diamond resorts timeshare

Diamond Resorts have been known to be pushy. But their sales tactics often go beyond simply forceful, and oftentimes towards abusive. There are numerous reports, dating back years, of the company and their representatives bullying consumers into major financial decisions on the spot.

The unscrupulous firm doesn’t just commit these acts against new prospective customers, but they also target loyal, long-term timeshare owners who have been paying the maintenance fees for many years. One such customer wants to share the story of her ordeal with Diamond Resorts.

Beth Johnstone, 83 from Skegness, had a timeshare in a Lanzarote apartment with Diamond, as well as one she still has in Italy with another company.

She prided herself on her very own pieces of paradise. She’d worked hard for them, and she was determined to enjoy herself at both properties each year – usually taking friends and family with her.

Beth had been at the Lanzarote holiday flat with her three teenage grandchildren for almost two days when a salesman approached her in the café on the ground floor of her building. He was from Diamond Resorts, the same company who she had the timeshare with. The young English salesman offered Beth and her grandchildren tickets to a concert that night if she agreed to attend a sales presentation at a conference room at the resorts.

“I’d wanted to go out shopping that afternoon,” she confided in us, “but I knew the grandkids would like the show so I went to the talk instead of going into town.”

For several hours, various sales representatives used different sales tactics and eventually took over £3,000 from Beth’s accounts behind her back.

On her way into the talk, she needed to supply her credit card and bank details. Beth was told by staff it was for identification purposes, and so obliged.

“I trusted them. I’d been staying at the resort for years, and barely had a complaint.”

The sales team all but held her in the back office. Team members would stand next to the door ready to collar anyone leaving with yet more bullying sales talk. After sticking to her guns and turning down offers both to sell her existing timeshares to Diamond Resorts, and to buy, even more, she returned to her apartment.

“I’ll be honest, I was terrified in there.” Beth had enough time to calm her nerves after the ordeal and ready herself for the evening with her grandchildren – the company had at least been honest and given her the tickets.

“The show was great fun. The band played songs we all knew and I thought the problems were all over.”

After enjoying the rest of her time at the timeshare and getting home safely, Beth had yet another nasty surprise. The credit card bill had come through the letterbox and was waiting on the doormat when she stepped through the front door.

Thinking it was a given that she would eventually fold to their demands, Beth had been charged a huge deposit fee using the card details she gave prior to the sales talk. They had taken £3,200 out of her bank account. The bill didn’t even state what it was for. After contacting Diamond for information, they said she must have agreed to a payment, and sent her on a wild goose chase over the phone.

Adamant that she had not agreed to pay them a penny, Mrs Johnstone got in touch with Mercantile Claims, and we were able to reclaim the full amount for her. We knew the tricks and games that timeshare companies such as Diamond use to avoid paying customers what they’re owed and worked to get Beth her money back.

How common are timeshare scams?

But she is one of the lucky ones who got in touch with the right timeshare claims company at the right time. Many people who have fallen victim to these tactics by timeshare companies would rather lose their hard-earnt cash than swallow their pride and have a confidential discussion with a claims company. Many more feel like they’re alone in experiencing these problems.
But, perhaps sadly, it’s more common than you’d expect.

“Diamond just has an amazing reputation for being tough on people,” says timeshare writer and expert Jeff Weir. He feels that even among other timeshare companies known for pushy tactics, Diamond might have some of the more aggressive sales tactics.

Diamond itself, unsurprisingly, thinks itself as a force for good in the industry. The hard-on-sales executives aim to make sales presentations intimate. What we might see as high-pressure sales, Diamond’s previous chief executive, David Palmer, refers to an increasing “engagement” above what other companies in the industry are doing.

Mr Palmer also said that he has “zero tolerance” for any sales people who stray away from official company policy. In our experience with people hurt by Diamond, either he’s not speaking the full truth, or there are many sales teams who need to receive their marching orders.

Diamond Resorts: Are Customers Satisfied?

Diamond has done well for itself. Treating many customers well has allowed Diamond to grow, but equally coercion and bullying seem to have helped them line their pockets, too.
The firm, founded in Las Vegas in 1992, has become one of the biggest companies in the industry. Current Chief Executive Michael Flaskey has been receiving pay totalling over £5 Million annually, despite many customers and timeshare owners expressing great financial losses and reporting poor tactics from the firm. Many timeshare holders claim that Diamond has raked up their maintenance fees. In previous years, Diamond has been known to hike the rates up by as far as 25% without warning.

Despite the sky-high payments, members and owners have also complained that they haven’t been allowed to holiday where and when they want. Instead, Diamond seems to have given priority to other customers who aren’t on a contract, keen to bring in ever more cash. All these practices might seem terrible, but they are just the tip of the iceberg. Many timeshare holders with Diamond Resorts are struggling to get their contracts cancelled.

Over half a million Brits have timeshares, and many are satisfied with their deals – but this is far from the norm. For every timeshare buyer, there can be several hundred looking to sell theirs. With Diamond often unable to get their members into the apartments and rooms they ask for, many are disappointed in the service – especially as Diamond makes it exceptionally difficult to leave contracts with them.

Diamond’s tagline, ‘We Love to Say Yes,’ seems to only apply when you’re not trying to leave your contract with them.

