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Great Escapes Travel Club, Lakeland, Florida Complaints & Reviews - Ripoff

Great Escapes Travel Club Contacts & Informations

Great Escapes Travel Club

Posted:    ColoradoDad

Ripoff

Complaint Rating:  89 % with 90 votes
Contact information:
Great Escapes Travel Club
Lakeland, Florida
United States
greatescapesonline.com
My wife and I attended an informational meeting for Great Escapes Vacation Club about 8 years ago in Englewood, Colorado. Everyone hates to admit it if they were suckers for a con job, and we are no exception. The sales pitch was stereo-typical high pressure and we were promised super deals on cruises and weeklong condominium stays for the "super-discounted" price of $5, 000. We honestly thought that if we were paying for a vacation club every month we would make a point to use it.
Well, we quickly learned that we could only book the special cruise deals if we were the first callers at 9 AM on Friday mornings nationwide. We never even got our calls answered as the line was always busy. We used their connection with Advantage Travel to book our 25th anniversary cruise and thought we got a decent deal until we discovered that all of the people we met on the cruise paid less than we did - some less than half what we paid for the same level rooms! We saved $250 on an all-inclusive week in Mexico over booking it ourselves, but they forgot to mention in their sales pitch that we would be charged a recurring $189 a year membership fee even after paying the $5K.
The most infuriating thing about this company, however, is the fact that they got us twice to drive 2 hours each way to attend follow up meetings where they would "discuss the many new features of your membership and update your membership pictures (that's why we need you and your wife both to be there!)" When we got there we were told of new features which will supercede our old policies, but it would require an additional investment of over $2500. They continue to call us almost every month with a "new program and new features" and have talked to representatives on the phone and online but so far have spent over $7000 to get a $250 discount.
Don't waste your time listening to their sales pitch and definitely don't waste your money!!!
Comments United States Vacation Clubs
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 6th of Mar, 2010 by   Colorado Lady 0 Votes
My husband and I joined this club too and found that it was a waste of money as well as time. I tried to cancel the membership last April and was told that we had a contract and it would be charged to our credit card, which it was for the annual membership. I explained that my husband had just passed away in January and I would have no use for the membership..I was told I still had to pay it for the year. I was also told that if we had written a check instead of using a credit card, that I wouldn't have to pay for the membership that year. I immediately wrote a letter canceling the membership for the year 2010. If they decide to charge my credit card for the membership fee in 2010, I will dispute the charge and show a copy of the cancellation letter dated Feb 2009. i was told we had to give 43 day notice to cancel the contract. The membership was due in April and the credit card was charged in March of 2009.
If I remember correctly we used this travel club once in the several years that we belonged. They always had an excuse as to why nothing was available at the time we wanted to travel.
I would not recommend this company to anyone!
 9th of Jun, 2010 by   Rawbert 0 Votes
Same here biggest waste of money so far in my life. My wife and I travel enough we know things. We also own Monarch Grand Resorts (million times better). Great escapes just quoted me 3500.00 to go to Puerto Rico. We Priced things out ourselves and there "great deals" were the exact same that I can book myself. We then called Interval International which we get from our Monarch. Got a better room a lot cheaper and booked our own flights. Same vacation, 800.00 cheaper doing it ourselves. Also it took a week for the rep. to call us back with the "great deal" through I I Done in 10 minutes. After all this the lady argues with my wife that we aren't comparing apples to apples and there's is the better deal. Same exact room, flight, destination, Wow sounds like those are both apples to me.
 15th of Jan, 2011 by   Michael81 +1 Votes
I have been a member of Great Escapes vacation club for 6 years now and have never had a problem, it was kinda confusing when i got it but it works great. The only way people have prolems is if they dont use it. It garentees the price to be the lowest if you find a lower one then send then a written qout and they beat it everytime. I paid 6, 290 for my membership and feel its a great deal. I use it 3 times a years and it has already paid for its self. I hope this helps people make the right chioce and DO IT!!!

