Today’s Letter from America by Irene Parker replaces the one that was originally scheduled, that article has been pulled as the company it revolved around has made a settlement in favour of the client. This is a result of the article being sent to the company for comment before publication, we just wish this happens more often.
A Disconnect between Wall Street and Main Street
Three more Seniors Driven into Timeshare Foreclosure
Sources indicate that Apollo is seeking a valuation of close to $4B for Diamond Resorts
May 11, 2018
Meanwhile, Introduction by Irene Parker
Inside Timeshare advocates on behalf of Active Duty military in danger of losing their Security Clearance due to timeshare foreclosure. Currently there are five battling this worry, including three members of the Navy, one Homeland Security agent, a defense worker, and a military paralegal. Veterans, from the ages of 28 to 83, including a double Purple Heart recipient, have reported allegations of timeshare fraud on the front of the sale, and difficulty selling timeshares they no longer want or can afford. Several of our veterans are combat disabled.
Phyllis, Shirley and Marcy would like to share their timeshare experience to warn other seniors. All allege they were a victim of Elder Fraud. Shirley paid one of those “Get out of your timeshare” companies money to get out of her timeshare contract, only to be foreclosed. No one needs to pay anyone to be foreclosed. Now she is being taken to court by Barclays because her purchase was charged to a Barclay credit card. Marcy was called by another “Timeshare Exit” company. The caller said he was an attorney and told her the timeshare company would take her house and her Social Security benefits if she did not pay him $2900.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau helped Wells Fargo victims when Wells Fargo agents opened bogus accounts. With the roll back of the Dodd Frank act, enacted to reduce mortgage lending abuses evident during the subprime mortgage debacle, happy freewheeling lending days may be here again for timeshare developers. Sources tell us there are few if any CFPB investigations.
Many of the complaints we have received are from timeshare buyers who tell us they had no idea credit cards had been issued and were told charging purchases to their Barclaycard would pay for their maintenance fees. Typically, around 1% of amounts charged can be credited to maintenance fees. Others were not even aware they had purchased a timeshare until they returned home.
Perpetual timeshare contracts, some with little to no secondary market, are signed via a tablet, technology foreign to some senior buyers. Seniors may be less comfortable with electronic tablets used to sign timeshare documents, but even those comfortable with tablet technology have reported it is more difficult to review documents on a tablet. Sales agents demand the buyer buy the same day the offer is presented with little time to review documents. Most report exhausting sales sessions that are aggressive and often last several hours.
Inside Timeshare has received 421 timeshare complaints from our readers. Given we have received so many stories resembling Phyllis, Shirley and Marcy stories, Timeshare Advocacy Group™ is embarking on a nationwide media campaign to warn the public not to buy a timeshare without talking to their financial advisor, an attorney, or a member of the Licensed Timeshare Resale Broker Association. http://www.licensedtimeshareresalebrokers.org/
As a former stockbroker, I have nothing against great wealth. I wish we all had the foresight to grow old with Bill Gates and his stock price, but enormous profits gleaned by predatory timeshare sales and lending, coupled with timeshare exit scams has devastated the lives of hundreds of families, according to our readers, who did not understanding the nature of the developer based timeshare contract. Better Business Bureau reports, AG investigations, DOJ reports, and lawsuits galore support the argument that dream vacations can easily turn into a nightmare. As always, we know there are timeshare sales agents trying to sell honestly and many who are happy with their timeshare.
Having followed timeshare stocks for three years now, my investing comfort level is with Disney Vacation Club. I have never described myself as a socially conscious investor, but having listened to 421 horror stories, my money is on Disney. Not one Disney member has ever contacted Inside Timeshare and the law firms I have surveyed tell me they have never had a Disney timeshare member seek legal assistance. Disney is a starter stock you can give to your kids and grandkids without regret. The following chart shows respectable profits can be gleaned from investing in Disney.
Now on to Phyllis, Shirley and Marcy, three Inside Timeshare readers who contacted us this past week horrified at what is happening to them. I had trouble keeping them straight because they were all making the same comments:
I’m having panic anxiety attacks!
I can’t even read this because I’m having palpitations!
I’m so scared! I don’t know what to do!
Phyllis C, age 67, a California resident, was a Diamond Monarch owner
Phyllis works for a prison. She teaches residents how to sew uniforms for CalFire firefighters. Phyllis was the head pattern maker for OP, a brand I remember well.
I was asked to attend a breakfast to talk about upgrades on a timeshare I owned. I was told it would last 55 minutes, but I was there for seven hours. Four highly pressured sales people took turns on me, bouncing me into three different rooms. They said my children would be responsible for the timeshare bankruptcy if I didn’t give up my Riviera Beach Club week and buy the new vacation points. They told me I would be personally responsible for my portion of the $32 million dollar Monarch timeshare company bankruptcy debt.
I told them over and over I didn’t want it and that I already owned the timeshare. They said I had to buy into the new program even though I had owned my timeshare forever. They said that I could never get out of it because my timeshare went bankrupt and I had to invest with Diamond Resorts or they would go after my children for payment. I had a panic stress disorder attack. After several hours, I was tired and hungry. In order to get out of there I signed. I am a senior citizen five feet tall. Sales agent Raymond Coppin was a six foot tall man, standing over me stating he was a child of GOD and that he could help me. He said to me “I am a friend. I can tell you what to do only after you sign a contract.” Victoria Borghetto, Hassan Younes, and Steven Ginsberg took turns telling me I had to buy Diamond points. They said using the BARCLAYS BANK CREDIT CARD for shopping would make my points go up and my maintenance fees go down.
