Welcome to The Tuesday Slot and another revival of our Letter from America series, today we bring you another “Nightmare on Timeshare Street” with the horrific story of an elderly couple targeted by unscrupulous timeshare sales agents. This particular story is a result of a comment on a previous article “A Timeshare Sales Agent Repeats Himself”, by Donald E. Puyear which we published on 1 December. It is such a dreadful story that we decided that it needed an article all of its own. It appears that in the US this is a significant problem for the elderly, in Europe, we have had some similar stories but not to this extent. This is the story as related by Tiffany Renee on the trials and tribulations of her elderly parents at the hands of timeshare sales agents.
Mortgage Scams Targeting Seniors
Click on the Rachel Ramos Video.
Elder Senior Court
Financial Assaults on our Seniors
- Home Theft
- Identity Theft
- Fake Arbitration Scam
- Grandchild Needs Money Scam
- Lawyers Inflated Fees Scam
- The Timeshare Scam
- Long Term Insurance Scam
- And many more…..
What is causing this alarming epidemic trend?
Our ageing population is more vulnerable as they are more trusting, susceptible to trickery and are less likely to fight or report a scam. The authorities and courts are not up to date with the latest scams and are less likely to investigate or prosecute financial abuse cases.
By Tiffany Renee
December 3, 2020
My parents are devastated because of what happened at a Diamond Resorts presentation in June of 2019. View the video on Protecting our Elders website to see how easy it is for a senior to get scammed. What happened to the senior in the video is why my parents were in a sensitive state. They had been victims of prior scams throughout their lives that resulted in us losing our personal homes and property. Imagine having a bank take your home because they said your deed wasn’t real? And whoever had the real deed, was being foreclosed? Imagine knowing all the money you paid towards your home meant nothing because someone else out there had an outstanding mortgage that you were not aware of. Imagine receiving this news with your wife and two babies, forced out of your home. I won’t get into more details, but my parents didn’t know how to fight this with the mortgage company. They are good, honest people, trusting, hard-working, and God-loving individuals. They trusted the system and, like the senior in the video who had his home stolen and a lien filed against him, felt it was out of their hands. This happened to them more than once! They never wanted this to happen again!!!!
This is why the rawness of what they experienced at Diamond Resorts has devastated my parents more than anyone could ever know. Diamond knows they are devastated. They don’t care. I call what happened to them at Diamond Resorts elder abuse and false and unjust enrichment because my parents received no benefit from this transaction. In laws of equity, unjust enrichment occurs when one person is enriched at the expense of another in circumstances that the law sees as unjust and unfit…where an individual is unjustly enriched, the law imposes an obligation upon the recipient to make restitution, subject to defences. Liability for an unjust (or unjustified) enrichment arises irrespective of wrongdoing on the part of the recipient.
The concept of unjust enrichment can be traced to Roman Law and the maxim that “no one should be benefited at another’s expense” : “nemo locupletari potest aliena iactura or nemo locupletari debet cum aliena iactura.” This has been my motto!
At Diamond Resorts, the consumer is blamed because you signed a contract. Never mind the contract was signed after 11 hours of hard sell, unable to read the contract, relying on the ethics of a timeshare sales agent. They don’t understand rescission periods or cooling-off periods.
We owned two Gold Key deeded weeks prior to Diamond’s acquisition of Gold Key! Diamond’s Mystic Dunes Resort sales agent Dawson Allen, and Quality Assurance Agent Tim Lima told my parents in June of 2019, that they were required to attend a meeting, or they would be fined $400 !! They are elderly and trusting, they cannot afford this unexpected news, so they agreed to attend the “update” to avoid the fine. They had no obligation to attend this meeting.
During the meeting, Dawson and Tim told my parents it was necessary to give up their Gold Key deeds in order to protect themselves and their children from dire financial consequences. If they didn’t, their maintenance fees would increase by thousands of dollars over the years and could put my parents in a position of bankruptcy because they could be one of the last deed-holders standing. They could end up solely responsible for building repairs if a hurricane came through… looking at a 5 or 6 figure liability! That’s right, they threatened bankruptcy and a bill in the double or triple-digit thousands. They told them their current deeds were worthless, despite being told the prior year that their deeds were worth $250,000.
The news devastated my parents, feeling as if they could lose their home again and became homeless. THEY WERE PUT IN AN EMOTIONAL STATE. They could not think clearly or logically. They must turn in their deeds and purchase points. On top of it, they were promised they could use points to pay fees, they could sell points for profit, Diamond would buy the points back, blah blah blah.
My parents cannot see well. The agent read the contract, stopping off and on, to explain “how this really works” or “this is the way it really is,” pointing to information missing from the actual contract. My parents had informed the agents they could not afford to do anything right now, and the decision would have to wait until the following year. NOTHING was to take place until they could attempt to get their finances in order. This was June of 2019.
My parents said they had no food, water or medications for over 11 hours. They were exhausted and eager to have permission to leave. FINALLY, they saw the light at the end of the tunnel and started to perk back up, happy to finally be released. They were informed they would be recorded. They did not want to sound sad, embarrassed, and stupid to the general public. They made sure they “looked good on TV” as one would put it. They had not yet given Diamond any form of payment and they had not yet filled out any applications. They signed paperwork to acknowledge they had attended the meeting so as to not be fined $400 and were finally released with the notion they had a plan and that this was something that will need to be addressed in the following year.
My parents had no idea that Diamond had charged a down payment onto a Barclay Bankcard, and then later received a few bills due immediately. Remember when they said they would be avoiding high maintenance fee increases? Their maintenance fees jumped from $2200 to almost $6000 immediately! They now hold 78,450 points. How is this not enough?
We owned TWO Gold Key deeded weeks, both 3 bedroom condos with a lockout. We NEVER had a problem going on vacation or exchanging. Now all of a sudden it wasn’t enough? My parents have no intention of travelling anywhere in the future EXCEPT to go to the same spot they’ve always gone in Virginia Beach. Now that Diamond has their Gold Key Deeds, they are unable to return to their home resort during their previously guaranteed week. Nothing they search for is ever available for exchange.
I recently found our “QA” agent has an extensive criminal record, complete with a four-year jail term, with multiple felonies ranging from theft, burglary, domestic violence, and traffic criminal charges. Tell me WHY this person is allowed to work in Trading and Money Lending????? As a QA agent?
The timeshare lobby ARDA has a Code of Ethics? Diamond has a representative on ARDA’s board.
Link to ARDA Code of Ethics see Frequently asked questions: Why does ARDA have a Code of Ethics?
In all the years of doing this work, Inside Timeshare has never come across a story as devastating as this, in our opinion this behaviour is not just against all moral codes and ethics, it is downright criminal. If this story doesn’t show that there is a great need for change in how these timeshare agents are allowed to operate we are unfortunately going to see many more of these in the future.
If you have a similar story and would like to share it with others please use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get back to you.