Diamond Resorts Hard Sell

 | January 7, 2010 9:09 PM

Diamond Resorts One family that we are good friends with, especially because our children get along so well, told us about an offer to stay at a luxury resort in Tahoe for only $140 for three nights.  This offer actually came through another good friend who has a timeshare at this resort.  The only catch is you have to listen to a 90 minute presentation about purchasing a Diamond Resorts timeshare.

Now I am pretty frugal but I never take these offers because I so dislike the hard sell.  But in this case I thought it would be a good idea because we get to spend time with this family, we wanted to go to Tahoe this winter and the price was good.

Two days before we were about to go our friends had to cancel because of a family emergency.  The trip was not nearly as appealing anymore but we had already paid and it was too late for us to cancel.

We arrived at the resort Wednesday evening and I started becoming unimpressed.  The concierges were not very helpful, check-in took an inordinate amount of time, they charge $7 a day for slow WiFi internet access and there is almost no parking so you have to valet.  On the other hand the suite, a one bedroom, is quite nice and it’s not even in the renovated wing.

Our presentation was scheduled for today, Thursday, at 11:30 AM.  Because it was in the middle of the day we asked if we could reschedule.  They said we could not.  We then asked what we should do with our kids and they said kids are welcome at the presentation.

*Time* Ticking away... on Flickr 11:30 AM we arrive for the presentation and the presenter suggests we put our children in the child care center free of charge.  After doing that and giving us a tour we sit down at a table while music blares over the speakers.  Our presenter notes that it’s 11:45 AM and that we should expect that the presentation will end at 1:15 PM.  I found that a little strange since she had just led us on a tour and we were told kids were welcome but now we were being penalized 15 minutes for bringing them.  But I did not complain.

Our presenter starts off by saying this is not a hard sell, it’s a soft sell.  Of course we don’t buy that because if it’s not a hard sell then why is she presenting just to us instead of to a room full of people so we can inconspicuously leave once it’s done?

She then begins to ask us many questions to get a sense of what kind of vacationers we are.  Then she starts talking about how expensive hotels are and how you are stuck in a small room instead of a nice one bedroom or two bedroom.

The presenter tries, as I imagine a good saleswoman would, to try to use whatever we say as selling points.  When I said once that vacations can be stressful because of small children she kept pointing out how less stressful being in a one or two bedroom would be.  When we said how family is important to us she talked about how vacations are so important for family time.  She even talked about the 50% divorce rate and how we should vacation so we don’t divorce!

O ooo on Flickr The hard sell continues.  We see a video where people give testimonials about how wonderful Diamond Resorts is, a home away from home, relaxing, “destressing”, best service in the world, something you can pass on to your children.

During this whole time she refuses to tell us just how much a timeshare will be.  She takes us on a tour of the renovated suites.  She then has us enter into a computer program how much we spend on hotels, how often we vacation, what we expect is the rate of inflation, how many years we plan on vacationing.  I enter in $125/night, 10 days a year, 3% inflation, 25 years and get a nice output of about $50,000.

Now the presenter finally tells how much the timeshare will cost.  For 4000 points a year the cost is $24,000 plus $840 a year in HOA fees.  Apparently that’s a fantastic deal, at least according to her.  We can pay it all or for about $4000 down we can pay the rest with interest at 22% a year.  I was amazed they could offer a 22% interest rate with a straight face.

Also the presenter offered us all these first time visit perks which I did not really see as being that valuable except for of course the waiving of the $3000 membership fee which she never mentioned before.

174: I would quite like to decline the concept of time. on Flickr We politely decline.  The presenter acts flabbergasted.  At this point the presentation has gone on for 150 minutes, 60 minutes over the amount of time they said they would.

The hard sell continues.  The manager comes over, asks a few questions, asks us to sign a few things.  Then he says he has to go do some other stuff.  When he returns he offers 3500 points a year for $10,000, an owner’s only offer.  I am not sure why 500 points costs $14,000 more but after a little bit of hesitation we decline again.

