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