Aggressive timeshare sales pitches aren’t anything new. For decades now, vulnerable consumers have been gullible enough to sign up for a lifetime agreement they weren’t actively searching for – and frankly, never needed. Like we’ve mentioned before, popular tourist locations, like Las Vegas, have become a hotbed for misleading timeshare appeal. No matter how great the product sounds, vacation ownership complaints are real and they often fall on deaf ears.
While Sin City encourages its visitors to leave regretful experiences behind (“what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”), buying a timeshare is oftentimes a permanent fixture. Most buyers struggle to use the purchase, let alone enjoy it. By the time they realize what they got themselves into, they have no idea how to get out of it. But don’t take our word for it.
Written Complaints to Timeshare Are Ignored.
After 10+ years of compromising with their timeshare company, a timeshare couple decided to give us a call. After reviewing their file, we realized the ownership duo had done everything in their power to escape the burden to no prevail. As we qualified them for our timeshare cancellation service, we couldn’t help but notice how consistent they’d been with their attempts. Due to their experience, we decided to share their story.
It is important for owner’s stories to be heard as it helps additional owners in similar situations. Awareness can create a positive change for the industry. From experience, this couple knows how frustrating a timeshare can be and want to encourage others to legally do something about it. Waiting for it to work itself out was not fruitful for them as they watched their vacation ownership complaints fall on deaf ears for more than a decade.
Seasoned Vacation Owners Tired of Complaining.
The couples experienced their first sense of remorse when they ran into a problem with a new timeshare package they bought in 2009. Four months after the purchase, they sent their first letter to the Las Vegas timeshare; followed by additional letters and a message to the Nevada Attorney General’s office. In their initial attempt, they reached out to someone that a service rep referred them to (we will keep names and titles confidential to protect our client) in order to explain their current situation.
“I am writing to you because we have been advised by a Customer Service representative that our [timeshare] weeks are in a points resort and that I am unable to bank them with [you]. We were specifically told at time of purchase that the weeks could be deposited and that they would be worth 26,364 points/wk as per the deposit points sheet given to us at the time of sale,” opened the letter written in March, 2010.
While most vacation ownership complaints are full of emotion and vengeance, the frustrated couple proceeded in a respectful manner. “Upon calling Customer Service to deposit [our] weeks, we were subsequently advised that it was a points resort and therefore we couldn’t deposit [them]. We were unable to resolve this issue on the phone.” At this point in the process, the couple was hopeful something could be worked out. While it might be easier to aggressively complain, they didn’t want to make matters worse.
A Respectful Tack With Facts Always Bodes Well.
In turn, the letter continued eloquently: “I must point out that a primary reason that we made the purchase was the ability to deposit our weeks in [your] point system, and without that selling point we would not have purchased with [you].” They even used dates to back up their initial complaints. “Subsequently, we were advised by phone conversation with Pilot Park on 1/14/10, that if we would send a copy of the deed to [our] weeks, that this could be resolved,” the letter said.
“Enclosed, please find a copy of our deeded weeks along with a copy of the cover of the book [you gave us] that lists our resort. We expect a swift resolution of this issue so we can proceed with our membership as promised at sale. If for some reason, you cannot resolve this problem, please refer to the person who can,” the letter ended. But, they never received a response from the person who was supposedly able to help them.
A Second Timeshare Letter Goes to the President.
Verbal promises at timeshare presentations are extremely misleading and difficult to prove. This is why consistency is important when pointing this out to a timeshare company – even if your vacation ownership complaints are ignored. Refusing to give up gives you an advantage while helping you document the fact that you’re dissatisfied with the outcome and the integrity of the product. In our client’s second attempt, (2 months later) they escalated their story to the head honcho at the resort.
After opening with a direct statement and reiterating their previous correspondence, The timeshare owners began to explain what the inconvenience has cost them. “We are writing to you because we are unable to resolve a problem [and we] have been very disappointed with our interactions with your company. We have spent the past 5 months trying to resolve this problem within the New Owner Services Department without satisfactory results,” they told the president.
