My wife and I are currently RCI customers by way of a timeshare/resort company called Palace Premier. When my wife and I took a trip to Cancun in 2011 we stayed at the Cancun Palace and purchased a package wherein they provided a free year of membership to RCI. My wife and I went back to the same Cancun Palace last year (now known as the Hard Rock Cancun as Hard Rock International has purchased a number of the Palace Premier hotels) and upgraded our resort package with Hard Rock International. The upgrade again included another free year with RCI.
On January 10th, at a few minutes before 7:00 PM Central Time I received a phone call from RCI. The sales agents name making the call was Austin. He explained that they were calling select
customers with a special offer under the RCI Cruise & Resort Vacation nomenclature. His explanation was that RCI has pre-purchased, in bulk, a number of vacation packages and offering them at a very special price to some special RCI customers. While we had yet to use any of the RCI services available to us, we understood it as a typical sales pitch and I listened to what Austin had to say.
During the conversation Austin told me the offer was for a Cruise and Resort package at $600 off the normal price. All we had to do was make an initial payment of $99 to hold the price and that the remainder of the balance would be paid over the next 17 months at roughly $100 a month plus
a small payment processing fee each month for breaking the payment up over that time period. I asked Austin if he would mind holding for a minute while I discussed it with my wife. After talking with her briefly, I asked if Austin would mind if I put her on the phone with us. He agreed and my
wife and I both continued to talk with him for another 15 minutes or so, asking questions about what kind of destinations were available and if there were restrictions. He explained that all of the resorts and cruises available are what are considered gold level, meaning top names such as Mayan Palace, and Norwegian Cruise Lines. He also stated that as soon as I made the initial $99 deposit he would send me an email that contained website logon information so I could begin looking at the available destinations.
Since we already had a vacation package with Hard Rock International that we are still paying off (since we had just upgraded it again last year), I asked Austin if I can cancel the package if we couldnt find any destinations we liked considering the amount of money we were going to be
paying he said absolutely. We would have plenty of time to look and decide and would have the option to cancel. Since that was a vague answer I asked if we would have 30 days to call back and pass on the package he again reiterated that we would have time and said he would send me the email with the website logon and the rest of the package information tonight after payment. My wife and I both said it sounded good but asked one last time in a different way so youre saying that, if we cant find a destination that we would like to go to we will be able to call back and, worst case scenario, we would only lose the $99 payment to which he responded with a vague yes and asked if we would mind holding on while he got a manager to talk to us.
We waited for a couple minutes until Austin returned, and said it was very busy and apologized for the wait. Ask he finished apologizing he said it looked like a manager was finally available and
introduced us to Adam. We explained the same concerns about being able to cancel to Adam, who then spent about five minutes talking to us and assuring us we would be able to cancel and get our deposit back. Both my wife and I asked the same question, separately, if we could call back and cancel and get our money back and Adam absolutely said yes. My wife and I agreed that it
seemed like a good deal and continued with the purchase. We were transferred to the validation agent, Roger, who took our payment information and said the call was being recorded for our protection and theirs. He asked if the terms were explained to me and I said yes. He reconfirmed
our payment information and asked if Austin told us we can expect an email with our login information and the rest of the details about the package and I said yes.
What I dont have in my notes are whether I continued speaking with Roger, the validation agent, or if I was transferred back to Adam the manager I was busy explaining to my wife what Adam told me and that I was just finishing the purchase at the time. I was then pitched an upgrade to
my existing RCI membership for only $55 for the year and the additional benefits of upgrading that portion of our membership. I agreed and upgraded our membership during the same phone call.
More than a week passed and I hadnt received an email with the logon information. The package with the paperwork was apparently delivered on 01/17 and signed for by my mother who lives with us but I didnt realize this for a couple days and was still under the assumption that we had
plenty of time to cancel. I work in the IT department at my company and my work frequently doesnt end after I get home so I didnt have a chance to look through the paperwork yet. My wife had not been paid by her employer for a month and was likely looking at being laid off. With this information I decided to cancel our package. When I called RCI to cancel the cruise and resort
package on 02/05/2013 at 12:18 PM Central Time I spoke with Sasha who asked for my reason for cancellation. I explained about my wife not being paid and probably being laid off and she transferred me to Customer Service approximately three minutes later. After approximately ten minutes on hold Sasha returned and apologized for the wait and told me she gave my contact
information to Customer Service and they would call me back within an hour. I provided my cell phone number as the primary call back number in case I wasnt at my desk.
By 3:00 PM Central Time I had not received a call so I tried calling back again. My call was answered at 3:04 PM by Margarita who checked my account and account notes and asked me to hold. At 3:08 PM Customer Support representative Janelle took my phone call. I politely explained the situation to Janelle. Janelle told me the package could not be cancelled and that I should have been made aware of the ten day rescission period. I explained we werent told there was a ten day rescission period and that I wanted to cancel the package. I also explained how we asked at least twice if we would be able to call and cancel the package while talking with Austin and Adam who confirmed that we would be able to. She said she couldnt help me cancel the package but she could offer different payment options. When I reiterated what we were told about being able to cancel and get our money back and I was told there was no way what I was saying could be true I became upset over the misrepresentation of what was sold to me.
