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The Tuesday Slot

Welcome to The Tuesday Slot, this week we have another of our Secret Shopper Reports, coordinated by Pete Gibbes, these articles have proved to be very popular with our many readers. One thing they all comment on is how similar to their own experiences these reports show.

“Thank God It’s April 15 Day!”

For those in the US, the 15 April is the day when many members will receive a tax liability bill if a loan is cancelled. For us, in Europe, we find this very strange, especially for loans linked to timeshare purchases. At least our European members don’t get a tax bill when their loan is cancelled.

Inside Timeshare has directed many back to their CPA to dispute this tax bill for “phantom income” as the former has not been enriched by the cancellation of the loan as they have retained nothing of value.

Now before we go on with our Secret Shopper article, a little news on the legal front from the leading European law firm in timeshare litigation, Canarian Legal Alliance.

With the Easter Holidays now upon us, the lawyers at CLA are having a well-deserved break, especially after the past two weeks of court cases.

In the past five days alone, there have been 25 trial and 20 sentences issued, many of these were pre-trials, with the judges once again confirming that there was no need for the case to go to a full trial. The reason being, these cases are based on documentary proof, they are based on contracts which according to Spanish timeshare law contain illegalities. This is obviously very damaging for the timeshare companies but very good news for the clients.

So to recap, in the past 2 weeks, there has been a total of 26 victory sentences with 24 against Anfi del Mar, all heard in the Court of First Instance, San Bartelomé de Tirajana, Gran Canaria. With 2 High Court, Santa Cruz de Tenerife against Silverpoint. The total amount awarded is a staggering 931,229€ plus all contracts being declared null and void.

Now for our Secret Shopper Report.

How do you define a “Bad Apple” Sales Agent?

It’s in the Eye of the Beholder

By Secret Shopper

Tuesday, April 16

We have all heard stories of outright deception and deceit employed by timeshare salespeople. Many complaints are from those who were convinced to give up their deeded timeshare week and convert to the points-based timeshare.

Fixed week timeshares may lack the flexibility of points, but if you like knowing what you own, a guaranteed stay may mean more to you than flexibility. With a points program, you can stay more or less than a week and book other resorts at other times of the year. However, many have complained that after giving up their deed, they were not able to access even the resort they had vacationed at for years.

Timeshare companies will say that salespeople who use scare tactics represent only a few “Bad Apples” so are not typical. Timeshare Accountability Group has heard from more than a few members that were frightened into giving up their deed, told their children will be burdened because of their parent’s decision to buy a timeshare. We’re not lawyers, so we defer to timeshare attorney Mike Finn to fill us in on what happens when you inherit an unwanted timeshare. It’s a topic many are interested in, especially as baby boomers age.

Some of the tactics sales agents use to coerce an “owner” to give up a deeded timeshare week to become a “member” are downright predatory and constitute practicing law without a license. This is what happened to Phyllis, age 67, in her own words (unedited):

I am a victim of fraud. I was asked to attend a breakfast to talk about upgrades on a timeshare I own. I was told it would last only 55 minutes. 4 highly pressured sales people took turns on me and held me for 7 hours, bouncing me into 3 different rooms. I told them I didn’t want it and that I already owned the timeshare over and over again. They said I have to buy into the new and I own my timeshare forever, and that I could never get out of it. They said my timeshare went bankrupt and I had to invest with them (the new company) or they would go after my children for payment. I had a panic stress disorder attack. I was tired and hungry.  I was tired. In order to get out of there, I signed under dearest. I am a senior citizen 5 feet tall women and he is a 6 feet tall man standing over me stating he was a child of GOD and he can help me then said to me “I am a friend I can tell you the best thing to do only if I signed”. He added the BARCLAYS BANK CREDIT CARD. I was misled to only use the card for shopping that my points would go up and maintenance fees would go down. I never received the card. I never used the card. Now I have a trial date May 8, 2018, to pay their lawyers in the amount of $3446.04. DRI sent a letter stating the timeshare went into foreclosure and I am out of the contract. Since the timeshare and the bank are together I should be out of paying the bank as well? 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 email me on what I can so as soon as possible. Thank You.

(Submitted to Inside Timeshare)

Our Secret Shopper Experience        

In mid-summer 2018, we went on a “mandatory” update after attending a Diamond Resorts event in Virginia Beach. We are well versed in timeshare methods and had our “ears up” to catch any of the standard tactics they might use to persuade us to convert our two deeded weeks into points.

Despite being ready for the worst, I will openly admit that our salesperson never told us any OVERT lies during our two-hour presentation. He was friendly, polite, and had a long history with Diamond Resorts at various locations throughout the country. He told us where he lived in Virginia Beach (a very expensive waterfront area).  He did not lie to us.

That being said, his words were very carefully chosen, and of course, what he didn’t tell us was even more carefully chosen. At a minimum, his pitch was misleading, confusing, full of half-truths, and in my opinion quite diabolical.  When someone commits a “material omission” is it a lie? That sounds like a question for attorney Mike Finn.

Let’s see how the game is played

Our salesperson pushed two major discussion points:

1 – Vacation Options:

Our sales agent demonstrated what would happen if we gave up our deeded weeks and purchased 5,000 points. He showed us a world of amazing Diamond Resorts locations on his computer screen. He explained these resorts would be available to us with the 15,000 points in total we would have if we gave up both deeds.

He showed us availability on HIS computer. He said things like “Here, let me show you on MY account” and “the system shows ME availability for these vacations for only 3,000 points… look at all of them!” Yes, many were available on many different dates. Wow, the world would be our Oyster.

Now, all that is technically true, but he presented it in a manner to imply that if we converted to 15,000 non-deeded points, we would see the same availability and options we were shown… but he never actually said that. His online Diamond account is a “Special Sales Double Platinum Account” (a descriptive term as there is no such thing as a Double Platinum loyalty level). It shows everything in the system and probably quite a bit more, but did not display what we would have access to using the proposed 15,000 points (for two weeks).

If the buyer is not allowed onto the booking site until after the contract has been executed, you would not see actual availability at your loyalty level until after the rescission period had passed.

If you knew what to listen for, the agent chose his words incredibly carefully to sidestep the issue. This would have misled us if we were not informed shoppers. In my opinion, it was a shameful sales tactic that almost anyone would likely fall for.

I know that none of the locations available under his sales account would be available to someone with only 15,000 points, especially summer weeks in Virginia Beach, which he was asking us to give up. He repeatedly showed us that Turtle Cay was only 6,500 points for a week vacation in July… which is accurate… if you are one of the handfuls of people in the US with status and connections to get access to that level of availability. It is unlikely at the Silver loyalty level we would ever be able to stay there again even if we were to convert to points. He didn’t mention that.

He also gave us pamphlets describing Diamond Dream Vacations (DDV), also known as Holiday Vacations, which we could take advantage of anytime for 3,000, 7,500, or 15,000 points. Each DDV included two airfares at top-notch accommodations. One package included four days at Diamond’s Mystic Dunes resort along with a five day Caribbean cruise for only 7,500 points.

For those not familiar with points, maintenance fees for Silver level are about $.20 per point so if the Dream Vacation requires 7,500 points, the trip would cost $1,500. Multiply 7,500 points times $.20. Always do your timeshare math. Four nights at Mystic Dunes, two airfares and a five day Caribbean cruise for two for $1,500 is a GREAT deal! It even included rental car discounts.

After submitting this article, Pete explained that these great deals really do exist. I thought they were completely bogus. He said that since these packages are for the purposes of selling points, they are available to anyone who purchases as a “sweetener” or to existing members in an effort to sell more points.  

Apparently, tremendous bargains are always promotions. Our sales agent never said Dream Holidays were promotions that would require a sales session. He said “These packages are available anytime” to use his exact wording. Again, he didn’t lie… he just didn’t present an important fact.

2 – Financial Justification:

He presented a very complex 10-year financial analysis showing how it would cost us far less over ten years if we converted to points, even though he wanted us to drop more than $75,000 for 15,000 points, which would have included giving up our two deeded summer weeks. He did not know that I used to be a financial analyst with IBM. I worked on billion-dollar transactions. His spreadsheet was malarkey, and even I couldn’t follow it. Once again, he was not lying; his analysis was just crappy… which is quite common as financials go. Of course, we were not given a copy of any of his figures. When we tried to take it, he whisked it away.

All told, I doubt other salespeople would consider our sales agent a “Bad Apple” as he didn’t tell any lies. He did not mention any bogus programs (e.g. “you can pay maintenance fees at $.30 per point”) or other false claims. In fact, our sales agent is probably a shining example held up for other salespeople to emulate: nice, amiable, well dressed, 6.5 feet tall with 12 extra teeth in his smile.

After we firmly said no and started to leave, we were sent to a manager to “check out.” This person was quite reprehensible. He showed us further discounts off the $75,000. He spoke about the “investment” we would be making, what our “Equity” would be out of the gate, and how our “Equity” would grow over time. Our “investment” would only go up in value.

I got quite angry and blew up at him at this point, calling him out directly on those misrepresentations. His eyes flew open wide as he backtracked, “When I say Equity I mean your equity in future vacation time and how your vacation time would become more valuable as you learn how to use the system wisely.”

He claimed he never said he was speaking about a financial investment and not to put words in his mouth but he actually said these things with no qualifiers until he was pressed to do so . My wife loudly told him off and we got up to walk out. He asked why she was being so rude. In a sick sort of way, it was funny, really.

As our experience shows, a “Bad Apple” is in the eye of the beholder.

Contact Inside Timeshare if you have a story to share. Our standard disclosure is that we know there are honest sales agents selling the product honestly. Deceptive agents harm honest sales agents too. Our concern is the number of agents “pitching heat” to sell points could lead to a decline in sales unless acknowledged and addressed.

Contact Secret Shopper Coordinator Pete Gibbes through Inside Timeshare if you would like to become a Secret Shopper.

We seek to provide timeshare members with 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.

https://www.facebook.com/timeshareadvocategroup/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/DiamondResortsOwnersAdvocacy/

https://tug2.com/Home.aspx

https://everythingabouttimeshares.com/consider-exchange-options/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/180578055325962/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/465692163568779/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1639958046252175/

Thank you to our secret shopper and to Pete Gibbes the coordinator for this week’s report, these do help others to be aware and of what to expect when they attend any presentation. As the old saying goes,  “To be forewarned is to be forearmed.”

One thing is certain, purchasers of timeshare in Spain do have the full protection of the law, misrepresentation of the product is not tolerated. We also know that many other European countries are reviewing their own timeshare laws in accordance with EU Timeshare Directives designed to protect consumers, many are also looking to Spain and may just adopt their legislation. For too long the timeshare companies have had the upper hand, but the tide is turning.

If you have any comments or would like to share your experiences use our contact page, we would love to hear from you.

Do you have a problem with your timeshare membership, or need to know about any company that has contacted you or you have found?

Again use our contact page and we will get back to you and point you in the right direction.

