On Jan 7th 2005, my family and I were invited to a 90 promotional tour of Westgate Lakes Resort and Spa. The 90min tour turned out to be 4 hours, during the 4 hour we were subject to countless high pressure sales tactics and misleading information from the tour guide/sales person. During the tour I asked the sales person a series of decision making questions, one if them being "What happens if I can no longer afford the timeshare payments?" The sales person response was "You can always sell it" people will always buy a timeshare in Orlando because it is one of the top vacation and tours areas. Her answers were false and misleading. She conveniently left out the fact that "Westgate" does take back or assist in selling the timeshare if you can no longer afford it. She was also not truthful in the fact that it is VERY hard, if not impossible to resell a timeshare, even if it's in "Orlando" and if you are lucky enough to find someone to purchase your timeshare; you will be offered a fraction of what it is worth and what you paid for it.
Had I known that important fact and it wasnt buried in a hard to read contract, I would have declined the offer to purchase the timeshare. I could have done some research before making such business and life changing decisions like buying a timeshare, but I was not planning on purchasing a timeshare nor was I in the market to buy a timeshare. These types of businesses and tours are designed to keep the consumer unaware until you are already committed to something, weather it be a sales tour presentation or buying a timeshare. When going on the tour if you decide to purchase a timeshare you complete the entire transaction on the day of the tour. Which means you have no legal representation on your behalf to look over the enormous amount of paperwork and contracts they shove in your face. The contract is riddled with clauses and legal terms that are impossible to comprehend or fully understand the terms and conditions of the contract without a professional consulting.
One of the terms or conditions is that the company does not take back or assist you in reselling the timeshare, if you can no longer afford it. This basically leaves you with no way out. This year, my financial status has changed dramatically and I could not longer afford to make payments on the timeshare. On July 12, I sent a letter via fax to Westgate/Central Florida Investments corporate office explaining my financial situation.. They contacted me and told me about the hardship program. They offer this program for customer who have financial problems and are unable to afford their monthly mortgage payments. The account rep (Jorge Pastrana) asked me, to fax them copy of all my monthly bills and expenses for review in order to consider me in the program. I enclosed enough proof that I can no longer afford this responsibility.
After calling the account rep back for a status of my claim. The gentleman gave me a rather disappoint decision, they decided that living on 400 dollars a month after paying all my monthly bills and expenses
including my timeshare obligation but not including average daily expenses, is enough for me to live in New York City and the lonely thing they can do for me is offer me another timeshare at a lower price. I was also informed by the rep that in the process they ran my credit. I did not authorize or ask my permission to run my credit. I was not applying for credit with this company. My credit was not checked in 2005 when I bought the timeshare which I would expect to happen. I was told by the sales rep that the credit is not check because the buyer finances the mortgage through Westgate/Central Florida Investments In House Mortgage Program I feel this is an attempt to review my credit worthiness and damage my good credit status because I am unable to pay. I feel that checking my credit made the crucial part for their decision because if I had bad credit, it wouldnt matter as much if they damaged it further and they wouldnt have anything to threaten me with.
My account is still in good stating with them and I am not in default in anyway.
I feel ripped off by this company with no way out of this situation.
I feel that these types of scams and business practices are targeted for the elderly and minorities that are of the middle class who happen to have some money.
There are certain criteria you have to meet in order to be eligible to buy a timeshare from this company and many others like it.
Do not buy anything from this company, nothing the salesperson tells you, promises you or lies to you, will be in contract you sign. Nor will they
commit it any promises in writing.
What this company is doing is wrong and they need to be stopped. I am very interested in a class action lawsuit against this company if anybody has one pending or is thinking about filing one, I would like to join in.
Long Island City, New York
U.S.A. Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Westgatee Resorts