• Report: #911821

Complaint Review: Access Travel Network

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  • Submitted: Fri, July 13, 2012
  • Updated: Mon, July 30, 2012

  • Reported By: Gary — SIMPSONVILLE South Carolina United States of America
Access Travel Network
672 N. Semoran Blvd. #301 Orlando, Florida United States of America

Access Travel Network Offered to rent timeshare with an upfront cost Orlando, Florida

*Author of original report: ACCESS TRAVEL NETWORK Dispute UPDATE

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Received a phone call from ACCESS TRAVEL NETWORK and he offered to sell my "free weeks" (due, according to them, to expire in August 2012) of my timeshare. He said they "required" me to pay upfront for the booking fee of $149 per week for 10 weeks. Said they would send me a contract to consider and sign and return via fax. When I got the electronic version of
the contract (11 July), that clearly stated "7 day cancellation policy" on the form, I reviewed the document and saw no protection for me after the initial period so I wrote CANCEL in large letters and faxed it back to them with a request for "immediate refund" of the charge against my card. Then I received another call from a different person offering to cut the charge in half and to issue a credit for that amount and then to call back on 12 July to review and finalize all the details. He left a message later
that day with a "tracking number" for the credit that was going back to my credit card. Same guy called back in the afternoon of 12 July (three hours later than he told me he would call) just as I was sending another fax demanding a refund for ALL charges because my credit card had no record of that tracking number or a credit pending. When I told him I was cancelling the whole
thing without ever signing the contract and that I was within my seven day window to cancel, he hung up on me. I then filed a dispute complaint with my credit card and filed an online complaint with the Florida consumers' department. My credit card company has informed me that I have no obligation to pay until the complaint is resolved by them and the merchant. THIS IS CLEARLY A SCAM.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 07/13/2012 08:45 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Access-Travel-Network/Orlando-Florida-32807/Access-Travel-Network-Offered-to-rent-timeshare-with-an-upfront-cost-Orlando-Florida-911821. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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REBUTTALS & REPLIES:
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Updates & Rebuttals

#1 Author of original report

ACCESS TRAVEL NETWORK Dispute UPDATE

AUTHOR: Gary N SC - (United States of America)

This is the saga of how a suspected timeshare rental scam was turned around and undone by me. It is simply a statement of the facts until the last paragraph and then you may reach your own conclusion.

I received a phone call (though my number is on the Do Not Call registry for over five years) on 10 July 2012 from ACCESS TRAVEL NETWORK (Orlando, Florida; main 888-751-5547 and fax: 407-704-3678) and he offered to sell my "free weeks" (due, according to them, to expire in August 2012) of my timeshare. He said they "required" me to pay upfront for the booking fee of $149 per week for 10 weeks, which ATN would in turn rent out and pay me $1200 per week. Spoke with ALLISON WRIGHT, who said they would send me a contract to consider and sign and return via fax. (At the time, and as much as it pains me to admit this, I was overcome with greed and did not have the Internet available to check out ATN.)

When I got the electronic version of the contract (11 July), that clearly stated "7 day cancellation policy" on the form, I reviewed the document and saw no protection for me after the initial period so I wrote CANCEL in large letters and faxed it back to them with a request for "immediate refund" of the charge against my card. Then the same day I received another call from a different person (PAUL ROBERTS) offering to cut the charge in half and to issue a credit for that amount ($745) and then to call back on 12 July to review and finalize all the details. He left a message later that day with a "tracking number" for the credit that was going back to my credit card.

PAUL R. called back in the afternoon of 12 July (three hours later than he told me he would call) just as I was sending another fax requesting a refund (second request) for ALL charges because my credit card had no record of that tracking number or a credit pending. When I told him I was cancelling the whole thing without ever signing the contract and that I was within my seven day window to cancel, he hung up on me. I then almost immediately filed a dispute complaint with my credit card and filed an online complaint with the Florida consumers' department. My credit card company has informed me that I have no obligation to pay until the complaint is resolved by them and the merchant.

