Friday’s Letter from America

Welcome to our Friday’s Letter from America with an update from our US contributor Tiffany Renee who explains Why the buyer is blamed when told lies by sales agents. This is a subject that has been covered on numerous occasions over the years, with many articles by Irene. This particular problem is not just confined to the sale of timeshare in America, it happens all over the world but is very much a serious problem in the US. Tiffany reached out to Diamond Resorts for comment. They responded placing the blame on Tiffany’s parents. This does make you question Mr Flaskey’s quote in Bernadette’s petition, “And they could have just called Diamond.” We have heard so many times Diamond’s response, “we are not responsible for what our sales agent say”. That as we know is lamest of excuses, they are your employees, they are selling your product and they are representing you, it is your “Responsibility”.

Why the Buyer is Blamed if a Sales Agent Lies 

STAY VACATIONED or else

https://blog.thunderquote.com/assets/uploads/2016/08/B-19.jpg

April 2, 2021

Update from Tiffany Renee

Last December Inside Timeshare published my article about how my parents were browbeaten for 11 hours until they were convinced they had no choice but to forfeit their two Gold Key deeded timeshares that they had loved for years. Their sales agent and Quality Assurance agent told them that if they didn’t give up their deeds my brother and I would suffer dire financial consequences should something happen to them – maintenance fees will increase dramatically – to over $6,000! Their Gold Key maintenance fees were $2,000. The transaction resulted in maintenance fees of over $6,000. My father collapsed when he received the notification. The “QA” agent made them wait while he called the developer of Gold Key to get them the secret special price …. You must buy today…. the special price time period has expired! 

How can this be happening to so many seniors in America?

The full story: https://insidetimeshare.com/the-tuesday-slot-elder-abuse-and-timeshare-sales/

If there is no problem with Diamond Resorts CEO Michael Flaskey making claims that exit companies lied and took $10,000, $12,000, $14,000, $25,000 from Diamond members, then there can be no problem with my making the claim that Diamond agents lied and took over $85,000 in cash and deeds from my parents.

An interview with Diamond members Frank and Betty, ages 88 and 89, parallels the elderly couple interviewed in Mr Flaskey’s YouTube describing how they lost money to exit companies. Betty, a former librarian, said in a USA Today article that she has had insomnia and fainting spells from the stress and has gone to the hospital several times.

Michael Flaskey’s YouTube 

Frank and Betty’s YouTube

Diamond Resorts took approximately $31,000 from my parents and their two deeded weeks. The purchase price was around $88,000 of which approximately $57,000 was credit for their deeded weeks. 

Many years ago they paid $17,600 for a Turtle Cay 2 BR unit and $37,550 for a 2 BR Ocean Beach unit. It was not easy to piece together what happened from the mounds of paperwork, but as of November 28, 2020, it looks like after the up-sell they ended up with 32,500 points of which 24,000 points were credited for their Gold Key deeds. The purchase of 8,500 points is why maintenance fees increased. 

Frank and Betty lost $63,000 to Diamond Resorts and told them they were buying an “annuity” timeshare that would release a survivor spouse from the timeshare liability should something happen to one of them. After the transaction, their cumulative loan balance was $197,000 and annual maintenance fees $19,000.

For Betty and Frank and my parents, fear was used as the bait.  

Then and Now: Why Seniors Need Support 

(STAY VACATIONED letter received from Diamond Resorts March 29, 2021)

Unfortunately, if your account remains in default for 30 days from the date of this notice, the Association will take necessary action to collect the unpaid assessment fees together with late fees and interest…. These actions may include but are not limited to the following: 

  • Send the delinquent account to an attorney, which will result in additional legal fees; 
  • Engagement of a professional collection agency which will result in additional collection fees;

Michael Flaskey said on his YouTube, “They could have just called Diamond.”  

My parents are proof you can’t. 

Bernadette’s Petition

Bernadette in Oklahoma launched a Change.org petition March 7, 2021 asking Michael Flaskey to remove the YouTube in which he, the Missouri and Washington Attorneys General, and the former Arizona Attorney General, criticize deceptive practices by timeshare exit companies. Lawyers are called “storefront clowns,” yet the Missouri Attorney General’s Office recommended Bernadette retain an attorney. Please sign Bernadette’s petition after reading about her Diamond experience:

https://www.change.org/Michael-Flaskey-MO-WA-AG-take-down-YouTube

Our experiences are two of over 5,600 accounts from members of our member-sponsored Diamond Advocacy Facebook. The majority of our Facebook members joined to ask for advice about resolving disputes or complaints about Diamond’s sales and marketing practices. Volunteers answer questions as to how to file regulatory complaints. We know there are many who are happy with their Diamond membership and with the sales agents they worked with. Our Facebook consists of mostly members who feel they experienced unfair and deceptive sales and marketing practices. 

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

I initially filed a complaint with Seniors Vs Crime, a project of the Florida Attorney General’s Office. They mediate disputes and volunteers are seniors themselves. I was informed Seniors Vs Crime would not be allowed to help my parents. I was forwarded to the Attorney General’s Office.  Instead of being contacted by someone from the Florida Attorney General’s Office, I was contacted by a doctor Diamond retained who introduced himself as a consultant hired to arbitrate our “allegations.” He blamed my parents.

A staged so-called Quality Assurance contract signing session was recorded. I later learned my parents’ QA agent served four years in jail for burglarizing seven homes, among other charges, yet Diamond’s jury ruled my parents sounded just fine on the recording. 

