Welcome to this week’s Letter from America, today we highlight two families who have been up-sold by Diamond, Gad and Noreen Liebmann who are staging a protest outside Diamond’s Daytona Beach Resort and Sheilah and Thomas Brust. These stories are another in the series of “A Nightmare on Timeshare Street”, but first a quick roundup from Europe.
It has been reported that yet another “Relinquishment and Claims” company is in liquidation, Standon Mortimer Associates. This company is one in a long line that informed clients that they could lodge a “no win no fee” claim against their timeshare, the only thing was to do this they had to “relinquish” their membership first. Obviously this was a great cost.
Once the membership was canceled then they would put in a claim, usually under section 75, which as we have said before is not likely to pay out. The whole scam was to get your money for the cancellation, which in many cases was never actually done.
If you have paid this company to carry out any work regarding your timeshare and it has not been done, contact the liquidators below:
Name of Company: STANDON MORTIMER ASSOCIATES LTD
Company Number: 10437622
Nature of Business: Timeshare Relinquishment
Type of Liquidation: Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation
Registered office: C/o Kingsland Business Recovery, 14 Derby Road, Stapleford, Nottingham, NG9 7AA
Liquidator’s name and address: Tauseef Ahmed Rashid, Kingsland Business Recovery 14 Derby Road, Stapleford, Nottingham NG9 7AA
Office Holder Number: 9718.
Date of Appointment: 18 April 2018
By whom Appointed: Creditors
There are this week a couple more happy ex-timeshare owners, the first is an ex-Anfi member, who this week had over 53,000€ paid into his bank account after his recent court case where his contract was declared null and void.
This does fly in the face of the Anfi management denying that anyone is getting paid, according to Canarian Legal Alliance, Anfi have actually paid out 2 million euros.
In another case a German client who purchased his Anfi del Mar timeshare for 14,000€ had his contract declared null and void, with thcourt awarding him over 23,000€ plus legal interest. This is a result of Anfi taking a deposit within the cooling off period which is forbidden, so the court awarded double the amount taken.
Now on with our Friday letter.
A Report from Two Diamond Resort Platinum Members Up-Sold by the Same Daytona Sales Agent
Sheilah Brust warns: Keep The Pencil Pitch
Gad and Noreen Liebmann: Up-sold into financial disaster
There is no such thing as the “Ability to get (Double Usage)”
Page 2 of the Pencil Pitch is based on 15,000 points actually purchased instead of 25,000, so 65,000 points illustrated instead of the 75,000 first proposed
65,000 own $8,631 current maintenance fees before 15,000
65,000 given 2,621 maintenance fees on the new 15,000
130,000 points $11,252 Total maintenance fees with new 15,000
50,000 if used 8,000 Less reimbursement check
80,000 left $3,252 Maintenance fees still owed
x $.10 reimbursed EXCEPT THERE WAS NO 65,000 POINTS GIVEN!
The CLARITY™ Promise handed out before sales presentations:
With this clear, concise and consistent information, consumers can easily determine whether the Diamond Resorts hospitality experience is the right decision for them and their families.
Diamond’s Response to Sheilah Brust:
On April 5, 2018, we received a call from a “hospitality” agent. She said our complaint had been escalated to the legal team and they found no wrongdoing. This is part of what she said to us.
I definitely agree that your confusion of that process is warranted. I have spoken to our legal team and sales team and we agree the double point explanation is definitely something that could have been misconstrued or seen as confusing by members or purchasers.
We have made changes to the way that information is given at the time of sale but we have to say the stance we take on this is: because there may have been some confusion on how you may use those points to create a savings for yourself doesn’t make the explanation illegal.
By Irene Parker
June 8, 2018
Gad and Noreen Liebmann were up-sold by the same Daytona Regency sales agent as Sheilah Brust. Gad and Noreen have been protesting outside the Daytona Regency by holding up signs an hour or two every day except Sunday for over three months. They will take a few months off to go up north, but plan to resume their protest in September.
In preparation for this article, I felt it was important to get a feel for what it was like to hold up a sign. As we walked to Daytona Regency from our cars, Gad and Noreen dropped off food for a homeless man. Gad told us, “One of the homeless was offered $20 to ‘get rid of them’ and on another day one of the salesmen brought some water and wanted to “thank us” for picketing. He claimed that our presence increased their sales. He also told us that we could have more effect by working as greeters at Walmart to help pay our dues.”
