I, like so many helpless others, need your help. I am writing in hopes that I can help others, warming them of what could possibly happen to them if they enter a contract with a Mexican based company named Royal Holiday who scams innocent and unsuspected people into signing timeshare contracts with fraudulent information and high pressured sales tactics.
Royal Holiday has an F rating with the Better Business Bureau which is the lowest rating a company can have. They have 275 complaints in the last 3 years. If you Google Royal Holiday, you will find hundreds upon hundreds of website where consumers are voicing their challenges in hopes of someone hearing them and take the time to help.
My story is quite long, and one you may not want to read in its entirety, but I begged you to please read my entire story, because even if it may not be reported, it is one that will help prevent a large number of consumers from being scammed out of their hard earned money. I am one of the many people who got scammed. Here is my story. PLEASE HELP!!!
For Christmas (2007), I wanted to do something special for my mother. For the very first time, we went to Cozumel, Mexico. While we were there, my mother and I enjoyed ourselves tremendously, so much so, my mother wanted to return for Christmas (2008). On the last day of our vacation we came in contact with Royal Holiday, which at the time, I didn't know was going to be a huge mistake. We were welcomed by a tour guide then handed over to a sales agent, followed by two sales managers. The Royal Holiday employees willingly and knowingly gave my mother and me fraudulent information, information used to enter consumers into timeshare contracts. During the sales presentation, I voiced to the sales agent I am not interested in purchasing a timeshare I cannot physically own.
The agent stated Royal Holiday is a membership that you cannot own, but they provide you 100% of your money back after 30yrs. He continued on by stating I would receive 100% of my money back, which I can use toward another 30 year membership. (This happens to be a lie). Because of this lie, I continued the sales presentation instead of leaving.
The resort we were staying at provided a beautiful view of cruise ships entering and leaving the port. In conversation, my mother and I talked about saving up and taking a cruise. I did not realize the sales agent was going to use the idea of my mother and me wanting to take a cruise, as another lie to get me to enter a membership with Royal Holiday. When I voice I wanted to take my mother on a cruise, the sales agent stated if I purchase a membership with Royal Holiday, my mother and I can take as many cruises as our hearts desired whenever we wanted, staying as long as we wanted for only 5,000 holiday credits. There was no fee involved. I asked if there was indeed a time limit and again he stated no.
May of 2008, is when we found out this was a lie as well. In order for my mother and me to take a cruise, which we found out is only for 3, 4, or 7 days, not the whenever we wanted, staying as long as we wanted, we had to pay $700.00 in addition to the 5,000 holiday credits. For this price, my mother and me can book a week-long or longer cruise with orbitz, priceline.com, lastminutecruise deal, or any travel place that offers cruise deals, and have money left over for shore excursions, and a little money in our pockets. Solely because of this lie, I agreed to purchase a full Royal Holiday membership in the amount of 15,000 holiday credits (silver membership) for the next 30 years.
If I had of known the sales agent was lying about the cruise, I would not have agreed to enter into a full membership with Royal Holiday. I would have ended the presentation and left. When I agreed to enter in a full membership, the sales agent brought over Victor Maldonado, developer representative and sales manager to the sales agent, to continue.
Unbeknown to me, Victor Maldonado used this as an opportunity to trick me into purchasing a trial membership in the amount of $4000.00 dollars, which began the nightmare I am still living.
Victor Maldonado offered me the trial membership instead of the full membership. He explained this is one way Royal Holiday introduces their program to potential members for the next seven years. He went on to state instead of receiving just 15,000 holiday credits to use (silver membership) each year; I could and would receive 245,000 holiday credits which I can use for the next seven years.
I figured there may be a catch, since most things are, and he proceeded to tell me I had to pay a onetime $25.00 in addition to the $4000.00 dollars it cost for the trial membership. This one-time $25.00 dollar activation fee was used to activate all the vouchers for use. Once I get a feel of the program, I can use the equity from the trial membership (the cost of the membership), and apply it to an upgrade toward a full membership within the seven years. This is the third and fourth lie told. Since it was only $25.00, I agreed to go ahead with the trial membership.
Victor Maldonado, and a second manager, Julissa Tabar, V.L.O all agreed to the one-time only $25.00 activation fee and as you can see this was a lie. I signed a trial membership contract and gave Victor Maldonado $1730.00 down payment and paid $612.50 in automatic payments, paying $122.50 for the next 18 months. I have paid a total of $2342.50.
The following day my mother and me returned back home to New Jersey. When I got home I noticed activation fees attached to each voucher inside the trial membership kit. I received one voucher in the amount of 30,000 holiday credits which required $699.00 to activate, five vouchers for 5,000 holiday credits at $199.00 each totaling $995.00, five vouchers for 15,000 holiday credits at $399.00 each totaling $1,995.00, five special vacation vouchers for 10,000 holiday credits at $349.00 each totaling $1745.00, and five last minute vouchers for 10,000 holiday credits at $249.00 each totaling $1,245.00. The $25.00 was for a first time vacation voucher for 15,000 holiday credits.
