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Diamond CEO Michael Flaskey

Friday’s Letter from America: Should Sales Presentations be Recorded?

Welcome to this week’s Letter from America, as you can see from the title, Adam Siler, Bernadette and Tiffany Renee give their views and stories answering the question of why they believe sales presentations should be recorded. As those of you who have been following Inside Timeshare over the years will remember, we have published numerous Nightmare on Timeshare Street stories on how people have been duped by sales agents. Some of these articles can be found on the links at the end. Inside Timeshare would also like to remind all our readers to sign the petition from Bernadette for Diamond CEO Michael Flaskey to remove his video which many who have been through the Diamond mill find offensive. Please take the time to sign it, no matter where in the world you are, many voices, one message.

https://www.change.org/Michael-Flaskey-MO-WA-AG-take-down-YouTube

Why Timeshare Sales Presentations Should be Recorded

See the source image

By Adam Siler, Bernadette, Tiffany Renee

April 16, 2021

Adam Siler, Air Force Veteran

[email protected]

I learned that a timeshare buyer can’t rely on the ethics or words of a sales agent or manager. If the signing is recorded, don’t accept any reason as to why you should not bring up something promised during the sales presentation. Record the sales session in states where legal without obtaining consent. It’s no surprise that recording without the other person aware is not legal in timeshare mecca Florida. 

Even if you are savvy enough to record your sales session and easily resolve your dispute, the company will release you “without liability.” That’s the same thing as saying it doesn’t matter what the sales agent says. Despite evidence in my sales agent’s handwriting, illustrating a 7% financing that he promised to help me obtain, I was informed that it doesn’t matter what he promised because I signed a contract. 

A recent sixth complaint was directed against my Florida timeshare sales agent. The complaint was reported by a member who attends presentations to report deception. This makes the sixth complaint since 2017. The first was reported by an active-duty Navy couple.

My efforts are focused on veterans and active duty service members. An active duty service member can lose their security clearances over a timeshare foreclosure. Service members should think carefully before buying a product with little to no resale value as they can be deployed at a moment’s notice. Given the ease of entrapment, high-interest rate timeshare lending should be deemed off-limits like Payday loans. Below are four pages of articles about veterans and active duty service members hurt by their purchase of a timeshare.

https://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-from-america-75/

Tiffany Renee

My mom called me a number of times during their 11 hour sales session. She told me they could not leave because the agent had taken their IDs. They were falsely told that my brother and I would be liable for increasing fees should something happen to them. They forfeited their two deeded weeks and lost over $30,000. Now they are receiving collection letters threatening to add legal fees and collection agency fees. 

In their 70s my parents had no choice but to default. Their maintenance fees increased from $2,000 to $6,000 after converting to points. My parents were no match for a “QA” agent who served a four-year jail term for burglarizing seven homes, some while occupied. He had other criminal charges over the years. The timeshare company blamed my parents, saying they sounded fine on the recorded closing. That’s why you need to record your sales session.    

https://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-from-america-74/

It’s important to file complaints with the Federal Trade Commission and other appropriate regulatory agencies. The Florida Attorney General only forwarded our information to the timeshare company, and in turn, forwarded the company’s denial, but if no one filed complaints it would seem there are no problems.

At a Florida HB 435 workshop held in Tallahassee March 12, 2019, Victoria Butler, from the Florida Attorney General’s Department of Consumer Protection, reported a figure of 1,500 to 1,600 timeshare complaints in 2017, about the same number in 2018, and 700 complaints filed in 2019 through March 12, 2019. Ms Butler said about 50% of the complaints involved senior citizens with the majority in regard to the initial sales presentation. Ms Butler stated that the Florida timeshare division engaged only 42 complaints, the majority concerning resale.

(Irene Parker attended and reported)

Bernadette in Oklahoma

We did not record our sales presentation. On three occasions in Las Vegas, Hawaii and Missouri, we were not informed of the company’s voluntary surrender program. We attended a meeting only to learn how to be released due to my husband’s chronic and debilitating health problems. Each time we were told we would need to purchase additional points to gain release. 

I was shocked to be told by the Missouri Attorney General’s Office that I should get a lawyer. A YouTube featuring the Missouri Attorney General, the Washington Attorney General, and the former Arizona Attorney General describes attorneys specializing in timeshares as “storefront clowns.” 

