• Report: #352633

Complaint Review: Great Escapes Travel Club - Advantage Travel/Certs

  • Submitted: Thu, July 17, 2008
  • Updated: Tue, October 11, 2011

  • Reported By:Longmont Colorado
Great Escapes Travel Club - Advantage Travel/Certs
greatescapesonline.com Lakeland, Florida U.S.A.

Great Escapes Travel Club - Advantage Travel - Certs Run from these scam artists Englewood CO

*Consumer Comment: Accountablilty.. some people have it. Some people don't.

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Better Deals on other sites for less

*Consumer Comment: Great company--great service

*Consumer Comment: GreatEscapes satisfied member

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Wow-we are comforted somewhat to know we aren't alone and at the same time disgusted that these people are still getting away with stealing thousands of dollars every time someone signs a contract.
Our story is not much different from others-we were lured in by the enticement of a "free trip" only to fall for the high pressure sales tactics and the promise of the thousands we could save on travel. Of course, we had to sign up that day to receive our free trip, sign contracts, agree on a tape recorder that we weren't coerced by high pressure sales tactics (which should have been our first red flag) and so we fell hard and handed over our credit card. A month later I attempted to 1: book a bereavement fare and 2: schedule our free trip. The best fare they could give me was hundreds more than my Mom ended up getting through her travel agent. So much for the promise that they have access to cheaper airfare than the general public. The free trip was a nightmare combined with a sick joke. Just a clue-it isn't free if you have to send reservation money, and good luck using the free roundtrip ticket voucher with Certs, Inc. There are so many loopholes with them, they wouldn't honor our request because our 3rd choice for a travel date didn't meet with their criteria. They sent a nasty letter back to us stating we had no chance for rebuttal, the case was closed and there was no way we could contest. After calling great escapes, they wouldn't help at all, stating they were not affiliated with them. By the way, it took Great Escapes over a month to find us a condo for our free trip, and we had to let them know right away if we wanted it or we would have to forfeit it. My husband and I were both working and due to the time zone issue, we couldn't ever get a hold of a live person during their business hours, so they let it go the next day! My last attempt to book a hotel for a trip in Chicago revealed that the price they offered was no better than what I could get myself. I had finally had it, and filed a complaint and request for a chargeback to my credit card. My husband even went to the Englewood office to speak to them and they wouldn't open the door-he had called repeatedly to try to sent up an appointment, no one would call back. He even slid a note under the door when he saw people walking around inside--no luck. Here's the best part--when GE found out we wanted our money back-THEY SUSPENDED OUR MEMBERSHIP!! We called the Florida office several times, finally spoke with a very personable girl named Jennifer whom was very well versed in dealing with complaints and assured me she would contact our credit card company on our behalf--total BS--it never happened. She did go to the trouble though of reinstating our membership. My credit card company as it turns out could not issue us a refund, after a great deal of hassle and months of trying. We feel like idiots-I HATE THESE PEOPLE!! If I could I would picket their office and would love to know what we all can do to get some recourse. I have heard there is no luck in going through the BBB. How about a class action suit?

Longmont, Colorado

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 07/17/2008 10:19 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Great-Escapes-Travel-Club-Advantage-TravelCerts/Lakeland-Florida/Great-Escapes-Travel-Club-Advantage-Travel-Certs-Run-from-these-scam-artists-Englewood-352633. 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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Updates & Rebuttals

#1 Consumer Comment

Accountablilty.. some people have it. Some people don't.

AUTHOR: KEK - (United States of America)

I don't usually post on websites that encourage people to sit on the pitty pot and rant and rave but I have some input on this particular subject.  I own timeshare as well at the Great Escapes membership and I love them both.  

Having seen a bunch of presentations from multiple companies, I think I've got the routine down pat.  They always invite you in by offering a vacation gift of some sort.  The vacations gifts are almost impossible to use with their many restrictions but if you know how to read and follow directions, I assure you- it can be done! From the sounds of the original post, the gift was the main complaint; you didn't read the instructions or follow them (think of it as a test, if you do not follow directions you fail- duh!).  I'm sorry, but I get extremely angry when people cannot take ownership of their own decisions. You sound just as ridiculous as the people that bought a house they couldn't afford but then turned around and blamed the bank for giving them the loan in the first place!!!!!!  I wouldn't be surprised if you did that too...

