Update by user Aug 14, 2012
As of August 13th, the issues discussed in our original complaint are being resolved.
Original review posted by user Jul 16, 2012
We would like to detail our experience during the sale of deed PF0148 51 that led to the cancellation of this contract.
We have been owners with Silverleaf since 1999. In the thirteen years of ownership, we have not utilized our account(s) to their full extent due to many circumstances. We are now at a position in our lives where we saw the potential to truly utilize our timeshare ownership.
During the week prior to July 4th, we were interested in utilizing our Bonus Time to stay at The Villages the weekend of July 6th through July 8th. When we attempted to book Bonus Time online, the Bonus Time was there one minute and then inaccessible the next. Upon calling the reservation hotline, we were told there were no vacancies and we requested to be added to the waiting list. Before the end of the day, we were contacted by Members Services who offered a "VIP" stay that exact weekend. They stated all we needed to do was attend a 30 minute question and answer session regarding our feedback on our ownership. Our appointment was booked for Saturday, July 7th at 10:30. We were elated. We were finally going to utilize our timeshare ownership and we were all set to provide feedback on how to make the ownership better. On Thursday, July 5th, we were contacted by the reservations department with our confirmation number. They stated we needed to reserve our meeting time. We said we were already booked for Saturday, July 7th. The lady from reservations apologized and said she would book it then. We were moved to an appointment time of Sunday, July 8th at 10:00 a.m. Hesitantly, we packed up and headed out to The Villages for our arrival on July 6th.
Our stay at The Villages was surprisingly very pleasant. We were offered a condo near the Activity Center and Water Park. Our 7 year old son was thrilled. We had a wonderful time. Friday and Saturday we enjoyed all of the amenities and really relaxed for the first time in a long time. Our meeting on Sunday was looming and the reminders came on Saturday night and Sunday morning. Honestly, we were really not looking forward to our meeting at that point. We have had several encounters with Member Services and they have not been very pleasant experiences. There always seems to be some sort of catch. But we were guaranteed it would be a short question and answer session and the end reward was a $40 Visa gift card and the wonderful stay we had just enjoyed immensely. How bad could it be?
Our meeting on Sunday started uneventful enough. The parking lot at Member Services was relatively empty and we started to believe this would be a quick in and out. We had promised our son horseback riding that afternoon and thought for sure a 10 o'clock meeting would put us out and riding horses no later than noon at the worst. Upon entering the building, the lobby and reception area were empty. As time passed, the lobby became very full and our day seemed to look like it was not going to go as expected. During our wait for our representative, several couples asked if we were already members. When we stated "yes", they said they were hoping to sell their properties to us and that all they really wanted was to be out of the system. We nodded in agreement and could empathize with their feelings. Up until our stay that weekend, our lives had involved several attempts to sell our deeds as well. We were infuriated by the number of phone calls we receive a week from Silverleaf Member Services and by the expense of maintenance fees for something we were not even using. We completely understood their frustration and looked forward to discussing our concerns and frustration during the meeting.
At approximately 10:15 a.m., fifteen minutes after our stated appointment time, we were called back by Mr. Bryan Woodring. He made small talk with us and we walked the long hall back to his office. At this point, we were still expecting nothing more than a feedback session. He seemed genuinely interested in our lives and in our feelings surrounding our ownership, but never really took any notes or answered any of our concerns. Quickly, he stated he wanted to take us on a short drive of the property. Conveniently, we stopped at the Presidential Beach Club property. Upon entering the property, he commented on how empty the parking lot was and how under-utilized the Presidentials were most of the time. We were taken to the Presidential on the top floor and Bryan showed us all the bells and whistles surrounding that unit. We then continued on our drive through the property and he gathered a little more information about our lives and family. He ended the presentation and pulled into the parking lot back at Member Services around 11:00 a.m. Good we thought…we still have time to take our son horseback riding.
