The most trusted and popular consumer complaints website
Explore your opportunities! Create an account or Sign In

Starwood Vacation Ownership / Aggressive Sales Tactics

1 SC, United States Review updated:

I write this as a warning to those who visit Myrtle Beach, SC. My wife and I went there earlier this month. Our first afternoon in town we stop by a casual dining restaurant for a quick bite. Stationed in the entrance way is a man in an official looking booth with the innocuous title "guest services". I initially mistake him for the seating host. We had a pleasant conversation about where we were from, length of stay etc. He then asks if we are interested in discounted tickets to the local shows. We say sure, I'm thinking he is selling advance tickets nothing more. Only after further discussion does he tell us that to get the tickets we have to attend a presentation on a Sheraton Vacation Ownership program. We are told the program is 90 minutes to two hours, involves a video and a tour. He also throws in a $10 0ff coupon for the restaurant. They are very clever - to get the tickets I put down a $20 deposit so if I don't show up they keep the money. It seemed like no big deal, so the next day we drive over to the Preview Center. What followed was an ordeal of aggressive salesmanship unlike I have ever been subject to in my life. The program in a nut shell is an "analysis" of my vacation habits which establishes that I spend money on hotel rooms. The salesman then explains the very complicated product they are selling. I express that I am not very interested and am then told over and over again how I am throwing this money away on "rent" when I could have "equity", "ownership" with a "deed." All for just $16, 000, just $3, 200 down, $500 closing fee, with a $180 a month payments for the next ten years (plus I assume an annual share of real estate taxes, maintenance and other various fees and charges). All of this can go on the Amex card they push on you as well. Just a small commitment really when you're talking about your family's vacation enjoyment right? Because my good sense intervenes and I decline their offer (on a product which "sells itself") I'm accused of not having a "open mind" about the process (exactly how many people go to these things looking to buy?). The salesmen come in three waves - the first is a confrontational type who tries to sell the product by getting you to admit you can't think of anything bad about it (except the price of course - but hey who cares what things cost). The second salesman is at first introduced as some sort of manager to talk numbers. He eventually pitches a cheaper alternate year plan something like $12, 000. We decline this as well and the last wave in the form of their "evaluator" shows up. He at first deceptively asks you to evaluate the process in the guise of getting you on your way with your gift. His real purpose is to pitch a cut rate $1, 500 product where you buy a 4 night stay in Orlando or Myrtle Beach and 30, 000 points to "see how the program works" At this point my wife, infant daughter and I have been at the Preview Center for going on three hours - I reach my limit and have to repeatedly tell the last guy I am not interested to the point of being rude about it. Finally, we get our precious tickets.

My sincere advice to anyone approached by "Guest Services" in Myrtle Beach, SC is to ignore them and walk away no matter what enticement they offer you. If you find yourself driving to the preview center ask yourself one question "did I plan to spend $16, 000 or more on a complex real estate product when we packed up the car to drive down here?" If not, turn around and go to the beach.

Ch
Sort by: UpDate | Rating

Comments

Ma
  1st of Mar, 2009
Agree Disagree 0 Votes

Esta compania STARWOOD es de lo peor, venden con enganos y mentiras. A un amigo mio le cogieron inocentemente en Orlando y sin el saber hablar ingles o entender, unas senoras que hablaban espanol le vendieron un plan de $14.900 dolares, le hicieron dar una cuota inicial de $3090 dolares y luego cuando el regreso a su pais al mes lo llamaron para decirle que tenia que pagar $1650 dolares mas de mantenimiento y a cambiar las condiciones estipuladas, cuando el quizo reclamar con la vendedora le dijeron que ya no trabajaba ahi y que lo atendia otra. El esta ahora peliando con ellos para que le devuelvan su dinero inicial, abusan de la buena fe de la gente, con trampas. Por favor cuando vayan a Orlando mucho cuidado hay muchos vivos tratando de venderles share time y les pintan pajaritos en el aire, no crean es una trampa. Cuando usted reclama sus derechos se ponen bravos y te tiran el telefono. STARWOOD usa solo artimanas.

