• Report: #738390

Complaint Review: Universal Vacation Club

  • Submitted: Wed, June 08, 2011
  • Updated: Fri, June 17, 2011

  • Reported By: Bud — Vancouver British Columbia United States of America
Universal Vacation Club
P.O. Box 51460 Los Angeles, California United States of America
  • Phone: 1-800-366-2296
  • Web:
  • Category: Resorts

Universal Vacation Club Villa Del Mar, Villa Del Palmar, Resort Recovery Solutions, Villa Group Timeshare Scam in Mexico Los Angeles, California

*Consumer Comment: Timeshare Scam

*General Comment: I was once a owner or better yet a lodger

*General Comment: I was once a owner or better yet a lodger

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On March 29, 1989, I became involved in a timeshare nightmare that wont go away.  I purchased a timeshare club membership for a one bedroom fixed week during Springbreak  at the Villa Del Mar resort, Universal Vacation Club,  indicated as owned by South Pacific Travel Ltd.   I was also required to pay a yearly membership with Interval International in order to bank unused weeks or exchange weeks.
I was nave and an anticipated 20 minute presentation extended into a 4 hour high pressure sale.  I was told of all the bonuses the purchase would include as well as the returns for investment, opportunities to bank unused weeks, ease of exchange as my fixed week was rated Winter High Time, etc.  The purchase price was $8,350.  I provided a down payment of $2427.25 and a monthly payment plan of $152.29 paid over a period of 60 months.
 I signed their contract as well as their promissory note but 3 days later when I was on the airplane returning to Canada, I reviewed the contract and the payment plan they had provided. I realized that the initial purchase price of $8,350 would be increased with a 16% interest rate to $11,564.65.  Upon realizing this, I immediately contacted Universal Vacation Club to try to cancel the purchase as I had understood the price to be $8,350.   As a first year elementary teacher, my income was limited.   I was told that the contract stated no cancellation on contracts made in Mexico.
I was only told that my only option was to pay the purchase price completely and immediately or be responsible for the additional $3,214.65.   Reluctantly, I paid the full amount.  I was unaware and not informed that there was a period of time to withdraw from the contract.
My contract stated the maintenance fee would be $154 per year, paid by May 31 in advance of the actual year of use.  The contract also assured that Maintenance assessment may only be increased for cost of living increases by the affirmative action of the board of Directors.   I was provided a pictorial table which indicated what the annual dues pay for.  No indication was given for additional properties or resorts.  I initialled acknowledgement that I also agree that this membership is 100% affordable to myself and my family.
At my first attempt to use the resort, upon attempting to check in, I was informed that my "fixed" room was not available and another room which was less suitable was provided.

When the club initiated their policy of voluntary "additional tip" charge, I did not indicate my agreement to it.  I believed this resulted in the treatment I received when checking out.   I received an invoice with a substantial bill with a list of charges for furniture damage to a chair and an appliance, both of which I had not even used.  While I was under time constraints for my return flight, I was told I could not leave the property until payment of the damage had been completed.  I had to return to the room to be shown the damage.  I explained that I do not cook at all, nor did I even sit on any of the chairs at the table, so I refused to accept any responsibility or blame for it.  I finally requested to speak with a supervisor who reluctantly agreed to waive the billing.

In subsequent years of use, Puerta Vallarta, a vacation destination once promoted as "gay friendly" changed in its acceptance of gay tourists.  I experienced homophobia at the resort as gay friends were stopped at the entrance gate by security, unable to visit me or even enter the resort with me.  Straight members did not encountered similar restrictions with straight guests.  My timeshare use at the resort began to decline when my friends and I encountered a less than friendly attitude, although I still paid the yearly maintenance fees.
 
When the maintenance fees beganto rise, I was confused about the additional charges but continued to pay.  I discovered that there are many websites with complaints with allegations of fraud related to the elected board of directors, the  Villa Del Mar and Villa Del Palmar resort and associated management agencies. 

How can the Mexican government or local business bureaus justify or allow these people to increase  maintenance fees  which may only be increased for cost of living increases by the affirmative action of the board of Directors from $154 to $459.00?
 My invoices are provided below to show the confusing and inconsistent fees which were issued.  
 
