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This may be a first....

WestinOwner

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Brief history:

Two days ago I negotiated a WSJ Contract here at Sheraton Vistana Villages whereby I would purchase a 2-bedroom EOY at Westin St. John for $27,500, and the on-duty manager agreed Starwood would waive the $40,000 minimum buy-in for WSJ purchases to requalify a resale. I completed the term sheet and then left it that I would come back today to sign all the documentation. I even provided the mandatory 10% deposit to "guarantee the deal". We are 4* Elite, and this purchase would be putting us up to 5*.

So... This morning I recieved a call from the sales agent to come down, everything is ready to sign. We met the agent and started signing the papers, at which time a senior manager came over and advised us Starwood would no longer be honouring the deal that had been agreed to.

Apparently, the manager who authorized the waiver of the $40,000 minumum purchase to requalify our resale did so "in error".

The sales rep, in my opinion, was faultless in this as he was taken just as much by surprise as we were upon hearing the news.

At this point, things took an even further turn for the worse. The manager advised that the deposit would be refunded, and then said "sorry this didn't work out". I said I wasn't authorizing a refund of the deposit, and that I expected Starwood to honour the deal we had entered into. My immediate concern was that I had given up 2 mornings of my vacation, and secondly, I am Canadian, and so whenever money is charged to my SPG American Express, Amex takes a 3% commission on the currency exchange aspect of the transaction... Therefore, I will be out approximately $180 as I would lose $90 in currency exchange fees on the charge, and then another $90 on the credit back.

The on-duty manager wouldn't even agree to refund me for my loss, but simply said they would give us 10,000 SPG points for the inconvenience of the deal not going through. I told them that was insufficient, and again rejected the "compensation" and said I expected the transaction to be completed as agreed to. At this point, the two managers disappeared and left it to the sales rep to deal with us, even though he wasn't authorized to do anything. Basically, we were told to leave. Before our departure, I requested a copy of the term sheet that was kept, and was told they no longer had it and couldn't (wouldn't) provide it.

I was able to get a copy of a blank term sheet and noted there is language which stipulates it is not a binding contract. I'm a lawyer in Canada, and my sense is that the law would be similar in Florida... although I agree the term sheet might not be a binding contract, the fact Starwood actually took my deposit and drafted the formal contract demonstrates an intention for the terms agreed upon to be a contract? Do I have a leg to stand on in Florida?

Anyhow, my real point here is my amazment at the manner in which we were treated (and disrespected). The funny part to all of this is that on Friday morning, about 30 minutes into the "Owner's Update" when they were trying to sell me the Westin St. John, I was the one who told the sales rep there was a $40,000 minumum purchase to requalify a resale. They were the ones to assured me, ultimately guaranteeing it, and then it becoming a term sheet agreement, that they would be able to have the $40,000 minimum buy-in waived.

My guess... this must be a first, to have Starwood show up and withdraw the sale of a unit mid-signing.

Cheers,

WestinOwner
 
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Ken555

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I think it's just amazing that you got to 4* before having such a negative experience with SVN.

Fwiw, I'm not at all surprised to read about your experience. I'm continually disappointed with timeshare sales and very few positive experiences. It would be so easy for them to do better.

Of course, in as objective a manner as possible, I can see their point. The manager clearly didn't know what he was doing. Should they honor the deal they offered you? Of course. It would only be considered good business. But... we're talking SVN here.
 

WestinOwner

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I think it's just amazing that you got to 4* before having such a negative experience with SVN.

.

Hello Ken:

You are right, I have been lucky. I bought 3 SDO resales (each 148,100 "true platinums") on the resale market from the same person. The whole time I worked with an amazing representative from Arizona who verified what I was buying on the resale market and then purchased two EOY Westin Kierland Villas 2-bedroom units to bring two of the SDO resales into the network. The only problem is that she isn't able to sell Harbourside or St. John from Arizona, and so I've had to look elsewhere.

I agree with you, and I can definitely see Starwood's point - to some extent. The background is that I kept saying to the sales represenative (and the manager) two days ago "Are you sure they are waiving the $40,000 requalification minimum, otherwise this is a waste of my time" and was assured by two different "managers" the $40,000 threshold was being waived for me.

Thanks for your input!

WestinOwner
 

YYJMSP

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My immediate concern was that I had given up 2 mornings of my vacation, and secondly, I am Canadian, and so whenever money is charged to my SPG American Express, Amex takes a 3% commission on the currency exchange aspect of the transaction... Therefore, I will be out approximately $180 as I would lose $90 in currency exchange fees on the charge, and then another $90 on the credit back.

You shouldn't get dinged on the currency exchange fee twice (I'm pretty sure it cancels out somewhere along the line, as we've never noticed a 2x 2.5% difference on refund transactions as compared to the original purchase), but you will get hit with the difference in foreign exchange rate because it will be different on the days the two transactions occur.