The company only offered us their voluntary surrender program FOR THE ORIGINAL CONTRACT I FIRST ATTEMPTED RELEASE. We had no loan before the three up-sells. In frustration I launched this petition:  

https://www.change.org/Michael-Flaskey-MO-WA-AG-take-down-YouTube

https://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-from-america-the-story-of-bernadette/

Articles About or By Veterans

Calvin Wardrick, a disabled Army Veteran, explains how timeshare companies and timeshare exit companies feed off each other. Calvin ran a POW camp of 27,000 Iraq soldiers and is 100% disabled due to PTSD. As Calvin explains, “My family had good intentions when they purchased a timeshare for my relaxation, but I entered into another war on US soil that we did not see coming. Stress over this timeshare has added to my sickness and has put us at a poverty level.”

https://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-from-america-68/

Timeshare can pose a National Security Threat, December 27, 2017

http://insidetimeshare.com/money-vs-morals/

Wayne Robinson, a Navy Veteran/Navy Journalist, and a former timeshare sales agent, executive, and author of Everything about Timeshare, Before During and After the Sales September 14, 2018

https://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-from-america-21/

John Collick, Congressional Candidate 2020 (VA-3) 

https://insidetimeshare.com/the-tuesday-slot-37/

Eddie Rodriguez, Army Veteran, June 25, 2019

https://insidetimeshare.com/the-tuesday-slot-36/

Army Veteran Ron Tzinski, June 21, 2019

https://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-from-america-55/

Platinum Protest March 2019 Orlando organized by a Navy Veteran family

https://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-from-america-51/

The Sherwood Family, Marine Veteran, Wyndham, March 8, 2019

http://insidetimeshare.com/http-insidetimeshare-com-p5114/

The Kleen Family, a Veteran Family, Wyndham, January 18, 2019

http://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-from-america-38/

The Althage Family, Marine Veteran, Wyndham, January 11, 2019

http://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-from-america-37/

A Bronze Star Veteran, January 4, 2019 1/23 complaint against the agent

http://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-from-america-35/

James McConnell, Army Veteran and retired VA Chaplain  

https://insidetimeshare.com/the-tuesday-slot-9/

Willma Miller, Vietnam Army Veteran Family, October 2, 2018

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

Army Veteran Leo Gomez, deceased, 2 Purple Hearts, 100% disabled Agent Orange September 21, 2018

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

George Yamada, 70% Disabled Agent Orange Vietnam, September 11, 2018

http://insidetimeshare.com/the-tuesday-slot-5/

John Kim, Air Force Active Duty, August 21, 2018

http://insidetimeshare.com/the-tuesday-slot-with-irene-16/

Joshua Parker, Disabled Army Veteran March 16, 2018

https://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-america-41/

Gad and Noreen Liebmann, Navy Veterans protesting Daytona Regency and 

http://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-from-america-7/

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

Margaret and Edward Chandler, Army E6 at discharge

http://insidetimeshare.com/the-tuesday-slot-with-irene-7/

Mike Yelton, Army and Air Force Veteran

http://insidetimeshare.com/the-tuesday-slot-with-irene-5/

Sean Wolfer, 100% Disabled Army Veteran, Agent Orange, 2/23 complaints 

http://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-america-44/

Raymond Mori, age 83, a Disabled Marine Veteran 23 years, 2 Purple Hearts

http://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-america-42/

Kevin and Brenda Hopkins, Air Force Veterans

http://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-america-39/

Roy Simmons, Navy Veteran retired letter carrier, upsold to $2,700 a month in loan payments

