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Caveat Emptor- Interval International

goldenfleece

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Just a heads-up concerning serious service issues at Interval. I recently re-joined after a few years away, and what a RUDE awakening. Interval is no longer the company it was. I deposited a Week 8, deluxe, oceanfront studio, sleep 4, with a full kitchen at Wyndham's Sea Gardens in Pompano Beach. When it appeared on my account as a hotel unit, sleep 2, with a limited kitchen, I called Interval's customer service. The lady canceled my deposit, thinking she could re-enter it correctly. Wrong, didn't work.

Then, she had to "email" a supervisor to try to get help. The supervisor told her Interval had in their records it was a hotel room, and there was nothing they could do about it. She was too stupid and lazy to simply call the resort manager and get the correct details. I was on hold for a very long time to hear this ridiculous answer.

Then the next day, I find out the customer service agent accidentally canceled my ongoing search, so it had to be started all over again.

Also, I don't think I need to tell anyone on this board that Week 8 on the beach in south Florida is SUPER RED. In return, Interval has been offering me low season, low rated resorts for an exchange, and then want me to pay another $99.00 to be able to get a 1 bedroom, sleep 4. They want me to pay another $198 on top of the $179 exchange fee, and the $89 "membership" fee to get a 2 bedroom. Mind you, that is for ANY dump they offer me.

Where is the value in depositing a highly desirable week with Interval? They don't give any weight to that anymore. Are they crazy they expect me to pay an extra $466 in total fees to trade into a 2 bedroom that is off-season, and a low rated property??

I'm not even going to go into the multiple times I have called and had to hold forever, then the person can't help, and tries to transfer me, only to get disconnected.... I'm talking about a total breakdown in service. I have to pay $89 a year for a "membership" for that???

No more, thank you.
 

VacationForever

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II works very well for some resorts and not as well as for some resorts like yours. II has a rating system which is largely based on user feedback. I cannot say if it is considered desirable or not without looking up in II. The most desirable status is one with an "elite" logo. A studio is a studio in II and that designation is what the resort has communicated to II. II does not decide on the designation. You should go back to your resort to complain how they have designated the size to II. The size upgrade fee is fairly new and while many of us are not thrilled about it, we are still happy to have a chance to book into a larger unit for a fee. Many of us love II, including myself. It works well for many of us. I have no complaints at all. I had RCI for 10 years and II is head and shoulder better than RCI for my resorts.

Update: I checked II and this resort does not have any special designation which means it is considered a less desirable resort within II and lower trading power. Obviously you hold very high regards for this resort so you are better off renting it out and using the money to rent something that you like.
 
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2rebecca

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.... I recently re-joined after a few years away, and what a RUDE awakening. Interval is no longer the company it was. I deposited a Week 8, deluxe, oceanfront studio, sleep 4, with a full kitchen at Wyndham's Sea Gardens in Pompano Beach. When it appeared on my account as a hotel unit, sleep 2, with a limited kitchen, I called Interval's customer service. The lady canceled my deposit, thinking she could re-enter it correctly. Wrong, didn't work.

....
I don't think the fact that your II account is showing a hotel unit is II's fault. They can only give you what your home resort deposits. You should call your home resort and tell them they deposited the wrong size unit into your II account and you need it fixed ASAP. While my home resort has always deposited a 2-bedroom for me, they deposited the wrong resort a couple of years ago. I let it slide because I think the 2 resorts have similar trading power, but I would have pressed the issue with my home resort had they deposited the wrong unit.

Also, did you deposit a 2017 week 8 or 2018? I ask because you said you re-joined recently and if you just deposited a 2017 week 8, your trading power is likely gone way down because of a late deposit.
 

goldenfleece

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Thank you for everyone's feedback. The resort did confirm the deposit as a studio, sleep 4, full kitchen. I called and spoke to the General Manager there, and he said Interval has incorrect records, and he would look into it. I will follow up on that again.

Also, thank you for reminding me about the 2017 deposit. It was not deposited at least six months out, and I had forgotten to consider that fact. I didn't go into details about the very bad customer service skills that Interval staff have, and how poorly their phone system works, but it seems US customers don't expect much on that end.
 

gmarine

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Thank you for everyone's feedback. The resort did confirm the deposit as a studio, sleep 4, full kitchen. I called and spoke to the General Manager there, and he said Interval has incorrect records, and he would look into it. I will follow up on that again.

Also, thank you for reminding me about the 2017 deposit. It was not deposited at least six months out, and I had forgotten to consider that fact. I didn't go into details about the very bad customer service skills that Interval staff have, and how poorly their phone system works, but it seems US customers don't expect much on that end.