Oct 12, 2005  Invoice
Due from Prior Years: 0.00
2006 Maintenance fee:  $402.34
Total Amount due:$402.34  Is due: Upon receipt
 
Dec. 01, 2005  Invoice
Due from Prior Years:  0.00
2006 Maintenance fee: 362.35
unpaid late charges:    $35.90
Total Amount due:$398.25  (is due: 12/20/05)

Payment  for my 2006 week was provided as well as the late charge.  In March of 2006, I became ill and while I had my flight tickets, at the last minute had to cancel my vacation when I learned that if medical attention was required, my medical insurance would not be covered as my condition was pre-exisiting.  

I was surprised to receive a telephone call from Universal Vacation Club that while I already paid my maintenance fees for the 2006 week in advance of my stay, I would be charged an equivalent maintenance fee for not arriving and not using the week that I had already paid for!  I explained my illness situation and said that if such a charge was to be expected, I no longer wanted to keep my timeshare.  I also shared my prior negative experiences.  I said that I would send an email to indicate my wish to surrender my membership.
 

Oct.20, 2006  Invoice
Due from Prior Years:  0.00
2007 Maintenance fee:   428.99
Total Amount due:  428.99  (due upon receipt)
 


Dec.04, 2006  Invoice
Due from Prior Years:   384.00
2006 Maintenance fee:      0.00
unpaid late charges  $41.42
Total Amount due:  $425.42  (due 12/30/06)

I received the above invoice with a warning of a $75.00 reinstatement charge if not paid by 12/30/06.  I called Universal Vacation Club and after being on hold for over an hour (long distance) I spoke with Jacob.  I again indicated that I no longer felt the membership was fair with escalating fees which I could no longer afford. I explained that in my previous telephone call I said that I wished to surrender my membership and sent an email.  Jacob said that he had no record of my previous call or any written notification.  He referred to the contract and said that I first needed to pay the outstanding balance before my membership could be surrendered but would waive late charges and reinstatement fee if I paid now.  He asked for my credit card information but as I did not feel comfortable giving it to him, I said that I would send a cheque. I was required to pay the amount of $469 which included the reinstatement membership fee in order to be able to surrender my membership.  
 
Nov.06, 2007  Invoice
Due from Prior Years:   0.00
2008 Maintenance fee:   $454.99
Total Amount due: $454.99 (due 12/15/07)
 
I was surprised when I received the above billing in Nov. 2007 for the upcoming 2008 maintenance invoice.  I tried to call again but was put on hold for an hour and a half before I finally hung up.  I called a friend who had worked at Villa Del Palmar previously and was told that the timeshare was a scam and just ignore the invoice.  
 
On Dec.14, 2007, I became involved in a major car accident with head trauma, vision impairment, and neurological damage.   As a result of x-rays and scans, a tumor was discovered in my throat and was found to be cancerous.  I required 5 weeks of daily treatment at the Cancer Center.  I am now on Permanent Disability with ongoing medical treatment and associated costs.
 
 Later that month, I received notice that my membership was suspended until fees were paid.   I finally had enough of their scam and called them to say that I was fed up and as I explained to Jacob that after paying the last fees, I would not be continuing as a member.  I maintained that my purchase in 1989 had been paid in full and all new and increased maintenance fees had been paid through the following years.    I was told that they had no records of my previous call with Jacob and received no request to surrender my membership. 

I requested that they send me a copy of all records of my use of the timeshare, unused weeks banked with associated fees paid, as well all financial transactions and any records of telephone calls or correspondence so I could dispute the credit report if filed.  When I did not receive the requested information, I thought that was the end of it but instead I continue to receive additional fee invoices for subsequent years, although they had indicated that I was no longer a member. 
 