Je
  3rd of Mar, 2009
Agree Disagree 0 Votes

My wife and I totally agree. The same thing happened to us, only we purchased a package after 9 hours of three different sales people putting us in the most duressive situation. We were even told by the sales rep. that starwood was so much in demand if we sold it we had to sell it back to them. It wasnt a low risk investment, it was a no risk investment. Then we started reading over the contract that they so conveniently read out loud to us at signing. It planly states they will only honor the things stated in the contract, and you cant go on what the reps. say. They left that out. We have since paid approx. 5000.oo on a vacation ownership that we have never used nor want to use. We cant even give the new never used package back to them. Any of you who have had this experience or have any suggestions email me @ blackz@email.com

Ch
  10th of Apr, 2017
Agree Disagree 0 Votes

@jeff ledford please call or visit
resortexitgroup.com
843-231-0717
we will get your contract cancelled guarenteed

Jk
  30th of Aug, 2009
Agree Disagree +1 Votes

We too have been through the pressure tactics of Starwood... one time so bad the sales guy about through a fit because we didn't by anything. Any way... I wish I knew where or how to put a stop to the time share scams being presented by Starwood and other time share sales. Do you know if you can't sell your time share and there is no one you can leave it to... someone to pay the yearly dues that they will sue your estate for as much as they can get when you die and get the property and make big $$ by selling it again!! It is all because it is a lifetime ownership... did you know that even a charity will not accept it as a gift... because they can't sell it and don't want to pay the fees! Timeshares have a zero dollar value once you buy! Even the sales folks will tell you that after you buy it!
If anyone knows how we can get out from under our time share... get out $$ back we would really appreciate it! Oh we have already been burned once... spent a refundable $300 to sel it and they company dissapeard... love Florida time share scams!!! jkidder3@nc.rr.com

Ch
  10th of Apr, 2017
Agree Disagree 0 Votes

@jkidder resortexitgroup.com
we will get the contract cancelled guaranteed
843-231-0717

Je
  20th of Sep, 2009
Agree Disagree 0 Votes

My wife and I just returned from Myrtle and our first and last Starwood presentation. While attending the Dixie Stampede with our children we were directed to a booth by the workers of Dixie to give the oppurtunity to "save some money". After agreeing to purchase tickets to the go kart track for a small percentage of retail and a twenty dollar deposit, we had a reservation for the next morning at the Sheraton property near Broadway at the Beach. I will be completely honest; we had no intention of buying. Period. We just wanted the cheap tickets. The presentation was interesting and the property was beautiful, although not beachfront and therefor not a property that we would ever invest in. My story differs little from those who have posted earlier except in the fact that my wife and I told the salesman that we NEVER by anything of signifigance without first throughly researching, and yes, get ready...praying about it. Our salesman wanted to know why God coudnt answer my prayer right there in the presentation center, right now. After declining a theology debate, I informed him that we had at this point met all criteria for obtaining our gifts as stated on the back of the form that the lady back at Dixie had given us. Apparently not many people ask the hostess to photocopy the original front and back before we entered the presentation. Three hours, room tour, both of us showed up, minimum income meet, i.d., and credit card. To my suprise my salesman then said to me, "You also must have an open mind!". After politely asking him to point out this requirment on our aforementioned photocopy, he promptly turned us over to the closer, who promptly gave us over to the gifters.
Never ever again...and that I dont even need to pray about!
JefGor24Champ

Gr
  12th of Apr, 2010
Agree Disagree 0 Votes

We where also burned by the sales team at sheraton vistana villages. This was our first visit to orlando, a much needed holiday after the loss of a son the previous year. Coming all the way from scotland and not used to the cheap tickets promise if you go too a SHORT presontation we went along on the morning we were given, the tour was great the place is brand new and very beautiful and we all liked the place. We where then sat down and givin the same sell about wasting money on hotels etc and this would be an investment and we could hand it down to our son etc. We bought a two bedroom lockoff they where pushing and we have now only been back twice to the resort in the last 5 years, we are finding it more expensive to fly and stay at sheraton more than double in fact than it would be for a fly drive and hotel package, and we still have to pay fees which seem to be getting more expensive every year. As other people have said you cannot even sell them as nobody wants them, we would advise anyone not to buy into these timeshares as they just cost you money not save it as promised.
grant davidson scotland