I asked to speak with a manager and was asked to hold. After a few minutes Keith took my call and said he was a manager and wanted to know what he could do to help. He said he could delay our next payment and then adjust the March, April, and May payments by 50% to half what they should be and that we would just have a larger final payment at the end to cover the difference. I dont appreciate being deceived and at that point no longer had any interest in the package at any price for any reason. I explained that no one told me I had ten days to cancel and was told by Keith that it is irrelevant because I signed for a package on January 17, 2013 and the terms were clearly spelled out. I told him I didnt know the package was delivered when it was and didnt have a chance to look at it until a week ago, didnt see the terms of acceptance, and that the reason was because thats not what I was told on the phone. He again stated that it didnt matter because I received an email the day I purchased it that also said I had ten days to cancel I never received the email that he is referring to (the email Austin was supposed to send me the night we purchased the package). It wasnt in my junk mail folder, it wasnt deleted I never got it.
I then insisted that if they had a recording of my conversation, that I wanted to hear it. If we were told we had ten days to cancel by Austin or Adam while we were originally on the phone with them,
then it is our problem. I also insisted that he, or whoever is responsible for that sort of thing, forward the email they supposedly sent. Keith told me I didnt have any right to demand a recording and that my arguments werent valid. I responded that it was fine and I would simply have my credit card company take care of the issue and talk to my attorney.
At approximately 5:27 PM on 02/06/2013 I contacted RCI again to try and cancel once more without resorting to disputing the charge. I waited on hold for approximately twelve minutes and was greeted by Rosie. She verified some contact information with me and asked how she could
help. I briefly explained the situation. Rosie said she wouldnt be able to help unfortunately because she works in finance and cant help with cancellations. I asked if I could speak with Adam, the sales manager we first spoke with. I also asked if there was an email address I could send
information to or request information from. She found Adam was not available , and the offer was made to transfer me to his voicemail which I agreed to. I left a voicemail explaining that I wanted to confirm the terms of the purchase because I was being told we had ten days to cancel and I dont
remember that being part of our conversation. I also asked if he would be able to play the call back for me so we could resolve the situation without resorting to a dispute and requested that he call me back. I did not hear back from him or any other RCI representative until today, 02/09/2013.
At 12:39 PM on Saturday, February 09, 2013 I received a phone call at home from Mary at RCI. She said she had an email to give me a call. Mary said she is in Customer Service and was polite in asking if we could go over things. I offered to go over things from the start about the problem. I explained what I had in my notes from the original sales call and what I was told with regards to cancelling and how I am not being told the same thing now. She listened very carefully and was pleasant in her responses and said she wanted to do what she could to make us happy. As
we talked and I mentioned my previous experiences on the phone with trying to cancel and that being able to hear the call recording would be helpful, she asked if I could wait while she reviewed the information they have. I waited on hold with my wife for a few minutes until Mary returned and offered to play part of the call during the sale.
Mary, my wife and I all listened very carefully as approximately five minutes of the call played back the part where we are on the phone with Adam, reviewing the option to cancel. During that section
of the recording you can hear my wife ask (this is verbatim): What if we put down the ninety-nine dollars to get the website sent to us and theres just really nothing on that website that were interested in going to? Do we get that ninety-nine dollars back? To which, Adam responds, Yeah,
yeah. The deposit would be refundable. But keep in mind that RCI currently, through the promotion, is the second largest cruise provider and continues to go on about the selling points of the package. A couple minutes later I ask, OK, so really the bottom line is, is if we go ahead and
agree to the ninety-nine dollar deposit lets just say worst case scenario, if we decided we really dont want this we could walk away and just loose ninety-nine dollars at most but we could probably get the ninety-none dollars back? To which, Adam simply replies Correct.
Adam had two opportunities to tell us on the phone, specifically, just how long we have to cancel and he did not. Being someone who makes sales calls every day and understands the importance of
spelling things out for potential customers, I feel it is obvious that his answers were intentionally vague and deceitful. He chose to focus on continuing to sell the package to us without making the terms obvious, even when asked about cancelling twice. At no point in ANY conversation with Austin the sales person, with Adam the sales supervisor, or Roger the validation agent was I told there was only ten days to cancel.
We definitely appreciated Marys assistance and appreciate the ability to listen to the original sales call. However, despite the call clearly illustrating our point, Mary said she understands where we are coming from and was very sympathetic to our position and also the fact that we were not clearly informed but that she could not help cancel the package and that her supervisors would not see it my way either, unfortunately. I told her I was sorry we could not work this out without disputing things and that I was going to move forward with the dispute and posting our experience on http://rci-timeshare.pissedconsumer.com/rci-cruise-scam-artists-20121126362567.html,
as well as file an official complaint with the Better Business Bureau.