Update: Silverpoint, Nordic Consulting and the Farhouds

So here we are again, with more information supplied by our readers on the link between Silverpoint Vacations and the Farhoud Brothers, today we highlight a case a client who purchased and “apartment” via the “Company Participation Scheme” from the Silverpoint salesman, Alex Farhoud.

As we know he no longer works for Silverpoint but is a consultant for his brother’s company Nordic Consulting Canary Islands SL, who are now making more money from the very people they sold the scheme to in the first place, this time through dubious legal action against their former employer Silverpoint.

It all began with a visit to Tenerife in 2017 and a subsequent invitation for a return visit with discounted air fares and two week stay at Beverly Hills Club. The only “condition” was they would have to attend an “information” meeting with Silverpoint.

Once they arrived they were contacted by the Silverpoint representative Alex Farhoud. They attended the arranged meeting and were greeted by the friendly Alex. He began in the time honoured timeshare “warm up”, enquiring into their health, how they are enjoying their stay and giving information on the variety of restaurants, trips and attraction that Tenerife had to offer. All designed to put them at ease.

Alex Farhoud

Eventually the conversation switched to a proposal which would be of great interest and benefit to the client, namely how they could purchase an apartment at Beverly Hills Club well below the market value, this equated to about 60% less.

He went on to explain that they would be able to use the apartment for up to half of the year and for the rest rent it out for a considerable income. Although they would have to wait a few years they would receive “compensation” of 4.5% of the the purchase price, around 155,000€

Alex Farhoud explained the business structure with the aid of the tried and trusted “pencil pitch”, (of which Inside Timeshare has a copy).  It shows the workings of the 4.5%, which would equate to 6,975€ which they would receive in the first year as compensation of forthcoming rental income.

This forthcoming rental, was also shown on the hand written “pitch” and showed the proposed income of 21,623.51€, although the amount was actually shown in Swedish Kroner. There would also be a 19% tax deducted from the amount to be paid to the Spanish Tax Authority. This note does have Alex Farhouds name on it.

For the purchase to go ahead a deposit of 5,000€ was payable at that time with the balance of 150,000€ within the next couple of months.

As they had received so much information it was proposed that they would return the following day after looking over the paperwork.

They obviously had many questions they wanted answers to.

According to the paperwork, they would not receive “title” to the property until all the “timeshares” had been freed from their owners, a process that would take approximately 3 years. The paperwork also stated that they were not purchasing “timeshare”.

Moving on to 2018 early 2018, Alex Farhoud makes contact with an important announcement, problems had arisen with the lease. He also announce that he had parted company with Silverpoint, but did not elaborate if he resigned or was dismissed. Now that he was an independent agent he would be able to restore the original terms of the Rental Program Agreement, but this would entail a payment of 2 x 5,000€, paid in two instalments.

It would also appear other “buyers” had received similar information.

Nordic Consulting Canary Islands SL

Step in Nordic Consulting, as we have stated the CEO is Ali Farhoud, Alex Farhoud is the consultant. They announced they had “found illegalities” in the agreements, that what they had purchased was “timeshare”, which as we know is subject to some very strict laws in Spain.

Ali Farhoud

Nordic Consulting explained they had already taken several cases to court where the contracts were cancelled with the client receiving back full payment. They proposed that they would take on the case and help this purchaser. The cost would be over 30,000€ to be paid to Nordic Consulting.

So now we have the very people who sold the scheme in the beginning, making what must have been large amounts of money in “commissions”, contacting the very people they sold it to, claiming they had no idea it was “illegal” at the time. Now making more money from the very same people!

From information received, several formal criminal denuncias have been made against them, with apparently more in process of being filed.

We don’t know about you, but it does appear to us that something is very wrong that these brothers who sold the timeshare and the participations scheme on behalf of Silverpoint for many years are able to operate in this way.

Have you been sold Timeshare with the promise of resale and rental, the Company Participation Scheme or the Overseas Lodging Participation Programme, including by those named here?

If so, use our contact page, let us know what you have purchased, Inside Timeshare will get back to you with information on where you stand and what is open to you on the legal front. Whether you are from the UK, Scandinavia, or any other European country, we can point you in the best direction.

Nordic Consulting, Company Participations: More Readers Send Information as a Warning

Further to our previous articles on the Silverpoint Participations and Nordic Consulting Canary Islands SL, today we publish the experiences of one reader from Scandinavia, taken from the many enquiries received in the past two days. It explains how he was sold the these “participations” and has since been contacted by Ali Farhoud from Nordic Consulting. We have slightly changed certain details to keep the identity of our reader private.

Back in 2017, our reader attended a meeting with Silverpoint Vacations, the representative was Alex Farhoud, another brother of Ali. The scheme was explained to him and he was led to believe that he was buying a specific apartment at Beverly Hills Heights, part of the agreement was that he would receive an income from the rental of the said apartment and eventually be able to sell.

After some time, he eventually signed the contract and parted with over 150,000€, along with the purchase contract was a rental contract with Silverpoint Vacations, the client left in the belief that he had a good deal.

Then in 2018, Alex Farhoud made contact, our reader was informed that the rental contract had been cancelled and new less favourable conditions had been presented. In order to fix this Alex Farhoud demanded a further 10,000€ fee. Our reader fearing the loss of his “investment” duly paid. The new rental contract was with Excel Hotels and Resorts. He received an outline of the new rental contract, which to some extent the original conditions that they had initially agreed to.

Nearly a year later he was once again contacted by Alex Farhoud, this time it was stated that the purchase contract they our reader had signed was not valid. The reason being he could not get a title for a product that was essentially made up of timeshares!

Enter Nordic Consulting and Ali Farhoud, Alex Farhoud referred our reader to this company with the proposal that Nordic Consulting would instigate legal proceedings to have the contract with Silverpoint nullified, plus claiming back what they had initially paid, but in double. Obviously there was going to be a fee for this, that was estimated at over 30,000€. Our reader has had repeated calls from both brother to pay and get the process initiated. But our reader has not done so, one reason is that he has received no explanations or clarification in writing.

Our reader has also received a letter from Silverpoint informing him that the process of obtaining title was moving on and that all units had been cleared of timeshare owners. Apparently a “certificate” confirming that all 52 weeks in the unit purchased were clear. Our reader would then be called to Tenerife to sign the title.

Our reader is now so confused, can he believe or trust Silverpoint?

Can he trust Nordic Consulting, his brothers company, especially as it was Alex Farhoud who sold him the product in the first place?

This is why our reader turned to Inside Timeshare, he had nowhere else to turn, he didn’t know who to trust. After lengthy discussions we made a recommendation and our reader is now discussing his options with a leading law firm in this field. It will be sometime before we will be able to give you an outcome, but we are sure that his problem will be resolved to his satisfaction.

Have you had dealings with Silverpoint, either the “investment weeks” or the “company participation scheme”, have you been contacted by Nordic Consulting regarding these?

Have you been contacted by JB Legal / SIM Legal and Jeroen Martijn Brussel, (See article published 28 Jan 19), along with Walker Padron Perez, with a similar story?

If so, get in touch with Inside Timeshare, let us know your experiences so that we can keep these warning going, we will also offer free and impartial advice on what options are open to you.

Start the Week: Latest News

Welcome to the start of another week in the world of timeshare, we begin with some news being passed around various forums regarding Anfi. As we know Anfi is contacting members to change their contracts, but the latest is rather disturbing.

The change in contracts is to try and bring them within the law, the new contracts will be for a maximum of 50 years, with apartment numbers and week numbers being allocated to the floating week contracts, although they will remain “floating”.

According to information received, the new contracts will also penalise the members for “early termination” of their membership. Any early termination of the contract will be seen as a serious breach of contract on part of the member, Anfi will then apply a retrospective charge on the member for “hotel Costs” of around 350€ per night for all weeks used.

They have already used this threat to members who may be contemplating legal action in regard to illegal and missold contracts. This is also the subject of an ongoing legal argument, which has yet to be finally resolved.

Another point that has come to our attention is the number of members who have just ceased to pay their maintenance, especially with the new contracts. It is reported that around 100 members in 10 countries are about to have legal proceedings made against them for recovery of the maintenance fee arrears. Plus to have the mentioned “hotel costs” charged against them.

Another point which is irritating some of the members posting on the forums is the problem of resale. According to many posters, Anfi has the right to refuse the buyer of any timeshare sold privately. Again this is to ensure that all resales go through the resale programme, which we know is not very effective and will only command a very small resale price.

As with any timeshare advertised for sale, the price you see is what the owner believes they will get, remember, when purchased, many were under the impression they were investing in property. The sales staff openly told them it would go up in value, as we know this is definitely not the case.

So what do we make of this change in contracts and the other tactics being used?

Simple, by changing to the new contract, you lose all rights to take them to court, this is what Anfi want, after all it is costing them a fortune in payouts. (Which they will deny).

The threat of the “hotel costs” with legal action against maintenance arrears and making it more difficult to sell privately, is again to stem the tide of a significant loss of membership. This loss hits them in the pocket with reduced income of maintenance fees. After all, they are not selling like they used too, people are very wary of purchasing timeshare today.

Canarian Legal Alliance has issued some figures for the last week of January and the first week of February.

At the Court of First Instance, in Maspalomas, they had 19 (nineteen) victories against Anfi del Mar alone.

There were also 2 High Court wins in Las Palmas, again against Anfi del Mar.

Again at the Court of First Instance in Maspalomas, Palm Oasis lost 3 cases.

Over in Tenerife, The Court of First Instance again found against Silverpoint in 2 cases.

In another First Instance hearing, Club la Costa were the ones on the receiving end of a judgement.

In all a massive 27 victories against the biggest names in European timeshare, the total amount claimed on behalf of clients is over 648,000€ with all contracts being declared null and void.

CLA have also issued this video, which shows their impressive record so far, it was made at the end of 2018.

That’s it for today, join us tomorrow for a very special article, this was received by another timeshare insider after we published the article on the Florida Bill 435, tomorrow we publish Part 1.

If you need any help or advice regarding your timeshare, about any company that has contacted you or you have found either on the internet or advert in any publication, then use our contact page. We will be pleased to help.

Also if you have any comments, views or information you would like to share with other timeshare owners, then again use our contact page, we would love to hear from you.

Friday’s Letter from America

Welcome to the first Letter from America of February, this week we hear another “Nightmare on Timeshare Street” from the Wheat family and their experience with Wyndham, edited by our very own Irene Parker. First a little news from Europe.

Yesterday, Thursday 31 January, at Birmingham Crown Court , Dominic O’Reilly, Stephanie O’Reilly and Eze Europe Limited, appeared for sentencing. As we know they had faced many charges of unfair trading practices, misleading consumers and many more. On checking the courts website this morning, nothing has yet been posted, but Inside Timeshare has emailed the court for confirmation of sentences and we are waiting for a reply. As soon as this comes in we will be publishing on these pages.

