A ‘five star luxury resort’ Westgate Resorts executive admits untrue. Our experience in Westgate South Beach and how Westgate’s deceptive practices should refund buyers their money.
Last week the time finally came to depart on our Westgate vacation in Miami. As I stated in our previous story, the fine-print in our contract showed that our one-week vacation was actually a three-night vacation for $495. Westgate said in their defense that a “one-week vacation” didn’t necissarily mean that we would spend the entire week at their hotel but they would be providing three nights and four days of a “one-week vacation”. Like many I’ve heard from since writing this story, countless times we have smacked our palms against our heads and said,” What were we thinking!” I don’t remember any hypnosis involved but somehow we were duped in such discpicable fashion. Almost immediatly afterwards I had some bad feelings about what we had just bought. What I remember is we were sold because of my inherent cheapness. I figured we might be able to save some money visiting my brother in Miami, all while having a relaxing stay at a five-star resort on Miami’s South beach. I imagined my family in their cheap little hotel room while we would be living large in our “five star resort.”
Eventually we came to the conclusion that what we believed were errors in our contact, or over-sight on our part,continued until it was obvious that we had been duped by modern-day corporate con-art— selling properties under false facades, using the credibility of business moguls to sell rip-off timeshares to people who don’t automatically consider all salespeople to be lyers. Now I know that if you are outside of Utah– don’t believe a word they say.
Hundreds Ripped of by Westgate
As misery likes company I felt some relief in the fact that we weren’t the only dopes who had been roped— we have a lot company in our outrage. Westgate Resorts has ripped off hundreds if not thousands of people, who have complained on forums and blogs about their dishonest sales tactics. Luckily, we never agreed to purchase the complete timeshare agreement when were given the tag-team extreme pressure pitch in Las Vegas. However, we did end up purchasing what they sold us as a one-week stay with the option for three other small vacations at a highly discounted rate; with the additional incentive of discounted airfare (likely half-off, they said). They also assured us that we would be able to book the week we were wanting for my brother’s wedding. However, due to a processing lag of 20 days– there assurances were inaccurate and nearly every part of the pitch was deceptive. Seven nights was actually three nights (which I fought against and received an additional night). Airfare was more expensive through their Vacation Passport service not less. And the following is a report on how accurate we found their claim as a “five star luxury resort” to be.
From Four Star Hotel Heaven to “Five Star” Timeshare Stink
After arriving in Fort Lauderdale, we spent the first night in a four star hotel. We had booked a true “one-week vacation” by paying extra for the added days. Our first room was incredible. It was in a four-star hotel in the Boca Raton Resort Bungalows. With contemporary furnishings, bed with a down comforter and silky sheets; balcony overlooking palm trees we were quite pleased. Keep in mind, this place was only four stars.
The next morning we headed South on I-90 to Westgate’s South Beach and checked into room. Our first thought: “on what planet or time era could this room be considered five stars.” The furnishings were completely outdated. The various smells in the hallways were noxious. The couches and chairs would be lucky to fetch $50 at a garage sale. Brand new twenty-years-ago, this room might have been four stars merely for its location, however in 2008, the Westgate could never be ranked higher than two stars. What sort of luxury resort are guests required to plug their noses as they enter the hallway?
Perhaps David Siegel—Westgate CEO, believes by putting enough celebrity photos on the walls makes a vacationer feel special enough to make up for the gross smells, awful free continental breakfast. Mr. Siegel has photographs of himself with the likes of Paris Hilton, Dolly Parton and even Bill Gates on every floor throughout every hallway of the hotel. This was an obvious attempt to try to build credibility for the constant barage of tours going through the first floor. Funny they never offered the tours on the second floor where we were staying among the smells of antisepctic cleaner and food rot.
By our third morning I found Martha Cruz, Wesgate South Florida Manager, who was willing to answer my questions about how Westgate printed on their building several times “A five star luxury resort”. Mrs. Cruz’ response was that they were a “five star location”. However, once their improvements were completed, their resort’s ranking would match their five-star location ranking. I then asked here how it was that they clearly printed “resort” not “location” in terms of the five stars. Mrs. Cruz told me this was a referral to the future not the present. I then confirmed, “so your signage is inaccurate?” Her response was that currently its is inaccurate but in the future, when the add their Tiki Bar lounge and million dollar improvements it will be accurate.
When its it ever okay to produce signage and advertising that is not directed at the present state of affairs and sell and advertise as if it is? It would be fine if they wrote, “someday to be a five star luxury resort, but for now bring some nose plugs.” Westgate Resorts uses this tactic for both their Las Vegas non-existent Planet Hollywood tower, as well as their “five star luxury resort” in sunny South Beach. Certainly, no Best Western motel could get away with hyping their rooms as having balconies, marble and 15 foot ceilings then get away with it by writing on the wall of their tiny 8 x 10 room “in the future”. Customers would complain to the front desk and be refunded their money or face legal action. Yet Westgate, has seemingly found a way to get away with blatant deception. Not being an attorney I’m not aware of the letter of the law, but I think Westgate Resort’s lies are fertile ground for a class action lawsuit that should return millions of dollars back to the buyers they’ve deceived.
