Danger Close is a 2019 Australian war film about the Battle of Long Tan during the Vietnam War. The film portrays the true story of 17 Australian infantrymen who were killed, out of 108 young and inexperienced Australian and New Zealand soldiers, ambushed by 2,500 Viet Cong soldiers. David, now age 79, fought in the battle of Long Tan. Among other duties, he was a helicopter pilot and also trained as a therapist to aid those suffering in the aftermath of battle. David was the only American fighting with the Australian soldiers. David went on to become a successful executive with a prominent investment firm.
I have had a long interest in History and came across this episode of the war in Vietnam years before the film, and never in a million years would I have believed that I would be publishing this Veteran’s “Nightmare on Timeshare Street”. Charles Thomas
After Inside Timeshare has heard from over 400 military families. Many, like David, say they were sold a timeshare and told they could rent it out for income. We sent David’s report to Diamond Resorts for comment. Hilton Grand Vacations acquired Diamond Resorts in 2021. A Hilton representative responded to David, and his son, offering to take back their second contract, without a refund. Their first contract had already been foreclosed. There is no outstanding loan. David and his wife lost $112,000.
The required Mutual Release Agreement David would have had to sign, that would have allowed Diamond to cancel the second contract, without a refund, includes a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) and a non-disparagement clause. David refused to sign the Mutual Release hoping to shed light on the fact that you cannot believe claims made by timeshare sales agents.
The most frequently reported complaint from Diamond members is being promised that points can be redeemed to offset maintenance fees, or that the timeshare can be rented out to cover the cost of the timeshare. Neither strategy is viable.
Las Vegas I-Team reporter, Vanessa Murphy, reported on August 15, about another couple apparently up-sold to Platinum membership (the report states they will continue their membership at the lower level Gold membership). This couple would make 190 Platinum members After Inside Timeshare has heard from, including David, reporting that they were falsely promised a way to be relieved of maintenance fees.
The couple claims they were told that they could use points they paid for in their package to pay for a maintenance fee, but they later learned that they could not.
From May 28, 2020
To: Michael Flaskey, CEO, Hospitality, ARDA ROC, Association of Vacation Owners, Arizona Attorney General, Hawaii Attorney General
I was 74 and my wife was 71 when we first purchased Diamond points. We accumulated 50,000 points that we never used, only attending promotional trips. We lost more than $112,000 believing we were buying an income-producing rental property. After my income dropped and we developed serious medical conditions, I contacted Diamond about the promised buy-back, only to learn there is no such program. We paid more than $7,000 a year in maintenance fees for a few years, feeling hostage after being told it was possible for Diamond to go after our children for this money after our death. We were shocked to learn we made a bad investment that never ends.
(According to nerdwallet: The good news: No one has to inherit an unwanted timeshare.)
Our Diamond Resorts Timeline
2/5/2015 We purchased a trial product in Sedona, Arizona.
3/16/2016 We purchased 20,000 Hawaii Points for $56,405 after attending a promotional trip on the Big Island of Hawaii at Diamond’s Kona Resort. The agents said it was not a sales presentation. The corporate agents agreed that we had been mistreated in Sedona by being falsely told we could use 100% of our points for airfare and cruises. This was not true and using points for airfare is of poor value. The false promises made by our Sedona sales agents were confirmed by the Hawaii Regional Manager R B May Ricardo, his Supervisor V K, Vice President J S, and Kona Manager B B.
The sales agents said Diamond’s Hawaii Collection points were a better deal than U.S. Collection points, and if we did not use our points, we could rent them out. We later learned Diamond does not allow renting to anyone you don’t know. When we asked if we could sell points, we were told by most of the agents, including the V P, that Diamond “makes a market” in points. We learned you have to pay Diamond to give points back.
The agents were shocked that we had purchased Sedona points at $2.43 and that we still had the option to buy Hawaii points at that price, despite Hawaii points being worth four times as much. Each person expressed shock and dismay saying Diamond would hope that we would not buy these points at such a low price. All the Hawaii agents confirmed the following false information:
- It is easy to rent out Hawaii points,
- Points could be used for maintenance fees (the redemption value is $.04 per point, which is worthless),
- Hawaii points have great value.
On 10/31/2016 We purchased 20,000 additional Hawaii points for $56,405
In 2018 we were invited to an “educational” dinner at Newport Beach, California, to learn how to use points. The dinner started at 6 PM. We signed a contract to buy 7,500 additional points for $29,000 around 11 PM. Our agent said we could deduct our maintenance fees because renting points can be run as a business. He mentioned this after noticing we hadn’t used our points. We rarely travel. He explained how people from all over the world could get their own Dream Vacation by renting points from us. He used this example: You live in California. People want to ski, so you book a trip, then post an ad and make money. We cancelled this contract, finally, realizing Diamond points are not an income investment.
When we told our children what we had done they called Elder Abuse. A Social Worker talked with us.
Diamond dismissed our complaint on February 22, 2022, saying we had confused the dates of our purchases. My wife and I absolutely remember Hawaii agents criticizing Arizona agents. We did not receive copies of the Hawaii contracts until Diamond’s customer representative, Sarah, provided them. The Hawaii agents had told us they would send us a big box of documents by Fed X. We never received it.
