For years now, the general public has slowly realized that the elderly population is frequently targeted by convincing offers that are said to improve their overall quality of life. Timeshares have been no exception. Whether former employees are whistleblowing about their shameful role or aging consumers are filing suit, abusive sales tactics are usually the root of the problem. This rang true again when Arizona retirees, Lester and IIona Harding, decided to battle Diamond Resorts in court back in 2017.
The class action lawsuit alleged that the hospitality chain, along with a number of its partners, used misleading information to convince elderly vacation owners that a points-based membership would be beneficial. But after processing the transaction, the plaintiffs claim it was far from advantageous. Aside from an unexpected higher cost, the Hardings’ supposedly were unable to book any type of reservation with Diamond.
How Were the Diamond Timeshare Owners Deceived?
When it comes to the sale of timeshare weeks or points, the reality is, there isn’t a large pool of interested buyers. For the most part, new contracts are signed by persuaded parties. Anyone that researches the purchase and cross examines it with other options normally declines the offer. Because of this, timeshares know they have to isolate targets in order to close deals. This approach resumes even after consumers are under contract – by means of owner update meetings.
In January of 2013, Lester and his wife were invited to attend one of these meetings as members of the Monarch Vacation Club (MVC). But the couple claims that the honorable “90-minute dinner” turned out to be an aggressive sales presentation for Diamond Resorts International (DRI) instead. Rather than being rewarded for their loyalty to the vacation package, the Hardings found themselves in a less-than-ideal situation.
During the 6pm dinner, guests were informed that MVC was in trouble financially and that their timeshare interests would be worthless in the near future. According to the class action lawsuit, Diamond aggressively spewed lies about their points program for more than 6 hours. The pressure to act proactively and the misleading trustworthiness of DRI’s presentation convinced a number of elderly attendees to take the bait – including the Arizona couple.
What Led Diamond Timeshare Buyers to Sue?
After several failed booking attempts and thousands of dollars spent, the Hardings knew they’d made a mistake. Looking back on the deceptive experience, they blame the false bond they thought they had with Diamond’s sales team. The class of plaintiffs believe the company was able to execute the ploy by contracting “licensed real estate agents and brokers” that claimed to be “legally bound by duties of disclosure and truth.”
The class action goes on to state that the established trust allowed DRI to take advantage of senior citizens with diminished cognizense. In turn, many Monarch owners saw them as a saving grace. This enabled Diamond to withhold pertinent contract details from the presentation. Despite a costly package that made little sense for aging travelers, a handful of seniors were compelled to purchase another membership with DRI.
What is the Class Action Vs Diamond Seeking for Seniors?
The Hardings’ class action suit is not the first time Diamond has been sued for a misleading sales approach. Sadly, it probably won’t be the last. As COVID-19 continues to impact vacation owners in a negative way, it’s safe to assume more legal battles will surface. The elderly couple and their representation was looking to represent a class of owners that were over the age of 60 when they bought DRI timeshare interest and have yet to receive a full refund.
The class action lawsuit was seeking repayment of court costs, attorney fees, personal damages, civil penalties, and all interest. The Hardings and the plaintiff class was also asking the court to rescind all DRI membership contracts. However, it appears in this case that the Defendants’ filed for Motion to Compel Arbitration which was granted. You can find out more about the case with the below information:
The Diamond Resorts Fraudulent Timeshare Sales Class Action Lawsuit is Ilona Harding, et al. v. Diamond Resorts Holdings LLC, et al., Case No. 2:17-cv-00248, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada.