Anatomy of a fake news Blog: Diamon Resorts turns into Inside The Gate
Anatomy of a fake news Blog: Diamon Resorts turns into Inside The Gate
This is Diamond Resorts International
Diamond Resorts, a timeshare company headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada, with regional offices around the world. They go from Orlando, to Lancaster, United Kingdom. The company has a network of more than 379 vacation destinations in 35 countries. This is all around the world, and they sell "vacation ownership points". Resently it is known that is part of a timeshare blog named "Inside the Gates".
Stephen J. Cloobeck is an American businessman, founder and former chairman and chief executive officer of the timeshare company Diamond Resorts International. Diamond Resorts offers: destinations, events, from getaways to exclusive concert series to VIP receptions and dinners.
According to the site “their focus on quality resorts, customer service and flexibility means members can return to a favorite resort, book a cruise to explore new countries or attend a once-in-a-lifetime event with the same level of confidence and anticipation.
Diamond Resorts owner
In March 2017, Michael A. Flaskey was appointed executive director of Diamond Resorts International. Prior to joining Diamond Resorts, Flaskey held senior leadership positions at Starwood Vacation Ownership from October 2003 to July 2006 and at Fairfield Resorts (now Wyndham Vacation Ownership) from August 1992 to September 2003. He is a member of the direction board of Soberlink, Inc. is also on the board of directors of Diamond Resorts.
Their points system makes planning vacations look simple; as a Diamond Resorts member, the site boast that even as you vacation with the comforts of home, you’ll be able to assist the exclusive concerts, events, and experiences that you can't get anywhere else.
This is how Diamond Resorts Works
To get in contact with a Diamond team member, you need to fill out a form initially. The site offers you the Diamond Membership by registering on their page or by contacting with their direct sales department.
There are very few details about the process in this modality, since the only way to get information is by talking directly with a sales agent. On the other hand, there is many information about the destinations and benefits of becoming a member in their web page.
Throughout its history Diamond Resorts has faced accusations related to abusive practices and violations of the law by neglected and murky administrations, despite this it has remained before its members as a solid company that seeks to solve the nonconformities that they can arise among their clients, employees, and partners.
In 2016, The New York Times revealed an article that exposesa company accounting failure "a problem with the way Diamond had been evaluating its inventory of unsold timeshare units since 2014." and despite being in negotiations with Apollo Global Management they said that solving the problem would be "non-monetary in nature" and would not have a major impact on the company's financial performance.
In our days, everybody wants to be the best and take it all, no matter at what cost… and the vacational industry knows it really well. Founded in 1992 by Stephen J. Cloobeck, became in one of the biggest timeshare companies in the world thanks to their dedication, quality resorts, global presence and expansive vision of the growing timeshares business.
But aparently nothing lasts forever. Now surrounded by controversy, and desperate to clean up their reputation, Diamond Resorts opened a page called "Inside the Gate", as a privately owned news and information service, pretty much dedicated to freely and openly share timeshare news, information, stories, opinions, even insights and tips about the topic. They all affect the marketing, sales and ownership aspects of the worldwide shared industry.
By the otherside, they sneak autopromotions on the home page, which is the first hint to know that they own it.
On the site you will -most likely- see Diamond Resort's advertising in random places, and the big screen will be the news, this being random ones from the actual topics.
Isn't hard to believe that there are employees dissatisfied with their working conditions, companies constantly demand that their employees spend all their energies and put their best effort to keep their clients excellently cared for. Fortunately for us, today we have many platforms specialized in evaluate the general functioning of companies and where both employees and consumers can exchange their opinions, experiences, criticisms and any other comments that endorse the reputation of these organizations.
