• Report: #341182

Complaint Review: Universal Timeshare Sales

  • Submitted: Tue, June 17, 2008
  • Updated: Mon, August 03, 2009

  • Reported By:Los Angeles California
Universal Timeshare Sales
11455 S. Orange Blossom Trail Suite 15 Orland, Florida U.S.A.

Universal Timeshare Sales Charges Upfront Fee Claiming to Be Able to Sell Timeshare at High Price - Does not put refund policy in writing. Orland Florida

*Consumer Suggestion: Resales is hard, but their are legit firms

*Consumer Suggestion: Resales is hard, but their are legit firms

*Consumer Suggestion: Resales is hard, but their are legit firms

*Consumer Suggestion: Resales is hard, but their are legit firms

*REBUTTAL Owner of company: addressing this "ALMOST CLIENT" Concern

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THE BOTTOM LINE WITH UNIVERSAL TIMESHARE SALES IS THE DO NOT DISCLOSE FULL, SPECIFIC DETAILS ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE PAYING FOR IN WRITING, INCLUDING THEIR SPECIFIC REFUND POLICY. THEY CANNOT GUARANTEE THEY WILL SELL YOUR UNIT AT ALL AT ANY PRICE! THAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO REMEMBER. BECAUSE OF THAT ONE THING, NO GUARANTEES, UNLESS YOU HAVE RELIABLE INFO THAT THEY DO SELL UNITS AT GOOD PRICES, IT IS QUITE POSSIBLE YOU WILL GET NOTHING BACK FOR YOUR $1200, EVER.

Here's my individual story:

I almost got sucked into to Universal Timeshares Sales offer that seems good on the surface but upon further investigation is very questionable. I got the call and they said they could sell my timeshre for $26K. My first thought was WOW (as anyone's thought would be, then Ya right.) Right then red flags went up as a few weeks before out of curiosity I called the resale office at my resort which always has the highest prices anywhere. They said $22,500. Who the heck would have an asking price over the resort's price?!?!? That is the big temptation. In addition, I knew from research and data from my agent the week is worth around $9K right now at best in a private party resale. Heck if they can sell it for even $15K I would go into business buying units at $9K and reselling them through this outfit for several thousand more!

So I decided to dig deeper. First thing they said is that the price is negotiable (and I said at that asking price? You bet it is, VERY negotiable.) The difference between Universal Timeshare Sales and a Timeshare Real Estate Company/Agent is essentially Universal is just advertising your unit for you. You have to handle the actual transaction with the buyer using a third party closing/escrow service - which all said and done will end up costing you about $700-$800 in closing costs and resort transfer fees, etc. You also have to consider an agent charges usually a minimum $1500 commission, BUT ONLY IF THE SALE IS COMPLETED. That's the big difference.

What I don't get is if their 'adverting fee' is $1200 and they are not involved in the sales transaction, then how do they really make their money? I mean to make more than $1200 they would have to get the buyer to pay them a cost above what I agree to sell it for, but according to them, they are not involved in the sale. They just match buyers to sellers for a $1200 advertising fee. But what if they get thousands of people to pay the $1200 fee, and spend very little resources on actually trying to sell the units? BINGO - That's got to be their game. Sell lots of advertising, spend very little money on actually advertising the units. So this made me very skeptical that they could sell my unit at all!

They also offer to rent it, for my unit they suggested an asking price of $2400 a week. They'll also probably tell you how they are in desperate need of inventory for your property because it is such a hot property and they are sure it will eventually sell So here's the thing that almost made me go for it. I asked them "What if I, or my agent, sells or rents the unit before you do?" The cold caller's answer is, if it is a reasonable price, we refund your $1200. Notice the ambiguous "reasonable price" The other thing that started to reel me in more is I asked "Can I set any asking price I want?" They said sure. So I said, "So if I list my unit for sale at $12K, but I sell it for $9K myself before you bring me a buyer agreeing to $12K, I get my $1200 back?" They said "as long as it is a reasonable price" (in retrospect they kept avoiding any specific details on the refund policy.)

