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Universal Vacation Club / Buyer beware of the villa group - uvc

United States, California, San Diego and Mexico Review updated:
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Contact information:
Villa Group - UVC
San Diego and Mexico
We need to get the word out before more innocent people get scammed. The Villa Group and UVC are in the process of building 2 new resorts and you know what that means, they need more timeshare owners. If only they honored what they sell... that's all anyone wants, no more, no less.

The Villa Group or UVC does not seem to care about their existing customers and they do not tell the truth in their sales presentations. We have tried to fix our issues with just about everyone with the Villa Group and UVC and they have done absolutely nothing. Below is our original complaint sent to UVC and the Villa Group. Since complaining, all 3 of our referrals that are joining us next week at the property were called within the last day and informed that they are "ineligible for the referral program because they are traveling with us" - so they are no longer being offered the round-trip transportation to/from the airport/resort or the $300.00 in resort credit - retailiation? Who are these people? Should we be afraid when we arrive on Sunday? Stay tuned!

To make matters worse, today I get my UVC newsletter in the mail where they are promoting their "referral program" and claim that referrals can stay for $25.00 per night. So why was I charged $987.00 to upgrade my unit to accomidate our "referrals" that are joining us and why did we have go through a travel agent to book an additional night at the resort when our flight was cancelled and we were booked on a flight a day later? (UVC said they were sold out and couldn't help. So what exactly are we getting for the $17K we've spent plus yearly maintence?


On August 4, 2006 while we were in Cabo San Lucas, we were approached by a Villa Group Senior Sales Representative, Linda Salisbury, about an exciting opportunity to purchase a timeshare at a soon to be developed premier resort called Villa Del Arco. She invited us to tour the property and hear about the exciting pre-development discount pricing being offered by the Villa Group/ResortCom International. Ms. Salisbury then drove us to the property where we were shown the future layout of the resort (still under construction) and an already built and furnished 1-bedroom unit. Liking what we saw, we then sat down with Ms. Salisbury to discuss the details of purchasing a 1-bedroom unit at Villa Del Arco. Following are the contract terms we were promised if we purchased and became owners of a 1-bedroom unit during the summer season (weeks 18 - 43) for the purchase price of $16, 995.00:

1. Two 1-bedroom ocean view/pool view units for the price of one unit - second unit was called a "Gold Week"

2. Guaranteed use of 1 1-bedroom unit for two weeks each year or 2 1-bedroom units for 1 week each year.

3. As a "Gold Member/Property Owner" we would have the right to use our "Gold Week" anytime during our summer season.

4. Guaranteed stay at Villa Del Arco during our time slot or the option to use Interval International to travel elsewhere.

5. Guaranteed owner priority reservations.

6. Guaranteed owner priority upgrades to larger units if available at no additional cost.

7. Guaranteed extended stay at maintenance fee rates.

6. UVC and Interval International membership.

7. Maintenance fees not to exceed $602.00 per unit per year.

8. Complimentary resort shuttle service to and from the airport to the resort.

9. Resort use is exclusive to timeshare owners and will not be available to the open market. This was explained to ensure member use, unlike other timeshares.

All sounded wonderful to us and we entered into a contract and became timeshare owners, paying for our purchase in full.

Issues from the beginning:

Our problems began with our first attempt to stay at the property:

We wanted to use 2 units for 1 week in June 2007 and were told that because of the high demand from owners, the Villa group could not honor the 2nd unit. After a lot of complaining and run around, we were finally granted the use of the second unit. We were also informed that the complimentary shuttle service was not yet being honored and we had to rent a car for the week at a cost of $875.00 Upon arrival at the property we were put in units that faced the swamp next door (no ocean/pool view) and in the middle of very noisy construction. We complained to member services and they informed us that there was nothing they could do - the resort was sold out.

After being at the resort for 2 days and constantly going to the front desk to see about being moved, we learned from the hotel manager that the resort was not sold out and in fact units with views were available but not for "timeshare owners" - the Villa group only owned 35% of the resort and those were sold out. If we wanted to purchase units with better views we could directly from the hotel at a cost of $425.00 per night. This was clearly not acceptable and we immediately went to the member services desk where we literally made a scene. We were quickly moved into the type of units we purchased.