It will be either a small loss, or a small gain (we've seen both when the transactions are within a week or so of each other), unless the USD/CAD rate makes a big movement like 2 weeks ago or so when we effectively lost 8% on purchases (or gained 8% on refunds).
 
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YYJMSP

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I was able to get a copy of a blank term sheet and noted there is language which stipulates it is not a binding contract. I'm a lawyer in Canada, and my sense is that the law would be similar in Florida... although I agree the term sheet might not be a binding contract, the fact Starwood actually took my deposit and drafted the formal contract demonstrates an intention for the terms agreed upon to be a contract? Do I have a leg to stand on in Florida?

My understanding was that the term sheet was just to allocate/block off specific inventory for a pending sale, not an actual contract of purchase.

The fine print says "Purchaser and Seller acknowledge that this is a work sheet used for the preparation of documents"
 

ada903

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I am sorry about your experience, how frustrating and disappointing! This is beyond the issue of legal language and binding or non-binding signatures - it is about ethics and respect, and customer service. Especially that you are four star elite! How much money would they have really lost if they admitted they made a mistake waiving the requirement but they will honor it because it was their mistake? I think they lost more by the potential of negative publicity and disappointing a customer who may have recommended Starwood otherwise or may have purchased more in the future.
 

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WestinOwner, ... Your initial posting (on another thread) of a purchase of an EOY WSJ week for less than $40,000 which included a retro of a SDO Platinum week sounded too good to be true. The old adage is, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. I guess this one was.

Starwood corporate keeps a tight rein on what goes on and what inventory is available for sale at the sales offices of various resorts. Exceptions from the usual rules can be requested by sales offices. This request for an exception from the usual rules did not pass muster.

I had a similar experience at WKV when I wanted to purchase a ski week at Riverbend. I did not have anything to retro and asked to hold open the closing for 90 days to allow me to purchase and close on something to retro.

We signed off on a very avantageous (IMO, for me) term sheet. However, for WKV to sell a Riverbend unit, it had to trade inventory it could sell to Riverbend in order to get clearance for the release of the Riverbend inventory from Riverbend. Plus, Orlando corporate headquarters had to approve the retro. That approval of the terms was not granted. The deal died.

It happens. I'm sure some employees at SVV had the bright idea that they could obtain a release/trade of the inventory - but failed to tell you of their lack of absolute authority to do the deal all by themselves.

Looks like sales might not be that slow at Starwood. Corporate or WSJ clearly said no exception for your deal.

Your problem now is the Statute of Frauds. I assume you have the concept in Canada because it comes from English common law. You never had an actual contract.

P.S. If the 10K Starpoints are valued at 2.8 cents per Starpoint, your currency exchange loss is more than covered. If still possible take the Starpoint offer. Hold your nose. And, walk away.

And, if you still want to get a retro to get to 5* through SVV (rather than the very competent WKV sales office) ask for an Explorer package to return to SVV for "free" by having the cost of the Explorer package credited against any purchase price. ... eom
 

ronparise

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Ive heard stories from other timeshare systems where the sales man makes a deal that corporate cant approve, but they keep your money anyway. And somewhere down the line "correct" their mistake and dare you to fight them on it. I would bet that the only reason they backed away is that you are a lawyer and probably wouldnt back away from a fight.

Consider yourself lucky that the supervisors here wouldnt let this deal go through.

Im no lawyer (but I do sell real estate for a living). Im the guy you would negotiate with if you wanted to buy a house in SW Florida...and what I negotiate is always subject to the approval of the owner, and there is no contract until the owner signs.

My take on this is you dont have a contract until you have a contract.... And you didnt have a contract
 

jarta

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ron, ... "I would bet that the only reason they backed away is that you are a lawyer and probably wouldnt back away from a fight."

You also sell real estate. Do you keep the earnest money deposit if a deal falls through because no contract is ever signed by both parties? Wouldn't that jeopardize your license?

Wouldn't Starwood be jeopardizing its real estate licenses if it refused to refund the deposit? Why would a NYSE company with world-wide interests do that? Is the $2,700 deposit that important to a billion dollar company? Get real!

There was no hint in the OP's post that there was any problem reversing the $2,700 credit card charge. And, Starwood offered to cover the loss in exchange fees by giving the OP sufficent Starpoints to stay 3 weekend nights anywhere in the world at one of its more inexpensive (Category 2) hotels.

What happened was agressive underlings promised way more than they could deliver (an exception to the $40,000 purchase price offshore on a contemplated contract to sell a more desirable WSJ property) to include a retro. And, corporate refused to let it happen. ... eom
 

yumdrey

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Sorry to hear that happened to you.
That's customer's nightmare!

How about complain to Starwood CEO?
Once I had a bad experience at Marriott Grande Ocean (where I own) - they didn't let me bring my car in, I had to park across the street and walk to the resort to look around and use kids pool. Imagine it was August in Hilton Head Island, temp was over 100F and humidity was very bad.

