Just came back from a trip to Orlando, Florida for the New Year. My friend and I were staying at a motel on the outskirts of Disney and we noticed a man standing in the lobby advertising discounted theme park tickets/cash. He proceeded to explain that if we went to a 90-minute timeshare presentation with Westgate Travel Club, we would receive $75 cash. We thought, what the ***. Free money! So we signed up for it. We were asked to pay a $20 fee to "secure the reservation" which would be returned back to us along with the $75 once we went through the entire tour.
We were picked up by a Westgate van free of charge and driven to Westgate Lakes Resort. This was a mistake, we had signed up for the tour at Westgate Vacation Villas. We arrived at Lakes Resort, and they were at capacity for the tours, and were so busy that they said it didn't matter that we were at the wrong hotel, we would just do the tour there.
We waited on line, filled out paperwork, and checked in at a front desk. They then tell you to wait for your tour representative to call your name. While we were waiting for him, they actually ran a soft credit check on us. I'm not sure if this was on the original paperwork we signed, but the man working at our motel did not let us know they would be doing this. Just a heads up for those who don't want a minor dent on your credit score.
We were finally called and we followed a guy into a large dining room area where we received a free breakfast, eggs, potatoes, and sausage. After eating we sat with him and I must say, did a pretty good sales pitch for their timeshares. He pulled out his iPad and showed us all his pictures of him and his wife traveling the world, he pulled out his own Westgate card and showed us that he himself had been an owner of one of their timeshares since 1993. By the end of his pitch, I'll be honest. I was completely sold on this timeshare thing. I've never really done research into them, and knew absolutely nothing going in.
After listening to his pitch we were driven to a mock room, and it was VERY nice. Everything was top of the line, pristine, gorgeous views overlooking the water, washer/dryer, 1 bedroom, 2 bathroom, living room, dining area. After viewing the room we were passed off to his boss to "close the deal." Again, to be honest, we were actually very close to signing with the Westgate Travel Club. The monthly payments between the two of us came to $75 each, with an asking price of roughly $9,800 for the timeshare. The guy pitching us told us we'd be paying a maintenance fee every two years, not yearly, and the monthly payments for the timeshare. Reading all of these reviews we were NOT told of maintenance fees, and all these other hidden nickel and dime schemes.
At the end, we did decline to go into contract with them. I didn't want to add to my debt at that moment. I asked if they had business cards so I could get in touch with them at a later time, and I was told, "No, 9 of the 11 available buildings are completely booked up and all the timeshares will be gone within the next 8 months." And at the end of those 8 months, the guy who was pitching us would take his "sales talent" to another hotel and he had no idea where he'd wind up.
We finally gave them the final answer of "no sale" but said we would definitely do it sometime in the future. Another woman came over and she said that she would "lock in" our prices for the next 2 1/2 years, IF! we put down a few hundred dollars. Wait, wait. My prices for a Westgate timeshare was going to be locked in for 30 months, but, I thought they were going to be completely sold within the next 8???! LOLOL!
I can say this about this sales guy: he WASN'T directly pushy or rude to us. He wasn't pushing for a signed line. He did make the timeshare sound extremely fantastic, but I am kind of sickened by the fact that so many things are flat out omitted by these salesmen. Timeshares have a very good chance of ruining you financially. Ruining your money. Ruining your credit. Ruining a life that otherwise may not have had too many problems. The fact that these people know this, and still try to sell to young people, is gross. The only kind of people who would push such a scam onto innocent, naive, or just uninformed people are slimy, greedy, snake-oil salesmen.
At the end of the 90-minutes, we walked to the gift shop, and walked out with our $95 as promised. Woohoo! We also got a voucher for a special "free gift!" (DunDunDUNNN). We were then offered $200 to spend on food/merchandise at Planet Hollywood if we attended another 90-minute "No, no, this isn't a timeshare!" presentation. Since we had a relatively smooth experience the first time around, we thought, what the ***. More free money! We signed up at that moment for a 90-minute presentation at Westgate Vacation Villas. Again, a $20 deposit to secure the reservation was required. We set up the taxi service for 7:30 the next morning, and we went on with our day.
