Royal Holiday Club20/20 report reveals truth!

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If you are scammed watch this. This was on 20/20.

If your bank does not refund your money sue, this clearly shows anyone signing was a victim of fraud. Submit the transcript of program as proof:

Vacations for Life: Too Good to Be True?
Royal Holiday Vacation Club Subject of Numerous Customer Complaints
April 11, 2008
If you think buying a timeshare in Mexico sounds like more trouble than it's worth, the Royal Holiday Vacation Club has a deal for you. It offers something completely different -- let's call it the un-timeshare.

A promotional video produced by the company says, "Welcome to the exciting world of Royal Holiday … a great way to have luxury vacations without breaking the bank."

Based in Mexico, Royal Holiday is doing a booming business signing up vacationers at busy sales offices around the Caribbean. It isn't selling property; it's selling points and promises. A typical member pays roughly $11, 000 to join the club, plus a yearly fee of about $465. For that, a member gets points that the club says can be used to book luxury vacations.

Royal Holiday calls its Vacations for Life plan an alternative to the complaint-riddled timeshare business. But a "20/20" hidden camera investigation inside the club's sales operation in Cancun raised troubling questions about how Royal Holiday sells memberships and delivers on its promises. According to angry complaints placed both in the United States and in Mexico, hundreds upon hundreds of the club's members wish they weren't.

"We love to travel, " says Natasha Rajtar of Albany, N.Y., who signed up with her husband, Jason. "And we thought how cool over the next 30 years to be able to travel the world with our children."

A Royal Holiday promotional video says, "Today we can share a secret with you, one that guarantees luxury vacations in first class hotels around the world."

What is Royal Holiday's real "secret"?

"20/20" interviewed a cross-section of the growing number of members who say Royal Holiday misled them about how the club operates, and the availability of vacations they'd want. They say the only thing royal about their membership was the way they were ripped off.

John and Robin Chomko, who are from the St Louis area, joined in the Dominican Republic in 2006. "They'll tell you anything, " John says of the Royal Holiday salespeople. "They'll lie, I mean, they lied completely to us."

Royal Holiday says 97 percent of its approximately 65, 000 members never complain. But Mexico's consumer protection agency, Procuraduria Federal del Consumidor, or Profeco, says Royal Holiday has 1, 800 complaints. Asked to comment, Royal Holiday referred us to its Mexico City lawyer, Agustin Garcia. We pointed out to Garcia that in 2005, Royal Holiday had 282 complaints; 506 complaints in 2006 and 761 complaints in 2007. A short time after our interview, Royal Holiday provided the following written statement:

"Royal Holiday Club is fully committed to providing a best-in-class vacation experience to all our members. While the kind of complaints reported by '20/20' have come from only a small percentage of our customers, we take these issues very seriously and are working aggressively to address them. Building on our 25 years of experience, we are undertaking a comprehensive effort to improve the quality of our services and increase customer satisfaction."

The Federal Trade Commission says the travel, vacations and timeshare industry was in its top 10 complaint categories in 2007. And it says complaints about Royal Holiday are also piling up at the Better Business Bureau of South East Florida and the Caribbean, located in West Palm Beach, Fla. Better Business Bureau Senior Vice President Carol Venello read from a stack of complaints for things like "high pressure sales tactics that are absolute lies" and "no destinations ever available, no matter how far in advance they called."

Venello says the pattern is members reporting high-pressure sales, misrepresentation and failure to disclose conditions of the offer. "What they are alleging is that they are being pressured into signing, " she says. "That the product or the vacation is misrepresented as to how they can use it, when they can use it, hotels that are available."

The Better Business Bureau gives Royal Holiday its lowest rating, a mark understandable in Spanish or English: an F. Royal Holiday's lawyer Garcia acknowledges to ABC News' Jim Avila that "F's not good, even in elementary school." With that kind of complaint record... how do the salespeople get tourists to bite? Long of West Virginia says, "They are good. I will give them that. They are good."

It starts at the airport and follows potential buyers across Cancun. When "20/20" traveled to Cancun in January, producers found a Royal Holiday sales presentation with offers of free meals, a spa day and other enticements at the airport. After accepting the offer of a free breakfast at the Hyatt Cancun Caribe hotel, a producer asked a Royal Holiday worker whether the sales presentation would include high-pressure tactics or hard selling. The employee said emphatically no.

But "20/20" producers posing as tourists were repeatedly solicited by Royal Holiday representatives bearing gifts. During the first cup of coffee at breakfast, the saleswoman -- who sat right down at the table to eat with the producers -- began serving a classic high-pressure technique: the limited time offer. "If you join the club today, you have incentives, only today, " she said. "If you wanted to come back tomorrow we cannot."

