Where to begin? We purchased our timeshare in September of 2002 and it has withstood the test of time as the single largest financial blunder that my wife and I have ever made together, and it eclipses anything we ever did separately as well.
When we signed up for this albatross, we were given airline vouchers that proved to be completely worthless, as the fine print mentioned that we had to be 1/3 vested before we could use them (which we were never told during the presentation) and that if the maintenance fees were paid even one day late that the vouchers were null and void. When the sales rep mentioned the vouchers she also told us we would be able to use them immediately, which was a bald-faced lie. You could chalk some of this up to poor training practices, but a company should stand by the promises of their agents.
We were also promised a free cruise because we purchased pre-construction, but when we went to claim it we were told we had to join ICE (several hundred dollar fee for a yearly membership) plus pay a separate transfer fee of several hundred additional dollars, neither of which was disclosed up-front. We were also sold on this as an investment property (which we found out later was illegal for them to do) but the sales rep removed the incriminating documentation prior to handing us our folder regarding the investment nature of this property.
The sales rep told us that Polo Towers would be the ONLY Timeshare property ever to be built on the strip due to zoning restrictions and that it would prove to be a hot commodity down the road, but we later discovered several other timeshares being erected down the road. To this day there are numerous vacancies at Polo Towers, but booking a week always proves to be an infuriating ordeal.
The maintenance fees are simply ridiculous, despite how anyone wants to slice it. They start around $900 a year and they love to attach ludicrous usurious late fees. If you have the misfortune of losing your job, as I did, and are forced to go on unemployment while in search of a new position, they will not allow you to surrender your timeshare back to the company. When I first inquired about this, we were roughly 90% paid off. We are now 100% paid in full and they still won't allow us to surrender because there is $4K in "maintenance" fees. I'd sure love to know what I could have done in the 1 week I've actually got a chance to use my timeshare in the 10 years I've been paying on it that could constitute the need for $4K in maintenance fees. I could have had a cocaine-fueled Axl Rose meltdown at the Bellagio, throwing flaming furniture out of a balcony into the pool below and I probably wouldn't have hit the number they're looking to collect on me. Let's do the math, using the original $900.00 as a starting point: I get 1 week a year (assuming my maintenance fees are paid, which they aren't) to use this timeshare. That's $46,800.00 they're collecting on EACH suite annually in maintenance fees. They have quite a few suites and villas, so either they have the best-paid cleaning staff known to mankind, or they're pocketing a massive amount of money.
Now that we are fully paid, we received a letter in the mail saying we need to cough up $639.60 in recording fees to record the satisfaction of lien. Well, I happen to work for the nation's largest lender and I know firsthand that this fee is typically much less. The Clark County Recorder's Office stated that the fee should be $17.00 for the first page and $1.00 for each additional page. And no, the mortgage isn't 600-plus pages long. it's typically about 7 - 10. The Clark County Recorder's Office was VERY helpful and said we could file the satisfaction of lien on our own, which we plan to. They were aware of the issue with Timeshare companies scamming their owners on recording fees but they were not allowed to offer any sort of legal advice regarding this issue.
Furthermore, you NEVER disclose a "closing" fee AFTER the mortgage has been satisfied! These are ALWAYS disclosed upfront, which this was not. It would be like buying a car, and after you make your last payment they ask you to pay for tax and title. Lastly, this fee was expressed as a percentage of the loan amount, which is also ridiculous. These should be FLAT FEES. This would constitute a violation of Federally-mandated RESPA protocols put in place to protect borrowers if not for the fact that our transaction predated the most current legislation. Either which way it is HIGHLY shady and dishonest.
We have been thoroughly disgusted with the way we have been treated by this company and we have been vocal in our admonishment of Diamond Resorts International to our friends and family. We have spent upwards of $35K on this money pit over the years, ironically in the interest of taking yearly vacations and "saving money" on hotel expenses. We've only used the timeshare once ourselves in the decade we've been paying in due to the fact that any vacation fund money we set aside has been spent in trying to pay down the massive maintenance fees which keep accumulating, with late fee on top of late fee like a hellish s****..