Major hospitality developers continue to pursue timeshare cancellation companies in court. Whether the services rendered are legitimate or not, it’s obvious that timeshare companies feel threatened. Diamond Resorts International, for example, has pursued over a dozen actions against cancellation companies and timeshare relief lawyers across the country. They’ve spent a lot of money ensuring their owners aren’t exposed to the fraudulent schemes of some relief programs, and rightfully so. To date, they’ve disbarred one exit lawyer and have been granted permanent injunctions in seven other lawsuits.
Diamond’s CEO, Mike Flaskey, had this to say about their reasoning. “We’re very concerned about members being preyed upon by third parties, often through scare tactics. The vast majority of our members love their vacations.” According to Flaskey, only a minority of owners want to get out of timeshare contracts. He believes satisfied customers are being misled and that Diamond reserves the right to provide them with a solution, first. He went on to say, “Sometimes life’s circumstances can change. If any of our members want to transition or modify their vacation ownership, we work to help them in a safe way.”
Even though some owners would disagree, he does have a valid point. Either way, the number of scams that deceivingly prey on unhappy timeshare owners is staggering. Taking action to avoid major losses is necessary on their part. But it doesn’t mean every 3rd party solution is “unsafe.” The defendant in their most recent case believes he was targeted himself for trying to safely help timeshare owners escape the clutches of timeshare companies.
Why Diamond Pursued the Timeshare Relief Lawyers.
Austin Aaronson, owner of Aaronson, Austin, P.A. and canceltimeshare.com, says he doesn’t agree with the way Diamond is categorizing their legitimate law firm. He said, “They’re spinning [the lawsuit] in a way that we frankly find disappointing.” But he never really did anything to prove his legal cancellation service wasn’t involved in misconduct. Inevitably he didn’t have to.
With over 420 resorts worldwide, Diamond seemed to hold the leverage in the beginning. They alleged that Aaronson’s firm promoted a false narrative of unlawful tactics by timeshare companies. Instead of allowing their owners to be helped in a “safe way” by Diamond, they claimed Aaronson was targeting their disgruntled buyers with statements that altered their perspective. Advertisements including: “Chances are good that your timeshare developer is exposed legally in ways that are relatively straightforward and provable,” and “Quite often, one’s signature on a timeshare contract is obtained by fraud,” were mentioned in Diamond’s claims. They also found specific statements on Aaronson’s website that claimed Diamond uses proxy proposals to elect their insiders.
Why Phony Exit Services Are to Blame for Diamond’s Pursuit.
Although he was disappointed, Aaronson failed to realize a majority of legal teams don’t really know how to exit timeshares properly. Far too many fractional owners spend thousands in lawyer (retainer) fees and upfront costs on solutions that are rarely fruitful. When timeshare owners don’t find resolve, they’re left with even more debt. In turn, they become even more upset with the timeshare company.
The Case Going to Trial was Monumental.
In the end, Diamond Resorts alleged Aaronson was participating in deceptive practices, false advertising, trade libel and tortious interference with contractual agreements. The U.S. District Judge, Roy Dalton Jr., was set to oversee proceedings. After Dalton tossed out some of Diamond’s allegations in January of 2018, Aarsonson made one last attempt to persuade the judge to throw out the case. But after already defeating a motion for summary judgement, Dalton denied his request.
The court stated, “A reasonable jury could find that [Aaronson, Austin, P.A.’s] advertisements deceived or are likely to deceive the viewers,” and influence their purchasing decision. This was the first time a lawsuit of this sort reached the trial stage. Aaronson believes taking it to trial solidifies his stance against timeshare conglomerates.
Legal Team Ends Up Settling Before Trial Begins.
Aaronson wasn’t able to present his side and ended up settling during a bench trial last month. While he wasn’t thrilled with the result, he seems OK with the compromise. After the announcement, he said, “Although I cannot say what the settlement requires, I can say what it does not: It does not restrict our ability to do business in any way.” There’s almost a level of arrogance behind his statements. “I think they spent a tremendous amount of money going after us on this,” he said. Apparently, causing Diamond grief is enough for him to hang his hat on. Only time will tell if it was a win for his law firm.
Aaronson had no comment on whether the settlement included a payout or if it required him to make website revisions. Press releases also don’t include many details. The team of timeshare relief lawyers seem to be content with removing the cloud of judgement over their heads. When asked further questions, Mr. Aaronson simply stated, “That’s about as far as I can go.” He did go on to say Charles Meltz and his law firm were, “incredibly good and incredibly professional” as his representation. While Diamond wasn’t ecstatic with the result either, Flaskey did mention, “This is a very positive outcome that will help protect our members.” It seems both parties are eager to move on.
Most Timeshare Relief Programs are Sketchy at Best.
Hiring timeshare relief lawyers to help you cancel fractional ownership can be risky. Like Diamond claims, most 3rd party solutions are misleading. It’s not to say lawyers aren’t equipped, some just have intentions that don’t benefit the consumer. It’s why we work with some of our country’s top lawyers. If anything, this lawsuit proves that timeshare companies are willing to go to extreme lengths to avoid losing customers and that exit teams are gaining confidence.
When seeking cancellation assistance, it’s important that you’re able to identify timeshare fraud and focus on hiring the right company. For more information on our attorney based services, you can schedule a free consultation or proceed with a qualification form below.