The Diamond Resorts timeshare owners featured in this article asked that their names be changed for fear of reprisal.
Anne Smith says she is haunted by the memory of the nearly five hour high-pressure Diamond Resorts sales presentation she and her husband, an 81-year old retired teacher, suffered through as a result from trying to end their Diamond timeshare ownership.
“A day does not go by that Diamond doesn’t enter my mind,” said Anne, a 75-year-old retired painter “I believe that they misled us.”
The Smiths said, in October 2018, they met with Diamond for the sole purpose of ending their timeshare ownership, but instead were duped into buying more timeshare points. According to the Smiths, the Diamond sales representative led them to believe the purchase of $56,000 in points—including a down payment of $17,130—would be the necessary step to end their ownership of two previously purchased timeshare weeks.
“Shortly before our vacation we had received a letter [from Diamond] saying do not hire a third party to dismiss your timeshare, let us help you,” said Anne. “And I told my husband, when we go, we are going to talk to them about this.”
Anne said as soon as the Diamond representative asked, “How can I help you?”, they presented him the letter and requested a way to end their ownership. “He kinda just set it aside and started in on a sales pitch for an upgrade and we thought that was going to include getting rid of our two [timeshares],” she said.
But that didn’t happen. Instead of being given the right to terminate, the Smiths now have three separate timeshare contracts and the maintenance fees have increased as a result. “It’s the last one that really did us in,” Mike said.
The couple’s first Diamond timeshare purchase of 5,000 points for $20,750 was in 2014. In 2015 they spent $15,995 for an additional 3,500 points, having been told by Diamond the additional points would give them more travel options. “We thought each time we were eligible and would be able to take advantage of the many resorts and the opportunities to travel,” said Anne’s husband Mike. “But when it came time to make a [reservation] request it was never available for us, at our time, at our location. So it became very discouraging to even attempt to travel using Diamond Resorts’ program.”
It was this disenchantment, he said, that led them back to Diamond, letter in hand, seeking to end their timeshare ownership. But instead of helping to exit their timeshare, Diamond used the opportunity to sell the Smiths their third timeshare. It was at this point they decided they needed third party assistance and hired Newton Group, a long-standing, reputable timeshare exit company.
“My husband checked into the Better Business Bureau on Newton [Group] and we talked about it and we knew we had to do something so that we can go on with our life,” Anne said.
Newton Group has been helping timeshare owners for the last 15 years and is A+ rated with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), a finalist for the Torch Award for Ethics and five star rated at Google, Trustpilot and the BBB.
Gordon Newton, author of “The Consumer’s Guide to Timeshare Exit” and President of Newton Group said what happened to the Smiths is disturbing and, what’s worse, many other consumers have suffered indignities at the hands of Diamond. His company has many signed and notarized declarations by Diamond timeshare owners with similar negative experiences.
“This is a couple who did exactly what Diamond is asking their owners to do—come back to them to seek help in ending their ownership,” Newton said. “But you can’t expect fair treatment when there is a clear conflict of interest. Diamond sales representatives don’t earn commission from ending timeshares, they earn commission for selling timeshares.”
Diamond Resorts CEO Mike Flaskey recently launched a national campaign proclaiming his dedication to “shutting down” the timeshare exit industry. Newton responded with an editorial advocating consumer education and industry reform.
“Timeshare exit is very different from timeshare sales—they are separate industries,” Newton stated in the editorial. “The fact is, there wouldn’t be an exit industry in our free market economy if there was no consumer demand. A trustworthy, legitimate, third party exit company is a valuable part of a healthy life cycle of timeshare ownership.”
Newton Group offers their clients dual services by combining 15 years timeshare exit expertise with individual legal representation. As part of their service, Newton Group retains an attorney who has a legal duty to act in their client’s best interest.
Newton Group retained an attorney to work on behalf of the Smiths. “We feel better about it knowing that [our attorney] is going to stick with us, follow through, and stand behind us,” Anne said.
She said there is a need for third party timeshare exit companies, and hopes their story helps others.
“If [Newton Group] can’t get us out of this, no one can.”