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Silverleaf Resorts / consumer fraud / scam

1 United States Review updated:

My husband and I purchased a timeshare week from Silverleaf Resorts at Oak n' Spruce in Lee Massachusetts in December 2009. We were enticed to go by the offers of a prize that was guaranteed to us and a chance to win $50, 000.00. They gave us gas money so we decided to see what it was all about. Now, I am an attorney in Massachusetts and I KNOW that there is a scam element in many timeshares. I KNOW not to trust sales people; and I KNOW that my husband and I have trouble saying no to people. So why did we go? I'm still kicking myself over that answer. They made it seem to good to pass up... Anyway, we went there on a Wednesday and a nice young gentleman gave us the spiel. We were soooo ready to say no. We had absolutely no interest in Lee, MA and none in the other locations that Silverleaf owned. What sold us was the Interval International catalogue. I think my husband and I were both under the impression that once a year we would be able to go to anyplace in that catalog, at anytime. Again, it was too good to pass up. We were told that we were being offered a white week with bonus time availability. We, being the serious informed purchasers that we were declined the offer to buy the white week. We asked for a red week. We should have been tipped off that things were not right when the young man seemed at a loss and that he had to get a manager. Long story short we were not buying the next to worthless week 1 white week that they were suckering everyone that day to buy. The manager did a nice job of making us think that we were getting a special deal on a red week that was being resold. We were pretty proud of ourselves...I'm not kidding you. We were suckers. We knew nothing about timeshares at all. We didn't even understand that we bought week one. In January we were invited to our owners' orientation weekend so that any of our questions could be answered about our timeshare. The owners orientation weekend is a designed sales tactic. They give you the weekend free instead of the $100 or so it would have cost you otherwise. We were sold on a Presidential level week, week number 38, a red week. We were sold because I liked the better accommodations and also the possibility of more options in the exchange company, this time RCI. The sales woman told us that 33% more would be open to us on the exchange market because of the Presidential level (she never mentioned week 38...and come to think of it the first guy never mentioned week 1...hmmmm). She also said (and I believe this now to be a blatant actionable lie) that the unit we were buying would exchange for 2 weeks in the exchange company. We were told that we were boosted to a Diamond level of ownership and that meant we could stay for up to 6 days in a row for our bonus time. Plus the weekdays were free. And we would be able to stay in the nicer accommodations for both weeks we now owned.
We paid off our loans a couple of months later with a refinance. Here's what I know now:
1. Silverleaf's customer service is atrocious unless you are doing what they ask which is to show up for more "owners' orientation weekends to sell you another week which will give you everything you thought you were getting in the first purchase.
2. Most of what you see in the RCI or Interval International catalogues is not available to you for exchange - each has many resorts listed but depending on the week(s) you own you may or may not qualify to exchange for where (never mind when) you want to go (no matter how early you plan). And many of the resorts are offered as "Extra Vacation Getaways" (ie you have access but you still pay full or nearly full price (not $150.oo for the week).
3. Bonus time is not easy to cash in. I have called a half dozen times to get accommodations at Oak n' Spruce on bonus time. Each time I have been told that there is nothing available. Sometimes they call back and tell you that something has become available, but not always. My guess is that they hold a good amount of their inventory for "owners' orientation" weekends and such. Some maybe for the exchange companies...I can't figure it out. All I know is that owners' are the very last on their priority list for rooms.
4. I was almost begged by this woman at Silverleaf to come in April for my owners' orientation weekend. She eventually offered us $100 and told us that we could come up for the day. That was pretty funny. I mean Lee's a nice little town, but seriously I'm not going there for a day to be sold something I can't afford. These people must get some sort of commission on getting people up there for sales.
5. Now I want out. I have been an owner for almost 6 months and I am ashamed of myself at being such a sucker. These people know their business, and their business is sales, sales, sales first. Taking care of their owners' seems to be an afterthought. Vacations and getaways have become all pressures and uncertainties. It is not worth it! It just isn't. I'm willing to take a loss if I even can sell these things.

I hope this forewarns people. I wish I knew more. You aren't getting what you think you are getting. The salespeople will tell you anything to get you to buy.

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  • Ch
      17th of Jun, 2010
    0 Votes

    I could have written this complaint myself. Word for word. The only difference is that I bought mine in November. Silverleaf - and Oak and Spruce - do not care about their owners.

  • Ms
      20th of Jun, 2010
    0 Votes

    Do a 'google' search on Silverleaf Resorts and you will find a myriad of problems with this company, including several complaints with the Dallas Better Business Bureau.

