Today we publish the story of Marjorie Menacker, another Diamond member who contacted Irene Parker for help. This is her story of how they feel about Diamond, it would seem that “Clarity” is out of the window. We let you decide for yourselves.
Will Diamond Resorts ever listen?
By Marjorie Menacker
May 15, 2017
We, Elle and I, are two more Diamond members asking the company to own up to misrepresentations and deception in Diamond’s quest to upsell current Diamond members. We know we were victims of a “bait and switch”. We were told buying more points would eliminate maintenance fees that had become burdensome due to my brain injury. Our 14 year old son Sam, diagnosed with FSGS, an autoimmune kidney disease in 2015, has added to our burden. Sam has required hospitalization.
I contacted Diamond Consumer Advocacy before seeking legal assistance or filing complaints with the Arizona, Virginia and Nevada Attorneys General, the FBI, the FTC and ARDA for violating ARDA’s Code of Ethics. Diamond’s Consumer Advocacy Department should be named Diamond’s Advocacy Department because their job is to advocate for Diamond, as evidenced by the company’s response, refusing to acknowledge a Diamond sales agent would not be truthful.
In Arizona, Diamond’s new Clarity program does not allow sales agents to deviate from written sales materials. The oral representation clause still exists in the Arizona contract, but the Arizona Attorney General’s “Assurance of Discontinuance” forbids sales agents from deviating from the sales agent’s official script. I was hoping Diamond Resorts would honor Clarity’s principles of fair and honest business practices even though we purchased in Virginia. Clarity is about Accountability, Transparency and RESPECT for the customer!
Diamond often offers to “take back” points, for a fee, ignoring the deceit, concealment, violation of trust and “bait and switch” so many from our Advocacy group have complained about, as defined by the FBI as White Collar Crime. Diamond even charges a fee to surrender points while requiring the member to still make any remaining credit card payments. This keeps the “hamster wheel” running as Diamond will merely take back our points and resell them for full value.
We are telling the truth. Since Diamond will not believe us, these Diamond sales agents must be telling unsuspecting consumers day in and day out, any story they can come up with to sell points.
Here’s what happened
Elle and I purchased a week at the Powhatan Virginia resort in the 1980s. Our deeded Powhatan week was given up in July 2007 while staying at Sedona Arizona when we purchased 10,000 points for $21,585. We purchased an additional 6000 points December 26, 2015 for $23,210 having been told about an exciting one day promotion if we purchased that day. The sales agents said we would not have to pay maintenance fees for 2016. Our contract lists a William Humphries as our sales agent, although we spoke to Brian and his supervisor Jeff at Diamond’s Greensprings Plantation Resort.
I suffered a concussion November 9 2015, about six weeks before our sales presentation, after being hit by a construction truck while I was walking in downtown Richmond. At the time of our presentation, we had not yet realized the full extent of my injuries. Over the course of first quarter 2016 I realized I needed concussion and rehab specialists and quite a bit of therapy to initiate and sustain a slow recovery. I am still being treated for the brain injury and physical injuries from the accident.
The Powhotan sales presentation was very high pressure. We repeatedly stated that we could not afford anything that would require a loan, and did not like the difficulty we encountered finding availability. Maintenance fees were rising faster than we expected.
Brian repeatedly assured us that if we took advantage of the promotion offered that day, we would not have to worry about any maintenance fees after the 2016 calendar year. He said this promotion would have been offered to us had we participated in dinner meeting offers over the previous year. I’ve learned almost all Diamond presentations begin with, “You should have been invited to a dinner meeting.” Out of our sight, Brian obtained special permission to extend the offer only for the day (12/26/2015). Jeff confirmed what Brian offered.
We were told that we would no longer have to pay for annual maintenance fees, having qualified to participate in the special program that was not publicly available. Brian illustrated in chart form on paper how this program would save us money by trading in part of total points each year. He said the remaining points would actually get “treated as double points.”
We should have been suspicious when he would not let us keep a copy of the paperwork with the calculations he made or even let us hold it to view in a private conversation. Brian brought Jeff in, and they recreated the chart and both reassured us it was all above board, though warned us not to mention the specifics to anyone when time to sign the contract.
We trusted that Diamond Resorts was a publicly traded company (at the time) with a good reputation, and our expectation was that we would be properly treated and not misled. They both explained we would receive a phone call annually in December right after our maintenance fee bill arrived and would be guided to trade in the proper number of points to write off the entire maintenance fee each year.
This past December 2016, when the call never came, we reached out to the Quality Assurance Officer whose card we were given. She was unavailable so referred us to Susan Schnibbe who put us in touch with the salesmen around December 20, 2016. Both Brian and Jeff denied ever telling us this type of program existed, but we were promised a call back the same day as to “what was possible.”