Ch
  10th of Apr, 2017
Agree Disagree 0 Votes

@grant1510 please visit resort exit group
we will get the contract cancelled guaranteed
resortexitgroup.com

Fl
  1st of Aug, 2010
Agree Disagree 0 Votes

My husband and I just got back from a week at the Sheraton Vistana in Orlando. We went to what we were told an "owners update" so needless to say we went. Well, we felt like hostages. They told us what we own on Jensen beach was worthless because we bought it from an individual and not directly through them and they offered us a ridiculous amount of $2, ooo and kept pushing us to spend $21, 000. Wow, talk about competition, so buy my week back from me at a ridiculous low price and resell it for 10 times what they offered me. And waste 3 hours of our vacation time to boot!!!
Never again. They can send so called owner updates in the mail, we'll never attend another meeting with those vultures.

Ch
  10th of Apr, 2017
Agree Disagree 0 Votes

@FLSunshine please contact resort exit group
we will get you out guaranteed
resortexitgroup.com

Ho
  15th of Nov, 2010
Agree Disagree 0 Votes

I just returned from Orlando Vistana Resort. I received $75 and my cousin received $75 to go to their presentation. We both went at the same time. When I got there they had my name misspelled. My cousin went in got breakfast then sat through the presentation. Meanwhile I got seated got breakfast and no salesman showed up. After a half hour a salesman came and Apologized for letting us sit so long as they overbooked for the presentation. He offered my $15 to come back later in the afternoon or the next day. I told him I had plans. He said Okay have a good day the $75 is yours for showing up. Then I went to the lobby and waited for my cousin. They went through the two sales people and told them their plan was very good but not for them. They thanked them for attending that was it about two hours.
My opinion it's worth $75 to sit through a two hour presentation you just have to say no if you are not interested. In fact I am surprised they were not more high pressure in this economy.

Pi
  28th of Mar, 2011
Agree Disagree 0 Votes

I totally disagree. We bought a 31k package that we have used for a few years (great properties and excellent rooms) and plan to use. Additionally we got the Amex and wear it out to earn points which have used to go to some great hotels. It fit our budget and since we like to stay in nice places when we travel, it works well.

Jo
  31st of Mar, 2011
Agree Disagree 0 Votes

I have gone to many timeshare presentations and have found Starwood (Hawaii) staff to be pleasant and upfront. They were not pushy at all. On my owner updates I make it perfectly clear that I am there for a fast update on what new properties are being built and offered, I tell them thank you for the update and then I leave. Yes they try to get you to buy more, but they take the "no" pretty well. I have been to Marriott, Wyndham and others that were downright torture, with out right lies and misinformation. I love my "even year" hawaii timeshare and would suggest that if you are just looking for the freebies with any of these companies, just skip it as it is not worth your time. A vacation is for fun not for the stress that some of these companied make you go through. You can buy resale timeshares at 1/3 the cost. You must factor in your annual maintenance. I find that with my Hawaii Home Resort I do save money overall. $2000 maintenance as compared to 14 nights at at least $400 per night saves me at least $3500 or more per trip. If you dont want a five star resort then don't buy a timeshare, you can spend $150/$200 a night at lower end places for the same amount as maintenance.

Ka
  5th of Apr, 2011
Agree Disagree 0 Votes

I am a SVO owner. We love our ownership and have seriously had some fantastic vacations. That said, I also sat through an owner update, thinking it was an owner update. Instead I was insulted and treatly poorly, since I didn't wish to purchase anything else. Afterwards I did complain, and was told the problem would be addressed (this was at Beaver Creek). Overall, if you like to travel and stay at the available resorts, I still consider our SVO to be a good investment for MY family. As with everything, buyer beware, right?

