|In August 2006, my husband was approached in a Bass Pro Shop sporting goods store in Orlando, FL about a wonderful vacation opportunity. We would just have to sit through a 90 minute sales pitch for the best timeshare in the world; he had to pay $59 (reservation fee), but we would get that back in a $25 Bass Pro gift card and coupons and they would give us accommodations at a Bluegreen preferred partner hotel.|
They had leaflets depicting the various resortswhere we could go to hear the sales presentation and we chose to go to Gatlinburg, Tennessee in June 2007.We had to provide our own transportation, pay the aforementioned $59 and they would give us 2 free coupons to get into the Ripley's Aquarium, a Smokey Mountain coupon book, and put us up in what I was lead to believe would be a nice resort.When we got to Gatlinburg, we had to check in at a different location to get our hotel reservation. The hotel they sent us to turned out to be a gross, run down, dingy roach motel (a classic bait and switch).My husband called it a Motel 4 (not good enough to be a Motel 6).
The next night we went to the sales presentation. There they gave us a tour of where we could be staying if we were Bluegreen owners (instead of the nasty motel they put us in).After more than 4 hours of a very high pressure sales pitch of this wonderful investment opportunity, they got usthey kept pushing and eventually wore us down. We told them we couldn't afford it because we had plans to send our 5 year-old daughter to private school.They said that this would be an asset we could pass down to her, enjoy with her, an investment. We told them that they didn't have any resorts close to where we live, Washington State, or in any of our neighboring states.Most of the Bluegreen Resorts are in the eastern United States; they said that they were building resorts out west. (That turned out to be a lie.)
I admit we were stupidwe were hungry; it was dinner time and they had our 5 year-old locked in a room with another kid.We wanted out of there, to go to dinner. We make a down payment of $2,001.34 with a credit card, financed the balance $15,103.56 through them at 15.9% interest.We had excellent credit, but they would not allow us to look for our own financing.Everything had to be done then because they said they were giving us such a good deal because the value and prices only go up.They said that this would be an excellent tax write off. Finally, away we went with promises of grandeur.
I had immediate buyer's remorse.I wasn't proud of the decision we made.We never told our parents or anyone elsewe felt stupid right away.We were in Tennessee, a foreign state to us.We are residents of Washington and have never lived in Tennessee. We didn't know we had a small window of time when we could have gotten the contract cancelled.They never told us.In Washington State, you are always told about your right to cancel and you have to initial next to it on the contract, so there is no disputing whether or not you were told.I assumed Tennessee didn't have such a law or cancellation period because they never mentioned it.
Since that initial purchase, and after they got our money, we have never been able to book one vacation in 3 and a half years. Every year we've paid over thousands of dollars mortgage, in maintenance fees and dues for nothing. In the beginning, we didn't understand the reservation system and our points expired (they told us they never expire).
We have never, in 3 years, been able to use Bluegreen andwhat follows are twoexamples of when we tried to use it.
(1.)We have tried to book a family vacation in Hawaii, but there are not any condo units for 5 people available to Bluegreen Owners and this is supposed to be a Bluegreen resort.The bigger units are reserved for cash paying customers (not Bluegreen vacation owners).A family Hawaii vacation was a selling point for us and I wish they had been up front with us.(2.) I tried to book in Montana, but the smallest unit available at that resort is for 8 people and requires a week stay, because of that I don't have enough points to book there (Bluegreen sells points not weeks).I expressed an interest in Montana during the sales presentation because it is the only place we could possibly drive to from Washington.Again, it would have been nice to know these things from the salesperson before we bought it.
We feel trapped (we are trapped), we were lied to and we cannot afford it any longer.We want out of this and all our money back.This is the biggest financial mistake of our life.Before we got mixed up with them we had excellent credit (700-800 range). Since signing up with them we always paid on time and paid our maintenance fees and dues.We have had to refinance our house twice to pay the Bluegreen maintenance fees and all our other obligations (that we struggle with because of the Bluegreen burden).
We cannot afford to pay Bluegreen any longer, so we stopped paying in September.Now our credit is ruined and we can't get a loan. Plus, we wasted a major portion of our hard-earned dollars that could have otherwise gone to our daughter's college fund and our retirement fund. Bluegreen lied to us and has been a huge financial burden.We can't afford it, can't sell it, can't rent it out and can't get a reservation--we have never used it. Now they are ruining our credit and are planning on foreclosing on us.
Here is the list of false promises and lies from Bluegreen timeshare salespeople:
We could sell our points (i.e. timeshare weeks) that we were unable to use back to them, but then they stopped that program.
If we wanted to get rid of it, we had to offer it to them first because they have a waiting list of people wanting to buy.Huge lie.
The timeshare would be an investment and a tax write-off.I've since found out that timeshares are extremely hard to sell and only worth a small fraction of what we bought it for (worth just 25% or less of what we bought it for).Timeshares don't increase in value like they told us.They say buy now because the price will be locked in for the rest of our life.
We could carry our points forward if we don't use them, but didn't tell us that they expire after 2 years. (Not only do they expire after 2 years, after the 1st year the points are worth less; you can no longer use them for 'hot' seasons.)
We told them it wouldn't work for us because we live out west, in Washington State.They said no problem because they were building out west.They have nothing in Washington State or any of the neighboring states.
They told us we could exchange our points with RCI (another timeshare company).However, they didn't tell us that we would have to pay a yearly RCI dues and pay $75 when booking with RCI.
They never, not once informed us about "Club Dues". They told us there were yearly maintenance fees, but failed to tell us that the maintenance fee was over $800 per year and that there would be additional club dues for Bluegreen, for RCI and for the Yacht Club (which were separate from the maintenance fees).
8. They told us we would have a great tax write off.That was their way of justifying to us, who had excellent credit at the time, why we should be okay with 15.9% interest.They don't give you time to shop for other financingit is all so rushed.You have to take the great deal that day or you won't get it again.
9. One head salesperson said his sister is a Bluegreen owner and she vacations all over the world for free and pays her Bluegreen fees by selling her points back.(See false promise #1they no longer buy points back or help owners sell their points.)
10. They never explained our right to cancel.
All they want is to make a sale and get your moneythey say anything.Looking back I realize that none of the salespeople handed out business cards andthe few signatures I have are illegible.I wish I had their names.I believe that most of this sales process was illegal.(Pennsylvania's Attorney General sued Bluegreen because of their unscrupulous sales practices.) I think the timeshare business should be made to be more up front with full disclosure (for instance, disclose the timeshare resale market, disclose the right to cancel).However, if they were honest and truthful, they would never make a sale.