Without proof of cohabitation, your case is a lost cause

By | December 19th, 2016

BookVIP.com offered Dorothy Pullen an unbelievable $599 rate for five nights at the Sandos Playacar Resort in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

Turns out, she shouldn’t have believed it.

While we couldn’t help Pullen obtain a refund, this case is important for the two lessons it offers: to always read the terms and conditions before you accept them; and to never carpet-bomb with threats a company holding your money.

Pullen received a promotional email from BookVIP.com, a website operated by Resort Vacations International. When she called to book the package, taxes were added, bringing her total to $728.

The representative also added a requirement to Pullen’s purchase — she and her companion would have to attend a 90- to 120-minute vacation club sales presentation during their stay at the resort. When she paid for the package, Pullen says she told the representative that she would attend the presentation, but she would not be purchasing anything.

Pullen was also asked if she was married to or cohabiting with her companion and she responded that they are cohabiting. She said that when she received the email confirmation it had a button to agree to the package, which she clicked to finalize her reservation. She didn’t have an opportunity to read the terms and conditions until after she had confirmed the purchase. But even when she had the opportunity to review the terms, she didn’t.

The day before departing for Mexico, Pullen received a text message from BookVIP.com reminding her if she didn’t attend the sales presentation she would be required to pay an additional $150 per night for not meeting the requirements of the package she bought.

So Pullen packed her bags, grabbed her passport and headed to Mexico.

On arrival, she was informed that an appointment had been made for her to attend the club vacation presentation the next morning. When she arrived at the tour desk, she spent two hours trying to check in for the presentation. When the staff asked for her and her companion’s IDs, there was a question about whether or not Pullen and her companion were indeed cohabiting because they were unable to produce any documentation showing they shared an address. The staff said if Pullen had a utility bill that would suffice, but Pullen doesn’t travel with utility bills.

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The resort staff told Pullen she would either need to pay additional money for her stay or find another place to stay. She paid an additional $994 and was assured by the staff that BookVIP.com would refund the $728 it charged her. The staff even tried to contact BookVIP.com to process the refund immediately but could not reach their contact. Pullen stayed the full five nights, attended the presentation and returned home to an email from BookVIP, asking how she enjoyed her stay at Sandos Playacar.

Before we get to that email and Pullen’s response to it, let’s compare her account of events with that of BookVIP.com.

According to BookVIP.com, the “highly trained representative” who spoke with Pullen by phone would have told her that she and her companion would need to prove that they were cohabiting by presenting IDs or other documentation proving they reside at the same address. The company also claims Pullen would have received the email confirmation while she was on the phone with a representative and would have had to verbally review the terms and conditions before agreeing to them online.

We have no way to confirm whether Pullen’s or BookVIP.com’s story of the booking is correct. Everything happened by phone and BookVIP.com apparently doesn’t record their calls. But we can confirm that proof of cohabitation is noted in BookVIP.com’s terms and conditions listed on its website. Had Pullen read those terms and conditions before (or even after) she confirmed her booking, she would have known that either they weren’t eligible for the promotion or they needed to bring sufficient documentation to satisfy the requirements.


While Pullen should have made herself aware of BookVIP.com’s requirements and not confirmed her package without knowing what they were, the requirements do seem to be unusual for a traditional resort booking. If no one verbalized the requirements, as Pullen claims, and she had never participated in a vacation club package, why would she have anticipated such strange “qualification” rules?

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Only married or cohabiting couples between the ages of 30 and 65 or single women qualify for the promotional package. Married couples must either have the same name or otherwise prove they are married by producing their marriage certificate or children verified to be theirs. A credit card with a minimum of a $2,000 open limit must also be produced upon check-in.

I understand financially prequalifying people for a purchase before allowing them to book a promotional package, but specifying marital status and excluding single men seems discriminatory.

Now let’s talk about Pullen’s response to BookVIP.com’s email asking if she enjoyed the trip.

In addition to telling the company that she had a terrible time at the resort because of the way she was treated upon check-in, she bragged about their previous travels, staying “at Peninsula Hotels & Four Seasons hotels all over the world,” and made several threats should BookViP.com not refund her $728 within 24 hours.

Know this: I will not rest until I get a full refund on this promotion scam. We will tell everyone we know about our experience with your organization. We will post a negative review about BookVIP on TripAdvisor and every social media travel website that we can find. I will call the Better Business Bureau and inform them of this scam. I will file a dispute with my credit card company as we did not receive the services for which we paid through BookVIP. Indeed we were forced to pay a much higher rate.