As soon as I came home, I sent an e-mail to MVC VP, and got a reply call in a few days from secretary. They apologized and promised that would never happen to owners again and offered me free marriott hotel points as compensation. I didn't accept their offer because my main reason of e-mail was "complaining", not asking "compensation". But I saw big number was added to my marriott account when I logged in to check my exchanged week's view category through marriott.com which was enough to stay 4-5 nights at top category marriott brand hotel.

So if I were you, I would complain this to higher starwood person like senior VP or sales manage VP. Even if you don't get anything for compensation, don't let it go without lesson. Those two sales managers who treated you poorly should learn something.
 

ValleyGirl

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Starwood

We have been Starwood TS owners for a few years and have always had fair and non-tense sales presentations. Our first purchase was "Eyes Fogged Over" by the beauty of Kauai; but since coming to TUGS we are now "Eyes Wide Open".

We intend to travel quite a bit and have found the flexibility of Starwood and Starpoints to be better than elsewhere.
Have used Promos to reach American Airlines Platinum For Life (If only AA will keep from going Bankrupt).
 

jarta

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"Once I had a bad experience at Marriott Grande Ocean (where I own) - they didn't let me bring my car in, I had to park across the street and walk to the resort to look around and use kids pool. Imagine it was August in Hilton Head Island, temp was over 100F and humidity was very bad."

Yikes! Should we then assume you were not staying at the Marriott Grande Ocean resort but just wanted your kids to use that Marriott pool on a very hot day rather than the pool, assuming there even was one, where you were actually staying? :rolleyes: ... eom
 

yumdrey

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"Once I had a bad experience at Marriott Grande Ocean (where I own) - they didn't let me bring my car in, I had to park across the street and walk to the resort to look around and use kids pool. Imagine it was August in Hilton Head Island, temp was over 100F and humidity was very bad."

Yikes! Should we then assume you were not staying at the Marriott Grande Ocean resort but just wanted your kids to use that Marriott pool on a very hot day rather than the pool, assuming there even was one, where you were actually staying? :rolleyes: ... eom

I was staying at Marriott SurfWatch which is close from Grande Ocean.
There was a TUG members meetings at Grande Ocean pool.
As an owner, I can have day access to the resort and many Marriott resorts offer that (and golf privileges) to owners.
The person on the gate knew I could have access to the resort and could use Grande Ocean facility as an owner, but he didn't let me park my car. Isn't it odd?
 

jarta

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yumdrey, ... I thought day passes were available only when rooms were available (meaning the resort was not too busy) and owners had to arrange for them daily before just "dropping by." Mid-summer is high season at HHI and the island's resorts are usually packed. Did you arrange for a day pass prior to showing up at the gate?

Have things changed?

http://www.tug1.net/tugbbs1/Forum19/HTML/005724.html

... eom
 

ronparise

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ron, ... "I would bet that the only reason they backed away is that you are a lawyer and probably wouldnt back away from a fight."

You also sell real estate. Do you keep the earnest money deposit if a deal falls through because no contract is ever signed by both parties? Wouldn't that jeopardize your license?

Wouldn't Starwood be jeopardizing its real estate licenses if it refused to refund the deposit? Why would a NYSE company with world-wide interests do that? Is the $2,700 deposit that important to a billion dollar company? Get real!

There was no hint in the OP's post that there was any problem reversing the $2,700 credit card charge. And, Starwood offered to cover the loss in exchange fees by giving the OP sufficent Starpoints to stay 3 weekend nights anywhere in the world at one of its more inexpensive (Category 2) hotels.

What happened was agressive underlings promised way more than they could deliver (an exception to the $40,000 purchase price offshore on a contemplated contract to sell a more desirable WSJ property) to include a retro. And, corporate refused to let it happen. ... eom

I wasnt suggesting anybody would hod a deposit and cancel the deal

What I meant to say is that they could have signed, taken the whole $27000 and then a year or so down the road "correct the mistake" and dare the op to fight them

Absolutely! I feel they did things right. and I will restate that I think the op is fortunate to be dealing with a company that does do things right....except that they have a salesman that either doesn't know the rules or worse, does know them and tried to slip one by.
 

yumdrey

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yumdrey, ... I thought day passes were available only when rooms were available (meaning the resort was not too busy) and owners had to arrange for them daily before just "dropping by." Mid-summer is high season at HHI and the island's resorts are usually packed. Did you arrange for a day pass prior to showing up at the gate?

Have things changed?

http://www.tug1.net/tugbbs1/Forum19/HTML/005724.html

... eom

Yes, I called Grande Ocean before I left home to find out what I needed to do to visit the home resort as an owner. They (front desk) said I would be given a parking pass and pool bands at the gate.
So I assumed I could park inside the resort.
 

SDKath

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PM me if you want the name of the VP at Starwood who can make this right for you without too much frustration...

I went through a similar thing when I was going from 4* to 5* and trust me, it could get very long and drawn out and frustrating with no end result.

Best move past the local people and take it up the ladder to someone who actually has power over all this.

Katherine
 
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