Aug.04, 2008   Invoice
Due from Prior Years: 0.00
2008 Maintenance fee:  400.00
unpaid late charges $203.04
Total Amount due: $603.04  (due upon receipt)
 

Oct. 23, 2008   Invoice
Due from Prior Years:  613.14
2009 Maintenance fee:      513.99
Total Amount due:  $1,127.13 (due 11/30/08)
 

Nov.06, 2008  Invoice
Due from Prior Years:   0.00
2008 Maintenance fee:   400.00
unpaid late charges $218.29
Total Amount due:  $618.29  (due upon receipt)
 

Dec.09, 2008  Invoice
Due from Prior Years:  400.00
2009 Maintenance fee:   459.00
unpaid late charges  $272.77
Total Amount due:$1,131.77  (due upon receipt)
 

Jan.07, 2009  Invoice
Due from Prior Years:  400.00
2009 Maintenance fee:  459.00
unpaid late charges    $347.77
Total Amount due:   $1,206.77  (due upon receipt)
 
June 26, 2009
I received a letter from Universal Vacations Club with formal demand for the termination of club membership.  My account was to be assigned to a collection agency.  Past balance due: $1255.77
 
July 15, 2009  Debt Collector Letter:
I receive a letter from Resort Recovery Solutions, LLC in San Diego. with amount due at $1726.50
 


Aug.04, 2009 Invoice
Due from Prior Years: 400.00
2009 Maintenance fee:  459.00
unpaid late charges  $432.68
Total Amount due:  $1,291.68 (due upon receipt)
 

Sept.02, 2009 Invoice
Due from Prior Years:     400.00
2009 Maintenance fee:  459.00
unpaid late charges:    $445.60
Total Amount due:       $1,304.60  (due upon receipt)
 

Oct.06, 2009 Invoice
Due from Prior Years:     400.00
2009 Maintenance fee:   459.00
unpaid late charges       $458.65
Total Amount due:        $1,317.65  (due upon receipt)
 
I continue to receive ongoing telephone calls, harassed by Universal Vacations collection agency that I owe in excess of $1726.50.  They threatened to ruin my credit rating and will pursue legal action.  I am at a loss how they can justify their actions and how they can get away with this.
 
I hope that others do not become victims of a timeshare scam.  Needless to say, I will never return to Mexico or Villa Del Mar or Villa Del Palmar or stay at any resort associated with Universal Vacations Club, Vacation Resorts International,  Interval International, Resort Communications or South Pacific Travel, Ltd. 

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 06/08/2011 11:56 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Universal-Vacation-Club/Los-Angeles-California-/Universal-Vacation-Club-Villa-Del-Mar-Villa-Del-Palmar-Resort-Recovery-Solutions-Villa-738390. 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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#1 Consumer Comment

Timeshare Scam

AUTHOR: margaretsims90 - (USA)

A timeshare purchase is never a good idea. Some people buy them with the idea of a financial investment, but a timeshare is not a good investment at all. Besides, there are lots of fees involved. This is a good article that has good information about timeshares and how to use it properly: timesharescam.com/blog/119-timeshare-sales/

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#2 General Comment

I was once a owner or better yet a lodger

AUTHOR: The Unknown Driver - (United States of America)

You don't have real ownership rights in Mexico. First off that thing about "a contract cannot be canceled in Mexico" is only half truth. UVC is a California company, and has to follow the laws of California. Had you decided to quit you had 3 days to do so. It looks like you bought almost a year after I had bought my 2 studios in VDM and VDP. I got to use them for 14 years till Hurricane Kenna made me decide to get rid of them. I donated mine to charity and got  $5000 tax write offs for 2002 and 2003. I did have some great vacations there in PVR, but I also had some bad ones there and one in Cabo.

 For anybody that has recently entered into a contract with this company, and are fed the same bullshit like you were. I'd contact the CA attorney general and file a complaint against them.
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#3 General Comment

I was once a owner or better yet a lodger

AUTHOR: The Unknown Driver - (United States of America)

You don't have real ownership rights in Mexico. First off that thing about "a contract cannot be canceled in Mexico" is only half truth. UVC is a California company, and has to follow the laws of California. Had you decided to quit you had 3 days to do so. It looks like you bought almost a year after I had bought my 2 studios in VDM and VDP. I got to use them for 14 years till Hurricane Kenna made me decide to get rid of them. I donated mine to charity and got  $5000 tax write offs for 2002 and 2003. I did have some great vacations there in PVR, but I also had some bad ones there and one in Cabo.

 For anybody that has recently entered into a contract with this company, and are fed the same bullshit like you were. I'd contact the CA attorney general and file a complaint against them.
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