Unless I hear from you within 24 hours of the time stamp on this email, I will begin the campaign to put your company out of business in the U.S. for making our much needed vacation such a hassle.

We’ve repeatedly advised that your best chance for a positive resolution of a dispute with a company is to start with a politely worded email to the customer service department. Wait seven days and then escalate your case. Taking an approach that is rude, demeaning or threatening will only serve to make the company more determined to not work with you.

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And that’s what happened in this case. BookVIP.com denied her request for a refund.

When Pullen reached out to us, we contacted BookVIP.com on her behalf. In its response the company not only denied that it had any responsibility for Pullen’s “misunderstanding” of the terms, but it also claimed that it did Pullen a favor by not charging her the additional $150 per night for not meeting the requirements of the promotional package.

In its terms and conditions BookVIP.com only claims to charge an additional $150 per night for not attending the sales presentation — nowhere in its terms and conditions does it assert it will charge for the failure to meet any other term. So I don’t think the company did Pullen a favor — I think it abided by its terms.

In the end, Pullen still paid at least $800 less than the prices listed on the Sandos Playacar Resort website for a five-night stay. Since she admits she didn’t read the terms and conditions of her stay — terms which are easily accessible — and alienated the business, we can’t help her and will have to file this as a Case Dismissed.

We will take this opportunity to remind everyone once again: Read those terms and conditions, and if something goes wrong, ask for documentation and be polite in your attempts to resolve it. Otherwise, we won’t be able to help you, either.

Should BookVIP.com return Pullen's $728?

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  • Jeff W.

    I don’t understand how difficult it would have been to show that they were cohabiting. Each of them shows a driver’s license or state ID, which should be a standard document in any adult’s wallet. Unless they were not really cohabiting…

    The fact that BookVIP was willing to accept a utility bill meant they were certainly willing to bend on this rule. The strange single female rule aside, it is not uncommon for these type of promotions to request that both partners attend the sales presentation. Pullen could not prove that they were indeed partners.

  • Ben

    As sketchy as these timeshare booking companies are, they tend to be very, very clear about qualification requirements in order to meet their agreements with the timeshare. I bet if you reviewed the correspondence and documentation, the company made the requirement clear.

  • Ben

    In many states, you can update your address with the DMV but not get an updated license, so the DL thing isn’t a sure thing.

    The rules about who is qualified can be a little strange, the timeshares target demographics who are likely to buy.

  • Rebecca

    There’s certainly WiFi there. If they were willing to accept a utility bill, you can pull it right up on your phone. It takes 15 seconds.

  • Rebecca

    I just can’t feel sorry for an entitled brat that went to a timeshare presentation trying to get a cheap vacation. Life is way too short.

  • Rebecca

    I shared office space with a group that booked these timeshare stays. They really do go over EVERYTHING and verify a bunch of information and make it VERY clear what you need to provide at checkin. I simply don’t believe the OP wasn’t told. I think she assumed she’d get away with it.

  • fairmont1955

    Or an electronic pay stub, as another example. Or health care info, etc. – there’s myriad options that may not be print outs (unless the resort/BookVIP have some weird throwback where they only accept a print out).

  • fairmont1955

    Well, that’s certainly your issue, not hers.

  • sirwired

    I can see why they have this requirement; they do not want two friends splitting the cost of the room to pretend they are a couple just to get a discount.

    And if they were co-habitating, why couldn’t they produce ID saying so? Unless moving day shortly before vacation, they should have had updated driver’s licenses.

  • PsyGuy

    This was a time-share or vacation club scam. This is why single men aren’t qualified, they don’t buy time-shares or vacation club memberships. The $2,000 open line of credit is so that they can push and pressure you into buying on the spot. if you walk away to think about it, the probability of buys plummets to somewhere below the ice skating rink in hades.

    The LW could have probably logged into a computer somewhere and downloaded a copy of a utility bill or something but how would it have helped? Utilities, cable, etc. are often only in one person’s name on the account.

    None of that matters though because this is a SCAM.

  • PsyGuy

    Kind of true, but I don’t use my actual residence as my address on my drivers license I use the address of my mail box rental.

  • PsyGuy

    Cohabitating doesn’t make anyone partners. It’s nothing more than being a couple (Bf/Gf) that live together.

  • PsyGuy

    Yeah single guys don’t buy timeshares or vacation club memberships.

