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rovertdude

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This last friday I took a trip to Las Vegas for my sisters wedding. While my Wife and I were on the strip we were approached by a woman offering cheap tickets to a show if we take a survey for them. We agreed and she took us in to the Jockey Club and into a small room. We picked out a show and signed that we make X amount of money a year and paid her for the tickets. (At this point I thought this was all over but boy was a wrong.)

She then took us to a waiting room where she said that we would take the survey and watch a real short film. She then told us that once we do that she will have our tickets ordered and ready for us.

Quickly we found out that this was a timeshare thing. It was with a company named Sapphire Resorts. Looking back, I should have known that the way they lured in us was a huge red flag, but I gave them the benefit of the doubt and that was a mistake.

We were called in and a saleswoman went over with us what we thought about timeshares and she gave us some general information about the program. She couldn't answer all our questions because she was so new to the company. Then a salesman came in and did a great presentation. He told us about the amazing destinations we can go to and how their point system worked.

(A little about us) We go on Cruises about once or twice a year. We spend about 2 - 3 thousand a year doing so (Just for the rooms) and it made sense that if we buy into a timeshare we could save some serious cash over time.

So after the presentation, they pressure you into signing. The saleswoman showed us a room at the Jockey Club and then took us to a table and started trying to pressure us to signing. We asked a lot of questions because not everything was making since, so she brought in another salesman. (This guy was good) He immediately picked up on the fact that we liked to cruise and that my wife is prior military so he offered us two free cruises and we would only have to spend half the points because she was a vet. (Yay more vacations)

Needless to say, we were sold. This was an awesome deal. We could go on two FREE cruises (Not unheard of since we received a free cruise before with carnival last year) and we can vacation for cheap!

He brought the price down and down payment to something we could do and we signed on the dotted line.

(Then we were not given the tickets we wanted in the first place. We had to jump through some hoops with another company to actually get them)

Later we got back to the hotel and I was tired from walking the strip and the 3 hours we spent securing our vacationing future. So I layed down and decided to read up on this company we just signed this 45 year contract with. I did a google search and didn't find much but a couple of general complaints. But then I found out that they recently changed their name to Sapphire and so I searched the old name and what I found was horrible.

Just a few of the pages I looked into really scared me. People were told the same thing we were and were tricked into signing their money away. One of them were also given a cruise and when they tried to cash it in they found out it wasn't real. And many of them tried to cash their points in, only to find that they didn't have enough to go anywhere and that they would have to save points for years to go on a vacation.

It was then I found TUG and was saved. While researching Sapphire I learned about the grace period in the contract. We are only on day three of the five days given so we copied down what was suggested on here and there was also a form that was hidden in our contract that was a mail back form on Rescinding the contract that was provided by the state of Nevada. We filled it out too. We then made copies of the contract and letters and sent them to Sapphire Resorts. We over nighted it with delivery confirmation and a return receipt.

So all in all, I just wanted to share my story and say thank you all for providing the information that saved me thousands. I will update this thread as I go though the cancellation and see how long it takes for them to return the money to our credit card. Hopefully by telling my story, I can help someone from making the same mistake I made. We still want to look into timeshares but we are thinking about spending a couple of years trying before buying, though renting them from owners to find one we like.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.
 

Passepartout

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We're absolutely thrilled that you found us in time. Congratulations on the rescission. Timeshare is pretty cool, but there is a bit of a learning curve. If you are still interested, stick around here and do some reading. We suggest not buying for at least 6 months, of course resale only and that after you've rented a few times.

If I can be a little nosy, how much did the information you got here save you? We're keeping a running tally that's over $6 million now.

Jim
 

TUGBrian

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Such a happy story, so glad you found us in time to save a fortune and now really research what will work best for your family vacations!

Congrats!
 

rovertdude

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We're absolutely thrilled that you found us in time. Congratulations on the rescission. Timeshare is pretty cool, but there is a bit of a learning curve. If you are still interested, stick around here and do some reading. We suggest not buying for at least 6 months, of course resale only and that after you've rented a few times.

If I can be a little nosy, how much did the information you got here save you? We're keeping a running tally that's over $6 million now.

Jim
If we paid out the entire contract we would be paying roughly $34 Thousand. Assuming they didnt increase the Maintenance Fees.
 

