I'm looking for advice on essentially relinquishing a timeshare contract.
A family member has had a contract with Diamond Resorts for over 20 years, and has been trying to relinquish the contract for a number of years, without success. They made the mistake of employing the services of one of the many unscrupulous companies that offered the world and delivered nothing (thankfully and luckily they were not left out of pocket as a result of a section 75 claim).
The company stated to have no further contact with Diamond, as part of their withdrawal process. As a result they are now in the position of having not paid the management fees for over 2 years, and are receiving demands for payment, which also includes admin fees / charges.
I'm trying to determine the best course of action, which seems to be limited to the options below:
Contact Diamond Resorts to try to negotiate a withdrawal agreement. Would they be likely to negotiate a price to withdraw, which includes some or all of the outstanding fees? Would they be prepared to even discuss the issue with fees outstanding? The family member is over 70 if this helps.
Continue to ignore the demands. Obviously this approach is not ideal as fees will continue to escalate. Additionally it does not sit comfortably but not sure if they have any other options.
It would be much appreciated if anyone can provide guidance / further options / personal experience of relinquishing with Diamond or of the impact of ignoring.
To walk away without incurring charges the rules are as follows.
Over 75 not over 70 as some believe
Certain Health Problems.
which have all to have proof.
All are allowed to walk away providing all their maintenance fees are up to date.
Anyone else wishing to terminate can do so by paying 2 years maintenance fees (Points or weeks are not permitted to be taken once you express the intention to leave and pay those 2 years fees)
Thanks for the response.
Do you know if Diamond have a documented policy that states the methods of relinquishing? Thinking the discussion will be easier if there's a stipulated policy.
From your experience do you believe it's likely they will discuss with us whilst membership fees remain outstanding or will they expect them to be up to date prior to being prepared to discuss?
They will not make exceptions as it would create a precedence. So they are highly unlikely to negotiate whilst there is a maintenance debt.
* It is worth taking into consideration that the costs being charged by some release companies can and sometimes does exceed the cost of paying 2 years maintenance to get out.
You may well have been advised by someone not to pay the annual fees. That advise was wrong as you have now found out but it is the fault of the organisation giving the advice and not the fault of Diamond Resorts.
The first port of call should have been the developer who the contract is with and not some release scam company.
The next thing I am going to ask is does the person who wishes to get out of their timeshare contract believe that they will never go on holiday again ever!
The reason I ask this is because currently the price of hotel stays has rocketed and it is now likely to cost around £1000 per week per person to stay in a 4 star hotel room. Whereas it is costing around £500 per couple per week in a 4 star roomy apartment with timeshare. So the maintenance fees "saving" would soon be swallowed up by the extra costs of holidaying outside timeshare.
I do not know Diamond, but have experience of 20 years of timeshare as an owner/user, once owned 8 weeks on 4 different resorts. With experience of Silverpoint, Wimpen companies.
The timeshare concept I believe has always been a good one for taking holidays. The downside (apart from frauds and rip-offs) are that there is rarely an exit route.
Many contracts are signed with the dreaded "in perpetuity" clause which basically means for ever (and not just your forever - either)
I do not know fellrunner and have no wish to cast any aspersions on his advice, but he didn't answer your question of - is there a published exit process. The reason this is important is because most resorts do not want you to be able to relinquish. If there is such a process then find it and choose whether it is a route you can employ. One solution is simply ask Diamond to provide you with the exit options - if they have them - why wouldn't they tell you?
A non response from them - may also tell you something!
My experience and advice, is to state very clearly that you no longer wish to own this timeshare and will not be paying any maintenance or admin fees.
I find it highly amusing that 20 years ago - if you didn't pay one years maintenance fees - they took your timeshare off you!!!
But now the market has disappeared and no one is buying timeshare - they don't want to let you off the hook.
There used to be a very knowledgeable barrister on this site - who often quoted that there had never yet been one successful prosecution for non payment of fees. They threaten a lot but in reality can do nothing - in what court are they going to bring an action - UK, Spain, somewhere else ( a lot of companies selling timeshare were registered in offshore tax havens!!) ? Can the debt be proven? Timeshare was nearly always sold as an investment - can they prove your investment ahs increased in value? Spanish law has actually ruled that most timeshare contracts signed after 1995 are unenforceable.
I realise its an unpleasant course of action, and one that many English people find most strange - wanting to be lawful and upright. I would ask Diamond in writing (keep a copy) for your exit options. Wait for their reply. If they do not ever provide you with an exit route - just sit tight and continue non payment. There is nothing they can realistically do.
If it was me, and they did provide an exit route and it was very expensive _ I would still just continue non payment.
Read Beverly Hills Club history for an example of how, when they want to screw you - they will.
I hope this is of some help in your deliberations.
To respond to Daveh44. To my knowledge there is no published exit process at Diamond within the contracts. The current rules, I believe, are as I described. It is also my belief that not just Diamond but many other timeshare developers will not publish an exit strategy. This is because of ever changing circumstances as they seek to try to find a solution to the exit problem that suits them. Here I will point directly to the ongoing situation at Beverly Hills, Hollywood Mirage. etc. OK we accept that most of them seem to have the capacity and ability to change the rules on a whim (Silverpoints, McDonalds and no doubt a few more in the future). So to produce a written policy would be counter to their objectives which is to keep the exit situation as fluid as possible and as vague as the future will or may allow.
Thanks for the responses.
I'll inform them that we're exiting the timeshare and await their response. If, as previously, they are not prepared to discuss / accept, then it appears non-payment of membership fees may be the only option. As you state, this doesn't sit comfortably but may end up being the only course of action.