Cameron House on the banks of Loch Lomond, a luxury 5 star spa resort, which also has timeshare interest at Cameron Lodges, was the scene of a tragic fire yesterday. Details of how the fire started have yet to be determined.
It has been reported that two people have died, they had only just married on Friday, it has also been reported that their young son was rescued by a firefighter.
Inside Timeshare and our readers offer our condolences to the family.
Judge Rules in Favor of Diamond Resorts in Billion Dollar Lawsuit
Plaintiffs did not opt out of the arbitration clause
Top Producer Sues Diamond in Hawaii Court:
Mary Bowling: An Accidental Whistleblower
By Irene Parker
Tuesday, December 19
A federal court judge in Nevada ruled in Diamond Resort Internationals favor in a lawsuit alleging thousands of elderly consumers were sold by deceptive and fraudulent means. The ruling is a lesson to consumers on the importance of opting out of DRI’s arbitration clause within thirty days of signing a Diamond timeshare contact. According to several lawyers I contacted, DRI has one of the only timeshare contracts that contain a class action ban, forcing arbitration. Arbitration rulings are binding and private.
Attorneys for Plaintiffs Ilona and Lester Harding argued the contract language, stating buyers could opt out of arbitration, was ambiguous, as the Harding’s contract stated they had 30 days to opt out, but the contract did not state when the 30 days began. After the lawsuit was filed, Diamond amended their contract. It now reads, “Buyers can opt out of arbitration 30 days from the signing of the contract.” An appeal is being considered. Our February 1, 2017 article describing the lawsuit:
Arbitration clauses made headlines recently when Congress, in a tight vote, reversed a July 2017 Consumer Financial Protection Ruling that would not allow arbitration clauses to bar consumers from joining class-action lawsuits.
In an October 24 Inside Timeshare article we examined arbitration. Taken from Chris Parker’s City Pages article, Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson said, “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. City Pages “The Plot to Kill Consumer Protection”
Former DRI Top Producer Mary Bowling Sues Diamond Resorts
In a separate lawsuit filed in Hawaii District Court November 17, 2017, Diamond fired former top selling agent (#2 nationally) Mary Bowling due to customer complaints, but Ms. Bowling alleges she was fired for refusing to travel from Kauai to Florida to receive an award. Due to her disability, she could not endure such a long flight. Ms. Bowling states in her complaint, there were customer complaints directed against other sales agents, but they were not fired. Inside Timeshare (as of December 16) has received 231 Diamond complaints from our readers of which 221 allege they were sold a timeshare by agents employing deceptive practices, so Ms. Bowling’s allegations do not come as a surprise to Inside Timeshare. Over and over the complaint begins:
“Oh, you should have been invited to a dinner!”
“Oh, you should have received a letter!”
Navy computer technicians George and Amanda Jones have allowed us to use their Diamond experience as an example, but first, here are excerpts from the lawsuit filed by Mary Bowling. Ms. Bowling alleges deceitful practices are endorsed and encouraged. It is the opinion of Inside Timeshare Diamond is not alone in employing such tactics. We have received complaints directed against several major timeshare companies.
Interestingly, Mary Bowling is suing, not because of deceptive sales, but because she was terminated when no one else was. She applied for FMLA 2-12-16 and was terminated 2-15-16.
Case 1:17-cv-00562-DKW-RLP filed in Hawaii District Court
Page 10 of complaint
#43 Owners Update is deceptive because it is to sell points.
#44 Customer is told the current “list price” but the agent has to see someone else.
#48 the sales agent has customer sign a form indicating they were updated and the agent has to have the manager sign off.
#49 the sales manager has reviewed all prior customer contracts and the manager falsely states the customer was given a “price freeze” but none exists.
#50 (In bold) because of the “price freeze” only today can the customer buy for the discounted price.
#51 (In bold) the price given is the real price planned from the outset.
#52 the “price freeze” never existed because (a) The special deal available to this customer only is available to anyone and (b) Urgent to buy only for today
#54 this is lucky news for the customer – brand new information!
#55 the sales agent waits for the customer to “step in”
By George and Amanda Jones, Navy computer technicians
We contacted Irene Parker at Inside Timeshare because we are angry about what the sales agents in Virginia and Orlando told us about refinancing. We are asking both of our loans be cancelled and all monies refunded. We knew we could not afford this vacation product at the interest rate being charged.
January 2017 we purchased 7500 Diamond points at Virginia Beach Ocean Air
Purchase price $28,200
Loan Balance is $24,163.36 and the interest rate 15.99%
Sales agent Tony Jones said we would be able to refinance the loan. He told us there were refinancing companies that specialize in timeshare. We have since learned banks don’t finance timeshares. We had questions and planned to refinance but decided to wait until the orientation. We had a bunch of questions but Tony never answered the phone.