Karen G

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If we paid out the entire contract we would be paying roughly $34 Thousand. Assuming they didnt increase the Maintenance Fees.
So glad you found TUG in time! Congratulations! You can be sure that the maintenance fees will go up every year, so you saved even more money!
 

chris.taber

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You can add another $15,900 saved from the self-same Vegas weekend, albeit at the Westgate LV across town. We only signed up for a partial week every other year, and were told we were taking over someone else's balance when they upgraded to a larger property. (We turned down the street tout for the Jockey Club because we could see from our hotel room window what a sad-looking property it was, practically buried behind the service entrance to the Cosmopolitan)

Our story was also very similar to the OP, and we were also asking more questions than the salesperson knew how to answer, so another was called in. By the time we finished, we were in danger of missing our (rather expensive) Cirque du Soleil show, and even though we were going to be comped some show tickets by Westgate, it was not nearly as nice a show, and we had already paid for the Cirque tickets and the pre-show buffet at the Wynn.

Now that we're back home, have done more research, found TUG, and of course, signed and sent in our rescission notice (postmarked on day 4 of 5, since we originally signed on 6/6 and mailed the notice on 6/10), there are a number of things that really stood out to me as red flags:

1) The original salesperson mentioned that Westgate (she actually said David Seigel) would be willing to buy back our property for what we had paid for it after a minimum of one year. I'm a fine print reader, so when I finally finished reading through everything and found no mention of such a benefit (and in fact found several explicit denials of such a benefit, though written in very opaque language), I called the closing agent who had kindly given me her cell phone number. She confirmed that there was NO such benefit and was not sure why the salesperson would have said such a thing.

2) The original salesperson initially told us we'd be getting two (or three?) "Getaway" weeks per year for $299 (1BR) or $450 (2BR), but when we got to the "backup/supervisor" salesperson, he started going on and on about "unlimited getaways". When we pointed out the discrepancy in front of both of them, he started talking about how he was actually selling us the balance of a military veteran who was upgrading and how David Seigel only makes unlimited getaways available at no extra charge to veterans; others have to pay $7000 to add them to their account. At the time, we were like "Awesome - thank you very much, Mr/Ms un-named veteran, not only for your service to our country, but also for letting us take over your super valuable benefit, which we're sure to use WAY more than we ever use our timeshare in Vegas (a place we don't really like all that much anyway, but apparently it is a high demand location for timeshares so we'll be able to trade to wherever and whenever we want with this)!" But in my research (and again, reading through EVERYTHING they gave us), it looked like Getaways are something you get through Interval International anyway, and there's no such thing as a limit on them for anyone, veteran or not... Then I got to thinking, "Hey...that's kind of sucky to play the 'for veterans only' card to try to gain the appreciation of a veteran, when actually it's something that everyone gets anyway." Alternatively, I wonder if the original salesperson was just "anchoring" us to the two or three Getaways per year at first to then "sweeten the deal" later by "throwing in" unlimited Getaways. Any way you look at it, this is a pretty disappointing sales tactic... (I even called Interval directly and asked if there's any such thing as some memberships having limits and was told that the only limit on Getaway usage was the number of weeks in a year and the size of your wallet, since Getaways are all out of pocket.)

3) While I was aware all along of the rescission option (I noticed the form as the closing agent was going through the paperwork), nobody ever mentioned it to us throughout the process. Now, we did have a "rush" closing because of our impending show, but we felt like that was on them anyway - we had a 1pm appointment and our show was at 9:30pm, so we wanted to have dinner at 7:00. As it was, they did have a driver take us directly to the Wynn, but we ended up spending the whole day there, and then had to "rush" through the closing when if they had had someone more able to answer our questions, we could have been done with plenty of time to spare. We also ended going to our show in our casual clothes, when we would have preferred to get dressed up. So, this isn't all on them (we did ask a lot of questions, after all), but after reading through several other stories, I'm not so sure it wasn't part of the plan to "wear us down" by taking so long to get through everything.

4) The setup for the presentation was very odd: basically it was on the floor of a converted Star Trek themed night club. Literally "Ten Forward" from Star Trek. They had a PITIFUL excuse for a buffet lunch set up (we had been staying at the Bellagio, so again, maybe not fair to compare), and there were probably 150 or more couples sitting at little cocktail tables with their salespeople. The tables were all squished together to cram as many people as possible into the room, it seemed. Then, every ten minutes or so, someone would come over the PA system and ask for everyone's attention: "Attention Westgate managers and associates, if you are currently working with someone on unit X for week Y, please remove it from your inventory as it has just been sold to Mr & Mrs Henderson from Ft Wayne, IN. Please give a warm welcome to the newest members of our Westgate family!!" (Big applause...but nothing compared to when they announced that the new owner was a veteran...again, playing on the patriotism of veterans, now that I look at it through that lens)

5) At no point did any of our salespersons talk about which week we would be buying. I asked at one point, since I understood enough about timeshare exchange to know that WHEN you buy can be just as important as WHERE and WHAT you buy. I was told that a) Las Vegas is such a high demand location that all weeks are considered in the top tier for the purposes of determining II exchange value, and b) all weeks at that property are considered floating weeks anyway. But then when I read back through our paperwork, it showed that we had been assigned a two BR lock off with one half in week 36 and the other in week 37.

