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First of all, I purchased my first timeshare from Silverleaf in May of 2007. It was week 52 at Hill Country. The payments were reasonable and I thought it was a good thing to do for family vacations down the road. The sales' people really put on the glitz and glam of how much more affordable this option is and how great it is to do an internal exchange if we chose not to use our week. Plus I thought it was a good deal because it was week 52(!) and the amount paid for it was around $7000. I got sucked in.

A few months after the purchase I received a phone call inviting me to stay at Hill Country for a "VIP" stay and enjoy time at the resort. So, I packed up the family and drove out there. Upon arrival, I was told that I needed to attend an "Owner's Update Meeting" sometime during the weekend in order to stay for the VIP weekend. I agreed. When I showed up to the "Owner's Update Meeting" it wasn't an update on anything other than trying to get you to buy more. I didn't purchase anything that time, but did later after being sucked into first of all the "Diamond Program". When buying my second week, I asked the sales people if there was anything above the "Diamond Program" and was told "no". Well, that wasn't true, because lo and behold a few months later, I was invited back for another "Owner's Update Meeting" to purchase another week for the "Diamond Plus Program". I gotta say these people are very good at blowing smoke up your fourth point of contact, if you know what I mean. Needless to say, I ended up with 3 weeks total. So far up to that point, I thought everything was fine.

Then in February 2009, I stopped by Fox River in IL. We were really just stopping by here on the way back from a funeral in Minnesota. Our sales person, told us after reviewing our accounts, that we would best benefit from being Presidential owners. They offered up week 14 (Presidential unit) and week 6 (Chairman unit) at Holiday Hills in Branson in exchange for our 3 weeks we already had. This sales rep continued to tell us that we were going to "luck out" on this white week because Branson had recently just opened an international airport and that week would soon be turning red.

Our payments wouldn't change, however, we would have much better accomidations available by being Presidential owners and "be in the top 5% of their owners". We told her we have no desire to vacation in Branson and didn't care for the weeks either due to having children in school. She said, "You can easily exchange them. You will be guaranteed to stay in a Presidential or Chairman depending on the week you are exchanging or when using bonus time. We were also told that we would be pretty much guaranteed the exchange of our choice during almost any time with the exception of Orlando and the Pinnacle Lodge in Colorado. This was due to the ownership of the Presidential and Chairman. Her and her "manager" went on and on to tell us what a great deal we would get if we upgraded to these units. My husband and I thought we were getting a good deal. We noted however, that upon signing the paperwork, the week was not week 14 but week 15 instead. We asked the sales rep this and she stated it didn't really matter what week it was as long as it was red because we were going to trade it anyways.

Up to this point we hadn't really used the resorts, so didn't know the hassle we would soon be entering our selves into.

After the purchase of these units, we stayed one night during the middle of the week the end of September at the Villages. Upon arrival, we were placed in a regular unit. I complained and this was changed so we could stay in a Presidential. SInce then I had requested several exchanges/bonus time usages of my banked former weeks and was always told that they had no availability at any of the resorts or during any times (various times of the year from October-March then May-Sept). I asked a rep one time when our white week was going to be turning red as I explained we were told that it would change due to the international airport opening thus increasing tourism to Branson. I was laughed at. I last called for reservations to Seaside in Galveston for any availability this summer. I was told they are booked May through October. I asked about what our sales rep about guaranteeing availability and was told by the reservationist that exchanges are on a "first come, first served" basis. What?!!This conflicts what we were told. I then asked if they had availability at Hill Country. They said they did. I then asked if it was a Presidential unit and was told they don't have that information. How then, do they fairly make reservations without knowing what type of unit it is? Obviously they aren't going to put a "regular" owner into a Presidential or higher unit. I then called corporate.

First of all, Shirley in "Customer Service" which I later found out is "Legal" was very condescending when I talked to her. She told me I didn't know "how to use the timeshares" and that "the only availability you are guaranteed and type of unit is in your deeded week". I told her that the sales rep had told my spouse and I a different story. I then told her that why then were we paying over 800 dollars a month for something that we can use. She stated then, "You can use it". I asked her, "How? Everytime we call to use our exchange, there is no availability." Again we went round and round about how I told the sales person I had no desire for the location or weeks but were really buying the "exchange power". My spouse and I put a stop payment on the account. When we told her about the stop payment, her story changed to, "Well, I can offer to change your week and location to something you desire more." I asked her how she could magically do this considering that this wasn't done when we first purchased the units and expressed our concerns. She didn't respond to this. We told her that we felt that we were paying for something we can't use and want out. We also found out that there is a charge to use the exchange program. $75 per exchange. This was never disclosed to us. No where in any of the paperwork we found we had signed did it discuss this at all.

