Today Inside Timeshare welcomes a new writer and contributor from across the Great Lake, Angela Johnson. Firstly Irene Parker gives an update on our Timeshare Advocacy Group, with a new Secret Shopper Programme being launched. We certainly look forward to reading some of the reports from this project.
At the end of the article, we give a summary of the latest Class Action against Diamond, which we published in Friday’s Letter From America. The summary has been published as a PDF attachment, due to the length, just click to read.
On now with today’s article, firstly Irene followed by Angela.
The Results of our Timeshare Advocacy Group™ Pilot
“If you build it they will come” Field of Dreams
Introduction by Irene Parker
Don’t Give Up Your Gold Key Deed
By Angela Johnson
The Timeshare Advocacy Group™ Pilot now has a team of leaders that will assist timeshare owners and members in distress over timeshare problems they have not been able to resolve through their own efforts. Any timeshare problem can and will be resolved through the “3Rs or F of timeshare” – Resolution, Relinquishment, Refund or Foreclosure. The class action complaint at the end of today’s article (attached as a PDF) details what members facing this last unfortunate option must endure.
Many highly educated, professional people who have contacted our Advocacy Group, almost all with 800 credit scores, are facing foreclosure for the first time in their life. I found line 77 of the class action complaint particularly appalling:
That Defendant continued to place several dunning telephone calls to Plaintiff’s cellular phones using an automated telephone dialing system and/or a pre- recorded or artificial voice.
77. That Plaintiffs were charged for the phone calls made by Defendant to their cellular phones.
Clearly people who have lived their entire life financially untroubled, need support and direction during this most discomforting foreclosure process.
Timeshare Advocacy Group™ has also launched a Secret Shopper program – a real one.
Laurie Sabbagh was our first secret shopper. Many timeshare buyers fall victim to the oral representation clause. Many contracts, not just timeshare, contain a clause that states “I did not rely on any oral representation to make my purchase.” Timeshare has for years been notorious for using and abusing this clause to get a prospect to sign a contract to buy vacation points by fabricating reasons for purchase that venture far afield from reality. Laurie reports her experience, offering prospective timeshare buyers valuable advice in regard to the value of travel awards.
Our two newest additions to our Leadership Team are Angela Johnson, Advocate Coordinator, and Karen Garello, Secret Shopper Coordinator. Angela shares her Advocacy experience this week and next week Karen Garello will tell us what happened to her and why she has volunteered to become more involved.
Angela went through Diamond Resort’s Advocacy Department to air her grievance against Diamond’s Williamsburg Virginia sales center. In all fairness, although never admitting wrongdoing, Diamond has helped several families. Angela was not in that fortunate group so she reached out to our member sponsored Diamond Resort’s Advocacy Facebook.
I should add that my husband and I purchased points in Williamsburg. Both sales agents were courteous and professional. We hope our advocacy efforts will support timeshare sales agents trying to sell timeshare points in a non-deceptive way without resorting to a “bait and switch” as Angela alleges in her article.
A Warning: Don’t give up your Gold Key Deed!
By Angela Johnson
June 12, 2017
My complaint was long and complicated, but I felt it was important not to leave out any details. After submitting a 2,000 word complaint to Diamond’s Advocacy department, my mom and I were told we were stuck with the timeshare points we didn’t need and didn’t know we had bought until we got home and opened the first bill.
After being declined a refund, I reached out to the member sponsored Diamond Advocacy Group. After reviewing my complaint, we reduced my accusation from 2000 to 37 words, thinking this would make it easier to understand. While I did get an immediate call back, I was told I was going to be assigned to another Diamond Advocate team member. I gave up at that point because my complaint had already been investigated. My 37 words were so simple there was no need to start over.
My mom and I met with Diamond sales agent Eursla Giles-Jones at a Diamond Resort in Williamsburg, Virginia. What happened, simply put, was this:
Angela: “I cannot afford two loans.”
Eursla: “We are going to combine the two loans.”
Angela: “But I did a credit card balance transfer to reduce the high interest rate.”
Eursla: “We can still combine them. I can make it happen.”
Then the dodge began. My mother was with me when we bought the points. We both heard what Eursla said. I have since learned about the oral representation clause allowing timeshare sales agents to say anything since often there is no proof. We did not have proof. I ended up with two loans instead of one. There is no way I can afford both loans. I did not know about this until I started receiving the bills long after the period when I could have cancelled the contract.
I feel there is a need for timeshare members to be able to have an organization to turn to before taking the drastic step of calling a lawyer. Given I have double loan payments, I can’t afford a lawyer. I had not even thought of contacting the following organizations that I now know exist thanks to the Timeshare Advocacy Group ™. Contacting the following organizations is my next step.
- The FBI, due to alleged deceit and “bait and switch”,
- ARDA for violating ARDA’s Code of Ethics,
- Attorneys General where we signed our contract, where we live and the state where the resort is domiciled,
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under the mortgage option and the bank that financed our loan or issued the credit card,
- Federal Trade Commission for violating “The Federal Trade Commission Act of 1914 which outlaws unfair methods of competition and outlaws unfair acts or practices that affect commerce.”
- State Real Estate divisions against the agents. as most states require sales agents to be real estate licensed (the agent’s ID number is helpful)
My mom and I were Gold Key owners holding a deed, but we gave up our deed so we are now Diamond point members. As members, we don’t own anything. We deeply regret this decision. I have since read several posts on our Advocacy Facebook warning Gold Key owners not to give up their deed. I have joined this cause hoping to warn others to check the facts before you sign.
Thank you to Angela for sharing her story. Let us know if you need assistance or would like to share your story.
Timeshare Advocacy Group™ will be scaling up the Pilot to three satellite programs at the request of many. Thus, our most recent US Inside Timeshare article was about a Wyndham owner.
The article lists what I find to be the salient parts of Diamond’s new CLARITY™ program issued in response to the Arizona Attorney General’s Assurance of Discontinuance. If just those points are abided by and enforced, there would be no need for timeshare Advocacy Facebooks.
Next week: Secret Shopper Coordinator Karen Garello rolls out Secret Shopper
Things are certainly moving, owners / members are mobilising in a way not seen before, they are starting to realise that together they can achieve more. Through groups such as our Timeshare Advocacy Group you now have a voice along with others to share with and also offer sound advice.
Inside Timeshare welcomes your comments and stories, contact us through our comments section. If you have been in contact with any company, be it resale, claims or any other offer and you are not sure about them, contact us and we will put you in the right direction.