  • Chris_In_NC

    Personally, I would never take such an offer. Its not worth the aggravation and hassle to attend a high pressure sales pitch while on vacation just to save some $$$. But its not a SCAM. As long as you follow the terms, ie, you are qualified for the offer and attend with your spouse or partner, they won’t penalize you. Mind you, the sales presentations are high pressure and the sales rep may lie and bully you, but you do not have to purchase anything. The time-share may be a scam, but the teaser rate to get you there is not.

  • Chris_In_NC

    I personally won’t attend any of these so called packages that require participation in a sales presentation for time-share, vacation club, or real estate just to save money. Yes, they offer up a 50-75% discount off “fair market value” because they are targeting a specific demographic and want potential victims (I mean customers) to get in the door. Its no different than a retail store offering door busters, or a car dealership offering a incredibly low price on a car that is a specific strip down model.

    Every offer I have received has very specific terms and conditions. Every single one states “you must attend with your spouse or partner” if you bring another adult with you. The purpose of these packages is NOT to provide you with a cheap vacation, it is because you are being targeted as a potential victim (I mean customer) for something they want to sell you.

    Based on the article, the OP did not comply with the terms and conditions of the sales package. It sounds like they were pretty loose with the proof of cohabitation clause. Once she failed to meet the requirements of the sales demographics, she was charged market rates (or possibly rack rates). So, no I don’t have much sympathy

  • Bill___A

    I have not and will not deal with any company like this. I don’t see the point in going through all of this trouble for a discount. My recommendation is to stay away from them, no matter how good of a deal it sounds like.

  • Harvey-6-3.5

    I’m not sure the OP didn’t get lucky. The extra money spent on the vacation is probably an order of magnitude or more less than the amount they would pay for a timeshare. I know the OP said she wouldn’t buy one, but high pressure sales clearly persuades many people who also think the same thing into buying one anyway.

  • 42NYC

    the discounted rates are a loss leader in hopes of selling overpriced timeshares. naturally they only want to offer this to people who may be more likely to buy (22 year olds probably arent buying timeshares, nor are 75 year olds, etc…)

  • 42NYC

    true, but its the best the company can do to ensure theyre reaching out to their target clientele. Presumably a couple living together is more likely to be a customer than a bf/gf who have been dating for a few months and are looking for a weekend getaway.

  • 42NYC

    my wife and I have taken advantage of this scam a couple of times. We know the deal going into it, we’re polite but firm and hold them to the 90 minutes. For us, it’s worth one morning of a 5 day trip to take a vacation we otherwise wouldnt be able to afford.

  • 42NYC

    i’ve done 7-8 of them and while they’re certainly scammy, i dont know if bullying is the right word. Probably the worst comment i’ve gotten is when he pulled me aside and hinted that i must be ‘whipped’ since my wife wouldn’t let me take advantage of this great opportunity.

    Usually they just use funny math to try and prove that i’m a fool for not taking advantage of this offer.

  • 42NYC

    My only comment – when my gf (now my wife) moved in together, it was ~3 years before I changed my drivers license. Of course we shared a bank account so pulling that info up from chase would have sufficied. That said, yelling and screaming at someone isnt going to get them to agree to your demands (which i’d never expect a timeshare ocmapny to budge)

  • Ben

    I actually enjoy the timeshare tours. I mean, I wouldn’t do it for nothin’, but in exchange for a cheap resort stay and other rewards I don’t mind spending a couple hours touring the property and laughing (to myself) at their psychological tricks. A few firm “no, thanks” when it gets to the hard sell and I’m outta there.

  • Alan Gore

    Because nobody goes on vacation with a file of utility bills and tax returns unless documentation like this was asked for before departure. Being held hostage for it is proof that this was not just a standard timeshare pitch. The management was trying to trap people while they were on their premises and vulnerable.

  • Michael__K

    I don’t understand how difficult it would be for BookVip.Com to disclose the terms and conditions before they take non-refundable payments by credit card.

    The terms & conditions in question are purposely hidden and not shown before purchase and not available or linked on their website from any other publicly accessible page.

  • Michael__K

    They do not disclose the qualification requirements prior to accepting non-refundable credit card payment. See for yourself: http://www.bookvip.com/hotel_details?id=25&pid=62&arrivedate=

  • Michael__K

    What terms and conditions?

    You mean the terms and conditions which are not disclosed until AFTER BookVip.com takes non-refundable credit card payment?