News came in this morning regarding another case involving Diamond Resorts in Tenerife, Canarian Legal Alliance originally had a case in which the Court of First Instance found in favour of Diamond. They instantly appealed this decision to the High Court

The High Court reviewed the case and ruled that the First Instance Courts decision was flawed, they immediately overruled the first court’s ruling, as per the Supreme Court rulings. They deemed that all 5 contracts were illegal and declared them null and void, they also awarded the client 100% of the purchase price, plus double the deposit paid within the 14 day cooling off period, all legal fees and legal interest. This client will now be receiving over 25,000€ and can now enjoy a timeshare free life.

Now for this weeks Letter from America.

The ‘Take Away Timeshare Close’

By a Wyndham buyer

February 1

By the Wheat Family

Introduction by Irene Parker

Inside Timeshare has heard from 671 families. Like a broken record, the member reports being told “I can’t believe that last salesperson sold you this!” You should have never bought:

 

  • So few points!
  • The wrong package!

 

Understand that this is a tried and true sales technique. I spent 30 years in sales selling in a number of industries, but can’t recall using this technique unless I felt the sales agent really did sell the buyer a wrong product. For example, as a stockbroker I would run into a young person’s 401K funded with a fixed income product. In timeshare, it’s used as a ploy. If both sides of the supposedly wrong/right product sell against each other, it means no consumer should buy the product. It’s not unusual to hear, on the same day, from two different members, Sales agent A said I should not have bought Product 1 while sales agent B said I should have bought Product 1. It’s called the Take Away Close:

The Take Away Close really takes some time to master. Though it sounds simple at first, the real secret is learning when to use it. The danger is always using the take away close and having a customer agree to purchase a lesser product when they were close to committing to a larger sale. From The Balance Careers

https://www.thebalancecareers.com/the-take-away-closing-technique-2918597

The Wheat Family Explains

The motive behind the ‘Take Away Close’ is to make the customer/prospect feel like they are missing out on something they should have been entitled to and then make them spend the money so they feel they are getting their money’s worth.

We experienced this sales ploy. I wonder how many other people fell for it too.

We bought a Discovery package (200,000 points) for $1,944 at Wyndham’s Great Smoky Lodge at the beginning of 2017. A credit card was opened and the purchase charged. When we tried to use the Discovery package for Florida in July 2017 it did not work. There were restrictions on when we could reserve. In August 2017 we tried to reserve in Myrtle Beach. We tried a third time at the beginning of 2018 for the Smoky Lodge. We were told it was full so we paid for two days ourselves. That is when another salesperson, JR Renteria, said they had 64 vacant rooms so we should have been able to reserve one. He said the problem was because of the Discovery package we purchased. Although Wyndham would not be able to reimburse us, they could give us a free week certificate (which turned out not to be free). Mr. Renteria advised us to upgrade so we would not have this lack of availability problem again.

With an upgrade we were told we would be VIP members and that the original credit card that was opened for our first purchase would be upgraded to a Gold credit card which we could use to reserve when and where we want to go, any day.  They said we could get 50% off cruises and restaurants. Other family members could make reservations in their names. Mr. Renteria said if we upgraded they would roll the original 200,000 Discovery package points over for the next year. Renteria gave us our documents after we signed the new contract, but told us to wait for the Gold Card and the Silver VIP card before we tried to book anything. This effectively dodged the contract rescission period. He told us we should receive the new cards in about a week. It took around three to four weeks before we received the VIP card. We still have not received the upgraded Gold Card. We were told we had six months to pay in full with no interest.

We bit and got bitten for $18,000.

Another strange thing was that Renteria said he wanted us to write a note saying the first reps, Carol Finch and Cyndy Vdaw, did not cover everything properly for the Discovery package. Maybe this was part of a scam, maybe Wyndham actually kept a copy. Either way, we wrote a note saying we did not understand everything on the Discovery package deal.

After the upgrade we tried to reserve a room to attend a wedding in Atlanta. Wyndham told us we would have to reserve two months in advance in order to use our points. (Renteria had said we could book on the day with our new Silver member status.) Wyndham told us that they could reserve a room for $188 on the day we needed it. The sad thing is we could book the same room for the same dates for $108 online.  You would think being a Silver member (VIP) we should have been able to get a better price than a non-member.

Renteria told us we could call him if we ever had any problems getting reservations and he would take care of it.  We tried to contact him but NEVER got a reply to any of our calls or texts.

We called Carol Finch at the Discovery timeshare when Renteria did not return our calls. I told Carol we were not happy and that nothing we were told was true. She said we should not have had to wait two months to reserve a room and Renteria should have combined the two timeshares. She said she would let him know and would call us back that afternoon. We have not heard back. That was the final straw. In this day and age of Expedia, Airbnb and Booking.com, don’t buy a timeshare. That’s my takeaway close.

But that’s not all!

To make things worse, after looking over the credit card application we found that the application had been doctored. There is an annual income noted under both of our names for $100,000 each.  However, $100,000 is what we may make combined, not individually. I have a copy of the credit card application as proof. My writing is very distinctive. I filled out the whole form, yet the only place that was left blank was filled in by someone with a much scruffier handwriting than mine and he wrote another $100,000 to double our annual income. We sent this obviously doctored form to Wyndham, but they did not even acknowledge it. They chose to focus on the parts of our complaint that they could reasonably deny because the lies were verbal and can’t be verified. Wyndham conducted an ‘investigation’ into our allegations of concealment and omission. We were informed, somewhat predictably, that their investigation had found that our allegations were baseless and the contract was properly executed and legally binding. I suppose I’ll go and ask the drunks to guard the bar for my next trick.

Other representations we feel were unfair and deceptive:

  • They did not say we were actually buying a timeshare. They called it a vacation ownership or something like that.
  • They said they would help us rent so we could earn a profit.
  • They said maintenance fees would never increase.
  • They said we could call every six months to continue our interest free rate.
  • They told us our purchase would give us more reservation rights than it actually did.

Do yourselves a favor and stay away from Wyndham. I imagine Wyndham is not alone, so the best advice is to stay away from timeshare altogether.

Thank you to the Wheat family for sharing their experience. Timeshare companies should want their buyers to feel good about their decision to buy a timeshare. Timeshare is not for everyone and we hope by sharing experiences, buyers will be better informed as to whether the timeshare product is right for their family.

Related articles:

Veteran family Wyndham buyer Kleen family article:

http://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-from-america-38/

Veteran family Wyndham buyer Althage family article:

http://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-from-america-37/

Self Help groups we feel are not industry influenced:

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.

https://www.facebook.com/timeshareadvocategroup/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/DiamondResortsOwnersAdvocacy/

https://tug2.com/Home.aspx

https://everythingabouttimeshares.com/consider-exchange-options/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/180578055325962/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/465692163568779/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1639958046252175/

Thank you Irene for your editing efforts and a very big thank you to the Wheat family for sharing their experiences with us. These real life stories that we publish do show how the industry is in dire need of reform, especially in the tactics employed by their sales agents. As we know when high commissions are the motivation, these agent will say and do anything to get the sale.

If the industry does not do anything themselves to curb these practices, then maybe like Spain, the law needs to take control in order to protect consumers. We do know that many other countries in Europe with a large timeshare presence have been watching Spain very closely and are also now in the process of enacting similar legislation.

If you have a “Nightmare on Timeshare Street” story that you would like to share then contact Inside Timeshare, it is through your own experiences that we hope we can make the industry listen and change.

Have you been contacted by any company with a story that sounds too good to be true?

Are you looking to do business with any company you have found on the internet or advertising in the press or magazines?

Do you want to know if they are genuine and will do what they say?

Are you able to find out for yourself or do you need help?

If you answer yes to any of these questions, then use our contact page and we will point you in the right direction.

Remember doing your homework will save you not only money but also a whole lot of stress.

Have a great weekend and join us again next week.

Maintenance Fees: To Pay or Not To Pay

One question Inside Timeshare receives on a regular basis is in regards to maintenance fees, “should we just stop paying them?”. Looking at many of the timeshare forums the general answer from posters is “yes, just ignore the bills, that is what I did, they won’t take you to court”.

It is also one of the main points that the so called relinquishment / cancellation / exit companies tell their clients, “once you sign up with us, don’t pay”.

Unfortunately, that is not quite true.

Many of the timeshare companies will chase for unpaid maintenance, at first through their own collections departments, but eventually they will pass these arrears to a debt collecting agency. Diamond along with other companies tend to use one of the biggest agencies in the UK, Daniels Silverman, based in Liverpool. MacDonald Resorts use Network Credit Services, based in Hamilton, Scotland.

The Ona Group based in Barcelona, Spain, actively chase unpaid maintenance fees, even for resorts they have taken over and the owner ended the contract with the original resort over 10 years ago. Ona Group say they have no record of the contract being cancelled and are taking those people through the Spanish Courts for upto 15 years unpaid fees. They use a law firm based in Barcelona called Punt Blau, who say they are are expert lawyers in the field of timeshare. The worst part of this will be the cost to the “debtor”, once the Spanish court has issued the judgement, it will be passed to a UK law firm and go through the County Courts for execution.

Once the debt has been passed to these agencies, you will be dealing with them not the resort, they will also incur huge amounts of interest and legal fees. You also then risk being issued with a County Court Judgement, commonly known as a CCJ. This will also have a very negative affect on your credit rating, preventing you from getting loans and even a mortgage.

Another question that arises from these enquiries is, “has anyone ever been taken to court, if so can you show us the judgements?”

Nobody has posted on any forum that they have been taken to court and lost”.

Well that is not surprising, would you publicise the fact that you have had a county court judgement made against you?

Agreed, it is not always taken to court, in most of the cases the person will give in to the threats of the debt collectors and pay. After all many of these owners are getting on in years and just want out, but they also have old views on debt, the stigma of being taken to court is a definite NO.

For the past few years Inside Timeshare has been highlighting the case of an elderly lady, now 90 years old, we called her Mrs B. She paid a company over £5000 to get her out of her MacDonalds timeshare at Dona Lola, this was in 2015. She was told the timeshare was no longer her responsibility and not to pay any further maintenance.

Her “debt” has been passed to Network Credit Services, this has now been handed over to a law firm Shepherd Wedderburn based in Edinburgh.

This firm is threatening to take her to court over the “debt”.

In their correspondence they even sent her copies of court judgements of MacDonald Resorts members who have been taken to court and had CCJs issued against them. They literally boast about it, which to an old lady is in our opinion a very serious threat.

They even place in their letter headed “Claims already issued in England and Scotland”, 4 cases along with which courts, case numbers and the names of the people involved, where MRL has won the claim.

  • Manchester County Court, Mr & Mrs S, case number C8QZ5392
  • Elgin Sheriff Court Scotland, Mr & Mrs C, case number ELG-SG24-18
  • Airdrie Sheriff Court Scotland, Mr & Mrs F, case number AIR-SG76-18
  • Gloucester & Cheltenham County Court, Mr & Mrs C, Case number E8QZ399H

These are genuine cases, these people have been ordered to pay and now have the dreaded CCJ on their credit files. All because they believed what they were told or read on various forums by idiots who have nothing better to do than give out bogus information on subjects they know nothing about.

