is not the only timeshare company exhibiting what I feel is predatory behavior.
It is unfathomable any corporation could exhibit such blatant disregard for a customer. My situation is very bizarre. In addition to a suspension, I experienced a 17% increase in maintenance fees while the actual increase was only 6%. I only found out about this by reading a post on our Advocacy Facebook page. Diamond automatically corrected their “error” (only for 2017) after receiving correspondence from my attorneys.
Many do not even believe me. I am grateful to Senior Correspondent Jeff Weir of RedWeek for the two hours he spent interviewing me, even though he initially decided not to publish our interview. After Inside Timeshare sent a draft of this article to RedWeek, Mr. Weir requested a copy from my editor Irene Parker indicating he would publish our interview.
One can find hundreds of Diamond rental ads on several commercial websites. I do not know why I was targeted for placing one ad without providing any evidence of commercial use. I am a professional. I bought Diamond points to share with my friends, family and clients.
Here is the current Diamond rule:
2.5.1 A Member is not prohibited from periodically renting the Accommodation reserved for the Use Period or the reserved Other Redemption Opportunity pursuant to these Club Rules.
However, the use of Points to reserve Accommodations or Other Redemption Opportunities for commercial purposes or for any other purpose other than the personal use of the Member or the Member’s family and guests is prohibited.
Use by a Member of public advertising or an online website to seek renters shall be deemed a prohibited commercial use.
Members who are primary developers of Club Resorts (that is, members of the Diamond Resorts International group of companies) and providers of Other Redemption Opportunities are specifically exempted from this restriction, and are entitled to use their reserved Accommodations and reserved Other Redemption Opportunities for promotional, rental, or other commercial purposes.
Here are a few of the Diamond rental ads on the RedWeek online website. Not only are there hundreds of ads, but many of them are for prices greatly above maintenance fees and could therefore be considered “for profit”.
Timeshare Rentals – Timeshares for Rent By Owner | RedWeek
Diamond Resorts International
Kaanapali Beach Club
255 rentals available
$132 – $500 /night
12 resales available
$600 – $15,000
Daytona Beach Regency
Daytona Beach, Florida
I don’t expect Ebay, VRBO or other non-informational platforms to post a warning. However, RedWeek is an informational resource for vacation timeshare members and owners. I feel RedWeek should post a warning that Diamond Resorts does not allow rentals given the consequences can spell financial disaster.
Diamond’s policy is clear. Either there is a rental policy or there is not a policy. With the consequences of violating the policy so severe, why does RedWeek not post a warning? More importantly, why does Diamond not allow members, many struggling to pay maintenance fees, to post rental ads on RedWeek?
“RedWeek advises members to check with the resort before renting,” stated Gary Prado, spokesperson for RedWeek.
Why would anyone check with Diamond Resorts before renting, especially those who had been renting for years, and why would anyone check if there are hundreds, if not thousands, of rental ads all over the internet?
I opened a RedWeek account on the advice of a Diamond Hawaii sales agent and attempted to rent some points. I had not even heard of RedWeek until the sales agent recommended the site based on her personal experience. She said many Diamond employees rent on RedWeek to offset maintenance fees. I was never paid for the RedWeek rental so I gave up the idea of renting.
I am one of 18 Platinum members who have contacted Timeshare Advocacy Group ™ alleging deceptive and bait and switch up-sells. Like the others, I accumulated 139,000 Diamond vacation points due to aggressive selling. I agreed to take over 42,000 Diamond points from the secondary market on one condition – I do not have to buy any additional points. As the Diamond agents promised, “due to my Platinum status, owning at the time 75,000 points, I would be allowed, as a onetime courtesy, to transfer contracts without being required to purchase additional points.” In 2013 this was a common practice.
Diamond refused to honor their promise after the transfer. I was told I had to buy 23,000 points in order to use the transferred points without the secondary market restrictions. I could not use the points due to layers of restrictions Diamond places on the use of secondary points. Diamond is the only major timeshare that cannot be listed with any of the 64 members of the Licensed Timeshare Resale Broker Association as the members feel Diamond’s secondary market restriction are more onerous than Diamond’s major competitors.
Speaking with other families affected by the sudden change in Diamond’s rental policy, I asked:
- Are you not allowed to rent or has DRI just made it more difficult?
They have made it very difficult because we can’t advertise. They also tried to ban us from using upgrades for rental weeks (making it harder to rent for more than cost) and they also started charging a fee to add guests.
Diamond maintains that they have the right to change the rules.
This is the crux of the matter. Would you buy a timeshare if you knew the timeshare developer could change the rules pretty much at any time for any reason?
Diamond stands to make a huge financial gain by forcing owners who relied on rental strategies into foreclosure. This is financially devastating for families because they are required to pay maintenance fees they can no longer afford for the high volume of points these members own. Diamond then “takes back” the points and resells for full value.
If you or someone you know has a timeshare concern, contact Inside Timeshare or one of our Advocacy Groups.
Bit of a horrendous story, doing only what she was advised, how many times have we heard this type of thing from sales agents? You believe them because you trust them, they sound so genuine, then bingo! You are the one to be made out to be in the wrong. So thanks Irina for that little insight, we look forward to your next article.
Timeshare needs to change, it is not the product most of us thought we were purchasing, the truth is hidden, is any wonder that timeshare has a bad name and reputation?
If you would like to share any of your experiences contact Inside Timeshare and we will work with you.
Have you been contacted or thinking about contacting a company about your timeshare, but don’t know if they are genuine? Then send us an email or comment and we will point you in the right direction, remember it is better to spend time checking than even longer regretting!