Friday, January 27, 2017

Transparancy and Accountability

I rarely, if ever, reprint a Press Release from a timeshare developer.  This one caught my eye.
DRI is now embarking on a new program where transparency and accountability are front and center.
Read on:
LAS VEGAS, NV (January 24, 2017) — Diamond Resorts International® (“Diamond Resorts”), a global leader in the hospitality and vacation ownership industries, has announced the launch of Diamond Clarity™, a new national program designed to transform the customer experience for current and prospective Diamond Resorts members. Diamond Clarity™ consists of a series of operational procedures and enhancements, new training and compliance procedures and protocols, and other customer-friendly changes to the sales process.
“At Diamond Resorts, we already excel in customer satisfaction, but we are constantly looking for ways to do even better,” said Michael Flaskey, Chief Operating Officer, Diamond Resorts International®. “Through Diamond Clarity™, Diamond Resorts will not just make a lasting impression, it will make the right first impression. It will increase transparency for the consumer and accountability for our team members, setting a new standard in our industry.”
Introducing Diamond Clarity™
Diamond Clarity™ formalizes a series of new and existing consumer protocols that define how the company engages with current and future members during the sales and documentation process. It is built on two core principles: transparency and accountability, and it begins with a simple PROMISE.
Diamond PROMISE memorializes a series of operational procedures and enhancements in a single document that will be provided to all customers at the beginning of every sales presentation. Knowing their rights, and knowing what Diamond Resorts representatives will and will not do throughout the sales process gives existing and potential members better control of the decision-making process. With this clear, concise and consistent information, consumers can easily determine whether the Diamond Resorts hospitality experience is the right decision for them and their families.
In addition to Diamond PROMISE, the company will roll out four key operational changes across its entire national platform in the near future:
  • Recording Quality Assurance sessions, subject to consent from purchasers, to review compliance with all policies and procedures, and to augment and enhance the company’s sales and quality assurance training.
  • Creating a Consumer Advocacy Channel within the company’s corporate headquarters, to quickly address any issues or concerns members may have. This new platform will allow Diamond Resorts to maintain the highest standards of service in the industry.
  • Increased training of frontline personnel. All sales and marketing personnel will take part in quarterly training exercises to reinforce their awareness, understanding, and compliance with all sales and marketing rules, principles, and practices.
  • Regularly placing “Consumer Engagement Observers” at sales presentations to continuously provide the sales organization with feedback necessary to achieve constant improvement.
“The Diamond Clarity™ program is revolutionary in its simplicity,” said Mr. Flaskey. “A lot of its program elements are things we already are doing and have done for a long time. However, by combining them with new operational reforms and making the entire package more accessible to the consumer, and by applying it practically and prominently in all of our sales and marketing efforts, we are doubling down on our promise to put our members first. With the launch of Diamond Clarity™ we are continuing to improve industry best practices.”
Diamond Clarity™ seeks to build on Diamond Resorts’ already impressive standing with its members. Almost 70% of the company’s sales are to existing members seeking to increase their Diamond Resorts vacation memberships.
So, DRI members, what do you think?  Non-DRI members, would this factor in your purchasing decision?

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Not One, But Two Important Meetings

Greetings timeshare owners.

Announcing two important meetings:

Sunday, February 19th, the National Timeshare Owners Association will hold it's regional Florida meeting.  Call 727.502.6877 Extension 1001 to register.

Sunday, March 19th, the Florida Timeshare Owners Group will hold it's Spring meeting.  Call Frank Debar at 941.351.1384 to reserve your place.

Things are changing...not necessarily for the best.

Learn what you need to know to avoid being scammed.

See you there.

Friday, January 6, 2017

No Real Estate...So Why Closing Costs?

Lately, I've reviewed a number of timeshare sales contracts and to my dismay, discovered that developers were charging and consumers were paying "closing costs" when there was no real estate involved.

Here is how Wikipedia defines closing costs:

Closing costs are fees paid at the closing of a real estate transaction. This point in time called the closing is when the title to the property is conveyed (transferred) to the buyer. Closing costs are incurred by either the buyer or the seller.

Pretty straightforward to me.

Later in the document are examples of what can be included in closing costs.  I found these three particularly interesting:

  • Attorney (Lawyer) Fees, paid by either or both parties, for the preparation and recording of official documents. The principals and/or lender may each be represented by their own attorney. Typically required by institutional/commercial lenders to ensure documents are prepared correctly.
    • Appraisal Fees, usually paid by the buyer[citation needed] (although occasionally by the seller through negotiation), charged by a licensed professional Appraiser. Many lenders will require that an appraisal be performed as a condition of the mortgage loan. The purpose of this appraisal is to verify that the sale price of the property (upon which the underwriting of the loan is based) is equal to or less than the fair market value of the property.
      • Inspection Fees, usually paid by the buyer[citation needed] (although occasionally by the seller), charged by licensed home, pest, or other inspectors. Some lenders require inspections (such as termite inspection) to verify that the property is in good condition, which is necessary to assure that the property will retain the necessary collateral value to secure the mortgage loan.
So, assuming the timeshare in question is in fact real estate (if you are unsure, I strongly caution you to STOP and figure it out), you should be asking these questions:
1)  Were you represented by an attorney at time of purchase?
2)  Was an appraisal conducted on the timeshare and did you have access to it before you purchased?
3)  Was an inspection done on the exact piece of real estate and did you have access to it before you purchased?
STOP blindly paying fees without asking questions.