http://insidetimeshare.com/tuesday-slot-irene-13/

Scotty Black, disabled Navy Veteran, Homeland Security

http://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-america-36/

Air Force Active Duty Kevin Hopkins

http://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-america-39/

Anthony Davis, 90% disabled Army veteran

https://insidetimeshare.com/tuesday-slot-irene-6/

Jeff Diehl, Marine veteran, disabled

http://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-america-30/

Samuel Melendez, 21 yrs Army, chemical, biochemical, nuclear defense, 3/23 

http://insidetimeshare.com/nightmares-timeshare-street/

Amanda and George Jones, Active Duty Navy, December 19, 2017

http://insidetimeshare.com/tuesday-slot-irene-3/

Terry Carter, disabled Army Veteran, burn pit in Basra

http://insidetimeshare.com/tuesday-slot-irene-2/

Alan Callner, retired Coast Guard, 4/23 complaints against the same agent

http://insidetimeshare.com/wednesday-article-america/

Nancy Callahan, disabled Gulf War Veteran Family, April 24, 2017, 5/23

http://insidetimeshare.com/another-nightmare-timeshare-street/

A Military Family March 6, 2017

http://insidetimeshare.com/consumer-protection-week-usa/

The Hurleys, Canadian career Army Veterans January 25, 2017

http://insidetimeshare.com/timeshare-advocacy/

Thank you Adam, Bernadette and Tiffany for your contributions, once again you have given all our readers a sound argument as to why the industry must change and change for the benefit of consumers and the industry, not just one side.

Inside Timeshare would also like to thank all the past contributors for their experiences, for many it was a very difficult step to take and share what they perceived to be problems of their own making, not realising that others have also been taken in by the sales patter.

While some families seem so obviously mislead and suffer financial harm, others are able to work out their differences. Let’s hope consumers do their part by following Ronald Reagan’s advice, “Believe but verify!”

All Inside Timeshare and our readers who have followed us and contributed over the years can say, is you are no longer alone.

Have a great weekend and join us again next week.

Friday’s Letter from America

Welcome to this week’s Letter from America, once again it is Diamond Resorts and the tactics employed by sales agents including the use of the Diamond Barclaycard. It begins with Bernadette and her campaign to have the Diamond CEO Michael Flaskey’s YouTube video to be removed. Please use the link below to sign the petition with Change.org.

See the source image

After learning about Bernadette’s Change.org petition, asking to have a YouTube taken down featuring Diamond Resorts CEO Michael Flaskey, pointing the finger at exit companies, one of our readers reached out to share his experience after he suffered a disastrous arbitration outcome. 

Bernadette’s timeshare company refused to believe that she had been deceived by timeshare sales agents at three different sales centres. She attended meetings looking for a way to be released from her timeshare due to her husband’s debilitating medical condition. The Missouri Attorney General’s Office suggested she retain an attorney after the timeshare company dismissed her complaint. Please sign Bernadette’s petition.

https://www.change.org/Michael-Flaskey-MO-WA-AG-take-down-YouTube

Frank and Betty, ages 88 and 89, ended up with a $197,000 timeshare loan and $19,000 in maintenance fees. Their interview is almost identical to the couple in the YouTube above complaining about their exit company.

Inside Timeshare has followed arbitration experiences shared by a number of timeshare owners. So far none of the reported outcomes have benefitted the timeshare consumer. In October of 2017, we published an article about arbitration referencing an article by Chris Parker, a reporter for City Pages.  While much of the content of the 2017 article is outdated, some things have not changed. Inside Timeshare has heard from various attorneys that arbitrators hired by the timeshare companies in the U.S. can charge up to $400 to $800 per hour. Mr Parker’s article states arbitration fees estimated at $300 to $400 an hour.   

“Should a dispute arise, arbitration forces consumers out of the court system and into arbitration where appeals aren’t allowed, corporations historically wield a huge advantage— when not outright rigging the system—and details of misconduct are kept private”

Former Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson: “To think that millions upon millions of consumers are forfeiting their fundamental right to have their day in court because of fine print in a contract….” 

“Though arbitration may sound preferable to the expense and anguish of court, it hands a major advantage to companies. The costs savings aren’t much: Arbitrators usually charge $300-$400 per hour minimum and some bill into the thousands of dollars. But arbitration clauses typically bar the consumer from joining class-action suits. The strategy has emboldened fraud on a massive scale.” 

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) told the Wall Street Journal that such clauses are “a windfall for the companies, in terms of how you settle their cheating.” 