Mi
  21st of Oct, 2011
Agree Disagree 0 Votes

My fiance and I went to the the Orlando site. We went because our friends were going and we also got $80 (whitch is the only reason we went) The first guy was not so bad. He lied and tried to get us to buy but we had our minds set before we got there that we did not want to invest in a timeshare scam lol. After showing us some numbers and properties he asked us if we wanted to buy. We said no and that if we were going to buy we would need time to talk things over and research about it more. He told us that if we did not buy today we would not get to be gold members and we would not get any of the extra perks had we changed our minds later. We were then greeted by another woman who at first appeared very pleasant. She stated that she was not there to change our minds but she was there to evaluate how our sales person was. She asked us a few questions about our sales person. The next thing you know she was talking about reward points and writing zeros all over her paper. At that point I relized that she was going to try to sell us something. She did her pitch and said that we could get 18 days at their site for about $1800. We told her that I was not interested and she very rudely said "REALLY" and snarled. I simply and smugly said yep not interested. She then escorted us to get our gift and walked away from us without saying anything. I was happy because I went there for the gift and I already knew what to expect from these lowlifes who rip people off. My dad always told me "If it seems to good to be true then it probably is" This definitally seemed to good to be true. If you're a weak person and get intimidated easily then BEWARE, these people are sharks. If you're a strong person go and get easy money.

Al
  21st of Sep, 2012
Agree Disagree -1 Votes

It is amazing how these guys work. Be very careful with the sales guys at the Starwood villa at kanapali. The worst part is that the law works in their favor: they misrepresent the product, but once you sign the promissory note you are responsible for it. Any other business will fire these sales people, but starwood does not. It means that they need them to push their product. This is despicable, and fundamentally really tells what Starwood is about - they are not about customer satisfaction.

Ta
  19th of Oct, 2012
Agree Disagree +1 Votes

At least it seems like those of you who didn't buy anything still got your promised incentives. We didn't even qualify for the income amount and were told we would get out deposit back, they would give us a coupon for their hotels, and a photoshoot on the beach for being misled. Teen minutes later we were being brought on the tour anyway, the sales person attempted to force us into buying a package that we didn't even financially qualify for, and we were eventually ushered out, but still got nothing more than our deposit. We didn't get the money that was promised for going on the tour, nor the gifts that were promised if we DIDN'T go on the tour. The blatant lies and disrespect we encountered will ensure that I never buy through them, even though originally it would have been a consideration for the future. This was the Broadway Plantation resort at Myrtle Beach.

Ma
  9th of Dec, 2012
Agree Disagree 0 Votes

Well I must say i love to stay in 5 star hotels, and I found it unreachable and impossible, i even had a dream vacation which was Santorini Greece, and thanks to this company, Starwood which I sat for 2 hours with nice people for a presentation, I FOUND THE BEST PROGRAM TO REALLY MAKE MY TRAVELING DREAMS COME TRUE!! I LOVE THE SYSTEM, LOVE THE PROGRAM AND NEVER FELT SCAMMED, AS A MATTER OF FACT, IF THEY DID NOT ENTICE ME OR TOLD ME I WAS GOING TO GET DISCOUNTS, MAYBE I WOULD HAVE NEVER SAT FOR 2 HOURS AND LISTEN TO THIS EXCELLENT AND FLEXIBLE VACATION PROGRAM, I AM SO PROUD TO HAVE BOUGHT WHAT I CALL A SPOIL MYSELF INSURANCE. the problem with timeshare is that people don't know how to use them or sit down to really see the value of it. it is really valuable and specially with a guarantee of a brand like starwood. Do your reading people, learn how to use the phone and use your points, check through all the papers they gave you. just learn how to use it it is fantastic

Sh
  16th of Dec, 2012
Agree Disagree 0 Votes

I had the exact same experience in Orlando at Vistana Village in 2011. The enticement of some discount tickets. (A free gift worth $100 just for showing up to our half-hour informational session!!!.) The "half-hour session" we were invited to grinds on for almost 3 hours, with the sales pitch getting increasingly aggressive, almost to the point where she is suggesting we are stupid for not seeing the value in what she is offering. Then we're turned over to a "manager" who just so happens to have a one-time only offer that "just came up" for a fraction of the price they were originally pitching (the drop in price was from $28, 000 down to $8800 or so - of course they don't tell you it is only for a fraction of the share they were originally offering). I refuse that, then we're turned over to a third handler who supposedly just wants to make sure we don't feel we've been pressured too much, and of course wants us to sign to that effect. And of course, one last pitch. I walked away shaking my head thinking, "No wonder the mother-in-law bought this place." Seriously, she'd have been completely helpless in the face of such an onslaught. That's the only reason we were there - they had convinced her two years before to buy a time share she'll never use; we were using her week up so it wouldn't go to waste. An absolute scam from start to finish. The room the put us in (of course) was not half the room the mother-in-law had stayed in two years before. The hot tub was broken. They said they'd fix it - never did. Other than that, a nice place, but no way in hell would I ever think of buying there. Poor Mario, whose post is just above mine, sounds just like my mother-in-law right after she bought it. She was gushing about it for months, thinking she had scored the deal of a lifetime. She found out soon enough. So will Mario.

