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Barclays

The Tuesday Slot on Wednesday

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.

FACT CHECK

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!

FACT CHECK

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.

FACT CHECK

If we purchased 8,500 points we would only have 11,500 points so:

  1. We would not even be Silver, as Silver loyalty requires 15,000 points,
  2. 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.

Fact Check

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?

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

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.

Mid Week Round Up

It is with great sadness that Inside Timeshare announces the passing of Leo Gomez last Friday. Leo was a Vietnam Veteran with two Purple Hearts and was suffering from pancreatic cancer, he was 100% disabled from exposure to Agent Orange, he was also battling against Diamond and Barclays. His story was published here in our Friday’s Letter from America on 21 September, you can read his story at the links below.

Inside Timeshare and all the Advocates of our Diamond Resorts Owners Advocacy page offer our sincerest condolences to his family.

R.I.P Leo

http://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-from-america-22/

https://www.opednews.com/articles/A-Fourth-Agent-Orange-Vete-by-Irene-Parker-Fraud-180917-513.html?fbclid=IwAR2P3xMxMwZt3_L5j2j6O5ZkjDFhrk0QYCn-Ai58wrOA2iw-L1-TI7yymbk

Yesterday we broke the news published in La Provincia, that the Cazorla brothers Santiago Santana Cazorla and Manuel Cazorla, are battling each other in court, it revolves around a dispute for the payment of an indemnification of 718,000€ to Arturo Ramirez, a partner of Manuel Cazorla, for the position of general director at Anfi. It appears that this title has never existed and he has never worked in such a position. It also appears that this position was invented to justify payment from Anfi funds.

https://www.laprovincia.es/gran-canaria/2018/11/06/director-anfi-declara-pleito-hermanos/1114520.html?fbclid=IwAR3ToH-WH_qkGKX4JCi9JB9sFFXZMLs0WCgMPoX5UyIe76wNuB33eYSR_UY

We wonder how the Anfi members now feel about this along with all the other scandals that have been taking place. One thing is for sure there is never a dull moment when it comes to Anfi. (See link to previous articles)

http://insidetimeshare.com/great-anfi-battle-partners/

http://insidetimeshare.com/the-great-anfi-battle-of-the-partners-round-2/

Another of our readers has sent in some new information on another company calling owners regarding claims, Canongate Marketing with the website

http://canongatemarketing.com/

This is not a brand new company, their website was originally registered on 1 April 2015 and is due to expire on 1 April 2019, the registrant is hidden once again by privacy protect. They originally came to light several years ago with the usual resale scam of the guaranteed buyer.

The address they give is:

Calle Leopoldo Alas Clarín 4,  29002 Malaga

With the telephone number:

+34 952 062 030 (Malaga)

The address is just a stones throw from the Port of Malaga and is in a residential area, although there is a shop which supplies mailbox services.

Our reader had a call from Canongate Marketing regarding his Diamond ownership, they explained that he had a claim which they would make on his behalf through the Spanish Courts. The amount of the claim is between £13,000 and £18,000. He explained that he no longer had any of the relevant paperwork, but that did not matter they could proceed without them, but he would have to fly to Spain to meet with them. They also act on a “no win no fee” basis and will take 60% of the returned amount.

Now we all know that lawyers fees will need to be paid before a case could go to court, also if there are no documents how could a case be prepared and taken to court?

So this leaves us with the million dollar question, what is the “bait and switch” for the client to have to travel, what are they going to “sell” to make their money?

We have no doubt there is going to be an elaborate scam involved, it is only a matter of time before we find the answer.

Well that’s it for today, if you have been contacted by any company or have found one on the internet and want to know if they are genuine, then use our contact page, we will be pleased to help.

The Tuesday Slot with Irene

Welcome to this weeks Tuesday Slot, this week we welcome a new contributor Diane Creiger, with her article Elder Advocates, but first a quick update on the article published yesterday regarding Anfi Tauro Beach.

After publishing it became apparent that this news was still breaking in the Spanish press, with the publishing of more information regarding the demolition of the shacks and the company employed by Anfi to carry this out. Canarias Seminal published

“UN COMANDO DE BOXEADORES PENINSULARES VIAJA A GRAN CANARIA PARA DERRIBAR CHABOLAS (VÍDEO)”

(A COMMAND OF PENINSULAR BOXERS TRAVELS TO GRAN CANARIA TO DEMOLISH SHANTIES (VIDEO))

http://canarias-semanal.org/not/23270/un-comando-de-boxeadores-peninsulares-viaja-a-gran-canaria-para-derribar-chabolas-video-/

This follows from the El Diario article “Violento derribo de chabolas en Tauro”

(Violent felling of shanties in Tauro)

https://www.eldiario.es/canariasahora/sociedad/Violento-derribo-chabolas-Tauro_2_794790515.html

With following photo posted on facebook:

(These are the sicarios and godosjediondos of the business  DESOKUPA traids by Santana Cazorla and the government of the Canary Islands from Spain to curb the Canaries with their corrupt laws of eviction and appropriate the public domain ¡¡¡Espabilate Canario that you eat the jediondo godo!!!) (Apologies for the translations)

I just wonder how all the members at Anfi feel that their “club” is a party to this type of behaviour?

