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Diamond Resorts reduces owner benefits again!

Forum: Timeshare Companies

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Diamond Resorts reduces owner benefits again!

It's bad enough that DRI changed their buyback program. If you didn't know, DRI has a buyback program where (until mid 2008) an owner who paid $16,000 for a timeshare could sell it back to DRI for $800 to $2,000. That sounds pretty bad, especially since DRI re-packages the timeshare into its sales program and re-sells it effectively for $5,000 to $20,000. But since mid 2008 DRI now buys those units for $100 to $700 and charges the timeshare owner $300 to $600 to transfer the unit back to themselves! DRI often charges more to transfer a timeshare back to itself than timeshare closing companies do!



Add to that a new policy in Jul-08 where DRI has decided to charge a $250 transfer fee for all sales and transfers (except in a few cases where legally they are not allow to: FL is $100 max by law, Powhatan and Greensprings are $50 due to HOA ByLaws, and I think there are one or two other exceptions), and their 2008 $70 assessment to Club owners (Club owners pay about $155 to $300 each year depending on ownership/membership type) which might be incorporated as a standard additional fee.



But what really rips me today is what appears to be a new policy affecting Club owners with short term reservations made at their own resorts. Until June or July 2008, owners in Club were allowed to reserve at their resort anytime of the week without incurring a 10% point premium other Club owners would pay if they were not direct owners of the resort. This was true regardless of whether the reservation was made 60 days or more in advance, or during the discount window of less than 60 days in advance. For the past two months I have had to call central reservations becuase the DRI website has included the 10% premium. When I called in and explained I was an owner at the resort, the reservations people, after conferring with their supervisors, would properly adjust the reservation to remove the 10% premium. However, today I was told this had not been policy EVER. Even after providing dozens of examples and asking to elevate the issue to a lead, then a supervisor, DRI would not admit they implemented a policy change. After extensive review of documents and examples DRI finally admitted deeded owners were not subject to the 10% mid week premium at their resorts, but any discounts available for sub 60 day stays were based on "THE STANDARD POINTS RATE" for the reservation. As DRI sees it the standard rate for mid week checkin is 10% higher than checking in Fri/Sat/Sun and as such we now pay 10% more. They now view deeded owner rates during the week as a waiver of the standard rate rather than an exemption to the 10% premium.



Clever of them, I must admit. Now if I just could contact a large enough group of owners to consider alternatives to DRI managing our Club membership, or other such actions to regain control of our benefits ... call me or comment!

Avatar for mnop mnop

5 years ago
Jul 28, 2008

Diamond Resorts reduces owner benefits again!

I have been a "Sunterra" member for a long time and have been extremely pleased. However, as Diamond stepped in, I see that it continually is getting worse and worse.

The 70 assessment we had to pay to correct their mistake of moving the call center off shore was ridiculous! If they had asked ANY member if moving the call center to India was beneficial or cheaper, I would bet that 99.9 % would have opposed this. Then to charge US to move it back claiming it was for our benefit insult our intelligence!

I have been getting so frustrated with with Diamond the past year or so that I have been very tempted to sell mine and just start renting the time from other owners. Fortunately, mine is paid for and generally the DRI resorts are excellent units compared to others.

Raising the vacation insurance with no word or announcement was another that got me riled. I have been lied to by sales people and tricked into "owner update meetings" where they claim they will tell me about updates to the Club, when they tell me nothing new, in fact, I often know more than they do. All they do is try to sell me more time.

I have told them and anyone else, if I were going to buy more time, it would not be in their program.

I would be interested in seeing if anyone else jumps on this band wagon and we take back control of this "Club" which used to be a WONDERFUL value and experience for the Owners. They are forgetting why they exist. They do not exist for themselves, they exists for us, the customers, owners, investors.

This is the thing I worried about when they went from a public to a private company. They can now do anything they want to and we have no say.

I still love their facilities and we constantly use our points every year. But I agree, they are contilually and slowly reducing our benefits hoping that we dont notice

Avatar for david3252 david3252

5 years ago
Nov 13, 2008

I agree whole heartedly! I already posted today citing the example of increasing the transfer fee on most owner transfers from $0 to $250. This is supposed to cover the cost of the department doing the work. However, if transfer fees go up the why hasn't the maintenance or Club dues fallen as a result? That is after all what was used to pay employees to transfer previously. And now that we are getting billed this additional amount, why in the world has the department been reduced from three to two, with (currently) only one person staffing while the other is on maternity leave?