Fl
  7th of Jan, 2013
Agree Disagree +1 Votes

We go over and stay at the Sheraton Vistana 3-4x/year as we have Disney passes and actually like the property. We go to one presentation a year and as long as those idiots want to keep giving us $75-100 each time and a 50% off room coupon we will keep going. I just time it and tell them firmly that I have to consult with my financial adviser before doing anything and never buy property based on a 90 minute sales pitch. They insist and I insist more. They finally want to get rid of me and I have my spoils. Idiots.

Jr
  30th of Apr, 2013
Agree Disagree -1 Votes

I have been an Owner now for 12 years. I have a family of 4. We have traveled to 38 states and 14 countries. Stayed in 2 bedroom suites. Total cost for me is $944 per year. That translates to a total cost of $11, 328 plus the original deed of $14, 965 for a 7 day ownership. Some of you complainers are just dead beats, some are ignorant and some just don't take the time to learn how to take advantage of every possible option available. Here is a news flash, Salesmen are supposed to SELL.. If they took NO for an answer they wouldn't have a job. Thats the same in any Sales based industry. Car sales, Kirby sales, Tupperware sales, i dont care what business you want to use, they have a job, its to sell you. Its YOUR job to figure out if its for you or not and HOW to use what you bought. You complainers are probably the same people who buy a car and never open the Owners Manual or Warranty book unless something breaks or goes wrong.
Remember, buying a Vacation package from Sheraton has tons of other benefits and all you need to do to take advantage of them is go online and register (for free). I will list just a few for you unhappy owners.
Delta Skymiles - Offers an exchange program with SVN Owners at a rate of 1:1 (you can earn miles and Starwood points at the same time)
Starwood Preferred Guest - Gold Members get 3-1 rate, 35% off rack rates, 1:1 Delta exchange, Free Night stays, Free Upgrades (which if used correctly means : a standard room cost $89 per night minus the 35% is $67 per night, with a Free Upgrade for 1000 points you can essentially stay in a 2 bedroom suite for $67 per night)
American Express - Offers SPG Gold Members a 3:1 ratio. 10, 000 points for free (sign up, buy a candy bar, pay the bill, close the account) Offers Delta Miles at 2:1 (combined with SPG you can earn up to 5 points per $1)

Thats just 3 ways to use your ownership to get free stuff.. If you are smart like me, you can accumulate close to 200, 000 points per year very just buying the everyday stuff like gas and food. 200, 000 points can buy you Round Trip Airfare via Delta, 12 nights plus 2 free nights and a rental car in Italy and you still haven't touched the Option points for using your 7 day. Homework people, homework, it takes some time, it takes some research, but there are ways to travel the world without ever spending more then your yearly taxes and fees.

Sc
  25th of Mar, 2015
Agree Disagree 0 Votes

I have a big problem!! My in-laws are very nice people however they got scammed into this system about 5years ago and paid roughly about 30k to start assessment fees keep rising to the extent of 5k a year.. Now they do bring my wife and kids on these trips which deep down I'm grateful for as I assume they really want to spend quality time with the wife and kids.. My biggest complaint is tey keep buying more stuff everytime they keep getting screwed more and more and eventually they will die one day and guess who will be stuck paying these fees?? I tell them over and over to just stop buying more stuff/options/points or whatever the fucccc their selling them!!
My in-laws tell me that Starwood has changed their system to make it more benifical to the owners and I wanna say you idiots!! Of course that's what they told you to get you to buy more!!!

