Ever been tempted to attend a presentation?

With Lockdown coming to end and the prospect of being able to go on holiday again, you may be starting to think about this year’s much needed and well-deserved holiday.  But you will also notice an increase in holiday advertising and may even be tempted to attend a holiday club membership or timeshare presentation. They may even offer you a mini break or complimentary gift for attending. The offer of a free gift and even a holiday sounds pretty good? Especially after the year we have all had. But is there really such a thing as a free gift? And when something sounds too good to be true it normally is.

But before you do agree to attend, think of this first why would anyone put conditions on a prize before you receive it? And are you fully aware of what these conditions are before you get there? The ‘freebie’ is used to entice you into attending their presentation evening, a few hours of your time whilst they promote their Timeshare or holiday points system. This may sound like a fair deal in return for a luxury 7-night stay or iPad, however, these presentations can quickly turn into an intense sales pitch and after several hours of relentless selling, you might emerge as the new owner of a timeshare and no idea why you agreed to it.

Here are Some of the techniques employed by your Timeshare Salesperson:

  • Overstating the value and benefits of Timeshare ownership and not fully disclosing the true cost to the consumer by informing them of maintenance fees and restrictions to their Timeshare. A timeshare sales agent is well versed in the art of selling and they will make you believe that this timeshare deal will fulfil all your future hopes and dreams. They will promote that package like their life depends on it, but the sad fact is that most of the time timeshares rarely provide what is promised and most owners find themselves felling disappointed with their overpriced purchase.
  • Customers being kept much longer than they feel comfortable with. We often hear from people who were kept for entire days at meeting. Even some that have been supplied with copious amounts of alcohol. The time they intend to keep you there is until you sign on the dotted line and then you are free to go. It is not that anyone is holding a gun to your head and forcing you to stay, but often people feel so under pressure during these meetings they sign up just so they can leave.
  • Your Timeshare Salesperson will have an answer for everything. Like we said before a timeshare salesperson is a pro at selling and they have a list of answers for every excuse you will make not to purchase. Just remember that if you did not go in there with the intention of purchasing on the day then no one should push you into doing so. Making a commitment to a timeshare or long-term holiday product is an important one financially and you should have time to go away and think about it first.

Some things to remember if you do decide to purchase a Timeshare:

  • Be sure to read the small print! And you have understood all aspects of your purchase. If you are still unsure seek independent advice.
  • Are you in good enough Financial Health to commit to your Timeshare? You must also include maintenance fees as an extra cost annually, these fees are also subject to yearly increases.
  • Consider whether or not you will be able to fully utilise your Timeshare to benefit from it. The Timeshare payments add up and often you are not able to use the facility as much as you would like.

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. When viewed that way it can indeed be a good investment.

What is the problem with timeshare?

Is it time to say goodbye to that timeshare you purchased years ago, or you felt pressured into purchasing, or perhaps you simply have not been able to use it, or you cannot for whatever reason? Well, it probably would not surprise you to know that there are more unhappy timeshare owners than happy satisfied ones. For most people who enter the world of timeshare or holiday club membership, they soon realise that they are way more trouble than they are worth. For people who find themselves stuck in timeshare contracts and desperate to get out of them, the path to freedom is sometimes difficult and littered with obstacles. So why are there so many people in this position and what is exactly the problem with timeshare?

Many people come to us after learning that they could book a holiday at their timeshare cheaper online. This is a massive gripe for owners who often may have paid thousands to own a timeshare at an ‘exclusive’ resort and later find out they could have paid a lot less and not signed up to paying annual fees. Salespeople often sell timeshares on the basis that they are exclusive, but this is simply not the case. A simple online search soon exposes the amount of timeshare resorts selling rooms online for way below the price an owner is asked to pay.

There is no value in a timeshare, apart from the odd exception timeshares do not increase in value, in fact they decrease rapidly overtime too almost nothing. The timeshare resale market is almost non-existent in Europe and you can find them listed on eBay and other similar sites listed by desperate timeshare owners selling them for pennies just to be rid of them once and for all. There is a vibrant resale market in the U.S but they still sell for way less than the initial buy in cost.

Maintenance fees: Undoubtedly the number one reason people want to get rid of that pesky timeshare. Every year timeshare owners face a huge bill to pay for the upkeep at their resort. And it is anyone’s guess as to how much they would have increased by. Typically, they start off quite modest around the £400 mark, but without doubt the following year they would have increased, and this trend continues every year, above the rate of inflation, and can end up costing an owner over £1,000 a year. If an owner is also making loan repayments to pay for the initial cost of the timeshare, which are normally high interest, then this can end up costing in the thousands. So, if you were to add all these payments up annually, they would more than likely cost way more than the average family vacation.