There are ways of being rid of your timeshare, not paying your maintenance fees is not one of them. It may have been in the past when non-payment after 3 years the timeshare was repossessed, it may still hold true for the smaller independents, but for most of the big timeshare companies that is no longer the case.

If you have any questions on this subject and would like to know what your options are for relinquishing your timeshare, then use our contact page and we will point you in the right direction.

Friday’s Letter from America

Welcome to this week’s Letter from America, today’s article is from another new contributor, the Kleen family, who we welcome to our pages. They explain their own experiences and show how the lack of a secondary market can harm families. So on we go with another in the series “Nightmare on Timeshare Street”.

A Wyndham Worldmark Member Offers an Analysis

Families Harmed by No Secondary Market

There is no secondary market for timeshare ownership. No one wants to buy a timeshare, so owners have trouble getting rid of one.

https://thriftylittlemom.com/2015/06/25/should-you-invest-in-a-timeshare/

By the Kleen family

January 18, 2019

There is something inherently wrong with a product that cannot be sold or sometimes even given back, especially a product purchased for thousands of dollars. A lifetime is a long time to live without experiencing an adverse life event necessitating a need to sell. Wyndham states in their annual 10-k report that a viable secondary market is a risk to their investors. There is no mention of the risk to their customer stuck with their product that has virtually no secondary market.

Friends of ours in good standing with Wyndham received a $.36 per point buyback offer from Wyndham Ovations, which they accepted. The Wyndham Ovation program is Wyndham’s voluntary surrender program available to members in good standing. When we initially contacted “Wyndham Cares” about our medical hardship we had hoped for a similar offer, but never heard back. We have an outstanding loan, so are probably not eligible.

Timeshare points dramatically lose value. To compare, think of a house purchased for $100,000 that could only be sold for $11,666. That’s what $.36 per point would translate to for what we paid at $2.50 to $3.50 per point. They tell you think of your timeshare as a second home, but what home purchased for $100,000 would you buy that had a resale value of $11,666?  What would happen to the housing market if virtually no secondary market existed? Too many families are being harmed. If you own a home with a loan, you can still sell the home.

We purchased our Wyndham Worldmark timeshare in 2011.

Our son Matt believes it is imperative that veterans be provided more disclosure. The housing market requires veterans be provided greater disclosure, like on HUD loans. Especially for active duty service members, who can get transferred or sent overseas, the lack of a secondary market is of real concern. “In the case of my parents, they would have been eligible for the Armed Services Vacation Club, which Wyndham runs and operates. This would have been a much better program for them. My father even told the sales agent he was a veteran,” said Matt.   

In 2016 we wanted to help Matt. Matt is totally disabled, now living with us along with his daughter. The fact that not only is this timeshare worthless, but we are held hostage by it, prompted us to write this article hoping others will understand that timeshares are worthless, should you need to sell.        

In 2015 we were looking forward to enjoying our retirement and a timeshare seemed a good way to do it. This purchase fell far short of that. Every time we went to a resort, the staff enticed us with offers of gift cards and money to attend “owner updates” which were just other chances to use high pressure sales. There was never anything presented about updated information.

They always told us that our points would never lose their value. Salesman told us that our previous point level was worthless, and could only be rendered of value by buying more points, explaining we would have a much better chance to get where we wanted to go, when we wanted to go, only if we purchased additional points.

More than eight months ago we contacted WorldMark/Wyndham Resort Development to request a hardship release. We have called and contacted Wyndham several times, but never received any answers. A manager said she was going to do her best and get back to us. Not one word received.

We are full time caregivers for our son and his daughter. We can’t use the timeshare as originally planned.  Our two dependents require financial, medical, and emotional support. Our son needs special furniture. Traveling by car or plane is nearly impossible due to his lack of mobility.  Since they have never contacted us about our hardship request, we add that to our “lack of customer service” complaints.

Sales agents always presented offers in a very confusing way. We had to ask questions again and again and have them repeat their answers as we tried to get clarification on certain things. Sometimes we just gave up. The sales presentations always lasted longer than the promised 60-90 minutes. We would end up leaving because the salesmen wanted us to sign statements about the cost of points in the future if we did not buy right then. They got very nasty when we refused to sign.

The salesmen never told us that upgrading was mandatory, but they pressured us greatly to upgrade. We were able to get away and use the program a few times this year. It is not an easy thing to do because of the responsibilities at home, but we were able to get away for a few days at a time for respite. Most of these stays had to be around when Wyndham had availability, so trips were not always convenient.

We hope our article reaches the eyes of those considering a timeshare purchase. We question why anyone would spend so much money on an “asset” that is really a liability if even the timeshare company does not want it back.

If you know what you are buying is worthless, should you need to sell, and still are comfortable with your purchase, then buy the timeshare. We wish we had known.

Thank you to the Kleen family. We agree too many families have been financially harmed by timeshare’s lack of a secondary market. Contact Inside Timeshare if you have a story to share.

Self-help groups Inside Timeshare feels are not industry influenced.

https://www.facebook.com/timeshareadvocategroup/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/DiamondResortsOwnersAdvocacy/

https://tug2.com/Home.aspx

https://everythingabouttimeshares.com/consider-exchange-options/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/180578055325962/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/465692163568779/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1639958046252175/

 

That is it for this week, join us on Monday for news and information on the world of timeshare, have a great weekend.

Friday’s Letter from America

Welcome to this week’s Letter from America, today we welcome a new contributor David Althage with his Nightmare on Timeshare Street”  story. David is another in the long list of veterans who have experienced problems at the hands of timeshare sales agents. Once again a big thanks to Irene Parker for her introduction.

A Wyndham Timeshare Buyer, a Marine Veteran, Shares his Timeshare Experience

January 11, 2019

Introduction by Irene Parker

Marine Veteran David Althage is one of 90 veterans and active duty service members who feel they have been financially harmed by their decision to buy a timeshare. Many of the veterans are disabled. By publishing member accounts, we hope others will be made aware of the financial hardship that can result when a perpetual contract is signed, a contract accompanied by annual maintenance fees, with little to no secondary market.

We understand there are many who use and enjoy their timeshare. Many may have not been made aware of the difficulties that can arise when there is little to no secondary market.

A draft of today’s article was sent to Wyndham but the dispute was not resolved. We feel there should be better disclosure as to the lack of a viable secondary market. Timeshare companies list in their 10k annual reports a viable secondary market is a risk to their investors.   

By David Althage

I would like to share my Wyndham experience, hoping others will take the time to think about a decision that can easily become a financial albatross. I deeply regret our decision to buy the timeshare. They pressured us to a huge extent, but we didn’t realize this until much later. I feel we experienced elder abuse.

I am a veteran of the Marines. I served from 1964 to 1968 and ended up as a Corporal E4. I spent most of 1965 and 1966 in Vietnam and my specialty was machine gunner which I did on the ground and also as the door gunner on helicopters. I was wounded twice and I have also suffered from skin cancer, possible from Agent Orange. All of that seems a lifetime away as my wife and I have been settled for many years in Missouri. These days I repair mobile homes for work, and I keep going at this even though I am now 73. I do not have retirement or a pension. I only have social security.

My wife and I were in a Branson, Missouri mall when a woman at a kiosk told us she had some things to give away, but we would need to attend a 90 minute presentation. The 90 minute Wyndham presentation lasted over five hours. Over 5 hours!

The sales reps kept talking, stalling and feeding us more information. They talked so fast it was difficult to take it all in. There was a lot of paper. We started at 8:30 a.m. They did not tell us how much the timeshare would cost until about 12:30 p.m. We were tired, hungry. We kept asking how much longer it would take. The reps did not offer lunch nor would they allow us to leave to get lunch. Due to our medical issues, our heads were spinning, and my wife’s blood sugar was really dropping. She felt unwell. I suffer from macular degeneration and glaucoma, and I also need cataract surgery. I don’t see well. It was impossible to properly examine all the paperwork. And by the way, the original agent at the kiosk promised us show tickets on the Branson Belle, but it was sold out.

We are shocked at how hard this program is to use. Early in November 2017 we wanted to book a suite in Branson after Christmas in order to see a special show. We were surprised and totally disappointed when the booking center told us that we would have to book at least nine to ten months in advance. They had nothing available at any of their six Branson resorts. We don’t know our schedule that far ahead due to health issues and doctors’ appointments, etc. They did not tell us about having to book so far in advance at the sales meeting. We received a letter from Wyndham which stated,

“As part of an ongoing commitment to enable more owners to vacation where they want, when they want and how they want, in May we introduced updates to the CLUB WYNDHAM Plus Program Guidelines. These updates, made by the FairShare Vacation Owners Association Board, were introduced to help you own your vacation experience and get more out of your vacation.”

We really resent that Wyndham said we could vacation wherever and whenever we wanted. They didn’t give us the straight facts on how hard it is to book. I can only conclude that this statement was a lie.

We found out later that when you book a room and you have to cancel, you have to do it 17 days in advance of your reservation or you lose your points. This is an egregious way to treat anyone, let alone senior citizens! As a result of all this, the timeshare is not of much benefit, especially considering the price we pay.

Another point we wish to make is that the sales reps told us that by taking out visa cards through Barclays, and by making all our payments through these cards, the timeshare would “pay for itself” by generating income from points on purchases. They claimed that these points would then pay for our maintenance fees and our payments to Barclays as well. This is absolute nonsense! You can only pay for about 1% of the maintenance fee by charging, so a $2000 maintenance fee purchase would require $200,000 a year in charges!

One of the reps told us that if we decided we did not want the timeshare, we could easily sell it with no problem. By saying we could do this “with no problem” we took it that it would at least hold its value. Checking online, we were shocked to find out that these timeshares have almost no value at all. He misled us.

Sales agent Landon Anderson gave us his phone number and said to call him any time. He said, “If you ever have any problems, we will work with you.” We said we were going to Branson after Christmas to which he replied that he would take us out to dinner. We called and called, but there was no answer. We believe this number was a burner phone in a drawer somewhere.

Finally, the reps never gave us a hard copy of the contract. We specifically asked for this, but instead handed us a tablet saying that these days everything was electronic. As a result, we could not read the contract so I don’t even know if we could have rescinded in time. I called Wyndham and insisted that they send me a hard copy by mail. It took a long time to arrive. We have been unable to make the electronic device work, so for the longest time we had no idea what was on there.

It felt like they were only interested in making a sale.

This is my sorry Wyndham experience.

From Florida Trends

The world’s largest timeshare developer, Wyndham Destinations, got off to a promising start this summer as a standalone company. The Orlando-based business, established when Wyndham Worldwide split its hotel and timeshare divisions, announced in August that timeshare sales increased by 7% and earnings exceeded Wall Street expectations during its first quarter on its own. “It was an outstanding quarter,” Michael Brown, Wyndham Destinations’ president and CEO, said on the company’s earnings call with analysts.