“Even when someone does challenge them, arbitration rulings are usually private, with no appeals and little documentation. Like a tree falling in a vast forest, Wells Fargo’s customers didn’t hear the millions of other victims, and the press remained none the wiser.”

http://www.citypages.com/news/the-plot-to-kill-consumer-protection/451334393

A staggering amount of money has been made by the financial elite since private equity seized timeshare. The wealth and the lifestyle of current and former Diamond CEOs – beginning with Diamond Resorts Founder Stephen Cloobeck:

Millionaire Wants Ex to Give Him Back Over $1M in Gifts After He Says He Learned She Posed on OnlyFans

https://www.insideedition.com/millionaire-wants-ex-to-give-him-back-over-1m-in-gifts-after-he-says-he-learned-she-posed-on-65483

Interim Diamond CEO David Palmer and Stephen Cloobeck earned a fortune when Diamond was taken private by Apollo Global Management in 2016:

Diamond’s top executives and directors beneficially owned almost 23 million shares in the form of options and company stock. If the transaction is completed, a filing stated, those 15 people “would be entitled to receive an aggregate amount of $624,131,129 in cash.” The bulk of that will go to Stephen J. Cloobeck, Diamond’s founder, and Mr Palmer, the chief executive. Mr Cloobeck would be entitled to $384 million and Mr Palmer would receive $173 million.

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/07/business/accounting-error-may-not-derail-a-deal-but-ex-director-bails-early-anyway.html

Michael Flaskey has been CEO since 2017. The most recent compensation figures available are from when Diamond was a publicly-traded company. In 2016 his total compensation including Salary, Bonus and Stock awards was $6,766,664.

https://vegasinc.lasvegassun.com/business/public-record/2016/jun/20/the-list-highest-paid-executives-june-19-2016/

My Arbitrations Resulted in a $95,000 Judgment Contesting $16,000 in Loans 

http://media.gettyimages.com/vectors/elder-abuse-vector-id901968604?s=170x170

By a victim of predatory arbitration, age 70

March 19, 2021

After hearing about Bernadette’s petition about timeshare companies blaming exit companies, I decided to share my story. I am one reason why there needs to be an Elder Senior Court due to the surge in FINANCIAL ASSAULTS on seniors, including HOME THEFT, IDENTITY THEFT, FAKE ARBITRATION SCAM, GRANDCHILD NEEDS MONEY SCAM, LAWYERS INFLATED FEES SCAM, THE TIMESHARE SCAM, The LONG TERM INSURANCE SCAM and many more

https://www.elderseniorcourt.com/petition33079077

https://protectingourelders.com/

I first purchased timeshare points in 2016. On August 2, 2017, we attended a meeting at one of the company’s resorts in Las Vegas. Our sales agent Benito asked about our concerns. We responded that we were concerned that maintenance fees had risen to over $2,000 a year. Benito asked us, “What if you could vacation and not have to pay annual maintenance fees?” This attracted our attention. He explained that by using a resort-issued Barclaycard to charge purchases; we could offset annual maintenance fees at a rate of $.20 per dollar charged. Benito told us that he offset most, if not all his maintenance fees by charging almost everything to his Barclaycard. We bought a trial product from Benito to make us eligible to use points to pay maintenance fees. We were told we could start booking reservations for 2018 after 14 days (which was after the contract cancellation period).

After receiving the Barclaycard, I learned that the actual accrual cash value redemption rate was $.01 for general purchases or $.02 per dollar charged if charging items offered by the timeshare company. Benito had said the reimbursement rate was $.20 cents for Silver members and $.30 cents for Gold. Offsetting a $3,000 maintenance fee would require charging $150,000 to $300,000.

At the next meeting, we went to in 2018, we complained about the misrepresentation. The agents sympathized. They said Benito was one bad apple and not representative of their company. We purchased additional points to have access to more desirable inventory. They said they would wrap our old loan into a new loan, but the loans were never consolidated. As a result, we were required to have two separate arbitrations. 

I complained to the timeshare company before contacting an exit company. The company dismissed our complaint in 2019 basically saying we signed a contract. I contacted an exit company that had good reviews. I paid them a one-time upfront fee of about $6,500 and was promised a money-back guarantee. I also paid a $750 retainer to the law firm that works with the exit company. 

Early in 2020, we were surprised to learn that the timeshare company compelled us to engage in mandatory binding arbitration in Las Vegas. My stomach dropped because I had read that arbitrators favour the timeshare developers. We were further alarmed to learn that there would be two arbitrations, one JAMS and one AAA, because of the two contracts. My lawyer assured me that it would not be that bad since our arbitration would be in Nevada where laws are more favourable to my case. In speaking with other timeshare members I have learned that Nevada does little if anything to help the timeshare consumer. 

The first (JAMS) arbitration concerned the points we purchased in Arizona after being duped by Benito. The loan amount for the first loan was about $13,000. The arbitration fees I was ordered to pay totalled $81,737. The loan amount to upgrade was $10,421.