What might be happening here is that you are seeing the unit in your account as a deposit of a unit studio unit that sleeps 4 max but two privately which is the norm for a studio. Besides being a late deposit which will affect trading power, a studio is also much less desirable than a larger unit, especially at a standard resort.

Regarding the kitchen, it may be listed as a limited kitchen for any of several reasons. For example, if it has everything except an oven it is considered a limited kitchen. Same with a mini fridge or if it had no cook top burners.
 

dominidude

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Also, I don't think I need to tell anyone on this board that Week 8 on the beach in south Florida is SUPER RED. In return, Interval has been offering me low season, low rated resorts for an exchange, and then want me to pay another $99.00 to be able to get a 1 bedroom, sleep 4. They want me to pay another $198 on top of the $179 exchange fee, and the $89 "membership" fee to get a 2 bedroom. Mind you, that is for ANY dump they offer me.

Where is the value in depositing a highly desirable week with Interval? They don't give any weight to that anymore. Are they crazy they expect me to pay an extra $466 in total fees to trade into a 2 bedroom that is off-season, and a low rated property??

I'm not even going to go into the multiple times I have called and had to hold forever, then the person can't help, and tries to transfer me, only to get disconnected.... I'm talking about a total breakdown in service. I have to pay $89 a year for a "membership" for that???
Thank you for everyone's feedback. The resort did confirm the deposit as a studio, sleep 4, full kitchen. I called and spoke to the General Manager there, and he said Interval has incorrect records, and he would look into it. I will follow up on that again.

Also, thank you for reminding me about the 2017 deposit. It was not deposited at least six months out, and I had forgotten to consider that fact.
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but, if you want a 2bdr unit, you will be stuck with off-season, low rated properties, and having to pay $466 in total fees.

Remember, with interval you get like for like. Your "super red" studio unit, kitchen or no kitchen, might get you a super red studio unit somewhere else. That's about it. The fact that your studio unit fits four people doesnt mean much. You are equally able to get studio units for 2 people as studio units for 6 people. It makes no difference to interval at least, how many people your studio fits, you have enough trading power to get a studio if you deposit a studio. If you want a (premium location or a high season) and something bigger than a studio, then Interval might decide that you do not have enough trading power, and will block you from seeing those deposits. As you are discovering, Ii will also make you pay more.

So my advice is this: plan to use your unit, and perform a "request first" search as a back up. If something comes up from your request, you can adjust your plans and go on your exchange. If nothing comes up, you at least have your unit to go to.

It is really important that you do not deposit your studio unit if you want to be happy with your exchange. Studio units have lost a tremendous amount of trade power in the last 2 years in II, as you just found out. By depositing your unit before finding an exchange you like, you are greatly increasing the odds that you will not be able to find an exchange that suits you, and having your deposit expire.
 

Saintsfanfl

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What might be happening here is that you are seeing the unit in your account as a deposit of a unit studio unit that sleeps 4 max but two privately which is the norm for a studio. Besides being a late deposit which will affect trading power, a studio is also much less desirable than a larger unit, especially at a standard resort.

Regarding the kitchen, it may be listed as a limited kitchen for any of several reasons. For example, if it has everything except an oven it is considered a limited kitchen. Same with a mini fridge or if it had no cook top burners.
That is true for a search but the OP said the deposit showed as a hotel unit. This resort has three different units that have a private sleeping capacity of 2. One is the studio unit the OP is referring to as being deposited, one is a 2BR unit but still with 2 private, and the other is the hotel room with a private and total of 2.

The trading power issue is the lower rating of the resort combined with the studio unit. It doesn't matter how good the week is, it just won't have much trading power. The worst week at a top resort is going to have more trading power than the best week at a low rated resort.
 
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DeniseM

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I'm sorry, but your expectations are too high. A studio, deposited within 7 weeks of check-in, is not going to have high trading power, and the changes regarding upgrades were announced some time ago.

That does not excuse the confusion with your deposit, but the trading power and fees were to be expected.
 
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dominidude

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That is true for a search but the OP said the deposit showed as a hotel unit. This resort has three different units that have a private sleeping capacity of 2. One is the studio unit the OP is referring to as being deposited, one is a 2BR unit but still with 2 private, and the other is the hotel room with a private and total of 2.
Isnt the upgrade fee from a hotel unit to a one bedroom unit the same as from a studio to a one bedroom unit?

If that is the case, the trade power of a hotel unit in this resort should be very similar to the trade power of a studio at this resort. Which basically means that even if the OP can get his unit reclassified from a hotel unit to a studio, he will be paying the same fees, and be stuck with the same (or similar) trade power.
 

