Complaint Review: Island Lifestyle Resort - St. Thomas, Virgin Islands Other
Island Lifestyle Resort Divine DestinationsMember Services GroupMember AccessHarry ChapmanBrad Sisneros Predators, Deceptive business practices, Theft, Fraud St. Thomas, Virgin Islands other
*UPDATE Employee: Isalnd Lifestyle Travel works!
*Consumer Comment: Possible Class Action
*Consumer Comment: Possible Class Action
*Consumer Comment: I was also misled by this company
Island Lifestyle Travel preys on cruise travels at Port in the Virgin Islands. A representative stopped us in the street on 4/14/2014, had us scratch off a ticket and then told us we had won a trip and a charm. All we had to do was sit through a short presentation. We fell for the offer, so we sat through a presentation that explained that Island Lifstyle Travel is a wholesale travel club that could book our travel at significanly reduced rates, typically 30% to 50% discounts. In addtion they offered a defined amount of weeks per year at a condo resort anywhere in the world. The price to join the club started at $10,000, but the price dropped all the way down to $2,400 if we did 2 weeks per year on the Condo Offer instead of 4. They emphasised more than once that this was NOT A TIMESHARE. During the presentation they continued to bring us beers, so by the end, we were not as alert as we were in the beginning. In other words, our alarms should have gone off during the presentation, but by the end, we agreed to join.
We were rushed through the paperwork. When we questioned a few items such as "No right of recission" they told us not to worry because if they did not provide discounted travel bookings, we could dispute the charges on our credit card. One of their statements actually was "Obama was able to get new rules paseed that protect consumers like us, so we didn't have to worry." Regardless of all the statements they made, the following is the nightmare that has ensued after we returned home from our cruise 3 days later.
1. We had a web link to sign up for a website access as they described on 4/17/2014. We then set up our account preferences and started looking for travel options. It was at this time we discovered that the website had no pricing, but we could request a quote on line and a representative would call us back.
2. On April 18th, a representative called us back with 2 of the 5 cruise quotes we requested. The rates were great, nearly half of what was posted at the direct booking site for the cruise line. We were then told that the other 3 cruise categories could not be quoted, but we were happy with the rates she quoted. The agent advised she would email us the quotes after the call, so that we could decide which one we wanted to book. It was also during this call that we requested 3 additional quotes for all inclusive resorts that we wanted to book immediately for travel in September. The agent advised that she could not get the rates for us at that time, so she would call us back either later that evening, but no later than Monday Morning (4/21). To make this a little shorter, we never received the emails for the original quotes, nor were we ever called back with the all inclusive resort quotes.
3. Late evening on 4/21, we sent an email to the email address that was provided to us in our original email for "any further questions," stating that we didn't receive the quotes we requested on 4/18 and if someone didn't get back with us, we would have to dispute the charges on our credit card. Again, no response.
4. We then started researching the company online and found out that they lied about the BBB rating of A+. Which was told to us during the presentation. They had no rating with the Better Business Bureau because they are apparently a new company. We researched the phone number and found several other companies operating under different names and that most websites are exactly the same as Lifestyle Travel. We googled the only address we had for Island Lifestyle Travel, 43-46 Norre Gade Unit 230, St Thomas VI and it showed that it belonged to a company called Divine Destinations. The other companies we found under the 1-800-606-6750 were Compass Travel, Paradise Plus Travel, Club Travellooga and many others. In additon to the phone number, the other common thread was they all fed back to Member Services Group, Inc. as the "fulfillment" company.
5. We disputed the charges with our credit card company. Note that the charge card receipt showed a company name, "Member Access." The street address is 4336 Sea Mountain Hwy, Little River, SC 29582. Phone number 843-249-2820. I call the phone number and it was answered as Member Services Group, Inc. They preceeded to tell me that Member Access was not associated with them, but instead with Island Lifestyle Travel.
6. We went back and forth with our credit card company during the dispute. It was originally filed on 4/21/2014. Someone named "Linda" responded to our dispute stating that since we set up a site profile and they provided us with 2 quotes, all their obligations were met. She also used the "no right of recision" clause as the reason why they could not honor our dispute. After being credited back twice, our credit card company advised us to go back to the merchant to get a refund due to the receipt stating "All Sales Final No Refunds Allowed." The bottom line is that we don't know who received our money. The receipt states Member Acces, the purchase agreement states Island Lifestyle Travel and Member Services Group. All phone numbers provide for Island Lifestyle Travel znd Member Access feed back to Member Services Group. Member Services Group advises that they are not associated with Member Access, nor responsible fo Island Lifestyle Travel. Member Services Group also advised that Member Access is associated only with Lifestyle Travel. The credit card dispute response was from Linda at Member Access, but the fax header shows Member Services and the phone number for Member Services Group. Looking back at this paragraph, this really does sound like a math problem.
7. Before we contact an attorney, on Monday of this week, June 16, 2014, we decided to go through other routes to try to obtain a refund before actually filing suit against all entities involved. We have contacted the BBB to file complaints on all three companies, as well as the Attorney General's office n the US Virgin Islands and the consumer complaint division in SC. I was first contacted by a representative in the Consumer Complaint Division in SC, who advised that they receive a large number of complaints against these types of companies, but since our documents were signed in the US Virgin Islands, their hands were tied. They did recommend we contact our US Congress Rep and US Senate rep to lobby in getting these types of organizations regulated and/or shut down.
8. We also received a call back the same day we filed our complaint from the Special Investigation Division of the Criminal Justice Department in the US Virgin Islands. Based our our discussions, there is an ongoing investigation that involves Divine Destinations and their owners, which used the same MO as Island Lifestyle Travel. They reequested all of my documents and a statement from us in regards to Island Lifestyle Travel and Member Services Group. This was yesterday, so we know it will take time to hear back from them, since this is an ongoing investigation that crosses several state lines. We still haven't heard back from the BBB in both states. but it's only been a few days and they will not contact us until they receive a response from the companies, or no response at all.
Based on what we've been finding with our research, all of the companies listed in this scam alert have numours complaints filed in multiple states with either the BBB, the Attorney Generals Office and/or on this Scam Alert sight. You can also find negative reviews on the Trip Advisor site and I am sure there are more. Again, there are numerous common threads with these companies such as, website appearance and phone number. The most common thread that ties this all together is Member Services Group, Inc at 4336 Sea Mountain Hwy, Little River, SC, or PO Box 2096, Littler River, SC 29566.
Finally, we are not through with this. They took $2,400 from me and my husband, for absolutely nothing. We are platinum travelers with several cruise lines, so we plan on contacting each one to make sure they address their passengers in regards to this rip-off scam. In addition, if we are not able to recover our funds, which is probable based on our experience so far; we will set up social media pages on Facebook and Twitter to attract other people who have been scammed by these types of companies that feed into Member Services Group, Inc. Not only will it be a great sounding board, but once we find more victims, we will find it easier to proceed with civil action, possibly allowing the corporate shields to be pierced to go after the owners of these companies who are hiding under their corporate names; as well as pressing criminal charges against them. The bottom line is that THESE PREDATORS MUST BE STOPPED!
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 06/25/2014 07:06 AM and is a permanent record located here: https://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/island-lifestyle-resort/st-thomas-virgin-islands-other-008025/island-lifestyle-resort-divine-destinationsmember-services-groupmember-accessharry-chapma-1157321. 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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