There was a cloud over the results, however. During the call, Wyndham also revealed that the number of owners defaulting on their timeshare mortgages climbed during the second quarter, extending what has become a multiyear increase in defaults. The company says the rate of increase in its provision for loan losses has slowed to “under 5%” in the second half of 2018, but in the earnings call Brown said defaults remain “higher than we would like,” seconded by CFO Michael Hug, who added that “loan loss remains a central area of focus.”

Of the company’s nearly 900,000 owners, only 200,000 have loans. However, the company expects to set aside 21% of its gross sales to cover losses in 2018 — meaning it expects not to collect $21 of every $100 it’s loaned.

Wyndham blames much of the problem on secondary companies in the timeshare market — firms that resell timeshares, arrange for the transfer of ownership or help purchasers get out of their timeshare contracts.

https://www.floridatrend.com/article/25726/timeshare-tussle

We are no fans of exit companies, but the industry as a whole seems to show undue finger pointing at exit companies, rather than even consider there might be a problem in-house.   

Former Wyndham sales agent and whistleblower Trish Williams was awarded $20 million:

Wyndham’s sales goals for employees were impossible to meet if representatives adhered to the company’s policies and regulations governing timeshare sales, Robert Parker, a former sales executive, testified in depositions. When sales at the Canterbury lagged, he explained, something known as “TAFT days” came into play.

“TAFT is the acronym for ‘tell them any frigging thing,’” Mr. Parker testified. “In other words, it didn’t matter what you said. We need business. Today’s your day. Just tell them whatever you got to tell them. That’s what TAFT is.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/25/business/my-soul-feels-taller-a-whistle-blowers-20-million-vindication.html

It may be a lofty goal, but we are hoping that by hearing the consumer’s side, a better relationship, and better corporate margins can be achieved, by addressing the problems rather than pretend the problems don’t exist. Inside Timeshare has listened to 659 mainly infuriated timeshare members.

Self-help groups we feel are not industry influenced:

https://www.facebook.com/timeshareadvocategroup/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/DiamondResortsOwnersAdvocacy/

https://tug2.com/Home.aspx

https://everythingabouttimeshares.com/consider-exchange-options/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/180578055325962/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/465692163568779/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1639958046252175/

Thank you to David for sharing his story, if you find after reading these articles that you have similar experiences and would like to share them with other, then use our contact page. We will then be in touch and welcome your contributions. It is only through your stories and “Nightmares on Timeshare Street” that the industry might, just might take notice, then we may see changes for the better.

Following on from the many articles that Inside Timeshare publishes about bogus law firms, claims companies, resale and exit companies, if you have been contacted or even been taken in by them, again use our contact page to get in touch. Your information can then be published to warn others, it is only through you the readers that these scam merchants can be outed and others prevented from falling victim.

As always do your homework before engaging with any company that has contacted you or that you have found either on the net or through adverts in various publications. Just because you see an advert in a prestigious paper or magazine, does not mean they are legitimate. Remember, the advertising department is there to sell advertising space, they make no checks on whether the company is genuine.

Have a great weekend and join us again next week.

Friday’s Letter from America

Welcome to another edition of Letter from America, this week we publish another “Nightmare on Timeshare Street” which was originally published on 21 December 2018 but was withdrawn due to having to be changed. It is another story about the ongoing problem of Elder Abuse, Brenda Santos explains her parents “Nightmare”, edited by our very own Irene Parker.

The main character in today’s article is a name that has come up many times on Inside Timeshare, Rick Casper, a name that is well known around timeshare circles. Yet Diamond allowed him to continue his deceptive practices even though they should have known what he was doing, in this I believe Diamond is as culpable as Rick Casper.

We think that you will be shocked once you have read this article, so without any further ado, on with the last Letter from America before Christmas.

Why I Feel My Parents Experienced Elder Abuse

Their Encounter with Diamond Resorts and Rick Casper

By Brenda Santos, a daughter and Irene Parker

December 21, 2018

January 4, 2019 Retraction by Irene Parker

Diamond Resorts, via the Duane Morris law firm, has demanded that Inside Timeshare publish a retraction due to a misinterpretation of a sentence in the italicized paragraph below.

We mistakenly stated that Dan Percy allegedly sexually assaulted Rick Casper’s fiancée at Diamond CEO Michael Flaskey’s penthouse, when the alleged sexual assault, according to Rick Casper, took place in their guest accommodations. It was my understanding Michael Flaskey’s penthouse was the same property as the Villa, in other words, the Villa and Michael Flaskey’s penthouse were one and the same.

After receiving the letter objecting to the statement, Charles Thomas immediately deleted the offending sentences. However, Duane Morris/Diamond has demanded a retraction we thus provide.

We apologize for the misunderstanding. Our intent was to shed light on the actions twenty Diamond members contend were perpetrated by Rick Casper. The alleged sexual assault was mentioned because Rick Casper alleges he was fired for reporting the alleged sexual assault to Diamond’s Human Resource department, not because he created reasons why existing member had to buy additional points.      

The actual wording in the complaint filed in US District Court District of Nevada reads as follows:

  1. Plaintiff (Rick Casper) and Ms. McGrath left before the concert ended to retire early to their guest accommodations.  
  2. Upon information and belief, after the concert, Defendant Percy and other Diamond Resorts employees and contest winners were invited by Michael Flaskey to his Penthouse Suite at Cabo Azul for more cocktails and then later to the hotel bar, whereupon Defendant Percy and another Diamond Resorts employee were nearly engaged in an altercation.
  3. Upon information and belief, Percy was drinking heavily at the dinner, the concert, and at Flaskey’s Suite and hotel bar.
  4. Plaintiff’s guest accommodations at the Diamond Resorts event were at guest bedroom at Villa Palmila, a Diamond Resorts property (“Villa”). The Villa was a well-appointed house with several bedrooms. Plaintiff and Ms. McGrath had their own bedroom and shared the Villa with other Diamond Resorts employees and contest winners who occupied the other bedrooms.
  5. To get to Plaintiff’s bedroom in the Villa, it was necessary to walk through two sets of double doors.

Original paragraphs:   

According to the lawsuit, Mr. Casper earned over $1 million in 2015, $2.4 million in 2016 and $2.4 million in 2017 selling Diamond timeshare points. Why did this go on so long when members reported his actions as far back as early 2016? Members report being told Casper said the member would be able to sell points or eliminate maintenance fees if they bought more points – programs that did not exist. Casper filed the lawsuit alleging his Diamond VP Dan Percy sexually assaulted his fiancée at Diamond CEO Michael Flaskey’s penthouse in Cabo San Lucas. Casper alleges he was fired for reporting the incident to Diamond’s Human Resource department.

As Rick Casper alleges, “At instruction of DIAMOND RESORTS, Plaintiff CASPER was asked to identify or facilitate issues that were wrong with the owners’ current ownership points.” Case 2:18-cv-01455-GMN-NJK

Original December 21 article with the offending paragraph omitted:

Having connected with six other grown children whose parents have been harmed by timeshare, it is our intention to organize a media, legislative and regulatory outreach for the purpose of alerting the public as to unfair and deceptive timeshare sales practices which we feel also constitutes elder abuse. We are professionals. Three of us have parents who are veterans, one a double Purple Heart recipient.

My father Dale, age 73, is an Army veteran and was a Captain in the Vietnam War. He earned a Bronze Star for Victorious Service. My mom will be 73 in January. Our family has been financially and physically devastated by their decision to buy Diamond timeshare points. My parents always lived debt free, saved to buy things like cars, so having to do a reverse mortgage because of what these sales agents told my parents is unbearable. We have learned we are not alone.

Roy and Lillian Simmons, a Navy veteran and a retired letter carrier

http://insidetimeshare.com/tuesday-slot-irene-13/

Raymond and Teresa Mori, Mr. Mori a Marine Veteran, two Purple Hearts

http://www.insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-america-42/

My parents represent the 20th Rick Casper complaint from our support group of over 2,000 Diamond Resort families. I have learned Rick Casper’s name is known among law firms outside of our group.

In a lawsuit Rick Casper filed August 7, 2018 against Diamond Resorts and his former VP Dan Percy, Rick Casper admitted he created reasons or problems why existing members needed to buy additional timeshare points, as happened to my parents. A summary of the 20 Rick Casper complaints are listed below. As Diamond understands Rick Casper employed deceptive and unfair sales tactics, it is wrong not to recognize and correct what Diamond and Rick Casper did to my parents. I challenge anyone to read the 20 complaints and not conclude my father is telling the truth.

According to the lawsuit, Mr. Casper earned over $1 million in 2015, $2.4 million in 2016 and $2.4 million in 2017 selling Diamond timeshare points. Why did this go on so long when members reported his actions as far back as early 2016? Members report being told Casper said the member would be able to sell points or eliminate maintenance fees if they bought more points – programs that did not exist. 

As Rick Casper alleges, “At instruction of DIAMOND RESORTS, Plaintiff CASPER was asked to identify or facilitate issues that were wrong with the owners’ current ownership points.” Case 2:18-cv-01455-GMN-NJK

My parents were former Sunterra owners since 2006. Their problems first started when they went to a timeshare presentation at Diamond’s Daytona Beach Regency resort on May 11, 2015. According to my parents, they were told they were not full Diamond members so it was important to get things changed. The sales agent explained that Diamond took over Sunterra due to bankruptcy.

That was not true. Diamond Resorts acquired Sunterra, but not because of bankruptcy: https://www.travelweekly.com/Travel-News/Hotel-News/Diamond-Resorts-to-acquire-Sunterra-Corp-for-700-million

The following is what my father recounted to me about his Diamond experiences.

The Florida sales agent in 2015 explained that we needed to get out of our current Sunterra contract to become Diamond members. He used scare tactics to get us concerned that if we did not make the switch to Diamond officially our current investment with Sunterra would be worthless. The sales agent said if we purchased Diamond points, we would no longer be part of a bankrupt orphan group.

We previously purchased a Diamond Sampler (trial) package but it was almost impossible to get a reservation. We were trying to figure out how to get out of it when the sales agent presented what seemed to be a perfect solution. He said that by buying additional points, Diamond would fold our Sunterra contracts into one new Diamond points system. Several managers explained that we were not going to have enough points to do anything now that the Sunterra credit card was not able to be used due to the bankruptcy. The manager told us we would have legal issues and would risk losing everything and would not be able to sell the timeshare if we were not fully vested Diamond members.” We have learned Diamond points are virtually worthless.

After six hours, we were exhausted. Irene is diabetic and her blood sugar was increasing. We were stressed from hearing the news about our bankrupt investment, so we signed fast just to get out of there to get Irene’s blood sugar taken care of. We were thrilled to be out of the Sampler and thought we were finally set as a fully vested Diamond member. Diamond sales agent Mike sounded very helpful so we bought 2500 points for $10,925.

Three months later, on August 11, 2015 we met with Scott at Cancun Resort in Las Vegas. This meeting lasted seven hours. The representative kept reiterating how he was just trying to help us get out of the mess we were in because of our Florida purchase.

