The Diamond Resorts International Timeshare Scam

A few months ago I signed up for a sweepstakes to win $100.000 or dream car at Camarillo Premium outlets. Then just this week I got a call from Diamond Resorts International that I was selected as the few finalists. They explained that even if I didn’t win the main price I would get a free trip and I was also promised a bonus gift of 2 nights accommodations if I came to their showroom in Encino California to listen a 90 minute presentation of their timeshare offering. I also needed to bring my wife and two forms of identification and a credit card but I was under no obligation to buy anything.

At this point my scam alarm went off as I’ve heard about all these timeshare scams. Still I was interested to see it in action and see if I could actually get anything they promised to me so I agreed to go there with my wife to whom I explained that this is probably a scam but let’s see if we can actually get something out of it. I got my invitation which also had a one full letter size page full of small print with the terms and conditions. I actually read it and surprise surprise there was a lot of restrictions like they had to be used off season and a minimum 30 to 90 days prior had to be booked.

Before going there I did little bit of internet research on their timeshare and found out that there’s ridiculous maintenance fees and it’s nearly impossible to get the kind of vacations they promise. Armed with this information we arrived to their showroom to play the part of easily manipulated and unsuspecting mark. We registered at the front desk and waited for our agent.

Our agent Shannon started by explaining how the thing works that she would do a presentation of their offering and after that we could get our gifts. She also told us that they could give us a deal today and only today because they were “bribing” us to come there they were limited by law to get our business only today. After today we could get the same deal as anyone else and none of the perks. First we talked about our vacation habits and destinations we were interested in. She made it sound like they were taking a survey to learn more about their potential customers.

Then she gradually started showing how their system differs from a traditional timeshare how they had this point system and how those points could be redeemed for free nights at any of their resorts or steeply discounted rates at any Interval International resorts world wide. She painted a picture how we could stay in a penthouse suite and have private chefs cook for us. It all seemed so good a little too good to be true. We watched a video where paid actors eh members told how they love it. We saw some models of their resorts and pictures and floor plans. She appeal to the emotional side how it was good for our health and relationship etc.

For the rational side she played with the numbers she got from us as how much we spend yearly on travel and how much it would accumulate in 30 years and then some weird math how inflation would triple that number. Now that we were in the ballpark what their 15 000 point silver plan would cost at $6 per point. Next up was April who I suppose was supposed to close me with numbers. She told me that just today they have a deal where I don’t have to buy the full 15k points but I could start at lower number like 6k or 4k points. The 4k points was around $15k dollars to own. Also they would offer financing where I only pay a downpayment of $2500 and for the 4k it would be $250 per month. So wouldn’t it make sense to payoff something I own since I’d be spending that money anyways on vacation.

Of course she didn’t tell me until I asked that that $250 per month is a 10 yr loan with 16.99% interest. Now let’s calculate how much that will actually cost me. 120 x $250 + $2500 = $32500. That is over double the slightly less than $15k. Of course I could pay it off at any point.

I was hesitant with $250 dollars a month so she offered me a even lower option with 2k points at $150 per month. At that point she realized it wasn’t about the money. Because I was constantly saying I’d need to sleep on it and look at the papers. At that point she got a bit hostile saying that their boss Stephen J. Cloobeck the CEO of Diamond Resorts International had been in the Undercover boss and how Guggenheim had invested $1B dollars on them. Surely their lawyers would do better research that I would. I’m sure they would but I’m sure they didn’t buy points. I even asked if I could get papers on the anytime deal but they couldn’t even give those out since I could from their competition.

She got frustrated with me and gave up. Now here comes the manager to do quality assurance. I can’t remember his name but he was Armenian. He was very understanding to us that we don’t do impulse buys. Also at this point the maintenance fees finally come up. If I’m not mistaken it was around $2600 per year for the 15k points and at 4k points it was around $900. So let’s do a quick recalculation on the 4k points: 12 x $250 + $900 = $3900 per year.

He wasn’t done yet he had one more offer a 15k points trial for 18 months which would cost around $2800 or $166 per month for 16 months plus a $399 downpayment. This offer was limited to 16 of their best resorts. This was also the first time could see what the points actually get us. One example in driving distance from home was their Lake Tahoe resort. At the peak season you’d need 10k points for one week stay in one bedroom room. The 2k points wouldn’t have gotten us even a 4 day stay during low season.

After a while he realized that he wasn’t able to convert me either and thanked us for our time and directed us to our prize drawing. We got two gift cards that had to redeemed through Odenza Marketing Group. Redeeming them requires a $50 reservation deposit as bank draft or cashiers check on each. I will write about the later on how the process goes.

