My wife and I were just leaving our hotel in Philipsburg, St Maarten when we were approached by 2 young ladies trying to entice us into listening to a travel vacation sales pitch. They wanted us to accept their free scratch cards to see if we win a prize. OF COURSE ONE OF US WON. (How else do they get people in the door if they don't provide a prize to everyone?) We were led to a nearby building for a vacation travel deal. We kept turning them down until their financial manager came to us to offer us a deal someone else turned down. On paper it really sounds like a sweet deal. (52 weeks, forever, of discounted travel for about $12,000.)
Thank goodness for the 3 days to change-your-mind clause (the resission period). We left St Maarten the next day, as luck would have it, or we would be stuck with the contract. When we got home we searched the internet for information on the travel level (Diamond) we had just bought, especially looking for reviews on the program. We found this site and little else. The 2 web site addresses they provided us with were to RV web sites. The reason we were so interested was we wanted to know how to arrange our next trip.
At the end of the paper signing you take only a copy of the papers you signed. You take nothing else significant with you. The complete owner's package is to arrive at your house by mail, including books to help select new vacation locations from. You are told the reason why you don't receive the owner's package at that time is to keep you from having to carry these in your suitcase to your home. Perhaps it would have arrived but we won't find out now.
I just realized. The travel books we were shown vacations sites in were not current books. The books were 1 or 2 years old. A sales department should have the most current material possible. That should have been Red Flag #1.
As stated, we wanted more information on what we had bought into. We called the island number they provided. The first time somebody answered the phone and passed us on to someone else, who said they would arrange for someone to call us back in just a few minutes. I called back after about 1 minute as I had forgotten to ask something. No one answered the phone as it was now on auto-message even though they should be open still. Nobody ever called back either. We finally gave up and decided this was Red Flag #2.
The next day we decided to contact Cheryl, the Senior Advertising Representative, who was supposed to sell our existing timeshare for us. (During the sales pitch the financial person at Coast to Coast had pulled out his cell phone, pressed a speed dial for Cheryl, and also told us she was on retainer for them for several years now.) Cheryl's administrative assistant answered the phone when we called. We explained that we needed the fax number and any other contact numbers for Coast to Coast on St Maarten so we could provide them the needed documents relevant to our deal. (If Coast to Coast was really such a good account for Cheryl her assistant should have no problem providing us with basic business numbers.) She told us she can't give us any information. Red Flag #3. Cheryl was in a meeting, but would be back in one hour. We provided my cell phone number for her to reach us. Cheryl never called. Red Flag #4.
We decided to cancel the contract and wrote our own Cancellation letter. In it we noted that, since they did not provide one, this letter would be our formal notice of canceling the contract. In the fine print of the contract you will find that you have to send it to your 'Authorized Distributor of the Coast to Coast Vacation Travel Club'' in Philipsburg. No name is provided so we used both the manager's and the financial person's names. We went to FedEx to send it. It cost about $44 because it was a rush and an international delivery, but was money well spent. In this case I recommend FedEx as there is a FedEx store between the airport and Philipsburg. Other carriers could not guarantee delivery in time. FedEx helped us track it and even entered an electronic note for the delivery person about the time urgency. It was delivered in time we later found out.
Not knowing this fact at the time we decided to be extra cautious. We wanted a back up system just in case. We decided to also fax the cancellation to them. We then began to try finding their fax number.
I tried the RV site and spoke to a lady who readily provided us with a fax number for St Maarten. A later call to the same number resulted in a different lady saying that her supervisor told her they have no numbers for St Maarten. Red Flag #5.
We later got the exact same number from 2 other sources. However, when trying to send the fax you could hear the fax machine advising that this was not a correct number. Red Flag #6.
Buyer beware on this company. It could be legit, but too many Red Flags were encountered. Should you need it the correct fax number is 011-599-542-2777 (at least it was as of 06/22/2007). No country code is needed for this number. We know that this number worked as we called the voice line again to confirm the fax was received. We used the voice number they provided (1-866-978-4604) and the financial person, Reggie, actually answered. He admitted he did receive the fax. We later learned the FedEx also arrived at about the same time and was signed for.
There was another issue that came up tying this web site to our encounter. Both have a mention to Grand Getaway Vacations and to Coast to Coast credit card. One form we signed says "Grand Getaway Vacations Contract Addendum" and another that provides their address but the space for a phone number is blank.
The issue with the credit card is that you sign a piece of paper saying you can't cancel the initial credit authorization after 3 days. Thus, once you sign the credit card authorization form you have 3 days max to cancel IN WRITING, TO THE PROPER PERSON, IN PHILIPSBURG or the contract is valid and you owe them the money.
Bank of America is the parent company that Coast to Coast card comes through. We cancelled the Coast to Coast card immediately but learned the authorization we signed was valid until written evidence was in Coast to Coast hands before the 3 day period was up. Coast to Coast still has our funds legally for 30 days before they have to relinquish it, after which the Bank will accept our dispute of funds. We have evidence the fax arrived and the FedEx was signed for. I suggest you do the same if you can still cancel. Coast to Coast, or anyone, can always claim to you that they did get the fax and then later deny it to the Bank. FedEx provides a signed copy but takes a little longer and cost more.
Our scratch prize of a Sony digicam is supposed to be mailed to us, but we don't expect it to ever arrive.