Let me begin by saying " Nothing in this world is free!" I am 29 years old,I have been married for 11 years and I have 2 beautiful children who are my life.
My husband and I both grew up very poor and vacations were just something we dreamed we would have someday. We were not even able to have a honeymoon after we married. We have dreamed of having the opportunity to take our children places in order to show them things we were never able to see ourselves and as it turns out we were finally able to take our very first trip as a family at the end of March this year! Needless to say we were very excited!
We decided to take our two children who are now 7 and 4 to the smokey mountains for their spring break. Our very first day we were approached by a very rude and pushy woman representing Fairfield Resorts in front of Wal-mart where we had just purchased the groceries needed for our stay. I was standing in the pouring rain with 2 small children as this woman continuously pushed me to attend a "short presentation" by this company. I very politely told her "no" and continued to my car to get my children out of the rain.
I tried to forget about the lady and her attitude but, the following day we were again approached as we walked down the sidewalk in Gatlinburge by another woman representing the same company (Fairfield resorts) it was at this point all the lies began! She offered us all kinds of things "for free" but, the one that finally got the attention of my husband was the 150$ shopping spree she offered us to a children's store to purchase clothes for our kids. Of course with us not having much that sounded like a wonderful idea to him. He is always working from can to can't trying to give us "more" so he thought ...whats 90 minutes out of our trip to give our children some new clothes. It was at that point we accepted her offer to attend the meeting.
We were promised in writing by her that we would not be pressured to "buy" anything. I'm not sure why we believed that..I guess all we could think about was that our kids would benefit from us doing this.
We attended the meeting at 3:30pm that afternoon at which point we met our representative Todd. He seemed to be a very "down to earth" guy that actually cared about
us and how we felt so, as he began to ask questions we never realized our responses would result in 5 hours of grilling conversations and negotiations that would change our lives. He saw in the beginning that we had 2 children who were with us and knew how much we loved them by the concern we showed about leaving them with a complete stranger in a small room filled with other children. He certainly used that to his advantage. He asked all the right questions to find out how important our family was to us and he learned of our desire to give them all the things we never had. (what parent doesn't want that) Basicly he convinced us that we would be buying something we could leave to them that would ensure even in the event of our death that our kids could forever take these wonderful trips at no cost to them. I think we would all do that for our kids if given the chance!
He told us how he had taken his own son to Disney and what a wonderful time they had and numerous other stories I'm almost sure now he just made up to somehow relate to us.
After hours of listening to him talk I became very concerned about my children and wanted to see them. He took that opportunity to drag us and our kids on a tour of their property knowing our children would fall in love with what they saw. It was so much better than where we were staying and they overflowed with excitment!
I honestly think he intended to use our children against us...or as a sales tactic!
After the long tour we returned to the office at which point he seperated us from our children once again in order to continue this sales pitch. Growing weary of the whole ordeal I began to explain how wonderful it all sounded but, that we simply had no money to invest in their property and that our children were tired and hungry.
He then introduced us to a guy named Jason Paul who is apparently better at lying and convincing innocent people to hand over money that they don't have! Jason walked over and was probably the most pushy of them all! He began to make us feel bad that we were unable to provide this for our kids at which point we began to think he was right. Perhaps this would be the only thing we will ever have to leave to our kids...so it was at that point my husband, who by now they know would do anything to insure myself and my kids would be able to take a trip together at least once a year for the rest of our lives, wanted to make that happen. We told them we had no money and that the only way we would ever be able to do that would be to borrow it. We told them we would think about it and perhaps we would be able to do it at a later time.