Court orders timeshare exit firm to stop misleading owners.     

A court in The United States has granted a permanent injunction against a timeshare exit attorney, who Diamond Resorts say was mis-leading their customers.

The ruling, which was made late last year, means Ken Privett cannot contact Diamond Resorts members about his services in the future. The lawsuit began back in 2017 and was another warning to the industry that they were serious about tackling the ongoing problem of scam companies meddling with their members. Diamond said this individual was masquerading as a legitimate attorney and made false claims to Diamond owners. They say Ken Privett scared owners and encouraged them to exit their timeshare contracts. He also charged victims very large upfront fees for his services which Diamond say he did not perform.

In settling the case, Privett paid an undisclosed amount to Diamond resorts and was issued with a permanent injunction prohibiting Privett from contacting or assisting Diamond members in anything relating to their Diamond Timeshare memberships. He is also prohibited from assisting others in the timeshare exit business or providing ‘similar deceptive services. In a separate, but related, court order, Privett has been asked to produce documents that demonstrate how he ‘represented’ timeshare owners.

To date Diamond has been extremely steadfast and successful in its pursuit against fraudulent companies. In fact, so far they have had 10 successful permanent injunctions made against fraudulent companies, prohibiting them from interfering with Diamond owners. They currently have another 15 cases going through the courts in The United States alone.

Unfortunately, timeshare does not have a good reputation which has only got worse over the years, and this attracts the attention of scam artists who know there is a market for people who are desperate to get out of their timeshare burdens. Diamond Resorts often target scam companies and are correct to do so as companies that are clearly defrauding people should be stopped and prosecuted. These frauds prey on people’s weaknesses and desperation and in many cases, people have been scammed out of huge amounts of money which can have a devastating impact on a person. It makes knowing who to trust when it comes to anything timeshare very difficult and understandably, owners are often confused about what to do when it comes to exiting a timeshare. Perhaps if the resorts themselves looked at the way they treated people who had genuine reasons for wanting to end their contracts and acted with more compassion and understanding, fraudulent companies and scammers would not have a market in which they can so freely find people in which to victimise and con out of their cash.

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.

Diamond Resorts takes another timeshare scam company to court.

Diamond Resort’s, one on the giants in the timeshare industry and well known in their endeavours to take action against anyone helping timeshare owners end their contracts, is suing yet another firm they say is running a timeshare exit scam.

In fact, Diamond says scam companies cause such a big problem for their owners, they have now opened a support page which offers advice for those who have been approached by rogue operators. CEO, Mike Flaskey has made no secret that the company plan to tackle and take down anyone who takes advantage of Diamond members and says the problem is rising. In this latest news, Diamond took legal action against Timeshare Exit Team, located in the U.S. They say the company has made unsolicited phone calls to Diamond owners and made claims that they could help exit owners from their contracts for an upfront fee.

Timeshare Exit Team hit back at Diamond’s claims and in a motion filed to the court, asked the judge to dismiss the case, stating the claims of false advertising were untrue. However, the judge has ruled in favour of Diamond, agreeing that the company may have violated Unfair Trade Practices as they encouraged owners to stop paying for their timeshares, which led to owners defaulting on loans which resulted in bad credit for some owners. Diamond say Timeshare Exit Team, charged thousands of dollars in upfront fees for services it could not perform. They also say the firm misrepresented itself by claiming to be a licenced lawyers office, which it was not. They say the services they offered were no more than instructing owners to stop paying Diamond, convincing owners that their contracts had been terminated.

The suit also alleges Timeshare Exit Team violated the ‘Lanham Act’ which means they falsely advertised their services to clients, who were then convinced to hand over large fees to the company. Timeshare Exit Team asked the court to dismiss Diamond’s claims on the grounds that the services they were performing were legitimate and any letter they wrote on behalf of clients ‘amounted to protected activity’. The court disagreed and went on to say Diamond has a high probability of winning the suit as they have evidence that the firm did not perform any of the services they claimed on behalf of owners. The case will undoubtedly continue through the courts for some time but is another example of Diamond putting its money where its mouth is when it comes to their owners.