After the manager leaves the presenter then says she will give us 7 days in a two bedroom suite for free if we take the offer for 3500 points.  We again decline.  At this point I probably said for the fifth time we just want to go back to pick up our kids.

The hard sell continues further.  Our presenter says she needs to get some more things signed.  Then this elderly lady, who had been sitting in the corner the whole time, pops up and says she can sign us off.  She comes over and asks more questions.  She asks why we won’t buy it.  We say we don’t like to make quick decisions.  She replies that she buys whenever she sees a good deal and that she only regrets not having bought more things in life.  I am now annoyed with her too.

The lady then offers to let us decide for the next 12 or 18 months.  The catch is we have to buy a vacation package.  We again decline.

Clock on Flickr Now they finally take us over to where we are supposed to get our two free lift tickets and a $25 Visa card.  Of course though things don’t work out.  The $25 Visa card is not given to us because they say we are not supposed to get it since we got the lift tickets instead of the dinner and dance show.  Though the reasoning might be legitimate I just found it amazing that a company that is asking you to spend between $10,000 and $24,000 would nickel and dime you for $25.

It is now 2:30 PM when the presentation is finally over, twice as long as they said it would be.

I hate the hard sell.


19 Responses to “Diamond Resorts Hard Sell”

eyeman wrote a comment on January 8, 2010

Sorry about that. Did you at least enjoy the rest of the time at Tahoe?

seonghuhn wrote a comment on January 8, 2010

The kids really liked the resort’s pool. Today will be our first full day, hope to find some nice sledding.

Patrick C Duffy wrote a comment on January 8, 2010

Dear Sir,
Thank you for this information of your experience…We (DRI) are a company that
not only reads, but listens to our owners, members and guests. On, and through
the many platforms…
Your experience is vital to our business and so very appreciated.
When you have an opportunity, please email me your contact information.

Patrick.duffy@diamondresorts.com

Yours most cordially,
Patrick Duffy
Chief Experience Officer

Chris wrote a comment on February 5, 2010

Dear Seonghuhn,

My girlfriend and I had almost the same experience when we went to a Diamond presentation on Maui. Luckily, we got the “gift” which we were promised (a free submarine tour of a coral reef). We also bought the 8 day/7 night deal, and intend to use in on Maui later this year, but only because we didn’t see everything on the island, and we liked the swimming pool at the Diamond hotel 🙂

BTW, the hard sell left a very sour feeling in our guts. Over the next day, we were able to list several distortion and outright lies said by the sales person. And when we declined, the attitude of “you’re an idiot for turning this deal down” was the deciding factor.

Diamond, if you really want people to buy into your company AND be happy, consider providing a quality product that sells itself–not one that you need to pressure people in buying on the spot. Sham on Diamond!

Roger wrote a comment on March 20, 2010

We experienced the same behavior. Diamond is a “gutter” company. We will never buy anything from them.

Tony wrote a comment on November 12, 2011

For those of you that have nothing but wrong things to say about Diamond or any other timeshare resort obviously don’t see any value in what’s presented to you. I am a happy Timeshare owner (not with Daimond – not to say Diamond is bad, just for clarification) and have been for quite sometime. What you all don’t get is the simple fact that you pay a one time fee in your life for points that are reoccuring!! It’s like recycable money that allows you the opportunity to stay virtually anywhere in the world at top notch resorts and not only your own timeshare properties but other major timeshare/resort companies too (Marriott, Starwood, etc…). Would you rather pay $5,000 per week to stay in a top notch resort VILLA (not a box with a bed) for a 1 time stay or $15,000 one time that will last you every year for the rest of your life. And those of you that are penny pinchers and cry and moan about your maintanence fees, get over it!! You pay maintanence for EVERYTHING!! The close you wear require maintanence! The car you bought for $20,000 that only last 10 years if you’re lucky you also pay maintanence on!! When you stay at hotels you pay “hotel taxes” and “parking fees”, what do you think that is?? Hmmm maybe for maintanence.. wow isn’t that a shocker. You all obviously don’t value spending money to invest in quality time with your family, wife and children that will last forever. So stop being so retentive with your money and look at the pros vs putting everything under a microscope. You obviously would much rather waste your money and get a receipt in return for your spending other than RE-USABLE money in the for of points. GET WITH THE PROGRAM and create a BETTER life for you and your family. If you don’t like the interest rate go and find your own interest rate that is better Mr. big shot. Or maybe that’s just your way of justifying a reason not to purchase at the time so you didn’t feel like a chump in front of your family. We bought our timeshare with a 17.5% interest rate and within a month refinanced with our own bank at 6% and on top of that the company gave us an additional 10% off because we paid it off within 30 days of our initial purchase. The problem is you want a timeshare for free and that’s not how it works. That’s the problem with people these days. They look at reasons not to do something instead of seeing the benefit of what is right in front of them. How else are these people supposed to sell you?? It’s not like you’re ever going to say yes anyways. Don’t blame them, they probably just really beleive in their product and you can’t see that. What a shame. (( To all readers – excuse any typos I had no time to revise ))

