The complaint has been investigated and
resolved to the customer's satisfactionResolved Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Club Membership — misleading and false advertising
resolved to the customer's satisfaction
Here is our story: we were on vacation when one of the LHVC representatives, Alfonzo, cornered us on the morning of July 2, 2013 while sitting by a pool. He was coming to remind us that we had a tour set up for 10 a.m. that morning. Despite our telling him that I had been sick overnight and was not in condition to discuss any business transaction, Alfonzo was very pushy and would not let us cancel the appointment. After meeting our sale representative, James Salmazor, we spend the next seven hours visiting different places on the compound while been wined and dined every step of the way and promised all sort of specials, such as an helicopter ride, the possibility to move to a private villa if we signed the contract that day, limo ride to the airport and all the drinks we wanted. During the presentation, we made it known that we already had two timeshare properties. James told us that was not a problem; they would transfer the two properties to LHVC. We were skeptical that that was true and told James that we really were not interested in getting involved with another timeshare/vacation club. James was failing the sale pitch as we pushed back so he went inside to get a supervisor. The supervisor did not give us a business card so we do not recall his name. The supervisor repeated several times that LHVC was a great investment that timeshares are a thing of the past, that our family of four could travel all the times in different places and whenever we wanted without limits. He then gave us a beautiful book with wonderful pictures of the Punta Cana resorts and mentioned that every time we travel that would be the type of resort in which we could stay. Again, we expressed concern because we have a daughter who is college-bound and we need to be careful with our finances so that we could pay for her college tuition. The supervisor reassured us that there wasn’t any risk because we could sell the membership back if we were not satisfied, no questions asked. In the meantime, James, our representative, kept bringing drinks and food to the table for us to consume. The supervisor went back to his office and gave us a quote for our two other time-share properties mentioned above and told us that, with those two discounts, the total (additional) cost to join would be $54, 000.00. We choked at the number and told him that that was still too high and that we were not interested. At that point, the supervisor told us that he would reimburse us our airline tickets for the trip that took us to the DR in the first place, for a total of $6, 000.00. We again told him we needed time to review all the paperwork but he told us that the offer was only good while we were there and that we had to make a decision right them and there. We can’t emphasize enough about the pressure that they put us under. We never had a chance to read the Rules of Occupancy because they were never handed out to us. We just found out this past week (from Ms. Skinner via email) that the Rules of Occupancy were on a CD tacked in the pocket of a folder that they gave us after we signed the contract. These are deceiving sales tactics to prey on tourists. Upon our return to the States, we immediately started working with LHVC to transfer our two time-share properties. The first transfer went through in few weeks. The second transfer turned into a seven-month ordeal which is not over yet. We got in touch with our timeshare upon our return from DR the second week of July 2012; it took seven months to finally receive the letter with the first right of refusal so that we could transfer the property to LHVC. [Apparently, LHVC neglected to tell us that Westgate Resorts is very hard to deal with when it comes to transfer or sale, something that would have helped us decide against purchasing the LHVC contract.] During the seven months, LHVC never missed an opportunity to ask if they could remove the time-share property from our contract, that would relieve them of any obligation and place the burden on us as we would have to continue pay the maintenance fee . We kept replying no because, as we had explained during the sale presentation back in July, the LHVC purchase was contingent on the sale/transfer of the two time-share properties. This was the first red flag that things weren’t as good as the presentation claimed.
The second red flag occurred in early January 2013 when we started planning our vacation for the summer. We got in touch with LHVC and requested a list of the other resorts (“sister resorts”). After reviewing the list, it was clear to us that the quality of the “sister resorts” was, at best, subpar to the resort we stayed in Punta Cana. After several communications back and forth via email with the LHVC group that handles reservations for the sister resorts, it became quite obvious that we were not going to be able to go to our selected destination when we wanted and in a reasonable resort. We then contacted RCI, the company that LHVC signed us with to check their inventory and possible trading our place in the Dominican Republic. Once again, there was nothing available for us and a considerable cost was involved if we traded our LHVC, once again the promise that the trade was going to be one for one, proved to be incorrect. We ended up making our summer reservations through a travel agency and paid extra money since we could not use our new LHVC membership benefits.
We became concerned that LHVC was not going to be what they promised so we started asking questions to the customer service representatives that we had been assigned; Mr. Vance Paul, Ms. Bally Skinner and Mr. Nicholas Adderledy. Their “customer service” was to tell us that we are bound by the contract and there is nothing that we can do. We are seeking assistance to help make this working right and maybe help stop this unfair trade practices. We would like to have our membership cancelled and get our money back.