Editor’s Note: Our previous Westgate stories to date have been read by thousands of readers. These stories offer advice for selling timeshares and tell the entire story of our timeshare experience begining with the sales pitch in Las Vegas. Begin with the first installment: Hollywood Dreams and Timeshare Nightmares
Tell Us Your Westgate Rip-off Story
If you have been ripped-off by Westgate Resorts, tell us your story (using the form below). We will work on your behalf to organize a petition to begin the necessary legal action to return you your money.
Timeshare Rip-off Stories
West Gate Miami Beach:
They lied to us when they said we would lock in the price of vacationing. They have turned the Miami Beach resort back into a cheap hotel that now costs less than our maintenance fees and they increase them every year; they are unable to deliver the flexibility that was promised.
honey moon nightmare
My husband and I had gone to Vegas around the same time last year (june), we were tolled of a 30 min talk about how we could be owners of a time share that would save us a lot of money on vacations, at first we thought why not listen we would at least get the free romantic package since it was our honey moon. The first few times I recall telling the lady that we could not offered it, and she continued to lower the price, until she tolled use that 174 dollars a month was the lowest price they would go only for us.. we felt pressured, but also excited about owning something. It’s been a year and I am now pregnant and about to lose my job from calling out to much due to morning sickness, i have contacted them hoping i can cancel since i will no longer be able to offered it, and what i got as a response was that I am not able to cancel~! and should fax a request to some account service department. I’m going to try and do that but I would like to get some help with anyone who has managed to cancel after a year.. pleas.. any money i can make now will go to medical bills and the baby.. but i would need to solve this problem first
West Gate ownerships is a joke….. My room that I was shown to be purchasing was nothing like the out dated ran down room actually sold. During our stay our room was ram sacked by house keeping and items were missing. Managment never returned my calls and I wish I never bought the BS package. David Segiel is a comin con.
me and my sister was scam to by westgate resort they told us that we could sale own timeshare back to them at a profit that’s not ture,a five star hotel not,we pay 152.00 a month that 1,831 a year.the whole thing was a scam i told they i couldn’t afford it they said that they would buy it back if we couldn’t pay for it 4 years later im still stunk with this junk! THEY ALL LIE TO YOU AT WESTGATE RESORT.please can any one help me .
Hello, My husband and I just bought astudio time share yesterday for 22,000 they told me I was getting a good deal becuase they were giving me prices from 2006. They did tell us we can carry over the week and that we would not ne liable for any damages if we rent it out…when I returned today my co-work told me they got a timeshare there for half the price and a bigger room. After that I decided to contact Westigate and complain about my purchase price…the rep ended up convincing me again that I still got a great deal…once a got home i decided to google up westgates pros and cons and found this website…thank you. I will get started today and send my certified letter tommorrow. Do I just fill in the blanks in the revocation form and sign and date or do I have to sent a explaination letter along as well?
I don’t know the exact details, but they are required by law to allow you to revoke in a simple easy manner. Please let me know what the exact process is so that I can fill readers in. I’m So glad you found our sight and are preventing yourself from years of painful payments on a piece of sh** deal.
I brought a 2 bedroom at Westgate Palace in Orlando Florida and they told me a lie too. They told me that I could not cancel my timeshare. I brought it on a Saturday in 2008 and when I got home that Monday I tried to call and cancel to see what steps I need to take to cancel it. I was told I coild not cancel it. But reading the article about the public offering statement it does say you have five days to cancel and they told me when I brought it that I could not cancel it because I asked the question what if I get home and want to cancel. They lie dto me and I have been stucked in this timeshare. And they lied to me about a whole list of other things in my contract. The same things they lied to Mondy Nelson about they told me which was not true. Page 17: Statute 119A: that Nevada law allows us to cancel (they didn’t want us to know about 5 days and tried to confuse us and spin around the facts until after 5th day)
Page 9.3d (after table of contents): Accural and carryover of timeshare weeks. You CANNOT carryover your timeshare weeks. We were told that if we didn’t use one week, we could move it over to the next year up to three years. THIS WAS A LIE
Page 10.8. It again states there is no carryover from one year to another. Like many timeshare victims, buyers often don’t use their week or days year-after-year, resulting in paying maintenance fees even without any usage.
Page 11 10.f: We bought a 2 bedroom suite every other year, which could be broken up into two separate weeks. One week in the one bedroom suite and one in the studio. We ONLY bought this because they said we could break it up and use the studio in one year and the one bedroom in the other year. This states that you MUST use both studio and one bedroom in that year. You can’t split in your off year.