If the buyer makes the mistake of believing their sales agent, thus not raising a question, the recording is used against the buyer. The buyer is not allowed to record the sales session, and the buyer is not allowed to listen to the recorded closing unless an attorney issues a subpoena. This is unfair. 

Many members have reported that the recording is routinely used against the buyer to dismiss complaints after being coached by sales agents to not saying anything because 1) it’s a new program, 2) I help you on my own 3) they don’t want you buying to make money, and so on.     

Former Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods said in Mr Flaskey’s YouTube “it is infuriating to see members paying money to companies that make them worse rather than better.” 

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson warns, “They are preying on people with misinformation…Telling people things that are flat out not true and they are just trying to take as much money as they can from them.” 

Diamond CEO Michael Flaskey grieves for families who lost“$10,000, $12,000, $14,000, $25,000” to exit companies.

I am pregnant with my second child. I have a problem pregnancy and had to be hospitalized at one point during my first trimester. The stress Diamond Resorts brought into my life because of the financial loss my parents suffered has played a part in my baby’s problems. Timeshare medical distress now spans from prenatal to Betty and Frank, ages 88 and 89. 

I end where I began – but adding the other end of life’s spectrum. 

How can this be happening to seniors and pregnant moms in America?   

My motto is based on a concept of unjust enrichment that can be traced to Roman law and the maxim that “no one should be benefited at another’s expense”

“nemo locupletari potest aliena iactura or nemo locupletari debet cum aliena iactura.” 

There is a tendency to blame the victim. AARP Staff writer explains in his book why no one is “smart” enough to outsmart a con. 

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/afDrSe2gMaKdxWK4j3g7qZXTB9On0ezeP3Z2RFjWmVxL4tYEymOc05ZkK54YMANutYIfUR1ri3LlIZw4zh099_iMN2lMvQvzcYh-a4psrVzw9WJQDETd99NVfnbKxmgDajoDadB1

Understanding the artist behind the scam is a first step in protecting yourself and your loved ones from deceit. After conducting personal interviews with dozens of con artists and studying their personalities, Shadel has found consistent trends in the tactics they use to defraud their prey. What do they all have in common? For starters, a life filled with fast money and women, drugs and alcohol, and lots of lying and cheating. But the most successful cons are also masters of persuasion, using a sophisticated set of psychological tricks and tactics that work time and time again.

Think all victims look the same?  Wrong.  Outsmarting the Scam Artists explains how individual scams are carefully crafted and tailored to meet specific victim profiles.  

That is all for this week with Inside Timeshare, we hope that you have a great Easter weekend and will join us for more news and information on the murky world of timeshare next week.


5 Comments

  • Liz

    April 2, 2021

    I posted a comment on Adam Siler’s article about my Diamond experience. Inside Timeshare published my comment. I want to publish an actual article warning younger people not to buy a timeshare. I am 24 years old. I said that I was not given a copy of the contract. I learned that I was given a copy but it was just read to me when I signed. I never heard the amount of $40,340. I clearly remember the agent saying he could get me 5000 more points for $4,500 but that turned out to be just the down payment. I can’t prove that. People need to know that they need to record the sales presentation. The decision to buy a timeshare I hope is the worst financial decision I will have made in my life. I was working as a front-line Covid nurse in the middle of the pandemic when I bought the points. I probably was not in my right mind. My primary care patient 6 months old was dying as I was going through the QA session. I cared for her for four months. My credit has been ruined and I can’t buy a car or a house. I have no choice but to default.

    Reply
  • Bernadette Krueger

    April 4, 2021

    This is a terrible and inhumane. No one needs to be treated like that. Your suppose to enjoy your golden years. Worries and anxieties from deceitful people and companies can make life extremely hard. I wish you the best and keep fighting.

    Reply
  • Deb Shackleford

    April 4, 2021

    I hope you are able to get this resolved. We were lied to many times, but enjoyed most of our vacations. the sales agents need to be stopped. No other industry is allowed to commit fraud, bully people s if they are being interrogated at the police station to get them to buy. Coercion tactics are being used and they are highly trained just like police officers. It is not anyone’s fault on the buyers side. People try to make us(the buyers) the people at fault and in the end we were all duped and lied to. How can any company hope to stay in business when they treat customers this way. If we all stick together, we CAN make a difference. Let me know if you need support, either moral support or documentation as to what my husband and I have experienced over the years!

    Reply
  • D. M. Salomon

    April 10, 2021

    I was lied to and verbally abused by Diamond Resorts during what I thought was an update and tutorial on how to use my points. It was a high pressure sales sessions lasting a almost an entire day. I was to.d bold faced lies and because I believed that it would be fraudulent And totally unethical that a company would allow this – I believed. I have lost well over six figures to these crooks and it’s fathomable to me that this is allowed I the USA.

    Reply
    • Irene Parker

      April 12, 2021

      D. M. Salomon, Diamond Resorts has been working with members to resolve credible complaints. There is a network of volunteers to answer questions about regulatory filings if you cannot resolve your dispute. The Federal Trade Commission, for the first time, lists Timeshare Sales as #7 on their Top Ten Scams list and Timeshare Resales (outfits that promise they found a buyer when they didn’t) #10. This is a member-sponsored Facebook of over 5,700 mostly Diamond members providing support for those who feel they experienced unfair and deceptive practices.
      https://www.facebook.com/groups/DiamondResortsOwnersAdvocacy/

      Reply

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