    And what ‘proof of cohabitation clause’? Where do the ‘terms & conditions’ — disclosed only after they’ve already taken non-refundable payment — say anything about proof or documentation?

    http://www.bookvip.com/hotel_details/termsandconditions/25

  • Michael__K

    Why wouldn’t this requirement be disclosed before non-refundable credit card payment is collected? And if they needed IDs or utility bills as evidence why wouldn’t this be disclosed even in the terms & conditions available after purchase?

  • Skeptic

    Many states prohibit discrimination in various economic sectors (employment, public accommodations, etc.) based on age or marital status, unless these characteristics are germane to the situation. E.g. U.S. airlines can “discriminate” against pilots who are 66 or older because these pilots are not licensed to fly under Part 121. But age and marital status discrimination is not usually OK when it comes to real estate. The question here is whether the vendor is a US company. If so, there is a body of law that suggests it is subject to civil rights laws in any US state it conducts business in. Ms. Pullen may want to file a complaint with her state’s Human or Civil Rights commission

  • AAGK

    I’m cringing about this one. While this woman made communication errors, Sandos with its single female discount required presentation, and credit card minimum takes the prize as the most revolting company in the world.

  • SierraRose 49

    Our timeshare (SPG) made it VERY clear upfront that BOTH of us had to attend presentation. You are right. There are many who just want the cheap vacation and are surprised when they don’t get it.

  • Rebecca

    I was speaking to the issue of the call center rep. The company says the rep told the OP. Having sat very near folks that did this very same exact thing, I can say confidently that I believe the company representative when he says the OP was verbally told this.

    Frankly, I simply don’t have any interest in reading timeshare T&Cs. Anyone that gets “scammed” by a timeshare company is so far down the totem pole of consumers with problems requiring an advocate, I see no reason to. There are people that are really, honestly wronged in the course of what should be a routine business transaction. Just a couple days ago, for example, there was a guy that had a gift certificate that a hotel refused to honor, in a state that prohibits said certificate from expiring. Those are the people that need help and support. Not a whiny lady with an attitude who tried to take advantage of a time share promotion with not only no intention to purchase, but also to mislead them into letting her boyfriend stay for free. Frankly (again), this OP and the timeshare company deserve each other.

  • Michael__K

    By the time she spoke to the call center rep, her purchase was already non-refundable.

  • Bill___A

    Did they respect the do not call lists? Because the one that called me after I read this article clearly did not. They call a non-publicized mobile number every day or so with their automated call screening. It is definitely on the DNC list. The guy is trying to get me to google “visa fraud protection” or some stupid thing like that. I suppose the answer to tell him is, “oh yeah, they say never give your information out to someone who cold calls you.”

  • Rebecca

    They only took incoming calls, that I remember. People were replying to ads to finalize bookings. I believe the majority of “cold calls” like those are outsourced to prisons and/or foreign call centers. It’s nearly impossible to fill a position like that, from my experience in the industry. Never, ever give ANY personal information to a cold caller. The people that take that job (in general, I’m not saying there aren’t exceptions) are not the kind of people you want having your information. (And I know you wouldn’t, just speaking generally.)

  • Rebecca

    Fair enough. I normally am all about reading the actual information, and I’ll take your word for it. I just can’t muster any pity here, not even a little bit. Normally when I take the business’ side, I do have actual compassion for the person. Not here. She got what was coming.

  • Michael__K

    So the business is entitled to commit fraud and charge the customer twice and pocket all the money (and make them attend the presentation to boot) if you don’t feel for pity for the customer?

  • C Schwartz

    There is an exemption for senior housing. that is the only obvious one I know of — I suspect that this is more like an offering, and they want to “prequalify” or this is their targeted demographics — interesting that single males are not part of their demographics. I wonder if the time share was deeded ie real property or non deeded….

  • PsyGuy

    Doesn’t change that it’s a scam.

  • PsyGuy

    A married couple is even more likely to buy.

  • PsyGuy

    Half a scam is still a scam. When one part of the deal is “legal” (and I use the term VERY generously) and some other part of the deal is a scam, it’s a SCAM. Ponzi schemes are great investment opportunities until you get to the part that’s a SCAM, then it’s just a scam.

  • C Schwartz

    I looked at the bookvip website — and this was enough to make my close the page:

    “This advertising material is being used for the purpose of soliciting sales of vacation ownership interests or plans”.

