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A New Friday Letter From America: Veteran & Active Duty Service Member Outreach

Welcome to the end of another week with Inside Timeshare, going away from our usual Friday review, we today bring you a “Letter From America” special. It is the story of “predatory” lending to service personnel and Veterans. Inside Timeshare has published on this subject in the past and we are pleased to publish this article by Adam Siler, ( ) we also hope that his call will be heard and will be an instrument of change. Contact details are placed at the end of this article.

Predatory Lending Begins with Misleading Sales Tactics

A Veteran and Active Duty Service Member Outreach

By Adam Siler, Air Force Veteran

[email protected]

February 23, 2021

I am a Florida resident. I served eight years in the Air Force. I am writing to ask veterans and active duty service members to reach out to me through Inside Timeshare if you feel you experienced unfair and deceptive timeshare sales practices and lending

Veterans who served their country are often targeted. Harming veterans is wrong, but when an active duty service member is unable to refinance, they could lose their security clearances if they default. This makes timeshare a threat to national security. Payday loans have been deemed off-limits to the military.

Protecting our Protectors: The Defense Department’s New Rules to Prevent Predatory Lending to Military Personnel 

The term “predatory lending” describes a wide variety of unfair or abusive loan or credit transactions and collection methods.”

Predatory lending is a process that begins with misleading sales tactics directed at borrowers who may not fully understand all the provisions of the contracts they are signing. It ends with borrowers unable to repay the loans they have taken due to excessive fees and interest. (Dawn Goulet, Student Author, 2007)

There are extra HUD disclosures required for veterans buying homes. A timeshare can cost as much as a house. 

  • There is an Assumption Approval clause as per which the loan is not valid unless the Department of Veteran Affairs approves it.

I reached out to Inside Timeshare. I learned that what I experienced in 2020 is almost identical to what an Active Duty Navy couple experienced in 2017. This is beyond coincidence. Diamond Resorts believed our sales agent, despite the fact that he provided us with a handwritten illustration of a 7% interest rate, drastically lower than the 14% interest rate he knew we could not afford. 

An excerpt from the 2017 Inside Timeshare article published December 19, 2017

We knew we could not afford this vacation product at the interest rate being charged. In January of 2017 we purchased 7500 Diamond points at Virginia Beach Oceanaire Resort for $28,200. Our Loan Balance is $24,163.36 and the interest rate 15.99%. Sales agent Tony Jones said we would be able to refinance. He told us there were refinancing companies that specialize in timeshare. We have since learned banks don’t finance timeshares. We had questions and planned to refinance but decided to wait until the orientation. Tony never answered the phone.

We went to an orientation in Orlando at DRI Resort Mystic Dunes March 2017. Our sales agent was Jonathan Pineda. We purchased 4000 points for $15,732. This loan balance was $13,271.16 at 18.6794%. Like Tony told us, Jonathan said both loans could be refinanced and combined because other companies specialize in refinancing timeshares. It would be no problem to contact one of them after we made our first payment. 

Jonathan said that we needed to get to Gold so that we could pay our maintenance fees with points. We have since learned only Platinum members can use points to pay maintenance fees at $.04 per point (a worthless benefit). He said it would be worth it to spend all our savings so that we would not have to pay maintenance fees. We were not comfortable so we only bought 4000 points, which still depleted our savings.

Before reading about our experience, watch this YouTube. Imagine how we feel. Mr Flaskey said, “And they could have just called Diamond Resorts.” 

We have no choice but to default. A Diamond Hospitality agent I spoke with said that I needed more incriminating text messages from Jonathon. I reached out to Diamond Resorts for comment, but they did not respond. 

Our Experience 

We first bought a Sampler (trial product) at Diamond’s Cancun Resort in Las Vegas in 2018. On March 6, 2019 at Diamond’s Kitty Hawk Resort we changed our Sampler points to 7,500 ten year term points. 