Our belief that timeshare points are an investment was supported a few years ago when we spoke with SellMyTimeshareNow (SMTN). They told us our points were worth “easy” $50,000 and “we can especially get you a buyer for Hawaii points.” Marlin at SellMyTimeshareNow recently said he could help us sell our points if we spent more money to get put to the top of their list. We paid SMTN $899 a few years ago to list our points for $5,000.
Our son used to tutor Diamond Founder Stephen Cloobeck’s sons. Mr Cloobeck would invite him to dinner. This was one reason why we were trusting. Ironically, Mr. Cloobeck filed a lawsuit against a porn star accusing her of duping him out of $1 million in gifts.
I may not have the physical strength to fight anymore, but I have the mental strength, especially after learning of other veterans and active duty service members harmed. Senator Jon Testor of Montana cares about veterans harmed. I plan to reach out to him.
Our California sales agent was one of the parties named in this 2019 lawsuit: https://unicourt.com/case/pc-db5-sorensen-v-diamond-resorts-us-collection-development-llc-a-delaware-limited-liability-company-et-al-152331
Two complaints involving our California sales agent
Compliant 1: A Senior and a Veteran:
We attended an informational meeting at a hotel in Brea California on March 30th, 2019. We met with a Platinum member specialist who saw that we had been sold a loyalty program that we should not have been offered. He asked if we had attended a Clarity meeting. We had no idea what that was. He explained it was a way to show platinum members how to use a 30/30 program to use points to pay down maintenance fees, but Diamond was no longer holding those meetings. The worksheet we were shown (but didn’t receive a copy of), showed that using 30% of our 50,000 points (15,000 points) @ $.30 per point would reduce annual fees by $4,500. We agreed to purchase “Clarity Points” for $38,000. We were told not to go on the website or make any vacation arrangements for 21 days while the paperwork was going through the system. We learned after the rescission period there is no program to offset fees at $.30 per point.
Diamond’s Clarity promise: While other companies make promises, we deliver. This is DiamondRESPECT:
- We will provide clear, concise and consistent information at our presentations so you can easily decide whether committing to vacation ownership is the right decision for you and your family.
We met with our agent on Saturday, February 5, 2022. He asked if we had attended a Zoom meeting that was offered to discuss the Hilton Diamond merger. He had a piece of paper with information about our points. I tried to take a photo. It said today’s value of our property was $440,000. Also on the paper was a spot that said they could not do anything for us. He said he could not give us further information because we did not do the Zoom meeting, but if we wrote a letter saying we didn’t attend, he could talk to his people and see if he could still present the information. He showed us all the awards he had received while we were waiting for approval. He brought back the paper with our history. Arria came out. He said our points were worth $2.35 per point. I had paid $5,900 in maintenance fees. They timed it by 10 years illustrating that we would pay $140,000 over 10 years. He must have factored in inflation. They said we can get you 20,000 Hilton points, but when he did the paperwork it said Diamond points. The cost was $76,000.
The opening scene of Danger Close begins at base camp Nui Dat, in 1966.
GT Bob Buick, 1966
Articles about renting points or weeks:
Are my Consumer Rights being eroded? Westgate Benn Dover February 25, 2022
Nine Westgate Families (2 – 10) March 4, 2022
Exploria v Austin Aaronson (1) March 11, 2022
Sheri (Vacation Village) March 18, 2022
Westgate by Abdur Rashid (11) April 22, 2022
Jackie’s Vacays Westgate (12) June 10, 2022
Branson’s Nantucket (3) May 13, 2022
Six articles about active duty service members with security clearances jeopardized:
Report 1 of 6: Active Duty Navy, Chief Petty Officer, 14 years served
Report 2: Marine Veteran, 26 years served, security clearance
Report 3: Active Duty Navy, 12 years served
Report 4: Active Duty Navy, 18 years served
Report 5: Husband & Wife, both Active Duty Air Force 10, 9 years
Report 6: Active Duty Air Force, 8 ½ years served
A Veteran, 100% Disabled, working at the Pentagon, 24 years served:
As always AIT did reach out to Diamond for a response, sometimes we can avert publication with a satisfactory result for the consumer, in this case, our hope of not having to publish has been dashed, there has been NO SATISFACTORY RESPONSE from DIAMOND or HILTON who now own Diamond. Their silence tells more than a thousand words ever could, it reinforces the point AIT has been making,
THEY DON’T CARE!
Their silence is shameful and disgusting and what is more, it is Downright Disrespectful to a veteran who has served his country with distinction. Once again it proves that the greed of these developers and the Sales Agents they employ have not one ounce of decency or compassion for others other than to see them as “Cash Cows” waiting to be milked. If those with the power to stop this don’t take note of this case or any of the others we have highlighted, then they must also fall into the same category of self-seeking greedy B*****S as the developers.
THIS MUST STOP
Please leave a comment on this or any other story on the relevant page, please also share on whichever social media platform you use, it is through you sharing these “Nightmare on Timeshare Street” stories that something might just get done.
That is all for this week, the weekend beckons and by all accounts, it is going to be very hot again, mind you it’s been like that all week, and even Baby Dog refused to come out. Have a great weekend and join us again next week.