Welcome to our Tuesday Slot which we had to postpone yesterday due to an important consumer alert that need to be published immediately. We apologise if yesterday you were looking for our usual Tuesday article.
This week we publish another Secret Shopper Report , edited once again by our Secret Shopper Coordinator Pete Gibbes. In this report you will see the price per point that members are being quoted which is $9.24, this price is scandalous as we all know that there is little or no resale market value.
RETAIL PRICE DOES NOT EQUATE TO RESALE PRICE
TIMESHARES ARE VIRTUALLY WORTHLESS
We have also been informed that Diamond has terminated sales agents and managers caught employing unfair and deceptive sales practices, unfortunately Inside Timeshare just sees this as playing to the crowd. These are just the scapegoats who have been the subject of too many complaints, THEY HAVE BEEN CAUGHT, we all know the rule, do and say what you like, just don’t get caught!
Another “Nightmare on Timeshare Street” is in the offing, we have been contacted by another senior who is being forced into foreclosure, more on this when we are able to publish, now for our Secret Shopper Report.
Diamond Resorts 30 Cent Solution
A Secret Shopper Reports
Secret Shopper Report edited by Pete Gibbes, Secret Shopper Coordinator
November 20, 2018
By: Secret Shopper ages, 54 and 62
Works for Department of Corrections
Works for Department of Defense
We attended a timeshare member update in Williamsburg in November, 2018
We are struggling to keep up with loan payments and maintenance fees for the points previously purchased.
The Virginia sales agent we met with would have driven us into insolvency if we purchased points based on our understanding of what the sales agent described. We both clearly understood the sales agent when he told us if we purchased additional points, we could pay maintenance fees at $.32 per point.
Had we purchased points based on what we both heard and believed, then filed a complaint, and based on reports from a significant portion of the 524 Diamond members who have reached out to our advocacy group, the answer we would have received to our complaint would have been a description of the legitimate 30/30 program that has nothing to do with paying maintenance fees with points. We would probably be told we misunderstood, and we signed a contract.
Only Platinum members can pay maintenance fees with points at $.04 per point.
We have learned there are many complaints from members who say they were told they could pay maintenance fees at $.30 per point. We’re not sure why this Virginia sales agent tacked on an additional $.02.
The sales agent wanted to attach our Barclays credit card, issued after our first purchase, to pay for maintenance fees. The agent said that for every dollar spent charging with the Barclaycard, you get two Barclays points if it is travel related -non-travel one point for every dollar.
The informed timeshare member should ask, “How much value does a charged point have?” Members think in terms of a point being like 2000 points to stay a week in Virginia. Already this is a little confusing. So we asked our sales agent how, for example, $100 charged would translate into actual value or money to pay maintenance fees? He said he didn’t know!
The answer is if non-travel related, 1%, so $20,000 charged in a year is 20,000 reward points.
We own 3000 points, so our maintenance fees should be around $600 a year. We only have a $2000 limit on the Barclaycard so the $2,000 charged would produce 2,000 reward points but would contribute only $20 toward the $600?! That’s a far cry from the oft repeated complaint we hear, “And you can pay your maintenance fees by charging purchases to your Barclaycard!”
We asked about the 1500 bonus points that we had been promised at our first purchase of 3000 points. He said he wasn’t sure. He continued to talk about buying more points. After we said no to his offer of points, he said he would go look into what happened to the 1500 bonus points. When he came back he did not even mention the bonus points, but once again he presented an offer to purchase more points.
He offered first 17,000 additional points. We said no. Next he offered 8,500 points. He said if 8,500 points were purchased we would become Silver members, and would then have access to cheap vacation weeks and the maintenance fee program where we could turn in points at $.32 per point to pay maintenance fees. I wrote this down and my husband was with me.
If we purchased 8,500 points we would only have 11,500 points so:
- We would not even be Silver, as Silver loyalty requires 15,000 points,
- Only Platinum members can use points to pay maintenance fees at $.04 per point. If a Platinum member turned in 50,000 points, they would only get $2,000 to be paid towards an $8,631 maintenance fee bill in 2018.
We said no to $8,500 points. We asked again about the 1500 points. He went to the back. The manager returned.
The manager told us if we make loan payments to Diamond, those payments would go toward the down payment of 8500 points which would have cost:
Purchase price: $78,548 at $9.24 per point (Points sell for about $4 per point)
Down payment: $23,677
Timeshares have little to no secondary market
The manager, who did not provide his name, said if we paid a monthly loan payment of $400 per month, (hypothetical because we did not get far enough along to find out what our monthly payments would be), for each $400 a month payment, the $400 would directly reduce our down payment because they wanted us to lock in this great price per point at $9.24 per point. We would not have to make loan payments on the principle balance until the down payment was eliminated.
Once our down payment was eliminated by loan payments, he said, as each payment would reduce the down payment, so once the down payment was eliminated, then we could finance the remaining amount and be credited our 8500 points purchased. In other words, we would make loan payments that would equal the down payment of $23,677, eliminating the down payment, and then the principle balance would begin ($55,613 after the down payment of $23,677 was eliminated).
The manager wrote down “3000 points” and said we could not stay anywhere with 3000 points. He said we would have to pay half out of pocket because we had so few points. We might be able to get a weekend somewhere. I was aware that there are many places to stay booking a one bedroom and that we can save points from one year to the next. I remembered that from the first meeting.
There are many weeks available for 3,000 points
What was really amusing is that we were given a paper stating that our price of $9.24 would be locked in until May 10, 2020. However, at the bottom, and I am not making this up, it said that the price of $9.24 was only available if we purchased that day, November 10, 2018!
From a May 16, 2017 Inside Timeshare article:
Inside Timeshare has received many complaints from members who say they were told they could pay maintenance fees at $.30 per point. It is an adulteration or, according to Diamond Hospitality Agents, a misunderstanding of a 30/30 program whereby 30% of vacation points can be credited toward travel discounts.
Here is one actual complaint from 2016:
Kathie O on December 6, 2016 reported being told she could redeem points for 50 cents a point to pay maintenance fees. The sales agent promised her she could open a Barclaycard to pay maintenance fees without explaining the reimbursement was on only 1.5% (at that time).
Fast forward to May 12, 2017 Kathie reported:
Yesterday in St. Martin sales agent Riza Young and her manager said that through travel services we could cash in 20,000 points for $.30 per point to pay for $6,000 in maintenance fees. We were also told at Grand Beach Resort in Orlando that if we bought 10,000 more points for $38,000 we could cash in 20,000 points for $10,000 to totally cover our maintenance fees of $8500 +. She told us she “hates it when agents lie to us.”
There is an abundance of confusion. Does Diamond think we are really that daft? That WE are making this up?
Once again the secret shoppers shed a great deal of light on the practices of sales agent at presentations, for those who have any doubts, the careers our secret shoppers have are ones of trust and integrity. Inside Timeshare knows who to believe.