Scott said the only way to get the best benefits was to purchase more points to get to Silver status. He explained that until you get to Silver you will have all kinds of problems. He also said our maintenance fees would be taken care of and we would be able to sell points back, possibly at a profit. We said we were not interested. A manager told us we needed to know the truth about what happened to us as a result of our Florida purchase because the changeover to Diamond did not happen correctly. He said we were still not fully deeded with Diamond Resorts.  

Diamond points are not deeded.

The sales agents said we had to purchase 6,500 points to get out of Sunterra completely to become a true vested Diamond member. He told us the vacations and airline tickets would pay for the points so we would not be out any other money and that maintenance fees would not increase, but be capped by reaching Silver status. None of this was true.

I was offered a Barclay credit card to pay for the fees. We purchased 6500 points for $22,945. Silver status benefits were totally misrepresented. Our maintenance fees were not taken care of. We found out later that our prior contracts were indeed with Diamond and legit.

My parents purchased 7500 points on March 15, 2016

Purchase price:  $32,625

We went to a timeshare presentation on March 15, 2016 and met with Rick Casper at Cancun Resort in Las Vegas. Casper told us when we started the presentation that he was not going to sell us anything. He said we had not been told the truth about a lot of things and that he wanted to make things right. “With the program I am in charge of there will be an exit strategy so that someday, if you don’t want the timeshare and your kids do not want it, they can exit out easily.” He said he was a family guy and would not want his kids to have to deal with high maintenance fees so it would be better to ensure a cap on maintenance fees. He explained how we or our children would never be able to get out of the timeshare in the future unless we were part of his special group that would allow us to exit. He said we could make money on our investment by selling points.

Rick Casper showed us a worksheet as to what we would save by using points for maintenance fees and airfares. The math figures made sense. I already had a Barclay card that I used to finance the 2015 purchase. Rick Casper told us that if my wife could get her own Barclay card we could put almost the entire purchase on the Barclay Mastercard.  

We were there for over seven hours. We felt like hostages because they would not give us our free gifts until Rick’s supervisor finished. We bought with the understanding that we would be able to sell points. The charges on our Barclaycard ended up being way more than was disclosed.  Rick Casper said our Gold status bonus points would put a cap on maintenance fees for generations, but our maintenance fees skyrocketed as a result of this contract which was supposed to consolidate four prior contracts.

We signed fast because Irene almost passed out due to her diabetes and blood sugar levels. We told Rick we had to leave. We were tired and already under a lot of emotional distress to find out that Scott Pritchard did not fix anything the year before. We felt pressured to make it right or risk never being able to use points to pay for maintenance fees or exit out of the timeshare without being in Rick’s special elite program.  

When we received our Barclay credit card statement we noticed an additional $1000 charged for what Rick Casper presented to us as a gift from Diamond.

We contacted Diamond. A representative told us that there was no way we could use our points to pay for maintenance fees. I called and asked Rick Casper to correct the issue. His response was in a loud screaming threatening voice, “How dare you accuse me? I didn’t tell you those things; you are trying to get me in trouble. I am going to sue you if you pursue this and go to my supervisor.” I told him that he was dishonest and that we would take action.  His screaming was abusive, degrading, and caused me physical and mental distress. I have been through a lot of trauma as a Vietnam War veteran but have never been screamed at and degraded like Rick Casper did to me. I ended up very traumatized emotionally which caused me to have a stress attack in 2016.

After recounting this incident for my daughter a few weeks ago, I had a similar attack and had to be admitted to the hospital for heart symptoms. The doctor was a different doctor from the same medical group. He noted from my patient history that the mention of Diamond prompted my 2016 symptoms. I was put on blood pressure medication due to this emotional stress and have daily deteriorating health issues as a result of the stress this causes me every time I walk into my house and know I have debt on my home as a result of tactics I consider to be an organized effort to take advantage of us.

We had to do a reverse mortgage on our home as a result of these timeshare purchases because our social security income was too low to cover the total charged on both Barclay cards. I worked as a Baptist pastor until retirement. My credit score was 817 the day we met with Rick Casper but it has gone down considerably.  

In May 2016 we went to another Diamond presentation to try and figure out how to use our points to pay for our maintenance fees since we were having a hard time getting through to anyone at Diamond.  The timeshare representative was very embarrassed about what had happened and apologized on behalf of Diamond Resorts for the deception. He told us he wanted to help us understand what we had. He said that paying $32,625 for 7500 points was unheard of and that we could not do anything Rick Casper told us we could do at our current Gold status, which he said was only put in the system temporarily.  

That Diamond representative told us that we should take action and file a complaint. He explained how using points for an airline ticket would cost us 11,000 points (or about $2,200 for one domestic airline ticket) so not a good deal. We could not use points to pay for maintenance fees at Gold status. Only Platinum members can use points to pay maintenance fees and at only $.04 per point.  

Gold status did not give us what Rick Casper said it was going to give us, which included paying maintenance fees with points, exiting out of the timeshare, and being able to sell our timeshare points to make money on our investment.

We are both in terrible health and financial distress as a result of this Diamond resort investment trauma.

I learned of this only recently. I’m still trying to grasp the situation.  Diamond responded denying the request to cancel the last purchase because they used their points and said that nothing Rick Casper said was in writing. What is there to stop this from happening to others if misrepresentations continue unchecked? I believe my parents. How could anyone not believe them after reading so many similar complaints? I sent this article to Diamond for comment on December 17, but they did not respond.   

Twenty Rick Casper Complaints and excerpts from articles submitted by those who purchased points from Rick Casper:           

  1. SM, age 65 and his wife 81, 21 years Army, trained chemical, biochemical, nuclear defense RESOLVED http://insidetimeshare.com/nightmares-timeshare-street/

After the last Rick Casper up-sell, their monthly payment escalated from $431 a month to $2200. They told Mr. Casper they were worried about passing this burden on to their heirs.  

  1.  CL $75,000 RESOLVED – A Stage 4 cancer patient

During our meeting we were told about all the changes that had been discussed at the dinner that would allow us to sell our points. My husband has cancer so all that was going through his mind was trying to make a choice that would help me later on if the chemo didn’t work and when Rick Casper convinced him this was the answer that’s all that my husband heard.  

  1. N C, ages 67 and  69 $142,000 RESOLVED

http://insidetimeshare.com/another-nightmare-timeshare-street/

We are both disabled and retired from civil service. Dan is a retired army Lt. Colonel and a combat Vietnam and Desert Storm veteran.  

We are Platinum members. We feel our most recent Diamond purchase was made under deceptive and extremely high pressure selling techniques. We had been struggling with two loan payments of $329 and $121 but the most recent purchase we did not even realize we made, will drive us into foreclosure. Rick Casper in Las Vegas on January 22, 2017 sold us 50,000 Diamond points bringing our total number of points to 106,000. Our new loan payment is $2,133 a month which we cannot pay. The $142,400 purchase of 50,000 points included $17,000 charged to a DRI Barclaycard. We did not realize we made this $142,000 purchase until we returned home and checked our credit cards. As I have had a double mastectomy, undergone chemotherapy, radiation and have had two knee replacement surgeries, buying more vacation points was in no way our intention. Dan has had two minor strokes and a mild heart attack. He has chronic pain and is on 25 medications prescribed by the VA and our doctors. He suffers from PTSD. I was in terrible knee pain. Rick provided me with two glasses of wine in a Styrofoam cup with plastic lids because alcohol is not allowed at presentations.

Rick said we should join the new “Legacy program” that allows members to sell blocks of Diamond points to a third party with all Diamond benefits intact.  He said if we joined the Legacy program “people would be standing in line to buy our points.”

After six hours, my pain increased and I became confused. I walk with a cane so it was an effort just to walk to the restroom as it was some distance. Dan was confused due to diabetic symptoms. We were so overwhelmed by the time we were signing contracts, we did not even realize we were buying points. Rick kept saying we would receive 50,000 bonus points. We signed just to get out of there.

  1. KK, age 61 $117,000 RESOLVED

Questionnaire sheet asked: Had you attended a dinner? What is your exit strategy? Apollo had dinners informing members Cloobeck was leaving.  Not everyone heard the presentation so Rick was talking to Platinum members about the Legacy program. He said DRI never allowed you to sell points. This will. He knows real estate people can get $5 on resale for DRI points. New members are paying $9 so if you buy at $4 it is easy to sell. He had contacts that he could set us up with. 12/29/2016

5 RB, age 66 $75,000 RESOLVED

Mr. Casper said on at least four occasions I was eligible for a Pool Party Upgrade that would provide an exit strategy. He said the program was about to expire so I needed to write a sentence that said I wanted to do this and he would get the purchase approved. I never received a copy of the sentence. The purpose was to make my existing points more valuable. Mr. Casper went on to explain that this exit strategy would allow me to monitor and sell points. He mentioned that he is a family man and does not want to pass his points and maintenance fees on to his kids.

6 JH, age 56 $132,000 RESOLVED

The main benefit that Rick Casper presented was the ability to convert points directly into cash at $0.30 per point. If we had leftover points, he said we could be reimbursed in cash. All we had to do was contact Rick’s Vice President Dan Percy who would process the transaction and put the money on our reloadable Visa card.

I continued to ask questions about each benefit to be certain.  I worded questions differently to see if I would get the same answer.  I threw out this scenario; if at the end of the year I have 30,000 points still sitting in my account, you’re telling me that I can get reimbursed cash for these points at $0.30 per point?”  His response; “Absolutely – You contact Dan Percy and he will load $9,000 onto the Visa card.” We purchased 40,000 points to get us to the level of Super Platinum. There is no level above Platinum.

7 AC, age 68 $55,000

http://insidetimeshare.com/wednesday-article-america/

We purchased an additional 20,000 points on July 16, 2016 for $55,200 from Richard Casper. The reason is because Rick told us if we went from Gold to Platinum, he could sell points to substantially reduce our maintenance fees by submitting receipts to him for goods and services. We have never seen a tangible way to reduce our current $8,685 fees.  

During the presentation we asked about combining our eight contracts. Casper advised that any free and clear points sold on the resale market will have the same benefits except loyalty level as long as no more than 20,000 points were sold to one individual so it would be better not to combine the points. None of this was true. Casper stated that many Gold owners would be happy to buy 20,000 points at the lower price to become Platinum.  

We contacted Richard Casper by email on April 7, 2017 because we needed to sell 20,000 points. We received an auto reply stating to contact VP Dan Percy. Dan Percy stated that Diamond Resorts sales personnel don’t assist people who need to sell points.

8 JM, age 61 $90,000 RESOLVED

Rick Casper was introduced to me as a Platinum specialist. Mr. Casper said I made a big mistake buying Hawaii points and a bigger mistake transferring the 20,000 points I bought in Daytona, due to a class action lawsuit against DRI that caused exorbitant increases in maintenance fees because of storm related beach erosion.  