Bryan then asked us to come back to his office. We were then presented with the Presidential ownership and upgrades to our current deeds. We told Bryan we were not interested in buying anything else at this time and that we really needed to go. He made a phone call and said he would have his manager come in and get us all checked out. As we waited, we proceeded to tell Bryan our concerns about our ownership. We made it clear that we were not currently utilizing what we had and did not need or want anything else. He smiled in agreement. A few minutes later, Ms. Jodi State arrived. She had a sheet of two properties she just knew we would love. After telling her the same thing we had told Bryan, that we were not interested in any other properties or investing any more money into something we could not utilize she said okay and went to get our "check out" paperwork.
After what seemed like an eternity but was probably about another 30 minutes (now we have been at our 30 minute appointment for about 2 hours), Ms. State came back with yet another property and too good to be true offers. We should have known (this wasn't our first aggressive sales pitch by a Silverleaf employee) to stick to our guns and continue to say "no". We were going to be owners of a Red Presidential from Holiday Hills, the offer price was going to be for a White Condo in the amount of $11,500, no down payment was going to be needed, the maintenance fee would be for a condo at $76.45/month, we were going to keep our Endless Escapes and last but certainly not least we were going to be a part of the Plus program. How could we go wrong?
We were given a few minutes to talk about it and unfortunately for us once again the stars started to twinkle in our eyes dreaming of all the wonderful family vacations the flexibility of a Presidential would grant us and we gave in. We made our decision in about 30 minutes and told Bryan we needed to sign our papers as quickly as possible so that we could still make it out for the last horseback trip of the day at 2:00 p.m. He said not a problem and he would go get Jodi right then to finish up the paperwork, and to make the pot even sweeter he would call and book us for the horseback trip and comp us the amenity fees. We were thrilled. How much better could this be?
He attempted to call the Amenities Desk in his office and was given the run around by the Amenity Center staff member. We were not surprised. The staff in the center always seemed to be annoyed by our presence so we were somewhat relieved to find out they were that way with others as well. We could see the writing on the wall then, but decided to let Bryan go talk to Jodi regarding our paperwork and he said he would have a manager call over there immediately and get it all straightened out. He said we would still make it out in time to go for our ride. We waited….and waited….and waited. We are now at the 3 hour mark in our 30 minute meeting.
He finally arrived with our paperwork to sign. As he presented us with our contract, the sales price was wrong. When we questioned him on it, he attempted to explain it was due to closing costs. When we pushed back on this explanation, he said he would have to go get Ms. Jodi Sate for more detail. When she arrived, she agreed the price was wrong and said she would have her boss draw up new paperwork immediately. We reminded her and Bryan that we had promised our son the horseback trip and we needed to leave in less than 30 minutes. They assured us there wouldn't be a problem. We waited……
Mr. Bryan Woodring brought us in corrected paperwork. We continued to sign the contract and noticed the changes had not been made to reflect our existing "Endless Escapes" agreement. Bryan said the notary would have to come in and make the changes during her visit. We reminded him we did not have much time and urged him to get her so that we could still make it to our horseback riding. He then said they were going to have to comp us a horseback trip on our next visit. Our 7 year old began to cry uncontrollably. While the delay was partially our fault by agreeing to purchase, we did attempt to expedite the process at several turns.
After another 20 minutes or so, the notary arrived, the corrections were made to the contract, the free horseback riding was promised, discounts on the Water Park were provided, and we were the proud owners of the pinnacle of ownership, a Red Presidential with Endless Escapes. How proud were we?
Now we requested our $40 gift card for attending the "meeting" for the third time. After Bryan had said he was getting it two times and continued to ask for the amount saying that they are normally on $20 gift cards, we were finally escorted up front to receive our "gift". After just a short visit with the receptionists, we left feeling pretty good about our visit and with plans to visit The Villages within two weeks and The Hill Country Resort within a month. We made up with our 7 year old son with promises of even more vacations and we left for the long drive home.