In regard to your refernce to the $70 assessment to cover the cost of transferring the call center back, that is a permanent part of Club fees now. AND Diamond Corporate is billing the resorts for services, one of the reasons our maint is rising 10-20% this year.

Avatar for mnop mnop

5 years ago
Nov 13, 2008

I am very unhappy with Diamond Resorts and was a new Sunterra ower. I have not paid the $70 fee and am being dunned by Diamond but when I call they just say that I can't sell my Resort and am ruining my credit.

I am in the process of contacting an attorney and will update my post with any resuls that I find. I believe that a class action suit is in order. There are too many former Sunterra and Diamond owners not to take action. The only way that we are going to resolve this is to ban together.

Avatar for laurak84 laurak84

5 years ago
Nov 15, 2008

I am agreeable to participating in a class action suit, please give me a call 714-328-7121 or e-mail bus01@mnop.biz

While I'm not certain there is a case regarding the $70 increase in Club dues alone (this is not a one time fee, they used the change for the call centers to justify billing the additional $70/yr), the pervasive increases in service maintenance and undocumented interpretation in Club Policy
- They will not admit this, but two years ago I as Platinum Elite could upgrade from any available Studio to any available 1BR, etc, lat year when DRI took over they changed it to require similar types such as at Sedona Summit: Studio mesa to 1BR Mesa or 1BR Sunset to 2BR Sunset and NOT Studio or Studio Mesa to 1BR Sunset, and more resently they attempted to set the upgrade even more incremental such as Powhatan: 1BR Upstairs to 1BR Downstairs, 1BR Downstairs to 2BR Upstairs, 2BR Upstairs to 2BR Down, 2BR Down to 3BR ...
- I can no longer receve the mid week exemption from the 10% surcharge for resorts I own at, according to Club the last I checked it is at their discretion when they waive the 10%, which they feel they can do at any time.
- I've also seen Peak Season surcharges applied during High Season periods.

I have to find it again, but in the Club Docs there is a section which does state the Club Mgr can change the rules at its discretion, but that the change must be published. My conversation with DRI indicates they feel they can change any time they want without publishing, and they insist they are not changing or reinterpreting anything differently. When I provide specific and numerous examples of upgrades routingly provided but now not allowed they insist the event in the past were exceptions, not routine. LoL, I have dozens of "exceptions" where no one mentioned anything about an exception, it was all done in a routine manner.
- Another issue I take exection to is DRI interpretation of Club rules on banking and borrowing. Two years ago I borrowed points for the first time. Sunterra made me pay the upcoming Club fee. This year DRI made me pay the maintenance on a contract having the point value I chose to borrow. This makes sense, and it is in the Club docs, but it is still a change in interpretation. THEN, I banked and wanted to borrow. DRI insisted I pay 2009 maint to borrow the points I banked from 2008 to 2009. They insist the Club Docs allow this, but the Club Docs do not specifically address borrowing banked points.

It is my opinion that DRI is doing everything they can to maximize income, resulting in additional expense/inconvenience to the owners. I understand we all want to look out for our own number one, but DRI has a duty to the owners. That duty as Club Manager is not to increase fees and reduce benefits to improve their bottom line at the expense of the owners.

Personally, I wish we could get enough people together to vote to terminate DRI as the Club Manager and hire another company. Some of the HOA at Bluebeard's Castle did that. I believe one phase stayed with Fairfield (now WVR) but two or three phases broke apart. I believe Fairfield was letting the resort deteriorate, surcharging the resort more and more while performing less and less. Enough owners finally became motivated enough the left Fairfield.

Avatar for mnop mnop

5 years ago
Nov 19, 2008

Just in case my previous post is deleted becasue I provided my phone / email, here it is without that info:

I am agreeable to participating in a class action suit, please message me!