Page 11 10i: We were told we could book up to a year in advance for our every other year timeshare. This says only book up to 120 days in advance.
Page 16 6: We were told that if the place was rented out and it became damaged by the renters we would not be responsible. That there would be HOAs (Home Ownership Association fees) to cover. This states that we would be solely liable for any damage incurred. Therefore their promise of the ease of switching weeks with someone in Miami for ours in Las Vegas was also a lie)
Page 2 of Exhibit 8: We were not told that the I.I program (the travel exchange) was voluntary. They told us it was part of the westgate program and that all dues were required each year.
We bought into Westgate in Gatlinburg about 5 years ago through high pressure sales. We told them with my husbans’s job that we could not book vacations ahead of time. Oh-you own-not a problem. They showed us a beautiful deluxe room and we signed just that everyone else. Well, 2 months later, we tried to book and said there was no way we were going to get in that year. They sold it to us in August and had the nerve to tell us we couldn’t go. Through many phone calls, my husband got them to give us a reservation. When we got there, the room was horrible. It was not what was shown to us. We found out that they did a bait and switch. We went back to the sales management and threatened to see an attorney because my husband heard one of the salesman say they do bait and switch all the time. Well, they ended up giving us a fixed week with the ability to float, but that was a joke. Like many of you, we have also been scammed from agencies to try to sell them. Maintenance fees have gone up horrible. I think consumers should be protected from crooks like this. If they were made to give us our money back, they wouldn’t be filthy rich and continue to scam people. I wish you could get some help out there.
We bought a studio timeshare from Westgate Park City in 2006. They had renderings and info about the golf course all over the place. We were told that if we bought that we would get discounted golf and basically be treated like a country club member because we were owners. This was why we bought. The golf course has never been built, never even had an approval to be built, and today they don’t even bring it up. Of course the contract states that only the amenities listed are applicable. But come on! If any real estate agent in the country misrepresented facts like that on any transaction, then said “read your contract, tough luck, they would be sued, license revoked, and possibly thrown in jail. I would love to start a class action law suit here in Utah for the time period they represented the golf course. Anyone else get this pitch and would like to join in?
Help us gather 100 timeshare rip-off stories against Westgate so we may proceed with a class-action lawsuite against their dishonest business.
from John Smith
I am a timeshare sales agent, for the most part you are all right, but be very selective about thie timeshare you buy talk to other people and see if there happy with it timeshare is a good thing if you buy the right one. but under no sercumstances trust no one in the business they are all pathalogical liars
Follow-up from Michael
We are currently pursuing a personal lawsuit, however the more information that I gather, it appears that a class action case could go forward, especially if there are more people who can come forward such as you with claims that what was in the contract was not what they delivered. For example your situation where in the written contract the difference between how a week is defined, providing 3 nights versus 4; although 4 was specificed and etc. Our dispute revolves aournd what was written in the contract versus what they are delivering regarding the timeshare purchase (deed issues).
According to my attorney this is classic “Bait and Switch” tactics that are employed and what they are doing is fraud.
If you have any other contacts who have experienced simlar experiences it would be great if you could provide me their details.
from Michael Bogenreif
I find your article interesting. We are in the process of litigating our issues with Westgate and would appreciate any other people who have experienced deceptive and fraudulant practices with Westgate – Planet Hollywood.
from D Baker
The 2008 Florida State Statutes are located at this link
You may find this to be very useful. We did… We beleive that we will receive our down-payment refund in full and according to information in the stautes, they must provide the refund within 20 days.
from Ginger D
I want to file a class action lawsuit against westgate resorts in Orlando Florida for misleading practices. It is a typical timeshare nightmare story. Basically, I have a timeshare that is paid off and I have outrageous maintenance and tax fees. I can’t even give this timeshare away. It costed us about 16 grand. They gave the impression that we could resell through them and that our maintenance fees would be around $400 dollars per year. The maintenance fee has gone up to about 800 dollars a year or so. I am worried it is going to keep going up. They won’t buy it back, resell it for us or even take it back for free. It is a monkey on my back. I have read story after story about these timeshare industry scams. I have tried to list it through a timeshare listing company only to find out it is a scam too. Those companies who listed them have already had a class action lawsuit against them or have closed shop and left town. I would venture to say I have blown at least a thousand dollars on listing. I am learning how not to get scammed the hard way. I want to sue westgate resorts for misleading practices. If not for that, then for whatever I can do to them to shed a spot light on them. If not a class action lawsuit then perhaps passing of a bill to protect consumers from these misleading practices of the timeshare industry. It isn’t so much money I am after but setting a presendence. I would like to get back my 16 grand at best though.
from D Baker
It happened yesterday, being sucked into the absolute worst decision I have ever made financially… We accepted the tour for discount, initially declined, later accepted (bought/agreed) and today on the way home, realized what an idiotic stupid move it was… We’re in the process of cancellation tonight. It “IS POSSIBLE” as long as it’s accomplished within ten (10) days of signature “OR” delivery by the developer to provide all required documents (which may include the actual deed for property depending on the state). The FL state statues explain 10 days as the day you send notice, so get confirmation of delivery (apparently that’s all that’s required legally)…. Also stated; you may “CANCEL THE CONTRACT WITHOUT ANY PENALTY OR OBLIGATION” which we have requested and expect a full and immediate refund of the down-payment. We noted this information in our request.