On June 2, 2019 we attended a required new member orientation at Diamond’s Mystic Dunes Resort in Orlando. We thought we were to be trained on how to use points. We were informed that because we did not attend an orientation within 90 days we lost our price freeze. We were never informed of this. I broke down in tears because I felt we could lose everything we had wanted to do to vacation with our family.              

At a subsequent meeting at Mystic Dunes on July 20, 2020, we met with Jonathon Pineda. Jonathon said he was not a sales agent. He then worked out the numbers to transfer our term points to annual points and buy 30,000 U.S. Collection points. 

Jonathon said refinancing would be no problem with our credit rating. He said he used to do stuff in the finance world. He set up an appointment for August 17 at 6:00 pm to make some calls. His exact words, “Let me get with you and we’ll make some calls.” 

Jonathan estimated a 7% loan rate, as opposed to Diamond’s proposed 19.99% interest rate. I cannot include the actual proposal with his notes because of a disclaimer. I am subject to penalty if I show the proposal to anyone not employed by Diamond Resorts. This would be comparable to a potential buyer offering a proposal to buy a house, but not allowing anyone to review it. The purchase price listed for 22,500 points was $219,150. Our actual purchase price for 30,000 points was $67,157. The disclaimer: 

This document contains proprietary information belonging to Diamond Resorts. Distribution of this information to unauthorized persons, including but not limited to persons not employed by or agents of Diamond Resorts or to persons not listed on this option is strictly prohibited and subject to penalty.       

Jonathon wrote on the proposal:

½ 12.99 $520 ½ 3 letters i.e.: 7% = $194 loan 

The $67,157 was financed at a 14% interest rate. At 14% the monthly payment is approximately $1,043 per month ($58,000 is interest). At 7% the monthly payment would have been $780 per month ($26,500 interest). That’s a big difference. 

Jonathan told us he would do the paperwork to help us use a Barclaycard “benefits card” to cover about 50% of our maintenance fees. He explained this as a program between Diamond and their partner Barclays Bank. The 2500 written on Jonathon’s illustration was presented as $2,500. My wife and I both clearly understood this.  

Jonathan wrote out benefits A – D, highlighting in red the real maintenance fee relief program which is of such poor value to be of little benefit.   

Benefit 1: Wait 12 to 14 days (the rescission period is ten business days)

Benefit 5: Event of a Lifetime

Jonathon said we could go on “Events of a Lifetime” (EOL) promotions and not have to attend a sales presentation. Jonathon said this was one of the great benefits of Gold loyalty level. He advised that I could go on the “soon to be updated website” to view scheduled events. The website update never happened. A Diamond coordinator later said any EOL requires a presentation and that you can’t see EOLs on the website. You have to call to book them.

As we talked with Jonathon, he would go into his bosses’ office, Chris LeBlanc. He returned excited because he received approval for a lower price saying we were part of a Legacy contract from another member.  

Jonathon told us not to say anything about the Barclay maintenance fee relief program or the refinance when we signed papers or they would “kick it back.” He said it had something to do with underwriting. 

When I followed up to refinance Jonathon said he could not talk to us because his son had a terrible car accident. He texted me pictures.  

We went back to Mystic Dunes in November of 2020 to speak with Jonathon but he was not in. I asked a manager from a previous meeting about how to get out of the contract because we could not afford the interest rate. We spoke with Chris LaBlanc. He told us he sent a message to the finance department and someone would contact us. We asked about the Barclaycard. Chris said he saw nothing in our file about a Barclaycard. 

We later learned that banks don’t finance timeshares. A sales agent should not assume a buyer is qualified for a low interest personal loan or a home equity loan. We do not own a home so a home equity loan was never an option. We could not refinance. There is no way to offset 50% of maintenance fees. 

In going through my packet of information, I found Diamond’s Clarity Promise of Respect for the Customer and an assurance that we would be provided transparent and accountable information.   

I appealed to the following: Mr Michael Flaskey, CEO, Mr Jason Gamel, ARDA, Mr Kenneth McKelvey, ARDA-ROC, Association of Vacation Owners, Nicole Drayson, Federal Trade Commission, Military and Education, Mr. Jay Mayfied, FTC, Lending, Charles Thomas, Inside Timeshare, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Florida Attorney General’s office.  