2008 reservation issues:

We elected to not vacation at the resort in 2008 when we were told there was no availability for 2 units - clearly a breach of contract.

2009 reservation issues:

Over a year ago we booked 2 1-bedroom units for the week of 7/12 - 7/19, 2009 - we originally wanted to vacation in June (not July) but even booking a year in advance we were told it wasn't available - so we adjusted our plans and made a reservation in July.

Shortly after two different couples we know were interested in vacationing with us and to possibly buy into the resort. We contacted member services to see about upgrading one of our units to a 2-bedroom so that we could all fit. We were told that the resort was sold out and there was nothing member services could do about an upgrade. We then called the hotel and learned that was not true and 2-bedroom units were available (again through purchase direct from the hotel) we also checked Expedia and Travelocity and sure enough there is availability. We contacted UVC and were told those units were not available to us - the Villa Group only owns 35% of the property. We then called the on-site Villa Group reservation manager, Blanca Montes, who confirmed the same. After many phone calls and threats, we were able to upgrade 1 of our units to a 2-bedroom at an additional cost of $987.00. So much for your referral program. 2 days later we saw on your Villa Group website that we could of and should of been able to upgrade that unit for only $25.00.

Then in early June we we received a call from Alaska Airlines informing us that our return flight on 7/19 was canceled and we were moved to a flight on 7/20. We immediately contacted UVC about adding an additional night for each unit and were told that we could not - the resort is sold out. Knowing this was not true (we called the hotel and looked on-line) we began making phone calls everywhere. To this day this additional night has not been resolved and we have no idea where we are staying the night of 7/19.

Class-Action Law Suit

Clearly we are not alone in being misrepresented by your company/company representatives. We were contacted recently by an attorney representing 48 other Villa Group/Villa Del Arco property owners about a class-action breach of contract law suit that will seek full purchase price refunds. We have our own file documenting everything as well as the video tape from the sales presentation.

This has become the biggest nightmare and possibly the biggest investment mistake we have ever made. We have spent numerous hours trying to work with your company and have no choice but to keep our reservation this year, but still need an additional night. We also do not feel we should have had to pay the additional $987.00 for the upgraded unit since we are bringing people who are set up to hear your sales presentation. We also do not yet know how we are getting to/from the airport to the resort - apparently your shuttle service is "still not available." (current status: we booked on own final night through a travel agent - UVC still couldn't help us)

We look forward to hearing what your/your company plans to do to rectify this situation and ask that we receive an email back within 24 hours. We would also like to inform you that our family attorney will also be in Cabo San Lucas the same week we are there to do his own investigation on our behalf. We refuse to be taken advantage of and also feel an obligation to ensure this never happens to anyone else.


Ernest and Terri Silva
Member #: 16-25063


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N  17th of Jul, 2009 by 
Agree Disagree +2 Votes
Dear Mrs. Silva,

Thank you for taking the time to bring this to our attention and we apologize for any inconvenience you may have experienced recently. We are very committed to the quality and excellence of our timeshare program and take it very seriously when a member expresses concerns such as you have done. It seems one of the key issues you have raised is concerning what you understood your membership would entitle to you in terms of accommodations. In this regard, it appears there have been some misunderstandings about the specifics of your agreement. It is extremely important to note that the terms and conditions of your membership contract specifically state that room availability at a specific resort or upgrades to an existing reservation are subject to availability. When the requested resort property or dates are not available, we make every effort to offer other suitable options to accommodate the member. In your case, we offered other resort properties that did have availability as well as other accommodations at the specific resort you requested. The rules that govern timeshare ownership have to be very specific for the program to work for all entities. We understand that can be frustrating at times, thus it is our policy to always provide options to try and accommodate our guests when this situation arises and enable both parties to arrive at a mutually beneficial outcome. We realize that you recently spoke with the President of the Club to resolve your complaint and you were able to reach a mutual understanding. The Villa Group and Universal Vacation Club values all of its guests and members. We look forward to providing you with excellent service in your upcoming trip and thank you again for reaching out to us.

