Tuesday, September 25, 2018

The NFL Players Association Has to Approve This?!?!

You’re not going to believe this. I didn’t, but alas, it’s true. This could only take place within the weird world that’s timeshare. 

There’s a salesperson, referred to as a Vacation Counselor, at a Diamond Resorts property-Daytona Beach Regency-by the name of Elgin Davis. Mr Davis is a former NFL player-New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers. Is this the real Elgin Davis, or someone pretending to be Elgin Davis?  Either way, read on. 

A current Diamond owner was on a sales presentation with Mr Davis and reported that Mr. Davis said, “he could get us the  $3.96 per point price, compared to the $9.00 price he showed us, but he would have to contact the NFL Players Association to get it because he is Diamond's NFL Ambassador for the ProBowl.”

Let that sink in. If I were to enroll in every creative writing class known to man, I could not conjure up such a whacked out sales pitch. 

Oh, and lest I forget, the current owner who reported this is over 80 years old and is in no shape, financially or otherwise, to purchase more timeshare. 

And of course, the $9.00 per point is a number pulled out of a hat. The number that should be paid attention to is what is this timeshare ‘worth’ when it comes time to sell. 

I’d like to hear from anyone at Diamond who can tell me if in fact the salesperson really is who he claims to be. I’m more interested in hearing from anyone at Diamond who would like to comment on Mr Davis’ ‘creative’ sales pitch. 

I wonder what the NFL has to say about this?

Monday, September 17, 2018

Anatomy of a Scam

I honestly do not comprehend how anyone with a modicum of common sense could fall for this, but here is a recap of the pitch that a ‘timeshare exit’ company is using: 

“We received an invitation to attend a seminar and so we went out of curosity because we have a timeshare that we wanted to let go of so we went to see what they would say.  

Lo and behold they talked about some open enrollment period from January 2015 to January 2018 where timeshares were to notify you because of some changes that were implemented (still not clear what the changes are but it sounded like it was all about escalated costs that they could now enforce) to allow you to opt out of your contract and be allowed to return your timeshare (of course at a cheaper cost than it would be to keep it).  

They calculated this cost based on 10-15 years of timeshare fees minus equity that you had accrued.  You would only be allowed to do this If you did not a have a signed release from ARDA in your file.  If there was an signed release by you then no they could not do anything and you couldn't return it.  They worked with ARDA and could check immediately to see what was in your file and what timeshares you owned and whether there was a signed document on file   A lot of times they said people signed these releases at presentations not knowing.  

They also indicated that they had a big lawsuit with Diamond and couldn't accept any Diamond properties but that some big changes would happen in December when they won their case for US Collection members to give back their points.”

What sheer and utter nonsense this is. I especially like the bit about ‘a signed release from ARDA in your file.’  It’s like being on ‘double secret probation’ in Animal House. 

People, I know you’re desperate to get out of your timeshare contract and I know that you’re at a disadvantage because you fell for a bunch of lies that convinced you to buy the thing in the first place without doing any research or even insuring that you understood the contract. But for heavens sake-STOP and think for a moment before you throw out yet more money. 

Breathe. Drop me a line. 

Friday, September 14, 2018

Going After The Bad Guys-Some of Them

From a Press Release discussing the timeshare industry’s response to various companies engaged in ‘exit strategies’:

"A top priority for our industry and owners, and for law enforcement and other agencies, is to protect consumers from dishonest individuals or companies trying to take advantage of them," said ARDA‐ROC Chairman Ken McKelvey. "These actions send a strong signal to criminals that fraud and deceptive activities will not be tolerated by our industry and it tells consumers that we take the actions of these individuals very seriously."

Hopefully after this they go after the fraud and deceptive activities used by companies engaged in timeshare ‘entry strategies.’

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

A Rant...Against Consumers!?!?

As someone who has been writing about the timeshare industry for many years, I have joined a number of Facebook groups dealing with various timeshare resorts. I’ve been viewing the recent posts and ensuing comments over the past few weeks and for the most part, kept my mouth shut. 

I can’t keep quiet any longer. As some of you know, I’ve been writing about the industry and attempting to help as many consumers as possible for almost 18 years. I do not consider myself to an expert, although I do my very best to keep up to date with the goings on in the industry. 

A few points:

>Just because you have a computer, a keyboard and have sat through a timeshare sales pitch, or even purchased one,  does not make you an expert. There are too many replies being posted that are erroneous and doing more harm than good.

>Just because you purchased a trial program or a timeshare without doing a modicum of research before plopping down your money and you now decide you don’t want it or can’t afford it does not mean you have an legitimate complaint, especially one that you’re going to file with law enforcement. Don’t get me wrong-I abhor the lies being told by some sales staff and it should cease. However, understand that your seemingly unending practice of believing some of the most outrageous stories known to mankind, only serve to encourage these liars and as you know, the developer relies on the ‘You signed the contract’ defense over and over again.

>Constantly asking ‘How do they get away with it?’ does no one any good. We all know the problem and we all know that they DO get away with it. There’s a much bigger and broader issue here that seems to get ignored. Systemic change is necessary. 

Consumers MUST take some responsibility for what’s going on. The developers that turn a blind eye to, or worse, encourage their sales staff to misrepresent the product, are under no pressure to change their ways because it works. You continue to fill their sales rooms day after day. You continue to allow them to hold your credit cards and drivers licenses hostage to drag out a 2 hour presentation to 4 hours. You continue to sign paperwork that you’ve never read and don’t understand. You continue to blindly accept what the sales person says without asking to see it in the contract. And you continue to buy. And buy. And buy some more. 

Rant over. 

Friday, September 7, 2018

A Closer Look at What ‘Timeshare Exit Companies’ Say

Before you get tricked into paying thousands of dollars to a company that claims to be able to ‘get you out of your timeshare’, let’s take a look at what one of these companies recently posted on Facebook.  (Their words are bolded)

“In the past 12 months I have helped nearly 1,000 timeshare owners get rid of their timeshares completely.”
Maybe, maybe not. You have no way of verifying this. 

FACT #1: Renting or Selling Your Timeshare is near IMPOSSIBLE
This is the one part that has a modicum of fact in it. Many timeshares, particularly point based ones, are very difficult to sell. Renting your timeshare is generally a much easier proposition. In either case, much depends in location and type of timeshare. All is not lost. 

FACT #2: Your Maintenance Fees Will Rise for Eternity
Again, let’s look at the facts. Yes, maintenance fees do rise. ‘For eternity’ is a rather broad statement though and not all resorts are so poorly managed that they access large increases each year. Again, take a breath here and look at what your experience has been. 

FACT #3: Your Children WILL Receive Your Timeshare When You Pass
This is just plain false. Your children, grandchildren and/or any heirs are not required to take possession of your timeshare when you die. Any competent attorney, such as the one handling your estate can take care of this. 

FACT #4: The Timeshare Salesman LIED To You
This may or may not be true. However, the examples that this company uses as ‘legitimate reasons to get you out of your contract’ are in fact not legal grounds to do so. They include:

“You’ll be able to go to any location you want!”
“You will want to pass this to your children.”
“Your fees won’t go up.”
“You own your house - you should own your vacation!”

A timeshare contract had been carefully crafted by seasoned professionals. Getting out of a contract is nowhere near as easy as these companies make it out to be.
And this company and all the other similar companies dodge the one question that you should be asking them:

Why would anyone pay thousands of dollars upfront to anyone for this type of service and why won’t the timeshare developer take back the timeshare when they can turn around and sell it the very next day?

Knowledge is power.