Timeshare Credit Reporting & Timeshare Debt Collection Costs DRI Lawsuit.

Timeshare Credit Reporting & Timeshare Debt Collection Costs DRI Lawsuit.

Unhappy vacation owners usually experience an exhausting wave of resistance from timeshare resorts when seeking a way out of their perpetual agreement. Because of this, many fail. In most cases, the resilient and financially stable are the only types of owners able to obtain some sort of restitution. But even then, buying a timeshare can still leave scars. Although the evaporated cost can be troublesome, timeshare credit reporting and failed debt collection procedures can be devastating.

A mark on a purchase of this magnitude doesn’t go unnoticed in today’s world of risk calculations and technological assumptions. In other words, negative credit reports from timeshares limit purchasing power. In turn, this can really hinder one’s quality of life – bringing us to this week’s news article. After filing a previous sales fraud suit resulting in a settlement with Diamond Resorts International Club, Inc. (DRI), two former owners recently filed another class action lawsuit against the timeshare resort for reporting negatively on their credit.

Not the First Lawsuit By These DRI Owners.

The proposed lawsuit essentially alleges that DRI used it’s “collection arm” to involve Experian Information Solutions in credit reporting fraud that derived from their settled timeshare accounts. But it’s important to not forget the context of the suit. After already being involved in a previous legal battle with the owners, it seems odd that Diamond would not have complied with the terms of the settlement. When someone asserts that your sales departments used “deceptive sales practices” and made false promises or “oral misrepresentations” about the product, then you should probably waive the white flag. 

Even though Diamond Resorts International Inc. agreed to waive and terminate “any and all” of the owner’s remaining balances to release them from their contractual obligations, they allegedly did not completely follow through. The plaintiffs balances were cleared, but they stated that the timeshare credit reporting for major bureaus inaccurately showed the purchase as being a “charge off”. As you can imagine, this infuriated DRI’s former owners. It wouldn’t be a surprise to us as failed timeshare debt collection procedures are common in this industry. It’s all part of the well-oiled collections scheme.

Disputed Timeshare Credit Reporting for DRI.

After spending even more time and energy communicating with the three major credit bureaus, the case goes on to say that the plaintiffs received minimal closure. Experian said they would take care of the disputed account and TransUnion told them it was not on their reports. But according to the lawsuit, a negative tradeline remained after Experian simply “updated the accounts”. Despite their alleged promise to delete the accounts and release the plaintiffs from any liability, it was argued that DRI “permitted and caused the wrongful report to occur.” 

What’s interesting about this story is that the plaintiffs claim they were lied to every step of the way. Not only did they state that they were initially sold on their ability to acquire and redeem timeshare points for right to use (RTU) lodging at “certain resorts” – they were continuously complained that they were lied to about their options. Once they figured it out and took legal action, they thought they attained resolve. But they didn’t. Now, two former owners are dealing with even further inconvenience stemming from Diamond’s actions.

It’s hard to tell how many people are affected by a timeshare-gone-bad. But with every story comes new light on the deception behind the industry. There are tons of concerns surrounding timeshare credit reporting and failed timeshare debt collection procedures. The problem is, most people don’t know what hit them until it’s too late. If you have any questions about ownership or the process of cancellation, never hesitate to reach out.

BBB Reports Record Complaints for Timeshare Exit Business in 2019

BBB Reports Record Complaints for Timeshare Exit Business in 2019

Taking the time to analyze the mistakes and failures of our industry helps us provide the best possible solution for timeshare owners. While public records of sales infractions and class action lawsuits provide us with insight on misconduct in the relief realm, consumer complaints are what really help us understand the entirety of the buyer’s experience. After reviewing this past year, the Better Business Bureau’s 144 complaints for one timeshare exit business caught our attention.

Since we only specialize in one thing, we have to be able to advise all vacation owners on every option. This is why we offer no-cost consultations. Every buyer deserves a chance to identify potential pitfalls before proceeding with any transaction. Our intent isn’t to shame companies, but to inspire change throughout the exit industry. When owners consider termination with VOC, we don’t want to leave anything to question. But some operations don’t seem to mind, impacting the reputation of the industry as a whole.

The Downward Trend of Timeshare Exit Businesses.

The BBB has been noticing a pattern in timeshare exit business complaints over the last few years. At this point, hundreds of grievances have already poured in surrounding customer service issues, contract disputes, warranty concerns and problems with service guarantees. Oftentimes clients complain about inadequate case updates and their inability to garner a refund. Although the cancellation process can take some time, clients should have clarity on what to expect. Doing so allows them to trust and understand the process. 

