Welcome to this week’s Letter from America, today Patty Boyak who has been attending court on behalf of Inside Timeshare reports on the verdict in the trial between Candace Czarny and Hyatt for unfair dismissal. Unfortunately, it is not the result that we had all hoped for. We then go on to report on seven more complaints against a Diamond Resorts sales agent in Las Vegas and five against another Diamond sales agent in California. These complaints are becoming all too frequent with Inside Timeshare receiving them almost on a daily basis, yet the timeshare companies do nothing and continue to allow their sales agents to behave in this despicable manner.
Now on with Patty’s report.
Former Hyatt Timeshare Sales Executive Candace Czarny v Hyatt Residential Marketing Corporation and Kent and Allison R. Drysdale
CASE NO. CV2013-006230
Jury Trial Verdict
Seven complaints against our Diamond Resorts Las Vegas sales agent and five complaints against our California agent
By Patty Boyak
July 19, 2019
In the trial of Candace Czarny v Hyatt and Kent and Allison Drysdale, the jury ruled in favour of Hyatt. While the verdict was a profound disappointment for Candace, when God closes one door he often opens another.
In 1991 Anita Hill got dragged through the muck of Senate hearings after accusing U.S. Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment. She didn’t want to go public, but knew in her heart she needed to speak out about actions she felt were inappropriate for a Supreme Court justice nominee. A movie was made about her humiliating ordeal. At the end of the movie, the wrap-up listed the positive consequences because of her efforts. Nationwide revisions to antiquated sexual harassment policies and procedures ensued.
To be honest, having listened to a week of testimony, I felt Candace had at best a 50/50 chance. She had only worked in the timeshare industry for 17 months. However, Candace scored a major victory in court for timeshare members, assisted by other witnesses, and Hyatt’s attorneys provided landmark evidence or lack of:
THERE IS NO LETTER!
The reason this is so important is that so many timeshare complaints begin with, “They said I should have gotten a letter.” This statement is reported by many Diamond members, including a disabled veteran who caught deception on a recording. Understandably, his dispute was quickly resolved. We experienced the same agent but were told another member’s complaints had no bearing on our complaint.
If you listen to the recording, most would conclude this agent should have been fired. Instead, he introduced himself to us a year later as a Platinum Counselor, and just a few weeks ago, our group received complaint #7 against this agent.
Defendant Kent Drysdale was Hyatt’s Director of Training, but some of the deceptive practices described in Candace’s lawsuit (like the letter), were the same practices members complained about during the Arizona Attorney General’s investigation of Diamond Resorts in 2016. Mr Drysdale was the Director of Training for Diamond prior to being recruited by Hyatt. Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich issued an Assurance of Discontinuance against Diamond Resorts after the AG’s office received hundreds of complaints from Diamond members.
A “deceptive price freeze” demands the member buy points the same day or loose special pricing. In the case of the veteran who recorded our Diamond sales agent, not only had the veteran repeatedly asked for his driver’s license and credit card back over two hours of a five hour ordeal, he was told that because he “didn’t get the letter” he was not grandfathered in for a special price after Apollo Global Management had acquired Diamond. Alaa stated this meant they would have to pay enormous maintenance fees over the next ten years unless they purchased additional points. As this dispute quickly resolved, we will not identify the buyers or link the article published about their dispute.
Thank you, Candace!
Those of us whose families have been harmed by timeshare sales agents, now have proof of deceptive and unfair practices because Hyatt’s attorney could not produce the letter. One of the members of the jury had asked where it was. There were 200 exhibits. Two letters hastily produced at trial, but neither had anything to do with a prior letter the member was supposed to have received.
I would like to share our Diamond Resorts experience so consumers may understand how the decked is stacked against the consumer. Of the 913 complaints our advocacy group has received, 115 are veterans and active duty service members. My husband is a Navy veteran.
Our Timeshare Accountability Group™ members share experiences in an effort to expose timeshare sales agents that have had multiple complaints filed against them. Including the veteran and our family, a total of seven complaints have been received, directed against Las Vegas sales agent Alaa C, and five complaints against California agent Trevor W. We purchased from both agents!
