On Nov 27th 2010, I was lied to by Wyndham Vacation Resorts. The Following is an account of how I came to be there in the first place, and what I have found out since.
My Mother has a Timeshare with RCI and has been a timeshare holder for many over 20 years. I recall how from time to time she would have a week of time that would not be able to use, due to mitigating circumstances. She would then try to find people who would desire to use the timeshare usually starting with family first. I had no idea what time share really was all about, and was pretty busy in my life so I never had any dealings with time share, until November of 2006. She had a block of time that we used to go to Hogshead NC. This was a nice, quiet vacation by the beach on a small piece of condo property. Since it was the offseason, there were very few people around. Further, we didn't have anyone trying to push sales on us at all. So we thought that this was what a timeshare was like.
In November of 2010, all of that changed completely! Once again my mother had a spot that would go to waste if she didn't use it, so my wife and I decided we would take it and have a late year vacation, just like 2006. We searched around for a place to go and decided to go to Myrtle Beach SC, and chose Wyndham Resorts for our room.
When we arrived, I checked in and gave the essential information for the room. We were early so we had to wait for the room to be readied. After traveling 14 hours straight, all I wanted to do was sleep, so we slept in the car until they called to let me know the room was ready. Finally the time came, and our rooms were ready. At the front desk I was sent across the room to another desk where I was given a folder and asked what day would be best for my "˜mandatory member update'. I had no idea what that was so I was given a quick overview about a presentation I had to attend or else my card would be charged $77 (The value amount of the retail gift they would give me for attending). I'll come back to that later. I just got my room and didn't know what this was about, but at the same time I didn't want to be charged for anything. So I gave them a date of the 27th. What that turned out to be (ON PAPER) was a 90 (Ninety) Minute appointment for members to be updated. I am not a member, but I was told I had to go in order not to be charged.
The morning of Saturday November 27th 2010 arrived, and my wife and I went to a special room for this event where we saw a lot of other couples waiting around, while others were sitting with staff members at somewhat secluded tables. After about 20 minutes of waiting, our names were called on and we found ourselves being introduced to a Wyndham CSR named Tina Westbrook, a short, thin blonde who would be talking to us about the great investment of timeshare.
Tina began by telling us about herself. She's Married to Husband Ivan, and has a son – Tyler and and pet named Tiki. She has been with Wyndham for a number of years, and thanks God everyday for the chance to help people invest in their future through Wyndham. She pulled out a PC tablet and showed us some photos of her family and friends, along with photos of various vacations they have gone on.
She then asked some questions about our background; how long we known each other, when we met, how long we've been married and, finally, how we came to vacation at Wyndham. When she found out that our children were with us she took us for a journey to find them and give us a tour. In retrospect, I can see that it was a ploy to move our emotions, because they later became part of the sales pitch.
We rounded up the children (they had been waiting in the room for this ninety minute meeting to be over. At this time we were well past 12 o'clock) and head for the elevator. We entered the elevator and went to one of the highest floors in the building. On the way Tina carried on some more small talk with the kids. When the elevator opened, Tina took us to one of the doors in the far left corner facing the ocean. She opened the door and showed us a room fit for a King. It had 3 large bedrooms, a large kitchen area, a large dining area, large TV, large view master bathroom, and on and on. I can say this much – it was pretty amazing – especially the view of the ocean through a glass wall of a window.
Naturally, the kids were thrilled, and so were my wife and I.
We were told this was what is available to the members of Wyndham. I remember asking if we could be moved to that room if we joined. Tina said she'd look into it. After about 5 minutes of looking around we returned downstairs to the same meeting room where Tina went into all the details of becoming a member of Wyndham. She asked if I was deeded on my mother's RCI timeshare. I told her I might be but have no way of knowing. She then went on to tell us how limited RCI was in comparison to Wyndham, and that Wyndham was a much better investment by ownership because it's going up in value, it's a tax write-off and the opportunity to use it is broader on many levels.