We attempted to reserve our Bonus Time for our next weekend trip to The Villages on Wednesday, July 11th through the Internet site. The Presidential account was not available to choose from and our two old accounts were still listed. As expected, there was no Bonus Time available under our lodge and condo units. We called the reservation hotline and the reservationist stated our Presidential would not be available to utilize for up to six weeks. She confirmed there was not any availability based on our old accounts at The Villages. At 12:58 p.m. we then attempted to contact Mr. Bryan Woodring and Ms. Jodi State. The receptionist at The Villages in Member Services, Nadeen, stated they were both off until Friday. We requested that an available manager contact us that day to explain the delay in our account processing and to assist us in our vacation plans. She said she would have the manager on duty return our call. We waited……
We did not receive a return call on Wednesday, July 11th. On Thursday July 12th at 8:39 a.m., we received a call from Ms. Jodi State from her personal cell phone on her day off. We explained our concern regarding our account and the upcoming vacations we had planned. She stated the problem with our account posting was due to the down payment funding through the sale of our other deeds, and assured us she would contact us Friday morning upon her return to the office to book the vacation for us and confirm the activation of our Presidential account. Again we waited……
On Friday July 13th, we waited for Ms. State's phone call. And we waited. Since we had not heard from her, we checked our account online and the Presidential account had posted. However, there was still no time available at The Villages. Since we had been led to believe that The Villages Presidentials were severely under-utilized, we were extremely confused and worried about our sales agreement. We soon begin to realize that what we thought was too good to be true was probably too good to be true. We contacted Member Services at 11:49 a.m. attempting to reach Ms. State, Mr. Woodring, or Ms. State's boss Mr. Lopez. We will now begin to use only last names since we were never provided Mr. Lopez' first name. This time we were told they were all with customers and they would call us back by the end of the day. So we waited……
On Saturday July 14th, we contact Member Services again. Nadeen the receptionist greeted us by name. She remembered giving the message to Ms. State and Mr. Lopez and apologized they did not return our call. She said they were once again with customers and would have to call us back. We requested she tell them right then that we were holding and would like to speak to them immediately. She stated she would have to take a message. So we waited…. This time Ms. State did return our call. We expressed our concerns with the purchase and the inability to use our Presidential the way we were promised. She apologized for the issues and requested our Owners Login. She put us on hold while she went online to review our account. She stated that she did not understand why we were not able to see all of the available units and assured us the problem was with the website. We reiterated that we were traveling to the Hill Country resort August 9th and needed to be guaranteed we would be able to use our Presidential that weekend. Ms. State asked us to give her a few minutes and stated she would call us right back. We waited….. Once again, Ms. State did return our call. She called us from her private cell phone outside. We thought that was strange, but she assured us it was due the loud volume inside Member Services. She proceeded to tell us that Mr. Lopez knew someone at the Hill Country resort and he would personally book our time August 9th through August 12th on Monday. Ms. State said she would send us the confirmation via email on Monday for this visit. She assured us that Mr. Lopez was unable to contact any one prior to Monday, but that they both guaranteed it would be resolved. We once again expressed our concern regarding the inability to use our account and stated we weren't sure we wanted to continue with the purchase. Ms. State tried to assure us it was just a system glitch and that everything would be fine with our account when the sale completed. We once again stated we were considering canceling the purchase and wanted to make sure we still had time to do so. Ms. State agreed to send us an email stating the last day to cancel our contract and made it clear if we did decide to cancel and there was an issue with the timing there was always exceptions and concessions made for previous owners. She stated in no uncertain terms that we had nothing to worry about. She also verified that we had her personal cell phone number and said if we had any additional questions or concerns to just call her. She said she would be at the office really late that night until at least 8 or 9 p.m., but that she would take care of it before she left. And we waited…..