On their website CEO Mike Flaskey says these companies are preying on people with misinformation. Mike Flaskey said: “I think it is time the greater vacation industry takes back the narrative. These exit companies have been controlling the narrative for the last couple of years because there is so much money to take from unsuspecting owners.”

Over the years Diamond has developed an exit strategy for owners and members to ‘adjust their ownership contracts to meet their needs’ They say customer satisfaction is their number one priority, but what happens to people who don’t want to ‘adjust or modify’ their contracts and simply want a way out for good? Well, unfortunately this is not an option readily on offer. Which is surprising as timeshare is meant to be a leisure activity and something to enjoy. Why would anyone sign up to a lifetime membership for which they have to pay over and above the price for. It is a bit like having a gym membership, you enjoy it for a period, or perhaps you enjoy it so much you keep paying for it. The difference is it is a competitive market, so the prices are not extortionate, and most memberships allow you to cancel at any time, or at least after a short notice period. Why doesn’t timeshare offer the same for their owners? Timeshare is a leisure activity and not something you should be forced to endure for years on end, especially when you are not enjoying it or getting value for money.

The timeshare industry continues to grow, in fact it is a multibillion-dollar industry which relies on fees and people being tied into lengthy contracts that are difficult to get out of. If it wants to continue to grow in a healthy way and not take advantage of owners and instead develop a good reputation for the future, perhaps it should look at genuine exit strategies for owners who want to end contracts for legitimate reasons.

Timeshare owner stuck until 2084!

Over in Australia, a 66-year-old widower is desperately trying to get out of a timeshare contract she can no longer afford and has not used in years.

Her and her husband signed up to a timeshare agreement in 1996 but since then the annual maintenance fees have gone from $153 a year to $912 a year, which has made the timeshare completely unaffordable to the lady who has lost her husband. In addition to this the timeshare contract will not end until 2084, which means she faces paying more than $53.000 in fees until the contract ends. The retiree’s daughter has also stepped in to help her mother as when she dies, the contract will be passed down to her children and so on until it is paid off in full. The pair have been trying to reach out to the timeshare resort for help, but after they asked to see copies of their legal agreement, the resort just fobbed them off.

The resort has been firm in their response so far and have explained that the resort accepts no liability or obligation to end her contract and she must continue to pay, or she can sell it. The problem is, who wants to take on an expensive timeshare with a contract that can be passed down to your children and grandchildren when you die.

Timeshare in Australia

Just like the rest of the world, the timeshare industry in Australia has been dwindling, mainly because of the high rising maintenance fees. But also because people have found easier more accessible ways to holiday. The Australian market is however heavily regulated and timeshare resorts must adhere to strict regulatory guidelines. For instance, resorts must be registered to issue financial contracts and must have 14 day cooling off periods. There is one big problem though in that contracts are often extremely lengthy, meaning people can be stuck until they die, and unlike Europe, these contracts are in perpetuity, meaning they get passed down to your children in the event of your death, even if they do not want it. So essentially your children could be paying for something they do not want and will never use.

In 2019 The Australian Securities and Investment Commissions released a study on the harm timeshare schemes were doing to customers. In which they discovered that there was a much higher level of discontent amongst owners and people felt they were not getting the expected value from their membership and they had experienced financial stress and hardship because of changes to fees and personal circumstances. The report also went on to say that the way in which timeshares are sold was unscrupulous as consumers were subjected to high pressure sales tactics and coerced into signing up to lengthy contracts.

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.

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 / 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.

Timeshare exit scams, what you need to know!

If you or anyone you know is seeking a way out of their timeshare or feels they were the victim of mis-selling and could make a claim for compensation against the resort, there are some important factors to consider before engaging the services of any individual or company and before you hand over any of your hard-earned cash.

Unfortunately, one thing that is common in anything to do with timeshare is that there are far too many untrustworthy companies that prey on owners. They understand that people are desperate to get rid of them and free from the financial burden they cause people, and they use this desperation to their advantage. Many owners find themselves in financial hardship, or ill health or other life factors come in the way of people being able to enjoy their timeshares. A lot of the time people become fed up and tired with their resort or perhaps they were mis-led in purchasing it in the first place, whatever the reason people want out, resorts make it incredibly difficult to leave. Because of these owners are forced to seek alternative exit options, which sometimes leads them to unscrupulous companies, whose sole aim is to take advantage and scam desperate timeshare owners.

