Today we travel across The Pond and report on the battles that are going on in the US with regards to Diamond Resorts. We know from past articles that Diamond are not the favourite timeshare company in the US, their underhand tactics on sales presentations have been well reported here. We have also reported on Diamonds legal battles with “exit” companies, a problem which to be honest is of their own making, today we bring you news of yet another lawsuit brought by Diamond against one such company. We also include news of another case which was concluded last year which Diamond actually lost.
First, we have a look at the latest case to be filed against an “exit” company, Mutual Release Corporation.
The case was filed at The United States District Court For The Western District Of Missouri Southern Division, with the case number 6:18 – cv – 03053 – MDH. This case ended with an injunction against the company and its agents and employees. This injunction is permanent.
The details of the injunction are far-reaching and basically ends this company’s involvement with any Diamond member. The full text of the injunction can be read at the following link:
According to our friends in the US, Branson is a bit of a hotbed for some rather deceitful sales agents. It seems that one former sales manager was named in a lawsuit by Wyndham against The Transfer Group. He was working for Diamond at the time.
Another former sales agent was found to be working for an “exit” company named Mutual Release. This was not long after he had sold a Diamond member points with the promise of “making good money” by renting out his Diamond points, but as we found out some time ago this is not allowed via any 3rd party website.
It turns out that Chudy was a former Branson sales manager and Dickleman a sales agent both with Diamond Resorts!
It also turns out that both had complaints made against them by consumers, which at first were ignored with the usual Diamond response “you signed the contract”. This dispute was later resolved.
According to our US friends, it is common knowledge that leave the company have “pirated” data, because Diamond points are not deeded, therefore that information is not readily available from any public records.
Well, we all know that sales staff keep records of all their own sales and clients, we also suspect that many will “download” further information from company records. Inside Timeshare has mentioned this on numerous occasions when answering the question “where did they get my information from as it was so detailed”!
The simple answer is it is their “insurance policy” in the case of being made redundant, don’t forget the vast majority of sales agents/reps are self-employed and paid on a commission-only basis.
Moving on now to The Newton Group, who were on the receiving end of Diamonds never-ending attacks on any “exit” company. It appears this company which has been running for 15 years has a very good reputation, with high ratings including an A+ from the BBB.
According to Diamonds complaint, The Newton Group used scare tactics in a letter about “unprecedented increases” in maintenance fees. Diamond claimed that the advertisement was “literally false”.
They petitioned the court to find a Newton Group mailshot which stated that timeshare owners “may be affected by new Timeshare Laws allowing developers to raise maintenance fees with no restriction” was false. According to Diamond, developers are not permitted to raise maintenance fees and that there are “no laws that allow maintenance fees to be raised without restriction”.
In response, The Newton Group produced evidence to the court which clearly showed that the law does indeed “permit developers such as Diamond Resorts to raise maintenance fees, and that certain maintenance fees may be raised without restriction, as evidenced by a publication made by Diamond Resorts itself wherein Diamond advises consumers that certain maintenance fees may be raised without limitation”.
They also produced evidence that Diamond does inform consumers of the following:
″[T]he only limit on any increase in Assessments for Collection Costs is the statutory general limit found in section 721.55(4)(h)2, Florida Statutes, which prohibits the total Assessments for Collection Costs from exceeding 125% of the total Assessments for the preceding fiscal year. This prohibition does not apply to the assessments levied by the Component Site Owners Associations.”
The judge agreed with The Newton Group and Diamond lost the case. The full story can be seen at the following link:
It certainly looks like the gloves are off in the US, with lawsuits between developers and “exit” companies being thrown about as if there was no tomorrow.
As we have said before, all the problems that owners/members have when it comes to ending any timeshare agreement begin with the developers themselves and their intransigent attitude to not allowing anyone to leave. Well, they will but they usually want huge sums of money to be paid to let you out, or you have to purchase another product with the promise it will end your contract in the next 2 years or whatever time scale they decide. Diamond is just one company who used this method in order to sell “fractional” in Europe, which in Spain is illegal as it is a points-based product.
Until the developers take steps to ensure that their sales agents and managers don’t lie, just to get the “sale” and allow an easy exit, then this problem will not go away. This can be seen by the number of “new exit” scams that are appearing not just in the US but also in Europe.
Inside Timeshare would like to thank our US friends for the information on this subject, we did not go into depth as the article is to show our European readers that their cousins over the pond are in the same situation.