  • C Schwartz

    Wonder if they have changed this from the time that the OP took the trip as there is a section on the “documentation” in the link you provided.

    Identification

    The qualified person must present a major credit card and
    government-issued photo ID (e.g. passport or drivers license) at the
    tour reception desk.

    Married couples must present valid IDs that include their age, same last
    name and same address as their spouse. Otherwise, their child/children
    (proven) or marriage certificate may serve as proof of marriage.

    Co-habitating couples must present valid IDs that include age and same address as their partner.

    Marital Status

    Offer is valid for married or cohabitating couples.

    All guests must attend the presentation, including all persons in the reservation(s)

    I find the entire premise of this company to be a bit sleazy.

  • DChamp56

    Just as an FYI, I’ve stayed at Sandos Playacar twice, without doing the dog & pony sales show and got a great deal through another website (cheapcaribbean.com). The resort is absolutely gorgeous with wonderful people and food. I’d go back again in a heartbeat.
    PS, stop blaming Sandos, they are NOT the people selling timeshares, it’s a third party.

  • DChamp56

    Sandos Playacar is NOT selling the time shares, it’s a third party. I’ve been to Sandos Playacar twice and loved it. (and never had to take the time share class)

  • Fishplate

    It doesn’t even mean that. I’ve had roommates before, and that’s all they were. But, we had the same address, therefore we met the timeshare’s requirement.

  • Fishplate

    If the costs are clearly disclosed (price of the stay plus 90 minutes of your time) then how is it a scam?

  • cscasi

    Heck, all my utility bills are listed with just one name; mine. They do not show my wife. Just as an aside, I found out not too long ago that that is how my city picks people for jury duty for its city court. The list is made up from the names on the city’s water bills. I wondered why I had been summoned for jury duty several times but my wife was never called. Moreover, I also found out that those people living in apartments were never called because the water bills went to the apartment complexes owners. Of course, my wife said I could not change the name on the water bill to hers. ;-)

  • cscasi

    Not really because she was just playing a game with them as she had no intention of buying and told them so. She even bragged about her previous stays (I guess previous time share opportunities). So, it appears to me that she was just going around taking advantage of the low rates wherever she could. That is not against the law. But, she ran afoul of the rules here and she paid the price.

  • Michael__K

    You mean the vendor is entitled to introduce new rules after they accept non-refundable payment?

    And then they are entitled to force the customer to pay a second time for their hotel stay, and to have them sit through the sales presentation anyway — even though they claim they were not qualified for the presentation — and pocket all of the money?

  • Rebecca

    First of all, the OP committed fraud. She brought a friend/boyfriend after being specifically told it must be proven they cohabitated. Seeing as she doesn’t exactly deny it, and it takes 15 seconds to produce on online utility bill, I’m sure that’s the case.

    Second, the hotel charged extra money, not the online agency. It specifically says the OP was not charged extra by the agency, even though they claim she could be charged. The hotel offered to resolve it simply. The traveling companions ID didn’t share an address and no utility bill (which, again takes seconds to provide on your phone) existed.

    I’m not a fan of timeshares. I’m not saying the business practices of these agencies that book timeshare stays or hotels that sell timeshare properties are on the up and up. All I’m saying is that if you play the game, eventually you’re going to get burned. And that’s exactly what happened here.

    It has nothing to do with pity, it has to do with priority. There’s no reason anyone should waste time, energy, resources or goodwill on an OP that is playing games with timeshare companies (because they’re always layered in different companies that pass the buck along). That benefits no one except the scam artist. There’s plenty of consumers that need real help. There’s other consumers where, while I would take the side of the business, still deserve help over the OP because they’re simply poor planners/recipients of bad fortune/etc, and not trying to outright scam anyone. Helping a scam artist, in my opinion, makes you no better than the scammers this site purports to expose and vilify.

    Simply put, two wrongs don’t make a right. At best, both parties committed fraud. So the 10 foot pole needs to come out, and the advocates need to move on to someone else.

  • 42NYC

    No arguments there. In fact I am sure many ‘victims’ go into the presentation knowing they’re not going to buy but then get so swept up in it that they buy anyhow.

    Not trying to debate the value, or even the ethics of these presentations, just saying they’ve been beneficial to us over the years.

  • naoma

    BIG F. DEAL. WHO CARES IF THEY WERE COHABITING? IT IS THEIR BUSINESS. WHAT RIGHT DOES ANYONE HAVE TO DENY THEM.

