Paradise Village / Deceitful Sales Practices
We attended the vacation club presentation at Paradise Village Resort in Nuevo Vallarta, we brought with us our children.
Many employees commented on how wonderful the resort is for children and how Mexico in general is a very family friendly place. The first part of the presentation was an extensive tour of the resort with somebody named Ignacio, nickname “Nacho”, talked about how he maintains contact with many vacation club members and how he makes sure everything is perfect for them when they come to visit the resort. He assured us numerous times that the best part about the membership is that we would have the ability to stay at other amazing resorts, and he “did not want to see us” back at Paradise Village for at least several years.
We were then taken back to the cafeteria where we were given breakfast while the salesman, Ricardo Salcido, talked to us. After hearing the price of the membership (something like $36, 000 for 9, 600 points), we told Ricardo, the salesperson, that we could not justify the cost of the Paradise Vacation Club membership, based only on use of Paradise Village Beach Resort. Ricardo emphasized many reasons why this membership was a great value including big discounts on five star resorts and other benefits.
Ricardo then asked us, "What is your dream vacation?” We told him that we wanted to take our four children to Disneyworld in Orlando. Ricardo then brought out a book (we later found out this was the Interval International catalog) which showed hundreds, possibly thousands, of resorts where we could stay using our Paradise Vacation Club membership. He asked us again, "Where else would you like to go?" We said that we live in California and would like to spend more time skiing in Lake Tahoe in the winter and were interested in the beach resorts in Southern California for the summer. Once again, Ricardo flipped to the pages that showed numerous resorts in Tahoe and Southern California.
We asked Ricardo many questions about the exchange process. We asked if it is difficult to exchange. He said "Absolutely not! It is easy!" We asked him to explain how the exchange process works. We asked "Why these other resorts would let us stay there? Does there have to be a person from the resort where we want to go that wants to exchange? What if no one from that resort is exchanging?" He said "NO! It doesn't work like that." We asked “what incentive do the other resorts have to let us stay there?" He indicated that it was like advertising for the other resorts. He said that the resorts would let us use our points there because they are hoping that we will then buy a membership there too. This was a lengthy discussion because much of the value of this membership for us was the ability to go to other resorts with our children. We explained that in the United States it is difficult to travel with four children.
Ricardo assured us that all resorts available for exchange could accommodate our family and that we would often get MORE on an exchange because Paradise Village is so elite compared to other resorts, that our points could actually be worth more on exchange translating to a bigger unit or more benefits.
We then said that the membership was attractive to us but the price was three times what we had expected. At this point, Ricardo brought over his “manager”. An American named Brett Maddox. We talked to Brett at length, including a lot of questions about the financial soundness of the company. We explained that our family had recently suffered severe financial losses in the United States because of what was happening with the U.S. economy and stock market. Brett assured us that the company was sound and debt free. We expressed concern about purchasing a membership in a Mexican company which would leave us little recourse if we had a problem. Brett pointed out that the Vacation Club was a California company.
We were also offered a certificate which would give us a one time additional week at any exchange resort for a two bedroom unit. When we went to sign our papers, this certificate was not included. We had to ask for it. We did not receive the certificate in 15 days. I called Danielle at Paradise Vacation Club in January to ask for the certificate. I called again in February. We were waiting to receive this certificate in order to book our first vacation. Finally in early February, we received the certificate.
As soon as we received the certificate, we tried to book a vacation in Disneyworld. We were informed by Interval International that Disney no longer exchanges with Interval. I said, "Disney is in your book." I was told that Disney had cancelled their contract with Interval.
Next, we attempted to book a summer vacation in a Southern California resort, "Marriott Newport Coast Villas" because it is driving distance to Disneyland in Anaheim, California. When I contacted Interval International, I was told that there is nothing available at that resort until October. Nothing during the summer. I asked, "Are you telling me that there is no vacancy at this resort until October?" She indicated that there would be nothing available until someone from that resort put up their points for exchange. She offered to put in a request for three different weeks in June. I asked her to go ahead and do this, and I asked what the chances are that we will get one of these weeks. She said, "I really couldn't say. It could happen." I then asked her to look for any other resorts in the area; anything driving distance from Disneyland. She found that there were no resorts available on the entire coast of Southern California for the entire summer.
We now suspect that they purposely did not give us the certificate on the day we purchased the membership because if we had tried to use it immediately, we would have learned that they had lied to us about how Interval International works and would have cancelled our membership.
In summary, we were duped into buying a membership that is not usable for us, this process took many hours. We started with a family breakfast, it went through lunch and into the mid-afternoon. The salespeople at Paradise Village misrepresented the benefits of the membership and now claim that they are not responsible for their own misrepresentations. Further, Paradise Vacation Club, a California corporation, claims that it is not responsible for the misrepresentations of its sales agent, Paradise Village.