Shell Vacations ClubDeceitful Sale Tactics & Unprofessional Staff

M Review updated:

While vacationing in Kauai, Hawaii, we stopped by one of the “Activity Centers” to scope out our options for the best deals on some of the outdoor activities we wanted to do. We were told by the “Activity Center” rep that if we were willing to sit through a 90 minute Shell Vacations Club time share presentation, we would be able to receive two for one on our two selected activities. We thought this sounded like a great option for us since we wanted to learn more about time shares anyway while saving ourselves quite a bit of money on two fun activities. With our activities scheduled on separate days (per our “Activity Center” rep’s insistence) from the time share presentation, we happily left the “Activity Center” and were on our merry way. Little did we know the nightmare Shell Vacations Club time presentation/experience awaited us the next day.

Upon arriving at the Kauai Coast Resort for the time share presentation at our scheduled time (we were even early!), we were greeted by the Shell Vacations Club folks and immediately assigned a representative. Our rep promptly sat us down at a table and chatted us up about our past vacations, occupations, income (of course they want to know this immediately!), and our general habits when it comes to vacationing. The rep was nice enough at first but certainly had her eye on the target (i.e. getting us hooked on a time share at whatever cost). After about 20 minutes of chatting individually with our rep, we headed into a group presentation with the other couples who had been suckered into sitting through this in order to get the discounted activities. The text book marketing guy did a 45 minute presentation on Shell Vacations Club and pitched it hard to us through testimonials (some of which we are convinced were made up after reading so many online complaints about this company).

After the group presentation, we were reunited with our rep, who had our lunches waiting for us at the table. The clock is ticking and our 90 minute commitment has almost expired. We politely let our rep know that one of us have a scheduled commitment (the commitment was NOT one of the outdoor activities that we received the promotional discount on in exchange for attending the time share presentation) in forty-five minutes, which was pre-paid. Therefore, our rep needed to wrap up things with us soon since we were about to exceed our 90 minutes. Our rep turned on us like a switch and sharply let us know that we could NOT leave the presentation at the 90 minute mark. Furthermore, we were harshly scolded that we BOTH needed to be available for the next 4-5 hours and referred to the piece of paper we signed. In Shell’s world, this poorly drafted and confusing document committed us to the extra 5 hour period, beyond the 90 minute presentation, which time limitation was also plainly stated in this same document. We were shocked by the rep’s response and the accusatory manner in which she responded. We reiterated to her that as we understood it from the “Activity Center” rep, our only commitment was to sit through the 90 minute presentation, NOT avail ourselves to Shell Vacations Club for an additional 5 hour period. Our rep left us to go get her supervisor when she quickly realized we weren’t happy. When the supervisor arrived at the table, he had the piece of paper we signed off on in hand and proceeded to get in our face about what we had really signed off on regarding participating in the Shell Vacations Club time share presentation. He pointed to the section about “not having a scheduled activity for the next 4-5 hours following the 90 minute presentation.” Again, we understood the “activity” to mean the outdoor activities we had signed up for in exchange for the time share presentation. If we use the supervisor’s rationale for an “activity” then this could be anything from going to the bathroom to grabbing a cup of coffee….RIDCIULOUS! The supervisor was not only unprofessional and made rookie mistakes as a marketing person, but he was also accusatory and insulted our intelligence.

Even if we were interested in buying a time share with Shell Vacations Club prior to this “activity” issue, we never will now based on the rep’s and supervisor’s behavior towards us. They left a lasting bad impression with us – why would we ever want to do business with individuals who conduct themselves in this manner? They never once apologized for the misunderstanding, but rather blamed US for not freeing up essentially half of one of our vacation days to sit through their presentation. We would have NEVER signed up for this if we had known the commitment was really a 5 hour one rather than a 90 minute one. My wife ended up leaving early in order to get to her pre-paid commitment (so that we wouldn’t be charged a hefty cancellation charge for it), but I stuck around just to appease these folks and in the end our 90 minute presentation turned into an unpleasant 3 ½ hour experience. As the clock ticked on and I sat there through the remaining time, I proceeded to point out to the rep key points the rep was omitting regarding her financial calculations. This included revealing to her that I was fully aware that the so called “$90” a night she kept referencing was actually $410 a night once you add in the monthly maintenance fee and the total purchase price (over the first 10 years of ownership). These folks don’t talk numbers at all until they are well into their presentation. They are hoping (more like praying) that you get so caught up in the property itself that you won’t question their bad math and deceiving calculations.