Diamond offered to reduce our interest rate to 11% from 14.73%, reduce the price per point, push the maintenance fees back one year, and push the use of points back one year. Refinancing at 11% is of little help, plus we expected to receive $2,500 from Barclays to offset maintenance fees.

The Mission  

I hope you can see why I am asking for Veterans and Active Duty Service Members to join my efforts to have Veterans Affairs look into timeshare lending. There is too much opportunity for smoke and mirrors. I have been reaching out to other veterans and have learned what happened to us is not uncommon.  

The FTC’s definition of an Unfair Practice:

First of all, the injury must be substantial.  

Second, the injury must not be outweighed by any offsetting consumer or competitive benefits that the sales practice also produces. 

Finally, the injury must be one which consumers could not reasonably have avoided.19 December 18, 1980

In timeshare, buyers are demanded to buy the same day. 

Find me at Inside Timeshare 

Or email: [email protected]

Adam Siler     

Thank you Adam for a very enlightening article, to all our readers Inside Timeshare asks you to share this story on all social media to help Adam in his quest. You can use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will ensure that your emails will be passed on to Adam or you can email directly to the address above.

Have a good weekend.

The Tuesday Slot: European Resort Owners Coalition & Misinformation

Back in April 2019, Inside Timeshare published the news of a replacement for the liquidated and discredited TATOC (The Association of Timeshare Owners Committees), which as you will remember was fronted by the also discredited Harry Taylor, or was it, Henry Taylor? The name of this new “organisation” is the European Resort Owners Coalition or EUROC, it’s purpose according to their own website “is to represent the interests of its members and act as the official spokesbody for current or potential issues relating to timeshare ownership”. But the question is are they actually representing the interests of timeshare consumers rather than the “owners” of the resorts and the management companies that operate them?

With the demise of TATOC, the RDO (Resorts Development Organisation) along with ARDA (American Resorts Development Association) worked together to form the new organisation, which incidentally bears a resemblance to ARDA ROC (American Resorts Development Association Resort Owners Coalition).

The RDO awarded a grant of 97,000€ and ARDA $150,000 respectively, which according to the RDO they will eventually “become self-sufficient”. So the question is how long will that take and will the two “trade bodies” still be funding them the same way as they did TATOC?

But what is the reason behind this new “initiative” of the RDO?

Well, the most telling part is in a statement they made when announcing the funding:

“The industry trade association RDO (Resort Development Organisation) is unlikely to be seen by the authorities and regulators as truly representing owners. When EUROC talks to regulators, it will speak on behalf of thousands of timeshare owners and homeowner clubs across Europe. Where appropriate, EUROC will work alongside the Resort Development Organisation (RDO).”

(Quote is taken from the TCA Article of 10 April 2020)

This is in fact very laughable, the RDO actually admitting that no one is taking them seriously or even being seen to be representing the interests of consumers. We use the term consumers as that is what they are, they are not “homeowners” as ARDA and the RDO would have you believe, perpetuating the old myth that when purchasing timeshare you are purchasing “property”.

Just as TATOC bowed down to the will of the timeshare companies it appears that EUROC is also doing the same.

In a recent letter to Marriott’s Club Son Antem “owners”, they give a warning about the number of “claims companies and fake law firms” targeting timeshare “owners/members” with cold calls regarding mis-sold timeshare and illegal contracts. (Contrary to popular belief, cold calls are not illegal).

This in itself is not a bad thing, but it is the nature of what they are saying that is the problem along with the fact that they are also including the genuine law firms in their statement.

According to the letter, it appears that EUROC is following the same line as the RDO in denying that many contracts sold and signed after 5 January 1999 are illegal under Spanish Timeshare Laws.

Now, this actually goes against what we already know from the many court cases that have taken place and been reported not just by Inside Timeshare but also Spanish newspapers and television.

