On Tuesday March 20, 2012, my flight into Cabo, Mexico, was delayed by several hours. After passing through Customs and Immigration, but before leaving the airport terminal, my boyfriend and I were stopped by a man named Aaron, who works on commission for the salespeople of Gold Crown Resort (Promotora Cabo Pacifico).
He also wears a badge as an airport employee. He stopped us to say that or prebooked shuttle might not have waited, since our flight was late. He told us to wait--and that he would send someone to check on our ride. He seemed very helpful and friendly. In the meantime, while we waited for our shuttle (or so we were told), he asked if we were interested in attending a time-share presentation for your program, in exchange for which we would receive a number of benefits.
While still in the airport, he listed the benefits we would receive, including a trip on a glass-bottom boat, ziplining, a bottle of tequila, round-trip transport, a $100 gift voucher--and he also offered us a small bag of marijuana, which he promised to put into my boyfriends hand when the shuttle would come to pick us up from Temptations Resort at 9am on Wednesday March 21st. [continued below]....
..... He asked us not to mention the marijuana to anyone, as he didn't want to get into trouble.
We left a $70 cash deposit with Aaron (to pay tax on the activities, $40 of which was refunded in cash the next day by the same sales office that took our $4,000 credit card payment). Indeed, when Aaron arrived with our transport to take us to the timeshare presentation at 9am on March 21st, he put a bag of weed and papers in my boyfriend's hand before we boarded the "free" shuttle which took us to the timeshare presentation at Playa Grande. I believe Aaron is the first point-of-contact who preys on people at the airport who have had their flights delayed or their transport delayed.
On March 21st, in the main sales room at Playa Grande, (which was for the timeshare portion of the program, which I did not purchase), I was given 3 pina coladas. After I left the timeshare portion of the presentation (in an upstairs air-conditioned room full of ipads and large TV monitors), and walked over to the cashier's office to claim my "free gifts" at the sales center (including a bottle of tequila, a $100 jewelry voucher), the final sales pitch for the non-timeshare portion of the Gold Crown Resort was served to me with a Corona on an outdoor table with an umbrella. "How about if I can promise you..." is how the final sales pitch began.
I was promised 12 weeks a year (10 for me, 2 for friends/family) at a maximum of $398/weekly rate (when booked within 90 days) for a 50-year contract, with no additional taxes or resort fees to be added to that rate.
Because I do business at the tradeshows in Las Vegas at least twice a year, I specifically asked whether the list of hotels I could stay at for no more than $398 per week would include the Wynn hotel in Las Vegas. I said that I would not purchase the deal unless the Wynn was on the list. I was promised that it was part of the deal--and that is the only reason I parted with $4,000 USD.
Yet on the document that Gold Crown Resort has people sign, titled "Verifications for 'Gold Crown Resort' Membership," item 11 states that "I am not relying on any oral or other written representations which may have been made to me by the undersigned representative or others." Had I been of sober mind and read this paragraph clearly, I never would have signed the document, which invalidates all the promises made to me by the sales team.
Gold Crown Resort's authorized affiliate took my $4,000 and gave me nothing but login details to their junk travel site. I received no service or benefit for the funds. I was promised I could stay in Vegas at the Wynn whenever I wanted, within 90 days, for $398 or less. I was adamant that if I purchased the program, it would be for specific business purposes, not for leisure.
Yet when I recieved the login details two weeks later and searched for the promised $398 Vegas hotels, there were zero hotel options for under $398 in August, the month I next go to tradeshows in Las Vegas. Instead I found a rate for the Wynn of $2,013.00 plus taxes and resort fee (using a search for the week of May 5-12). In addition, there are hardly any rates below $599-749/week on the site. The verbal promises made by the sales department for Gold Crown Resort were completely bogus and designed to lure me into buying a deal that was, in hindsight, too good to be true.
The charge on my credit card for $4,000 is listed as "Playa-Exit Program 619-683-7440 CA". My credit card customer service representative called this phone number while I was on the phone with him, on April 4th, to assist with recovery of my funds, and the lady who answered said that she had nothing to do with receiving the funds.
When I then Gold Crown Resort for a refund, Debby Henderson from Customer Service at Gold Crown Resort said I would have to contact Melina Hernandez at Promotora Cabo Pacifico (phone 011526241433329), because Debby claimed in an email message that Gold Crown Resort is not in receipt of any funds I paid.
When I called Melina Hernandez at Promotora Cabo Pacifico on April 4th, she said she could not help me process a refund, and the only person who could help would be Jaade Roland on the sales team. Melina could not provide us with a contact number for Jaade, only the email email@example.com. Jaade refused to process my refund.
The Gold Crown Resort pawns off the responsibility for unscrupulous business practices onto their authorized affiliates, without taking responsibility for their part in this travel scam. I paid $4,000 for absolutely nothing. Gold Crown Resort claims they do not receive money for the sale of their memberships, but the "Gold Crown Resort" name appears all over that aforementioned "Verifications" document.
They have structured their business in such a way to attempt immunity and protection from jilted customers such as I, by repeatedly demanding I make my claim against their sales agent, Promotora Cabo Pacifico, and asserting that they received no funds for the membership, which is why I suspect this is a pyramid scheme designed to protect the profiteers at the top of the scheme.
I've filed reports with the BBB, the Florida Attorney General and the IC3. Gold Crown Resort is threatening me with legal action now. In their words, I have :ventured into the realm of libel." I am not afraid of them--I worked as a legal secretary and notary public for many years. I will not withdraw my case. I would rather testify under oath in a Court of Law and play my part in shutting down these white-collar criminals!