Mr. Casper said I had to transfer back to US Collection and if I owned 100,000 points I would be unofficially known as double Platinum and that I could sell unused points back to Diamond at 30 cents per point. Mr. Casper said this was closely regulated by the authorities. Mr. Casper said by selling these points back I could pay some or all of my maintenance fees for that year and years to follow. Mr. Casper said this would allow my children not to have to pay maintenance fees. “You are really passing your children a bill.  We have a new program if you reach me in November to let me know what you did not use. Diamond will buy the points back at $.30 to, ‘put them back in the kitty’. We need the points because we can sell them to other people who need them. What are you waiting for? This is a no brainer.”

I purchased an additional 30,000 points. I now owned 115,000 points. Mr. Casper said the reason for the 30 cent program was due to the sale of Diamond to Apollo. Mr. Casper said Mr. Cloobeck wanted to do something for members who owned over 100,000 points to show his appreciation. He included the 30 cent per point program in the terms of the Apollo buyout.  

In November 2016 I called Rick Casper to inform him I had 80,000 points I wished to cash in so that I would receive $24,000 as he had illustrated.  He denied any knowledge of the arrangement.  I spoke with Dan Percy. He said no such program existed.    

  1. SW 100% disabled Army veteran Agent Orange exposure

April 6, 2018 $170,000 1099 issued

http://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-america-44/

In 2016 we went to Las Vegas and stayed at Diamond’s Cancun resort and met with Rick Casper. Mr. Casper said if we upgraded, we would be able to cover maintenance fees. However, maintenance fees increased after the upgrade from $5,000 to $16,000 a year. After five hours, my blood sugar was at 400. I was recovering from congestive heart failure. Rick Casper said it would cost us $198,000, $2500 a month in payments for the next 10 years but after ten years we would have no maintenance fees and no loan payment. Rick Casper said, “Then the little people will be paying for your vacation.” He said it would take up to a year and a half to set up but he would personally handle it. He said since we were only paying $3, he had a guy that could sell points for much more than that and the proceeds would pay for maintenance fees. I ended up paying a company in Branson MO $1500 to get out of this; but now the IRS has issued us a 1099 for $170,000. I’m 71 years old.

#10 MP RESOLVED, a widow, a speech teacher, age 71

April 2018 Platinum

My husband John and I purchased an additional 25,000 US Collection points May 2017 from Rick Casper. He said we had to purchase these points to take advantage of a program that would allow us not to have to pay Maintenance Fees after we paid off our loan. Mr. Casper said the program description had been sent to us in a letter we should have received. Rick Casper told us that because we did not get a letter, Diamond would still offer what had been offered.  He did not have a copy of the letter. Rick Casper told my husband and me (John was still alive at the time), that once we paid off our loan, we would not have to pay maintenance fees.

The scare that Rick put into me was because he said we would be paying a million dollars in maintenance fees over our lifespan if we did not buy the additional 25,000 points.  Rick Casper explained how Diamond maintenance fees would continue to skyrocket. We purchased the 25,000 points for $86,250. Wed had purchased 53000 points previously.

John was in much pain. We did not know at the time he had cancer, spine and skeleton, which had metastasized. John kept saying, “I do not want to do this.” Rick Casper even asked, “Is he alright?” I was incredulous because it was obvious John was not alright. He was diagnosed with cancer October 13, 2017. Our presentation started at 8:30 AM and did not end until 7:30 PM. John was terribly affected by my decision. He couldn’t get over what we (I) had done because we already had enough points.

Well, in order to not have to wait ten years to not pay maintenance fees, I went right out and got a lower interest rate home equity loan. I felt this way I could pay the loan off in 30 days so that I would not have to pay 2018 maintenance fees.

#11 D H UNRESOLVED

We told Rick Casper about our concerns:

  1. Concerned about paying even more maintenance fees if we purchased more points.

Rick reassured us that if we purchased more points we could use them to pay all our maintenance fees every year and still have points left to travel.

We trusted Rick so we bought 25,000 more points, upgrading to Platinum so that we could take advantage of the .30 per point benefit. How can this be justified? These deceitful sales tactics go against many laws (FBI, ARDA and SEC to name a few).

  1. Concerned that we couldn’t use the points we already had, let alone buy more.

Rick was very skilled in reassuring us that all would be ok if we purchased more points. He even stated that as Platinum he would be our personal concierge.

  1. Concerned our timeshare was not a good investment.

Rick reassured us it was a good investment, and that points were selling for more than what we originally paid; he showed us a chart with yearly increases. He mentioned that he had a friend that resells timeshares and that DR points were in high demand. He said that if we ever decided to sell that he would put us in touch with his friend, who can easily sell our points for double what we paid. This eased our minds. Nov. 2016, I texted Rick and asked him if he still knows a guy that’s willing to buy our timeshare. He never replied.

#12 J K We were Gold members, told we could save on maintenance fees via a reloadable VISA card that would be credited to pay maintenance fees. Purchasing additional points or upgrading to Platinum was never mentioned.

Rick Casper said DRI VP Dan Percy would take care of our 2018 maintenance fees.  Due to signing electronically, we were not aware we had purchased an additional 30,000 points until we returned home and reviewed the actual documents, received new credit cards, and invoices. It was difficult, if not impossible, to read the contract via the electronic signing.

I have learned there is a real program called 20/20 or 30/30, depending on the loyalty level in which 30% of vacation points can be credited toward travel discounts.  Rick Casper adulterated the actual program to be able to cover himself and Dan Percy. In other words, you can redeem points at $.30 per point, but not for the reasons Rick Casper stated. You cannot redeem points at $.30 per point to pay maintenance fees.

#13 MS, ages 80 and 84 Parents of #12

Rick Casper said Dan Percy would handle our 2018 maintenance fees. He explained that the program they were up for and the current ownership will benefit us and allow for better use of ownership.  Due to the electronic signing of the contract, we did not know we had purchased 30,000 additional points until we returned home and could properly review the documents, received the credit cards and invoices. It was difficult, if not impossible, to review the contracts on the small Tablet.  

#14 M Y, age 72

We went to Polo Towers September 2, 2017. We wanted to know how to reduce maintenance fees. Rick Casper told us that the only way to reduce maintenance fees was to buy more points. He asked, “Are you happy about paying all these maintenance fees?” We purchased 47,500 additional points.

When we got home, three Barclay cards came in the mail. We were charged almost $28,000. He never mentioned that he was even going to open the cards. We already had one Barclaycard. When we got to our room, we reviewed the documents, but it did not really show the Barclay charges.

The very next day we told Joey Guiterrez we wanted to cancel. He said if you cancel you will lose all your benefits and be fined $40,000. I asked why and he said that’s just how it is. When I complained, he denied saying this. My husband was with me. I became depressed for months.

#15 T T Rick Casper complaint

TT (age 51) and IT

25000 points purchased Polo Towers, Las Vegas, NV on September 5, 2017

Sales Agent: Richard “Rick” Casper – Real Estate License S.0172679

Purchase Price: $102,000

Down Payment: $29,000

Amount Financed: $73,750 @ 12.1305%

Down payment charged to Barclay Diamond Cards

Rick Casper said we would not have to pay out of pocket for Maintenance Fees ever again, and we would not have to worry about losing any points at the end of the year – Dan Percy, VP of Sales, will be in contact with us after 21 days and will work with us.

Casper said that if we did not purchase, we would not be included in the new program to use our points to pay for all our maintenance fees. He caught our interest when he told us how the Maintenance Fee could be fully paid for by points and the credit card program by getting credit for paying for the Maintenance Fee, flights, car rentals, cruises and other travel expenses. He said the points could be redeemed at $0.30/point. What Rick told and showed us addressed many of the struggles and anxieties that we faced owning the timeshare, so we were glad to hear about the new programs (we later learned did not exist).

Rick said to get started; we needed to purchase more points. I asked Rick specifically: “If we were to be in this new program, would we need any out of pocket money to pay maintenance fees?”  He replied that by using points and the credit card, that with the additional 25000 points, it would be enough to cover the maintenance fees for future years.

I was unemployed at the time, so asked if we could delay purchasing more points but he became very strict in explaining the offer was only for this session, and how he would note that we refused the new program on the exit form. We felt compelled to purchase the points. We definitely do not need these additional points.

Dan Percy moved to Hawaii and directed inquiries to go to Joey Gutierrezs.

My wife and I have determined through contact with Joey Gutierrez and others at Polo Towers that the program for points for maintenance fees does not exist. Platinum members can pay maintenance fees at $0.04 (not $0.30) per point and will not pay the full MF amount of $8,631.  

#16 G K

We bought points five or six times. We did not have problems with Diamond until we encountered Rick Casper.  We purchased 50,000 points. I called Joey Guiterrez two days after we purchased to cancel. He was skillful in dodging the rescission clause.  Our Polo Towers meeting with Rick Casper was August 18, 2017

I was told at the beginning of the meeting that I would be spending $700,000 over the next 20 years just in maintenance fees. Rick Casper said he would help me create a program to cover these expenses. I pulled out my cell phone to use the calculator to check this figure. Mr. Casper assured me the amount was correct so I put the calculator away. The $700,000 was not correct. I created an Excel spreadsheet based on the average increase of 5.6% a year.

My maintenance fees were about $14,200 at the time. Rick Casper said that if I purchased 50,000 points, I would be able to redeem the points at an average of $.20 a point which would generate $10,000 in cash. Rick Casper said I could then sell half the points I already owned to generate the remaining amount to cover the maintenance fees.

I called Diamond Resorts around February of 2018 and asked to redeem 50,000 points. I was informed there was no such program. I would have to use my points for travel such as airfare ($.10 a point) or restaurants or lodging outside Diamond at only $.10 a point. There were very few ways in which to use points for this. I don’t need a new TV let alone dozens of them.

Rick Casper said I would be assigned my own agent (Daniel Percy) in Vegas to assist me with all bookings. When I called I found out that the bookings would simply be made through Interval International. It seems Daniel Percy worked in tandem with Rick Casper.

No mention was made of the fact that purchasing an additional 50,000 points would raise my maintenance fee by approximately $8,300.

AFTER signing, I was given a folder with the spiral bound book that said to the effect: “Read This Thoroughly before Signing Any Documents”.  Upon reflection of the documents I signed, I found that my maintenance fees would now increase by over $8000 meaning any efforts to “cover my maintenance fees” with this contract were useless!

We had an early start to the airport the next morning to arrive in Seattle for our Alaska Cruise. I placed a call Mr. Joey Guiterrez. I told him I wanted to cancel. He spent about 20 minutes trying to convince me otherwise. He finally said, “Well, if that is what you want” and left it there. On the sixth calendar day, Mr. Guiterrez contacted me. I had called to ask why the contract had not been cancelled. He stated that the contract had to be cancelled in writing within five calendar days. Mr. Guiterrez obviously waited until the sixth calendar day to dodge the rescission period.

The only response from Diamond was, “You signed the contract.”  Noting all of the lies that lead me to sign the contract were a non-issue according to the person I talked to.  .