It is also a fact that Marriott themselves admitted that they had been losing cases in the Spanish Courts for the sale of illegal contracts. It also set aside $16.3 million to cover litigation costs in the US and Spain. The admission which came in a financial statement reported in Market Exclusive (see link below) on 7 July 2018.

Market Exclusive report

Original Inside Timeshare article

On this point, we leave you the reader to make up your own mind as to what the truth really is.

Another “misleading and untrue” statement made by EUROC in paragraph 5 (see PDF of the letter), they state that it is “illegal to pay any upfront fee” for taking up legal services.

The question is if it is illegal for a law firm to take upfront legal fees, how is the case ever going to be prepared and eventually end up in court?

We also have to ask the question what legislation are they using to state that it is “ILLEGAL” to pay “upfront legal fees”, they show no link to any legislation either in Spain, the UK or Germany?

Inside Timeshare has even asked several lawyers for confirmation and they know nothing of any legislation.

We all know that lawyers need paying to do the work and bring a case to court, so is this just another attempt to stop the growing number of “consumers” who are taking the timeshare companies to court?

The letter also urges “consumers” to report any calls along with details to Timeshare Business Check, a website run by Kwikchex which is another company funded by the RDO and ultimately the industry. (see the link to a previous article on Kwikchex below).

EUROC also states that they and the Timeshare Task Force, another Kwickchex and RDO funded enterprise work very closely together to combat “fraud”. They are not doing very well considering the “frauds” have been perpetrated by RDO members, Silverpoint and Azure are two very prominent cases in point, yet nothing has ever been said or done about these companies by either the RDO or TATOC.

It is also interesting to note who the directors of EUROC are, first, we have the FNTC or the First National Trust Company based in the Isle of Mann, then we have Paul Gardner-Bougaard who was also associated with FNTC and is now the director of the RDO.

Another director is Susan Kathleen Barnet, who is also listed as a Director of Diamond Resorts European Collection Ltd.

Richard David Coles, who was a former director of The Timeshare Association which was also part of TATOC.

John Micheal Davey, a former director of Diamond Resorts European Collection Ltd.

Another director with links to the timeshare industry is Philip Micheal Broomhead, who has many directorships most of which he is resigned from, but they do include Club Cala Blanca Ltd, First National Trust Company which are still active and many more including Los Claveles Ltd, of which there are several companies listed. Full company details and list of officers can be found on the links below.

Company House Registration for EUROC Ltd

Just on the information, we publish here, it certainly does appear that EUROC is for the benefit of the industry and not the consumer, it is just another “smoke & mirrors” attempt to reduce the number of cases for illegal contracts getting to courts.

If they are so concerned about saving the industry, which already has a very negative reputation they are too late and the use of untrue information to timeshare consumers in order to sway them away from seeking legal redress puts them in the same category as the scammers they claim they are trying to protect consumers from.

We all know that the holiday industry has been suffering for the past year and timeshare consumers are still having to pay exorbitant annual fees, even though they are unable to use their membership. By using these methods to stem the tide of litigation and the loss of maintenance fees is nothing short of scandalous and holding consumers to ransom.

If an association formed with the purpose of “protecting” consumers interests cannot get their facts right, who does the consumer turn to for the TRUTH?

8 April 2019 article on the formation of EUROC

25 July 2017 article on TATOC and Kwikchex

If you would like further information on your legal rights and whether you have a valid and viable case, please use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get back to you.

Translations of this article






A New Member to EGTBW (Re-published)

Yesterday we published an article which highlighted yet another Anfi defeat in the High Court, it then went on to ask the question, Why the RDO allows its members to continue to flout the law and yet does nothing to sanction them, despite the fact they are also ignoring the “Code of Conduct” of their membership to that organisation. Back in June 2016 we published the article “A New Member to EGTBW”, which has been republished several times. Although a “Spoof” article with the “Trade Body” being made up it certainly reinforces the question of what are the RDO there for? Today we re-publish the article with a couple of changes as it does go into a little more detail. But first, we begin with a very significant victory in the Spanish Courts.