  • naoma

    I MADE AN ERROR. IT IS NOBODY’S BUSINESS BUT THEIR OWN IF THEY WERE NOT
    MARRIED. WHAT RIGHT DOES ANY OUTSIDER HAVE TO BUTT INTO SOMEONE’S
    RELATIONSHIP. I THINK THAT WORD “COHABITING” IS THE WRONG WORD.

  • Michael__K

    Why would you take the word of a demonstrably scammy timeshare company, which won’t even disclose it’s terms before it takes payment, and assume its salespeople diligently and honestly follow alleged protocol? Over the word of a customer who would have had no reason to move forward with their purchase if the requirements were truly explained ahead of time?

    Why would you assume that a cohabiting couple must have a shared utility bill and online access to it — or for that matter that the timeshare company would have even accepted such online documentation?

    Who has the $728 and why are they entitled to pocket it?

    If the customer was not qualified for the presentation, then why did the timeshare company ‘waste’ their time and have them sit through the presentation, particularly if they had no intention of fulfilling their side of the bargain?

    It’s ironic how you acknowledge that timeshare companies are not on the ‘up and up’s — and then use this as a rationale to assert that the customer got what they deserved . It’s like blaming someone who claims they were mugged for walking in a bad neighborhood. We should only help people who were mugged in ‘nice’ neighborhoods.

  • Rebecca

    I take their word for it because, as I originally said, I shared office space with people that took timeshare booking calls. They went over and verified information extensively. Others have stated they had similar experiences. I said they would accept a utility bill because the OP said that, not me.

    And that analogy is false. The OP went to a timeshare presentation, admitting she had zero intention to purchase and admitting she had done the same previously at other timeshare properties.

    A proper analogy would be if a drug dealer was walking down the street and another criminal stole his stash. The “victim” drug dealer can’t go to court and sue thief for the value of his drugs back. Both parties have dirty hands here.

  • Michael__K

    Some of the posters here and on the forums have testified to the opposite. That they quit and/or people they know quit timeshare companies because they were ordered to lie to customers.

    Drug dealing? Seriously? That’s an outrageous analogy. Dealing illegal drugs is a crime punishable with long jail sentences. What is the criminal statute against attending a sales presentation with no intention of purchasing from a company that, of its own volition, vigorously advertises these presentations even to people who claim no interest in purchasing?

    If intention to purchase is a criteria, then why wouldn’t these companies stipulate that before ‘wasting their time?’ Why did they ‘waste their time’ with this customer and pitch to them if they weren’t interested? I’ve never attended a timeshare presentation, but in my experience you have to physically run away from those offering them because they won’t take ‘no’ for an answer. Even if I tell them I have zero interest in purchasing anything, they still desperately want me to accept their ‘free’ tickets or whatever incentive in exchange for attending their presentation. It doesn’t matter to them how unequivocally I tell them I don’t want to purchase anything. Just take the free tickets and sit through our presentation they say.

  • PsyGuy

    They never clearly disclose the costs.

  • AAGK

    Sandos partnered with this 3rd party and that lowers my perception of the Sandos brand, to the extent that I was aware of it before.

  • jim6555

    Your city’s way of picking jurors is in violation of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. At one time, only property owners could vote or enjoy the benefits and responsibilities citizenship. The amendment did away with property ownership and other restrictive requirements: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States”.

  • jim6555

    I have a friend who has the same attitude about participating in travel scams as you do. He bragged about how they can never sell him anything and that each year, he had a free vacation in Mexico by just attending a couple of presentations. He said that he always asked for the money when the 90 minutes were up and that if they argued with him, he would let them in on a secret, saying that his wife had been diagnosed with cancer just before they left on the trip and that he didn’t want to make any financial commitments until she was further evaluated.

    One year, the free trip scam backfired on him. Both he and his wife fell in love with a particular property. They didn’t use the cancer story because they wanted to buy. A credit card was presented to make a $7,500 down payment. I think that the reality of what they did must have hit during the return flight. I picked them up a the airport and all they could talk about was how they put down $7500 and they had now decided that they don’t want the timeshare. It took many months and a $3,000 legal fee to get the deal voided. The bottom line is that no matter how smart and knowledgeable you think you are, there are pro’s working for the timeshare companies who know just how to play on your emotions to extract money from you.