Michael
Great Escapes member
 7th of Jun, 2011 by   unhappy campber 0 Votes
My experience has been the same. The worst purchase ever made in my life. I felt like such a loser each year having to pay the phenomenal membership feel of $196.81 (increased year over year) but was so hopeful thinking I can make some use of this and redeem myself. The customer service team were kind but never actually heard my feedback or how I was feeling. We had a house fire over a year ago and lost everything. We had no rental insurance which was doubly worse and in getting our lives back in order, realized we have a awful membership to contend with. They wanted to charge me a $10 fee to get a copy of my own contract as it was filed elsewhere. After paying thousands of dollars out of pocket and not even utilizing it once, they wanted to charge me $10 for a copy of my contract - DO NOT FALL INTO THE TRAP!!! No one in the company is willing to keep a client happy not even by providing you a copy of the contract.
Karen - Sad and disgusted with Great Escapes Online http://www.greatescapesonline.com/Home.aspx
 12th of Jul, 2011 by   b@btuc +1 Votes
Sure, you may get cheaper rates when booking yourself, sometimes. My wife and I love using the great escapes and have found them to be very accomodating. I have relatives with time shares and they have such a hard time setting up to make trades on their time shares. We don't always use our weeks each year, but that is our choice. Grow up and take responsibility for your choices. If you use the membership correectly it is a great deal.
 7th of Aug, 2011 by   Brian68 +1 Votes
I have owned great escapes for 4 years now, sherry my acct exect has been very helpful when i needed a vacation that was customized for my parents 50 wedding anniversary. we all went to tahiti for $1800. try to get that anywhere. It seems that some ppl just like to complain. Not sure why they just don't use it online, it's so easy just point and click and go. My friend bought a Marriott timeshare and spent $42k for it 5 years and ago and was trying to sell it but can only get $13k. So for you ppl that have timeshare or are thinking about it, is it really a good investment with maintenance fee's near $1000/yr and hardly any money back if you try to sell it? For me it was a no brainer. I believe in the product and use it every year. The reason i even wrote this comment is because the only ppl you ever see is the few ppl that are displeased with a product and not the thousands of on going happy cutomers that actually use the product they way it was intended. Final note to all you whiners be quiet and be happy and GO ON VACATION. Thanks for reading, sincerely Brian
 11th of Feb, 2012 by   Robin38 0 Votes
Anyone who has had good experiences with Great Escapes know of someone who would like to buy mine? (Friends? Family?) $3K-$4K - negotiable. Thank you, Robin
 1st of Apr, 2012 by   Darrin65 0 Votes
I am not one of those people like Brian68 insinuates that likes to complain. I am a very optimistic person (often to a fault) and have continually hoped over a six year period that I could finally see some benefit to this program. However, I bought into this program over six years ago and have not the single first good thing to say about the company. From the first time I tried to get Great Escapes to assist in planning a trip for me several years ago to just a few months ago, it has been disappointment on top of disappointment. Just a few months ago I called Great Escapes to assist in planning a trip for my daughter's 16th birthday to New York. Consistent with past