Members had warned of a luxury suite switcheroo. Doug and Karin LaClair say the beautiful suite they were shown before they joined in the Bahamas in 2003 is not what they got after they paid. "It was just a regular room, " Doug says. "It was just a regular Motel 6 kind of room, " agrees Karin. Sure enough, down in Cancun, the saleswoman showed our undercover producers a beautiful ocean-front presidential suite at the Hyatt. The truth is, an average Royal Holiday member would have to spend nearly their entire year's points to stay here for just one night on a weekend in high season. But again and again the saleswoman assured us that the suite was standard for Royal Holiday members. When a producer asked, "Are all your rooms this nice, are all these suites this nice?"

"Well I think they are nicer!" replied the saleswoman.

Royal Holiday's lawyer says members must read their agreement and the operating rules, and remember -- this is key -- nothing the salesperson says really matters. But at least until late last year, that advice may have been less helpful than it sounds because even those who read their contract might have been fooled.

For example, in Mexico, a buyer can cancel a timeshare or vacation club contract for any reason within five days. That's the Mexican law. But that's not what a Royal Holiday contract signed in 2006 and obtained by "20/20" said. That contract not only made no mention of the right to cancel within five days, it actually declared, "This agreement cannot be canceled by either party" and "this agreement, for which there is no reconsideration period … "

We asked Garcia whether he found that misleading and why the contract would include those untrue statements. He said, "No, I cannot think … why. … " Asked if it bothered him, Garcia said, "well, yes."

The company later told "20/20" that until late last year Mexican law did not require it to disclose customers' right to cancel, so it didn't. Royal Holiday is now required by law to disclose the five-day cancellation plan, and they say they have changed their contracts accordingly.

In Cancun, the sales presentation we were told would last just 90 minutes dragged on for more than three hours. Breakfast was followed by an open bar. But even after a couple of cocktails, our producers turned down a $70, 000 membership. A new saleswoman took over, and cut the price in half. The producers said no again, so the tag team continued with yet another saleswoman, the third.

But perhaps the most incredible claim we heard all day was the promise that our entire purchase price would be invested in a Swiss bank, that would return every cent to us in 30 years. Even Royal Holiday's lawyer said he never heard that one. Later, Royal Holiday explained that it offers an option to invest a small part of the purchase price with a company in the British Virgin Islands and, if the investment pays off, 30 years later customers could get their money back.

But while your money may be traveling to exotic locations, most of the would-be world travelers we interviewed said they have gone nowhere. "We expected to do a really cool thing for our family, " New Yorker Rajtar said. "We thought that we were doing something that would enrich our lives, and it's done nothing but the opposite."

After "20/20" began investigating, Royal Holiday refunded the money most of the members we interviewed, and released them from their contracts.

How can your credit card company refuse a claim that you were a victim of fraud now you have proof.


  • Ma
    Mary Hunter Dixon Sep 15, 2015
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    My sister and I joined Royal-Holiday in 2003 or 2004 and it has been a nightmare. We have used the club a few times and the experience was not good. We have booked for one location and was booked in another location. Any locations that may be popular are always booked up regardless when you attempt to book. Nothing works regardless of how or when you try to book. We will not be paying anymore maintenance fees! If there is a class action suite, we will be joining it. We need to cancel this contract IMMEDIATELY!!! Please contact me by email at: [email protected] Thank you.

    0 Votes
  • Bt
    BTRFLY Jul 07, 2011

    We have had very frustrating experiences with Royal, the employees in reservations lie to you. You book something and get to your destination and do not get what you expect. This is my third year in a row that I have been lied to, I have a vacation coming up and we booked for 4 people and after I spent over $4000. in plane fare they have told me the room can only hold 2 people. What do I do? Is there a lawyer willing to take this claim on? I want my money back, so that I can buy with a US company... NOTHING LIKE THE USA! Someone please contact me at [email protected]

    0 Votes
  • Sa
    SandyLandy Aug 04, 2010

    Unfortunately, I too, was duped... Extreme stress at work and depression forced me to run off to the Bahamas for a quick mental health getaway... I had never been to the Bahamas and knew no one there. The "beach front" hotel was horrible, the beach was dirty, and one day into my 4 day getaway, I found myself so bored to death that I succumbed to the promise of lunch and conversation at one of RHC's presentations.