Understanding what a timeshare scam is and how they work means you are less likely to fall for one and can spot a scammer when they call. A timeshare scam usually starts with promises or guarantee’s that your timeshare will be cancelled, or they will be able to get your money back for you, for an upfront fee of course. If you think about it, how can someone promise to get your money back when there are so many individual factors to consider before you even file a complaint with the resort. Each case is completely different, and because of this they need to be looked at carefully and each merit of the claim needs to be addressed and assessed for the likelihood of gaining a successful outcome. So, if someone contacts you claiming to be able to get your money back, ask them how they can be sure of this when they do not even have all the information to investigate the matter in the first place. When it comes to timeshare no-one can offer a cast iron guarantee and a company acting in good faith will not promise something, they know they cannot do.

Another scam we hear about often, but more common in the U.S is the timeshare resale scam. A cold caller, typically, will call you out of the blue claiming to have a buyer ready and waiting to purchase your timeshare. They will offer to facilitate this sale, for yet another fee upfront, and when you pay the sale will go ahead. However, often the so-called sale is fictious and there is no one ready to purchase your overpriced timeshare in the first place, they will simply take your money and disappear. People have lost tens of thousands on these types of scams in the hope that their initial timeshare purchase was not a complete loss, but the reality is there are very few timeshares that retain any value at all let alone ones where you can make a profit.

At Timeshare Finance Claims, we often hear from people who have been the victim of a timeshare scam. Sometimes they have been contacted out of the blue and promised everything under the sun to get them to sign up. Unfortunately, in addition to already suffering financial hardship or distress because of their timeshare, they are then subjected to being scammed over and over by unscrupulous individuals, who know they are desperate to get rid of their unwanted timeshares or holiday memberships. One very important factor to consider here is that if you are cold called by an individual or company, unless you gave them prior consent to call you, they are doing so illegally and if they cannot follow simple rules, like do not cold-call people, they are very unlikely to be acting within the constraints of the law.

If, like many other victims out there, you have found yourself in the situation where you have fallen victim to or handed money over to a company who has promised but failed to do any work for you, then you can make a claim against them for your money back, even if they have gone out of business or been forced to close by the authorities.

Protect yourself from timeshare fraud:

Never respond to cold callers – ask them how they got your information, what the company name is and report them. By cold calling you they are breaking the law and a nuisance to members of the public. If people report these instances, authorities can investigate, and they may be able to prosecute them and stop them from scamming future victims.

Do not pay for services upfront: If a company asks you to pay for any services related to your timeshare upfront, the best thing to do is end the call. No reputable company would ask for money upfront before even looking at the merits of your case and doing any work for you.

Check online first: There are many places you can go to look up a company that you are thinking of working with. Review sites can be a great place to start as they will give you a good overall view of how the company operates. You can also check to see if they are registered with any regulatory bodies as well, like the Financial Conduct Authority or Trading Standards. Doing a little bit of research pays off and lessons the risk of you engaging the services of a scam company.

Timeshare owners in dispute with resort over maintenance fees.

A couple from Scotland have been involved in a dispute with their timeshare resort over having to pay maintenance fees, even though they have not been able to use their timeshare because of the Pandemic.

The couple purchased two separate weeks at a resort in Cyprus and told the Sunday Post newspaper that up until now they have been happy with their timeshare and enjoyed many holidays at the upmarket resort. However, after forking out around £12,000 for two separate weeks the maintenance fees had risen to £900 a year for both weeks. They explained to the newspaper how they were shocked and disappointed to see that the resort was still demanding maintenance fees from them, even though both weeks they had purchased had been cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic.

The couple purchased one week at the resort in Cyprus 10 years ago and 3 years later purchased an additional week and as the years have gone on the retired couple are now paying £450 for each week a year in maintenance fees. And although they say they had enjoyed the resort up until now, they were disappointed that the resort was demanding maintenance fees even when they had not been able to use their weeks at all last year because of the Coronavirus pandemic. They went as far as to say they felt the resort was being heavy handed in demanding fees be paid and threatened they would repossess the timeshares if they failed to pay maintenance fees. The retired couple paid the resort half of the fees and asked if they could carry over the additional cost for the following year, but the resort continued to demand they pay the full amount which they then did.

Speaking to the Sunday Post timeshare owner Mr Younie said: “I said I was willing to pay half, and I did, even though we couldn’t use the apartment. I also asked for the rest to be carried over to this year, but we were told we had to pay the full amount. I was very disappointed that the resort would not do what most other holiday and travel companies have done during the pandemic and given people refunds for holidays that they could not take. I then started getting emails saying that if I did not pay then our timeshare may be ‘repossessed’. I thought that was heavy-handed.”