On Saturday, 14 July, I received a message from my credit card informing me that I had received a credit of $745 from the merchant and that my card company considered the matter resolved. I immediately called the card company and explained that I was not satisfied with the amount (half) and that I wished to open another dispute for the remainder. They did that immediately. THIS IS STILL CLEARLY A SCAM DESIGNED TO GET AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE FROM PEOPLE WITHIN THE SEVEN DAY CANCELLATION PERIOD and thereafter nothing may be cancelled or claimed.

Have been contacted again (23 July) by PAUL ROBERTS of ATN, complaining about your posting complaints on the Internet about ATN and besmirching their reputation and name. This response might have been the result of my sending them an email detailing all the websites (~15) where I had filed a complaint against them. Even filed with the Federal Trade Commission, the Florida Attorney Generals office, the FBI (Internet crime), and the Do Not Call Registry. He offered to refund the remainder of the amount owed, if you will withdraw all these complaints.

I told him, as soon as either a refund was applied to my credit card account OR the check cleared my bank that I would contact each website and make it right. I will not change the facts but I will make contact. Now it is 28 July and NO CREDIT and NO CHECK. My credit card company is still investigating. Wish I could say the same thing about the Central Florida Better Business Bureau. They apparently contacted ATN by phone and were told it was settled so they closed my complaint. I complained to them about it on 22 July but they have ignored me by not responding whatsoever.

29 July UPDATE JUST received a credit to my card for exactly $745.00 (the amount still owed me) from ACCESS TRAVEL NETWORK, through their merchant CTC, also of Orlando, Florida. This means that all my complaining directly to ATN and dispute filing everywhere I could find on the web to complain has finally paid off. Those sites included, first of all and most importantly, directly with the credit card company because their action was to withhold the amount of the dispute from the merchant.

That meant that the merchant (not necessarily the company doing the charging, but rather a merchant who may have a legitimate relationship and volume with the card company) was missing an amount equal to the disputed amount. They do not like that for a variety of reasons, most of which are detrimental to their operation: loss of revenue and subject to contact from officials (governmental or credit card related) asking questions that may expose them for what they are. (I will leave that description to the reader.) Here are the offices and websites that I contacted to report what appeared to be nothing more than a scam because of the upfront money required rather than a deduct from the proceeds that they themselves promised once they rented my timeshare out. (Remember: when you pay upfront you reduce or remove their incentive to perform so they will not.):

These were contacted directly by me to report the events and their failure to cancel and refund as requested on three separate occasions:
Florida Attorney Generals Office            http://myfloridalegal.com/
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services                        http://www.800helpfla.com/
Federal Trade Commission                       http://www.ftc.gov/
Do Not Call Registry                                  https://www.donotcall.gov/

I reported their toll free number to each of these sites:
www.spokeo.com
www.callercenter.com
800notes.com
strangecallsforum.com

I also reported the story to each of these sites:
www.scambook.com
www.ripoffreport.com
search.complaints.com
www.complaintnow.com
www.complaintsboard.com
www.hotcomplaints.com

Conclusion:

This whole story presents us with two possible conclusions. First, that Access Travel Network, Inc. is a legitimate corporation who would have cancelled the contract because I asked them to do it, but they were so surprised by my request that they were slow to resolve the issue to my satisfaction (17 days from my first request). Nah, I dont believe that either. So we are left with the conclusion that my filing a dispute with my credit card company, the legal entities sited above, and all the websites that I could find, and then telling ATN about exactly what I had done must have created some doubt in their corporate minds that this was just going to go away by itself.

They CHOOSE to refund as a credit the last half of my money in the hope that the credit card dispute would settle itself (it did) and they could proceed to do what they do, which is charge unsuspecting timeshare owners an upfront booking fee for rental weeks that are never expected to rent, but which the owner will not realize for at least 90 days and more than likely 180 days, which will mean too late for any cancellation OR refund and probably will just be ignored by most victims. This is almost the perfect scam unless someone (everyone?) reports them, harasses them legally, and stays after them relentlessly until they fold and you get your money back (?). Now all I am out is the time it took me to accomplish my mission and get a full refund and the time it will take me to contact all the same sites and finalize my story with this saga. Time well spent, in my opinion.

30 July Follow-up - Just got another call from PAUL ROBERTS asking me if I received the the credit to my card, and asking if I would contact the websites where I had filed complaints and correct or update the issue with them. I stated that I would update the facts at all the websites.
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