Needless, to say, I have filed complaints with the BBB and the Federal Trade Commission just 3 days ago. Today, I received a call from Tonya offering me a release from the contract and Silverleaf will pay off the remaining balance of the loans. She stated that nothing would be reported on my credit. While this is desired, my spouse and I looked at getting some of our money back because we felt we were misled into what we were getting/able to use.

So, here's what I recommend if your story is similar...file complaints with the right people (BBB, Texas Attorney General's Office, Federal Trade Commission). Send a certified and registered letter describing your encounter to Silverleaf and your wish to be released from the contract. I don't know about these groups that "guarantee" to help you. But I know one thing...they are expensive (upwards of $3000 up front) to assist you in releasing you from the timeshare. Also, most of them are not attorneys. They are regular guys like you and me that know the right channels. Hope this helps some of you. Buyer beware!

Review about: Silverleaf Resorts Vacation Ownership.

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Anonymous
#145738

My wife and I went to Silverleaf on Tuesday, 18 May 2010, for an Owner's Update meeting (standard 1 1/2 hour (right!)). The draw?? $150 (one hundred fifty dollars) CASH!!

Dana was our 'initial' contact (tag-team member). She said that we HAD to tour the property, so we spent about a half-hour riding around and ooohing-aaaahing. Then we went into her office. She put us at ease by asking questions...when we said that we could NOT afford to buy, she said that she was required to 'explain' some stuff to us. So we allowed her to continue.

She said that ‘DIAMOND’ owners represented 10% of all Silverleaf owners while the other categories (Presidential, Lodge, Condo, and Cabin) represented 90%. Then she asked us WHO (which category) would get first response back from Customer Service. We said, “Diamond?” and she replied, “Yes. That’s why it is SO IMPORTANT to be a DIAMOND owner.”

She also went through ‘PLUS’ program….blah, blah, blah. We kept trying to tell her that we couldn’t afford it…the ONLY way we could get an extra week is IF Silverleaf would give us the property AND zero maintenance. And more blah, blah, blah. We explained that we had a Presidential with ZERO maintenance fees and would NOT buy any property with any type of maintenance fee.

She finally came to her LAST couple of points. If we wanted to get a RED-week Lodge, Silverleaf could let us have one for $36K (thirty-six THOUSAND dollars!!!)…50% down ($18K) and $500/$600 per month (PLUS maintenance fee of $69).

But, if we wanted a RED Presidential, we could buy one for $68K (sixty-eight THOUSAND dollars), with 50% down payment ($34K) and monthly payments of $1000/$1100 per month (PLUS maintenance fee of $89 per month).

NOTE: Monthly payments are given as rough approximations, only.

We told her again, NO, we can’t afford it. So she said that she would get her boss and have him ‘talk’ with us.

After about 15 or 20 minutes (it seemed longer), Mr. Dave Cortez, Member Services Sales Manager, came in. He basically restated all the stuff Dana had told us, albeit somewhat more concise. We again said, “We can’t afford to buy. The ONLY way was if Silverleaf gave us a property for FREE to include ZERO maintenance.” He sort of scoffed at the idea, and said (more or less) that Silverleaf doesn’t give out ZERO maintenance. Then we told him that we had ZERO maintenance. He looked disbelievingly at us and then turned to the computer. I’m guessing that he pulled up our account ‘cause he then looked at the computer disbelievingly. He asked us how we managed to get ZERO maintenance. We told him that a Member Services person at Holly Lake was so intent (desperate?) on upgrading us from a cabin at Lake O’ The Woods that she offered us ZERO maintenance fees AND ZERO percentage rate on the loan if we upgraded to a condo at Holly Lake (which we really couldn’t refuse). AND, that we had insisted on and kept ZERO maintenance fees ever since. Finally, he said that he wanted to check the computer to see if there was any way he could find us property so that we could become DIAMOND.

Another 15 minutes or so passed. He returned, saying that he thought that he found something that might interest us. He opened with a RED Lodge for $9999 ($5,000 down payment and $300/$400 per month…with maintenance fee). We again stated that we couldn’t afford it.

Then he came out with the piece de resistance (or so he thought). He said that Silverleaf had a property (BLUE Cabin) that had been returned to inventory because the owners had passed away and the non-payment of maintenance fees caused the property to come back to Silverleaf (or something similar). He said the property was priced at $8000 ($4000 down payment, $XXX monthly payment, with $46.50 maintenance fees). However, he said, if we would buy the DIAMOND Plus Program for $5995, he would throw in the property. AND, he brought out a magazine for ??? (Camp Out America or Go Camping America or ???), a camping program where you can rent sites for $4 to $8 a night. He said that if we would pay the $89 to transfer the ‘program’ ownership from the dead couple to us, that he would also throw in the membership (unfortunately, I can’t remember specifically which camping program/magazine was proffered, but I remember the $4 to $8 per night for sites).