Even when a certain timeshare exit business replied to BBB complaints, it doesn’t seem like they’re doing much to address the root of the problem – hence the record number of grievances filed in 2019. Many exit companies tell consumer protection agencies that they’ll “right the ship” but sit on their hands for years – even when vacation owners continue grumbling about the same things. Because of the growing mistrust, timeshare owners have even begun to reject the exit company’s responses.

The Frustration of Misled Timeshare Owners is Obvious.

One timeshare exit business review had a telling response late last year. “‘X’ wanted to try one more avenue, but we are having none of that. No more delays, refunded demanded as the only resolution. A representative from Customer Relations said they would put our refund request to upper management immediately. So now we wait..” You can almost sense the impatience and mistrust in this reply. Another customer response helps us better understand why.

“I am rejecting this response because: Though ‘X’ was unable to provide the service we signed up for, they did declare they would honor their refund policy. This seemed to be initiated however the electronic legal documents issued did not have our correct mailing address and did not have the correct refund amount. We have asked repeatedly for the documents to be corrected but do not get any reply. We can’t sign documents that are incorrect and the electronic documents have expired. It has been over a month and we are getting no response so our case is still unresolved.”

Without looking through every single complaint, you can tell timeshare exit businesses are struggling to follow through. “I am requesting my refund of $5,975.00. The response is not acceptable. I have been waiting for communication since my last BBB complaint [on] 11/2019 and have not received any follow-up on my exit.”

Vacation Owner Trust is Beginning to Waiver for Exit Firms.

The simple fact that the company is offering other products while failing to deliver on an initial promise is also discouraging. “My trust in this company has grown even further in not trusting a thing they try to sell me.. Please stop talking in circles and stick to the fact: I paid, I waited 18 months, no timeshare exit completed.. Please process my refund and have a great day.” 

From the looks of it, customers aren’t buying their efforts. “The response is not acceptable. I explained to Derek, ‘The only reason he called was because of my complaint to BBB’.” Over the last 3 years, one exit company has tallied nearly 360 complaints. 41 have already been filed on the BBB’s platform this year. 

Timeshare Exit Businesses That Have Failed to Provide Resolve.

No matter how eager people are to simply move on from the negative experience, every little detail seems to let them down. “The email does not give me a timeline for my refund and is not acceptable. I have been hearing the same thing since I signed up with the company, ‘Someone will give you a call’. Why do I need to keep reaching out to BBB for someone to give me a call? Not Acceptable.” 

Keep in mind, these people were led to believe their timeshare frustrations would soon be over. After battling with the resort – sometimes for years – they finally made the decision to terminate their agreement with paid endorsement brands in the exit marketplace. Little did they know they’d still be under contract and battling the timeshare exit business for another promise that wasn’t delivered. This is why we stress that all owners do their research before hiring any company whether it has to do with assisting them with their timeshare contract or a service call for home maintenance

Washington Finally Steps In For the Consumer.

Some disgruntled owners have been waiting on an exit refund for a while now. Because of this, the King County Superior Court in Washington State decided to go after Timeshare Exit Team for unfair or deceptive business practices in February of this year. The court’s accusation states Timeshare Exit Team (AKA Reed Hein and Associates) violated multiple laws in the Debt Adjusting Act and the Washington Consumer Protection Act.

Maximizing profits can be a dangerous thing when you’re unable to deliver on the basics of a service. This is why we focus on what we do best and always qualify every timeshare owner before explaining our attorney based process. At the end of the day, making things more difficult for an already devastated owner is not worth it. Even if timeshare exit companies try to cover up their deficiencies, the experiences of their customers will still remain. For their sake, we hope all cancellation services take notice.

Diamond Resorts Barclays Bank Accused of Misleading Timeshare Buyers

Diamond Resorts Barclays Bank Accused of Misleading Timeshare Buyers

While most lawsuits against timeshare companies are rarely fruitful, some deserve public attention. For the most part, a large percentage of society isn’t keen on the sales tactics of the industry. Understanding buyer complaints can help consumers avoid the purchase altogether. In reality, many buyers often find themselves in over their heads with the purchase before they even know what happened. This is why an accusation from 2016 against Diamond Resorts and Barclays Bank is important to understand.

