Complaint Review: Westgate Resorts
- Westgate Resorts
2801 Professional Parkway
- Phone: 800-544-8698
- Category: Resorts
Westgate Resorts - Tried to reach a resolution most of 2004 - my true experience. Ocoee Florida
*Author of original report: Please read if you have plans to visit Westgate - HOW TO BEAT THE TIMESHARE SALES STAFF AT THEIR OWN GAME!
I had been duly warned by a Westgate employee Westgate will never settle your claim. It has deep pockets. Another employee advised Westgate has a large legal staff. Its function is to dot all I's and cross all T's. Maybe I should have listened. However, having survived two tours in Vietnam with the 101st Airborne Division, it is not in my nature to simply roll over and quit.
It has been over a year since my stressful experience at Westgate Lakes. Several months into the dispute, I realized there would be no satisfactory resolution in dealing with Westgate. I was at a loss as to what agencies to contact. The Internet was helpful. I had seen complaints against several Westgate resorts with the posters expressing plans to write to the BBB, Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Attorney General, or to contact an attorney. Here is my experience along with lessons learned. If, by relating my experience, I can assist even one family in avoiding a similar experience, I will feel that I have not suffered in vain.
Attorney - If you engage an attorney to review your documents in order to determine if you have a legitimate claim or not, hold off on having the attorney contact Westgate if you also plan to contact the BBB or a government agency. I was unaware that agencies cannot assist you if also contact an attorney. Since our attorney's opinion did confirm our belief that a breach of contract had occurred, we had him contact Westgate to attempt a resolution. It was agreed his involvement would cease upon completion of his opinion and Demand Letter to Westgate. I would strongly suggest you contact regulatory agencies before you contact an attorney.
1. Westgate Lakes was rated unsatisfactory by the BBB as of April 18, 2004. Westgate Resorts has since joined the BBB and its rating is now satisfactory.
2. BBB's response to my complaint: We are in receipt of your complaint regarding your recent experience with the subject. We are sorry we are unable to assist you with this matter, as Bureau policy prohibits the processing of complaints already in the hands of the court or an attorney.
Federal Trade Commission
This agency cannot resolve individual complaints but can act against a company if it finds evidence of a pattern of deception or unfair practices. No response.
Office of the Attorney General - My letter of complaint was forwarded to DBPR for resolution.
DBPR (Department of Business and Professional Regulation)
Most timeshare complaints are forwarded by other agencies to the DBPR for action. Westgate representative first tried to suggest to investigator that my case file be closed as they were in negotiations with our attorney when in fact they were not. Several months later Westgate representative informed the DBPR it had no intention of otherwise dealing with the Division on this case as its policy being that once a private attorney is involved these actions are separate from any dealings with a regulatory body. The DBPR found that though the evidence could suggest that misrepresentations did occur, the evidence is not clear and convincing and the case was closed.
I have received a copy of the case activity log and all correspondences relating to my complaint spanning a period from 5/11 to 10/13/04 through the Freedom of Information Act. I will review what I've received and will investigate other options, maybe a Federal agency.
Westgate's Sales Staff
Believe me, a dispute with Westgate Resorts is an uphill battle. To avoid getting into a dispute situation with Westgate in the first place, do not accept everything the sales rep tells you as the gospel truth. It might seem reasonable that Westgate should be held accountable for whatever is promised to prospective owners but unfortunately that is not the case.
In a response to an inquiry from the BBB of Central Florida regarding a complaint from Lisa's bad experience at Westgate Resorts, a CFI employee responded to the BBB in defense of the aggressiveness of its sales staff as follows: Our sales staff is selected from hundreds of applicants. They are then thoroughly trained in both product knowledge and customer courtesy. The sales presentation is admittedly aggressive and persistent and we apologize if Ms. Shea was offended. We are, however, justifiably proud of our staff and believe that they contribute significantly to our unprecedented success in both the local business community and the international timeshare industry.
On the other hand, you will find in Westgate's own Public Offering Statement: You should not rely upon oral representations as being correct. Keep that statement foremost in your mind. You simply cannot believe everything you are told by this thoroughly trained sales staff. You can be misinformed, either in error or by design. If the representations are not in your documents, you are simply out of luck.
You know, we as careful consumers will investigate features, cost, etc. on anything from digital cameras, TVs, cars, or even pets, so why should we be expected to sign on the dotted line at a sales presentation then and there? Is it unreasonable to take the time to carefully review or to have your attorney review Westgate's documents for accuracy before you sign? Good luck on that one. You will probably be told that whatever is offered is a one-time offer and besides, there is a 10-day cancellation period. So be it. Here's a great opportunity to get up and walk (run) out.
A better idea If you like the resort, purchasing from a private owner might be the way to go. Internet posters have claimed to have purchased a timeshare week for as little as of the resort's price. Just be sure maintenance fees are up to date.
As indicated in my earlier post, Westgate's sales rep and his manager did assure us that even though the units in Building 300 are part of the floating use program, an exception would be made for me to purchase fixed. I made it clear I would only purchase fixed in order to have the same week and units every year. Since we were upgrading before the building was even built, we were shown an architect's drawing of where our units would be located and how we would have an unobstructed view of the lake even though the building would not be located lakeside. Let me be clear on this point. I am not saying my sales rep deliberately misrepresented the facts. He and his manager did go to a higher authority before making the offer. My Warranty Deed indicates FEE SIMPLE and specifically: Together with the right to occupy, pursuant to the plan, Unit 366A, 367B, during Unit Week(s) 52, 52 during assigned year WHOLE. I was told, and this seems to confirm, that I have these specific units during specific week 52.
For now, Westgate and I are stuck with each other. I'm appalled to still find myself in this relationship. Here are my options to consider:
1. Selling. A Westgate employee suggested I simply sell. My question is who would be interested, especially since I would not sell to anyone without first providing full disclosures?
2. Donating to a charitable organization. Wouldn't it be a hoot if organizations declined my offer and I couldn't even give it away?
Forewarned is forearmed. Be aware. BEWARE!!!
Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Westgatee Resorts
Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Westgatee Resorts
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 01/19/2005 05:25 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/westgate-resorts/ocoee-florida-34761/westgate-resorts-tried-to-reach-a-resolution-most-of-2004-my-true-experience-ocoee-fl-128117. 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. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content
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