·  Legal News, Analysis, & Commentary

News & Politics

Retired Couple Claims Diamond Resorts Pressured Them into Buying $150K Timeshare

— April 4, 2019

A retired couple with no intention of purchasing a new timeshare claim they were pressured into purchasing a $150,000 timeshare with $19,000 in annual fees by a Diamond Resorts salesman last September.

Nowadays, it seems as though scams are everywhere. From annoying robocalls trying to get you to sign up for something or claiming you owe money to something or endless spam emails, it’s understandable that occasionally someone ends up falling victim to these tactics. It’s unfortunate when it happens, and even more so when scammers target the more vulnerable among us. This is what happened to Frank and Betty Lusk. The Lusks are retired Christian missionaries who “had no intention of buying another timeshare while on a Caribbean cruise last year.” However, after their trip, they were met by a Diamond Resorts salesman that “persuaded them to buy a $150,000 timeshare with $19,000 in annual fees.

The word debt and an eraser
The word debt and an eraser; image courtesy of alancleaver via Pixabay,

In order to pay for the new timeshare, the couple had to borrow against their retirement home in Phoenix. When commenting on the situation, Frank, 89, said, “They called it a dream holiday. Actually, it was a nightmare. It was the dumbest thing we ever did.” Now the couple is desperate for a way out, so much so that they “agreed to an exit company’s hefty fees to try to negotiate an end to the contract.”

Since purchasing the costly timeshare, Betty, 88, has suffered from extreme stress that has resulted in fainting spells and insomnia. Her health issues have become so severe that “she’s gone to the hospital several times.”

This isn’t the first time the couple has owned a timeshare, though. Throughout their lives, they’ve “used timeshares to visit Scotland, Florida, Alaska, Hawaii and the Caribbean and have given trips to their children.” The difference between those timeshares and their recent purchase is that the other contracts were affordable and uncomplicated. Betty said, “we’ve enjoyed the timeshares.”

However, the couple believes the Diamond Resorts timeshare is too expensive and the contract was not straightforward. According to the Lusks, “Diamond Resorts lied to them in a September 2018 sales presentation and used hardball tactics that echo prior complaints from consumers, such as not adequately explaining all the costs of the timeshare and failing to honor their request to cancel the agreement within the legal time frame.”

The incident happened back in September 2018 when the couple went on a cruise. Prior to the cruise, representatives from Diamond Resorts “promised a special reception on a private island.” However, “instead of a relaxing dinner, they were soon ushered into a meeting with a salesman.” During the meeting, the salesman told the couple that buying another “$150,000 timeshare with 10 percent down was ‘life insurance’ that would resolve any debts they had with the resort when they died.” The Lusks repeatedly questions the man and noted the “timeshare contract they received is not life insurance and does not pay off debts upon death.”

From there, the salesman “showed them documents he wouldn’t let them keep and didn’t mention the high maintenance fees that appeared in the final contract.” They ended up agreeing to the deal, though quickly “sent a certified letter to Diamond Resorts, within the legal window to cancel the contract.” In the letter, the couple said, “we do not want to encumber ourselves with further debt at our ages.”

This isn’t the first time Diamond Resorts has been accused of aggressive sales tactics. In 2017, the company “agreed to reform sales practices, pay a large fine and cancel dozens of contracts in a deceptive-practices case with the Arizona Attorney General’s Office.


Company persuades Arizona couple, nearly 90, to buy $150,000 timeshare

Company convinces Arizona couple, nearly 90 years old, to buy $150,000 timeshare

Join the conversation!