My husband and I weren’t sure what to expect. We arrived about 11:00 AM, Friday June 1. We were greeted by the security guard. He could not have been nicer. He seems to serve as a sort of diplomatic liaison between Gad and Noreen and the staff at Daytona Regency. He patiently listened to me relate some of the more serious allegations timeshare members have reported to Inside Timeshare, 208 since January 1. He said he has not purchased Diamond points.
Inside Timeshare has heard from a total of 32 Diamond Platinum members, alleging they were up-sold by deceitful sale tactics or are disappointed in their Platinum membership. Of the 32 Platinum members, 29 members reported they were told they would be able to sell points, or pay for maintenance fees, if they purchased more timeshare points; utilizing programs members say did not exist. Thirteen of the 32 Platinum members say they have resolved their dispute. Eleven were up-sold by the same Diamond sales agent.
Pictured from left: Noreen, Irene, Tyler and Don
The sign my husband Don is holding reads,
“Diamond is not responsible for what our sales agents say.”
This was told to Diamond member Joshua Parker (no relation) by a Diamond VP on a call Diamond recorded. Josh says he was told points are an investment and would be easy to sell. When Josh and Nichole learned they were expecting twins and could no longer afford the timeshare, they learned there is virtually no secondary market for Diamond points. Josh is a 90% disabled Army veteran. He served in Iraqi. They are in the foreclosure process.
John Collick, a decorated 100% disabled Marine veteran, was told he needed to buy Diamond points because Diamond was acquiring his timeshare, The Colonies. This turned out not be true.
Josh and John were both told, “Diamond is not responsible for what our sales agents say.” That would be okay, except Diamond hands out to consumers before a presentation their CLARITY™ promise, launched after Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich issued the company an Assurance of Discontinuance.
Amanda and George Jones are both active duty Navy. They recently received their foreclosure letter. Both fear losing their Security Clearance. They say they were told by Diamond sales agents in Virginia and Florida their 18% loan would be easy to refinance, “Just Google it.” http://insidetimeshare.com/tuesday-slot-irene-3/
Today, June 6, 2018, another Navy couple contacted Inside Timeshare. They too could lose their security clearance as they are Navy logistics.
Sheilah and Thomas Brust’s “Double Point Promise” complaint
Sheilah says she and her husband Thomas were promised double point usage if they upgraded by buying 15,000 additional points. Already Platinum members with 50,000 points, they had enough points to meet their travel needs.
Sheilah and Thomas met with Brad Leslie on February 4, 2017. Mr. Leslie said there were big updates due to Apollo changes. Brad said he had just learned about the double points program in Orlando while in training. Another Florida DRI sales agent pitched a double points program to a Navy veteran. Her complaint has been resolved:
We were hosted by the Diamond Resorts East Coast Sales Team from Mystic Dunes. They said we had been invited to the workshop as a way to thank us for having been Platinum members for over five years. Mystic Dunes sales agent A M explained details of a program only available to five plus year Platinum members. A M said if I purchased an additional 25,000 DRI points, I could take advantage of a special offer and never have to pay maintenance fees. He illustrated on paper how the program worked.
57,500 points I owned prior to the workshop
82,500 x 2 (double points) = 165,000
Back to Sheilah’s “Pencil Pitch”
Brad Leslie said that over ten years our maintenance fees would be $86,310. According to Brad, we would have 65,000 points after buying 15,000 more points but DRI would give us 65,000 more – so we would have effectively 130,000 annual points. Of the 65,000 original points, we would use 50,000 and the purchase of an additional 15,000 points would allow us the extra bonus 65,000 points. Brad said we would receive via check or reloadable debit card $8,000 from the redemption of 80,000 points at $.10 through a travel reimbursement program that could be used to pay maintenance fees. If we redeemed 80,000 from the 130,000, we would be left with 50,000 points to travel.
I asked Brad why this program was developed. He said Diamond wanted to make sure we STAYED VACATIONED. Now it seems more likely he wanted to drive us into foreclosure to be able to start over with his next victim.
As a result of this up-sell, we have less time to travel because we have to work to pay for the additional points that increased maintenance fees to $11,252. We also have a loan with Diamond for $31,000 and the $26,000 Barclay card charges.
Brad charged on two Barclay cards $14,000 in my name and $12,000 in Thomas’ name. After he opened the cards, Brad said, “Barclays loves you! You got $26,000 credit!” I was livid after I learned what happened as we were unaware the amounts had been charged. We could have used a different credit card that would have gotten us rewards points.