I have asked Inside Timeshare to publish our complaint submitted to the California and Nevada Real Estate Divisions hoping to reach lawmakers who, in recent Arizona legislation, bent to the will of ARDA lobbyists. ARDA’s position is that a state should not take responsibility for those who did not bother to understand the product and Arizona Senator Michelle Ugenti-Rita was quoted, “These people are adults. There was a meeting of the minds and they signed a contract. They should take responsibility.”
I’d like for ARDA lobbyists and lawmakers to read five complaints against the California agent in today’s article, and the seven complaints against Nevada agent Alaa C (to be published next Tuesday) to understand the kinds of minds that meet.
Five complaints against California Diamond sales agent Trevor W and Principal Broker Peter M
Trevor W complaint #1 A Senior in her mid-70s
Trevor W complaint #2 Brandon and Patty Boyak
Trevor W complaint #3 A Navy veteran
Trevor W complaint #4 Reported complaint but did not buy
Trevor W complaint #5 A senior age 75, resolved
Trevor complaint #1 Platinum Member #80 of 101, age 75
April 10, 2019
My mother lost her entire retirement annuity of $350,000, plus maintenance fees are $20,000 so almost $400,000. She was switched back and forth five times over six transactions. (Highlighted in red are agents Inside Timeshare received multiple complaints against):
Everything was okay until May 2015 when Rick C transferred her points to the US from Hawaii, which cost $42,000. September 2015 she was switched back to HI by Paul M for $33,000. April 2016 HI points were switched back to the US at Mystic Dunes in Orlando, by Angelica S. In March 2017 she was switched back to HI by Ras for $38,000. November 2017 Palm Canyon Resort $80,000 bought points from Trevor W. October 2018 Billie B and Fred K transferred points back to the US telling her she would be able to pay maintenance fees costing $45,000. In Hawaii, one of the brokers said he has a broker who could help her rent points (which is not allowed for-profit) to get her money back and in the future, her points could be sold back to Diamond.
She did not buy a second time March 2019 from Paul M. Paul said she should switch back to HI because there was going to be a huge Special Assessment in the US if she didn’t switch back to Hawaii for $63,000. She ended up with 100,000 US Collection points and $17,000 in annual maintenance fees
Trevor complaint #2 Platinum Member #28 of 191
July 6, 2019
Brandon and Patty Boyak
Our complaint is against CA Diamond Resorts sales Agent Trevor W.
We purchased 17,500 points October 21, 2017, from Trevor at Palm Canyon Resort in Palm Springs, CA for $72,850.
Consumers need to know there is nothing to prevent timeshare fraud without a recording because proof is required. I spoke to attorneys to ask what constituents proof. I was told a pattern of complaints serves as a form of proof. This is why we are gathering complaints.
Peter M, Principal Broker California
Trevor W said if we became Platinum “members” as opposed to “owners” we would be eligible for a program to sell points back to DRI at $0.30 per point. He explained this as a buyback program available only to Platinum members. We had never heard the term “member” before. Trevor explained that by becoming a member we would lock in our maintenance fees, preventing them from increasing at alarming rates over the coming years. There is no such thing as member or owner points.
We never attempted to sell points back at $.30 because we missed the window period. Trevor explained that we had to turn in points by November 30 and we had to have 20% of our loan paid to be eligible for the maintenance fee buyback program. In no way would we have 20% of the loan paid in such a short time. This avoided the rescission period. We were already aware of a travel discount program called 30/30. We did not know at the time only Platinum members can pay maintenance fees at $.04 per point, a worthless benefit because 50,000 points turned in at $.04 a point would cover only $2,000 towards an $8,631 maintenance fee bill (in 2018).
Trevor explained that as soon as a buyer makes an initial purchase of Diamond points, they become an owner. Any new purchaser is considered an owner, but once we became Platinum we would become a Diamond member. He reminded us that we were considered “owners” because of our past Monarch affiliation.
We had five contracts prior to this meeting. This would finally give us true Platinum Member status with DRI. The contracts were not wrapped.
Trevor Complaint #3 #78 of 101
A Navy veteran (retired), age 69
April 5, 2019
To: Michael Flaskey, CEO
January 28, 2018
Points purchased: 1,500
We attended a presentation at a hotel on January 28, 2018. Mr R. He said it would be better if we were to upgrade to Platinum because then we would be able to use our points to pay maintenance fees. I explained that we did not have the resources to upgrade. After several hours we agreed.