I signed a contract to buy 3,300 Diamond points which they charged to a Barclaycard. I never received the card. I never used the card. I had a trial date May 8, 2018 to pay their lawyers in the amount of $3446.04. I have asked and been granted a 60 day continuance hoping I can find someone to help me. Diamond sent a letter stating the timeshare went into foreclosure and I am out of the contract. Since the timeshare and Barclays are together, shouldn’t I be out of paying the bank as well? Diamond already foreclosed on the timeshare I had used and enjoyed for so many years. I paid a timeshare exit company $1,600, but they must have nothing to do with Barclays?
I need help. Could someone give me advice? Can I get someone to go with me and represent me? I am afraid and stressed. Please e-mail me on what I can so as soon as possible. Thank You.
By Shirley K Minnesota, age 74
We will not be paying the Barclay card amounts due. We believe we are a victim of Elder fraud. This Tennessee news report interviewing the couple pictured in this television news report is exactly what happened to us. Wyndham opened a Paypal credit line without our knowledge. Furthermore, we feel we were scammed into opening two Barclay cards to purchase 84,000 Wyndham points for $14,879 on April 27, 2017. Mr. Ryan and Ms. Lapping told us the Wyndham points would not cost anything if we charged things to the Barclay credit card.
Branson sales agents:
Gerald Ryan was highly aggressive
I have filed a complaint with the Missouri Attorney General, the FBI at IC3.gov and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. I will be filing a complaint with the FTC and our Minnesota Attorney General.
We did not know that the Barclay cards had been opened until we returned home. They had run our credit on our personal cards and came back saying, “You have great credit!” They must have opened the cards based on that information.
When I felt we had been scammed, I called and cancelled the Barclay cards shortly after the April 27, 2017 purchase. I thought that was the end of it, but on May 2, 2018 I received correspondence from Pinnacle that said I owe Barclay’s $14,879! We are getting calls from Pinnacle.
I didn’t even know what we bought. They had said if we charged things using the Barclay credit card, then it would all be free because we would not have to pay anything. They said we would pay for the Wyndham points by using the credit card. We were there from morning until about 2:46 PM in the afternoon. I am 74 years old and my husband Ellsworth is 77. Ellsworth is hard of hearing.
The following charges we were not aware of were charged to us.
$5,500 was put on a Barclaycard in Shirley’s name
$9,379 was put on a Barclaycard in Elswsorth’s name
$7,349 Promotional purchase
$2,000 Promotional purchase
$30 Promotional purchase
We were shocked when we received a “Welcome to Pay Pal credit and thank you for an account” on April 27.
I have always paid my bills until this nightmare. I have sciatic nerve problems and I don’t know what to do. I am not sleeping and don’t know where to turn. I am working just to make money to try to end this. There was no time to read anything. I believe this is Elder Abuse and Elder Fraud.
Marcy S, age 70, a California resident, widowed
I owned a deeded week at Ka’anapali Beach Resort
I was contacted by a man who identified himself as Louis Stravricos who said he was an attorney with US Consumer Attorneys Group in San Diego. His telephone number is 855-627-0795. He said he was calling about my Diamond timeshare. He was aware that I was a Diamond owner and that I owned at Ka’anapali Resort. He sent me a copy of their contract and said I needed to pay him $2900 to get out of the Diamond contract. He told me Diamond was going to take my house and my children would be responsible for paying all Diamond debts and that they would even attach my wages. He said Diamond would also take my Social Security payments and my retirement.
I have not paid my Diamond maintenance fees for about three years. I wanted to deed it back to Diamond but they would not take it back. I tried to sell it but no one wanted it. I have Fibromyalgia so it is very difficult for me to travel.
This man that called was horrible. It was very scary. Would you please contact Diamond for me because I do not know what I should do? (We did and Diamond responded) I did not know if he was telling me the truth.
Irene told me that now Diamond has a program called Transitions, a voluntary surrender program. If I was current on my maintenance fees, I would in all likelihood be accepted for Transitions. I heard nothing from Diamond until I recently received a letter that said I was past due on $9,000 in maintenance fees. I cannot pay that.
Four other complaints were reported to Inside Timeshare directed against the same timeshare sales agent and in one complaint, the same vice president of sales mentioned in Marcy’s complaint:
The agent stated that we could take any points we did not use and apply them towards our maintenance fees. He then spoke of the opportunity to earn an additional $2,700 towards our maintenance fees by using the Barclay Credit Card. What he failed to advise was that we would have to charge $270,000 annually to earn $2,700 towards our maintenance fees!
We were Monarch owners. We were told unless we bought more points our heirs would be responsible for maintenance fees.
The presenter said we were not full members and we should have received a letter to go to full membership. I told them we never received a letter. He then offered a deal that would only be good right then. He informed us that what we had was worth nothing now and we would have to upgrade to be able to use any benefits because of the bankruptcy.
We were told at the Capistrano Beach Resort we would not be able to use our Monarch week unless we bought points and that our Monarch week was worthless. We were not told of the option to deed back the week.
Other seniors foreclosed:
Deneice and Louis Vargas – in the foreclosure process
Seniors Romeo and Lily Dalisay
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 to Irene and our contributors for their story, it makes you wonder how these overpaid company executives can actually sleep at night, I think we all know the answer to that, no conscience, pure greed and a greater love of money than their fellow man!
Unfortunately it all starts with those lower down the food chain, the sales agents, obviously looking to become one of the big boys with their own office!
Well that’s it for this week, Friday is here and the weekend begins, have a good one.