Back in the UK, Beth was still struggling with the consequences of almost losing her savings to a scandalous company. She was desperate to leave the timeshare, but Diamond Resorts were incredibly uncooperative.

Many others have had similar experiences trying to leave Diamond timeshares, too. The international company has forced payments from unwilling customers the world over. In some cases, Diamond has taken customers to court for refusing to pay fees they didn’t think were fair, justified or even legally required. One of the biggest cases occurred in 2013, when a timeshare owner we worked with was taken to court by Diamond.

After we had managed to get them the money they were owed by Diamond, the company agreed to terminate the contract. However, they continually billed our anonymous client from Greater Manchester who had timeshare points with Diamond.

The client was a couple in their 30s with young children, who had bought into Diamond’s timeshare programme as they were convinced it would save them money in the long run. Putting their life savings into the timeshare wasn’t enough for the heinous people at Diamond Timeshares.

They were told just two years into their contract that they would need to upgrade it to ensure that they would be able to use bigger rooms and apartments as their kids were growing up. After paying a lump sum of £4,300 and increasing their annual payments to almost twice what they were paying before, the couple noticed nothing had changed with their plan.

They were still offered the same holiday apartments to stay in as before. This was not ideal with their growing family, and as they’d paid so much to the firm they refused to pay any more fees until Diamond stuck to their part of the agreement.

Diamond took them to court over the unpaid fees, despite never having kept their side of the bargain. Unsurprisingly, Diamond lost the court case immediately. But, Diamond’s watertight contracts meant that our clients found it difficult to leave the contract after the ordeal.

We must note that not all Diamond Resorts customers are unhappy. Many are pleased with the service that Diamond gives them. We contacted a few Diamond timeshare owners and asked for their opinions of the company. One of the positive responses we had was from a timeshare owner from Essex, who has had contracts with many companies over the years. This customer, Martin, seemed pleased with the service from Diamond.

The resort “is very well managed under Diamond – perhaps better than the last management were. We haven’t had any complaints about quality at all and the staff are brilliant. The fees did rise when Diamond took over, but we hope the increased fees are going into the right areas.”

Selling on timeshares can often be incredibly difficult for owners. Even when they are no longer using them, the costs can rack up. Many timeshare owners are paying off loans they took out to pay the initial lump sum, and are now struggling to pay off the ever-increasing maintenance fees on top of this.

Checking eBay or Gumtree brings up too many timeshare listings to count. These are both in locations at home and abroad. One of the reasons for these huge numbers of timeshare owners looking to sell any way they can is that companies such as Diamond have no buy-back policy on most of the deeds they sell. With owners desperate to escape the fees, timeshares can be bought for as little as one pound at times.

Diamond says that accounting issues are to blame for the fact that they won’t buy back properties, leaving customers trapped in a cycle of payments for years on end. However, many other timeshare companies are able to purchase timeshare deeds back from customers for a reasonable price, which begs the question: does Diamond want to help these people at all?

survive timeshare presentation

The timeshare industry can be brutal.

From high-pressure sales tactics to emotional manipulation, timeshare companies can cause great distress among consumers. There are always more and more horror stories coming from the industry. Two of our clients have shared their experiences in the hopes you might learn from them – and avoid the same fates as they suffered.

It’s not uncommon to have been offered free lunches, tickets to your favourite theme park or attractions in exchange for attending a quick sales presentation. You’ll be offered these chances in hotels and tourist hotspots both at home in the UK and while in sunny locations abroad.

They seem like great opportunities to sit and wait for an hour or so until the tickets you would have spent hundreds of pounds on magically land in your lap. But these free rewards for attending can come at a huge cost.

Often these sales talks will gloss over the risky world of timeshares, and pushy salesmen will pressure you into signing timeshare contracts. In doing so, you could be signing away a lot more than meets the eye.

Sometimes the penny drops as soon as the unsuspecting holidaymaker has signed the timeshare agreement. For others, it can take months, or even years, before the true cost of the contract hits them. Companies such as Mercantile Claims are dedicated to helping customers get the money they deserve for mis-sold timeshares.

Timeshare properties are usually found in sunny resort towns or dotted along sunny coastal regions. Houses, flats and chalets are common timeshares where buyers purchase the rights to the properties for specific periods of time – usually a specific few weeks once each year.

Some of these holiday apartments will have a number of owners. Each timeshare owner will have a proportion of the deed which relates to their share of the property. In others, the investors only have the right to use the property for given periods of time and don’t actually own a share of it.

Other timeshare companies will even sell ‘points’ which might be used at any number of properties around the world at different times.

Across the world, there are an estimated 20 million people who own timeshares of some description.

There are valid reasons to own a timeshare, especially forcing you to take a family holiday each year – or miss out on what you have already bought. For many though, there often ends up being more regret and financial despair related to timeshares than fond memories of time spent in the sun.

Increasing costs and depreciating value

If you’re cynical of new things, or just stubbornly able to say no to new propositions, then there is less risk for you in attending a timeshare sales presentation. But for others, the chance to attend a major event or to take the kids to a theme park might not be worthwhile.

The sales team at these talks will try to dazzle you with false promises and shady claims. “This is a once in a lifetime chance to invest in your own piece of paradise” will be usually be said at some point in the talk. “This property will increase in value while becoming cheaper than hotels – and what’s more, it can be passed down generations” is also a commonly used tactic to convince you to part with your money.