seonghuhn wrote a comment on November 12, 2011

Tony, nowhere in the article did I complain about timeshares. None of the commenters complained either. Rather I and others were complaining about the hard sell tactics of Diamond Resorts.

Diamond Resorts recognized this and Patrick Duffy, Chief Experience Officer, apologized for it and generously offered me compensation.

Laura wrote a comment on August 19, 2012

I found your article because my husband and I just sat through the same experience so I googled it to see if this was common. I guess it is. They were shocked that we wouldn’t whip out the checkbook for $10,000 after being given a tour. Of course, we weren’t allowed to think about the offer — not even overnight. That’s ridiculous. I was so turned off by the whole experience. We liked the resort we were staying at and would have considered it, but I just don’t trust these guys. We had one whole day of our vacation wasted in return for a $60 gift. Dumb on my part, but it was supposed to have taken less than 90 minutes. Thanks for writing.

seonghuhn wrote a comment on August 20, 2012

Hi Laura,
Sorry to hear you had such a bad experience. I was hoping things would be better considering Patrick Duffy’s response to my post. You might want to contact Patrick Duffy directly about your complaints, Patrick.duffy@diamondresorts.com
-Frank

Nate wrote a comment on January 15, 2013

We had a similar experience with a timeshare in Florida. At least you knew that you were staying at a timeshare and had to attend a presentation to get the promotional rate. The difference for us, however, was that we didn’t even avail ourselves of a too good to be true promotional offer. We booked a full price hotel near Disney and were told upon arrival that they had “overbooked” the hotel but that we were being placed in one of the new resorts nearby at no additional charge. Upon check-in at the new “vacation community”, we were redirected to the “welcome center” where we were set upon by the hard selling salesman who launched into a 3 hour presentation from Hades. After giving us a tour of a (admittedly) truly beautiful, modern and spacious suite, we were subjected to everything from feigned shock that we were caught off guard that we had been conned into a sales presentation that we didn’t even ask to be a part of, to insult of our intelligence for not finding value in being locked into an exceptionally expensive product that can’t possibly live up to the promises and will undoubtedly require future capital infusions just to maintain the “assets” despite their assurance that they won’t….simple logic makes that obvious, to the suggestion that my grandparents must not love us very much if they wouldn’t be willing to contribute towards the purchase price (after we told them we didn’t have the money, nor were we interested in the purchase, he suggested we ask our family to “pitch in” and make it a family vacation “asset”). At that final suggestion regarding my grandparent’s lack of affection for me, I calmly but assertively informed the salesman that if he did not wrap up his presentation and give us the keys a room at the resort we didn’t even book at (and didn’t accept an incentive rate at!) and were tricked into coming to after driving 18 hours all through the night and being exhausted, hungry and tired, that I would exhaust what financial resources I did have to ensure that I would be funding all future vacations quite lavishly on the proceeds from a lawsuit on the deceptive pretense through which they had conned us into attending their presentation. At that point, a manager came into the room (un-beckoned….how did he know what was going on? Guess that mirror was two-way?!?!?!) and had keys for our suite. Interestingly, the suite we were given after not purchasing was nothing like what we saw on the tour…probably at least 10 years older in terms of finish… outdated decor and in disrepair….not even as nice as the hotel room we had booked and paid full price for initially. I spent the first two days of the vacation complaining to everyone right up to senior VPs in the organization until finally, amazingly, they had an opening back at the hotel we had originally booked AND it was given to us at no cost for our aggravation.