In order for me to use these vouchers I not only have to pay $4000.00 for the use of the trial membership, I have to pay, in addition, a total of $6, 679.00 in activation fees. If I choose not to pay the $6,679.00, I cannot use the trial membership and I am paying $4000.00 for absolutely nothing. I cannot and will not use the vouchers. I cannot afford to just hand over $4000.00 for nothing. I have to pay a total of $10, 614.00 to use this trial membership. This amount is a timeshare in and of itself.
I have two time shares at my disposal. If I was told the truth about the additional $6,679.00 in activation fees, on top of the $4000.00 for the trial membership, I would have decline the trial membership and left the presentation. The exact same places (I checked) I can go off of these Royal Holiday vouchers, I can go for free using my other two timeshare, no additional fees. One timeshare in particular, I can book a room, airfare, and car rental off of my points, and no money ever leaves my pocket.
For someone like me in my situation, which I stated to the sales agent, and manager (I told them I have two timeshares at my disposal) this type of trial membership does not benefit me in anyway. Royal Holiday had me enter a contract knowing they gave me false information. The sales agent and the two managers knowingly lied to me in order for me to sign the contract.
If I was given the truth, I would have never agreed to pay the fees, let alone enter the contract knowing I could go to the same place for free. I don't know anyone who would agree to pay $6679.00 in activation fees along with $4000.00 to use the program. The only way anyone would sign a trial membership is if the sales agents and their manager knowing and willingly lie to the consumers.
The only way I could see this working for me financially was to upgrade to a full membership so the $4000.00 I spent for the trial membership would be used as down payment and closing cost for a full membership. At this point when I decided to go ahead with the upgrade of the full membership, I thought I still could do the cruises that were stated to me by the sales agent in Cozumel, Mexico. I did not know it was a lie at this point. I paid the $25.00 for the first vacation and I went to the Bahamas to celebrate Mother's Day with my mother, (which were hidden fees royal holiday does not tell you about, $136.00 to be exact).
I stayed at Whyndam Nassau Casino and Resorts, which happen to be my own timeshare outside of Royal Holiday. So you could imagine how I felt going to my own home resort and paying $136.00 in hidden fees. I could have just went on my own and not go through Royal Holiday. It was there that I upgraded to full membership, or so I thought.
A sales agent by the name of Luke and two managers, Charles and Pedro stated the equity from the Cozumel trial membership would be used as down payment and closing cost, however, I had to pay an additional $2,494.50. I paid an additional $2, 494.50 and signed a new contract for full membership receiving 15,000 holiday credits each year (silver membership). I left the Bahamas the next day and return back to New Jersey. It wasn't until I made it back home when I found out the administration department cancelled my contract because they would not allow my equity from the trial membership to carry over to the full membership and in order for me to continue the full membership, I had to give them additional payments.
At this point, my patient was growing very thin. All I am hearing is we want more money, more money and nothing to show in return. Administration said their policy states equity from the trial membership cannot be transferred over to a full membership. This meant the sales agent and the sales manager told another lie. At this point I have no full membership (which I don't want) and a trial membership that I cannot use. Because I was at no fault with the upgraded membership in the Bahamas, you would think I would have no problem getting my money back from the cancelled contract.
Royal Holiday wanted to keep $120.00 of my deposit because of a food voucher that was given to me for free. On Mother's Day, they had me in the office for over three hours. I was complaining to them that it was Mother's Day and my mother and I had not eaten all day. I was going to leave.
Pedro, a sales manager in the Bahamas, offered to pay for my dinner. He told Charles, another sales manager, to go set it up. Charles came back to the table and handed me a voucher for $120.00 and told me to have dinner on them. I did not ask for the voucher and I felt that was the least they could do for keeping me there for three hours on Mother's Day of all days. If I had known this was going to happen, I would not have taken the voucher.
Finally, after speaking to Yasmin Gomez for two to three times regarding my refund, I finally received the full amount from the Bahamas (First the 2374.50 and a second deposit of 120.00). At this point, I was really trying to work with Royal Holiday but they were making it very hard.
When I spoke with Yasmin Gomez concerning the fraudulent behavior of Cozumel and the trial membership, she advised me there was nothing she could do for me on her end because this trial membership contract was originated in Cozumel, Mexico. She informed me that my contract would probably not be cancelled and my money refunded, so my best course is to take legal action. I then spoke with Sandra De Luew, regarding the cancelling of my trial membership originating in Cozumel, Mexico. She informed me that there was nothing she could do and I informed her I will be taking legal action. I spoke with an attorney to see what my rights were because I saw where too many people were taken advantage of by this Mexican company.