Most of the time, these are false promises. They usually mean it’s time to leave the talk or be very prepared to stand your ground when they hand out contracts.
Most of the time, sales representatives will try to convince you that these homes will be set to grow in value, and will be excellent investments. They’ll claim that your family will be grateful for the long-term asset and that the savings will be astronomical.

Unsurprisingly, this is rarely the case. Most people pressured into buying a timeshare are constantly splashing out on maintenance fees and end up regretting even stepping foot into the sales talk they did. Many feel that they will be pumping cash into their shared apartment or house for the rest of their lives, and without help from Mercantile Claims, they often will be.

It’s becoming a trend where many timeshare owners are struggling to even give their piece of the property away to their co-owners, let alone to others.

Some families do still see value in their timeshare – fond memories can be tied up in the timeshare, as well as a feeling of a home away from home. For many, the feeling of being ‘forced’ into using the property for their annual break is valued – as they’re always feeling like they have to spend good times with their family or friends.

But, what happens as the family grows larger, children grow up and move away or the area invested in becomes less fashionable to spend holidays in?

Unfortunately, these are just the tip of the iceberg of problems encountered by many timeshare owners.

While it seemed like excellent value at the time, many of our clients come to realise over the years that the relentless maintenance fees can result in huge financial burdens – especially when many have stopped even using their time in the property.

Two families hurt by dishonest timeshare companies:

We have had many clients over time who have been mis-sold timeshares. While to many their experiences might seem shocking or implausible, they’re sadly familiar to many who have been through similar ordeals.

One couple contacted Mercantile Claims a couple of years ago. They ask to remain anonymous but want their story to be shared to raise awareness of the horrendous experience many like them have faced at the hands of unscrupulous timeshare agents.

Being in their sixties at the time of buying their timeshare, the couple were looking forward to holidays throughout their retirement in the Costa del Sol. After looking through many brochures of holiday homes and new developments, they stumbled across a timeshare that looked perfect for their needs.

Due to illness and family circumstances, the pair were unable to use the apartment for a couple of years. They were absolutely thrilled when they finally had the chance to head to Spain to use it for the first time.

Shortly after arriving at the paradise resort, the experience from hell started.

They spoke to the young gentleman who was working on the front desk of the development and asked if they could have their annual £1,000 maintenance fees reduced. A reasonable request – they retirees had already spent over £3,000 on maintenance despite not even set foot in the flat.

The Spanish receptionist directed them down a corridor marked ‘staff only.’ The couple, from southern England, ended up in a waiting room for well over three hours, with no sign of anyone coming to aid them.

“We were unable to use the WC,” the elderly female client told us in confidence, “and our bags were left unprotected out in the reception area.”

But these were just the start of the problems. An English salesman eventually came out from an office and spoke to the couple.

“He told us we owed them money in hidden fees,” her husband explained. “As soon as we thought we might be speaking to someone helpful, he just told us off, and demanded over £1,000 for other costs we didn’t even know we had to pay.”

After six gruelling hours in a hot office backroom, the couple eventually was able to leave – but not until after they agreed to buy a whole new timeshare for £6,500.

Stories like this sound shocking to most of us, but unfortunately, they are familiar to many who have been treated badly by timeshare companies.

For many, these talks with timeshare salespeople can be on par with an interrogation. Parting with their hard-earned cash can often be the only way that they feel they can leave the meetings.
It’s a warning many need to hear, but few will pay attention to.

Organisations which represent them often stay silent on individual cases, and companies can flat-out pretend these horrendous cases even happened. It can often feel demoralising when going after timeshare companies alone.

After speaking on behalf of this couple to the timeshare company at fault, we were eventually able to get through to them. Mercantile Claims ensured that this couple were not left in the dark, and were able to stay in touch with us at every stage of the reclamation process.

After fighting their case, we at Mercantile were finally able to get the full amount refunded. Once the money was safely in their savings account, we received a message from them saying how grateful they were.

“Now we can go on holiday wherever and whenever we want. We have booked ourselves in for Portugal next summer already – you’ve saved us a fortune!”

A similar story to this couple was experienced by a family who bought a timeshare in a house in South of France. They struggled with their timeshare from the moment they signed the paper.

Two generations of the family had saved up to ensure that they could invest in the timeshare, but the company piled on fees and pressured them to part with much more cash than they could afford in the contract-signing meeting.

They ended up leaving the offices with £30,000 less in their pocket, and a feeling of embarrassment and regret. After confidentially contacting Mercantile Claims, we were able to help them reclaim almost all of the additional unexpected timeshare fees and the money which was pressured out of them.

Where does the problem come from?

While both Spain and France have good policing, and the UK does its best to protect citizens’ in need abroad, not everyone can be helped by the authorities. Partly this is due to stretched resources leaving individuals vulnerable to these types of scams and high-pressure sales. It can also be blamed on the fact that property sales generate huge revenue for authorities, so they often don’t care to help out those left feeling used by shameless timeshare companies.

The sales presentations that lead people into the wrong path can affect anyone and everyone. Often certain groups are targeted – the elderly, nice people who struggle to say no, and the thrifty – but all people can be caught out. Unscrupulous sales presentations can attract anyone from any walk of life into the problems caused by timeshares.