For instance, if I had a friend who was going on vacation at a certain place hosted by Wyndham, I could get the vacation at a better rate, offer a lower price to my friend, then keep the difference as profit. I remember how they asked how much it cost us to take our kids to Disney world, and how much money we spend on vacations each year. That way they show it to you on paper it all seems to make sense, but what they are not telling you is the truth.
Lie number 1) Tina said that my investment in Wyndham Timeshare is a good thing for my taxes as a deduction or write-off. Timeshare is not a tax write-off. I had to find this out the hard way on my first year. Due to the way that the timeshare is purchased, it is not a tax deduction or write-off! Statements otherwise are states of fraud!!!
As time went on, and on, the lies got thicker – but at a pace that the deceit could not easily be detected. Tina went on to tell us about how the so-called Perks program works. I'm sure it may be a "˜Perk' but not for the customer. Everything was based on buying into the Wyndham Vacation Resorts and being an owner. At one point she implied an angle that really "˜sweetened' the deal. She said that they have to be sure that if we buy we do so with the honest intent of being owners and not to turn around and sell it off at a higher profit. Then she showed us the supposed reason why…Pulling out the PC tablet again she showed us a clip of Jim Cramer's Mad Money. On this particular episode he speaks of how Wyndham World Wide is a good investment to make. This leads us to…
Lie Number 2) When Tina showed us that clip I did not realize that it was about investing on the Stock Exchange. This cleaver little play lead us to believe that as a so-called investment, we could see some return on the purchase. This is deceitful, because there is no way I can see REAL profit ($$$) from being an owner. Let me give you a scenario;
If I send a friend on a vacation resort using my points (what little have, mind you) what is my return? In fact, the moment they get to said resort, Wyndham would put them under pressure to buy – thus taking any future profit away from me. If that isn't true then, why does Wyndham keep calling me to buy a package that includes bringing a friend who must meet certain criteria to come along with me? Clearly, because they are looking for referral business buy selling packages to owners, beyond what they already have been duped into, and brining someone else along to scam. What's more is I have no doubt in my mind that they would even try to get me to "upgrade my ownership" once I arrived, by forcing me to come to a meeting. How's that for killing three birds with one stone. First, one for me to buy the package for a friend, second one for the friend, and another to try and get me to buy yet even more.
Sadly, by this point it was looking pretty good, however I had to be real about this whole thing. My job, at that time, was down to 32 hours a week due to lack of business. This "investment" sounded like it could be something to help out if I moved things around. After all, everyone needs a vacation, right? Paying this off would not be easy if the company I worked for goes under.
Tina pulled the sympathy card and played it well. Talking up the "investment" angle as if there was real money I could make by letting others pay it off through setting up vacations using my points. Mind you at this time we had no idea how the point system really worked. We only saw what they wanted us to see, and they made the illusion look very real. Still I wasn't sure I could do this with things the way they were. That's when the greatest lie of them all came out.
Lie Number 3) "If you're ever in a position that you want to sell your timeshare, give Wyndham the chance to buy it back first. Wyndham has a program in place for that!" At that point it was the nail in the coffin for us. Here was the vacation concept beyond anything I had ever heard, complete with a "˜buyback program'!
The truth: Wyndham has no buyback program. They have a series of numbers and people in place to throw you around like a lit stick of dynamite. If this was told to me from the beginning I would not – I REPEAT – I WOULD NOT HAVE PURCHASED THIS PRODUCT.
Still, not sure we wanted to invest; Tina went and got one of her supervisors. By the way, remember the ninety minute appointment? It started at 9am and it's now 3:45. The kids are angry, hungry, bored and brooding. Tina returns with a supervisor whose name I do not recall, but my wife pointed out that he looked like Forrest Gump, so I'll refer to him that way. Forrest had looked at all the financial work that Tina had worked up to this point, and then asked us what we thought of every so far, step by step. Then he asked what was in the way of becoming a Wyndham Owner. I repeated the same thing to Forrest. Tina chimed in that we were a great couple with two kids who definitely deserves an investment like this for them and their kids.