I went there thinking this is some kind of scam and surely enough that’s exactly what it is. When ever something sounds too good to be true it usually is. Especially when you have to make a decision right there and then without having possibility to review all the material and then ask the questions on anything that bothers you. The whole situation was very pressuring for me to sign up and it was like they were doing me a favor by inviting me to this opportunity.

I’m sure this works for those that can buy the minimum 15k points right there and then without financing and if you don’t care about paying the high maintenance fees. They prey on gullible people and this country has a lot of them and non existing customer protection. Even after several requests I couldn’t get any papers to take with me even on the anytime offer I’m able to participate at any time. I’m sure they’ve covered their ass with a ton of fine print that you can’t take home to review or to show a lawyer. The gifts also smell like scam but I’m going to find that out myself and report on it later.

  • JW

    How did things go with redeeming the free gifts? I have 2 to redeem and I’m a little nervous to send them money and then get blindsided with a ton of additional fees.

  • Carolyn Moore

    Please do not do business with these people. They are liars, and scam artists. They have one interest and that is to take your money and run.

  • Prashant

    Thanks for sharing this info. I got a call too and I will be seeing then on Saturday. Now i know what to expect.. thanks.

  • harsha

    Just got a call from them similar situation should I go or not. They promised scratch and win car or any other getaways out of five options with bonus getaway as a gift. Please reply.

  • Mystique

    First of all nothing is free!…..there is always a catch and the people who are stupid enough to sign up for something that is free you got what you got….people are always wanting something for nothing well you got it!…..thanks for coming thanks for playing

  • greg

    So did you get the prizes they told you, you left that part out, I read the whole thing waiting to see if you got what you said they were going to give u in the first paragraph!!

  • Stephanie

    I currently own a timeshare with Diamond. We have 10,000 points. It actually made a lot of sense to go with them bc of how we like to travel. We are able to use points to pay for plane tickets and cruises, at which time, they cut us a check for the cash amount of the cruise and flights. So if we use 3,000 points on flights, they send us a check for $3000, that we can use on anything we want (we pay our maintenance fees with this, which by the way are only $1900/yearly.) So we are actually not out any money except for what we initially paid for the points. You have to know how to play the system. Not everything that sounds awesome is a scam.

  • Woman

    I’ve actually worked in THE CLUB for DRI in Orlando, FL. I’ve dealt with thousands of members/owners accounts’. I will tell you now it is a scam. This is only beneficial to those who make over $100,000 yearly. Platinum members are the ONLY membevrs who get what they want. Oh and everytime you try and get back in touch with the agent who sold you this timeshare, they no longer work for the company. I hated working for DRI, because I couldn’t stand working for a company I did not believe in.

  • Rabin Das

    Found your blog. This is a very good blog on timeshares for sales. I would like to thank you for all the information you give. Its really important to choose the best timeshare for for all type of Timeshare selling and buying services in India . So thanks for sharing all that important information.

  • Louis Amodeo

    I am stopping all payments to dri and I will be in court to address this scam. However if all the dissatisfied consumers that purchased this timeshare and enough people do the same dri will have their hands full. The courts will I think will have to realize that our complaints are warranted. Also we need to send letters to your state Attorney Generals and all consumer affairs in your state and the location where u purchased your timeshare. Also report the judge that heard your case As well as there local news stations. We need to put financial pressure on dri.

  • Mac Gurus

    I bought a timeshare 4 years ago from Diamond Resorts International, absolute terror to deal with here is my story

    Me, my wife and 1 year old son were held in a room against our will during a timeshare update and told that we were making a mistake by not taking out a 30K loan Me, my wife and 1 year old son were held in a room against our will and told that we were making a mistake by not taking out a 30K loan which we couldn’t afford. We were told initially that our “Presentation” would only take 45 min, and that we can leave at any time. However when we tried we were stopped repeatedly. Andrew Fernando was our primary sales rep, we were passed to Jeff Regier and then to a third individual that continued to try to sell us stuff. Our 1 year old son, had no food, and needed to take a nap. They told us that we could go back home, take a nap and then someone would come to our house to continue “Running the numbers” my son didn’t have food, we were told that there would be food. Instead of letting us go we were given a hot dog and some Watermelon to “Stay”. We finally just left but we didn’t get the gifts we were promised and they failed to refund the $50 hold they had on our credit card.

    I started a new petition to make these kind of horrible practices illegal. Please join me in supporting my cause.

  • Melissa Ann Williams

    Hello, did you end up using the giftcards you were rewarded?