If you’re tempted to attend a sales lunch or go to a talk in return for free tickets, remember anyone in the room could be a salesperson. They will be playing with your emotions and mounting pressure on you to sign contracts. They will try to stop you speaking to financial advisors or legal experts, and offer you incentives to sign on the spot. They might even plant fake audience members to convince you to sign up.

Remember – when it comes to timeshares, be careful, be careful, be careful. There are a lot more scams and false promises than there are real deals – in fact, real deals are almost unknown in timeshares. Always speak to a financial advisor or legal expert before investing in a timeshare, otherwise you might end up regretful and with vast financial burdens. In all, going to that sales talk is almost certainly not worth your time, and it might cost you a lot more.

RCI & Bluegreen Vacations

The worldwide leader in vacation exchange membership, RCI, and Bluegreen Vacations have renewed their ongoing partnership. Bluegreen Vacations operate over 60 vacation resorts throughout the US, which will continue to be part of the RCI programme and exchange network. Bluegreen resorts are located across the United States and Caribbean in destinations including Orlando, Myrtle Beach, Aspen, Las Vegas and New York City.

Famous Rhodes, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for Bluegreen Vacations said: “Bluegreen is a company built on the strength of its long-term relationships, as such we are very excited about the renewal of this longstanding partnership with RCI, which provides a unique value to our growing Bluegreen Vacation Club Membership.”

RCI is the only vacation exchange provider that Bluegreen has entered into a contract with to allow owners to exchange their membership. As the exclusive exchange provider for Bluegreen Vacations, RCI offers Bluegreen members access to more than 4,300 properties in 100 countries. It also allows RCI members to exchange for stays at Bluegreen Vacations properties. Bluegreen do have some very exclusive properties on offer, for example, The Manhattan Club, a boutique hotel located next to Times Square in Manhattan.

The RCI Points program provides subscribing members with a flexible way to exchange their vacation time for time at other resorts around the world. Your vacation week is assigned a Point value, depending on a range of factors, including – Supply and demand at that resort and the season in which you own. In recent years, RCI have become the focus of angry consumers. The vast majority of complaints received are not necessarily about a specific timeshare resort at all, but rather the RCI timeshare exchange program. RCI Customers must pay an annual fee, but are also charged large hidden fees and ridiculous exchange rates for using their services. The basic premise behind the RCI timeshare exchange service is, by paying an annual membership fee, consumers can trade their timeshare to other members with other timeshare resorts around the world. The RCI timeshare program sounds like a low-risk opportunity to make some use out of a likely unwanted timeshare.

However, members have complained that the fraudulent tactics of timeshare companies are present in the RCI membership scheme also. Customers are locked into RCI and forced to pay large hidden fees, just like their timeshare contracts. Immense fees are also added on for each exchange, especially for heavily sought weeks and locations. Members often find they do not have enough points to visit the resorts they want to stay at the dates they wish to holiday.

Here are just some of the RCI reviews on Tripadvisor.com:

“If you are retired and very flexible with your dates, RCI might work. But if you want to have a say in where and when you can go, I wouldn’t bother”.

“Availability with RCI became unbearable some years ago and the combined membership and exchange fees made membership worthless to me”.

“I’ve been an RCI member for going on 25 years and they’ve become a joke in recent years. I used to look forward to trading my weeks (two) and going off to new locations and different adventures every year but it’s nearly impossible to find a decent exchange anymore”.

People who enter into Timeshare agreements often find it difficult to keep up with the mounting maintenance fees and simply cannot afford it any longer. They may also find that the Timeshare no longer suits their needs and simply want to end the contract. There are too many individuals who are willing to take advantage of Timeshare owners and offer fake products, along with Timeshare exit schemes. Before agreeing to any Timeshare termination or exit procedure with an individual or company, seek independent advice and fully research any company you are thinking of working with.

It is also important to remember that purchasing a Timeshare should NEVER be viewed as a financial investment. Timeshare is an investment in lifestyle, in future holidays and family time together. There is almost no resale value to a Timeshare.

The mis-selling of holiday products is, unfortunately, common practice within the holiday industry and these type of crimes often go unreported by the most vulnerable in our society and criminal convictions are few and far between.

If you have purchased a Lifestyle / Concierge Service, a Timeshare or a ‘Holiday Points’ based product from a resort or company and feel unhappy with the service, or feel you have been mis-sold this product, please get in touch with us to discuss how we may be able to help you with a possible Timeshare Termination.

Westgate Resorts Timeshare Complaints and Claims

Westgate Resorts has been hitting the headlines again recently with yet more unhappy timeshare owners speaking out.

A new lawsuit against the timeshare giant claims the resort is selling timeshare units in dream locations, but when owners go to book there is nothing available.

Westgate resorts are well known for their high pressured sales tactics and unfair practices, but what this lawsuit alleges is quite shocking. It says that Westgate is purposefully selling timeshares to customers over and over again. So if a customer books a specific week at a Westgate resort each year, this week has actually been sold multiple times, meaning they will never be able to use it. The suit alleges this is part of a high pressured scheme concocted by Westgate Resorts to make sales, they promise the world to customers but essentially deliver nothing. And as most timeshare revenue comes from up-selling, this gives the resort another opportunity to trap owners and hold them to ransom. Timeshare contracts are notoriously difficult to end let alone understand and owners often feel the only way to improve their situation is to go with the resorts recommendation and purchase a better membership from them, this, in turn, traps them further and puts them under further financial strain.