Forrest did some writing and changed the price of the original offer from $18,500 to $14,500. With some more words he made the monthly payment within our "˜comfort zone'. The day was long…The kids were suffering…I had had enough and wanted to be done with this. I still wasn't feeling 100% on this. Tina then played her final card…The God Card…
She said, "˜God wants you to enjoy life and be able to go to nice places. Don't you think your family is worth it, too? Becoming an owner to Wyndham is the best way to go, and remember if something happens Wyndham will be there to take care of you with that program I was telling you about.'
At this point Forrest piped in and said, "I understand the fear about your job, but at least with this investment you can get ahead of things if it gets bad. Either you can do it, or don't. But you'll be missing out. It's that simple." From there onward he was pretty quiet. My wife and I decided to sign up. After all, they will buy it back if I lose my job.
After all that, another woman was called in – Jayne Tawson. It was her job to write up the paperwork and seal the deal. As she produced the essential papers and the signing started she dropped a bomb on us…Maintenance fees. With all the talking that Tina and Forrest did they never mentioned Maintenance fees. This is an additional $41 to the monthly payment. Further, they don't tell you that this fee never stops – EVER!!! And it has a bad habit of slowly increasing over time. It's now $42 and some change. Tina said that it would be a great investment for my kids – Why would I want them to inherit a payment that never ends on a product you cannot truly own? They will never be part of this garbage!
As it all turned out we found ourselves as owners of Wyndham Timeshare. At this time I did not know what I was in for. In truth I would not know for another (1) year.
October 2011, my wife and I decided to go on vacation using our VIP points. It didn't take long for us to decide to return to the same place again. After all, the place really is nice to stay at, the beach is beautiful, and LOADS of things to do in the area, and the whole family loved the place. As new owners we were free to come and go as we pleased without having to go through any of that stuff we went through last time. We had a stake in the place now, right?
Wrong! Upon arrival it was almost exactly the same thing. Still, I wasn't completely up to full understanding on the real deal of this place. I had been somewhat fortune because the company I was working for had brought up sales and we were back to full time hours. So a nice vacation was what I needed. As it turns out, this time the sales pitch was a lie to my face – again.
Jeff Michael was our presenter and told us a few "˜new things' about Wyndham and the point system, none of which now matters to me. Craig Riccioni was our CRS who sat us down and presented a package upgrade. Still under the guise of lies I was a listening with interest. The package upgrade appeared to be good, and there was always the buyback program, so again how could I go wrong. Craig did the numbers but I couldn't see myself breaking my bank, so he had Leanne Barkley "Momma" Yarborough came in to sweeten the deal. Now before she came in there was a few back and forth moments that Craig would leave the table to get information and our credit history. I'm not afraid to tell you that I am well aware that our credit isn't great. However, he came back and told us our credit was "˜golden'. My wife and I looked at each other as if to say "WHAT?" We both know our credit is nothing near "˜golden'. When he laid the paper on the table as he spoke, I could see the credit score. It was under 650. I ask you…Is that golden? I was upset beyond word. For the first time I could see that I had been lied to, but didn't let it show. Instead I went with all the play and signed the paper work, with the intent of getting the freebies, and then cutting this whole program loose. We did just so. Five days later we canceled that particular contract. I figure what we had was enough.
Sometime later, I lost my job, and the bills started to pile up. I still had Tina Westbrook's number and decided to text her for help, as she had been the one to stay in touch with us by cards, & texts from time to time. When she texted me back I was floored beyond words. She told me that she no longer works for Wyndham and that Wyndham has no buyback program. I don't have the words to explain what this did to me. Fraud, deceptive practices, scams and lies, that's what Wyndham is, and based on what happened to us there is no question that we must be released from this timeshare contract, with certain monies recuperated. Now is my time to fight back and tell the world what they did to me, and countless others with more still to come. Do not by any means buy Wyndham timeshare. They are getting rich off of the sweat of your back and the green in your bank. Enjoy your life at your pace without the threat of a payment that won't go away lingering over your head.
My name is Gene Patrick and I approve this message.
Review about: Wyndham Hotels And Resorts Vacation Package.