Kosmas Group International/Festiva / Captive Sales Presentation/Professionalism
My family took a vacation with 2 different Timeshare companies. Both had the "90-minute presentation/tour obligation" of the timeshare property in order for us to receive the discount on the accommodation we were staying. Both had a "licensed" real estate agent selling a fraction of a property. The difference was professionalism in those who are involved.
We had the vacation booked thorough SaveOnResorts.com, which gave us a discount rate for 2nights stay at a resort in Orlando, FL from 12/23/08-12/25/08, with an exchange for our time at their "tour."
First of all, our "tour" was scheduled by the resort management (as far as I know it is Festiva), in the morning on the Christmas day (Dec. 25, 2008). We would have no problem fulfilling that time commitment, but my husband thought people who would give us the tour might have a conflict, so he double checked before we left our home in Ohio. As he predicted, the schedule had already been changed without any notice to us from 25th to 24th at 8AM. Good thing he checked.
The real pain started when we got to the resort. For whatever reasons, the place we were supposed to do the "tour" had discontinued the sales presentation. So, we had another location for our "tour." When we checked in and confirmed the "tour" time, it had AGAIN been changed from the 24th to the 26th, the date we check-out the resort. That screwed up our schedule quite a bit.
On Dec. 26, 2008 at 8:45AM, we had a reservation for a "Princess Breakfast" at a restaurant in Disney's Epcot Center for our 7-year-old daughter. We enjoyed the princesses, even our boys (5-yr-old twins) seemed to have a good time. Even though we could have taken the advantage of being in the park that early hours, we had to rush back to the resort to make the 11AM appointment for the "tour" at Vacation Villas at Fantasy World I and II, managed and owned by Kosmas Group International.
At the front desk, it was a long line of some sort with noticeably frustrated and irritated guests all around the lobby area. The people servicing at the counter weren't happy either. The people in suits (either the real estate agents, or Festiva management personnel) looked very unfriendly and indifferent. There were a couple of ladies walked up to the counter and one of them was about to pounce on the front desk clerk, out of sheer anger. She had to be dragged out of the area by the other woman she was with.
Waiting for a while to be assigned an agent, we couldn't help thinking the better way of spending our time. Then, our sales rep told us to drop off our kids at a small room (no larger than 15' x 15') with 1 supervising adult with half a dozen more kids already at play. I asked "how long should I tell my children to wait?" "At least 90 minutes, " she answered.
Annette, a 42-year-old single mom from Cincinnati, OH, who says the reason for her not spending the Christmas with her 10-year-old son is "[I'm here because it is]for you" was nice and friendly UNTIL we sat down at her preferred table outdoor right next to the cigarette break spot.
My husband and I do not smoke. We are almost allergic to the smell of cigarette. That's how much we dislike the smell. We requested her if we could have the presentation elsewhere. That's when we got her mad. She told us to wait till she finds an alternative spot. Shortly after she comes back and stating, "I'm allergic to that room (where other presentations are taking place), " Annette started to pick up her stuff rather violently together and making all the efforts (including not holding door for anybody but herself) to let us know that she is really not liking our request. Boy was that interesting...
Her sales style was very pushy and very UNPROFESSIONAL. "Yes or No?" was her favorite question. She asked, "If the money wasn't the issue, would there be anything to prevent you from making the decision today?" We said no. Because there wasn't any reason not to make a decision, believing that "decision" could be yes OR no.
When it was finally the time for us to see some units, we thought, "What's this?!! A project house?!" I swear it looked like one of the 2-story building in the rundown areas of any mid-size cities in the country. Interior was marginal, not impressive at all. Then, she showed another unit that was only slightly better. Her argument was that "you don't have to own a brand name resort. Our property is on the same vacation/timeshare magazine as other renowned resorts. You don't have to pay for the 'name' to get your vacation at the 'named' resort." She was throwing all kinds of numbers to make the sales pitch sound like a real deal. "There is no decision to make today. It is a choice you make..."
At the end, we said, "well, it's not for us." She would not accept "NO" for an answer. She asked my husband, "then, how much would you be willing to...?" He said, "Not to be offensive, but even a half of that price would only let me think about it..." So, she goes away for a while to bring an older guy who talked in a way I didn't even understand a word he said. Obviously, he was her boss, and gave out about a third of the original price (minus the maintenance fee and tax). Annette went on to say, "how could you say no to that? I thought you told me that there is nothing to prevent you from reaching a decision today." I had to explain to her that "I thought we don't make decisions today. Rather, based on the information you provided us, he made a choice. And, the choice could be yes or no, isn't it?" At that point, Annette was furious again. She took off with these words, "I don't like to work for free. I misjudged. I've learned my lesson." Wow. I am so glad we didn't let her earn a dime on commission.
Then, an older lady, Ruth, came out. She now presents my husband with another offer, bi-annual ownership (?), namely we own 1/104 of the property instead of 1/52 at significantly lower cost (so they say, didn't matter to us anyways). Bottom line, we were not interested. So, when Ruth asked me what I was thinking, I said "Oh, just thinking about my kids getting hungry and all. May I go feed my kids now?" Her answer was "Not yet." WOW.
All the sales reps were going by with just first names. They didn't have any nametags or any business cards. And, there wasn't any proper introduction of who's who. So, I am not 100% sure about who the reps were working for. But, based on the fact that angry single mom agent was presenting Kosmas Group as the Owner/Developer of the property she was selling, I assume it is the company she's working for.
I got the impression that this practice was oriented on extremely high-pressure sales presentation with very low professionalism. Customer service was none existent. It maybe true that some of us are buying into the "NAME" for timeshares, but this experience sure had taught me the difference in the quality of customer service by different "NAMES." I guess "You get what you paid for."
Oh, did I forget to mention the other presentation by Marriott, which we had no problem whatsoever?