To make matters worse, the lawsuit also claims that Westgate are making it difficult for customers to have access to their legal documents which explain their rights, including their rights to cancel. And this appears to be standard practice and customers have complained that sales agents use leather binders that contain secret compartments to hide these documents from customers.

So far this class action lawsuit has six clients, including a woman who paid $18,000 for her timeshare and another who spent $30,000, both of whom say were never able to book a single vacation at their resort. With more and more unhappy timeshare owners bringing action against Westgate in relation to the same problem, it will be very interesting to see how Westgate responds and if they are willing to end their unfair sales practices.

It is important to remember that purchasing a Timeshare should NEVER be viewed as a financial investment. Timeshare is an investment in a lifestyle, in future holidays and family time together. There is almost no resale value to a Timeshare.

The mis-selling of timeshares and holiday products is, unfortunately, a common practice within the timeshare industry.

People who enter into Timeshare agreements often find it difficult to keep up with the mounting maintenance fees and simply cannot afford it any longer. They may also find that the Timeshare no longer suits their needs and simply want to end the contract.

If you have purchased a Lifestyle / Concierge Service, a Timeshare or a ‘Holiday Points’ based product from a resort or company and feel unhappy with the service, or feel you have been mis-sold this product, please get in touch with us to discuss how we may be able to help you with a possible Money Back Claim.

Marriott Vacations

Ritz Carlton Timeshare Club members are bringing a mass action claim to a federal judge.

The claim alleges Marriott Vacations caused the value of Ritz-Carlton Club members’ deeded units to decline and, in some cases, owners lost up to 90% in the value of their timeshares at the resort. Owners claim that an affiliation between Marriott Vacations Worldwide and Ritz-Carlton Destination Club, which allowed Marriott members to trade one week at the Ritz-Carlton Club in Aspen Highlands with points-based members of the Marriott Vacation Club, caused the value of their investments to sink. Ritz Carlton Club was sold to owners as an exclusive and upmarket resort, which would yield an investment for owners over the years.

The mass action has been bought by more than 200 owners, who say that Marriott Vacations actively engaged in fraudulent activity and breached their financial responsibilities to owners. They claim that the affiliation between the two companies decimated the value of the owners’ original investment that the timeshare owners purchased from the group. The owners claim their timeshare units are now worth less than 20% of the original purchase prices and the hospitality giant, Marriott, is to blame for this.

Marriott introduced The Ritz-Carlton Club as a luxury alternative to its Marriott Vacation Club timeshare offerings, selling this holiday product at a substantially higher price, based on incentives such as longer use and access to upscale properties. By doing this, it caused the value of existing owners timeshare units to plummet and owners now say their assets are virtually worthless and, will see no return on their investment. They also state that they were not consulted on the proposed affiliation between the two companies and the deal went through without the owners association’s approval. The case is due to be heard by a federal Judge in November.

Some common difficulties timeshare owners experience.

  • It can be extremely difficult to end your timeshare contract, even if your circumstances change and you can no longer afford to keep it or you become physically unable to travel, your resort will do everything in their power to keep hold of you rather than let you out of your contract.
  • Maintenance fees will more than likely increase every year. What started off as £400 a year, could easily end up being a £900 a year fee.
  • You are locked into going to the same resort, or chain of resorts every year.
  • Promises of return on investment are often just a sales tactic to get you to sign on the dotted line. In almost all cases, there is no resale value to a timeshare.
  • Policies often change over time, and this can affect how you are able to use your timeshare. This can then become an excuse for the resort to sell you another timeshare product.
  • People who enter into Timeshare agreements often find it difficult to keep up with the mounting maintenance fees and simply cannot afford it any longer.
  • They may also find that the Timeshare no longer suits their needs and simply want to end the contract.

 

There are too many individuals who are willing to take advantage of Timeshare owners and offer fake products, along with Timeshare exit schemes. Before agreeing to any Timeshare termination or exit procedure with an individual or company, seek independent advise and fully research any company you are thinking of working with.

It is also important to remember that purchasing a Timeshare should NEVER be viewed as a financial investment. Timeshare is an investment in lifestyle, in future holidays and family time together. There is almost no resale value to a Timeshare.

The mis-selling of holiday products is, unfortunately, common practice within the holiday industry and these type of crimes often go unreported by the most vulnerable in our society and criminal convictions are few and far between.

If you have purchased a Lifestyle / Concierge Service, a Timeshare or a ‘Holiday Points’ based product from a resort or company and feel unhappy with the service, or feel you have been mis-sold this product, please get in touch with us to discuss how we may be able to help your timeshare termination.

Disney Timeshare

Walt Disney World Build 2 New Timeshare Resorts.

The Florida-based theme park resort said that the as-yet-unnamed resort will open in 2022. It will have 900 hotel rooms, as well as villas for Disney’s timeshare program. The 27,000-acre tourist destination already has 36 resorts on its property, as well as four theme parks. This new project joins three other resort construction projects underway at Disney World.

