ED Magedson – Founder
Festiva Resorts3626 Quadrangle Blvd Suite 300 Orlando, Florida USA
Festiva Resorts / Festiva Hospitality Group High Pressure, Upsell, Deceiptful, Lies, Hidden Costs, Bad Value, Unethical Orlando Florida
I fell prey to this company and their deceiptful sales practices in 2003. Now, 10 years later, I am able to rid myself of this unholy arrangement. Of course Festiva has found a way to profit from my dissatisfaction.
We visited Charleston in June 2003. We were on vacation, and we loved the place. The city was swarming with well groomed clean cut young adults, to start the pitch then draw you into the jaws of the monster.
Festiva's marketing plan is simple. They catch you at what is for you an upbeat time (vacation), they have a scripted presentation and scripted answers to the questions they know you will ask. And they use every used car dealer trick in the book to get you to close.
And we did. And you know, that first time; we knew we loved Charleston and would return, we toured the property and were impressed. Then we sat down at the table, and the littany of lies started. They mean to close...and they will close...just like a used car dealer..."what would it take to get you to sign today". "We will make you this offer or concession, but you can't go think about it, it expires if you leave the room without your signaure on these papers."
I've bought plenty of cars, how did I fall for this. It is so carefully scripted, they convince you you are receving an asset of greater value than what you agree to pay them (like I go to the supermarket and they pay me to take their corn). But what came later is criminal, and they will never be held accountable for it.
We were looking for specific rights to use their property, a specific property, (Church Street Inn in Charleston SC)....in a specific time period. Either of the the two weeks, we did not care which, when Charleston hosts the Spoleto Arts Festival. It occurs every year at the same time, the two weeks that begin on Memorial Day weekend, we wanted one of the two and did not care which.
Their uncanny pitch included a sweetener! They were offering what they then referred to (but I later forgot)...they referred to as a developers week. So for what we paid for an every other year contract, we got an every year contract with the includion of the 'developers week'. Buy one, get one, what's not to like? Today only! Offer no good if you stand up and leave and say "let me think about it I'll let you know". It's what the car dealers do, they know for everone who leaves. only one in 100 returns.
Out came the mountain of paperwork. You trust, you sign. Your signature ends up recorded at least 20 or 30 times. At the end of it all I noticed, and said...."wait...our interest was ONLY in one, either one of the two weeks during which Spoleto is held. I'm looking at the calendar, and it looks like the deed is for the week FOLLOWING Spoleto". And we had made that quite clear that that was the single reason we would purchase.
The response..."oh don't worry about that, you can exchange without fee. you can probably call us as close to a month before the date you want, and we'll exchange it for free". I should have torn it up and left.
And the other item that came back to haunt, the maintenance fees. I asked, point blank, ok what would happen if the property needed a new roof, wouldn't I expect my maintenance fees to soar? "Oh no, that's unlikely I wouldn't worry about that". And I didn't but I should have.
Now the fun starts. Our property was a deeded interest. Festiva decided that that arrangement did not suit them. When we travel to Charleston, do we usually bring all out signing paperwork with us? Their next shell game cut the value of our investment in half.
We arrived in Charleston, got a note from the concierge that a "travel consultant" would like to meet with us, and stupidly we said yes. Festiva intended on eliminating all these deeded arrangements and replacing them with "use contracts". We were confused. They upsold like crazy, high pressure, leading questions, which you rather have, what we sold you, or this thing we are now offering to our valued customers which is SO much better.
It had been a few years. I brought up the extra week we were entitled to. I could not remember what they had called it of course. The guy should have gotten an academy award. He looked at a colleague, and asked "what's a developers week, have you ever heard of a developers week?"..."no i never heard of a develepors week".....but i never SAID the term developers week. it was all in the script to pretend they did not know what it was. And I still fell for it. We left that day with an agreement to pay double for the same thing we already owned.
Am I as stupid as this sounds? Well, yes. When I go on vacation do I study the terms of my contract, and bring my contract and paperwork and lawyer? No I do not.
Then the maintenance fees tripled. They went from $500 per two years to $1500 per two years. It all came in a 'sorry' letter from Festiva. And why did they triple? Not for maintenace. Oh no. To compensate for owner defaults. So maintenance means, if Festiva would otherwise have lost money this year, we'll just get the poor suckers who are still left to pay in, and we'll still book a profit.
I did use the benefits of the contract; in the end no measurable savings over just book and fly and travel and dine without an "arrangement". But the property I regularly travelled to, Church Street Inn in Charleston, is fine. Good staff, well designed rooms, good location. They got that part right, and I have no complaint there.
The rest was a full scale giant swindle. And I cannot believe they have not been shut down by the attorneys general in the states where they operate. Google it, lots of complaints, and can't find the praise.
Finally my ex wife and I decided to get out, and I knew they would find a way to rob us, and they did. You can't just say, here it is, I quit claim, sell it to someone and keep the money. Oh no. One final assessment for a two year maintenance fee, in my case $1500 to be free of this cancer. Free of my own foolishness well aided by their carefully prepared and predatory sell.
On one of these pages, another vicitim described it as a 40 year mortgage on a house that doesn't exist. That sums it perfectly. Festiva operates in too many states to be shut down by AGs. It would take a federal case, and that is not going to happen.
May they rot. May the trained slick-boy ripoff artists, almost certainly commissioned .... serve me at chichen fingers at Applebees.
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 11/18/2013 02:29 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Festiva-Resorts/Orlando-Florida-32817/Festiva-Resorts-Festiva-Hospitality-Group-High-Pressure-Upsell-Deceiptful-Lies-Hidd-1100363. 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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