performances, Great Escapes took three days to call me back after being told they would call back within 24 hours. In the meantime, we found a great package deal which Great Escapes could not match. They have never even sent the "ID" cards which photos were taken several years ago at the Englewood, CO location. Even that simple task was not met by this company. We went to a meeting there and aired our disappointments to the service representatives at that time. We were again promised the world, but delivered disappointment. I still in the back of my head want to believe Great Escapes to be a valid vacation planning company because I really hate the thought of throwing money away, but in this case I must concede the truth that my money has been lost on my optimism. My annual membership renewal fee is now due, but I really do not want to continue with Great Escapes. Their bill collectors will soon be calling once again hiding themselves behind a sales pitch that they have "changes to your membership we are excited to discuss with you." More shady business practices. For those of you that have seen success, wonderful, but please do not call me a whiner when you have not experienced the six years worth of disappointments that Great Escapes has piled on me.
 30th of Apr, 2012 by   DESERT STORM VET 0 Votes
After signing the Great Escape Contract my wife and I asked them about the "Members Right to Cancel" and they said that by law we have 3 business days from the time we signed the contract to cancel with full refund. We then asked them when would we be able to use the online service to rent a car for an upcoming vacation and they told me that the earliest they can have my online account ready for me to use would be on the 4th business day. The person I spoke to indicated that this was the policy he/she was to follow and he/she would get in trouble if they deviated from that. My response to the person was that we have the legal right to be able to use the service during the 3 business days, which is intended to determine if we really wanted to stay with their service. I was supposse to get contacted by the person who gave us the sales pitch, but unfortunately was not contacted even after being promised to be contacted 2 days in a row. Fortunately, for us those 2 waisted days was Saturday and Sunday, which does not count against the 3 business days. This was a RED Flag for us, so we looked into the different complaints that were made by people about Great Escapes and realized that we should cancel before we would become a VICTIM. On Monday I immediately mailed the Cancellation Letter and hope to get my deposit money back. WE WOULD NOT RECOMMEND THIS "GREAT ESCAPES" TO ANYONE AND WOULD ENCOURAGE FOLKS TO BOOK ON THEIR OWN THE FLIGHTS, HOTEL, AND CAR RENTAL. YES, IT REQUIRES A LITTLE BIT OF LEG WORK, HOWEVER, THE BENEFITS OF KNOWING THAT YOU GOT A GREAT DEAL ON YOUR OWN, WITHOUT HAVING TO DEAL WITH A PARASITCAL RENDERED SERVICE.
 16th of May, 2012 by   Lynn Fillmore 0 Votes
I have a 3 week great escape membership. up for sale. name your price onlineinput@gmail.com
 16th of May, 2012 by   Lynn Fillmore 0 Votes
anyone who is pro great escapes ... send your friends and family to me, they can buy my membership and travel with you . (3 week membership) name your price. onlineinput@gmail.com If you already own great escapes. check the fine print on buying and selling.
 1st of Aug, 2012 by   FrequentFlier91 0 Votes
A few of these complaints are agreeable (like the travel agents taking forever at times), and the sales pitch. But some of these complaints are ridiculous!