Disney Parks and Resorts also announced a new development for Disney Vacation Club, it will be an entirely new resort near Epcot called Disney Riviera Resort and also unveiled a new skyway transportation system will connect the new resort to other areas on Walt Disney World property.

A Disney Resorts spokesperson said: “We’re thrilled to announce plans for a new Disney Vacation Club property called Disney Riviera Resort coming to Walt Disney World Resort. Our Vacation Club Members are among our most loyal fans, and we think that they will love what we have planned, especially the rooftop restaurant that will offer unbelievable views of nighttime spectaculars at both Epcot and Hollywood Studios.”

Estimated to open in fall 2019, this new resort experience is slated to be the 15th Disney Vacation Club property with approximately 300 units spread across a variety of accommodation types.

On July 17, Disney Vacation Club will open its 14th resort with the opening of Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, featuring 184 rustically elegant vacation accommodations including Deluxe Studios, one- and two-bedroom Villas, three-bedroom Grand Villas and unique waterfront cabins.

Ken Potrock, Senior Vice President & General Manager of Disney Vacation Club, said, “The opening of Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge in just a few days and the announcement of our next planned development, Disney Riviera Resort, demonstrate the incredible momentum underway at Disney Vacation Club. Our members tell us over and over again how much they love the outstanding accommodations and the value and flexibility of a Disney Vacation Club Membership, as well as the unique location to our growing and evolving theme parks and the exclusive member experiences and benefits they get from our Membership Extras program.”

Disney Vacation Club, a leader in vacation ownership, debuted in 1991 with a flexible, vacation points-based system rather than the traditional fixed-week timeshare model. Today, Disney Vacation Club has more than 220,000 member families, from all 50 states and approximately 100 countries.

Disney Vacation Club Members are able to choose from a variety of vacation destinations, including a stay at any Disney Vacation Club Resort or one of the thousands of other vacation options in destinations around the world. Plus, when purchasing directly from Disney, members can also enjoy the Disney Collection, which includes select Disney Resort hotels, Disney Cruise Line and guided vacations with Adventures by Disney, as well as the Concierge Collection, a portfolio of extraordinary hotels in sought-after destinations. With Disney Vacation Club properties located near the Disney theme parks in Florida and California, Members have easy access to all the attractions.

Disney Vacation Club has become immensely popular over the last few years and is a huge money maker for the company. So it is no wonder Disney is investing heavily in new timeshare properties. Members who buy at Disney resort, pay annual fees. Unlike other timeshares, this earns them DVC points which they can then spend at the resort. They also have a limit to their timeshare contracts and you choose how long you would like your contract to last for, rather than have a contract for life. DVC also offers heavily discounted tickets to their parks once you become a member and incredibly, due to the high demand, owners have reported to of sold their memberships and actually made a small profit. Could Disney be the only reputable timeshare offering on the market?

Before you enter into an agreement It is important to remember that purchasing a Timeshare should NEVER be viewed as a financial investment. Timeshare is an investment in lifestyle, in future holidays and family time together. In nearly all cases there is almost no resale value to a Timeshare. Timeshare membership can become a liability and not an asset.

If you have purchased a Lifestyle / Concierge Service, a Timeshare or a ‘Holiday Points’ based product from a resort or company and feel unhappy with the service, or feel you have been mis-sold this product, please get in touch with us to discuss how we may be able to help you with a possible Timeshare Termination.

What A Timeshare Sales Presentation Is Really Like

For anyone who has not had the pleasure of experiencing a Timeshare Sales Presentation, here’s how one might go !

So you’ve accepted the free dinner, free accommodation, exclusive gift, or tickets to an attraction, and now all you have to do is sit through a “short presentation”. Sounds reasonable ? After all, you wouldn’t expect this freebie for nothing !

The Timeshare rep has done the easy bit, they have got you through the door by luring you in with a free gift, cash, tickets etc. You are, more than likely, already in a pretty good mood. After all, you’re on holiday, the sun is shining, you’re relaxed and you’re about to be handed a free gift, what could possibly spoil this? Well, here is how that can quickly happen…..

At the presentation, you will more than likely encounter an excessively friendly sales rep, who is unusually interested in all aspects of your life and whose incessant questioning seems far more personal than it should be. The relentless enquiries have one purpose only: to get a feel for your lifestyle, your interests and, hopefully, information about your bank balance and annual income.

Timeshares are, ultimately, an impulse purchase. No-one ever goes on holiday with the desire to spend their entire life-savings, or take out loans to fund something they didn’t want and be locked into annual maintenance fee payments. Timeshare agents know this, so don’t be surprised if your salesperson is overly focused on closing the deal and reluctant to let you leave the sales pitch. They know that, after you walk out the door and collect your free gift, you’re not coming back for round two.

On your way to tour the immaculately presented timeshare unit, it will be explained to you that you are under no obligation to buy, that this is simply a tour of the accommodations on offer. You will also be asked several manipulative questions like “Don’t you enjoy taking your family on holiday?”, “If you could purchase all your future holidays at todays price, wouldn’t you be interested?”. These questions are being asked, not to help you better understand your own holiday needs, but are designed to trap buyers into agreeing that you should take more holidays and it’s better for you and your family to do so.