Now on with today’s article.

“They told us if we did not give up our deeded timeshare, our children would be sued and their credit would be ruined. I recorded the presentation.”

A frequent timeshare member complaint, reported by our readers, concerns faulty estate planning advice given to members concerned about passing on a timeshare liability to their children and heirs. Members say they are told their children will be responsible for the timeshare unless they give up their deeded timeshare and buy timeshare points. Timeshare members should receive estate planning advice from their estate planning lawyer, not from timeshare sales agents. Irene Parker  

By Diane Creiger

July 24, 2018

I am writing to let seniors know how financially devastating a timeshare decision can be. I am 74 years old and my husband Tom is 77. We bought Diamond points only because we were repeatedly told our heirs would be responsible for maintenance fees if we did not give up our deeded timeshare. We have learned this was not true. We were given false estate planning advice.

In Branson, June of 2014, our sales agent Kimberly told us three times, “Your children will have to take this timeshare whether they want it or not.” I had asked what would happen if our children could not pay the maintenance fees. Kimberly said our children would be sued and their credit ruined. I recorded this in-person presentation in Missouri on June 18, 2014. In Missouri one party recording is allowed. Kimberly was very threatening.

On the recording, DRI sales agent Kimberly states, “The HOA companies want their maintenance fees and they say this will go to your kids whether they want it or not.” I asked, “what if they can’t pay it?” Kimberly replied, “Then the HOA has the right to sue your children and ruin their credit. If you have a deed, which you own, that’s what we are looking at here today. That’s the difference between Diamond and what you have.” She repeated, “If your kids don’t want this, they still have to pay the maintenance fees on it, regardless. This will be willed to them whether or not they want it. Your kids do not have a choice.” That sounded pretty threatening to us.

We did not buy then, but worried about the liability we would pass on to our children, we purchased 4,000 vacation points later in Florida, only for this reason. The Florida sales agent told us the same thing.

I learned this was in no way true in our situation, but now made worse because we used a credit card to charge the purchase. This debt could complicate our estate settlement. In other words, we had no estate problem, UNTIL we gave up our deed. With a credit card liability, the settlement of our estate could be jeopardized by this outstanding debt.

I reached out to Diamond Resorts Consumer Advocacy, Diamond CEO Michael Flaskey, Diamond’s PR Firm Prosek, Barclays President’s office, the National Timeshare Owners Association, the Better Business Bureau, the Florida Attorney General’s timeshare division, the Florida Attorney General’s Senior vs Crime Project, and AARP. The Senior Sleuths never responded. There seems to be no timeshare enforcement. We feel trapped. Everyone responds, “You signed a contract.”

After numerous attempts to resolve our dispute, I received an unusual call from a Mr. Edward Florez. Mr. Florez stated his department was recently set up, and his job recently created, because Apollo Global Management wanted their customers to have the best customer service available and that is why they created his office. Mr. Florez said he had been a police officer for 20 years. He said he wanted to help me. I was informed our account is now a corporate account and we are to deal only with him. Mr. Florez allowed me to record our call, which is a first. He was very explicit that we should not go to any more timeshare updates, unless we wanted some particular gift. He said there was no reason for us to experience so much pressure.

I told Mr. Florez that six different salesperson had told us about the problems our heirs would experience inheriting the deeded timeshare we owned before Diamond acquired our resort. Mr. Florez agreed this was not correct. He said that there may have been a few sales people who needed to be brought up to their (Apollo’s) level of customer service.

I asked Mr. Florez why our maintenance fees had increased $500. He said this was an “impact” fee that occurs when a deeded owner gives up their deed. I said that would mean our maintenance fees should not go up because of this being a one time fee. He laughed and said “I will never say that.”

I then became a little forceful and told him I was thinking about writing some articles, and writing letters to AARP, DoJ, and Consumer Affairs. I told him that the senior community needed to be warned and the Department of Justice needs to look into the timeshare industry. There was a lot of stuttering on the other end of the line.

Diamond’s CLARITY program is about Diamond members receiving clear, concise, accountable, transparent information. We received the opposite of accountable and transparent information.