I don’t care if a timeshare offered me a free 5 day/6night stay….I would NEVER do it. The presentation erodes all enjoyability of the vacation itself. Plus….if you sign up for the DINGs on Hotels.com, Travelocity, Expedia, etc and are willing to do the legwork, you can get fantastic deals on your own without subjecting yourself to the cut-throat selling tactics of these places and ruin your vacation.

seonghuhn wrote a comment on January 15, 2013

Sorry to hear about your terrible experience. Would you mind sharing which hotel near Disney World gave you so many problems?

Laura wrote a comment on January 16, 2013

We didn’t even get a cheap vacation out of it. We were at the resort on an exchange from our timeshare, Smugglers’ Notch. We are actually happy timeshare owners and had a pleasant, very low-pressure, experience when we bought at Smuggs, so we were really taken off guard by this aggressiveness. We got the blaring music too. That’s so you can’t hear other people complaining. It is a shame because the resort was nice. The security guards at the resort were especially pleasant and helpful with everything. It’s just their sales team that’s scary. Never again. We lost a whole day of vacation and just got a lot of stress. Not what vacation is supposed to be about.

seonghuhn wrote a comment on January 16, 2013

Sorry again for your horrible experience Laura. Losing a precious day of vacation is really frustrating. Thanks for letting us know it was Smugglers’ Notch.

Laura wrote a comment on January 16, 2013

No, please don’t misunderstand: We bought and own at Smugglers’ Notch. We love it and we love the management there. They never give a hard sell.

The bad experience was with Diamond Resorts. In our case, in Virginia.

seonghuhn wrote a comment on January 16, 2013

Thanks for explaining that.

Maureen wrote a comment on December 18, 2013

I can one up you on this…
We attended a similar presentation with similar annoyance. My husband and I were having a bit of a disagreement prior to the meeting-I wasn’t in a great mood. They went as far as to ask WHY we were arguing, then use that information against us…
One of the sales people went as far as to suggest that if my husband wouldn’t give me a child, I ought to kind of…”force” him to give me one by not taking contraception or to get what I want elsewhere (leave him).
So unprofessional. Not worth the stupid gift card they gave it. The company as a whole should be ashamed.

seonghuhn wrote a comment on December 18, 2013

Wow, you’re right! That is even worse than our experience.
You should try contacting Patrick.duffy@diamondresorts.com who left a comment earlier on this blog post. Unlike some of the sales people he was very courteous and helpful.

Jim Hewson wrote a comment on June 20, 2014

I had a similar bad experience with Diamond hard sell. But even worse has been the experience of trying to get rid of it.
I went to Hawaii with two sister-in-laws shortly after my wife passed away. We went to the sales presentation and were finally about to leave when the sales manager came back with an offer we couldn’t refuse. But it turned out that it was only enough points to go every other year. Factoring that in we realized we were paying nearly $2000 in maintenance fees (MF’s) for our week every other years. I researched and found it had no value. So in late 2013 we sent a letter with our maintenance fees form stating that we we returning the points and not paying any more MF’s. Two months later we got a letter stating they would take our points back if we paid the the 2014 MF’s. I wrote back that I didn’t think we should have to pay 2014 since we were not going have the points to use. I got not reply. then last week we got an update MF’s bill with additional fees (late charges, collection fee etc’s) of over $300.
So my next step is to contact an attorney.
I own other time shares and like some other have stated they are worthwhile if you use them (which I do.) So my complaint is with Diamond Resorts.

seonghuhn wrote a comment on June 20, 2014

Sorry to hear you had such a bad experience Jim. Try contacting Patrick.duffy@diamondresorts.com. He helped me out a bit and I hope he can help you.

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