The case involves a Spanish consumer who purchased a timeshare membership with Club la Costa at their Malaga resort, all well and good you might say, they are covered by the Spanish timeshare laws. Unfortunately this was not to be the case which then resulted in an epic legal battle, one which we have highlighted before, it covers Club la Costa’s insistence that the Spanish Courts do not have jurisdiction over their contracts.

CLC insist that all their contracts, which have the following clause, are subject to UK Law and the Jurisdiction of UK courts, this contention has been the subject of many cases which the High Court of Malaga has rejected. They have consistently ruled that as the purchase was made in Spain, the purchase was made in Spain and the fact the resort is actually located in Spain, gives Spanish Law jurisdiction.

They have also constantly expressed the view that companies operating in Spain cannot unilaterally decide or choose which jurisdiction they come under, thus denying consumers the full protection they deserve.

Now considering that it is also a Spanish Citizen who purchased in his home country, how can a company deny that citizen the full protection of the laws of their OWN COUNTRY?

Well, the Court of First Instance Number 3 of Fuengirola seems to agree, also following the rulings of the High Court of Malaga. They ruled that they did have jurisdiction and declared the contract null and void, ordering Club la Costa to repay 22,546€ including Legal Interest.

No doubt we will see Club la Costa launch yet another appeal, which we have all confidence in them losing yet again.

The case was brought on behalf of the Spanish client by Canarian Legal Alliance.

This is another reason why today’s article is being re-published, according to the RDO “Code of Conduct” which states:

“To comply with all laws, which apply to Member’s, business in the jurisdiction in which the Member operates.”

This to Inside Timeshare appears to be a very good example of timeshare operators doing what they like along with the protection and support of the “Trade Body” they pay to join. We hope it gives you a bit of a laugh, but most of all it will show you that all is not as it seems.

Inside Timeshare is proud to announce that it has been invited to become a member of the prestigious trade body EGTBW. This is the European Guild of Timeshare Blog Writers, it is affiliated to the IATBWG, the International Association of Timeshare Blog Writers Guilds.

Becoming a member means that Inside Timeshare must adhere to the Code of Conduct and Ethics of this Organisation.

  1. Members must not attack, make detrimental comments or otherwise demean any organisation that is a member or affiliated to EGTBW or IATBWG.
  2. Members must adhere to the laws of the EU, or the country of registration. Unless we can get away with it.
  3. The EGTBW and IATBWG will not mediate in any dispute between a member and non-members.
  4. If any organisation or entity has a complaint about a member of this organisation it must be taken directly to the member concerned.
  5. Any member may lie or spread false information about any non-member, citing freedom of speech and expression.
  6. If any action is taken against a member, both organisations will fully support that member, no matter what it has done wrong.
  7. Members may display both the EGTBW and IATBWG logos on all promotional material, correspondence and websites.

This Logo is a sign of quality and is a kitemark of excellence.

So there we have it Inside Timeshare has paid its £20,000 a year membership fee for the full protection and backup of these prestigious organisations. It now means we can do what the hell we like, so there!

If this was not a joke it would be farcical but unfortunately, this is all too real in timeshare. On a daily basis, we see owners and members being treated in the most disrespectful manner, we have also seen numerous court cases against the timeshare industry for breaking legislation.

There is an organisation that is supposed to be the trade body of this industry The RDO, (In the US it is ARDA), but it is its own members that are breaking the rules. What do they do about it? Not a sausage.

The Old Boys Club

This organization’s own code of conduct states that members should adhere to any legislation and laws regarding the sale of timeshare. Yet we see illegal contracts still being sold, deposits being taken on the day, all in breach of EU Directives which are supposed to be in each member state’s laws.

The industry funds this organisation and it does its bidding, it will not even investigate its members when a complaint is made by an owner or member. They say that you must deal with your own resort/company.

They also believe that the press does not research the stories they publish, creating even more of a slur on the industry. Following is a direct quote from their own website under why join the RDO:

“Vacation ownership has been the victim of poorly researched press attention. These articles and broadcasts can cause serious and lasting damage to the reputation of the industry. RDO works on behalf of vacation ownership companies to clear up any misinformation, accusations of sharp business practices and to actively encourage the education of journalists and travel bloggers.”

