Crimes of Persuasion

Schemes, scams, frauds.

Royal Holiday Club Timeshare Presentations in Nassau, Bahamas

Article detailing one person's experience in April 2002 removed upon request, following threats of legal action against contributor.

"Royal Holiday hereby demands from you to cease and desist all further communications regarding Royal Holiday, including without limitation, the false, defamatory and libelous statements by you that Royal Holiday has acted fraudulently and purposely misled you on Club related matters....Your statements constitute, among other things, libel, libel per se, trade libel, slander, slander per se, and tortuous interference with business relationships and contracts." 10/02/02

Note: In June they filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and the Florida Attorney General. Company provided balance of refund in September even though clients "were not entitled to receive a refund."

Another writes: I posted a letter about being scammed by Royal Holiday in 2002. I did finally receive my money back by writing a complaint to ARDA, specifically David J. Evans who is an ethics director of the organization,

Unfortunately, Royal Holiday is no longer a member.

This is the site for ARDA's Code of Ethics

I read with interest your article on Royal Holiday. I signed up with them in July of this year in Nassau and have paid the full amount.

I was “guaranteed” that I would get a skiing holiday at New Year in Vail, Colorado to the value of $7,100. I have contacted them to arrange it and am told that there is no availability, when I call or mail them now they do not respond to my calls or mails.

I noted that the article on Royal Holiday mentioned a group of unhappy customers. Can you put me in touch with these people?

Paul Gracie 10/26/02

Note: The person helping out victims got tired of the thankless work. People need to be more self-sufficient and proactive in dealing with such problems and not expect others to bail them out without providing the slightest bit of appreciation when they do.

My husband, Michael, and I are also having problems with Royal Holidays. We also purchased a membership in the Bahamas. Unfortunately, we didn't cancel and now we are finding out what a big mistake we made.

We were promised many things by our salesman. We were given 45,000 bonus credits, 20,000 of which they said they would rent out for $3,000. We were told that we would have a check in our hands in 45 days. This would cover our down payment that we put on our credit card. We were also told they we could ask them to rent out another 20,000 credits for another $3,000 if we needed to later.

Then we said we couldn't afford so much for accommodations every year. When you divide the initial investment by 30 and add the yearly maintenance fee, the total cost for the room was more than we could afford.

That's when we were offered an "annuity certificate" for the amount of our initial investment of $10,950 that would be mature at the end of our membership (30 years). We were told we would be getting that money back. This would be in our price range, so that's when we bought the membership.

We went back to our room, I read our contract.

That's when I realized there was nothing in it about all the bonus things they gave us. We had none of it in writing. We discussed it and on the day we were leaving for the airport, we went back with a written request of cancellation. That's when they drew up an addendum to the contract which looked like it covered all the things promised.

While they were preparing the paperwork, a woman from the US who was a new member, just happened to show up and got into a conversation with us about how happy her boss was with his membership and how she just purchased her own. Some coincidence isn't it. Since we were in a hurry and we were handed this to sign in the hallway, I didn't read it as carefully as I should have.

The way it was set up, I didn't notice that the paragraph before the item of rental of the 20,000 credits for $3,000 had a stipulation of payment of the membership in full before it was in effect. Also, there was no mention of the future rental of credits for additional money, as offered to us.

When I addressed this with my customer service rep on the phone when we got home, I was told I was lucky we had what we did in writing because we would be the ones that would have the responsibility to rent out our credits, but since our addendum stated it, they would take off $3,000 off the payoff price.

During this time, I placed many calls and left messages, but didn't get return calls. Only when I said we wanted to cancel our membership, did we get a response from a supervisor, that OK'd the discount.

Our problems with getting answers was also apparent when we wanted to use our bonus credits. I guess we were supposed to get certificates that had the conditions of use on the back. But we didn't receive them because they were holding them in the Bahamas to rent them out for us.

We were never told that the credits were only good for 9 months. We tried to use them for a future trip and we were told that there was no record of our credits. Again had problems getting a hold of anyone. We only got voice mail and our calls weren't returned.

We finally thought we had things pretty much worked out when we were told by someone to check out the certificate we were given. Our addendum said we were given an "annuity certificate in the amount of $10,950." When we checked out the certificate they gave us, we found out from the company on the certificate (Stanford Trust) that it was a trust certificate and it had no guaranteed value in 30 years.

