NEVADA CITY, Calif. (CN) - A timeshare group used high-pressure tactics to bill an elderly couple $50,000 for "membership services" and issue them an unwanted credit card they billed for $10,000 before the couple "even realized the card existed," the couple claim in court.
Terry Crane, 83, and his 77-year-old wife sued Diamond Resorts International Club and three affiliates of March 6 in Nevada County Court. They seek rescission of contracts, restitution and damages for elder abuse, unfair business practices and fraud.
The Cranes say they raised four children, bought a home and saved money for retirement through a lifetime of hard work, he as a machinist and she as a bank clerk. "The fruits of their hard work and careful management of their money are now at serious risk through the reckless conduct and undue influence of defendants."
The defendant companies do business under the trademark Diamond Resorts International (DRI), according to the lawsuit. Also sued are ILX Acquisitions, Diamond Resorts U.S. Collection LLC, and Diamond Resorts Financial Services.
The Cranes says that through telephone solicitations DRI used "undue influence, fraud, intended fraud and constructive fraud" to induce them to go to a DRI resort in Arizona, "where they were further exposed to strong, pressure-filled sales presentations."
Through "excessive persuasion and reckless conduct," the Cranes say, DRI made them surrender and transfer time-share properties they had owned for years in other, unrelated developments, issued them "an unwanted credit card with a $10,000 limit," charged them excessive closing costs and other fees against the card, "exhausting the limit before plaintiffs even realized the card were presented," then stuck them "with a bill for membership services in DRI entities in excess of $50,000."
But that wasn't enough, the Cranes say. Now, through Diamond Resorts U.S. Collection, they are being "relentlessly harassed and threatened with having committed 'fraud' on DRI entities."
They seek rescission, restitution, treble damages and punitive damages.
They are represented by Robert Mitchell of with Baker Mitchell in Nevada City, who declined to comment.
Representatives of Diamond Resorts International did not respond to a request for comment.
(Lulegacy.com, which reports on timeshare stocks, reported Tuesday that Diamond Resorts International director Stephen J. Cloobeck sold 4,778,000 shares of his company stock that day at $32.99 a share, for $157,626,220. It cited an SEC filing .)
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