It seems with the law it is very tricky and challenging legally to go after these people who will cost me, as well as others a lot of money to go after them. I can't speak for everyone who got scammed by this company, but some may not be able to afford the legal fees it takes to go after them. I don't know what's worse: having a legal case against them and can't go after them, or knowing that they can get away with ripping off consumers because they know no one will go after them legally.
Because of this, they will continuously go after unsuspecting people like me, and countless others.
On a daily basis I tried to call Royal Holiday and speak to anyone who could help me rectify the situation I am in. Because Royal Holiday prides themselves on there 25 years in business, I just knew they would value their customers and would do any and everything to help keep their customers satisfied. I tried on numerous occasions calling and trying to work with Royal Holiday.
Every time I called, Royal Holiday, they would either place me on hold or keep me on hold until I hang up or when they asked for my name and member/contract number and realize it was Elizabeth Hackley calling, they would hang up completely. Because I was getting nowhere, I decided to file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau complaining of the deception and fraudulent practices they used to trick $4000.00 plus dollars from me.
When I filed the complaint on July 7, 2008, to their Quality Assurance department based in Miami, FL, I was contacted by the company on July 17, 2008 by an Octavio Robles Lopez asking the reason for the complaint. When I spoke with Octavio Robles Lopez on 7/17/08, he spoke with sincerity in his voice, or so I thought and stated he was going to do everything to help me rectified the situation. He even agreed with me when I stated how Royal Holiday wronged me.
In our conversation, I asked would he enter in a trial membership like the one I was tricked into knowing he had to pay $6,679.00 in activation fees to use the vouchers. By his own admission, Octavio Robles Lopez stated NO. So if he would not enter a contract like that, then please tell me why I am being held to the same contract? He insists they are not responsible for verbal agreements not written in the contract.
What really concerns me, with regards to the Royal Holiday Club is the way the company is entering members into contracts with fraudulent information and then tries to hide behind a contract that states we are not responsible for verbal agreements; however they are responsible for the people who work for the company. I pose a question. Who knows Royal Holiday better than anyone? me, no, the countless numbers of people who have filed complaints with this company for fraudulent practices, no, the countless numbers of people who feel they were scammed, (I have names), no. The person(s) who knows Royal Holiday better than anyone is: the people who work within the company. It is assumed the sales agents, and their managers are put through hours upon hours of Royal Holiday training learning about the ins and outs of the company, what can and CANNOT be done with timeshares or membership as they call it, with the Royal Holiday Club.
With that said, I pose a second question. How are potential members supposed to decipher what is true and what is false? We are not experts in RH, but their workers are. We are limited to the amount of information we know about the company and to a certain extent, depend solely on what the agents, and managers states. It is what the agents, and managers are stating, that is bringing in the memberships. This information being stated is roughly 90% knowingly inaccurate, in my case, 100% of the information given was false, resulting in signed contracts with Royal Holiday. When this fraudulent information that was stated to get the contract signed, becomes evident that it is inaccurate, you have a number of complaints within the Better Business Bureau, complaints that share a unifying theme: conducting fraudulent acts to enter consumers into contracts.
This is consumer fraud, countless number of websites, and people claiming Royal Holiday is a scam. When all the pieces of the puzzle are placed together, you have to wonder, is Royal Holiday committing consumer fraud, or is everyone lying against a company who claims they have been doing business for 25 years. Anyone can be in business for 25 yrs. as long as they prey on the unsuspected.
Royal Holiday responded to my complaint by stating they are giving me a contract for 15,000 holiday credits (silver membership) in which I have to pay $250.00 every month until the $14,000 plus contract is paid in full. This is not what I want nor requested. I am not requesting Royal Holiday to do something that is not the right thing to do. All I am asking for is the $1730.00 down payment in Cozumel and the $612.50 in payments to the Royal Holiday Club, totaling $2342.50, and the remaining trial membership #802-1007 cancelled. They told me they will cancel the contract, but will keep all monies paid. This is absolutely unfair and wrong.
So as it stands I was told I either enter a full contract with them and pay them an additional $14,000 plus dollars or lose the $2342.50 and walk away with absolutely nothing. Please tell me where this is fair for anyone from any stand point. I don't want to do business with a company who is making their money from scamming innocent consumers with deception and fraud. Why would I take this membership and pay for them to treat me the way they are treating me now?
I know there may be a chance that this story may never surface and nothing gets done about Royal Holiday, but I am taking my chances anyways hoping that my story get taken serious so consumer can have a chance to protect themselves against this company and things can change for the better not the worse. Royal Holiday is completely scamming people and will continuously scam people because they can and are getting away with it. They got me, and countless others. I definitely want to help prevent anyone else from getting scammed by Royal Holiday.
Mount Laurel, New Jersey