If our experience is indicative of how Shell Vacations Club does business, then our advice to you is to RUN FAST. In the group presentation, they guy made several references to Marriott’s time share program and their inadequacies…’s really ironic that he chose to point out Marriott given that they have the best reviews of anyone amongst time share owners who have voiced their opinions online. Shell Vacations Club on the other hand holds the record for upset/disappointed/deceived time share owners who have voiced their opinions online. We think Shell Vacations Club actually has a lot to learn from Marriott. We never write complaints like this but felt that our experience put a damper on our vacation and we regret having ever signed up for it. Our advice to others is to pay the full price for those outdoor activities in Kauai before signing up for a so-called “90 minute time share presentation” with Shell Vacations Club." Something many of you probably already know, but we learned the hard way. You will be glad you spent the extra dough…well worth it to avoid the kind of negative and deceitful experience like we had. Mahalo!


  • T
      Oct 08, 2009

    Although the sales pitch is painful (and I would suggest buying timeshares from people who are liquidating their ownership for a better deal)... actually owning Shell is a great experience. We own both Marriott and Shell, and Shell by far is the more flexible of the two, but Marriott usually has nicer properties. Buying timeshares is like buying cars. If you have the money, its painless. When you try to get something for nothing, there's always the hidden catch.

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  • P
      Mar 02, 2010

    We've had similiar experience at Shell Vacation club.
    Their staff were curteous, but trainned to believe that people who attend their
    time-share presentations are idiots who can't do basic math. They try very hard to prove
    one point, they are here to save you money. When you prove they are wrong, their sale
    director would show you his true color, a hybrid form of ### / jerk.

    We strongly urge everyone to think VERY VERY carefully before buying from this company.
    They are not here to sell you a nice lifetime worth of great vacations. They are indeed here
    to rip you off. Do the math carefully, after all the fees they charge on a monthly basis on those
    timeshares, you're paying more than rack rate for your accomodation.

    They also argue that your timeshare is property ownership, and it's100% resaleable.
    Oh please, ask around, talk to time-share owners, see how many of them who just want
    to get out of it, but can't. There is a good reason why so many people rather donate their
    timeshare to charity than to own it. Who wants to pay never-ending HOA, club fee?
    As for the ownership aspect, many technical and legal questions remains blur and unclear.
    Their timeshare presentations only, seriously only discuss advantages of owning it, they would
    avoid at all cost to discuss the negative aspects. Even if you raise those questions, none will be

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  • A
      Mar 10, 2010

    As a Shell owner I can honstly say I've never in 4 years experienced anything close to what these people experienced and we go to our updates every 6 months. The "contract" says no where that you must set aside 4 -5 hours for the presentation, the sales folks are presistant like most sales people can be, but are as honest as can be. I say it is the buyers responsiblility to do their homework and understand what it is they are buying. Say "no" if its not for you, start with an Explorer package and make sure it is for you. But don't blame the selling staff because you failed to hold to your guns and all you really wanted was the free stuff. Be honest, would they (or the company you work for) give away free things if they didn't expect the larger percentage of people to buy? No, that would NOT be very good business sense and Shell like your company would not be in business very long just handing out freebies. They have a sales staff that is SELLING you, hence the name SALES!

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  • G
      Feb 23, 2011

    Start a boycott, email all your friends, family, associates, tell you story, post it on social networking sights, and ask to "pass it on" to as many people as possible.

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