OK, we again told Mr. Lopez that we couldn’t afford to buy any additional property. We were in the process of liquidating our assets (selling our house and getting rid of our stuff), buy a pop-up camper, and becoming road gypsies. He said that the DIAMOND ownership was imperative for us to guarantee that we could really enjoy using Silverleaf’s RV sites (not all resorts) and combining it with our Endless Escape. Again, we said, No. He then gave us his business card, wrote Dana’s name, and told us that when we had sold our house, we should give him a call and see what was available at that time.

They finally let us go. Our “90-minute” owner’s update meeting had turned into a 2 ½ hour meeting. We went to the front desk, retrieved our voucher, and then went to the Registration Desk (check-in) and exchanged our voucher for $150.

So, there it is, folks. YOU must remember that these sales people are NOT your best friend and they do NOT have your best interests in mind. The ONLY way they get paid is by COMMISSION; the only way for them to get COMMISSION is to SELL property—at any cost (NOTE: You will pay the cost, so they really don’t care as long as you BUY!). Remember that YOU are in the driver’s seat and YOU control their pay. As long as you say, NO, they do NOT get paid. NO matter how many times they ‘push’ you to buy, NO matter how many ‘deals’ they tell you---JUST SAY NO!

Last through the 90-minute (or 2-hour or 3-hour) presentation (a ‘dog and pony’ show) and then walk away with the money. Just make sure you’re not ‘tricked’ into buying!!!

Anonymous
#143262

Yes, I work for Silverleaf and no, not all employees are liars. I'm sure there are some as in any large company.

I have great clients who stop in just to say hi to me all the time. They have sent me cards, brought me cookies and all sorts of homey goodies. I even got a nice bottle of wine as a gift from a grateful owner once accompanied by a big hug. I've been invited to picnics and dinner with clients countless times as well.

I work with an amazing group of people that I think of as family.

You can't make everyone happy I suppose but most of my clients are very pleased and I love them! Oh and by the way, I've owned there a lot longer than I've worked there.

Anonymous
to Silverleaf employee #815175

do you know if I purchased a week in the resale market and bonus time didn't transfer ,would corporate sale me a bonus time add on without trying to change my week? I just want to pay a couple thousand just to add the bonus time to my week.

Anonymous
#143257

I am stunned that someone would buy three weeks of timeshare to the tune of 800 dollar a month payments before they ever even used it. I have owned with SL for almost ten years and have had a good experience for the most part.

Nothing is perfect but I'm glad I have it. No is a very easy word. If you don't want to go to an update meeting...don't go. Learn how to use it folks.

I've been to the update meetings and guess what, I said NO.

It's a sales presentation, once you go you know what it is so don't go back! It doesn't take a genius to figure out that a company is not going to staff a big building with people who just want to tell you about what you already own.

Anonymous
#143255

The money should be returned within the next five days. I would definately encourage you to take the steps to complain and see what happens. Good luck!

Anonymous
#143085

I had a similar situation with Silverleaf. Did you end up getting any of your money back?

Anonymous
#134977

Caveat emptor...Buyer Beware!!

If you're on the FB networking website, inquire on "Silverleaf Resorts."

There are numerous complaints on this website and others about Silverleaf Resorts. MOST comments are not complimentary...in fact, outright BAD.

There are some from folks who seem OK with the Silverleaf Resort system...I'm one of them...and, I'm NOT an employee.

My wife and I started with Silverleaf Resorts with a cabin (1BR, 1BA) week 52 (blue) at Lake 'o The Woods in 1997 (paid maintenance fees). This week became a RED week after a couple of years at NO ADDITIONAL EXPENSE TO US.

We upgraded to a condo (2BR, 2BA) (keeping red) at Holly Lake (this was where we got ZERO maintenance and ZERO percent on the loan). We later upgraded to a lodge (2BR, 2BA) at Holiday Hills in Branson (also ZERO maintenance fees).

We currently have ONE week (Presidential) at Galveston (ZERO maintenance).

We do not pay any MAINTENANCE FEES (approximately $70 per month whether you use your deeded week or not). That's right...ZERO maintenance fees.

FYI...$70 per month equals $840 per year...if you keep your deeded week for 20 years, that's $16,800 (for 20 years). AND, it doesn't matter if you use your deeded week(s) or not...you still pay (in addition to the price you pay for the deeded week).

ALSO, our four adult (and married) children are listed with my wife and I on our deed. That means that they can also make reservations with Customer Service and check in by themselves...believe me, this is a very important issue.

Check everything you can find on the Internet about Silverleaf Resorts...the sales people at the resort are NOT your best friend...they only get money from commissions on sales...if you don't buy, they don't get paid. They are NOT looking out for your best interest...they want to get paid.

AND one final thought---these sales people are PROFESSIONALS and some (maybe not all) would sell out their own mothers and their family members JUST SO THEY MAKE A SALE!!!

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