Whilst exploring this gloriously staged timeshare unit, your sales agent will show you how luxurious and exclusive it is and how much you and your family will enjoy every single holiday you take, not to mention all the wonderful benefits at an amazing price ! What they fail to mention are the hidden costs.

At this point in the presentation, you will probably still feel quite relaxed, as the pitch so far has been relatively easy going. Although the accommodation and surroundings look wonderful, you can even picture yourself holidaying there, you are determined you will not purchase anything before you have gone away and had a long hard think about it.

A warning: the next stage of the presentation may leave you feeling a little like a hostage being held captive, and the only way out is to sign on the dotted line!

If you are managing to hold your ground and continue to resist, in comes the manager. They will be armed to the teeth with a hard-sell. They will offer you everything they have in the vault, including extra gifts, VIP passes and huge discounts, to mention just a few.

A lot of what you hear at this stage is possibly untrue and some of the tactics they use from here on in may be fraudulent. An example of this is telling you that your timeshare will yield extraordinary monetary profits, there is a high resale value and buyers are queuing up to buy them. You will be led to believe that you are making a real estate deal, an investment that you can later cash in on or pass on to your children.

If you have made it to the final part of the pitch, this is where it can get a little scary and intimidating. Many of our customers have complained of experiencing very underhanded tactics. One customer explained how she and her husband were held for 4 hours, during which they were subjected to some very poor consumer practices. After not drinking and eating at all during this time, they were offered alcohol! Their experience lasted a total of 8 hours and, by the end, the pair were exhausted, tipsy, feeling unwell and were now, unfortunately, timeshare owners. Incredibly, this is not uncommon.

Your sales rep will undoubtedly lie to you multiple times, they could become aggressive, we have heard of this happening on too many occasions. The sales rep is solely focused on his or her problem of needing to close the sale and they have no genuine interest in you or your financial commitments. They may also have spent several hours trying to coerce you into purchasing. It is important to remember that you are in charge, you can leave when you want to and you do not have to stay longer than already agreed.

The timeshare industry has changed dramatically since its creation. Corporations have turned it into a money pit of ever-increasing maintenance fees and assessments. The points program is a complicated system where they can change the number of points required at their discretion. Customers on the points system often complain that they cannot use their points when and how they want to.

Mis-selling of holiday products is unfortunately common practice within the holiday industry and these types of crimes often go unreported by the most vulnerable in our society and criminal convictions are few and far between. If you have purchased a Lifestyle / Concierge service, a Timeshare or a Holiday Points based product from a resort or company and feel unhappy with the service or feel you have been mis-sold this product, please get in touch with us to discuss how we may be able to help you with a possible Money Back Claim.

Please contact our friendly team on: 0121 516 9600 by email at info@mercantileclaims.com; or by completing our online timeshare compensation calculator

 

Timeshare Fraudster Sent To Prison

Wesley Scott Aldred, from Kissimmee, Florida has been sentenced to 21 months in prison for violating the conditions of his probation order. He was previously convicted for telemarketing fraud in 2015, for participating in a timeshare resale fraudulent scheme. The company, named Premier Timeshare Solutions, defrauded timeshare owners all over the United States, including South Illinois, where Mr Aldred is currently serving his sentence.

Whilst on probation for that conviction, Aldred was found to be engaging in a similar telemarketing scam which targeted Timeshare owners. Aldred and nine other defendants were indicted in May 2014 for felony charges, including conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The scheme was a telemarketing scam, which fraudulently obtained $14.5 million form more than 7,000 timeshare owners based in the United States and Canada.

In 2015, Aldred pled guilty to the charge and was sentenced to 1 day in prison and fined £750. He was also placed on a probation order for 2 years.

Aldred and the 9 other defendants were employees of C&G Marketing Associates, a Florida based company which, in 2009, defrauded timeshare owners across America under the name Premier Timeshare Solutions. Telemarketers phoned timeshare owners stating they had buyers ready to purchase their unwanted timeshare burden. Customers would be coerced into paying advance fees which exceeded $1,000. Premier Timeshare Solutions would then promise to complete the sales on behalf of the timeshare owner and forward the proceeds to them on completion of sale.

Unsurprisingly, Premier Timeshare Solutions simply pocketed the money from their victims and the timeshares remained unsold.

The timeshare resale victims who attempted to call Premier Timeshare Solutions were simply fobbed off and lied to. They were given excuse after excuse, often delaying customers so they would not try to reclaim the money they had spent with Premier Timeshare Solutions. The sales staff were directed by the mastermind behind the scam, Mr Jose Goyos. Mr Goyos instructed staff to delay timeshare owners from claiming a chargeback through their banks.

Chargeback is used in the United States if a customer is unhappy with the purchase for any reason. It works in a similar way to the UK’s Section 75 of the consumer credit act. Which guarantees consumers their money back where there has been misrepresentation or a breach of contract. The chargeback time limit is calculated based on either 120 calendar days after the transaction processing date, or 120 calendar days after the last date the cardholder expected to receive the goods or services. The aim was to delay customers until after this period, so they could not claim back their money. The company never had any intention of carrying out any services for any timeshare owners.

In May 2014, Jose Goyos was sentenced to 8 years in prison.

Despite this and having been placed on probation, Aldred continued to defraud Timeshare owners unscrupulously, until he was caught and sentenced to 21 months in prison, followed by 39 month’s probation.