(Note from Irene: In bold are statements George and Amanda say were made to them, supporting Ms. Bowling’s allegations. Diamond’s response, identical to other timeshare companies, was to produce their initials and signatures found throughout the contract, allowing timeshare sales agents to say anything under the sun to sell points.)
In Virginia Tony said the price we paid was the normal price. We paid $3.76 per point.
We went to an orientation in Orlando at DRI Resort Mystic Dunes March 2017
Sales agent Jonathan Pineda (This is the second complaint Inside Timeshare has received from our readers directed against Mr. Pineda)
4000 points purchased for $15,732
Loan Balance $13,271.16 at 18.6794%
Like Tony told us, Jonathan said both loans could be refinanced and combined because other companies specialize in refinancing timeshares so it would be no problem to contact one of them after we made our first payment. When I asked for the name of a company, Jonathan said we could just google it.
We were told we were buying the second purchase in Orlando at a price point that was almost unheard of and was not being offered to any new Diamond customers right now. “I can’t believe your first sales agent didn’t tell you about this price point from the first purchase!” Jonathan said. Jonathan said if we did not buy that day we would lose out on this price and we would go from $2.85 price points to $10 from that day on if we did not buy that day. From this point forward if we ever went to an annual update without the intention to buy we would have to pay $10. He said don’t go to any future promotional events because it would change our price point. Jonathan said parents had died so the children did not want the points so DRI was reselling at this low price. He said DRI broke the points up into smaller portions.
Jonathan said that we needed to get to Gold so that we could pay our maintenance fees with points. We have since learned only Platinum members can use points to pay maintenance fees at $.04 per point. He said it would be worth it to spend all our savings so that we would not have to pay maintenance fees. We were not comfortable so we only bought 4000 points, which still depleted our savings.
We did not have our member number so we could not even get online (Numerous complaints made by DRI and other timeshare company members, illustrate how the rescission period is dodged.)
Thank you to George and Amanda for sharing their story and to Mary Bowling for coming forward. Inside Timeshare has heard from six active duty or retired military. Scotty Black, MS Criminal Justice, is in law enforcement. Scotty also alleges he was duped by a DRI sales agent. Scotty is one of our advocates. He forwarded Mary Bowling’s complaint to Inside Timeshare. These are people who put their life on the line for us. When service members are forced into foreclosure it can jeopardize their security clearance.
Inside Timeshare did not realize we were launching a new Timeshare Wars series when we published former Marine Jeff Diehl’s “Grandview at Las Vegas” Vacation Village story or former Army Terry Carter’s “Another Military Family Wages War against Timeshare” Bluegreen experience. Thursday retired army Samuel Melendez and disabled veteran Karen Varten share their story.
Inside Timeshare has also interviewed or heard from three former DRI sales agents, one manager, and two senior managers supporting Ms. Bowling’s allegations. This former Diamond timeshare agent shares her experience:
“Another reason people don’t leave the room is because in many instances the sales agent has used influence/manipulative tactics to build trust with the customer. One sales manager at another timeshare company told me to order a copy of The CIA Document on Human Manipulation. Many times the sales agent does not even know what is in the contract or how the program really works and is just repeating the jargon given to them by management to get the deal done. In my opinion, management is well aware of the deceit preying on the goodness of people. These corporate contracts, protected by the oral representation clause, are like putting a baby in with a lion.”
Inside Timeshare reached out to Diamond Resorts for comment. The company did not respond.
Social Media is allowing members to talk to other members. If you have a timeshare concern, contact Inside Timeshare or one of these self-help groups.
Thank you Irene for that very informative article.
Their clients contracts have both been declared null and void, with one client being awarded over £16,000 including over £5,000 in maintenance fees and legal interest. The second client will receive over 29,000€ plus legal interest.
As you are all aware the CEO of Anfi José Luis Trujillo has been sending letters out to members in an effort to discredit CLA, below are some figures showing the number of new cases with what has been paid out and what is waiting to be executed by the courts.
- 430 new cases against timeshare resorts in 2017
- 107 of them against ANFI
- 77 SUPREME COURT victories against various timeshare resorts (Spanish legal History ), 32 of the SUPREME COURT victories are against ANFI
- 1,210,169.11€ in pay-outs already received by our clients from ANFI
- 5,516,694.81 €- already won in the courts against ANFI and ready for executions
It just seems ridiculous that the CEO can deny that Anfi is losing in the light of these figures which are verifiable from the courts themselves.
If you require any further information about this or any other article, contact Inside Timeshare and we will be pleased to help.
Just in from Madrid Supreme Court
The Supreme Court has just ruled for the 78th time, on this occassion it has been against the Tenerife company Silverpoint. The court has declared the contract null and void, awarding over £7,000 plus legal fees and interest to a British client.