6) We bought a two BR lock off partial week every other year. I'm still not clear on exactly how (and it won't matter anyway since we sent in our cancellation already), but somehow that partial week every other year magically counts as two full weeks of 2BR equivalents (albeit every other year) when we trade that in to the Interval system. You might be tempted to say it was because this property is such a gorgeous property that it's worth so much more than other properties, but I've stayed at the Westgate in Park City before on a VRBO rental, and it was FAR nicer than this (unless the proposed renovation is really going to upgrade the whole place).

I will say this about our experience: we found everyone that we interacted with (at least so far) to be very pleasant and helpful, or at least TRYING to be helpful. The only exception would have been the person who tried to get us to sign up for the referral "business" by spending another $100 to get a travel agents license and doing direct sales to friends, family, and through social media. She just seemed bored and disinterested. We were likewise not interested. But other than that, we never FELT high pressure. We even liked the math...at least at the time. We opted to take the 0% financing on half of the purchase and paid for half on a credit card, so it would have been well within our budget and means. Now that I've looked at the resale market, though, I like THAT math so much more, so we'll definitely be doing some more homework on that.

That's probably long enough of an initial post. But I do have a few questions now that I've come this far:

1) Would it be fair to conclude that you can replicate most or all of the "exclusive" benefits of buying from a developer by buying a resale, getting the sale past any ROFR's the company might have, buying an Interval (and RCI, and other?) membership on your own, and then using the exchanges and "getaways" like any other owner who bought direct from the developer?
2) Several years ago, we sat through (but ultimately turned down) a Marriott Vacation Club presentation at Ko Olina, where they told us that ONLY those who bought through them could exchange their week for Marriott Rewards points. Is this still the case with MVC? Do the other major hotel-linked timeshare brands (Starwood, Hilton, Hyatt, etc.) have similar restrictions for resale units?

Thanks for everyone's excellent stories and advice on here! Hopefully the red flags I listed above will alert other less-suspicious participants in the future before they make a similar mistake. I'll definitely be reading up more on these forums over the next several weeks, and maybe we'll see some of you in the future at a property we buy AFTER doing all our homework!!


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Karen G

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Congratulations, Chris! Thanks for letting us know you found TUG in time! Welcome!
 

Passepartout

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Welcome, Chris. And congrats. The quick and dirty answer to your question is that in MOST cases you can replicate everything the salesweasels promised- or at least get it at such discount it feels free. Exception is that some outfits, and Wastegate is a biggie, strip any benefits from resale contracts. Resale owners at Wastegate can't book well in advance. Like 90 day leftovers they get. And nice 'dumpster view' units.

Welcome to TUG.

Jim
 

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Glad you found TUG and were able to rescind. Love to read good ending stories.
 

TUGBrian

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closing in on 7million saved!
 

presley

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1) Would it be fair to conclude that you can replicate most or all of the "exclusive" benefits of buying from a developer by buying a resale, getting the sale past any ROFR's the company might have, buying an Interval (and RCI, and other?) membership on your own, and then using the exchanges and "getaways" like any other owner who bought direct from the developer?
2) Several years ago, we sat through (but ultimately turned down) a Marriott Vacation Club presentation at Ko Olina, where they told us that ONLY those who bought through them could exchange their week for Marriott Rewards points. Is this still the case with MVC? Do the other major hotel-linked timeshare brands (Starwood, Hilton, Hyatt, etc.) have similar restrictions for resale units?
1.) Most benefits are available when you purchase resale. Each timeshare company has its own policies on these things, but most of the time, the benefits transfer. Usually, the benefits that do not transfer are not economical anyway. For example, to have the "travelshare benefit" with Worldmark, you have to buy from the developer. Those with the benefit pay more for their annual dues for the opportunity to trade their points for airfare, rental cars, etc, at a much higher price than if they didn't have the benefit and paid cash.