Diamond resorts could have been attacked by its employees at Glassdoor.com, where some claimed that the company was a complete scam, that the hours of work and salaries were unfair, or even that the administration lacked the authority to do its job well:
"After the two weeks of training, you’re on your own. No continuing education to help improve your sales. No communication from trainer during training. Half of the tours you get, aren't even qualified. The goons on the street that coerce tourists to the resort say and promise anything to get them through the door. Sitting around until three every day hoping you get a tour"
"My department manager is not qualified to lead the division she is over; yet, she is protected by the powers that be in HR (and, HR is a JOKE)
Top level HR Management are Inept, my job was under that umbrella and during my 2.5 year tenure i had actively been looking for a new job for about 2.3 years - seriously - I saw it right away how inept the leaders were. I feel like I lost my skills as the person over this division had no idea nor even tried to do what we SHOULD have been doing. It was a very stressful time - but I needed the paycheck, so I played the game to keep my manager liking me and giving me bonuses and raises… it was not fun at all. My only saving grace were the friends I made to keep me sane!"
Nevertheless, this same website we find the most recent qualification given by its workers as well as the pros and cons of its current management and more detailed information about the work environment.
Diamond Resorts Scandals
The same year "Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, announced an agreement of $800,000 with Diamond Resorts for the allegations that it had violated the Arizona Consumer Fraud Law, $650.00 of the settlement funds were used for the restitution of clients according to the agreement, customers who had understood a timeshare in Arizona between January 1, 2011, and July 23, 2017 can be released from their timeshare, provided they provide a description of deceptive statements or false promises made by Diamond Resorts employees during the sale. "
Full text here
- The amounts maintenance fees could increase annually (in some cases up to 25% each year)
- Consumers' ability to resell timeshares to the public;
- The existence of Diamond buy-back programs
- Consumers' ability to rent out their timeshares for a profit
- Discounts on other travel needs.
After all, Diamond released a new ethics order throughout the country, the Clarity program, designed to regulate future sales practices and guarantees the protection of new and current Diamond customers.
The Diamond press release announcing Clarity included self-serving statements about Diamond’s commitment to customers ("We excel in customer satisfaction, but we look for ways to do even better") and promised future sales experiences that provide safety, responsibility, and quality guarantees for customers.
Diamond Resorts and their promises
“Diamond PROMISE memorializes a series of operational procedures and enhancements in a single document that will be provided to all customers at the beginning of every sales presentation. Knowing their rights, and knowing what Diamond Resorts representatives will and will not do throughout the sales process gives existing and potential members better control of the decision-making process.
With this clear, concise and consistent information, consumers can easily determine whether the Diamond Resorts hospitality experience is the right decision for them and their family.”
Although this program has not been the product of the Arizona legal settlement, the Clarity program is a natural follow on, which is aimed at solving part of the same problems, but from the company's point of view. It also represents a first in the industry, a new way to get closer at the necessities of the customers.
Diamond Resorts on Ripoff Report site
As cited on their website, Ripoffreport.com brings many problems the honest attention they deserve. When people are victimized, they provide them with a forum to share their opinions and experiences with others; is a consumer-oriented forum which identifies bad businesses. And unfortunately, Diamond Resorts has been published several times on this site for multiple reasons.
“From sales representatives lying, cheating, misrepresenting, to misleading, hiding materials etc. By all means trying to trap their clients into signed their documents and contracts within five minutes without to read it, and locked them into predatory loans and debts, by premeditated deceptive sales techniques to slammed clients into the financial disaster of high interests rate mortgages and outrage high yearly maintenance fees”,
according to one of many complains
There’s also many dissatisfaction with the low quality of the resorts, and shady treatment towards the clients.
In addition, there are cases of abuse by sellers to elders that involve providing incorrect or incomplete information in order to close a deal.
On top of everything, clients of the "Platinum level" who declare that have been scammed and can't even afford to go on vacation because of all the money they are supposedly been saving by having a timeshare.
Has the Diamond Resort rating improved since it became "Inside the Gates"?
The Better Business Bureau establishes standards that help measure confidence in the market, improves and promotes best practices, engages and educates both consumers and companies, suggests models to follow in the market and denounces behaviors below commercial standards, creating a community of trust between businesses and consumers.
The BBB ratings represent BBB's opinion of how the company is likely to interact with its customers, based on information that can be obtained about the business including complaints received from the public, and collects and uses this information directly from companies and sources of public data to issue its evaluation. Diamond resorts currently has a rating of "A" (where A + is the highest and F the lowest) with a record of 1,159 complaints closed in the last 3 years and 468 in the last 12 months. Here you can see the most recent reviews and financial information about Diamond resorts.