We were in fine shape with the 10,000 points we already owned in the US Collection, and were able to manage to pay the annual maintenance fees. At this time we must pay down a loan instead of planning our vacation.
We told Brian and Jeff about our son’s condition, the ongoing expense and that I was dealing with post-concussion syndrome. We also have medical expenses resulting from our older daughter’s Medical College of Virginia Pediatric ER for a serious head and back injury from a fall. Realizing we were duped, our trust of Diamond Resorts has been shattered. We feel that we were taken advantage of, misled and lied to. We have struggled to provide for our children as well as maintain our good credit rating. This breech of ethics by Diamond Resorts representatives jeopardizes Diamond too.
We would have been happy with the valued level status we had prior to the December 2016 sales-pitch.
Our Diamond Resorts member sponsored Advocacy Group has been overwhelmed assisting Diamond members who feel they were victimized by sales agents making promises that fall far afield from reality.
We seek to provide Diamond Resort 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.
A Diamond representative said there was no misrepresentation.
Original letter sent to David Palmer January 7, 2017
At the time of our purchase, former Diamond CEO David Palmer had just made over $173 million on the Apollo buyout and over $26 million in executive compensation. That could be why he did not answer the letter we sent him.
7 January 2017
David F. Palmer, CEO
Diamond Resort International
10600 West Charleston Boulevard
Las Vegas, NV 89153-1260
Dear Mr. Palmer,
In December of 2015, we attended a very high pressure sales and “owner update” in Williamsburg at GreenSprings plantation sales office. The salesman, Brian and his manager Jeff were very demanding of our time even though we told them we had 3 middle-school-aged children waiting for us back at our condo. I had suffered from a serious concussion about 6 weeks earlier after being hit by a construction truck while I was walking in downtown Richmond. We had not yet realized the full extent of my injuries at the time. I am still being treated for the brain injury and physical injuries from the accident well over a year later. We repeatedly stated that we could not afford anything that would require a loan and the growing maintenance fees. Brian assured us that if we took advantage of the promotion offered that day, we would not have to worry about any maintenance fees after the 2016 calendar year. We were told this promotion was something that would have been offered to us had we participated in dinner meeting offers over the previous year. Brian obtained special permission, out of our sight, to extend the offer to us that day (12/26/2015), and that day only.
The bottom line is we were told that we would no longer have to pay for annual maintenance fees, having qualified to participate in the special program that was not publicly available. Brian illustrated in chart form on a paper how this program would save us money by trading in part of our total points each year but the remaining points would actually get “treated as double points.” We should have been suspicious when he would not let us keep a copy of the paperwork with the calculations he made or even let us hold it to view in a private conversation. Brian brought Jeff in, and they recreated the chart and both assured us it was all above board, though warned us not to mention the specifics to anyone when time to sign the contract. They both explained we would receive a phone call (annually) in December right after our maintenance fee bill arrived, and we would be guided to trade in the proper number of points to write off the entire maintenance fees each year. This December, when the call never came, we reached out to the Quality Assurance Officer whose card we were given. She put us in touch with the salesmen around December 20, 2016. Both denied ever telling us this type of program existed, but we were promised a call back the same day as to “what was possible.” We have received no return calls. As baby boomers, raised by parents from the depression era, we do not like to borrow money for anything. Both Brian and Jeff were told of our son’s condition, the ongoing expenses and that I was dealing with post-concussion syndrome.
With the enlightenment that we were duped into a loan and will also experience increasing annual fees, we feel that we are in severe debt and our trust of Diamond Resorts has been shattered. We feel we were taken advantage of, misled and lied to, frankly. We have repeatedly asked for an avenue to appeal for a reversal and revoke the contract from last year. Actual ownership, it seems, is not an advantage, considering the expense we pay for the maintenance of these resorts. We would like to return to the status prior to the December 2015 sales-pitch.
I do hope that you take our situation seriously, and, regardless of the internal consequences to the salespersons who so poorly and unethically represented Diamond Resorts, you and I begin an authentic dialogue about making this right. My partner and I are quite willing to work this out efficiently and honestly, directly with your office or a representative to whom you would direct us.
Thank you for your time. We look forward to hearing from you by traditional mail or email as how we may begin this dialogue.
Marjorie S. Menacker
Inside Timeshare would like to thank Marjorie for giving us Her story so we could share it with you, this is important as it shows that you are not alone.
Inside Timeshare and the Facebook Advocacy page have been receiving many stories just like this, if you wish to share your experiences of these presentations you can contact Inside Timeshare or the Advocacy page.