September 4, 2018, NV
Points purchased: 16,000
Sales Agent: Mr J Trevor W
Manager: Mr Matthew G
Purchase price: $48,000
September 4, 2018, we met with Trevor W. Mr W went over our account and stated that we were only a temporary platinum member and that we could not use our points towards maintenance fees.
I recall being told several times that if we were to upgrade to Platinum it would be an investment that we could pass to our children. He said if our children did not want the timeshare in the future they would be able to say that they did not want it or that they could sell points to pay maintenance fees.
Mr W asked us how we were able to purchase our existing points at such a low price because the price for points now was much higher. He left to talk to his manager and came back stating that they would honour the low point price but if we waited the price would be substantially higher, somewhere in the range of 9 dollars and that they would increase soon in the future. It was again mentioned that we would be able to use our points to pay maintenance fees by selling points. He said we would be able to sell our timeshare points outright in the future, but not at the present time.
Mr W said he would assist me in using Barclay Card points and Platinum exchanged points to pay maintenance fees. Mr W gave me his cell phone number and told me to call him towards the end of the year and he would assist me with the process. Mr W never returned calls. After contacting customer service I found out that the point conversion was so small it would not make a dent in the liability. I did not find this out until I was billed for maintenance fees and attempted to pay the fees via points.
I have learned members are not required to attend presentations unless accepting a promotion. This also is deceptive to be told an update is required when it is not. Diamond points are worthless on resale.
A senior, age 73, who did not buy from Trevor
Trevor Complaint #4 Platinum member #85 out of 101
At Palm Canyon CA Trevor showed me a graph of maintenance fees showing maintenance fees increasing. Trevor had said that the way my contract with Al C had been written, my maintenance fees were at a higher rate of increase. Al had told me my maintenance fees would be at the lower rate of increase, but Trevor explained that because of how C wrote the contract I was at the higher level because C wrote the contract as an owner contract and not a member contract. He explained that there is a difference between members and owners in terms of how much you pay in maintenance fees. However, I bought non-deeded Diamond points from Al, so what he sold me was a membership. He said C made more money selling owner points.
Trevor waived the maintenance fee graph in front of me and said, “I know you are telling me the truth because there would be a signature acknowledging receipt in your file”. I asked Trevor for a copy of the contract history he was reviewing, but he said he could not give this to me. Trevor said the only way to fix the problem C caused was to buy more points for $125,000. Had I believed Trevor’s nonsense about buying ownership and not membership points, I would have been driven deeper into debt. I would be another Platinum member-driven into foreclosure.
Trevor also presented the misrepresentation about heirs saying that my heirs would be responsible if I did not buy an additional 75,000 points for $125,000.
Trevor, and a second agent, Brad G, said I could get out of the owner status and go to “member status” if I made the purchase. Trevor assured me if I bought the points, I would then have the lowest maintenance fees. He told me I would need to do this to take care of the mess C had created.
Trevor and Brad acknowledged that “middle easterners at Cancun” in Las Vegas often made these mistakes. They thought Al was one who had put another person in a bad situation, but they would call Mike B to see if they could help me. Trevor agreed that Al had sold me a bait and switch. Trevor and Brad also stated that Al had sold me 7000 more points than I needed to reach platinum status.
In the end, I did not feel that I could trust Trevor. I asked Trevor for a copy of his proposal that he had written down so I could talk to my financial advisor. He would not give it to me. I said I had to talk to my family because they had been waiting for hours. My friend and daughter-in-law returned with me and said that I was not going to sign anything. Trevor got nasty and said, “I resent you coming in here at the last minute giving advice.”
I also was told that unless I bought the new points from Trevor I could not sell my points. If I did buy the points from them, Diamond would give me a list of members to whom I may sell. Diamond points are worthless on resale.
Besides ruining my afternoon with my family for my grandson’s birthday, I was a mental wreck. When I returned, I told the two men that I didn’t have enough funds to make the purchase. I asked for more time so I could talk to my financial advisor who was not available by phone. Trevor denied that request. He said I had to sign right then. He said if I signed I had 7 days in CA to cancel the contract.
Trevor Complaint #5
A senior, age 70, Diamond Platinum member #90 of 101
June 5, 2019
To Michael Flaskey, CEO
Barclay’s President’s office
On 4/22/19 in Palm Desert, I went to an “Owner Update” with Platinum specialist Trevor W. I had previously been assured that since I already owned 90,500 points, I was well in excess of the 50,000 points needed to be Platinum. I am 70 years old and have no children. The timespan and need for points are limited. Trevor launched into an explanation of why I had to buy additional “membership” points because the prior Hawaii sales agent had fraudulently, or at least mistakenly, sold me “owner” points due to inadequate training.