While I'm not certain there is a case regarding the $70 increase in Club dues alone (this is not a one time fee, they used the change for the call centers to justify billing the additional $70/yr), the pervasive increases in service maintenance and undocumented interpretation in Club Policy
- They will not admit this, but two years ago I as Platinum Elite could upgrade from any available Studio to any available 1BR, etc, lat year when DRI took over they changed it to require similar types such as at Sedona Summit: Studio mesa to 1BR Mesa or 1BR Sunset to 2BR Sunset and NOT Studio or Studio Mesa to 1BR Sunset, and more resently they attempted to set the upgrade even more incremental such as Powhatan: 1BR Upstairs to 1BR Downstairs, 1BR Downstairs to 2BR Upstairs, 2BR Upstairs to 2BR Down, 2BR Down to 3BR ...
- I can no longer receve the mid week exemption from the 10% surcharge for resorts I own at, according to Club the last I checked it is at their discretion when they waive the 10%, which they feel they can do at any time.
- I've also seen Peak Season surcharges applied during High Season periods.

I have to find it again, but in the Club Docs there is a section which does state the Club Mgr can change the rules at its discretion, but that the change must be published. My conversation with DRI indicates they feel they can change any time they want without publishing, and they insist they are not changing or reinterpreting anything differently. When I provide specific and numerous examples of upgrades routingly provided but now not allowed they insist the event in the past were exceptions, not routine. LoL, I have dozens of "exceptions" where no one mentioned anything about an exception, it was all done in a routine manner.
- Another issue I take exection to is DRI interpretation of Club rules on banking and borrowing. Two years ago I borrowed points for the first time. Sunterra made me pay the upcoming Club fee. This year DRI made me pay the maintenance on a contract having the point value I chose to borrow. This makes sense, and it is in the Club docs, but it is still a change in interpretation. THEN, I banked and wanted to borrow. DRI insisted I pay 2009 maint to borrow the points I banked from 2008 to 2009. They insist the Club Docs allow this, but the Club Docs do not specifically address borrowing banked points.

It is my opinion that DRI is doing everything they can to maximize income, resulting in additional expense/inconvenience to the owners. I understand we all want to look out for our own number one, but DRI has a duty to the owners. That duty as Club Manager is not to increase fees and reduce benefits to improve their bottom line at the expense of the owners.

Personally, I wish we could get enough people together to vote to terminate DRI as the Club Manager and hire another company. Some of the HOA at Bluebeard's Castle did that. I believe one phase stayed with Fairfield (now WVR) but two or three phases broke apart. I believe Fairfield was letting the resort deteriorate, surcharging the resort more and more while performing less and less. Enough owners finally became motivated enough the left Fairfield.

Avatar for mnop mnop

5 years ago
Nov 19, 2008

I got your message and contact information. Do you know other former Sunterra owers who are unhappy? I am meeting an attorney this afternoon and will have more information. Will call you or write under separate cover.

Avatar for laurak84 laurak84

5 years ago
Nov 19, 2008

I know a few, can probably find more

Avatar for mnop mnop

5 years ago
Nov 20, 2008

Peter,

I tried to call you. I am in MA, you are on the other coast. I left you my number call me back if you like.

Laura

Avatar for laurak84 laurak84

5 years ago
Nov 20, 2008

Sorry I missed you, I'll work on speaking with you Saturday!

Avatar for mnop mnop

5 years ago
Nov 21, 2008

2009 DUES INCREASE 31.4%

What are these idiots thinking in these economic times with home foreclosures, unemployment, etc. They are acting as reckless as the CEO's running the big three in Detroit running the American auto industry into the ground. The board should be cutting projects to 0, and looking for other fat to cut out of the budget.

Do we have no protection to our dues spiraling out of control???

Last edit by leov11 on Dec 07, 2008 06:22 PM.

Avatar for leov11 leov11

5 years ago
Dec 07, 2008

2009 DUES INCREASE 31.4%

Help! We purchased 2 Sunterra Powhattan plantation timeshare 3 years ago, and 2 years ago, purchased a membership in Diamond Resorts with 3000 points, but the timeshares were not brought into the trust and coverted to points. We have seen large increases in our maintenance fees for the Powhattan timeshare. This weekend we went down to see what we could do, and the bottom line is that they wanted to sell us more points for $10K which would convert the timeshares to points and bring them into the point trust, give us 25,000 points, and supposedly cut our maintenance fees considerably, and allow us more flexibility. Because we had a plane flight, and because their computer system went down, we left without signing anything, and they are going to fed-ex the contract to us today. If anyone out there is reading this,perhaps you could give us your take on this. On one hand we have been pleased wiht our stay at the DR resort. On the other hand, we are concerned about rising fees for the timeshares. It seems to me that there are 2 alternatives, to purchase the 25,000 points which will eliminate the separate maintenance for the timeshares, with the idea that the new purchase will pay for itself over time, or to sell everything- points and the 2 timeshares. However, I have heared that the resale market for timeshares and points is next to nothing. Could anyone give us advise or the benifit of their experience. Thanks. Mary