As a last resort, I reached out to Apollo Global Management. After contacting Apollo, I received a call from Diamond corporate within an hour. I was encouraged, only to be told no one will talk to me anymore. I was informed I must send my complaint snail mail to Diamond’s corporate office from now on. I feel like I have been sent to the Principal’s office.

We feel our Diamond Orlando sales agent Randy used deceptive tactics to coerce us into giving up our deeded timeshare by telling us the following:

  1.  Randy said if we did not give up our ILX (Arizona) deeded timeshare our heirs would be responsible for maintenance fees. We had heard sales agents at five prior sales presentations make this same claim.
  2. Randy told us that once we had completed and paid for our Diamond purchase we could walk away from Diamond at any time with no repercussions. No misunderstanding here. I asked this question pointedly.
  3. Randy said our current maintenance fees were much too high. He said our maintenance fees may not go up if we converted to points. Randy explained that this was because our deeded week was in a small pool. He said points are in a much larger pool which serves to dilute the fees. After we converted to points our maintenance fees went from $2,000 to $2,500.
  4. When I asked Randy about the $500 increase in maintenance fees, he just said we could deduct the fees on our income taxes. When I told him the IRS doesn’t allow maintenance fees to be deduction, he replied, “Well, many people do it.”   
  5. After signing a few papers, we were directed to the office of a DRI QA agent. She had us sign numerous documents electronically which we could not entirely read. We signed in a master block, and then were told to tap the blank blocks. One of the blank blocks stated that Diamond could not raise our maintenance fees more than 25% per year. We could not read this until we reviewed the hard copy after we returned home. We would never have signed a document that allows maintenance fees to be raised by 25%.
  6. The initials on the documents are not mine. My initials are DMC, but the contract shows DMN.
  7. When we told Randy and the QA agent that we were electronically inept, they suggested we attend a training class on the use of the Notepad. We received a letter stating we were to attend a “New Member Orientation” at Cancun Resort in Las Vegas. We incurred the expense of the airfare to Las Vegas, in addition to other expenses. When we showed up for our orientation we were told there was no such thing as a New Member Orientation. We were furious. All they did was try to sell us more points.  

We have not used any of the Diamond points we purchased. We have asked Diamond to return our $16,000 that we paid for 4,000 points. We are even willing to forfeit our ILX deed for which we paid $19,000 to get out of this nightmare.

When Diamond calls us, they record the call, but when I ask if I can record the call, I have repeatedly been told no. This is very intimidating, especially to seniors who feel they have been victimized. They say it is against company policy.

I had the opportunity to sit on a federal grand jury from January of 1999 until June of 2000. I understand the patience and determination it takes to get to the bottom of a situation and to seek justice. I will not give up. I have learned we are one of many seniors who bought Diamond points and were told if we didn’t give up our deeded timeshare our heirs would be responsible for maintenance fees.  I have joined our Diamond member sponsored Facebook.  

In my complaint I included:

If the decedent left a will and named you as a beneficiary and you decline the bequest, most states treat the event the same as if you had predeceased him. The executor must probate the will as if you had died and were no longer available to accept your inheritance. Your bequest will then revert back to the estate. info.legalzoom.com/happens-someone-refuses-accept-inheritance-21217.html

We also had a terrible experience in Sedona at Los Abrigados. They put us in a handicap unit, which we didn’t need. The room was dirty with the contents of a broken colostomy bag that had dripped 15 feet across the carpet. We took pictures. They would not accommodate us with other lodging. We had our children and grandchildren with us. All they did was put rugs or runners over the carpet until the next day when they cleaned the carpet. They only refunded our points after we complained.

Florida’s Seniors vs Crime project, Senior Sleuths never responded.

http://insidetimeshare.com/the-tuesday-slot-with-irene-8/

Thank you to Diane for sharing her experience and becoming our own Senior Timeshare Sleuth, volunteering her time to assist other seniors who feel they have been victimized by timeshare sales agents. We look forward to future articles.

We seek to provide Diamond Resort members a way to proactively address membership concerns; to advocate for timeshare reform; to obtain greater disclosure from the company; to advocate for a viable secondary market; and to educate prospective buyers.

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

https://www.aarp.org/aarp-foundation/our-work/income/elderwatch/report-fraud/

Thank you Diane, we hope to read many more from you, but I am sure that this will hit home to many of our readers.

Tomorrow we will be publishing the article about Marriott and their report to shareholders, which also highlights the fact that they are facing a plethora of lawsuits in Spain with a substantial amount set aside to cover the costs of this.

If you have any questions or comments on any this or any other article published, or just need information on a company that has contacted you, then use our contact page and we will get back to you.