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Missouri Attorney General

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.

Why Timeshare Sales Presentations Should be Recorded

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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.

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.

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:

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.”

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

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

John Collick, Congressional Candidate 2020 (VA-3)

Eddie Rodriguez, Army Veteran, June 25, 2019

Army Veteran Ron Tzinski, June 21, 2019

Platinum Protest March 2019 Orlando organized by a Navy Veteran family

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

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

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

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

James McConnell, Army Veteran and retired VA Chaplain

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

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

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

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

Joshua Parker, Disabled Army Veteran March 16, 2018

Gad and Noreen Liebmann, Navy Veterans protesting Daytona Regency and

Margaret and Edward Chandler, Army E6 at discharge

Mike Yelton, Army and Air Force Veteran

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

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

Kevin and Brenda Hopkins, Air Force Veterans

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

Scotty Black, disabled Navy Veteran, Homeland Security

Air Force Active Duty Kevin Hopkins

Anthony Davis, 90% disabled Army veteran

Jeff Diehl, Marine veteran, disabled

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

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

Terry Carter, disabled Army Veteran, burn pit in Basra

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

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

A Military Family March 6, 2017

The Hurleys, Canadian career Army Veterans January 25, 2017

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: More Veterans Stories

Welcome to the end of another week with Inside Timeshare and another Letter from America, once again we are highlighting the comments received from our US friends following our article by Adam Siler in last Friday’s Letter from America.

To all Veterans and Serving Personel Adam can be contacted on the following email [email protected]

All other enquiries to Inside Timeshare using our contact page.

Comments Following Adam’s Veteran and Active Duty Service Member Outreach from Six Diamond Resort Members  

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March 5, 2021

Diamond Resorts CEO Michael Flaskey said on YouTube that the six of us could have “just called Diamond”. He appears with the current Washington Attorney General and the Missouri Attorney General. Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt states, “Exit companies are lying to timeshare members, making them worse off than they were before!”

Many disputes have been resolved, but other families, like ours, have been financially harmed and sadly, some financially ruined.

