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
By Adam Siler, Bernadette, Tiffany Renee
April 16, 2021
Adam Siler, Air Force Veteran
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.
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
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.