“We believe that this work directly benefits all businesses in the industry by maintaining buyer confidence in holiday ownership. Additionally, RDO members have the added marketing advantage of being able to display the RDO logo on their marketing material. The RDO logo is a Kite Mark of quality for the holiday ownership industry and enables RDO Members to offer additional peace of mind to their customers.”

So a prestigious journalist such as Tony Hetherington has poorly researched his articles. (It must be pointed out that MacDonald Resorts have not been RDO members since 2005, but these articles highlight a problem that is rampant throughout the industry).

tony hetherington

So these are poorly researched are they?

On another point, there have been numerous rulings made by the Spanish Supreme Court regarding the timeshare laws, Anfi (an RDO member) have been on the receiving end of these rulings, having contracts declared null and void and huge amounts having to be repaid to consumers. Anfi believes the court has got it wrong, the RDO, it seems agrees with them!

For many, timeshare has become a burden, the membership base is ageing, new younger members are not being attracted to the concept, hence many sales offices are closing and staff being laid off. Yet those that want to get out of their membership are being held to “ransom”, they can’t sell (no resale market) and can’t get out without paying huge amounts for the privilege.

What does the RDO do about this problem of getting out of the timeshare?

It enhances its “Code of Conduct” for so-called “legacy” cases or those sold in perpetuity. The rules are not really very helpful and are as follows:

  • In the event of the death of a joint owner, the surviving owner can surrender their timeshare if they wish and additionally, the beneficiaries of a will are not obliged to take on the timeshare if they do not wish to do so.
  • A timeshare owner who has been declared bankrupt may hand back the timeshare without charge.
  • If a sole owner or either of the joint owners is suffering from a long-term illness that prevents them from travelling to their resort for the foreseeable future, the timeshare interest may be surrendered.
  • In all other cases, an owner may surrender their timeshare interest at any time, subject to the agreement of the RDO member. In such cases, any surrender fee shall not exceed a sum equivalent to 3 years current maintenance fees.

(Notice it states “Subject to the agreement”)

As the industry trade body, should not the RDO back up these owners and make sure their members act in an ethical manner.

In the original article we also asked the question:

What of TATOC in all this?

Although since the first publication TATOC, (The Association of Timeshare Owners Committees)) is no longer, having gone into liquidation due to several legal altercations, it’s purpose was supposed to be representing the owners and their elected committees. As we know Harry Taylor who was the CEO, was in fact a full supporter of the industry and TATOC funds were paid by the industry members the same as the RDO.

tatoc logo

No surprise here, they back the RDO plans to the hilt, after all they are funded by RDO members who pay them to be members of TATOC, all so they can display this organisation’s logo. Oh sorry, it is another sign of prestige, you can trust us we are members of The RDO and TATOC; just look at our logos!

Since this article was first published TATOC has now been totally discredited and forced into bankruptcy. (Search TATOC in the search bar for previous articles). For years this organisation run by the infamous “Harry or is it Henry” Taylor, duped timeshare owners into believing that it was a credible organisation out to protect timeshare owners. It has now been proven that this was not in fact the case, in fact TATOC’s backing of MacDonald Resorts move to transfer their fixed week owners to the infamous points system and become members of a vacation club rather than owners, is a prime example.

We started this article with a spoof, the only thing is this spoof is real when it comes to timeshare. The industry is in decline, its reputation has been sullied, it only has itself to blame, the past greed and belief that they could get away with anything have finally caught up with it. Consumers no longer believe the “sales pitch”, they can see it is not value for money, members see their resorts being rented out to non-members on the internet, usually for less than their maintenance fees. Yet the industry and the Trade Bodies cannot see the writing on the wall because they still believe they are right!

Inside Timeshare will continue to highlight any bad practice and report any news within the world of timeshare. If you have any questions regarding your ownership/membership or need to know which company to deal with, contact Inside Timeshare and we will get back to you.