The mis-selling of holiday products is, unfortunately, common practice within the holiday industry and these types of crimes often go unreported by the most vulnerable in our society and criminal convictions are few and far between.

If you have purchased a lifestyle or concierge service, a timeshare or a holiday points based product from a resort or company and feel unhappy with the service, or feel you have been mis-sold this product, please get in touch with us to discuss how we may be able to help you with a possible Money Back Claim.

Call us today on: 0800 470 3900

all inclusive timeshare trap

All-inclusive resorts have been a firm favourite of holidaymakers for generations.

The convenience of an all-inclusive resort can offer is very appealing to many, especially families. Having everything readily available to you, under one roof and, for a fixed price, is a big plus for holidaymakers. In addition to this, the facilities are often far better than in a hotel or villa, they also offer games centres, kids clubs, evening live entertainment, shuttle services, beach activities, exercise classes and unlimited food and drink. The real benefit, though, is not having to worry about added expenses piling up, and having to face a giant credit card bill when you return home. There won’t be a bar tab to pay or minibar bill, and there are no hidden extra charges. All-inclusive means everything is included, and this is the case for the majority of resorts.

It is a lesser known fact that some timeshare resorts also offer all-inclusive vacations to add to the ever-growing list of holiday products. Many of the larger resort companies offer this timeshare all-inclusive holiday product and, if this is something you are considering, there are some important things to contemplate before you fall victim to the trap.

When you holiday at resorts that are both a timeshare property and an all-inclusive, you will more than likely be invited to a timeshare presentation during your stay and you may be offered some attractive incentives to do so. For instance, an exciting water sports experience or tickets to an attraction. More than likely, if you do decide to attend a presentation, you will be entering into another sales pitch attempting to upsell you to yet another more exclusive holiday product.

If you do opt for an all-inclusive timeshare vacation you will find that you are limited by the number of properties within a specific resort system and they may in-fact only have one or two properties that are all-inclusive. So if you were sold an all-inclusive holiday product from a specific timeshare company, be aware that you will be very limited in your choice of destination. The majority of all-inclusive timeshare resorts are located in the Caribbean, Bermuda, Mexico, South America and a very limited amount in Europe.

The most important thing to remember if you do purchase an all-inclusive timeshare product, and something a seasoned timeshare sales rep may neglect to tell you about, is the additional fees you will be billed every time you visit an all-inclusive resort. These fees will be in addition to your regular annual maintenance fees.

While at first glance, it may seem you are being offered the deal of a lifetime, once all of the fees are factored in, the financial bottom line is drastically different than what was initially presented to you. A sales rep will give you a great price to lure you in and will do everything else but mention the extra fees involved.

People who enter into Timeshare agreements often find it difficult to keep up with the mounting maintenance fees and simply cannot afford it any longer. They may also find that the Timeshare no longer suits their needs and simply want to end the contract. There are too many individuals who are willing to take advantage of Timeshare owners and offer fake products, along with Timeshare exit schemes. Before agreeing to any Timeshare termination or exit procedure with an individual or company, seek independent advise and fully research any company you are thinking of working with.

It is also important to remember that purchasing a Timeshare should NEVER be viewed as a financial investment. Timeshare is an investment in lifestyle, in future holidays and family time together. There is almost no resale value to a Timeshare.

The mis-selling of holiday products is, unfortunately, common practice within the holiday industry and these type of crimes often go unreported by the most vulnerable in our society and criminal convictions are few and far between.

If you have purchased a Lifestyle / Concierge Service, a Timeshare or a ‘Holiday Points’ based product from a resort or company and feel unhappy with the service, or feel you have been mis-sold this product, please get in touch with us to discuss how we may be able to help you with a possible Money Back Claim or use our timeshare compensation calculator

Timeshare sales presentations are one of the main ways that resorts attract customers in to buying a timeshare and from there it is usually a downward spiral of high maintenance fees and other costly problems until it seems almost impossible to cancel your timeshare contract.

Many timeshare presentations start in the same way, representatives of the resorts meet you at your hotel and whisk you off to a luxurious resort. There you can enjoy a wonderful breakfast accompanied by stunning views.

To hook you into the presentation the company will usually offer you a complimentary activity during the day anything from ATV riding, zip lining or parasailing. This is one of the few benefits that you can enjoy on these presentations, so take full advantage of them. These are great offers to experience some memorable activities.

But then comes the high-pressure sales presentation. This will usually take two-three hours and will be geared around pushing you and other holidaymakers into buying a timeshare . This is usually where many people crumble, they cave into the pressure and feel obliged to taking on a timeshare after the free breakfast and activities.

If you don’t wish to endure this intense sales presentation, have your breakfast, enjoy your free activity and say “thanks but no thanks.”

The sales representative is giving you the hard-sell and he will do anything to get you to sign that contract. They will make the resort sound like the most amazing place on earth, there will be no downsides to buying a timeshare at this resort (but we know there will be).

If you are seriously tempted by buying a timeshare , then do thorough research. Check the resort, read reviews and more importantly check how the laws regarding timeshares work in that country. Only once you have all this information should you make your final decision.

Remember once you’ve signed that contract it can be very difficult to get out of it and the financial implications could be huge.