This is just one of many timeshare owners who have experienced the same treatment from big timeshare companies, who have been continuing to demand maintenance fees during the pandemic. There are millions of timeshare owners across the globe and maintenance fees are a money maker for resorts. It is estimated that timeshare resorts rake in Billions of pounds annually in maintenance fees alone, helping to keep the industry afloat. When the pandemic hit, this was virtually their only source of revenue, so it makes sense they collect these fees from owners. But it is not exactly ethical when people are struggling financially and they have not even been able to go on holiday because resorts are shut, flights are cancelled, and people are confined mostly to their homes. Despite all this, timeshare resorts continue to make profit at the expense of owners, and although the travel and leisure industry has been one of the hardest hit industries, due to the pandemic, timeshare resorts continue to report profits and make plans for the future growth and bigger profits.

Warning about fake company cold-calling timeshare owners.

A consumer advocacy champion who writes for thisismoney.co.uk and regularly investigates customer complaints, is warning a company named JSD Group Limited has been cold calling timeshare owners claiming they have been mis-sold them.

After some investigation into the company the paper reported that it was in fact registered to a man who is currently serving jailtime in a prison in Indonesia for defrauding a hotel by paying with a fake credit card. They also learnt that the company address is actually located at a property on a housing estate in Carlisle.

In addition to these rather suspicious activities, the company only opened its doors a year ago and claims to have helped people win back money for mis-sold timeshares. They even had some extremely roaring reviews from people that seem just too good to be true. One such review wrote “God bless you guys” and another “Thank you from the bottom of my heart”. The This Is Money report then goes on to, quite rightly, question, how such a young company in such a short space of time would be able to claim back so much money for its clients. One person who was cold called by the company explained how the caller promised to get rid of their timeshare, for a large upfront fee of course, despite them explaining that they no longer owned a timeshare and had got rid of it twenty years previous.

Timeshare scams  

Above is just another example of a company springing up out of the blue with the sole aim to scam timeshare owners. Unfortunately, this is a very easy thing to do, and it happens on a regular basis, all they have to do is get hold of a list of timeshare owners, start cold calling them and luring people in with false promises. There are too many stories of companies doing exactly this and defrauding people out of thousands of pounds. This is unethical and immoral, not to mention against the law. Eventually bad companies do get noticed and sometimes even prosecuted, but this only happens after someone has been victimised and defrauded. The problem is there are too many timeshare owners who are desperate to get rid of them and the resorts do not want to help these people. Mainly because they will lose the income from maintenance fees, but also because they lose the opportunity to keep upselling existing owners and possibly these people could go on to make a claim against them for a mis-sold timeshare. If the resorts themselves looked at how they treated owners and put in place feasible exit processes that meant people could leave when they had enough or actual real-life reasons for not being able to use their timeshares, then the industry would not have such a bad reputation, there would not be so many unhappy owners and there would be no market for scammers at all.

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.

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 / 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.

What are the pros and cons of timeshare?

It’s not surprising to say that timeshares have attracted a lot of criticism over the years. They started off a great idea when the scheme was thought up many years ago. However as the industry has evolved it’s fair to say that timeshares have had to change to meet peoples changing needs, and some of these changes have left consumers considerably unhappy with their timeshare purchases. In order to survive and compete in the travel industry timeshares have relied upon locking people into lengthy contracts that are watertight and almost impossible to end. And the very way in which they are sold to people also sparks a lot of controversy. There are endless tales of people being mis-sold timeshares on the basis that they were investments. One thing is for sure, timeshares are far from investments. In fact they are a financial liability and more often than not cost way more than the average family package holiday. This is why there are so many unhappy timeshare owners, desperate to get rid of them. In fact, in many cases, you can’t even give them away or hand them back to the resort. So are there any pros and cons to timeshare ownership?

They are less expensive than buying a holiday home outright. If you like exclusivity, than a timeshare may be able to provide you with this as a lot of resorts are only available for timeshare owners to use. Or so they would have you believe. We hear from owners regularly, who one day whilst sitting at the pool got chatting to some other guests only to learn they booked at the resort using a third party. Quite shocking when you were promised the exact opposite and to make matters worse those very people probably paid less money to be there.