I explained to Platinum specialist Trevor W that my only goal was to find a way to SELL my points, and also to make absolutely sure that Diamond could NOT attach my estate because my heirs did not want the points.
Trevor explained that my points were essentially worthless, that there was no market for them because of the type of ownership category I held. He explained that the points that I owned, on the secondary market, would have none of the myriads of benefits like travel reimbursement for air and hotel, or access to other features. The buyer could only access specific Diamond-owned properties.
The Hawaii sales agent said that Hawaii points were the premium to own and in huge demand by buyers. They explained that Hawaii points have a limited supply, so I could use them and then easily sell them. In fact, they said Diamond itself would likely buy them back because they were running out of property in the tight Maui market.
Trevor pretended to be disappointed that I was sold a pack of lies, and implied that the Diamond rep knew the Hawaii points had no resale value. He said the rep should have disclosed this fact about worthless “ownership” points, worthless even when sold in Hawaii. I was really discouraged. Trevor posed as my friend, sorry to have to explain this to me.
Trevor offered a solution. Apollo owned Diamond, and Apollo was going public in the next couple of months. He said Apollo wanted Diamond to be clean as a whistle to have a stellar rating and reputation. Many owners had complained about not being able to resell, so Apollo had created a new class of ownership called “membership” which entitles a future buyer to all the Platinum benefits of my points. The maintenance fees for “owners” were going to skyrocket, compounding every year. He showed me a horrifying chart showing maintenance fees growing to a million dollars in aggregate over 20 years. But the “membership” category would be capped. This would result in huge savings over time.
Trevor said the terms of the public offering SEC filing by Apollo mandated that points had to be sold at a base rate of slightly over $11/point. No more bargaining. Trevor said there were scores of Platinum buyers clamouring to buy points, as they would not want to pay the new rate, creating a hot market to sell points to those who had previously purchased “ownership” points like I had been mistakenly sold. Trevor said he would give me a list of buyers with their emails once Apollo went public. Of course, it would be up to me to make a private party agreement. We had an elaborate discussion about what my average cost per point would be – about $4.50.
Trevor said he had recently purchased points, knowing he could sell them back at a profit. Being leery, I said I wanted to see his purchase contract, which he said was at home, so on speakerphone, he called his wife to ask her to fax it. She answered, such a sweet voice, and said she was at the market, but would send it as soon as she got home. So we took a break, as we’d been talking for hours. The break stretched to an hour. When we reconvened Trevor showed me his purchase contract. It must have taken an hour to make the mock purchase contract, backdate it, and have it faxed.
The hook was lowered. I would be required to buy 25,000 points at $112,500 in order for Diamond to convert all my “ownership” points to “membership” points. I was shocked at the dollar amount. It was like betting on the come, but it seemed the only way out. In about 2 months, Apollo would go public and Trevor would give me a list of eager existing Platinum owner-buyers. As I stalled, exhausted and discouraged, Sales Manager, Bradley reassured me.
I signed the purchase contract with misgivings, and explained to the contract/quality control guy (who said he was there to protect me from any misleading sales practices), that I was forced to buy points in order to be able to sell points in the near future and at least break even. He didn’t blink an eye, which was reassuring.
During this process, a loved one was rapidly sinking into dementia/Alzheimer.
Members and current and former timeshare sales agents like Candace can help by joining forces with others seeking to reform timeshare. Sign this petition for reform to let your voice be heard, and join one of these self-help groups.
We seek to provide timeshare members with 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.
Free at Last Facebook
Free at Last Timeshare Support Course offered by Straight-A-Guide
Diamond Resort Facebook
Gold Key Facebook
Inside Timeshare Facebook Group
Once again thank you Patty for taking the time to attend the trial and submitting your report, itjust unfortunate that it was not the result that Inside Timeshare and our readers had hoped for. We must also give Candace a very big thank you for having the courage to take on the big boys, we all hope that you will now move on and rebuild your life.
If you have any comments or views on this or any other article published, please do use our contact page and let us know.
That is it for this week, have a great weekend and join us again next week.