The second (AAA) arbitration concerned our original purchase from 2016. Although the arbitrator ruled in my favour in this arbitration, I was ordered to pay an additional $13,941 for the timeshare company’s arbitrator fees. The arbitrator ruled that the company could not pursue me for the first loan because it had been cancelled due to nonpayment. He said they could not have it both ways and felt I had paid in enough as the loan balance was down to $3,371.04. 

At the depositions and hearings that took place fall of 2020, the timeshare company lawyer spent significant time asking questions about the exit company. They scheduled a supplemental deposition after asserting that we did not provide all correspondence related to the timeshare company. However, all the claims and questions were essentially the same in the second deposition. 

I believe I was used as a pawn in the legal actions the timeshare company has taken against the exit company. They filed a lawsuit against the timeshare company in January of 2020.  

The total judgment against me for both arbitrations is $95,678. The difference of $79,678 is the timeshare company’s arbitrator and attorney’s fees. This amount seems punitive and unfair. 

That is all for this week, join us again next week with more news and information on the very murky world of timeshare.

Inside Timeshare would also like to remind all Veterans and Serving Military Personnel who have been affected by unscrupulous sales tactics to contact Adam Siler on:

[email protected]

If you have any questions or comments or would like further information on timeshare matters, please use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get back to you.

Have a great weekend and stay safe.

Start the Week

Welcome to the start of another week, this week there will be a slow down in articles as our IT guru will be doing some updates to the interface, not looking forward to that as it means learning where everything is again. Don’t you just hate updates! Today though, we briefly highlight a new website to come to our attention and also a rather interesting article published Canaria Vision. This article is written by Leo Lunde and Lisbet Fjølstad and looks at Holiday Club and the recent unrest caused by that resort taking in the refugees/immigrants.

First, we have a request from our US cousins, we have been following the new campaign to protect Veterans and Serving Personnel from the unscrupulous sales tactics of timeshare sales agents. The following link is to sign a petition for Diamond CEO Michael Flaskey to remove his YouTube video which is considered by members to be nothing short of insulting.

Please take the time and sign the petition and show your support for our cousins across the pond.

https://www.change.org/Michael-Flaskey-MO-WA-AG-take-down-YouTube

We now have a quick look at another website, this came to our attention by one of our regular readers, he received an email with a link to another website, it was for an article titled Has your timeshare resort closed down?

This does not seem to be a problem as this piece did give some decent information although the tone was more “scare mongering” than informative.

The website is

https://timeshareword.com/

It was registered on 4 September 2020 and is due to expire on 4 September 2021, so again a few months old and registered for 1 year, obviously this can be increased as and when needed. The registrant details are again hidden by a privacy protect.

The website shows no company details or any links to another company, address or telephone number, but it does appear to be a news and information website.

The problem our reader has is the email he received, he has no recollection of ever seeing this website before and has never subscribed to it. Now, this does cause a cause for concern as this is actually a breach of the Data Protection Regulations. As he has never subscribed to receive emails this is regarded as an unsolicited email which is forbidden.

Other than that there does appear to be no problem at the present, we suspect that it is what we call a “lead generator”, the only thing is who for?

Last year Inside Timeshare published the story of Holiday Club Gran Canaria which was along with all other hotels and resorts, closed due to the pandemic. It was then handed over to the Red Cross to house the growing number of refugees/immigrants arriving in the small harbour town of Arguineguin.

This caused a lot of unrest with members, the main point being they were still paying their maintenance fees regardless of them being unable to use it. The other factor was they felt they had been ignored as they had not been consulted about the use of “their apartments”. The other point was the Red Cross was actually paying the resort management company for the use of the hotel.

The article has been published in Canaria Visen by Leo Lunde and Lisbet Fjølstad, it brings to light some very interesting details, including how much has been paid. This is obviously going to cause some very heated debates between members and management.

The full article can be seen on the link below, the second link is a similar article published in Canarian Weekly.

https://canariavisen.no/british-timeshare-boss-made-big-money-on-migrants-while-forcing-members-to-pay-the-maintenance/

https://www.canarianweekly.com/posts/hoteliers-making-more-money-immogration-than-tourism#ath

This is a story that is going to be rumbling on for some time to come, especially with many members still unable to use their timeshares until all restrictions on travel are lifted.

If you have any questions or comments on any article please use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get back to you.