This is where Westgate got ugly. U.G.L.Y. The next morning comes. We are in our motel lobby at 7:30AM as instructed and waiting for the van to come pick us up. 7:40AM, nothing. 7:45AM, nothing. The presentation was set to start at 8AM. My friend texted and called the number of the man David, who originally signed us up and there was no answer, no response. She then proceeds to call the Westgate hotel directly. She was transferred to the Travel Club and spoke with a woman named Grace (HORRIBLE person). Grace answered the phone and said she would arrange for a van to come pick us up, but at that point, we were too late for our 8AM reservation, and we'd have to do the tour at 9AM. Immediately, we said NO. This was our last day in Florida, New Year's Eve, and we didn't want to spent an entire day/afternoon messing with timeshares. Grace said she'd arrange for the taxi, and that she'd let us know. Meanwhile, she didn't even ask for the phone number we were calling from!! My friend hangs up, 10 minutes, 15 minutes... no van. My friend calls back and now Grace is completely unreachable. She stops answering the phone at this point, doesn't call us back, and pushes all our calls to voicemail. We wait another 5, 10 minutes. Nothing.
At this point, we're done, we're getting very angry, we haven't had breakfast yet, we are losing time at the Disney parks, and Westgate has our deposit money. We called up Uber and we paid for our own taxi to take us to the Westgate hotel. We arrive, go to the Travel Club desk where a very nice woman named Joanne tries to help us get in touch with both Grace, and the guy David (who originally signed us up for the presentation). Like earlier, Grace isn't answering the phone. David isn't answering the phone. All we want to do at this point is get our $20 deposits back, and be reimbursed for the cost of our taxi to their hotel since THEY were the one's who screwed everything up.
We are there for around 30 minutes trying to get in touch with these people, to no avail. Joanne finally tells us to head to the gift shop and to get our deposits back and to then return to her to see if she could help us with transportation. We get to the store, get our money back, and in walks the SheBeast herself, Grace. My friend walks up to her, explains the situation, says she would like to be reimbursed for the Uber we paid for out of our own pocket, and if that wasn't possible, to arrange for transportation for where we needed to go from the Westgate hotel. Grace proceeds to ask us why we even came to Westgate, that she would have had someone drive our deposit money back to our motel. Meanwhile, Grace had never even asked for our contact number, were we supposed to just sit in our motel lobby all day, on our LAST DAY waiting for our deposit money? At this point, it's about 9:30AM. We've been dealing with this nonsense for two hours at this point. Grace basically was like, well you shouldn't have come here, we're not reimbursing your cab money.
Grace then proceeded to then go get hotel security to escort us off the property, as if we were making a scene, screaming, or being violent. All we asked for was taxi reimbursement. She walked back in with her puffed out chest going, "This is why we have security. To remove people from the hotel." This *** just wanted to act like she was way more important than she actually was, and wanted to seem as if she had more authority than she actually did. Two rent-a security guards come up and listen to our story, and Grace flat out lied, and told them that our deposit money was for the taxi service, and we were refunded it. We said, NO, the $20 is the reservation fee to attend the timeshare tour! Taxi was a FREE service, and we had to go into our own pockets to pay for it.
At this point, David is still unreachable, I try calling him and lo and behold he finally calls me back. He asks where I am, and I say I'm in the front of the Westgate Villa lobby and he says he's coming. 25 minutes later, no David. We're livid at this point. Finally we say screw it, and we walk back to the building Joanne was in. She tries to call David herself, and he tells her that he doesn't even come in to work until 10:30AM!!!! Now it's close to 3 hours later, and we're only trying to resolve this problem for the principle of the matter, not even because we were out so much cash. We tell Joanne we would have breakfast at their on-site buffet restaurant, and see if David was in after that.
We eat breakfast, and around 10:30'ish or just thereafter, David calls my phone and tells me he's walking over to the restaurant. We meet him outside, where he hands us a folded up $10 bill for taxi reimbursement (yeeeeeeesssss!). We think he's being very nice, we tell him about Grace and he's making "tsk" noises and acting just as annoyed as we are with her. He then says, "If you guys have a couple minutes, let me go see if I can do something for you guys, give you guys a free vacation..." (For those still reading at this point, I know you just groaned.)
He runs back to the lobby, and comes out and has a voucher for a 3 day, 2 night vacation at any of their Westgate properties for a measly $50 deposit! Looks pretty cool right, well, JUST ANOTHER SNEAKY, OIL SALESMAN! http://ww.consumeraffairs.com/travel/executive_tour_travel_fl.html
Grace apparently thought she'd get the last laugh by attempting a *** on us. Too bad we're not idiots! Deposits refunded, taxi fare refunded.
STAY FAR, FAR, FAR, FARFARFAR, AWAY from Westgate Travel Club, or Westgate anything at this point! Scammers, *** artists, thieves, and greedy bottom feeders!
Product or Service Mentioned: Westgate Resorts Vacation Ownership.
Reason of review: Poor customer service.