ED Magedson – Founder
Silverleaf ResortsLee, Massachusetts USA
Silverleaf Resorts Free vacation for listening to the pitch? Nope, total Scam! Lee Massachusetts
My wife and I were walking around a ski and sport show in CT and we were stopped by the folks at the Silverleaf timeshare desk. Normally I do not fall for such things. Normally I would skip right by because I know these timeshare pitches are high pressure. I normally do not get talked into buying things I do not need. My wife and I stopped by the desk based on proimises of a "free" cruise. I asked the person at the desk about a million questions concerning her use of the word "free". She assured me the cruise was Free, That we could fly to Miami from our local airport in CT, that we could go at any point during the year, except for holiday blackout dates. I talked to the woman at the desk for about an hour before agreeing to go on the timeshare pitch, even got her to throw in various other freebies to make it worth my while. I did get 2 free $40 prepaid Visa gift cards, but that was the Only freebie I actually got out of this.
So the day comes, my wife and I go on the timeshare pitch tour and all that. They try the usual hard sell. Like I said, I am not that easily fooled. Some of the stuff sounded really great but I know all things need to be researched. My wife and I like to go to Cancun and one of the resorts we like a lot, (an all-inclusive resort) was listed as a resort they had where you could pay a small fee and be able to use the resort. Sounds great right? Well, except what they fail to tell you is that the "all-inclusive" fee is NOT included in the small fee you have to pay through their timeshare. So it basically saves you NOTHING! The trip my wife and I had taken just a few months earlier was WAY cheaper than what we would have spent by booking through the silverleaf timeshare. By the way, those resorts are not part of the main Silverleaf resorts. Those resorts are "bonus" resorts you have access to through their partnerships.
One other thing. My wife and I don't seem to fit their target demographic. They seem to prey on lower income folks even more than I would ever imagined. At first, you don't think that would be the case. You would think they would go after people who have a little more income they could throw around. But then you realize the kinds of people they target are the ones who aren't the best with money. Sort of like the predatory loan mess in 2007. My wife and I are not even close to wealthy. Live a Very middle-class income kind of life. Most of the people at the pitch, in an enormous room, are definitely not middle-class or above. I do not mean to sound conceited. I am just saying they are definitely preying on people who might not have access to a lot of information.
Now, my wife and I are a salesperson's worst nightmare. We refuse to sign ANYTHING until we can get home to do our research. So we told them it all sounded interesting, and told them we would be in touch. We also didn't want to sign anything until we figured out if our "free" trip was a scam. So we told them We would be in touch. Of course the sales woman had her manager come over. After he couldn't convince us to sign, he had HIS manager come over. We went through a total of 4 layers of sales people and sales managers. Each one, we told them no. We told them we were moderately interested but had to go home and discuss things first, that we NEVER sign anything on impulse. They finally sent us on our way, to the basement, where we would pick up our vouchers for our "free" vacations. We got there, it was a pretty fast process, they gave us our vouchers and 2 free $40 Visa gift cards. Which we turned around and spent immediately at the outlets right down the road. We wanted to use them as fast as possible because we didn't know if there was anything ridiculous about them such as they were only good for so many days, or something ridiculous like that. Anyway... the day came to book our "free" trips.
Now, booking the "free" trips is quite the process. It all takes place through a booking Agency called Spirit Incentives. You enter your voucher number and what you are interested in. You then have to wait something like 60 days for them to get back to you. When they finally do get back to you, you learn that the holiday blackout dates are ANY day within a 3 week window of any holiday. So anytime from mid May through late September is out as you have the Memorial day, Independence day, Labor Day run of holidays. If you want to book during that time, even if it's 3 weeks before the actual holiday, they charge you a RIDICULOUS surcharge. To give you an idea of the ridiculous surcharge, I could have booked an upgraded room on the same cruise line, on the same sailing dates, for less than what they wanted to charge us as a "surcharge". In addition to that, the "Booking fee" that Spirit Incentives charges is ridiculously high. The "Free" airfare that was included with the trips we were promised was not worth the "booking fee". I was actually able to price out online the same 4 day cruise for my wife and I, with an upgraded room and airfare to and from Miami, for less than what they wanted to charge us for our "free" trip. Yes, you read that correctly, a "free" trip was going to cost me more than it would have by boooking it completely on my own. Oh, and I forgot to mention something. The flights we had to take were from an airport three hours away in Boston, on Spirit airlines. I was assured when I started the process that we would have been able to get flights out of our local airport in CT. And Spirit Airlines is the one that charges people for CARRY ON luggage. So the costs would have kept climbing and climbing. I was VERY angry at all the deception. I emailed the sales person regarding the whole process and told them that my even though my wife had some SLIGHT interest in considering a timeshare, we were completely done with Silverleaf forever. They tried contacting me but there is NO way I will ever give them another second of my life. And there is NO way they will ever get a dollar out of me.
So in summation, if you are ever walking around a travel expo, an amusement park, a sports venue, a mall... or anywhere else, and you see Silverleaf offering "free" trips... RUN! Do not look back! It is 100% a scam. Oh sure, you can travel, but it will cost you more than if you traveled on your own, and you have to do it on their terms!
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 12/02/2013 12:03 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Silverleaf-Resorts/Lee-Massachusetts-01260/Silverleaf-Resorts-Free-vacation-for-listening-to-the-pitch-Nope-total-Scam-Lee-Massac-1103631. 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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