In November of that year, Neri and Fe Jocson bought a “sampler package” from Diamond Resorts International. (DRI) for 2,500 timeshare points. Upon purchase, both were under the impression that they would accrue points every month as they made payments on their package. According to the complaint, it didn’t seem like they were expecting much from the membership but saw it as an opportunity to test the waters.

In order to obtain this membership deal, Neri and Fe say they were required to finance with DRI directly. After signing up for a credit card through Barclays Bank in Delaware, the new timeshare points owners began saving up for a future getaway. But three months later, the perks and accommodations at multiple resorts across the country still weren’t accessible. As a matter of fact, according to the complaint, DRI allegedly told their buyers that they should have never sold them a limited number of points to begin with.

False Verbal Promises Lay Traps for Timeshare Owners.

This is where the plaintiffs began scratching their heads. The accusation went on to explain how Diamond told them that 2,500 points isn’t nearly a sufficient amount to make any type of promises on vacation privileges. In order to enjoy what they were initially promised, Neri and Fe were told they needed to upgrade to the “Silver Package” by purchasing another 6,000 points. Although it seemed odd, both agreed to spend more because they had already committed to the deal.

This transaction is where the plaintiffs felt they were misled the most. Not only does it appear that DRI downplayed their mistake, but one may understand the complaint as the defendant purportedly distracted them with phantom perks and intimidated them into signing an additional agreement with further obligations. This is how so many people end up trapped in a perpetual agreement even though they only wanted a sample. If you feel pressured into any purchase, it’s always best to walk away.

How the Timeshare Membership Lost its Appeal.

As Neri and Fe proceeded with the sales process, they eventually found themselves at an owner’s update meeting in June of 2017. In their lawsuit, they claim that it was here where DRI informed them they had not, in fact, purchased a “Silver Membership.” To make matters worse, they were also informed they still did not have enough points to access any vacation privileges. Meeting hosts then urged them to sign up for another DRI credit card to finance the down payment for an upgraded membership.

This time, the plaintiffs did not take the bait and they began formulating a lawsuit against Diamond Resorts International and Barclays Bank for their deceptive timeshare practices. Their decision to file was solidified in August of 2017 after another failed reservation attempt. At this point, according to the complaint, DRI allegedly went as far as invoking their membership benefits if they didn’t buy more points.

Protect and Inform Yourself As a Consumer.

When you think about it, thousands of people probably fall into fractional ownership by accident. So many buyers try everything in their power to make the purchase worthwhile. We know because we talk to them every day. If you don’t know a lot about this industry, it can be quite the disadvantage – especially if you’re ever randomly lured into a timeshare presentation with appealing perks. 

Neri and Fe Jocson were able to identify 10-counts in their proposed class action lawsuit. All accusations were based on high pressure sales tactics, false promises, verbal misrepresentations and misleading advertisements. If you take the time to research past lawsuits vs DRI and other major hotel chains, you’ll find a similar paper trail. The fourth joint status report was recently filed in March of this year.

Welk Resorts Settles for $3.55 Million in SD District Attorney Suit

Welk Resorts Settles for $3.55 Million in SD District Attorney Suit

While many vacation owners worry about the outcome of their annual vacation in 2020, those that purchased Welk Resorts points from January 2011 to March 2016 are in for a big surprise. Just last week, up to $3.55 million was awarded to those that have been misled by the timeshare sales process. Although the stipulated judgement is subject to court approval, the California Attorney General believes it “sets an unprecedented example to the timeshare industry. “You cannot violate the law and get away with it,” said AG Xavier Becerra to reporters. 

After a number of complaints had been filed by Welk owners, Becerra’s office asked the CA Department of Real Estate and the San Diego District Attorney’s office to help him investigate Welk Resort’s sales presentations. They came away with irrefutable evidence of a pressure-dried environment that utilized false promises and misleading information to persuade attendees. The Welk resort in Escondido, California took a lot of heat for most of their tactics. 

Timeshare Sales Agents Don’t Always Tell the Truth.

According to the settlement, Welk representatives were selling timeshare interests, which violates the Vacation Ownership Timeshare Act (2004), California’s Timeshare Law, False Advertising Law and the Unfair Competition Law. The restitution in this case is the largest consumer relief package that has ever been awarded to the People by a timeshare company. 

Not only was the settlement monetary, but Welk Resorts is also required to implement some sort of compliance to ensure further violations don’t occur. Resort employees will be asked to complete proper training courses on VOTA requirements and risk prevention. “Truthful disclosures are especially important in a high-pressure sales environment such as timeshare sales,” said Becerra.