Universal Vacation Club Management
A  24th of Sep, 2009 by 
Agree Disagree +1 Votes
Dear Ernest and Terri,
Thank you so much for posting your whole story. I purchased a time share in April 2009 and have the same issues. Are you thinking of getting an attorney and trying to cancel? Can you please refer me to the attorney filing the class action suit? I am tired of waiting for calls to be answered and will not battle with the Villa group for a year. I would like to join. Your information would be greatly appreciated.

A  7th of Jan, 2010 by 
Agree Disagree +3 Votes
We bought our timeshare in July 2009 and I am having the same issues. If you are planning a class action suit, I would like to join.
Unhappy in Vancouver, British Columbia.
N  10th of Jan, 2010 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
Dear all, So sorry for the delay in response to my original complaint. We did vacation at the property this summer and we did meet with the President, Club Director, and Hotel Manager where we came to a mutual resolution. To be honest, we are not going to know if they will honor their commitments until we make our next reservation, and quite frankly this past vacation with them was so exhausting that we banked our week for this year.

As for the class action law suit - apparently this is now an Attorney General office investigation as we received a letter asking for details and copies of our contract, sales presentation video tape, etc. in September 2009- which of course we provided - I'm not going to say "no" to our government.

For us, all we ever wanted and continue to want is what we believed we paid for and until we see how our next and future reservations go, we do not plan any legal action.

We wish you all the best and Happy New Year.
N  23rd of Mar, 2010 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
I am interested in filing a class action suit against the Villa group. We also felt we were taken advantage of and now we have a credit card debit of $7, 500. We were given false information and feel we enough documentation to make a claim
A  28th of Apr, 2010 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
I am definitely interested in a lawsuit against the Villa Group - I was totally taken advantage of and a former sales person has confirmed that I was! Do you have any information on how I can be part of this class action suit or other recourse?

A  18th of May, 2010 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
We also just spent only three days at the Villa de Palmar in Puerto Vallarta and were forced into attending a timeshare at the Villa de Flamingoes. After 5 hours of brutal pressure, we were conned into purchasing a timeshare. However, we were told one thing and then our salesperson gave us an every other year option instead and failed to mention that all those lovely other perks didn't come with the every other year contract. We were also told that since we were in Mexico there was no law regarding a 48 hour cancellation option. Now we find out that we had five days to cancel it. We want in on any class-action lawsuit! Please send me more information!

Glenn & Elissa Torgeson
Parents of three teens who need to go to college
N  9th of Jun, 2010 by 
Agree Disagree +1 Votes
Dear Members and interested parties, please be aware the number for the Developer Representative in Puerto Vallarta has changed. If you need to contact the Developer's Representative for any issues related to the Villa Group, you may now contact 619-940-1078 or 619-940-1079 (US Lines). We look forward to hearing from you.

Developer Representative
Puerto Vallarta Area
N  23rd of Jun, 2010 by 
Agree Disagree -1 Votes
I just spoke the Developer Representative above and he was extremely helpful in developing a resolution that we could both live with. I highly recommend those that have complaints against the Villa Group, or its selling practices to give them a call at the number above. The gentlemen I spoke with was reasonable, helping me out of the nightmare experience I had with the Villa Del Palmar sales team.
N  23rd of Jul, 2010 by 
Agree Disagree +1 Votes
Dear Members, as you can see, the Villa Group will respond to 95% of the issues that are brought to our attention. Please note that we have been in the process of changing providers for our US line during the past few weeks, however, the Developer Rep's office is always reachable through the International line 011-52-322-224-8365 or by email at amemberserv@villagroup.com.

Best Reagrds,

Developer Representative
Villa Group
A  30th of Oct, 2010 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
I'm extremely upset at myself for being dupped into purchasing a timeshare at the Villa del Arco. I will join in any sort of Class Action Lawsuit, just provide the attorney's contact info.
John Stavich/Sophia Comins
N  4th of Mar, 2011 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
What amazes me is that so many of us smart and sensible people can be dupped into buying these time shares. I thought I was smart enough that I would never let that happen to me and here I am compaining about being lied to regarding a time share I just bought at Vill Del Palmar, Flamingo, Puerto Vallarta. My sales person promised and guaranteed me that he would sell my old time share to buy this new one. But when I called the company to find out what was involved to do this I was told there was a $785 fee and no guarantees!! I'm retired and on a fixed income and this could really break the bank. I don't know where to turn or who to contact.