Saintsfanfl

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Isnt the upgrade fee from a hotel unit to a one bedroom unit the same as from a studio to a one bedroom unit?

If that is the case, the trade power of a hotel unit in this resort should be very similar to the trade power of a studio at this resort. Which basically means that even if the OP can get his unit reclassified from a hotel unit to a studio, he will be paying the same fees, and be stuck with the same (or similar) trade power.
This is true. It very likely has the identical trading power and it will also still be limited to a capacity of 2 for a search. Interval does not have trading power differences for various sizes of units smaller than a 1BR.

I don't think any of this is new. The decrease the OP is seeing is related to how studios traded years ago compared to how they search today. The downgrade is a byproduct of too many people using studios with low maintenance fees and trading into 2BR units at better resorts. That formula doesn't equate to a reality for future exchanges and inevitably had to be changed.

On the flip side you can still get a 1 or 2BR unit with a low maintenance fee and trade for a much better 2BR unit. Interval still has loads of value for uptrading.
 

2rebecca

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Also, thank you for reminding me about the 2017 deposit. It was not deposited at least six months out, and I had forgotten to consider that fact. I didn't go into details about the very bad customer service skills that Interval staff have, and how poorly their phone system works, but it seems US customers don't expect much on that end.
I believe you when you say they had bad customer service skills. I hate calling II (and my home resort) because even if I get someone friendly and pleasant I still often hang up the phone wondering if they really know what they are talking about. I'm pretty sure if I called and ask the same question to 5 different customer service reps I'd get 2-3 different answers. :) If at all possible I try to do everything online because even though I know I shouldn't expect much customer service, it still irritates the heck out of me when it is so poor.
 

klpca

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There was a thread last year about a similar situation. http://tugbbs.com/forums/index.php?threads/exchanging-san-clemente-inn.244456/

Studios are not the best traders in Interval if you are looking to upgrade (I also have a great studio that trades much better in either RCI or SFX). Your resort appears to trade in RCI and you can probably do better there. This won't help you for 2017 as you have already deposited your unit, but it will give you another option in 2018. I looked up the trading "value" in RCI and if I am looking at the correct resort, your studio would get 26 TPU's (trading power units). You should be able to trade into some nice 2 bedroom units in RCI. SFX is very picky about accepting studios for deposit so you would have to call them to see if they would be an option for you.
 

dougp26364

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We also have a south FL studio unit we use to deposit with I.I., although it's no a "super red" week. As you've noticed since your time away, I.I. has made some undesirable changes but, so have many of the developers who deposit weeks into I.I. The change that most notably hit us was the unit size upgrade fee. Couple the upgrade fee with the membership fee and we decided to just keep our studio unit, even if all that stays in it is our luggage. That's a personal choice on our part and most on TUG don't share our particular view. The reality is it's not as expensive paying the upgrade fee with a 2 bedroom lock-off as it is owning 2 one bedroom units outright. For us we own enough lock-off units that we could take considerably more vacation time than we are offered at work so, the $$ become more important to us than the extra vacation time.

As for the studio unit, what you appear to be finding out is that there is a disconnect between your resort and I.I. We had this happen with a true one bedroom unit we own in Las Vegas with I.I. and Marriott. The unit listed as a full one bedroom but, with a limited kitchen when it had a full kitchen. In our case it was Marriott who was the culprit. The 3 bedroom lock-off we own locks off into a full 2 bedroom and a full 1 bedroom unit but, the full 1 bedroom unit is smaller than the 1 bedroom unit of the traditional 2 bedroom lock-off. Marriott wanted to distinguish the two and, the only way they thought they could do that was to make the unit we owned show up as a "limited" kitchen, even though it had a full size refrigerator, stove, microwave, full size sink, dishwasher et.....Owners had to fight with MVC to get the classification with I.I. changed but, I.I. was at the mercy of how Marriott wanted to designate the unit.

It's possible the your resort has changed things or, maybe had changed things with I.I. in the past concerning the designation of your studio unit. I can tell you that we own an ocean front studio unit at Marriott's Ocean Pointe but, when we deposit it, it's just another studio unit anywhere in the resort. The salesman sort of kind of failed to mention that to us when I asked her if the unit could be locked-off one year, we could use the ocean front master suite, deposit the studio and exchange back in and get an ocean front studio. The reality was when we did that, we got a run of the house studio unit. For us view doesn't exchange because that's the way Marriott has it set up with I.I., not because I.I. is trying to screw us out of our view category.

I'm not saying that's what's happened with you but it is possible that it's the resort and not I.I. when it comes down to what's deposited.

