Many owners in Europe are also having some of the same problems as those in the US, that of constant upgrading when on holiday. One of the main tactics that has been used is the the price per point is about to go up, buy now and save money.
Many have been told the reason for the increase, is that it is to bring them in line with the price in the US. Some have even been told that today’s price will be frozen for them until their next holiday, or even they are entitled to last years price only if they buy today. All timeshare has in the past been sold on the “stack and drop” model, it gave the impression of the purchaser getting a bargain.
It must be said that in Europe things are changing, although there are some who still use the old methods. Unfortunately, the lack of a resale market is one of the biggest concerns, especially when clients are told they can sell, usually for more than they paid. The following article explains the problems in the US, many readers in Europe may have come across this here as well.
Is this Timeshare Proposal merely Monopoly Money?
You decide based on facts
By Irene Parker – February 22, 2017
Monopoly money is a type of play money used in the board game Monopoly. It is different from most currencies, including the American currency or British currency upon which it is based,
Diamond Resorts points, according to Diamond Resorts sales agents, should be looked upon as “currency” in that Diamond vacation points can be used for a variety of uses – just like real money. But does a Diamond point equate real currency?
Diamond Resort owners rarely can even give their vacation points away should the need to sell arise. Seeking to sell our Diamond vacation points due to overly aggressive sales presentations, rising maintenance fees, and availability falling far short of what was promised, I contacted David Cortese of Magical Realty.
David Cortese is one of 64 Licensed Timeshare Resale Brokers who will buy and sell any major timeshare except Diamond Resorts non-deeded points, as the LTRBA members feel the restrictions Diamond places on the use of secondary market points is so onerous, it renders the points worthless on resale.
My husband and I paid $3.06 per point for 6,000 Diamond points in 2012.
Imagine the dismay of a consumer presented with the following figures during a sales presentation – after they learn the points they purchased are worthless when they try to sell. Is the buyer informed of the lack of a secondary market? The prices below are easily the cost of a nice home. Who would buy a $400,000 home that became worthless on resale the moment the contract was signed?
What difference does the inflated price make to anyone but the selling agent and the company?
- 2013 Price per point $5.06 to $7.50
- 2014 Price per point $7.70 to $7.95
- 2015 Price per point $8.11 to $8.20
- 2016 Price per point $8.28 to $8.51
The following chart was also presented:
- 8,500 points @ $72,420 ($8.52 per point)
- 17,000 points @ $144,840
- 25,500 points @ $217,260
- 34,000 points @ $289,680
- 42,500 points @ $362,100
- 51,000 points @ $434,520 ($8.52 per point)
Our existing owner was told, if they buy today, and with approval from above, they can buy points today for $4.80.
What benefit is this to a consumer if the points have no secondary market?
In addition to our personal price history, Roddy Boyd of Southern Investigative Reporting Foundation included a price per point history in a price chart included in his article “Diamond Resorts and Its Perpetual Mortgage Machine” showing the price per point trending down to the $2 to $4 point range until 2014. Diamond did review the article pre-publishing.
The Chart obtained from owner lawsuits:
Since the timeshare operator (Diamond Resorts) completing its previous offering, in November 2015, losses on the loans it makes to customers have been rising, primarily because more borrowers are seeking legal representation, according to KBRA. (Kroll Bond Rating Agency)
The ratings agency’s pre sale report attributes this to “a handful of [law] firms, targeting certain timeshare borrowers” and to borrowers’ use of “cease and desist” letters. The presale report does not elaborate, but TheStreet and The New York Times have reported that the company is battling two lawsuits over its business practices.
These reportedly include pressuring owners to upgrade their membership in order to obtain benefits that do not materialize or are not as represented.
According to KBRA, the legal actions have dropped from their peak in the first half of 2016, but remain high compared with historical levels.
The ratings agency has the subordinate tranche of notes issued by a deal completed in July 2015 are under review for a possible downgrade.
Defaults reported by the deal, Diamond Resorts Owner Trust 2015-1, are zero, but only because the sponsor has been exercising its right to repurchase defaulted loans or substitute them with new loans. The company has the right to do this for up to 15% of the defaulted loans. However, it is not obliged to do so, and KBRA does not assume it will do so when it rates the bonds.
Diamond has also undergone a change in ownership. In September, the company was taken private by Apollo Global Management, which acquired it in a deal valued at $2.2 billion.
KBRA notes that, while other timeshare operators, including Wyndham, are experienced higher losses as the result of legal actions, “Diamond seems to be most affected.”
The presale report also notes that Diamond has made several changes designed to address the issue, including communicating with borrowers and attorneys on loans when possible and revising its sales and marketing training.
Bottom line: KBRA has increased its default expectation for the latest transaction considerably. Its base case is for gross losses of 17.9%-19.9%, compared with 13.05%-14.05% for the November 2015 transaction.
Roughly 99% of obligors are domestic and the weighted average FICO score is 732. However, the weighted average seasoning of seven months is approximately three months higher than in the previous transaction. The average loan balance remains high, at just over $25,000, which KBRA attributes to Diamond targeting obligors with higher FICO scores and incentivizing existing customers to upgrade into higher points programs.
Wells Fargo Bank will act as the “warm” back-up servicer in this transaction should the company experience deterioration in performance and be terminated as servicer.
At the very least, a timeshare buyer’s greatest advice:
Stay Informed and Seek Support
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.
Buyers should also beware a Diamond point at $8.52 is worth only pennies used for travel awards.
Inside Timeshare would like to thank Irene for the article, it has certainly shed some light on these practises. As we said in the opening, Europe is changing the way timeshare and points are sold, it still has a long way to go, but it is heading in the right direction.
Your comments and stories are always welcome, just contact Inside Timeshare and we will get back to you.