Unlimited Vacation Club — canadian members requesting guidance after paying $12,000 cdn for uvc membership and receiving no help or discounts.
Date of Incident: Ongoing since we joined Oct 2016.
Client Name & Number: Rick Morris [& Missy Morris (Dingman)] DA1-000862
Description of Incident:
We have been looking to book a trip for the past 11 days (we are running out of time, as my husband starts work April 3rd 2017). We joined UVC in October 2016 and this is our first attempt at utilizing our membership and booking a trip. We've spent $113, 600 at your resort chain in 2 months (October & November 2016) as we were recently married at the Dreams Costa Rica resort. We went on a 2-week research trip ($6, 600 CDN), a 2-week wedding trip ($10, 000 CDN) we spent over $10, 000 CDN on our actual wedding, we brought 22 people to the resort for a week (approx. $75, 000 CDN) and also joined the Unlimited Vacation Club ($12, 000 CDN) AFTER the wedding & research trip had already been booked and paid for and were told nothing could be retro-activated or offered as Members to UVC. As Canadians, we are not receiving any help in utilizing this membership, booking a trip, etc. Everything that was "sold" to us in the presentation, is not what is happening now. Shawn Scruggs was the UVC Rep that sold us the membership. Here are some specific details that we are dealing with and extremely frustrated with:
- "Call one number and everything is organized for you".
- Since we are Canadian we are now being told we can only book the resort through AMI Resorts and we have to contact Lifestyles for our flights.
- "Find any package cheaper in CDN dollars and we will price match it, plus give a 25% discount".
- I found 3 packages that were MUCH cheaper than what we were offered. We were told "a price match is not available in our system".
- Then we called someone else at AMI and spoke to Manuela. She gave us sites to look up for price matches (Sunwing, Signature, etc) and said to send her the information we found and she would price match it by 25%. After 3 hours of research on our end, we sent in the info and were told the sites SHE TOLD US TO USE were not eligible for a price match.
- We asked to speak to someone (a supervisor, etc.) that could help us utilize our membership as Canadians (that we paid $12, 000 for) to actually find the discount we were promised and sold at the original presentation. No one was available at the time as they were dealing with another client and she told us someone would call us back immediately. Five hours later and we still haven't received a call back.
- The UVC Rep that sold us this membership (Shawn Scruggs) showed us a "last minute vacation" website where resorts post rooms they need filled for cheap so they don't go unused. We have contacted Shawn, as well as AMI Resorts, RCI and Lifestyles (every time we spoke to someone, they told us to contact someone else) and no one seems to know anything about this website. We have sent Shawn numerous emails and he has not returned any of them. When we first signed up he told us to contact him any time with questions or for guidance. We have not heard from him once.
- This is the least of our problems at this point- but we were told we would receive an RCI catalog when we returned from our first vacation to Dreams Costa Rica Oct 2016, to help us utilize our membership. He said, it usually takes a week to receive by mail. We never received anything. We went back for our wedding (4 weeks later) and visited Shawn and told him we still hadn't received it. He said, it would definitely be there when we returned, as sometimes it can take as long as a month. It's now March 11, 2017 and we still haven't received it. We called RCI and they don't know anything about an “RCI catalog:”.
- Full refund of $12, 000 CDN (as we paid this in full and have received nothing from the membership except a lot of lies, headaches, hours of useless work on our part and no outcome or reward so far). And being 6 days away from desired departure, still no vacation booked.
- Someone that is actually willing to speak with us and help us navigate this “discount membership” as Canadians and help us book a trip for an actual discounted price and make the $12, 000 CDN we spent worth something.
We had recommended a number of people to visit the Dreams resort in Costa Rica (including the 22 guests we brought for our wedding) and due to the poor service and treatment we have received as UVC members, we have not recommended a single person to take the presentation and in fact have detoured every single one of them from going to the presentation and signing up. Unless we finally see a worth in it, we will encourage everyone to avoid becoming a member of what we consider to be a scam. Because right now, that is what it looks like and has been for us.
We are ready to avoid the entire resort chain (we travel once or twice every year). We recommend a lot of places to co-workers, as we work in the Tv & Film industry and work with a lot of actors & colleagues that can afford & require extravagant, frequent trips). We have a large following with social media and have a lot of access to get our story out. I am celiac (a severe allergy to wheat and gluten) and had been recommending the resort chain to everyone with this disease because I was treated so well. Until recently, I have now been recommending the Karisma resorts that also specialize in this allergy, because I refuse to recommend AMI Resorts at this point. We have even had a few colleagues reach out to us about wanting to do a destination wedding and are looking for advice. We already told 3 different couples to avoid giving their money to AMI Resorts and have had no problem sharing our disastrous wedding experience and ongoing problems with the UVC membership with them (a hurricane hit the day of our scheduled wedding and it was a complete disaster since we were never given a rehearsal, etc. More details available upon request). We have been sharing our experience with everyone that has asked and are ready to expand and reach out to every and all social media outlets. Because let’s be honest, $113, 600 is a LOT of money to be given zero help or recognition in return. Would you pay a large amount of your savings in confidence only to receive NOTHING in return? I think not.
At this point, I have found much cheaper trips on my own (to Secrets, etc) using sites I used to travel with and was extremely happy with (Sunwing, Trip Central, etc). I have already reached out to a lawyer that is interested in our story and helping out Canadians that have been taken advantage of when traveling abroad. I would much rather resolve this issue on our own, as we cannot say enough great things about the staff of the Dreams Costa Rica resort team (not including the UVC team). The four weeks we spent there, we became very fond of a lot of the staff and them of us. We would love to go back to see our new friends and most of our wedding guests have expressed that as well. We originally all planned to go back for our anniversary (Nov 2017 - us and at least 16 of our guests), but since filling everyone in on our issues, none of us will be returning until we see a valid solution.
We will also be contacting the General Manager/Owner of the Dreams Costa Rica resort directly, so they are aware of how their clientele are being negligently treated and affected by the “Unlimited Vacation Club discount membership”.
Thank you in advance for your time, we look forward to hearing from you.
Missy Morris (Dingman) and Rick Morris