Friday’s Letter from America: The Story of Bernadette

Welcome to this week’s Letter from America, this week Bernadette gives her story on why they had to default on their timeshare loan. This is not a story that we are unfamiliar with, we have in fact highlighted this over the past few years from many of our US readers. It is just the latestNightmare on Timeshare Street stories which once again highlights the intransigence of Diamond and their behaviour towards “valued members”. The start of today’s article begins with a link to change.org, it is a petition for Michael Flaskey, CEO Diamond Resorts to remove his YouTube video. To members this video is nothing short of condescending towards members, Inside Timeshare urges you to login and sign, our US Cousins welcome all timeshare owners worldwide to sign. Please do so.

Please Sign My Change.org Petition: 

Remove Diamond Resorts CEO Michael Flaskey’s YouTube Featuring the Missouri and Washington State Attorneys General 

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

Why we had to Default on Our Timeshare Loan 

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/UcPAt-4SAlBz3jsblcl5KhlF1CpjolRBrs-lnGEBh2ijYcycEz0v2E9vZgjQYLgA5sST6pU_xn4KxHpBQdM5ZyXzuSrYRgyWoLDjDe1vv9fnoIZGHlF5_gJOeePkTzgBue49feFF

By Bernadette in Oklahoma  

March 12, 2021

Is Timeshare Considered Real Estate Or Installment Loans?

There are waiting period requirements after foreclosure, deed in lieu of foreclosure, short sale to qualify for government and/or conventional loans. However, there is no waiting period after a timeshare foreclosure because a timeshare is not considered a real estate loan. All government home mortgage programs consider timeshare loans as installment loans.

Read more https://gustancho.com/timeshare-foreclosure

I am afraid that the Missouri and Washington State Attorneys General offices and the former Arizona Attorney General are protecting corporations over consumers. With so many Attorneys General settlements because of complaints filed against timeshare companies, why aren’t there more Attorneys General warning about timeshare companies? At least the former Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen issued a warning about deceptive timeshare sales.  

https://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/local/timeshare-troubles-what-to-do-before-you-buy-and-sell/4953/

The Missouri Attorney General’s Office advised me to retain an attorney after my timeshare complaint was dismissed. On the offensive YouTube former Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods warns,

“The lawyers they hire no one has ever heard of…. some storefront clown……”

When I complained about what we were told, the response was that we signed a contract and we could have cancelled during the rescission period. Reading our contract would not have determined:

  1. It was not necessary for us to give up our deed and buy points to be released from our timeshare (a Las Vegas timeshare sales agent),
  2. There was no reason to buy Hawaii points to be able to be released from a contract (a Hawaii timeshare sales agent), 
  3. There was no reason to refinance to be able to walk away in 10 years (a Branson, Missouri sales agent).

Our sales agents never mentioned Diamond Resorts voluntary surrender program, Transitions, available for members in good standing. We were in good standing when we first inquired. Diamond launched Transitions in 2017. 

Frank and Betty were ages 88 and 89 at the time of their purchase. They ended up with a $197,000 timeshare loan and $19,000 in annual maintenance fees. 

https://www.azcentral.com/story/money/business/consumers/2019/03/28/diamond-resorts-convinces-elderly-arizona-couple-buy-timeshare-frank-betty-lusk/3282776002/

Our Experience 

Sent to the following on October 25, 2020  

To Michael Flaskey, CEO, Hospitality, ARDA ROC, Barclay’s President’s Office, Association of Vacation Owners, Hawaii Attorney General, Missouri Attorney General, Nevada Attorney General and Oklahoma Attorney General

We attended meetings because of my husband’s debilitating medical hardship. I was worried about our ability to continue to pay annual maintenance fees. He had a heart attack in 2006 at an early age. We owned a deeded Polo Towers timeshare that we had purchased in Las Vegas in 2003. In October of 2017 my husband suffered a stroke that forced him to take early retirement. He worked as a supervisor at an Illinois state-run Mental Health institution.  

We met with Las Vegas Diamond sales agent Giovanni on November 26, 2018 to find out how we could sell the timeshare. Our oldest son doesn’t want the timeshare and our youngest son has autism. Giovanni told us no one would want our timeshare and our kids would be stuck with it if we did not convert to Diamond U.S. Collection points. He said Diamond would take back those points. We expressed our concerns about having two maintenance fees, but Giovanni said we would not have to worry about that. We ended up with two maintenance fees. We paid $13,590 to convert our Polo Towers points to Diamond points. The purchase price was charged to a Diamond Barclaycard.      