1. "It's a waste of my money because i never got to use it" you sir, are an idiot for paying $5, 000 for a membership that you do not use. That is in no way the clubs fault.
2. "I found better deals elsewhere" The club states IN YOUR CONTRACT that on ANY package OR cruise you are GUARANTEED the best rate by AT LEAST 10%.
3. Some people like DESERT STORM VET literally posted his complaint because of the other complaints that he's seen online (makes no sense)
4. A complainer up top mentioned a packaged to Puerto Rico for 3, 500, and you thought they couldn't beat that price?! i went to PR for $800 for TWO PEOPLE, ALL INCLUSIVE!! That must have been a research issue on that members part.

You can't possibly post a complaint online about a company that YOU made the decision of purchasing and then not using it. THAT IS YOUR FAULT.

But for me? I use the membership, the sales pitch can be bothersome. But i can GUARANTEE that you will get the best price on EVERY package. My proof?

I paid $800 for 2 people to PR when the member up top paid over 3 grand.
I paid $1, 200 for 2 people on a BALCONY room for a 7 night cruise through Alaska
I paid a measly $89 for 2 people to Bally's casino

So in all, most of these complaints seem off because most of you clearly didn't do research and clearly didn't look through the website. The sales pitch and travel agent complaints seem to be on point though
 6th of Sep, 2012 by   k9sar 0 Votes
I have had a bad experience with vacation clubs in the past and, even though I used it for 5 or 6 years, the benefits quickly disintegrated until the company folded and left us out almost $8000. I have used 'sales pitches' to acquire free stuff like a set of golf clubs or tickets to the amusement park so I am not arookie with respect to these things. Last night, I spoke with a rep from Great Escapes and the package that they offered sounded much better than anything I had heard in the past. I looked for holes and deceptions and, while there are no guarantees, I found their information to be reputable.Will I sign-up with them? I don't know. I have until tonight to make my decision (notice that the 'immediate decision required' is not in play here) and am actually considering it. Like many have said, you must use the program to benefit from it. GE informed me, after I asked them directly, that they do have an inventory of properties/condos etc but are also a fully functioning travel agency with group buying power similar to AAA (my association for example, not theirs). If you can plan your own vacation or do better than they offer... do it. If you typically use a travel agency and want the opportunity for access to condo vacations, GE may be right for you. I am in no way affiliated with them other than I am a cynic and skeptic and have done my homework due to being burned by Med Resorts/AVR/Celebrity in the past. Ultimately, the decision is yours. How much weight you place on people's opinions and experiences is up to you. In my opinion, if you do your homework and still have doubts, DON'T DO IT. If you are fairly confident and are willing to take a little risk, GO FOR IT. Of course, GE won't tow your car if you breakdown so you may still have to maintain your AAA membership. :-)
 7th of Sep, 2012 by   tyketoy 0 Votes
If anyone would like to purchase this package, we have one for sale. We no longer use this service & would like for someone else to benefit from it. If interested please contact me at tyketoy@aol.com.
Thanks,
Shannon
 2nd of Apr, 2013 by   Malakia M. Sullivan 0 Votes
They are liars, maipoulators, connving, triffling ass company they didn't even give me my three gifts trips!!! I knew they were a scam . If you have any further questions or concerns you can contact me at keepooh1988@yahoo.com, We'll take from there . It don't make no damn sense what's so ever period no questions ask no questions !!! You should file a lawsuit against that company thier no good anyway. By the way it's no slander at all !!! If you have any further questions or concerns, please email me at you're earliest convience at this time. Thank you !!!
 28th of May, 2013 by   LadyA00 0 Votes
I feel the same way, I tried to cancel my membership and they told me that I couldn't "just cancel" and that I had to e-mail a letter to them and the board would decide if they would cancel it! Bullshit! They won't get another dime of my money I made sure of that!
 24th of Apr, 2014 by   sailored 0 Votes
I guess I'm lucky compared to some of these folks. They only got me for $5.60 for shipping and handling for a free hard copy of their North American RV Park Directory. What came in the mail was a mail pouch which had been opened, containing a CD case which had been opened containing just a CD with no instructions nor installation files. What was on the CD was just a bunch of PDF files listing a very few RV parks in the US and Canada. Not only was this a rip off but I had to add them to my spam filter due to the continuous flow of junk mail the order had generated.
 3rd of Jun, 2014 by   chuckie749 0 Votes
We got taken for $3200 way back in 98. It's amazing that this company is still getting away with this.
 15th of Sep, 2014 by   S Charles 0 Votes
We have had our Great Escapes membership for 6 years. We were supposedly going to get two airline vouchers for $100 when we signed up. They got our $100, we never got our vouchers. We did use it to take a couple of great vacations, but find that you can now book great vacations through places like Air BnB or other home exchange services for the exact same amount (or less) as the price for one of the Hot Weeks. We only get one week a year for $499, plus we pay the annual fee.

I just called and spoke with a representative asking if we could surrender our membership, and was told that she would make a notation that will inactivate it at the end of the year. It's unfortunate that we lost the money we originally invested, but our budget doesn't have room for a week even close enough to drive to every year. And I've found Hot Weeks are typically available during undesirable times, for instance during mud season in the Colorado Rockies.

I can't complain about the service; the representatives I've spoken to have always been very helpful and pleasant. I always found the on-line searches through the website cumbersome and time-consuming. This definitely was not one of my best decisions, nor would I recommend it to anyone else.

Would be glad to sell our one week to anyone who loves the company and could use another week. We paid $3000 and I am flexible on what you want to pay for it. Contact me at butlercharleshousehold@gmail.com
 22nd of Oct, 2014 by   Campbellsoup 0 Votes
Great Escapes has been a HUGE SCAM! My parents (early 60s) "invested" in this smooth talking company and excitedly informed us for Christmas that this was their present to us--discount family vacation packages. HUGE WASTE! We called MANY, MANY times and it was always the same--you are not immediate family (yes, duh!), you are not on the list, you do not have the right code. My parents would call and they would be told they would be called back. THIS COMPANY IS A HOAX AND A VERY EXPENSIVE ONE AT THAT!

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