So then the agent says great, can I have your credit card number so we can get the process started. I said, WHOA, wait a minute here, I need to see all the details of this offer, including the refund policy in writing before I agree to this. They said sure, we'll send out a contract. They said they can't proceed with sending my potential buyers until I sign the contract and if I feel my credit card was improperly charged I can call my credit card company and get it taken off. That right there threw up a yellow flag. Why would this sales rep be advising me to call my credit card company instead of just saying we will refund your money if you don't agree to the contract?

So anyway, I was curious as a cat, so I decided to bite just to see the contract. She then transferred me to a "Verification Department" just like they do when you change long distance phone companies. Big Red Flag. Why do they need a verification department I thought? They tell me I'm being recorded and ask me some questions, verify who I am and that I agreed to proceed. I told them, I was not formally agreeing to their service until I saw and signed a written contract. I also asked about the refund policy and they FINALLY DIVULGED the sales price has to be within 20% of the asking price I set. They would have never told me if I hadn't asked!! I figure fine, send me the contract, BUT, change my asking price. I figure if I sell for $9K through an agent less $1500 commission less fees is $7K net. So I set asking price at $10K, which means if I sell for $8K or more elsewhere I get my $1200 back. Ya $10K is a far cry from their $26K. They are like "oh it will sell quick at that price."

Bottom line is after a few phone calls and three weeks later, all I've gotten from them is a credit card authorization form to sign and one page that lists my unit info and states I'm paying a non-refundable advertising fee. I contact the original agent and ask where the contract describing the 20% refund policy is, let alone detailed information how exactly they are advertising my unit. I said "I want a document detailing the services I am paying for; what type of advertising where exactly and when, and the refund policy, simple as that." And also asked why my card had been charged $1200 before I signed anything. She said the verification process on the phone was legally binding allowing them to charge my card. Which it definitely can be, depending on what you state on how you answer the questions. Bottom line, be careful if you consider doing this (which I don't recommend) that you sate while being recorded you don't agree until you sign a written contract. But they charge the card anyway.

I finally got the head of the "Verification Department" on the phone to tell him I wasn't signing anything until they put the 20% refund clause in writing. He assured me they would do it. I asked what his last name was, he said "Smith". Which I'm 99.9% sure was a lie. First name was Joseph. This through up another red flag.

So I hung up the phone and got to thinking, what am I doing wasting my time with this. These guys are definitely shady. I thought, if I decide NOT to sell my unit, and these guys don't sell it, I'm out $1200. That was the deal breaker. No thanks. Especially considering the big picture of how this company has conducted itself.

So another thing I found out is in order to send you qualified buyers, they need to do a title search to make sure you own the property outright. That's the only reason they want you to sign something as it is against Florida law for them to do a title search without your written approval. So I called them back, asked them if part of the service I paid $1200 for was to receive leads on buyers, they said yes. And I asked if I don't sign this you can't send me any buyers because you need to do a title check first, they said yes. So if I don't sign this, you can't provide me with the full service I paid $1200 for, they said yes. So right there I knew if I had to, I could get the $1200 back via chargeback through my CC company based on the fact they couldn't provide the full service plus I said I needed to see and sign the contract when they recorded me in the verification process.

I made enough stink about it that I didn't have to go that far and a week later (yes a week!) the called and said they would agree to my request for a refund and they refunded my card.

Here's my take on the bottom line on Universal Timeshare Sales and other similar companies:

1) I have no reason to believe what these guys are doing is illegal. Shady and/or lacking full disclosure on paper of adequate details in my opinion, but I'm guessing it is all technically legal. I cannot for sure attest to whether or not they actually sell units at decent prices. I could not find any reliable, independent 3rd party that could confirm if they sell units at decent prices (at least $1200 over private party market value) If you know someone that paid $1200 and they sold the unit for market value or above, let us all know.

2) Disregard anything they say about how easily they can sell your timeshare or what you should list it for. They'll be really slick and friendly with you. Just ignore their opinion. That is just their opinion, no guarantee.