Next, on August 14, 2019 we attended an update in Hawaii with Diamond sales agents Jonathan and Kennedy in Honolulu at The Modern. They told us the agents in Las Vegas gave us wrong information because our sons would be stuck with U. S. Collection points unless we purchased Hawaii points. I was overwhelmed. I raised my voice and was escorted out. This meeting took five hours. We purchased 13,500 Hawaii points for $39,201. I had to borrow money from my sister for the down payment and the balance was financed by Diamond at 19%. By this time my husband needed a wheelchair to get through an airport. We had paid in full for the 2018 Las Vegas purchase. 

Still worried about our worsening situation, we attended an orientation on February 1, 2020 in Tulsa, OK. We met with Branson Diamond sales agent Christy. She said we should convert Hawaii Collection points to U. S. Collection points to reduce our 19% interest rate to 14%. Christy explained that this would create a bigger monthly payment but it would be better in the long run. I asked Christy if there was a way to get out of Diamond. Like the other agents, she said no, but we could drop out after we paid off the loan in 10 years. Christy advised us to go to a bank to get a lower interest rate. We tried two banks. Neither would refinance. Christy said we would get six months free interest with the Barclaycard and we could request an extension. When we contacted Barclays there was no extension available. She said if we didn’t switch to the U.S. Collection, we would incur a $3,000 Hawaii special assessment. There was no way I could afford $3,000. I would like to know if there was a $3,000 assessment. 

We converted to the Hawaii Collection and bought points for an additional $16,912. Our mortgage payments increased to $634.76, our maintenance fees to $900 (we still have the original Polo Towers deeded timeshare) plus $3000 (US collection). The amount financed increased to $56,113. I am 57 years old and my husband is 60. 

The response from Diamond 

When I called Diamond on September 24, 2020, a Hospitality agent asked me to give her two times to talk. I provided two times allowing a three hour window period. Over two days I spent six hours waiting for her call. On October 6 I sent her a letter to update her on my husband’s health because he had another ER visit. 

The Missouri Attorney General responded that it would be difficult to achieve a resolution and suggested we retain an attorney. The Hospitality agent suggested we apply for medical hardship. That didn’t feel right. I decided to launch my Change.org petition after listening to the following comments made on YouTube. 

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt states: 

“They (exit companies) directed consumers to pay a variety of additional expenses.” 

Diamond CEO Michael Flaskey states: 

“They are taking money from members that really have no idea why they are paying the money. They are adding more prices, more charges.” 

“They (the exit companies) are controlling the narrative.” 

If you post a comment, only Mr Flaskey/Diamond Resort and the person posting the comment can read the comment. The poster thinks their comment is available for public view.

If you would like to join our effort to affect change or share your experience, contact Adam Siler at [email protected]

We enjoyed our timeshare until my husband’s heart attack in 2006. I can only hope enough people join our cause to improve communication between those harmed and those who can make a difference.   

Air Force Veteran Adam Siler’s article, February 26 

https://insidetimeshare.com/a-new-friday-letter-from-america-veteran-active-duty-service-member-outreach/

A few comments following Adam’s article 

https://insidetimeshare.com/start-the-week-military-veterans-article-comments-begin-latest-anfi-appeals-dismissed/

Six additional comments 

https://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-from-america-more-veterans-stories/

Diamond Clarity™ Promise – DiamondRESPECT

https://www.diamondresorts.com/diamond-clarity

We know that first impressions are everything. That’s why we aim to consistently exceed expectations from day one. After listening to your feedback, we set about refining our sales and marketing programs with a single, defining principle in mind: Respect. Respect for your time… respect for your preferences and opinions… respect for what matters to you.

While other companies make promises, we deliver. 

This is DiamondRESPECT: Transparency

  • We will provide clear, concise and consistent information at our presentations so you can easily decide whether committing to vacation ownership is the right decision for you and your family. 

That is all for this week, Inside Timeshare should be back as normal next week when we catch up on the latest news from the courts and some rather interesting developments in the world of timeshare.

Have a great weekend.


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