I came across this site that has all these horror stories about Royal Prestige. I'm located in Alberta, Canada, and I have a similar story. Like many others, we were contacted after attending a bridal expo with the promise of a free trip. We, too ended up attending a cookware demo at a Holiday Inn. We ended up buying a cookware set that came with a set of knives and knife block.
The part of the spiel about weight loss, by the way, assumes that you're going to convert totally to waterless cooking and skip the grease. Quite frankly, if you have skinless chicken and vegetables for supper but still eat fast food hamburgers for lunch every day, you're unlikely to lose weight.
1) THE SALES PITCH
Yes, they used hardcore, high-pressure sales tactics, telling us that our aluminum pots will give us Alzheimers, and teflon pots will kill our canaries (the former which is up for debate, the latter which has been proven). They also emphasized a 2% interest rate throughout the spiel. We found out when we sat down to sign the paperwork, however, that it was 2% per month - ergo, 24% annually. So that wasn't exactly a lie, just a misleading on their part. And we noticed that ourselves when we read the contract - they didn't point it out. We did however, sign on the dotted line knowing the APR was 24%.
2) THE PRODUCT
So far, we've been very satisfied with the quality of the cookware and the knives. I've found the cookware to work as it should, if you use low heat and follow the instructions about getting the pan to the right temperature before adding the food. The cleanup process is also easy. If food is stuck on, putting about two inches of water in the pan and boiling it allows the stuck-on food to be easily taken off. The pans included a sample of Barkeeper's Friend cleaner, which does return the pans (and actually, the kitchen sink, too) to a nice shine. We also have a set of the knives, which work very well.
3) THE PAPERWORK
Our pots and knives arrived a few days before the anticipated delivery date. Nothing was damaged in any way.
It's been about 10 months since the purchase, and our balance owing has gone from about $3400 to about $2500 - so we haven't had the problem of the principal staying the same, as some have.
About two months ago, they actually sent us a physical credit card with a limit of $5400; a "reward" for making our payments on time. We locked it up and haven't touched it.
One of the perks they offered was a free 3 day cruise in the Bahamas. They told us flat out, before anything was signed, that the cruise did not include airfare. However, when the cruise voucher was sent to us, they sent it in French (with an insert translating the terms & conditions page to English). I telephoned and was told they don't have any fully English copies. We gave Odenza (the perk company) a $50 deposit, but later decided we can't afford the airfare to the cruise port of call, and decided to cut our losses. I have no idea how things would have panned out if we had tried to book the cruise. I know that they said we had two years to take the cruise - between October 2005 and October 2007; but the "promo" cruises are only available in the winter months, effectively trimming back the expiry date from October 2007 to February 2007.
They also told us that the debt should be paid off in about two years. I sat down and did the math, and realized it's more like 2.5 to 3 years. I should have done the math before signing - is it legal for them to exaggerate how quickly the debt can be repaid?
They also gave us:
1) A card entitling us to skip one month's payment and tack it on at the end - I'll never use it; I'm sure that one payment would accrue interest at an ungodly rate, and bite us in the a*s in the end;
2) A voucher entitling us to recieve, at the end of the term, Royal Prestige products for the entire value of the interest paid by us. Having read everyone else's feedback, I suspect I'll have to fight them to get these products.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
The products we're happy with, and would consider buying other Royal Prestige items, albeit not on their credit terms. Yes we have experienced some shady moves on their part, but nothing as extreme as what others have said. Maybe in Canada, their policy is different? I don't know. I guess my advice is to keep your wits about you - we're going to save the final bill that shows a zero balance owing, and contact the credit reporting agencies to ensure Royal Prestige/Hy Cite don't "forget" to report when the account balance is zero.
Canada Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Royal Prestige