Diane DeFeo
N  4th of Mar, 2011 by 
Agree Disagree +1 Votes
I totally agree! I had the EXACT same experience with them. I told them SEVERAL times during the sales transaction that I could not afford this unless my old time share was sold. They assured me it would be within 30 -60 days. I was DUMB and paid the money to them and it has now been 15 months - not sold yet! After it not selling for 4 months I stopped paying for the new timeshare and I haven't heard from them since. I'm out my deposit, the $ I paid to list my old timeshare and the 4 months I paid toward the new one. I tell everyone I possibly can to avoid Villa del Palmar (all sites) completely!!!
N  20th of May, 2011 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
Count me in for the class action lawsuit. Please contact me with any and all info.
A  3rd of Jun, 2011 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
Just got back from Cancun area, and we too were persuaded into a presentation -"90 minutes". We left our hotel at 730 am, and were finally released from bondage at 2 pm. After continually saying we couldn't afford it and didn't like the location, they cornered us with the fourth salesperson. He stared me down and I felt intimidated. We consented to a "Trial Membership".

We were made to sign forms that allowed them to hassle us about payment, and waive the right to renegotiate in 5 days. And the "promise" of tickets to Isla Mujeres were rendered almost useless, as we only had 1.5 hours on the island before we had to return to be transported back.

On paper what we signed seems like a good deal, but I am disinclined to ever return because of the tactics they used.

N  4th of Jun, 2011 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
My husband and I purchased a studio time share in Nuevo Vallarta this afternoon. As with the rest of you, we were wooed by a very persuasive airport employee apon arrival to PV. We spend 5 hours at the Palmar Flamingos resort and finally were so worn down we purchased the base studio-Gold membership. We were told the membership was in foreclosure so it could be offered to us at a price of about 9 thousand us dollars. We paid roughly 2500 down. My husband and I normally make very sound business decesions, and this was very out of character for us. We have been experiencing such buyers remorse. At this point, we would like to try and get out of the contract. I read in a previous post, that you have 5 days. Is this true? If so, who do I contact to void the contracts? Has anyone had any experience booking hotels in the US? Just wondering if there are also reservation issues there...Any advice/help would be so valued.
N  10th of Jun, 2011 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
Hi, I we were ripped off by the Villa Group in Cabo San Lucas and would love to join a class action law suit against the company for false information, lies and unethical tactics of persuasion. Please contact us at djemilyfox@gmail.com.
A  3rd of Jul, 2011 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
We were swarmed by the timeshare agents at the Cabo San Lucas airport a few years ago. With the lure of the freebies they were offering to attend their timeshare presentation, we agreed to see it. While I had my doubts, my wife and son were gung-ho for it. My mistake. Once signed for a 2BR summer season, I had my doubts about the program the more I got my questions asked (which happened after my return to the U.S.). I suggested to the sales rep that we would agree to a 1BR winter season instead, as my son was nearly an adult and probably wouldn't vacation with us after that. The rep wouldn't even address that request. Feeling stuck with a lemon, we've made lemonade. We've exchanged the primary week at least 3 times: Lake Tahoe was a reasonable exchange, Gatlinburg was sub-par, Kelowna was good. One time, we exchanged to a 1BR winter in Puerto Vallarta, which was fine (more docile than Cabo, which fits us fine) other than their airport shuttle being a rip-off price-wise (you can go on your own for 1/2 of what they charge), and a visit to Nuevo Vallarta for a sales pitch where the rep insisted that I give the waiter the tip (vs. him)! I went to the pitch to see the resort and to unload on their sales practices, leaving their staff stunned that they didn't get to ring the bell (which indicates a successful sale). The rest of the time we've put it into the rental program, none of the times anywhere close to the 1.5x the sales rep told us we could get, the first time perhaps 2/3 of the maintenance fee, the other time close to break-even. I'd be happy to not have to have the maintenance fees for this timeshare hanging over my head for 25+ years and wish the developer was open to terminating our membership at no cost and no financial benefit to us. I'm not holding my breath, though, as we've experienced their lack of response when we tried to get a more-suitable program than what we got stuck with.
A  15th of Sep, 2011 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
We upgraded at a "members update" in Oct 2010. When we received our contract it was not the contract we had agreed too. In fact the contract contradicts itself in several places. That alone should make it invalid. I have tried to email member services, the developer, and anyone else I could find an email address for. I have called several different numbers and mailed letters. I have had no response from anyone. So much for caring about the members and trying to "make things right". I always thought Villa group was above these tactics--I recommend no one go to a sales representation or members update without their attorney.

