In this weeks Tuesday Slot with Irene we welcome a new contributor and member to the Diamond Resorts Advocacy Facebook Group, Jenny Baldner, edited and introduction by Irene Parker. In this article Jenny gives her way of avoiding those persistent “update meetings”.
In response to Marcy’s comment about US Consumer Attorneys in Friday’s Letter from America, another Veteran has come forward worried about the $6,000 he paid US Consumer Attorneys after he was not allowed out of his timeshare. George Yamada served his country in Vietnam. He is 70% disabled, exposed to Agent Orange.
Inside Timeshare has heard from 44 veterans and Active Duty members of the military and law enforcement alleging timeshare fraud. Those who have put their life and health on the line for us should not have to suffer timeshare abuse that can ruin their retirement.
Last week after publishing Friday’s Letter from America, news came in of yet another Supreme Court ruling from Spain’s Highest Court in Madrid, Once again the lawyers from Canarian Legal Alliance secured the ruling against Silverpoint in Tenerife, making the number rulings from this court a massive 112!
The judges in this case ordered that the client be awarded over 80,000€ plus legal fees and legal interest, with the contract being declared null and void. So another happy ex-timeshare owner.
Now for this Tuesdays article.
A Fair and Balanced Timeshare Review
By Jenny Baldner
May 15, 2018
Introduction by Irene Parker
Two common timeshare complaints are:
There is never any availability!
You can always book cheaper online!
I don’t agree with either comment, but it is also true there are many times it is cheaper to book online than use vacation points. My mission is to slow the growth of deceit and bait and switch tactics used to sell points, inspired by the evolution of the points based timeshare product.
Today Jenny Baldner shares her fair and balanced opinion along with her words of wisdom on how to dodge efforts to get her to attend sales presentations. Jenny is a Diamond Resorts member, but Inside Timeshare has heard complaints from members who own points of several timeshare companies. More than a few members have told us the only reason they want out is because of the herculean efforts of greeters to get you to sit down for that 90 minute presentation that can end up taking as long as nine hours. Nine hours has been the record so far.
The only comment of Jenny’s that I don’t agree with is “since we are stuck with it for life.” The old adage holds true. The only two things we are stuck with are dying and paying taxes. Developers are finally starting to wake up to the fact that ironclad one sided perpetual contracts, accompanied by rising maintenance fees, with little or no secondary market, are a one way ticket to disaster. As always, don’t pay anyone any money to get you out of your timeshare without checking with one of the self-help groups listed below or Inside Timeshare.
Three important considerations need to be input into Jenny’s model:
- The age of the buyer
- The initial investment
- The interest rate – never finance a vacation at 12% to 18% for 10 years
We appreciate Jenny’s article submission. Due to the escalation in the number of comments and complaints Inside Timeshare receives, contributor articles allow Charles Thomas and I more time to answer questions and point members in the right direction in order to resolve their complaint. And I love to edit!
Jenny’s Timeshare Tips
I’m really glad I was accepted into this group.
I see that a lot of people have experienced what we have. So, I wanted to share a few ways to evade the badgering of sales agents and other ways I get my money’s worth since we’re stuck with it for life.
- We always check in late to avoid the rush. Sometimes we travel separately so I can say my spouse isn’t accompanying me on this trip. They leave you alone if your spouse isn’t with you.
- Skip the concierge desk after checking in.
- Don’t answer the room phone during your stay. Most of us have cell phones so you can go one step further and unplug the room phones which I have done if they’re persistent.
- When they call your cell phone, make sure that you let them know that every day is booked with set activities. This is not a lie.
- Program that number into your phone so you know not to answer it.
- Kill them with kindness. “Thank you so much, I appreciate it but, No!”
- We have way more points than we need every year, so I usually book extra rooms so families can join in on the fun. I supply the room and they either pay me money to go towards my maintenance fees, or they buy all the food while we’re there. They don’t have the money to buy or rent hotels or resorts. I always try to upgrade to get my money’s worth.
- I got tired of feeling like I was being duped, so now I use a budget planner to track my maintenance fees and points. When I find a location using my points, I compare the market value of the resort as if I were to book the same room through booking.com, Trip Advisor, hotels.com, and so on. I make sure that when I book a room, I couldn’t get it cheaper through the market.
- Lastly, I hate the way they sell you these timeshares! But, I have to admit I like the rooms and it forces me to take a couple vacations every year. If you have it, use it! Don’t lose your points. I have booked rooms for my friends and their families after they return from deployment. One year I even used it as my white elephant gift at work.
On another note…a few days after 1 January, I save my max points for the year. If I need them back because I went over the remainder to use, they just pull that amount back for your booking. You already paid your maintenance fees so you don’t have to pay anything extra. And then you don’t have to worry about forgetting to save your points by a certain deadline.
Below is a picture of this year’s budget. As you can see if I were to book these vacations without my timeshare it would have cost me an additional $2,552.79. The market tracker does include taxes and the additional resort fees we don’t pay.
I hope this helps you or someone. We started with Sunterra in 2006 and are now with Diamond Resorts.
Thank you again Jenny! Jenny worked as a Resource Advisor for a few years while in the Air Force and decided to take those skills and apply them to this. “Nothing worse than feeling like you were made a fool of,” Jenny added.
The consumer is not off the hook, but clearly more timeshare public awareness is needed to slow the volume of complaints as well as rising default rates. Consumer knowledge can address both negatives.
We seek to provide timeshare members a way to proactively address membership concerns; to advocate for timeshare reform; to obtain greater disclosure from the company; to advocate for a viable secondary market; and to educate prospective buyers.
Thank you Jenny and Irene, I’m sure that by using this advice, you will have a much more peaceful vacation.
If you have any comments or questions about any article published, then contact Inside Timeshare and we will be pleased to help.