Timeshare resorts and holiday memberships do promise owners more options. Lots of resorts these days are affiliated with exchange companies where owners can trade points to use. However, many members complain that when they go to book peak dates are always not available, many people even say they have trouble booking up to a year in advance. Quite surprising when you consider what you are promised in the sales presentation.

You also have to consider the boredom factor. If you are limited to a fixed resort every year at the same place, it could get a bit boring as the years go on. Especially now as more and more exciting places are opening up, being tied down to the same place can lose it appeal.

Even if you don’t use your timeshare one year, you are still going to pay for it. If for some reason you find you cannot travel, or maybe you can’t get the time off work, or just a very normal life occurrence happens meaning you can’t get to your resort, you will still have to pay for it. That could mean your annual maintenance fees and any loan repayment you may have taken out to buy in the first place still needs to be paid.

Finally, don’t forget the sales presentation’s. If you’re a timeshare owner you will know exactly what we are talking about. Every time you visit a resort you will be asked to attend a meeting, maybe a members update meeting or a free lunch. However, this is simply another sales presentation and an opportunity for the resort to sell you another legally binding product.

Many people find that after years of timeshare ownership, the novelty has worn off and they want out. Many feel they have been mis-sold their timeshare in the first place and can no longer pay the unaffordable loans they were coerced into taking out by the sales person. If you feel you have been mis-sold a timeshare and want to discuss your options get in touch with us today. Our team of timeshare specialist can help guide you through the process or simply give you some much needed advice.

Diamond Resorts goes after another timeshare exit firm.

Timeshare giant Diamond Resorts has issued further proceedings against Pandora Marketing, a firm that have been marketing their timeshare exit services to consumers desperate to get rid of their timeshares.

Diamond Resorts is no stranger to taking firms to court who purport helping people out of their timeshare burdens, and currently has 15 lawsuits against timeshare exit firms in the United States alone. In new papers handed to the court in the case against Pandora Marketing, Diamond say they have fresh evidence that proves the company has been running a nationwide scam conning hundreds of Diamond Resort timeshare owners out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Diamond resorts have issued new legal filings to the court which includes statements from owners stating that the firm demanded large upfront fees in exchange for timeshare exit services. In some cases, the firm charged clients huge fees, some in excess of $100,000 for services they said were being performed by lawyers. What happened, according to witness statements, was that clients were misled and coerced into paying these fees, strung along for months on end and none of the services promised were performed. Diamond says that instead of actually performing any legal services for these people, the company misled people into believing they could stop paying maintenance fees, which eventually resulted in foreclosure and a negative impact on peoples credit ratings, which went down because of default on payments.

Diamond also state that they have evidence that the company was operating a scam and produced to the court saved messages from witnesses. In one a timeshare owner explained how he was made to believe a specialist group of timeshare lawyers would litigate the cancellation of his timeshare. Because of his belief in this company, he paid them $70,000 but later learned the firm took his money and simply employed a lawyer to send Diamond an exit letter which cost them $700. Another victim has been left with debts more than $120,000 in credit card bills after the company repeatedly demanded money from them.

CEO of Diamond Resorts, Michael Flaskey said in a statement: “It is absolutely despicable to hear how vacation owners have been scammed by these nefarious companies. We will continue to do everything in our power to protect our members from being misled by these companies and will aggressively pursue every avenue to hold these companies to account.”

Why are there so many timeshare scams around?

There are countless stories on the internet about fraudulent companies acting in bad faith and taking advantage of timeshare owners who are desperate to get rid of them. And Diamond may be correct on this occasion to go after a company that are clearly defrauding innocent people out of staggering amounts of money. Something which is unethical and immoral, especially when these people are simply trying to find a way out of something that is probably causing them financial problems, and by defrauding them, scammers know they are putting these people in further financial ruin. However, whilst resorts are happy to highlight companies acting fraudulently, they will not acknowledge the reason why so many of these companies exists in the first place. Firstly, these cons are often run by ex-timeshare sales representatives, so they know the system inside out. But they also know that resorts will do anything to keep hold of their members and their important maintenance fees and will make it as difficult for people to leave as possible. It makes knowing who to trust when it comes to anything timeshare very difficult and understandably, owners are often confused about what to do when it comes to exiting a timeshare. Perhaps if the resorts themselves looked at the way they treated people who had genuine reasons for wanting to end their contracts and acted with more compassion and understanding, fraudulent companies and scammers would not have a market in which they can so freely find people in which to victimise and con out of their hard-earned money.