Not certain this will help anyone, but we’re trying and the information was there in paperwork provided.
I assure you that it’s most likely in the document with font so small you can’t see/read it. That’s where we fond it.
Last week if anyone asked what the stupidest thing was I had ever done, I wouldn’t know what to say. At least now, I have the answer…. At least I may be able to recover…
Best of luck to all!…
-From Ken H
We took a trip to Las Vegas and was booked at the hotel now called Planet Hollywood. After checking an on our way our room. We were approached by a couple of guys asking us if we would like a free meal and a couple of show tickets, they stated all we had to do was listen to a 30 minute talk. So we agreed and went the next day. No where in this conversation did they mention timeshare if they had I would of said no thank you. The next day we went it was more like a 3 hour and when we told them we could not afford it they magically came up with another one. We still said no and they said we will let you talk it over this went on for 4 conversations and finally just to get out we signed on. When they finally took us back to the hotel we went through the papers but found nothing in there to cancel. So after a year of arguing with them they sent me a paper I had signed showing we were suppose to cancel within 5 days. No where in my packet was that paper. Had it been I would of went the next day to cancel by way of the Post Office sending it Express to the address listed with a return receipt for proof. Then I get a phone call from them tell me my tax are late. I tell them I don’t nothing about taxes they said it was in my contract I told her that contract is useless as your company gives selective parts to people. A couple months ago they started bugging me to give them names of friends or workers so they could try and sell them a timeshare. I went off on them saying I would not even do that to people I dislike. I told the girl that her company screwed us, her reply was I am sorry you feel that way. Yeah right. I have yet to use the timeshare and don’t plan to. I do plan to go back to Las Vegas though and wear a T-shirt with something to the effect if you buy a Timeshare remember you have only 5 days or you are screwed for life.
Thanks for the story Ken. It sounds like your experience very similar to ours. What amazes me is that Westgate Resorts employees seem so naive in the deception they are engaging in. We bought our week in the end, because the final woman we spoke to seemed so nice and down to earth. She was foreign, telling us about her new baby. In the end, we came to find out nearly everything- not just a few things-but everything that came out of her mouth was a lie. I’ve come to think I can trust certain types of people. Don’t trust anyone in a timeshare sales office.
From Tammy Sullivan
Tammy writes that now in addition to selling timeshare rip-offs, Westgate is also overbooking or double booking their incentive package
Its this incentive package they use to lure people into their sales area at Westgate Hollywood Planet Resort. Tammy says that she and her husband booked 3 days and 2 nights for $199.00 and have already made plans to travel to Las Vegas. Now Westgate can’t confirm they will have a place to stay.
Tammy writes –
NO where on the papers does it have a room confirmation for the date we requested. Just a confirmation for a Westgate Vacation package for 3 days 2 nights. Typed on it it says to call for vacation. Well tonight he has spent two hours and spoke with over eight different people and have gotten no where. Never, ever gained access to speak with a supervisor. Last person he spoke with said he would look into it and call within one hour. Well after 90 minutes my husband called him back and he sent my husband to an other guy who said we are on standby in case anyone cancelled. NOT ACCEPTABLE. Not what we have set out to do nor travel over 2000 miles to MAYBE have a room or not. As it stands right at this moment the last guys we spoke with will get back with us tomorrow. Will keep you posted…
PS By the way we are timeshare holders in Orlando but have yet to use our timeshare. We have bought into it 1 year ago and have purchased it for every other year.
I’m sorry to hear about your problems with Westgate. If you do end up going and finding a room I think you will find, as we did, that what they promise as a delux room will be quite a disappointment. There are now some very good specials going on at Luxor and other very nice casinos for close to what you will be paying for your Westgate room, I would try to get your money back and book at another casino. If you would like to read about what our room was like in the “new” Planet Hollywood Resort you can read about it in my first story here:
Good luck, and keep us posted on what happens.
Update From Tammy Sullivan
My husband has now requested they just refund us our money back ($199.00) and forget it. She put him back on hold …she came back she said the refund will take about three to five days to go through. Cannot send us a confirmation to verify they will refund our money. I am TRUELY ashamed to say we have the timeshare with them. (Have yet to use it) In the meantime I am about to call American Express (how we paid for this) and see if they may be of assistance.
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