This report is to support the Rip-Off report of Robert of Maize, Kansas (7/23/2006) and many other reports on this forum and many other forums. We also bought into the Fairfield Discovery Program. They changed rules after we signed and now we find it was a complete waste of time and money.
We were invited by Fairfield by mail to attend a presentation in Orlando at Bonnet Creek. We also were lead to believe we were staying at the resort. When we received the reservation form, we were confirmed at a Sheraton. I figured the Sheraton should be OK. Wrong, we were in the motor lodge outback of the hotel. It was a rat hole. I made another reservation for my family and decided to make the best of the situation.
On 4/24/2005 we attended the presentation at Bonnet Creek and our salesman was a friendly guy named Bill Tortorella. He was a little pushy, but we were not intimidated. We told him we own 5 other timeshare weeks through 2 other companies and have enjoyed them for years. He immediately launched into the great Fairshare PIC Plus Program. We were told how many points our three 2-bedroom beachfront units would be worth and that it would cost nothing to enroll them. This interested us very much as it would be nice to consolidate all the units under one company.
We however did not want to commit at that time and they launched into save the sale mode. The sales executive, Steve Hatfield, told us about the Discovery Program, and how we could lock everything into place now with a minimum purchase as a trial program and still enjoy all Fairfield had to offer. Sounded like just the thing, we could use the resorts and try Fairfield out and then enroll all our units into the PIC Plus program when we finalized the purchase.
Oops, soon after we purchased the Discovery Program, we received the Fairfield Faces and Places magazine with a notice that the PIC Program was changed on 8/15/2005 so that members could only enroll a maximum of 2 units and that for each enrolled unit, member must make an additional point purchase equal to the point value of the enrolled units. This completely changed the program as well as our plans. I contacted Fairfield and they confirmed the change.
At this point we decided to just make use of the points for a nice vacation and cut our losses. We attempted to make reservations on several occasions, both online and by phone. Each attempt online resulted in a form stating that the reservation request had been received and that we would be contacted when the reservation was confirmed. Nothing else. Even worse on the phone, not only did we hear "not available", but they were rude as well when I expressed our disappointment with the program.
This sporadically continued until mid October of 2006. We received a email from Alan Robinson (I promised him I would spell his name correct when I made complaints). We returned the email and he informed us that our time was expiring and to contact him to discuss options and possibilities. We called and he made appointment to call us regarding our situation. Several days after the appointment time had passed, we emailed him for assistance. He finally responded that he had a family medical emergency and apologized for the delay. We did receive options...only 2 actually, agree to a 3 month extension and use the points or sign for regular membership for mega bucks. I tried to explain on the phone our concern regarding the change in terms after our joining the Discovery Program, but his response was we should have contacted someone sooner. Hello, I did with no results except to tell me yes, there was a change. He concluded that we should decide whether we could use the points within the 3 months or not. We again attempted to find a use for the points. Nothing was available anywhere to which we could possibly travel. Next I asked for advise on TUG and was told to join the "Fairfield_timeshare@yahoogroups". I did and asked for advice. Some said for me to sell or rent the points, but several of the members said it was not allowed in the Discovery Program. So, nothing came of that. I contacted Mr. Robison and told him we had tried everything and that we would like some other way to use the points or some partial refund of our expenses. He made a tort reply that we could pay for full membership or we part ways and get nothing. I replied that we may not get any money back, but I would make sure to spell his name correctly when we made complaints in various forums. His reply included, The company supports your first amendment right to express yourself in any manner or forum you select. However, we routinely audit sites for comments concerning the company and a customer's experience for accuracy. We are proactive in this regard and stand ready to reply or assert any legal right appropriate to protect the companies' good name (??????? this part was added by me) as well as that of our representatives in any individual case. We respect your right to be disappointed with not being able to travel. We would strenuously object to any mischaracterization of events and facts in a particular case that casts the company or it personnel in an unfair, false and malicious light."
Sorry for lengthy complaint, but considering the legal warning I have received, I felt compelled to explain the entire sequence of events.
In conclusion, this reinforces the literally thousands of complaints I have seen in the last few days while I have been researching Fairfield Resorts-Wyndham Vacation Resorts. I would be willing to bet that many people simply decide to just let it go, as it is no use to fight a large corporation. I however have already found 2 different groups to possibly join class action lawsuits against Fairfield. I also will be sure I and anyone I deal with never make reservations with any of the associated companies that are included under the "Cendant Family of Companies".