We saw Brad again in May 2017. Brad said the program had changed. Brad told us in February we would be sent a debit card that would be reloadable for the maintenance fee reimbursement program. Brad informed us in May that DRI was getting rid of the debit cards because there were problems. Brad had said the double points (65,000) would appear on a split screen on our dashboard. He said DRI was still working on the split screen. This program only made sense if we received the additional 65,000 points. I wrote down everything Brad said. I have an accounting background.
This whole deal was based on having 130,000 points using points at $.10 a point for a Travel Advantage reimbursement service, but this was of very poor value and only made sense because of the extra bonus 65000 points. You can book a lot of vacations with 54,259 points that would vastly exceed a measly reimbursement check for $5,425.90.
Brad assured us he would be here for us and hoped he could restore our trust in Diamond. We had explained how we had been duped into buying 4000 more points in California so our heirs would not be saddled with Diamond points.
Diamond has refused to help Sheilah, but she is encouraged by a call from her Florida Timeshare Division reviewer supporting her claim.
Gad and Noreen’s debacle
Gad and Noreen own 96,000 Diamond points, only because they bought an additional 25,000 points to take advantage of benefits they now know they already had. Gad and Noreen are both Army veterans. Noreen served as an Army officer in the nursing corps. Gad, also an Army veteran, worked for IBM and VISA, at times stationed overseas. The Liebmanns have nine children, not counting children they fostered. According to Gad,
For over 20 years we enjoyed using our Diamond points. We had purchased eight Diamond contracts over the years and had been happy until Daytona sales agent Brad Leslie sold us 25,000 points November 22, 2017, we allege by fraud. Brad told us that if we purchased 25,000 additional points for $70,000 we would get additional benefits. He showed us how using these benefits, we might not have to pay more maintenance fees if we used the same amount of vacation time. What Brad Leslie neglected to tell us was that we were already eligible for these benefits. He knew this. He also claimed that we could recover the cost of the additional points after 10 years. This was also false. Brad said that we would be even on the $70,000 within ten years if we only booked through Value Getaways.
A call to Diamond CEO Michael Flaskey got a response from a lady who offered to allow us to give back some of our points, lowering the dues but not eliminating the latest purchase. In other words, give back points we already paid for, requiring us to pay the company $70,000 after being sold points to take advantage of a program we already had. We may be older, but we’re not stupid.
We have used all of our 2018 points for redemption reimbursement and with the over $700 monthly mortgage payments, we can no longer use Diamond points for vacations. Since we can’t afford to travel because of this debacle, we thought we should warn others by holding up our signs. I feel America is in a moral crisis when CEOs feel no concern when people complain directly to them of questionable business practices. My heart is heavy since the DRI salesman Brad Leslie professed to be a Christian, as I am.
Gad and Noreen protesting outside Daytona Regency
Thank you to Gad and Noreen and Sheilah and Thomas for joining our advocacy efforts. I reached out to Diamond for comment, but they did not respond. We were hoping they could explain Sheilah’s pencil pitch.
Many timeshare members feel there is little to no timeshare enforcement in Florida. According to several members, Florida dismisses complaints, backing up the developer by also falling back on the oral representation clause. Florida receives about $70 billion a year in tourist revenue.
From the Florida Attorney General’s Timeshare Division DBPR
Timeshare developers are required to provide full and meaningful disclosures to purchasers in the documents they are required to deliver to them including the public offering statement, sales contract, and all supplemental documents at the point of sale. A document called “Acknowledgment of Representations” or “Purchaser’s Understanding” or a similar document provides the disclosures which each purchaser initials and signs at the time of purchase and it contains all the relevant information about the timeshare product. A developer heavily relies on these documents to refute any claims by a purchaser regarding the alleged misrepresentations. Therefore, in light of these written documents, it is very difficult to prove the allegations raised in the complaint.
From the Arizona Attorney General’s Assurance of Discontinuance:
“Diamond shall enhance its programs, policies and training and continue to instruct and train its Vacation Counselors and Sales Managers to comply with the ACFA (Arizona Consumer Fraud Act). Diamond shall advise all Vacation Counselors and Sales Managers that they may not:
- Sales agents should not deviate from sales material
- Sales agents should not make oral representations at the point of sale inconsistent with the Purchase document.
Contact Inside Timeshare or one of these self-help groups if you need help.
That’s it for this week, Friday is here and the weekend is about to start, join us next week for more readers stories and their experiences in the world that we call “A Nightmare on Timeshare Street”.
We will also be publishing more information on those companies that keep springing up promising the earth and delivering nothing, so remember if you are called and are not sure if the company is genuine, do not do anything until you have done your homework, double check and check again.
If in doubt contact Inside Timeshare and we will show you where to look.
Have a great weekend.