  • BubbaJoe123

    The onus would be on a defendant to challenge the methodology, though, and they’d need to show that the methodology impaired their right to a fair trial (i.e. if the apartment dwellers were disproportionately minority, so the city methodology resulted in a jury pool that skewed white).

  • BubbaJoe123

    I don’t see any point where the timeshare company required her to state that she actually was interested in purchasing a timeshare, as a condition of getting the discounted stay. They just required that she attend the presentation. There’s no reason to attribute anything resembling fraud to the poster, and lots of reasons to doubt the credibility of the timeshare company.

  • BubbaJoe123

    My wife and I have no ID that would show us to be cohabiting. She doesn’t have a driver’s license, and my driver’s license has our old address on it (state requires that you update the address, doesn’t require that you pay to get a new one sent out).

  • BubbaJoe123

    Buddy of mine did one of these with his wife. When it came time to the “sit with the rep” session at a table in a sizable room, they started scrolling through listings on ebay on her phone and loudly saying “look, here’s one for $99…wait, this is $49.” After about two minutes of this, they were thanked and sent on their way.

  • BubbaJoe123
  • BubbaJoe123

    Why is cohabiting the wrong word?

    The resort will offer the discounted deal to people who are married, or unmarried couples who live together.

  • Rebecca

    I said that more because she brought a companion she isn’t cohabitating with, per the terms of the timeshare company. The OTA isn’t going to get their commission if they send someone that doesnt meet the requirements. Knowing you won’t buy isn’t exactly a nice thing to do. But I wouldn’t be nearly as mean about it. And, again, you play with fire and eventually you’re going to get burned.

  • BubbaJoe123

    “I said that more because she brought a companion she isn’t cohabitating with, per the terms of the timeshare company.”

    Again, there’s very limited, if any, evidence that the timeshare company stipulated that she needed to be cohabiting with her companion prior to taking her money.

    Also, I don’t see from the story, and maybe I’m missing it, that it’s clear that she ISN’T cohabitating with her companion on the trip.

  • Rebecca

    As I said above, the company maintains they went over it. Having shared an office with a business that did exactly the same thing, I can tell you that they go over and over and over these requirements. They don’t get their commission if they don’t. A matter of judgement, I concede, but I believe the company.

    And if the OP was living with the companion, why wouldn’t she just say that? It makes absolutely zero sense to dance around the question. Again, a matter of judgment, but it simply defies common sense that the OP wouldn’t state it was true if it actually was true.

  • BubbaJoe123

    She did say she was living with the companion.

    Given that timeshare operators lie as a core part of their business model, in the absence of conclusive evidence on their part (i.e. a recording of the call), the reasonable presumption is that the OP is telling the truth.

  • DChamp56

    Yes, but you can book Sandos Playacar in many places that have nothing to do with the timeshare. She was looking for cheap, and got cheap. Too cheap.

  • DChamp56

    Everyone’s looking to make more money.
    There’s many places to book Sandos Playacar that doesn’t have anything to do with the timeshare part. She wanted cheap, and got cheap.

  • BubbaJoe123

    She booked Sandos Playacar with Sandos Playacar.

  • JewelEyed

    I’m with you. Neither my boyfriend’s nor my driver’s license had a matching address to our current residence or to each other’s listed address. Mine was from my mom’s house and his was from his old apartment. Both had been updated online but in our state, they don’t send you new ones just for a new address. They give you one with the updated address when your regular renewal goes through.

  • DChamp56

    Not sure what post you read, but the one above says she booked it through BookVIP.com.

  • BubbaJoe123

    Not sure what your point is. She was staying at Sandos Playacar, on a trip designed to sell Sandos Playacar’s timeshares. If the resort has farmed out its timeshare marketing to a third party, that doesn’t make the resort any less responsible.

  • DChamp56

    Many resorts are beginning to do that, it’s no secret. Sandos has taken a number of its rooms and allowed them to be timeshares (mostly the ones furthest back from the beach). They have a 3rd party sell these. She wanted cheap. Cheap’s not always good. She owns the responsibility, not Sandos as she knew going in she had to sit through a timeshare lecture.

  • BubbaJoe123

    The Royal Elite Vacation Club is Sandos’s own timeshare operation – looks like pretty much any room is available through it.

    If Sandos’s agent clearly told them about the requirements, and they failed to meet them, I have no issue with them facing the consequences of that. If Sandos’s agent scammed them, though, that’s a scam, and Sandos doesn’t just get to say “hey, it wasn’t us, it was the company we contracted to do our marketing!”

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