I am lost for words and don't know what to do as one day my wife and I will be paying possibly 10k a year for assments as I could invest that 10k make 1, 500 a year and have a all inclusive trip 1/2 paid for and would cost me nothing..

Ch
  10th of Apr, 2017
Agree Disagree 0 Votes

@screwed111 please contact us
resort exit group
we will get the contract cancelled guaranteed
resortexitgroup.com

Sa
  9th of Dec, 2015
Agree Disagree 0 Votes

I have been a Vistana timeshare owner in Florida since 1991. It worked well for me since I was a single mother of four children and staying in a regular hotel started to become a nightmare. Even in the large condos at Vistana, security would come to my condo to complain about the noise. It was expensive but worth it for me. However, I am now 60 and my lifestyle has changed. I travel alone and have friends all over the world that will put me up. Plus, one year I couchsurfed in London. Couchsurfing is an organization where vetted hosts and guest will put up strangers for free!. It was a very, very enriching experience. Which is now the type of travel experience I crave. I no longer need adult Disney type vacations. Ok. On with my story. Two years ago, at Vistana Orlando, the desk person convinced me that I needed to go to the presentation to have the new timeshare point system explained to me. Since my Orlando timeshare is such a desirable location, an RCI exchange gives me more than a 1 week swap. So I went. The first salesman was such a horror that I actually filed a complaint with them about him. They use psychological warfare tactics to get you to buy. This time it's an $18000 network system. When I got out of the meeting with him, they passed me off to another salesman under the guise that he will take down my complaint. While he was taking down my written complaint, he was pushing the $1500 explorer package. Well, I was already so broken down and he totally misrepresented this explorer package that I thought OK, what the heck, it's the only way I will get released from this nightmare. He convinced me that I was purchasing points to use at any Sheraton hotel in the world. I thought that I would buy it and give it to my employees as a bonus for their hard work. He never told me that there was an expiration date involved and that I would not get these 40, 000 points until I actually stayed at either Myrtle Beach or Orlando and go through yet another presentation! So nearing the expiration date, I booked at Myrtle Beach, last week during the off season. When I went online I found that I could have booked these 4 nights through any online hotel booking app for less that $500. I paid $1500! Now, I am steamed. I go to the presentation and tell the saleswoman that I paid $1000 more to stay at the resort than I should have. She tells me the $1000 is for the honor of being able to purchase into this network for $18000 plus about $1000 in yearly fees. What a laugh!!! Well, she starts out making comparisons of how similar we are in our life stories. This I know is called mirroring. It's a sales tactic. I let her go through her spiel, listening politely and agreeing what a wonderful program this is but at the end I tell her it's just not my cup of tea. Wow, how she changed! Just like the other complaints, she became hostile and almost outright called me a stupid fool to not see what a deal she is allowing me to buy into. At this point, we are shouting at each other. I really, really thought she was going to strike me!!! Of course, the psychological part is that in a way, I start thinking that perhaps I was leading her on. So the guilt starts. I truly believe that Sheraton really might train these salespeople in these dirty tactics! In this situation though, my mind started drifting halfway through her presentation. The program is so complex that it would take a course to understand it and I have no room for complexity in my life. There was no way she would win. She almost booted me out the door. THIS is the hospitality industry? I know this must be trained tactics because when I was finally passed off to the man to process my 40, 000 points, he voice was so gentle and kind (and he was not selling anything) that I realized he was coming from pity, knowing the 3 hours of hell that I had been through. DO NOT agree to go to the presentation, no matter what they offer you. If you are interested in this type of program, make your decision first. If, and only if, you think you want it, then go to the presentation and receive your spoils.

Ce
  15th of Feb, 2016
Agree Disagree -1 Votes

Stay away from SVO...Marc Albino and the rest...they are crooks. Just asked to be foreclosed on after giving themn more than$65 thousand dollars. They are thrived, liars...don't buy Starwood Vacation ownership. It is all a rip off

Ch
  10th of Apr, 2017
Agree Disagree 0 Votes

@CEA1 please contact us we will get you out of it
resortexitgroup.com

Post your comment

     

Reply to

close
Send