The salesman for Royal Holidays said that we would receive our money back at the end of our membership. This trust certificate has a statement on the back that,

"The trustees (Royal Holidays) shall invest and manage and hold the income of the Fund in Trust for the Primary Beneficiary for a period of thirty years from the date of issuance of each coupon ("Maturity Date"). At the Maturity Date for each coupon the Trustee shall disburse the Fund to each Ultimate Beneficiary (In their proportionate share) who shall have been in compliance at all times with the Timeshare Agreement, including the payment of all fees, the Vacation Club Declaration and all rules and regulations thereof."

I found out from Stanford Trust that Royal Holidays was only going to deposit 2% ($219) for my certificate and there was no guaranteed maturity amount. As stated on the certificate,

"The MEMBER or his/her previously appointed Beneficiary (in case of death) as stated on the Certificate, shall have the right to receive the Funds being deposited in Trust, and it's accrued interest upon complying with the terms, and conditions as stated in the Vacation Club Sale/Purchase Contract."

Also, if we were out of line with any of the rules of the club, our certificate was voided

("The Vacation Club will notify the Trustees in writing, in case the member is declared in breach of any of the provisions of the Vacation Club Sale/Purchase contract, therefore canceling the Certificate for the benefit of the named parties.").

This is a far cry from the what was represented to us by our salesman. This was the final straw and we asked for our money back, stating their noncompliance to the addendum's representation of the certificate as an annuity.

I was told that they were getting a new company to handle what they were now calling "savings certificates", as if our problem was with Stanford Trust. I said that I didn't have a problem with them, but with the kind of certificate we were given. If the new company is going offer a trust account with similar rules, we are not interested.

They were not even in contact with us until I filed a complaint with the State of NY Consumer Protection Board. From what I see on the Internet, our chances of recovering our money are pretty bleak. If there is a way I can get addresses of lawyers working on suits against Royal Holiday or any other advise, I'd appreciate it.

I think the only way this company will do what's right and refund any money is if the news media picks up on this and they get so much bad press that they just settle to stop the publicity. I think it's going to take a miracle. Thank you for this opportunity to tell my story.

Shirlrene D. 11/22/02

I was saddened not surprised to read the story with regards to royal Holiday club in Nassau at the Marriott Crystal Palace. We also had a similar situation take place.

I tried numerous times to cancel my contract, but in my opinion once you sign on the dotted line it is all over with this outfit! I was also told to speak with the infamous Mr. Harris. I feel he is nothing but a front.

The writer was telling the truth in every detail. I don't have the patience to write all that transpired in our case but, I assure you Royal Holiday Club is NOT something you can easily fight with. We feel they misled us, and over-exaggerated the truth about what you are really buying.

I hope for our sakes that we will be able to utilize this costly mistake.

Kevin Collins 11/20/02

Rescued by Right of Rescission?

Our experience with Royal Holiday Club in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico:

To: PROFECO (Mexican Consumer Protection Agency)

This letter is to register a complaint about a Royal Holiday Club purchase agreement that took place on Tuesday April 1st at Royal Park at Los Tules in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, MX.

We wish to exercise our right of rescission to cancel this agreement and request a refund of all deposits taken.

Following is a summary of what transpired:

During the presentation, when it was learned we already owned timeshare, we were turned over to a Mr. Ken Waller, introduced as the "trade in manager". Ken offered to take our existing timeshare property at Summer Bay Resort in Orlando in "trade" for a membership in Royal Holiday Club.

Note: Story details about financial promises made, then allegedly lacking in final paperwork, not included.

Then a man named Jerome Phillips came out and asked what the problem was. We told him and he said they do not take timeshares as "trades" and never have. He apologized that we had been "lied to" but said there was nothing we could do.

We demanded to cancel the agreement and he refused.  He recommended instead that we try to sell our existing timeshare. When we demanded back our copies of the papers, Jerome said that was not possible as Ken Waller had ripped them up. At this point, Jerome told us if we did not leave the property, he would call the Mexican police and have us put in jail.

After learning of the 5 business day right of rescission, we called Los Tules and spoke with a supposed manager, Daniel Le Hoya. Daniel had Jerome call us back. Jerome said we would have to return to Los Tules. We wrote a letter of cancellation and took it to Jerome. This was on Sunday April 6th.

Jerome refused to accept it and said they only way we could cancel the agreement was to give him $500.00 US in cash or travelers checks. We refused to do so. When we asked to see Mr. Daniel Le Hoya, Jerome again said we had to leave or he would call the police.

Joe and Peggy Shafer 04/26/03