We never received a letter from Ms. State. So once again, we called Silverleaf Member Services at The Villages at 9:21 a.m. The receptionist, Nadeen, once again answered the phone. She immediately recognized us and stated Ms. State was not in the office. We requested to speak to Ms. State's boss, Mr. Lopez, and we were told he was in a meeting. Nadeen stated she would have Mr. Lopez tell Ms. State to call us back. We told her no and requested Mr. Lopez call us directly. At 10:27 a.m., we again contacted Member Services. Christina answered this time. We explained our situation and asked to speak directly to Mr. Lopez. She stated Mr. Lopez was with a guest and she would have him call us back. At this point we realized we were not going to ever receive a call back, so we requested that she ask Mr. Lopez to take our call immediately. She placed us on hold. And we waited….. We were left on hold for 15 minutes. We tried to call back at 10:43 a.m. This time we were immediately connected to a directory of names. Neither Ms. State nor Mr. Lopez were accessible from the directory. We hung up and called back. At 10:44 a.m., we again reached Christina. She apologized for all the issues and assured us that Mr. Lopez was with a guest but as soon as he finished she would explain the situation and have him call us back. She told us that Ms. State was unexpectedly out of the office today and would not be back in the office until Monday. We told her that we must hear from Mr. Lopez by 3:00 p.m. or we would be canceling our contract. She once again apologized and stated she would personally deliver the information to Mr. Lopez. And so we waited….
Finally a little before 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, July 15th, Ms. State contacted us via her personal cell phone from out of the office. She stated she was out of the office tending to some personal family matters and asked if she could help us. We asked her why we did not receive our email as promised on Saturday. She stated she had run the information past Mr. Lopez and he said she was not able to email any information regarding the contract. She acted irritated, but said she would send the confirmation for the Hill Country resort on Monday and asked if there was anything else. We told her we felt like we were receiving the run around on our purchase as well as being avoided by members of her team, especially Mr. Lopez. Out of the four times we had requested to speak directly to Mr. Lopez, we did not receive one single call from him. We expressed our concern for her being bothered on her day off and said we wished he had called us back. She stated that she requests her messages be forwarded to her and wanted us to know she asked them to do that and we were not bothering her. We once again expressed our disappointment in the communication and the "run around" with reaching someone. Ms. State then stated she had just spent an hour and a half crying with her family and had excused herself to contact us. She wanted us to be reassured that she took her owners' issues personally and was willing to help us in any way. We mentioned how dissatisfied we were with the delay in the completion of our purchase, how we were not contacted as requested, and the promises that were made and not being fulfilled. We stated we were seriously considering canceling our purchase. At that point, Ms. State became very irritated and asked "Are you going to cancel your contract or not?" We told her then that we were. She said she would start the process on her end by phoning the office, she even made a joke stating she would probably be the one left on hold 15 minutes this time, to let them know we were canceling. She told us to locate the information in "Exhibit A" and wished us all the best. She once again stated how important her owners are to her and that even though we were not "so to speak doing business any more" she would still love to help us in the future. We wished her well and hoped her family issues would resolve quickly.
Now here we are typing lengthy explanations, sending cancelation faxes, and making trips to the post office for registered letters. If we had received even one phone call back from Mr. Lopez or if Ms. State would have delivered on one promise we would not be in this situation. After doing further research regarding your company, it does not appear that our story is original. Anyone can find stories such as ours all over the Internet. We hoped this experience with Silverleaf would be different. We felt a connection to Ms. State and Mr. Woodring and looked forward to a rewarding future with our new Presidential. But once again, we are left with a sour taste in our mouths, two deeds we cannot use, and maintenance fees for something we have no desire to utilize. We are searching for horseback riding for our son (another promise not delivered on) and will continue to look for a buyer for our current lodge and condo deeds.
If we can help one person avoid the unnecessary run around and emotional stress we have been through in the past week, it will be worth the time it has taken to write this letter and hoops we have jumped through to cancel our purchase.
This letter was sent to all of the officers within Silverleaf and everyone involved at The Villages. We will see if anything changes.
Product or Service Mentioned: Silverleaf Resorts Vacation Ownership.