THE BOTTOM LINE WITH UNIVERSAL TIMESHARE SALES IS THE DO NOT DISCLOSE FULL, SPECIFIC DETAILS ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE PAYING FOR IN WRITING, INCLUDING THEIR SPECIFIC REFUND POLICY. THEY CANNOT GUARANTEE THEY WILL SELL YOUR UNIT AT ALL AT ANY PRICE! THAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO REMEMBER. BECAUSE OF THAT ONE THING, NO GUARANTEES, UNLESS YOU HAVE RELIABLE INFO THAT THEY DO SELL UNITS AT GOOD PRICES, IT IS QUITE POSSIBLE YOU WILL GET NOTHING BACK FOR YOUR $1200, EVER.

Almost Burned
Los Angeles, California
U.S.A.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 06/17/2008 02:08 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Universal-Timeshare-Sales/Orland-Florida-32837/Universal-Timeshare-Sales-Charges-Upfront-Fee-Claiming-to-Be-Able-to-Sell-Timeshare-at-Hig-341182. 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 Suggestion

Resales is hard, but their are legit firms

AUTHOR: Leadsgalore - (U.S.A.)

I work in the timeshare resale leads biz for 6 years now. I have seen it all.

I would say for the most part, these companies are doing the right thing. The issue is the resorts, which do not want you to sell your timeshare!

Also, any firm that charges you after the sale is pretty much doing ZERO to "pro-actively" market it. The game here is to look for those that RENT it also! Here you can make back some $ while attempting to sell it.


Hope this helps?

Curt
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#2 Consumer Suggestion

Resales is hard, but their are legit firms

AUTHOR: Leadsgalore - (U.S.A.)

I work in the timeshare resale leads biz for 6 years now. I have seen it all.

I would say for the most part, these companies are doing the right thing. The issue is the resorts, which do not want you to sell your timeshare!

Also, any firm that charges you after the sale is pretty much doing ZERO to "pro-actively" market it. The game here is to look for those that RENT it also! Here you can make back some $ while attempting to sell it.


Hope this helps?

Curt
Respond to this report!
What's this?

#3 Consumer Suggestion

Resales is hard, but their are legit firms

AUTHOR: Leadsgalore - (U.S.A.)

I work in the timeshare resale leads biz for 6 years now. I have seen it all.

I would say for the most part, these companies are doing the right thing. The issue is the resorts, which do not want you to sell your timeshare!

Also, any firm that charges you after the sale is pretty much doing ZERO to "pro-actively" market it. The game here is to look for those that RENT it also! Here you can make back some $ while attempting to sell it.


Hope this helps?

Curt
Respond to this report!
What's this?

#4 Consumer Suggestion

Resales is hard, but their are legit firms

AUTHOR: Leadsgalore - (U.S.A.)

I work in the timeshare resale leads biz for 6 years now. I have seen it all.

I would say for the most part, these companies are doing the right thing. The issue is the resorts, which do not want you to sell your timeshare!

Also, any firm that charges you after the sale is pretty much doing ZERO to "pro-actively" market it. The game here is to look for those that RENT it also! Here you can make back some $ while attempting to sell it.


Hope this helps?

Curt
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#5 REBUTTAL Owner of company

addressing this "ALMOST CLIENT" Concern

AUTHOR: Management - (U.S.A.)

Universal Timeshare Sales Rebuttal to Any complaints Orlando Florida



This message is to address any complaints thus far as it regards to Universal Timeshare, our company. First of all, Please understand that no company can satisfy every person or client encountered. Where ever there is a business throughout the World, there is always going to be complaints, until the end of time!! We encounter several hundred clients each and every day and do our very best to work very diligently for our customers than anyone could ever imagine. We work sometimes around the clock satisfying any and all inquiries into the sales as well as the rentals of properties placed in our possession . NO PROPERTY can sell and close within 2 weeks, as expected of some clients that phones our office. I do believe this client had very high expectations and has exaggerated his claim.

Please understand this "almost client" appears to have a lot of time on his/her hand to blast companies that he expects to jump over hurdles to satisfy his insatiable quest for attention, he brings to mind a person that is "NEVER SATISFIED" with anything in his/her life. Each of our clients are very well taken care of and our contract states what our company can and will do for our clients. It is just unfortunate that this client mis understood her contract. Our company does not give our clients the run around, we handle every client with kid gloves because we care about our reputation and getting the job done our clients expect is our number one business!

Management

orlando, Florida
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