Jason convinced us that we had to give him a down payment check right then to insure that we would be able to get a special rate and all the free stuff he continuously promised us. (600,000 extra points, a trip to Hawaii, ect.)I told him the check would be no good and that I wasn't sure my parents would allow me to get a home equity line or if they would even allow me to borrow the money. He told me it wouldn't matter! That the check was never going to be put through the bank anyway. I was very leary but, it was 8pm and we had been there almost 5 hrs. My daughter was whining and hungry and my son was tired and complaining also. At that point we were just willing to do whatever it took to get our shopping spree and get out of there to feed our kids! He assured us the check "would never see the bank" The idea was that if I could get my mom to send me the money we could then bring it back and give it to them in return for the check they were "holding" of ours. I finally agreed.
I called my sister to ask her to loan us the money and she flat said "no!" I then called Todd and told him I didn't think I would be able to get the money . Todd asked me at that point if I had talked to my mom and asked her for it and my response was "no". He urged me to call my mom and try before giving up. Then told me he would be checking back to see how it was going. This all took place the day after we visited their property.
Todd continuously called to see if we wanted to go with him to dinner and if I had talked to my mom yet. Finally about 5 that evening I did finally get in touch with my mom and she said "NO" and also told me NOT to do it!!! I immediately called Todd and told him that my mom gave me a definate NO! and that it wasn't something we could do financially by ourselves...so we needed to come and pick the check up and cancel our contract that we signed the night before. He then told me he'd have to get the paperwork and would call me back and let me know when to come pick the check up. The following day was our last day in Tennessee we were only in town for 4 days all of which we spent dealing with all this crap! By the time we began heading back home to Alabama Todd still had not called back and I began to panic. We had 3 hrs left in the smokey mountains and all I knew was that I had to get that check back! I began calling him over and over...leaving one message after another. He never called back.
I also had a buisness card belonging to Jason
Paul (Todd's partner in crime!) So, I began franticly calling Jason and repeatedly telling him in messages we could not purchase any property at this time that we were finacially unable to do this at this time in our lives. Jason never called back either. My husband and I then decided it would be best to just go back to their office, return the books they gave us the day before, get our check and the papers we signed back!
Of course when we got there noone knew who or what we were talking about,Todd and Jason were both conveniently not in the office and we had nomore time to persue it. Our kids had to be taken home and put to bed in order to attend school the next day! All the way home I tried calling both of them begging them to call us back with no response. Todd finally called back after we had been back in Alabama for 2 days! He apologized for not having called me back sooner but, explained he had a migraine and was sick in bed unable to work.
He assured us that mailing our papers and our check back to us would not be a problem and that he would personally see to it. That also NEVER happened! We never heard from Todd again. I have tried repeatedly to call and of course he never calls me back. calling Jason was usless he never once even acknowledged my calls. Since then they sent our check (knowing it was no good) to our bank resulting in fees because of insufficient funds. They keep sending threatening letters to us saying we have to pay. Some man named Eddie from downpayment resolutions keeps calling and leaving mean threatening messages on my voicemail.
I talked to Eddie and told him the whole story complete with names and phone numbers of the people responsible. I was told by the secretary that this happens all the time and Eddie told me that he had sent some very rude emails to them because they had not cancelled our contract as we requested. Eddie told me to forget the whole thing that he would handle it. For 1 week I heard nothing until today I recieved yet another letter in the mail and another message from good ole' Eddie! All I can do is hope that someone will take the time to read my story and help me to figure out what to do.
I am scared and confused. I feel like myself and my children were held captive and prisoner to their demands, forced to pay a ransom for our freedom! Something has to stop these people! To me this is no different than being raped! Rape is against the law as this should be! They pull in unsuspecting people with promises they don't intend to keep, then they offer a false sense of security followed by striping you of your pride and sense of self-worth! I am very ashamed to say that I allowed them to do this to me, I let them push me to do things I knew was wrong. I felt I had no other way out. My best advice to anyone reading this...Don't ever let them know your weakness...Don't be intimidated as I was! If you find yourself in this situation..Be rude! Be hateful! Tell them NO! and run...don't walk... run! If there is anyone who can help me please don't hesitate. I feel so stupid. I didn't help my children at all. I simply showed them what a scared and weak sucker their mommy really is.
Thanks to all who read and care!