    I have attended timeshare presentations before, but I was no match for the slick talkers I would meet at the Comfort Suites on Paradise Island. The 90 minute presentation turned into an all day effort to get me to sign. As stated by other complainants, they plied me with the promise of food and drink. I was so hungry near the end, I would have signed anything to get a bite to eat! I was practically held hostage on Paradise Island until I signed. I was staying in Nassau and was pretty sure that if I DIDN'T sign, I would be left to fend for myself. They even acted like we were old friends. They ran all their games on me. I'm pretty stubborn, but they somehow managed to break me down...

    I signed, came home and started to research the company. That's when I made the horrible discovery that I was a victim of fraud. Unfortunately, the 7 day cancellation period had passed. If RHC was truly a reputable company, the cancellation period would be longer than that! I disputed the charge with Citibank and they removed it, but then put it back on because RHC faxed them a copy of the credit card slip. If that slip could talk, what stories it would tell! I am STILL disputing it!

    Like many others here, I want out! How do you start a class action suit? We definitely need one! Anyone who wishes to do so can email me at [email protected] Thanks for reading my complaint!

    0 Votes
  • Da
    david edelman Nov 25, 2008
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    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I did not get 5 day notice. After signing hasty papers they thyen send theirrules and regs to your detriment and not advised before.

    Is there a class action? Can they be brought into NY court?

    Would appreciate your thoughts.

    0 Votes
  • Ve
    Vermonters Jul 21, 2008

    Everything said in the complaint is oh so true. They told us we would get our money back after 30 years but forgot to tell us we had to send in a voucher within the prescribed time for it to take affect. They also told us that we could stay for free for up to 5 years at the resort that we signed at. All we would pay would be $48.00 per day each for the all-inclusive fee. We called shortly after we returned home and found out that the fee was $78.00 each. Also, there is nothing available unless you plan way in advance and when you try to plan ahead, they tell you it's too far ahead. The package is not even worth the $652.00 per year maintanence fee because you don't get $652.00 value in vacation travel. They also told us we would get a $1200.00 travel voucher to anywhere we wanted to go. We have tried in vain to get that money. All in all, it's just a total scam not worth a red cent. I must say that Mexicans make very good liars.

    0 Votes
  • Su
    suzanne albert Jul 19, 2008
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    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    Please help does anyone know how to get out of this ludicris scam called the rhc I have been paying these ###s since 2005 my monthly payments but yet have not been able to go anywhere, no availibility anytime, anywhere they say to call in advance but when you call in advance its to early to see what is availible and you cant book it in advance.I dont know how this is legal and I think the hotels should be held resposible for letting them hold their meetings there and parade around the hotel with their nonsense. I want out of this contract does anyone have any ideas and I havent paid my maintenance fee yet can it go on my credit? Also I read above 20/20 did a show on them and interviewed members and rhc gave them there money back and they got out of their contracts does anyone have any info or anything to help me with this suzanne long island ny email :[email protected]

    0 Votes
  • Ca
    C A Jun 02, 2008
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    Hi to all!! I'm from Mexico, and also have an horror story from RHC.
    I live in Matamoros, Mexico across the border from Brownsville, TX and in my case the people from RH contact people trough credit card usage and contact you to your home phone inviting you to a meal and a complementary week on a beach resort of you choice.

    After few hours of heavy brain wash of convincing, you finally sign the contract just to find out that all that you've heard previously is a lie.

    One item on the Mexican contract (I don't know if the English one is the same) is that there only two ways that the contract can be revoked:
    1. During the first five working days returning all the information received from them, and sending a letter asking for the cancellation to the local office, to the legal representant and to Mexico city.
    2. Only when the condemned I mean the client, fails to pay monthly/yearly the payments and the company has all the right to cancel the contract and KEEP all the money already spent.

    Of course I've tried the first option traveling to Monterrey, Mexico (the nearest city with RH Offices) and as you can guess they refuse to cancel the contract at that time telling me that it has to be checked first...

    By now I escalated the issue with profeco, waiting to fix this issue up, I'm sure that many persons are victims of this kind of ripoffs and the only thing that we can do in a future is be more careful and tell all our friends/family not to fall with this kind of fraud

    0 Votes
  • Co
    Concetta and Robert A Baker May 29, 2008
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I cancelled by Royal Holiday within the 5 days of signing their contract.

    I am still being harrassed by them, by phone and now from a collection agency, Concord Serving Corp.

    I have sent e-mails to US Ebassay, Profeco and recently to Lulu Sanchez who represents Royal Holiday Club.

    Lulu asked for all my documentation, e-mails to their legal dept, etc which I had submitted.

    As far as we are concerned, they are a scam and continue to harrass us.

    0 Votes
  • Ja
    Jack Wright Apr 25, 2008
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I have an unauthorized charge against my checking account as a result of paying yearly dues online. What can be done??

    0 Votes

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