  1. Tiffany explains how her elderly parents were kept for 11 hours: My parents were told their deeds were worthless; their IDs were held and were made to wait while their sales agent Dawson and QA agent Tim claimed the need to call the developer of Gold Key to get them a special price for points they did not want. If they did not buy points and give up their deeds, my brother and I would suffer dire consequences – maintenance fees rising to over $6,000! After this transaction unknowingly took place, maintenance fees were immediately over $6,000.  The transaction was discovered once my parents received an unaffordable bill, causing my father to collapse. It was not necessary for my parents to give up their deeded Gold Key timeshares. QA agent Tim served four years in jail after burglarizing seven homes, some while occupied and committing acts of assault and violence. Both agents had multiple speeding violations.
  2. Angela in Minnesota: Diamond sells points in Collections. My parents went to Hawaii and were told they should not have bought U.S. Collection points. They went to Florida and were told they should not have bought Hawaii Collection points. They were switched by a Florida sales agent with six complaints directed against him. My parents live on my father’s retired letter carriers pension. He’s a Navy Veteran. They ended up with $2,700 a month in loan payments. Diamond blamed my parents. Our YouTube:
  3. Larry in Kentucky: Brian at Sunrise Ridge Resort in Tennessee talked about DEX Dollars as being part of Diamond’s new exchange program, Destination Exchange. He said we could turn in 50% of our points in October, then in December, we would direct Diamond’s Finance Department to use our DEX Dollars to pay 50% of our maintenance fees. He instructed us to not say anything to the closing agent or they would “push us out the door”. He used the words “equitable gain” as something that could void the contract because they didn’t want people buying points just for equitable gain. He would not give us anything he wrote. He made us write down “move points 50% in Oct. Dec get DEX Dollars to cover Maint.
  4. Bryan in Georgia, 9 years National Guard: We bought points from Tony at Fairway Forest in North Carolina. He assured me I was not attending a sales presentation. Tony said if I bought 14,000 points from him, he could take some of the points and turn them into DEX Dollars or cash. I would get roughly $14,000 to offset my loan. I could then access the equity that would make my out-of-pocket monthly payment about $30 a month. He said he could help figure out an aggressive payment plan to pay off my loan in four to six years if I gave up a Diamond Dream Holiday. He calculated on his phone that he could guarantee I’d get somewhere around $34,000 – $37,000 in 2021. He asked how many points I had leftover from 2020. I said roughly 8,000. He said he could turn that into $5,000. This would cover my down payment for the 14,000 points. He guaranteed I’d have the money by the end of October or November. I told Tony this seemed too good to be true. He said in his position he is able to offer this, but not every agent can. I turn in 14,000 points for cash, and then Diamond can turn around and use my points to sell more points to new buyers. It made sense. Before I went to the recorded signing, Tony said I should not talk about giving points back for a profit. He said that would definitely disqualify the purchase because she would start asking questions. He said to give very generic answers like I wanted to vacation more. I called Tony on October 4, 2020, to turn in 8,000 points. Tony said he could get me $5,000 right away through Diamond, but if I could wait a month or two, he could get me $8,000 going through one of his guys. In late November I had not heard from Tony so I went back to the resort in early December. My meeting got cancelled but they said Tony’s VP Kyle would call me. Kyle sent an email telling me Josh from Tennessee would call me. This way I could teach the scam to the Tennessee centre. That’s probably why I was directed there. Josh called from Tennessee and said the program Tony described was legitimate, but he would have to check into it to make sure he would be giving me accurate information. I never heard back from Josh. I did speak to a manager at Fairway who told me the program would not start until 2021. In January of 2021, a sales agent told me the program Tony sold doesn’t exist. Tony died in a car accident in the early morning hours on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. At age 23 he was charged with a DWI when he totalled his BMW. He was charged with a second DWI at 25. He died at age 27. According to reports, he crashed after leaving a party. I was supposed to have a call with VP Kyle and one or two others, but was contacted by a newly formed “Reconnection Team”. When I spoke to them I was ridiculed, told by the agent he would be laughed out of the office if he cancelled the contract.
  5. Bob in Virginia: I am 84 and my wife is 83. I spent 28 years active duty US Army and four years with the US Marine Corps as a reservist. I am disabled due to Agent Orange. I served in Vietnam. I bought it from Brent in Virginia. Another Diamond member recorded Brent in Missouri lying about being able to pay 50% of maintenance fees with points. Brent was transferred to Virginia. I’m told that I am the sixth Brent complaint. Brent said that if we became Platinum we would not be required to pay maintenance fees. He said two or three times we should not say anything to the closing agent. He said they would know “what’s up” but did not want it recorded. We also bought from Florida sales agents Melinda and Robert (Bobbie) in Virginia. Melinda described in detail at the hotel presentation that it would not be legal to rent to the public unless we upgraded. Melinda explained that we would not have to pay maintenance fees from our personal finances as we could earn $3,000 to $10,000 per week renting. She showed us professional listings in a binder. She would personally assist us like she does for Platinum clients in Florida. We knew Diamond prohibited renting for commercial purposes, but Melinda said the additional points we purchased from her would qualify us to rent to the public to earn enough to pay maintenance fees. She said renting to cover maintenance fees is not considered renting for profit. She showed us how, after renting out a number of units, I would still have points left to travel. Bobbie promised he would help us refinance. Bobbie appeared to be the senior manager of the DRI travelling team. I never received a contract from either purchase. I have no Public Offering Statement in my possession. I thought we were paying about $26,000 for 7,500 points but the cost turned out to be about $62,000. We charged about $15,000 to a Diamond Barclaycard. I did not know we took out a $50,000 loan. As a retired couple, this loan is devastating. Melinda promised to contact me in December of 2020 to set up the rental operation. We did not talk to her until February 4. She said she only told us we could rent to friends and family. That was never mentioned. Why would we need professional listings like the ones she showed us if we were only going to rent to friends and family? We would never exploit our friends or family like that. I’ve had two strokes and two cancer surgeries. The survival rate for stomach cancer is only 20%. Why would I buy 5,000 points when I was already Platinum points with 50,000 points? Melinda did not return our calls until I used a different phone. We did not know until 2020 we had been deceived by Brent because he said we would have to pay our maintenance fees in 2019 like we always did. We are original Gold Key owners. We were told at every update we had to give up our deed or annual fees would go up drastically. They used 10 years as a baseline showing us that over time we could incur $100,000 in fees or more if we did not buy points. Nothing we have been told is true. Melinda, Robert and Brent all have criminal backgrounds.
  6. Cindy in Virginia: Like Bob, I bought from Melinda and Robert. I struggle with depression from a terrible family tragedy. I never recovered. That, on top of the pandemic, caused me to accept an offer to attend a dinner meeting. Melinda asked me why I was attending. I told her I was afraid of my kids being responsible for my Gold Key deed if something happened to me. I had already purchased 15,000 Diamond points previously, but I kept my deed. It was not necessary for me to give up my deed and buy points. Mason, the Diamond representative who called me after I complained, at first acted as if he did not believe me about my grandchild. I sent him a 1997 article about the tragedy that was in the Washington Post. Then he said it didn’t matter because it happened a long time ago. It matters. I lost my first grandchild at 11 months due to child abuse. Mason is called a Hospitality agent. I worked 37 years at the Pentagon as a federal employee. 

It’s not likely Diamond CEO Michael Flaskey will read our complaints. We were told by a Diamond sales agent on our Facebook that we are “greedy liars”. We have also been told that several members did resolve disputes. What makes us less deserving? Only Mr Flaskey can say. We will send him this article along with his comment, “And they could have just called Diamond”. Diamond buyers need to be informed they cannot believe anything a sales agent says. Thank you to Charles Thomas for allowing our voices to be heard.

Once again we are seeing some horrendous stories from many people, these are just a selection. It is amazing that all these stories are so similar, yet they do not even know each other. This definitely points to a very serious problem and it is about time the Timeshare Industry and especially Diamond Resorts took notice. This is not going away, Inside Timeshare will continue to highlight these abuses by Sales Agents no matter which company they work for.  

Next week Inside Timeshare will not be publishing every day due to some upgrading of the interface by my IT guru. We will publish any news of importance that comes in and will publish next Friday’s Letter from America.

Have a great weekend and stay safe.