Diamond Resorts International is an enormously successful timeshare developer headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada. The company is known for a few things: a points-based vacation ownership program, timeshare getaways located everywhere from Hawaii to Williamsburg, a recent merger with Hilton Grand Vacations, and its deceptive sales tactics and business practices.
Diamond Resorts is no stranger to lawsuits, having caught themselves in a handful over the past few years. Among the most disturbing Diamond Resorts complaints comes from a lawsuit that involves an elderly couple in Arizona. By omitting financial information and ignoring their rescission requests, Diamond tricked them into a $150,000 timeshare contract. Let’s explore this case and its implication of elder abuse within the timeshare industry.
The story of this Diamond Resorts complaints lawsuit starts with timeshare owners Frank and Betty Lusk. The couple had been using timeshares for years to travel to places like Florida, Hawaii, and the Caribbean. They had even owned multiple deeded timeshares that they’d already paid off at the time of their anniversary cruise. So when Diamond Resorts invited them to a private island reception while they were on the cruise, they were expecting the pitch to be like all the other timeshares they’d invested in.
Far from the fancy private reception they had imagined, the Lusks had actually been roped into a timeshare presentation with Diamond Resorts International. The salesperson who pitched the property to them was schooled in expert timeshare sales techniques. Knowing their age may be a factor in whether they decided to make a purchase or not, he informed the couple that the $150,000 timeshare he was pitching acted as a form of life insurance, meaning that any debts still owed on the property would be resolved by the contract once the couple passed on.
The couple was critical of the “life insurance” claim made during the sales presentation but the representative repeatedly showed them a document that supported this assertion. Eventually they gave in to his persistence and decided to put 10% down for the purchase using money borrowed against their retirement home. Little did they know that they were also agreeing to $19,000 in annual maintenance fees.
When the Lusks returned home from their cruise, they were hit with a wave of regret over their expensive decision and decided to pursue timeshare cancellation. They were still within their rescission period so they assumed there would be no issue in getting the contract reversed. But once the rescission request was submitted, the original salesperson made a phone call to the couple to talk them out of cancellation, and they gave in once again.
Still feeling uneasy about their purchase, the Lusks were made aware of a settlement with the Arizona Attorney General where numerous timeshare owners had made Diamond Resorts complaints, claiming the company uses high-pressure sales techniques to keep customers in their timeshare contracts. The settlement also alleged that Diamond Resorts uses misrepresentation to hide how much maintenance fees increase each year and how difficult it is to navigate a timeshare resale.
It also acknowledges that the company told prospective buyers that Diamond Resorts has a buyback program and that timeshare owners are able to rent out their property even though neither of these claims are true.
Inspired by this lawsuit, the couple once again sent a letter to Diamond Resorts expressing their desire to cancel. But after receiving an official letter of cancellation from Diamond, the couple couldn‘t stop timeshare bills from coming in. When they called their resort’s phone number, the couple was informed that their contract was indeed still valid. The only way the couple could escape their contract now was by reaching out to a timeshare cancellation company to officially terminate their timeshare purchase, setting the couple back $10,000.
The Diamond resorts complaints regarding the Lusks speaks to a larger issue about elder abuse within the timeshare industry. Timeshares appeal to consumers with disposable income and extra vacation time, two qualifications that a fair amount of elderly individuals meet. Timeshare sales people see the elderly as an attractive target for a timeshare pitch because their mental and physical ailments may prevent them from questioning large investments.
Another reason elderly timeshare owners may become easy targets for timeshare scams is their lack of technological savvy. As with industries like real estate, the timeshare industry has evolved with technology over the past few decades. Ways of contacting your timeshare developer and resort have completely changed. Much of the communication is being handled over email or web portals rather than in person, on the phone, or through letters. This shift to digital communication requires technological savvy that many elderly people may not be able to keep up with, which can end up costing them.
The COVID-19 pandemic also may have caused complications for elderly timeshare owners. During this time, many timeshare developers had to shut down their resorts due to travel restrictions. This meant that many timeshare owning customers had to find a way to refund or transfer their unused maintenance fees. And because of stay at home orders, customers had to use digital means to contact their timeshare developers.
This caused problems for customers across the board as many sneaky timeshare companies continued to charge their customers fees despite their inability to travel. These customers had to be persistent in reaching out to their developers and requesting their money and credits back. Because many elderly timeshare owners may not have the technological prowess to transfer credits — let alone notice unwarranted credit card charges — timeshare companies can more easily take advantage of older customers.
Is it fair to say that one of the major Diamond Resorts complaints is that the company has preyed on the elderly to sell expensive timeshares? Yes, and sadly they’re not alone in doing so. Many of the worst timeshare companies have capitalized on the disposable income, free time, and lack of computer literacy that makes the older generations easy victims for timeshare scams.
Diamond Resorts earned itself a reputation for taking advantage of elderly customers in the lawsuit involving Betty and Frank Lusk of Phoenix, Arizona. Having already paid off their other timeshares, the couple was talked into investing in a $150,000 timeshare. A deceptive salesperson sold them on the property by telling them that all the debts would be resolved once the couple passed. After regretfully paying ten percent down, the couple attempted to cancel twice and ended up having to hire a timeshare exit firm to finally escape their contract.
Have you ever been involved in a rip off timeshare deal like this? If so, it may be time to reach out for help.
If you’ve got more Diamond Resorts complaints than good experiences, it might be time to consider your timeshare cancellation options. This can be done with help and advice from Centerstone Group. With a rating of 4.66 out of 5 on BBB, we are one of the best in the timeshare exit industry at achieving results for clients seeking release.
So whether you have a timeshare in Orlando, Cabo, or Sedona, we can set you up with one of our intake specialists who will guide you through the process of timeshare cancellation. Stay away from predators like Diamond Resorts, and contact us for your first free session to see if you’re eligible for our services.