N  29th of Sep, 2011 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
I found this website after receiving a call from the Villa Group claiming I had asked for information on one of their villas in Mexico back in January when I was staying with a friend who owned a timeshare in Vegas. I told the gentleman on the phone that I did not ask for any such type of information (I didn't) and I'm assuming they have to make up some sort of story in order to get around the do not call list which we are on.

Anyway, he tried to pitch me this great deal about only offering this 75% off special to VIP's on a limited basis, etc...I asked him point blank if it was to sell timeshares and at first he said that the way they get business is to invite only a select group of "VIP's" (That special word again, give me a break) each year and they get business from referrals. Then he added that they also sold timeshares. Really? What a surprise!

I explained to him that I was busy and asked for his contact information to call him back. Once off the phone I immediately did a Google search on the Villa Group, found their website and this one, of course. After reading the comments I felt very strongly that I needed to add my story to it because of this:

My husband and I attended a time share a couple of years ago in Vegas. My husband travels a lot for business and stays at a number of Hilton properties and we were sent a letter offering a free 2 night stay at their hotel. We understood we would have to attend a timeshare and at first my husband did not want to waste our time sitting through it as we had no plans of purchasing one but I persuaded him and he agreed. Before our stay we did more research on timeshares (although I did know a bit about how they worked as I am in the Real Estate industry) in order to have extra ammo, if you will, to object to any of the sales pitches presented to us. We knew what we were in for as we had spoken with friends that had purchased timeshares and had explained to us that the pitch was very convincing (Obviously, since they bought one!)

Indeed, it was-for me, anyway! As I'm sitting there listening to this woman I am picturing all of these great vacations at exotic locations and I'm actually thinking it may not be a bad idea! Then my common sense husband, who was way more prepared than I, began asking his questions on the finances such as the maintenance fees, etc. He asked the woman why would anyone spend more money to stay somewhere that they could stay at anytime they chose to and not be limited to a couple of weeks a year. And then pay all of these maintenance fees on top of that? He asked her how can you "own" something that you are so limited to and that gets re-sold over and over again throughout the year. Can you imagine how much money these companies rake in, not only for the regular hotel guests but the timeshare money as well?

The woman became extremely flustered and since she could not answer my husbands questions, actually left the room and apparently went to find someone else that could possibly sway us. A gentleman came in with her and was trying to offer us a temporary deal to which we declined and we were finally able to leave.

The main reason I wanted to comment is this: If you agree to attend a timeshare, don't think that you'll be able to "just say no" and get out without purchasing one. Do your research! Ask yourself "What specific benefits are there for me to buy a hotel room?" Your answer will more than likely be none. In the end, there are no benefits, unfortunately. You've spent a lot of your hard earned money --Say you spend $15, 000 on a timeshare with rack rates of $200 a night. How many times would you have to stay there in order to see that money back? The answer is that you will NEVER see your money back because of all of the extra fees you agreed to pay for each year!

I know these timeshares are extremely convincing, and as I said before, I have NEVER run into anyone who was happy they purchased one...unless they were kidding themselves and never did the math. If you feel that you must "own" something, buy a townhouse or condo where you have complete control over it and can rent it out etc. If you can't afford to do that, go ahead and attend a timeshare, be happy that you were able to stay someplace for cheap, or free, but had the common sense to "just say no" and walk away, with your money and your control still yours.

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