    I've compiled more complaints than recommendations on my FB group site. It's NOT all inclusive, but has several other sites (including this one) pertaining to this company.!/group.php?gid=108284962536258&v=wall

  • Fo
      25th of Jan, 2011
    0 Votes

    I am a former Silverleaf Employee . I am so gladd I no longer work for SLR. I worked in The Corporate Office in Dallas and I got first hand experience on how the public gets shafted. I worked in Financial Services. This is the dept that is in charge of collections. The first thing we are made aware of in Trainning class is that SLR is not a third party collector so we are not bound by the Federal collections laws ( FDCPA) . So that meens you will get harrassing phone calls at work, at Home ., your next of Kin, and your neighbors will be contacted as well if no one can get a hold of you on the phone. All this is if you fall behind a couple of weeks ! not months. In Trainning we are also advised that the people we deal with are not very SHARP . they are mostly blue collar working people who dream of having a lake House or just a place to take the kids on the weekends.But do not have alot of money. I would like to share with you some of the things that SLR does that made me want to leave the company after only 1 year . (1) High presure sales. I can not tell you how many people call everyday explainning that they went to a 90 min presentation that turned out to last over 3 or four hours. The sales people will say any thing to get you to sign up . They say alot but none of it is in writting. I had a large number of people who purchased a " Sampler package" This is presented to people as a way to test drive one of the resorts. for only $ 850.00 to $ 1, 000.00 What they dont say is you can only use during white or blue weeks at participating SLR resorts ( not all SLR) . the blue and white weeks are the coldest and the least popular of all weeks. When you come to the 90 min meeting you are asked to bring two forms of ID and a credit card. If you show any intrest in SLR or you just want to get away with the " FREE PRIZE " they will set you up with a sampler package and start auto debit installments on your debit card. People find this out after the first month or two then call in upset and want to stop the auto draft. The sampler package does not hit you credit report when you cancell because the laws of lending are not followed so they can not use the threat of bad information at the credit agencys as leverage to collect. (2) I had a large number of calls from people who said they went to the sales meeting and decided to purchase but were not to clear on the terms of financing. The painfull clarity comes in a couple of months latter when the customer finds out that a credit card has been opened up in their name and the entire purchase price is the unpaid balance on the card. SLR does disclose they will do this but it is fine print and covered so quickly in a 3 or 4 hour meeting that no one seems to remember going over this big DETAIL. The reason SLR does this is so they get paid up front if you default you will have the credit card people to deal with. The reason the collection dept calls them is that even if you make the pmts on time you still have to pay the monthly HOA or maintainance fees that have now increased 10% across the board. this is the third increase in 5 years. there are some folks that are paying more for dues monthly then they did for the original resort on a monthly basis. And yes SLR can take back the property for un paid dues. ( 3) The next biggest complaint is bonus time that years ago was called endless escape. Bonus time is availble but not guarenteed . bonus time can not be used during major holidays . you can request bonus time and if none of the current week owners or some who paid more money for their timeshare then you did want that particular week, then it will be awarded to you . so yes there is bonus time but you wont get it when you want it. (4) I contacted a large number of people who said they wish they would have never purchased thier timeshare with SLR . They advised they are trying to sell the timeshare But, they say no one wants it and they cant even give ti away. This is true. this is allways the caller who has paid some timeshare resale company any whear from $ 500.00 to $ 2500 dollares to sell their timeshare and after they pay them they dont hear from them again . The previous reasons are the main ones why I left . I felt bad for the people I talked to on the phone and the hardships SLR has caused them . My advice to any one wanting a vacation. DONT FINANCE . for $ 850.00 to $ 1, 000.00 you can get a nice weekend just about any whear in the world, dont buy a something that you will pay on forever and not use but every now and then . the owned weeks can run from $ 3, 500.00 to $ 60, 000.00 You can buy a lake house or a lake lot for that and its yours . And allways buyer beware . SLR does have some happy campers . The happy campers I have seen are old retired and have lots of family who use the resorts and help with the maintainace fees. but the number of happy camper calls i got were few and far between. Please be advised that the SLR financial services ( collection) is growing and is expecting to double due to the incredible number of defaults . so dont be surprised if you get a call from SLR wanting to know if you can knock on your neighbors door and have them contact SLR about an urgetn matter

  • Ja
      26th of Jun, 2016
    0 Votes

    We bought a timeshare through silverleaf and I hate every minute of our purchase. We were suckers from the beginning. I would like to sell my timeshare but they told me I need to pay in full before I can do that. Can anyone give me advice on what I can do!? I am sick of the increased fees every other month. If you have advice please email me at [protected]

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