2.) Marriott does not allow resale owners to trade their week for hotel points. Hilton allows it, but the rate is very bad. You could trade a full week in a timeshare and only get 2 or 3 nights in a Hilton hotel, plus you pay a fee to convert your points for hotel use. I do not know about the others that you mentioned.
 

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Hi-another newbie here to this forum.
Have been timeshare owners for 22 years (Inlaws deeded us one of there weeks when we got married 22 years ago:) so we have only needed to pay maintenance fees. Currently our unit only trades into II-however we have never had any issue trading for where we want to go-we have a "red"week. Our home unit at Lake Ozark is a standalone (not sure of terminology? been searching for common terms lol) and is not part of a chain of resorts. It is a 3 BR 3 Ba unit. We frequently trade for Marriott properties (just returned from a Marriott Sabal Palms stay in Orlando). We have also traded into Las Vegas with ease (Grand Chateau and Tahiti Village).
Personally I have found II easy to trade with-and we have probably the lowest maintenance fees in the country for our trading power (according to a Marriott TS sales rep when we sat through a spiel 5 years ago in LV) I do remember something about being able to switch weeks for points at Marriotts for hotel stays which is why we were interested in learning more. Guess that has changed? Anyway OP thanks for the reviews of Jockey Club as that is a resort we can trade for (Grand Chateau is my favorite currently though in LV)
 

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Hi-another newbie here to this forum.
Have been timeshare owners for 22 years (Inlaws deeded us one of there weeks when we got married 22 years ago:) so we have only needed to pay maintenance fees. Currently our unit only trades into II-however we have never had any issue trading for where we want to go-we have a "red"week. Our home unit at Lake Ozark is a standalone (not sure of terminology? been searching for common terms lol) and is not part of a chain of resorts. It is a 3 BR 3 Ba unit. We frequently trade for Marriott properties (just returned from a Marriott Sabal Palms stay in Orlando). We have also traded into Las Vegas with ease (Grand Chateau and Tahiti Village).
Personally I have found II easy to trade with-and we have probably the lowest maintenance fees in the country for our trading power (according to a Marriott TS sales rep when we sat through a spiel 5 years ago in LV) I do remember something about being able to switch weeks for points at Marriotts for hotel stays which is why we were interested in learning more. Guess that has changed? Anyway OP thanks for the reviews of Jockey Club as that is a resort we can trade for (Grand Chateau is my favorite currently though in LV)

Welcome to TUG!
 

heckp

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We were saved by TUG and Google (because I found TUG) some 6 years ago. From that time learned a lot from everybody and bought resale into TS we wanted to go to. So far I haven't been to SDO haha but SDO (2K) has brought me to Hawaii
( Marriott Ko Olina), will bring me to Aruba ( Marriott Aruba Surf Club) next week and Westin Lagunamar in Fall. I am so thankful for TUG. More power! :clap:
 
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Ty1on

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closing in on 7million saved!
That's just in rescissions. You can't put a number on all potential buyers who went into presentations (or declined them) armed with TUG wisdom.
 

TUGBrian

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this is true!

but unlike other websites, we only publish data we can confirm vs speculative nonsense used for nothing more than marketing.
 

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1.) Most benefits are available when you purchase resale. Each timeshare company has its own policies on these things, but most of the time, the benefits transfer. Usually, the benefits that do not transfer are not economical anyway. For example, to have the "travelshare benefit" with Worldmark, you have to buy from the developer. Those with the benefit pay more for their annual dues for the opportunity to trade their points for airfare, rental cars, etc, at a much higher price than if they didn't have the benefit and paid cash.

2.) Marriott does not allow resale owners to trade their week for hotel points. Hilton allows it, but the rate is very bad. You could trade a full week in a timeshare and only get 2 or 3 nights in a Hilton hotel, plus you pay a fee to convert your points for hotel use. I do not know about the others that you mentioned.
Is there any place you can go to to see the exact differences between what Hilton allows in resale vs direct sale? I have read their rules and nowhere does it say anything about buying through different sales channels. We are in the process of buying a HGVC membership (resale of course) and the ability to trade points for Hilton HHonors points is something we would be looking forward to. Thanks for the help.
 

TUGBrian

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Is there any place you can go to to see the exact differences between what Hilton allows in resale vs direct sale? I have read their rules and nowhere does it say anything about buying through different sales channels. We are in the process of buying a HGVC membership (resale of course) and the ability to trade points for Hilton HHonors points is something we would be looking forward to. Thanks for the help.
here you go Bige...this thread has all the information you could want regarding buying hilton =)

http://www.tugbbs.com/forums/showthread.php?t=58716
 

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Thanks so much!


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