Avatar for patriciat145 patriciat145

5 years ago
Dec 09, 2008

2009 DUES INCREASE 31.4%

patriciat145 wrote:
This weekend we went down to see what we could do, and the bottom line is that they wanted to sell us more points for $10K which would convert the timeshares to points and bring them into the point trust, give us 25,000 points,

Are the 25,000 points for the entire Diamond Resorts system or just for the 19-20 resorts in the Florida trust?

Avatar for mike1536 mike1536

5 years ago
Dec 09, 2008

2009 DUES INCREASE 31.4%

Reply to question re patricia145:

The answer to that question about the 25,000 points, they are in trust for the entire Diamond Resorts system.

Avatar for elizabetht89 elizabetht89

5 years ago
Dec 09, 2008

2009 DUES INCREASE 31.4%

BE CAREFULL!!!!!!! DO your homework and ask them lots of questions.

We have been Sunterra Owners for a long time. We upgraded our unit into the points and their "Trust" system back when they were still Sunterra. Seemed like a good deal. We were told our maintenance would NOT go up. We were told that we would NOT get billed any special assessments.

Both were lies.Our mainentance fees DID go up and we were charcged a special assessment this year as well.

When I called last year about the maintenance fee increase and told them what I was told, the lady acted as if I was crazy. Saying that it was absurd to think they would never go up. Anyhow, bottom line is that salesman lied to us over and over to get us to buy.

We have loved our timeshare experience, especially with Sunterra. I am less than please with Diamond Resorts so far. They have seemed to forget who their customers are. I was afraid of this happening when the copmany went from public to private.

I cant tell you if your maintenance fees will be lowered or not when converting them into the point or trust.

I just caution you into putting any more money into Diamond before you really understand what the offer is.

Avatar for david3252 david3252

5 years ago
Dec 10, 2008

Diamond Resorts reduces owner benefits again!

If a class action suit or any other type of action occurs, count me in.
I am tired of not getting the truth.
The other day I had to leave a presentation that started at 8:30 and was still going on at 12:30. I needed to catch a plane home and didn't the salesman come after me in his car to try and get me to go back and sign a contract, which the manager said he would Fed Ex to me. Is that suspicious or what?
I am disgusted with the way the fees have gone up this year - my salary has not gone up between 25 and 30%.

ETice

Avatar for elizabetht89 elizabetht89

5 years ago
Dec 10, 2008

I would be interested in this information. how do I contact you? ETice

Avatar for elizabetht89 elizabetht89

5 years ago
Dec 10, 2008

Diamond Resorts reduces owner benefits again!

I am in total agreement. My management fees have gone up almost $600. in two years. I have contacted Diamond Resorts about this (just a few days ago) and I was told that "wages. benefits and upgrades" caused this. When I purchased (many years ago) I was assured by the realtor and the Mortgage Company that there had never been an increase of over 7% annually. When I gave this information to the people at Diamond I was told that if I did not pay my almost $1500. maintenance I would be sued and my unit, even though it is paid for would be taken from me.

I believe Diamond is a Nevada Corporation doing business in Hawaii, I am planning on contacting both the Attorney Generals of Nevada and Hawaii for advise and to find out if I can enter a complaint against this company.

Please email me with any suggestions. Please note, I have not been at the resort this year due to illness, however when I was there last year I became friendly with several employees who said "things were not what they seemed" at the resort since Diamond took over.

Again, please write.

Sandra Swemer
blufin01@yahoo.com

Avatar for sandras337 sandras337

5 years ago
Dec 10, 2008

I am contacting the Arizona atty general today as I purchase my points in Sedona from Sunterra. Please let me know how you do with Nevada and I will keep you posted with my results.

Laura

Avatar for laurak84 laurak84

5 years ago
Dec 11, 2008

Hi Laura.

I have written to Gov. Lingle in Hawaii and the AG in California to learn if we have any recourse in dealing with DRI. I am waiting for responses. Were you able to obtain any info for the Arizona AG's office?

Sandra

Avatar for sandras337 sandras337

5 years ago
Dec 21, 2008

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