Owners Assumed Management Would Care.
In hopes of garnering his attention, the couple then proceeded to illustrate how they’ve documented the experience thus far. “We have furnished every piece of documentation requested and made an inordinate amount of phone calls and now find ourselves being totally ignored with phone calls consistently not returned. If you desire, we will be happy to furnish details of all contacts,” the letter said.
“We have furnished a copy of our deeded weeks on two separate occasions. We have furnished a copy of the points sheet given to us by the sales agent and his manager (who assured us at time of sale that the weeks would deposit with you). We have made numerous phone calls, and still the issue is not settled. As you can imagine, the loss of ability to deposit 52,728 points for our red weeks at [your resort] considerably changes the dynamic of our membership,” the second letter added.
Owners Try to Negotiate With the Timeshare Company.
At this point, they were ready and prepared to negotiate in some way shape or form with the timeshare operation. They simply wanted the issue resolved but didn’t understand the commonality of their situation. So, they gave the resort somewhat of an ultimatum:
“Give us $4000. This amount is 1/2 of what we paid for our membership. Since we can’t use 50% of what we were promised when we purchased, and 50% of new sales fees goes to marketing costs, this seems a very fair settlement. [Also], give us a one time 52,728 point award for our pain, suffering and inconvenience,” they requested.
“We would like to continue as new owners [with you], but are very disappointed in the company, and it’s lack of follow through since our purchase. We expect a response to our request within one week of receipt of this letter,” they said in closing. But they never heard back from the president. So they decided to write to him again – just to be sure.
3rd Timeshare Letter: Short, Sweet and to the Point.
One week later, the couple was still driven by consistency and followed up. After calling the resort, they were given some unfortunate news. “Pursuant to a conversation today with [a member of your staff], I am sending a copy of a letter that was mailed May 7, 2010 by certified mail. I was informed that your corporate headquarters address has changed, and that sending this copy would expedite the issue,” the ensuing letter read. As you can see, our client does an impeccable job at documenting their efforts.
No Response Elicits a Message to the NV AG.
When their vacation ownership complaints fell on deaf ears for yet another month, the couple decided to take matters into their own hands. After brainstorming for a week, their final mailing was a letter addressed to the Nevada state Attorney General to seek assistance. Now that terminating their contract was a priority, they wanted to ensure the timeshare operation was held accountable for the way they’ve been treated.
The letter read, “Dear Catherine Cortez Masto: This letter is to inform you of what we perceive to be unfair business practices. On November 28, 2009 we purchased a points timeshare [and] we were expressly promised at the point of sale that our timeshare deeded weeks would convert to points. We made specific reference to the ability to make said transfer during the sales presentation and were reassured that weeks conversion to points was confirmed. This was the primary reason for us to make this purchase,” repeated the letter.
Detailed Correspondence Was Sent to the Attorney General.
The letter went on to explain the inconveniences caused by service reps and conditional lies that added to the burden. “In further discussion with [the] Resort Group, we were advised to send a copy of our deeded weeks to them [but] have been completely stonewalled since,” they said. “We’ve been trying for 7 months to resolve this issue without success.
The letter continued with a few accusations that are common when you’re forced to connect the dots on your own. “We fully believe that this company has engaged in bait and switch tactics”. While this may be hard for them to prove, their vacation ownership complaints are no longer falling on deaf ears. “They promised us one thing and delivered another”, the letter went on to say.
“Unfortunately the timeframe for revocation had passed when we were made aware of this problem. We are writing in hopes that your office might be able to do something to remedy this situation. We can supply copies of documents and notes of all conversations if it would be of any benefit.”
A Lot of Money Paid, Nothing to Show.
10 years later, the couple has made the decision to get out of their timeshare agreement due to their vacation ownership complaints being ignored. While it has been an excruciating process for them, they’ve learned not everything is as good as it seems. If you have questions about a timeshare agreement or are currently disappointed with your purchase, feel free to give us a call. Each of our consultants are equipped to point you in the right direction without any out of pocket costs.