He went on to say, “This settlement is a significant win for California consumers. It provides victims with the largest consumer relief package ever obtained by the People for violations of the Vacation Ownership Timeshare Act (VOTA), returning money to the pockets of those cheated by Welk.” Initially, those that have already filed a claim will be first to receive restitution. Shortly after, the remaining buyers from that time period will be given a chance to submit a claim for cash, additional points or a resort credit.

Helping Consumers Understand Timeshare Laws.

San Diego District Attorney Summer Stephan also played a big role in the settlement. “The law protects consumers by prohibiting timeshare salespeople from overpromising with misrepresentations. Consumers need to know what they are getting up front without false promises,” she said. She’s right. Far too many people are lured into something that was never ideal to begin with because they’re uninformed.

Efforts from AG and District Attorney’s offices shouldn’t go unnoticed. Like we mentioned before, vacation owners aren’t getting much assistance right now. It’s good to see these organizations stepping up. The final stipulated judgement was announced earlier this month and also required Welk Resorts to pay Stephan and Becerra’s offices’ $2 million bill for investigative expenses. “The expertise in our DA’s Consumer Protection Team was brought to bear to protect consumers from false promises in purchasing timeshares,” concluded Stephan.

Orlando’s Marriott Worldwide Vacations Addresses COVID-19.

Orlando’s Marriott Worldwide Vacations Addresses COVID-19.

In the beginning stages of the Coronavirus outbreak, very few timeshare resorts had much to say. But once travel restrictions were implemented, timeshares acted swiftly to cut costs and seek pity. Even the way Marriott Worldwide Vacations addresses COVID-19 seems vague. Some vacation owners aren’t able to keep up with payments while awaiting resolve. Thousands of others have already missed their opportunity to travel this year and the number is growing every day. 

So will major hotel chains, like Marriott’s operation in Orlando, say more to reassure their highest paying customers? In past articles, we’ve discussed how prominent resorts like to ignore customer complaints while blaming the exit industry for satisfaction ratings. So are they following a similar strategy and avoiding truth by stating irrelevant facts? It’s hard to believe that any of Orlando’s Marriott vacation owners enjoyed reading a COVID-19 update that made no mention of them.

A Common Theme by Timeshares Continues.

How can timeshare companies expect these people to be patient, loyal and trusting when their financial losses aren’t even considered? Instead, Stephen Weisz, the CEO of Marriott Vacations Worldwide, seems to be more focused on his losses. During a recent conference call he described the decisions he’s been forced to make as “some of the most difficult and heartbreaking of my career.”

Aside from laying off employees (and offering furloughs), Marriott announced they were shutting down sales centers due to the colossal decline of business in March. Employee 401(k)’s, reductions in capital investments, repurchase suspensions and frozen “new hire” salaries are also mentioned in Marriott Vacations Worldwide’s COVID-19 addressal. But it doesn’t say anything about helping vacation owners that lost their income in the middle of a pandemic.

While closings were initially planned to end in the third week of April, they’ve been extended thanks to heightened tensions and the fear of the unknown. In the meantime, timeshare fees and mortgages will only get resorts so far. “We certainly don’t know how long the changes will last,” said Weisz. But despite the uncertainty, he believes his business model will enable them to ”operate the business at close to cash flow-neutral.”

What Happens If Things Get Worse?

If travel bans extend through the summer, things could get interesting. Especially since timeshare owners haven’t exactly been offered any type of financial assistance from a trillion dollar industry that’s unable to follow through with their product. According to the Orlando Sentinel, Weisz has offered to take a pay cut of 50% of his salary in an attempt to balance the scales. But will $500K be enough when he purportedly made over $7 million total after bonuses and stock options were taken into consideration in 2018?

While many vacation owners are grieving a time in history that includes race riots and deadly disease, timeshare companies are pressing on. Marriott Vacations Worldwide still plans on moving into a new building in Orlando by the end of 2020. From here it seems as if they’re looking forward to reopening their sales centers with a strong focus on new acquisition.

Since their statement, Orlando’s Marriott Worldwide Vacations has been pretty focused on replenishing their losses. It appears we will have to wait and see if they offer assistance for vacation owners. Whether it be through a forbearance period, refund, discount or any other form of relief. If things turn for the worse, hopefully buyers will receive the consideration they deserve.

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