By the experiences of many clients, Diamond Resorts Apparently, they never release or cancel the scammed deals once after the clients signed, they delivery making all kinds of excuses and runarounds to lead their clients all over the maps to the wrong departments, wrong email address and wrong contacts; it is denied to their customers the possibility to cancel the illegal sales. They don’t even provide a cancellation form and they refuse to cancel the cheating deals within the cancellation period of time.
However, there’s an alternative solution, the Diamond Resorts “voluntary surrender” option:
- Your timeshare must be fully paid for, and all current fees paid up, in order to participate in this.
- You send an email to Diamond’s loss mitigation saying you would like them to take back your timeshare, and why (e.g. financial hardship, medical condition). This is a voluntary surrender.
- They review your case, and decide whether to accept it. It seems that most (but not all) cases have been approved recently.
- If accepted, they send you some paperwork with instructions. You follow the steps and pay them a $250 fee per contract.
- They take back your timeshare. After the process is finished, you are no longer the owner.
NOTE: If you talk to Diamond employees outside this specific group (e.g. call a different phone number, or ask a salesperson), you will probably be told that Diamond has no plan to take back timeshares from owners. It seems that they only share this information with a small subset of employees, and don’t want the plan to be too well known. This will only work if you follow very specific instructions.
Is this a good deal for owners?
GOOD NEWS: You get out of your timeshare, free and clear.
- First of all, I think it’s laudable that DRI does have an exit mechanism for owners who want out. One of the issues with the industry is that some owners are stuck paying for timeshares that are difficult to sell. (See the Blue Week Blues for more on this…) They have little or no control over escalating fees, while being locked into a contract with no end. This DRI plan is not ideal (see more below), but it does offer relief to quite a lot of timeshare owners.
- You can avoid the scams, and deal directly with the company. There have been numerous scammers who target timeshare owners who are desperate to get rid of their timeshares. A typical scenario is that you pay them thousands of dollars up front, and then get no results, accomplishing nothing except lining the pockets of some unscrupulous crooks. With the Diamond plan, you know exactly who you’re dealing with, and it’s definitely legitimate.
- Once this deal is complete (assuming that they accept your timeshare), you will be free of it completely. You don’t need to worry about a buyer getting cold feet, or a sale not being approved by the resort. Once it’s done, no more fees!
- It’s fairly fast in most cases, and relatively painless. Once you get an answer from them, all you need to do is follow the instructions. Selling a timeshare on your own (or through a timeshare sales company), you never know how long it will take. Some people spend a long time trying to sell less-desirable timeshares.
- They accept almost all DRI timeshares, both deeded weeks and points. Exactly what they accept could vary over time, but recent results are encouraging. As of April 2016, a survey by the Timeshare Users’ Group shows a 93% approval record.
BAD NEWS: You get less than nothing for your timeshare
- Say you paid $50,000 for your timeshare. If you go this route, then you get absolutely nothing in return for that $50K. In fact, you need to cough up another $250 in order to buy out of your agreement. You eliminate future fees, but your initial purchase money is down the drain.
- Some companies exercise a “Right of First Refusal” clause, where once you find a buyer for your timeshare, they have the right to buy it from you at that price. In that case, they actually pay you real money for your timeshare. With this DRI deal, you’re paying them to take your timeshare, not the other way around.
- They don’t accept everything. Some rejection notices include specifics like “currently, we are not accepting properties back from Los Abrigados Resort and Spa,” while others are more vague. The criteria aren’t published, and it is quite possible that they change over time as inventory fluctuates at different locations. The only way you’ll know for sure is to try.
This information is provided by TimeshareGame.com. for more detailed information, visit their webpage.
More Diamond Resort Complains (2018-2019)
According to experiences expressed on several sites like TripAdvisor, Trustpilot and TimeshareMarketplace.com there has been a considerable amount of fraudulent activities linked to Diamond Resorts International. Many of the problems faced by timeshare owners are not resolved to date, while in several sites, bad reviews keep coming up.