Another thing that's changed is how resort groups are controlling inventory. Most resort groups now have tighter control over inventory and tighter control over what they keep and what's given to I.I. Marriott now has a points based internal exchange system where MVC controls more of what's given to I.I. They even have an agreement with I.I. where they can exchange a couple of lower value weeks with I.I. for a higher value week deposited by an owner with I.I. so they can give that week to a points based Marriott owner. It's not like for like but it's considered value for value (2 lower value weeks for 1 higher value week being value for value). Thus it's possible you'll see fewer high season, high value Marriott weeks as time goes by and Marriott gains greater control over it's own inventory. I can say that we don't look for as many trades now outside the Marriott system as we've done in the past.


At any rate, you are correct in that I.I. has made what I consider some undesirable changes over the last few years but, so have resort groups.
 

goldenfleece

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What a great group TUG is. Thank you to everyone for your thoughtful replies. I purchased this studio because it is oceanfront and a great week. However, until my last son goes to college in three years, I will not be using it myself; hence, the need to exchange or rent it out for now. These studios are as large as many 1 bedrooms at other resorts, and have been completely redone recently. But, all of the feedback I have been given here starts to explain the various, and multiple reasons I am not getting the offered exchanges I expected. I never thought I would get a 2 bedroom exchange at highly sought after resorts. However, I did expect to get offered studios, or 1 bedrooms.

But, again, depositing it only 10 weeks out probably had some bearing on my issues.

Many thanks to all! I now have many different strategies to use.
 

2rebecca

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You didn't say where/when you were wanting to travel, but you still might get a match as a lot of folks, myself included, don't pay their maintenance fees until Jan/Feb. At most resorts you can't deposit your unit in II until maintenance fees have been paid. Also, have you tried posting on II community forums? If you go on there and post what/where you deposited and where/when you would like to travel folks on there might have suggestions as to the likelihood you're ongoing search will get a match and what you might do to improve your odds.
 

Saintsfanfl

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It doesn't help for this year but one strategy people use in situations like this where the automated II system is undervaluing the deposit is to use a request first instead of a deposit first. That way reps will want to grab it when they start trying to match other requests and then they will try and kill two birds (double commission) with one stone and look to fill your request and then theirs. The caveat is they will try everything they can to get you to take an alternative but it doesn't sound like you are being that picky.

Even with a deposit first request you can get a match to something that you aren't able to see through instant searches. People report it all the time but it happens more with things like a studio uptrading in Orlando where the rep can justify since the supply is plentiful.
 

dougp26364

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Depositing only 10 weeks out does have a bearing on exchange value. One of the variable's with I.I. is how early you deposit. As I understand it, deposits are time stamped as are exchange requests. All things being equal, the earlier time stamp will trump a later time stamp (puts you further down on the food chain so to speak). For reference to my earlier post about our experiences, all of our deposits are typically made 1 year in advance. Requests for exchange are also typically made one year in advance. Currently we have a request in for March of 2018. We know it probably won't match until sometime after March of 2017 but, I wanted the earliest time stamp on the request as possible to improve our chances of getting an early exchange confirmation and thus an early time stamp on the reservation, which may or may not impact our unit location is the resort uses time stamps on reservations to assist in unit placement.
 

taterhed

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Sorry you had problems with II and getting the trade you desired. You have both my empathy and understanding. But.

I have had numerous interactions with II over the last year. They were always helpful (but maybe not as fully informed as I would have expected) and solved my issues. I have not had 'bad' or unfriendly customer service. It has taken more than 1 call or email to solve some of my problems, but they were all solved--to my satisfaction. I have no connection to II, but I am a satisfied customer.

As for the trades: As of now (2016 plus), I think it is very clear: if you wish to trade up (studio to 2br) or increase quality (Wyndham to Marriott etc...)--especially during peak TDI--by trading thru Interval, you're either going to have a hard time of it of pay for it, or both. I'm exceptionally pleased with my Worldmark and Marriott trading experiences in Interval. I wish the fees were lower, heck, I wish it was free. Of course, there wouldn't be any thing to trade for if that was true. I think you'd have better experiences in RCI (if that's possible) than with II. I'm sure that many Tuggers can prove me wrong (by getting great trades at a price) but I think the days of getting 2 xyz Marriott's for each non-hotel brand lock-off unit deposited (4-for-1) are done. As for me, My Grande-Vista lock-off deposit just got me a nice Maui Ocean Club Lahaina/Napili tower 2br unit (MM1) during peak season (Jan/Feb). That met or exceeded my expectations.

Your unit sounds 'red-hot' for a Wyndham based on your description. Why not rent if it's that good?
Also, please don't be offended, I'm just sharing my experiences and cautioning others against inflated expectations.....

cheers.
 
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