My timeshare is great because we use it for a family reunion every single year and the kids know exactly when and where it is and to plan on it.  I have been a member of Great Escapes since 2006 and I have used it multiple times a year except for 2009 and 2010.  By your standards, I should demand my money back for not being able to use it for two years- but I will not.  I have made many irreplaceable memories that I wouldn't have made without it and I hope I continue to so for the rest of my life.  I have greatly enjoyed their discounts on hotels, cruises and an all inclusive packages to Mexico.  I have also enjoyed using their condos on multiple occasions.  Has it worked absolutely perfect every single time that I went to use it?  No.  But neither has my new washer (currently fixing the hose since it was leaking water everywhere!).  What I'm trying to point out is: Nothing is Perfect.  But not even using it and complaining to the cyberworld that it doesn't work to satisfy your "poor me" syndrome is ludicrous. 

Your claims to cheaper airfare???? It was stressed repeatedly to me that they could not offer discounts on airfare and I remember they even showed me that it stated that fact in the contract.  Did you not read your contract before signing it? 

The straw that broke the camels back:  Khatz, your allegations of going to the office and being ignored are simply false.  The offices on the west coast have been closed for the past 2 years.  How do I know?  I happened to be driving by and noticed the office in my area was no longer there.  Very concerned, I called the 800 number and was assured that because of the economy, the western states had temporarily closed their sales offices until the economy could recover but that my membership was still the same. And it worked beautifully both times that I have used it this year, but I'm a see the glass as 'half full' kind of gal and tend look for the good rather than opportunities to complain.   

As for the so called 'former employee'- I am an avid shopper and I price check everything.  I haven't had a situation where I have found anything cheaper online.  Not once in five years. My guess is that was also posted by Khatz, whom obvioulsy did not vent enough with his original post!

What is wrong with people today?  Why is okay for people to shrug off their own accountability and project it on to someone else?  No one forced you to purchase anything and yet you did.  You.  An adult to some degree.  The only 'class action' needed is for you to take action and go to class to learn about: Honesty. Integrity. And Accountability. 
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#2 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Better Deals on other sites for less

AUTHOR: MJS - (United States of America)

This company does a podim show on how you can save money by joining their club. The truth is that you can get the same deals if not better by visiting www.hotelsetc.com. vacationstogo.com. gimme shelter vacations. redweek.com and many more. They also use a web service that cleans up negative reviews and write their own positive review. If you continue to write bad reviews they threaten to sue you for up to 1.5 million dollars for declamation of a business. It is a bunch of bull. A lot of what they claim they can do is untrue and they put down other travel sites like expedia etc in their presentation. Buyer Beware.
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#3 Consumer Comment

Great company--great service

AUTHOR: Michael - (United States of America)

Strange people, here.  I have been a member since 1995, and love this company.  I use them all the time; including my hotel bookings (they get me the best price and discounts too), condo rentals, air tickets, and cruise.  And they charge no commission.  It's like I own my own Travel Company.  Ignore these soreheads....
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#4 Consumer Comment

GreatEscapes satisfied member

AUTHOR: Judy G - (U.S.A.)

I have had a GreatEscapes Travel Club membership since 2000. Although I have not been able to use the membership as much as hoped due to illness I can attest that I have saved substantial money on trips I have booked through them and their staff have always been extremely helpful in planning trips and answering any and all questions. If I found a trip or service online at a special price, they were always happy to research and do thier best to beat the other offer. I don't know that they ever promised to always save 50% and as someone who has travel agency experience would not expect this of any travel club. Sorry to hear you had such a bad experience but they have saved me money multiple times proven by taking trips with friends who had the exact same trip package and they paid substantially more than we did. You also receive cash back earned through their Advantage dollars and I have collected checks from this as well.
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