#17 P B

Disabled, worked ER for 20 years, attacked by patient, the patient did know what she was doing

Age 63 LA County Sheriff’s Department

Deputy Sheriff for 25 years

Our accounts have been foreclosed.  We were in good standing until we met with Rick Casper.

In 2016 we stopped at Polo Towers.  We told them we were having trouble financially because I was on disability income and my husband was just retired. They said they could offer us a refinance but it ended up we purchased US Collection points not even knowing we had purchased them. They said they would slip the paperwork under our door. They did not. We had no documents provided to us. Before we got on our plane to continue on a Dream Holiday, I received an email (which Diamond says does not exist but I have a copy) saying attached is our paperwork and that they would mail the documents. The purchase made us Platinum but we were not even aware we had bought additional points.

Rick Casper did the paperwork process. He went over with us about the refinancing and that the 2017 and 2018 maintenance fees would be included.  We had met Dan Percy before the closing process. He also confirmed that we were doing a refinance that would include the maintenance fees and that this transaction would reduce our monthly payments by a few hundred dollars per month.

They said Dan Percy would be our contact person.  An email said that if we received a maintenance fee invoice, we should contact Dan Percy. We contacted Percy after we received a maintenance fee invoice for $15,000. He said we owe the money.

This company is beyond belief.

#18 TF A non-disclosure agreement signed.

#19 TZ 60,000 points were purchased, but I rescinded the Casper purchase because they would not put in writing what I was told.  Casper tried to convince us to get a mortgage on our home. He said there was no way to get out of a Diamond contract.

Rick Casper complaint #20 are my parents.

Thank you Brenda for your contribution and also to Irene for taking the time to edit, as you have seen, this character has caused untold misery and that is the ones we know about. The question is how many more people have had to suffer a “Nightmare on Timeshare Street” because of Rick Casper?

This message is not just to Diamond, but to all timeshare companies who allow their sales agents to do what the hell they like, just so they can line their pockets with millions in commissions. They are your employees, they are selling your product, they are selling your name, you are “RESPONSIBLE FOR WHAT YOUR SALES AGENTS SAY!”

If you have any comments or have a similar story to tell, then contact us at Inside Timeshare by using our contact page, we will get back to you.

The Tuesday Slot

Welcome to the Tuesday Slot, today in her article Irene Parker continues to address a very serious problem that of timeshare foreclosure, especially for seniors. Inside Timeshare has been highlighting this problem for some time and we will continue to do so.

Timeshare Foreclosure Explained to Lenders

When and Why Some Timeshare Buyers Have No Choice

The Heartbreak of Senior Timeshare Foreclosure

We had to do a reverse mortgage on our home as a result of these timeshare purchases because our social security income was too low to cover the total charged on both Barclay cards. A reverse mortgage was the only way we saw to deal with the financial distress.  My credit score was 817 the day we met with the timeshare sales agent but it has gone down considerably after that purchase.

A former Army Captain, Vietnam

By Irene Parker

December 18, 2018

Over the past year I have received calls from mortgage brokers calling on behalf of former timeshare members trying to buy a house, battling the decline in their credit score due to timeshare foreclosure. When I explain to the lender that consumers are often left with no choice but to foreclose, due to no secondary market and the contract perpetual, the call has always ended with the mortgage broker convinced.

Six grown children, alarmed and astonished at the deceit their parents described at the hands of timeshare sales agents, have connected to bring to light unfair and deceptive timeshare sales practices. Their parents are being driven, or were driven, into timeshare foreclosure. They possessed credit scores over 800 until they were up-sold into insolvency, now trying to understand how our country could leave senior after senior financially devastated. Two of the six families have previously published articles. On Friday we publish an article submitted by a third family, her parents financially and physically devastated because they believed a series of timeshare sales agents. We have received 20 complaints directed against their sales agent. He earned $2.4 million selling timeshare points in 2016 and $2.4 million in 2017. The complaints are similar or identical.

If you buy a house, car, or boat, and there is loan outstanding, you can still sell the asset. Timeshare companies themselves don’t want the timeshare back because, when no longer wanted or needed, a timeshare is a liability. What would happen to the primary housing market if we suddenly learned there was no secondary market? Damages suffered by senior timeshare members, often accumulating points over several purchases, are commonly $100,000 to $300,000 or more, easily the cost of a home. Often the  report of deceit happens at the last one or two purchases, because a level of trust developed over the years until they purchased for reasons that did not exist – programs that would relieve them of maintenance fees or allow them to sell points. Members reaching out to us all report that they were told at purchase the timeshare would be easy to sell, it is real estate, an investment.

When the buyer has experienced unfair and deceptive sales practices, the result exacerbates the financial disaster, as has been reported by many of the 626 families that have reached out to us angry, overwhelmed and desperate. Some have learned within 24 hours after the rescission period, what they bought was a far cry from what was described.   

Such deceptive practices are known within the industry as “pitching heat” and the answer to complaints are routinely dismissed with, “You signed a contract” or “We are not responsible for what our sales agents say.” In Nevada, all complaints we have received that were submitted to the Nevada Real Estate Division quickly received a “You have no proof” denial. In Florida, the response has been, “Verbal representations are hard to prove.”

Fine, but why not let the consumer know a timeshare sales agent can say anything to make a sale. Let the consumer know they can’t believe a word a timeshare sales agent says. That would at least be transparent. Florida is a two party state, so consumers are not even allowed to record. How is proof even possible?

At the end of this article I list several Attorneys General settlements and lawsuits supporting my claim that the finger needs to be pointed also in-house, instead of solely at timeshare exit companies. The timeshare developer created this timeshare exit scam nightmare. Timeshare companies list in their annual reports that a viable resale market is a risk to their (stock) investors. Not all exit companies are scams, but many are. An FTC report on exit and transfer scams:

https://search.justice.gov/search?query=timeshare+scam+report&op=Search&affiliate=justice

I liken million dollar deceptive timeshare producers to a baseball player like Jose Canseco, breaking the performance enhancing drug rules to earn millions, while other teammates earn far less because they did not break the rules. Honest timeshare sales agents are harmed by the actions of the dishonest too.    

According to GustonCho Associates, “Many consumers purchased timeshares in the 2000’s when the real estate market was hot.”

  • After the 2008 Real Estate And Mortgage Meltdown bankruptcies and foreclosures soared to historical highs
  • Among foreclosures were consumers who purchased timeshares and could no longer liquidate the timeshares and had to go through timeshare foreclosures
  • I get many calls by home buyers who were told by banks and mortgage lenders that they do not qualify for a FHA Loan because they have a timeshare foreclosure
  • Timeshare owners were told that there are mandatory waiting period after timeshare foreclosure to qualify for a FHA Loan
  • This is not true and unfortunately, these loan officers who are telling home buyers that there is a waiting period after timeshare foreclosure to qualify for a FHA Loan do not know what they are talking about
  • There is no waiting period to qualify for a FHA Loan with a prior timeshare foreclosure
  • Timeshares are not considered real estate loans
  • Timeshare loans are considered consumer installment loans under HUD FHA Guidelines

Read more https://gustancho.com/fha-loan-with-timeshare-foreclosure

We have also received requests for help from the millennial generation. Seniors often tell me that at their age, they don’t care what happens to their credit score, but for the younger buyer, a timeshare foreclosure at a young age can also be financially devastating.

Not one member who has contacted Inside Timeshare realized their contract was perpetual or that there was little to no secondary market.    

The Foreclosure process is gruesome. There will be threatening calls and the hit on the credit score. Timeshare today is broken. When sales agents can lie and laugh about it, at the expense of the young and the old, financially devastated by their vacation plan, something is very wrong. Too many families have been financially harmed by an industry run amuck. Rising loan loss provisions are just a number on an annual report to Wall Street and the developers. To us, they are broken families.   

Lawmakers, heavily influenced by the industry, don’t seem to care because timeshare buyers don’t typically buy a timeshare in the state they live in. Attorneys General try to protect the public, but the settlements achieved so far have been mere speed bumps in extraordinary revenue streams.  

A few of the Attorneys General investigations and settlement and lawsuits:

New York Attorney General reaches $6.5 million Manhattan Club Settlement

https://nypost.com/2017/08/17/new-york-ag-reaches-6-5m-settlement-with-manhattan-club/

A jury awarded former Wyndham sales agent Trish Williams $20 million

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/25/business/my-soul-feels-taller-a-whistle-blowers-20-million-vindication.html

Attorneys General on the side of timeshare owners:

Colorado Attorney General Cynthia H. Coffman, as reported by Business Den reporter Amy DiPierro, concerning Highlands Resorts in Colorado and Sedona Pines in Arizona:

http://insidetimeshare.com/another-us-attorney-general-exposes-deceptive-tactics/

Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery III settled with Festiva timeshare for $3 million:

https://www.tn.gov/attorneygeneral/news/38312

Alongside AGs, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau conducts an ongoing investigation of Westgate timeshare as reported by Matthew Zeitlin at BuzzFeed:

https://www.buzzfeed.com/matthewzeitlin/financial-regulators-are-looking-into-americas-largest-times?utm_term=.dwoQKVw3QQ#.doJ0ka1K00

Jefferson City, Mo. – Attorney General Chris Koster today announced that Welk Resort Sales, Inc., a California corporation that sells timeshares in Branson, has entered into an agreement to pay $18,000 in restitution to Missouri consumers who purchased timeshares from Welk.

https://themissouritimes.com/21184/release-attorney-general-koster-obtains-restitution-for-consumer-victims-of-timeshare-sales-company/

HARRISBURG – The Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection has reached a settlement with Florida – based BlueGreen Corporation that addresses complaints about the company’s alleged use of deceptive “contests,” misleading sales presentations and improper contracts in the marketing and sale of timeshare vacation packages in Pennsylvania.

http://www.pacast.com/press_releases/1272_OAG_BlueGreen_feed.pdf

Arizona AG issues an $800,000 fine and an Assurance of Discontinuance against Diamond Resorts

https://www.azag.gov/press-release/attorney-general-brnovich-announces-800000-settlement-diamond-resorts

Bluegreen stock downgrade August 17, 2018

Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Shaun Kelley downgraded Bluegreen Vacations from Buy to Underperform and decreased the price target from $26 to $19.

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/bluegreen-vacations-interrupted-sell-side-190725946.html

Self-help support groups we feel are not industry influenced:

https://www.facebook.com/timeshareadvocategroup/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/DiamondResortsOwnersAdvocacy/

https://tug2.com/Home.aspx

https://everythingabouttimeshares.com/consider-exchange-options/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/180578055325962/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/465692163568779/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1639958046252175/

Where are you?

Thank you Irene, as usual you have highlighted very well a severe problem and explained it in a very simple manner. In this Friday’s Letter from America, another new contributor Brenda Santos, highlights the “Nightmare on Timeshare Street” of her elderly parents at the hands of an unscrupulous sales agent. We think this will make your blood boil, so join us for our last Letter from America this year.